Victoria’s Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

August 12, 2011

Victoria’s Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

This recipe was inspired by my mother’s custard filled sponge cake. Pour yourself a big glass of super cold milk or a cup of dark coffee and enjoy one or two of these sinful delights.


1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour (plus more to coat the tins)

1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Buttermilk or Sour Milk

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Softened Butter (plus more to coat the tins)

3 Jumbo Organic Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Warm the milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until thick and pale. Beat in the dry ingredients. Bring the milk and butter to a boil and will the mixer on low speed add the milk mixture to the batter and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla. Divide the batter among the muffin cups making sure to fill each half way. Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes and ONLY 10 minutes or they will stick. Then transfer to wire racks and let cool. Using a serrated knife cut each in half horizontally. Spread a spoonful of vanilla custard on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with the top. Spoon glaze over each and serve immediately.


5 Tablespoons Sugar

4 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 ½ Cup Scalded Milk

1 Slightly Beaten Egg

1 ½ Teaspoon Butter

½ Teaspoon Vanilla

Combine the sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl. Scald the milk on medium heat (nearly boiling). Add the first three ingredients and stir over a medium heat until thick. Remove from the heat and add some of the warm milk mixture into the beaten egg and mix. Slowly add this to the remaining warmed milk. Cook long enough to cook the egg which should be for about 1 minute. Stir the custard constantly. Add the butter and vanilla and stir. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and cover with waxed paper directly on the surface of the custard to avoid a hard skin. Chill in the refrigerator. This can be made a day ahead.


¾ Cup Heavy Cream

4 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate

2 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate Finely Chopped

1 Teaspoon Sugar

Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes and then whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool slightly. Stir often. Drizzle over cupcakes immediately! Makes 12

Watermelon and Persecco Parfaits

August 10, 2011

Watermelon and Persecco Parfaits

This adult dessert is cool and refreshing. It is great for those hot evenings and very easy to make. Watermelon is one of the ultimate tastes of summer and everything gets better with Persecco.


4 Cups Diced Watermelon (Remove The Seeds Or Use Seedless)

1 ½ Cups Fresh Raspberries

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 Cups Persecco

2 Tablespoons Chambord Liquor

Layer the watermelon and raspberries in 4 parfait glasses. In a glass pitcher combine the Prosecco, Chambord and lemon zest. Stir and quickly pour over the parfaits. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Heirloom Tomato Salad

August 8, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Never refrigerate tomatoes as the cold temperature dulls the flavor and changes the texture.


1 Small Sliced Very Thin Red Onion

¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 Pounds Quartered Mixed Color Heirloom Tomatoes

½ Cup Chopped Chiffonade Basil

½ Cup Shaved Ricotta Salata

In a serving bowl, combine vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and sliced red onion. Combine and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. This will soften the onion. Combine the chopped basil and top with shaved cheese and serve. Serves 6

Lobster Chowder

August 7, 2011

Lobster Chowder

This Lobster Chowder is more like a Lobster Bisque. With the lobster meat and fresh corn added it is delicious!


3 Lobster Shells

6 Cups Water

4 Tablespoons Butter

1 Celery Heart

1 Chopped Carrot

2 Sliced Leeks

1 Chopped Onion

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream

½ Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne

1 Cup Fresh Cooked Corn

½ Cup Lobster Meat

2 Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaved Parsley

To make the lobster stock you will need to crack the lobster shells up a bit and throw them into a food processor a few pieces at a time. Pulse them until they break up into small pieces. Put the shells into a pot and cover with water. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain so that you have no remaining shells. This should give you about 4 ½ cups lobster stock.

In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and sauté the celery heart, carrot, leeks and onion for 5 minutes. Do not overcook these vegetables. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute constantly stirring. Now add the lobster broth and whisk until smooth. Gently cook for 20 minutes over a low heat until the vegetables are tender. Remove the mixture and put into the food processor and puree. Return to the saucepan and add the cream. Stir. Add the salt and cayenne and stir. Finally add the corn and lobster meat and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and ladle equal amounts into 4 warm bowls. Sprinkle with the chopped flat-leaved parsley. Serves 4

Lobster Ravioli

August 1, 2011

Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Ravioli with tomato sauce is an elegant way to begin a meal or as a main course. 


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

5 Peeled, Seeded & Chopped Large Ripe Tomatoes

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

¼ Cup Heavy Cream

12 Ounces Cooked Fresh Lobster Meat In Large Pieces

4 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Pasta Dough

1 Tablespoon Freshly Chopped Basil For Garnish

In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thick. Add the cream and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.  Put the tomato mixture back into the saucepan.  In a small bowl combine the lobster, Parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup of the puree.  Mix well.  Lay a sheet of the pasta dough on a lightly floured counter.  Place portions of the lobster filling at least 5 inches apart onto the pasta.  Lay another sheet of the pasta on top and press down lightly.  The lobster mixture should be about 3 ½ tablespoons for each ravioli.  Using a pastry crimper, cut the dough into 4 inch squares.  Make sure that the filling is in the center of each square.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  You should have enough extra dough to cover the filling on the third sheet of filling.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the ravioli.  Cook for 3 minutes and drain.  DO NOT RINSE!  Heat the remaining tomato puree and ladle enough onto each plate to form a pool.  Place the ravioli in the center and pour a bit more of the sauce on top.  Sprinkle chopped basil on top and serve.  Serves 6


2 Cups Unbleached Flour

3 Large Eggs

Place the flour in a food processor and with the motor running add the eggs one at a time.  Continue processing for 20 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it has formed a smooth and firm ball.  Cover with a dry kitchen towel and let rest for 35 minutes.  Divide the ball of dough into five pieces and recover the four pieces with the same towel.  Slightly roll one piece with a rolling pin.  Lightly flour the dough on both sides.  Roll the dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine.  Fold the pasta in thirds and roll through the machine again.  Repeat this four times folding the dough each time.  Continue rolling the pasta through the machine.  Gradually make the opening smaller until you arrive at the third thinnest setting.  Run the dough through the machine one last time.  Now cut for pasta.  Repeat with the remaining four pieces of dough.  Makes 1 pound of pasta

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

July 29, 2011

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

The meaty taste of Portobello mushrooms makes this meatless pasta dish very satisfying!


8 Ounces Fettuccine Or Pasta Of Your Choice

8 Ounces Sour Cream

2 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

¾ Cup White Wine

1 Crumbled Vegetable Bouillon Cube

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Diced Onions

3 Tablespoons Butter

5 Cups Sliced Portobello Mushrooms

2 Minced Garlic Cloves

Cook the fettuccine, drain and keep warm.  Do NOT rinse the pasta.  I like to drizzle the cooked pasta with olive oil to keep it from sticking together.  In a small bowl combine the sour cream and unbleached flour.  Stir in the water, bouillon and black pepper.  Set aside.  In a large skillet heat the butter over a medium heat and add the onion.  Cook for 5 minutes until tender.  Stir constantly.  Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the mushroom mixture from the pan and add to the pasta.  Keep warm.  Wipe out the skillet and stir in the sour cream.  Cook until bubbly.  Pour the sour cream mixture over the pasta and mushroom mixture.  Stir gently to coat.  Serve warm.  Serves 4

Cherry Cobbler

July 26, 2011

Cherry Cobbler

This dessert is very easy to make and is always a big hit.  You can make it ahead for easy entertaining!


1 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

¼ Cup Butter

6 Cups Pitted Tart Cherries

1 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1 Large Egg

¼ Cup Milk

Preheat your oven to 400° F.  In a medium sized bowl, for the topping stir together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and set aside.  In a large saucepan, for the filling, combine the cherries, 1 cup sugar and the cornstarch.  Cook over a medium heat until the cherries release juices.  Stir occasionally.  Continue to cook over medium heat until it thickens and bubbles.  Keep hot.  In a small bowl stir together the egg and milk and add to the flour mixture.  Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened.  Transfer the hot cherry filling to a 2 quart square baking dish.  With a spoon, immediately drop the topping into six mounds on top of the filling.  Bake for 20 minutes until topping is golden.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Serves 6

Crawfish Etouffee

July 24, 2011

Crawfish Etouffee

True confession…I have to confess that I used to be afraid of crawfish.  It all started when I was about 5 years old riding in the back seat of an Oldsmobile going fishin’.  There was an old Folgers’s coffee can on the back floorboard filled with live crawdads for bate.  Somehow the crawdads forced the plastic lid off the coffee can and began crawling up the seat toward me. I don’t think I have screamed that loud since then. 


1/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Chopped Onion

1 Cup Chopped Celery

½ Cup Chopped Green Pepper

14 Ounces Chicken Broth

¼ Cup Sliced Green Onions

¼ Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley

7 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Bay Leaf

1 Pound Fresh Peeled & Cooked Crawfish

3 Cups Hot Cooked Rice

In a large skillet heat the 1/3 cup olive oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes.  Gradually stir in the flour until smooth.  Cook the roux over a medium low heat for 20 minutes until the mixture is dark reddish brown.  Stir frequently.  Next, add the onion, celery and green pepper.  Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.  Keep stirring occasionally.  Stir in the chicken broth, green onion and parsley, garlic, salt and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.  Simmer covered for 10 minutes.  Add the crawfish and cook until warmed through.  You can substitute crawfish with shrimp if you wish.  Just make sure that you use 1 ½ pounds of shrimp that has been peeled and deveined and cook until opaque.  Throw away the bay leaf and serve over rice.  Serves 6

Gelato Affogato

July 16, 2011

Gelato Affogato

Gelato Affogato means “drowned” gelato in Italian.  A coffee based dessert that consists of a scoop of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of hot espresso.  Some people also include a shot of Amaretto or dark rum.


2 Pints Vanilla Gelato (or Ice Cream)

1 Cup Hot Espresso

3 Tablespoons of Amaretto or Dark Rum

Scoop the gelato or ice cream into six small goblets.  Stir together the hot coffee and liqueur.  Slowly pour the coffee over the gelato and serve immediately.  Serves 6

Peach Melba

July 13, 2011

Peach Melba

A classic dessert invented in the late 1800’s by French chef, Auguste Escoffier, at the Savoy Hotel in London.  Chef Escoffier invented Peach Melba to honor the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba, who was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden.  Peach Melba combines the two favorite summer fruits peaches and raspberries (raspberry sauce) and is serves with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. 


Poached Peaches:

3 Cups Water

½ Cup Sugar

Peel of 1 Lemon Removed In Strips

1 Vanilla Bean Split Lengthwise

½ Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Peach Schnapps

4 Just Ripe (Not Overly Ripe) Peaches

Raspberry Sauce:

2 ½ Pints Fresh Raspberries

½ Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Vanilla Ice Cream

Nuts Or Fresh Mint Leaves For Garnish (Optional)

For poaching the peaches combine the water, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla bean in a saucepan that is just large enough to hold the peaches with the liquid barely covering them.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce the heat to low and add ½ cup of the peach schnapps and the peaches.  Cover the pan and cook at a very low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the peaches are tender when pierced.  Remove the peaches from the poaching liquid and place them on a plate to cool.  The peaches can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Before serving, cut the peaches in half and remove the pit and carefully peel off the skin and throw away the peach skin.  Remove the lemon peels and vanilla bean from the poaching liquid.  Throw away the peel and vanilla bean.   Place the pan over high heat and reduce the liquid to about ¾ cup to concentrate the flavors.  Cool to room temperature and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peach schnapps.  Store the syrup, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.  For the raspberry sauce, rinse the berries and place them in a small saucepan with the sugar.  Place the pan over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes until the berries are softened and begin to break apart.  Force the berry mixture through a fine mesh sieve and throw away the seeds.  Add the lemon juice to the sauce and refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.  To assemble the Peach Melba dessert, place a scoop of ice cream in a bowl or large goblet.  Top with 2 poached peach halves or sliced peaches. Spoon some of the poaching syrup over the ice cream.  Next drizzle raspberry sauce over the peaches.  Garnish with either chopped nuts or mint leaves.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

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