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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Gooseberry

There is no country like Great Britain when it comes to naming what I call (and they do too) nursery desserts – syllabub, spotted dick, whim-wham, roly-poly, fool, and apple dappy are just a few of the sweet desserts the English call puddings. Fools are one of my favorites simply because they are so easy to do, particularly in the summer when berries and fruits are at their peak. I don’t know where the name “fool” comes from, but perhaps because a cook would be a fool not to embrace this easy to do dish which in its basic make-up is just fruit and whipped cream, although there are ways to fancy it up. I tend to lighten it a bit with a combination of yogurt and whipped cream. Gooseberries are the traditional berry used, but they are rarely available except for a couple of weeks in the summer at farmers markets, so feel free to use any berry or fruit you like.

In this recipe, I just sprinkle the top with crushed cookies, but if you want to turn it into a dinner party dessert, layer the fool between layers of crushed cookies in individual glass bowls or even martini glasses, ending with a layer of fool. You can also save a few gooseberries to use as garnish along with that proverbial mint leaf.

 

1 pound fresh gooseberries, topped and tailed

3 tablespoons granulated sugar or to taste

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Confectioners’ sugar or to taste

¼ cup crushed cookies of your choice

 

Combine the gooseberries with ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until very soft.

Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the granulated sugar and process to a smooth puree. If you hate seeds, press the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container and set aside to cool. If you don’t mind seeds, transfer the puree to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Place the heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat for a minute or so to lighten. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold the yogurt into the whipped cream.

Scrape the whipped cream mixture into a serving bowl. Gently fold in the cooled gooseberry puree. Taste and, if necessary, sweeten with confectioners’ sugar.

Sprinkle the top with crushed ladyfingers, amaretti cookies, vanilla wafers, or butter cookies and serve immediately.

If not serving immediately, do not sprinkle the top with the cookies until ready to serve. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

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PIE©StephenKolyer

 

I have been writing cookbooks for 45 years and I rarely hear from anyone who has cooked from any one of the many, many books I have written, co-authored, or ghosted.  However, the other day I got the following note posted on Facebook from a very nice lady named Elaine Grahame-Dunn.  I wanted to share it as just simple graciousness doesn’t come my way very often.  The book about which she is commenting was published in 1992 in the States and in England and Australia somewhat later.  How nice that it is still being used.

 

June 16th, 6:19am

Just wanted to say how much I use your wonderful book ‘The Great American Pie Book’. I am a British woman living near Seville in Spain and own a bed and breakfast establishment. It is a great book to go to for inspiration when I feel a little jaded with my menu choices. Thank you. It isn’t said enough in this World nowadays. X

 

And after my response to her I received the following:

Just wanted to make contact and I think it’s important to let people know when they do a good job. Some recipe books are nice you look at but not practical. Few and far between are those that make life easier as a cook! Thanks again for a job well done. You are welcome here any time. X

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Krumville

 

I happened on the Facebook page of my young friend Antonella who was doing a pop-up for her gluten-free bakery, Krumville Bake Shop (www.krumvillebakeshop.com), at a Soho (a trendy Manhattan neighborhood) store. For the occasion, Anto had done a trial strawberry cake which she had featured on her page. It was so invitingly beautiful that I jokingly posted “can you bring me a slice?” And, sure enough at the end of the day our doorbell rang and there was Antonella cake slice in hand. I will tell you that the cake was even more delicious than it looked….and absolutely impossible to identify as being “gluten-free.” She ships all over so should you need or know someone who needs spectacular gluten-free treats, Krumville is the go-to bakery. And, even if you aren’t gluten-free, I still recommend Antonella’s products – they are all delicious.

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Rhubarb

 

The other day Steve, my photographer husband, had to shoot some rhubarb for a client. Since winter was still in the air, I wasn’t sure that I could find it. But, lo and behold, I found bright pink stalks stacked up at my local Whole Foods. Once he photographed it, I couldn’t let it go to waste. So, what does rhubarb say to me? Spring! Strawberries! Pie! But there really has been no sign of spring here in New York City – as March stilled its winds we still had snow in the air.

Besides, I really didn’t have enough rhubarb or strawberries to make anything significant. I cut what I did have into small pieces, added maybe a cup of sugar, a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, and grated a bit of fresh ginger into the mix. I popped it on the stove while we ate dinner and ended up with a lovely 10 ounce jar of rhubarb/strawberry compote that will be delicious over ice cream or yogurt, drizzled on roast pork or even on a slice of whole grain toast. But, most of all I had a taste of spring!

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choc-bundt-cake
Every night after dinner Steve says “Do we have any cake?”  and most nights I give a negative nod.  But, once in awhile I decide to take pity on him and make a simple cake to offer with a cup of decaf.  The problem with cake making is that Steve eats one dainty slice and forgets about it while I am left to devour the remains.  I have a terrible sweet tooth which makes eating an entire cake not difficult to do – over a few days, of course.  Since I am always trying to watch my weight (and not watch it increase) this is not something I like to do so cake making isn’t often on my list of kitchen chores.  Since Steve prefers a simple cake – pound cake, angel food, spice – I can always quickly put together a plain cake from memory.  Here is a chocolate version of bundt cake that is easy to make and keeps well over a few days, well-wrapped in the fridge.  If desired, you can add a cup of chopped nuts or chocolate chips or other flavored chips to the cake or drizzle the top with a glaze or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes one cake

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups sifted flour
¾ cup sifted dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly coat the interior of a bundt cake pan with butter and flour or with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle and beat on low to soften.  Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium, and beat until light and creamy.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Begin adding the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, alternately adding the milk and one egg.  When all of the ingredients have been blended in, add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.  Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges pull away from the pan and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire pan.  Lift off the pan and allow the cake to cool before cutting or covering with a glaze.

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Macaroon

 

Makes About 3½ dozen

3 large egg whites
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup superfine sugar
One 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
Place the eggs whites in the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until foamy.   Add the vanilla, and cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
With the motor running, slowly add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form.  Add the coconut and beat on low to just combine.  Do not over-beat or the coconut will begin to disintegrate.
Using a medium melon baller or small ice cream scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1-inch between each cookie.  When all of the cookies have been formed, transfer to the preheated oven and bake, rotating the cookie sheets about halfway through the baking time, for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheets.
Serve or store, airtight, in single layers separated by waxed paper for up to 1 week.

NOTE:  If desired, you can dip one side of each macaroon into melted bittersweet chocolate and garnish with a toasted coconut chip.

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Multitasking_R0011740

 

Steve loves this photo of me – why I don’t know.  But it might be because it amuses him and everyone I know that I can wield a knife and talk on the phone at the same time.  Looks like – in this instance – that I was putting together one of my impromptu fried rice meals, but I really don’t remember what I was doing.  I was probably on the phone with one of the many health professionals that have recently been part of our lives, but I could just as easily been gossiping with a friend.  I hope the photo amuses you as much as it does my family and friends.

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