Sunday, May 20, 2007

Choco-ban-nache Beignets & Sunday Brunch MEME

Choco-ban-nache, that's how I call chocolate banana ganache.

Some years back when my husband and I lived in a city in Hongkong, we're used to go to Hilton which located in the heart of a business district for brunch every Sunday. Sitting by a big window but seeing no cars nor hustling businessmen, we actually quite enjoyed that sudden surreal, and of course our food as well - fresh brewed coffee, juicy scrambled eggs and toasts with fruit preserves. Now we're living in a kind of suburb, the scene and pacing are with 180 degree of change, so even I made the same brunch at home, it just didn't taste the same to us. But we find very content and comforting from having a range of fried doughs and fried cookies. Both my husband and me had fried food for breakfast when we're kid. His was Italian version - large thin crisp dusted with powder sugar, and mine Chinese - fried bread stick dipped into porridge. They're not necessary a staple breakfast/brunch but certainly always in our mind. I'm told that French people refer beignet to any food deep-fried, please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, this dough is made from pate a choux (in addition of chocolate flavor), the same one for cream puff. Just like any well-made doughnut, if you fry it correctly, your beignet never feels greasy at all. Before I share the recipe, let me tag a few of you to join this Sunday Brunch Meme fun.

Sher - if you ever had any stereotype on Americans only knowing boxed/ canned food, or you're a fan of the book French Women Don't Get Fat, then I know you haven't been at What Did You Eat! Yes, I'm very curious on what Sher prepares for her brunch!

Asha - who had lived in India and and England, now settled in America where also her kids born and raised. But what serve on Sunday's late morning? Uttapam? Stack of wheats? Bacon & Egg? Asha, tell us!

Freya & Paul - many English pubs in Hongkong have "breakfast-all-day" menu on Sunday, and beer served before noon. Freya, would you pour Paul a glass of beer for brunch?

Saffron and Pepe - a lady lives in a charming city, Rome. I know Simona is a workaholic, would she pamper herself with a nice brunch on Sunday? Any chance for a Abruzzese fair too (her and my mother-in-law are from the same region)?

For anyone who is interested in Sunday Brunch Meme, please go to Rosa's blog (Rosa's Yummy Yums) for details. The deadline is the end of June. Now back to the recipe.

*All recipes from The Secrets of Baking from Sherry Yard*

Basic (chocolate) pate a choux

yield 1 1/2 pounds dough, enough for 24 large, 36 medium or 48 small cream puffs

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tbps unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs (for beignet, add 1 extra whole egg, plus 1 egg white beaten to soft-peak for later use)
  • for chocolate version: 2 Tbps unsweetened cocoa powder, extra 1 Tbp sugar
  • direction followed after the photoes

Banana Ganache

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ripe bananas, puree by processor (so no lumps, or push through a fine sieve)
  • 2 Tbps light corn syrup

Bring the cream and corn syrup to boil over medium heat, immediately pour the cream over the chocolates, mix well until they all melted. Stir in bananas. After cools off freeze the ganache until harden. Use a (melon) spoon to scoop out a ball, keep the balls frozen until use.

Direction for beignet (and cream puff for option):

  • Combine flour, sugar & salt, set aside.
  • Bring the water, milk and butter to boil over medium heat. At boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour mixture all at once, immediately stir vigorously with a sturdy mixing spoon to combine.
  • Return the mixture to medium heat, if you do the chocolate version add cocoa powder and the extra sugar now, and stir constantly until it has a smooth mashed-potato-like appearance, takes about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir until the dough cool down to 180F, add eggs, one at a time. If you use the paste for cream puff, test the consistency by pinch off about 1 tsp of dough with your thumb and index finger, then pull your fingers apart. The dough should stretch rather than break. If it breaks, add egg. Once you get the right consistency, it's ready to pipe and bake. For beignet, use the 5 eggs anyway. Then cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours. At this stage, the pate a choux be it for cream puff or beignet can be stored in fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for 2 months.
  • for beignet: Get the frozen ganache balls ready. Preheat at least 2-inch deep oil over medium heat (375F). Stir the choco choux pate to smooth, fold in the beaten egg whites. Dip in the frozen ganache ball until completely coated with the batter. Fry beignets about 1 minute per side, ensure you don't overcrowd the pan. To serve (immediately), dust a pinch of ground cinnamon and more powder sugar over the top.
  • for baking cream puff: bake the piped dough in a pre-heat 425F oven. Once you send the baking tray in, throw 3 ice-cubes onto the bottom of the oven, close the door immediately. After 10 minutes, lower to 350F, prop the oven door open slightly with a wooden spoon and bake for 18 - 20 minutes for large puffs; 15 - 18 minutes for medium; 10 - 12 minutes for small puffs.

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41 comments:

Angie said...

Oh my, this looks so wonderful! Can I self-invite to your brunch please please? :p

sher said...

Oh my goodness. I called the airlines and am flying to your house. Will I be late? :):) You are amazing, that has to be the most beautiful brunch dish ever. My mother-in-law is coming soon and I want to have a nice brunch for her. So, thank heavens, she comes before the deadline for this delightful meme. Thank you so much for mentioning me--you are the best, dear Gattina! You have a kind heart and talented hands.

Asha said...

Gattina,these Beignets look wayyyy better than what I ate in New Orleans!!They have got nothin' on ya!!Really! It's out of this world girl.My daughter would kill for a piece of that!:D
Thanks for the tag.Great to read your MeMe,what a difference we all have in our daily routine!I will take that MeMe and do it in June.I am bunching whole lot of MeMes in one post!!:D

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

These look wonderful. Sunday brunch is a huge day at my mom-n-laws~ more lunch than breakfast. Perfect for a nap in the afternoon.

Callipygia said...

I love the name (sounds almost as good as eating them) and the fact that you attempt to recreate a special time w/ your husband. These look so decadent and gushious- I may have to make them w/o the fry.

Anh said...

Agree with all the previous comments. These are perfect! Dreaming of flying over to NJ just to see you and enjoy these! ;)

Cynthia said...

All you need to know is that I am your biggest fan, supporter and think that there is nothing you can't do. There, I've said it. Sure, your husband is going to challenge that and that's ok. :)

Choco-ban-nache Beignets - another winner.

valentina said...

Oh, your posts are so wondeful! What a great idea about the banana ganache. It is the first time I see it.

Lydia said...

Love the look of those beignets. They'd be the most indulgent breakfast!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Hey, thanks for your contribution! This recipe really looks awesome! I love the looks of your scrummy beignets. Your brunches are very promissing...

I will keep the link to this post and blog about it on the 30th of June...

Here in Switzerland and in France, a "beignet" is a deep-fried speciality made with batter...

Ellie said...

Oh my god. OH MY GOD.

*swoons*

I feel faint! I think I need some of these beignets to make me feel better ;)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Molten banana & chocolate! Wow! Might be too much sugar for me too early in the morning but I could enjoy that for dessert!

Passionate Eater said...

Oh man, look at those chocolate volcano-cake like beignets! If this is the way you do brunch, then I need to have brunch with you ALL the time! (And can we have the Chinese fried breadsticks and porridge too?)

Saffron said...

Darling, I'm a workaholic but I never miss a breakfast!
These beignets are yummy, I love banana and chocolate!
so...thankd for your kind invite!
Baci

bea at la tartine gourmande said...

lovely Gattina! Love your brunch idea. It is true that we use "Beignet" to refer to what is deep-fried, like Beignets de crevettes (Shrimp). The idea is simply that there is a batter, and the food is deep fried then.

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

OMG...Its really wonderful! Banana ganache excellent idea..Never tried before..

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have never had such a fancy and beautiful brunch, Gattina! This is luxurious, my friend!

Mandira said...

Can I just exclaim loudly? this is delicious. Are you doing a open house brunch soon :) I'll be in the queue. Excellent!

Kelly-Jane said...

How wonderful does that look?! I need hot melted chocolate, I really do :)

eliza said...

that will just satisfy a chocolate craving right then! a brunch like that nobody would want to miss it :)

Helen said...

You are right, we use beignets to describe any deep fried foods. The only difference is that we never eat beignets for breakfast, the sweet ones are usually left for the holiday after mardis gras.
Gorgeous pics and fabulous foods...never tired of saying it.

Peabody said...

Oh my!!!!
Doesn't this look amazing.

joey said...

Oh wow! That is amazing in so many ways I don't even know which to mention...the coco-banana ganache? the fact that it is a filling for a deep-fried chocolate beignet? Hands down scrumptious!!! :)

Seema said...

Gattina,
Beignets...I did hear about it from one of my colleagues at office but never even imagined it would look so lovely like this. Each time...yes every time all your recipes and presentations make my mouth water.

Lis said...

Yummy! I'd like a truckload of those please! hehe

Okay so I'm dyin' over here.. what's the surprise? :D

xoxo

Rose said...

Gorgeous pictures as always Gattina. Your beignets look beautiful, tempting and so yumyumyummmmy.Who needs to go to the Hilton when we have Gattina as a host?

Susan said...

I had beignets when I visited New Orleans, and they were divine. Yours look better though, Gattina. Will you be having brunch next week? I'm not busy, just in case.;)

Julie said...

Wow, those sure look good. I've made beignets before but none that looked as sinfully rich as those do.Now I know what to do with those bananas and chocolate I have at the house.

Anonymous said...

Oh lord woman, are you trying to torture me? And do you know how hard I had to concentrate to pull my mind away from those photos and actually compose a comment???

Ari (Baking and Books)

veron said...

Gattina girl, you ought to be censored for posting something so sinfully delicious. Are you trying to drown your readers in their own drool? ;) Seriously, this must be the most decadent brunch option there can be ...

gilly said...

Again I'm speechless Gattina! Beautiful work - and I just love Sherry Yard's book, it's one of my favourites!

Kajal said...

Gattina........what a wonderful idea with your fabulous picture my dear very nicely created your blog. What a great design my dear no words for your great work.:))

Ana said...

Ohhhhh this looks more than delicious!!!
Very interesting your "banache"!!! I like the name, it is fun, and anything with bananas and chocolate in it have to be good, right?!!!
Ana

Freya and Paul said...

Gattina, don't judge us for what we have for Brunch on a Sunday is not pretty. It usually involves anything we can scrape out of the fridge and conceal within a dried out tortilla....

Sharmi said...

hmmm, yummy yum MEME with that choco-ban-nache:))

Paz said...

Awesome!

Paz

The Cooking Ninja said...

looks heavenly.

Yujai said...

omg! Is that your version of 心太軟?? It looks awesome! I want to have it!

I feel happy to find your blog, it's wonderful! Keep it up!

I am also a HK Chinese, been living in North America and I am planning to visit to Barcelona this fall :D Any restuarant I should check out?

Gattina said...

Hi yujai!
Thanks for your visit :) Glad to know some HK Chinese around... so far I haven't had a luck to "meet" any.
Sorry I'm not a right person to recommend you any restuarant as I arrived here less than a month. Although, for those serving full meal, be honest, I haven't seen any impressive...yet. But there're plenty of tapas-n-wine bar, I think most of them very good esp if you enjoy wine.
Hope after I totally settle down, will visit your blog more often!

Peko Peko said...

Hello there, I just happened upon your site.

This looks REALLY yummy!

P

Sha said...

That's exactly what I need right now ;)