Friday, March 23, 2007

Honey Almond Barquettes Recipe



French baking is much more precise (some may say precious) than American baking. The quintissential "American" sweet is a chocolate chip cookie (mix ingredients in one bowl, add any other ingredient you like, drop batter by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake = total time about 30 minutes). The quintissential French treat is a croissant (make yeast dough, wait til risen, envelop block of butter in dough, repeatedly roll and fold, repeatedly cool, cut, shape and bake = total time about 6-8 hours).

Americans seem to produce many free-form items including cookies, squares and scones. The French, on the other hand, seem to have many sweets that require a specific mold just for that recipe -- such as financiers, brioches, darioles, madeleines and tarts, to name a few. How many Americans do you know with a cookie press? I suspect the number is much higher in France.

I was introduced to the world of French pastry making by my friend Yvonne who spent a summer at the Cordon Bleu in Paris perfecting her pastry skills. She taught me how to make a number of things including these lovely honey almond barquettes (adapted from a Cordon Bleu recipe) which, unsurprisingly, require specific molds!

Look for other Yvonne-inspired recipes in the coming weeks and months.



Makes 20 barquettes

Ingredients

Dough
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (available in specialty stores or online)
1/2 cup plus one teaspoon butter
1 egg

Filling
1 cup sugar
1/5 cup water
1/2 cup minus one tablespoon butter
1/5 cup honey
2/5 cup cream
3 cups untoasted sliced almonds


Directions

To make this recipe you will need to purchase barquette or boat molds, which are available from a number of online retailers. Get the plain version (not the fluted one with scalloped edges).

Dough
1. Combine all purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, salt and vanilla powder. Cut butter into small cubes.
2. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, incorporate butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg and incorporate until the dough just comes together.
3. Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Using a butter knife, cut almond shapes larger than the barquette mold.
4. Generously spray each mold with non-stick spray, and lay an almond shaped piece of dough inside. Press the dough into the mold. Using a butter knife or a rolling pin remove the excess dough which is outside of the mold. Repeat and re-roll scraps until all 20 molds are lined with dough. Refrigerate.

Filling
5. In a saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil. Cut butter into small cubes and add when the mixture is light yellow or barley colored.
6. Once the mixture starts boiling again add honey, and after three minutes add cream and reboil until smooth.
7. Remove from heat and add almonds. Stir thoroughly. Let cool until it is at room temperature (approximately one or two hours).
8. Fill the molds with the almond mixture. Be careful not too overfill as mixture will bubble during baking.
9. Place filled barquettes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 F for 13-17 minutes or until exposed crust is medium golden.
10. Remove and let cool for five minutes. Use a butter knife to carefully unmold barquettes. If you wait until barquettes are cool, they may break during unmolding.
11. Allow barquettes to cool to room temperature.
12. Optional: drizzle baked barquettes with chocolate. To drizzle: melt bittersweet chocolate in the microwave, spoon into a small plastic bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle in a zigzag pattern.

4 comments:

Shilpa. said...

Hi there, my friend Preeta (aka cheesewithaspoon) told me about your blog, so this is my first time commenting. You're right, French baking is so "precious", that's why I seldom have the patience for it! :) Your barquettes look good enough to sell in a boulangerie!

Nicole said...

Hey AKR,
NGT here, just peeking at your blog for the first time. Love it! I thought I would comment on your comment about how French cooks probably own a cookie press. Probably not, I would guess. A proper French lady does not do dessert. Why bother, when its so much more chic to have found some tiny little patisserie with an amazing chef where you can just pick up something gorgeous? Of course, those cookies look so yummy I might just risk flaunting my non-Frenchness and try whipping up a batch. They are exactly the kind of thing I love. Keep the recipes coming! Big kisses to The Boy, as well.

Ecco said...

Hi there,
Does the ingredient "cream" for making filling stand for whipping cream?
Thanks for answering~

Anonymous said...

Cream refers to heavy cream, whipping cream or double cream. You want to use it here in its liquid form (i.e. not whipped).