Several months ago, I embarked on a beautiful tour of Europe which included a visit to the gorgeous city of Paris.
While there, my diet consisted of: croissants, crepes, and lots and lots of macarons.
No this wasn’t the healthiest few days of my life, but perhaps the happiest. On my last day in Paris I swore that when I went back to the states I would learn how to make these light, pillowy sugar dreams so I could transport myself back to the gilded streets of Paris, even if just for a moment.
So I finally attempted to climb pastry everest. As you will see below, I mixed in my fall cravings with this Parisian classic, and came up with this recipe.
Did these taste good? You bet!
Did half of the shells crack or fall apart? Yes, indeed. But it’s more motivation for me to tweak my recipe and find out what works and what doesn’t. However, this is a solid foundation recipe and I hope you too will attempt to climb this tasty meringue mountain with me.
Pumpkin & Chocolate Macarons
By Pleading and Pasta (C) 2013
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp of cocoa powder
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (Note, oiled foil WILL NOT work)
2. Put regular sugar and egg whites in a mixer and let mix for 7-10 minutes until stiff peaks form.
3. Meanwhile, sift together the almond meal, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients by folding the dry ingredients in. You want to do at least 25-30 turns on this particular recipe. “Knock” the air out of the merengue by turning and smearing the mix.
5. Put the mixture into a plastic bag for piping.
6. Pipe equally sized circles onto the parchment and lightly bump and shake the pan so the batter settles.
7. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should pop off the parchment.
8. Remove from pan and let cool and make the icing.
9. For icing, mix all of the icing ingredients together. To make the frosting more stiff, add small amounts of confectioners sugar until desired consistency is reached.
10. Put icing in a bag and pipe onto cookie shells. Put one on top of the other and serve!
Eat with all of your heart, mon ami,
Too much of a good thing is impossible. At least when it comes to goat cheese.
I am a goat cheese fanatic, and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate this rich and flavorful cheese into my recipes. Plus, for those that are lactose intolerant, it’s an LI friendly cheese!
Now, although Pleadings & Pasta likes to create original dishes, sometimes you come across a flawless recipe that needs to be shared with everyone. This recipe is one of those.
Ms. Giada De Laurentiis is my culinary muse, and her effortless approach to cooking is embodied in this recipe for a filet mignon with balsamic reduction and goat cheese.
The tangy balsamic reduction brought me back to my epic dinner at Acqua al 2 in Florence, Italy where I had a similar dish. The goat cheese melts so beautifully and makes for a fancy, but easy meal.
Eat with all of your heart,
Sometimes you just want dessert. Warm, gooey, chocolatey dessert.
However you don’t have a whole afternoon to dedicate to making a decadent dessert. So in honor of a visit to a dear friend and fellow chef in training, I made these nutella banana fold-overs as the perfect finish to our meal.
As a young girl I grew up on Nutella sandwiches. All of the kids in the lunch room would ask me how I convinced my mom to make me “chocolate sandwiches” and at the time, I had no idea how I was so fortunate. But, later on I learned Nutella is a staple of many European households, and growing up Italian-American, we were no exception to this rule!
Although I don’t eat Nutella as often as I did when I was a kid, it is still such a special treat for me and this recipe is a great way to get your Nutella fix.
Nutella Banana Fold-Overs
1/2 cup Nutella
Frozen phyllo dough or pastry dough equivalent
1. Defrost the dough, and cut into squares
2. Fill with nutella and a few bananas
3. Fold over into a triangle shape, bake on 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Serve warm (be careful though, I wasn’t patient and burned my mouth in the process since it was fresh out of the oven)
Eat with all of your heart,