Poached Pear Phyllo Triangles

 

Merry almost Christmas. I wanted to share another dessert, because it is the season to eat desserts after all. The funny thing about this recipe is I accidentally bought Phyllo dough instead of puff pastry when I made it. The original recipe called for puff pastry and was pretty difficult. I ended up making poached pears wrapped in phyllo dough and worked with what I had. It was delicious. This is the version I created:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 star-anise pad
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, scrap out seed and reserve
  • 4 to 5 Bosc pears, peeled and halved and cored
  • 1 package phyllo dough, thawed
  • Butter, 1/2 cup (1 stick), melted

Directions:

Combine first 6 ingredients and heat over high heat until sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes. Add pears and assure they are completely covered in liquid. If not, add a bit of water until covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cover with a piece of parchment paper, pressing it directly on top of pears. Simmer until tender when you pierce with a fork (20-30 minutes). Transfer pears to a bowl and set aside. Heat liquid to high and boil until reduced to 2 cups. Pour liquid over pears, refrigerate until cool (30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once pears are cool, work with the phyllo dough by taking 2-3 sheets at a time, cut into 4 equal strips and butter the surface. Place approximately 2 TBS  pears 1 inch from the end of each strip. Fold into a triangle by placing one end over and over until complete. Lightly butter top of triangle. Place seam side down on baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Spiced Apple Cake

 

Christmas is upon us. It is my favorite holiday. I love everything about Christmas; family gatherings, decorations and especially delicious food. I decided to start baking some new desserts and this cake was first on my list. Found in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine and on marthastewart.com, it is delicious and could be a great sweet side to accompany Christmas breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butted, melted and cooled slightly, plus more at room temperature for brushing
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch rounds, seeds removed
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with butter. Line bottom and 2 long sides with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang. Butter parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, all the spices, set aside. Whisk eggs until pale and foamy. Whisk sugar and vanilla into egg mixture until combined. Add 1/2 of flour mixture, then 1/2 of butter and sour cream, repeat with remaining until all combined (do not over mix). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.

Toss apples with lemon juice and place on top of batter evenly.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Apples should be tender and toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Warm jam in saucepan until brush-able consistency, immediately brush on top of cake when it comes out the oven. Let cool completely on wire rack. Lift cake form pan when cooled.

 

 

 

Bananas Foster

It makes complete sense that Bananas Fosters is the dessert we made at the cooking class I attended in New Orleans. After all, it was invented at Brennan’s in New Orleans. Born from the once booming banana trade in New Orleans, this dish was invented by Ella Brennan in 1950. Her brother, then owner of the famous Brennan’s on Bourbon Street, Owen Brennan, asked Ella to invent a dessert that would honor the New Orleans Crime Commission Chairman, Richard Foster. Inspired by the Baked Alaska, Ella caramelized bananas with brown sugar, butter and liquor, set it aflame and served it over ice-cream. It was instantly a hit and is still served to this day at Brennan’s in New Orleans. if you get a chance to visit NOLA, pay this place a visit and try this delicious dessert. In the meantime, here is the recipe so you can make it on your own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur
  • 4 oz. dark rum
  • ground cinnamon
  • ice cream

Directions:

Melt butter and add brown sugar to form a creamy paste. Let this mixture caramelize over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.

Stir in the banana liqueur, bananas and rum. Heat and ignite. Agitate to keep flame burning and add a few pinches of cinnamon to the flame.

Let flame go out and serve over ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My daughter and I love the Great British Baking Show. We love how there is no drama and it is such a light show. I always want to bake something after I watch it and now I call cake “sponge.” The sponge on this cake is delicious. Who am I kidding, the entire cake is delicious and it helped that I used the best candied cherries I could find. This recipe was found in: Firehouse Food; Cooking with San Francisco’s Firefighters and was written by Lt. Lou Bacciocco.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices in heavy syrup
  • 6 maraschino cherries, cut in half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Directions:

Adjust the oven rack to the center and pre-heat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 X 13 inch pan. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with brown sugar, pour the melted butter over the sugar. Drain the pineapple slices reserving 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS of the syrup. Place the pineapple slices over the brown sugar in even rows. Place a cherry half in each of the pineapple slice holes, facing up.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg yolks on medium speed with the granulated sugar for 3 minutes. Add the reserved syrup and beat for 1 more minute. Stir in the flour mixture until well incorporated.

Wash and dry the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks develop (3-4 minutes on high). Using a rubber spatula, lightly fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed.

While the cake is still hot, run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan, place on a platter by inverting onto the surface you will be serving the cake on. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Swiss Roll Cake with Strawberry Jam

 

My daughter and I have been watching the Great British Baking Show. With that being said, it inspires both of us to bake new things that we haven’t tried before. I decided to give a swiss roll a try. The sponge was delicious but I will keep working on the perfect jam. I found the sponge recipe on the website http://www.letseatcake.com. The only problem with this recipe for me was that all ingredients were in grams. I did my own conversions and the result was a delicious and light sponge. The strawberry jam recipe was found on http://www.allrecipes.com.

Sponge

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar + 2 TBS for dusting parchment paper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Create caster sugar if needed by pulsing granulated sugar 15 times in a food processor, set aside. Line 9X13 pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl. Separate egg yolks and whites into separate bowls. Add caster sugar and vanilla to egg yolks, whisk and set aside. Whip egg whites to soft peaks, set aside and clean mixer. Whip egg yolk mixture on high until the mixture has grown in size 3 to 4 times and batter has reached ribbon stage (approx. 5 min). Fold in the flour mix. Fold in the egg whites mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

While it is cooking lay a piece of parchment paper out and dust it with 2 TBS sugar. When cake is done flip it immediately onto parchment paper. Remove the paper it was baked on. Score the short end closest to you 1/2 inch from the end and begin to slowly roll up until entire cake is rolled. Cool before adding the filling.

Jam Directions:

Crush strawberries until you have 4 cups of mashed berries. In a heavy bottomed saucepan mix together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Stir often until it reaches 220 degrees F.

 

 

 

Hazel’s Fudge

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My best friend Georgette’s mom, Hazel, makes the best fudge I have ever tasted. I am not joking, no other fudge has compared. Well, I have the recipe and I have yet to master it. When I do, I will tell you how I did it. For now, I am going to get the recipe up and see what you can do with it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 bags semisweet chocolate chips , 18oz total, so 1 full 10oz bag and 1 cup and 2 TBS from 2nd bag
  • 8 ounce marshmallow cream
  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts (I prefer no nuts, so I omitted this)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Use a deep pot and bring sugar and milk to a boil. Stir constantly for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add all additional ingredients, use a hand mixer for this (that’s one of her secret moves that makes this recipe so tasty). Pour into a buttered pan and refrigerate.

 

Chocolate Mousse

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Chocolate Mousse is one of the most decadent desserts. I have tried to make it several times with some successes and some not so much. This batch was yummy and the recipe I used was from the Professional Chef app, which is the Culinary Institute of Americas book in app form.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz. butter
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 TBS water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Rum, as needed (optional)

Directions:

Before preparing assemble desired dishes for mousse. Combine the chocolate and butter and melt over a hot water bath or double boiler. Combine the egg yolks with 1/2 the water and 1/2 the sugar over a hot water bath or double boiler until it holds at 145 degrees for 15 seconds, remove from the heat and whisk until cool. Combine the egg whites with the remaining sugar in a mixer bowl and whisk over a hot water bath or double boiler to 145 degree. Remove from heat and whip to full volume, continue whipping until cool. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the chocolate into the egg yolks. Then, fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk-chocolate mixture. Fold the whipped cream and add the rum if using. Immediately pipe or ladle the mousse into dishes or molds.