Traditional recipes

Open-Face Poached Pear and Ricotta Melt on Brioche

Open-Face Poached Pear and Ricotta Melt on Brioche

An elegant dessert sandwich. Taste your ricotta first — beat in a touch of sugar or lemon juice and zest to taste, if desired.


  • 1/2 Cup red wine
  • 2 Teaspoons honey
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 fresh brioche bun, halved lengthwise
  • 6 Tablespoons ricotta cheese


Calories Per Serving349

Folate equivalent (total)6µg1%

Summer puddings and tarts

This is perhaps the easiest fruit tart in the world. You could use any plain biscuits, but crumbly rich ones make a rougher, more interesting base. The best results come from coarse, buttery biscuits such as Duchy Originals ginger or orange biscuits.

for the base:

lemon, orange or ginger biscuits - 375g

for the filling:

golden caster sugar - 2 tbs

a little grated orange zest

for the fruit:

ripe black, white or redcurrants - 150g

You will need a shallow, loose-bottomed tart tin, about 22cm in diameter.

To make the crumb base: melt the butter in a small pan, crush the biscuits to fine crumbs (in a food processor or by putting them in a plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin) then stir the crumbs into the butter. Tip the crumbs into the tart tin and push them out over the base and up the sides. Set in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, separate the eggs, put the yolks into a food mixer with the sugar and beat till smooth, then mix in the mascarpone, a drop or two of vanilla extract and a teaspoon or so of grated orange zest. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them gently into the cheese mixture with a large metal spoon. Scoop the filling into the tart case, cover with clingfilm and chill for 2 hours.

Stone the cherries and pull the currants from their stalks. Mix the fruits together and place them carefully on the tart. Cover gently with clingfilm and return to the fridge for 30 minutes (longer will not hurt). Serve in small wedges. The tart will last for a day or two in the fridge as long as it is covered.

Ricotta cake

A rich summer cake - just a thin slice is lovely with fresh berries or maybe a purée of raspberries.

for the apricot sponge:

unrefined caster sugar - 250g

the grated zest and juice of a lemon

for the ricotta filling:

icing sugar - 2 lightly heaped tbs

finest vanilla extract - a few drops

whipping or double cream - 280ml

icing sugar and fresh berries, to serve

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer until truly light and fluffy. It should be very pale and creamy. Set the oven at 180°C/gas 4. Line the bottom of a 20-22cm shallow square cake tin with a sheet of baking parchment.

Beat the eggs lightly and add them in three or four goes to the butter and sugar. They might curdle slightly - don't worry, just keep beating. Add the lemon zest, reserving the juice, then mix the ground almonds and flour together. Slowly fold in the flour and almonds, then add the reserved lemon juice and dried apricots. At this point you should treat the mixture gently.

Smooth the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove, and turn upside down on a cake rack to cool.

Put the ricotta in the bowl of a food mixer with the mascarpone and the icing sugar. Beat thoroughly to a thick and relatively smooth cream. Beat in the orange zest and the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, softly whip the cream. Stop while the cream is still in soft folds, before it gets thick enough to stand in peaks, then fold it gently into the ricotta mixture.

To assemble the cake, line the bottom of a long, thin cake tin, about 28cm x 8cm (though you can improvise with other dimensions easily enough, just use what you have).

Cut the sponge into three long strips, then cut each half into two horizontally. Line the bottom of the tin with a slice of the sponge, using some from a second one where you need to. Spoon one half of the mascarpone mixture on top of this, smoothing it gently. Cover this with another layer of sponge and a second layer of mascarpone cream. Finish with more sponge, patching any gaps where necessary. Tightly cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for a good two hours (overnight will not hurt). You will inevitably have some sponge left over after this, but it will no doubt soon disappear.

Run a palette knife around the edges and turn the cake out on to a long flat plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the berries.

Meringues with summer berries and strawberry sauce

Meringue is always easier to make in large quantities. You will find you have a few meringues left over for the next day. They will keep in an airtight container quite well.

Serve 4 (with several left over for tomorrow)

for the sauce:

the juice of half a lemon

for the filling:

redcurrants - a few sprigs

Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Set the oven at 200°C/gas 6.

To make the meringues, whip the egg whites until firm and fluffy then fold in the sugar and lastly the cornflour. Place large heaped spoonfuls of mixture on the baking sheet, leaving room for the meringues to spread and puff up a little. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning down the heat if they are browning too much - you want them to be a pale honey colour. When the meringues are crisp on top, remove and let them cool. The ideal is that they remain fudgy inside.

Make the sauce by whizzing the hulled strawberries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Chill.

Whip the cream until it will just about keep its shape it shouldn't be so thick that it will stand in peaks. Press the centre of each meringue with the back of a spoon so that you make a hollow. Pile the cream inside, scatter with the berries and a sprig or two of currants. Put the sauce in a jug to pour over as you serve.

Raspberry 'tiramisu'

OK, this is about as much a tiramisu as I am, but the principle of booze-soaked sponge and mascarpone cream is the same. It may make your heart sink that it needs to be made the day before, but that is the only way to get the sponge and cream cheese layer to marry successfully. Rush it and you will be disappointed.

sponge finger biscuits - 1 packet

double or whipping cream - 200ml

You will need an oval or rectangular dish about 35cm in diameter.

Mix the wine and cassis. Dip the biscuits in this and lay them snugly in the dish. Pour over half of the remaining liquid. Scatter half of the raspberries over the sponges.

Whisk the mascarpone, the egg yolks and the sugar together with a hand-held electric whisk. Rinse the beaters, dry them thoroughly then beat the egg whites till they are stiff and hold in firm peaks.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, breaking up any lumps of egg white as you go. Spread all over the infused sponge fingers.

Whip the cream, but only until it will sit in soft folds. If it stands in peaks you have gone too far. Scatter over the remaining raspberries and cover tightly with kitchen film. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, scatter with rose petals should you wish, and serve.

Puddings with shortcuts

Rice pudding

arborio or pudding rice - 8 heaped tbs

vanilla pod, 1, split in half lengthways, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the rice in a medium-sized, heavy-based pan, then pour in the milk, cream, vanilla pod or extract and water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down the flame until the milk is bubbling gently. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Add the butter, no more than an ounce, whip out the vanilla pod, and then stir in the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, the pudding is ready.

A simple passion fruit cheesecake

There is little that can compete with the famous American-style cooked cheesecake, but the ultimate creamy cheesecake is the 'refrigerator' rather than 'oven' version. Though the appearance of passion fruit is unusual, it is necessary, so that the sharp fruit prevents the cake from cloying. This is a very soft cheesecake. To make it easier to serve, chill the cake thoroughly overnight before serving.

for the base:

for the filling:

ripe, wrinkled passion fruit - 4

whitecurrants - 8 sprigs (optional)

Melt the butter in a small pan. Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs and stir them into the melted butter. Tip them into a 22cm, loose-bottomed cake tin and smooth them flat. Refrigerate for an hour or so until firm. You can speed the process by putting them in the freezer if you wish.

Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar in a food mixer until smooth. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod with the point of a knife and stir into the mascarpone with crème fraîche.

Whip the cream until it stands in soft folds, then stir it gently into the mascarpone mixture. Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and cover with kitchen film. Leave to chill for a good hour.

To serve, remove the cake from the tin, cut the passion fruits in half and squeeze the seeds and juice over the cheesecake. Add a few sprigs of white currants, if you wish.

Poached pears with praline ice cream and chocolate sauce

A seductive contrast of textures here - silky pears, heavy with syrup, cold, nubbly ice cream and warm, velvety chocolate sauce. One can't help thinking all desserts should be as sumptuous as this.

golden caster sugar - 2 tbs

praline ice cream, to serve

fine, dark chocolate - 200g

Pour a good litre of water into a deep, wide pan, then add the sugar, vanilla pod and the lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Peel the pears and tug out their stalks, then halve the fruit and scoop out the cores with a teaspoon.

Drop the pears into the sugar syrup and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are translucent and tender. Leave the pears in the syrup to cool. During this time they will become silkily soft and soaked through with syrup.

Take the ice cream out of the freezer. Chop the chocolate. Bring 150ml water to the boil then whisk in the chocolate, removing from the heat as soon as it has melted - a matter of seconds.

Place two pear halves on each of four dishes, add a ball of praline ice cream, then pour over the warm chocolate sauce.

Cheat's summer pudding

Proper summer pudding should be weighted and left overnight for the juices from the raspberries, red and blackcurrants to soak through the bread. But the different flavours of the berries have already been married in the cooking pot and anyone can soak bread in purple-black juice. So here is a quick version that has much the same flavour, and the same soggy, fruity bread. The only count it fails on is that it just won't stand up. So? Serve it from the bowl, with cream.

Remove the stalks from the currants. Put the fruit and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan with 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then cook gently until the currants burst their skins and form a rich, purple-red syrup. This usually takes 5-7 minutes.

Cut the crusts from the bread and cut it into small triangles, about four from each slice. Place a few of them in the bottom of a 23cm shallow china dish and cover with some of the warm fruit. Make another layer of bread and another of fruit. Continue like this until all the bread and fruit is used up, finishing with a layer of bread if you can.

Spoon the warm juice over the bread, pressing gently down with the back of a spoon until the bread is completely soaked.

Set aside for as much time as you have - 15 minutes should do it. Don't attempt to turn it out of the dish.

Spoon into bowls and serve with cream.

Peaches with rosewater

elderflower cordial - 3 tbs

Wipe the peaches and put them in a stainless steel pan. Pour in the water, stir in the elderflower cordial and at least 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and leave to simmer gently until the peaches are completely tender. Turn off the heat and leave the peaches in their syrup to cool. When they are cold, chill thoroughly.

Serve a peach per person, skinned if you wish, with some of the chilled syrup and a few scattered rose petals.

Cheat's ice cream

Almost instant chocolate ice cream

I use bought custard from the chiller cabinet at the supermarket for this. Check the ingredients carefully though, some brands are better than others.

fine quality dark chocolate - 200g

a small espresso - about 50ml

Put the chocolate, broken into pieces, and the coffee in a heatproof basin set over a small pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Once the chocolate has melted, stir gently once or twice and turn off the heat. Pour the custard into a jug, then stir in the cream and chocolate. Scoop the mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn until frozen.

No ice-cream machine? Then pour the mixture into a plastic box and place in the freezer, removing it and beating the mixture with a hand whisk every couple of hours until it's almost frozen. (You will need to do this two or three times.)

If you leave it in the freezer overnight, then place it in the fridge for an hour or so before serving to allow it to soften.

Two great brioche puds

Toasted chocolate brioche

Brioche is both rich and featherlight. Toasted, and served with a cappuccino, it is a tender mid-morning pick-me-up, but is wonderfully decadent when stuffed with shavings of chocolate and toasted till the filling melts. Brioche loaves are not as easy to track down here as they are in France, but most major supermarkets have them. I found mine at Waitrose.

Makes one sandwich

dark, smooth chocolate - 60g

Heat a ridged, hob-top griddle or toasted sandwich maker. Lay the bread flat on a work surface. Grate or shave the chocolate so that the pieces are small and thin enough to melt quickly. Spread them over one slice of the bread, almost to the edge.

Toast the bread on the hot griddle until the underside is toasted, then carefully turn it so that the filling doesn't escape, and toast the other side. It is ready when the chocolate has melted and is starting to ooze out.

Blueberries with toasted brioche

Fresh fruit, toasted brioche and ice cream, a once-in-a-while treat that can be made as an ice-cream sandwich with fruit sauce on the side, or if you break the brioche into pieces after toasting, as a sort of ice-cream sundae in a tall glass.

caster sugar - 1-2 level tbs

brioche rolls - 2, or 2 thick slices of brioche loaf

Rinse the blueberries and put them into a small saucepan with the sugar and 4 tablespoons of water. Bring slowly to the boil and remove once the sugar has dissolved and the berries have started to burst. Set aside.

Split the brioche rolls in half and toast until golden. Put them in shallow serving bowls and add generous scoops of ice cream. Spoon over the blueberry sauce and serve.

Ice cream-based puds

Lemon ice cream tart with gingernut crust

Enough for 8

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

You will need a loose-bottomed tart tin with a diameter of about 21cm.

Line the base of the tin with a single piece of greaseproof paper. Melt the butter in a small pan. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or bash them in a plastic bag. You want them to be a coarse powder. Stir the biscuits into the butter. Line the base of the tin with the buttered crumbs, pushing some as far up the sides as you can. It doesn't matter if the edges are rough. Put the crumb-lined tin in the freezer.

Pour the wine into the bowl of a food mixer. Add the brandy or Marsala and the grated zest of the lemons and the orange. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice (reserve the orange juice for another occasion).

Add the sugar and cream to the wine and zest mixture, then beat slowly until thick. The consistency needs to be soft and thick, so that it lies in soft folds rather than standing in stiff peaks. Scrape the mixture into the crumb-lined tin and freeze for at least four hours.

Remove the tart from the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before you intend to serve it. I find it easier to remove the cake from the tin while it is still frozen, running a palette knife around the edge first.

Vanilla ice cream cake with strawberry sauce

You could, of course, make your own sponge cake for this simple ice cream dessert. But then, if you are going to that much trouble you might as well make your own ice cream, too. Most major food shops sell really buttery plain sponge cakes. If they are made with ground almonds, all the better.

vanilla ice cream - 1 litre

You will need a loaf tin, approximately 22cm x 12 cm, lined with clingfilm or greaseproof paper.

Slice the sponge thinly and use it to line the bottom and sides of the loaf tin. Leave enough to put a layer on top later. Patch it where you must, but try to keep the splices as large as possible.

Let the ice cream soften slightly in its tub, but it mustn't melt. Spoon the ice cream into the loaf tin, pushing it right into the corners. Smooth the top then cover with the remaining slices of sponge cake. Cover tightly with cling film then freeze for a good hour. (It can stay frozen for several days if tightly wrapped.)

Bring the cake out of the freezer a good 20 minutes before you need it to let the sponge soften. To make the sauce, blitz the strawberries and sugar in a food processor until they are a runny purée. Serve the cake in thick slices, with the sauce in a small jug.

Blue Cheese Panna Cotta with Spiced Poached Pear

This post is a long time in the works. I had a dish very similar to this last year in the Tannery as a starter and couldn’t wait to try to recreate it. It is quite festive in flavours so I wanted to wait until near enough to Christmas to post. Unfortunately this means I’m back to poor pictures in artificial light.

If you are looking to make a special starter I would think this is ideal. Maybe one for Christmas day? Everyone who tasted it loved it, but then my family might be biased! All of the elements can be prepared in advance and simply brought up to room temperature before serving. The poached pears can be stored in the poaching syrup for several days in a jar in the fridge and as the panna cotta needs time to set, it can be stored in the fridge over night. The crumb will keep in an airtight jar for a few days. Don’t skip the crumb, it is an important part of the dish.

-If you are making this for vegetarians, replace the gelatine with agar or suitable vegetarian gelatine such as Dr. Oetker Vege-Gel, make sure the blue cheese you use is suitable (not all are) and obviously leave the bacon out of the crumb.

– If you want to make the panna cotta a bit cheesier, grate some parmesan into the mixture at the beginning. Again, leave it out for vegetarians.

– If making the panna cotta seems daunting – it’s really simple I assure you – just served the pears and crumb with little pieces of blue cheese.

– I have used hazelnuts in the crumb but walnuts would also work well.

– If you want to you can use a bottle of mulled wine to poach the pears in. The left over wine can be frozen and used again to poach more pears or you could add some vanilla to it and use it for a dessert. You will have more pears than you need but you might as well poach a few pears while you’re at it.

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Gourmet recipes

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Never had either a croque monsieur or madame, so I made one of each recpices were both from this website. Fought against my normally cheap nature, and shelled out for quality ham and gruyere. (worth it) Bread was homemade. Both sandwiches were delicious, but the mustard and the fried egg gave the Madame an extra boost. Personally, didn't find it that rich, or greasy. Absolutely worth the effort. And with a little practice, there won't even be that much effort.

Made this the other day when it was cold out and remembered how much I love a good Croque-Madame. The small touch of nutmeg is the perfect ration adding something special to the sauce without over powering. I admittedly added additional cheese on top with the sauce before placing under the broiler. Great recipes. Would make again!

Simply put, this dish is Champagne worthy.

Found this recipe while having a craving for the amazing croque-madam's I had around Paris and it couldn't have been better. Much easier to prepare than I assumed and tasted just like the real deal. Yes, you should expect rich flavours here, most french foods are rich in flavour and indulgent. I made for two so I cut the ingredients in half and substituted Swiss cheese. Will definitely be making this again for breakfast / lunch, or so my boyfriend tells me. :)

Made this Saturday morning and everyone agreed it was delicious but way too rich! It tasted a lot like eggs benedict but had more steps to prepare, will probably just opt for eggs benedict next time.

This is oh, so delicious! I was inspired when I had an open-faced croque-Madame at a French restaurant in Pike Place in Seattle so I had to find a recipe for Christmas morning. I also made it open-faced, and used a squared-off brioche loaf from Macrina bakery so that I could slice it thicker than I could find pre-sliced. Since I was making it open-faced, I spread the dijon, then layered the cheese, then ham, then I added baby spinach (which I thought was a good addition), then the Bechamel, and finally, of course, the egg. Of course it was rich, but a really impressive brunch and, as one reviewer commented, great for kids, too.

Nice grilled sandwich, but rich as many others noted. Far too heavy and greasy for my tastes.

Great recipe, followed the original proportions with just a couple of minor application changes. We sliced a French loaf into thick, Texas toast style slices, used a mandolin to coarsely grate the cheese. The coarse shreds melted quickly into the sauce and melted awesomely in the broiler. We used a cast iron skillet to brown the sandwiches and then transferred the skillet to the broiler to finish off melting the cheese. We also used egg griddle rings to make the fried eggs perfectly circular. Next time will either slice the bread thinner or use only one slice to make the sandwich open faced. We also made extra sauce and used it for dipping, adding a pinch of smoked Thai chile for a little heat. Outstanding! We will definitely make again and will make for guests as it is quite impressive.

I added carmelized onions to the sandwich and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce. I also used 2% milk - gotta remember to keep stirring or a film develops. Served with a frissee sandwich and Alta Luna Pinot Grigio.

Made exactly as written. This was incredibly delicious. I was nervous about the fried egg (sometimes they creep me out) but it is absolutely essential to the dish. Served with green salad and vinaigrette. Good enough for company, but not fancy.

Amazingly good. I thought I didn't care for Croque-Madame's much until I tried this recipe. It's extremely rich, leaving you with a brick-filled tummy, but I don't care, I eat every last crumb. Don't skip out on the Dijon, it adds a really nice flavor.

Looking for something special for Easter Brunch--liked the reviews and gave it a whirl. It was good, but definitely not exceptional. Way too rich for our palate. The only substitution made was using whole wheat bread--followed everything else to a tee. Too many other good ones out there more deserving of 4 forks. I am glad I tried it, but once was enough in my humble opinion.

This sandwich is great, I mixed a bit of mayo with the dijon mustard to smear inside bread then served after I broiled the sauce on the sandwich. I did not add the egg, we were having for dinner with a cup of homemade soup. It was perfect and sooooo good.

Sinfully good. Better than any croque madame I had in Paris. Definitely heavy, and not for eating all the time, but so delicious.

This recipe was so-so for me. Not exceptional, but not horrible either. Having eaten in a French bistro nearly everyday and enjoying many croque-Madames, there is something this recipe is lacking.

VERY RICH and decadent. This is a sophisticated brunch item but KID FRIENDLY as well. My eleven and twelve year old keep asking for it but alas the calorie count makes it for special occasions only.

Very tasty. A little on the rich, heavy side, of course.

OMG! If you have never had one of these and you want something special Dash to your store right now and get the ingredients to make this fabulous sandwich! You will not regret it. I used 1% milk instead of whole, and whole grain bread because that is what i had. Don't forget your nutmeg! Excellet.

OMG this recipe was divine. I was looking for a good recipe because this month's issue of Texas Monthly Magazine features great places to find cheap food, and one of the places is in Austin called Chez Nous. There's a pic on the front page and on the front of the feature of this awesome looking croque madame and I've been craving it since the article came out: I have to say, this recipe is tops. And yes, the nutmeg added to the bechamel is just fantastic. Can't say enough good things and I will definitely make this again.

This is a winner, and it takes me back to France everytime.

Delicious! And not as difficult as the recipe makes it out to be. I didn't have gruyere (subbed cheddar + mozz), nutmeg, and used a wheaty bread, and it was still tasty. Though I think it must have had at least a million calories. Be sure to watch the broiler carefully, or you will be very sad.

OMG! This was so good. I made this last night and used French Ham and Brioche. Served with a simple salad of Baby Romaine and a light Dijon dressing. To die for. We love Breakfast for dinner and this was over the top! Very rich so we will probably only have this once a month or so.

This is a fantastic recipe for a truly decadent breakfast. I cooked it for my boyfriend because he likes to have Moons Over My Hammy at Denny's for dinner and I thought it would be nice to step it up a notch towards gourmet. It was. He loved it so much that he hurt himself trying to finish a second one. They are indeed the tastiest little heart attacks on plates. Men seem to slobber at the idea of this--he was bragging to his friends about his delicious meal at the bar later on.

I recently printed this recipe for my girlfriend, and she made this for me for breakfast on my birthday, it was amazing. will have again in the near future. For me, there need be no changes for the recipe.

Really delicious, and not as much work as Iɽ thought. The sauce cooks quickly. Very rich and delicious. Who needs to go out and spend a lot on brunch? Tastes absolutely authentic!

Shallow-Poached Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce

About the Recipe: This recipe uses a unique technique to poach salmon using a cartouche. It produces tender moist fish in a short amount of time. The lemon-flavored butter sauce glazes the fish and is silky smooth. Small tomatoes are a tart complement to the buttery sauce. The surprise was that the lemon slices are very mild and tender.

Why is Salmon so popular around the world?
Salmon is a popular fatty fish that’s loaded with nutrients and may reduce risk factors for several diseases. It’s also tasty, versatile, and widely available. There are many species of salmon that are prepared around the world. It’s popular in countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and central Taiwan. It also has a growing farm raised market in South American and Norway.

Hints for using a cartouche:
Shallow poaching under a cartouche, a circle of parchment paper, yields tender fish in minutes. This method works with any mild fish, such as flounder, rockfish, or grouper. If any fillets are of uneven thickness (such as tapered portions near the tail), fold the thin portion underneath to achieve an even 3/4-inch thickness.

To Serve: Discard parchment cartouche divide salad among 4 plates place salmon on serving plates. Spoon sauce over fillets garnish with thin radish slices and thyme leaves. Serve immediately.

Brioche & Gravlax

Over the weekend I played around making Brioche de Nanterre and gravlax. I had only made brioche once a while ago, but it turned out fairly well this second time. As for the gravlax, I make it often because it so simple and delicious. Brioche is really nothing more than a leavened bread with eggs and half the amount of flour in butter. The result is quite obviously a rich and buttery bread that is perfect for breakfast.

I started making the brioche by weighing all the ingredients and proofing the yeast in milk. Soon after I mixed the ingredients and worked the butter into the dough–a process that requires a lot of patience.

Once my dough was worked I left it to proof in a warm and humid area. In hindsight the dough could have used a bit more kneading, but there’s always a third time for everything I suppose.

While the dough was resting, i started on the Gravlax. Gravlax is the Scandinavian method of curing salmon (or any fatty fish). Essentially the filet is covered with salt, sugar, and herbs and refrigerated. Overnight the salmon will let go of all the water effectively curing it and firming it up.

Once the dough had rested overnight, shaped it and placed into a baking pan. There are numerous ways to shape brioche, the most famous being the brioche a tete. Here I chose the Nanterre style in which the dough is cut just before baking so it yields separable individual sized buns.

Once the brioche was ready, I sliced it and plated it with some red onions, hard boiled egg, parsley, capers, chives, paprika, and obviously the gravlax.

Ruffly Poached Eggs on Brioche with Mushrooms

The best thing about cooking and experimenting with recipes for me is that it can be a collaborative affair and here is a product of this synergy. I love eggs: poached and boiled are favourite cooking methods and I make them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. I first read the recipe for Poached Eggs on Toasted Brioche with Garlicky Mushrooms on Kitchen Culinaire where Julie references Fine Cooking April/May 2011. I had been meaning to try Dorie Greenspan’s Ruffly Poached Eggs for a while and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to blend the two recipes. The mushrooms, the egg assembly and the garlic olive oil can be done in advance, making it a good dish for entertaining. I’ve adjusted the recipe to make 2 servings, but you can easily double or triple the ingredients.

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. mixed mushrooms (oysters, shiitakes, and some buttons, or any mix you choose)
salt and freshly ground pepper

4 large eggs (or two, if your are serving only one per person)
olive oil, for brushing on plastic wrap

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 t. minced garlic
1 T. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 slices of brioche, cut 3/4″ thick
about 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach, washed and dried well

For the mushrooms:
Wipe the mushrooms clean of any dirt or grit and then tear or chop them into large pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat, until hot but not smoking. Add the mushrooms in a single layer and allow them to brown on one side for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them over, season with some salt and pepper and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the skillet and roast the mushrooms in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes until the mushroom are tender and warmed through. Note: The mushrooms may be browned up to 3 hours ahead. Set aside in the skillet at room temperature. Add the water and roast shortly before serving.

For the garlic/parsley oil:
In a small skillet over medium heat place 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and the garlic. Stir for a minute or so until garlic becomes a light golden colour. Be careful not to brown the garlic as it will take on a bitter taste. Carefully add in the chopped parsley and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Note: This can be made several hours ahead.

For the eggs:
Assemble the following on your work space: eggs, plastic wrap, string, scissors, olive oil and a teacup. Bring a saucepan of water up to boil, then keep it at a simmer. Cut two pieces of plastic wrap, each large enough to generously wrap around the egg, and put one piece on top of the other. Very lightly coat the top piece of plastic with oil and then fit the double layer of wrap into the teacup. Gently crack the egg and tip it into the cup, taking care not to break the yolk. Draw up the sides of the plastic, getting as close as you can to the top of the egg, and twist to tighten the plastic. Tie the string around the neck of the plastic to secure it. They’ll look like this:

Drop the eggs into the simmering water. Don’t worry – the plastic won’t melt. Allow the egg to poach for 4 to 6 minutes (I timed 2 large eggs at 5 minutes which was about right) then carefully lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon. (If the white doesn’t look set, poach a few seconds longer.) The easiest way to unpack the egg is to put it on a flat surface and to snip the plastic below the string open the plastic. Gently lift the egg from the plastic to the plate without turning it over. (It’s not a problem if it’s upside-down, it’s just that the ruffles are prettier on the top.) Serve immediately.

Storing: The eggs can be wrapped up and kept in the refrigerator for a few hours before you poach them, but once poached, they should be unwrapped and served immediately.

To serve:
Toast and butter the brioche. Lightly season the spinach with some salt and pepper and divide onto 2 serving plates. Drizzle with a bit of the garlic oil. Place a piece of toast in the centre of the plate with the spinach on and around it and then top with the poached egg(s). Top with some of the mushrooms and then drizzle with more of the garlic oil. Serves 2.

It's quince time! – Grilled brioche sandwich with ricotta, honey and caramelized quince

Again, one of those days where I made a trip to la Boulange to get some Brioche, among many other things…I keep forgetting that Whole Foods distribute it. We are so used to savory sandwiches that I wanted to use the best brioche in town for some sweet morning treat. If you have a little time in the morning for breakfast it’s delicious with a nice cup of coffee. I thought half of it would be enough and I have to admit that both pieces were not.

Usually brioche can be greasy, especially the one you buy at the store, it is indeed filled with butter. So you cannot eat it every day, or you might have to get a membership at the local gym and work your calories out! Sorry, I am indeed a fitness freak and seems like I am built with a calories counting machine inside my head. BUT that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy eating and that I eat fat-free stuff. You can really love wholesome and fabulous food that is still healthy and good for the mind and body. Anyway, la Boulange brioche is not that greasy, at least you don’t have shiny fingers after you finished eating it!

It is quince season, and using seasonal ingredients is really the best. So obviously, running into those quinces, I had no other option than buy them. In France, where I grew up, during fall we have tons of those and make jams with them. That quince jam is so delicious, it smells like a perfume and seriously, you just want to spread some on your neck.

You cannot eat quince raw like you would eat a pear. It needs to be cooked, so you can use them for making chutneys, or jams or just caramelize them in a pan.

For 2 people

  • 4 slices of brioche (about 1.5 cm thick)
  • 4 tbs ricotta
  • 2 quinces, peeled and sliced
  • vanilla powder
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs butter


Cut brioche in four slices. Melt butter in a non-stick pan, add quince slices, sprinkle with a little sugar and brown both sides.

Grill brioche in a grill pan on both sides. Top one slice with 2 tbs ricotta, sprinkle with vanilla powder. Add honey and quince slices. Top with the other brioche slice.

This entry was posted by silvia on November 14, 2009 at 8:23 am, and is filed under Breakfast/Brunch, Express - Less than 30 minutes. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.