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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

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.

      

    Comments

    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.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Strawberry On A Stick

    Here’s a new take on strawberry lollipops: fresh strawberry “lollipops.”

    Whole strawberries are speared on lollipop sticks, dipped into honey and rolled in chopped nuts.

    This better-for-you sweet treat looks very tempting, and delivers:

  • The heart-healthy and anti-cancer power of strawberries, rich in phytonutrients and potassium.
  • The heart-healthy oil and protein of your favorite chopped nuts.
  • The minerals and vitamins of honey: amino acids, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and zinc.
  •  
    For a lower-glycemic natural sweetener, substitute agave for the honey.

    Serve them on a cake pop stand or repurpose a piece of styrofoam.

     

    A good-for-you dessert or snack. Photo courtesy MolecularRecipes.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Frozen Cappuccino Soufflé

    Fill homemade chocolate cups with frozen
    cappuccino soufflé. Photo courtesy Domaine
    Chandon.

     

    One of our favorite destinations in Napa Valley is Domaine Chandon—not just to sample the sparkling wines but to dine at Étoile, the winery’s acclaimed restaurant.

    Everything there is always a bit more special. The Frozen Cappuccino Soufflé is served in chocolate cups instead of ceramic ramekins, for example.

    If you like cappuccino, you’ll surely love this frozen version, an impressive frozen chocolate cup made of bittersweet chocolate and filled with frosty and frothy espresso soufflé. It’s a sweet dessert, but still light on the palate.

    It’s a special dessert, and a Father’s Day treat for a coffee and chocolate loving dad.

    Using a double boiler helps prevent the chocolate from burning. If you don’t have one, you can rig a simple double boiler with other tools in your kitchen:

    Just place the chocolate in a small saucepan and nest it in a larger saucepan partially filled with boiling water. To warm the egg yolks, you can simulate a double boiler by using a stainless-steel bowl and a saucepan in which the bowl fits snugly on top.

     
    On the other hand, if you don’t want to make the chocolate cups, you can buy them ready-made.
     
    RECIPE: INDIVIDUAL FROZEN CAPPUCCINO SOUFFLES IN CHOCOLATE CUPS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 9 ounces/255 g bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1-in/2.5-cm chunks
  • 1-1/2 cups/360 ml heavy (whipping) cream/double cream
  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 1 whole large egg
  • 3/4 cup/150 g sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 envelope (2-1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ounces/55 g semisweet/plain chocolate, grated
  • 8 small (5-oz/150-ml) wax-coated paper drinking cups
  •  

    Preparation

    1. FILL the bottom of a double boiler with enough water to reach the bottom of the top pan and insert the top pan. (Alternatively, fill a saucepan with enough water to reach the bottom of a smaller saucepan nested inside or a stainless-steel bowl fit snugly over the top and insert the small saucepan or bowl.) Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Do not let the water boil vigorously.

    2. PLACE the bittersweet chocolate in the top bowl of the double boiler and heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and smooth. Maintain a gentle simmer to prevent the chocolate from hardening.

    3. PLACE one of the paper cups on its side on a clean work surface. Using a soup spoon or a tablespoon, carefully spoon about 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate into the cup and carefully roll and tip the cup to coat the sides, but leaving a 1/2 inch/12 mm rim uncoated at the mouth of the cup.

     

    The Domaine Chandon Cookbook is a treasure trove of delicious recipes. Photo courtesy Chronicle Books.

     

    4. ADD another 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate and again gently roll the cup to cover the sides with a second coat and to coat the bottom this time, still leaving the rim around the top uncoated. Place the coated cup, still on its side, on a plate. Repeat to coat the remaining cups. When the chocolate has hardened enough to stop running, place the coated paper cups upright in the freezer until ready to use.

    5. COMBINE in a medium bowl 1 cup/240 ml of the cream and the espresso powder. Using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form, 1–2 minutes. Set aside.

    6. PLACE the top pan of a clean double boiler on a work surface. In the bottom of the double boiler, bring about 1 in/2.5 cm water to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. In the top half of the double boiler, combine the 4 egg yolks, the whole egg, and the 3/4 cup/150 g sugar. Whisk to blend, then place over the simmering water. (Alternatively, bring about 1 in/2.5 cm of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Combine the eggs and sugar in a stainless-steel bowl and nest the bowl snugly over the top of the saucepan.) Cook, whisking gently and constantly, for 10 minutes. The mixture will become frothy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    7. STIR together in a small bowl, using a fork, the gelatin with 2–3 tablespoons hot water. It should become thick and sticky. Scrape the gelatin into the egg-yolk mixture and whisk vigorously to mix well.

    8. BEAT the egg whites in a clean large bowl with the 2 tablespoons sugar, using the electric mixer and clean beaters until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg-gelatin mixture into the egg whites. Fold in the espresso whipped cream.

    9. REMOVE the frozen chocolate-coated paper cups from the freezer. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour the soufflé base into the cups, filling each to the rim. Return the filled cups to the freezer and freeze until the soufflés are firm to the touch, 3–4 hours. (You can freeze the soufflés for up to 48 hours, but they will lose their lightness, with the consistency changing to something more akin to ice cream.)

    10. SERVE: Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup/120 ml cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Remove the frozen cappuccino cups from the freezer. Carefully insert the tip of a paring knife into the side the each paper cup, just above the bottom. Gently pry open and tear off the bottoms of the cup, then peel away the sides of each cup to reveal the frozen, molded chocolate. Place a cappuccino cup on each of 8 small dessert plates. Top each with a small dollop of whip cream and sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Serve at once.
     
    Find more delicious recipes on the Chandon.com website and in the restaurant’s cookbook, Domaine Chandon Cookbook: Recipes from Étoile Restaurant, by Jeff Morgan.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: A New Kind Of Fruit Cake

    Here’s a new take on fruit cake: a “layer cake” that’s made 100% from fresh fruit!

    It’s the creation of Jessica from Pen N’ Paperflowers Studio & Design.

    She made it as a birthday cake for a gluten-free friend. But we think it’s a dazzler for any occasion.

    Want to make one of your own?

    Here’s how Jessica made the “cake,” with step-by-step photos.

     

    Fresh-Fruit-Cake-pnpflowersinc-230

    Photo courtesy Pen N’ Paperflowers Studio & Design.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Easy Cheesecake Topping

    NY_Blueberry_Cheesecake_cheesecake.com-230r

    Make a blueberry topping for your
    cheesecake with fresh or frozen blueberries.
    Photo courtesy Cheesecake.com.

     

    May 26th is National Blueberry Cheesecake Day. It may be hard to find a piece of blueberry cheesecake—cherry and strawberry are the popular berries toppings.

    But you can easily make your own, from fresh or frozen berries. A homemade sauce is much tastier than the gelled goop into which berries are set on many commercial cheesecakes.

    Then, just pick up a slice of cheesecake, top and celebrate. You can also use the berry topping on ice cream, pancakes, puddings and waffles.

    And you can bake your own cheesecake, too; and create a blueberry swirl cheesecake by swirling the topping into the batter. Here are some of our favorite cheesecake recipes.

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE TOPPING

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups blueberries or other berries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (see Recipe Notes, below)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2
    tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon or orange zest (about 1
    tablespoon)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MIX the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl.

    2. COMBINE the blueberries, 1/2 cup of water, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mix comes to a low boil.

    3. GENTLY STIR the cornstarch into the blueberries, taking care not to crush the fruit. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon (about 5 minutes).

    4. REMOVE from heat; gently stir in the vanilla and zest. Cool; refrigerate until ready to use. Warm very slightly in the microwave for easy pouring.

     

    Blueberry_Swirl_Cheesecake_cheesecake.com-230sq

    You can also swirl the blueberry topping into the cheesecake batter. Photo courtesy Cheesecake.com.

     
    RECIPE NOTES

  • Adjust the amount of sugar to the sweetness of the berries. We don’t oversweeten, to allow the flavor of the blueberries to come through.
  • For a thinner sauce, slowly add water by the tablespoon until you reach your preferred consistency.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit & Cheese Bites

    dried-apricots-parmigianoreggianoFB-230r

    Dried apricot and Parmesan “sandwiches.”
    You can sandwich almost any cheese
    between the fruit. Photo courtesy
    ParmigianoReggiano.com | FB.

     

    Fruit and cheese is a popular dessert in Europe’s best foodie countries, including France and Italy. But you don’t need to put together a platter. We found this quick idea on the Parmigiano Reggiano Facebook page.

    Make fruit and cheese “bites.” Stuff dried apricots, fresh or dried figs or other dried or fresh fruits with a piece of cheese—with anything from creamy goat cheese to salty, tangy Parmigiano Reggiano.

    These suggestions from EatWisconsinCheese.com provide pairing ideas along with drink ideas beyond the conventional beer, red or white wines most people serve with cheese:
     
    Soft-Fresh Cheeses
    Cheeses: Chevre, Feta, Mascarpone, Ricotta
    Fruits: Figs (fresh, dried or stewed), Fresh Peaches, Plums
    Garnishes: Pistachios, Toasted Almonds or Walnuts*, Fruit Jam
    Drinks: Chenin Blanc, Green Tea
     
    *Raw nuts have a slight bitterness. The best way to serve nuts with cheese is toasted or candied/caramelized. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts go best with cheese.

     
    Soft-Ripened Cheeses
    Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Other Double Crèmes
    Fruits: Dried Apricots
    Garnishes: Dried Cherries or Cranberries
    Drinks: Cherry Kriek, Kir Royale, Lillet (fortified wine)
     
    Blue Cheeses
    Cheeses: Cabrales, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Roquefort
    Fruits: Dried Apricots, Figs (fresh or dried, or any dried fruit), Stone Fruit, Apples
    Garnishes: Caramelized Hazelnuts or Walnuts, Dried Cherries or Cranberries, Honey, Fruit Jam, Membrillo, Toasted Almonds
    Drinks: Chocolate Stout, Gin Gibson

     

    Semisoft Cheeses
    Cheeses: Fontina, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Muenster
    Fruits: Apples, Pears (fresh, dried or spiced and preserved), Quince
    Garnishes: Toasted Hazelnuts or Walnuts, Tomato Jam, Vegetable Tapanade
    Drinks: Gewürtztraminer, Kirsch Royale (with Champagne)
     

    Hispanic Cheeses
    Cheeses: Asadero, Cotija, Queso Bresco
    Fruits: Dried Apricots or Figs
    Garnishes: Toasted Nuts
    Drinks: Cava, Mead (honey wine), Mexican Beer
     
    Semihard Cheeses
    Cheeses: Cheddar, Edam, Gouda
    Fruits: Dried Apricots, Honeycrisp Apples, Pears
    Garnishes:Caramelized or Toasted Nuts, Jams/Compotes (apricot, blueberry, fig, quince)
    Drinks: Ale (especially fall’s spiced ales), Riesing, Small Batch Bourbon, Sparkling Cider

    Alpine/Swiss Cheeses
    Cheeses: Comté, Gruyère, Emmenthaler
    Fruits: Any Dried Fruit
    Garnishes: Toasted Nuts
    Drinks: Lambic, Manhattan Cocktail

     

    comte-figs-compteUSAfb-230

    Fresh figs with Comté wraps. Photo courtesy Comté USA | FB.

     
    Hard Cheeses
    Cheeses: Asiago, Grana Padano, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano
    Fruits: Dates, Figs (fresh or dried)
    Garnishes: Fig Jam, Honey, Membrillo, Toasted Almonds or Marcona Almonds
    Drinks: Sparkling Prosecco, Nebbiolo
     
    MORE ABOUT CHEESE

    Check out our delicious Cheese Glossary and much more about gourmet cheeses.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Grilled Cake & Fruit Kabobs

    A fun, and light, dessert. Photo courtesy
    Yoplait.

     

    If you’ve already got the grill fired, here’s an easy dessert courtesy of Yoplait: grilled angel food cake. Instead of a calorie-heavy sauce like caramel or chocolate, it uses fruit yogurt as a dip for the light and airy cake, along with tasty pieces of fruit.

    You can use pound cake or sponge cake instead of angel food cake. When peaches come into season, use peach slices; otherwise, double up on the strawberries or substitute another favorite fruit (banana chunks, blackberries, etc.).

    Prep time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: GRILLED ANGEL FOOD CAKE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup whole strawberries
  • 1 cup peach slices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 container Yoplait Light white chocolate
    strawberry yogurt (or flavor of choice)
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT gas or charcoal grill. Arrange cake cubes, strawberries and peach slices alternately on eight 6-inch skewers.

    2. MIX sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over kabobs.

    3. PLACE kabobs on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook kabobs about 2 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Serve with yogurt dip.

     
    KEBAB, KEBOB, KEBAP, KABAB, KABOB: SKEWERED FOOD

    Kebab, variously spelled kebob, kebap, kabab or kabob (transliterated from the original Arabic), is a dish consisting of pieces of meat, fish and/or vegetables roasted or grilled on a skewer or spit. In the Middle East, however, kebab refers specifically to meat that is cooked over the flames.

    The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes, beef, chicken, fish/seafood, goat and pork are skewered and grilled. In America, vegetarian kabobs are also popular, with or without cubes of tofu.

    The dish originated in the Middle East and spread worldwide. The concept is very old: Excavations on the Greek island of Santorini unearthed firedogs—vertical stone slabs that hold the skewers over the fire—that date to before the 17th century B.C.E.

    In America, the term “kebab” has been adopted to describe any food on a skewer.

      

    Comments

    HOLIDAY: Celebrate Nutella’s 50th Anniversary

    Nutella fans: This one’s for you.

    May 18th is the 50th anniversary of the debut of Nutella hazelnut spread. Do something special for yourself and fellow Nutella lovers:

    Sink your teeth into the Calzone di Nutella ($15), created by chef Chris D’Amico at New York restaurant Gemma in the Bowery Hotel.

    A calzone is a filled savory pastry that originated in Naples. It is made of pizza dough and folded to resemble a half-moon.

    Chef D’Amico created a dessert version of the calzone, dusted with powdered sugar and stuffed with a combination of rich Nutella spread and creamy ricotta cheese.

    At the restaurant, which includes an outdoor café and great people watching, the dessert can be shared by two or more people.

    Or, make it at home. Thanks to Chef Chris for the recipe!

     

    nutella-calzone-Gemma-at-TheBoweryHotel-230

    Nutella calzones. Photo courtesy Gemma Restaurant | NYC.

     

    NUTELLA CALZONES (CALZONE DI NUTELLA)

    Ingredients

    For The Dough

  • 3.5 cups high-gluten flour
  • 1/4 ounce fresh yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  •  
    For The Filling (Per Calzone)

  • 2 teaspoons Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons ricotta cheese
  • Garnish: cocoa powder, powdered sugar or chocolate syrup drizzle
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream, chocolate or vanilla ice cream
  •  

    nutella-amz-230

    One of America’s favorite sweet spreads.
    Photo courtesy Nutella USA.

     

    Preparation

    1. DISSOLVE the yeast and sugar in the water, using a large bowl, and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution.

    2. MIX in 2-1/2 cups of the flour. Turn dough out onto a clean, well-floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.

    3. PLACE the dough in a well-oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.

    4. COMBINE Nutella and ricotta cheese.

    5. PREHEAT oven to 500°F. Stretch out the dough. Place the filling on 1/3 of the dough, leaving the other 2/3 to form the cover.

    6. PRESS the calzone tightly closed and cut off any excess dough. Place in oven immediately. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish as desired.

     

    NUTELLA HISTORY

    Nutella hazelnut spread, in its earliest form, was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company.

    At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. To extend the chocolate supply, Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy.

    The spread is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a touch of cocoa. It is an all-natural product: no artificial colors or preservatives.

    Nutella was first imported to the U.S. more 25 years ago by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. Its popularity has grown steadily, and it is the number one selling branded hazelnut spread in America.
     
    WHAT IS HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR?

    Different types of flour are milled for different baking purposes. Protein content and gluten content affect the elasticity of the dough.

    High-gluten flour has a protein level of 14-15%. Higher protein flour, milled from hard wheat, makes firmer, stronger dough. It is used to make pizza crusts, calzones and bagels, among other items.

    All-purpose flour, by contrast, is a blend of hard and soft wheats and has a protein content of 10% to 11%. It is ideal for hearty cookies, like chocolate chip and oatmeal, and some pastries.

      

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    FOOD 101: The Difference Between Custard & Pudding

    chocolate-custard-healthyrecipeblogs-230

    Chocolate baked custard. Photo courtesy
    HealthyRecipesBlogs.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Today is National Chocolate Custard Day, which got us to thinking: What’s the difference between custard and pudding?

    American pudding is a sweetened milk mixture thickened with cornstarch, then cooked. It has no eggs in it. In the U.K. and Europe, it is also known as blancmange, and is thickened with starch.

    But “pudding” means more than that.

  • In the U.K. the word refers to any dessert, but especially to sweet, cake-like baked, steamed and boiled puddings, usually made in a mold.
  • Then there’s the category of creamy puddings—what Americans typically think of as pudding, mostly enjoyed in the form of chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding and lemon pudding. They do double duty as pie filling.
  • When a recipe is exceptionally smooth and light, it is often called silk pudding for its silky texture.
  •  

     

    There are also savory puddings and other foods that are called pudding: black pudding or blood pudding (sausage), Yorkshire pudding (baked batter, served as a side), bread pudding (stale bread baked in a custard sauce) and steamed pudding (cake).

    Custard, on the other hand, is an eggy delight that can be either baked or cooked on the stovetop. The egg protein is the thickener.

    There are custard-pudding hybrids, such as pastry cream (the filling of cream puffs and éclairs).

    Check out the different types of custard.

     

    chocolate-pudding-bonchan-230sq

    Chocolate pudding. Photo courtesy Bonchan.

     

      

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