Posts tagged "Dessert Ideas"

BLACK FOREST CAKE for EV’S BIRTHDAY

 

 

 

Ev requested a Black Forest Cake for his Birthday this year.  I made for past Birthdays and he loved it so much he wanted another one.  So now I have decided to document the preparation of this utterly delicious, decadent cake.  If you can, make it when fresh Cherries are available but if not, then frozen or canned Cherries will work.  This year I used dried Cherries which I reconstituted in Cherry Liqueur along with frozen Cherries.  There was an excess of frozen Cherries, so I put the leftovers on top of the cake as decoration.

 

The ingredients you will need for a Black Forest Cake are:

 

1 dozen large Eggs

Water

Granulated Sugar

All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Black Cocoa Powder or a total of 1 cup regular Cocoa Powder

Vanilla & Almond Extracts

 

Cherries

Sugar

Cornstarch

Almond Flavoring

1 Qt. Whipped Cream

 

Note:  For exact measurements and complete directions please go to Black Forest Cherry Cake

 

First of all, gather and measure all of your ingredients.  Separate the Whites from the Yolks and allow them to come to room temperature.

Prepare three 9″layer pans by spraying with a Vegetable Spray and then fitting with Parchment or Waxed Paper.

 

Prepared Pans

             Prepared Pans

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the Flour, Cocoa Powders and 1/4 cup of the Sugar.

Beat the Egg Yolks and 1/4 cup of Water with an Electric Mixer until they are thick and light colored.  Gradually add the Sugar while still beating;  once all the Sugar has been beaten in add the Flavorings.

 

Exchange the Wire Beater for the Paddle Beater.  Sift the Flour Mixture over the Beaten Egg Yolks and slowly beat it in with the Paddle Beater.

 

 

Flour/Cocoa Mixture Beaten in

Flour Mixture Blended in

 

Next using a clean bowl and beater use the Wire Whisk to beat the Egg Whites to a soft Peak.  (Over-beating them will make the cake dry and underbeating them will cause the cake not to rise fully)

           

 

Egg Whties Added

     Egg Whites Added to the Batter

 

Egg Whties Blended In

Egg Whites Blended In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the Egg Whites have been well-blended into the Chocolate Batter, pour into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each layer comes out clean.

 

 

Batter in Pans

                 Filled Pans

 

Set the pans to cool on a wire rack;  once the layers are cool to the touch (about 15-20 minutes) invert onto the rack by placing the rack over the pan and turning over.  Cool the layers completely before assembling.

 

Cooling Cakes

    Cooling Cakes

 

 

While the layers are cooling, prepare the syrup, the filling and the Chantilly Creme.   (This may also be done while the cakes are baking)  See the link above for the recipes and directions.

 

Brush the cake layers with the Syrup.

 

 

Brushing with Syrup

Syrup

Brushing with Syrup

          Brushing with Syrup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the first layer, top side up on a serving plate and spread with the Chantilly Creme.  Add half the Cherry Filling and the second layer of cake.

 

Chantilly Creme and Cooked Cherries on First Layer

Chantilly Creme and Cooked Cherries on First Layer

 

 

 

Repeat the process with the second layer  and then add the third layer.

 

Cherries on Second Layer

   Cherries on Second Layer

 

Use a pastry bag filled with the Chantilly Creme and drop Rosettes on the top of the Cake.  If there is Creme left over, spread it on the sides of the cake.

 

 

Decorated Cake

  Decorated Cake

 

Top each Rosette with a Cherry (if any leftover or use Maraschino Cherries or none at all, if preferred.

 

Finished Cake

  Finished Cake

 

Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.  When serving cut with a serrated knife and cut small to moderate pieces as this is a rich cake.  Delicious, but rich!

 

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Posted by Admin Test - 2016/03/05 at 3:53 PM

Categories: Baking, Dessert Ideas, Fruit, Main   Tags: , , , ,

GINGERBREAD APPLESAUCE CAKE – Culinary Makeovers

Here we go again!  Remember the Gingerbread Waffles made from the leftover pieces of Gingerbread Houses?  Well, with only a 2 person Household, you can only eat Gingerbread Waffles so many days in a row and since I hate to throw good food away, I did it again!  I decided to make cookies with the Waffle Batter and wouldn’t you know, I did not think about putting extra sugar into it – Waffles don’t need a lot of sugar since you usually pour syrup on them or top with sweetened fruit and when we tasted the cookies – uh oh!  They tasted like Gingerbread Biscuits – not very palatable –  so instead of throwing the cookies away, I just dried them out and pulverized them again just like I did with the leftover House pieces.  I then used my Zucchini Bread Recipe as a guide and made a delicious moist Gingerbread Applesauce Cake with Raisins.  This was a delicious and satisfying Breakfast Delight!

 

So here is how I made the Gingerbread/Applesauce Cake.  The recipe can be adapted for use without the leftover Gingerbread pieces.  Just let me know and I will change it for whoever would like it.

 

Pictured below are the cookies – i left them uncovered for a couple of hours to dry them out – they were a moist cookies and would have been really good with some sugar and maybe some raisins added to them.

 

Gingerbread Waffle Cookies

 Gingerbread Waffle Cookies

 

Place the cookies in your Food Processor and chop them up, using the PULSE BUTTON at first;  once they are broken up, then turn it on and run just until they are a fine crumb – not more than a couple of seconds at a time.

 

Measure the crumbs – if you do not have 2 cups of crumbs, adjust the other ingredients accordingly

 

 

  • Gingerbread Crumbs

     Gingerbread Crumbs

    The remaining ingredients that you are going to need are:

     

    1 cup All-Purpose Flour

    1/2 tsp. Salt

    1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

    1 tsp. ground Cinnamon

    1/2 tsp. ground Ginger

    1/4 tsp. ground Cloves (optional)

    3 large Eggs

    1/2 cup Butter, melted

    1 tsp. Vanilla

    1 cup Brown Sugar

    1 cup Applesauce

    1/2 cup Raisins

     

    The Applesauce pictured below was homemade chunky Applesauce

     

     

     

    Applesauce

      Applesauce

     

    This cake was all made in the Food Processor, but if you don’t have one or prefer not use it, you can do this with a Portable Mixer, Standing Mixer, or even with hand implements.

    Once you have your crumbs, Applesauce and Rasins prepared and measured, begin making your cake.

    • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees.
    • Butter, or spray an 8 or 9″ round or square pan and set aside.
    • Combine the Flour, Salt, Baking Soda and Spices in a medium size bowl.
    • Place the Eggs in the Food Processor and run until they are well mixed.
    • Add the Brown Sugar, Butter and Vanilla and mix again.
    • Add the Applesauce and Pulse until it is well distributed.
    • Add the Flour Mixture and run until well – mixed.  (DO NOT OVERMIX!)
    • Add the Raisins and pulse, just until they are distributed throughout the batter.
    • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan;  tap lightly to level and then bake for 45 minutes or until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    • Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack before inverting onto a serving platter.
    Baked Cake

      Baked Cake

     

    Serve warm or at room temperature with Vanilla Ice Cream or top with a Cream Cheese Frosting.

     

    Cake Portion with Ice Cream

     Cake Portion with Ice Cream

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    Posted by Admin Test - 2016/01/19 at 9:58 PM

    Categories: Baking, Cookies, Dessert Ideas, GINGERBREAD HOUSES, Main   Tags: , , , , , ,

    PUMPKIN FOR THANKSGIVING!

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while everyone is trying to think of ways to use the turkey leftover from the Holiday Dinner how about different ways in which to use Pumpkin.  Pumpkin itself, does not taste particularly good but when you add spices and sugar and cream and eggs it turns into something wonderful.  Here are a list of recipes featured in this blog that you can try for your own Thanksgiving Dinner or for Breakfast or Dessert on Thanksgiving Weekend.

     

    When cooking or baking with Pumpkin be sure to use the Sugar Pie Variety.  The larger Pumpkins do not lend themselves to baked or cooked recipes.

     

    DOUBLE DUTY  PUMPKIN WAFFLES

    Making Pumpkin Waffles (26) Making Pumpkin Waffles (29)

    breakfast-items/double-duty-pumpkin-waffles

     

     

    Pumpkin Muffins

    Pumpkin Muffins

     

    PUMPKIN MUFFINS made from the

    Waffle Recipe

     

    Easy to do, just add a little more flour.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    breads/pumpkin-cornbread

     

    Pumpkin Corn Bread

     

    pumpkin-yeast-biscuits

     

    Pumpkin Yeast Biscuits

    Pumpkin Yeast Biscuits

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ravioli de Zucca

    Ravioli de Zucca

    pasta/ravioli-de-zucca

    The Ravioli can be made with Pumpkin or Butternut Squash or any Squash of your choice.  The dark leaves on top of the Ravioli are Sage.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    pies-pastry/pumpkin-pie-in-pecan-crust

    Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust

    Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust

     The Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust looks dark, but it is actually not burned.  In this case, the oven was too high and it baked at a much faster pace than it should have.  Luckily I took it out before it was actually burned.  Everyone loved it and it was gone by the end of dessert time.

    To make the Pumpkin Pie in a Pastry Crust, use the same filling recipe as the Pie in Pecan Crust.  Simply substitute a pastry crust of your choosing.

     

     

     

     

     

    For the ultimate dessert try my pumpkin-cheesecake recipe

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    Posted by Admin Test - 2015/11/21 at 9:23 AM

    Categories: Baking, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Main, Pastry   Tags: , , ,

    WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE EXCESS APPLES #2

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Apple Bread & Muffins:  Use the Apple Bread Recipe to make Muffins as well as Bread

     

    Apple Bread

    Apple Bread

     

     

    Baked Apple Muffins

    Baked Apple Muffins

     

    Pies:  Apple Pies can be made as a Double Crust Pie or as a French Apple Tart

     

    Apple Pie

    Apple Pie

     

     

    Apple Pie Slice with Chees

    Apple Pie Slice with Cheese

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Apple Sauce:  the Apple Sauce pictured is not a true Apple Sauce.  The Apples have been juliened, not pureed.  This gives more texture and flavor.  This version of Apple Sauce is good as a condiment with Ice Cream, Cereal or on top of cake.  To make the Sauce, peel and seed the Apples and then cut into Juiien strips.  If you have a food processor, use the 6 x 6 Julienne Blade to cut them.  Place Julienne Apples in a saucepan that is large enough to hold them along with Brown Sugar (minimum amount), some Water or Apple Juice and cook until the Apples give up their moisture and the resulting mixture is of the viscosity that you want.  If you do a large quantity pack into sterilized canning jars and seal with caps and rings.  Place in a kettle and cover with water to at least 1″ over the tops of the jars and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from the pot and turn upside down on a clean dish towel.  Turning the jars upside down will insure that the lids will seal.  If you use a pot with a rack inside that can be lifted out, this will be the safest way to remove the jars from the hot water.  Let stand upside down until cool.  Turn right side up and tighten the lids.  Store in a cool dry place.  Apple Sauce is great with Pork, Poultry and Seafood dishes.

     

    Apple Sauce

    Apple Sauce

     

    Tarts:  An easy way to make delicious, beautiful tarts is to have on hand some Puff Pastry Sheets.  Peel and slice your Apples and then place on Puff Pastry that has been cut into a circle or square, whichever you prefer.  Place the prepared Puff Pastry on a baking sheet – if you have Silpat, use that or just put the pastry on the ungreased baking sheet.

    Layer the Apples on the Puff Pastry, being sure to leave about 1″ uncovered all the way around.

    Sprinkle a little Sugar and Cinnamon on top of the Apples.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the edges have puffed up to form a rim and are a nice dark golden brown.

    Remove from the oven and brush the Apples with Jelly that has been heated to melt it down to make it brushable.

    Once the Jelly has set up, your tarts are ready to serve.

     

    Large Apple Tart

    9″ Apple Tart

     

     

    Apple Turnovers

    Apple Turnovers

    Apple Turnovers

     

     

    Use your Apples for eating, baking or cooking.  Have fun and enjoy!

     

     

     

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    Posted by Admin Test - 2015/10/08 at 10:20 PM

    Categories: Baking, Bread, Cooking for Kids, Family Fun, Food as Gifts, Fruit, Holiday Ideas, Main, Pastry   Tags: , , , ,

    WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE EXCESS APPLES #1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Do you have an Apple Tree that is a mass producer?  Or do you have friends with Apples that they are trying to get rid of?  If the answer to either question is yes, then here is what you can do with them.  If the answer is no and you need to purchase apples, you can still use the recipes below.  For convenience the recipes are listed in alphabetical order.

     Apple-Cookies

     

    Apple Cookies

    Apple Cookies

     

     

    Apple Braid

    Apple Braid

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Apple Braid

     

    To make the Apple Braid you will need Puff Pastry Sheets – Sliced Apples as prepared for Apple Turnovers, a Baking Sheet and a knife.

    1. Peel, slice and dress the Apples as for the Turnovers.
    2. Lay out a large sheet of Puff Pastry (alternatively use Pie Crust) on a pastry board.
    3. Arrange the prepared Apples down the middle of the Pastry leaving about 2 inches at either end.
    4. As pictured, cut the exposed pastry into 2″ strips.
    5. Lap each piece over the middle, working from side to side.  Fold in the ends so that the Apples are completely covered.
    6. Transfer to a baking pan  that has been covered with baking parchment or a silpat sheet.
    7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  While the oven is heating, brush the Pastry with a beaten Egg White and then sprinkle with Demarara Sugar.  (Coarse, brown Sugar)
    8. Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is a dark golden brown.
    9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a serving platter or cutting board.
    10. To serve, cut into pieces at least 2 inches long.  Best when eaten warm and is very good with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.

     

    Apple Prep

    (1) Apple Prep

    Puff Pastry on Board

    (2) Puff Pastry on Board

     

     

     

     

    Apples down the Center and Pastry Cut

    (3 & 4) Apples down the Center and Pastry Cut

    Finishing the Braid

    (5) Finishing the Braid

    Baked Braid

    Baked Braid

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    Posted by Admin Test - 2015/10/06 at 1:56 PM

    Categories: Baking, Dessert Ideas, Fruit, Main, Pastry   Tags: , , ,

    ANGEL FOOD CAKE – SUMMER PERFECTION

    Angel Food Cake is like it’s name implies – ‘light and heavenly’.  Angel Food Cake is the perfect summer dessert.  It can be eaten plain (and not make you feel too full or sugared out) or it can be topped with Strawberries and Whipped Cream or filled with Ice Cream and covered with a Baked Meringue for a faux ‘Baked Alaska’.

     

    The main structure of an Angel Food is Egg Whites whipped full of air which in turn provides the leavening for your cake.  Because it has no fat, an Angel Food Cake has fewer calories than most other shortened cakes.  There are three main ingredients in Angel Food Cake – Egg Whites, Sugar & Flour. Add a little salt for balance and Vanilla for flavor and lots of air for your leavening agent.

     

    To have your Angel Food Cake come out like it should, just follow a few important rules:

     

    1.  Separate the Egg Whites from the Yolks and make sure that not a speck of Yolk gets into the White portion.  Egg Whites are mainly Protein and Egg Yolks contain a good portion of Fat.  The Whites will not beat up like they should if you get even a tiny bit of yolk into them.  So, when you separate your Whites from the Yolks, follow a few simple rules.

     

    • Separate the Eggs when they are still cold from the refrigerator.  There is less chance of getting the yolk into the white this way.
    • Have a clean bowl for the Whites and another bowl for the Yolks.  Have a second smaller bowl to separate the White into before adding to your larger bowl.  This way, if some yolk gets into the white by mistake, it is only one white that you cannot use, instead of a whole bowl full of them.  If you do get some yolk into the white this way, just combine the White and the Yolk and set aside for another use, such as scrambled eggs or cookies that require a whole egg.
    • If you are not going to use the yolks right away, cover with a thin layer of water and then plastic wrap and refrigerate.  The water will prevent the yolks from drying out.  When ready to use, the water should be easy to pour off or just incorporate them into the eggs.
    • Allow your Whites to come to room temperature before beating them.  Cold Egg Whites will not beat up as well as the warmer ones and therefore will not be able to incorporate enough air to make a light cake.

    2.  Use a tube pan that is large enough to hold at least a 12 Egg White Cake.  Never, ever grease the pan when making Angel Food Cake or other Sponge Cakes.  The lubricant will make the batter fall down and not raise up sufficiently.  The Angel Food Cake needs the ungreased walls of the pan to cling to when raising in the oven.

    Tube Pan

    Tube Pan

     

    3.  Always use Cake Flour for an Angel Food Cake.  (Cake Flour is lighter than All-Purpose and will therefore give you a lighter cake.  Spoon the Flour into a dry measuring cups and level off with a straight-edged spatula.

    4.  Sift the Flour and half the Sugar into a clean, dry mixing bowl.

    5.  Make sure the bowl that you are going to beat the whites into is clean and dry;  any speck of grease or other residue will prevent the Whites from beating up properly.

    6.  Always, fold the flour into the beaten whites, DO NOT MIX – the folding process is an over and under motion.  Beating will deflate the Whites and prevent the cake from raising up properly.

    7.  When you are ready to begin your cake preparation, lower your oven rack to the lowest setting and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    For the recipe go to angel-food-cake/.  This recipe is a 12 Egg White recipe – for a taller cake increase the recipe by 1/2 – use 1 1/2 cups of Whites instead of 1 cup.   Increase all the other ingredients accordingly.  For the increase recipe use a 12 inch tube pan.  The cake pictured in the recipe was made in a 10 inch tube pan.  I prefer the large one because it make a more attractive cake.

     

    Beaten Egg Whites

    Beaten Egg Whites

     

    The best and easiest way to beat your Whites if to use a ‘standing electric mixer’.  hand mixer can also be used but the standing mixer will give you the best results.  As an anecdote, the very first Angel Food Cake that I made was when I was a teenager and decided to make for my Mother for Mother’s Day.  We did not own an electric mixer or even a hand electric mixer.  All we had was a Rotary Egg Beater and this was before they put ball bearings into the wheel.  It took me so long to beat those Egg Whites that I ended up with a blister on my thumb.   If we had even a wire whisk, that would have been infinitely better.  But the Cake turned out fine but I don’t think I made another Angel Food until I owned an electric mixer.

     

     

    Sifted Flour

    Sifted Flour and half the Sugar

     

    Sift the Flour/Sugar mixture over the Beaten Egg Whites and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the Whites.  Be sure and get all the dry ingredients incorporated.

    Folding In Flour

    Folding In Flour

    Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter from the mixing bowl to the baking pan.  Level off the top and then place in the lower third of the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes.  The increased recipe bakes for the same time as the original one as the pan you use is larger.

    Batter in Pan

    Batter in Pan

     

    There are many ways to serve Angel Food Cake – the photos below show two different ways –

    With Ice Cream, Chocolate and Strawberries

    With Ice Cream, Chocolate and Strawberries

    At right, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries,

    Vanilla Ice Cream and a Chocolate Sauce made

    from Bittersweet Chocolate melted with Butter and

    a little Heavy Cream, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla.

    Keep it thin so it can be poured over the cake.

     

    The photo below shows Angel Food Cake with

    fresh Peaches and fresh Pitted Cherries which

    have been cut in half.  Add a little Whipped

    Cream or just pouring Cream and you have a

    delicious dessert or even breakfast.

    Angel Food Cake with Peaches and Cherries

    Angel Food Cake with Peaches and Cherries

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    Posted by Admin Test - 2015/08/04 at 10:57 PM

    Categories: Baking, Dessert Ideas, Fruit, Main   Tags: , , , , ,

    NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER MONTH

    November is ‘National Peanut Butter Month‘. Peanut Butter as we probably all know is made from grinding Peanuts.  Now, technically Peanuts are not actually nuts.  The Peanut does not grow on a tree but rather from plants that are much like Vegetables. Peanuts are also known as ground nuts because of this reason.  But to repeat, Peanuts are not actually nuts;  they are  legumes. Unlike legumes, Peanuts are not usually cooked as a vegetable or even as a main dish.  Instead, they are treated much like the tree nuts – they are roasted and salted and eaten out of hand.  They are chopped up and added to baked goods.  But probably the most popular use for Peanuts is that rich spread we all know as ‘Peanut Butter’.

    Peanut Butter has long been a favorite of kids and adults alike.  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches not withstanding, how many different ways can you think to use Peanut Butter?

    My favorites are Peanut Butter Cookies, Thai Peanut Sauce (made with Peanut Butter) and Reese’s Pieces.  There is Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanut Butter Brownies just to name a few.  So to observe ‘National Peanut Butter Month‘ I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite recipes.  If you have any favorite recipes using Peanut Butter please feel free to share them with my readers.

    /One of my very favorite things is the Peanut Butter Sauce served with Chicken and Beef Satay in Thai Restaurants.  Technically, Satay is an Indonesian Dish but it has become a popular mainstay in Thai Cuisine.  And it is the sauce that really makes the dish!  Try this recipe – if you don’t like Chicken you can always substitute Beef or Pork or even Lamb!     chicken-satay-with-peanut-butter-sauce/

     

    For lunch today I made a Salad with leftover Shrimp Taco Ingredients.  The salad consisted of shredded Lettuce, diced Tomatoes, Cilantro with a squeeze of Lime and Dressed with Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing.  Very delicious and taste bud pleasing.

     

    Shrimp Salad with Peanut Dressing

    Shrimp Salad with Peanut Dressing

    Growing up, Peanut Butter Cookies were always a favorite in our household.  Probably the most intriguing thing about Peanut Butter Cookies is those ‘Criss-Cross’ marks made with a fork.  Why, I don’t know but if the cookie does not have them, there is definitely something missing!  It is those tell-tale marks that tell us that the cookie is a Peanut Butter Cookie.  I know of very few other cookies that use this decoration.  Instead of plain Peanut Butter Cookies, try this recipe that mimics that childhood favorite – the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.  cookies/peanut-butter-jelly-cookies/

    Everybody loves Rice Krispy Marshmallow treats and what better than Rice Kirspy Marshmallow treats with Peanut Butter added to them!  Try it for yourself or your kids and you will never make them without the Peanut Butter again!  /peanut-butter-rice-krispy-candies/

    In Hong Kong there is a favorite street food known as Hong Kong Waffles.  They are soft waffle that can be rolled up.  Before they are rolled they are usually spread with Nutella or Peanut Butter.  They are quite delicious and not at all hard to make if you have a waffle iron.  deserts/hongkong-style-waffles/

    Last but not least there is Chocolate/Peanut Butter Fudge.  This contains two favorites – Chocolate and of course Peanut Butter.  This is a really simple fool/proof fudge recipe that anyone can make in a very short amount of time.  So if you are a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover, be sure and try this recipe.  candy/peanutbutter-chocolate-fudge/

    Then there are the items that we don’t need recipes for.  Celery stuffed with Peanut Butter, Crackers with Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey Sandwiches, etc.

    All in all, enjoy ‘National Peanut Butter Month’ and see which ways you come up with to enjoy this all time favorite.

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    Posted by sylveee - 2014/11/05 at 1:35 PM

    Categories: Baking, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dessert Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Family Fun, Lunch Ideas, Main, National Food Days   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    NATIONAL APPLE MONTH

    October is ‘National Apple Month’ so I decided to look up and see how many different kinds of Apples there are.  Wow, I did not expect to find the number I did – there are literally dozens and maybe hundreds – the only letter in the Alphabet that does not bear the name of an Apple is  ”X”.  There are numerous kinds of Apples for each and every letter, however most of us are familiar with only a small number of them.

     The most common Apples are the Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Pippins and Granny Smith.  The best for eating are the Delicious, of course and the Gala and Fuji.  The best for baking are Granny Smith and Pippins.  The last two are not terribly sweet and have a firm flesh which lends them well to baked goods such as pies and pastries.  For cooking and Applesauce the Winesap and Gravensteins are excellent.  

    My favorite use for Apples is to make Pie and of course, there is nothing as American as ‘Apple Pie’. I also love Apple Turnovers made with Puff Pastry.  Puff Pastry is a pain to make but you can purchase frozen Puff Pastry Sheets which work very well.  You can also use Pie Crust or even Yeast Dough for your Turnovers Shells.

    There are also many other ways in which we can use Apples and so I am going to explore some of them here and reference several really great recipes.  The first one is for Apple Bread – what a good way to use up those Apples from your tree or even the ones you bought.   You can even use Applesauce.  Try the referenced recipe. This recipe makes two to three loaves, depending on the size of the pans you use.  You can also make Muffins from the same recipe.  If there is too much for your family to consume at one time, these loaves freeze well or you can share them with your friends.  www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/apple-bread/

    Apple Pie can be made in various ways – there are French Apple Pies with a streusel topping and then there are the traditional ‘American’ type Apple Pies with both a bottom and a top crust.  The referenced recipe is for a French Apple Pie  which always easy to make because there is only a bottom crust and you don’t have to worry about getting the top crust to fit and look beautiful.  www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/pies-pastry/

    Apple Turnovers are absolutely my favorite way to go!  You can eat them out of hand without utensils;  they are good for Breakfasts on the Go  or for snacks or Desserts.     You can use Puff Pastry or Pie Crust or any of your favorite pastry doughs.

    www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/pies-pastry/apple-turnovers/

    Apple Brown Betty is an old fashioned dish which can also be used for dessert or for Breakfast.  There is no Pie Crust to worry about, just a cumbly topping.  It is fast and easy to make and is great with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream on top.  www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/deserts/apple-brown-betty/

    Caramel Apples are one of my favorite ways to eat Apples.  I love Apples and I love Caramel and nothing goes better together than Apples and Caramel.  And since Halloween is this Month what better treat than Caramel Apples to share with the kids.  This recipe is simple to make and the Apples are fun to eat.  The best Apples to use for Caramel Apples are Granny Smith or Golden Delicious.  Pippins are also good, but make sure that they are somewhat ripe or they will be to tart to eat, even with the Caramel.  www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/halloween-recipes/caramel-apples/

    Remember, October is ‘National Apple Month’ and there is no better time to buy and eat Apples than now.  Even better is if you can pick your own, either from your own trees or nearby orchards.  Play around and experiment – Apples are a wondrous fruit and don’t forget ‘An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away’.  Try a different Apple Recipe for the Month of October – ‘National Apple Month’.  And another reason for eating and using them now is that later on, the Apples you buy will all have been in cold storage which makes them mealy and less tasty.  So take advantage of ‘National Apple Month.  

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    Posted by sylveee - 2014/10/04 at 10:53 AM

    Categories: Baking, Baking Tidbits, Bread, Main, Pastry   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    ADVENTURES IN CHEESE MAKING – RICOTTA AGAIN

    This time I decided to make a batch of Ricotta using Rennet Tablets. It was my understanding that a quarter of a Rennet Tablet would be sufficient to curdle two quarts of milk.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.  When I used the Lemon Juice the heated Milk curdled within about 2 minutes.  With the Rennet, I cooked and stirred with the Rennet added (after the milk came to a boil) for about 10 minutes.  Getting frustrated I added Lemon Juice and it still did not look curdled so I added the rest of the Rennet Tablet.  It finally curdled but did not yield as much Cheese as the Lemon Juice alone did and it was much looser and did not hold its shape.  Fortunately I used the Cheese in Sweet Cheese Turnovers so the thickness did not matter as much.  To add body to the Cheese I also used about half a carton of Mascarpone (thick Italian Cream Cheese).  Next time I will go back to the Lemon Juice.   

    To make the Turnovers I placed the drained Ricotta in a medium-sized mixing bowl and added half a carton of Mascarpone, (about 4 oz.) along with 1 Egg, 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar (this should be to your taste) and some Vanilla. A pinch or two of ground Cinnamon may also be added if desired.   Combine the mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.

    For the Turnovers I used commercial Puff Pastry but you can use Pie Crust or any other type of Dough that you prefer.

    Have a small bowl of cool water at hand to help seal the pastry edges along with a fork to crimp them.

    Lay out the Pastry on a cutting board and cut into 6″ squares.  If needed you can use a clean ruler to measure.  I usually just eye-ball it.  Use a long knife or Pizza Wheel.  Keep your eye on the end point and you will end up cutting a straight line.  If you try to guide the knife or wheel, it is likely that your pieces will end up crooked.  (I learned this little trick from my Mother who used to make all our clothes – when she cut out fabric she always said, keep your eye on the place where you want to end – this will guide your hand  and keep it straight)  It works every time!

    Pastry Squares Pastry Squares

    Arrange the squares so that they are facing you as a diamond.  Place a scoop of the filling on each square.  (I used a #30 food scoop – about 1 1/2 Tbsps.) The filling should be placed just below the mid-point which will give you enough room to fold over the pastry and seal the edges without the filling oozing out the sides.

    Sweet Cheese Turnovers - Filling Added Sweet Cheese Turnovers – Filling Added

    Using your clean finger or a pastry brush lightly coat the edges of two adjacent sides with the water;  fold over into a triangle and then crimp with the fork.

    If you plan on baking the Turnovers right away preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Place the Turnovers on the lined baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each turnovers on all sides.  Even though there is no leavening agent as such in Puff Pastry, the layers formed by the Butter will puff up tremendously.  Once the baking pan is full brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Turbinado Sugar.  Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes (DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR UNTIL THE 20 MINUTES ARE UP).  The Turnovers should be a golden brown when completely baked – if after 20 minutes they are still too pale then bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown.  The Baked Turnovers are the Feature Photo above.

    If you plan on freezing all or part of the Turnovers before baking them you can place them as close together on the sheet that you can as long as they don’t touch each other.  Once they are frozen wrap them in plastic wrap or the parchment and place in a freezer bag.  You can remove and bake as many or as few at a time as you need.

    Sweet Cheese Turnovers  for freezing Sweet Cheese Turnovers for freezing
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    Posted by sylveee - 2014/09/30 at 4:24 PM

    Categories: Baking, Breakfast Ideas, Cheese, Dairy, Dessert Ideas, Main, Pastry   Tags: , , , , ,

    ADVENTURES IN CHEESE MAKING – CHEESE BLINTZ

    Now that I had a batch of fresh homemade Ricotta Cheese the next step was to make something with it.  I decided to make a batch of Cheese Blintz to serve for Sunday Brunch with fresh Strawberries.  The crepes for the Blintz are easiest to work with if the Batter is made at least 1 hour ahead of time and then allowed to rest in the refrigerator.  If you try to make the Crepes right after making the Batter there will be too much air in the batter for the pancakes to form properly.  Now as far as I am concerned, the thinner the crepes the better, but of course you do need to have them thick enough to hold the filling without tearing.  You can use the Sweet Crepe Batter Recipe under the Recipe/Dessert Section of this Blog.  deserts/sweet-crepe-shells/ Just reduce the Sugar in the recipe from 1 Tbsp. to 1 tsp.

     

    I made the Crepe Batter with the residual Whey from the production of the Ricotta.  This reduces the waste that normally would result from making the Cheese.  To make the Crepes, the Filling and the topping just follow the procedure below.

     

    #1 – Make the Batter and refrigerate for at least one hour.

    #2 – Rinse, dry, slice and sugar the Berries.  If using Blackberries, Boysenberries or Raspberries eliminate the slicing procedure.  Place the Berries in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime (for every pint of berries) over the Berries and then toss with 1/4 cup of Superfine Sugar.  Taste and add more Lime Juice and/or Sugar as desired.

     

    Strawberries

    #3 – Make the Cheese Filling for the Blintz.   /deserts/cheese-filling/

     

    Ricotta Cheese Filling for Blintz

     

    4.  Make the Crepes –

     

    Heat the crepe pan until a drop of water splashed on it sizzles;  melt the Butter and stir into the  Batter.

    • Use approximately ¼ cup of Batter (the exact amount depends on the size of the pan)
    • While you are pouring in the Batter, tilt the pan with your other hand to cover the bottom of the pan.
    • When the edges begin to dry and bubbles appear on the crepe surface, turn it over with a heat-proof spatula and cook a few seconds more on the turned side.  (Cook one side to a light brown and the other just enough to set the batter.  This side should still be almost white when you remove it from the pan.) 
    • You will be browning the Blintz in Butter before serving them so you do not want the second side to be cooked too long.

     

    5.  Filling the Blintz –

    • Lay the Crepe Shells on a flat plate or work surface
    • Place a scoop of the Cheese Filling in the middle
    • Fold in the sides and then fold over the top and bottom.  You should have a square package.

     

    Filled Blintz

    Filled Blintz

     

    6.  To Serve –

     

    • Melt enough Butter to make a thin sizzling layer in the bottom of a medium to large frying pan.  When the Butter starts to sizzle add the Blintz, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2″ between each one.
    • When the bottoms brown gently turn and cook the other side.

     

    Browned Cheese Blintz

    Browned Cheese Blintz

    • Serve while hot with the sliced Strawberries and Sour Cream or Whipped Cream as a Garnish.

     

    Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

    Cheese Blintz with Strawberries and Sour Cream

     

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    Posted by sylveee - 2014/07/29 at 11:38 PM

    Categories: Breakfast Ideas, Cheese, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dairy, Dessert Ideas, Lunch Ideas, Main   Tags: , , , , ,

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