French Style Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie decorated with powdered sugar
Sweet potatoes are still plentiful in the store even in late November so I couldn't resist making a pie.

I like sweets potatoes anyway they are cooked or baked so I didn't need much encouragement to bake this pie.

The traditional American recipe of baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows is not popular in Japan so I had to make this pie to serve my friends here. Recipe fits a 21 cm tart pan.

Pie Dough
200 grams flour
100 grams cold butter
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
5 grams sugar

1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and mix with the flour using a pastry cutter (use a food processor if you have one). Butter should be well mixed with the flour.
2. Add the egg, sugar, salt & water and mix. Put dough on a smooth surface and knead gently until it is soft and well mixed.
3. Cover in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

Almond Cream (Optional)
50 grams almond powder
50 grams powdered sugar
50 grams soft butter
5 grams flour
1 egg
5 grams dark rum
1. Mix the butter and powdered sugar. Add the egg and mix. Add the almond powder, flour & rum. Mix well.

1 sweet potato (baked, peeled & sliced about 300 grams)
1/2 sweet potato thinly sliced (these pieces will be boiled)
30 grams butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
15 grams honey
10 grams dark rum
2 egg yolks
100 grams cream

Arrange slices in a nice pattern
1. Soften the butter then add the brown sugar, honey, rum & egg yolks. Mix well with a whisk.
2. Boil the sliced sweet potatoes in water (add 1 tablespoon sugar to the water) until they are soft. Do not over  boil  or they will break apart.
3. Add the 300 grams sweet potato to #1. Use a food processor to mix together if possible. Add the cream. To remove the lumps, you can  put the mixture through a sieve.
4. Roll the dough to fit the tart pan and cut off the extra. Fill the inside with sweet potato filling. Cover with almond cream (do not add too much). Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes on top in a nice circle pattern.
5. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes then reduce to 160 degrees and bake for 40 minutes until browned.

Use another tart pan for a more
interesting shape

Serve with coffee!


Creamy Chestnut Mousse Cake

Chestnut mousse cake decorated with glazed chestnuts
As you can tell from my postings, I like mousse cakes. A creamy mousse combined with cake and a filling makes for a great dessert.

My collection of chestnut recipes is growing -- which gives me a great idea for a cook book :)  Anyway, this is a new recipe I found this year and couldn't wait to try it.

This cake has 3 items to make but if you want to skip the chocolate ganache you could.

A layer of cake is on the bottom, followed by mousse, another layer of cake & chocolate ganache topped with mousse. Recipe is enough for a 18 cm x 5 cm ring.

Chocolate ganache
Chocolate Ganache
60 grams milk chocolate (chopped)
45 grams cream (36%)
1 teaspoon dark rum
1. Heat the cream until just boiling. Add to the chocolate in portions. Mix with a small whisk to melt the hot cream & chocolate. Add remaining cream. 
2. If the chocolate does not melt completely, put over a pan of hot water. Add the rum. 
3. Pour the chocolate into a ring which is placed on plastic wrap or baking paper. Put in the refrigerator to become firm.

Pan should not be too deep
this pan is  28 cm x 28 cm

80 grams powdered sugar
100 grams almond powder
30 grams flour
3 eggs
20 grams melted butter
130 grams egg white
60 grams sugar

1. Mix the 3 eggs in a bowl. Sift the powdered sugar, almond powder & flour together. Add to the eggs and mix well with a whisk.
2. Whip the egg whites and then add the sugar in portions until soft peaks form. Add to #1 above. Add the melted butter and mix gently with a spatula.
3. Pour into a baking pan and bake about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Marron Mousse
300 grams milk
45 grams sugar
90 grams egg yolks
12 grams gelatin
200 grams fresh cream (36%)
10 grams dark rum
180 grams marron paste
20 grams marron cream

1. Make anglais - mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and heat the milk in a pan. Pour the heated milk into the eggs & mix, pour back into the pan and heat until lightly thickened (do not overheat or you will have scrambled eggs). Add the gelatin.
2. Strain into a bowl and cool. Add the marron paste, cream & rum. Put through a sieve to take out any lumps.
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. 
4. Add the whipped cream to the marron mixture. Use a spatula to lightly mix together. Put the bowl over ice water until the mixture becomes slightly firm. 

Put the Cake Together
1. Cut the cake so that it fits inside the 18 cm ring (put mousse film inside the ring). Fill about 1/3 with the mousse. Add another layer of cake (cut smaller) and the chocolate ganache. Add some pieces of marron around the inside. Fill the rest with the mousse. Put in the refrigerator until it becomes firm - at least an hour or two.

Place a piece of cake on the bottom
and put the ring on cake

Cake is ready for the refrigerator
to become firm


Chestnut Marron Cakes

It is only mid-November but I heard Christmas carols in the store this evening.

There are some great fall recipes that I want to share with everyone before Christmas so I need to get busy with my updates.

Cakes featuring chestnut paste are hugely popular in Japan. The infamous Mont Blanc cake, is another standard in all bakeries here.

This recipe is quite easy - mixing butter, sugar, eggs, flour, etc. The baking pan is unique though. It is in the shape of chestnuts. Not sure how easy this is to find in your country but I bought mine at Cuoca in Tokyo.
(makes 12 small cakes)

120 grams softened butter
100 grams sugar
Pinch of salt
30 grams honey
110 grams chestnut paste
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
150 grams sifted flour
10 grams rum
Slices of cooked chestnuts

Dough should be smooth
1. In a bowl mix the softened butter and sugar the add the salt and honey. Add in the chestnut paste and mix well. Add the eggs & rum.
2. Put every through a sieve since the chestnut paste does not mix together smoothly.
3. Add in the flour in portions and mix well. 
4. Batter should be smooth when you finish.

To put the dough into the baking pan, it is easier if you put it in a pastry bag to fill each piece.

The  baking pan I used is
in the shape of  a chestnut

This pan is super easy to use. You can directly pour the dough into the pan without using butter or oil sprays.

Fill each mold half way and add a piece of
chestnut in the middle & the fill
the rest of the way

Fill in the remainder and smooth the top to remove the extra dough.

Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 - 20 minutes depending on your oven.

Let the pan cool for a short while then remove each piece.

Decorate each piece with melted milk chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.

Melt about 60 grams of milk chocolate in a bowl over hot water and then dip each end into the chocolate. Dip in the sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.

Cakes topped with chocolate
and cookie crunch
Use whatever topping is in your house

This is the marron puree I found in Japan
This is a famous French brand