recipe

Tiramisu Doughnuts

Tiramisu Doughnut

These doughnuts are inspired by the flavors of tiramisu, a traditional Italian dessert. They are a filled doughnut, like jelly doughnuts. I used the filling that I would normally use for making tiramisu. It is an egg custard, combined with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream. After the doughnuts are filled, they are topped with a mocha ganache. The end result is sublime.

I started making these doughnuts a few years ago. It was Fat Tuesday and I was making jelly doughnuts, a family tradition. Not everybody likes jelly doughnuts and I wanted to switch things up. As a kid, I loved the cream filled doughnuts my folks would make. I decided to use the filling recipe I used for tiramisu. To finish it off, a little coffee is added to the ganache to give it the flavors of classic tiramisu.

You do need to store finished doughnuts in the fridge, assuming any are leftover.

I won’t lie, these doughnuts are a bit of work, but worth the effort. Here is the recipe.

 

 

Tiramisu Doughnuts

Filling:

5 egg yolks

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. Marsala wine (not cooking wine)

2 c. whipping cream

4 T. sugar

1 lb. mascarpone cheese

Make zabaglione (egg custard). In double boiler, over simmering water, beat together egg yolks and sugar until lemon colored. Stir in Marsala and continue cooking, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and will mound on a spoon. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down. You can place in bowl in fridge 30 minutes or so. Beat together whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat in mascarpone and chilled zabaglione. Chill 1 hour.

Dough:

4 c. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

½ c. butter

1 packet yeast

¼ c. warm water

2 t. sugar

1 c. evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

 

Combine flour with sugar and salt. Cut in butter and set aside. Dissolve yeast in warm water and 2 t. sugar and set aside. Combine milk with eggs. Stir in yeast mixture and add to flour mixture stirring well. On lightly floured surface knead dough until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.  Remove dough from bowl and punch down. Using about a third of the dough at a time roll dough out to about an ½ -inch thickness and cut out with a 2½ -inch biscuit  cutter. Re-roll scraps and cut out. You should get about 2 dozen. Place dough circles on a floured surface and cover with a towel until doubled, about an hour. Heat oil in a deep pan until it reaches 375 degrees. Cook doughnuts a few at a time until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and cool before filling.

Note: You can also refrigerate the dough after kneading it if you would prefer. Just place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Roll and cut dough into doughnuts when cold from the fridge. Allow to rise, covered, until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours. Fry as directed.

To fill doughnuts use a pastry bag fitted with a long tube tip for filling. I have these handy plastic syringes which are easy to use. Insert tube tip into doughnut and squeeze gently until doughnut is filled with cream (or jelly). Be careful not to overfill or doughnut will split. Once filled doughnuts can be frosted or topped with a sugar glaze. For the Tiramisu Doughnuts I made a mocha ganache.

Mocha Ganache

2 c. chocolate chips

1 c. whipping cream

1 T. instant coffee powder

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth and return to microwave if chocolate is not fully melted. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds more at a time, stirring after each time until mixture is smooth.  For extra smooth mixture strain before using. Dip the top of the filled doughnuts in ganache.

The Art of Biscuits

Biscuits Supreme

Biscuits are easy to make. They really are. Fast, too. You can mix up  a batch of biscuits in the time it takes the oven to preheat.  Yet, I know  people who seem to struggle with them. The other night, a friend and I were talking about the secret to  a light and flaky biscuit.

So what goes wrong? How do you make light, flaky biscuits every time?

For the moment I’ll assume you have a decent recipe. There are a lot of great biscuit recipes out there. I know people that have treasured family recipes. Biscuits that have been made the same way for generations.

Assuming also, that the baking powder is fresh*, there has to be some other reason that some folks just seem to struggle with biscuits.

The problem is – more than likely- over-mixing the dough. When I talk to someone who tells me that their  biscuits are always heavy or tough I first ask about how they are put together.

Once the dry ingredients have been mixed and the fat cut in, there is just liquid to be added. I prefer to chill whatever fat I am using.

At this point the dough should be handled just enough to hold together. A light hand means a light biscuit. The same is true for making scones. The more you knead the dough, handle the dough and roll the dough, the less flaky biscuits become.

Don’t treat biscuit dough the way you would a yeast-based dinner roll. The two are very different in how they are handled. Yeast-based doughs benefit from kneading and “working” the dough. Biscuits are the opposite.

Even when cutting out the biscuits, it will help if you cut  them out as close together as you can. That way you have fewer scraps to re-roll. Every time you roll the dough out- it becomes a little tougher.

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite biscuits. They are light and very flaky. Is there anything better than a fresh, warm biscuit with some butter?

Biscuits Supreme

2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
2 t. sugar
½ t. cream of tartar
½ t. salt
½ c. cold butter, shortening or coconut oil – you can even use lard
2/3 c. milk

Stir together dry ingredients and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add milk all at once. Stir until dough sticks together and knead on lightly floured surface 10-12 strokes. Roll or pat to ½ inch thickness. Cut with 2-21/2 inch biscuit cutter and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 10-12.

*If your baking powder might be old, you can test it. Place a couple of tablespoons of boiling water in a cup. Add a teaspoon, or two, of baking powder. The mixture should bubble vigorously. If there are no bubbles, or very few bubbles, you might want to get a new container of baking powder.

Pink and Purple Salad

Pink and Purple Potato Salad

Sometimes we just need a little extra color in our day. My pop of color came in the form of a potato salad.  Yes, a potato salad. I had picked up some purple potatoes at a local produce market. I’ve had them before.

Normally, the purple potatoes lose a little color once cooked. For whatever reason, these potatoes retained all of that purple color.  I cooked them in the microwave, and maybe that is why. Maybe they were just a brighter color to begin with. All I know, is that when I started cutting them up for my salad, I was amazed at how purple they were.

Since I had some red onions, I decided to use them with the potatoes for my salad. I ended up with a purple and pink salad. Pretty and quite tasty.

A salad made with less colorful veggies, would still taste as good, but it would not be nearly as much fun to eat.

Pink and Purple Salad

1 lb. purple potatoes

1 lb. red onions

1 c. apple cider vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. water

salt and pepper to taste

1 t. celery seed

1/4 c. oil

Bake potatoes until tender. I used the microwave and it took about 7 minutes, but you can bake in a conventional oven, too. While potatoes are baking, peel, then slice onions thin and place in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients, except the oil. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5-8 minutes until onions are just tender. Some of the liquid will cook off. Peel and cube potatoes and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the oil. Add the onion mixture and stir gently. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Chill. Serves 4.

 

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

These cookies have a great lemon flavor and delicate texture. The cookie is so tender, in part, because there is cornstarch in the dough. I think you and your family and friends will love them as much as I do.

I will admit to adding a little more lemon zest to the dough and frosting, for even more lemon flavor.

They are also easy to make. They are a slice and bake cookie. That means you make the dough, form into a roll, and chill. Now you can just slice and bake when you have the time. I sometimes make a batch and freeze them- so I can make fresh cookies whenever I like.

We made these cookies in class last night. Everybody loved them. Perfect cookie to add to your holiday cookie tray.

 

 

Lemon Meltaways

Dough:
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. butter, softened
½ c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel
Frosting:
¾ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel

In large bowl combine all dough ingredients and mix well. Divide dough in half and roll each half into an 8- inch roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, 1-2 hours. Slice chilled dough into ¼ inch slices and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies are set, but not brown. Cool completely on a rack. Combine frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

 

Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies

Some cookies are really about the memories for me. I remember making pressed cookies when I was a kid. I loved using the machine to press out dough in all sorts of magical shapes.

My mother was so kind- she let me make whatever I wanted. One Christmas, we had a whole plateful of camels.

The machine we had required turning a handle- watching carefully, and turning the handle backwards to stop the flow of the dough. There are much easier versions of cookie presses today. Mine has a ratchet which pushes out the right amount of dough with one click. I decided to make some little green trees and red flowers this year. These cookies are light and very crisp. Great for having with coffee. They are also fast to make, once you get used to the cookie press.

The fun thing about using a cookie press is that you can crank out a high volume of pretty cookies in no time flat. They taste good, too. I used vanilla extract in the little trees. In the flowers, I added some sweet cherry flavor, which paired well with the vanilla.

 

Spritz Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla*
½ t. salt
2½ c. flour
In mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in vanilla and salt. Tint dough, is desired. Add flour and stir until smooth. Using a cookie press with desired shape press cookies on to ungreased baking sheet. Leave about 1-inch between cookies. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes- cookies should be a light golden color around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

 * You can play around with other flavors. I often add mint extract or a fruit flavor to these cookies.

Cranberry and Raspberry Sauce

Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

If you are looking for a fun and tasty variation for the usual cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, I might suggest this cranberry and raspberry version.

The raspberries add a great flavor to the dish along with the cranberries and orange juice.My family has enjoyed versions of this sauce every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.

The real secret however, is the dressing. It is a creamy, slightly sweet topping, made with a fruit juice custard and whipped cream. It really changes the whole dish into something special.

This might be the first time people ask for seconds on cranberry sauce.

Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

 

12 oz. cranberries, rinsed and picked over

1 c. orange juice

1 T. grated orange peel

½ c. sugar, or to taste

12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen ( thawed, if frozen)

Combine all ingredients, (except the raspberries)  in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, over medium heat. Cook until then cranberries burst and mixture thickens, about 25 minutes, stirring more often as mixture thickens. Stir in the raspberries. Cool and chill. Makes about 3 cups. Serve with the dressing on the side.

Dressing

2 eggs
½ c. sugar
½ c orange juice
½ c. pineapple juice
2 T. flour
juice of half a lemon
1 c. whipping cream, whipped

Combine all ingredients, except whipped cream, in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Mixture should coat a spoon. Cool and chill. Fold cooled mixture into whipped cream.  Serves 6-8.

Cauliflower and Grilled Corn Gratin

Cauliflower and Grilled Corn Gratin

I made this dish for a dinner with friends this weekend. It was a big hit. The cauliflower, corn and carrots worked perfectly together. Of course, the bechamel sauce, cheese and bread crumbs didn’t hurt, either.

This dish came about because I needed a side dish and wanted to use what I had on hand. I had recently purchased a rather large head of cauliflower. I was thinking gratin, but wanted more than cauliflower so I looked to see what else I had around. Carrots seemed like a natural addition. I like their sweetness with cauliflower, plus they would add a pop of color. A trip to the freezer for something else was a lucky break.

I saw a package of corn I had recently frozen. I had been to a clambake the weekend before. They had grilled corn on the cob and had extras. I was given some to take home. Thanks, Arlene!!!

I cut the corn off the cob and used some of them in a chowder. I froze the rest, about two cups worth. I just knew that was what I need to round out the flavors in the gratin.

I was right. It was a wonderful combination. If you don’t feel like grilling corn, you can cook it under the broiler.

 

So here is the recipe. Hope you give it a try.

 

Cauliflower and Grilled Corn Gratin

 

6 c. cauliflower- broken into bite sized pieces

4 ears corn, grilled, cooled, kernels cut off the cobs- about 2 cups

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin

4 T. butter

4 T. flour

2 ½ c. half and half, warmed

Salt and pepper to taste

4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ bread crumbs

 

Prepare cauliflower by steaming until just tender.  Steam the carrots until just tender, too. I was lucky enough to have corn that had been grilled, minus the husks, so it had a nice char on it. The smoky flavor really added to the dish. You can cook the corn under the broiler, too, to get that char. Combine the vegetables in a lightly buttered casserole dish. I used a 9×9-inch square pan. Then make the white sauce (bechamel) by melting the butter together in a pan with the flour, whisking until smooth. Stir in the half and half and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper- use enough- the veggies don’t have any salt on them. Pour the sauce over the veggies in the casserole dish and stir a little to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the cheese and then the bread crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

I made this cake for a cooking class the other day. Everyone loved it. No surprises there, it is a wonderful cake. A nice dessert for Thanksgiving, too.

If the only way you enjoy sweet potatoes is as a side at the holidays, or in pie, it is time to expand your thinking about them. In this recipe, the mashed sweet potatoes add both sweetness and moistness to the finished cake. Great plain, or with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries.

This cake makes a lovely dessert or a nice addition to a brunch menu. Also a nice way to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes, if you find yourself with leftovers.

I mentioned this recipe to a friend and she was very interested. I will be seeing her over the weekend and think I will make this for our dinner together.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

1 1/2 c. cake flour*

1/2 t. each baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature

1 1/3 c. sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 c. mashed sweet potato

1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly oil an 8×4-inch loaf pan. Mix flour with next 4 ingredients and set aside. In large mixing bowl beat together butter and sour cream. Beat in sugar and then beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in mashed sweet potato and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes before loosening cake sides from pan and removing. After cake has cooled wrap in foil and store at room temperature. Serves 8.

* If you don’t have cake flour you can make your own. Simply measure out a cup of all purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons of the flour. That is now the same as a cup of cake flour OR remove the 2 tablespoons of flour and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift together to combine. I do the flour/cornstarch mix and keep a batch on hand for when I need it in baking.

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

This sweet relish is a great way to preserve those last of the season tomatoes. It is every bit as  good as relishes made from cucumbers.

I am always a little sad to see fresh tomato season come to an end. I have canned tomatoes and dehydrated some, too.

I know the green tomatoes I have left will not have time to ripen. I don’t want them to go to waste, so I have pickled some. I also like to make this relish with some of them.

Someone asked me for the recipe- so here it is.

 

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

6 pounds green tomatoes, about 22 medium

2-3 medium onions

2 medium sweet red peppers

1 sweet green pepper

1 large rib celery

1 3/4 c. white or cider vinegar ( 5% acidity)

1 2/3 c. sugar

3 T. canning salt

1 1/2 t. celery seeds

1/2 t. each cinnamon, cloves, allspice and turmeric

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Wash trim and quarter vegetables. Put vegetables through food grinder using medium blade or pulse in food processor to chop finely. Drain, discarding liquid. Wash jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse and set aside. Combine vinegar with remaining ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering while packing hot jars, one at a time. Fill to within 1/2 -inch from top of jar. Wipe rims and place on lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 5-6 pint jars.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green Tomato Pickles

The garden season is winding down around here. A number of friends have posted pictures of their last ripe tomatoes of the year. That is a sad time. But, don’t forget about those green tomatoes. You can make fried green tomatoes, which are great. You can also make these pickles. That way, you can enjoy those home grown tomatoes a little longer.

The recipe is pretty simple. I sometimes add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to each jar for a spicy version. The hardest part is waiting. Once the tomatoes are canned, you have to give them 4-6 weeks fopr the pickling to finish. Trust me, it is worth the wait.

Just because your ripe tomatoes are done for the year, harvest those green ones and get a little something more from your garden.

 

 

Green Tomato Dill Pickles – Kosher Style

Green tomatoes
6 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
6 Sweet green peppers
6 cloves Garlic
2 quarts water
1 quart vinegar- 5% acidity- you can use white or cider vinegar
1 cup canning or pickling salt
Dill, optional

Use small firm green tomatoes. Pack into hot, clean canning jars. Add to each quart jar a bud of garlic, 1 piece of celery, and 1 green pepper cut into fourths. Make a brine of the water, vinegar, and the salt. Boil with the dill for 5 minutes. Pour the hot brine over the pickles to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. These pickles will be ready for use in 4- 6 weeks. Yield: About 6 quarts. Source: NCHFP

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