trick or treat! or as we say in french "des bonbons ou un sort"!
halloween is just around the corner, so here are some decoration ideas and recipes!
halloween is not something we celebrate a lot in france. it's more for children, who dress up as witches or skeletons.
however, we love taking every opportunity to dress up and decorate! and eat...!
so the three of us had a skype "brainstorming meeting", to discuss what kind of decorations and food we wanted to make, and then we (m. & s.) put our ideas into practice!
we made a kind of buffet with a curried butternut squash and apple soup, dark chocolate crèmes with an avocado chantilly or a spiced pumpkin chantilly, a big hazelnut and banana cake, and maple syrup and cider cocktails!
we had so much fun decorating and shooting outside! it was a bit cold, but definitely worth it!
we also made an inside photoshoot to have a proper look at the cake and at the black halloween figures (we cut them out in thick black paper).
we hope you'll enjoy!
[scroll down to have a look at our recipes]
and now the recipes...
curried butternut squash and apple soup:
this soup is our favorite fall dish!
we found the recipe in ricky lauren's beautiful book "the hamptons: food, family and history". this book is filled with small stories about her family and the hamptons, delicious recipes and gorgeous pictures! it's the kind of book that makes you wanna move to a charming beach house (decorated with ralph lauren home products of course!) and eat sea food all day long!
thanks to a language misunderstanding, we actually gave a nice twist to the original recipe!
indeed, the original recipe uses apple cider, and not cider (or hard cider). we got the book in english a few years ago, and when making the recipe we immediately thought that "apple cider" was what we call in france "cidre", the alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples! so ever since, we make this recipe using cider and not apple cider.
we actually tried once with apple cider, but we liked our own version better!
adapted from the book "the hamptons", by ricky lauren
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
75 cl chicken stock
2 large apples (granny smith or jonagold), peeled, cored and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
25 cl cider (or hard cider)
salt and pepper
plain yogurt (optional)
heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. add the onion, curry powder, ginger and cardamom and cook for 2 minutes. season to taste with salt and pepper.
add the squash and apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
add the stock, lemon juice and cider, and cook until the squash is fork-tender (20-25 minutes).
mix the soup using a blender, adding more water if needed.
piece of advice:
dark chocolate crèmes, avocado chantilly / spiced pumpkin chantilly:
this dessert is done in no time, and it's perfect for a halloween buffet, if you have many people coming over!
we wanted something original, a bit weird, but still very good. so we made some dark chocolate crèmes using this recipe, and we came up with some colorful toppings. those may seem odd, but the flavours work perfectly together! the spiced pumpkin chantilly is just heaven with the dark chocolate.
and you can use glasses of different size and style to serve the crèmes! but be careful not to put too many cream in the glasses otherwise it may be a bit stodgy.
for 10 to 12 glasses (depending on the size):
for the crèmes:
adapted from "desserts des jours heureux", by guillemette auboyer
250 g dark chocolate, finely chopped (70% cacao)
250 g milk
250 g liquid cream
4 egg yolks
60 g caster sugar
for the whipped creams:
100 g whipping cream
1 tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 ripe banana
1 tsp orange juice
1 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp pumpkin purée (canned is fine)
1/2 tsp gingerbread spice mix
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom
in a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and caster sugar.
bring milk and cream to a simmer, remove from heat and pour into the previous mixture. mix until combined.
pour yolk/cream mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats a spatula (this should take 5-6 minutes).
place chocolate in a bowl and pour hot yolk/cream mixture over it. mix until mixture is smooth and combined. if the cream isn't lump free, you can put it in a mixer for a few seconds.
place chocolate cream into the glasses, and keep at least 2 hours in the fridge before serving.
prepare whipped cream: place in a bowl whipping cream, mascarpone and vanilla sugar. whip the mixture into whipped cream. put half of it in one bowl, half in another.
using a mixer, mix avocado, banana, orange juice and lime juice until smooth. incorporate gently to a bowl of whipped cream until combined.
using a mixer, mix pumpkin purée and spices. incorporate gently to the second bowl of whipped cream until combined.
before serving: using pastry bags, pipe avocado whipped cream and spiced pumpkin whipped cream on the chocolate cream.
piece of advice:
keep maximum 2 days in the fridge, cream and topping separated
don't hesitate to add more avocado and more pumpkin to the whipped cream if you want something really colorful!
hazelnut and banana cake, chocolate glaze:
this cake was a huge success! which was predictable as everyone at home loves bananas...!
this recipe seems long and difficult, but honestly it's not! you can even prepare the 2 cakes the day before.
we covered it with a dark chocolate glaze, which works perfectly with the bananas!
we used white chocolate to draw a spider web on the chocolate glaze, everybody loved it!
for one big cake:
2 hazelnut cakes:
6 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
80 g flour
100 g unsalted butter
40 g salted butter
90 g ground hazelnuts (hazelnut powder)
40 g honey
100 g sugar
3 tbsp good quality rum
5 ripe bananas
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp salted butter
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
150 g whipping cream
1 tbsp mascarpone
1 tbsp cream cheese (we use philadelphia)
10 g vanilla sugar
adapted from linda lomelino
75 g dark chocolate (70%), coarsly chopped
35 g butter
10-20 g white chocolate
prepare the banana puree:
in a pan on medium heat, heat salted butter until melted. peel the bananas, cut them in round slices and place them in the saucepan. add lemon juice, cardamom and maple syrup. stir, scraping bottom of pan to remove browned bits. reduce the heat if needed. cook for 5 minutes, stiring regularly, until the mixture is a kind of puree. cover and simmer for 2 more minutes.
remove from heat and let cool.
prepare the cakes:
preheat the oven to 180°C (350 F).
melt butter and honey using a saucepan or a microwave. leave to cool.
in a bowl, whisk egg yolks with flour, ground hazelnut and sugar. incorporate melted butter and honey. whisk until combined. incorporate rum.
in a large bowl, beat the egg whites (with a pinch of salt) until firm.
with a spatula, fold gently the egg whites into the batter.
butter and flour 2 round pans.
cook for 30 to 40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes) until a knife comes out clean.
let the cakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes then unmold them on a wire rack.
prepare the whipped cream:
in a bowl, whisk together cream, mascarpone, cream cheese and vanilla sugar into a firm whipped cream.
incorporate gently whipped cream to cold banana puree, until combined.
don't hesitate to add some more cardamom, sugar (or even rum!) according to your taste.
assemble the cake:
cut each cake in three, to end up with 6 layers.
put the first layer on a cake stand. spread some frosting on it. add the next layer and repeat until you don't have any layers left.
put a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, and refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
spread the remaining frosting on the cake, and refrigerate one more time.
prepare the chocolate glaze:
place chocolate and butter in a saucepan and heat on low heat until melted. set aside until room temperature (not too liquid, but not too firm!).
pour the glaze over the cake and quickly spread it over the edges to make it run down the sides.
let cool until firm.
decorate the cake:
turn a freezer bag to a pastry bag: take a freezer bag and pierce a small hole at a bottom edge using a needle (or a knife). careful, the hole is supposed to be very small, otherwise the decoration will be a bit rough.
pour melted white chocolate in it (10-20g, depending on what you want to draw on your cake).
draw whatever you want on the cake using the freezer bag like a pastry bag: spiders, pumpkins...
let cool until chocolate is firm.
piece of advice:
to slice the cake into layers, we use a great cake slicer we found in ikea
because of the banana frosting, your cake won't be snow white. so if you want a white cake, just whisk together 2 tbsp mascarpone + 1 tbsp cream cheese. just before putting the chocolate glaze, spread this white frosting all over the cake. refrigerate.
maple syrup and cider cocktail:
a very easy and refreshing cocktail! and the coconut on the rim of the glasses gives such a cool and festive look!
don't hesitate to change the recipe according to your preferences: more (or less!) vodka, sparkling water instead of ginger ale,...
serving 1 glass:
inspired from martha stewart's sinister cider cocktail
the juice of 1/2 lime
20 g (2 cl) maple syrup
20 g (2cl) vodka
20 g (2cl) cider (hard cider, the alcoholic beverage)
take 2 bowls: put a some water in one, and some grated coconut in another. no need to put too much.
dip the rim of the glass in the water, then dip it in the coconut. set aside.
in a shaker or a blender, put lime juice, maple syrup, vodka and cider. shake.
pour the mixture in the glass. top with ginger ale. serve cold with 2 or 3 ice cubes.
piece of advice:
we wish you a great halloween!