Afternoon Tea

Coconut Macaroons

March 23, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

INGREDIENTS

14 Ounces of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Whipped Egg White

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Teaspoons Almond Extract

14 Ounces Flaked Coconut

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla, almond extract and coconut.  Mix well and drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper.  Slightly flatten each mound with a spoon.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Immediately remove from the parchment  paper.  Macaroons may stick if allowed to cool.  Cool on wire racks and store loosely covered at room temperature.  Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Whoopie Cake

March 18, 2011

Whoopie Cake

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup (1 Stick) Softened Butter

1 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Buttermilk (or Sour Milk)

Whoopie Filling (Below)

Heart Shaped Pan

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour heart pan.  If you don’t have a heart pan you can use whatever cake pan you like and improvise. 

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until dry ingredients are almost incorporated.  Stop mixing and add the buttermilk.  Continue to mix until all ingredients are almost incorporated.  Stop mixing and add the remaining dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until center springs back when gently pushed.  Remove cake from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 

To assemble cut cake in half and spread bottom layer with filling and sandwich with the top layer.  Yummy!  Serves 8

Whoopie Filling

INGREDIENTS

6 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 ½ Cups Sifted Confectioners’ Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1 Jar (about 7 ounces) Marshmallow Cream

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar and salt to the butter and mix well.  Add marshmallow cream and vanilla.  Blend well.  Use immediately to fill pie or refrigerate covered up to 1 week.  Bring back to room temperature and lightly beat before using.  Makes about 2 ½ Cup of filling.

Sfingi or St. Joseph’s Day Zeppole

March 16, 2011

Sfingi

St. Joseph’s Day Zeppole

INGREDIENTS

Ricotta Cream Filling

One 15 Ounce Container Ricotta

¾ Cup Confectioners’ Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

¼ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Candied Citron Or Orange Peel

Dough

1 Cup Water

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Unbleached Flour

4 Large Eggs

Vegetable Oil For Frying

Candied Cherries – Cut In Half For Garnish

2 Tablespoons Chopped Unsalted Pistachios For Garnish (Optional)

Confectioners’ Sugar

In a medium Bowl, whisk the ricotta, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips and candied fruit.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. 

To make the puffs, bring the water, the butter and the salt to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once and stir well with a wooden spoon until the flour is completely incorporated. 

Return the saucepan to medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and turning the dough often, until the dough begins to leave a thin film on the bottom of the saucepan (about 3 minutes).  This dries the dough so the puffs will be crisp.  With a rubber spatula, scrape the dough into a large bowl.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Continue to beat until smooth – about 2 minutes more. 

In a deep heavy saucepan or deep fryer, heat about 3 inches of oil until the temperature reaches 375° F on a deep frying thermometer or until a small bit of the dough dropped into the oil sizzles and turns brown in 1 minute.  With a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of batter and with another spoon, carefully push the dough into the oil so that it doesn’t splash.  Continue to add the dough by the spoonfuls without crowding the pan.  The dough will puff up and double in size to do not add too many at one time or they will stick together.  Cook, turning them often, until the dough breaks open – about 4 minutes.  Continue to cook 1 to 2 minute more or until crisp and golden brown.  Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon or skimmer and place them on paper towels to drain.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Let cool slightly.

With a small knife, split fritter partway open.  Spoon the cream inside, allowing it to show through the split.  Press a cherry half into the cream and sprinkle with pistachios (optional).  (If it is not St. Joseph’s Day, you can just shake these, without the filling in a bag with confectioners’ sugar and serve like donuts). 

Dust the sfingi with confectioners’ sugar.  These are best right after they are made.  Makes 12

Warm Crab Dip

March 15, 2011

Warm Crab Dip

INGREDIENTS

1 ¾ Cups Cream Cheese

1 Cup Sour Cream

4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Pound & 2 Ounces Fresh Cooked Crabmeat

1 Cut In Half Garlic Clove

Butter For Greasing

Salt & Pepper

Fresh Dill For Garnish

Crackers Or French Bread To Serve

 

Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Add the crabmeat, salt & pepper and gently stir together.  Taste and add extra Worcestershire sauce if needed.  Cover and let chill for up to 24 hours. 

 

When you are ready to heat the dip, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Rub the cut sides of the garlic cloves over the base and sides of an oven proof dish suitable for serving  from.  Then lightly grease and spoon the crab mixture into the dish and smooth the surface.  Heat the dip through in the oven for 15 minutes. 

The dip is best kept warm when served, traditionally by using a chafing dish heated by a candle.  Either spoon the dip into such a dish, sprinkle with dill and set over the heat source or set the dip in its ovenproof dish over a fondue burner and garnish with dill.  Serve with crackers or French bread pieces.  Serves 8 to 12

Chai Tea

March 11, 2011

Chai Tea

Chai is the word for tea in many parts of the world.  It is a centuries old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.  Chia from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world.  The spices used vary from region and among households in India.  The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper.  Drinking chai is part of life in India and many who travel to India come away with fond chai drinking experiences.  Chai has become common at specialty beverage shops and there is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products.  Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but I think making your own chai provides immense satisfaction and makes your house smell divine! 

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup Water

1 Bag Black Tea (Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong or Darjeeling)

3 Inch Piece of Cinnamon Stick

2 Cups Milk

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cardamon

In a small saucepan combine water, tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Stir milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger and cardamom into tea.  Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture is heated through (do not boil).  Serve warm.  Serves 2

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