Valentine's Day

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.

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

Zuppa Inglese

March 13, 2011

Zuppa Inglese

INGREDIENTS

Custard

3 Cups Milk

1 Cup Heavy Cream

½ Cup Sugar

6 Large Egg Yolks

½ Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

One 12 Ounce Butter Pound Cake – Cut Into Thin Slices

½ Cup Marsala Wine

2/3 Cup Sour Cherry Preserves

Whipped Cream

1 Cup Very Cold Heavy Cream

2 Teaspoons Confectioners’ Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Fresh Berries or Shaved Chocolate For Garnish

In a large heavy saucepan, bring 2 cups of the milk, the cream and sugar to a simmer over medium heat.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from heat.  In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1 cup milk until blended.  Place the flour in a fine-mesh strainer, shake it over the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.  Beat in the hot liquid a little at a time. 

When all of the milk has been added pour the mixture into a saucepan and return it to the heat.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to boil.  Reduce the heat and cook 30 seconds more.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Use the custard immediately or transfer to a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the cream and refrigerate.  The custard can be refrigerated up to 24 hours. 

Place a mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to chill.  In a large serving bowl, make a layer of about one-third of the cake slices.  Sprinkle the slices with some of the Marsala.  Spread with half of the cherry preserves, and custard.  Top with the remaining cake slices.  In the chilled bowl, with the chilled beaters, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Spread the cream on top of the cake.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. 

Just before serving, garnish with fresh berries or shaved chocolate.  Serves 10 to 12

Veal Parmigiana

March 10, 2011

Veal Parmigiana

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Marinara Sauce

1 Cup Plain Dried Bread Crumbs

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Large Egg

2 Tablespoons Water

6 Veal Cutlets (1 ½ Pounds)

3 Tablespoons Butter

¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Cup Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese – Shredded

Prepare Marinara Sauce.  On waxed paper, combine bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.  In a pie plate, beat egg and water.  Dip cutlets in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs; repeat to coat each cutlet twice.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add cutlets, a few at a time, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side, using tongs to transfer cutlets to platter as they are browned. 

Return cutlets to skillet.  Spoon sauce evenly over cutlets.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and top with mozzarella.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook just until cheese has melted – about 5 minutes.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Serves 6

Marinara Sauce

This sauce is very versatile!

INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Chopped Small Onion

1 Finely Chopped Garlic Clove

1 Can (28 Ounces) Plum Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil (use dried if this is what you have)

½ Teaspoon Salt

In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook.  Stir until onion is tender – for about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, basil and salt.  Heat to boiling, break up tomatoes with side of spoon.  Reduce heat and partially cover and simmer.  Stir occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly – for about 20 minutes.  Use to coat 1 pound of pasta for 4 main-dish servings.  Makes 3 ½ cups.

Tiramisu

March 9, 2011

Tiramisu

INGREDIENTS

7 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Sugar For Egg Yolks

3 Cups Mascarpone Cheese

4 ½ Tablespoons Water

1 ½ Tablespoons Powdered Gelatin

3 Egg Whites

¼ Cup Sugar For Egg Whites

1 Cup Heavy Cream – Whipped

2 ½ Cups Cooled Espresso Coffee

½ Cup Kalhua

20 t0 24 Ladyfingers

1 Cup Chocolate Shavings

In a mixer whip yolks and sugar until thick and pale in color.  Add the mascarpone and whip until well combined.  Pour water into a small bowl and then pour the powdered gelatin over it.  DO NOT STIR.  Allow the gelatin to absorb all of the water which will take about 15 minutes.  Next place the bowl on top of a small saucepan containing simmering water to create a double boiler.  Immediately turn off the heat and allow the gelatin to dissolve completely.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to a soft peak and gradually add the sugar.  Next slowly pour in the dissolved gelatin.  Whip to a stiff and glossy peak.  Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone and egg yolk mixture and the fold in the whipped cream. 

In a separate bowl, combine the espresso and kalhua.  Soak 1 ladyfinger at a time in the espresso mixture.  In an 8 x 10 inch pan, arrange the soaked ladyfingers close together in neat rows until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.  Pour ½ of the “mousse” over the ladyfingers and smooth with a spatula.  Sprinkle ½ of the chocolate shavings over the mouse.  Create another layer and chill until set. 

Serves 10 to 12

Wine Poached Ginger Pears

February 27, 2011

Wine Poached Ginger Pears

INGREDIENTS

4 Medium Firm Pears

4 Pieces Crystallized Ginger (1 inch size)

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Honey

3 Thin Strips Lemon Peel

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.  Use a corer or sharp knife to remove the bottom “flower,” and about 1 ½ inch of the core.  Place one piece of the ginger into each hollow.  Place the pears upright in a medium pot.  Combine the wine, water, honey, lemon peel, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and pour over the pears.  Cover the pot and place over medium-low heat.  Simmer the pears for 20 minutes.  Uncover the pot and gently lay the pears on their sides.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Uncover and gently turn each pear over to its other side.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Stand the pears upright in a medium glass bowl.  Pour the wine syrup over the pears.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.  Serves 4

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

February 19, 2011

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

¾ Cup Butter (you can use sour milk)

¾ cup Melted Butter

3 Eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.  Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Melt butter and add to dry ingredients.  Next add eggs and buttermilk to dry ingredients.  Mix everything together until smooth with an electric mixer.  Pour into pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  When done remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  After the cake has cooled, slice cake in half to make 2 layers.  It is easier to slice if the cake has been refrigerated for a couple of hours.  Frost with Chocolate Butter Frosting.  Use 1/3 of the frosting between the two layers, 1/3 on top and the rest around the cake.  Grandma’s Chocolate Cake should be served at room temperature.  Serves 12

**To Make Sour Milk: ¾ cup of milk and add either two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit for five to ten minutes.

Madeleines Proust Would Love These!

February 16, 2011

Madeleines

INGREDIENTS

5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter – Melted & Cooled

½ Cup Plus 1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

½ Teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Beaten Egg

1/3 Cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Brush Madeleine pans with melted butter.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour in pans and tap out excess.  In a medium bowl, sift ½ cup flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a second medium bowl, beat egg and sugar until thick (5 minutes).  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  Fold in flour mixture.  Fold in remaining melted butter.  Spoon heaping tablespoon of batter into each mold.  Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles and evenly distribute batter.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden (springs back when pressed).  Remove to a wire baking rack to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.  Makes about 12

Calvados Creme Anglaise

February 14, 2011

Calvados Crème Anglaise

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Half & Half

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Cup Calvados

½ Vanilla Bean – Split Lengthwise and Sees Removed and Reserved

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

6 Large Egg Yolks Lightly Beaten

In a medium saucepan over medium heat whisk together the half & half, sugar, Calvados, vanilla bean and salt.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture just begins to boil and then immediately remove from heat.  In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks.  Using a ladle, slowly stream about 1 cup of the hot half & half mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly and repeat.  Return the yolk/half & half mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or until mixture registers 170° F on an instant read thermometer.

Remove from heat.  Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the mixture into a stainless steel bowl set in an ice bath.  Discard vanilla bean and any solids.  Stir until mixture comes to a room temperature.  Cover the surface of the crème anglaise with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Makes about 3 cups.

Calvados is a dry apple brandy made in the Normandy region of northern France.  Applejack or other apple brandy may be substituted.

Banana Bread Pudding

February 14, 2011

Banana Bread Pudding

INGREDIENTS

8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Butter

4 Bananas – Sliced 1/3 Inches Thick

6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

2/3 Cup Milk

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Eggs

1 Egg Yolk

1/3 Cups Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

6 Slices Firm White Bread

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Using 1 tablespoon butter, butter a 9 inch deep dish pan and set aside.  Cook bananas with 4 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown.  Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cook until sugar melts and coats bananas. Set aside.

Beat the milk, cream, eggs, yolk, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and remaining 4 tablespoons brown sugar together.  Brush bread with the remaining butter, cut each slice in half and layer in dish.  Tuck bananas between the slices.  Pour in the milk mixture.  Press to absorb the liquid.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and bake uncovered until golden brown for about 25 more minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature with Calvados Crème Anglaise.

 Makes about 10 servings

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