Seduction Meals is about food + romance and the premise that everyone should learn to master one dish that is their signature dish—a Seduction Meal, to enchant and captivate that special someone in your life...
Seen and Noted! I just stumbled upon this recipe and had to share it: Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust. Typically I am a cheesecake purist - NY Style Cheesecake - chilled, fork in hand, and I am a very happy girl. But this calls for a taste! I love cheesecake, I love avocados, and I especially enjoy walnut or almond based crusts. So here you go - I hope you enjoy this!
Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust
Per Serving: 242 calories; 8 g protein; 13 g fat; 26 g carbohydrates
3/4 cup shelled walnuts
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 fully ripened Avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened and cut in pieces
Heat oven to 350°F.
In food processor, pulse walnuts until finely ground. Add graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, anise seeds and salt; pulse just until combined.
Add 2 tablespoons water; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined and resemble wet sand.
Press into bottom of an 8 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake 20 minutes; cool completely.
In measuring cup or small bowl, combine gelatin with 2 tablespoons water; let stand for 5 minutes.
With vegetable peeler, remove strips of lemon zest (yellow portion only). In saucepan, combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and lemon zest; bring to boil. Add gelatin; simmer until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 1 minute; strain and discard lemon zest.
In food processor, combine avocados and cream cheese. Pour hot milk mixture into processor; process until very smooth.
Pour into baked crust; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set. Remove side of pan; cut cheesecake into 10 slices.
Serve with raspberry sauce, if desired.
Cheesecake is best when served the same day; any leftover cheesecake should be securely covered with clear plastic wrap and refrigerated.
There's just one more step in our mix-and-match Valentine's Day Seduction Meal series: the dessert course. Once you've picked out an aphrodisiac appetizer, tantalizingsoup or salad, and mouthwatering entree, it's important to choose a dessert that will finish off the meal by complementing, not overpowering, the flavor palate you've established. We've assembled five fruit-sweetened treats that make a perfect ending to a very special dinner.
There's nothing like baking up a batch of cookies or cupcakes to keep you warm on a chilly autumn afternoon. Nothing, except maybe sharing them with your sweetheart later on! Here are five of our favorite cool-weather baked goods: simple to make, and simply delicious.
These bite-size pies put a charming twist on the much-beloved apple dessert. A small wedge of cheddar cheese melted on top (we recommend local cheese if it's available) adds an irresistible tang. C'est magnifique!
An autumn classic. Add walnuts and cranberries for some added texture and flavor. Whip up a loaf and spend the next few days indulging in some warm zucchini bread for breakfast - you'll never want to go back to toast.
This time, the pumpkin flavor is the star of the show. The delicately sweet honey frosting is a perfect complement to the rich pumpkin spice. Easy to make but hard to resist.
Whipping up a batch of goodies is a delicious way to show someone you care - and it fills your home with that tantalizing warm-cookie smell! Anybody can bake, so go ahead and indulge a little this autumn.
Peanut butter walnut chocolate fudge--fabulously rich and decadent, this is one enticing treat that will more than satisfy any sweet tooth. If you love Reese Peanut Butter cups, this recipe is for you.
Peanut Butter, Walnut, Chocolate Fudge Inspired by a recipe found on allrecipes.com, we added the peanut butter/nut mixture.
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme (fluffanutter)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil; set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine fluffernutter, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt.
Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set Aside
In a medium bowl, mix together vanilla and peanut butter, add nuts.
Pour 1/2 of the chocolate fudge into the pan
Add the peanut butter/nut mixture over the chocolate
Top with the remaining chocolate fudge
Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm
I just found this recipe from an online press release and had to
share it. Growing up my mom would always bake the sweet-treat of choice
for me and my siblings on our birthday. My choice was always German chocolate cake. So each and every variation I find, I always want to try, such as this beautiful creation for Mini German Chocolate Cakes or this recipe by Alison Ladman for her variation made into cookies.
A purely American invention, German chocolate cake starts with a
sweet chocolate cake, then is filled with a caramel-coconut-pecan
concoction. We transformed this luscious cake into sandwich
cookies. Starting with a sweet and soft chocolate cookie, we filled it
with a gooey coconut filling and rolled the sides in toasted pecans. Be
sure to use the coconut mixture while it is still slightly warm so that
it is easier to spread.
GERMAN CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES
Makes 2 dozen cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
For the filling:
Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
a second large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat
together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the
eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the
Add half of the flour mixture, stirring to combine. Add
the milk, scraping the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the second half
of the flour mixture, again scraping the bowl.
Working in batches,
drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets,
leaving 2 inches between each for spreading. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes,
or until slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a
large skillet over medium heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk
and the coconut. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to
pull away from the pan and will hold a line when you drag your spoon
through it, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
pecans in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Spread a spoonful of the coconut
mixture onto the flat side of 1 cooled cookie. Top with another cookie,
flat side down, to form a sandwich. Roll the edges of the sandwich
cookie in the chopped pecans.
Store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper.
Bite-size, single-serve sweets are a sexy way to end a romantic meal for two. One individual swirled pumpkin cheese cake and a glass of champagne--how cool is that? An elegant fusion of two fall favorites, pumpkin pie and gingerbread, makes these mini cheesecakes irresistible.
By the way, did you know that pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable - which makes this sweet ingredient suitable for use in dessert recipes like these scrumptious mini-cakes. Bite-Sized Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes
12 Cupcake liners
Nonstick cooking spray
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin
2 Tbsp. Cafe Collection Vanilla Latte Coffeemate
2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300° F.
Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners; coat liners with nonstick cooking spray. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until smooth.
Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Transfer 1/2 cup batter to a medium bowl.
Add pumpkin and Coffee-mate; stir until blended.
Divide white cream cheese batter evenly among prepared cups; top evenly with pumpkin batter.
Swirl batters with butter knife. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until just set.
Here is a wonderful apple streusel recipe with a twist: Add a bit of Vino Cotto! A naturally sweet syrup "vino cotto" which translates to "cooked wine" has a fig-like flavor, but does not contain alcohol or vinegar. It is similar in thickness to a simple syrup (sugar and water) and is made by boiling grapes in copper pots then aging in wood barrels for a year. Vino Cotto is used with meats, seafood, drizzled over cheese, and in dessert recipes such as this Vino Cotto Apple Struesel.
Recipe by Montillo Italian Foods Photo and recipe courtesy of Montillo Italian Foods
5-6 large McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar (dark brown sugar optional)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons margarine, chilled, cut into pieces
2-3 oz. Vino Cotto di Montillo
Vanilla or vanilla fudge swirl ice cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel, core and cut apples into ¼" slices.
Using PAM No-Stick Cooking Spray, evenly coat a deep 2-quart baking dish.
In a large bowl, coat apple slices with lemon juice. Pour vino cotto over apples and gently toss to coat. Pour contents of bowl into the baking dish.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Add butter pieces to mixture. Using a large table fork, press butter into the flour mixture to form a granular mixture.
Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
Bake for 30 minutes, checking periodically to avoid burning. If the topping begins to brown before the apples are tender, loosely cover the baking dish with a piece of tinfoil.
When the apples are tender, remove the tinfoil and finish browning the topping.
And now for something deliciously different and very original!
A very dear friend of mine was invited over for dinner by her male friend one evening. She was promised something enticing and out of the ordinary-not the usual take-away, nor reinvented left overs! She arrived punctual and famished as any seductee ought to and was greeted with the delightful aroma of cake baking. Perplexed, she asked, "Did you bake a cake for dinner?" "Yes", he replied. And so it was pound cake for dinner. Love it!
Was there ever a time you had a meal that was the result of creative, "out-of-the- box" thinking?
Raspberry Pound Cake This recipe is a variation of the original Raspberry Pound Cake recipe which came with this story. The yummy cake recipe goes like this:
8 oz. of either fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries (don't mix berries)
powdered (confectioner's) sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Butter and flour a loaf pan.
In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugar at high speed until it is a creamy soft mixture, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and lemon zest.
Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding portions of this and the sour cream to the butter and egg mixture until everything is combined. Be careful not to over-beat the batter. Stop mixing when each addition is well incorporated.
Pour a 1/3 of the mixture into the pan. place the fruit on top. Pour another 1/3 of the batter on top of the fruit and repeat with the rest of the fruit and batter-this way, I find that the fruit is spread more throughout the cake. Smooth the batter with a spatula.
Bake until a cake tester (or wooden toothpick) inserted into the middle comes out dry and clean, about 1 hour.
Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to loosen the cake and slide unto a plate.
Dust lightly with confectioner's sugar once completely cooled.
Who can say no to this refreshing treat: Mocha Madness Ice Cream, oh yeah! The following recipe is from the wonderful archives of King Arthur Flour, who was inspired by Cuisinart company, whose ice cream machine booklet inspired this recipe. Thank goodness for collective inspiration!
Mocha Madness Ice Cream Yield: about 6 to 8 servings Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 Oreo cookies, broken into small pieces
Whisk or mix together the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa till the sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
Stir cookie bits into soft ice cream, and serve immediately.
For firmer ice cream, place in a covered container. Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, until ice cream is as hard as you like it. Note: Freezing longer than this will make the ice cream rock hard; plan on softening at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or so before serving, if the ice cream has been in the freezer longer than a few hours.
Don't have an ice cream maker? Simply pour the chilled mocha cream into a bowl, place the bowl in the freezer, uncovered, and stir the cream every hour. After about 4 hours or so, it'll be soft-serve consistency. Continue to stir and freeze till it's the consistency you like. While it won't be as creamy as churned ice cream, it'll be absolutely delicious. After 6 or more hours in the freezer, it'll become quite hard.
To serve, simply remove from the freezer for 15 minutes or so, to soften it enough to make it "scoopable."
Serve in bowls, cups or cones. And as you can see in this photo you can get as fancy or simple as you like.
Often times when buying strawberry rhubarb pie I am overwhelmed by the sweetness and how much sugar is used; which is a shame as it drowns out the subtle flavors of this delicious dessert. To make life easier I bought an Oronoque Orchards Flaky, Homestyle Pie Crust. I grow my own rhubarb and bought strawberries at the farmers market. OK, so now for a little magic in the kitchen, but honestly, this is a super easy summer treat, and you save some calories by excluding the top crust because we all know the calories are in the crust.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups of rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 pints of strawberries, cut in half
1 1/2 tablespoons of sweet butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium mixing bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch
Mix in lemon juice
Stir in rhubarb and strawberries and spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Dot with butter.
Matcha, the finest green tea in the world, specially grown from shaded tree bushes, is made by grinding the entire tea leaf into powder. All of those nutrients and benefits stay right in the cup for drinking (more than 10 times the nutrients and benefits over other green teas). This ensures that Matcha drinkers consume a higher concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers than other tea. Matcha is generally expensive compared to other forms of tea, although
its price depends on its quality. Grades of matcha are defined by many
factors such as treatment before processing, stone grinding, and oxidation. The cultural activity called the Japanese tea ceremony centers on the
preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha
has also come to be used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba
noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese
The below healthy and delicous Japanese dessert recipes were featured at last week's International Resaturant and Food Service Show in New York by Aiya America Inc.
Matcha Tofu Ice Cream
2 Tbs Aiya Cooking Matcha
1 cup Tofu
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Condensed Milk
Mint to garnish
Add the sugar and condensed milk to the heavy cream and whip until
soft peaks form. Dry the tofu of excess moisture, add to the mixture
and stir together.
Dissolve the matcha for cooking in a small amount of warm water
and add to the mixture from step (1). Place the mixture in the
refrigerator to set.
Mix the ice cream 2-3 times while it sets. Once completely set, scoop the ice cream into a bowl and garnish with mint.
Matcha Chocolate Chip Rice Cookies
1/3 cup Rice Flour
1/2 Tbs Aiya Cooking Matcha
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 cup Butter
3 Tbs Sugar
·Handful of Chocolate Chips
Bring the butter to room temperature to soften. Combine the dry ingredients and sift together.
Add 1/3 of the sugar to the softened butter and mix. Repeat this 2-3 times until all the sugar is well incorporated into the butter. Lightly beat the egg and add to the sugar and butter mixture.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the mixture from step 2. Fold in the chocolate chips and let the batter rest for several minutes.
Roll the batter into small balls. Flatten with the palm of your hand and place them on a cookie sheet.
Set the oven to 340ºF and bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300ºF and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on a rack and enjoy their delicate, flaky texture!
I recently received a box of fresh Meyer Lemons compliments of Lemon Ladies Orchard; a package of pure California sunshine that brightened up a cold snowy NY day. I
do love so many lemon recipes but this time I wanted to challenge
myself to do something different and worthy of not only a Seduction Meal
but also something that would be enhanced by the added sweetness of Meyer lemons. For me, something different means a dessert of some kind. I
haven't spent much time baking. With so many wonderful bakeries and
gourmet shops in NY I tend to pick up small sized desert when I have a
sweet craving. I know better than to have sweets hanging around my
kitchen. If its there....I'll eat it.
So for my challenge, I chose to create a lemon almond tart and here's what I came up with: Meyer Lemon Almond Tart with Raspberry Coulis.
Coulis is a simple (un-thickened) sauce made of puree of fruit, in this
case Raspberry, that naturally pairs well with desserts of all
kinds but can also be paired with a roast, breast of duck or pork loin
my lemon tart received a big thumbs up, I admit my tart skills need to
be honed. Silly me, I used an aluminum store-bought muffin tin. Not such
a good idea...you can see how the edges aren't even. Oh well, next time
I will use the real thing like this set of four Mini Tart Pans from King Arthur Flour. But don't let looks deceive this tasty sweet temptation. New Photo to appear one day soon!
Meyer Lemon Almond Tart with Raspberry Coulis
Almond Tart Crust Yields: 8 individual Tarts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/8 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2" thick slices
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes
Finely Chop almonds in a grinder
the almonds, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, using your hands work in
the butter a few pieces at a time. Add the water and almond extract a
little bit at a time blending together all ingredients.
mini tart molds, add almond mixture to each pressing down to the bottom
and up the sides to form a shell to hold the lemon curd
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown
Set aside to cool
Lemon Curd Filling
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
Grated lemon zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (approximately 5 lemons)
1 stick of sweet butter, sliced into 1 Tbsp pats, softened at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Add lemon zest and
lemon juice, continually whisking all ingredients together.
the lemon mixture in a double boiler or a bowl over a pot of boiling
water, lower the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon, gently
mixing until thickens about 7-10 minutes. When the lemon curd coats the
back of the (wooden) spoon it is ready.
Remove from heat, and drop in the 8 butter pats, set aside and let cool for a few minutes.
Using a blender on low mix together until butter is well blended, creaming the curd.
Pour into almond tart shells
place in refrigerator for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.
1 bag of frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon of fresh meter lemon juice
1/4 cup of sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, cooking until sugar is dissolved
Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
Pour the puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to release as much juice as much of possible.
Plating the Dish
Place 1/4 up of Raspberry Coulis in the center of a plate
Add a Lemon Tart on top of the Raspberry Sauce in the center
(Option) Garnish with sliced almonds and/or lemon zest
Enjoy a late afternoon sweet soiree, as you toast to each other with a Chambord French Sparkle that will tickle your tongue with bubbles of delight. Follow this with a luscious bite of chocolate layered cake beautifully decorated with fresh berries.
I recently attended an event with party planner and style expert, Cathy Riva presented by Driscoll's Berries, where I was introduced to these recipes.
Go ahead, indulge! It's a sweet temptation well worth it.
French Sparkle Recipe courtesy of Chambord
1 1/2 oz Chambord flavored vodka
1 oz champagne
2 oz mango nectar
Finish with a fresh blackberry or raspberry
Shake vodka and mango nectar with ice and stain into a chilled champagne glass. Top with champagne.
Mixed Berry Be Mine Chocolate Cake Recipe Courtesy of Cathy Riva
How many times have you been seduced by the sexy extravagance of a Chocolate Molten Cake? As you bring the spoon to your mouth you just have to close your eyes to experience the aroma. Then the taste and the texture of the chocolate cake followed by a glorious chocolate sauce, typically topped with cream and/or a berry coulis. Well now you can learn how to make this marvelous dessert at home, with step-by-step directions from Chef Jay. Seduction Meals is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Chef Jay as he shares his culinary background, the keys to a successful romantic meal for two, and of course his luscious recipe for a dessert that will make any Seduction Meal an instant hit!
Tell us about your career as a chef and what you are doing now?
My name is Chef Jay Jones. I graduated from the French Culinary Institute in NYC for culinary arts. I have been a chef for 16 years and have worked in restaurants and hotels as well as other venues in the US. I do private chef work as well as teach classes in culinary arts.
I'm currently the Executive Chef of Chateau Noir LLC, a full service catering and event planning company we provided services all over the US. Where ever there is a need for food we are there.
What would be your idea of a great romantic meal for two--a Seduction Meal, that you would serve your loved one on a special occasion?
More then the food a romantic dinner is about the people the connection and the bond that is shared by them. A meal should compliment that bond and not only bring them close but give them a shared experience that will last in their minds.
My meal would consist of: Warm Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer Grilled Fennel with Oysters and Citrus Salad Herb Crusted Salmon with roasted red potatoes and asparagus And for dessert ... Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Sauce How-To-Video from Chef Jay
When enjoying a romantic meal for two--what music do you play while cooking and what music do you listen to while dining together?
Andreas Vollenweider Book of Roses 1. Chapter One: La Strega (Her Journey to the Grand Ball) 2. Chapter One: The Grand Ball of the Duljas 3. Chapter One: Morning at Boma Park 4. Chapter One: The Five Curtains 5. Chapter One: Book of Roses 6. Chapter One: In Doga Gamee 7. Chapter One: Passage to Promise 8. Chapter Two: In the Woods of Kroandal 9. Chapter Two: Jugglers in Obsidian 10. Chapter Three: Chanson de l'Heure Bleue
What do you think is the key to a successful romantic meal for two?
A successful romantic meal to me is a shared experience, foods that work well together flavors that don't over power but accentuate the mood. A harmonious balance of flavor profiles and the right atmosphere.
Do you prefer dining in our out for a romantic meal?
In; it allows me to set the mood I want and allows the evening to progress at my pace not that of others around me
What restaurants top your list for romantic settings?
Have not visited many restaurants for an romantic evening however on one occasion I went to JP's a seafood restaurant on City Island in the Bronx and sat in a quiet corner it was very nice and the company enhanced the mood and the meal was great.
Do you have a favorite cocktail recipe to serve for your romantic meal for two?
Very simple a glass of champagne with a strawberry. Classic and goes with just about anything.
In the culinary world of chefs, restaurants, mixologists, TV shows, food movements, etc. - is there anything or anyone that inspires you?
Jacques Pepin he is my biggest inspiration and culinary role model. His style techniques and approach to food put him in a class by himself.
Are you working on any special projects or recipes at this time?
At the current time I have several projects in the works. A cookbook that will be out in the summer of this year, I write weekly culinary columns for several magazines, I will begin culinary tours in several US cities this year, I'm in the process of putting together a pilot for a possible television show. And I try to come up with new and interesting recipes everyday.
While spending the time to make a homemade pie crust is admirable and often preferred, when you have to whip up a pie in a hurry, not only is it OK to depend on a store bought crust, they are also very very good. I prefer the Oronoque Orchards, which are made from all natural ingredients. They come in a package of three 9-inch pie crusts made from flour, vegetable oil, water, salt and honey. I have also been told that Putnam County Pie Company makes an incredible crust but I have not been able to find them.
Peach Ginger Pie
6 ripe peaches, cut into chunks
1" fresh ginger, grated
2 cups brown sugar crystals
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons minute tapioca
juice of 1/2 lemon
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Mix all ingredients together and place into the pie shell
Place pie on a cookie sheet (to capture any juices that might overflow) and place in oven
After baking for 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 375
Bake for about 45 minutes or until juices bubble on top
Another enticing creation from Italy (I love Italian Gelato!), granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings...and, they are super easy to make. Originally from Sicily it is somewhat similar to sorbet and italian ice.
There are different ways of making Granitas: The first method creates a more coarse consistency made by scraping or shaving the frozen ice to produce separated crystals. This is simply done by mixing all ingredients in a blender and placing the flavored mixture in a container in the freezer. When it is frozen you then scrape or shave the ice. This can also be made in a gelato machine for a smoother consistency.
Icy cool Granitas are a great way to get through the sweltering
days of summer. You can also serve Granitas as a
refreshing finale to a spicy meal. Here is my first try at making a Granita:
Watermelon Granita Serves 4
4 cups (about 1/2) watermelon
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of raw or refined sugar
1 tablespoon of rose water
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
Juice of one lime
Garnish with a slice of Lime
Cut watermelon into cubes, removing all seeds
In a small saucepan, add water, sugar, rose water, and red chili, heating until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute
Remove from heat and let cool down (about 5 minutes)
Place the watermelon in a blender and mix until smooth.
When the sugar water has cooled, add to the watermelon in the blender along with the lime juice, blending all ingredients together.
Transfer the watermelon mixture to a shallow pan and cover with a plastic wrap. Place in the freezer
Let the granita freeze for 4-5 hours when the mixture is completely frozen. Every hour or so, stir or scrape the mixture breaking up the ice crystals.
A half hour before serving place your serving glasses or bowls in the freezer to chill
Remove frozen watermelon from freezer along with serving vessels from the freezer.
Scrape or shave the mixture loosening the crystals of ice.
Spoon mixture into pre-chilled glasses. If you experience difficulty scraping or shaving you can place the frozen watermelon in a food processor and pulse briefly to loosen up.
Garnish with a slice of Lime. You can also squeeze fresh lime juice over the granita as well.
I was in the process of buying an ice-cream maker. However, ever since stumbling upon the pure delights of L'Arte del Gelato (at Chelsea Market in New York City), and learning that Gelato, a silky traditional Italian ice-cream, is less fattening than ice-cream, I've been on a mission to try my hand at this Italian sweet. After all, I did spend my teen years working at my family-owed ice-cream parlor. While gelato has many of the same ingredients as ice cream, the difference between the two is that gelato is made with whole milk and cream and has less than 55% air, which results in a denser, more intense flavor. And after having Gelato in Italy and now in NYC at L'Arte del Gelato----I am all about Gelato, and now am weighing my options between buying a gelato machine or an ice-cream maker. Anyone with experience on this purchase---Please chime in!
Tomato, Basil, Ricotta Gelato / Avocado Gelato
Gelato is said to have been created in the 16th century when the creamy dessert appeared at the court of Caterina dei Medici. Over the next four centuries the art of making this creamy dessert was passed on from father to son. Eventually, as Italians emigrated throughout the world, a love for gelato was transported to many countries around the world.
Gianduja / Hazelnut Gelato
To make the PERFECT Gelato, it is worth spending a little time to get the theoretical and chemical combinations that are indispensable for perfecting this seduction summer treat. However, as with any element of creativity--it is best to experiment with your personal preferences to create your very own signature gelato dish.
Toasted Coconut Gelato / Chocolate Gelato
Here are a few selections of home-made Gelato from fellow blogger's and recipe sites that sound perfectly divine!
Roll 1/2-inch thick; cut dough with a 3-inch heart or other shaped cookie cutter.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Gently re-roll and cut out scraps; place on cookie sheet.
Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
To serve: Slice biscuits horizontally in halves; spread apricot preserves on bottom halves; cover with tops. Serve with reserved blueberries and whipped cream, if desired. (Any unfilled biscuits may be frozen for later use.)
Care for dessert? Deliciously sweet with a rich, creamy texture, this combination of figs, port, cinnamon and ricotta cheese drizzled with honey is enough to make anyone's heart skip a beat with pure pleasure. Could it be due to the fact this recipe is loaded with with aphrodisiacs? You decide....
Port Marinated Figs with Cinnamon Spiked Ricotta Cheese Serves 2 - 4
5 fresh figs, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup demerara sugar
1/4 cup vintage port
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of honey per serving
optional: garnish with 3-4 mint leaves, thinly sliced or chopped pistachios
Place figs cut side down in a large deep dish. Pour in port and let marinate for 1 hour.
Remove figs from port marinade -set port aside
Place figs, cut side up on an aluminum foil wrapped grill tray
Sprinkle figs with sugar and broil until the figs begin to brown.
Remove figs from oven and set aside to lightly cool
Place the port sauce over medium heat and cook until warmed
Place the ricotta cheese in a boil, add cinnamon and whisk together until ricotta is smooth and cream
Some desserts have a way of bringing us back to our childhood--strawberry shortcake, cream puffs, pudding, and banana splits to name a few. Here is a special treat that will bring a smile to those fond of sweet dreams: Cherry Chocolate Cream Puffs. This recipe and more can be found in the Taste of Home Cookbook: For Cooks who Care.
Cherry-Chocolate Cream Puffs Recipe courtesy of A Taste of Home Cookbook 10 Servings Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 30 min. + cooling Ingredients
3/4 pound fresh or frozen sweet cherries, thawed, pitted and chopped
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Drop by 2 rounded tablespoonfuls 3 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Immediately split puffs open; remove tops and set aside. Discard soft dough from inside. Cool puffs.
Let whipped topping stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and milk to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low; stir in chocolate until melted. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in whipped topping.
Fill each cream puff with a heaping tablespoonful of cherries; top with chocolate filling. Replace tops. Dust with confectioners' sugar; serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 10 servings.
When your sweet tooth kicks in, there is nothing like a soft, chewy cookie to satisfy your desire. With the perfect combo of peanut butter and chocolate--these cookies have always been a favorite in my home. So easy to make and best eaten right out of the oven (after they cool down for a few minutes).
Peanut Butter Kisses Yields 4 dozen cookies.
1/2 cup butter or shortening, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
48 Hershey Kisses® chocolate candies, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream butter or shortening and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beating until light and fluffy.
Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract; beat well.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into creamed mixture until well mixed.
Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
Place balls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie (cookie will crack around edges).
Remove from cookie sheet and let cookies cool on wire cooling racks.
A tempting sweet that you can finger feed each other for your next Seduction Meal, Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Squares. "Satisfy your cheesecake craving with these bite-sized treats. Dipped in chocolate, these sweet, creamy delights are party favorites. But be warned...you won't be able to eat just one".
This recipe is courtesy of A Taste of Homea wonderful online resource, as well as America's #1 cooking magazine both of which features authentic family-favorite recipes
Line a 9-in. square baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and butter. Press into prepared pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust.
Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled. Freeze overnight.
In a microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
Using foil, lift cheesecake out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut into 49 squares. Remove a few pieces at a time for dipping; keep remaining squares refrigerated until ready to dip.
Using a toothpick, completely dip squares, one at a time, in melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; spoon about 1 teaspoon chocolate over each. (Reheat chocolate if needed to finish dipping.) Let stand for 20 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Yield: 49 squares.
This intriguing recipe is sent to us by fellow blogger, Jenna Short-- Mini Squash Cakes with Creme Frâiche. The squash is sweetened up with vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon; and we have an interesting guest ingredient--beer! As Jenna puts it, "....this is more of a "Cuffin"... Say wha? Mini squash cupcakes that you can ice and serve for dessert or prepare a basket of them for a brunch party! They're delicious, nutritious and super easy to make!" - Jenna, shortbreadnyc.com
Photo and Recipe by Jenna Short
Mini Squash Cakes with Creme Frâiche Yeilds 6
2 cups 3/4-inch cubes squash
1 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup light beer
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine squash and milk in heavy small saucepan, add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain squash. Place in processor and blend until smooth. Chill.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray six 3/4cup ramekins or muffin tin with nonstick spray. Place 1/2 cup squash puree in large bowl (reserve remaining puree for another use). Add sugar, oil, beer, and egg to puree and beat to blend. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt over; beat to blend. Divide batter among prepared ramekins or muffin tin.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cakes in ramekins. Serve with whipped creme frâiche and raw sugar topping.
If you don't have the time to prepare your sweet treats, Shortbreadnyc.com offers Jenna's wonderful recipes such as Peanut Butter Jilly Times: A Dairy free Peanut Butter Frozen Bar Treat. Absolutely to Die for. Comes in a huge batch of over 2 dozen. They Freeze perfectly and taste best right out of the freezer! Dive in.
In my family when its someone's birthday they get to choose the homemade cake of their choice to celebrate the occasion. This weekend, we got to celebrate with an American classic adored by young and old, strawberry shortcake. While this is typically a summer dessert, we enjoy this year round. So easy to make and always a delightful treat.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe Courtesy of King Aurthur Flour
Biscuits: Yield: 9 biscuits.
3 1/2 cups (14 7/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder*
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter or margarine, or1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) milk*
2 quarts hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup (8 ounces, 1/2 pint ) whipping cream
*Or substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the buttermilk powder and milk.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, and cut in the cold butter, margarine or shortening.
Whisk the vanilla and egg with the milk, then add all at once to the dry ingredients and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times, just until it holds together. Pat the dough out until it's about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, and cut it into circles (using a sharp cutter for the highest rising biscuits).
Place the biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet, brush the tops with milk or egg white for a shiny surface, sprinkle with sugar if desired, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
To Assemble Shortcake:
Mash 2 cups of the strawberries. Slice the remaining strawberries, and mix all of the berries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let rest 1 hour.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Just before serving, split open the biscuits, spoon half the berries and whipped cream on the bottom half, top with remaining biscuit halves, and spoon on remaining berries and cream.
Reputed aphrodisiacs, poppies and almonds are believed to increase passion and fertility. Like Vanilla, the aroma of an almond is known arouse women, while the poppy leans more towards masculine stimulation and used for various cures throughout history. Here we have two recipes from my mom; something we grew up with and love to this day--Poppy Seed and Almond Rolls. I wonder if these sweet treats played a role in working her magical charms on my father? Serve these pastries only to the object of your
"Nutella, chocolate hazelnut spread, is all the rage in Italy; "Nutellaphiles" eat it by the spoonful right out of the jar", says .Mary Ann Esposito, TV celebrity and author of the book: Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen. "And that may be as good tasting as it gets unless you decide to make these puff pastry tartlets. Nutella, mixed with mascarpone cheese and spread on top of banana slices in ready-made puff pastry is one of the easiest desserts I know."
Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Banana Tartlets Recipe courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito, Serves 4
1 sheet prepared puff pastry
1 cup Nutella
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 banana, sliced
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Roll out the sheet of puff pastry onto a clean work surface and into a 12 X 14-inch rectangle; cut out four 6-inch circles from the rolled dough. Press and line each of the circles into four individual 3-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms.
Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet and poke each shell with a fork all over the surface to prevent puffing while baking. Bake the tartlet shells for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.
Remove the tartlet pans from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
In a medium bowl use a hand mixer to whip the Nutella and mascarpone together with the sugar until well blended.
Place a layer of banana slices in the bottom of each cooled tartlet shell, then spoon the Nutella mixture into the shells. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
In the spirit of the Holiday, remember homemade always tastes best, and for blueberry lovers everywhere, this desert will add a nice touch to the end of any seduction meal. Blueberry apricot pot pies - delish!
Blueberry Apricot Pot Pies four servings
1 9-inch round refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-ounce
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dried apricots cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F; lightly butter four 3/4-cup (6-ounce) baking cups.
Place pastry flat onto a floured board
Invert a baking cup 1/2-inch from the edge of the pastry
With a small sharp knife, cut out a circle 1/2-inch larger than the cup; repeat to make 4 rounds;
Cut a small hole in the center of each.
In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch; add blueberries and apricots; toss to coat; divide equally among the buttered cups.
With water, lightly moisten the rim of the each cup
Place a pastry round on each cup, fold under the edge and crimp. Repeat.
Place cups on a rimmed baking pan.
Bake until the filling just begins to bubble, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Or, bake earlier and reheat in a 375 degrees F oven until warm.
Seduction Meals is pleased to present the sixth and final post of the six-part series: Vietnamese Splendor by Tastemaker and Trendsetter, Moshe Aeylon. Thank you Moshe for sharing your very special recipes; and what better way to end the series than with dessert. Talk about sweet temptation.
"I am getting old and lactose intolerant. So my choice of drug is GELATO, and in this case Sorbetto. And nobody comes as close to a street vendor in Italy like Ciao Bella. This dessert, using their UBER sensual new flavor Cabernet Blackberry, with fresh figs and almond slivers is very easy to describe. All you need is one word. ORGASMIC!"
No tricks here, all you need is the sorbet, figs, and almond slivers. Just scoop some sorbet in a bowl, add quartered figs and slivered almonds and wait for the sounds of pleasure to emerge.
Red is a hot color and one that signifies passion and love. The intense color and taste of fresh raspberries is highlighted in this simple-to-make pie that will tempt hearts and tummies with it's very presence.
Fresh Raspberry Pie Yield: 1 pie, 8 to 10 servings.
Crust & Filling
1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell, cooled
1 1/2 quarts fresh raspberries (about 6 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice OR 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
1/2 cup water
a few drops of red food coloring (optional)
1 cup Baker's Special sugar or granulated sugar*
1/3 cup Instant ClearJel® powder
glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar
whipped cream (optional)
*If the raspberries are very tart, increase the sugar to 1 1/4 cups.
Mash 2 cups of the raspberries in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the lemon juice or lemon oil, water, and food coloring (if you're using it).
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and Instant ClearJel®, then sprinkle this over the raspberry mixture; stir to combine.
Fold about 3 cups of the remaining berries into the mashed berry mixture, reserving about 1 cup for the top of the pie.
Spoon the berry mixture into the pie shell, and top with the reserved berries.
Sprinkle with glazing or confectioners' sugar and garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
This recipe reprinted from The Baker's Catalogue / Courtesy of King Arther Flour
For chocolate lovers everywhere, I present this wonderfully creative recipe for German Chocolate mini cakes. This riff on German chocolate cake features individual mini cakes, their sides enrobed in chocolate, topped with the classic caramel-coconut-pecan filling/topping. While traditional German chocolate cake is a sweet, lighter-colored cake-more milk chocolate than dark¬-our version is devil's food and delicious. By the way, German chocolate cake has nothing to do with the country, and everything to do with Sam German, an employee of the Baker's Chocolate Company, who came up with this recipe in 1852.
German Chocolate Mini Cakes Recipe and photograph courtesy of King Arthur Flour Yields 12 servings
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter*
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) Baker's Special sugar or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cool water
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) half and half or milk
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pecan flavor or pralines & cream flavor, optional
1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded or flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, toasted*
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted*
*Toast the pecans and coconuts till golden brown in a 350°F oven. This
is most easily done if you place each in a 9" round cake pan, and put
them in the oven as soon as you pull out the finished cake. Bake for
about 10 minutes, watching carefully towards the end, as the coconut
will brown quickly. Remove from the oven, and stir the coconut to
distribute the less-browned and more-browned pieces together evenly.
This recipe was submitted to Seduction Meals by Jennifer
"I am kind of a fanatic for fondue, as I think it has to be one of the
most romantic meals out there, so I have a fondue recipe to submit.
This is my own recipe, too. If you want to add a fun texture and flavor to this dessert, set out
plates of shredded coconut, crushed oreos, and graham crackers. You
simply roll your chocolate covered treat in the goodies on the plate
Caramel Almond Chocolate Fondue
1 (9.5 ounce) Bag of Dove chocolate with caramel centers, wrappers removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
Bananas, sliced one inch thick
Pineapple, cut in one inch cubes
Brownies, cut in one inch cubes
With a double boiler, melt the chocolate with caramel centers.
add cream, stirring constantly, until you have reached the desired
texture. It should be silky smooth, without chunks of chocolate.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and serve in a fondue pot.
strawberries, bananas, pineapple, and brownies as dippers.
In celebration of summer, here is the third recipe in our Peach Trilogy from the extraordinary Martin & Fitch Events. Place this dish before your guest and I am sure they will never look at an empanada in the same way, a dessert to be savored with each bite taken.
Peach empanadas with vanilla ice cream and mint Recipe courtesy of chefs Maura Martin and Phoebe Fitch Photography: Noelle Grosso
1.5 cups of all purpose flour
1.5 T sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter cut in small pieces
pinch of salt
3-4 T ice water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 T corn starch
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large ripe peaches pitted and cut into large dice
1 egg white
1 T sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Take butter, flour, sugar and salt and mix with a pastry cutter until granular
Gradually add ice water until dough forms a ball
Combine lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and spices
Add peaches and vanilla and mix
Roll out dough on a floured flat surface
Cut out large rounds
Fill 1 half of the round with peach filling
Fold over and close edges with a fork
Cut two slices in top of empanada
Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar
Place in preheated 450 degree oven for 5 minutes
Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown
Serve warm with a high quality vanilla ice cream and mint garnish
Creme brulee is one of my all time favorite indulgences. Take a
spoonful and close your eyes to concentrate on all its glory; the
seductive qualities of vanilla (an adored aphrodisiac), its soft creamy
texture interrupted by delicate shards of caramelized sugar. As if that
isn't enough to put your senses in a tailspin...try adding a dollop of
homemade strawberry-rhubarb compote and you'll be taken to another
Strawberry Rhubarb Creme Brulee Serves: 6 depending on the size of your ramekins Use six 7-8 oz ramekins
1 1/2 cups chopped Rhubarb rhubarb pieces, about 1/2" long
This luxurious dessert showcases one of Michael Recchiuti's favorite chocolates, Valrhona's Grand Cru Manjari Dark chocolate. This ultra-premium 64% cacao chocolate is made of Criollo and Trinitario cacao beans from Madagascar. It is highly aromatic with a distinctive chocolate flavor and an intense bouquet of red berries. Even though you can use another premium dark chocolate, Michael suggests you go out of your way to try the Manjari--you'll definitely taste the difference. Look for Valrhona in gourmet and specialty food stores.
"These brownies were a happy accident", says Michael Ricchuiti of Ricchiuti Chocolates. "Whenever I'd make marshmallows I'd be left with a bowl of oddly shaped trimmings that tasted great. My wife Jacky suggested I toss them in a batch of our brownies with some nuts and test them out at the Saturday morning Farmers' Market. They were a hit. Make them and you'll see why."
Michael Ricchuiti of Ricchuiti Confections shares his secrets for baking these exquisite peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies.
"I've always liked the flavor of peanut butter cookies, but was turned off by the dryness and gritty texture that comes from using flour. This recipe is great because it uses organic peanut butter as binder rather than flour. While you're making them, the dough might seem a little different than what you're used to. It'll be more wet seem to fall apart a little bit. Don't worry. Once they're baked, everything falls into place and you'll really appreciate the flavor and consistency organic peanut butter gives these cookies".
Line the bottoms of two 12-by-18-inch sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir the peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and kosher salt until combined.
Stir in the chocolate and peanuts.
Using a small, greased ice cream scoop, measure out the dough in teaspoon sized balls.
Place the dough on the prepared pans, spacing them 2 inches apart.
Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, until lightly golden and spread to a puffy mound, about 12 to 14 minutes.
Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
Let cool completely on the pans on wire racks.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to week.
*Look for an organic peanut butter where peanuts are the only ingredient listed. These nut butters contain no added sugar and have a great mouthfeel. The peanuts used are generally of higher quality and have been roasted darker for a rich flavor.
**Make sure to use a fleur de sel rather than a grey sea salt. Fleur de sel is an unprocessed salt, hand raked and harvested from the premium, top layers of salt beds in France. "Fleur de sel" translates to "flower of salt," which refers to the scent of violets the salt develops as it bleaches and dries in the sun. The flavor, like the aroma, is more floral and less briny than other sea salts.
Surprise your lover with an unusual homemade treat--organic fruit Pop Tarts paired with a cup of steaming hot chocolate or coffee. We're all familiar with the store bought variety, but when has someone handed you their very own homemade version? You know its going to taste far superior to the box you find on the shelf at your grocer's, so start cooking! While pop tarts taste best served warm out of the oven, you can also bring them to your next outing. Unwrap this seductive pastry at an outdoor sports event, on a break while skiing, or while lounging in bed on a lazy Sunday morning.
Organic Pop Tarts Recipe courtesy of Foreign Cinema: Chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cold water for mixing
1 cup homemade preserves/jam from organic fruit such as apple, apricot, cherry, wild blueberry, cherry, mango or your favorite fruit flavor
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar, and cut the butter into small pieces. Work the flour and butter together with your hands, until the mixture is well blended. Sprinkle the water over the mixture to smooth out the any small irregular clumps. Work the dough vigorously until it is relatively smooth. You may also use a food processor, if desired. Wrap in plastic and let the dough rest 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the tart dough on a cold lightly floured surface. The dough should be about 1/8" inch thick. Cut rolled out dough into 3" by 5" shapes, using a postcard as a visual gauge. (For smaller tarts, simply use a smaller measurement.) Cut 8 rectangles, and use a pastry scraper to place 4 bottoms onto cookie sheet lined with parchment.
3. If you have the time to make homemade jam - go for it! If not you can use a high quality store bought jam. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of jam onto the center of each pastry of the 4 bottoms. Place the 4 pastry tops onto the jam centers, aligning the corners. Press the edges with a fork, until each tart is closed, working around the entire rectangle. (These may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen.)
4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tarts are golden brown. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Note: The filling varies on the time of year. Choose an organic store bought jam if you don't have time to make your own.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 2 tsp sugar 3/4 tsp salt 6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces 6 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled 3 tbsp ice water 3-4 peaches, cut in 1/4 inch wedges about 1/4 cup sugar--use more or less depending on how sweet the fruit is 1 egg yolk 2 tsp heavy cream
a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse
just to coat pieces with flour. Add shortening and do the same, pulsing
to cover with flour - you will wind up with "pea-size" pieces of
shortening. Transfer dough to a bowl. Gradually add ice cold water,
tossing with a fork to moisten. Briefly and gently knead dough to form
a ball. Set aside
Place sliced peaches in a bowl and add 2 tbsp of sugar and toss. You can use any fruit--if not at peak ripeness I add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
oven to 425 F. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to a 12"
circle about 1/8" thick. Gently lift and place this onto a cookie sheet
covered with parchment.
Starting about 1 1/2 inches from the
edge, place peach slices on the dough from the outside to the center.Fold over the
edge of the dough, overlapping the fruit.
Whisk together the egg yolk and cream and brush this mixture over the
rim of the galette. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the galette and
Bake until browned, about 20 - 30 minutes. Remove from
oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edges and center
with a spatula. Lift the parchment to a cooling rack and carefully
slide off onto the cooling rack or platter. Sprinkle / Sift edges with powdered sugar. Top with whipped cream.
When it comes to baking, this is a simple, yet completely satisfying sweet treat--a peach blueberry galette. To many, this is less complicated, and less time than baking a pie. Galette is a general French term used to designate different types of round and flat crusty cakes. Its more of a free form pastry. You can use any fruit combo you wish--plums, raspberries, cherries whatever you like. Go for what's in season--buying fresh, ripe fruit will make all the difference imparting a more intense flavor. Serve this warm with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream, and your favorite tea or coffee to give you energy for the next course.Yummy!
peach blueberry galette
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 3 tsp sugar 3/4 tsp salt 6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces 6 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled 3 tbsp ice water
3 peaches, cut in 1/4 inch wedges about 1/4 cup sugar--use more or less depending on how sweet the fruit is 1/2 pint of blueberries 1 egg yolk 2 tsp heavy cream sliced almonds
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse just to coat pieces with flour. Add shortening and do the same, pulsing to cover with flour - you will wind up with "pea-size" pieces of shortening. Transfer dough to a bowl. Gradually add ice cold water, tossing with a fork to moisten. Briefly and gentely knead dough to form a ball. Set aside
Place sliced peaches in a bowl and add 2 tbsp of sugar and toss. In a separate bowl, add blueberries and 1 tbsp of sugar.
Preheat oven to 425 F. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to a 12" circle about 1/8" thick. Gently lift and place this onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment.
Starting about 1 1/2 inches from the edge, place peach slices in two circles. Add blueberries to the center and add a few over the galette decoratively.
Fold over the edge of the dough, overlapping the fruit. Sprinkle a small handful of sliced almonds over the fruit. You can also use glazed pecans. Next, whisk together the egg yolk and cream and brush this mixture over the rim of the galette. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the galette and the rim.
Bake until browned, about 20 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edges and center with a spatula. Lift the parchment to a cooling rack and carefully slide off onto the cooling rack or platter. Serve warm with a dollop of cream.
This salacious recipe was sent to Seduction Meals by John of Amherst, MA. Get ready for an overwhelming sensation of pure pleasure.
"Chocolat Pot de Creme is pure seduction. It's best eaten warm when it is silky and flows over your tongue--the deep taste of chocolate taken in your mouth in the form of soft, silky waves. The seduction is so deep you must take it slowly. Pot de Creme are closest to heavenly when eaten warm and served with a dollop of whip cream"
chocolat pot de creme makes 6 to 8 Pot de Creme cups...you know you'll want more than one!
2 cups light cream
1/8 cup sugar
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate
1/4 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
These are best made in proper Pot de Creme containers with lids. If other types of ramekins are used they must be covered tightly with tin foil. The surface of the custard must never be exposed throughout the bake.
Place 6 yolks in bowl
Place 1 1/2 cups light cream, pinch of salt and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a second heavy bottom pan place chocolate and 1/2 cup cream over low heat. Warm just to melt chocolate until the mixture is smooth. Add vanilla. Note: Avoid excessive heat. Do not cook chocolate. If you prefer, you can melt chocolate in a ban marie instead.
Slowly add cream/sugar mixture to chocolate, lightly stir to maintain a even texture.
Whisk a small amount of the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks. Add the yolk mixture back into the chocolate and stir over low heat until slightly thicker. Stir constantly.
Strain chocolate mixture using a medium mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup with a lip. Carefully pour into Pot de Creme containers (with lids) or foil covered ramekins. fill about 3/4 of the way full, making sure chocolate is not touching the surface of the lid or aluminum foil when covered.
Bake in a water bath at 300 degrees until the custard is still very "jiggly" on top. Plus/Minus 30 minutes. It's VERY important to remove the custard from the oven when the surface is still quite loose.
Cooking time varies with size of containers and individual ovens. Do not over cook. It will continue to cook after removed from oven as well as set as they cool.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top
When baking you need to keep checking the consistency of the custard by removing the lids with tongs and tapping the side of the containers. The Pots de Creme is done when it has a loose jiggle. The whole idea with this dessert is to have it be really silky. You want it to be just thick enough to sit on a the spoon when you are eating it. The longer you bake it the harder the final product will be. the aim is a chocolat pot de creme that is silky, smooth and melts on your tongue. MMmmm!
Strawberries and cream--you can't go wrong with that combo. Add a
little Port, Brandy and Cointreau and you have one simple dessert that
is sure to please. This weekend we are going to enjoy a picnic in the country and this is the dessert that will end our casual lunch. Easy to prepare and easy to travel, Strawberries in Good Spirits, as I like to call this recipe, is always a hit. While I prefer to make homemade whipped cream, see recipe below, in this case for ease of travel, I'll pick up a can of whipped cream. Our picnic will consist of some cheese--a wedge of Manchego and a slice of Tomme de Savoie, a loaf of French bread, mixed olives, duck mousse pate, a sliced pear and a bottle of wine. For the finale... the colorful, sweet strawberries.
Strawberry in Good Spirits Serves 2
2 cups of strawberries, stems removed, sliced 2 tbsp powdered sugar 2 tbsp Port 2 tbsp Cointreau 2 tbsp Brandy
1 cup cream, whipped 1 tsp Cointreau 1 tsp sugar If you are traveling it may be easier to buy a can of whipped cream
Slice strawberries and toss with powdered sugar. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Blend Port, Cointreau and Brandy and pour over chilled strawberries. Next add 1 tsp Cointeau and 1 tsp of sugar to the cream and whip. Place the berries in individual dishes and top with whipped cream.
As a finale to my Seduction Meal I wanted something sweet, seductive and sensational when I hit upon the idea of Tiramisu; a delightful dessert with a blend of luscious sensations...mocha, cream, rum, coffee, and of course, the delicate tease of the lady fingers--mmmm! This dessert certainly fit the bill.
So I set about with my online search for the right recipe. After a few minutes, I came across a site called Heavenly Tiramisu which is filled with everything you every wanted to know about Tiramisu. The history of the dessert, restaurants are rated on tiramisu served across the country, and there is a very good collection of Tiramisu recipes featuring three types: Basic Tiramisu, Tiramisu Varieties, and Healthy Tiramisu (...is there such a thing?). Who ever put this site together is one BIG Tiramisu fan! Here's a line from the site that caught my eye:
Stories are told about how Tiramisu was the favorite of Venice's courtesans, who needed a "pick me up" (the literal translation of "tirami-su") to fortify themselves between their amorous encounters. True? Probably not. But it makes for a colorful history.
While I found many delicious recipes on Heavenly Tiramisu and other sites, the recipe that grabbed my attention is adapted from The Palm Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Classic American Steakhouse by Brigit Legere Binns, which I found on AARP's web site.
All I have to say: I would proudly serve this up to any courtesan in Venice, and better yet, to the love of my life.
Tiramisu Serves 8 Note: For the best results, make this 24 hours in advance of serving
1 cup heavy cream 4 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon dark rum, Amaretto, Kahlua, or Godiva liqueur (I used dark rum) 1 scant tablespoon chocolate syrup 1/3 cup superfine sugar 1 2/3 cups mascarpone, soften at room temperature for 1 hour 3 (3 1/2-ounce) package lady finger cookies 3 cups very strong, cold coffee Cocoa powder, for dusting
In a large, cold bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the tiramisu.
In the bowl of an electric standing mixer, combine the egg yolks, rum, chocolate syrup, and sugar. Beat the mixture at a high speed for 2 minutes. It should be quite thick and leave a trail when the beater is lifted away. Place the softened mascarpone in a large mixing bowl, and gently fold in the beaten egg-and-chocolate mixture. Fold in the chilled whipped cream.
Dip each ladyfinger briefly into the coffee, and arrange in rows on the bottom of a rectangular (preferably 6-inch x 12-inch) baking dish. Gently spread an even layer of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, and top with a second layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers. Spread with the mascarpone mixture, make a third layer of ladyfingers, and end with a layer of the mascarpone. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for no less than 24 hours, and up to 36 hours. Cut into squares for serving, and dust each one generously with cocoa powder.
This recipe for panna cotta is so easy to prepare and absolutely divine to share as the perfect ending to your Seduction Meal. I found this recipe in the July issue of Oprah Magazine (2006). The balsamic strawberries can be served over plain yogurt, cottage cheese, sweetened ricotta cheese or your favorite pastry cups.
Panna Cotta 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin 2 cups buttermilk
Balsamic Strawberries 1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered or sliced 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
To make panna cotta: In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream and
brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until hot. Meanwhile, in a small
bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons cold water; let stand 3
minutes or until soft. Add gelatin to hot cream and stir until gelatin
dissolves. Remove pan from heat; stir in buttermilk until well blended.
Pour mixture into each of 6 dessert cups or bowls. Cover and
refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
To make balsamic strawberries: Combine strawberries,
brown sugar and vinegar in a bowl; toss to coat berries. Cover and
refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight. To serve, spoon strawberries
and juices over panna cotta.
Sweet Temptation can be found in this creamy cheesecake creatively enhanced with a topping of startling red color, and the sweet and tart flavor of the always captivating pomegranate.
Creamy Cheesecake with Pomegranate Topping (Recipe from the Pomegranate Council)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9, 5 X 2.5 crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 8-ounce containers whipped cream cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
Seeds from 2 pomegranates
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons sugar
oven to 350'F. In a 9-1/2 inch springform pan place crust ingredients
and with fingers, blend until combined well. Press mixture evenly over
bottom and 3/4 inch up side of pan.
a large bowl with an electric mixer beat filling ingredients on high
speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Pour filling into crust
and bake in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until cheesecake is just set
in center. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Transfer cake in
pan to a rack and cool, about 3 hours.
juice in a 1 cup liquid measure and add water. Sprinkle gelatin over
pomegranate juice and let stand 1 minute to soften gelatin. Remove the seeds from the pomegranates--set aside.
gelatin mixture to a small saucepan. Add sugar and cook over moderate
heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into a bowl and
set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stirring mixture
gently until it is cold and slightly thickened but not set. Stir in
pomegranate seeds and spoon topping onto chilled cheesecake. Chill cake
until topping is set, about 1 hour. Remove side of pan and serve
Who doesn't love creme brulee? Serve up this delicious creamy custard nestled under a brittle sheet of caramelized sugar, and you are sure to experience adoration from those around you.
Creme Brulee (serves 4) 1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons sugar 2 extra large or jumbo egg yolks medium orange or large lemon, grated zest only 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean 1 Tbsp of sugar, or brown sugar per serving
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare some boiling water.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and the orange or lemon zest (you choose the flavoring you prefer); cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5 - 6 minutes. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat egg yolks and the 2 tbsp of sugar; until smooth and light. Slowly pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sive into a bowl to remove the zest and vanilla bean. Divide mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.
Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water halfway up side the of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes. The custard will be soft when you take them out of the oven. Be sure to give them plenty of time to chill and set before glazing. Chill 2 - 3 hours.
Fire it up! Now the fun part! Add 1 tablespoon evenly over the top of each ramekin. With the creme brulee torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the custard in a circular motion until the sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. It might be a good idea to practice on the first two, so the last two are perfect for your Seduction Meal. Serve immediately.
Note: I tried this recipe using a small propane torch. As you can see it
wasn't strong enough to fully melt the sugar. If you experience this,
try using your broiler. Some recipes call for brown sugar, others use white sugar--I think
white sugar or raw sugar creates more of a "sheet" of caramelized sugar
than the brown sugar I used. I have some testing to do.
When I want to make Crepes Suzette I turn to master chef Jacques Pepin. A real show-stopper, this delicious orange flavored sweet doused in Grand Marnier and Brandy makes a dramatic presentation when fired up. The crepes are ultra thin and cooked with orange butter--both so easy to make.
My favorite story behind the origin of crepes suzette is this version (from Wikipedia).
The dish was created out of a mistake made by a fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Charpentier in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England, and his companion whose first name was Suzette.
This is told by Henri Charpentier himself in Life a la Henri, his autobiography.
"It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had ever tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. 'Will you,' said His Majesty, 'change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?' Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane."
CREPES SUZETTE Orange Butter The orange butter is excellent by itself spread on cake layers as an orange butter cream.
Suzette Butter 3/4 stick butter 1/4 cup sugar Peel of 1 orange removed with a vegetable peeler Juice of 1 orange (1/3 to 1/2 cup) 2 tablespoons sugar
Place the butter, sugar, and orange peel in the bowl of a food
processor and process until the orange peels are no longer visible and
the whole mixture is a uniform orange color. Add the juice slowly with
the machine on so that the butter absorbs it. Set aside.
Crepes 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3 eggs 1 cup milk 1/3 stick butter, melted 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 cup cold water 1 tablespoon oil
In a bowl combine the flour, eggs, 1/2 cup milk, melted butter, salt, and sugar. Mix well with a whisk. The batter should be very thick; it is easier to get rid of lumps in a thick batter than in a thin one. Work it until it is smooth, then add the other 1/2 cup of milk, the cold water, and the oil. Stir well.
Heat the skillet and butter it lightly for the first crepe (I melted some butter in a bowl and used a brush to lightly butter the skillet before cooking each crepe. Be sure to remove any bits with first to ensure a smooth crepe). Pour about 2-4 tablespoonfuls of batter on one side of the skillet. The amount will vary depending upon the size of your skillet. Immediately tip the skillet, shaking it at the same time to make the batter run all over the bottom. The speed at which the batter is spread determines the thickness of the crepe. If you do not move the skillet fast enough, the batter sets before it has a chance to spread and the crepe will be thick. Practice with the first two crepes you make.
Cook it on medium to high heat for about 30 seconds. (After the first few seconds when the batter settles, I start to shake the pan from time to time so the pancake does not stick to the skillet). To flip, bang the skillet on a pot holder on the corner of the stove to get the crepe loose, and flip it over. I found this is easiest to do if you tilt the skillet away from you, slide the pancake to the very end of the skillet and then flick the pan towards you. This too will take practice but you'll get the hang of it after your first or second crepe.
Preparing the Crepes Suzette Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the orange butter on each crepe, and fold the crepes in fourths. Butter generously a large oven proof platter and sprinkle it with sugar. Arrange one dozen stuffed crepes on it, overlapping slightly, but leave a space at the end of the platter where the sauce can accumulate. Sprinkle the crepes with 2 tablespoons of sugar and place them under the broiler, approximately in the middle of the oven if your broiler is in the same unit, for about 2 to 3 minutes. The surface of the crepes will caramelize and the sauce will slightly bubble.
Fire it Up! 1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or homemade orange liqueur
Pour 1/2 Cup of Cognac or brandy and 1/4 cup Grand Marnier on the very hot crepes and ignite. Bring the platter to the table and incline it slightly so that the flaming juices gather in the space you left. Spoon up the liquid and pour it back, still flaming, onto the crepes. When the flame subsides, serve two crepes per person with some of the sauce.
Garnish with blood orange slices and if you like sprinkle confectioner's sugar across top.
A fiery sweet Seduction Meal that is sure to fan the flames of desire in you both. A delicious New Orleans standard --Bananas Foster. The dish was created by Paul Blangé at Brennan's Restaurant; it was named for Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan's and New Orleans Crime Commission chairman. This dish is a true show stopper and fun to make together--you'll definitely impress when flaming up the skillet!
Bananas Foster 1/4 cup butter 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup banana liqueur 4 firm bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved 1/4 cup dark rum 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Makes 4 servings.
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.
Light it up! When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. If you have an electric stove, add a match to the skillet, however, you might want to remove the skillet first, to an open area so the flames do not shoot up and hit something. (Keep a large metal lid on hand to cover the dish in case your flambe gets out of hand). When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately; the warm sauce will quickly melt the ice cream. I had a hard time photographing this because the ice-cream melted so quickly.
On a last note:, when dealing with fire, I highly
suggest practicing before serving to master the art of working with
Bananas Flambe Another easy dessert that you can Fire Up for your Sweet Seduction
1 large firm banana 5 tspn honey 5 tspn of chopped walnuts and pecans 4 tspn brandy
Cut banana in half, place in a small flameproof dish. Drizzle cut surface of each half with 2 teaspoons of honey and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Broil the bananas about 4-5 minutes until heated--do not burn. Remove from broiler and carefully pour brandy over bananas and Fire it Up! Serve Immediately
"Poaching fruit is a good trick to have in your bag of dessert techniques. With half an hour or so of simmering in a flavorful liquid, you can transform an ordinary supermarket pear or other fruit such as a peach or an apricot, into a first-class dessert any time of the year", Julia Child on Poached Pears, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home cook.
Poached Pears . 2 1/4 cups of sugar 1 1/2 cups dry white wine such as Orvietto or Muscadet 4 1/2 cups of water 2 lemons, for peel and juice 2 tsp vanilla 6 large, firm, ripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett
For Serving Chocolate Sauce Slices of pound cake or Madeleine cookies Mint Sprigs
Preparing the poaching syrup. In a large saucepan or stockpot,
about 6 quarts, pour the sugar, wine and water and stir well. With a
sharp vegetable peeler, shave 10 - 12 long strips of lemon peel (lemon
zest only). Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice, removing
pits. Add the peel, juice and vanilla to the pot. Bring to a boil, cook
for about 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar, and turn off the heat
Meanwhile prepare the pears. Slice the bottom of each pear flat so it will stand upright. Peel the pears leaving the stems and a small amount of skin on the top (decorative touch). With a melon baller or a knife, scoop out the inside of the pear through the flat bottom, removing entire core and seeds. You will have to scoop 3 or 4 times to get out all the seeds.
Cooking and cooling the pears. Set the pears in the hot syrup, which must cover them completely. Add more syrup if necessasry. Lay a double thickness of paper towels over the pears, then weight them down by placing a small plate (a salad plate) or lid, to keep them submerged and prevent discoloring.
Return the syrup to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil and poach for about 30 minutes, just until the pear can be pierced through with the tip of a sharp knife. Remember, the poaching time for pears will always vary, so test them frequently. Remove the cooked pears from the heat and let them cool in the syrup for at least 3 hours or overnight, leaving towels and the plate or lid in place.
Chocolate Sauce 1 cup of half-and-half or cream 6 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped in small pieces 1/4 cup strong espresso (or 1/4 cup strong black coffee mixed with 1 tsp instant espresso powder) Vanilla extract, rum, cognac, or bourbon (optional flavorings) - I added a dash of rum handful (2 tbsp) finely chopped hazelnuts.
a small saucepan, heat the cream to a bare simmer. Whisk the chocolate
pieces and the espresso or coffee into the hot cream, until completely
smooth. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp rum, cognac, or bourbon and the hazelnuts. Mix well.
Cool before using.
Serving the pears. You can serve the poached pears as they are, moistened with their syrup, or in any variations found in the Julia and Jacques cookbook. I choose to serve this with the chocolate sauce, using a "fluted" pear.
Fluting the pear. Slice through the side of the pear with diagonal cuts at 1/2 inch intervals all around, starting from the top and moving diagonally towards the bottom. (See photo). Press down gently on the top to separate and display the fluted slices.
Plating the dish. If using pound cake, cut 1/2 inch slices of the cake and cut out a 3"
or 4" circle or disk from each, using a round pastry cutter or a
paring knife. Pour a pool of chocolate sauce onto a dessert plate, set
a cake round in the center, and stand a pear, fluted or not, on the
cake. I used Madeleine cookies instead and added a few small pieces of pecans in the chocolate sauce. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
For the Love of Food is a wonderful blog filled with recipes, reviews and other food related stories by Nicole King, a foodie and world traveler. She is running a fun event, through Is My Blog Burning?, called Taste and Create where she has created a gathering point for the food-blogger community to have their recipes tested by their peers.
26 different food bloggers have been paired for this event. Each participating blog will browse through their partner's blog's entries and pick out one dish that grabs their attention. Seduction Meals is partnered with food blog Dulcedo and my attention was immediately drawn to her post about Mexican Wedding Cookies.
Dulcedo is a food blog written from Seattle. There were quite a few recipes that I would have liked to try, but I was most interested in the story of the Holiday tradition of Dulcedo's grandmother's snowball cookies also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies. I LOVE these cookies and have always wanted to try baking them, so this is my chance. The recipe originated from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook... and they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Mexican Wedding Cookies (Snowballs) Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) pecan halves 2 cups confectioners' sugar 2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine pecans with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and pulse until nuts are finely ground. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar/nut mixture, flour, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar (sifted) on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until the dough just comes together.
Using a 1" scoop, drop dough about 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies are pale and just beginning to get tiny cracks on top, 10-12 minutes. Leave cookies on the baking sheet until firm enough to move, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Place remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar in a shallow bowl and roll cookies in it to coat completely. Cookies should be kept in an airtight container layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper.
A magical love potion with a titillating taste that is sure to enchant and seduce. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. A delicious, tasty liqueur made with all natural pomegranate juice,
premium vodka, and a touch of tequila, PAMA captures the sweet
and tart taste, and seductive color of the wonderfully exotic aphrodisiac...the pomegranate.
Your New Years Eve Seduction Meal will truly sparkle with this grand encore Yuzu Panna Cotta and a sparkling glass of PAMA Champagne.
Yuzu Panna Cotta:
¾ cups yuzu juice
4 cups of heavy cream
½ cup sugar
1 lime zested
1 lemon zested
4 gelatin leaves, or one 1/4 packet of gelatin
5 vanilla beans
Combine yuzu, cream and sugar. Heat until simmering. Add lime and lemon zest and split & scraped vanilla bean. Cover and allow to infuse for one hour. Strain. Heat up enough to melt bloomed gelatin leaves or gelatin packet. If using the gelatin packet add 2 tablespoons of water to a bowl and sprinkle gelatin over this. Let stand to gel for a few minutes--place gelatin into the heated cream mixture and mix well. Strain cream mixture through chinoise and cool.
¾ cup simple syrup (2/4 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of hot water, mix well)
6 gelatin leaves
Warm together juice, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and simple syrup until warm enough to melt bloomed gelatin leaves Strain through chinoise. Note: Simple syrup is a water/sugar mix typically 2 parts sugar / 1 part water.
5-Spice Caramel Sauce:
2 ¾ cups of sugar
5 oz corn syrup
1 vanilla bean
4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp 5-spice
Combine sugar, corn syrup and cook over medium-high heat until caramelized. Add split & scraped vanilla bean and 5-spice powder to heavy cream. Bring to a simmer. Deglaze caramel with cream. Strain through chinoise. Cool.
1 ½ cup sugar
5 oz a/p flour
6 oz orange juice
1 lemon juiced
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup butter, melted and cool
Mix together sugar, zests and flour. Slowly add juice and combine, mixing until there are no lumps! Add butter slowly. Let rest in fridge for at least 2 hours. Smooth a thin amount on a silpat with an off set spatula. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Once cool, break into shards. Note: The Silpat is a liner made of silicone and fiberglass which replaces the need for parchment paper.You can use either.
Assembly / Plating the dish:
Add a small amount of 5 spice caramel in bottom of your glass. Followed by yuzu panna cotta, almost to the top (leaving enough room for gelée). Top with pomegranate gelée. Garnish with citrus tuile.
PAMA and Champagne
3 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur 1 oz. Champagne (I prefer Veuve Clicquot) Pour PAMA and Champagne into shaker over ice. Strain into a Champagne flute.