Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peach/blueberry Cobbler

This is a wonderful cobbler--not the usual dry, tasteless cobbler. The cobbler itself is sweet but is offset by the tartness of the fruit which does not have much sugar. You may need to adjust the cooking time to a little longer. The cobbler dough should be somewhat stiff but not dry.

Enjoy with ice cream or cream. It is a marvelous summer time dessert :)

Put in an 11 X 7 pan:

2 1/2 cups fresh peaches-peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups fresh blueberries

In a small saucepan, combine:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 TBL corn starch

Stir until smooth: 3/4 cup water

Cook over medium heat until very thick

Pour over fruit and stir until all fruit is evenly coated.

In a bowl combine:

1 1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix in until smooth:

1/3 cup melted butted (do not substitute margarine—just say NO!)

1/2 cup milk

Drop in spoonfuls over the fruit mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Crushed sugar cubes work very well J

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chocolate and Hazelnuts? Everybody wins!

So this weekend was one of the singer's birthdays- and like the rest of us, his time was being devoted to incredibly long work days. Yesterday, his birthday, was particularly nasty with 5 hours of rehearsal for an extra performance of Carmina Burana followed by the opening night of Don Pasquale. So, one of my friends here found this recipe and I proceeded to make the necessary modifications. The original looked like it was en route to being one of those decadence dishes that were built primarily upon butter, chocolate, and sugar- but then the addition of flour and the absence of any kind of leavening agent beyond the eggs made me realize that it would have been closer to a oddly-textured torte. Maybe a brownie at best (which- is still a good situation). However, the occasion called for cake! And a cake happened... at nearly midnight by the time everybody was done with their day. Yay for being a singer!

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake:

* 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup hazelnuts, skinned and toasted
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup hot water
* 4 eggs
* 1 stick butter, softened/melted
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake:

Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Put 1/2 of the chocolate chips, hazelnuts, and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the hazelnuts are coarsely chopped. Pour the hazelnut mixture into a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining chocolate chips and sugar in the food processor. Blend until the mixture is finely ground. With the machine running, gradually add the hot water until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Could also just use a double boiler and melt down the chocolate- which is what I did and preferred mixing this all together by hand rather than the whole food processor thing (though maybe if I had my fancy one from home, I would have used it)
Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking powder. Pulse until mixture is blended. Return the hazelnut mixture to the food processor and pulse to incorporate. Pour the mixture into a buttered and floured 9-inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Place the cake on a cooling rack and cool. (Top may crack during cooling.) Refrigerate for 2 hours. (Cake can be made 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator). Allow the pie to return to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices. Delicious. The only thing missing was some prosecco... but we all need to be in good shape for the opening of Faust and more rehearsals today. WHOA!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summertime ice cream

Summer time would not be complete without a sinfully rich dish of homemade ice cream. I prefer the custard based recipes as I really appreciate the richness a custard imparts to the ice cream and I also appreciate cooking the eggs :)
This recipe evolved during our summer family reunion in Hayward, WI. I did not like anything I found on the internet, so I created a recipe that does not call for evaporated milk, packed pudding mix, or sweetened condensed milk. This is a real, old fashioned custard ice cream. Enjoy!

Homemade Custard Ice Cream
In a heavy sauce pan whisk together:
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 2/3 cup sugar
Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until 190°--the custard stage. Mixture will slightly thicken and thickly coat a cool metal spoon. Be patient as this will take about 15-20 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO COME TO A BOIL! The custard will curdle. You can whisk some of the lumps out if it becomes too hot to save the custard.
Add 1 ½ TLB of high quality vanilla—stir in completely
Let the custard cool in the refrigerator—it is best if allowed to cool for 4-8 hours.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, add:
2 cups half and half
2 cups cream (you can add all half and half for a lighter J ice cream)
Whisk together and pour into ice cream maker canister and follow freezing directions.