Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pates to Profiteroles

The following recipes are often believed to be expensive and even difficult to make as they normally are served as Posh Nosh. Believe me they are so simple, so cheap, freeze well and taste sublime. So have a go.
Chicken Liver Pate : two versions
(1) Thaw and trim one pack of frozen chicken livers (cheaper in the supermarket than fresh from a butcher). Soak overnight in milk. Either lightly poach or fry the livers for a few minutes, they need to still be slightly pink in the middle. Drain and rub livers through a sieve or Mouli Mill*. Season with a little black pepper and a dash of brandy to taste and work in some softened butter (two parts of pate to one part of butter). Pot into a container or individul dishes and serve with toast.
(2)Put soaked, trimmed but uncooked livers into a blender with one egg, a tbslp. brandy, 3 juniper berries, one thick slice of bread and 1 rasher of smoked bacon (opt.) and blitz together. Pour into a greased loaf tin, cover tightly with foil and cook in a baine marie for one hour at 180C. Turn out and rub through a sieve or Mouli then follow the directions for pate no. 1.
Because of the additions to the livers, this does make more so any surplus can be put into small containers, covered with a little melted butter and frozen.
*A Mouli Mill is a kitchen gadget worth its weight in gold. It comes with several discs from coarse to fine and is an easy way to sieve and puree. I always used one when making baby foods.
Choux Pastry- Profiteroles (F)
This mixture does not have to be made and baked all in one go. The initial 'pastry' mixture can be covered and left to get cold before using. A chef told me that the choux pastry is far better made with a blend of butter and hard block margarine. There is a scientific reason for this which I would not understand even if I knew it.
1 oz each butter and hard margarine
5 fl. oz water
2 1/2 oz plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
Put the fats and water into a saucepan and heat gently. When the fat has melted raise the heat to boiling. Add the flour all in one go, remove from the heat and, using a wooden spoon. beat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms into a ball. Cool slightly then beat in the eggs, you can either use a wooden spoon or an electric whisk at this stage.
When the mixture has turned into a smooth paste you can use it at once, or chill, cover and use later.
Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and place them well apart on lightly greased baking trays, then bake at 220C, 425F, Gas 7 for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 190C, 375F,Gas 5 and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes until risen and a golden brown. Working quickly, split the profiteroles with a knife and return to the oven for a further ten minutes, leaving the door very slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
Cool on a wire rack. At this point I whip some double cream with a little icing sugar and pipe this into each profiterole. These can then be frozen. Either dip into melted chocolate to serve or into some boiled down sugar syrup to make a glaze.
Piled around a cone shape, these glazed profiteroles then become a Croquembouche - which is a French Wedding Cake.