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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Nonni’s Biscotti Bites

biscotti-bites-3-bags-230

We want many bites! Photo by Elvira Kalviste
| THE NIBBLE.

 

The history of Nonni’s Biscotti begins in the little town of Lucca, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany. There, among meandering cobblestone lanes and venerable piazzas, one particular Nonni (an endearing term for Grandma) made biscotti for her family and friends.

When Nonni moved to America almost a century ago, she continued baking the family biscotti to acclaim. One day, her children decided to take the recipe to the bank, creating the Nonni’s brand—now the number one brand of biscotti in the U.S.

In the modern manifestation of the American Dream, the company was sold to a private equity investment firm several years ago.

Since then, the original classic biscotti have been joined by two line extensions:

  • Nonni’s ThinAddictives, a melba toast-thin alternative to dense biscotti, introduced last year.
  • Biscotti Bites, smaller size biscotti.
  •  
    In Tuscany these biscotti are called cantucci di Prato—cantucci (con-TOO-chee) for short. They were originally baked with almonds from the plentiful almond groves of Prato, a town in Tuscany.

     
    A cantuccio (plural: cantucci) is a hard almond biscuit. The name cantucci means “little stones,” the stones referring to the almonds.

    We are very keen on the Biscotti Bites, and appreciate that the smaller size gives us a great biscotti experience with fewer carbs. Each is a two-bite treat; the suggested serving size, five pieces, is 120 calories. But two or three pieces is more than enough, and one can suffice.

    The varieties include:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites, an almond biscotti with the bottom edge dipped in dark chocolate. Classic deliciousness!
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites, our favorite, a chocolate biscotto with a chocolate dip; bits of salted caramel are mixed into the dough.
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites combines dried cranberries and almonds; it is dipped in a vanilla yogurt coating.
  •  

    Rich in flavor, crunchy in texture, Biscotti Bites are the perfect coffee break snack. We relish them:

  • With coffee or tea.
  • With ice cream.
  • As a chocolate fondue dipper: Dip into a shallow pot or bowl of chocolate fondue (you can’t easily spear the biscotti on a long fondue fork).
  • As dessert bruschetta, spreading the tops of the biscotti with mascarpone.
  •  
    The Italian dessert tradition of dipping biscotti and a glass of vin santo—a sweet late-harvest wine—doesn’t really work here. Plain biscotti are typically dipped into the wine, which softens the biscotto and adds the sweetness of the wine.

    Biscotti Bites are too short to dip, and the chocolate or yogurt coating kind of interferes with the honey notes of the wine. But the work-around is: Don’t try to dip; sip and bite, alternatively.

    The shiny, perky bags are just waiting for you to make someone happy. Bring to a friend’s house, to teachers, to hairdressers and anyone who deserves some tasty crunch.

     

    tea-cup-biscotti-bag-230

    Our new favorite snack with tea or coffee. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by United States K.

    There’s a store locator on the website, or you can buy them online:

  • Almond Dark Chocolate Biscotti Bites
  • Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Biscotti Bites
  • Very Berry Almond Biscotti Bites
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: The Easiest Peach Pie Is A Galette

    It’s National Peach Pie Day, peaches are in season and there’s no reason not to make a luscious peach pie. It’s just fresh peaches and a bit of sugar in an easy, handmade crust.

    If you’re not a natural pie baker, there’s a simple way to do it that requires absolutely no skill in rolling a crust. It’s a galette, also called a rustic pie or rustic tart.

    Galette (gah-LET) is a term with multiple meanings, depending on the category of food. In the pastry world, a galette is a rustic, round, open-face fruit pie. It is flat, with a flaky, turned-up crust that wraps around the filling to creates a “bowl.” It hails from the days before people had pie plates

    RECIPE: GALETTE AUX PÊCHES, RUSTIC PEACH PIE

    Ingredients

  • 4 ripe peaches,* sliced into eighths
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (you can use less, especially if the peaches are very sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Optional: 1 cup blueberries (see this variation from
    McCormick.com—see photo below)
  • Pâte sucrée (sweet pastry dough—recipe below)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  •    

    peach_galette_2_froghollowfarm-230

    A peach galette. If you don’t want to bake, you can order this one, or send it as a gift, from Frog Hollow Farm. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream
  •  
    *You may end up needing more peaches, depending on their size. So you may want to have a few extras on hand, or fill in with blueberries.
     

    Galette Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, discard the plastic wrap and place the dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper (or you can just use a floured surface).

    2. ROLL out the dough into a 13″ circle. Do not force or stretch the dough.

    3. TRANSFER the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. (The dough can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.)

    4. TOSS the peach slices gently with the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Arrange them in concentric circles atop the crust, leaving an edge of 2 inches. Fold over the edge of the dough up, one fold at a time (you should have five folds). Press on the corners to seal the tart.

    5. BRUSH the beaten egg white on the 2″ dough border. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool slightly before serving if you want a warm pie. It’s also delicious at room temperature or straight from the fridge.

     

    blueberry-peach-galette-mccormick-230

    Peach galette with blueberries. Photo
    courtesy McCormick.

     

    RECIPE: PÂTE SUCRÉE, SWEET PASTRY DOUGH

    Pronounce this dough pot soo-CRAY. It’s the buttery crust used for tarts.

    The dough can be made up to two days in advance.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
  •  
    Crust Preparation

    1. PULSE the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the chilled butter cubes, continuing to pulse until the mixture looks crumbly and there all pieces of butter are about the size of a pea. Gradually pulse in the cold water until the mixture still looks crumbly, but holds together when pinched.

    2. MOVE the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and firmly press into a disk. Place the dough in the fridge and chill for an hour or longer.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F and follow the instructions for Galette Preparation, above.

      

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tomato Cupcakes

    tomato-cupcakes-kaminsky-230

    A first for most of us: tomato cupcakes!
    Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet
    Blog.

     

    Before raising an eyebrow, remember that tomatoes are a fruit!

    And cookbook author Hannah Kaminsky, who developed this recipe, is a fan.

    “When it comes to the divide between sweet and savory, the line that separates the two is becoming thinner and more difficult to distinguish with every passing year.” says Hannah.

    “Palates are opening up, eaters from all walks of life are growing more adventurous, and chefs are gleefully pursuing their wildest culinary dreams. In a world with such a vast array of flavors, there must still be countless winning combinations merely waiting to be discovered.

    “In my eyes, tomato cupcakes aren’t such a stretch of the imagination. Tomato soup cakes have been around since the turn of the century as a thrifty way of making something sweet in times of sugar rationing. Originally dubbed “mystery cake” as a way of concealing the secret ingredient, you’d never know there was tomato present in the tender crumb.

    “Taking inspiration from these humble origins but with the desire to celebrate the bold, beautiful tomatoes now in season rather than bury them in an avalanche of sugar, it seemed high time to revisit the idea of a tomato cake.”

     

    RECIPE: TOMATO CUPCAKES WITH BALSAMIC FROSTING

    “You can truly taste the tomato in these fiery red cupcakes,” says Hannah. “Not only that, but the unassuming beige frosting holds yet another surprise taste sensation: A tangy punch of balsamic vinegar, tempered by the sweetness of the rich and fluffy matrix that contains it.

    “Trust me, it’s one of those crazy things that you’ve just got to taste to believe. Although it may sound like an edible acid burn, that small splash is just enough to brighten up the whole dessert.

    “While tomatoes are still at their peak, sweet as ever and available in abundance, now is the time to experiment and try something new. Don’t call it a secret ingredient this time around and finally let them shine when the dessert course rolls around.”

     

    Ingredients For 15-16 Cupcakes

    For The Tomato Cupcakes

  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, roughly blended, or
    1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  
    For The Balsamic Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic reduction
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 1 tablespoon milk
  • Optional garnish: small basil or mint leaves
  •  

    tomato-cupcakes-top-down-kaminsky-230

    The cupcakes photographed in the garden. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F and line 15-16 cupcake tin wells with papers.

    2. COMBINE the blended (but not completely puréed) tomatoes, olive oil, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.

    3. WHISK together in a separate large bowl the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make sure that all the dry goods are thoroughly distributed before adding in the wet ingredients. Mix everything together with a wide spatula, stirring just enough to bring the batter together and beat out any pockets of unincorporated dry ingredients. A few remaining lumps are just fine.

    4. DISTRIBUTE the batter to the prepared cupcake pans, filling the papers about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers pulls out cleanly, with perhaps just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not wait for the tops to brown, because the centers will be thoroughly overcooked by then. Let cool completely before frosting.

    5. MAKE the frosting: Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat briefly to soften before adding in the confectioner’s sugar, balsamic glaze and vanilla. Begin mixing on low speed until the sugar is mostly incorporated, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer up to high and slowly drizzle in the milk as needed to bring the whole mixture together. Continue whipping for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

    6. FROST the cupcakes and garnish as desired.

     
    *NOTE: All of Hannah’s recipes are originally vegan. We converted them to dairy for THE NIBBLE’s readership.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Lemon Ice Box Mini Tarts

    Aida-Mollenkamp-Meyer-Lemon-Icebox-Bites-Recipes-230r

    Meyer Lemon Icebox Mini Tarts. Photo
    courtesy Aida Mollenkamp.

     

    When you want just a bit of dessert, this recipe from Chef Aida Mollenkamp is fun finger food. Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 3 hours of baking and setting time.

    If you can’t find Meyer lemons, the juice of which is less acidic, you can use regular lemons (Eureka or Lisbon lemons—see the different types of lemons). Or, Chef Mollenkamp suggests, substitute equal parts of orange and lemon juice.

    These are not true “ice box tarts,” because the shells require baking in the oven. But the filling sets in the fridge, hence the reference from Chef Mollenkamp.

    RECIPE: MEYER LEMON ICE BOX MINI TARTS

    Ingredients For 48 Bite-Size Tarts

    For The Crust

  • 8 ounces vanilla wafers or graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Custard

  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (14 ounce) container sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, softened
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    *Chef Mollenkamp uses organic (unrefined) cane sugar.
     
    For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream, for garnish
  • Candied citrus or ginger
  • Thinly sliced mango or kiwi, or garnish of choice (pomegranate arils add a red highlight)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

    2. MAKE the crust. Place wafers or graham crackers in a food processor and process until broken up (you want 2 cups total). Add butter and pulse until moist. Divide mixture among two mini muffin pans (24-wells) and press mixture evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the muffin wells. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes; then remove from oven.

    3. MAKE the custard: Whisk or blend remaining ingredients together until smooth then divide among prepared crusts. Place in the oven and bake until edges are set but center is still a bit loose, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

    4. COVER and freeze until chilled and set, at least 2 hours or overnight. When frozen, run a small butter knife dipped in hot water around the perimeter of each tart and remove. Cover and return to freezer until ready to serve. (This can be done up to 2 weeks in advance.)

    5. SERVE frozen or chilled, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and, as desired, a piece of candied ginger or citrus or a slice of fresh kiwi, and serve.
     
    Note: These tarts are best eaten when still frozen or chilled. The tarts should be eaten within 30 minutes of removing from freezer for best texture.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Classic Peach Pie

    To us, summer means fresh peach pie—a flavor that’s not easy to come by commercially. To enjoy its pleasures, you’ve got to bake your own.

    When summer peaches are ripe and juicy, they don’t need a whole lot else to make a terrific pie. In this recipe, an optional tablespoon of dark rum “takes it over the top,” says Annie.

    Serve the pie warm with vanilla ice cream—or if you can find it or want to make it, peach ice cream (an exquisite flavor that’s even hard to come by than store-bought peach pie). You’ll be making summer memories for everyone who tastes it.

    This recipe is by Annie of Annie’s Eats, for Go Bold With Butter.

    RECIPE: Classic Peach Pie

    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Pie

  • 2 rounds basic pie dough (recipe below)
  • 2-1/4 pounds ripe peaches (about 10-12 medium peaches)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  •    

    peach-pie-goboldwithbutter-230

    Serve homemade peach pie with a side of vanilla or peach ice cream. Photo courtesy Anna | Go Bold With Butter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F and place a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack to catch dripping juices. Roll out half of the pie dough to approximately 12-inches round so that it fully lines a 9-inch pie plate with some overhang. Transfer the lined pie plate to the refrigerator until ready to use.

    2. PREPARE the filling. Peel* the peaches and slice them to 1/4-inch thick slices. In a large bowl, combine the peach slices with the sugar, flour, cornstarch and nutmeg. Toss to coat. Add in the lemon juice and rum and stir once more until well combined.

     
    *If the peaches are not quite ripe or are not peeling easily, score the bottom surface of each with an “X”. Pop them into boiling water for 30 seconds, remove with a skimmer and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. This should help make the peels come off more easily. See “How To Ripen Peaches,” below.

     

    869382-colander-SXC-230

    Peaches fresh from the orchard. Photo by
    Alaina Cherup | SXC.

     

    3. REMOVE the lined pie plate from the refrigerator and pour in the peach filling in an even layer. Dot the top of the peaches with the pieces of cold butter.

    4. ROLL out the remaining pie dough to a 12-inch round. Cut into strips with a pastry cutter or paring knife and weave together to form a lattice top (here are step-by-step photos and instructions.) Trim away excess dough and crimp the edges together. Lightly brush the top and edges of the pie dough with the egg wash.

    5. BAKE for 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 350°F; continue baking until the pie is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 30-40 minutes more. Check on the pie a few times during baking. If it is browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil and continue baking as directed.

    6. REMOVE the finished pie to a wire rack and let cool until just warm, about 2 hours. Slice and serve.

     
    RECIPE: BASIC PIE DOUGH

    Pie crust dough can be made ahead and frozen for up to two months.

    Ingredients For 2 Nine-Inch Pie Crusts

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons very cold water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly to blend. Add in the butter pieces and mix on medium-low speed to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas. Mix in the cold water on low speed just until the dough comes together.

    2. DIVIDE the dough in half and shape into 2 balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

    3. REMOVE dough from the refrigerator. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface. Use as directed in the pie recipe.
     
    HOW TO RIPEN PEACHES

    Simply leave hard peaches on the kitchen counter, but here’s a tip: Set them upside down, on their shoulders instead of their bottoms, not touching one another. If you have a spot where they will receive some direct sunlight, that will speed the ripening (but be sure it’s not hot, baking sunlight).

    To really speed the ripening, place the peaches in a paper bag. The ethylene gas given off by the fruit hastens ripening. A banana added to the bag will provide even more ethylene, for even faster ripening.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: S’Mores Pie, Ice Cream Cake & More

    no-bake-smores-pie-browneyedbaker-230

    A no-bake s’mores pie. Photo courtesy Brown
    Eyed Baker.

     

    You don’t need a campfire to celebrate National S’mores Day. Here are recipes that are just as much fun.

    First, a no-bake S’mores Pie, the creation of Brown Eyed Baker, Lauryn Cohen. Here’s her recipe, shown in the photo.

    The marshmallows are browned with a chef’s torch (most popularly used to make crème brûlée).

    Prefer cake to pie? Here’s a S’mores Ice cream Cake recipe from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

    RECIPE: S’MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs,* divided
  • 1 loaf pound cake or chocolate pound cake
  • 1 rectangular container (1-1/2 quarts) chocolate ice cream
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • Optional garnish: chocolate sauce
  •  
    *You can substitute a prepared graham cracker crust for the crumbs, sugar and butter. You will still need some graham cracker crumbs for garnish.

    Preparation

    If you have a chef’s torch, use it instead of the broiler in Step 3.

    1. LINE a broiler-safe 8×8-inch glass or metal baking dish with foil, overlapping the edges of the dish with the foil (to help lift out the cake). Cut the pound cake into 1-inch slices (or as thick as desired) and tightly pack into a layer.

    2. SOFTEN the ice cream at room temperature for 5 minutes; remove the carton from the ice cream and cut the ice cream in half. Place both halves on top of the cake layer, trimming as necessary. Use a spatula to press and spread the ice cream evenly. Add a layer of graham cracker crumbs. Cover and freeze solid, 30 minutes or more.

    3. PREHEAT the broiler with the rack in the lower part of oven. Remove the ice cream cake from freezer; top with marshmallows (tightly placed together), spreading to edges of pan, pressing down to seal. Place cake under broiler, 8 to 10 inches from heating element. Broil until marshmallows are puffed and golden, 2 to 3 minutes, watching constantly.

    4. REMOVE from oven, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs and drizzle with optional chocolate sauce. Cut and serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE: S’MORES CUPCAKES

    Ingredients

  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Marshmallow creme
  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate bar
  • Optional: mini marshmallows
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BAKE or buy chocolate cupcakes. Frost with marshmallow creme. Add optional mini marshmallows and brown with a chef’s torch.

    2. DECORATE with pieces of chocolate bar and graham cracker.

     
    Ice Cream Cupcakes Variation

    Instead of marshmallow creme, substitute vanilla or marshmallow ice cream. Garnish with mini marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

     

    smores-cupcake-ps-230

    It’s easy to assemble s’mores cupcakes. Photo courtesy Crumbs.

     

    RECIPE: S’MORES ICE CREAM

    Some brands offer s’mores ice cream; but you can make your own. You get to add your preferred form of marshmallow into this recipe: either a marshmallow creme swirl or mixed-in mini marshmallows.

    Ingredients

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate chips or chunks
  • Graham crackers, crumbled
  • Mini marshmallows or marshmallow creme
  • Optional: waffle cones
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SOFTEN ice cream on counter. If using mini marshmallows, cut them in half in half.

    2. SWIRL marshmallow creme through the ice cream; alternatively, mix mini marshmallows into the ice cream.

    3. MIX in chocolate chips and graham crackers. Return ice cream to freezer.

    4. SERVE in bowls, with chocolate pound cake, or in a waffle cone.
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Rice Pudding Day

    Here’s a fun take for National Rice Pudding Day: rice pudding tartlets. These are made in rustic style by Frog Hollow Farm.

    You don’t need tartlet pans that turn out fluted, rigid tart shells. Instead, just roll the dough and fold the edges over the filling—the style known as galette. Rice pudding replaces the traditional fruit filling.

    Just make your favorite rice pudding recipe and this galette dough:

    RECIPE: GALETTE DOUGH

    You can make this dough up to 2 days in advance. Wrapped in plastic, then in foil, it can be frozen for up to a month.

    Ingredients

  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  •  

    rice-pudding-tartlet-froghollow-230

    Rice pudding tartlets. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE 3/4 of the butter on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard, 30 minutes or longer. Refrigerate the remaining butter.

    2. COMBINE flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add the refrigerated butter and pulse 10 times to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. There should be some small, pea-size clumps.

    3. ADD the ice water and pulse 10 more times until just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers to make sure it holds together. If not, pulse a few more times, as necessary.

    4. EMPTY the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Gather the dough, bringing the edges together and pressing it into a mass. Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic.

    5. ROLL out the dough, still wrapped in plastic, into 1/2-inch-thick disks, four inches in diameter (for individual tartlets). Refrigerate for least 45 minutes.

    6. Place filling in the center of the circles. Pleat the dough around the filling and bake until the crust is lightly golden, for about 15 minutes in 375°F oven.
     
    RICE PUDDING RECIPES

  • Adult Rice Pudding Recipe
  • Layered Rice Pudding Bars Recipe
  • Leftover Rice Rice Pudding Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: No Bake Coconut Cheesecake

    Hankering for cheesecake but don’t want to turn on the oven?

    Here’s the third in our series of no-bake desserts, an idea from Jessica at How Sweet Eats. It was featured on VermontCreamery.com, which has delicious recipes using fresh goat cheese.

    Jessica adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart’s No-Bake Cheesecake], a full-size cheesecake made with cream cheese. Jessica used a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese for a tangy twist.

    Jessica serves the dessert in individual jars for panache. You can use ramekins, glass dishes or 5-ounce juice glasses, or whatever you have. You’ll find step-by-step photos at HowSweetEats.com

    RECIPE: NO-BAKE COCONUT CREAM CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 6 Individual Cheesecakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes for topping
  • Whipped cream or coconut whipped cream for topping
  •  

    coconut-cream-cheesecake-no-bake-vtcreamery-230

    It may not look like a classic cheesecake, but it has all of the satisfaction with none of the baking. Photo courtesy How Sweet Eats | Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX together butter and graham crumbs in a small bowl until moistened. Press crumbs into the container of your choice (jar, ramekin, etc) with the back of a spoon.

    2. BEAT cream cheese and goat cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, scraping down the sides when needed, until combined and smooth. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the condensed milk and then the coconut milk, continuing to scrape down the sides until the mixture is very smooth. Add in extracts and stir.

    3. POUR cheesecake mixture evenly over top of crusts. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
     
    OTHER NO-BAKE DESSERTS

  • No Bake Pineapple Cheesecake Recipe
  • No-Cook No-Bake Cookbook
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Blueberry Pie

    deconstructed-blueberry-pie-lindaanctil-230

    Deconstructed blueberry pie à la mode.
    Photo courtesy Linda Anctil.

     

    We are huge fans of Linda Anctil, a Connecticut-based chef and caterer whose blog, PlayingWithFireAndWater.com, makes us want to show up at meal time and befriend her. She’s a great deconstructionist chef and caterer, and it’s a pleasure to look at her concepts and photos.

    She deconstructed the all-American bluebeerry pie with:

  • Sous vide blueberries (see below)
  • Blueberry sauce
  • Blueberry “cheese”
  • Roasted flour nuggets
  • Lemon balm frozen yogurt
  • Garnish: lemon balm leaves
  •  
    You can see the full recipe here. It requires professional skills and equipment.
     
    But you can make an easy version even if your main skills are simply gathering and assembling.

     
    Here’s what we did:

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED BLUEBERRY PIE

    Ingredients

  • Saucepan-cooked blueberries instead of sous vide
  • Blueberry purée (sauce) made from some of the cooked blueberries
  • Blueberry sorbet (purchased)
  • Greek frozen yogurt (purchased—plain, vanilla or blueberry, or vanilla ice cream)
  • Pie crust or tart crust balls, or sugar cookie dough balls (we rolled tart crust, which is firmer and more buttery, into balls. You can add sugar if you wish.)
  • Garnish: lemon balm or mint leaves
  •  
    Pre-scoop the small balls of sorbet and larger balls of frozen yogurt or ice cream and place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for quick assembly.

    To assemble, follow Linda’s photo, above.

     

    WHAT IS SOUS VIDE?

    Sous vide, pronounced soo-VEED and meaning “under vacuum,” is a cooking technique developed in France in the 1980s. Since then, it has been used by the greatest chefs to assure consistency in turning out fine meals.

    Portions are prepared in individual, sealed plastic bags that are cooked in a water bath. Previously only available for the professional kitchen, a consumer model debuted in 2009. It’s for the serious cook.

    Some benefits of sous vide cooking:

  • Once you get the hang of it, it makes cooking easier. Whether for entertaining or for family meals you can prepare the food to precisely the temperature you want (no more meat thermometers!) in a fraction of the time.
  • If you’re cooking multiple portions of temperature-sensitive foods for a dinner party—fish or steak, for example—sous vide ensures that every piece is cooked exactly the same.
  • You can prepare in advance, partially cook the food in the individual portion bags, and then finish the cooking in minutes.
  • The individual sealed bags make plating and clean-up easy.
  •  
    Here’s more about sous vide cooking.

     

    sous-vide-set-230

    Sous Vide enables adventurous cooks to use an alternative cooking technique. Photo courtesy Sous Vide.

     

    BLUEBERRY TRIVIA

    There are two types of blueberries.

  • Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on tall bushes; some cultivars reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. The berries are larger and more abundant than lowbush blueberries, although their flavor may be somewhat less intense and sweet.
  • Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), also referred to as wild blueberries, grow in Maine and the colder regions of eastern North America. The shrubs grow no taller than two feet and may be smaller, depending on soil and climate, and produce small, exceptionally sweet bluish-black berries. If you want to plant a bush or two, these are hardy plants that do well in all soils, even poor, rocky types, providing the drainage is good.
  •  
    These statistics are from Wikipedia:

  • Michigan is the leader in highbush blueberry production. An old statistic in Wikipedia credits Michigan farms with producing 220,000 tonnes (490,000,000 pounds) of blueberries, accounting for 32% of those eaten in the United States. Other states with substantial commercial acreage of highbush blueberries are New Jersey, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
  • Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America with 24,291 hectares (60,020 acres) under cultivation. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine.
  • Georgia, with about 10% of production (that’s 77 million pounds), has the longest harvest season in the U.S., lasting from late April through the end of July.
  • Hammonton, New Jersey claims to be the “Blueberry Capital of the World,” growing more than 80% of New Jersey’s blueberries.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: No Bake Frozen Pineapple Cheesecake

    frozen-pineapple-cream-cheese-torte-safeeggs-230

    Frozen, not baked. Photo courtesy
    SafeEggs.com.

     

    Following up on yesterday’s review of the No Cook, No Bake Cookbook, we have a no cook, no bake dessert for you: Pineapple Cream Cheese Cake.

    It’s not from the cookbook. Rather, it’s the winner of the “No Bake Recipe Contest” sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs, pasteurized eggs that eliminate the worry of salmonella, especially in:

  • Recipes where the eggs are not cooked (Caesar salad, egg nog, mousse, steak tartare, etc.)
  • Cookie or cake recipes where you have the tendency to eat the batter before it’s cooked.
  •  
    Here’s more about pasteurized eggs.

    The prep time is 35 minutes, freezing time is 6 hours.

    RECIPE: FROZEN PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE TORTE

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1-1/4 cups ground gingersnaps (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 pasteurized eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped fresh or crushed canned, drained well
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cup whipping cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE gingersnaps and panko in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until crumbs are evenly moistened. For easy removal from pan, place parchment paper along the bottom of your springform pan before pressing in crust. Press onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch springform pan.

    2. BEAT egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

    3. BEAT cream cheese and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, until smooth. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Add egg yolks and beat well. Mix in pineapple and vanilla.

    4. BEAT cream in another medium bowl until whipped. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture, then fold in whipped cream. Pour filling over crust and freeze until set, 5 hours or overnight.

     

    Ingredients For The Glaze

  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup pineapple juice*
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (or to taste)
  •  
    *If using a can of crushed pineapple for the torte, you can reserve the pineapple juice for glaze.
     
    1. COMBINE sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add pineapple juice, and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.

    2. COOK over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat, add the rum, and cool completely.

    3. TO SERVE: Let cheesecake sit at room temperature 5 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cake to loosen and remove pan sides. Top cheesecake with glaze and cut into slices.

     

    safest-choice-eggs-carton-2-230

    Look for pasteurized eggs for any recipe with raw eggs. Photo courtesy SafeEggs.com.

     

    DOES FREEZING KILL SALMONELLA?

    Alas, no, as can be seen from the recent outbreak of salmonella poisoning involving an ice cream product, reported food safety expert Dr. Robert Gravani, professor of food science at Cornell University, in The New York Times.

    Freezing just keeps the bacteria in a state of suspended animation. When they warm up (in the case of frozen cheesecake, when they hit the digestive tract), they come back to life.

      

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