Tiramisu aux Mirabelles

Beautiful destoned mirabelles.

Beautiful destoned mirabelles.

Cook down until nice and soft, almost mushy but still intact.

Cook down until nice and soft, almost mushy but still intact.

I love visiting kitchens that aren't mine and most of all I love it when people cook things up for me.   This week I had the pleasure of visitng Corinne's new home and we christened her kitchen with a tiramisu aux mirabelles.

Corinne whipping up the filling.

Corinne whipping up the filling.

Cream filling.

Cream filling.

I told you in my last post that I couldn't get enough of mirabelles.  I also couldn't forget the tiramisu aux fraises that Corinne once made for me.   Mirabelle season is in full swing and they are sold everywhere at the moment.  So when Corinne offered to make tiramisu aux mirabelles I thought aloud, "ooh, how could I refuse a beautiful invitation—double ooh—I never even thought of a recipe like this!"

Cooking with style.

Cooking with style.

Madeleines soaked in mirabelle liqueur.

Madeleines soaked in mirabelle liqueur.

For her recipe she used liqueur de mirabelle which she made herself.  I missed out on the "making of " this liqueur so I simply replaced it with Grand Marnier which I found much subtler than the liqueur de mirabelle.  I'm not a huge liqueur fan when it comes to mixing it with sweets but that's just personal taste.

The first layer.

The first layer.

Keep layering.

Keep layering.

Corinne, being her gracious, gorgeous, red-headed self was not satisfied with the overall presentation of the dessert.   It did not give off the tantalizingly delicious effect she expected but au contraire, I can tell you it certainly was delish. 

Time to chill.

Time to chill.

Hours later enjoying the fruit of her success.

Hours later enjoying the fruit of her success.

Her tip: try using non-transparent individual jars or glasses to fill your tiramisu and add some edible colorful flower or herb to give it that "pop!" to the eye for those special guests you want to impress.

Tarte aux Mirabelles

INGREDIENTS//Serves 6

• 400 grams mirabelle, destoned
• 30 grams butter
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liquor (optional)
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 sachets vanilla sugar
• 375 grams mascarpone
• 20 cl heavy whipping cream (keep it in the refigerator until you use it)
• 6 madeleines
 

INSTRUCTIONS

Melt the butter in a medium size pan over low heat.  Add the mirabelles and cook it over low heat for three minutes and then add the sugar.

Keep cooking the mirabelles until they soften up and caramelize.  Add the Grand Marnier.

When the mirabelles are nice and mushy (similar to the texture of an over riped fruit) turn off the heat and let it cool.

Pass it through a sieve to collect the liquid.  Set it aside.

To prepare the cream filling first whip your cream. 

In a small mixing bowl add the heavy cream (it should be cold, right out of the fridge).  Use a hand mixer and begin to whip increasing the speed until medium.  Continue whipping until the cream stiffens.  It should take about eight to ten minutes.  Set it aside.

In another medium size mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and the vanilla sugar.  Then add the mascarpone and mix well. 

Add in half the liquid you strained from the cooked down mirabelles and slowly add in the whipped cream mixing by hand.  Combine well.

Save the other half of the liquid to coat your madeleines.  Set it aside.

You can use individual dessert jars or a small pan for your tiramisu.

Begin with a layer of madeleine, a layer of the cream, a layer of the mirabelles, and finish with a layer of cream.

Cover it up and place it in the refigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.  Take it out when ready to serve.



 

'Tis the Season for Tarte aux Mirabelles

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At the farmer's market you'll find an abundance of these lttle darlings, mirabelles.  It's the season and they are everywhere.    Apparently the etymology of mirabelle means "wondrous beauty".  

These cherry tomato size plums are flavorful, delicate, and sweet.    They hail from Lorraine, the north-eastern region of France and they are nowhere to be found in the U.S.A. because they have a protected origin designation that makes it impossible to import them.    So, they are banned from the U.S. which is why I was deprived of these wondrous beauties in my youthful years.

These plums don't have a high liquid content so they are perfect for dessert pies and jams.  This is an easy, "impress your Amercian friends and guests"  kind of dessert.

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Tarte aux Mirabelles

INGREDIENTS//Serves 6

Pâte Brisée (pastry crust)
• 220 grams of flour
• 110 grams of unsalted butter, cut up and just out of the fridge
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 50 ml water

Fruit Filling
• 500 grams of ripe mirabelles, halved and destoned
• 1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar (optional)
 

INSTRUCTIONS

To prepare the pastry crust use a medium size mixing bowl and sieve the flour and cinnamon powder into it. 

Then knead in the pieces of butter so that you have pieces that resemble coarse breadcrumbs.

Add some water into the mixture and keep on kneading gently until you can roll the dough into a ball.

On a flat surface add some flour and roll out the ball of dough with a rolling pin to fit a 23 cm (9 inch) tart mould. 

Pat the the pastry into the round mould carefully pressing in the sides.  Cut away any excess dough and use it fill gaps in round.

Wrap the dough lined mould in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for an hour.

Prick the dough all over with the tips of the fork.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and line the dough with some baking sheet paper and baking beans or use rice to weigh down the pastry dough.

Preheat the over to 200°C (390° F) and place the pastry in the oven and pre-bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the baking beans and baking sheet paper and you should have a biscuit like texture.

Once your pastry is pre-baked, starting from the outside of the mould arrange the mirabelles face up and back to back working inwards.

Sprinkle vanilla sugar over it and pop it back in the oven for another 30 minutes at 200° C (390° F).

The mirabelles will have softened and caramelized, and will have a glistening shine.

Cut into equal parts and serve warm or cold.

It's not Bastille Day, it's le quatorze juillet, la Fête Nationale.

I just discovered that Bastille Day is a British term and that's what I always referred to it as when growing up in New York.  In New York, there were annual street fairs celebrating Bastille day with French food and wine.  Even contests were set up so that one could win a roundtrip airfare to Paris and back.  

Living in the know and now in France, we simply refer to it as le quatorze juillet and it is formally called la fête nationale.  Festivities start with the Fireman's Ball in various fire stations across Paris on the eve, then a morning military parade on the Avenue des Champs Elysées, and closes with an evening fireworks display from the Eiffel Tower. 

History in a nutshell:  Mutinous minds were brewing a few years earlier leading up to the start of the French Revolution which began with the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789.  Living in a feudal aristocratic system with the philosophes of Enlightenment, a weak monarchy, and with escalating food and taxe prices—let's just say that some people were not happy.  

The Bastille prison symbolized the arbritrary use of power of the French monarchy.  It's where upper-class and political prisoners of French society were held, unopen to trial, and only under the king's orders.  Thus, attacking it signified the start of a revolution which led towards years of violence and bloodshed—although not so much on that particular day.

Excactly one year after the storming of the Bastille, the Fête de la Fédération was inaugurated on July 14, 1790 to celebrate the unity of France, symbolizing peace.  July 14th commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the Fête de la Fédération.

Here's a taste of symbolism for you pictured below...

Grilled Magret de Canard

Grilled Magret de Canard

And if you keep scrolling down to the bottom, I leave you with Serge's scandalous version of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem. 

Vive la France!  Vice la République!

 Grilled Magret de Canard

INGREDIENTS//Serves 2-3

• 1 farm-raised magret de canard (this particular piece weighed 394 grams, vacuum-packed)
 

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 220° C. 

Lay your naked duck breast with skin facing up.  Score the skin of the duck in squares without cutting into the flesh. 

Pop the duck into the over with the skin fat face up for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, flip the duck over and then lower the temperature to 180°C and let it cook for 10 minutes. Take it out of the over and and cut into slices. 

Serve it along with some roasted potatoes and garlicky green beans.

NOTE

I'm a pesco-vegetarian with lots of taste testers amongst me.  Apparently this gets a thumbs up with my carnivorous family.  You can't screw this recipe up, just throw it in the oven!