Category Archives: dessert

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping: πr ² =Delicious!


The number π ( /paɪ/) is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Not to be confused with Pie, defined as a baked food composed of a pastry shell filled with fruit, meat, cheese, or other ingredients, and usually covered with a pastry crust, which consumed in great portions, can indeed add to the circumference of your belly and increase its diameter.

Growing up as a kid in rural Ohio, we somehow seemed to take for granted the fact our parents always raised such staples as strawberries and rhubarb in a garden that most would envy.  We always seemed to have an abundance of “the good stuff” and seldom did we venture to the grocery store for such staple items when they where in season.

Our days and evenings where filled with playing in the yards and fields near and around our house nestled quietly in the countryside. Having little time to break from the play, we often fortified ourselves with what ever we could peck from the garden. Incidentally, strawberries where always a go-to, so much so, it was little wonder we ever had anything left for our mom to bake a special treat.

Now, as an adult, I have an even greater appreciation for the fresh stuff that grew in our garden- especially when it comes time for Strawberry season. Strawberries eventually lead to such things as pies, shortcakes and the likes. The sweetness of Strawberries, when married to Rhubarb in a pie, is sheer summer heaven to this born and raised in the country boy. This week I had a hankering. So a Strawberry Rhubarb pie I did make. Here is the recipe:

Start with the PERFECT PIE CRUST here.

For Filling-

Ingredients:

* 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
* 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
* 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
* 1 teaspoon orange zest
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Streusel:

* 3/4 c. flour
* 1/2 c. brown sugar
* 1/2 c. butter
* ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

In small bowl combine all ingredients for streusel topping until crumbly. Mix all of the filling ingredients until evenly coated and all of the dry components are absorbed. Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Crimp the edges of the pastry between two fingers or with a fork. Fill the pie with filling then top with streusel mixture. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until filling thickens. Allow the pie to cool for about 20 minutes before serving so it will set up.

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Filed under Baking, crust, dessert, pastry, pie, Rhubarb, Strawberry, Toppings

Perfect Pie Crust


 

*   Yield Makes 1 double-crust for a 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
* 1/4 cup ice water

Directions:

1. Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
2. It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t overhandle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.
3. Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.
4. If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
5. Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
6. Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Do not trim the pastry yet.
7. Fill the pie with filling. Then roll out the second crust in the same manner as for the bottom. Fold circle in half and with a sharp, pointed knife cut little vents in a decorative pattern. Place folded pastry on one half the pie. Unfold, pressing top and bottom pastry together. Trim edges with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold bottom pastry overhang over top and press firmly to seal. Crimp rim, using fingers or the tines of a fork.

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Filed under crust, dessert, pastry, pie

Sweet Corn Ice Cream Shortcakes with Blueberry Compote, seriously!


When I think of summer eating, several things come to mind. Sweet corn, fresh tomatoes on the vine, watermelon and…least we forget- ICE CREAM! Lots and lots of homemade ice cream. When I was a kid, homemade ice cream meant the hand churned kind. You would spend an hour, or so, sweat beading up on your fore head, turning that crank over and over, until it happened. Cool, creamy magic!

The summer time harvest was never short of fresh, delicious flavors to include in your cold, refreshing treat. Honest to goodness vanilla, decadent chocolate, an assortment of fresh fruit, berries and let’s not forget fresh mint! Never did it cross my mind, until this past week, to include sweet corn to that list. That is, until having read an article in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine- Always crafty and inventive, that Martha.

Working from her suggested recipe, I put a few spins on it to call it uniquely mine. I am a bit partial to the use of various liquors when formulating my dessert recipes. As was the case with this corn ice cream, I added another rich, decadent layer by including a wee splash of  The Kracken Black Spiced Rum along with a bit of black sugar. What exactly is black sugar? It’s essentially a homemade brown sugar which includes the addition of Blackstrap Molasses. Similar to Fancy Molasses, it is dark and has a slightly bitter, robust flavor. It is even taughted for its health benefits.

I have to be honest; initially sweet corn ice cream didn’t present itself as being all that appealing. But come on, when is Martha every wrong and pair it with something sweet like this blueberry compote, and it was a sure fire winner! I experimented with the family, a tough batch of food critiques for sure, at our Fathers day gathering yesterday. It was voted a hit hands down!

If you are looking for something a little different in the dessert department, then this will fit the bill nicely. Speaking of dessert, a HUGE thank you to my children for gifting me with an excellent, new cookbook for Fathers day featuring said meal course. I will put it to good use RIGHT AWAY!

Ingredients:

FOR THE ICE CREAM

4 ears corn, shucked

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon The Kracken Black Spiced Rum

2 teaspoons black sugar (see instructions)

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

¼ teaspoon pink peppercorns

9 large egg yolks

FOR THE SHORTCAKES

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cups low-fat butter milk

½ cup whole milk

Heavy cream for brushing

Course sugar, for sprinkling

FOR THE BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation:

Make the ice cream: Carefully cut kernels from cobs, transfer to a saucepan. Break cobs in half; add to saucepan. Stir in milk, cream, ½ cup granulated sugar, rum, black sugar, pink salt and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Let cool; discard cobs.

Place corn mixture in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath. Whisk together egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Whisk 1 cup corn mixture into yolks, then return entire mixture to saucepan, whisking constantly, until custard thickens and can easily coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Strain custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing down solids; discard solids. Transfer bowl to ice-water bath, and refrigerate for an hour.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

Meanwhile, make the shortcakes: Preheat oven to 400°. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, and 1 ¼ teaspoons salt twice into a bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form. Make a well in the center, and pour in buttermilk. Mix until a shaggy mixture forms.

Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, spoon in batter until about ¾ way full. Place in the oven and cook for about 16 minutes. Brush tops of the shortcakes with heavy creak and sprinkle with course sugar. Finish baking for two to four minutes, until cakes are golden brown.

Make the blueberry compote: Bring 1 cup of blueberries, the granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until berries burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining blueberries. Let cool.

Split shortcakes in half, top each with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of blueberry compote, then sandwich with shortcake tops.

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Filed under dessert, Ice Cream, Vegetables

Avocado Cheesecake- Believe It or Not?


Avocado Cheesecake is sure to surprise!

The Element of surprise, Robert Ripley, the creator of the Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” francise made an entire career out of it. The stunning and shocking discoveries made by his francise as a television show, in books and museums baring his name worldwide have fooled and baffled for almost 100 years. Life is full of strange and unusually things and occurrences which happen every day.

 

When Leslie and I  recently decided to treat several of our friends to a dinner party gathering (a rather rare occasion in our world as it is, busy schedules and all) you can imagine the looks of puzzlement as we announced our dessert selection for the evening. The mere thought of it intrigued me when I came across a similar recipe, having  decided to try it out on the unsuspecting and usually very adventurous group of creatives we call our Compadres.

 

I have to admit, the thought of avocado cheesecake seemed a bit off even to a bon a fide fruitcake like me! I have been known to delve into the unknown myself quite frequently but this even seemed to defy my better judgment. Nevertheless, I love nothing more than seeing the blank expressions on the faces of folks when I attempt to step outside the boxes of conformity. There lives a rebel streak in me a mile long…

 

On this occasion, the avocado cheesecake pulled through in spades and proved to be quite a pleasant surprise. We coupled it with a Raspberry Coulis, an additional unusual Elderflower Anglaise cream sauce and handmade fresh mint ice cream. It was either fate or a small miracle all these chances paid off, but I had a group of friends who where all fighting to take the last few bites of our decadent dessert home.

 

If you’d like to taste all this madness for yourself, here are the recipes that bore them.

Avocado Cheesecake

Ingredients:

¼ cup sugar

14 oz. cream cheese

2  ripe, Fresh California Avocados, peeled and seeded

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4  eggs

1 tsp. lemon zest

Graham Cracker Crust (see make-ahead recipe below)

Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup Ritz Crackers

⅓ cup butter

1 Tbsp. butter, to grease pan

Preparation:

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. With a paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese over medium-high speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes.

Add the avocado, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Mix in the lemon zest and pour filling onto Graham Cracker Crust and smooth top with an offset spatula.

Place on top of a baking sheet and bake at 300ºF for 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. In a small bowl, crush Graham and Ritz crackers into crumbs. Combine crumbs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat and mix into crumb mixture with a spoon until well combined.
  3. With the remaining butter, grease the sides and bottom of a nine-inch spring form pan.
  4. Cut out a parchment paper circle to fill in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour the crumbs into the pan and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers.
  6. Bake at 300ºF for 5 minutes to set the crust and cool to room temperature.

Elderflower Cream Anglaise Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup white sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream, St. Germaine’s  and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.
  2. While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon

*St. Germain Elderflower liqueur is made with fresh wild elderflowers picked in the Alps. It’s used here as a mild flavoring.

 

Raspberry Coulis

Ingredients:

1 pint fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients. Blend or process in a food processor. Strain and chill for several hours before serving.

And last but not least. Here is a link to the Fresh Mint Ice Cream I had made a week before the dinner party.

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Filed under Anglaise, Avocado, Cheesecake, Coulis, dessert, sauces

Sure Don’t Make Them Like They Used Too


American, land of the free and home of the brave. Once she was thought to be the land of milk and honey. Full of splendor and promise, she was the belle of the ball, exuding opulence and grandeur. During the late 1800’s, heavy industrialization proliferated throughout the eastern states of a still young America. Fortunes where made and the rich, luxuriated in their lavish lifestyles of wealth and abundance. This sprang forth the Gilded Age, an era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.

The Gold Boom’s of California in 1848 and Colorado in 1859 further expanded both the population and fortunes of our great nation. The Colorado gold rush, which followed approximately a decade after the California Gold Rush, was accompanied by a dramatic influx of emigrants into the region of the Rocky Mountains and exemplified by the phrase “Pikes Peak or Bust”, a reference to the mountain in the Front Range that guided many early prospectors to the region westward over the Great Plains. The prospectors provided the first major white population in the region, leading to the creation of many early towns in the region, including Denver and Boulder, as well as many other smaller mining towns, some of which have survived.

Many struck off to Colorado, looking to stake their own claim on fortune. Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter-turned-real-estate entrepreneur from Ohio, came to Denver in 1860 after a number of adventures in California, Peru, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri. In Denver, Brown purchased several acres of land, including a triangular plot at the corners of Broadway, Tremont and 17th street, where he grazed his cow.

Brown originally left his Ohio home in 1860, planning on striking it rich in California.  However, as his family passed through Denver, his wife liked it so much, she reportedly said to him, “Mr. Brown, thou may press on to California if such be thy wish. I shall remain here.”

Making Denver their home, the Browns soon homesteaded 160 acres on what would later become known as Capitol Hill.  A shrewd businessman, Brown soon developed the acreage into the most influential neighborhood in the city, where the wealthy began to build palatial brownstone mansions up and down Grant and Sherman Streets.

Henry made a fortune from his real estate development; however the economic panic of 1877 nearly destroyed him.  He was forced to sell his palatial estate to Horace Tabor for $50,000, but the enterprising Brown soon recovered his fortune and by 1880 was worth nearly five million dollars, making him one of the wealthiest men in Colorado.

When the Windsor Hotel, one of Denver’s most elegant at the time, would not let Brown enter because he was dressed in cowboy attire, Brown decided to build his own hotel, and in the process, outdo the Windsor. In 1888, he retained architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design a new hotel, the likes of which had never before been seen in Denver.

The Brown Palace Hotel in 1898

Edbrooke designed Brown’s hotel in the Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. For a finishing touch, artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting a native Rocky Mountain animal. The hotel’s “silent guests” can still be seen between the seventh floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.

The Atrium of The Brown Palace, Denver,Colorado.

For the interior, Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby, with balconies rising eight floors above ground, surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. No one knows for sure whether it was done intentionally, but two of the grillwork panels were installed – and remain – upside down. Edbrooke imported onyx from Mexico for the lobby, the Grand Salon (now the Onyx Room) on the second floor, and the eighth floor ballroom. The hotel was hailed as the second fire-proof building in America. No wood was used for the floors and walls, which were instead made of hollow blocks of porous terracotta fireproofing.

After an expenditure of $1.6 million – a remarkable sum for the time – and another $400,000 for furniture, The Brown Palace Hotel opened on Aug. 12, 1892. It had 400 guest rooms (compared to 241 today) that rented for between $3 and $5 a night. There were two banquet halls, a ladies’ ordinary (lounge), and a Grand Salon. The lobby housed a smoking room, a men’s bar, a ladies’ waiting room, and at least 18 stores. Today, there are four restaurants, 11 banquet rooms (all but one on the second floor), a gift shop, spa, floral shop and business center.

There were, and still are, many interesting and unique features about The Brown Palace. Because of its triangular shape, all rooms face the street. Early on, guests were asked whether they preferred morning or afternoon sun. The hotel derives all of its water from its own original artesian well. A huge carousel oven, at least half as old as the hotel and one of only three known to be in existence, still turns out the melba toast, macaroons and other baked goods on a daily basis in The Brown Palace bakery.

The Brown Palace Hotel has been open for business every minute of every day since Aug. 12, 1892. Unlike most and perhaps even all historic hotels, The Brown Palace has never closed for renovation. Instead, it has been remodeled, refurbished, updated and redecorated on an ongoing basis, including the latest $6.5 million restoration of the top two floors, and $3 million for the newly constructed Spa at The Brown Palace.

Standing the test of time, The Brown Palace today remains what it was originally meant to be – a grand, unprecedented hotel. Indeed, The Brown Palace is still known for many of its original qualities: its unusual triangular shape, its stunning, eight-story atrium lobby, its elegant atmosphere, and perhaps most importantly, its ability to treat weary travelers like royalty.

Afternoon tea, a longheld tradition at The Brown Palace.

The Brown Palace is truly a rare gem. Few places exist in this day and age which exude the same grandeur and regalia. They sure don’t make them like they used too! A chance last minute business meeting landed us in Denver last week- on a long Memorial Day weekend, nevertheless. We stayed at the Brown Palace, where we did indeed feel like we had stepped back in time and where we also felt like we were being treated like royalty.

 

What has this all got to do with my meager little food blog, you may ask?

 

 We where also very pleased to find out Denver happens to be a splendid little food town. Here are a few highlights from our food-filled adventure in the Mile High city…

Ship Tavern

located at The Brown Palace, Denver Colorado

Truffle French Fries at Ship Tavern, Brown Palace.

Ship Tavern: The Brown Palace, Denver,Colorado

Ahi Tuna Burger

The Delectable Egg

The California Benedict

Stuffed French Toast

Lou’s Food Bar

1851  West 38th AVE.

Denver, Colorado

Beef Carpaccio, Parmesan, Arugula

White Bean, Harcots Vert, Hard Cooked Eggs and Sherry Vinaigrette

TAG Continental Social Food

TAG is located on bustling Larimer Square in Denver’s historic LoDo downtown district.
1441 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80202

Sample Menu

TACO SUSHI

Lemon Herbed Sea Bass

Wild Boar Chop

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE CAKE

Fresh Mint  Ice Cream Recipe

The Windy Saddle

1110 Washington Avenue

Golden, Colorado  80401

Everythings Golden!

Windy Saddle Cafe

Tuna Salad Sandwich and Chipotle Turkey Club

Afternoon Tea

The Brown Palace Atrium

Tea for Two!

Housemade Pastries

Tea Sandwiches

God save the Queen!

Room Service

The Brown Palace

A fond farewell!

Denver has a fabulous food scene indeed. We just touched the tip of the iceberg in the four days we where there. On a return trip, and very soon, I might add, we hope to visit Table 6,  Riajo, Bistro Vendome,  and Panzano as well as the many other outstanding eateries, food trucks and other culinary delights which Denver has to offer!

Notable Guests at The Brown Palace

Since Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1905 en route to a bear hunt in the Colorado Rockies, every U.S. President except Calvin Coolidge has stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel. Dwight Eisenhower even ran his 1952 presidential campaign from offices on the second floor of the hotel.

During World War II, troops were quartered at the Brown Palace Hotel and soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division were known to rappel from the balconies, much to the management’s chagrin.

Pop-star Billy Joel once joined the lobby pianist for a duet, and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cat was once lost in the hotel heating system.

The Beatles stayed at the Brown Palace during their 1964 tour and the hotel was inundated with applications from young women eager to work as housekeepers during their stay.

The Rolling Stones brought more than 200 pieces of luggage during their two-night stay in 2003.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Carrots, Curry, dessert, Eggs, Meat Dishes, Pork, root vegetables, Salmon, sauces, Side Dish, street food, Tuna, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Fresh Mint Ice Cream


Fresh Mint ice cream at TAG

Ingredients:

1 Cup whole milk

¾ cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Pinch of salt

2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves

5 large egg yolks

Preparation:

Warm the milk, sugar,1 cup of the cream and salt in a small saucepan. Add the mint leaves and stir until they are immersed in the liquid. Cover and remove from the heat. Let steep at room temperature for one hour.

Strain the mint-infused mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan (the milk will be a nice shade of emerald green).Press on the mint leaves to extract as much of the flavor as possible, then discard the mint leaves. Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into a large bowl and set the strainer on top.

Rewarm the mint-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the sauce pan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through a strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Freeze in an ice cream freezer about 45 minutes to an hour, until ice cream is set. Chill in a freezer for at least two hours before serving.

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Filed under dessert, Herb, Ice Cream, Mint

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream


Brioche Pain Perdu

On a cold snowy day, nothing beats baking to warm the house and heart. Not to mention it can be an enjoyable way to pass an otherwise dreary day. I did just that yesterday, baking up a decadent loaf of hot, buttery brioche with the intent of experimenting with a few pain perdu recipes I have been toying around with.

Pain Perdu, to the layman, is the proper French name for what us Americans typically call French toast, in honor of its origin. Broken down to its French essence, pain perdu translates to lost (stale) bread. The stale bread is brought back to life by bathing it in a fabulously rich concoction of egg and milk. (Or cream if you really want to take it over the top!)

When it comes to breads, nothing can be more French than Brioche. Many a French chef has coveted their own personal formula for this buttery treat. When on can master the balance of butter to air and not over work the dough, an airy bread that is both light to the feel but heavy on taste is the optimum result.

Having achieved a decent facsimile, my next goal was to produce a pain perdu with an orange liqueur sauce that would taste like a bite of sunshine. Using freshly squeezed orange juice and a few splashes of both rum and triple sec, I managed to transport us directly to the grove stands and orchards of Florida. Leslie gave me the thumbs up with her approval, so I think we have a winner.

This recipe takes some juggling to get it just right and have everything arrive at the plate in the appropriate time frame, but here it goes…

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

-Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 inch thick slices of stale brioche

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil

Crust:

1 cup crushed graham crackers (about 6 squares)

2 teaspoons roasted cinnamon

2 teaspoons raw sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place graham crackers in a bowl or food processor, crushing the contents being careful not to turn the cracker into dust. Add the cinnamon and sugar, gently blend with a fork and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat heavy whipping cream with vanilla. Bring to a slow simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar until it turns a pale, yellow color. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Take one slice of bread and dip it into the mixture, about 7 seconds on each side. Transfer to a cookie sheet and repeat the process until you have no remaining slices. TIP: This works best if your bread is really hard and stale. If your bread is fresh, you can recreate the same texture by placing your brioche slices in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dredge each soaked slice of brioche in the crust mixture, making sure all sides are evenly coated. Transfer back onto baking sheet.

Place skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and oil together. Dip a ball of paper towel into the oil mixture and coat the skillet. One by one, grill each soaked slice of brioche until it is slightly brown (approximately 1-2 minutes per side). Transfer back to cookie sheet. Bake the french toast in the oven for 10 minutes. TIP: Between grilling each slice, use the paper towel to swipe the skillet clean and reapply another thin layer of oil mixture each time.

Serve by glazing the plate with Orange Liqueur Sauce. Place Pain Perdu over top and glaze with another light layer of Orange Liqueur Sauce and a drizzle of Grade A Maple Syrup. Dust with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of honey vanilla whipped cream. Garnish with fresh orange slices and a sprinkle of grated orange zest.

Orange Liqueur Sauce

-Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice

1 oz. Spiced Rum (Sailor Jerry’s is our rum of choice!)

2 teaspoons Triple Sec Orange Liqueur

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon orange zest

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together orange juice, rum, triple sec, cornstarch and sugar until thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and zest. Serve warm.

Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp honey

½ teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

In a chilled bowl, using chilled beaters, beat all ingredients until well thickened and peaks begin for form. Place immediately in refrigerator until ready to use. Whipped cream can be spooned into peaks onto chilled plate and flash frozen for 15-20 minutes to keep them from running upon serving with hot foods such as French toast, pancakes or waffles.

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Filed under Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, dessert, Flavored Whipped creams, Rum, sauces

Bread Pudding w/ Bourbon Sauce


 

Bread Pudding

 

Ingredients

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Method

Bourbon Sauce:

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made. Makes 8-10 servings.

 

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Filed under bourbon, dessert, sauces