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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Crust (from epicurious)

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Filling (based on Paula Deen recipe)

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Glaze (based on Paula Deen recipe)
  • drizzle of honey
  • squeeze of orange juice
  • some canned peach juice
  • a few tablespoons of sugar

Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and vinegar; using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more water if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

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Allow the rested dough to come back to room temperature and roll thinly using plenty of flour. Trim the rough edges to make a circular shape. Blanch the peaches by dunking in boiling water for 30 seconds and transfer to ice water. After a minute, the skins should come right off. Remove the pits and cut them into slices. Layer inside the dough, leaving room to fold the edges.

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To make the glaze, whisk together honey, sugar,  a splash of orange juice (fresh or in carton), and sugar.

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Whisk together the egg yolks, the sugar, and the sour cream. Drizzle over the tart. Brush the crust with cream and dust the whole tart with sugar. Heat in a 350° oven for about 2o minutes on a foiled baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. For the last five, drizzle the top with the glaze or apply with a pastry brush. Remove from the oven when the crust is golden brown and crispy, not doughy.

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Sabayon is a egg foam made stable by the coagulation of the yolks. Mine, however, is more like a sweet and rich dessert sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 yolks
  • sugar (approximately equal to yolks)
  • port wine
  • 1/2 orange
  • cinnamon
Preparation:

1. Make a double boiler by adding an inch of water in a medium-size pot and topping with a pyrex bowl. Over medium to high heat, whisk egg yolks until they become pale and add about 6 teaspoons of sugar, gradually. Add 1-2 tablespoons of port wine and cook until the mixture is hot and thick.

2. Remove from the heat and place the bowl over ice (with some water) to cool. Add a pinch or two of cinnamon and the juice of half an orange. Taste for balance and serve atop whipped cream and fresh berries.

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The souffle is a great technique to have in your repertoire. Everybody gets their own and they’re quite impressive. Just don’t tell your guests that they’re dirt cheap! My limoncello souffle is light and refreshing, with an interior that is both creamy and fluffy. You have to do a little guess work with the amount of flavor in your base, but souffles are much easier than they sound.

Prep time: 10minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: (Serves Four)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 6+ tablespoons of sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons limoncello (Italian lemon-flavored liqueur)
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
You will need 4 small ramekins (also called timbales) for the souffles.
1. Preheat the oven to 375º. Separate 4 eggs into two separate bowls (a glass pyrex for the yolks). Any yolk in the whites will ruin the souffle. Make a double boiler by adding about an inch of water to a medium-size pot and heating, placing the pyrex bowl on top. Whisk constantly. When the yolks start to heat up, add tablespoons of sugar, gradually. Eventually, the yolks will start to pale and thicken like a sauce. Add the zest and juice of one lemon and about 2-3 tablespoons of limoncello.
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2. Give the limoncello a chance to cook off. When you have a thick, pale-yellow sauce, remove from the heat. Give the base a taste; if it tastes perfect, it will be bland when lightened with tasteless egg whites and air. Make the base twice as flavorful, anticipating this. The base should taste very lemony, very sweet, and the limoncello should be prominent.
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3. Fill a large bowl with ice and add water so that the glass bowl can rest on top and cool. You may change bowls to quicken the process. For your information, the ratio for a souffle is about 1/2 cup of base per egg white.
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4. Whip the whites on medium and then high power. If you have cream of tarter, add a pinch and your souffle will be more stable and may evade deflation. The whites should be opaque, glossy, and form stiff peaks like whipped cream.
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5. Meanwhile, the base should have thickened a lot and should be a lemon-curd or pie-filling consistency. When cool, double-check for taste. Vigorously stir a bit of white into the base to lighten it and slowly pour the base into the whites, gently folding them until incorporated, but without losing too much volume. Butter four small ramekins and coat evenly with sugar.
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6. Put a cookie rack on top of a baking sheet and disperse the ramekins. Bake in the oven until the tops are slightly browned and a toothpick could be inserted and removed cleanly or almost cleanly (some prefer there souffles more creamy). Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with opening the oven… they don’t magically sink. However, if they did, bring them back up to temp and they’ll rise almost as high.

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Meringues

I decided to make a baked treat while I was waiting for friends to arrive. I had wanted to try meringues; to play around with different flavors and just “wing it” to avoid the tediousness of following a recipe (this is why I’ll never be a great baker). My mother convinced me to follow a recipe and not mess with it. She’s right; baking is an exact science and you can only experiment if you really  know what you’re doing.


The recipe couldn’t have been easier. There were only two ingredients! Yet the meringues, made in the French style, are light and airy, with a complex flavor resulting from the gradual caramelization of the sugars.

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar

With an electric mixer on medium, beat the egg whites until they are stiff (They have to hold their shape when you pipe them). Slowly incorporate the sugar, a little at a time. Cut the tip off a plastic bag and pipe the mixture into dainty little swirls onto parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Bake at 200 degrees with a wooden spoon stuck in the door, so it is left ajar—this keeps the oven even cooler than the minimum oven setting. Bake low and slow for 2.5 to 3 hours (it depends how large the meringues are). You can eat these right out of the oven!

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This is not my picture. Mine is coming

The Soufflé is a light, spongy baked dish that has mystified people for decades. It may surprise you that, although soufflés are very delicate things and little changes affect the product, they are still easy to make and are a treat to eat. Soufflé means to burst. That’s exactly what it looks like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 huge, 2 medium, or 3 small Sweet Potatoes (I had 1 huge)
  • 1/2 cup cream/milk/non-dairy creamer
  • 2 tablespoons butter/non-dairy butter
  • 5 eggs
  • cinnamin
  • pecans or walnuts
  • white sugar and brown sugar

1. Peel the Sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, and boil until fork tender. Mash or whip with 1/2 cups of cream and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add about 3-6 teaspoons of sugar. I used three to make a slightly sweet soufflé as a side dish. Use more if you want a dessert soufflé (even 6 teaspoons is very low). Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt.

2. Separate 5 eggs into yolks and whites. Mix two yolks into the mash.

3. To the whites, add a pinch of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar if you have it. Cream of tartar stabilizes the protein in the eggs. The protein is what forms the spheres around the air bubbles, so cream of tartar just strengthens that casing.

4. Use an electric mixer to whip the whites. Whip on low for two minutes, on medium for two minutes, and on high until you can make peaks that hold their shape. Try tilting the bowl and putting the beater (at an angle) deep into the whites without touching the bottom. The angle of the beater pushes air into the whites to create fluff. Touching the bottom just pops the lovely air bubbles.

5. Fold the whites gently with the sweet potatoes. Pour into a WELL-buttered, large ramekin. Use a spatula to draw a large circle in the mixture. This allows the center to rise even higher.  Preheat the oven to 400°.

6. Melt some butter and brown sugar in a pan and add chopped walnuts or whole pecans. I added both. These candies nuts make a great topping for the soufflé. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Please do not peak until the very end. Serve immediately. The faster you eat it, the lighter it is.

Try experimenting with this dish. You can make it as sweet as you want. You can also make soufflés with spinach and cheese like a quiche. Next time, Instead of chocolate cake, make a thinner batter and fold in lots of egg whites. You’ve just created a lighter, healthier dessert with more of a WOW factor. Definitely top with whip cream for desserts!

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