I often take a devil-may-care approach when I get a “hankering” for dessert. Not one to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with the fussy details of lengthy recipes, the “cheater ice-cream” concept, which has been around a long time, is one I return to over and over in the summer.
The basic idea is this…purchase a quart of half-gallon of your favorite, good quality, but not too expensive, vanilla ice cream. Soften and stir in whatever you like. This is a fun thing for your kids to do as well. Imagine the possibilities!
cheater ice cream..start with a good vanilla ice cream. Soften, then stir in berries, edible flowers, softened goat or mascarpone cheeses, pink peppercorns crushed, chocolate syrup, instantespresso, peanut butter, bananas, crumbled cookies…whatever you like. Re-freeze…scoop…enjoy all summer long.
Fresh pears in a brown sugared-whole wheat crust, baked until caramelized with just a splash of dark rum and a hint of cardamom might provide some comfort and solace for this week in winter, January 2021. The kitchen is where I find I can take a deep breath and bring forth something delicious and comforting. That is a good thing and I need that right now.
Fresh USA Pears from The Fruit Company, ripened to perfection, golden and red and juicy, sliced and wrapped in a buttery cardamom crust.
A “Pear, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Galette” with caramelized edges to die for.
Seek solace where you can find it. Be well. Be kind.
Pears, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Scented Galette
2 sticks/1/2 cup chilled butter, but into small pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons milk
2 large, ripe, but somewhat firm pears – cored, cut in half and thinly sliced, keeping slices together
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cream to brush edges of crust
1-2 tablespoons raw or Demerara sugar for sprinkling
In a food processor combine whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, salt and cardamom. Pulse to mix. Add butter pieces and process until mixture is crumbly looking. Add egg and 1 teaspoon milk to processor and pulse until a dough forms. Add more milk if needed. Dough will be a bit moist.
Form dough into a ball, press out flat into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let dough sit out for 10 minutes.
Mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, rum and vanilla extract until well blended.
On floured surface roll dough disc out to make a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Edges will be jagged and that is okay. Place dough on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Gently place sliced pear halves, cut side down, on dough circle nestling them close together, leaving an edge of dough all around to fold over fruit. Fold dough edges up and over the sliced pears, leaving the center open.
Drizzle cornstarch mixture over and down between the pears. Brush edges of the crust with the cream and sprinkle the raw sugar over all.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until galette is golden brown and bubbly. Let cool on the baking sheet. Serve in wedges. Great with whipped or ice cream.
Timely and Easy-As-This dessert, or snack, using salted or unsalted Matzo Crackers, good dark bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate and whatever else you might have in your “quarantine” pantry to add some bling to finish them off.
Rummaging through my pantry I found pistachios, pepitas, candied ginger, dried edible rose petals, some coffee-sea salt, edible glitter, and chunky sanding sugar. There was was an orange crying out to be zested on my counter. It can be baffling what I find whenever I begin digging into my little closet pantry. It is not palatial in any sense..smaller than a wee half bath…but with a lot of constant organization it resembles a “clown car” when I start rummaging around. Most of these ingredients were little bits left in packages that I can’t toss and seem to always find a use for.
Chocolate melted and smeared….
….studded with ingredients while still melted.
After a little while chocolate will be set and matzos are ready to be broken into smaller pieces for sharing or gifting. A great combination of sweet and salty and crunch and bling! It’s so easy-as-this.
6 whole matzo crackers, salted or unsalted ( I used unsalted as I added lots of salts to embellish)
8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (you can combine the two)
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
1/3 cup pepitas
1 orange zested (I used a veg peeler and then chopped the peel rather than a zester to keep the peel dry.)
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/4 cup dried edible flowers (Rose petals are pretty, but any edible dried flower you like will work.)
Various sea salts…I used a coffee-sea salt and a finely ground red-pepper-salt, but there are so many to choose from..whatever you might have..kosher salt.
1 extra matzo for breaking up onto small pieces and adding as “bling”
Note: This is really just more of an idea than a “recipe”…use your imagination and your own collection of kitchen goodies to come up with any combos you or your family will enjoy. There are endless possibilities for sure.
Spread 6 matzo crackers out on a flat work surface.
Gather all your “bling” ingredients together in little bowls.
Melt the chocolate over low heat until totally melted and smooth.
Working with one cracker at a time, spread with some of the chocolate from edge to edge all around and while chocolate is melted sprinkle with ingredients. Repeat until all crackers are smeared and embellished.
Allow the chocolate to harden. Then break crackers up into pieces to eat or gift in little bags or boxes. Store in airtight container. Edible Bling for dessert or a snack with hot tea or a cup of coffee. Enjoy.
Racing through Costco recently I spied bags of a red fruit I did not immediately recognize…Cherry Plums….small, mottled red, looking like cherries on steroids or lilliputian plums. I grabbed a bag for later investigation.
These ping-pong ball size stone fruit taste more like very spicy sweet plums than cherries. You, reader, may know all about them, but once again I realize there are so many edibles in this world that I have not encountered…even in my part of the world….even at Costco!
Cherry plums are noted for their sweet, spicy flavor and are most commonly used for jams and preserves as well as for baking and are grown most commonly in the Middle East.
Pitted, sliced and sugared before being baked in my vanilla, brown sugar crust. Some stone fruit can totally collapse when baked in a pie as you know, but these Cherry Plums kept their shape and did not become mushy, but softened to the just-right stage.
Cut fruit swaddled in the vanilla-sugared crust then baked until golden brown and slightly caramelized.
It’s been a hard news week, a sad news week, a dramatic news week. Make something good happen in your world…even if it’s your kitchen world. It can be simple or grand, fancy or plain. Just make something good.
A Galette of Cherry Plums in a Vanilla Bean-Brown Sugar Crust
one egg mixed with a bit of water to brush on finished crust
Toss cherry plum slices in a bowl with cornstarch, granulated sugar and lemon zest until well mixed. Set aside.
Put all-purpose flour in food processor bowl along with 2 tablespoon raw sugar, a pinch salt & vanilla beans. Pulse just to combine.
Add cold butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until flour is grainy looking.
Slowly add ice water by tablespoons with processor running just until dough begins to come together to form a ball. Turn off processor and scrape dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Gather dough into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll chilled dough out to a circle (not a perfect circle) about 14″ in diameter. Fold in half and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and unfold.
Pile cherry plum slices in the middle of the dough circle and fold edges up over the fruit leaving the middle open.
Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons raw sugar.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly and just beginning to brown on the edges. Adjust time according to your oven. More or less.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: This Galette can be made with apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches or any berries using the same recipe.
Pears in poetry, pears in art, pears in history, pears in life. Quintessentially feminine and delicious. Luscious when ripe and baked in cream, pears dusted with sugar, cardamom and vanilla. A simple plate of goodness.
Pears from our pear tree last summer. The tree is already heavy with young, thumb size fruit. The anticipation is dreamy.
Cut, cored and peeled. Baked.
Warm from the oven I can think of few things I like better than the first bite. Market pears will do until fall.
Cream-Baked Cardamom and Vanilla Bean Pears
4 small ripe, but firm pears, peeled, cut in half and cored
4 Tablespoons butter, room temp, divided
1/4 cup raw sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
beans scraped from one vanilla bean
3/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Smear bottom of a pie dish with 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoons raw sugar.
Mix together in a small bowl the remaining raw sugar, the cardamom and vanilla beans.
Place pear halves, cut side down, in the bottom of the pie dish.
Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons butter and brush over the pears. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
Gently pour heavy cream around the pears. Place dish in the oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until pears are just tender and the cream has thickened. Remove dish from oven to cool on a wire rack. Serve pears and cream warm or at room temperature.
I realize that many of you lovely readers of Food on Fifth and fellow bloggers travel to, or are currently vacationing in, exotic locations around the globe while so many other blogger friends live in cities and countries far & wide. Celia is in New Zealand visiting family, Roger actually lives in France, Tina is based out of Frankfurt, Germany but can be found in so many truly exotic spots it can make the mind reel. Selma resides in London & Cheryl in Glasgow and Meg might be blogging about Verona one day and Virginia the next. My recent travels were of a more humble nature, yet iconically American.
A couple of weeks ago my well-traveled friend, Terry, and I purposefully took a road trip to Bentonville, Arkansas. Deep in the Ozark forest is a wonder to behold, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We will return to this thread later…..
Have you ever eaten an Arkansas Black apple? From a road side stand in Harrison, Arkansas I bought a half bushel basket of these very crispy, deep red, right on the edge of black, apples. They are long-keeping apples and are said to turn almost black when stored.
I always like to stop and wander about. A West Tennessee cotton field is a contemplative place.
Heading into the Ozarks on a cloudy day.
Bentonville, Arkansas. Home of Walmart. Old ad..a store wide selection of timely values.
Bentonville is also home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Sam Walton’s daughter, Alice, the powerhouse behind this beautiful space is an interesting read on Google. A stunning space for both it architecture, designed by Moshe Safdie, and its remote location, it houses American art spanning 5 centuries of artists from Colonial times to the present.
The branches of our “accidental pear tree”, which in this year of good rains & sunny days, are heavy with lovely ripe fruit. This tree began as a small patio tree living for one year in a pot, then after an especially hard winter it seemed dead. In a last-ditch attempt to keep it alive Wouter planted it along the alleyway outside our back fence. Needless to say our tree has flourished by “accident”…no attention paid to it, no regular watering, left to fend on its’ own it has grown into a tall, many branched lovely Seckel Pear tree. Beautiful, smooth skinned & naturally sweet.
And…..all ripe at once! Earlier than usual. What to do? Give some away of course..eat many right off the tree…I will make some pear preserves later this week. Have you ever had Pear Ice Cream?
Instead of coring the pears first I just peel them and cut the fruit away from the core & chop. Much easier this way. Orange zest really livens up the taste. Adding vanilla bean seeds and vanilla sugar added an extra flavor layer. Instead of using all cream, half cream and half whole milk lightened things up a bit.
Using my trusty Cuisinart electric ice cream freezer within 20 minutes it was ready. You can eat immediately as a softer-serve or keep in the refrigerator freezer for a more hard-frozen version.
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (see below for how to make your own)
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped out
Pinch of sea salt
1 TBSP orange zest
5 small ripe pears, peeled, cored & chopped
In a glass pitcher whisk together cold milk & cream, vanilla sugar, vanilla bean seeds, pinch of salt & orange zest. Whisk until the sugar has almost dissolved.
Pour milk-cream mixture into an electric ice cream freezer & process according to the machine directions. Halfway through the freezing process, add the chopped fresh pears & continue to process until mixture is frozen.
Store pear ice cream in your refrigerator freezer until ready to serve. If you serve immediately you will have a softer serve ice cream.
Note on how to make Vanilla Sugar:
Place 2 cups of white or raw sugar in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Split two vanilla beans with a knife & put in the jar with the sugar. Add lid and shake jar a few time. Store for 2 weeks before using. When your jar of sugar gets low, just add some more to the vanilla beans in the jar.
Recipe by Teresa Blackburn teresablackburnfoodstyling.com foodonfifth.com
If not for heavy low clouds full of moisture I would be able to see the Blood Moon tonight. There is a deep wet darkness between me and this eclipse of red. If you are one of the lucky ones and you do indeed see it and take a photo would you send me one? In the meantime I will share with you a short & sweet recipe that celebrates this auspicious occasion.
“Tiny Blood Orange Curd MeringueTartlets”
Here is what you will need to make the Blood Orange Curd: 5 eggs, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 stick butter cut into small pieces, 2 tbsp grated Blood Orange zest.
To Make Curd:
1. In the top of a double boiler or a heatproof glass bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water whisk together quickly the eggs, sugar, Blood Orange juice & lemon juice. Using the whisk stir mixture for about 10 minutes constantly.
2. Remove from the heat & pour mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps. Whisk the butter pieces into the mixture until well blended & smooth. Stir in the zest. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap touching the surface of the curd allowing it to cool for 30 minutes.
Here is what you will need to finish off the tarts:
1. While curd is cooling place tartlet shells on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Turn oven to broil.
2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar over whites & continue to beat until glossy. Fill each tartlet shell with curd & top with a generous free-form dollop of meringue.
3. Pop tray of meringue topped tartlets in the oven…keeping a close eye…and brown the meringues until light golden. This should only take a minute or two.
As Easter is just a few days away wouldn’t these be just the perfect ending to an Easter Lunch or Dinner? Something about these meringues reminds me of Peeps?
This will be my last Blood Orange post for 2014. The citrus season wans as the fresh produce season waxes. I enjoy these “food seasons” reflecting the movements of the earth & the moon. Goodnight (Blood) Moon.
In my little kitchen here on 5th Avenue I do not have “Night Watch” as a background, nor do I look out over a restful, flowing canal. I am not meeting with heads of state, but I did to manage to have my very own culinary “G7” meeting this week.
A French Madeleine tin, Chocolate from Ghana given to me as a gift from dear friends (see photo below) of Wouter’s who live in Amsterdam, marketed as “Tony’s Chocolonely”…..
….Kerrygold Butter from Ireland, Madagascar Vanilla Extract, Black Peppercorns from India and eggs hatched right here in Tennessee..a Food on Fifth G7!
Since finding a Madeleine Tin (made in France stamped underneath) at a Thrift store last year I have intended to try it out. I adore Madeleines…whenever I go to a bakery that sells them I will choose these little seashell shaped tea cakes every time. The crispy edges…the slight aroma of vanilla…not overly sweet…delicate in all ways is the Madeleine. They always remind me of the teacakes my Mother would make for us as children in West Tennessee, but way better…and French. Why not add some really good chocolate? No?….oui!
Ingredients for “G7 Madeleines”
1/2 cup melted butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 ounces good quality 70% pure chocolate melted, 3 eggs room temp, 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns, 1 tbsp fresh orange zest + extra butter to grease the Madeleine tin
Directions: 2 hours before baking make the batter
1. Cream butter & sugar together until light & fluffy using a stand or hand mixer. Add in vanilla extract & melted chocolate while mixer is running. Turn mixer to low.
2. Add in eggs one at a time until well blended. Mixture should be light in color and very fluffy.
3. Fold the flour mixture, the ground black pepper & the orange zest into the butter-chocolate mixture very gently. Cover batter with plastic & chill 1 to 2 hours.
4. When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter the Madeleine tin well using softened butter. Remove batter from the refrigerator.
5. Use a spoon to fill each “shell” with batter. When batter is baking it will melt and fill in the shape of the tin. (Another method is to put the batter in a piping bag and pipe batter into the shells.)
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove tin from oven and turn Madeleines out onto a kitchen towel to cool. If you have extra batter (I did) then let tin cool, re-butter and repeat baking process. This recipe made about 16 Madeleines.
Soft and pillowy with crispy thin edges…chocolate with just a hint of orange & black pepper..international & local…a culinary G7!