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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Surprise! Welcome to my Northwest Territories Kitchen. I’ve somehow found a new place to call home, amidst the tail-end of the boreal forest treeline, on the shores of the Great Slave Lake. I think this is going to be a great year for Gourm(eh) on my end – I’ll be exploring Canadian food from the Northern perpective, something I’ve always wanted to do. There are still a few weeks of fishing left (hopefully) before we break until the ice can hold us safely. The rose-hips are lonely without their leaves, just waiting to be picked and turned into jelly. The days are getting shorter at an unbelieveable rate – and although I’ll miss the sun, I’m really excited for the northern lightshow, with a mug of hot chocolate.

I’ve been here for a week now, and while I was hoping to share a traditional dish right away, I’m going to start with this tarte la francaise, in hommage to all the wonderful francophone people I’ve met in the community. Without an internet connection of my own, I’m dependent on the public library, and neighbours around me, who have generously offered me their internet connection. Tired of going up to see them for their internet, I decided to pay them back with a warm little apple pie tonight, like my Grandmother makes in Normandy.

1 shortcrust pastry

1-2 tart apples, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1 egg

Make the short crust pastry at least 30 minutes in advance, and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 400f. Slice apples finely with a sharp knife. Dip in a dilute lemon juice solution and drain so they don’t brown.

Once oven is ready, roll crust out to 3cm wider diameter than a tart dish (or a pie dish). Place in dish, and press edges down to have a nice thick outer crust. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Freeze for about 10 minutes.

Arrange apples on cooled crust in a thin layer. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until apples begin to soften and crust becomes lightly golden on edges.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream, egg, sugar, and spices together, and refrigerate until apples are softened.

Spoon cream mixture over apples and bake for another 25 minutes or so, or until set and slightly golden.

Enjoy with vanilla-infused whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Bon appetit,

-Sitelle

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I mentioned we’re working on emptying our pantry, and the result is big baking extravaganzas every so often when the weather cools off enough to justify heating up the oven.

Ice cream sandwiches have been a favourite easy dessert of mine for a long time now. They can easily be made according to your schedule: you can make the cookies or buy the cookies; you can make the ice cream or buy the ice cream, or use any permutation in between. Just as long as you have a bit of time to soften the ice cream and then give it a good freeze again, you’re in for a treat!

Ingredients – 8 ice cream sandwiches

16 cookies (plus a few more for snacking on during prep if you’re that type of cook)

1 batch ice cream or one tub (maple-walnut or your favourite flavour from the store)

Directions

Let ice cream soften a bit (leave it out for 10-15 minutes depending on how cold your freezer is). Place cookies in the freezer in the meantime.

When cookies are frozen and ice cream is softened, use a spoon to scoop some ice cream onto one cookie, and slap another cookie onto the other end! It’s that easy. Place in a tupperware container and re-freeze for another hour or so, so they don’t squish everywhere when you serve them to your guests/friends/children!

Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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This cookie recipe is somewhat notorious among our friends: somehow, in second year, they acquired the nickname “broccoli cookies” – not because they are made with any part of broccoli, nor because they are green, nor because they do not taste good. On the contrary – they got their name being made almost entirely with whole-wheat flour, which makes them healthier than their all-purpose flour counter parts but are absolutely delicious. They’re super easy, and fast to make. With a cooking time of 8-9 minutes, there’s no excuse not to make them!

Originally the recipe was a classic from the Joy of Cooking – Chocolate chip cookies. Now it’s been altered somewhat, right into the cookbook, in pencil of course. It may just be the page where the book naturally falls open to, at least half of the time.

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
pinch or two salt if butter is unsalted
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped blanched almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl mix the butter, sugar and egg until well combined. Add salt and vanilla and mix well. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix with hands. Add chocolate chips and blanched almonds.

Form teaspoon-fulls of dough into balls and place on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Cook for 8-9 minutes, then carefully remove with a spatula onto cooling racks. They are pretty soft, so they can break if you’re not careful!

Hope you enjoy these simple delights!!

-Sitelle

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A few weeks ago, I had an excuse to bake a celebratory cake.  While searching for a suitable recipe, a small side note from the “About Angel Food Cakes” section in  Joy of Cooking caught my eye: it suggested that to jazz up an angel food cake, to stuff it with lemon curd.  The complementary flavours of tangy lemon layered inside a light angel food cake captivated my imagination (not to mention my tastebuds).  I decided to finish the cake with a whipped cream frosting stabilized by rich mascarpone cheese.   Mascarpone is a rich, spreadable, Italian cheese, almost custard-like in flavour.  It helps thicken the frosting, while retaining the lightness of the whipping cream.

The cake was suberb – with the flavours melding perfectly.  For my parent’s wedding anniversary this weekend, I tried it out on my mother (who is a self-declared dessert connoisseur),  and she too declared it an absolute success. While slightly fiddly to assemble, it is certainly worth every second of effort!

Coincidently, a few weeks after my initial test run,  Canadian Living came out with a similar recipe for mother’s day.  I suspect most mothers would love this special dessert next Sunday!

Angel Cake with Lemon Curd and Marscapone Frosting

Makes one 10-inch angel food cake

 

Ingredients:

Angel Food Cake

1 cup sifted cake flour

3/4 cup + 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 11 large whites)

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond abstract
 

Lemon Cheese

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 

Marscapone Frosting

2 cups whipping cream

1 cup marscapone

1/4 to 1/2  cup icing sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness
 

Finishing Touches

1 pint blueberries

Grated zest of 1 lemon
 

Directions:

Angle Cake

Note: The egg whites should be at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Have ready an ungreased 10-inch tube pan (preferably with removable sides).

Sift together three times the flour, 3/4 cup sugar and salt.  In a separate large bowl, combine the egg whites, water, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and vanilla.  Beat on low speed for 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture increases to 5 times in volume and resembles a soft foam, about 3-5 minutes.

On medium-high speed, beat in 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 2 to 3 minutes 3/4 cup sugar.  When all the sugar has been added, teh foam will be creamy white and hold soft, moist, glossy peaks that bend over at the points: do not beat until stiff.

Sift a fine layer of the flour mixture (about 1/4 cup) evenly over the batter and fold gently with a rubber spatula only until the flour is almost incorporated; do not stir or mix.  Repeat 7 more times, folding in the last addition until no traces of flour are visible.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread gently to level the top.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

When the cake is done, invert immediately and cool upside down in the pan, to prevent it from sinking.  Use the feet of the pan to hold it above the surface of the table or prop it higher by resting the tube on a bottle or inverted funnel.  Let the cake cool for at least 1 1/2 hours, until it is thoroughly set.

To remove the cake from the pan, slide a thin knive around the cake to detach it from the pan and the tube.  If you have removable sides, slide the knife under the cake to detach it from the bottom.  Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
 

Lemon Curd

Whisk together in a saucepan until light in colour the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add the fresh lemon juice and butter.  Cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until the butter is melted, the mixture is thickened  and simmers gently for a few seconds.  Using a spatula, scrape the filling through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the vanilla.  Let cool, cover, and refrigerate to thicken.
 

Marscapone Frosting

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk whipping ceam until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated.
 

Assembly

Using a very sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, carefully cut the cake horizontally in thirds. Lay the bottom layer on a serving platter.  Gently spread half of the lemon curd over the cake.  Place the middle layer over the curd.  Gently spread with the remaining lemon curd.  Cover with the final third.

Using a frosting spatula (or a butter knife), frost the entire cake including tops and sides.  Decorate with blueberries and lemon zest. Bon appetit!
 
– Catherine

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This pie only confirms a universal truth: chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. Nested between a chocolate crumb crust and a smooth ganache is a peanut butter cheese cake.  It’s hard to imagine a more delicious combination…

This is one of the more ingenious recipes in Joy of Cooking. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

(1 9- or 10-inch pie)

 

INGREDIENTS

Crumb crust:

1 ½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs

¼ cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the cookies)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon cinnamon
 

Peanut Butter Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)

1 cup peanut butter

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup whipping cream
 

Ganache:

¾ cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

8 ounces finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
 
 
DIRECTIONS

Crumb crust:

In a bowl, combine crumb crust ingredients. Press into a 10-inch pie or springform pan, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Cool the crust before filling (can be done in the fridge/freezer).
 

Peanut Butter filling:

Beat in a large bowl until smoothly blended the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.Using a spatula, fold in half of the whipped cream into the peanut mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining cream.

Spread the mixture into the crust, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pie and refrigerate until firm, about four hours (or if you are in a rush, throw it in the freezer).
 
Chocolate Ganache:

Bring the whipping cream to a boil, stirring in the instant coffee.  Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until most of the chocolate has melted. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, then stir/whisk gently until completely smooth. Let cool to lukewarm and then pour over the pie and spread evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (again, you can also use the freezer) and up to 3 days.

Serve with masses of whipped cream and salted peanuts for an absolutely delicious dessert.  Eat slowly – you will want to savour each and every bite!
 
– Catherine

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When visiting Ontario a few weeks ago, I visited my aunt and her partner in St. Catharines. Dan is a fabulous chef – and we feasted on a tasting menu of mushroom brie puff pastry, goat cheese and golden beat salad, hand stuffed lobster ravioli, out of this world lamb, and molten chocolate cakes.  The molten chocolate cakes were everything you could want: chocolatey and extra gooey in the middle.

Dan kindly shared the  recipe with me from Saveur, and I have been looking for an excuse to make them ever since.   Now my student kitchen, while generally well stocked, does not include ramekins, so I decided to make these cakes in miniature – using a muffin tin.  I also only had no rum.  I decided the important thing here was that the inner truffle was boozy, so I substituted Bailey’s.   The final product was as heavenly as I remembered it (and the lovely aroma of chocolate wafted through my kitchen for a few days afterwards!)

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

(makes 12 mini-cakes)

Ingredients:

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Bailey’s (or your favourite liqueur)
3 tbsp. heavy cream
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs
Confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

Place semisweet chocolate and rum in a small bowl; set aside. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer; pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir until smooth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled. Divide chocolate mixture into 12 teaspoon sized balls.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.  Fill a muffin tin with 12 liners.  Heat butter and bittersweet chocolate in a small saucepan until just melted.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least five minutes.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs until thick and pale with a hand-mixer, 3-4 minutes.  Beat in chocolate mixture and flour, mixing until smooth.  Fill the muffin cups with half the batter.  Place a chilled chocolate truffle in centre of each, then top with remaining batter, smoothing the top.  Bake until just set, about 7-8 minutes.  Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.  Delicious with copious amounts of whipping cream and fresh strawberries.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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It’s hard to imagine that 2012 has arrived!  2011 has flashed by quicker than either of us expected, and both of us have loved writing entries for gourm(eh?).  Neither of us could guess how rewarding this blog would prove to be.  We are so grateful for our reader’s supports and comments, and hope you will continue to enjoy our posts in the year ahead! In the meantime, we wanted to share with you our 10 most popular recipes from 2011.

To a wonderful 2012!

10. Coconut Turnovers – A  recipe Sitelle invented while reminiscing about her travels in Belize — these turnovers are mouth wartering.

9. Okra, Potato and Cauliflower Curry – Who doesn’t love Indian food?  Madhur Jaffrey spotlights okra is this spicy dish.

8. Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Asparagus, and Zucchini  – Pesto is a favourite of Catherine’s, and this pasta dish (or a variant) features at least once a month in her kitchen.

7. Mocha Chip Meringue Cake – Our very first gourm(eh?) post!  This is a little taste of meringue heaven.

6. Crispy Baked Mac and Cheese – The more cheese, the better in our opinion.

5. Chocolate Zucchini Cake – One of Catherine’s top secret family recipes, she has yet to meet a picky eater who didn’t love this chocolatey, moist cake.

4. Flaky Pastry Crust: Savoury or Sweet! – A cornerstone of both our baking inventories, delicious buttery pie crust is our foundation for most pies.  And if you need a filling, may we recommend Catherine’s two favourites from 2011:

3. Cream of Broccoli and Spinach Soup – Concocted during Catherine’s month of vegetarianism, she’d eat this any day of the week!

2. The ultimate Canadian butter tarts! – We wrote developed gourm(eh?) partially to explore Canadian cuisine.  This here is Sitelle’s take of this delicious Canadian treat.

1. Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch – The post that saw us freshly pressed (!!!!), this rich pasta casserole is keeper.

You'll devour the pine nut crunch topping!

– Catherine & Sitelle

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