We are making Ratatouille with fresh summer vegetables and diced tomatoes. This is a quick balanced meal for those busy mornings. The vegetables are so delicious even though they are only seasoned with salt and pepper.
Ratatouille and Toasted Breakfast Ratatouille Recipe
Let's prepare the vegetables. Halve the eggplant lengthwise and trim off the stem end. Slice it into 1.5cm (0.6") pieces. Place the eggplant into a bowl. Lightly salt and toss to coat. Then, let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Halve the red bell pepper lengthwise and remove the stem end and seeds. Slice the pepper into 1.5cm (0.6") pieces. Then, cut them into smaller pieces.
This is kabocha squash also known as Japanese pumpkin. Slice the kabocha into 1cm (0.4") slices and then cut them into 2cm (0.8") pieces.
Now, place the eggplant onto a paper towel. Gently press the eggplant with another paper towel to remove the excess liquid. This will help to remove any bitter flavor.
As for the onion, yellow and green bell peppers and zucchini, cut them into 1.5cm (0.6") pieces as well.
Let's make the ratatouille. Place the crushed garlic clove into a pan and add the olive oil. Turn on the burner and heat it on low heat. You can tilt the pan to help the garlic submerge in the oil.
When the garlic clove is slightly browned and the aroma grows stranger, add the chopped onion. Occasionally swirl the pan and lightly cook the onion.
Add the red and yellow bell peppers. We will add the green bell pepper later to keep it from discoloring. Add salt and pepper. Continue to stir-fry.
Add the eggplant and zucchini. Continue to stir-fry and coat the vegetables with the oil evenly. Lightly season them with salt and pepper again.
Add the green bell pepper and kabocha squash. Lightly saute the vegetables. When the oil is distributed evenly, season with salt and pepper.
Add the packaged diced tomatoes. Put in the bay leaf and fresh thyme leaves. Gently press the diced tomatoes into the vegetables.
Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes until the kabocha squash softens, but we recommend checking inside halfway through to avoid burning.
Lightly salting each time you add vegetables will help to extract the water from the vegetables. This will enable you to cook the dish without adding any water. The kabocha squash we used is relatively sweet and it will soften the sourness of the tomato, making the dish more delicious.
Test the flavor of the dish and season it with salt and pepper to taste. If the tomato is too sour, add a small amount of sugar or honey to give it a milder flavor. Looks so delicious!
Toasted Breakfast Ratatouille
We will be introducing a perfect breakfast recipe using this ratatouille. Place the ratatouille in a gratin dish and arrange the sausage and egg on top. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley leaves.
Bake the ratatouille at about 200°C (390°F) until the surface is deliciously browned. The extra-toppings add bulk making this a substantial breakfast. Both children and adults will enjoy this dish.
Cooking with no added water will help you fully enjoy the vegetables' own flavors. This is a perfect dish for people who love vegetables.
The piping hot ratatouille is delicious but you can also chill it in the fridge and enjoy the dish cold.
Measure out the water in a cup and rehydrate the gelatin powder. Stir to mix and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a pot of milk and add the sugar. The appropriate temperature to dissolve the gelatin is about 50~60°C (122~140°F).
When the sugar is dissolved, remove the pot from the burner. And add the rehydrated gelatin. Stir to mix and dissolve the gelatin completely.
Pour the mixture into a bowl with the black sesame paste. Make sure to add it a little at a time while mixing vigorously. You should also mix the sesame paste before use since it often separates.
When evenly combined, float the bowl on ice water and continue to mix.
When cooled, add the heavy cream. Keep chilling it while mixing. Now, the mixture should thicken and the sesame paste will remain suspended in the pudding.
Clean the bottom of the bowl with a towel and pour the mixture into small cups. Let the pudding sit in the fridge for over 1 hour until firmed up.
Now, the pudding is chilled and firmed up. Garnish with the whipped cream. And top with the black sesame seeds.
Instead of the whipped cream, you can also top with black sesame paste, kinako, roasted soybean flour and kuromitsu, Japanese black sugar syrup.
If the sesame paste isn’t available, you can toast sesame seeds and then thoroughly grind them to use in this recipe. It will not be as smooth as the sesame paste but you can still enjoy this delicious dessert.
The sesame paste goes great with the milk and heavy cream.
Pour hot water into a bowl. Float another bowl in it to gradually melt the butter. The melted butter should be lukewarm when combined.
Beat the egg in a bowl. Be sure to bring the egg to room temperature beforehand. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Dissolve the sugar but be sure not to create any foam.
Add the grated lemon zest and honey. Make sure not to use zest with any waxy or chemical coating. Combine the egg mixture well.
Add the baking powder to the cake flour and stir to combine. Then, sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the flour to the egg mixture. Gradually mix it from the center to the outside. This will help to avoid any pockets of dry flour.
Add the lukewarm melted butter to the mixture a little at a time. Avoid using hot butter otherwise the baking powder will activate.
Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. If the room is hot, let it sit in the fridge.
We are using the aluminum foil cupcake molds for the madeleines. Thin molds easily fall or open so place in other molds to hold them steady. You can also use thick molds or a traditional madeleine pan instead.
Place the batter into each mold. If you make lots of madeleines, consider using a pastry bag to fill the molds quickly. We recommend using a kitchen scale to measure equal amounts of the batter. This will help each madeleine to brown evenly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) and bake at 170°C (338°F) for 15 to 16 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet and place it onto a trivet. With the aluminum mold still attached, place the madeleines onto a cooling rack and let them sit to cool.
Be sure to bring the egg to room temperature before use.
If your honey is too firm, lightly microwave to help it mix with the egg mixture.
Gradually heat the whipping cream using a bain-marie (hot water bath).
Meanwhile, break the chocolate bars into small pieces. We recommend using dark bittersweet chocolate but you can also use sweet or milk chocolate.
Stir the whipping cream with a spatula 2 to 3 times. Just before it begins to boil, remove and place onto a trivet. Add the chocolate pieces to the cream.
Mix thoroughly and dissolve the chocolate. We used 36% fat whipping cream for this recipe. The light whipping cream has a rich flavor and also causes less separation. Gently mix to keep it from separating.
When it is smooth, add the brandy or rum and continue to mix.
Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and allow it to sit to cool. When cooled, firm up the chocolate completely in the fridge or freezer.
The nama chocolate is completely firm. Using a spoon, shape the chocolate into a small ball and then place it into a glassine paper candy cup.
Repeat the process and now you have 4 pieces of nama chocolate. Sprinkle on the cocoa powder.
Finally, place them into a truffle box.
Nama chocolate might separate for various reasons so we recommend making a small amount for your first time and following each step shown in the video.
We used 36% fat whipping cream for this recipe. The light whipping cream has a rich flavor and also causes less separation.
Let’s make the caramel sauce for custard pudding. Coat the inner surface of the custard cups with unsalted butter. This will make it easy to remove the pudding from the cups.
Put the sugar and water in the pot. Heat the pot at medium heat. Let it sit until the surface becomes lightly-colored. Swirl the pot and even out the sugar liquid. Caramelize the sugar like shown in the video and remove the pot from the heat.
Quickly add the hot water in 2 to 3 steps with a long-handled ladle. Tilt the pot away from you to avoid hot caramel sauce splashing and burning your hand. Swirl the pot and even out the hot caramel.
Pour the caramel evenly into the custard cups.
Let’s make the egg mixture for pudding. Crack the two eggs into a bowl. Lightly beat the egg with a balloon whisk. Don’t let the tip of the whisk leave the bottom of the bowl to avoid creating too much foam.
Add the milk and sugar in a pot. Turn on the burner. Stir with a spatula until all the sugar is dissolved.
Add the milk to the beaten egg while whisking the mixture.
Sieve the egg mixture with a fine mesh strainer. Scrape off the bottom of the strainer with a spatula. Remove any foam on the surface with a spoon. Pour the egg mixture into an easy-to-pour container.
Let’s steam the egg mixture. Gently fill the custard cups with the egg mixture. Cover each cup with aluminum foil. The foil will prevent the surface from getting dry. It will also help steam the pudding evenly.
Heat water in a pan and gently place the cups in it. The kitchen towel will soften the heat at the bottom. There should be enough hot water to cover the bottom half of the cups. Put the lid on.
Keep the water temperature just below the boiling point and steam the pudding for 18 to 20 minutes. Do not bring the water to boil otherwise the smooth texture of the pudding will be lost. Put kitchen gloves on and remove the custard cups. When they become cool, store them in the fridge.
Let’s serve the custard pudding. Scrape the side of the cup with the tip of a knife. Tap the cup on a kitchen towel and make a space around the pudding. Serve the pudding on a plate.
The color of caramel quickly changes over the heat so timing is important when adding the hot water.
Peel and core the apples and cut them lengthwise into eight equal wedges. Place the apple into a pot. To make the compote, add the raw sugar and granulated sugar and lightly toss to coat. Turn on the burner. Cover and cook on medium low heat.
When the melted sugar begins to make a simmering sound, uncover and shake the pot up and down to bring the bottom of the apple to the top. This method will help to avoid breaking the shape of the apple. Occasionally mix the apple from the bottom with a wooden paddle.
After about 10 minutes, the juices should come out of the apple. Make cuts in an X pattern in the center of a clean paper towel and place it onto the apple. This is a substitute for a drop-lid, which help the ingredient cook evenly. Then, simmer for 10 more minutes.
When the apple begins to turn translucent, remove the paper towel. Continue reducing the juices without a lid. While the juices still remain, add the raisins, lemon juice and cinnamon powder.
Gently mix the ingredients. Reduce the juices until there is only a small amount on the bottom. Turn off the burner and let it sit to cool.
Now, let's make the almond cream. In a fine mesh strainer, combine the almond powder, raw sugar and cake flour. Sieve the powder into a bowl. Be sure to bring all the ingredients to room temperature beforehand.
The unsalted butter should be at room temperature also and softened in a bowl. Add the sifted powder to the butter. Combine the mixture with a spatula.
When the butter is evenly incorporated, switch to a balloon whisk. Add the beaten egg a little at a time and combine the mixture. Gradually adding the egg will help to avoid separation. Now, the almond cream is ready.
Let's fill the tart crust. Place the almond cream onto the bottom of the crust. Spread it with a spatula evenly.
Arrange the apple compote in concentric circles over the cream. The apples should slightly overlap each other. Cut the remaining apple wedges in half and fill the middle of the tart with them. Distribute the raisins on top. Gently press the apple to even out the surface.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C (374 °F) and place the tart pan into it. Bake the tart at 190 °C (374 °F) for 40 to 50 minutes. To help brown the tart evenly, rotate the pan while baking. If the surface begins to burn too quickly, cover the tart with aluminum foil to adjust the color.
When the almond cream and apple turn golden brown, it is ready. Remove and place the pan onto a cooling rack.
Let's make the glaze. Add the rum to the apricot jam and stir to mix. You can also use hot water instead of the rum. Brush the apricot glaze over the top. Let it sit to cool and then remove the tart pan.
Be sure to use apples that have a firm texture for baking. In Japan, Tsugaru and Fuji are the most popular brands for baking apples.
Alternatively, you can use other fruit such as peaches, European pears and figs.
Let's prepare the ingredients. Add the salt to a small bowl of water and stir to dissolve. Add the beaten egg and mix. Refrigerate the egg mixture, flour that has been sifted, and unsalted butter until ice-cold.
Let's make the tart dough. Place the chilled cake flour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter diced into 1cm (0.4") cubes. Lightly even out the ingredients.
Cover and blend the mixture for about 15 to 20 seconds. The butter pieces should be about half the size of a rice grain.
Add the egg mixture. Continue to blend the mixture for about 15 to 20 more seconds. When the mixture turns yellow and forms moist large clumps, stop the processor.
Place the mixture onto a work surface covered with a sheet of plastic wrap. Pull the edges of the plastic wrap to the center and gather the clumps into a ball. Then, flatten the dough.
Dust a scraper with bread flour and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Stack the pieces on top of each other, sprinkle over flour and flatten the dough with your palms.
Adjust the edges, shaping the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted with bread flour. Lightly flour the dough and a rolling pin. Press the rolling pin into the middle of the disk. Rotate and press it again. Repeat the process in all directions.
Roll out the dough from the middle outwards. Then, roll it out from the middle towards you. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling process. If it sticks, dust the dough and rolling pin and quickly roll it out. The circle should be about 27cm (10.6") in diameter and 3mm (0.1") thick.
Flour the top of the dough again. Using a fork, pierce the dough in numerous places.
Remove the 21cm (8.3") tart pan from the freezer. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin. And then unroll it onto the chilled tart pan with a removable bottom.
Dust your fingers with flour and press the dough up the sides of the pan. Be sure to push the dough into the corners to remove any gaps.
Cover the rim of the pan with the dough. Then, run the rolling pin along the top of the pan. Trim the edges of the dough to fit the tart pan. Lightly press the top and sides again to firmly attach them together.
Prick the dough all over with a fork again. This will help the air to go through the dough and keep the bottom from rising. Let the tart pan rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or chill it in the freezer for about 3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C (374 °F) and place the tart pan into it. Bake the tart at 190 °C (374 °F) for a total of about 20 minutes. To help brown the tart evenly, put on kitchen gloves and rotate the pan after about 15 minutes. Then, bake for 4 to 5 more minutes.
You will bake the crust with filling later so remove it when the whole surface is slightly browned. Place the pan onto a cooling rack. Let it sit to cool and then remove the tart crust from the pan.
This dough doesn't contain any sugar so in addition to making dessert tart, you can also make non-sweet pastry dishes like quiche with it.
First, let's make the choux batter. In a pot, combine the water, butter and a pinch of salt, and turn on the burner. Bring it to a boil on medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and it reaches a rolling boil, turn off the burner.
Add the sieved cake flour to the pot. Quickly stir the mixture. When the flour has absorbed the water evenly and the mixture begins to turn gooey, turn on the burner again. Continue to stir the mixture on medium heat until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pot.
Place the mixture into a bowl. Flatten it with a spatula and slightly cool to avoid cooking the egg. Then, gradually add the beaten egg in 4 to 5 steps. When the egg is completely absorbed, begin adding another portion.
Achieving the perfect consistency is essential to making presentable choux pastries. To prevent the batter from getting too thin, add the egg a little at a time when it reaches the final stage. Drop the batter from the spatula as shown to check the consistency. When the choux batter left hanging forms a “V” shape, it is the perfect consistency.
Next, dust the edge of a 5cm (2") diameter cup with any type of flour or starch. Then, as a rough guide, make 12 circles where the choux batter will be placed on the parchment paper.
Put the batter into a pastry bag. Hold the bag 1cm (0.5") above the circle and squeeze the batter into a round shape. Repeat the process, filling each of the markers.
Dampen your finger with water and press each peak of the batter, adjusting the shape. Finally, mist the batter with water thoroughly to help avoid drying.
Place the baking sheet into the oven preheated to 200 °C (390 °F) and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet. Place the choux pastries onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Pastry Cream (net weight 500g/1.1 lb)
Let’s make the pastry cream. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise and scrape it with the back of a knife, extracting the seeds. Then, add the seeds and pod to the milk, mix and gradually heat it on low heat. When it begins to boil, turn off the burner.
Next, lightly beat 4 egg yolks in a bowl and add the sugar. Mix the egg yolk with a balloon whisk until it begins to lighten in color.
Combine the cake flour and corn starch, and sieve onto a sheet of paper. Add it to the egg yolk and combine the mixture. Add one third of the milk to the bowl, diluting the egg yolk. Make sure to add the milk film and vanilla seeds.
Then, using a mesh strainer, strain the egg yolk into the pot of the milk. Turn on the burner. Continue mixing the pastry cream until it thickens. When it begins to form bubbles, turn off the burner.
Place the pastry cream into a tray chilled with ice. Cover it with plastic wrap. Pastry cream spoils easily so cool it as soon as possible.
Add the sugar to a bowl of whipping cream. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Lightly mix the chilled pastry cream in a bowl to soften. Add the whipped cream and combine. We recommend adding two thirds of the whipped cream but you can adjust the amount to taste. Mix to combine.
Make a diagonal cut in each choux pastry. Put the pastry cream into a bag. Give it a little squeeze to remove the air inside. Open the pastry and squeeze a generous amount of the cream into it. You can also simplify the filling process by spooning the cream into the pastries.
Finally, sprinkle the powdered sugar over them.
We often add rum or brandy to the pastry cream. This will increase the flavor of the cream so try it out if you like.
Squeezing the batter with a pastry bag will help to make the choux the same size and shape.