Traditional Vanilla Bean Pot De Crème

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Doesn’t come anymore traditional than this! Time consuming, but if you have the time to spare- you will learn why this recipe is a classic ! Deliciously rich, creamy and elegant.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tablespoon

1- vanilla bean

Pinch salt

1teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

1teaspoon good quality instant espresso powder

Unsweetened whipped cream,for serving

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream and 1Tablespoon of the sugar and the pinch of salt. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream, and drop in the empty pod. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Set aside, and allow the vanilla to steep in the cream for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining1/2 cup of sugar until thick and creamy, about 1 minute.

Re-heat the cream just until warm, and slowly whisk 1/2 – 1 cup of the hot milk, into egg yolks while whisking vigorously; do-not to curdle the eggs. Bring the egg yolks close to the same temperature as the milk. We call this stage: Tempering. Once the cream is tempered into the egg yolks, transfer the tepid egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining flavored cream. Begin cooking to form a custard.

Over moderate heat, whisk constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl to help you poor into smaller serving vessels or molds.

Preheat the oven to 300’F Degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Bring a teapot filled with water to a boil.

Place the serving molds in a large high-sided casserole baking dish. Place the baking dish onto two sheet pans line the top sheet pan with a non slip silicon baking sheet or parchment paper. (This will provide double the insulation so the custards can cook evenly and slowly and non slip surface when you remove it from the oven.) Place the sheet pans with the molds on the center rack in the pre heated oven.

Gently stir the custard on the stove, remove the vanilla bean pod and discard. Carefully fill each mold with the custard mixture while in the oven.

Once the molds are filled with the custard- carefully pour the hot water from the teapot around the molds. ( try not to splash) Bring the water level up halfway – two-thirds up the sides of the molds.

Bake for 30 to 55 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the molds. To test for doneness, reach into the oven and using a tea towel to protect your hand, gently shake one of the molds. The custard should be set, but will still jiggle slightly, like gelatin.With tongs carefully remove the molds one at a time onto a tea towel and then onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Serve the pots de crème with lightly sweetened whipped cream and white chocolate shavings or a dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Makes approximately 8-10 servings depending on the size of your molds.

Note: If eggs begin to curdle in tempering stage immediately cool cream before and further additions and immediately run the mixture through a sieve before proceeding to the next step.

Make Ahead- Chocolate Espresso Pot De Crème!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
6 ounces good quality 60-70 % chocolate,finely chopped
6 ounces good quality 80% chocolate 80%,finely chopped, plus shavings for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
1- 4 inch cinnamon stick
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon good quality instant espresso powder
Unsweetened whipped cream,for serving

 
Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream, cinnamon stick and sugar. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce heat add the vanilla, espresso and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1/2 – 1 cup of the hot milk, into egg yolks while whisking vigorously; do-not to curdle the eggs. Bring the egg yolks close to the same temperature as the milk. This stage is called: Tempering. Once the cream is tempered into the egg yolks, transfer the tepid egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining flavored cream. Begin cooking to form a custard.

Over moderate heat, whisk constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Immediately add the finely chopped chocolate and remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl to help you poor into smaller serving vessels.

Pour the chocolate mixture into desired serving vessels and refrigerate until the pots de crème are chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Serve the pots de crème with unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings and an optional dusting of cocoa. Or simply… a candied coffee bean.

Makes approximately 8-10 servings depending on the size of your serving vessel.

Note: If eggs begin to curdle in tempering stage, cool cream before any further additions and immediately run the mixture through a sieve before proceeding to the next step.

2016 Post Election, Red Wine and Chocolate Popsicles ! 


I know it’s 5 o’clock somewhere ! Here is a fun pick-me-up after a long stressful election year. Try my  frozen popsicle recipe strictly for adults. Cause, sometimes we need a break too! Not only will these take the edge off the 2016 Election, it will also turn your lips and tongue into a bright shade of red!

What the heck! Be a kid again– even if it’s just for a few hours!

Ingredients

1 cup good quality Cabernet wine.

1 bar of 70% or higher good quality dark chocolate, chipped into small chunks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup winter plums, deseeded, and sliced

Method: 

In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and the wine on medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to simmer.

Add the plums and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Process everything except the chocolate in a food processor or standing blender until smooth.

Return to the saucepan and stir in chocolate to melt and combine. Cool.

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for about 1½ hours, then insert popsicle sticks. Allow to freeze until solid an additional 3 – 4 hours. To remove from molds, run warm water over the molds to help release the popsicles.

Or, freeze in a shallow glass casserole pan stirring a few times during the freeze time. Serve by scooping into bowls! If you are feeling really stressed –just eat it out of the container with a giant spoon!

Yum!

Non-Dairy Hot Chocolate Chai 

Ahhhhh, comforting ! A nice warm cup of drinking chocolate with chai spice! Perfect for a cozy fall,  or winter evening!!

Ingredients:

2 cups organic, vanilla almond milk, sweetened. (Or my nut milk recipe here- plus adding 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract – or, one vanilla bean-sliced open, and seeds removed into milk. And 2 Tablespoons of cane or coconut sugar per quart )

2 Tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder 

1 teaspoon DYI chai spice (see recipe below)

Method:

Place all ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk until spices and cocoa powder have dissolved. 

Reduce heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes until flavors have combine. 

Serve hot  

Homemade Chai Mix

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Combine spices together. Mix well to combine. Store in an airtight spice container. 

Decadent Dark Chocolate Holiday Truffles with Oreo Cookies and Framboise!  …Sigh!  

Vegan! Need a hostess gift or a little sumthin, to share at a holiday potluck ?These delicious truffles also make beautiful gifts for friends or family! Inspired by the compassionate, Stephen Dimmick- Founder of GlossiGirl Vegan Lipsticks!


Ingredients:

36 Faux Re-os or 1 package of real Oreo cookies

8 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened

16 ounces good quality 70% or above dark chocolate, chopped

4 -6 Tablespoons seedless Raspberry jam

1 Tablespoons Framboise (optional)

1 -2 Tablespoons Trader Joes, freezes dried raspberries ( these can also be purchased on-line at Amazon)

Method:

Place the Oreos in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until finely ground like bread crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor place the cookies in two layers of tightly sealed gallon sized food storage bags. With a rolling pin, pound to break cookies and roll to crumb size.

Reserving ¼ cup of the cookie crumbs. Place the remaining crumbs in a large bowl with the softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of the raspberry jam and all of the liquor

With an electric hand mixer, mix thoroughly until combined and form a nice smooth paste- add additional jam if too dry to form a ball when squeezed in the palm of your hand.

Shape into 1-inch balls perfectly round balls, and place on a prepared baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze for 20-30 minutes.

While the balls are chilling, place 12 ounces of the chopped dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Now temper the chocolate by stirring constantly while slowly melting the chocolate until it reaches 115’F degrees. Exactly. Immediately remove from heat place on a kitchen towel and add the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate. Stir vigorously until completely incorporated and smooth and all chocolate is melted . (This is called seed tempering chocolate)

Remove the truffles from the freezer. Using the tines of a fork to balance the balls, dip each ball in the chocolate and roll to completely coat it. Remove from the chocolate and allow the excess to drip off.

Scrape bottom on the side of the bowl and set on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Immediately, while chocolate is still wet sprinkle the tops of the truffle with a few of the reserved cookie crumbs and crumbled freeze dried raspberries.

Allow to set completely in the refrigerator.

You can make variations with crushed peppermint candy and peppermint schnapps, or your favorite flavored essential oils. You can even switch up additions of liquor. Grand Mariner lends an lovely orange flavor and pair with a few tablespoons of fresh orange zest !
Play!

The Faux-Re-O! Homemade Vegan Oreo Cookies. Clean ! No additives, preservatives or shelve-stabilizers! 

Aside from the slightly bizarre flavors of the past few years, Kraft Foods – the parent to the Oreo, a Nabisco brand; has a dynasty into the worlds best tasting cookie!  A large corporate box chain foods  company–but, this means highly processed, refined food ingredients. Also, foods contain additives; that might not be so healthy If you are feeding your family clean. Here is my adaption to the beloved, “Oreo” Cookie!

The Faux-Re-O!



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups AP flour, Yucca flour or GF flour, sifted

1 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 ounces Vegan butter or extra virgin coconut oil, room temp, slightly softened ( extra virgin has minimal coconut flavor)

1 1/2 cups granulated cane sugar

4 Tablespoons of VeganEgg reconstituted in 1 cup water

2 teaspoons pure Madagascar vanilla extract

1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening

Non-stick cooking

Cream Filling ( recipe below)

Method:
1. In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to incorporate ingredients well throughout the flour. Set aside.

 

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium bowl–combine 10 ounces of the vegan butter with the 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high until combined and pale in color. About two minutes. Scrape sides, add 1/2 the vanilla, and beat an additional 2 minutes.

 

3. Add the VeganEgg and flour mixture in alternate batches. Mix well to incorporate after each addition before adding an additional. Once all ingredients have been added mix until dough forms a ball.

 

4. With a sifter, lightly dust a clean work surface with cocoa powder.

 

5. Turn dough ball out onto the lightly dusted cocoa powered surface. Also dust the top of the dough lightly. Cut in 1/2.

 

6. With a cocoa dusted rolling pin, roll the dough pieces to flatten into 2 – 1/2 inch round disc. Wrap both discs individually in plastic wrap- sealing airtight. Refrigerate flat for a minimum of 1 hour.

 
5. After 1 hour has lapsed – remove a disc from plastic wrap and place on a clean, lightly cocoa dusted work surface. Working while dough remains cold, roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Run the back of a long knife or palate knife under the dough to make sure it is not sticking to the work surface.

 

6. Preheat oven 350’F Degrees. Prepare two high sided baking sheets with parchment sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

 

7. With a 1 1/2 in round cocoa dusted cookie cutter begin cutting cutting 64 round 1/4 inch round cookies.

 

8. Using a metal spatula – place on prepared baking sheet with minimal movement protecting the integrity of its shape. Work quickly while cold. If dough begins to heat up, place back in the refrigerator to cool again.

 

9. Continue to ball up the cookie dough up and re-roll for more cookies until you’re completely out of dough. Repeat with the remaining disc.

 
10. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are firm. Remove and allow to cool. Make cream filling.


Additional Cream Filling Ingredients:

4 cups powdered sugar sifted

2 Tablespoons nut milk

 
Method:

1. In a small bowl beat the remaining 2 ounces of the Vegan butter with the vegetable shortening until smooth. Add remaining vanilla extract. ( or cut and scrape one fresh vanilla bean pod * optional)

 

2. Once combine, add sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of the nut milk. Mix. Check constancy. If too dry, add the additional nut milk to form a thick cookie filling like paste. Set aside.

 
3. Once cookies are cooled, spread the filling on the bottom of half of the cookies and sandwich them with the other half. Slightly squeezing to completely sandwich.
Serve with ice cold nut milk. Or use to prepare Stephen Dimmicks ( from Glossie Girl ) Oreo Cookie Pancakes. Recipe here!

Variation to filling : For chocolate filling add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 /2-2 Tablespoons of additional nut milk to the already blended creamed filling recipe.

#HolidayBaking. Chef Gigi’s Recipe for Those Delicate, Flakey, Round Cookies all Covered with Powered Sugar. You know the ones! 

So delicious you can’t eat just one! Yeah… those! 



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups walnuts 

8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°.Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool. Chop walnuts fine, set aside. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 325’F Degrees.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the vanilla bean seeds at high speed until pale, about 2 minutes. 

Add 1 cup of the powered sugar and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 additional minutes minutes- (making sure to scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through the process.) Reduce to low speed, add the salt and gradually add the flour and the finely chopped walnuts. Mix only until the cookie dough comes together. Again,  scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

With a small potion scoop, or a tablespoon- portion the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll and arrange them on the prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned on the bottom rotating the sheet pans in the oven; half-way through the process.

Remove and cool about 5 minutes. This will allow the delicate cookies to firm up on the baking sheet. 

Place the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll the cookies while still warm in the powered sugar to coat, and allow to completely cool on a cookie rack. Once cool re-roll in the sugar.

Drunken Bacon for that “Grown-up” Sunday Brunch you’ve been longing for ! (This Bacon is Hot, Sweet and Sticky, so be prepared to have   “Breakfast in Bed!” )


Clothing optional ! I’d serve these sexy bits of heaven with a side of warm melted chocolate – but that’s just me. #ParentsDayOff 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup good quality pure maple syrup

1/4 cup good quality Bourbon 

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 pounds, 3/4-inch-thick slices of skinless slab bacon

Method:

Preheat oven to 350’F Degrees. 
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and orange zest. Place bacon strips into the whisky marinade and toss until the bacon is evenly coated. Allow to rest a minimum of 20 minutes, up to one hour.

Line a 2 high sided baking sheets with foil and place a cookie cooling rack on top of each sheet. Spray cookie cooling racks with non-stick cooking spray.

Lay bacon on the racks in a flat even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. 

Watch closely the last 5 minutes because the bacon will burn very quickly towards the end of the cooking process. 

Cool before serving.
Enjoy 

Spiced White Drinking Chocolate with Coconut Cream and Homemade Marshmallows   

This is  one of the most alluring and luxurious drinking chocolate recipes on the planet! 

Ingredients 

1- 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 -1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 cups white chocolate chips 

1 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-6 whole cardamom pods

Pinch ground cinnamon 

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground clove 

Marshmallows, for garnish ( see my recipe here ) 

Cinnamon or peppermint sticks 

Brandy or Cognac optional 
Method

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and heat, keep warm. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and whole milk, cardamon pods and vanilla bean split open seeds removed into cream. Bring to a simmer.

Add the white chocolate and remove from the heat. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the white chocolate is melted; whisk until smooth. Add additional spices to taste. Adjust flavors. 

Pour strained drinking chocolate into warmed mugs and spoon some of the heated coconut milk on top. Garnish with the marshmallows and additional ground cinnamon. 

Serve piping hot with a peppermint , cinnamon stick or spiked with brandy or cognac. 

Enjoy!

Thai Fried Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce and Warm Honey!

Two words- “Luscious Goodness” . 

Ingredients:
6 bananas (yellow with a little green), the firmer the better.

1 cup rice flour (or all purpose flour)

1/4 cup tapioca starch (or organic corn starch)

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tbs. black sesame seeds, toasted

3/4 cup water

4-6 cups coconut oil for frying

Warm honey to drizzle

Vanilla bean ice cream

Your favorite chocolate sauce

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients -flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, and coconut ( except sesame seeds)

Add water and mix well. Mix the batter until thick.

In a large deep stock pot, a wok, or deep fryer slowly heat coconut  oil to 375’F.

While waiting for oil to heat up, peel and cut bananas into bite sized pieces , dip each banana into the batter and coat thoroughly.

Carefully place the coated banana into the hot oil. Deep fry until they turns golden brown and crispy. Turning once or twice while frying- about one to two minute to cook evenly. Remove banana from oil, and drain on paper towel.

Drizzle with warm honey and chocolate sauce and serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – top with toasted sesame seeds.

Note: The bananas come out of the fryer very hot, so let them cool a little before serving.