Raspberries in Prosecco Jelly

Simple yet elegant, this dessert requires but a few ingredients. For a non- alcoholic version, substitute apple juice for Prosecco.

Jumbo silicon muffin cups from Sur La Table make interesting molds.

I like the clean taste and smell of gelatin sheets which can be mail ordered here. If you prefer to use a powdered variety, you can substitute Knox unflavored gelatin, available in most grocery stores.
Raspberries in Prosecco Jelly
Recipe adapted from Jelly Mongers
4 servings
2 cups Prosecco, Champagne, or Apple Juice
5 Gelatin Leaves
or
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Squeeze of lemon juice
12 oz. fresh raspberries
Fresh mint

In a heatproof bowl, cut the gelatin sheets into small pieces with scissors . Cover with 1/2 cup Prosecco. Or, sprinkle powdered Knox gelatin over 1/2 cup Prosecco. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften.

Bring a pan of water to a boil and place the bowl of softened gelatin on top of the pan of boiling water. Once the gelatin has melted, stir in the sugar to dissolve and add another 1/2 cup of Prosecco.

Pour the mixture through a sieve and into a large measuring cup. Squeeze the lemon through the sieve and add enough Prosecco to measure 2 cups.

Divide the raspberries among the 4 molds, adding a few small mint leaves throughout. Fill with the Prosecco mixture.

Refrigerate for 6 hours before unmolding.

 

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Black & White Chambord Truffles

Bittersweet chocolate infused with Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur produced in the Loire Valley of France, coated in velvety white chocolate and sprinkled with colored sugar crystals. Need I say more?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
 
For the dark chocolate ganache center, you will need:
 
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (use high quality chocolate, not chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. light corn syrup
2 T. unsalted butter, softened
2 T. Chambord liqueur
 
Makes about 50 truffles
 
Chop bittersweet chocolate and place in a shallow bowl with the softened butter.
 
In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to the boiling point, but do not boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate and butter.

Allow to sit for a minute, then stir gently to melt without incorporating too much air. Cool slightly before adding the Chambord.
Allow to firm up covered in the refridgerator for about 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and using a small ice cream scoop or melon ball slicer, scoop the ganache onto the cookie sheet.

Coating for ganache-
1lb. tempered white chocolate
Tempering is necessary for the chocolate to harden at room temperature and maintain it’s luster. It will give your coating that snap.If you prefer to skip this process, simply roll the ganache in sweetened cocoa powder and store the truffles in the refridgerator.
 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Dip truffles in tempered white chocolate and place on the lined cookie sheet.
 
Sprinkle with colored sugar and set aside. Tempered chocolate sets up quickly.
Store covered at room temperature.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tiramisu

Sometimes the simplest desserts can be the most challenging to make. Take for instance, Tiramisu. It’s assembled rather than baked, and consists of only a few ingredients. Yet so much can go wrong. It can be soggy, dry, sweet, tasteless, dense or hot with alcohol. Getting it right is in the proportions and the technique. After much trial and error, this recipe suits my taste. And an added bonus is there are no raw eggs in this recipe to be concerned about.

Ingredients
1 package of 30 Savardi or ladyfingers
1-1/2 cups brewed espresso
1-1/2 cups marscapone cheese

8- egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sweet Marsala wine

1 cup heavy cream

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Equipment
9 x 12 serving dish
Small dish for dipping ladyfingers
Spatula
Stand mixer with beaters
Double boiler

Procedure
Make the cream- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 1- 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala, and a pinch of salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water. It’s important that the bottom of the bowl not touch the water as it is easy to scramble the eggs. With a heatproof spatula, stir and scrape while cooking until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl with electric beaters, whip the marscapone and cream together until the mixture holds a soft peak. Fold into the cooled egg yolk mixture.

Assembly
Pour espresso into small rectangular dish. Dip ladyfingers one at a time in espresso. Dip, do not submerge each side for no more than 2 seconds and place in a serving dish. They should be neither soggy nor dry. Continue until you have 1 layer. Spread with 1/3 of the mousse and grate chocolate on top.

Repeat with 2 more layers finishing with the cream as your top layer. Grate chocolate over the cream and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight to allow the ladyfingers time to soften and the flavors to meld.

Serves 10 happy people.

Layered Lemon Angel Food Cake

When you need a birthday cake that’s light and airy and not too sweet, Angel Food Cake comes to the rescue. It’s fat free, gluten free, but a bit plain for a birthday. So this spruced up version is cut into layers, spread with a lemony filling, and covered in whipped cream! Served with fresh raspberries or strawberries, it covers all the bases yet is fancy enough for a special occasion.

Start with an angel food cake, either homemade, or store-bought. In either case, you will need an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.

If homemade, cool the cake upside down in the pan by resting it on the pan’s “feet”. Once cool, remove the cake from the pan by carefully running your knife between the side of the pan and the cake, and then around the tube. Push up from the removable bottom of the pan and release the cake.

Now run your knive along the bottom, cover with a plate or cutting board and release the cake.



Set the cake aside while you make the filling.

Lemon Curd
1 cup fresh lemon juice from 6-7 lemons
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 T. heavy cream
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon juice, butter and cream. Place over medium high heat and bring to just under a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Remove the lemon juice mixture from the heat and gradually whisk a little of it into the sugar-egg mixture. Continue adding a little at a time until all of it has been incorporated.

Once incorporated, return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the eggs from scrambling for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl with beaters, whip the cream and sugar until thickened. Fold into chilled lemon curd.

Brush the angel food cake pan with canola or salad oil. With a long serrated knife, cut the top fourth off the cake. Place it upside down in the oiled pan. Spread one third of the filling on the cake layer. Continue this process to make a four layer cake with three layers of filling. The top and bottom layers should be cake.

Top this final layer of filling with cake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the pan by once again cutting around the sides and tube with a long knive. Cover the cake with your serving dish. Turn them upside down. Lift and remove the sides of the pan and then the bottom. Refrigerate while you prepare the frosting.


Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 t. vanilla

In mixing bowl with beaters, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until the cream is stiff enough to hold a shape. Frost the top and sides of cake and serve with sliced strawberries or raspberries.
I hope they save a piece for me!

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel has the ability to take an ordinary dessert and elevate it to extraordinary. The addition of sea salt…sublime!
Who would guess that it takes only 15 minutes to make at home?
Served over ice-cream or alongside pie, you have a quick and easy dessert.

Equipment you will need:

Medium saucepan with high sides
Heatproof spatula
Candy thermometer (optional)

Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 stick of softened unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel or coarse salt

In a small saucepan over low heat, add cream and salt. Stir to dissolve and set aside.

In a saucepan, add the sugar, water, and corn syrup. On medium heat, gently stir to dissolve the sugar, taking care not to splash up the sides of the pan.

Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat to high, stop stirring, and attach a candy thermometer if using one. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Continue boiling until mixture turns a rich caramel color and registers 300F on the thermometer. Remove from heat.

Color should look like this.

Add the butter, then the cream. It may bubble up slightly, so take care.

Continue stirring off heat, incorporating the caramel with the butter and cream until you have a nice rich color.

Allow to cool. Store covered in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Decadently delicious!

 

 

Making Jello without the Box

America’s favorite dessert just got healthier. Making your own jello is easier than you think. No artificial color or flavor, just pure fruit juice, gelatin, and a cream cheese layer. I threw in some pomegranate seeds to celebrate the season and …voila!

Recipe

for a 6 cup mold
1 pomegranate
2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups apple juice
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup milk
4 T. powdered sugar
15 sheets gelatin (see note) or 4-1/2 T. Knox unflavored powder gelatin

Note: Gelatin can be purchased two ways. The most common is in powder form that can be found at your local grocery store. The other is in thin sheets that I mail order here. I prefer using the sheets. They produce a beautiful glass like jello with a clean taste and without the yellow tinge of the powder.

Cut a pomegranate in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Set aside.

In a saucepan, mix 1/4 cup sugar with the cranberry juice and heat only to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Repeat with the apple juice.

In a mixer, beat cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar until smooth. Set aside.

Add gelatin to 3 small bowls. If using powder, add 1-1/2 T. to each bowl, or 5 sheets to each bowl. Cut each sheet into 6 pieces with scissors.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the cooled juices over the gelatin only to cover. You will have one bowl of cranberry and two of apple.

Set aside to soften at least 10 minutes. In the meantime, simmer some water in a double boiler.

Once the gelatin has softened, starting with the apple, place it in the double boiler and stir until completely dissolved, then mix it into the cold apple juice that you have set aside. This is your top layer. Pour 2 cups of it into your mold ,and place in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes until it is the consistency of egg whites. Then add your pomegranate seeds. Set it back into the refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.

Repeat this process with the cream cheese layer. Heat the second apple juice- gelatin mixture over the double boiler and stir to dissolve the gelatin, then mix it into the cream cheese mixture. Remove the mold from the fridge, and pour evenly on top. Chill another 15 minutes or so before adding the final cranberry layer.

Repeat this process of dissolving the cranberry-gelatin mixture and then mixing it into the remaining cranberry juice. Pour into your mold and allow to chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

To release from the mold, pour hot water into a large bowl. Carefully lower the mold into the water making sure water doesn’t get into the mold. Hold for about 15 seconds, then turn out onto a serving plate.

An elegant and healthy dessert for your holiday table.

Maple Baked Apples with Dried Fruit and Nuts

An old-fashioned dessert with a modern twist. This recipe, adapted from Claudia Fleming, the former pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern in NYC, is sweetened with maple syrup and loaded with dried fruit and nuts. A delicious and guilt-free dessert with the flavors of autumn.

6 servings
Preheat oven to 375F

1/3 cup brown sugar
3 T. chopped dried cherries
3 T. chopped dried figs or apricots
2 T. chopped sliced toasted almonds
2 T. chopped toasted pecans

6 firm baking apples like Cortlands, cored and unpeeled
3 T unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces

1/2 cup apple cider
2 T. maple syrup

Mix the brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts together in a small bowl.

Cut a little off the bottom of the apples so they stand nicely.

Remove the core, but don’t go through to the bottom.

Using a melon ball cutter, cut away some apple to make room for the filling.

Place the apples in a baking pan and stuff the tops with the fruit and nut mixture. Place a piece of butter on top.

Mix apple cider and maple syrup together and pour into the bottom of the baking dish.

Bake the apples, basting with the cider mixture occasionally until the apples are tender, 25-35 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep them warm while you prepare the sauce.

Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce becomes syrupy, then pour over apples before serving.