08.03.09

Peach-blueberry crisp

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 2:17 am by wingerz

peachcrisp

My exploration of peach-based desserts continues. This one’s really easy and tasty. As with most of my desserts, I cut the amount of sugar. I also added some blackberries to the mix because they’re so good right now.

I’ve made this one twice. I brought the second one to our friends’ barbecue, where it was called a pie (despite not having a bottom crust) and a cobbler (despite not having a biscuit-y topping). Anyway, the entire thing was consumed and complimented, which is the important part.

I’m pretty excited because my 9″ tart tin should be arriving this week!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
from Cook’s Illustrated

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3/4 cups pecans or whole almonds, chopped coarse (or chopped fine if mixing topping by hand)

5 cups peaches , (peaches have been peeled, pitted, and cut into half-inch wedges), about 5 medium peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries , rinsed
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

1. For the Topping: Place flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture moves from dry sand-like appearance with large lumps of butter to a coarse cornmeal texture, about three 4-second bursts. Add nuts and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly sand, about five 1-second bursts. Do not overprocess or mixture will take on a smooth, cookie-dough-like texture. (To mix by hand, allow butter pieces to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; toss to coat. Pinch butter chunks and dry mixture between fingertips until mixture looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts and toss to distribute evenly. Do not overmix.) Refrigerate mixture while preparing fruit, at least 15 minutes.
2. Toss peaches, blueberries, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in medium bowl.
3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8-inch square (2 quart) baking pan or 9-inch round deep dish pie plate. Distribute chilled topping evenly over fruit; bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

07.16.09

Life-changing strawberry ice cream

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 3:04 am by wingerz

strawberryicecream

I saw this recipe for ice cream on my sister’s blog a while back. She said that the strawberry was life-changing and that it occupied the top 10 slots of her list of 16 favorite ice creams to make.

It certainly is delicious, and I was able to grab a more appetizing picture of it. Pretty much followed the recipe, which is from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book. The cream is very creamy – two raw eggs will do that for you (do yourself a favor and use safe eggs). I think that I’ll try for smaller strawberry chunks next time since the big pieces are a bit icy.

06.22.09

Peach Shortcake

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 2:03 am by wingerz

peach_shortcake

It’s impossible to resist summer peaches. They smell incredible and are impossibly juicy – Amy and I both agreed that the only real way to enjoy one is gobbling it up over the sink.

The recipe recommends firm peaches. Don’t even attempt this recipe if you have soft peaches because they will destroy you twice – once when you’re trying to peel the peaches (I didn’t feel like blanching them because it’s summer and I didn’t want to boil a ton of water and prep an ice bath), and again when you try to remove the seed and slice them.

I mixed two white peaches in with the yellow, and threw a few blueberries on top. I also only used 3/4 of the amount of sugar recommended since my peaches were fantastic.

Peach Shortcake
from Cook’s Illustrated

Fruit
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (4 to 5 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peach schnapps

Biscuits
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup buttermilk , cold
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For The Fruit: Gently toss three-quarters of peaches with 4 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Toss remaining peaches with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and schnapps in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power until peaches are bubbling, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Using potato masher, crush peaches into coarse pulp. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. For The Biscuits: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. While peaches macerate, whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.
3. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Using greased 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop up mound of dough and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create 6 biscuits. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar evenly over top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before assembling.
4. For The Whipped Cream: Using hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
5. To Assemble: Split each biscuit in half and place bottoms on individual serving plates. Spoon portion of crushed peach mixture over each bottom, followed by peach slices and any exuded juices. Top peaches with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, cap with biscuit top, and dollop each shortcake with some of remaining whipped cream. Serve immediately.

06.01.09

Berry Fool

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 12:55 am by wingerz

berryfool

It’s impossible to wander through the farmer’s market and not be tempted by the beautiful red berries. I was thinking of making this last week but didn’t have enough berries to do it. Got around to it this evening. This recipe is a bit labor-intensive, but I’d almost certainly make it again because it was delicious. It packs a powerful berry punch and has a nice texture. We may need to invest in some cute glasses to serve it in.

Note that the berry-jello needs to be left in the refrigerator for a while to set. The recipe says 2 hours but I got it down to less than 1 by putting two of those (soap-bar-sized) frozen blue-ice things each into its own zip lock bag and then putting the bags into the mixture before refrigerating.

Berry Fool
from Cook’s Illustrated

2 quarts strawberries (about 2 pounds), washed, dried, and stemmed
1 pint raspberries (about 12 ounces), washed and dried (see note)
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers , finely crushed (about 1/4 cup) (or graham crackers)
6 sprigs fresh mint leaves (optional)

1. Process 1 quart strawberries, 1/2 pint raspberries, and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor until mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Strain berry puree through fine-mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup (you should have 2 1/2 cups puree; reserve any excess for another use). Transfer 1/2 cup puree to small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top; stir until gelatin is incorporated and let stand at least 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 cups puree in small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer gelatin-puree mixture to medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, chop remaining 1 quart strawberries into rough 1/4-inch pieces. Toss strawberries, remaining 1/2 pint raspberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar together in medium bowl. Set aside for 1 hour.
3. Place cream, sour cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer. Beat on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until mixture has nearly doubled in volume and holds stiff peaks, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1/3 cup whipped-cream mixture to small bowl and set aside.
4. Remove thickened berry puree from refrigerator and whisk until smooth. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly add two-thirds of puree to whipped-cream mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Using spatula, gently fold in remaining thickened puree, leaving streaks of puree.
5. Transfer uncooked berries to fine-mesh strainer; shake gently to remove any excess juice. Divide two-thirds of berries evenly among 6 tall parfait or sundae glasses. Divide creamy berry mixture evenly among glasses, followed by remaining uncooked berries. Top each glass with reserved plain whipped-cream mixture. Sprinkle with crushed crackers and garnish with mint sprigs, if using. Serve immediately.

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