Laurent-Perrier Champagne (Series) – Demi-Sec

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Laurent-Perrier Demi Sec is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier. This champagne is aged for at least three years. The wine is then dosed with a liqueur made up from cane sugar dissolved in wine from the same cuvée. When you look at the brilliant and intense golden yellow you will then smell the aroma of richly expressive notes of dried fruit, almonds, and hazelnuts followed by grilled and toasted aromas.

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After a few years, the nose will evolve towards deeper notes of honey and pine resin. You will find the Demi Sec to be full-bodied and generous with a rich but rounded feel. Many wine-lovers enjoy it served with a dessert or as an apéritif, but I find it is also excellent with savory foods and so have paired it with breakfast.

For the savory dish, I’m making a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which is a reinterpretation of a childhood favorite his mother would prepare for him. A soft, poached egg and crispy toast fingers wrapped with smoked salmon and a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Here is his recipe.

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Poached Eggs with Parmesan and Smoked Salmon Toasts
Recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Reminiscent of a deconstructed bacon and egg sandwich, the smoky salmon is an excellent upgrade from bacon, while the nutty Parmesan compliments the richness of egg yolk.

Ingredients
Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of sourdough bread, each slice cut into four 4-by-1/2-inch rectangles
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 8 long strips
4 large eggs

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 425°. Fill a medium skillet with water and bring to a boil. Put the bread on a baking sheet and brush all over with olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Reserve 8 toasts. Push the remaining 8 toasts close together on the baking sheet and sprinkle the Parmesan on top in a thick layer. Bake for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Wrap the smoked salmon around the remaining 8 toasts.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to moderately low so the water simmers. One at a time, break the eggs into a small bowl and pour them into the simmering water. Cook until the whites are just firm and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to paper towels and gently blot dry. Put each egg in a small, warmed bowl. Serve immediately with the Parmesan and smoked salmon toasts.

Framboise Charlottes
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Recipe from Tartlette, makes 4-6 individual cakes

Ingredients

For the Angel Food Cake:
18 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 (300grams) cups sugar
1 cup (140grams) cake flour
1/2 cup (60grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 pound raspberries
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F/175C

Sift together the cake flour and confectioners sugar then place to one side. By hand or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar while beating, and continue to beat until very stiff. To test, take the whisk, turn it upside down and the stiff peaks shouldn’t fall.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the flour mixture along with the lemon zest. Pour into a 10-inch, ungreased tube cake pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan and set it over a longneck bottle such as a water or wine bottle to cool. It is very important to invert the pan as it cools, because the weight of the cake itself is enough to cause it to collapse if left upright on the counter. Turned upside-down, the weight of the cake will keep it tall and light.

Release the cake from the pan when it is completely cooled. Cut four to six 2-inches thick slices. Insert a 3-inch cookie cutter in the cake and run a knife around the cutter to form one cake base. Hollow out each cake with a melon baller. Repeat these steps for the other slices of cake. Place the powdered sugar on a large plate and roll the cakes in it to coat then set aside.


Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Creme)
Recipe from Ladurée Sucré

Ingredients

1 vanilla pod
1 3/4 cup (400 milliliters) whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup (80 grams) of caster sugar
1/4 (30 grams) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (25 grams) of butter

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the inside to remove the seeds. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the pod and seeds and bring the milk slowly to a simmer. If it comes to a boil or fast simmer you risk burning your milk. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture whitens slightly. Stir in the cornstarch. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while beating vigorously with a whisk, which prevents the eggs curdling from the heat. Pour the liquid back into the pan and bring to a light boil, whisking and making sure to scrape the sides of the pan as it thickens to a pudding-like consistency.

Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes until it is just warm, and then gently mix in the butter. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap across the surface to prevent a skin from forming and let cool completely before using; about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Fill the cavities of each cake and garnish with fresh raspberries.

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