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Entries in recipes (582)

Wednesday
Jun122013

Caramel Chocolate Pecan Ebelskivers

Ebelskivers!

Where there's a well, there's a way. No, that was not a spelling error. I mean "well". Actually, I meant seven wells, because that's how many you'll need in your ebelskiver pan to make these tasty treats.

But...first things first. What the eff is an ebelskiver?

Well, first, picture a pancake. Now, shrink it to about the size of a ping-pong ball and puff it up a little bit, and fill it with something tasty. You're starting to get the idea. They're a traditional Danish pancake, and they're mighty tasty. They're filled with any number of different flavors and ingredients, but I think they're best when they're served sweet.

True or not, there is a rather charming story behind the history of the ebelskiver. As it goes, they were created by the Vikings following a long day of unsuccessful battle. Gathering around the fire, the weary soldiers set to making some pancakes (just what I want to do after a long day of battle, how 'bout you?). But they couldn't find the griddle! Instead of admitting defeat, a quick-thinking soldier thought to pour the batter into his dented shield. The batter settled into the dents and baked up as nubbly little pancake popover-type puffs. The ebelskiver was born! 

Truthfully, it's much more likely that the Danes picked up the idea in the course of their trade and travel in Asia, where one of the regional specialties they came across were a sort of pancake puff, notably the takoyaki, a savory pancake puff popular in Japan. It required a specific type of pan. In China, a pancake-y treat called gai daan jai, similarly called for a pan with wells. Likewise, in India, the paniyaram pan is used to make tender puffed breads called kuzhi paniyaram. It's likely that these concepts were adopted and adapted in Denmark, and it was a sort of evolution that led to the ebelskiver.

In case you didn't grasp it yet...with ebelskivers, you *do* need a specific pan. It's called (wait for it) an ebelskiver pan. It looks like of like this: 

Here's a recipe for chocolate caramel pecan ebelskivers, care of the book 150 Best Ebelskiver Recipes.  

Caramel Chocolate Pecan Ebelskivers

This recipe makes 28 puffs.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (works best for the small puffs)
  • vegetable oil
  • 14 individually wrapped soft caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egg yolks, milk, butter, and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended (the batter will be slightly lumpy). Gently stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix one-third of the egg whites into the batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites.
  5. Brush wells of pan lightly with oil. Set pan over medium heat. When oil begins to sizzle, add 1 tablespoon of batter to each well. Place a caramel candy half in the center, and top with 1 more tablespoon of batter. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Using two skewers, flip the puffs over. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and the puffs are firm to the touch. Remove pan from heat and transfer puffs to a plate. Let pan cool slightly.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter and caramels, brushing wells with oil and reheating the pan before each batch.
  7. Dust the ebelskivers with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Friday
Jun072013

How to Make Doughnuts Using Biscuits from a Tube

Biscuit doughnuts

Want to make homemade doughnuts for National Doughnut Day (that's today, btw) but feel like it sounds, well, too hard?

Well, listen up, sweeties, because I've got a tip that can take you from zero to doughnuts in less than 15 minutes. Seriously. This scene could be your life in less time than it takes to watch an episode of the Simpsons:

Biscuit doughnuts

The secret to this sweet success? Pop-n-bake tube of biscuits! Totally not kidding!

Pop the magic

They're a fantastic shortcut to surprisingly tasty doughnuts that you can make at home. And they're so, so easy! All you need is some oil, a skillet, and whatever sweet garnish you like on your doughnuts. 

Biscuit doughnuts

Donut believe me? Well, that's your right. But I can prove it by telling you how to make this delicious dish, right here and now. I donut know who invented this recipe, but I am so glad they did. And I'm happy to share it with you. You'll be rewarded with cakey, lightly sweet doughnuts that really do pass quite well for "real" doughnuts!

Biscuit doughnuts

How to Make Doughnuts Using Biscuits From a Tube (Printable version here!)

Makes 8 doughnuts, and 8 doughnut holes

Equipment: 

  • A heavy, large skillet
  • Tongs or a slotted spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Several shallow bowls or plates for putting toppings

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (usually 8 to 10) pop-n-bake biscuits. The brand doesn't matter.
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying (you want about 1/2 inch or so in the pan)
  • If desired, melted butter (to help toppings adhere)
  • Toppings: confectioners' sugar, crushed cookies, honey, nuts, chocolate sauce, sprinkles--whatever you want!

Pop open that tube of biscuits. Separate them.

Biscuit doughnuts

Using an apple corer (or, like me, the top from a bottle of water), cut the holes out of the centers. Gently remove them and set to the side (doughnut holes!). 

Biscuit doughnutsBiscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnuts

Pour the oil in your skillet until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Heat the oil on medium heat until it has reached 375 degrees. Don't have a thermometer? You can also break a small piece of dough off and toss it into the pan. If it starts bubbling assertively right away, you're probably ready to rock and roll.

Biscuit doughnuts

Gently transfer a couple of the doughnuts at a time into the pan (don't crowd them!). When they start to rise in the oil and turn brown.

Biscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnuts

This won't take long--about a minute, if that. Now, turn them over using tongs or a slotted spoon. Once you've flipped them, the second side will take a slightly shorter amount of time.

Once fully fried, transfer to the paper towels to blot excess oil. Continue with the remaining doughnuts and holes until everything is fried. Turn the heat off. 

Biscuit doughnuts

Now, you're ready to decorate! What I did was set up a little toppings bar / decorating area. I had shallow plates with confectioners' sugar, chocolate sauce (ice cream sauce), rainbow sprinkles, crushed cookies, pecans, honey, et cetera.

Biscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnuts

If you want to dust them with confectioners' sugar, simply place them in the dish, and turn until coated. Tap to dust off excess. If you're not going to eat them right away, roll them again once more before serving because the sugar can become gummy if it sits for a few minutes on the doughnut. Some people find that brushing the tops with melted butter can make the sugar stick better.

Biscuit doughnutsBiscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnuts

If you want to make a frosted doughnut, dip one side of the doughnut into the chocolate sauce; lift, and let the excess drip off. Once dripped off, dip it in the sprinkles gently, and transfer to a plate to set. 

Biscuit doughnutsBiscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnutsBiscuit doughnuts Biscuit doughnuts

You could also garnish with honey and pecans...

Biscuit doughnuts

or crushed cookies...

Biscuit doughnuts

or a little bit of everything.

Biscuit doughnuts

But either way, you're bound to have a ball. Enjoy! 

Thursday
May302013

Funfetti Gooey Butter Cake Recipe

Funfetti Gooey Butter cake

Gooey Butter Cake is one of those inherently perfect foods. I mean, just consider the name. Gooey Butter Cake. No part of that is wrong. But how to make it even more right? Since many St. Louis-style Gooey Butter Cake (if you want more about the history of the cake, btw, click here) recipes call for cake mix anyway, I figured, why not add an ingredient that has "fun" in the mix: Funfetti Cake Mix! Everyone knows that Funfetti is more fun than regular old yellow cake mix. Why? Well, last time I checked, yellow cake mix didn't have rainbows hidden inside. You simply can't argue that logic.

Funfetti Gooey Butter cake

So, I broke out the Funfetti and got to work, simply swapping it out for the called-for yellow cake mix in the recipe. I also garnished it with rainbow sprinkles, you know, for additional magic.

Sprinkles

Gooey Butter Cake is already sort of an indulgent, guilty-pleasure food, and the Funfetti made it even more so. The little pockets of sugary rainbow bits in the cake don't take away any of the pleasure of this cake, and the sprinkles on top made it festive. While it wasn't a huge change from the original recipe, I truly believe it was a small swap that made it magical! 

Funfetti Gooey Butter Cake

Here's the recipe; enjoy!

Funfetti Gooey Butter Cake Recipe (printable version here)

Ingredients: 
  • 1 box Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 4 extra large eggs 
  • 1 stick melted butter 
  • Pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese 
  • 1 box confectioners' sugar (3 1/2 cups)
  • Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pan
Equipment:
  • 9 X 13 Pan 
  • Stand Mixer
First, make the cake crust mixture. 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your 9 x13 pan generously.
  2. Put the Funfetti mix in the bowl of your stand mixer. DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAKE BOX. Add 2 of the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix together on low speed until combined. The batter will be moist and quite thick, so you should be able to transfer all of it quite easily to the pan. Spread evenly along the bottom of the pan, pressing the sides up about 1/2 inch for a little "ledge", like a shallow swimming pool that the gooey batter will be resting in. 
  3. Clean off the mixers and bowl. 
  4. Now, it's time to make the gooey mixture. 
  5. Funfetti Gooey Butter cakeFunfetti Gooey Butter cake Funfetti Gooey Butter cake
  6. Put the softened cream cheese and about 3/4 of the confectioners' sugar in your mixing bowl; set aside about 1/4 of the box for topping to sprinkle on after the cake is baked and cooled (you can also skip this and just add sprinkles). Mix together on low speed until smooth. Add the remaining eggs and mix until smooth and creamy in consistency. Pour this mixture on top of the crust and spread to make it even. If desired, add rainbow sprinkles.
  7. Funfetti Gooey Butter cake
  8. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top of the cake is browned. You want to make sure the gooey mixture on top of the cake is not too gooey otherwise it will be like a liquid. It is okay if the edges are brown and the top of the cake is lightly browned as well. 
  9. Funfetti Gooey butter cake
  10. Once cooked remove from oven and let cool about two hours before cutting (you could also put it in the fridge) and adding remaining powdered sugar before serving (if desired). Slice and serve. Keep leftovers refrigerated.
  11. Funfetti Gooey Butter Cake
Thursday
May232013

10 Layer Peanut Butter Cake for Peanut Butter and Co.

Let me take a brief break from telling you about my book tour (remaining dates here, btw--I'm in the Chicago area tonight, at the Aspen Drive Library, 701 Aspen Drive, Vernon Hills IL, from 7-8 p.m.) to tell you about this amazing cake I crafted for my friends at Peanut Butter and Company.

It's a 10 layer cake, inspired by Smith Island Cake (the recipe for that one is in the new book). 

Regarding the peanut butter cake, here's what I have to say about it:

Want to really show off with your next dessert offering? Well then, you’ll definitely want to make this cake. It looks like a pretty normal cake on the serving plate, but once cut into, the amazing interior is exposed. Composed of 10 thin stacked cakes, each sandwiched with a layer of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter frosting, this is “frosting with the cake,” a delightful treat that begs for a glass of milk. It’s a peanut butter-ized version of a famous cake from Maryland (actually, if you want to get technical, it’s the Official State Dessert!) called Smith Island Cake, which is given out as the prize during community events. But no need to sing and dance when you’ve got this recipe–everyone’s a winner!

Find the recipe here.

Thursday
May162013

Aztec Chocolate Creme Fraiche Pound Cake. Yes. 

Aztec chocolate cake

Dear Gesine Bullock-Prado,

Dudette, I love you. Not in a creepy way, because it is true you're kind of a baking big-shot. And deservedly so. But right at this moment, I am in love with you because you are the one who brought a little something called Aztec Chocolate Creme Fraiche Pound Cake into my life.

Before, I enjoyed regular old pound cake like a jerk. But I am telling you that I will never--can never--go back. Because it's so much better when it's crammed full of chocolate and creme fraiche in addition to butter, sugar, flour, and egg. Thank you for the recipe, which I found in Bake It Like You Mean It: Gorgeous Cakes from Inside Out

Yours in deliciousness,

CakeSpy

P.S. Here's how you make that ambrosial treat, sweeties. You're welcome.

Aztec Chocolate Creme Fraiche Pound Cake. (printable version here!)

Aztec chocolate cake

For the cake

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coffee, very hot
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche

For the glaze

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (my adaptation)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Candied walnuts, to garnish (my adaptation)

To Make the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally spray a large nonstick bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and very hot coffee. Allow to sit undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions until each egg is completely incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste.
  4. Aztec chocolate cake
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  6. Add the creme fraiche to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on low speed, then add half of the creme fraiche-chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Continue alternating additions until all the ingredients are incorporated and well combined. Aztec chocolate cakeSpoon the batter into the prepared mold and level the batter with the back of a spoon. Bake for one hour and 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes. Unmold onto a cooling rack.
  8. Chocolate cake 
  9. To make the glaze, heat the cream and chocolate over low heat until combined. Add the butter, stirring in until combined. Stir in the corn syrup until nice and smooth. Drizzle over that tasty cake, and garnish with the candied walnuts. 
  10. Cake
Wednesday
May082013

My Yoga Teacher's Chocolate Beet Cake Recipe

Choco beet cake

Sometimes, recipes come from the most unexpected places.

For instance: I am at a yoga class. I'm doing yoga. Whatever. Then after class...

the teacher slips me a tupperware package. Inside of it is a piece of CHOCOLATE CAKE. YES! I love exercise!

Choco beet cake

This was indeed a fascinating specimen: a chocolate cake sweetened with beets and maple syrup. Sound virtuous? Don't worry. It's not. The beets add a wonderful earthiness and natural sweetness to the dark richness of the chocolate, and the maple adds an interesting sweetness that works very nicely with the beets and chocolate. 

Choco beet cake

Now, I will confess, it was given to me sans topping. But I found that while the moist and tasty chocolate cake was great sans frosting...it was even better with a healthy dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream. Yum!

Here's the recipe, with thanks to Blue Moon Hot Yoga for being the ones to introduce me to it. Doing yoga beforehand not necessary.

Chocolate Beet Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked and pureed beets
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup or 1 cup grade B Maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour (can be whole wheat, spelt and rice flour, etc)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan.
  2. Scrub the beets well and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Steam until tender; puree the cooked beets in a processor.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Melt the butter over low heat in a sauce pan.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and maple syrup. Add the eggs and combine thoroughly, then stir in the chocolate, beet puree, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add this to the liquid ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.
  6. Pour into your prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or a little longer until a cake tester comes out clean.

 

Monday
May062013

SpyMom's Not So Secret Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe

Chocolate Cream Pie

Oh, that's something tasty. Can't you just tell?

This is the chocolate cream pie I grew up with. The one SpyMom always made. The one we all devoured in about ten minutes after it was served. 

I guess the recipe was never a secret, but the pie was so good that it became a mythical thing in all of our minds. And recently, when SpyMom made it after not having made it for quite a while, I got up the nerve to ask if she'd share her recipe.

She was more than happy to tell me what it was: the recipe on the chocolate pudding box! All this pie is, my friends, is a pre-baked pie crust filled with cook and serve chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream.

There is a reason why this back-of-the-box recipe has endured. It's simple as can be, but beautiful in its own way. It is creamy and chocolate-y and simply divine. You can dress it up in any number of ways: use part almond, chocolate, or flavored milk for the pudding, add a flavoring extract to the whipped cream, or add some chocolate chip or nuts to the pudding mix.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Here's the recipe.  With this pie, I played around a bit: I used 1 part almond milk and two parts regular whole milke for the pudding, and added a dash of vanilla extract to the whipped cream. I also garnished with shortbread cookies and a few pecans, for color contrast and cuteness.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Of course, that having been said, it's tremendous simply made straight-up--you go ahead and choose your adventure! 

Chocolate Cream Pie

Simple as can Be Chocolate Cream Pie (printable version here!)

Ingredients

  • One pre-baked 9-inch pie shell
  • One box (5.1 ounces--the big size) cook and serve chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups whole milk (can be part almond milk, etc)
  • 2 cups freshly whipped cream

Procedure

  1. Have your cooled pie shell at the ready, but to the side.
  2. Prepare the chocolate pudding according to the box instructions, bringing the milk to a boil and stirring frequently until thickened.
  3. Pour the pudding into the pie shell. Got a little extra pudding? Guess you'll have to eat it from the bowl, with a spoon. Life is hard sometimes.
  4. Let the pie set (sans whipped cream) in the fridge for several hours, 2 to 3 at least. Top with whipped cream and any garnish directly before serving. Enjoy!
Monday
May062013

Macrina Bakery's Almond Cake with Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

You know what I love? Everything Macrina Bakery makes, that's what. And while I no longer live in Seattle, I keep track of them and their delicious recipes by virtue of their monthly newsletter. And I love to pass on what I have learned! So here's the most recent installment: Almond Cake with Raspberries and Chocolate Ganache. Here's what they have to say about it:

This combination of toasted almonds in a buttery cake, accompanied by fresh raspberries and bittersweet chocolate ganache is our best-selling wedding cake. It satisfies everyone's taste with nuts, fruit, and of course, chocolate. This recipe makes individually sized cakes that are baked in a jumbo muffin pan. Once they've cooled, you remove the paper liner, invert the cakes so the tapered side is up, fill with sweetened cream and raspberries, and top with chocolate ganache. 

Almond Cake with Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

For the batter:
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (skins on), toasted 
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
For the whipped cream filling:
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (about 24 berries)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Makes 8 Jumbo Cupcakes

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Lightly grease the top of a jumbo muffin pan with canola oil to prevent any stray batter from sticking, and line 8 cups with jumbo cupcake liners.
  2. To make the batter, first grind the toasted almonds in a food processor until they are very fine and powdery. (Alternatively, grind them by hand: chop the nuts as finely as you can with a chef's knife, then use the flat side of the knife to crush the chopped nuts into a powder.) Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Add the almonds and toss with your hands to evenly distribute. Set aside. 
  3. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the yogurt, eggs, and almond and vanilla extracts in a small bowl. Set aside. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar; start on low speed and increase to medium, stopping to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to fully incorporate the ingredients. The mixture will be light, fluffy, and pale. Add the flour mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, slowly mixing for 1 minute. Once the flour is incorporated, increase to medium speed and mix for 1 minute more, then scrape down the bowl again. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, mixing for 20 seconds after each addition, then scraping down the bowl. 
  5. Using a large spoon or #30 ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Smooth the tops for even baking. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cupcakes are deep golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note that these cupcakes will rise only to the top of the muffin pan as they bake.) Cool them in the pan for 45 minutes, then remove them and peel off the cupcake liners. Invert the cakes onto a plate, so the bottoms are up and using a teaspoon, scoop out a 1-1/2 inch ball from the center of each cake and discard (or eat!) the cake.
  6. To make the filling, pick through the raspberries, reserving 8 beauties for garnish. Whisk the heavy cream and sugar in a small bowl, whipping until they form medium-firm peaks, then fold in the raspberries. You want the berries to break up a bit—but don't let them get soupy. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream into the hole in the cakes, piling in as much as you can and leveling the top. 
  7. To make the ganache, pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan. Over medium heat bring the cream to a froth just before it boils. Turn off the heat and add the semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate completely melts, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. The ganache will thicken as it cools. 
  8. To assemble, top each cake with 1 tablespoon of the ganache; spread it evenly, but leave a little of the golden cake showing around the edges. Garnish with a raspberry. 
  9. These cakes taste best the day they are made. You can prepare them up to the point of making the filling and store, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. 
Tuesday
Apr302013

Unique Sweet: Gajar ka Halwa, Caramelized Carrot Pudding

Caramelized Carrot Pudding

Image: Easy Indian Cooking

I love carrots more than the average person. My favorite afternoon snack is a nice, fat carrot, cut into coins or even just eaten like Bugs Bunny. Carrots, I believe, can be a fantastic dessert ingredient: they add natural sweetness and moisture. But don't worry, am not about to go on a healthy dessert kick here. I still think carrot cake needs cream cheese frosting, for instance!

Considering the above, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that when I received a review copy of Easy Indian Cooking, my eye went right to the recipe for Gajar ka Halwa, or Caramelized Carrot Pudding. As the recipe headnote reveals, "this is a favorite in north India and is particularly good when made with the sweet pink winter carrots grown in that area. The flavor is more delicate than other carrots, and they are juicier. I have never come across this variety in North America."

Well, thanks for tempting me with an unattainable carrot, dudette! But you know what? It works just fine with regular carrots, say I, not having tried the superior sort to tell the difference! Even regular old carrots make for an intriguing dish: sort of like a carrot cake-flavored pudding got a creamy chai kiss.

Oh, a as for the silver leaf? It's commonly used to garnish special dishes, so why not dress it up?

Gajar ka Halwa

From Easy Indian Cooking

Serves 8

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, grated (5 or 6 large)

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup oil or unsalted buter

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 8 to 10 cardamom pods

  • blanched almonds, for garnish

  • silver leaf, for garnish


Procedure


  1. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, combine carrots and milk. Cook, stirring frequenly, until milk is completely absorbed and mixture begins to solidify, about 1 hour.

  2. Stir in 1 cup of the sugar, butter or oil, and raisins. When the sugar dissolves, give it a taste. Add the remaining sugar to taste if desired. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to leave the side of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, discarding the pods. Pound the seeds; stir into the pudding. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Before serving, garnish with almonds and edible silver leaf.

 

Thursday
Apr112013

Choco-Walnut Pie With a Shortbread Crust

Choco-walnut pie

If you've ever heard of a pie called Derby Pie, you know that it's a thing of great beauty. It's got nuts, it's got chocolate, all tied together with plenty of butter and maybe even a little booze. 

Yeah, it's good stuff.

And it has a great story, if I do say so myself. That story is featured in my upcoming book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts. I tell you all this because I love any chance to talk about the new book...but also because it's a nice lead-in for this recipe.

Choco-walnut pie

This recipe is not for Derby Pie. But, it is sort of like a cousin to the famous pie. Because yes, it has nuts and chocolate. But this version is special. It's ridiculously rich in toasty walnuts and chocolate, but is very special because it's baked with a shortbread base as the crust. The exposed caramelly sides form a sort of chewy crust that is sort of like the texture of Mary Janes candies. Now, this is not going to be a texture to everyone's liking, because it will make your teeth stick together. But I have always rather enjoyed that part of those particular candies, and found it a lovely alternative to the back crust on a pie with corn syrup, which can get hard (you know what I mean?). 

Choco-walnut pie

Choco-Walnut Pie with a Shortbread Crust (printable version here!)

For the shortbread crust

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (water may be substituted)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

First, prepare the crust. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add flour and mix til fully incorporated. Press dough into a well greased 8-inch springform pan.

Choco-walnut pie

Sprinkle the walnuts and chocolate evenly onto the bottom of the crust; set aside.

Choco-walnut pie

In a large saucepan, combine the corn syrup, granulated and brown sugars, and bourbon and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat.

Choco-walnut pie

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Slowly pour about one fourth of the hot mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly (if you add the hot syrup too quickly, the eggs will cook). Add the remaining hot mixture, continuing to whisk. If you notice any small lumps in the mixture, strain through a mesh sieve.

Choco-walnut pie

Pour the filling slowly over the nuts and chips, being careful not to move them around within the crust. Choco walnut pie Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until set in the center; transfer to a wire rack to cool. Immediately run a sharp knife along the edge of the pan to help loosen the sticky pie; then let it sit for at least 45 minutes before un-springing it from the pan. Serve the pie at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. To store the pie, wrap it tightly and refrigerate for up to five days. 

Choco-walnut pie

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