Pudding It Out There

Liquid sunshine, anyone? Once in a while, a baker will come across excess yolks – probably having whipped up a whites-based dessert like meringues, angel food cake and the sort. Finding myself in a similar predicament, a bowl of golden yolks and perfect timing leaves me with the ideal March-inspired treat. Celebrating with high spirits, Baileys Chocolate Pudding was made for St. Paddy’s Day festivities.Baileys Chocolate Pudding 3 arr

Combining my favourite ingredient – undoubtedly chocolate – with a very special Irish Cream, you really can’t go wrong with the complementary pairing of the aforementioned duo. Rich, chocolatey and infused with a hint of an old country export, homemade pudding is something else: it’s elevated nostalgia. Clearly, a must-indulge item in my books!

Baileys Chocolate Pudding 2 arrTo make your own holiday pudding, choose a scratch recipe of choice. Following the steps of the Barefoot Contessa – Ms. Ina Garten, of course – I really enjoyed following her simple instructions for a double chocolate pudding. Doing things my way, however, I take her very good recipe and tweak it to cater to my preferences. Specifically, I had nine yolks to start though the original recipe calls for six. Presented with three more than less of what’s required, I still count myself lucky. Glass bowl looking beyond half-full, circumstance is boding well and, so, I persist to do as any good baker would – I sharpen my math skills. In other words, I take note of the existing quantities and appropriately increase measured amounts for all remaining ingredients, including: sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, milk, heavy cream, pure vanilla essence and fine quality chocolate. Though Ina’s original calls for butter and semisweet chocolate, I omit the butter altogether and use premium dark chocolate – minimum 70% cocoa.

Baileys Chocolate Pudding 4 arrFortunately, the outcome of this cocoa-rich indulgence is nothing short of pure decadence. And, although I-rish I could stop at the making of double chocolate pudding, a must-indulge St. Paddy’s dessert must-have a little touch of Shamrock. As for the final touches, then, I keep with precision and happily exchange the plain heavy cream with an addition of Baileys Original Irish Cream. From here, the well-mixed pudding mixture is poured into individual dessert dishes and refrigerated. Ultra delicious and made for chocophiles, serving chilled portions of Baileys Chocolate Pudding on its own – as-is – or topped with sweetened whipped cream will surely yield happy hours to come. Ultimately ‘pudding’ a spin on a classic, this crowd-pleasing custard is meant to be shared and savoured responsibly – please, use a spoon! Happy Saint Patrick’s, everyone!!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s Get Started!

prima-pavlova-2-arrNew year, new dessert? Right on – my sentiments exact! Paving 2017 with all that is light, sweet and timeless, I’m resolute in making a classic dessert that echoes effortless sophistication. And for this “must-indulge” endeavour, whipping up divine pavlova is nothing short of pav-u-lous.

Originally made to honour ballerina Anna Pavlova, this delicate meringue topped with heavy cream and fruit promises an impressionable display upon presentation. For my dessert stage, then, here’s two ovation-worthy variations to prepare: soft and chewy vanilla pavlova embellished with whipped cream and seasonal berries, in addition to a two-tier chocolate and raspberry layered pavlova cake.prima-pavlova-3-arr

Instructions abound, pursuing any pavlova recipe is a cinch. While I’m a Martha Stewart loyalist – surprise, surprise – be confident that ingredients and steps for the making of meringues are pleasingly similar. Tried, tested, and happily achieved – thanks to Ms. Stewart – here’s a sum of what you’ll need for the meringue base: egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla extract. For the chocolate alternative, omit vinegar and cornstarch but add premium quality unsweetened cocoa powder and brown sugar accordingly. Once the ingredients are mixed to a glossy stiff consistency, continue to bake and cool the meringue discs in the oven. Finally, proceed to add finishing touches to the domed base. prima-pavlova-4-arr

Generously topping my vanilla meringue with sweetened whipped cream, strawberries and blackberries, fear not if your baked structure slightly cracks or deflates, even post cooling. Instead, remember: this show-stopping beauty is not done until it’s fully dressed via flavourful cream, berries, other fruits – kiwi, banana, raspberry, blueberries, etc. – chocolate shavings, ganache, and even caramel sauce. Garnishes being optional, I brighten the already vibrant fruit pavlova with fresh sprigs of mint, and do so for extra colour and taste. prima-pavlova-1-arrEqually, and like the vanilla pav, the cocoa-rich-lo-va incorporates both fruit and sweetened whipped cream. To ensure even levels – between the first and second floors of cake – simply spoonful proportionate amounts of whipped cream onto the surface of each chocolate meringue. Getting the tiniest bit technical, carefully spread the filling from the center outward – an offset spatula works like a charm – and proceed by topping one cream-laden round with the other. Finding no swan song here, a bountiful shower of lush red raspberries and dusting of dark chocolate shavings is all you require for this adorned ‘prima’. So, there you have it! Dramatically ‘made-up’ and ready for a close reveal, wowing guests is as easy as gracing them with front-row standing to their very own slice of cloud cake – PAV-tastico!

© DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Something Berry Wonderful

 

Swiss Jelly Roll 5 arrHappy belated! Yesterday, love of country was on display for none other than Canada Day. Marking the nation’s birthday in patriotic fashion, the first of July is nothing short of seeing all things red, white and – especially for foodies – deliciously homegrown.

No exceptions, the baker-in-me equally celebrated the best way I know how – via dessert! Clearly adding caloric ‘fuel’ to complement eventful fireworks, I had one specific treat in mind. Swiss Jelly Roll 4 arrGoing for something ‘berry’ seasonal, I forgo prized sweet sap – pure maple syrup – and highlighted the occasion by following instruction for a raspberry inspired recipe. And so, a day off – for this Canuck – was a day well spent in the kitchen, making homemade Swiss Jelly Roll.

Consistent with layers of tart raspberry fruit preserve and lightly sweetened whipped cream, this sponge sheet cake is generously filled, rolled, and sliced to appease any birthday guest. Swiss Jelly Roll 1 arrEven suitable for afternoon tea, this rolled cake is too irresistible not to remake and share. Kindly note, I used Martha Stewart’s recipe though you can commit to a reliable sponge cake recipe of your own choosing. Likewise, feel free to swap the raspberries for alternate ‘red’ fruit such as strawberries or cherries – as always, cater to ‘your’ preferences and palette.

Party planning still in the works – for some – upcoming national festivities like the Fourth of July and Bastille Day on the fourteenth are more reasons to bake, share and devour this versatile cake. Swiss Jelly Roll 7 arrIn recognition of the allied tricolour flags, I recommend using the exact sheet cake method and simply adding blueberries in combination with your choice of edible ‘rubies’ – fresh fruit and compote alike – to ultimately represent red, white and blue. What’s more, now you have three legitimate grounds – or excuses – to eat cake to your sweet tooth’s content. Baking up more reasons to celebrate with food, Happy International July Days!!

© DISHFUL, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Ma petite citrouille

Pumpkin Truffle 1 arrFind yourself fall-ing for seasonal harvests? Me too!  From pumpkin farm to pie, orange and round are not the only indicators of a very good-for-you veg.  Far from Cinderella’s magically converted carriage-mobile, sweater-weather introduces a modern dose of delicious reality in a mug – PSL.   As advertised, coffee lovers find frothy steamed comfort in a tall order of pumpkin, spice and everything latte.

“Drink your veggies? Don’t mind if I do!”  Pumpkin Truffle 5 arrGiving many thanks, latte lovers will surely cozy up to this flavourful hot beverage.  Fit for a festive affair, some will wait in line for their own drink while others will recreate PSL at home.  This Thanksgiving, I’m feeling equally appreciative:  family, friends, health and a celebration of a particular homemade confection – Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles.

Somewhat like the Pumpkin Spice Latte, but not quite, I take this ingenious drink to different ‘states.’ Calling upon PSL’s spherical cousin, these creamy truffles are a celebratory innovation that combines the best of a coffee-inspired delight into a solidified chocolaty morsel bite-size dessert.  Pumpkin Truffle 2 arrOn that note, all in favour – of short and sweet – say, “Aye.”  Clearly impartial to chocolate, how dare I not say, “Aye” – “I, indeed!”

Online shopping for recipes complete, I tweaked and altered “must-have” ingredients to suit personal preference. With additions, an omission, and even doubled measurements made, my interpretation includes:  1 cup of white chocolate, 4 oz. cream cheese, ½ cup of graham crackers and ¾ cup gingersnap cookies – both pulverized to crumbs – ½ cup pumpkin purée, a generous pinch of salt and spices.  Pumpkin Truffle 3 arrHeeding first to the list of basic items, I omitted powdered sugar altogether given the inclusion of white chocolate – technically not chocolate, but cocoa butter and sugar – is palatably sweet, as is.  Similarly, a taste of the blended mix seemingly required a spicy citrus lift despite the already seasoned gingersnap cookies.  Hence, a little of the following elevated the overall mixture:  ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon each of ground allspice and nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, as well as the zest of a whole lemon and orange.

Pumpkin batch mixed, mingled and thoroughly blended, proceed to refrigerate prior to handling. Pumpkin Truffle 4 arrOnce solidified, remove the mix and use a small ice-cream scoop to measure even rounds.  For a smoother exterior, hand roll the portions to form truffle balls and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet; chill, once again.  To prepare the truffle coating, melt white, milk or dark chocolate shavings over a double-boiler.  Finally, enrobe each miniature ‘pumpkin’ into melted chocolate using a toothpick or fork, place them onto a lined sheet and allow it to set.   And that’s all – no trick, all treat!  Fortunately it’s also no-bake, which leaves for a delectably speedy preparation suitable for any holiday or gathered occasion.  Clearly, a truffle patch worthy of a perennial harvest.

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Season’s Gr-eat-ings!

October is a month that marks many seasonal preludes.  More than burnt tinges of red being apparent on fallen poplar and maple leaves, the initiation of sweater-weather is reminiscent of delicious holiday warm-ups to anticipate.  Standing in my kitchen, pouring my daily brew – coffee – my mug of neutralized-acidic comfort reminds me of one particular toasty fall offering – Turkey Day.

With a drop in the barometer, finding a tantalisingly manner to seek some heat-retreat on this thankful day was easy.  Strategically volunteering to resume my annual kitchen post, dessert-making and turkey basting, my dual-positions served me well; periodically opening the modern-day hearth – stainless steel oven – not only allowed me to keep a watchful eye on the savoury ‘goods’ but, too, released a welcoming steamy backdraft that appeased my senses.  From start to finish of cooking production, fast-track a quarter of a day later and, finally, edible abundance – roasted pepper squash, moist turkey carvings, and generously herbed and butter-intoxicated sides – in all its succulent glory.  Fortunately, the earlier arrival of Thanksgiving – compared to our American cousins – is, without a doubt, an occasion for which Canadians are to be thankful – humbly, of course.

Turkey Dinner arr

While everyone’s prudent to maintain their table-side manners, over-indulgence – during the holidays – is a must!  Let’s be honest.  If not now – the holidays – when?  It would be a shame, to say the least, to pass up the opportunity to sample the fruits of your family’s labour.  With thanks in mind, and hunger on the rise, I did what any good daughter would do – I politely made my way down the food-chain of holiday dishes, and filled my plate with a journey of aromatic flavours.

Blame it on tryptophan!  Undeniably scrumptious, my gobbled meal left me feeling satisfied, loved, and incredibly stuffed.  Loaded on a surplus of heart-warming cinnamon and nutmeg-kissed helpings of veg could mean one thing; one full plate eaten within one hour leaves for one appropriately-fitting intermission prior to dessert – power nap.

Just recounting epic portions leaves me tired.  My goodness!  Why do we do this to ourselves?  First, we’re cautious not to fill-up on breakfast, in anticipation of ‘the meal’ ahead.  Then, we over-eat convincing ourselves it’s a one-time guilt-free occasion; and, only to endure a day-long recovery period, followed by a capricious annunciation to abolish all-things-turkey until next year.  Lesson unlearned:  delicious food is meant to be tasted, never wasted.  In the spirit of the holidays, indulgences must be satisfied, belts will continue to be loosened, and in good measure, safe-guards will be put into gear to look forward to upcoming cornucopia of eats.  In other words, do yourself a favour and appreciate future harvests by making a very grateful investment in stretchy pants – “spandex, all spandex!”

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.