Wednesday, January 30, 2008


"Vacherin Mont d'Or" is a seasonal soft cheese that hails from the Swiss and French Jura region (Haut-Doubs). It is made with cow's milk and contains 45 to 50 percent milk fat. It is enclosed in a wooden box and is bound in a strip of red pine tree bark, thus giving it a unique "smokey" and interesting resin flavor.

This AOC cheese is very pungent and nutty, yet it is quite mild. It is best eaten when mature/ripe and runny. "Vacherin Mont d'Or" can be served with ho
t boiled potatoes or with bread and dry meat, melted in it's box and eaten just like fondue, used in gratins as well as to garnish omelets and crêpes or other casserole dishes.

Unfortunately, this gorgeous cheese is not available in Switzerland under it's non-pasturized form anymore and it tends to greatly affects it's taste (les character and punch). On the contrary, in France, it is only made with raw milk....

Some recipes:
"Vacherin Mont d'Or" hot from the oven (see recipe)
"Vacherin Mont d'Or" fondue with black truffles (see recipe)
"Vacherin Mont d'Or" with ripe pears and drageed hazelnuts (see recipe)
"Vacherin Mont d'Or" baked with thyme and garlic (see recipes)

Monday, January 28, 2008


It is the 4th consecutive month that I take part to the "Daring Bakers" challenge and I still have lots of fun while avidly baking the imposed recipes. Every time, it is a very stimulating and enrichening experience which enables us to push our limits further, makes us learn how to apprehend our fears, master certain techniques and improve our baking skills/knowledge...

I was particularly looking forwards to this month's challenge as I've always been a big fan of "Lemon Meringue Pie", so it is with a feverish mood that I plunged into the making of this speciality. Well, unfortunately, this very recipes didn't meet my expectations taste- and texture-wise and proved to be quite disappointing!

I would not go as far as to say that it was bad or anything like that, yet I must confess that it wasn't my favorite "Lemon Meringue Pie" so far. Some people will undoubtedly love it, but sadly it just didn't do it for me. It was plain good, not gorgeous nor subtle. Somehow, I found it a little sexless and sort of bland, although I used only the best ingredients (organic lemons, fresh free range Swiss eggs, quality butter, etc...) and followed the recipe to the letter...

The overall tart lacks that little something which makes it unique an
d unforgettable/memorable.After having finished my slice of pie, an annoying feeling of unsatisfaction lingered, casting a shadow of unfulfillment over me. I was still in the expectative... It was like "Yeah, fine and...?!?". I tried my best to be impartial, but this troubling sensation of emptiness persisted!

Of course, I did enjoy the pie, but in a very limited way. It is what I call "first degree pleasure". It stays on the surface, thus it never reaches your guts in order to give you that gratifying and orgasmic explosion of pleasure which stays imprinted in your soul forever. It was nice, that's all.

In my opinion, the lemon filling was too stiff and custard-like. It didn't have that curd onctuosity nor dimension which I cherish so much when it comes to "Lemon Meringue Pies". I also found that it wasn't tart and lemony enough. On the contrary, it was rather sweet and impersonally flavored. I missed that delicious tinge of acidity... The filling was also too cornstarchy and watery to my taste.

The crust was ok, but, then again, nothing really mindblowing. I didn't find it flaky enough and kind of insipidly/characterlessly pleasant. The meringue wasn't very succesful and decieved me very much. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that no mention was made regarding the exact size of the eggs, but it was not perfect. I mean, neither was it written anywhere that you had to use either big, medium or small eggs. I used big ones (53g) and I think that was the reason why the meringue looked a bit poor as there wasn't enough sugar considering the mass of egg whites used...

Anyway, I am not going to keep you away from making this pie nor am I going to recommend it to you. I believe that you'll have to taste it first in order to choose whether it is the ultimate "Lemon Meringue Pie" or whether you prefer the ones you baked in the past... It's entirely up to you to decide as, in the end, it is a question of personal taste!!!

Thank you Jen at "The Canadian Baker"!!!

~ Lemon Meringue Pie ~
Recipe taken from "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" by Wanda Beaver

Makes one 25cm (10-inch) pie.

Ingredients for the crust:
3/4 Cup (180g) cold butter, cut into 1.2cm (1/2-inch) pieces
2 Cups (255g) All-purpose flour
1/4 Cup (53g) Granulated sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup (80ml) Ice water
Ingredients for the filling:
2 Cups (475ml) Water
1 Cup (210g) Granulated sugar
1/2 Cup (60g) Cornstarch
5 Egg yolks, beaten
1/4 Cup (60g) Butter
3/4 Cup (180ml) Fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs Lemon zest
1 Tsp Vanilla extract

Ingredients for the meringue:
5 Egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 Tsp Cream of tartar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
3/4 Cup (158g) Granulated sugar

Method for the crust:
1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.
2. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together.

3. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process ver
y briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk.
4. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

5. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 3cm (1/8 inch.
6. Cut a circle about 5cm (2 inches) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin.

7. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1.2cm (1/2 inch).
8. Flute decoratively.

9. Chill for 30 minutes.
10. Preheat oven to 180º C (350° F).
11. Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans.
12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
13. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.
14. Cool completely before filling.

Method for the filling:
15. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan.
16. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes.

17. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
18. Add the mixture gradually to the
hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
19. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.

20. Add about 1 cup of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth.
21. Whisking vigorously, add the war
med yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
22. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated.
23. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined.
24. Pour into the prepared crust.

25. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

Method for the meringue:
26. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F).
27. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
28. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks.
29. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely.
30. Bake for 15, or until golden.
31. Cool on a rack.
32. Serve.

Make sure all the ingredients for the crust are as cold as possible.
Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll.
In order to blind-bake the crust, you can use the following weights: dried beans, rice or metal chain/beads.
The water/sugar/cornstarch mixture will be very thick. It is normal.

Serving suggestions:
within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.
Eat with a dollop of whipped cream, as for dessert or for afternoon tea.


~ Tarte Au Citron Meringuée ~
Recette tirée du livre "Wanda's Pie in the Sky" de Wanda Beaver

Pour une tarte de 25cm.

Ingrédients pour la pâte:
3/4 de Tasse (180g) de Beurre froid, coupé en cubes de 1.2cm
2 Tasses (255g) de Farine blanche/fleur
1/4 de Tasse (53g) de Sucre cristallisé
1/4 de CC de Sel
1/3 de Tasse (80ml) d'Eau à très basse température (très froide)
Ingrédients pour la garniture au citron:
2 Tasses (475ml) d'Eau
1 Tasse (210g) de Sucre cristallisé
1/2 Tasse (60g) de Maïzena
5 Jaunes d'oeufs, battus
1/4 de Tasse (60g) de Beurre
3/4 de Tasse (180ml) de Jus de citron frais
1 CS de Zeste de citron
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille

Ingrédients pour la meringue:
5 Blancs d'eufs, à température ambiante
1/2 CC de Crème de tartre
1/4 de CC de Sel
1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille
3/4 de Tasse (158g) de Sucre cristallisé

Méthode pour la pâte:
1. Dans un bol et à l'aide d'un mixeur (ou d'un couteau à pâte), bien mélanger ensemble le beurre, la farine, le sucre et le sel.
2. Mixer (ou couper) le beurre jusqu'à ce que le mélange ressemble à du sable grossier et qu'il commence à s'assembler.
3. Ajouter l'eau (en répartissant bien), laisser reposer 30 secondes et mixer (mélanger au couteau en 15 mouvements) brièvement jusqu'à ce que la pâte commence à s'assembler et se détacher des bords.
3. Transférer sur une surface de travail légèrement fari
née et amalgamer/presser afin d'obtenir un disque.

4. Emballer la pâte dans du film plastique et l'entreposer au frigo pendant 20 minutes.
5. Sur une surface légèrement farinée rouler le disque de pâte sur une épaisseur de 3cm.
6. Couper un cercle qui mesure 5cm de plus que le moule et transférer la pâte en la pliant en deux ou en l'enroulant autour du rouleau.
Laisser un rebords dépasser du moule d'environ 1.2cm.
8. Fluter les bords.
9. Entreposer au frigo pendant 30 minutes.

10. Préchauffer le four à 180º C.
11. Mettre du papier sulfurisé sur la pâte dans le moule et remplir avec des poids (voir remarques).
12. Cuire pendant 20 à 25 minutes.
13. Enlever le papier sulfurisé (délicatement) et cuire pendant 10
à 15 minutes supplémentaires, jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit dorée.
14. Laisser refroidir (complètement) sur une grille.

Méthode pour la garniture au citron:
15. Dans une casserole moyenne, porter l'eau à ébullition.
16. Retirer du feu et laisser reposer 5 minutes.
17. Mélanger le sucre avec la maïzena.

18. Verser graduellement ce mélange dans l'eau chaude, en fouettant bien jusqu'à ce qu'il soit complètement incorporé.
19. Remettre la casserole sur le feu et cuire, à feu moyen, jusqu'à ébullition et tout en fouettant continuellement.
20. Incorporer 1 tasse de ce mélange chaud aux jaunes d'oeufs battus et fouetter jusqu'à ce que ce ça soit mélangé de manière homogène.
21. Tout en fouettant vigoureusement, verser le mélange
jaunes d'oeufs/maïzena dans celui qui se trouve dans la casserole, mélanger constamment et porter à nouveau à ébullition.

22. Retirer du feu et incorporer le beurre.
23. Ajouter le jus de citron, le zeste et la vanille. Bien mélanger afin d'obtenir un "curd" homogène.
24. Verser dans la pâte à tarte cuite.

25. Couvrir avec un film plastique afin qu'aucune peau ne se forme à la surface et laisser refroidir, à température ambiante.
Méthode pour la meringue:
26. Préchauffer le four à 190° C.
27. A l'aide d'un mixer, battre les blancs d'oeufs - additionnés de crème
de tarte, de sel et de l'extrait de vanille - en neige ferme, jusqu'à ce que des pics se forment.

28. Ajouter graduellement le sucre, en continuant de battre, jusqu'à obtention de pics fermes/rigides et brillants.
29. Empiler cette masse sur la tarte refroidie, en recouvrant toute la garniture au citrons et cela jusqu'aux bords de la tarte.
afin de la sceller complètement.
30. Cuire pendant 15, ou jusqu'à ce que la meringue soit dorée.

31. Laisser refroidir sur une grille.
32. Servir.

Assurez-vous que tous les ingrédients pour la pâte soient aussi froids que possible.
Si la pâte est trop dure à la sortie du frigo et qu'elle ne peut pas être roulée aisément, alors laissez-la reposer quelques minutes à température ambiante.
Pour cuire à blanc la pâte, vous pouvez utiliser les poids suivants: haricots secs, riz ou poids en métal.
Le mélange eau/sucre/maïzena sera très épais, c'est tout à fait normal.

Serving suggestions:
within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.
Manger comme dessert ou servir à l'heure du goûter avec de la crème fouettée.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


This week, Weekend Cat Blogging #138 is hosted by the blog "Tuxedo Gang Hideout" (USA)...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

The same ol' boring story every weekend: another sleepless morning!!!
Click here in order to know what I have to go through...
Maruschka's ten times worse and more perverted/evil than the cat on the video!
A real torture!
I am a martyr, I tell you!

Friday, January 25, 2008


This time, instead of speaking about the cute village of Felsberg and it's surroundings, I am going to make you discover the magnificent view that one can have over the historic town of Chur and the Rheintal...

One day and although I felt so full from all the Christmas eating that I could barely move, we decided to go up (by car) to Fürstenwald (a quarter situated on a mountain flank). There, you can either visit the cemetery and it's modern chapel or have a relaxing walk. The panorama over there is absolutely and undeniably breathtaking!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Just for the love and beauty of this marvelous fruit...

"It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption."

~ Edward Bunyard,
"The Anatomy of Dessert" ~

Monday, January 21, 2008


I have just realised that it's been quite a time since I last blogged about a Swiss recipe. Well, I thought that I should remedy that "disastrous" situation without delay and make you discover another facet of our country's rich culinary heritage...

So, dear readers, today, you will be graced with a baked speciality found on Anna's cool blog "Anna's Food" (Sweden) and hailing from the Swiss German part of Switzerland!

"Basel Bread (Basler Brot)" should logically originate from Basel (a ca
nton situated in northwestern Switzerland, close to the German and French borders), as it's name indicates, but after having read an interesting post on the great blog "Lamiacuccina" (Switzerland), it seems that this bread comes from Bern where it is sold in every bakery...

Anyway, it is not really important to know where this bread takes it's roots as it's gorgeousness speaks for itself and makes us forget it's earthboundness or any other geographical notion that could be linked to it's origins! If you've never tasted to such a heavenly loaf, then you have been missing a lot.

Never had I been as proud of making my own bread as the day I baked "Basler Bread" and discovered that I was capable of reproducing a professional looking and tasting bread which would have all the wonderful characteristics of a scrumptious artisan sourdough bread!

With it's exqisitely crispy, firm and fragrant dark crust which gives "Basel Bread" it's typical flavor, this bread could be compared to "St. Galler Bürlibrot" as both share similar particularities (their trademark). It's smooth interior, scattered with biggish pores is so spongy and soft in contrast to it's crust's texture that it sends shivers of pleasure through your whole body...

Believe me, the baker in you will be immediately seduced by such an outstanding homemade bread which seriously casts a shadow over any bakery made sourdough Bread!

~ Basel bread ~
Recipe taken from Jan Hedh's "Bröd" cookbook and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Makes two loaves.

Ingredients for the starter dough:

5g Fresh yeast

250g Water, tepid
200g Fine rye flour
50g Sourdough (from rye, see remarks)
Ingredients for the final dough:
15g Fresh yeast
250g Water, tepid
450g Plain white flour (high gluten)
18g Flaky sea salt

Method for the starter dough:
1. Mix the sourdough with the rye flour.
2. Dissolve the yeast in warmish water (no hotter than body temperature) and mix that in too.
3. Work in a mixer for ten minutes at low speed (see remarks if you are making it by hand).
4. Put in a slightly oiled plastic box, cover with a lid and leave to
rise for three hours at room temperature.
Method for the final dough:
5. Dissolve the yeast in the water, pour over the starter dough and add flour. Mix well to form a ball.
6. Knead (on low speed, in a machine with the hook attachment or by hand) for ten minutes.
7. Add the salt and work for eight more minutes until the dough is very elastic.
8. Leave the dough to rise in an oiled bowl for two hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

9. Punch it down three times during it's rising (see remarks).
10. Take the dough onto a well floured surface and divide into four parts.
11. Roll into round breads, and put them together (two and two, see pictures).
12. Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

13. Leave to rise for an hour (until they have doubled in size).
14. Heat the oven to 250° C (482° F).
15. Spray the oven with lots of water so the oven fills with steam (see remarks) and place the bread inside).
16. After five minutes, lower the temperature to 200°C (400° F).
17. After ten more minutes, open the oven door a little bit and air for a few seconds. Spray with more water. Repeat this twice more during the total baking time - 50 minutes in total, until the crust is darkish brown in color and the loaves are hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
18. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Click here to learn how to make your own "Sourdough Starter".
This bread can be entirely made by hand.
Beat the sourdough mixture ("Starter Dough") with a large spatula, for 10 mi
You can leave the sourdough mixture ("Starter Dough") to rise in the fridge, overnight.

Punching the rising dough gives a better structure to the finished bread. Spraying the oven with water makes the crust crispy.

Serving suggestions:

This bread tastes good with anything! Cheese, dry meat or pate are goo
d accompaniments, but sweet spreads such as jam, honey, peanut butter or Nutella go wonderfully well with it. It could also be used to make "Bruschette"...
Have you ever heard the sweet music that a freshly baked bread makes? No, then click here to see an interesting video...


~ Pain De Bâle ~
Recette tirée du livre "Bröd" de Jan Hedh's et adaptée par
Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.

Pour 2 pains.

Ingrédients pour la pâte au levain:
5g de Levure fraîche
250g d'Eau, tiède
200g de Farine de seigle fine
50g de Levain liquide (fait à partir de farine de seigle/voir remarques)

Ingrédients pour la pâte finale:
15g de Levure fraîche
250g d'Eau, tiède
450g de Farine fleur/blanche (riche en gluten)
18g de Sel de mer
Méthode pour la pâte au levain:
1. Mélanger le levain avec la farine de seigle.
2. Dissoudre la levure dans l'eau tiède (à température du corps) et incorporer ce mélange au mélange précédant (levain/farine de seigle).

3. Battre ce cette pâte au levain au mixer, à basse vitesse, pendant 10 minutes (voir remarques si vous faites ce pain à la main).
4. Mettre cette pâte dans un bol/un récipient en plastique légèrement huilé, couvrir et laissez-la reposer/lever/gonfler pendant 3 heures, à température ambiante.

Méthode pour la pâte finale:
5. Dissoudre la levure dans l'eau, verser dans la pâte au levain et ajouter la farine. Former une boule.
6. Bien pétrir (à basse vitesse au mixer ou à la main) pendant 10 minutes.
7. Ajouter le sel et pétrir pendant 8 autres minutes jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit très élastique et souple.
8. Mettre la pâte dans un grand bol huilé et laisser lever pendant 2 heures ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte ait doublé de volume.
9. Donner 3x1 coup de poing (à intervals réguliers) durant ce lapse de temps.
Mettre la pâte sur une surface farinée et la diviser en 4 parts égales.
11. Former 4 boules et les mettre ensemble (par pair, 2+2/voir photos).
12. Mettre les pains sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfur

13. Laisser lever pendant 1 heure (jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient doublé de volume).
14. Préchauffer la four à 250° C (482° F) .
15. Vaporiser le four avec beaucoup d'eau afin qu'il soit rempli de vapeur, puis enfourner le pain.
16. Après 5 minutes, baisser la température à 200°C (400° F).
17. Dix minutes plus tard, entre ouvrir la porte du four et vaporiser à nouveau avec de l'eau. Répéter cette opération encore deux fois durant la cuisson du pain (50 minutes en tout) et jusqu'à ce que la croûte soit de couleur brun foncé et que les pains sonnent creux lorsqu'on les tape (en dessous).
18. Sortir les pains du four et les laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Cliquer ici afin d'apprendre comment faire son propre levain.
Ce pain peut être fait à la main.
Battez la pâte au levain à l'aide d'une spatule large, pendant 10 minutes.
Vous pouvez laisser la pâte au levain au frigo afin qu'elle lève/gon
fle pendant la nuit.
Les coups de poing (à intervals réguliers) assurent une meilleure texture au pain.
Lorsqu'on vaporise de l'eau à l'intérieur du four, la croûte du pain devient très croustillante.

Idées de présentation:
Ce pain est délicieux avec presque n'importe quoi! Il se marie merveilleusement bien avec du fromage, de la viande séchée, du pâté ou de la confiture, du miel, du beurre d'arachide ainsi qu'avec du Nutella. On peut aussi l'utiliser afin de faire des "Bruschette"...

Avez-vous déjà entendu la douce musique que produit un pain tout juste sorti du four? Non, alors cliquez ici pour voir une vidéo...

Sunday, January 20, 2008


This week, Sher, Upsie and Pumpkin at "What Did You Eat?" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #137...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

~ A neighbor's sweet cat. ~

Sometimes, I'd love to be a kitty.

I'd have nothing to worry about.
I'd be fed, I would have the right to be lazy or sleep all day long, my masters would pet me all the time and I could make tantrums whenever I want...
Now, that's how life should be, don't you think?!

Friday, January 18, 2008


Last week, I showed you some views of Felsberg in Graubünden/Grisons and how it looks from the window of the house I stayed in (see link). Today, I'm going to make you discover what lies beyond this little village...

Well, if you walk down Taminserstrasse (see map) in direction of Domat/Ems, along the Rhein river, you will be hit by the beauty of the landscapes that surround you. This path is very pleasant and offers a hassleless circuit which will enable you to take a deep breath of fresh air and snap some great pictures!