Monday, July 25, 2011

Donut Bread Pudding with Kentucky Whisky Sauce

Here are some things about Lisa: she likes whiskey and she likes when I bake things. Clearly my first course of action had to be looking in The Boozy Baker when looking for a birthday dessert for her. I saw the word whiskey in the title and went for it. The only change to the recipe? Kentucky (aka Maker’s Mark) instead of Tennessee (Jack Daniel’s). I also made these mini by putting them in cupcake liners. It involves donuts. Don’t worry – it’s delish and not at all good for you in any way.

Donut Bread Pudding with Kentucky Whisky Sauce from The Boozy Baker:

Makes about 12 mini bread puddings

For the bread pudding –
4 Tb. unsalted butter, melted
8 plain cake donuts
½ c. packed brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2¼ c. heavy cream
¼ c. Kentucky whisky
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the sauce –
1½ tsp. cornstarch
2 Tb. Kentucky whisky
¾ c. heavy cream
2 Tb. granulated sugar

To make the pudding, cut the donuts into 1½-2” chunks and put them in a large size bowl. In another large size bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. Whisk in the heavy cream, whisky, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the donuts. Press down lightly with a wooden spoon, making sure to submerge all the pieces. Allow the pudding to stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop the pudding mixture into a lined cupcake pan using a small ladle or ice cream scoop. Cover the pan with a piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the custard is set but soft and the tops of the doughnuts are lightly browned.

To make the sauce, combine the cornstarch and whisky in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the cream and sugar, whisking constantly, 2 or 3 minutes, or until small bubbles begin to form. Continue whisking constantly and add the whisky mixture (it will bubble vigorously). Continue whisking until the sauce is blended and thick.
Since I was serving these at a house show and rode my bike there, I packed up the mini puddings and sauce separately and dolloped  the sauce on each one individually. It worked out. They were a big hit, especially with the birthday girl, and allowed me to have wonderful conversations about the best whiskies and bourbons. I plan on making this again in the bigger version – maybe Thanksgiving? Who can say no to donuts and whisky?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake with Cardamom

I have been obsessed with strawberries lately. You may have noticed this. So when this recipe popped up in my reader when Kirsten was sitting near me at work, I knew what to make for her super secret birthday dessert. I mean, she made me a super delicious dinner, so I had to kick out the baking jams to make sure my dinner also rocked. It's from Joy the Baker, one of my favorite food bloggers (again, you may have noticed this), so you know it's a winner. Make it now while strawberries are still lingering.

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake with Cardamom from Joy the Baker:

Makes one 9-inch cake

For the topping -

2 Tb. unsalted butter
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. sliced strawberries (I love you Oregon strawberries)

For the cake -
½ c. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour (did I sub 1/3 c. whole wheat? You know it!)
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. nutmeg (just for kicks because the crushing the cardamom made me think of nutmeg)
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use an 8-inch round with 3-inch tall sides. You can also use a 9-inch round with 2-inch sides (which I did!)

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven. When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven. Using two pot holders, tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter. Once sides are coated, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients. Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream. Beat until the batter just comes together. Batter will be pretty thick. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.
Sprinkle ¼ cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan. Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer. This is harder than it looks. Also, don’t eat all of the strawberries, which is hard, I know. Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate. Serve warm with sweetened sour or whipped cream. I did whipped cream. It was wonderful, especially after that pizza. It’s got a wonderful aroma and you will want to eat it every day for the next week if you can.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: June 14, 2011

The International Association of Culinary Professionals 2011 Award Winners and Finalists: This is my must-read-after-grad-school list. The Culinary Ephemera book sounds so interesting. I love reading and I love food. Good combination or great combination?

Bees Invade Sun Gold Farm: Okay, I'm not going to lie, I am still a little afraid of bees, but I do recognize the important work that they do so we can eat good food. Save the bees because I like produce! And people enjoy eating, or so I've heard.

Hosting a Bacon Tasting: Yup, this is a real thing. I always love the idea of getting people together for the purposes of food and since bacon destroyed my will to not eat red meat 4 years ago, I really like this idea. I also love all the snacks and companion fare they prepared so it wasn't just time to eat more bacon (like that's actually a problem).
Longer-Lasting Whipped Cream? Try Manufacturing Cream: When I first read that headline, my thought was "gross", but as it turns out manufacturing just has higher fat content than heavy whipping cream. Make those picnic pies last longer! If I can find it, you know I'll try it.

Best Office Memo Ever: If you've ever worked in an office before, you know how people get the snack'ems and how much candy is eaten in a week (answer: a lot). I love everything Jessie Oleson posts (and I've met her a few times too!). The best things are her tweets and posts about the sweetness in everyday life. And, if you're in Seattle, check out her shop. It's pretty darn sweet. 
Obol Solves the Soggy Cereal Syndrome: When Kirst was over the other night, we were talking about corn flakes and how awesome they are and how quickly they get soggy, ruining their awesomeness. Well, no more! Now there's the Ooma bowl for the perfect milk (or if you're me, fake milk) to cereal bite. This is the way to eat all those cereals you love that decide to just dissolve before you're done. How can anyone make it a part of a complete breakfast without this bowl?

20 Incredible Cake Structures: I look at Cake Wrecks all the time, so it's nice to see cakes done really, really well (to be fair, Cake Wrecks does to Sunday Sweets and I have seen some of these cakes on there). I love the DnD one, but who doesn't love WALL-e?
(don't you have this problem? Stupid hair)
I'm also loving: kombucha ALL THE TIME; humongous plates of nachos; plans for homework help turning into making dinner and drinks; grilling, especially asparagus; self serve fro-yo being everywhere; free stuff (like hummus!) at the Mississippi Street Fair this year; pre-dinner breadsticks; bookmarking many of the same recipes as Renai without realizing it (because we love alike); did I mention I love kombucha?; a variety of burgers; going for ice cream and getting sorbet instead because how can you not want Ruby Jewel's pineapple ginger?; "sweet sweet lemonade"; always plotting dinner plans; actually catching up on my recipe backlog for the blog; how big my plants are getting (new garlic crop yo!); pizza all day long even when it's hot out.

What are you loving this week?  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Double Crust Pizza with Mustard Greens, Ricotta, and Caramelized Onions

Kirsten made me an amazing birthday dinner and I promised to return the favor. I knew I had to impress and I also know that I make an awesome pizza. What better way to celebrate someone's birthday than make a crazy pizza you've never made before? If you think so too, you're much like me. Fortunately, I have a lot of bravado in the kitchen and just assume everything will work out, even when you change the broccoli raab to mustard greens because that's more easily accessible. It did and we were very happy and very full. The sangria helped, especially because I put them in Kerr and Ball mason jars. Because K and B. Get it? Yeah, I'm awesome. And now, pizza!

Double Crust Pizza with Mustard Green, Ricotta, and Caramelized Onions slightly modified from Herbivoracious:

Serves 4

½ recipe pizza dough (I subbed in ½ c. whole wheat flour)
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 large white onions (or 3 medium), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 lb. mustard greens, cut into 1/2" lengths
½ tsp-ish crushed red pepper (I like it spicy!)
1 lb. fresh ricotta (drain if runny)
Zest of ½ orange

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil, the onions, and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until completely tender and deeply caramelized, at least one hour. If they start to burn at all, lower the heat. You can do this step the day before and refrigerate (which I recommend).

Add two more tablespoons (or just two new ones if you do this the next day, like me) of olive oil and raise heat to medium high. When the oil is shimmering, add the mustard greens, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally until completely tender. We aren't looking for crisp-tender here, these greens should be fully hammered, about 15 minutes. If it is getting there, add a few tablespoons of water and cover to steam them a bit. Taste and add more salt if needed. I did this and they were perfect. It always amazes me how a huge pile of greens can shrink so much.

Place a pizza stone in the oven (if you have one) and preheat to 475 degrees. Dust a peel generously with cornmeal (if you have one). Roll out half of the dough to a 12 inch circle and place on the prepared peel. I did all of this on a pizza pan I have that my parents gave me when I moved to Portland. It’s not as amazingly perfect as a pizza stone + peel combo, but it does work really, really well. Brush the dough with olive oil. Spread the ricotta over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin all the way around. Top the ricotta with the caramelized onions, mustard greens, and orange zest. Roll the other half of the dough out to the same size and lay in on top. Press and crimp the edge all the way around. Cut a few vent holes in the top. Brush the top with more olive oil.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate it once after about 15 minutes to make sure it bakes evenly. Carefully remove from the oven. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

This is so ridiculously good! The spicy mustard greens are cooled by the ricotta and the orange zest adds some brightness. I’ll admit that Kirst and I each had another piece even though I had made a cake as well because it was just so good! Yeah, you’ll be hearing about that cake soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Adam's Graduation Cake

I made Lindsay her graduation cake while my friend Adam was over and he asked me to make him one after defending his thesis. Then he sent me this recipe for one of the strangest cakes I have ever made. I told him I would under two conditions: 1) I would not use cake mix and 2) I would not use Cool Whip. He agreed and I was off into the weird world of dumping gelatin on top of a cake.

Gelatin Poke Cake gladly modified from Kraft:

Makes 1 strange cake

1 recipe Lindsay's Graduation Cake (not in layers)

1 c.  boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) strawberry flavor gelatin
½ c. cold water 
8 oz. heavy cream, whipped
After cake has cooled in pan for about 15 minutes, remove from pan and pierce cake with a large fork at
½" intervals. 

Add boiling water to gelatin mix in a small bowl; stir two minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and pour over cake. At this point I should have realized that my cake was much smaller than the one Kraft describes and I was pouring too much stuff on the cake, but I decided to just roll with it anyway. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Frost cake with whipped cream. Refrigerate for 1 hour. I honestly don't know why anyone would use Cool Whip. It's got a zillion ingredients in it and whipped cream has two: cream and air. It tastes better too. Anyway, that's what I used. In the end, this strange cake turned out and it tasted kind of like a Crunch Berry, which isn't the worst thing in the world. I'm glad I made my friend happy, but I am unlikely to ever make a cake like this again.

I'm not a fan of using gelatin in general (check out my awesome gelatin free panna cotta for proof!), so if anyone knows of a way to do this without jell-o, that'd be rad. 
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