Tag Archives: Dessert

Creme Brulee

27 Feb

What is your favorite dessert? I am not much of a sweets person, but I really do love me some creme brulee. And I was shocked to find that I hadn’t yet shared my award-winning creme brulee recipe here.

creme brulee

A number of years ago, I was talking to my colleague and fellow foodie friend, Randy about the creme brulee they had at Kincaids and I told him that *I* could make a better creme brulee than they do. I think their proportion of custard to topping is not quite right and their topping still has crystallized sugar bits in it. He claimed that he could also make a better one than theirs and then challenged me to a creme brulee-off. So we, along with quite a few other colleagues, had a creme brulee contest at work. There was quite a bit of excitement around the contest and while Randy had some technical difficulties in making his creme brulee, the two of us came in first and second.

I took first place in the contest.

This is something that I remind Randy of every once in awhile…because he’s an amazing cook and would beat me at anything else, if I ever chose to challenge him. But just this one time, I won. While we were talking about the problems which led to him losing to me, he told me which recipe he uses. It’s this one right here – the same recipe I used. But his special secrets were to use vanilla bean and superfine sugar. And those just so happen to be the same two things I always make sure to use. So, while we worked independently of each other, we both used the exact same recipe with the exact same “secrets”. Take that as the highest endorsement for THE BEST creme brulee recipe.

ingredients

Here’s the reason for the superfine sugar – it dissolves very quickly and completely, making for a creamy dessert, with great texture and without any crystallization in the custard. It also melts very well when making the burnt sugar topping so you get the great contrast of a cool, creamy custard and the crunchy, brittle burnt topping.

And the vanilla bean imparts such a great flavor, better than any vanilla extract can provide. Plus you get the tiny black vanilla seeds at the bottom of your custard, which to me makes it all the better.

So here’s how you make it.

Combine the cream, sugar and the sliced and scraped vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

heating

While the cream is heating, separate your eggs

yolk

and whisk the yolks in a medium bowl or a glass measuring cup like I did here.

whisk

After the cream comes to a simmer, turn the burner to the lowest setting, put the lid on your pan and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and strain the cream mixture.

straining

You’ll want to whisk in a little bit of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs or keep the eggs from immediately scrambling when you add them to the hot cream.  So pour a little bit of the cream into the eggs, mix well, and then add a little more.

tempering

When the egg mixture is warmed up enough, pour it all into the hot cream.

hot cream

Mix it well, then pour it into the ramekins. I like to use the large glass measuring cups for all of this mixing and whisking and such, because it makes it a whole lot easier in the end to pour the custard into the ramekins.

filling the ramekins

My ramekins have a little ledge near the top that I use as a guide for how full they should be.

Into the pre-heated oven they go for about 30-35 minutes.

dsc_0104

When they jiggle slightly, but are mostly firm, they are done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool until you can pick up the ramekins, then put them in the fridge to chill completely. Or if you live in Minnesota in February, you can put them outside on the patio for a few hours instead!

Now comes the fun part – pulling out the torch and burning the sugar!

sugar

Top the custard with about 1/2 a tablespoon of superfine sugar. You want to cover the entire top, but don’t want too deep of a layer of sugar.

sugar added

As you can see here, my super-fine sugar has clumped. And because I was too lazy to sift out the lumps, I left them in  and you’ll see that they all melted. But you could certainly be a better person than I and sift the sugar first.

Now, light your torch. Some of you may have those cute little hand-held creme brulee torches that have a gentle little flame…but I learned all about burning creme brulee in a restaurant where we had the industrial size torch, so I went to my local hardware store and got one of these for myself. And I love it!

the torch

Take your time and keep the flame about 2 inches away from the custard. You can leave your ramekin on the countertop and burn it that way, or you could live on the edge as I definitely do and pick it up and turn the custard while moving the flame around the top, gently melting and burning the sugar.

burning_1

burning_2

burning_3

burning_4

burnt

Once all the sugar has melted and is nice and dark, you’re done!

I like to burn all my creme brulee immediately before serving them. I think they taste best that way and it is also entertaining for the dinner guests. Sometimes, they want to learn to burn their own. Dinner AND a show!

Serve with fresh berries or tropical fruit like papaya or kiwi fruit.

served

Creme Brulee
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 6

Ingredients

Custard
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

Topping
3 tablespoons sugar
Fresh berries or other fruit

Preparation

Make custard:
Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. Place six 3/4-cup ramekins in 9”x13″ pan and add 2-3 cups of hot water to the pan. The water should come halfway up the side of the ramekins.

Use small knife to split the vanilla bean the long way and scrape out the seeds. Mix the cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and mixture just comes to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Then strain into a large measuring cup.

Whisk the yolks in a medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend. Pour that mixture back into the rest of the custard in the large measuring cup; pour equally among ramekins. Carefully transfer the pan to oven.

Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours in refrigerator.

Make burnt sugar topping:
Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of superfine sugar evenly over each custard. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold blowtorch so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes.

You can refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours but no longer than 4 hours so that topping doesn’t soften. Garnish creme brulee with fruit and serve.

 

Easiest Apple ‘Pie’

5 Aug

plated1

You know those nights where you think… oh mannnnnnnn.. I wish I had apple pie? (Especially after being tormented by DELICIOUS CAKE RECIPES. Thanks, B!)

Well, here you go, this is the world’s EASIEST substitute. We often have puff pastry sheets languishing in the freezer after some savoury pie, like the leek and chicken pie we made last week. Usually there are offcut pieces that you know will be difficult to use up.

All you need is an apple, a little butter, sugar, alongside some puff pastry offcuts, and you can make this pie like deliciousness.

ingredients

I pre-heated the oven, and then started by peeling, quartering, coring and slicing an apple. I went for a Granny Smith this time, but I am pretty sure I have used every type of apple over the years. Slice them a few milimetres thick… no idea what that is in inches, but thin-ish.
peelslice

I then started to assemble them. Lay your puff rectangles on some baking paper on a baking tray. Mine were around 2 inches by 5 inches, but you can have any offcut size and adapt your topping to suit.

Fan out the apple, this is half an apple on each piece of pastry. Then sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of sugar, and dot with a teaspoon and a half (or so) of butter.

fan_applesugar_butter

Then into the oven…. I baked these for 30 minutes, then while they were still warm, served with ice cream. Cream would work well also.

plated2

Voila… so simple. Also kind of impressive for so little work!

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Easiest Apple ‘Pie’
ingredients (for two)

Two pieces of prepared puff pastry (around 2 inches by 5 inches)
1 apple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
2 scant teaspoons of white sugar
3 teaspoons of butter

Preheat oven to 175C/350F.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and assemble the ‘pies’. Fan half an apple the length of each pastry base. Sprinkle the sugar over the apple, and then dot the butter the length of the apple.

Bake until pastry edges are golden, around thirty minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

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Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake

15 Jul

Mmmmmm, cake is a good direction in which to take this series of blog posts. I’m glad Alice posted that recipe for the Lemon Syrup Cake…I think she has just introduced me to my new favorite cake.

On the subject of rich cakes, how about this one??

Image

I spotted this cake on Pioneer Woman’s blog. I follow her on Facebook and she posted such a tantalizing photo that looked so interesting that I was compelled to try it. I’ve made it a few times now. That’s how you know it’s good.

The first time I made it, my friend Karen and I didn’t want to use strawberries, so we went ahead and swapped them out for cherries. It was a really good choice.

ramekins_cherry

Also, I thought it might be interesting to mix it up and make individual desserts, so we baked those in ramekins. Also a good choice as the cakes were a little gooey in the middle and altogether quite delicious.

The next time I made it was for my little friend’s birthday.

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I used strawberries as the original recipe suggests.

We melted the butter, added the cocoa and boiling water

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Isn’t that pretty??

Mixed together the dry ingredients, then poured the melted chocolate into the bowl while mixing it on low.

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Word to the wise…do as I say and not as I do. I spilled a significant amount of the hot chocolate mixture while attempting to pour it straight from the pan into the mixer.

After mixing together the liquid ingredients,

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pour it into the chocolate mixture and voila!

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Prepare the cake pans by lining them with rounds of baking paper and spraying them with non-stick cooking spray. Then pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake.

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Alternately, grease some ramekins and fill them 3/4 full of batter. This recipe would make at least 12 ramekins full of cake.

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Bake the cakes. When they are finished, let them cool before turning the large cake rounds out onto a cooling rack.

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Peel the parchment paper off the back of the cake before cooling on the rack.

The individual cakes don’t need turning out. You can build the cake right in the cute little baking dish.

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While the cakes are cooling, whisk up some whipping cream and confectioners sugar in the mixer.

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The whipped cream was quite a hit with the helpers.

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Here’s the fun part – building the cakes!

building the cake

First a layer of Nutella on the cake

Nutella

Topped with a nice dollop of whipped cream

whipped cream

Then add the berries

strawberries

Add the second cake and repeat.

For the individual cakes it’s even easier. Keep the cakes in their baking dishes, add the layer of Nutella

ramekins_Nutella

ramekins_covered

Yum!

Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and the berries.

ramekins_final

Done! Now enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake
by the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:
2 sticks butter
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup Nutella

FOR THE FRUIT:
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 round baking pans with parchment, then spray the parchment with baking spray.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir it until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, let the mixture bubble up for 20 seconds or so, then turn it off and set it aside.
In a measuring pitcher or bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the hot chocolate mixture, stirring gently until it’s halfway combined and less hot. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue stirring gently until the batter is all combined.
Pour the batter into the pans and bake them for 17-20 minute, until they’re just set. Remove them from the pans and set them aside to cool completely.
B’s option: For ramekin cakes, spray the ramekins with baking spray and fill them 3/4 full of batter. Bake for 15 minutes and check with a toothpick to see if the cake is fully baked.
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by stirring them with the sugar and the vanilla. Let them macerate for 15 minutes, then drain off the excess juice.
B’s option: I used the strawberries without any vanilla or sugar, however, I did macerate the cherries for that cake. The cherries would also be good soaked in an almond liqueur for more a grown up treat.
Whip the cream with the powdered sugar.
To assemble, turn one layer upside down on a serving platter. Spread half the Nutella all over the surface. Spread on half the whipped cream and top with half the strawberries. Place the other layer upside down on top and repeat with the rest of the Nutella, whipped cream, and strawberries. Keep chilled until serving. Cut with a serrated knife!
B’s option: For the ramekin cakes, leave them in the baking dish, spread them with a layer of Nutella, top with a dollop of whipped cream, then the fruit. Serve individually, with a spoon.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Cambria. I hope your wish came true!!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

10 May

That sweet potato cake that Alice made looked so good. I love cakes and breads made with vegetables such as zucchini bread, pumpkin pie or carrot cake. It’s that interesting mix of the vegetables you are used to eating as a savory dish, but mixed with sugar, butter and flour they become a delicious sweet treat.

Carrot cake is my specialty. I make it quite often and as a three-layer cake, it’s quite a special and sophisticated treat with the great spices and the tender crumb.

Carrot Cake

Last weekend, I had my friend Brittany and her two girls, Cambria and June come by for a fun sleepover at my house. After a raucous time in the pool, then a good night’s sleep, the girls helped me make a carrot cake. Let me tell you, if you ever need some great entertainment, have two little girls help you bake.

Carrot Cake helpers

We trimmed and shredded the carrots. I don’t ever bother peeling the carrots I use for carrot cake. I just wash them, trim the ends off and shred them in my trusty old (emphasis on the old) food processor.

shredding carrots

We carefully measured our ingredients into the mixer

ingredients

…paying special attention to the sugar.

sugar

After all the cake ingredients were added, we scooped the shredded carrots into the mixer. As you can see, we were quite hands on with our baking.

hands on baking

I neglected to get a photo of the baking pans that Brittany very carefully greased and lined with rounds of parchment paper for me, but here’s what they looked like filled with the cake batter.

Carrot Cake in pans

While the cakes were in the oven, we mixed up everyone’s favorite part of the cake – the cream cheese icing! It’s hard to go wrong with a beautifully creamy sweet filling and topping for this moist layer cake. It’s made up of four ingredients that you cream together in a mixer.

the icing!

We just tossed all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and started mixing. As you can see below, we had quite the poof of powdered sugar that got all over the counter. If you aren’t interested in having your entire kitchen covered in a very fine layer of sugar, you may want to mix up the cream cheese, butter and vanilla FIRST, then add the powdered sugar very slowly.

creamy icing

The next step, of course, is to taste the icing. Which my helpers were VERY happy to take care of for me.

tasters

helper!

In the meantime, the cakes were finished. They made my house smelled SO GOOD!!

cooling rack

After they cooled in the pans for about fifteen minutes, I turned them out onto a cooling rack until they were completely cool. Then began assembling the cake.

one...

As easily as…

one and done

one…

second layer

…two…

three layers

…three…

fully iced

…and voila!

carrot cake cut

cake!

Of course cake is always best shared with a friend. On the patio. On a nice day.

cake!

You can serve it immediately or put it together a day ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for maximum moistness.

It won’t stick around for long.

gone!

Alice?

TRIPLE-LAYER CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Bon Apetit

Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
(optional) 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
(optional) 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed or parchment paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins, if using.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10-15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake

19 Nov

Alice’s dessert was so beautifully light, fresh and delicious. This dessert is not light or fresh but is delicious…and rich and decadent. As we are heading into our Thanksgiving week here in the US, it’s a time to indulge in all those rich, decadent foods that you steer clear of the rest of the year.

If you have never made a cheesecake, you might think it’s difficult but it really is not that hard. It’s involved, yes, but not difficult. You’ll make this one in three separate steps – crust, filling and caramel topping. So jump on in and give it a try.

You will need a spring form pan for this. They can be found at most house ware stores. I got mine at Target.

First, you’ll need to make the crust. This crust is a fun change from the traditional graham cracker crust – it calls for ginger snaps. I like the thin little ginger cookies that you can get at IKEA, so that’s what I used. I put them in a zipper bag and crushed them with a rolling pin. Actually, I used a wine bottle, which is what I use as a rolling pin when I can’t find mine.

Melt the butter and combine with the crushed cookies and brown sugar. Remember to pack your brown sugar into the measuring utensil to get the proper measurement.

Pat the crust mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan, making sure to get up to the edges. Then wrap the bottom and sides of the spring form pan in aluminum foil. Later you’ll be baking it in a water bath, so this prevents the water from getting into your cake.

Bake the crust at 350°F (175°C) for 14 minutes until it is slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool, keeping the oven at temperature.

In the meantime, mix together your filling – the actual cheesecake part. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to easily blend all of the ingredients.

First beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Then add the butter and drop the eggs in one by one before adding the vanilla.

When everything is fully combined, pour the filling over the crust and place the pan into a larger pan, adding about one inch of water to the larger pan to make a water bath. This will keep the cheesecake from cracking and will give you a beautifully creamy final result.

Bake for an hour and 10 minutes, until the top shakes slightly when jiggled and is lightly browned.

Remove pan from water bath, remove foil from pan and place hot cheesecake uncovered into the refrigerator overnight.

And now on to the caramel topping. It’s amazing to me that a few simple ingredients can make such a wonderfully complex and rich caramel!

Stir water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has all dissolved, then turn up the heat to bring it to a boil. Let it boil without stirring until the syrup turns a deep amber color, about 9 minutes.

Pour in the cream and reduce the heat. Let it simmer until thickened and reduced a bit, about 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool for about 15 minutes before pouring onto the top of the cheesecake.

Pour the caramel over the cheesecake and spread in a smooth layer. You can sprinkle some sea salt over the top for a wonderful sweet/salty flavor. If you have any of the caramel left over, it also makes for a tasty topping for ice cream.

Chop up toffee bars – I used mini Heath Bars – and sprinkle around the top edges of the cake.

Let the cheesecake chill for at least two hrs or overnight.

Remove the spring form pan ring and serve.

If you are celebrating a special occasion, you can put a candle in it and sing Happy Birthday to your dear friend before cutting into it.

Alice, I don’t know if you could handle all this richness! Where can we go from here?

Toffee Crunch Caramel Cheesecake
Bon Appétit
Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Gingersnap crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies (about 7 1/4 ounces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

Cheesecake:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel topping
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 1.4-ounce English toffee candy bars (such as Heath or Skor), chopped

For gingersnap crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 9-inch springform pan with 2 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Stir ground cookies, butter, and sugar in medium bowl until moist clumps form. Press cookie mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Wrap outside of pan with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Bake crust until firm and beginning to darken, about 14 minutes. Cool crust. Maintain oven temperature.

For cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in butter, then eggs, 1 at a time, until just blended. Beat in vanilla. Pour batter over crust in pan. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cake uncovered until filling is puffed around edges and moves slightly in center when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove pan from water; remove foil. Place hot cheesecake uncovered in refrigerator overnight.

For caramel topping:
Stir sugar, water, and lemon juice in large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until mixture turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Chill until thickened but still pourable, about 15 minutes.

Spoon caramel over top of cake just to edges (do not allow caramel to drip down sides). Garnish top edges with chopped English toffee. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides.

Mascarpone Semifreddo with Roasted Rhubarb

27 Jul

How perfect did Brenda’s Brazilian version of crème caramel look?

One of our readers asked for ice cream recipes PLUS I am looking after a house with very healthy rhubarb plants PLUS I discovered Spanish Moscato, a rich raisiny fortified sherry. That is how this dish came together.

The thing with making ice cream, is having a good enough churn. But a semifreddo is unchurned, and in fact, this one is uncooked also. It is in the peasy realm of easy.

This is simply some rhubarb roasted in the oven, alongside a semifreddo, made with whipped cream and Mascarpone cheese, flavoured with some of the sherry. In fact, you could try other liqueurs if the Moscato sherry isn’t sitting on your bench. Semifreddo has a slightly firmer texture to ice cream.

I was experimenting with the recipe as I went, so I haven’t taken ‘how to’ photos this time. It is such a simple recipe, you’ll be fine!
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Moscato Mascarpone Semifreddo
serves 6
ingredients

300ml (1/2 pint) cream suitable for whipping (thickened cream in Australia)
135g (4.5oz) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
250g (a small tub) Mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tbs Moscato sherry (You could experiment with other sweet syrupy liqueurs)

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until soft peaks form, then fold through the Mascarpone and sherry.

Line a tray, that will fit in your freezer, with baking paper (I used a slice baking tray). Spread the cream mixture in to an even layer on the paper. Cover with cling film and leave to freeze, overnight if possible, but 6 hours would be fine if it is thin like mine.

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Roasted Rhubarb

ingredients

500g (1 pound) rhubarb, leaves discarded.
80g (a bit under 3oz) caster sugar (superfine)
2 tbs water

Preheat the oven to 180/350.

Rinse the rhubarb, and cut in to identical length pieces. Place the rhubarb in to a baking tray, and sprinkle with the sugar and toss around a little to coat. Drizzle the water over and cover with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes, and then pull out of the oven and remove the foil. Carefully turn the pieces of rhubarb in the pan, so as not to break them. Spoon over the sugar and water which will have now started to dissolve. Put back in to the oven for another five minutes uncovered. It will be ready when it is tender to the prod of a knife, yet is still maintaining its shape.

Allow to cool a little before serving.

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To assemble

Toast up some almond slivers in a dry pan over medium heat, being careful to move them around as they cook so they don’t burn. The time will depend on your pan and how hot it gets, but around five minutes. Take them off the heat when they are lightly golden.

Place the rhubarb on the plates, with a little of the syrupy juice. Cut the semifreddo in to triangular pieces with a hot chef’s knife, and place on the plate beside the rhubarb. Heat the knife by dunking it in a jug of hot water, and then quickly drying it with a tea towel.

Garnish with some of the freshly toasted almond slivers, and maybe a tiny sprig of mint.

There you go Kandis, an ‘ice cream’ recipe for you.

Over to you B… Don’t suppose it is rhubarb season in Minnesota?!

Pudim de leite condensado (Brazilian-style flan)

17 Jul

We’ve worked our way through an entire meal with the addition of the delicious rabbit dish that Alice shared here, so now who is interested in dessert?

It seems that most countries have a variation on this classic dessert – custard, creme caramel, flan, etc. This is the Brazilian version, which is very simple.  With only three ingredients, you might say that it’s as easy as 1-2-3. (Ok, there are actually four ingredients, but we won’t count the sugar for our purposes here)

First, whisk together the eggs until they are smooth and a little frothy

Then mix in a can of sweetened condensed milk

Then fill the can twice with milk

Let that sit for a few minutes while you make the caramel sauce. Letting it rest for a while will allow the bubbles in the custard mix to settle down a little before baking.

In a small frying pan, heat the sugar until it has all melted and is dark amber in color

Pour the melted sugar into the baking dish, making sure that the bottom of the pan is completely coated

Top it with the liquid custard

Put filled pan into a water bath – which is as simple as a baking sheet with about an inch of hot water in it.

Place onto middle rack of a preheated oven

Bake for one hour at 350 F

Let it cool for about 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a deep dish serving plate. The sauce is very runny and sticky, so be sure it doesn’t spill all over your counter by using a serving dish that is deep enough to catch it all.

Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Well, Alice, we’ve had our little bite of sweetness. What’s next??

Pudim de leite condensado

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cans of milk (use the empty condensed milk can to measure)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups of sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl until smooth, then add the sweetened condensed milk and mix together. Use the empty condensed milk can to measure two cans of milk into the mixture and combine well. Set aside.

In small frying pan, heat up sugar until it is all melted and amber in color. Pour into 9 inch round or tube baking dish, ensuring that the bottom is completely coated with the caramel.

Top with the liquid custard. Place the baking dish into large pan and add an inch of hot water to make a water bath, being careful not to let the water splash into the custard.  Slide it carefully onto the middle rack of the oven and let it bake for one hour. When done, remove it from the oven and the water bath and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Run a knife carefully around the edge of the pan to loosen the custard before turning it out onto a deep serving plate.

Chill before serving. Spoon a bit of the sauce over each piece.

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