Profiteroles

Profiteroles

So we’ve now come to the end of another week of Victorian recipes and a Victorian meal. Are you as full as I am? Amongst the many desserts and vegetable dishes (I’m not quite sure why they were listed under the sweets portion of the menu), the Queen was served “Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse” which translates to “Iced Puff Pastries” or in my mind “Profiteroles”. Now no matter how you slice it, whether with the Victorian version of the recipe:

Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse

Or the modern day recipe that I have below, I will fully admit that this is not one of those “Shake-and-Bake” recipes where you can blink and be done with it. It’s got steps, lots of them, and it’s a wee bit finicky and pain-staking. Having made it sound like oh so much fun, I can say one thing for it… it’s delicious and super-duper impressive! Especially if you make a tower out of them. Have a mother-in-law you want to impress? This will do it! You can try making this dish with non-dairy ingredients, replacing the butter with margarine and the milk with soy/almond/cashew milk, but I’m not 100% sure how well it will come out.

Ingredients:

Choux Pastry:
½ cup water
½ cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Vanilla Pastry Cream:
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Glaze:
60 g (1/3 cup or 2.1 oz.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons corn syrup

Directions:

Choux Pastry:
In medium sized sauce pan, bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to boil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour until mixture forms ball and film forms on the bottom of the pan.

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue to mix the pastry dough for another minute so that it can cool a bit. One at a time, beat in 3 of the eggs, beating well after each addition until the dough is smooth and shiny.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip or spoon, pipe (or spoon) the dough into twenty-four 1 ½ inch wide mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water; and using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over the mounds, gently flattening any peaks in dough.

Bake in 425°F oven until the mounds are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until golden and crisp, about 10 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and let them stand in oven for another 15 – 25 minutes to dry.

Transfer the pastry mounds to a wire rack, and using the tip of a knife, poke hole in bottom of each profiterole. Let the pastry cool completely. (If you are making these ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours, then re-crisp in 350°F oven for 5 minutes, then cool again before filling.)

Vanilla Pastry Cream:
In bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ½ cup of the milk, the sugar and cornstarch. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge. Gradually whisk the warmed milk into egg yolk mixture. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and cook, whisking, until thick enough to coast the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, and then stir in the vanilla. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap, laying the wrap directly on the surface of the cream (this way a skin doesn’t form). Refrigerate the cream until chilled, about 3 hours. (If you are making this ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

Chocolate Glaze:
In heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water*, melt together the chocolate, butter and corn syrup, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, leaving the bowl over the saucepan to keep warm.

* Click here to see my tips on using a double boiler.

Assembly:
Using a piping bag fitted with ¼ inch plain tip, pipe pastry cream into each profiterole through the hole in the bottom. Dip the tops of each into the glaze. Let each stand until set, about 20 minutes. (If you are making these ahead: Refrigerate them for up to 4 hours.)

Marinated Chicken in a Wine and Mushroom Cream Sauce with Kalamata Olives

Marinated Chicken in Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce

So we’re coming into the home stretch, sort of, of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Dinner, as we are now on the relevés course. This came after the mains, but before the roasts and the sweets, not to mention the side table that was out, y’know just in case you got hungry between courses. Can you imagine? I’m sorry your Majesty, but the 9 dishes you had presented up until now haven’t quite hit the mark, I’m going to go make myself a cold roast beef sandwich? I definitely would have gone all Queen of Hearts on the subject and shouted “Off with their head!” to the ungrateful lout!

Speaking of off with their head, a chicken definitely lost theirs in the preparation of today’s recipe. “Les Poulets à la Financière” or “Chicken Garnished with Cocks’ Combs, Cocks’ Kidneys, Dumplings, Sweetbreads, Mushrooms, Olives and Truffles” was a pretty complex dish as you can tell by a partial recipe that I was able to find from the era:

Poulets à la Financière

I think the modern recipe below for chicken with mushrooms and olives might not only be easier, but will also be slightly more palatable! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

6 chicken leg quarters or 6 breasts (or whatever cuts your family likes)
olive oil (to brown chicken)

Marinade:
6 sprigs of fresh sage*
6 garlic cloves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 ½ cups dry white wine
¾ cup pitted kalamata olives (roughly chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom Cream Sauce:
6 sage leaves roughly chopped*
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 ½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
3 cups of non-dairy creamer
3 pounds of crimini mushrooms (sliced)
¾ cup pitted kalamata olives
Salt and pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean sage.

Directions:

Season the chicken with dried sage, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken in a covered container or large freezer bag with the wine, garlic, fresh sage and chopped olives. Marinate the chicken overnight, or longer, but no longer than 48 hours.

When you are ready to cook chicken, take the chicken out and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Bringing the chicken to room temperature will help the chicken to cook evenly. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 375°F.

After the chicken has sat out for 15 minutes, put a little olive oil in a cast iron pan or other any oven safe pan you have. On your stove top heat the pan up on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, and evenly brown the chicken on both sides. Once you have browned the chicken, remove the chicken from the pan.

Now add the wine to the pan, deglazing it (removing all the delicious pieces of marinade from the bottom of the pan). Immediately after you add the wine, add the non-dairy creamer, mushrooms, sage, and garlic. Cook the sauce for a few minutes, giving the mushrooms a chance to absorb the sauce.

Then, add your chicken back in to the pan, along with the olives and taste for to see if salt or pepper is needed. Cover the pan and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.

Chicken & Mushroom Puff Pastry Stacks

Chicken & Mushroom Puff Stacks

On to the mains! Part of the entree course of Queen Victoria’s meal was Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel or Vol-au-Vents with White Sauce. Vol-au-Vents are French for “windblown”, to describe its lightness of a small hollow case of puff pastry. Vols-au-vent are typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece. This pastry is usually found filled with savory ingredients, but can also have a sweet filling. I came across a recipe that would have been served at the Queen’s table. Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel

Now, when reading this, remember, this is just for the pastry, not the sauce or filling! I think I’m better off buying the premade pastry shells from the grocery store! Please enjoy the recipe below, which would make a lovely appetizer for any meal. If you wish to have this as a main dish, just upsize the portions by adding more chicken, mushrooms, etc.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ cups mushrooms, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 chicken breasts or 4-5 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, diced
1-2 tablespoons chicken soup mix
1 cup non-dairy creamer
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme*
salt and pepper, to taste
6 puff pastry shells

* Click here to learn how to clean fresh thyme.

Directions:

In a large skillet, over medium- high heat add the olive oil and bring up to temperature. Once hot, add the onions and mushrooms, and allow to them to cook for about 5-7 minutes, so that the onions become translucent and the mushrooms begin to cook. Add the celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken and toss to mix it with the vegetables. If you need to add a little more oil, you can. Let the chicken cook, so that it begins to brown, tossing every so often so that all the pieces get cooked. Once the pieces all look at least a little bit browned, add the non-dairy creamer, chicken soup mix, and thyme. If it is too thick, you can add some water to thin it out.

Reduce the temperature and let the dish cook until the sauce has thickened up a bit and the chicken is fully cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve on in the pastry shells.

“Crab” Stuffed Filet of Sole

Stuffed Sole

At Queen Victoria’s dinner she was served “Les Filets de Soles farcis à l’Ancienne” which roughly translates into Filets of Sole stuffed and garnished with a Cream Sauce of Shrimps, Mushrooms and Truffles. Now while I was not able to find an actual recipe for this dish, I did find a partial description in a book outlining some of the dishes served at royal affairs throughout the ages. This dish was described as the following:

Filets of sole spread with a stuffing of whiting mixed with breadcrumbs, herbs and beaten eggs, folded in two, coated in egg and breadcrumbs and cooked in butter. The fillets are then arranged in a circle, alternating with little poached shapes of whiting stuffing and sprinkled with brown butter. The centre of the dish is filled with shrimps, mushrooms and truffles in a cream fish sauce flavoured with Madeira.

Personally, just give me the brown butter and truffles on anything and I’m in heaven!

Ingredients

⅓ cup butter
¼ onion, minced
½ cup minced/shredded imitation crabmeat (about 4 sticks)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley*
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
20 buttery round “Ritz”-type crackers, crushed
6 (6 ounce) sole filets
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
toothpicks (to help keep the fish rolled)

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Directions:

Preheat oven to  375°F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt butter in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the crabmeat, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in ¾ of the crushed crackers.

Spread the mixture over the filets, and then sprinkle them with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Roll up filets, seal with toothpicks and place in the prepared baking dish. Dot each roll with butter and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, with the last 5-7 minutes uncovered, until the fish fully opaque and flakes.

Alternatively, instead of rolling the fish, you can lay the fish pieces on the bottom of your pan and then spread the filling mixture out on top of the fish. Bake until the fish fully cooked and the topping is nice and golden brown (taken the cover off for at least 7-8 minutes rather than 5-7 at the end).

Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Cream of Wild Rice Soup

So the recipe that you would have had for “Potages À la Crème de Riz” or “Cream of Rice Soup” back in the Victorian era would have looked a little more like this:

la Crème de Riz

Admittedly, not very exciting. I’m sure knowing the chefs of the era, they would have served it up in a solid gold tureen or a reconstructed sea tortoise just to make a splash. The recipe I have posted below is a little humbler in presentation, but it’s comforting creaminess will definitely fill you up! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, chopped
¼ cup margarine
½ cup all-purpose flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup non-dairy creamer
¼ cup minced chives*

* Click here to learn how to clean chives.

Directions:

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the margarine until tender. Stir in the flour until it has become completely blended. Gradually add the broth. Stir in the rice, chicken, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the creamer and cook for 3-5 minutes longer. Garnish with chives.

Victorian Week Redux

So last year my boyfriend at the time (now my wonderful fiancée) came up with a great idea of doing a week of Victorian Era recipes in honour of Victoria Day. Well I had so much fun doing it last year, I thought, why not do it again this year? So I went on-line and actually found a copy of a menu served at one of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee dinners, on June 21st, 1887.

Now, it’s a pretty big deal to have a Jubilee year as a monarch, especially if that monarch is a woman. As a reigning monarch you are in constant danger from those that wish to over take you or just want to overthrow the throne. As a woman, she gave birth to 9 children, at at time when delivery was dangerous for both mother and child.What can I say, she was quite the woman! So in her honour, a week of recipes and a day off next week! Enjoy!

Diamond Jubilee Dinner

For those of you not up on your French, the menu reads as follows:

Potages (Soups)
À la Tortue (Turtle Soup)
Au Printanière (Spring Vegetable Soup)
À la Crème de Riz (Cream of Rice Soup)

Poissons (Fish)
Whitebait
Les Filets de Soles farcis à l’Ancienne (Filets of Sole, Stuffed and Garnished with a Cream Sauce of Shrimps, Mushrooms and Truffles)
Les Merlans Frits (Fried Whiting)

Entrées (Mains)
Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel (Vol-au-Vents with White Sauce)
Les Côtelettes d’Agneau, Pointes d’Asperges (Lamb Chops with Asparagus Tips)
Les Filets de Canetons aux Pois (Duckling with Peas)

Relevés (See note below)
Les Poulets à la Financière (Chicken Garnished with Cocks’ Combs, Cocks’ Kidneys, Dumplings, Sweetbreads, Mushrooms, Olives and Truffles)
Haunch of Venison
Roast Beef

Rôts (Roasts)
Les Cailles Bardèes (Roast Quail)
Les Poulets (Roast Chicken)

Entremêts (Sweets)
Les Haricots verts à la Poulette (Green Beans in Cream Sauce Garnished with Onions and Mushrooms)
Les Escaloppes de Foies-gras aux Truffles (Sliced Foie Gras with Truffles)
Sprütz Gebackenes
La Crème de Riz au Jus aux Cerises (Cream Rice with Cherry Juice)
Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse (Iced Puff Pastries)

Side Table
Cold Beef, Tongue, Cold Fowl (Cold Chicken)

“Relevés” – Apparently, it means to relieve, or to remove, and was used in the following sense (according to Larousse Gastronomique, which is pretty much a food bible, so I believe it).

“Remove: Dish which in French service relieves (in the sense that one sentry relieves another) the soup or the fish. This course precedes those called entrees.”

Maybe because they were English they did it after the entrees? What can I say, when you’re Queen, you can have your meals served any way you want!

Victoria Day

So next weekend here in Canada we celebrate Victoria Day, after Queen Victoria of England who ruled from 1837 to 1901. It also kicks off the official beginning of the summer season in Canada, much like Memorial Day does in the States. Originally, (as in back in 1845), we observed the holiday on the actual Queen’s birthday, which was May 24th, however, over time it has become tradition to celebrate it on the last Monday before May 25th. What does this mean for me? No work on Monday! What does this mean for you? A week of Victorian Era recipes!

I actually came across a copy of a menu that was served to the Queen on May 15th, 1879. I am going to try a give a modern day version of some of the dishes served that night. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as she did!

Victoria Day MenuFor those of you not up on your French, the menu reads as follows:

Potages (Soups)
A la Tortue (Turtle Soup)
A la Julienne (Julienne Soup)

Poissons (Fish)
Whitebait (Fried Baby Herring or Sardines)
Le Saumon bouilli (Boiled Salmon)
Les Filets de Merlans frits (Fried Whiting Fillets)

Entrées (Mains)
Les Petite Pâtés à la Bechamelle (Small pies with Bechamel Sauce)
Les Ris de Veau, en escalopes sautées. (Sautéed Sweetbreads)
Les Filets de Canetons, aux pois. (Ducklings with Peas)

Relevés (**See note below)
Les Poulardes à la Milanaise. (Chicken Milanese)
Roast Beef
Roast Mutton

Rôts (Roasts)
Les Cailles Bardées (Quail in Bacon)
Les Poulets (Roast Chicken)

Entremêts (Sweets)
Les Asperges à la Sauce (Asparagus in Sauce)
Les petits Gàteaux de Compiegne (Little Compiègne Cakes)
Les Tartelettes merniguées à l’Italienne (Meringue Tarts – Italian Style)
Les Gelées d’Oranges oubannées (Jellied Oranges)

** My mom, who is awesome, y’all should meet her, helped me with the menu section of “Relevés” – First, I thought it was a b not a v in the word (that menu has tiny font) and two, I still didn’t know what Relevés meant – enter Google! Apparently, it means to relieve, or to remove, and was used in the following sense (according to Larousse Gastronomique, which is pretty much a food bible, so I believe it).

“Remove: Dish which in French service relieves (in the sense that one sentry relieves another) the soup or the fish. This course precedes those called entrees.”

Maybe because they were English they did it after the entrees? What can I say, when you’re Queen, you can have your meals served any way you want!