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Posts Tagged ‘cream’

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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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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I love leeks.  They have such a delicate flavour, with delicious nutty undertones.  Versatile, they are the perfect substitute for onions in any risotto or soup.  Leeks are often overpriced in the winter, but the Halifax market is currently overflowing with this vegetable, so I have been taking full advantage of their presence!

Vichysoisse is one of my go -to soups.  Ready in less than half an hour, this soup is lovely served either hot or cold. With a piece of crusty bread, it makes for a rusting meal. While purists may recommend serving it chilled, I also love this soup hot. Its flavour is subtle, but comforting.  The secret is to use flavourful broth (homemade is best – although if you buy yours in-store, I recommend spending the extra 50¢ to upgrade from a can to a box) and fresh leeks.

My largest recommendation?  Do not get impatient with your blender.  I may have tried to velouté too large a batch, only to end up with my blender and the hot soup exploding on me.  There are smudges of vichysoisse on my kitchen ceiling to prove it!

 

Vichysoisse

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 bunch leeks, dark green segments discarded and the rest coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

About ½ teaspoon salt

Broth (about 3 cups)

Pepper to taste

Cream (about ½ cup) – Both liquid or sour cream work well here

Chives or green onions for garnish, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the leeks and garlic in the butter until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf, and salt, and bring the soup to a boil.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and leeks are cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly.

Blend the soup in batches in a food processor until smooth.  Return to the stove and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cream.  Serve either hot or chilled, garnished with chives or green onions.  Delicious with a crusty slice of bread.

Bon appétit!

–       Catherine

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My friend’s boyfriend is anaphylactic allergic to peanut butter, so she generally refrains from eating it.  This often proves a challenge because she is a peanut butter fiend at heart.  When her boyfriend visited Toronto for a weekend, we decided to celebrate by binging on peanut butter non-stop.  Another good friend decided to make Joy of Cooking’s peanut butter pie.  It was what you call love at first sight – oozing with peanut butter filling and topped with a gooey chocolate ganache, this was even tastier than Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Between the three of us, the pie evaporated before our eyes.

A few weeks later, we attended an Easter dinner.  Filled with delicious food and great company, the night melted away.  Instead of peanut butter, my friend tried substituting hazelnut butter.  While the peanut butter pie was indulgent, the hazelnut butter was utterly decadent.  I decided that I would have to make the pie myself for a very special occasion.

Last week, my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary.  Along with a delicious cheese fondue, we celebrated their marriage with chocolate hazelnut pie.  Now my mother is what I call a true dessert connaisseur: she lives for dessert and can spot a supreme one from just an ordinary affair a mile away. The hazelnut pie exceeded her expectations, and I have no doubt we will soon be eating it again!

Hazelnut butter can often be found in the organic section of the grocery store.  If you cannot find it, simply substitute almond or peanut butter instead.  As for serving size, a sliver is all you need to savour this smooth dessert.  Bon appetit!

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

(10-inch pie or 9-inch springform pan)

 

INGREDIENTS

Crumb crust:

1 ½ cups fine graham cracker or chocolate wafer crumbs

¼ to ½ cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the cookies)

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

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Hazelnut Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)

1 cup hazelnut 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)

Hazelnut filling:

Beat in a large bowl until smoothly blended the cream cheese, hazelnut 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 hazelnut 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 creamand raspberries for an absolutely delicious dessert.  Eat slowly – you will want to savour each and every bite!

– Catherine

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These just melt in your mouth!

 

For a long time in my life, the concept of any type of melts was unappealing.  It likely had something to do with the book Angleworms on Toast, a children’s stroy written in the 1940s that was popular among my cousins for pre-bedtime reading at our cottage.  The story is about a boy Tommy, whose one desire in life is to eat “Angleworms, creamed on toast”.  When he comes home “sick” one day from school, his family specially dig up some worms for him and the cook produces a creamed rendition of the worms.  Needless to say, this book was unsuccessful in converting me into a fan of creamed food on toast.

Opening the fridge last night, I discovered that not shopping in over 10 days offered minimal choice for supper.  The vegetable supply was down to potatoes, onions, carrots, and a package of sad looking mushrooms.  Sautéed mushrooms in sherry and cream never fails to please  (and they are a great way to use up mushrooms past their prime), so I decided the thing to attempt was creamed mushrooms on toast.

The results surpassed my expectations. Simple, yet delicious, these mushroom melts literally evaporated.  The bubbly cheese beautifully complemented the delicious mushrooms.  One toast would make an elegant starter for a dinner party, while two with a salad makes a quick, easy, and delicious dinner!

Mushroom Melts

(2 servings)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 pound mushrooms (about 12-15), diced

Splash of sherry

¼ cup light cream

Splash of sherry

Parsley

4 pieces of toast

Mozarella cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven for broiling.  Meanwhile, sweat onion and garlic in butter over medium heat in frying pan.  Add mushrooms and sauté until golden.  Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry, followed by the cream. Bring the juices to a boil, allowing the mushrooms to absorb most of the sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and parsley.

Spoon the mushrooms over four pieces of toasted bread.  Sprinkle as much cheese as desired on top of mushooms.  Broil mushroom melts for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.  Enjoy!

–       Catherine

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