Friday, November 14, 2014

New York Crumb Cake

One thing that is as New York as our cheesecake, is our crumb cake.  If you are ever at Penn Station in New York City, you will see food shops with their windows over flowing with platters of crumb cake, cheesecakes, donuts, etc.  As I walk by, I am trying to be good, but those crumb cakes are always calling me.  Well, this recipe comes from a bakery in Brooklyn that is no longer in business.  They were famous for their crumb cake. 

Well supposedly this is the recipe and I love it.  It makes a big crumb cake, so share with friends.  I have also done a variation.  When you do the first partial bake of the cake with no crumb topping, let cake cool slightly, you than spread seedless raspberry jam on top of cake.  I usually heat the jam and I use an immersion blender to really thin it out.  Spread evenly and ever so lightly with an offset spatula.  Layer with crumb topping and put back into the oven for second bake. 

New York Crumb Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
You have to double pan you crumb cake with a cookie sheet on bottom of pan to avoid over browning.
11X15X2  Wilton Cake Pan

Recipe for Cake (Part One)
2 cups  all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter room temperature (original recipe uses shortening instead of butter)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 room temperature eggs
1 cup room temperature milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1 lb butter (room temperature soft)
1 pound sugar
2 pounds cake flour ( You might have to add up to an extra 1/2 cup cake flour to form crumbles and not a big glob)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon ( you can add more if like)

In a big bowl mix all ingredients with your hands until it all comes together, form into crumbles.  Set Aside.

Cake Batter Instructions
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in bowl, add eggs to butter mixture and continue to cream, slowly add flour and milk alternating until all is added.  Beat until creamy and smooth.  Spray pan with spray release ( I use the one that has flour in it).  Smooth cake in pan with offset spatula.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Make sure you put pan on cookie sheet to prevent over browning on bottom of pan.  After 20 minutes, you can add crumbled crumb topping.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes.  Again, make sure you double pan with a cookie sheet.  Keep a close watch, you do not want to overbake.  You can go up to 35 minutes to make sure your crumb topping is done.   Cool cake completely, sift powder sugar on top, cut into squares. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lasagna al Forno

I'm in love with anything Disney, including their food.  This recipe comes from Tutto Italia Ristorante, England Pavilion, EPCOT.  The recipe is for two lasagnas so I halfed it.  I also only use fresh pasta.  Which I boil for a 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. I boil the fresh lasagna because it removes the starch and the gummy texture.  Please do not skip that step.  I hate the no boil lasagna.  It is horrible!    Remove pasta sheets and immerse in cold water.  Leave them in cold water until ready to use.  I also added 2 links of sweet Italian sausage casings removed.  I add this to the ground meat when I am sauteing. I also use  half, grated muenster cheese and grated provolone instead of mozzarella.  I just like the way it melts.  

Lasagna al Forno
As is served at Tutto Italia Ristorante, England Pavilion, EPCOT
Pomodoro Sauce 
4 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes in tomato sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, fine chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, rough chopped
Bechamel Sauce
2 quarts milk
1 stick butter 
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Bolognese Sauce
1 yellow onion, fine diced
3 ribs celery, fine diced
1 carrot, fine diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef 
2 cups pomodoro sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
12 fresh pasta sheets
1 cup pomodoro sauce
bolognese sauce for layering 
bechamel sauce for layering
4 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the pomodoro sauce:
Crush tomatoes in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Cook onions in olive oil until clear over medium heat in a 12 quart saucepan.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly golden.  Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Simmer an hour or more, stirring occasionally.  Add basil leaves and over lowest heat for additional 10 minutes.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

For the bechamel sauce:
In a sauce pot, over medium heat, melt the butter being careful to not allow it to brown.  Remove from heat, add flour, whisking until completely incorporated and resembles a thick paste.  Return to heat, add the milk, and whisk briskly until paste has incorporated in the milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking briskly, then lower heat to a low simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and allow mixture to thicken.  Lower heat to low and allow to rest, stirring regularly, for 30 minutes.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

For the bolognese sauce: 
In a large sauce pot, over medium heat, cook carrots, onions, celery, and garlic until onions are clear and soft and the mixture is fragrant.  Add the ground beef and cook until done, breaking meat up as much as possible.  Add herbs, pomodoro sauce, wine, cream, salt, and pepper.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  Increase heat to high and boil.  Allow to boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for at least an hour.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

To assemble lasagna:
In a deep 13x9 pan, spray or wipe with the olive oil.  Add pomodoro sauce and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.  Lay first layer of pasta, pressing firmly into the sauce.  Layer 2 cups of bolognese sauce and spread evenly over the pasta.  Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese.  Add another pasta layer over the bolognese layer, firmly pushing down but being careful to not squeeze the layers to the sides of the pan.  Add 1.5 cups bechamel sauce over the pasta sheet and spread evenly.  Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese and top with another pasta layer.

Repeat a total of six times (3 layers of meat and 3 layers of sauce), finishing with a noodle layer.  On the top layer, over the final layer of noodles, cover with 2 cups pomodoro sauce.  Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven, top with the mozzarella.  Return to the oven and cook additional 10 minutes uncovered.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Cut and serve, topping with additional pomodoro sauce or pan drippings and Parmesan cheese. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Mousse PIe

Wow!  Do you love chocolate and peanut butter together?   Imagine a creamy peanut butter mousse with a blanket of chocolate ganache on top.  Another delicious recipe from Disney!  I would use this mousse recipe to fill a chocolate layer cake.  This is a keeper!

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
Recipe Source: Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, Disney Cruise Lines
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff
1 8-inch  chocolate graham pie shell (pre-made)

Chocolate Ganache 
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
(I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead)
plus I added a tablespoon, unsalted melted butter to ganache

First off, in a stand electric mixer whip your whip cream until stiff.  Place whipped whip cream in a bowl and put back into fridge.  Do not clean out your bowl from whip cream.  Add peanut butter, sugar and cream cheese to bowl.

To make the pie, blend peanut butter, sugar, and cream cheese until smooth using a stand or electric mixer.  Add the butter to peanut butter mixture and mix until well incorporated.  Gently fold in whipped cream, making sure no white streaks remain and the mixture is even, and pour into chocolate graham pie shell.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Glaze with chocolate ganache.

Ganache instructions, heat cream to a very low boil over medium heat or heat in microwave, stirring constantly if doing stove top method.  Remove from heat and fold in chocolate. Keep stirring cream and ganache until smooth and silky. I added melted butter to mine, but you don't have too.      Cool until lukewarm and spread over pie.  Return to refrigerator for at least another 3-4 hours before serving. Enjoy this super rich, satisfying dessert from Disney!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Berry Pavlovas

I have never made a Pavlova and I found this traditional recipe from the The Culinary Institute of America featured on Epicurious. It is filled with a luscious filling of mixed French Pastry Cream and Whip Cream. I used berries because I just love them, but the original recipe suggested mixed berries, kiwi and mangoes.

It is quite lovely in presentation. I would definitely serve this at an elegant dinner party. What I love most is that you can actually make all the components in advance, and just put together last minute.

For meringues: 
3 egg whites
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For filling:
1 1/2 cups pastry cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (Whipped)
Pastry Cream Recipe (Recipe Follows)
2 1/4 cups whole milk 
6 large egg yolks 
2/3 cup sugar 
1/3 cup cornstarch 
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch.

Transfer remaining 1 3/4 cups milk to heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup sugar over, letting sugar sink undisturbed to bottom. Set pan over moderate heat and bring to simmer without stirring.

Whisk hot milk mixture, then gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture. Return to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and whisk cream until smooth. Transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to 3 days.)
To serve:  3 to 4 cups assorted seasonal fruit 2 cups raspberry sauce
Make meringues: 
Preheat oven to 150°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 3-inch-diameter bowl or ring mold as guide, trace 5 circles on each sheet. Turn paper over so markings are on bottom. In large metal bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Gradually whisk in sugar, then cornstarch. Attach candy thermometer to bowl and set over saucepan of simmering water. Continue whisking until thermometer registers 130°F. Remove bowl from heat and, using electric mixer, beat mixture at moderately high speed until mixture cools and holds stiff peaks, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with large star tip.

Starting at center and working in spiral outward, pipe meringue onto 1 traced circle. Pipe second layer in ring around edge to form outer wall. Fill remaining circles in same manner.

Bake meringues until dry on outside but still soft inside, about 3 hours. Transfer pan to rack and cool 5 minutes. Peel meringues from parchment and cool completely on rack. (Meringues can be made ahead and stored in airtight container in dry, cool place up to 2 weeks or frozen in airtight container up to 3 months.)
Make filling: 
Using electric mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form. 
In large bowl, whisk pastry cream until smooth. Whisk in 1/3 of whipped cream to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream.

Raspberry Sauce 
3 1/3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In medium saucepan over moderate heat, stir together raspberries, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Heat, stirring often, until raspberries begin to release juice. Raise heat to moderately high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Strain through fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. (Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 week.)
Assemble and serve:

Transfer each meringue to serving plate and fill with 3 tablespoons pastry cream mixture. Mound fruit on top of cream. Spoon raspberry sauce alongside on plate, and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bloody Glass Halloween Cupcakes

Do you want a creepy, scary cupcake for Halloween with bloody broken glass that is edible?  Then if your that creepy type, this is perfect for you.  Vampires will love these babies.

Also be aware that once the sugar glass has been shattered it is very sharp just like glass.  Yes, it is edible like a lollipop, but it does have sharp edges.  Not recommended for small children.  These bloody cupcakes are for teenagers and adults.   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes about 20- 25 cupcakes (regular size)
Jumbo size about 12-15

Cake Ingredients:
1 package White Duncan Hines Cake Mix
1 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 T. cocoa powder (Hershey's)
Lots of Red food Coloring
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sour cream room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer until well mixed.  Fill cupcake liners little over half full.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until when touched on top it bounces back.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 package cream cheese, softened
about 8 cups confectioner's sugar
1 T. Milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add milk and extract, mix well.  Slowly add confectioner's sugar until you reach the consistency needed for piping.  You might have to add more confectioner's sugar if needed.

Broken Glass
Can be prepared a day ahead (cover with clear wrap after shattered, keep in cool place, not fridge)
*Be very careful melted sugar is dangerous and you can get a severe burn
Cookie sheet covered with aluminum and spray release
Metal spoon or offset spatula lightly sprayed with released
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup

Place ingredients in a heavy sauce pot.  Using a candy thermometer bring to hard crack stage about 300- 310 degrees, (Do not go pass the stage where sugar starts to caramelized and turn amber.  You want your sugar glass to be clear).  Pour onto aluminum covered cookie sheet sprayed lightly with spray release.  Tilt pan slightly but carefully to allow sugar mixture to spread or use  back of spray greased spoon or offset spatula and spread.  Let cool completely until harden then crack into shards of glass.  Do not place in fridge, the sugar will break down.  

Edible Blood Goop:
Can be prepared a day ahead
1/2 can of sweeten condense milk
red gel food coloring to achieve desired blood colored

Mix the two ingredients above until you have a bloody mess.

Assembly:  After cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe frosting, dip shard of glass into bloody goop and drizzle more blood on top.   Only add glass until ready to serve or take to a party after a few hours the sugar will start to soften from the fats of the frosting.  I did test it out and my glass lasted over nite after being in a cupcake all nite.  I believe it depends if you bring the sugar to the right stage.  It has to be hard crack.  Use a candy thermometer. I recommend making your glass and blood a day before, just to make assembly easier for you.  Heck you can even make the frosting a day ahead.  Just bring to room temperature before piping.  

REPEAT:  Also be aware that once the sugar has been shattered it is very sharp just like glass.  Yes, it is edible like a lollipop but it does have sharp edges.  Not recommended for small children.  These are for teenagers and adults.   

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