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Cold winter mornings make it so difficult to get up and out of bed. This specially holds true on the rare Sundays when I happen not to be working and therefore do not have to force myself out to bed to attend the ’emergency’ patient with a foul smelling sebaceous cyst or a non healing diabetic wound in casualty. Lazy Sundays also call for lazy, over-the-top breakfast items which can be indulged effortlessly and without guilt. After all, Sundays are home are treat and deserved all the special treatment which I cannot otherwise afford on my busy weekdays.

Thin and light French crêpes from Taste.com.au with sweet almond custard filling were on today’s breakfast menu. Making crêpes is quite simple and relatively faster than pancakes which are thicker and have a longer cooking time. The techniques lies in twirling the crêpe batter in a thin even layer on a hot griddle or crêpe pan before it has time to set. Your first crêpe might be somewhat odd shaped or overcooked but you will definitely get the hang of crêpe-making after a few trials. I think I will need to do another crêpe post soon, a savory one!

CREPES AMANDINE

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

310ml (1 1/4 cups) whole milk

2 eggs, room temperature

150g (1 cup) plain flour

2 teaspoons caster sugar

For the Almond Custard

2 eggs, room temperature

110g (1/2 cup) white sugar

50g (1/3 cup) plain flour

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

500ml (2 cups) whole milk

100g (1 cup) almond meal

For the Chocolate Topping

150g dark chocolate, chopped

50g unsalted butter, chopped

60g (1/3 cup) whole almonds

Method:

  • To make the crêpes, whisk milk and eggs in a jug. Sift the flour and sugar into a medium bowl.

  • Make a well in the centre. Gradually whisk in milk mixture until it is smooth and homogenous.

  • Rest in fridge for 20 minutes. For custard, stir eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and milk in a saucepan.

  • Cook over low heat for 4-6 minutes or until custard boils. Stir in almond meal. Place in a bowl.

  • Cover surface with plastic wrap. Lightly grease a 20cm frying pan. Heat over medium low heat.

  • Add 2 tablespoons batter. Tilt pan to cover base. Cook for 1 minute or until the edge starts to curl.

  • Turn and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.

  • Place 1 crêpe on a plate. Spread with a little custard. Continue with remaining crêpes and custard.

  • Finish the stack with a crêpe. For the topping stir chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat.

  • Stir until smooth then drizzle topping over crêpes and top with coarsely chopped toasted almonds.

With everyone going back to school on Monday, I turned to this classic British school treat for inspiration. This simple Chocolate Sponge/Chocolate Custard duo seems to be a favorite of every school going child in British public schools. Adapted from Delicious, the soft, springy chocolate sponge coated in thick chocolate custard is the kind of dessert I would have wished for in my school lunch box as a kid. I can almost picture myself eating this, making a mess with the gooey custard cream on my school uniform but wearing a big, happy smile on my face. How I miss those carefree school days!

CHOCOLATE SPONGE & CUSTARD

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Sponge

125g unsalted butter, room temperature

100g golden caster sugar

25g soft dark brown sugar

2 medium free-range eggs, beaten

125g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder

25g dark chocolate, grated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

60ml whole milk, warm

For the Chocolate Custard

250ml whole milk

1 large free-range egg

1 tablespoons golden caster sugar

1 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons corn flour

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a square 20cm cake or brownie tin.

  • Beat butter until soft then add in the sugars. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.

  • Sift over flour, baking powder and cocoa, then carefully fold through along with grated chocolate.

  • Add vanilla extract and enough warm milk to create a smooth mixture with dropping consistency.

  • Pour into the tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. For the custard, heat the milk until almost boiling.

  • Whisk egg with sugar, cocoa and corn flour in a separate bowl and then pour hot milk over the top.

  • Whisk well, then return to a clean pan. Cook mixture over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly.

  • Cook until it forms a custard that thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Set this aside to cool.

  • Turn out the chocolate sponge on a cutting board. Cut into 8 equal squares with a serrated knife.

  • Pour a generous amount of the chocolate custard over each square of chocolate sponge. Serves 8.

Bonne rentrée à tous!

Crème caramel, or flan as we all know it here, is a classic dessert loved by just about everyone. It is hard to go wrong with this popular crowd-pleaser which requires nothing more than sugar, milk and eggs. The amber-coloured, soft caramel topping is what distinguishes gives this elegant dessert from a similar custard-based dish, the crème brûlée, which has a thin brittle coating of caramelized sugar. You can either divide this recette grandmère to make individual servings or pour everything in one large ovenproof dish if you have to impress a large party of guests. They are sure to go for second helpings so I recommend that you keep a second one in the fridge, just in case…

FLAN / CREME CARAMEL

Ingredients:

4 eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups full cream milk

2 tbs caster sugar

1 tbs vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Method:

  • In a heavy-based saucepan, place 1/2 cup sugar and heat over low heat until it melts and becomes amber coloured.

  • Carefully pour the hot caramel into a large ramekin or mould and swirl around so that it coats the base and sides well.

  • Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Heat milk in a saucepan until it simmers. Do not boil. Slowly pour hot milk over eggs.

  • Stir continuously as you add milk to the eggs otherwise the mixture will curdle. Beat until smooth, then add vanilla.

  • Pour the custard over the caramel and place the ramekin in a water bath. You can use either an oven or a pressure cooker.

  • In both cases, place the ramekin so that it is half submerged in water. Cook for 30 minutes until the top appears set.

  • Remove ramekin from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

  • Run a thin knife around edges to loosen and carefully invert flan onto a serving plate. Makes 8 generous servings.

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Mauritius

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