Saturday, December 17, 2016

Health, Gingerbread Cake, Saturday Recipe

Thanks for the good wishes everyone. Had a bit of a scary time on Thursday. Got back from a pretty successful afternoon's bowling and almost the minute of stepping into the apartment I started to feel unwell. I finally decided I might be having a heart attack so better to be safe than sorry I called an ambulance. Ended up with the fire dept. first and then the ambulance. Just as an example when I heard the siren and then the engine hoot, I choked up just for a second or so. Anyway, everyone took my blood pressure (we'd taken it anyway) and I had taken aspirin. Took a low dose then the dispatcher told me to take another and chew it. I did, horrid. They tested my sugars too which I had also done, took what I think was an ecg and everything showed fine. They said I could have a blood test at the hospital to be sure but I declined as everything appeared OK. Very pleasant and helpful bunch although one of the people from the fire department seemed to think I was a 6 yr old, she asked me my name and responded 'what a pretty name', then later they asked me to smile and she said 'what a pretty smile'!!! Anyway, for the rest of the evening I didn't feel too good but knew I wasn't having a heart attack so that was OK. Had a sleep which helped. Whilst the paramedics were here, I couldn't stop shaking. Partly because I was cold I think. Eventually covered myself up with a blanket and Matt did me a hot pad. Went to bed early. So that's why I wrote my last blog.

I just came across this incredible picture of a gingerbread castle which I had to share with you - the article gives details and shows the items individually but this picture alone impressed me. Isn't it a fantastic creation?

And then look at this - oh to be so clever.

I thought these looked absolutely delicious for those of you who are prepared to take the time and make the effort I think they will be well worth it.

Caramel “Falafel”

Pastry genius Dominique Ansel improves on the ethereal cream puff with a crunchy coating of chocolaty panko and a salted caramel filling. When it's fried, it looks like a golden falafel.

1/4 cup whole milk
5 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 large egg beaten with
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 cup panko
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg beaten with
1 large egg yolk
Grapeseed or canola oil, for frying
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Make the choux Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of water with the milk, butter, granulated sugar and kosher salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat. When the butter melts, add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until a tight dough pulls away from the side of the pan, about 2 minutes.

3. Scrape the dough into a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. The dough should be glossy and fall slowly from the spoon in thick ribbons. Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Brush the mounds with the beaten egg. Bake the choux for about 30 minutes, until browned and puffed; rotate the sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, corn syrup and brown sugar and bring just to a boil, stirring. Keep warm over very low heat.

5. In another medium saucepan, cook 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar over high heat, without stirring, until it starts to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, letting it start to caramelize before adding more. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the warm cream mixture.

6. Bring the caramel to a boil over high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until it reaches 228° on a candy thermometer, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the fleur de sel. Let cool completely. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Refrigerate until just chilled, about 45 minutes.

7. Insert the piping tip in the bottom of each choux and pipe in the caramel filling.

8. Make the coating In a medium bowl, whisk the panko with the cocoa powder. Brush each choux with some of the beaten egg, then dredge in the panko and return to the baking sheet. Freeze overnight.

9. In a large saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 350°. In batches, fry the choux over moderate heat, turning, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the falafel to paper towels to drain. Let stand for 10 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve

Servings: 20

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - the most important thing is - it wasn't a heart attack .. take care and have a peaceful week ... cheers Hilary

    1. You're right Hilary. Won't be that peaceful leading up to Christmas.

  2. Glad your health issue was not serious, but you never know.
    I am going to go back and pin that recipe. When I saw the title in my email I just deleted it thinking 'EWWW'. Chocolate and falafel? Had no idea it was cream puffs, lol.
    I have been fortunate to have taken several classes taught by one of only eleven Certified Master Pastry Chefs in the country. His specialty is chocolate and he once made a toy soldier out of it - a life size one. Really impressive. I'm guessing that reindeer is chololate?

    1. Me too Denise. They look good don't they.

      These chefs can do the most wonderful things with chocolate - for interest's sake I am posting the Reindeer recipe on Monday, it's not all chocolate.

  3. I'm so glad you are OK!!!! I've thought I was having a heart attack a few times but it's panic attacks.

    1. Thanks JoJo. At least I don't get panic attacks.

  4. So pleased you're okay. The whole thing sounds scary.

  5. I'm very glad to hear you took the precaution of calling an ambulance and I'm very glad you are okay. I actually love it when nurses and paramedics treat me like a child. It's the only time anyone does and it makes me feel very precious. You probably do have a pretty smile!

    1. Yes, it was the sensible thing to do. Even when I apologise they always tell me I was right to do it. Don't make me feel precious I am not a child and don't want to be treated as such. Sorry. As for a pretty smile, I have no idea.