Life is truly getting in the way of my blogging. I've been baking away but lately I just can't find the time to sit down and collect my thoughts. From my actual job to family visiting to getting everything settled for our upcoming trip to England, the day is just too short to do everything I want to. I feel guilty saying it, but in the last week I've wished more than once that my vacation could be me staying home and baking every day...or sewing...or making cards...or house projects. However, I know I will have fun and Steve has promised me lots of shopping....what's not there to look forward to. I hope to return refreshed with new inspiration.
I've been so busy that I did not have a chance to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father's Day. It's around these little holidays that I really do not like living half way across the country from our families because it just makes me feel so distant. I love surrounding myself with family and laughter and it seems like I'm seeing them less and less these days.
I was inspired to make these orange and pistachio madeleines to celebrate my father's love of pistachios and for me to try the orange flower water I received as a gift a few months ago. I wanted to send to my Dad a treat to indulge in for the short time that he is home during the summer. His work is extremely seasonal and during the summer months he is known to work 14+ hours a day. It is also extremely physical so come summer his standard routine is work, eat, sleep, repeat. They were so good that I decided to make a second batch just for me. I also treated myself to a soufflé flavored with Grand Mariner.
The madeleines had a distinct citrus flavor but it was more sweet than tart due to the orange flower water, and had a lot more dimension. The pistachios grounded these little delights with a hint of nuttiness. The soufflés were rich and creamy but still light enough that I didn't mind eating one in near triple digit temperatures (another reason to look forward to England for...escaping the heat and humidity of the mid-Atlantic region in July). The only thing I need to approve upon is taking pictures of soufflés quicker, as they deflated quite a bit before I could snap a photo.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
Orange Flower Water & Pistachio Madeleines
Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen madeleines
12 ounces unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
9.5 ounces granulated sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon orange flower water
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 ounces pistachios, finely ground
10 ounces cake flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Confectioner's sugar, if desired.
Clarify the butter: Line a strainer with damp cheesecloth and place over a heatproof bowl. Set aside. Place unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow the butter to come to a simmer. You may want to partially cover the saucepan to prevent spatters. Remove cover and watch the melted butter closely as the milk solids will separate and start to brown when the sizzling slows (all the water has evaporated). You may wish to skim off the foam that rises to the surface in order to see the browning milk solids. When the milk solids have turned brown at the bottom of the pan, pour butter through the lined strainer. Set aside and allow butter to cool but it should remain liquid when adding to the madeleine batter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat madeleine pans with baking spray and dust with flour.
Mix cake flour, ground pistachios, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Place eggs and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add orange flower water and orange zest and whip an additional 1 minute.
Fold the flour mixture in 3 additions, until all the flour is incorporated. Carefully fold in the liquid clarified butter. Chill batter for 30 minutes.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag with a medium sized round tip. Pipe about 1 tablespoon batter into each cup for large (2 1/2 x 1 1/2 - inch) madeleines. Bake madeleines 12 to 14 minutes until slightly golden and soft to the touch.
Cool for 5 minutes before unmolding onto wire racks to cool. If desired, sift confectioner's sugar over cookies.
Grand Marnier Soufflés
Makes 6-8 3-ounce individual soufflés
1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/2 ounces bread flour
1/2 pint whole milk
3 ounces granulated sugar, divided
5 eggs, separated
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Confectioner's sugar, if desired.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk and 2 ounces sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. In a second saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add milk to roux and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Return mixture to heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is very thick. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir occasionally to cool the base mixture. After about 10 minutes, add egg yolks one at a time, and mix well until combined before adding next yolk. Stir in Grand Marnier and orange zest.
Soufflés can be prepared in advance up to this point. Chill the mixture until ready to use and then continue.
Prepare the soufflé dishes by buttering the insides well with room temperature butter and coating with granulated sugar. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 1 ounce sugar and continue to whip until the mixture forms firm, moist peaks. Fold the egg whites into the soufflé base in 3 stages, mixing the first stage to lighten the base. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans almost to the top and smooth the tops. Bake for about 15 minutes for individual portion soufflés.
If desired, dust with confectioner's sugar 1 - 2 minutes before soufflés are done. Serve immediately.