Cream cheese brownies with berry jam as a petit four

There is something about the cream cheese brownie that makes me hooked to it. Not only the dark chocolate, maybe the texture. It’s a sort of muddy creamy texture that makes one feels good.

If you love cream cheese brownies as much as I do, how about serving them as “petits fours”?

This is what I have done, I just added my home made berry jam (raspberries, strawberries and blakcurrants) into the cream cheese and I swirled it. I topped it with homemade cherry preserves (these were supposed to end up in a German Donawelle recipe but got preserved instead)..

The cream cheese brownie can be frozen and thawed when needed. It came in handy to complete the petits fours tray I made for my friend’s birthday..

Cream cheese brownie petits fours in the middle between financiers and choco ganache and salted caramel tartlets

So let’s get started

Ingredients
Adapted from Joyofbaking.com
Makes 16 small squares or 20 mini petits fours
Pre: 10 min- baking: 30 min- freezing/cooling: overnight


Brownie Layer

  • 115 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 110 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 230 g granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 65 grams all purpose flour
  • A good pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 225 g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature (important
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Optional addition

  • Berry jam (made with 600g of berries and 200g of sugar, so it’s not too sweet)
  • Preserved cherries

Preparation

Brownies base
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan assisted oven or 180 degrees otherwise. Grease and cover a square baking pan (23 cm), I used a pyrex dish for that.
Melt butter and chocolate over a bain-marie (some do it in a microwave). Remove from heat, set aside.
Add in vanilla, salt, sugar and stir.
Add in the eggs while beating. I usually beat them lightly in a separate bowl and pour  them slowly. Beat all well to combine, just about 1 min.
Stir in the sifted flour until the batter is smooth and glossy, which should be for about a minute. 
Save the 1/3 of the mixture to use it for marbling later. Spread the rest evenly onto the bottom of the tin. 

Cream Cheese topping

In another bowl, make the cream cheese: beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and egg and beat until creamy and smooth then stop because you don’t want too much air in this. 

Assembly and baking

Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the brownie layer.

Spoon the rest of the brownie mix in form of dollops of the top of the cream cheese (3 or 4 each line for 3 or 4 rows).

I also added the thick berry jam (I made 6 dollops of that)
Run a knife or wooden skewer back and forth through the two batters until you have a marble effect. 
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the brownies are set and the cream cheese is just beginning to brown. You can check by pricking the brownie part with a toothpick which should come out slightly clean with a bit of crumbs. 
Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate the brownies until they are firm enough to cut into squares (several hours or even overnight). 
Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan ans start cutting or shaping the way you fancy. You need a damp cloth to clean the knife everytime you use it to keep the cuts clean. I had to do the same with the cookie cutter to make the petits fours.
If you are making petits fours brownies like I did, you might need to push them with your thumb from the bottom so the cut comes out clean. ideally, this step needs to be done once the brownie is still cold.
Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with a cherry preserve at the last minute (optional).


Apple Terrine with a crumble, who said apples are boring?

I’m still on an apple wave and since I’m not doing much in the kitchen these days, it’s an opportunity to do something about those late posts..

If you are a follower on my facebook page, you would have spotted some photos of this yummy apple terrine.

A lot of crumble for me, please!

There is not much to do in this recipe. The worst part of it is to peel and cut the apples thin.

I have about 3 recipes about the same subject: apple terrine. I have tried this one (which I’m posting today) but actually I’m eying Jean-George Vongerichten‘s apple terrine with a granny smith sorbet and a nice shortbread on the side. I’ve tried it many times and if I had the chance, I would still as for it after a wonderful meal in his MARKET restaurant..

Until then, I’ll share with you this apple-y dessert/entremet which I have adapted from here. Again, it’s always best served with an icecream, sorbet or cream to balance the caramelized apples..Have a go at it..

Ingredients
Serves 4 to 6
Prep: 20 min- Resting time:  2h + 20 min- baking: 50 min

The apple terrine

  • 8 to 10 apples medium-size (braeburn or pink gala)
  • 200g of melted butter
  • 200 -250g of demerara sugar

The crumble/streusel, OR Instead of the crumble, just serve with crushed gingersnaps.

  • 100g of butter, in cubes
  • 100g of caster sugar or (half caster sugar half demerara)
  • 100g of almond powder
  • 100g of all purpose flour
  • A good pinch of cinnamon
  • A good pinch of salt

Finishing touch

  • Caster sugar(optional)

Preparation

The apple terrine (1 night ahead)

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Peel and core the apples, then slice them as fine as you can. Set aside and line a loaf cake tin with baking paper all the way over the edges.

Layer the apples inside the cake tin without leaving empty space. Each layer should be brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar. It’s not time to be stingy..This will help in the caramelization process. Keep going until all the apple slices are in. Do not hesitate to add butter and sugar if the quantity I gave you is not enough.

Bake for about 50 min to 1 h until golden and that the knife runs throught the apple without resistance.

Next, and this step is seriously important: Cut a cardboard that would fit inside your tine and cover it with aluminium foil or cling film. Place some heavy weight on the top so the apples and press down, they need to render their juice. You really have to drain them otherwise your terrine might become soggy at some stage (and you don’t want that to happen when you are cutting it).

The apple terrine after baking, getting ready to get some weight on

Chill the apple terrine for 2 hours or overnight.

For the streusel

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper (or not).

Mix all ingredients and rub until crumbly/sandy consistency. Cover the dough with a cling film and place in the freezer for about 20 min.

Bake the crumble/streusel for 15 min or so until nicely golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Bringing it together

Either you slightly warm up the apple terrine slices in a microwave or in an oven, then arrange on a plate, sprinkle with granulated sugar and caramelize using a blowtorch (which I haven’t done). Or you just let the terrine come to room temperature without warming it up.

Serve with the streusel and cream or ice-cream. I served mine with a gingersnap on the side. It gave it a nice spicy kick…


Mirroir aux fruits rouges

First of all, I would like to thank Ellen from Ellen be cookery for her wondeful surprise: She nominated my blog for the Versatile award. 
I suggest that you visit her blog. I find it nice, simple and very welcoming. Oh and I love her logo..
I’m having many of those moments where I feel deeply lost in translation, especially when I read ingredients in the packaging.
Recently, I bought sachets of agar-agar, thinking it’s 100% agar-agar, but it ended up being a mixture of something else and that the gelatinous element in it is only about 20% out of 10g, so instead of having a perfect “mirror” where you could see your face on that red-ruby layer of jelly, I had a sort of a heavy puree which didn’t properly set.
The other thing I did wrong is that I used a 26 cm pan. I think the cake would have gained in height if the pan was only 20-22 cm height. Mind you, the can pan should be movable. The best thing to do is to use rings or squares made for the purpose.
So please pretend that you are seeing a perfect jelly layer on the top of my cake because it doesn’t alter the wonderful taste of this amazing dessert.
If you want, you can also different berries or fruits with a juicy flesh such as mangoes.
Ingredients
Serves 10
Prep: 60 min – caisson: 8 min + 10 min
  • 100g of fresh raspberries
  • 100g of fresh red currants
  • 10 caramel biscuits or speculoos (or replace with another layer of  biscuit joconde)
For the red biscuit batter
  • 45 g cream (sour, liquid or creme fraiche)
  • 35 g of icing sugar
  • 30 g flour
  • Red food coloring
For the plain biscuit joconde
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g of granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 100 g flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
For the syrup
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 3 tbsp water
For the red-berries mousse
  • 40 g of milk
  • 20 g of powder sugar
  • 4 leaves of gelatine (or 4*2g of agar agar)
  • 250 g of double cream
  • 30 g of icing sugar
  • 250 g of mixed red berries (I used Red currants and strawberries)
Red-berries “mirroir” (Mirror)
  • 300 g strawberry pulp and mixed and well sieved(or again a mixture of red berries)
  • 6 leaves of gelatin or 6g agar-agar
  • 60 g of powder sugar
Caramel for decoration
  • 150g of granulated sugar
Preparation
The red-coloured batter
Mix the cream with the icing sugar, add flour, stir well, add 2 drops of food coloring. Set aside 15 min in the fridge.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the batter with a flat spatula. Use a decorating comb or a fork. Make stripes or any other shape. Place in a freezer until in becomes rigid.

The plain biscuit-joconde

Preheat the oven at 200 C.
Meanwhile, prepare the plain battert: Whisk the yolks with 70 grams of sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla extract, the salt. Fold in the flour and stir well. Set aside

Beat the egg whites until stiff and tighten with the remaining sugar (30 grams). Add the egg whites to the previous egg yolk mixture. It’s not necessary to do it delicately. You may actually use the electric mixer on medium speed.

Remove the red strips from the freezer and pour the plain batter immediately above.

In another pan or sheet, make another rond-shaped layer which will be used at the bottom of the dessert.
Bake at 200 C for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, then remove the parchment paper. 
Cut strips of biscuit about 4 cm wide, you may use a pizza cutter to cut.
Line a circle pudding with plastic wrap, place a cardboard on the bottom, lay the strips around the periphery of the circle and line bottom with the rond-shaped biscuit.
The syrup
Set to boil and remove from heat. Generously brush the periphery and the bottom. 

Red-berries Mousse

In a container filled with cold water, put the gelatin to soften for 10 minutes.

Add the icing sugar into the cream, whip until stiff peak and place the container in the freezer about 15 min.

Boil the milk with the powdered sugar. Remove from heat and add the pressed leaves of gelatine. Mix well. Fold the cream delicately into the strained fruit pulp/”coulis”.

Mix gently by lifting the mass in order to keep an aery cream. 

Place a few raspberries on the biscuit base. Spread a layer of the red-berries mousse. Place another layer or leftovers of the biscuit-joconde OR use the caramel biscuits instead. Go for another red-berries layer, another layer of fresh fruits and a final layer of biscuit joconde leftovers (cut into little pieces). Place in the freezer.

Red-berries’ “Mirroir”

Mix gelatin powder with sugar.

Add the mixed fruit pulp and strain, boil and cool.

When the mixture has cooled, spread it while still liquid (if needed, warm slightly). The glaze should not be too hot so the cream does not melt

Put the dessert in the fridge or the freezer.


When the pudding/dessert/entrement has cooled, remove the rings or the pan, decorate with fresh fruits and caramel decoration.


When the glaze is made, have the sliced ​​strawberries on the cake, décercler and store in refrigerator up tasting – The glaze should not be too hot.
  
I had to cut the excess biscuit joconde around the dessert. But if you use a 20-22 cm circle you should be able to fill the dessert to the top.

Make the caramel decoration


Over medium heat, make the dry caramel. Make any form or shape you want but make sure you use a parchment paper or a silicon mat. Add the caramel decoration just minutes before serving this dessert.

The entrement should be served cold.  




My Danette-inspired dessert

Children seem to love Danette because I guess it’s sweet, smooth, and creamy. I also did, but then I stopped buying it, because I’m making my own, by reducing the sugar or using sweeteners. I also substitute a bit of the milk with coffee. I add vanilla or chili powder.
 
But today, let’s stick to the original recipe of my danette-like dessert. I’m giving you approximate weight fo the cornflour and cocoa powder because this entirely depends on how you like it.
This chocolate dessert is so easy to make, the results are even better than the store-bought options..

Ingredients
4 small ramekins
Prep: 5 min – cooking: about 12 min
  •  500 ml milk (or 2/3 milk and 1/3 single cream)
  •  40 to 50 g cornflour (such as Maizena),
  •  50g caster sugar (adjust to your liking)
  •  30 to 50g of good 100% cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla beans (optional)
Topping (optional)
  • Crushed roasted hazelnuts
  • Icing sugar

 

Preparation
 
Mix all powders with 1/3 cold milk.
 
Pour all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring until the cream thickens but still easy to stir. Pour into ramekins and cover with a kitchen cloth. Let cool. 
Once all ramekins have cooled. Transfer them to the fridge and cover them.

Keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Maybe more, I never checked.


If you are like me, found of chocolate mousse but trying to avoid it because of the raw eggs, maybe this dessert might seduce you! Even as a grown-up!