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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 Desserts

RECIPE: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

cheesecake-bites-driscolls-230

How about some cheesecake-stuffed
strawberries? Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

 

Here’s another no-bake recipe from Driscoll’s berries. Strawberries filled with a simple cheesecake filling are a bite-sized treat and better-for-you option than, say, a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

For ease of preparation, make the filling and prep the strawberries ahead of time; then assemble just before serving.

Prep time: 20 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

RECIPE: NO BAKE CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) fresh strawberries
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon graham cracker, vanilla wafer or shortbread
    cookies
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE a baking sheet with waxed paper. Cut the top off each strawberry and core out the center with a melon baller. Place on the baking sheet and set aside.

    2. BEAT the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until creamy and evenly blended. Place the cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a corner cut off. Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the strawberries.

    3. MELT the chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power or in a bowl set over simmering water. Place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner. Pipe the melted chocolate over the strawberries. Chill in the fridge to set, at least 15 minutes.

    4. TOP with cookie crumbs and serve on a plate or tray.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Burrata & Fruit Dessert

    We love burrata, and love it all the time since our local Trader Joe’s always has it in stock.

    In this recipe from EatWisconsinCheese.com, burrata provides a different take on a fruit and cheese dessert. It’s more special than simply putting out a platter of cheeses and fruits, but not much more difficult.

  • Using lush summer peaches or nectarines.
  • Instead of burrata, you can substitute fresh goat cheese, mascarpone or ricotta—or a bit of each!
  •  
    RECIPE: BURRATA & FRUIT

    Ingredients

  • Burrata
  • Granola
  • Sliced fresh fruit
  • Honey
  • Optional garnish: pistachio nuts
  •    

    burrata-peaches-eatwisconsincheese-230

    A simple dessert with delicious, fresh flavors. Photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. SCOOP granola into an individual bowl or onto a dessert plate.

    2. SLICE fruit and arrange atop granola.

    3. TOP with two quarters of a burrata.

    4. DRIZZLE with honey and garnish with chopped pistachio nuts.

     

    sliced-whole-230

    Burrata: a shell of mozzarella with a
    creamy center. Photo by Elvira Kalviste |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    WHAT IS BURRATA

    Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, creamy and luscious, made in the Apulia region of Italy. The name means “buttery” in Italian. It’s a hollow ball of mozzarella di bufala, filled with panna, cream that contains scraps of mozzarella left over from mozzarella-making.

    How Burrata Is Made

    Small pieces of mozzarella curd are soaked in a bath of hot water and sea salt. The cheese is then cooked and stretched with a wooden spoon until the curds can be stretched to create a pouch. The pouch is filled with a combination of mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese and heavy cream, and tied off with a knot.

    Some cheese makers use different recipes, but the center is always a rich, oozing cream. When you cut into the ball, the cream oozes out.

    In Italy, the cheese is packed into plastic bags with a bit whey to keep it moist, and the bag is tied with a fronds of an Italian plant called asphodel, a relative of the leek. The cheese is highly perishable, and the leaf is an indicator of freshness. As long as the leaf is still fresh and green, the cheese within is still fresh. Dried-out leaves mean a cheese is past its prime.

    This addictively good cheese was created by a mother (or father) of invention, in the Puglia region of southern Italy. Cheesemakers had curds left over from making mozzarella.

     
    Who Invented Burrata

    Somewhere around 1920 in the town of Andria, a member of the Bianchini family figured out how to repurpose the curds, and burrata was born. It was a local product, premium priced, and remained the delight of the townspeople only for some thirty years.

    In the 1950s, some of the local cheese factories began to produce burrata, and more people discovered its charms. Only in recent years, thanks to more economical overnighting of refrigerated products, did we find it in New York City’s finest cheese shops.

    It was love at first bite.

    Burrata Today

    When we first wrote about burrata seven years ago it was hard to come by, made only in Puglia and flown to the U.S. The limited amount that was imported went straight to top cheese stores; the minute it appeared on store shelves, it was snatched up by burrata lovers on the prowl. (We knew what day of the week the plane set down.)

    But that’s old news. Since then, American cheese makers have been making burrata, and much of it is just as delicious and creamy as the Apulian product.

    Burrata works with sweet or savory pairings. In addition to fruit (figs, pears…any fruit, really), serve it as a first course, cheese course, light lunch or snack:

  • With crusty bread and tomatoes
  • With prosciutto
  • In a “deluxe” Caprese salad
  • With a salad garnished with beets and toasted pecans or walnuts
  •  
    Once, at the end of a trade show, we were given several burratas to take home. We used three of them to top a pizza: a memorable luxury.

    For breakfast the next day, we married the burrata with pan-fried slices of herbed polenta and sundried tomatoes, but it could just as easily have been fruit and honey.

    The memories still resonate happily, whenever we pass a cheese case.

      

    Comments

    NO-BAKE DESSERT: Mascarpone Spread & Basil Blackberries

    This fresh blackberry dessert is sophisticated yet so easy to make and serve.

    A tub of mascarpone turns into a sophisticated spread when topped with a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, blackberries and basil.

    Serve it with biscotti, cookies/biscuits or unsalted crackers, and guests will be asking for the recipe.

    This recipe is from Driscoll’s. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: MASCARPONE DIP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/3 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/2 cups) fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Large pinch of fleur de sel or other sea salt
  • 1 container (8 to 8.8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  •    

    mascarpone-basil-blackberries-driscolls-230

    Mascarpone spread, a delicious no-cook, no-bake dessert. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

  • Biscotti, plain cookies or non-salty crackers/biscuits*
  •  

    http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-ripe-blackberries-bowl-food-close-up-image33432102

    We love finding new ways to enjoy
    blackberry season. Photo © Olha Afanasieva
    | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. BRING vinegar and brown sugar to a boil in a nonreactive small saucepan over high heat. Boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a medium bowl. Let cool.

    2. GENTLY STIR in blackberries, basil, pepper and salt.

    3. FILL a bowl with hot water. Dip bottom of the mascarpone container in water for about 5 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, unmold mascarpone onto a serving platter.

    3. SPOON blackberry mixture over mascarpone, being sure to scrape all juices out of the bowl, and letting berries fall randomly. Serve with biscotti, cookies and/or crackers.

    It’s that easy!
     
    *Examples: almond cookies, butter cookies, cream crackers, digestive biscuits, graham crackers, ginger snaps/ginger bread, ladyfingers, Moravian cookies, pizzelle, shortbread, speculos, springerle, stroopwafel, tea biscuits, water biscuits, wafer cookies, wheatmeal.

     

    ABOUT BLACKBERRIES

    Blackberries grow wild around the world, and in most places they are picked in season, not cultivated. Cultivation is relatively modern and done mostly in America [source].

    The blackberry is a member of the Rosaceae family of flowering plants. The largest genus in the family is Prunus, which includes almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches and plums.

    The blackberry is a member of the Rubus genus, which also includes dewberries (which look like raspberries to the untrained eye), raspberries and hybrids such as boysenberry, loganberry and tayberry.

    The blackberry isn’t black, per se, but a very deep purple. It is not the same as a black raspberry, Rubus occidentalis, a raspberry grown on a limited basis*, primarily in Oregon.

    What distinguishes the blackberry from the raspberry genus is that its torus (receptacle or stem) “picks with” the fruit. When picking blackberries, the torus comes along with the berry (as you get with strawberries). With raspberries, the torus remains on the plant, leaving a hollow core in the raspberry fruit.

    Blackberries typically peak during June in the South, and in July in the North. You can enjoy a simple bowl of berries at breakfast, lunch (add them to green salads, enjoy them for dessert), dinner or for snacking; for drink garnishes on a cocktail pick; or use them in recipes.
     
    *Black raspberry plants yield significantly less fruit than red raspberries, and also commonly suffer from a disease complex that gives them shorter lifespans. They are more costly to produce on a large scale.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Soup

    You don’t have to turn on the stove or the oven to make this refreshing dessert: fruit soup.

    Made from fresh or dried fruit, served hot or cold, fruit soups are underrepresented on American menus. Yet, they offer variety year-round.

  • Cold soups tend to be made with seasonal fruit and are thus served in warmer weather.
  • Soups made of dried fruits, such as Norwegian fruktsuppe (made of raisins and prunes), can be served hot or cold in any season.
  • Fruit soups can be cream soups or purées with or without the addition of fruit juice, and can include alcohol such as brandy, champagne, Port or wine.
  • Sweet fruit soups can include meat; and in at least one instance, a fruit soup can be completely savory, like \Chinese winter melon soup.
  • While fruit soup can be served for dessert, it also can be a first course or an intermezzo between fish and meat courses.
  •    

    blackberry-gazpacho-driscolls-230sq

    Fruit soup in a footed bowl. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s a no cook light summer dessert dessert recipe from berry king Driscoll’s. Made primarily of blackberries, it adds red wine for a sophisticated layer of flavors (some red wines are often described to have hints of blackberry flavor).

    Prep time is 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of shortbread on the side.

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-blackberries-image11753307

    Fresh blackberries. Photo © Ninette Luz |
    Dreamstime.

     

    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY FRUIT SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) blackberries
  • 1 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, or substitute a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cups sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
  • 1 package (6 ounes) Driscoll’s Blueberries
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • Optional topping: crème fraîche, thin lime slice, mascarpone, sour cream, toasted sliced almonds, vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Optional: shortbread or other cookie
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PURÉE blackberries, wine and sugar in blender or food processor until smooth. Press through a strainer to remove the seeds. Discard solids.

    2. STIR in lemon juice; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

    3. LADLE soup into chilled bowls, footed glasses or wine goblets. Drizzle or spoon sour cream on top, and scatter with raspberries and blueberries.

    4. GARNISH each serving with a mint sprig or coarsely chopped mint.
     
    MORE FRUIT SOUP RECIPES

  • Chilled Papaya and Watermelon Soup Recipe
  • Chilled Raspberry Yogurt Soup Recipe
  • Diet Fruit Soup Recipe
  • Simple Fruit Soup Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    NO-BAKE DESSERT: Strawberries & Mascarpone

    If you’re a fan of no-bake summer desserts, here are two of our favorites from Driscoll’s, a California-based marketer of berries.

    In both bite-size recipes, lush summer strawberries are filled with a mascarpone whipped cream, a combination of rich mascarpone and heavy cream. Mascarpone cheese gives the whipped cream filling extra body and flavor.

    The strawberries are easy to fill and decorate.Prep time is just 15 minutes. Add some blueberries for a red, white and blue dessert.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRIES & MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 16 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional garnish: almond sliver, chopped pistachios, blueberry
  •    

    strawberries-mascarpone-driscolls-230

    Strawberries filled with mascarpone whipped cream. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Preparation

    1. CUT stems off of the strawberries and place stem-side down on on cutting board. You have two choices to proceed: (1) Cut the berry into three, including a “hat,” as shown in the photo; or cut off the pointed end and scoop out a bit of the strawberry pulp to create room for more filling. Both versions are shown in the photo.

    2. PLACE the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thickened and smooth.

    3. PLACE the mascarpone mixture in a piping bag with a star tip attached or in a plastic bag with one corner cut off. In option 1, slowly pipe the mascarpone cream atop the bottom and middle thirds of the berry and top with the “hat.” In option 2, pipe the mixture into the center of the berry, and create a rounded mound on top, and top with optional garnish.

    4. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.

     

    Lemon-Mascarpone-Strawberry-Tulips-driscolls

    Strawberry “tulips” filled with lemon
    mascarpone. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    RECIPE: LEMON MASCARPONE STRAWBERRY TULIPS

    Here, the simple yet elegant strawberry treat is enhanced with with a lemon-flavored filling and a tulip shape. Prep time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 16 Pieces

  • 16 large strawberries
  • 1/2 package (6 ounces) fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Garnish: grated lemon zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT stems off of the strawberries and place stem-side down on cutting board. Cut each strawberry lengthwise into quarters, stopping just before knife hits cutting board, so berries stay intact. Place on a serving platter.

    2. COMBINE mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, sugar, lemon curd and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until cream is thickened and smooth. Place mascarpone mixture in a piping bag with a star tip attached or a plastic bag and cut off one corner of the bag to pipe.

    3. PRESS one small blueberry down through the center of each strawberry, taking care to keep berries intact. (It’s a blueberry “surprise.”) Slowly pipe the mascarpone cream into the strawberries until filled. Top berries with a single blueberry and garnish with lemon zest.

    4. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.
     
    WHAT IS MASCARPONE

    Mascarpone is sometimes referred to as “Italian cream cheese.” It’s softer and richer than American-style cream cheese, with less of a tang.

    Mascarpone has an extraordinarily high butterfat content, unsurprising given that it’s made from the cream skimmed from cow’s milk. Truly fresh mascarpone has almost a sweet flavor, and this is a cheese with very low or no sodium. It’s highly perishable and must be kept cold.

    In Italy, mascarpone is often served with fresh fruit instead of the American preference for whipped cream. It is what gives tiramisu its creaminess. While some think mascarpone is the chief component of cannolis, it is actually ricotta. Mascarpone or ricotta is used in Italian cheesecake.

    Mascarpone is believed to have originated in the Lombardy region of Italy, most likely in the late 1500s or early 1600s. The name “mascarpone” may come from the Spanish “mas que bueno” (“better than good”), a holdover from the days when the Spanish ruled Italy.

    Another possibility is that the name derived from “mascarpia,” the local dialect term for ricotta, because both ricotta and mascarpone are made by very similar processes.

    Look for American-made mascarpone from Crave Brothers or Vermont Creamery. Try eating it from the container with a spoon!

    More about mascarpone.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Parfaits

    parfait-red-white-blue-mccormick-230

    Patriotic parfaits. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    Sweeten your July 4th celebration with these creamy, layered red, white and blue parfaits. The vivid colors come from McCormick’s Neon food colors.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE PARFAITS

    Ingredients For 12 Parfaits

  • 3-1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons red food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 box McCormick Assorted NEON Food Colors & Egg Dye
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BEAT 1-1/2 cups of the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the cocoa powder and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, until stiff peaks form. Add the red food color; stir gently with spatula until evenly tinted.

    2. BEAT the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon extract in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form.

    3. REMOVE 1 cup of the mix; add neon blue and purple food colors. Stir gently with spatula until evenly tinted.

    4. ASSEMBLE parfaits: Alternately layer red and white mousses in dessert glasses. Top with blue mousse and white chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Pudding With Strawberry Rose

    chocolate-pudding-strawberry-rose-driscolls-230

    It’s really easy to make this beautiful rose
    garnish. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s another special chocolate pudding recipe for National Chocolate Pudding Day, June 26th.

    Created by Driscoll’s, growers of premium berries, the elegant strawberry roses are actually very easy to make. Keep this recipe on file for anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions.

    There‘s no need to make instant pudding when it’s easy to make from-scratch chocolate pudding, which tastes so much better. All you gain from instant is pre-measured dry ingredients: the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, salt, plus powdered vanilla instead of liquid vanilla extract.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
    WITH A ROSE GARNISH

    Ingredients

    For The Pudding

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Rose Garnish

  • 1 package fresh strawberries (16 ounces)
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pudding. Melt the chocolate. Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.

    2. BRING the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa and salt just to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the cornstarch mixture, then add to the milk mixture in pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Spoon into glasses. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

    4. MAKE the roses. Hull 16 strawberries by removing the green calyx. Take 4 strawberries and cut the tops off. These strawberries will be used as the center for the roses. Slice the remaining strawberries into eighths. These sections will become the rose petals.

    5. ARRANGE the sliced strawberries around the pudding, making sure the ends of the slices are facing out and extend slightly beyond the rim of the glass. After the first circle of strawberries is placed, begin making a second circle of strawberries but position slightly more forward toward the center of the glass. Continue with a third layer. Once finished, add the cut strawberry to the center and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Honey Chocolate Pudding

    June 26th is National Chocolate Pudding Day. Throughout history, “pudding” has meant different things (scroll down to the history of pudding).

    This recipe, developed by chef Rocco di Spirito for FAGE Yogurt, combines the old and the new: a cake-like pudding with a soft, creamy pudding-like center.

    Rocco says, “These are great for a dinner party, as they can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours in advance.”

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: BAKED HONEY CHOCOLATE PUDDING

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 cup dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)
  • 4 FAGE Total with Honey split cups*
  • 16 tablespoons diced butter (two sticks of butter)
  • 1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plain flour, sieved
  •  

    Baked-Honey-Chocolate-Pudding-dispirito-fage-230

    Old-fashioned and modern pudding textures combine in this recipe. Photo courtesy FAGE Total.

     
    *The FAGE cups are 5.3 ounces each, for a total of 21.2 ounces. You can substitute an equivalent amount of plain Greek yogurt (2-3/4 cups) with 2 tablespoons of honey.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Prepare eight ramekin dishes by thoroughly buttering the inside and dusting with flour. Place a disk of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each ramekin.

    2. MELT the chocolate, honey from one FAGE Total Honey Yogurt (or 2 teaspoons honey) and butter together over a pan of water.

    3. WHISK together sugar, egg yolks and eggs until the mixture forms soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mix into the egg mix, and then fold in the flour.

    4. POUR into ramekins and bake in the center of the oven for 7 minutes, or until the puddings have risen above the ramekins. Allow to rest in a warm place for 2 minutes.

    5. SERVE: Turn out onto the center of a plate with a generous spoonful of FAGE Total Yogurt (half of the yogurt in a FAGE Total with Honey split cup). Drizzle with the remaining honey.
     
    Find more delicious recipes with yogurt at Fage.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pudding, A Cool Dessert

    It’s getting hot and humid in our neck of the woods, and frozen desserts are a welcome way to cool down.

    But what about the pudding family? A chilled dish of pudding is a cool summer dessert.

    This group of comfort foods includes banana, butterscotch, chocolate, coffee, salted caramel, vanilla…just name your favorite flavor and you can find a recipe for it.

    You can use instant pudding or make it from scratch, which, in our opinion, tastes even better. Here’s a from-scratch pudding recipe, which can be used to make any pudding flavor.

    Try this recipe for banana pudding from QVC’s David Venable. It starts with a base of instant vanilla pudding. We tried it both ways; and yes, we preferred our homemade vanilla pudding version.

    The difference in labor between from-scratch and instant is not great: Instant pudding mixes simply save you the time of measuring the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt. Some added stirring is required, but it’s no big deal.

    Says David, “This dessert is impossible to mess up. While it always turns out beautiful, it’s really just dumping a bunch of yummy ingredients into a bowl. Make it extra special by serving it in a footed glass bowl.”

    You can prepare the pudding up to two days ahead of time.

       

    banana-pudding-davidvenableQVC-230

    Banana pudding with vanilla wafers and a twist: chopped nuts. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    NANA’S “NANNER” PUDDING

    We substituted pistachios for the walnuts in Nana’s recipe. If you don’t want nuts, try mini chocolate chips or a salted caramel layer.

    We also made fresh whipped cream instead of using commercial whipped topping. Sorry, David: Our Nana would never approve of the shortcuts taken by your Nana.

    Ingredients

  • 3 packages (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
  • 4-3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) sour cream
  • Fresh whipped cream or 1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided (or other nut of choice)
  • 1 box (12 ounces) vanilla wafer cookies
  • 9 or 10 bananas, sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Optional: salted caramel
  •  

    assorted-puddings-east&westYotelNYC-230

    On the menu at East & West at the Yotel
    New York: A posse of puddings.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the pudding and milk according to the package directions and then add the vanilla.

    2. FOLD in the sour cream, 4 ounces of whipped topping, and 1/4 cup of chopped nuts. Refrigerate until the pudding is set or is needed (you can prepare the recipe in advance up to this point).

    3. COMBINE the lemon juice with the banana slices in a medium-size bowl; set aside.

    4. ALTERNATE layers of wafers, bananas, pudding, and optional salted caramel, in large bowl or casserole dish, ending with the pudding.

    5. DOLLOP the remaining whipped topping, followed by 6 or 7 crushed wafers and the remaining chopped walnuts. Refrigerate until set. If using fresh whipped cream, wait until serving to add the whipped cream, wafers and nuts.
     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

     

    PUDDING HISTORY

    “Pudding” means different things in different cultures, and at different points in history. The creamy, rich dessert that Americans call pudding is more closely related to custard, which is made with eggs and dates to the Middle Ages. Today in the U.K., pudding typically refers to dessert but can be a savory recipe, such as Yorkshire pudding.

    The first puddings enjoyed by Greeks and Romans were similar to sausages, and for most of history, puddings were this type of boiled, meat-based dish. It was often stretched with other ingredients: The “pease porridge” in the old English nursery rhyme was a simple boiled pudding of pease meal, a roasted flour made from yellow field peas.

    The word “pudding” is believed to derive from the French boudin, meaning a small sausage. In these Medieval European puddings, encased meats similar to sausages were steamed or boiled to set the contents. Blood sausage and haggis are examples that are still “on the menu” in the U.K. These recipes helped to stretch a small amount of meat to feed a family.

    By the latter half of the 18th century, traditional English puddings no longer included meat; they were still boiled, but the finished product was cake-like (like plum pudding). Our creamy, modern puddings descend from this tradition of steaming sweet ingredients.

    According to Wikipedia, “The distinction between European custard and American pudding became muddled sometime in the 1840s.” Food was plentiful, so traditional boiled puddings were no longer necessary to feed a family.

    At the same time Alfred Bird, an English chemist, invented custard powder as an alternative to egg thickeners. Soon after, Americans began using the imported custard powder and other cornstarch derivatives as thickeners for custard-type desserts. Puddings no longer required the addition of fresh eggs to thicken, and this is where modern, eggless American puddings diverged from traditional egg custards.

    Instant pudding first appears in the U.S. in 1949. By 1952, Royal Pudding & Pie Fillings, still manufactured by Clabber Girl, advertised: “New homogenized Royal Instant Pudding makes your favorite desserts turn out better than ever before. New Royal Instant Pudding is completely different!”

    Our Nana still made pudding from scratch; but the rest is pudding history.

      

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    RECIPE: Salted Caramel Pudding

    For pudding lovers and dads who enjoy a sweet-and-salty dessert, here’s a silky pudding that emulates the one served at California Pizza Kitchen. Thanks to FransFavs.com who had the same pudding, went home and recreated it. Thanks, Fran!

    The rich caramel pudding is garnished with chocolate cookie crumbs, whipped cream, caramel sauce and flaked sea salt. Any sea salt will do; but if you’re going out to buy sea salt for garnishing, look for Maldon, with its unique triangle-shaped crystals (see photo below, and check out the different types of sea salt).

    RECIPE: SALTED CARAMEL PUDDING

    Ingredients For 3 Cups (6 Half Cup Servings Or 3 One Cup Servings

    For The Cookie Crust

  • 1/2 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 10 cookies
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Pinch sea salt
  •  
    For The Pudding

  • 3 cups whole milk, room temperature (or 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 12 chunks
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Whipped cream for garnish
  • Optional garnish: caramel sauce
  •    

    salted-caramel-pudding-calpizzakitchen-230ps

    Salted caramel pudding. Photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the cookie crust. In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, butter and salt. Press 2 tablespoons of the crumbs into the bottoms of each of six clear custard/parfait dishes (you can use mason jars, wine goblets or other containers). Reserve the remaining crumbs to sprinkle on top of pudding as a garnish.

    2. MAKE the pudding. In a large measuring cup with a pour spout, add 3 cups milk. Set milk and a silicon (heatproof) spatula next to the stovetop.

    3. WHISK egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the milk in a medium bowl, until well combined. Set aside.

    4. WHISK cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl, until smooth. Set aside.

     

    maldon-translucent-230

    Maldon sea salt has pyramid-shaped crystals. Photo courtesy Maldon Salt Co.

     

    5. MAKE the caramel: In a stainless steel (or light colored) 3-quart saucepan, add the sugar and set over medium heat. Swirl the pan as the sugar begins to melt. Use the silicon spatula to move the sugar from side to side as necessary to help it melt and caramelize evenly. When the sugar melts entirely and is a medium-dark caramel color, promptly remove from the heat.

    6. STAND back and carefully stir in the remaining milk. The mixture will boil and sputter furiously. The caramel may seize into a solid sugary mass. If so, when the mixture stops sputtering, bring it to a simmer over medium heat while stirring to melt the seized caramel. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan with the silicon spatula to make sure all seized caramel dissolves.

    7. STIR, and then add the cornstarch mixture to the pan; stir to combine and bring the pudding to a very slow simmer. Simmer, stirring or whisking for 2 minutes to thicken. Decrease heat to medium-low so that pudding is no longer simmering.

     

    8. LADLE 1/2 cup of the hot pudding into the egg yolk mixture and whisk rapidly. Repeat two times. Add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan (this tempers the egg and helps to prevent curdling).

    9. RAISE the heat slightly and continue stirring the pudding until it thickens to the point that it thickly coats the back of the spatula, 2-4 minutes. Don’t boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and salt until the butter is melted.

    10. IMMEDIATELY POUR the pudding through a single mesh strainer into a medium mixing bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup. Alternatively, you can pour pudding directly into six (or fewer if you want larger servings) 1/2-cup serving dishes. Quickly press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

    11. COOL, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. To serve, spoon pudding into six, 1/2-cup ramekins (if you didn’t do this earlier). Top each serving with a generous mound of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Drizzle with optional caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

      

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