Archives for Dessert

I used this recipes to make cupcakes for Carla’s cupcake party this year and it worked perfectly. I only cooled the cakes for an hour and refrigerated the glaze for an hour and then everything together for an hour because there is just not enough time in the day to do what they want. It still worked just fine.

Published March 1, 2011.   From Cook’s Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:A hot-milk sponge cake made a good base in our Boston Cream Pie recipe because it didn’t require any finicky folding or separating of eggs. Baking the batter in two pans eliminated the need to slice a single cake horizontally before adding the filling. We used butter to firm up our pastry cream, and we added corn syrup to heavy cream and melted chocolate for a smooth glaze that clung to the top of our Boston Cream Pie and dripped artistically down its sides.

Serves 8 to 10

Chill the assembled cake for at least 3 hours to make it easy to cut and serve.

Ingredients

Pastry Cream
2 cups half-and-half
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
pinch table salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into four pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cake
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
Glaze
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine

Instructions

  1. For the Pastry Cream: Heat half-and-half in medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add flour to yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove half-and-half from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add ½ cup to yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to half-and-half in saucepan.
  2. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 8 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  4. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cover to keep warm.
  5. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.
  6. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
  7. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool -completely in pan, about 2 hours. Run small plastic knife around edge of pans, then invert cakes onto wire rack. Carefully remove parchment, then reinvert cakes.
  8. To Assemble: Place one cake round on large plate. Whisk pastry cream briefly, then spoon onto center of cake. Using offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place second layer on pastry cream, bottom side up, making sure layers line up properly. Press lightly on top of cake to level. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.
  9. For the Glaze: Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  10. Pour glaze onto center of cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drip decoratively down sides. Chill finished cake 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

shortbreadThis is a recipe from Gourmet. I made them for our co-op holiday party and they came out really well, but I suspect the preparation for those of you with electric mixers would be much faster.

Ingredients:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 tablespoons mild honey
* 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl.

Mix together butter, honey, and confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed, then add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times. Halve dough and form each half into a 5-inch disk.

Roll out 1 disk (keep remaining dough at room temperature) between 2 sheets of parchment into a 9-inch round (trim as necessary). Remove top sheet of parchment and transfer dough on bottom sheet of parchment to a baking sheet. Score dough into 8 wedges by pricking dotted lines with a fork, then mark edges decoratively. Arrange rosemary sprigs (if using) decoratively on top of dough, pressing lightly to help adhere, and sprinkle dough with 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Slide shortbread on parchment to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board and cut along score marks with a large heavy knife.

Make another shortbread with remaining dough.

We made this pie for Christmas 2010. Joe thought the Thanksgiving pie was better that we made with real pumpkin not canned. But this crust was better. So maybe this recipe should be made with real pumpkin. I’ll make that next and let you know.

Makes one 9-inch pie. Published November 1, 2008. From Cook’s Illustrated.

If candied yams are unavailable, regular canned yams can be substituted. The best way to judge doneness is with an instant-read thermometer. The center 2 inches of the pie should look firm but jiggle slightly. The pie finishes cooking with residual heat; to ensure that the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator. To ensure accurate cooking times and a crisp crust, the filling should be added to the prebaked crust when both the crust and filling are warm. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream. Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute.

Ingredients
Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons vodka , cold (see note)
2 tablespoons cold water

Filling
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (see note)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Instructions

1. For the Crust: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

4. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

6. For the Filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Ingredients:

1 c butter or 1/2 margarine and 1/2 butter (mom uses all butter)
1 c sugar
1 c flour
2 c oatmeal

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar then add flour, followed by oatmeal. Make into balls the size of small walnuts. Flatten with a fork dipped in flour (not too thick). Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for 10 minutes but watch carefully. Cool before you take them off the pan. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 c chocolate chips

Directions:

Beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff and glossy. Fold in chips. Drop onto baking sheet lined with brown paper. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

* 1-3/4 cup chopped pitted dates (about 10 oz.)
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1-1/2 cups water
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
* 1 tablespoon water

Directions

1. For the filling, in a medium saucepan combine pitted dates, raisins, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Meanwhille, in a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar; beat until combined. Beat in the flour, baking soda, and salt until crumbly. Stir in the oats and 1 tablespoon water until combined. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

3. Spread the filling evenly over mixture in pan. Sprinkle filling evenly with remaining crumb mixture, pressing slightly into filling. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 35 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 32 bars.