Tuesday, 21 January 2014

White Chocolate Berry Bread Pudding

 Ever have one of those weeks when you buy to much food?
Well, on this particular week I bought quite a few croissants knowing that my kids were home from  University.
So,
I thought well, I better buy some extra breads for snacking.
It turned out that one went skiing, one worked many hours and one spent time away at 
Grandma's!
HUMPF
so all of these beautiful soft croissants became rock hard before I realized I should have wrapped and frozen them.
Well, when in doubt don't throw it out~
So, I made luscious bread pudding.
It is such an easy comforting dessert and quite
decadent but, a little goes a long way~
This recipe was quite creamy and used ingredients I had around the house.
A little of this and a little of that and this is what  was the end result~

White Chocolate Berry Pudding


1 tbsp. butter, room temp
6 2-3 day old croissants, cut in half
1/2 cup marshmallow filling or 1 cup mini marshmallows
4 oz melted white chocolate
1 orange zested
1 can sweet condensed milk
1 cup milk or 35% cream
2 lg. eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup washed, hulled, sliced strawberries
1/2 cup frozen Saskatoon berries (blueberries can be substituted)

Streusel Topping:
1 tbsp. sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preparation

1
Brush butter in a 8"x 8" casserole dish. Set aside
Stir marshmallow filling and melted chocolate together
or
drizzle chocolate on one open side of a croissant and sandwich with mini marshmallows.
Continue filling each croissant until filling is finished.
Place croissants in casserole dish so they fit tightly. 
Notice on the right corner of the above photo, there is bread pieces that are dried


Sprinkle berries around, between and tuck some pieces inside the bread.
Blend cream, condensed milk, orange zest, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour over bread evenly.

Allow to soak for 2-3 hrs. covered and refrigerated.
Weigh it down to absorb liquid.

This can be made up to 1 night ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 350F
When ready to bake, sprinkle with streusel ingredients and bake covered with foil for 1/2 hr. then, uncover and continue baking in oven for another 20 - 25 min. until top is golden and bubbly.

Serve with extra cream or ice-cream!


 

Enjoy with Love~

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Potato & Yam Gratin


I love casseroles!
They are fast and easy.
Popped in the oven and off you go to take care of other things when you have guests coming.
I make this for the Holidays every year.
For me it's far more fancy the mashed potatoes and again, it's actually easier.
It has a crunchy top so you don't miss the bread.
You know, my site is mostly all about fast and easy but, still comforting gourmet foods.
This casserole is a no fuss as you'll see...
Potato & Yam Gratin

5 large white potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick 
2 large yams, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup 35% cream
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp each salt, pepper, oregano

Gratin
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 
1tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp EVOO

Prep:
Begin to layer the white potatoes in a large enough ungreased casserole dish, in one even layer.
Take a slice of onions, separate the rings, layer these over the potatoes.
Sprinkle evenly with 1 tbsp flour. 
a pinch of salt & pepper,
a pinch of oregano
and top with one layer of yams.
Continue this step until finished.
Mix the broth and cream together.
Pour over the casserole dish.
Topping:
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Sprinkle over the casserole
Drizzle with oil

Bake in a preheated 350F oven covered with foil. After 30 min remove foil and bake for another 20 min.until fork tender and crumbs are golden.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Crouquembouche
A crunch in the mouth!
Literally translated, these lightly sweet, candy coated one or two bite morsels take a bit of work to make but they are well worth the 
oohs and aahs 
you will get when they are presented.
These are festive for any occasion.
I used to make cream puffs when I was quite young and hadn't made them since...hhmmm 
20 years now!
It's not that they went "out" of style 
It's just that other desserts got "big"
So this New Year
I decided to make them again....
and it was just like riding a bike. 
A little nerve wracking but, they came out just great!
Crouquembouche
    I doubled this recipe to make the tall
Xmas Tree

Pate Choux
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla sugar (opt.)
4 lg. eggs


Lemon & Orange Curd Mousse

2 lemons, juiced
3 oranges, juiced, peel of 1 orange (no pith)
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
1 cup cool whip or whipped cream 


Mousse
Pour juices and peel into a med. sized sauce-pot.
 Whisk sugar, yolks and cornstarch together. 
Stir into juice.
Cook on med. high heat until mixture begins to simmer. Lower the heat to #5 to simmer and thicken. Whisk constantly to remove lumps and prevent scorching.
When mixture coats the back of a spoon, stir in butter. Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic wrap on the curd, preventing the skin from forming. It will thicken when cooled.
Refrigerate until ready to use. When you are ready to use, fold in whipped cream.
Place in piping bag with a large tip opening.

Pate Choux
Bring water to a boil. Add butter and salt, stir to melt. All at once dump in the flour and vanilla sugar. Quickly stir with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to low.
Stir to cook flour. Mixture will become pasty and glue together into a raggedy mess.
Remove from heat.
Beat 
one egg at a time into the mixture by hand or in a stand mixer. Mixture will get smooth like thin bread dough.
*I used a small tbsp size icecream scoop 
Spoon desired size onto an ungreased baking sheet.

 Leave 1/2" - 1" of space as they will rise and puff.
Bake in a 350F until light golden brown all over.
Leave the puffs in the turned off oven for 1 hr to dry the inside. 
*Large puffs will have a wet sticky interior that may smell eggy if this step is not followed. 
Spoon mousse into the cut center of each puff or using a sharp knife point drill a hole into the bottom of the puff and pipe in some mousse.


Candy Coating

2 cups sugar
4 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Allow the water to soak into the sugar.
Bring ingredients to a boil on #8-9. 
Boil for approx. 10min 
Do not stir! *That will break the sugar and crystallize it

If you have a candy thermometer bring the temperature to 250F
otherwise
remove from heat when it is golden coloured
*not brown: unless you like burnt sugar*
I bring my pot immediately outside and place it in the snow! It's fun to watch it melt!
otherwise  
place over ice water to stop cooking process.

Prep:

Skewer each puff and dip with the hot candy coating.

If you are stacking for presentation,
immediately stick the puffs together building a circular base then stacking one on top of another to form a tree. Make sure your base is solid.
Swirl any extra around the outside to create this lacy effect.
If the syrup hardens before you are finished,
heat on low until you can drizzle with a fork.
 

 
 Enjoy with love!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

 How do you use your leftover turkey?
I always cook a large turkey for this time of the year, just so I can make turkey pot pie.
Easy affordable and of course nutritious!

Healthy fresh veggies enveloped in a "creamy " sauce dotted with chunks of lean cooked turkey. This is a great way to get guests or family to have a great  meal .
So versatile you can freeze it  and pop it in the oven . 
So easy you can use any veggies you like , even the leftovers get a new fresh taste in this one pot meal.

Now this is what I call fast food!
Classic Turkey Pot Pie

1 pkg. defrosted puff pastry
2 cups diced cooked Turkey
2 peeled, diced potatoes
1 celery rib, cubed
1 carrot, peeled, diced
1 cup each frozen peas and corn
1 green pepper, seeded, diced
1 leek, washed, sliced into rings
1 tsp. each thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper
1 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 cup leftover gravy or broth
1 cup unsweetened dairy free soy or almond milk
(milk, evaporated milk or 15% milk ) can be used
sesame seeds for sprinkling

In a preheated skillet add oil then leeks. Saute on med. heat to soften. Add the remaining veggies except the frozen veggies. Stir occasionally to soften all veggies.

Sprinkle with flour stir to cook through. Add broth, continue stirring to thicken. Pour in milk, herbs and spices.
When mixture thickens slightly add frozen veggies. Stir to coat and turn heat off. Mix in turkey and set aside to cool to room temp.

Roll pastry to a 1/4" thickness and large enough to cut out 4 circles large enough to cover your vessels.

Spoon generous portions into ovenproof dishes.
Stretch dough over opening of dish.
Brush with extra milk, sprinkle with seeds.
Bake in preheated 375f oven  on a baking sheet until lightly golden brown, approx. 40-45 min.

Enjoy with love!