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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.

TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Dessert Bar

After a big holiday feast, instead of serving dessert at the table, consider setting up a dessert bar. Guests can digest the main meal a bit, and then help themselves at their own pace. They can also cut slivers of more than one dessert.

In addition to pies, cake, cobbler, cookies, fruit and other bounty, guests can help themselves to coffee and tea.

Set out the plates, forks, spoons, napkins, and don’t forget the garnishes. Consider:

  • Crème fraîche
  • Crème anglaise (custard sauce)
  • Hard sauce*
  • Ice cream
  • Mascarpone
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    If you want to over-indulge, add bowls of shaved chocolate and toffee bits, and flavored whipped cream (like bourbon whipped cream or chocolate whipped cream) in addition to the classic.

       

    pecan-pie-beauty-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Set the apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and other desserts on a sideboard or table and let guests help themselves. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    *Hard sauce is a rich dessert sauce made with butter and sugar plus brandy, rum, sherry, whiskey or vanilla.

     

    open-mint-chip-230

    Talenti’s four delicious seasonal flavors. Get them all: They’re heavenly! Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    TALENTI LIMITED EDITION SEASONAL ICE CREAM

    Look for limited edition seasonal ice cream flavors to add to your dessert bar. One of our favorite brands, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, has four exceptionally delicious flavors:

  • Caramel Apple Pie is Talenti’s signature cinnamon gelato (the milk is infused with whole cinnamon sticks!), blended with pieces of apples, sweet flaky pie crust and a caramel swirl. It’s a great fusion of ice cream and pie.
  • Old World Eggnog Gelato is made like eggnog, with fresh egg yolks, pure vanilla extract and nutmeg. But it’s family-friendly: no alcohol. A terrific treat for eggnog lovers!
  • Peppermint Bark Gelato adds crunchy morsels of semisweet Callebaut Belgian chocolate to refreshing peppermint ice cream. We’re hooked on it.
  • Pumpkin Pie Gelato blends brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin with real pie crust pieces. It’s even better than a slice of pie!
  •  
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICE CREAM & GELATO

    In brief, gelato is made with more milk than cream, for a lower butterfat content. While many of us have been led to believe that higher butterfat “superpremium ice cream” is better, the butterfat coats the tongue and dulls the flavors in the process.

     
    Gelato is also more dense, with less air whipped into it (overrun). The combination of lower fat and higher density engender greater intensity of flavor. Here’s more on the difference between ice cream and gelato.

    Note that in the U.S. there is no government standard to differentiate ice cream and gelato. We’ve found more than one very high butterfat “gelato.”

    Why? It’s marketing: “Gelato” sounds newer, more sophisticated and special.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Umpqua Oats Single Serve Oatmeal

    We’ve grown fond of single-serve premium oatmeal cups. The grab-and-go packages are easy to tote, requiring only a half cup of hot water and three minutes of sitting time to turn into a nutritious breakfast or snack. The al dente oatmeal needs no milk, although occasionally we add some.

    Umpqua Oats sent us samples of their line, and we felt good eating every one. The all-natural flavors include:

  • Jackpot: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and pecans
  • Kick Start: blueberries, cranberries, sunflower seeds and more
  • Mostly Sunny: apples, cranberries and raisins (nut free)
  • Not Guilty: blueberries, apples, flax, chia and no added salt or sugar
  • Old School: apples, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, walnuts and almonds
  • RU Nuts: walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and flax
  • Salted Caramel: caramel pieces with pecans and sea salt
  • Vanilla Almond Crunch: almonds, vanilla, honey and vanilla almond granola
  •    

    salted-caramel-beauty-umpquaoatsFB-230

    Just add hot water. Photo courtesy Umpqua Oats.

     

    trio-beauty-230

    Three of the eight grab-and-go varieties. Photo courtesy Umpqua Oats.

     

    The benefit of Umpqua Oats over instant oatmeal is that the brand uses the whole hulled grain, rather than processed “instant” oats, providing more fiber in addition to better texture. There’s also less sugar than sweetened instant oats.

    The line is certified kosher by Blue Ribbon Kosher and certification by the Non-GMO Project.

    Umpqua Oats is currently sold at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the United States. For more information or to order online, visit UmpquaOats.com.

    Founded in Oregon by two moms and now headquartered in Las Vegas, Umpqua Oats was one of the first purveyors to provide a quick-cooking, single-serve oatmeal product based on high-quality ingredients for taste and satiety.

    Umpqua is a river in southwest Oregon. The name means “thundering waters” or “across the waters” in the native Umpqua language.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

    One year we made pumpkin pie with a chocolate cookie crust. But here’s an even better filling for that crust, that marries pumpkin and chocolate.

    “There’s just something about the combination of pumpkin, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and chocolate that make me go a little weak in the knees,” says Annalise Sandberg of CompletelyDelicious.com. “This tart is almost equal parts pumpkin and chocolate and is sure to win over everyone.”

    The prep time is 15 minutes, cook time 1 hour. The yield: 8 servings.

    If you’d like to bake something with a special twist this Thanksgiving, go for it! Find more recipes at CompletelyDelicious.com and GoBoldWithButter.com.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TART

    Ingredients For The Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet or dark chocolate, melted
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream.
  •    

    Chocolate-Pumpkin-Tart-completelydeliciousGBWB-230

    The art of the tart: chocolate swirled into pumpkin. Photo courtesy Completely Delicious | Go Bold With Butter.

     

     

    bittersweet-disks-2kingarthurflour-230

    Bittersweet chocolate disks from Guittard. The better the chocolate, the tastier the outcome. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the cookie crust: Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and butter together in small bowl and mix with fork. Press into a buttered 8-inch tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set crust aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: Combine the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the pumpkin purée and heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Measure 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.

    4. MELT the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

    5. SET the baked crust on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust. Combine the melted chocolate with the reserved filling. Spoon it on top of the on top of the partially filled crust and swirl it into the existing filling.

    6. BAKE until the center is set and no longer appears shiny, 40-45 minutes. Let the tart cool to room temperature. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Watermelon Turkey

    We found this turkey on the Facebook page of the Watermelon Board. Whoever created it: We like your style!

    You can make one with a small watermelon plus:

  • Miniature bell peppers
  • Skewers of grapes and cheese cubes
  • A small pear
  • Raisins for eyes
  •  
    Give it to the kids as a project, and let them proudly display it as the centerpiece!

    Check out dozens of nifty watermelon carvings for every holiday and special special occasion, on Watermelon.org.

     

    watermelon-turkey-watermelon.orgFB-230

    Make this fruit and vegetable turkey as a holiday centerpiece. Photo courtesy Watermelon Board | Facebook.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Unsweetened Whipped Cream

    whipped-cream-230-IST-b

    Grab your hand mixer and start whipping! Photo by Robert Matic | IST.

     

    If you’re putting whipped cream on a very sweet dessert, such as pecan pie or double chocolate cake, you can halve the sugar in the whipped cream or eliminate it entirely.

    An unsweetened or just slightly sweet whipped cream provides a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the dessert. Otherwise, the sweet-on-sweet can be cloying.

    Another tip: Make your own whipped cream. Once you see how easy it is and how much better it tastes, you’ll never go back to store-bought aerosol cans.

    Just look at the ingredients comparison:

  • Reddi-Whip contains cream, nonfat milk, corn syrup, sugar, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan (a thickening agent), mono- and diglycerides (emulsifiers, to preserve the texture of the product) and nitrous oxide as a propellant.
  • Homemade whipped cream contains cream, sugar and natural flavors (vanilla, almond extract) and no other additives. (If you use a cream whipper, then you are using nitrous oxide as a propellant.)
  •  
    The amount of heavy cream you use—one half or one pint—yields up to five times as much whipped cream.

     
    Here’s how to whip the cream in a bowl with beaters; however, if you you want an even easier way to make whipped cream that you can prepare days in advance, consider a cream whipper, also called a whipped cream maker or canister.

    RECIPE: CLASSIC WHIPPED CREAM

    You can also make flavored whipped cream, from bourbon to salted caramel; chocolate whipped cream (recipe below); and savory whipped cream for meat and fish.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHILL the bowl, beaters and cream thoroughly before beginning. Using an electric mixer whip the cream, vanilla, and sugar in the chilled bowl until soft peaks form (3-5 minutes). Makes about 2 cups.

     

    CREAM WHIPPERS

    We’ve used a cream whipper for many years. They last forever—we still have our mother’s unit from the 1960s.

    You simply pour the cream into the canister, add the sugar and flavoring, and then aerate instantly with a nitrous oxide charger instead of whipping for 5 minutes with the beaters. All of the whipped cream is good to the last drop; it stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

    In addition to whipping cream, you can use a cream whipper for espumas (foams), gravies, sauces and soups. In fact, there’s a thermal version that keeps the contents cold for up to eight hours with no refrigeration needed, or hot for three hours—on the kitchen counter or the buffet for people to help themselves.

    The differences between a cream whipper and beater whipped cream: The cream will be more highly aerated (airier, not thick) and will emerge from the nozzle of the whipper in a thin ribbon, as opposed to a rounded mound as large as you like, from a spoon.
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM

    You can use dark, milk or white chocolate.

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  

    red-pin-cream-whipper-230

    A pint whipper from iSi. Don’t buy a half pint whipper to save money. It’s a lifetime purchase, and you’re likely to want a larger batch at some point. (Note that a half liter equals a pint).

     
    Preparation

    1. MEASURE the chocolate into a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. HEAT the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.

    3. POUR the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Let cool.

    4. ADD the remaining cup of heavy cream and beat with electric beaters (or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) on medium speed, until thick and fluffy.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Duchy Originals Shortbread Cookies

    stem-ginger-box-230

    Stem Ginger is one of the delicious
    shortbread flavors. Photo courtesy Duchy
    Originals.

     

    Waitrose is a chain of British supermarkets that is described by the media as “upmarket”—think Central Market, King’s and Wegman’s in the U.S.

    Their house brand products are known for their quality; and their delicious shortbread is available in the U.S. under the brand “Duchy Originals.”

    Baked from a traditional Scottish Highlands recipe, these melt-in-the-mouth, all butter shortbread biscuits are made using local butter and flour with sugar and a pinch of salt.

    A box of 12 cookies per 5.3 ounce box is $5.93-$6.24 with free shipping on orders over $35, on Amazon.com, with a choice of:

  • Duchy Originals Organic Highland All Butter Shortbread (more information)
  • Duchy Originals Organic Lemon All Butter Shortbread more information)
  • Duchy Originals Organic Stem Ginger All Butter Shortbread more information)
  • Duchy Originals organic Highland all butter shortbread petticoat tails more information)
  •  
    There’s also:

  • Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits, especially delicious with cheese more information)
     
    A portion of each sale is donated to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation for distribution to charitable causes around the world.

  •  

    ABOUT DUCHY ORIGINALS

    The Duchy Originals brand was founded in the UK in 1992 by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. The Prince set out to produce food of the highest quality, using the best natural ingredients, produced sustainably and in harmony with the environment, while supporting worthwhile causes through The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

    Duchy Originals is now produced in partnership with Waitrose and baked by Walker’s Shortbread.

     
    ABOUT SHORTBREAD

    Shortbread is a type of cookie with a high butter content: The traditional recipe is one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. It has been called the ancestor of all butter cookies.

    The original shortbreads were made with oatmeal; the more elegant white flour came later and lightened the cookie. Its current form is often attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century. She had a team of French chefs who had the time, labor and ingredients to perfect the recipe.

    Check out the history of shortbread.

     

    oaten-biscuits-box-230

    Oaten biscuits are less sweet and delicious with cheese. Photo courtesy Duchy Originals.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt

    pumpkin-spice-pound-cake-bundt-spiceislands-230r

    Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake made in a bundt pan. Photo courtesy Spice Islands.

     

    As a follow-up to our recent article on autumn bundt cakes, here’s one that’s especially appropriate for Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Spice Bundt. The recipe is courtesy Spice Islands.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE POUND CAKE BUNDT

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened (no substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  •  
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  •  

    Preparation

    For The Cake

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

    2. BEAT the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla; the add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

    3. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, salt and spices; mix well. Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into prepared pan.

    4. BAKE for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.
     
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

    1. COMBINE the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and pecans. Serve warm over the cake. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
     
    WHIPPED CREAM TIP: If you’re putting whipped cream on a very sweet dessert, such as this caramel topping or pecan pie, you can halve the sugar in the whipped cream or eliminate it entirely.

    An unsweetened or just slightly sweet whipped cream provides a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the dessert. Otherwise, the sweet-on-sweet can be cloying.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Popcorn Balls

    The oldest popcorn known to date—actual ears of corn—was discovered in a cave in New Mexico, and carbon-dated to be more than 5,600 years old. It was not eaten as a snack food by early Americans, but was popped and then pounded into meal that was mixed with water and cooked.

    Fast-forward several thousand years: The early Colonists ate popcorn as a breakfast cereal, with milk and a sweetener. (Think puffed corn cereals like those from Arrowhead Mills and Nature’s Path, among others, not to mention Kellogg’s Corn Pops.)

    In the 18th century, after the corn harvest, rendered fat would be thrown into a cast iron pot over an open fire. When the fat was hot, farmers would toss in corn kernels, a little molasses or other sweetener, and then wait for the corn to pop into a sweet, hot treat.

    By the 1840s, corn popping had become a popular recreational activity in the U.S. Popcorn balls, the kernels stuck together with a sugar syrup, were hugely popular around the turn of the 20th century, both for eating and for holiday decorations (they were hung with ribbons from Christmas trees).

    With the availability of bagged popcorn brands, popcorn balls began to wane, appearing mostly in the hoiday season from Halloween through Christmas.

    Here’s the full history of popcorn.

       

    cranberry_popcorn_balls-popcorn.org-230

    Homemade cranberry popcorn balls for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     

    Popcorn is a better-for-you snack. Plain popcorn is loaded with whole grains, fiber and antioxidants.

    Of course, when you add butter, salt and sugar, it adds less-better-for-you ingredients. But compared to other sweet and salty snacks, it’s the winner.

    So consider these popcorn balls a better option for holiday snacking.

     

    popcorn-bowl-crunchdaddy-230

    Plain popcorn is a terrific snack: whole grain, high in fiber and low in calories. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE

     

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY POPCORN BALLS

    You can serve these from a platter or a serving bowl, or wrap individually in cellophane and tie with a ribbon for a party favor or stocking stuffer. Add a name tag to create a combination place setting and take-home favor.

    Ingredients For 18 Popcorn Balls

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients, except popcorn, in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil; lower heat and cook to 250°F on a candy thermometer. The mixture will bubble up in the pan, so watch it carefully to keep the mixture from boiling over.

    2. POUR slowly over the hot popcorn and mix until the corn is well coated. Let it stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture can easily be formed into balls.

    3. SPRAY your hands with a cooking spray (or use butter) hands and form the popcorn into 3-inch balls.
     
    ANOTHER HOLIDAY POPCORN RECIPE

    If you’ve got sage left over from the stuffing or other recipe, make this sage popcorn recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin-Pie Tini

    Have a Pumpkin-Pie-Tini with your pumpkin pie. This recipe, from Sauza Tequila, is a dessert in of itself for those who want to pass on the pie and drink their dessert instead.

    RECIPE #1: PUMPKIN PIE-TINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts blue/silver/blanco tequila
  • 3 parts cream
  • ½ part Torani or other pumpkin spice syrup (it also is available sugar-free)
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and cinnamon
  • Ice cubes
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

       

    pumpkin-pie-tini-sauza-230

    Try a Pumpkin Pie-Tini for Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy Sauza Tequila.

     

     

    Picture 091

    Another version of the Pumpkin Pie-Tini. Photo courtesy 1800 Tequila

     

    Here’s another version of the Pumpkin Pie-tini, from 1800 Tequila, a less creamy option that uses milk instead of cream plus a touch of chocolate liqueur:

    RECIPE #2: PUMPKIN PIE-TINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1-1/2 ounces silver/blue/blanco tequila
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1-1/2 ounces crème de cacao
  • 1 ounce milk
  • Ice cubes
  • Rim: graham cracker crumbs and honey
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RIM a Martini glass using a small amount of honey, then roll in graham cracker crumbs.

    2. SHAKE the milk and pumpkin purée over ice to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain into the Martini glass.

     

    More Pie-Tini recipes: Apple Pie-Tini and Cherry Pie-Tini.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pear Cème Fraîche Ice Cream

    Pear is a popular fall flavor. Pear sorbet is one of our favorite seasonal treats.

    But you can also churn pears into ice cream, as we discovered in this recipe by Samantha Seeley, who blogs on food from her home in that great food mecca, Hudson Valley, New York. She contributed the recipe to the delicious recipe files on VermontCreamery.com.

    Make a double batch, because the single quart doesn’t last very long!

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. With freezing, total time is 6 hours, 45 minutes. You can see the recipe with full photos at Sweet-Remedy.com.

    RECIPE: PEAR CRÈME FRAÎCHE ICE CREAM

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 3 ripe pears
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 container (8 ounce) Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche*
  • 1 cup maple glazed pecans
  •  
    *You can add vanilla extract to regular crème fraîche.

       

    pear-creme-fraiche-ice-cream-sweetremedy-vtcreamery-230

    Calling all ice cream gourmets: Make Pear Crème Fraîche Ice Cream. Photo courtesy Sweet Remedy | Vermont Creamery.

     

     

    madagascar-vanilla-creme-fraiche-vtcreamery-230

    Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche: We love it! Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH, peel and chop the pears. Combine the pears and the arrowroot or cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the water and place over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, while stirring. The mixture will thicken up. Refrigerate until you are ready to churn the ice cream mixture.

    2. BEAT the milk and eggs together in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger and cook over medium-low heat. Constantly stir with a wooden spoon until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, add the heavy cream and place plastic wrap directly on the top of the mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.

    3. CHURN the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churning is complete, add the crème fraîche to the ice cream, it will resemble soft serve. Mix in the pear mixture and maple glazed pecans recipe. Transfer to a container with a lid that is suitable for freezing. Freeze until frozen through, usually about 3-4 hours.

     

    HOW TO PICK A PEAR

    Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears are varieties that can be eaten raw or cooked. Other varieties, such as Forelle and Seckel, are better eaten raw.

    Pears are one of the few fruits that are much better when they’re picked before they ripen. Pears ripen from the inside out, so as soon as the stem end has a slight give to it when gently pressed, the fruit is ripe. Don’t wait for the midsection to be soft.

    Buy firm pears and place them in a paper bag to ripen if you need them in a day or so. Placing a banana or an apple in the bag speed up ripening (here’s why).

     
    WHAT IS CRÈME FRAÎCHE?

    Crème fraîche (pronounced crem fresh, French for “fresh cream”) is a thickened cream. It’s not as thick as sour cream, but more of the consistency of yogurt, which is an appropriate analogy because it is slightly soured with bacterial culture. Originally from Normandy, the dairy heartland of France, today it is used extensively in Continental and American fine cuisine.

    Sour cream, which is more accessible and less expensive, can be substituted in most recipes; but crème fraîche has advantages: it can be whipped, and it will not curdle when cooked over high heat. In addition, it is usually a bit lighter in body than commercial sour creams, more subtly sour, and overall more elegant.

    Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpasteurized heavy cream with Lactobacillus cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process. Thus, authentic crème fraîche cannot be made at home because generally, only pasteurized cream is available to consumers. To add Lactobacillus to pasteurized cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour.

    The only negative to crème fraîche is that it’s pricey. You can make your own with far less expense with this crème fraîche recipe.

      

    Comments

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