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Friday, September 18, 2009

Creamy Lime Tart with Raspberry Coulis (aka: Pantyhose Pie)

I had a bunch of limes that I need to use up and raspberries that were on the brink of going bad, so I made a creamy lime tart with raspberry coulis.



Creamy Lime Tart Filling

5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons grated lime peel

Whisk eggs, sugar, cream, lime juice, and grated lime peel in medium metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk slowly but constantly until mixture thickens and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 20 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Cool mixture to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Pour into pie crust and let set (preferably in the fridge overnight). Garnish as desired.

Raspberry Coulis

1 pint raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Throw everything in a blender and blend until combined. Strain mixture through a fine mesh colander* and discard seeds. Use as garnish for creamy lime tart or as a sauce on pancakes, ice cream, or other desserts.

*I don’t have a fine mesh colander, so I got creative and used an old pair of pantyhose (clean ones, of course!). Worked like a charm! (And I giggled through the entire process).

I added a couple drops of green food coloring, to minimize the yellow of the eggs.

The filling was a little too creamy and didn’t quite set up as I’d hoped. Rather, it flopped around on the plate. But everyone seemed to love it and I guess it all goes down the same, so who can really complain?

Slicing and juicing the limes:



Fresh grated lime peel:



I’m a bit messy sometimes:



A makeshift double boiler (KitchenAid mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water):



Hooray, I finally have reason to use the candy thermometer I got as a gift last year!



The finished product:

Homemade Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Aside from the US and Canada, the most hits on this blog are currently coming from New Zealand. In an effort to give a shout out to my Kiwi readers, I thought I'd cook up something from their homeland.

My long-time friend and current roommate, Wren, is moving out this weekend, and I wanted to do something extra special for her. She’s a self-proclaimed Kiwi, having lived in New Zealand for about 18 months while serving a mission for the LDS church.

Whenever she talks of New Zealand, she gets a sparkle in her eye and a twinge of nostalgia in her voice. On several occasions, she’s mentioned the magic that is Hokey Pokey Ice Cream - vanilla ice cream with bits of sponge-y toffee goodness mixed in. A quick Google search yielded what appeared to be quite a simple recipe. Several phone calls to local import stores helped me locate golden syrup, and within just a few hours I had everything I needed to make this delectable treat.





(I made 2 quarts of ice cream, and therefore tripled the toffee recipe).

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

15 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. golden syrup
3 tsp. baking soda



Bring sugar and golden syrup to a boil slowly, stirring constantly. Simmer over very low heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a deep golden-brown color. Be careful not to allow it to burn. It’ll look something like this:



Remove from heat, add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths - pour at once into a well greased shallow tin. Here’s some frothy hot sugar:



Allow to cool, break up (for ease in breaking, place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin).



Store in air-tight jars.

Vanilla Ice Cream

4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups milk
4 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream, milk, and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.

Mix the broken toffee bits into the softened ice cream, then transfer to the freezer to set. Enjoy!





Napoleon's Army

One of the staff members in my office had a birthday this week, and I signed up for “baked goods”. I made Napoleons, and they were a hit! There are two ways you can make Napoleons…the easy way or the hard way. I’ll give you the difficult version first.

Napoleons: Difficult

Quick Puff Pastry:
2 cups flour
1 ½ sticks cold butter plus 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water

Custard:
1 ½ cups milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Garnish:
sweet melted chocolate
powdered sugar

Pastry: Sift together flour and salt. Add cold butter. Blend until mixture is clumpy. Add ice water and form into ball. Dust with flour, wrap in paper and chill 1 hour. Roll dough into 12 x 6" rectangle, dust lightly with flour. Fold top third over center and bottom third over top making a 4 x6 inch rectangle. Turn dough and repeat process after rolling out. Wrap dough and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450.

Roll puff pastry to 1/8 inch thick sheet. Place on well buttered cookie sheet and prick with fork at intervals of one inch. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden in color. Let cool on a wire rack.

Custard: Bring 1 cup milk and cream to a boil. In a small bowl, add cornstarch to beaten egg yolks and remaining milk. Add to milk and cream mixture and cook until thick. Add vanilla and chill.

To Assemble: Cut cooled pastry in strips to make 3 x 2 inch rectangles. Fill with cream. Garnish with sweet melted chocolate and powdered sugar. Chill.

Napoleons: Easy

Get a box of puff pastry (found in the frozen section under “dessert”). Cut into squares and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, mix up a box of instant pudding or custard. Add a little bit of whipping cream and mix well. If you want, also add in a couple tablespoons of lemon curd.

Let the puff pastry cool slightly, then pull apart into two halves (top and bottom). Spoon a dollop of custard onto the bottom half of the pastry, then cover with top half. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Melt chocolate chips or baking chocolate in the microwave, and add a splash of whipping cream. Stir well to combine, then drizzle over the napoleons. The end!





Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nutella Gelato

I recently purchased an ice cream maker, and have been having fun with it all summer long. The first recipe I tried out using my new toy was Kiwi Sorbet. From there I was hooked! My roommate and I experimented with Cookies ‘n’ Cream, Butterfinger, Coconut Chocolate Chunk, and a few others. Our favorite however, by far, is Nutella Gelato.

Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. Yes, you’ll want to eat the entire batch yourself. No, you don’t want to know the caloric content of one scoop. Just savor the flavor and make time for an extra round at the gym. It’s worth it, trust me.

Nutella Gelato

• 4 cups whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup
• 8 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup Nutella
• ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish

Directions

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip the egg yolks with the remaining (½ cup) sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. It’ll look something like this:



Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard through the strainer.

Stir in the vanilla and Nutella until it dissolves (I use a whisk to speed up this step).





You’ll have a hot, frothy, heavenly-smelling pot of nutty chocolate-y goodness on your hands. Please resist the urge to drink it straight from the ladle. It smells like hot chocolate made by angels. Seriously…if heaven has hot chocolate, this is what it will be like.



But no! Don’t taste it just yet! It’s NOT hot chocolate – it’s 8 egg yolks and cream and milk and sugar and Nutella, remember? Drinking it straight from the ladle is wrong! Wrong and bad! Wait ‘til it’s frozen and topped with more sugar before you eat it. You’ll feel a lot less guilty about it. Not that I speak from experience or anything. I’m just sayin’.

Chill completely. (I stick it on the counter to cool for a bit before transferring to the fridge).



Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze.

To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts.







Notes

• I was out of vanilla extract, and didn’t realize it until I had frothy custard bubbling on the stove. I scanned my cupboards for an alternative and, in a bit of a panic, settled on what proved to be the best idea I’ve had in a long time: ½ tsp coconut extract, and ½ tsp almond extract. Oh man, culinary breakthrough! Clouds parting, angels singing overhead, party-in-your-mouth flavor ecstasy. Sure, using the vanilla is good, and you’ll still love the taste, but the coconut-almond is GREAT. I triple-dog-dare you to try it yourself.

• I got just a little distracted and let the eggs whip for a bit longer than I should’ve. No matter! It just made the gelato that much fluffier. Mmm. Fluffy gelato.

• Please note that I made a double batch this time around, which makes roughly 2 quarts. You can halve the recipe and still end up with a fair amount of gelato.

• I recommend taking the liquid off the stove and letting it cool on the counter for about 30-45 minutes, then transferring to the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours (preferably 5-6 hours or overnight) before pouring into the ice cream maker.

• Most ice cream makers will not freeze your mixture to a hard consistency. Rather, it’ll be more like a smoothie, ever after sitting in the maker for a good 30-40 minutes. So, it’s generally a good idea to allow for another 2-4 hours to let it firm up in the freezer.

• Last time I made up a batch, I caramelized some chopped hazelnuts and sprinkled them over the top. I felt it took away from the awesomeness of the gelato. Your mileage may vary.

• A better suggestion for toppings (in my opinion) is any combination of strawberries, crushed graham crackers, and chocolate syrup. And, if you want to get really adventurous, mini marshmallows. My preference is lots of berries, a bit of graham, and the tiniest drizzle of syrup. Mmm!