Gluten-Free Chocolate Torte

Flourless Chocolate Torte 3I’ve made no secret of my inability to bake. I have burned sheet after sheet of misshapen cookies and pulled countless cakes from the oven that failed to rise. A few years ago, after yet another bundt cake that had somehow been Super Glued to the pan, I threw both pan and cake into the trash — a very liberating experience.

Then there was the Fall that I was going to teach myself to bake my favorite cake, the Black Forest Cake. Yum, right? The first attempt quite literally made me sick. I couldn’t get that thing to the trash quick enough. The next week brought another attempt. That “cake” was better — it wasn’t life-threatening — but was certainly nothing to be proud of. The third cake proved I was on the right track, though it was in no way good enough to share with anyone. I hit pay-dirt with my 4th and, what would prove to be, my last attempt. That cake was a delight. Good thing, too, because that was 6 years ago and it was the last Black Forest Cake that I’ve tasted. Oh, I’ve been tempted to have a piece but, when I am, there’s a rumble down under that convinces me that now is not the time.

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Perhaps it was my success with this torte that gave me the mistaken opinion that I could bake, leading me to the Black Forest Cake debacle. I first saw Jamie Oliver prepare the torte when he was known as The Naked Chef, so, this recipe has been around for some time. I’ve made it a number of times since without any problems whatsoever — not counting a misguided attempt to make it as a bundt cake with that accursed pan. Never mind that. Believe me. If I can bake this torte anyone can.

Now, a word about the recipe before proceeding. If you go searching for it on the web, you’ll find it titled a number of ways. Jamie Oliver’s: “Chocolate Torte”; “Flour-less Chocolate Torte”; and, “Two Nut Chocolate Torte”, are the most popular. Bear in mind that this recipe was demonstrated in an episode that aired in 2000, some time before most of us were aware of gluten-related issues. In fact, I’ve even see the recipe called “Flour-less” yet you’re instructed to grease and flour the pan before filling it with cake batter. Not to worry. This torte is gluten-free, hence the name change, and I coat the pan with powdered cocoa, not flour.

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Chocolate Torte X

As Jamie intended

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Torte Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 oz (155 g) shelled and peeled almonds
  • 5 1/2 oz (155 g) shelled walnuts, finely ground
  • 11 oz (310 g) semi-sweet chocolate (separated – 2/3 & 1/3)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 9 oz (255 g) butter
  • 3 1/2 oz (100 g) sugar
  • 6 large free-range eggs, separated
  • butter
  • cocoa powder
  • salt
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚ F (190˚ C). Use butter to grease the bottom of an 8 to 10 inch spring-form pan before lining the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Butter the paper and sides of the pan. Use cocoa powder to coat the greased pan.
  2. Place the almonds into a food processor and grind them until finely ground.
  3. Add the walnuts and continue processing until all are finely ground. (See Notes)
  4. Add a pinch of salt and 2/3 of the chocolate and process for 30 seconds. Remove the nut-chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the butter and sugar to the food processor and run until the mixture is a pale yellow and fluffy.
  6. Add the egg yolks, one by one, and process until well-blended.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the chocolate mixture and stir until well-combined.
  8. Add the egg whites to a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt.  Using a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer, beat the eggs until stiff peaks form. (See Notes)
  9. Take 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold them into the bowl with the eggs and chocolate. Once blended, add the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites and fold into the batter. Do not over mix. (See Notes)
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  11. Place the remaining chocolate chunks into the top of the torte’s batter. Press them slightly into the batter, though no need to cover them with batter.
  12. Bake on the center rack of a pre-heated oven for about an hour. After 55 minutes, use a knife to check to see if the torte is finished. Place the knife into the center, wait a few seconds, and remove. The blade should be relatively clean.
  13. Once cooled, remove from pan, invert to remove the paper, and place on a cake platter. Dust with powdered sugar.
  14. Serve as-is or with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche.

This is a recipe from Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef

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Oven Ready

Ready for the oven

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Notes

Be sure to keep an eye on your nuts when using the food processor or you may end up with almond-walnut butter.

To remove the almond skins: Add raw, shelled almonds to a small sauce pan filled with boiling water. Remove from the water after 3 minutes, placing the blanched nuts into an ice water bath. Strain and wipe dry. Squeeze each almond between your thumb and index finger to easily remove the skin.

This is how I beat egg whites:

  • Bring eggs to room temperature before separating. Be sure no yolk remains in the whites.
  • Place the whites in a mixing bowl. Whether whisking by hand or using a mixer, begin slowly at first. After about 30 seconds, continue beating at medium speed.
  • Once the eggs begin to color, beat at a higher rate until beaten to the recipe’s needs.

The beaten egg whites provide lift for this torte. If they aren’t folded into the batter correctly, the torte will not rise. Here’s a quick video demonstrating the proper technique for folding egg whites into batter.

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For the chocoholics among us

Make a simple ganache.

  1. Place 8 oz (225 g) of chocolate pieces in a heat-resistant bowl – use whatever type of chocolate you prefer
  2. Heat 10 oz (300 ml) of heavy cream to the point of boiling.
  3. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes before stirring until smooth. As it cools, the ganache will thicken.
  4. If you prefer your ganache to be flavored, once the ganache is fully mixed, add 2 or more tbsp of:
      * Framboise for raspberry flavoring;
      * Grand Marnier or Cointreau for orange;
      * Amaretto for almond; or
      * Kahlúa for coffee.
  5. Either pour the ganache over the entire cake or each piece as it is served.

I usually make half the amount listed here and store the remainder in a sealed container in the fridge. I’ve no idea how long it will last because kitchen elves snack on it until it’s gone, usually within 48 hours — within 72 hours when Girl Scout cookies are atop the counter.

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Chocolate Chocolate Torte

As John wanted

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Carnivale ends today in Italy, as it does round the World. In the days leading up to Ash Fiocchetti 1Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, celebrations of all kinds take place, each with its own particular sweets and confections. In New Orleans, it’s King Cake. In Chicago, it’s fried donuts called Paczkis. In the Bartolini kitchens, it was fiocchetti, which we called angel wings. These fried dough crisps, in one form or another, are made throughout Italy this time of year and go by a number of names. You can learn how to make them just by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pork Tenderloin - Plums 1

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

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See Quince? Make Jam First Then Jelly

OK. I’ll admit it. I didn’t know a thing about quince. I certainly didn’t hear about them while growing up, let alone see any of them. When I finally did see one, not all that long ago, I thought it to be a very odd-looking apple — and expensive, at that.

Things began to change, however, once I started blogging. Every Fall, quince jelly recipes began to circulate. Then, last August, my friend Celia posted her recipe for making quince jelly on her wonderful blog Fig Jam And Lime Cordial. (If you’re not familiar with her posts, this is your chance. Celia’s blog is one that has a little something for everyone and all of it good.) At the time, I told her that I wanted to make some and would let her know when I did. So, “Hey, Celia! I made quince jam & jelly!”

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Quince 1

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Once I purchased the quince, I searched for a recipe. Since quince has a high level of pectin within it, I decided to go without adding any more. This, unfortunately, ruled out Celia’s recipe. (Sorry, Celia.) I soon learned that the web is full of quince recipes, all pretty much the same. Quince, sugar, lemon juice, and water combine to eventually produce jelly. Well, I like jelly but I prefer jam. Looking a little further, I came upon a recipe that suited my needs. I settled on a Greek recipe for quince jam called Marmalatha Kythoni. Unlike all others, this one had 2 things going for it.

In the first place, the recipe gave a ratio of quince to sugar (2:1). This is so much more convenient than stating that 1 quart of quince is required. Just how many quince does it take to make a quart? With this ratio, you just buy the quince, peel, core, chop, and then weigh them. Whatever the weight, you’ll need half that amount in sugar. (You’ll note that in the recipe, I stated the quince amount in ounces (grams) to make the math easier.)

Secondly, water used to boil the quince in this recipe may be used to make quince jelly. Granted, you won’t be making a lot but you will get a little over a cup for your efforts. The same ratio (2:1) applies when making jelly, too. The difference being in this case, you use measures and not weight. So, I had 4 cups of quince liquid and used 2 cups of sugar to make a pint of jelly. It could not be easier.

The amount of lemon juice to be used is up to you. I like things a little tart, so, I added both lemon juice and zest when making the jam. For the jelly, I used lemon juice only. It’s my “control” and I’ll taste the jelly to determine whether I overdid the lemon when making the jam.

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Quince Jam 3

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Quince Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 52 oz (1474 g) quince, peeled, cored, and chopped (see Notes)
  • 26 oz (737 g) sugar
  • 1.25 cups (300 ml) water, divided
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

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Quince Jam 2

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Directions

  1. Place chopped quince in a large pot with a lid and add enough water to cover (see Notes). Place the lid on the pot and bring to a hard boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Keep covered, shut off the heat, and let sit for another 30 minutes.
  2. Strain, reserving the liquid for the Quince Jelly Recipe, and place the chunks in a food processor, along with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water.  Process until the quince is the consistency you prefer.
  3. Place the now-processed quince in a thick bottomed sauce pan along with the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over med-high heat before reducing to medium and simmer, stirring almost constantly to prevent scorching.
  4. Continue to simmer and stir until the jam is the consistency you prefer, from 30 to 60 minutes, maybe longer.
  5. Place jam in still hot, sterilized jars, place lids and seal — though not quite as tight as you can.
  6. Place jars on a rack in a boiling water bath deep enough so that there’s at least 1 inch of water over the top of the tallest jar. When the boil returns, process for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove jars from the pot and place on a baking sheet or counter, out of drafts. Be sure to cover the surface with a cloth to prevent the hot jars from shattering when they touch a cold surface. Do not move for at least 12 hours, though 24 is best, to give the jars a chance to seal and the jam to fully set.
  8. Preserved quince jam will keep for one year, though some degradation of taste and color may begin to occur after 6 months.  Best to enjoy your jam before that. (Source: Pick Your Own)

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Quince Jelly 3

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Quince Jelly Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1000 ml) quince water reserved when making quince jam, recipe above.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

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Quince Jelly 1

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Directions

  1. Place the reserved liquid, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the liquid reduces by about 2/3, developing a syrupy consistency. (it took mine about 40 minutes.)
  3. Use a large spoon to quickly remove any foam before filling the still-hot, sterile jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Follow canning instructions listed in the Quince Jam Recipe above, processing this jelly for 5 minutes in the hot water bath.
  4. Store jelly on a cool, dark shelf.

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Quince & Queso Manchego

Crostini with Quince Jam & Queso Manchego

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Notes

It took 8 quince that, after peeling, coring, and chopping, rendered the 26 oz used in the Jam recipe.

It is best to use ripe quince for this recipe. To check for ripeness, sniff either end of the fruit. Ripe quince will have a floral scent.

When cut, quince will brown. To prevent this, place the pieces in a large bowl of water. When ready to start cooking the quince, I used this water to cover the pieces in the pot, as indicated in step 1 of the Jam recipe.

If you plan to make jelly using the cooking liquid, you will need to strain it through a few layers of cheesecloth or, if none is available, muslin or coffee filters will work, too.

As you can see in the pictures, my jam is lighter than most. Granted, it darkened a bit as it cooked but never reached the deep color that I associate with quince jam. I was a bit concerned until I compared mine to the photos accompanying the original recipe. In that light, mine is quite similar to the original. Whew! My guess is that this jam recipe doesn’t cook the quince as long as the others, and that deep pink color needs a long cooking time to develop. As it was, my jam was thick enough that I had no choice but to pull it off the heat.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Baccalà

With Christmas approaching fast, for the next few weeks I’ll devote this section to some of our favorite holiday recipes. To kick things off, I thought we’d take a look back to our traditional Christmas Eve dish, Baccalà alla Marchigianna. In this preparation baccalà, once rinsed and rehydrated, is cooked in a tomato sauce with potatoes. Serve it with a chunk of bread and you’ll forget all about Santa’s coming in a few hours — well, at least until you’ve cleaned your plate. You can learn how to make this flavorful dish just by clicking  HERE

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Uova da Raviolo - Preview

Uova da Raviolo

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Aunt Mary’s Apple Cake

Torta di Mele di Zia Mariolla

Apple Cake

This is one of the recipes I brought home with me following my last visit with Zia but its path to this blog is nowhere near as direct as that statement makes it sound.

While having coffee with Zia, I mentioned that I baked a wonderful apple cake two years ago but have since lost the recipe. Try as I might, I can neither find nor duplicate that cake. My story reminded Zia of a slice of cake she was once served at her Daughter-in-Law’s home. She complimented my Cousin and asked for the recipe. Surprisingly, the recipe came from the other side of my family, my beautiful Zia Mariolla, who’s married to my Dad’s youngest Brother, Zio Leo. I’ve no idea how the recipe got to my Cousin’s cookbook but, lucky for us, it found its way into mine.

Perhaps what I like most about this cake is that it isn’t overly sweet and, in that regard, its lack of icing is a big plus. If you or your guests prefer a dessert that’s not too sweet, than serve them a piece of Zia’s cake just as she intended, with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. If, however, someone at the table would prefer something a bit more sweet, then have I got the thing for you, a salted caramel sauce. Within this post, I’ve included the recipe for the sauce  and you’ll find it the perfect accompaniment for Zia’s cake. See? With or without the sauce, you really can have your cake and eat it, too.

Now, as for the recipe itself, the original doesn’t specify the kind of apples, raisins, nor nuts to be used. Having just visited the Honey Man in Michigan, I had fresh Cortland apples and black walnuts at my disposal. I used golden raisins simply because I had them on-hand. That’s it. The rest of the ingredients are quite common and you should have little trouble preparing this cake.

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On the road again …

I’m leaving for this year’s last visit with Zia. The Kitchens will be closed while I’m gone and will be re-opened on Wednesday, November 20th.

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Apple Cake -2

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Aunt Mary’s Apple Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Apple Cake

  • 1-3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 or 5 Cortland apples, peeled, cored, sliced thin
  • 1 cup chopped black walnuts, divided — any nuts may be substituted
  • 1 cup golden raisins (pre-soak in warm water for 30 minutes)
  • confectioners sugar (optional)
  • salted caramel sauce for serving (optional)

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (see Notes)

Directions

To prepare the cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F (175˚ C).
  2. Place all ingredients — except apples, raisins, and nuts — in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a spoon until well-blended. Batter will be stiff.
  3. Add apples, raisins, and half the nuts to the bowl and stir till evenly distributed.
  4. Pour batter into a well-greased 9 X 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining nuts.
  5. Bake in pre-heated 350˚ oven for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into center should be clean upon removal.
  6. Allow to cool before dusting with confectioners (powdered) sugar and serving.

To prepare the salted caramel sauce

  1. Pour the sugar into a medium sauce pan (see Notes) over med-high heat.
  2. Stir the sugar as it begins to melt and continue to do so until it begins to boil. Stop stirring the moment it begins to boil. (see Notes)
  3. Once boiling, look for it to change to an amber color. If necessary, swirl liquid in the pan but do not stir.
  4. Once the sugar has turned amber in color, reduce heat to medium, add the butter and whisk vigorously until melted and fully blended.
  5. Remove from heat, gradually add the cream, whisking all the while. Once blended, add the salt and continue to whisk until fully mixed.
  6. Set aside to cool for a few minutes before pouring into a sealable container for storage in the fridge, where it will keep for a couple of weeks.
  7. Warm before serving with your favorite dessert.

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Apple Cake Preview

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Notes

The recipe will prepare salted caramel sauce. If you’re not a fan of salted caramel, reduce the amount of salt used, but do not eliminate all of it. A bit of salt is usually recommended with sweet preparations. I’d suggest using 1/8 or 1/4 tsp instead of the amount listed in the recipe.

Be sure to use a large enough saucepan. The sugar will boil and could boil over if your pan is too small.

You may stir the sugar as it melts but must stop stirring the moment it begins to boil. Failure to do so may result in sugar crystals ruining the texture of the finished sauce. Once almost all the sugar is melted, it’s best to put away the spoon and swirl the pan’s contents until all is melted, boiling, and begins to turn amber-colored.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT catch a dropped spoon that was used to stir the melting sugar. I can tell you from personal experience that the momentary joy you may feel for actually catching something with your left hand will be obliterated by the searing pain that only sugar burns can deliver.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Lumache ShellsLast Saturday, All Souls’ Day was observed in a number of Christian churches. In Marche, where the Bartolini are from, it’s traditional to serve snails, lumache, on that day. Although my family never observed that custom, we did, on very rare occasions, prepare and serve lumache. If you’re interested in learning how it’s done, just click HERE

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Green Tomato Relish 3

Green Tomato Relish

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Today’s Jam is a Real Plum, Damson Plum with Cardamom

My poor Damson plums. Way back in September, I bought 2 overflowing quarts of the diminutive beauties, planning to make and freeze cobblers. Yum, right? Well, this was the Saturday before I was to leave for Michigan and, as luck would have it, there was no time for making cobbler before I left. No problem. I’d bring them to Michigan with me and make cobblers for Zia. The night before I was to leave, I placed the bag of plums on my dining table, along with some of the parts to my ice cream machine. A few hours later, I finished loading the car and left for Michigan. Once there, I realized I had left everything on the table. Poor Zia. She got neither cobbler nor ice cream during my last visit.

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Damson Plum Jam 2

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Upon my return home, as I unpacked the car I passed by that bag of plums a few times. I really wasn’t in any hurry to look inside, figuring it would be an unsightly mess, at best. So, once everything was unpacked, and with my laundry going, I decided to brave the bag and have a peek. Unbelievably, they were pretty much as I had left them. I dumped them into a colander and, though a few were smashed, none were spoilt. I discarded those that were smashed and rinsed the rest. Now, what to do with them?

Sadly, the cobbler idea had lost its appeal. Having brought home plenty of apples, there were pies and apple cake (recipe forthcoming) in my future and I just wasn’t interested in making cobbler anymore. (A decision I’m sure to regret this Winter.) That meant my long-neglected plums would be used to make jam.

Damson plums are smaller than others and their peel ranges from dark blue to black, some with a hint of deep purple. (Sorry, I forgot to photograph them fresh. See? Neglected.) The flesh is greenish-yellow and the pits adhere to that flesh, something you’ll need to consider when using them in a recipe. When it comes to taste, the flesh is somewhat sweet while the skin is a bit tart. For me, this makes Damson plums perfect for jam. Use a little sugar for a tart jam, more for a sweeter taste.

Today’s recipe is a basic jam and no pectin is required. The only questionable part is the addition of the cardamom pods. If you want, you can just toss them into the pot and fish them out of the plums when you remove the pits. Personally, I don’t like that method. It’s far too likely for one to slip past me and, guaranteed, it will be in a jar that I give to a friend or family member. I much prefer to tie the pods in cheesecloth before placing them in the pot. Depending upon how much cardamom flavor you like, the pod package can be put back into the pot after the plum pits have been removed, an option not available if your use the pods alone. Other than the use of the cardamom pods, you’ll find the recipe to be straight-forward.

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Damson Plum Jam - 1

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Damson Plum with Cardamom Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 36 oz. (1 kg) damson plums
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 5 cardamom pods (refer to above commentary and Notes)
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Rinse the plums, removing any stems in the process.
  2. Place the plums, cardamom pods, and water in a thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool to touch.
  3. Using your hands, squeeze each plum to remove the pit. Discard the pits as well as all the cardamom pods. Reserve everything else.
    1. Alternately, a food mill may be used to remove the pits and pods.
  4. Place the broken down plums back into the thick-bottomed pot. Add sugar, salt, and cook over medium to med-high heat until a temperature of 320˚ F (160˚ C) is reached.
  5. Test to see if jam is ready (See Notes).
  6. If your plums are jamming, place in sterile jars and seal.
    1. They may be refrigerated and will keep for about a month.
    2. They may be frozen and will keep up to a year. Once thawed, use within 3 weeks.
    3. If preserved/canned (see Notes), jam will keep up to a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, use within a month.
    4. Source: Home Center For Home Food Preservation
  7. Serve as you would your favorite jam and may be used to flavor roasts, particularly pork.

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Damson Plum Jam 4

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Notes

According to a number of sites, 5 cardamom pods would equal about 3/4 tsp of ground cardamom. I have not prepared this jam using ground cardamom, so, I’ve no idea whether it will have a stronger taste.

Though there are a few methods of testing to see if your fruit is jammin’, I prefer to use the plate test. While the fruit/berries are boiling on the stove top, place a dish in your freezer. When you think the jam is ready, take about a half-teaspoon of jam and place it on the now chilled plate. Allow the jam to rest a few minutes before using another spoon or your fingertip to see if the jam has set or is still too runny. If the latter, continue to simmer the jam while returning the plate to the freezer to await the next test.

Canning this jam is simple and not unlike other jams & jellies. Once the jam is ready, fill the sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Place lids on top of each jar, tightening until not quite as tight as possible. (I tighten mine fully and then unscrew the lid slightly.) Place each jar on a rack in a large pot of boiling water. Jars must not sit directly on the kettle bottom. Once the pot returns to the boil, begin timing. This jam will need to be processed (boiled) for 10 minutes, if using half-pint or smaller jars (235 ml or smaller). After 10 minutes, remove jars to a cloth-covered counter or baking sheet, away from any drafts. Do not move for at least 12 hours — 24 hours is best — so that the jars fully seal and the jam sets.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Roast Loin of Pork

Roast Loin of Pork

When our temperatures start to drop, I begin to think of preparing roasts for dinner. The oven brings welcome warmth to the kitchen and my house soon fills with the heavenly aroma of a roast in that oven. About a year ago, I posted a recipe for roast loin of pork that was butterflied, slathered with fig preserves and wrapped in pancetta before roasting. The result was a dinner fit for a holiday. You can see the recipe, along with step-by-step instructions, by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Roasted Arctic Char 3

 Roasted Arctic Char

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Blueberry-Lemon Slice

Blueberry-Lemon Slice

As many of you know, I spend some of my spare time watching a variety of cooking shows. (Note that I didn’t say the Food Network. Since they’ve gone to the dark side of broadcasting — a.k.a. “reality” TV — I watch that network far less.) Since I can not always watch them when broadcast, many of these programs end up recorded on my DVR. Then, on some rainy day or sleepless night, I’ll clear my DVR of these recordings, zipping through the programs hoping that something will catch my eye. That’s how I found today’s recipe and it was quite a catch, even if I do say so myself.

If you’re at all like me, you enjoy the combination of blueberry and lemon flavors. After all, a blueberry muffin without a hint of lemon is just a muffin. These slices have an abundance of both ingredients and the result is one delicious treat. It’s ridiculously easy to prepare and there are no exotic nor hard-to-find ingredients. If you don’t have fresh blueberries, go ahead and use frozen. In fact, I always buy and freeze blueberries at the peak of their season, so, that I can enjoy blueberry pie when the cold weather hits. This Winter I’ll have a slice, too. If you try this recipe, I bet I won’t be the only one.

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Blueberry-Lemon Slice Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose (AP) flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 tbsp butter, cubed and placed in freezer for about 30 minutes
  • 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen may be used
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F (177˚ C)
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a food processor. Process the ingredients till thoroughly mixed. Add the egg mixture and continue to whirl until combined.
  3. Place the very chilled butter cubes into the food processor. Pulse the ingredients, repeatedly, until the mixture looks like little pearls,
  4. Reserve 2 cups of the crumble mixture and use the rest to cover a greased 9 X 9″ baking dish. Press it down to form a crust.
  5. Meanwhile, place the blueberries, remaining sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Gently stir until everything is evenly coated.
  6. Once the bottom crust has been formed in the baking dish, pour the blueberries into the baking dish, covering the crust.
  7. Use the reserved crumble to cover the blueberries.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Blueberries should be soft and the crumble browned to your satisfaction.
  9. Allow to cool and set before cutting into squares.
  10. Serve as-is or with optional Lemon Cream & Limoncello Syrup. (See Notes)

Inspired by Clinton Kelly’s Blueberry Pucker Bars, on The Chew

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Blueberry-Lemon Slice

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Notes …

The sharp-eyed among you may notice that I used an 8 X 8″ baking dish and not the 9 X 9″ dish indicated in the recipe. My 9 X 9″ dish met an untimely end when it crashed into the floor. It was empty, thankfully.

Although I’ve never done so, it’s suggested these slices be served with a Lemon Cream & Limoncello Syrup. Here’s that recipe, also from The Chew:

Ingredients

1 cup limoncello
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon curd

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, reduce limoncello by half. Refrigerate until well-chilled.
  2. Meanwhile, whip together heavy cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in lemon curd.
  3. When ready to serve, place a dollop of the lemon cream mixture atop each slice, accompanied by a drizzle of the limoncello reduction.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

PuffballBack in our part of Michigan, it’s puffball season. Well, it’s supposed to be but you never really know until your find them. Sometime during October, these large, oblong-shaped funghi appear in areas that are mostly shaded from the sun. Up until a few years ago, 1 to 3 of them could be found behind Zia’s garage. Now, for reasons known only to Mother Nature, they’ve moved to its side. You needn’t worry about that, though, for you can find some, as well as learn how to prepare them,  by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Preview

Something Special to Commemorate Columbus Day

Octopus

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Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Those of you who have followed my blog for some time know that August is Birthday Month for many of my friends and family. Mom and her Mother, Uncle and his Sister, Friends and Tasters, Nephews and a Boy Upstairs, and too many more to mention were all born in the 8th month. You might, also, recall, that Mom loved ice cream and to commemorate her birthday, I normally post ice cream recipes in August. Note the word “normally.”

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Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

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This year I though I would switch things up a bit. You see, about 20 years ago, I bought a fancy schmancy gelato maker and it broke long before the investment paid for itself in tasty frozen treats. Its recipe book survived, however, and one day I made a batch of “frozen yogurt.” Everyone loved it and marveled at the creaminess of this low-fat dessert. The only problem was that, just like the old Seinfeld episode, it wasn’t at all low-fat. There was just as much heavy cream in it as I use in normal ice cream. Yes, there was a little yogurt in the mix but nowhere near enough to justify it being called “frozen yogurt,” let alone “low-fat.” That was about 7 years ago and I’ve never attempted to make frozen yogurt again — until now.

With Birthday Month already underway, I turned to another recipe book for inspiration. I soon found it in the form of a tart cherry frozen yogurt. You see, on my return home following my last visit with Zia, I stopped at a farm and purchased 20 pounds of frozen, pitted tart cherries. (You may be interested to learn that Michigan produces as much as 70% of our country’s tart cherries.) Once home, I delivered some to a neighbor and the rest of the tarts are sitting pretty in my freezer.

So, with recipe and cherries in hand, I made my first batch of frozen yogurt. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at all what I had expected. Sure, the flavor was outstanding but its texture was very much like a sorbet rather than a creamy, frosted confection. Worse, I had doubled the recipe and now had 6 cups (1400 ml) of the stuff to eat — and eat it I did. Waste a frozen dessert in Mom’s Birthday Month? Never! Convinced I had made a mistake — not at all an uncommon occurrence in my kitchen — I tried it again, though this time I made a single batch. The result was the same and I had another 3 cups of frozen yogurt/sorbet to eat.  All the while, Birthday Month marched on.

Last week, having eaten 9 cups of the stuff during what had to have been the coolest August on record, I decided to try again. This time, I put aside the recipe book and borrowed a page from the old gelato maker’s recipes. I added heavy cream. That’s right, heavy cream and I played around with the other ingredient amounts, as well. The result? A frozen yogurt with a texture far closer to ice cream than sorbet and a tart cherry flavor that is oh, so very good. Not only that but since I made this dessert, Summer has returned and our temperatures have soared at least 10˚ F above normal for this time of year. Message received, Mom.

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Tart Cherries - 1

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In retrospect, I think the poor texture was due to the amount of liquid contained in the bags of frozen cherries. I bet if I had drained much of the liquid, the texture probably would have been less icy. It may have, also, been less flavorful. I guess the World will have to wait for the answer because I don’t think I’ll be making tart cherry yogurt again for quite some time — well, at least until next August, anyway.

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Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (455 g) of tart cherries, pitted
  • 2/3 cup (135 g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops almond extract
  • 1 cups (245 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz (118 ml) heavy cream — the more the merrier

Directions

yield: a little less than 1 quart

  1. Place cherries and sugar in a medium sauce pan over med-high heat. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. Add the almond extract and place the cherries and juice into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Place mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. Once fully chilled, stir to combine the cherries, heavy cream, and Greek yogurt.
  6. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Serve or freeze until the yogurt is frozen to your satisfaction.

Originally inspired by David Lebovitz, “The Perfect Scoop”

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To make the chocolate sauce:

Melt 4 oz (110 g) in the top of a double boiler. Once melted, add 2 oz (60 ml) warmed heavy cream, a pinch of salt, and mix to combine. Take the chocolate off of the heat and add an 1/8 tsp of vanilla. Stir and serve.

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Variations

While I was in the throes of trying to eat all of this sorbet masquerading as yogurt, Sally, creator of the enchanting Bewitching Kitchen blog, posted a recipe for blackberry-cherry yogurt, In it, she used banana to smooth the texture. Not heavy cream but banana! I had intended to follow her lead but Birthday Month was coming to an end faster than was my supply of substandard frozen yogurt. Not only that but there was heavy cream in the fridge but no bananas on the counter. I will, however, keep her “solution” in mind the next time I attempt to freeze yogurt.

Notes

Nothing goes better together than cherries and almonds. Even so, too much almond extract will totally overpower the tart cherry flavor. Use almond extract sparingly, tasting as you go.

This recipe will yield just under a quart of frozen yogurt. Let’s face it, one scant quart of any frozen dessert is hardly worth the effort to make it. Double the recipe and be happy.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Nothing says "Happy Birthday!" like una bomba!

Nothing says “Happy Birthday!” like una bomba!

If we’re going to take a look back at the end of a frozen dessert post, there really is only one post deserving of mention, especially in August. For today’s blast from the past, I’m going to send you to the granddaddy ice cream post of them all. Yes, it’s the Spumoni Bomba. With layers of cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice creams, this is one frozen treat your guests will never forget. All you need do is click HERE for the frosty details.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pupster Peanut Butter

Pupster Peanut Butter

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This Plum Cobbler is Magical!

You may recall that I shared a peach cobbler recipe a few weeks ago. Somewhere along the line, I mentioned having another recipe for cobbler, one where the topping starts in the bottom of the baking dish but rises to the occasion during baking, giving you a perfectly formed topping to the rich fruit/berry filling. How can this be?

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Do you believe in magic?

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I’ve made this cobbler more than a few times over the years. Peaches, plums, strawberries you name it, I’ve used them all. It’s an easy recipe, a fast recipe, and one that is sure to please everyone at your table. Just bear in mind that the topping of this cobbler, unlike the peach cobbler recipe I shared HERE, is more cake-like than biscuit. I happen to like them both and now you’ll have a choice.

The recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3 …

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Melt Butter in Baking Dish

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Add Batter – Do Not Mix

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Add Par-Cooked Filling – Do Not Mix

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Bake while singing “Abracadabra!” and … Ecco!

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Plum Cobbler Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose (AP) flour
  • 2 cups sugar – divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg, to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13 x 3″ baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, with salt and mix well.
  4. Add the milk, mixing until just combined. Pour this batter into the baking dish containing the melted butter. Do NOT mix.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the plums, lemon juice, with  remaining cup of sugar and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and add optional cinnamon and/or nutmeg.
  6. Carefully pour the plum mixture into the baking dish. Do NOT mix.
  7. Bake on a baking sheet in the center of a pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Alternately, you can forget to set a timer and eventually find a cobbler in your oven resembling the one in the final picture above
  8. May be served warm or cold, garnished with ice cream or whipping cream.

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Variations

As mentioned, you can use whatever fruit or berry that you like for the filling. I’ve never used a thickening agent, like flour or cornstarch, for fear of it affecting the cake’s formation magic.

Although the recipe lists cinnamon and nutmeg as optional, I rarely use them. I find that they can easily overpower a dessert, so, I use them sparingly in my cobblers, if at all.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Today’s Blast from the Pasta, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, is probably the most versatile of all pasta recipes. Prepared as written and you’ll be enjoying a delicious pasta dinner within minutes but that’s only part of the story. Saute some vegetables and you’ll have a great pasta primavera. Add some clams with a touch of white wine and you’ve got the classic pasta con vongole. The choices are endless and I prepare this dish, in one form or another, just about once a week. You can see the recipe by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Branzino al Cartoccio

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An Update

Although I’m the proud owner of some new, fancy schmancy equipment, I am still without a DSL. I have been promised, however, that service will be restored, better than ever, sometime this evening — and companies, especially very big companies, never ever lie.

Thanks for your comments and well-wishes.

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Peach and Bing Cherry Cobbler

Well, it certainly took me a while to get here but this is it, the end of this year’s peach recipes. And, as far as this blogger is concerned, I saved the best for last. You see, I happen to really like peach cobbler. I make them with a batter that rises through the peaches, creating a cake-like top. I make them with a biscuit placed on top and baked.  I eat them as they are, still warm from the oven. I eat them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a large spoonful of whipped cream. And there lies the problem. I eat them. All of them. Every last morsel of every last one of them. There just aren’t many recipes for peach cobbler for one. So, I make a cobbler and for the next week, my snacks and desserts are all servings of peach cobbler.  I know, poor me! Well, this time around, I decided to try something different. I divided the cobbler among 6 smaller dishes and froze all but the one I tested for “quality control”. (Thank you, Tanya.)  See Variations below to see what I did.

Oh, yes. I almost forgot about the cherries. Most will recall that a few weeks ago I shared 2 recipes for a blueberry and cherry pie. The final pie was so good that I’ve been thinking of combining other fruit in other pies. Well, this being peach cobbler season, why not  experiment? Last week at the farmers market, I purchased what would turn out to be the last of the season’s Bing cherries and a plan was born. Upon my return home, Google gave me the recipe.

Today’s cobbler combines Bing cherries with fresh peaches and is crowned by a biscuit, of sorts. There’s nothing complicated about it, though pitting the cherries can be a bit tiresome. Even so, once the fruit is prepared, the rest of the recipe is a snap. And once you taste this cobbler, you won’t remember anything about pitting cherries — unless you wore a white t-shirt. When will I learn?

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This post was written prior to my departure for Michigan and scheduled to post now. The trip went as planned, Zia’s freezer is filled, and we took turns cooking dinner. I hope to have a “vacation” post written by the weekend. Internet service was deplorable and, as a result, it will take me a while to get caught up with all of your posts and comments but I’ll get there. Thanks for your patience.

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Peach and Bing Cherry Cobbler Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3½ lbs peaches, peeled and sliced or chopped  (about 6 large peaches)
  • 2 lbs Bing cherries, pitted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

for the biscuit topping

  • 2 cups all-purpose (AP) flour
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp whipping cream, divided
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ice cream for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Liberally grease a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (218˚ C)
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine peaches, cherries, and sugar. Stir carefully, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Remove filling from heat and pour into prepared baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the AP flour,  ⅓ cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Using knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a very coarse mixture results. Stir in ¾ cup whipping cream and knead only enough to create a dough. DO NOT OVER-WORK THE DOUGH.
  6. Place dough on a floured surface and roll to a ½ inch thickness. Use cookie or biscuit cutters to cut shapes in the dough. Place the shapes on the filling in any pattern you wish.
  7. Combine cinnamon with remaining sugar and whipping cream. Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of all the pasty cutouts.
  8. Bake in a 425˚ F (218˚ C) pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Filling should be hot and bubbling.
  9. Serve warm with optional ice cream.

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Variations

As I mentioned, I used 6 small baking dishes for this recipe rather than 1 large dish. 4 of these dishes each held 500 ml while the other 2 were a little smaller at about 400 ml. I greased and filled each one, using biscuit cutters for the topping. Once they were baked and cooled completely, I wrapped each in plastic wrap before sealing them again in aluminum foil. They were placed on a baking sheet and frozen. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and recover using the foil before placing it in an oven pre-heated to 350˚F (177˚C). After 30 minutes, remove foil and continue heating until filling is bubbly, about another 15 minutes. Cooking time will depend upon size/amount frozen.

I think next year I’m going to try this recipe using tart cherries instead of Bing and with a little almond extract in the biscuit instead of the cinnamon. It’s not that there is anything wrong with this cobbler, I just happen to prefer tart cherries and want to see if they’d be at least as good.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Peaches are all but gone from our farmers markets and though a few berries, plums, and pears remain, apples have started to take over the vendors’ stalls. It’s the time of year for apple pies, muffins, crumbles, and sauce. If you choose your apples wisely, your pie will be as tart, and your apple sauce as sweet, as you like.  As proof of the latter, last year I shared a recipe for apple sauce that does not call for any sugar whatsoever. You can see the recipe by clicking HERE.

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And another thing or three …

Aside from the recipes I’ve posted, the Kitchens have been busy trying out recipes from two great blogs. Thanks to David, The Gastronomic Gardener, I have jars of brandied figs and 2 kinds of pickled peppers on my shelf. And thanks to Richard, REMCooks, my tasters and I all have jars of  peach preserves with jalapeños and cardamom. Both guys have great blogs and I hope you take some time to check them out.

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Peach Ice Cream – Revisited with Custard and Nectar

 

Yes, I know it’s getting a little late for ice cream recipes and peaches are all but gone from the farmers markets, but I just couldn’t let this one sit around until next year. My previous peach ice cream used sour cream for its base. Today’s recipe uses custard for a base but it, also, uses peach nectar for added flavor.  That peach nectar also affects the ice cream’s texture. One of my tasters said it was like a cross between sorbet and ice cream. Despite its great taste, though, you may prefer a more traditional, custard only, ice cream. Lucky for us all, Betsy has already shared her recipe for peach ice cream on her blog, Bits & Breadcrumbs. (Do take a few minutes to check out both her recipe and her blog. You won’t be disappointed.)  So, you now have 3 peach ice creams from which to choose but if you think I’m done with peaches, you’d be mistaken. Next week I’ll share a recipe for peach cobbler, with a twist.

This ice cream will have a better “mouth feel” if you fully purée the peaches.  Although you can process the peaches until merely chunky, I find it better if they are puréed until completely smooth. This recipe will make 3 quarts of ice cream. That’s quite a bit if you’ve a smaller machine like mine. The saving grace of my machine is that I purchased it on Amazon during a sale in which I received an additional freezing canister for free. That additional canister means that I can get all 3 quarts made and put away in one night. To see how it’s done, be sure to check out the Notes section below.

Now, I’m already in Michigan, where Zia and I have plans to stock her freezer with ravioli and sausage, that is if we can keep Max occupied elsewhere. So, I’ll keep the posts for today and next week on the short side. Given the sorry state of that area’s internet coverage, I hope you’ll understand if I’m not quick to respond to your comments or to leave a remark on your blogs.

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Peach Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled and chopped peaches (about 3 lbs or 6 large peaches)
  • 1 cup nectar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • sliced fresh peaches and toasted pecans for garnish (optional but strongly advised)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, and nectar. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Working in batches, use a food processor or blender to fully purée the peach mixture until smooth. Refrigerate.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk until fully blended. Add the egg mixture to a heavy-bottomed pan or double boiler (my favorite). Heat over a med-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and a custard forms, about 20 to 25 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
  4. Once thick enough to coat the back of a wooden smooth, remove from heat and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the reserved peach purée. Add the half-and-half, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt, whisking until fully combined.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  6. Make your ice cream using this peach custard and following your machine’s instructions. Place in freezer until frozen to your liking.
  7. When ready to serve, garnish with sliced peaches and toasted pecans. (See Variations)

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Variations

This is a good ice cream recipe but it is so much better when served with sliced fresh peaches and toasted pecans. To prepare the peaches, just peel and slice a ripe peach, putting the slices in a resealable container. Sprinkle a little sugar on top, seal the container, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, giving the fruit a chance to macerate. In the meantime, toast the pecan chips in a small frying pan over medium heat. Be attentive or they’ll burn before you know it. Add a little of both to your ice cream cup for a dessert that is just about perfect.

Notes

As I’ve mentioned, this recipe will make enough peach custard to make 3 quarts of ice cream. That is 2 quarts too many for a single machine like mine and even though I’ve got a 2nd canister, that still leaves me with one quart of custard too many. Since it takes a full 24 hours to freeze my canister, this recipe could stretch out over 2 days, at least. Here’s what I do to get around the problem.

Once the custard is chilled and ready to be put into the machine, I put it into the canister and refrigerate the excess.  When it’s ready, after about 25 minutes, I quickly dump the newly formed ice cream into a container, place it in the freezer,  and quickly refill the canister with more custard. If there’s leftover ice cream in the canister, all the better. After 25 minutes, I will not have ice cream but I will have a thicker, chilled custard.  I then pour this custard into the unused frozen canister, which I’ve kept in the freezer until now. No need to let the machine process for all the 25 minutes, 15 minutes will do. Quickly remove the ice cream, use it to fill another quart container, and place it in the freezer. I then pour the remainder of the custard into the same canister and let her rip! Surprisingly, after about 30 minutes, I’ll have another quart of ice cream ready to be frozen. And what do I do with 3 quarts of ice cream? I give 2 quarts to my tasters and keep one for me.

Adapted from Southern Living, July 2005

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Well, with today’s recipe being an ice cream, what better recipe to pull from the past than the one for pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles? These are not preserved but are kept in the refrigerator, where they will keep for weeks. You needn’t worry about that, though. These pickles will disappear long before freshness is an issue. You can read the recipe by clicking HERE.

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The parting shot …

For the past 13 weeks, I’ve ended each blog entry with a photo. Well, I’ve no more roses to share but I didn’t think it right to abruptly stop the practice. So, I give you this last photo and, although this may have nothing to do with roses, it is, in its own way, every bit as memorable. With thanks to Chris.

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It’s Mom’s Birthday and I’ve Got a Peach of an Idea!

As you may, or may not, recall, August is the birthday month for a number of people in my life, with today, August 15th, being Mom’s birthday as well as that of her Mother, Grandma Bartolini. Zia’s husband, “Uncle”, was born on the 11th  – and we’re just getting started. My Friend, one of the Kitchens’ tasters, had a birthday on the 7th, while another, my Friend the Entertainer, will be celebrating on the 20th.  And we mustn’t forget the kids. My Grand-Nephew’s birthday was the 1st, my not-quite-a-nephew Nephew will be blowing out candles on the 24th, and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs has a birthday this Saturday, on the 18th. That’s a lot of birthdays!

So to celebrate, last August I posted 3 separate ice cream recipes that I combined for the finale. The first was taken from a recipe book that Mom gave me shortly after I moved to Chicago in 1980.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream

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Next on that month’s agenda was an ice cream based on Mom’s own chocolate recipe.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream

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Then came the third recipe. Again, using Mom’s recipe as a base, I created this “pretty in pink” ice cream.

Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream

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Well, with those 3 recipes laying the ground work, I had little choice but to put them together.

Spumoni Ice Cream (It’s da Bomba!)

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Now, having mentioned those 3 ice cream recipes and a Bombe, I might as well finish off this little round-up by sending you to the hands-down favorite ice cream recipe of all the Kitchens’ tasters, family, and friends. It may not be a frozen custard nor traditional ice cream but, I have to say, it’s damn good!  (Pssst! It’s the crumbled graham cracker crust.)

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

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As great as that all sounds, this year I was in quite a pickle. What should I do for this year’s Birthday Month? How could I possibly top a Spumoni Bombe? Well, I can’t and won’t even try. What I will do, however, is share a recipe for an ice cream flavor that Mom loved. Yes, when it came to ice cream, Mom had a number of favorites. Frankly, I doubt that Mom ever tasted an ice cream that she didn’t like — and we haven’t even mentioned sherbet yet.

So, with that monkey off my back, I decided to take full advantage of the bounty in this area’s farmers markets. Today’s recipe will be for peach ice cream. It’s a simple recipe that results in a peachy frozen delight.  It’s Mom’s birthday, however, and “peachy” just won’t do. Directly following the recipe is a serving suggestion that Mom would have surely enjoyed. I hope you will, too.

Now, if you’ve no experience working with peaches, this paragraph is for you. In the first place, you may not be able to find fruit that are perfectly ripe, even in your farmers market. Just place the best you can find in a paper bag, place it on a counter, and check them every morning. In a couple of days, your peaches will be exactly how you like them. So, once your peaches are ripe, how do you peel them? Bring a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with iced water. Take each peach and use a paring knife to cut a small “X” into the fruit’s bottom. Place the peaches into the rapidly boiling water and leave them there for about 30 seconds. Transfer them to the iced water bath to cool and to stop them from cooking. After a few minutes, simply peel off the skin beginning at the “X”. You may need a paring knife to trim a stubborn spot or two but, basically, that’s all there is to it.  And that’s the last of any possible problems you might run into.

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Peach Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds peaches — about 4 large fruit
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

For Serving

  • 1 peach. peeled & sliced — more depending upon the number of servings
  • sugar
  • toasted chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Once the peaches are peeled, cut each into chunks, removing the pit in the process.
  2. Place the peaches and water into a non-reactive sauce pan and cook over a medium heat until the peaches are soft — about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add the sugar, stir well, and set aside to cool.
  4. When the peach mixture has reached room temperature, place it in a food processor or blender, along with the sour cream. whipping cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Purée until blended but still a little chunky.
  5. Place the peaches & cream mixture into the fridge until thoroughly chilled — about 4 hours, more or less depending upon your fridge.
  6. Add the chilled peaches & cream to your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to create your peach ice cream.

To Serve

Peaches are in season and we shouldn’t let this opportunity slip away. About 45 minutes before you serve your peach ice cream, peel and slice a ripe peach, more depending upon how many servings are to be prepared. Place the slices in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir gently, and set aside. When ready to serve, divide the peach slices and juice among the servings of ice cream. Garnish with toasted chopped pecans.

Inspired by David Lebovitz, “The Perfect Scoop”

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By any other name …

“Bella’Roma”

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