Moulin de Plovdiv

Plovdiv is a lovely town. I had a great visit there and look forward to returning soon, especially after visiting Moulin de Plovdiv! They have a boulangerie/patisserie or bakery right in the center of town. The folks at Gaillot Chocolate told us about their French friend that was a baker, so I knew immediately that is where I would be having breakfast.

The first think that caught my eye were the Galettes, a buttery cookie that has just the right amount of sweetness… got some of those!

The assortment of delights was unreal. I couldn’t resist the croissants, so got a few of those, a pain chocolate, and a Breton galette with apricots…

And of course the bread… didn’t really need a loaf, but should have brought some home.

Everything was amazing. Angel, Gabriel and I sat in our hotel room covered in crumbs savoring every bite. Finding a good croissant is hard, but they aced all that we tried. Wonder if I can persuade them to open a shop in Kyustendil.

UPDATE – March 8th 2014: While in AGRA again this year, I followed the advice of my own post from last March to Moulin de Plovdiv, only to find out that they moved, almost immediately after the post was published.  I have updated the photos to include those of the new shop, but I have to add that I was deeply disappointed with the quality. I was there bright and early on a Friday morning and ordered a few croissants, but they were not fresh, not in the least, it was as if they were leftovers from the night before. I ordered three different varieties, original/butter, ham and kashkaval. All of them were deeply unsatisfying. I expect that a bakery, a French bakery, should have fresh croissants! I hope this was a fluke. Please share your thoughts.

Ul. Leonardo Da Vinci, 21
4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria 
Hours Mon – Sat: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm 
Phone +359 87 886 7720

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Insulting the French and loving quiche

I have to say that quiche is one of my all time favorite foods. The first time I had quiche I was staying with a French family in the Loire Vally, outside Montoire. I was incredibly dense at the time and offended them in oh so many ways, the look on Madam’s face says it all.

But, I have retained my love for quiche and make it at home whenever possible. I try not to eat it if it is not homemade because it usually sucks. She gave me her recipe, which I will share when I find my travel journal from that time… oh and translate it.
Here is an improvised quiche using some of my garden peppers, prosciutto and onions.
I crisped the prosciutto and then drained and set a side using the fat to sauté the onions and peppers.
I cooked the onions first till they were soft and starting to caramelize, then tossed in the peppers. I figured the onions needed more time than the peppers. The onions and pepper smell pretty good at this point.
Once the onions and peppers were done I layered them in a prepared crust with elemental. I normally like gruyere, but it is impossible to find in Kyustendil and tricky to locate in Sofia, unless you go to the specialty cheese shop Dar ot Bogovete. Then I mix 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream (preferably Presidents) 2 whole eggs and one additional egg yolk, fresh ground sea salt, pepper and a pinch of fresh nutmeg. Whisk together to incorporate and pour mixture on top of the quiche.
Here is the laying break down(crust, 1/2 cheese, prosciutto, onion & peppers, 1/2 cheese, milk & egg mixture) Bake at 350 – 375 F for 45 – 55 minutes.
Here is the finished product, but I missed an essential step. I didn’t pre-bake the crust. It was undercooked (just look at the color of the pastry), but still tasty… at least I thought so!

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Blueberry Muffins in the Morning with Blueberry Johnson

I haven’t made a Blueberry pie since 2000, but walking in the bazaar with Maya and seeing buckets of blueberries did make me think of yummy muffins, but she suggested that we make a pie. I was really happy how she made the connection. I hadn’t really had any intention to bake, but I wanted to encourage her to enjoy the kitchen. If you look in the upper right hand corner of the photo, you can see what she made out of the scraps of dough.
I ended up making a blueberry crumb, since I only had one crust. I have always been a fan of crumb pies. The topping is just awesome. I usually only make a covered pie, when I want to be creative an make something decorative.
The crust recipe that I use is my favorite. I have been using it for years. I like to keep some crust in the fridge through out the fall and winter, for quiches, tarts or pies. This recipe yields 2 9″ (22.86 cm) crusts.
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose/universal flour, you can chill it in the fridge.
1 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter, cold/chilled (not frozen) cut into little pieces about 1″
1/2 cup ice water, not chunky, just really, really cold.
Plastic wrap
When making dough you need to keep thinks cold and work quickly. If you keep it cold, the results will be a delicious flaky pastry. Don’t work so fast that you don’t actually incorporate all the ingredients.
** I used a food processor for my dough. I am lazy and don’t make it by hand. If you don’t have a food processor google some tips for using a pastry cutter or other methods!**
Combine flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the sharp blade. Pulse to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and combine till little pieces form. Then add the ice water and pulse till everything comes together. Don’t over mix.
Pour the contents on a clean work surface and form 2 equal sized balls. Work quickly to make the balls come together. Your hands are hot and if you over work the dough, you will melt the butter.
Wrap the balls individually with plastic wrap and flatten the balls to make a disk. Wrap the 2 disks well and put them immediately back in the fridge for at least an hour, then you can roll it out.
It will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. I guess you can freeze the other disk, but I haven’t had success with freezing dough.
I recommend pre-baking the dough, but it is not required. If you do pre-bake, make a foil ring to protect the edges from burning.
If you follow the recipe, I would suggest a little less lemon zest. When you eat it fresh the lemon zest is a touch overpowering, but the next day you don’t even notice. It is your call. Let me know how it turns out!

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