Pearl Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This makes for good lunches because it keeps for a while, a nice side dish, or an interesting offering in a potluck. Most importantly it’s easy and quick to get together.

Adapted from Foodiecrush.

Ingredients:
2 cups pearl couscous
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted, unsalted)

For the dressing:
1 french shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tea spoon dijon mustard
2 tea spoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine the dressing ingredients.
dressing

2. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
smooth-dressing

3. Cook the pearl couscous (like pasta) until done but it still has a bit of texture. Drain and coat with the dressing,
add-dressing

4. Cut the dried apricots into smaller pieces. Add the cranberries. I aim for roughly 1 1/2 cup of dried fruits total.
dried-fruits

5. Add the fruits to the couscous.
add-fruits

6. Add the pistachios and pumpkin seeds.
nuts

7. Mix well to combine and transfer to a serving bowl. This can be eaten cold or warm.
serve

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Dark chocolate fudge with pistachioes

Dark, decadent, very chocolaty. By using the evaporated milk rather then the more usual sweetened condensed milk these have a softer texture, midway between a mousse and a ganache. It also allows the chocolate to shine, as it’s not fighting the sugar. If you’d rather have the thick and chewy texture, use sweetened condensed milk.

Ingredients :
350g good dark chocolate
1 tin evaporated milk (unsweetened condensed milk)
150g (shelled) pistachios
30g unsalted butter
a good pinch of fleur de sel

ingredients

***

1. Butter an 8×8 inch dish and line with parchment paper leaving two sides sticking out.
pan

2. Shell the pistachios and remove most of the papery skins.
pistachio-shell

3. Put the pistachios into a ziploc bag. Smash with a rolling pin, the bottom of a pan or a meat tenderizer to break into shards.Set aside.
pistachios-crush

4.  In a heat proof bowl, weight your chocolate.
choco

5. Add the evaporated milk.
combine1

6.   Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water (double boiler). Stir to get the chocolate to start melting then add the butter.
melt

7. When everything is melted and smooth add the fleur de sel.
salt

8. Stir in the splintered pistachios.
pistachios

9. Pour the whole thing into the prepared pan. Smooth the top as best you can. Allow to cool some, then stick in the fridge (fold the parchment paper flaps to cover)
pour

10. Once cold, use the parchment paper flaps to remove from the pan unto a cutting board and discard the parchment paper.
Cut into small cubes (aiming for a 7×7 grid pattern). They will keep in the freezer beautifully until ready to be eaten.
cubes1

Pistachio cookies

Just pictures. Recipe is here : Biscotti al Pistacchio.

The only thing is that I do not roll the cookies in powdered sugar, as I find them quite sweet enough without it.

Lemon Curd Verrine

I was trying to emulate a desert I’ve had in a restaurant.. While tasty, this was not -quite- there. The goal is to have layers of lemon and mascarpone while keeping the whole thing quite light.

Notes for next time:

  • Strain the lemon curd to remove the zest.
  • Whip the mascarpone more… or try making a a mix with yogurt to make it lighter.
  • Use a bit less salt on the nuts.

Ingredients
2 tbs honey
125g shelled pistachios
1/4 tea spoon fleur de sel
1 tea spoon orange blossom water

1 cup mascarpone
1 tea spoon vanilla
1 tbs cream

5 eggs yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 4 lemons
1 stick of butter, cut in chunks and chilled

***

1. In a metal bowl assemble the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk until smooth (it will turn pasty at first, just keep whisking)

2. Once smooth, add the lemon zest and the lemon juice.

3. Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom does not touch the water. Whisk constantly as your cook the curd, to avoid turning it into scrambled eggs.

4. Once the mix has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon remove from heat. Add the butter one chunk at the time, mixing well between each to ensure they all melt.

5. Mix well until smooth and shinny. Cover with a plastic wrap and set aside.

6. Whip the mascarpone with the cream. Set aside.

7. Spread the pistachio on a cookie sheet line with parchment paper. Put in a 350F oven for a few minutes, until the nuts are warm and smell slightly roast.

8. Pour the toasted pistachio in a bowl and mix with the honey, orange blossom water and the fleur de sel.

9. Spread back on the cookie sheet and put back in the oven until the honey caramelizes. Pull out of the oven and allow to cool

10. Assemble the layers.