Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast

French Toast

Well, we’re in the midst of political primaries in the United States where candidates are hurling slings and arrows at each other. Will it be Bernie, Hillary, or ‘the Donald’ who wins their party’s nomination? Only time will tell- stay glued to your TV set.

But while voters have been ‘stuffing’ their ballot boxes with votes, I have been whipping up my own kind of stuffing recipe: Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast. This recipe expands on the usual French toast recipe by adding a stuffing of strawberries and Mascarpone cheese that has been flavored with a splash of Cointreau. Sounds like the perfect dish for a Sunday brunch!

After cooking the French toast on the stovetop, the recipe calls for popping the fry pan into the oven for a few minutes to finish the toast off into a crisp golden brown, This recipe should re-awaken your childhood memories of delicious French toast served on a Sunday morning, this time with an added ‘adult twist’!

French Toast

Strawberry and Cointreau Stuffed French Toast
Serves 2
Thick pieces of French Toast, stuffed with stuffed with strawberries and Mascarpone cheese flavoured with a splash of Cointreau.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 pieces sliced French bread
  2. 8-10 sliced strawberries
  3. 2-3 tsps sugar
  4. 4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  5. 1 tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  6. 3 eggs
  7. ½ cup milk or half and half
  8. 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
  9. Orange zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 360 F (180 C). Slice the strawberries into thin pieces; sweeten with 2-3 teaspoons sugar to taste.
  2. Slice the French bread into four pieces about 1 inch thick. Mix the Cointreau into the Mascarpone cheese and then spread the mixture thickly onto one piece of bread. Add some strawberries on top, then close the second piece of bread on top. Repeat with the other two pieces of bread.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla flavoring and orange zest (optional). Soak the two ‘sandwiched’ pieces of bread in the mixture, turning them over so that both sides are fully coated.
  4. Heat some oil and a little butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the French toast and cook about 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another few minutes until the toast becomes a little crispier. Garnish with strawberries and blueberries and serve with maple syrup.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

Esquites – Mexican street food at its best!

Esquites

I was recently introduced to Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad) by my daughter who was visiting from New York. One evening, she agreed to make a side dish for dinner, and while I was preparing the salmon for the main course, I couldn’t help but be wowed by the colorful corn salad she was preparing.

Esquites are kernals of corn slathered with mayonnaise, crumbled cheese, lemon juice, chili powder and cilantro – usually served in cups by Mexican street vendors. “Spicy, crunchy, creamy” are words that can be used to best describe this dish. It worked perfectly with my salmon, but would also be great as a side for a barbeque.

You can use either fresh or frozen corn for this dish, but I can tell you right up front that using fresh corn is the best. I like to char my corn a bit as I cook in on the stovetop, however you can just cook it normally.

For part of the year, I live very close to the Mexican border, in fact, so close that if I’m not careful heading south on the freeway, I might wind up crossing over into Tijuana! Due to my love of Mexican food, I recently took a tour of various Tijuana street food vendors- I tasted tacos stuffed with mariscos (sea food), tostadas topped with ceviche, tortas stuffed with cheese and finely sliced roast beef (and even ice cream served at a shop next to a Sam’s Club) but no Esquites! However, it doesn’t matter since I am now able to make my own!

Interviewing an owner of a Tijuana street food outlet: “What, no esquites for sale?”

 

 

 

 

 

Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)
Serves 4
A spicy, crunch and creamy corn salad- from south of the border!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  2. 2 tbsp cooking oil
  3. 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  4. 1-2 garlic cloves, diced
  5. ½ cup scallion greens (green part of spring onions)
  6. Juice from 1 lime
  7. ½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
  8. ½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  9. 2 oz cotija cheese (or feta cheese)
  10. 2 tsp chili powder, to taste
  11. chili flakes, to taste
  12. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. If using fresh corn, remove the corn kernels from the cobs (using about 4 cobs). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the corn kernels and stir occasionally until the corn turns golden brown or slightly charred. Alternatively, prepare frozen corn according to directions on package.
  2. Transfer corn to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning according to taste. Garnish with a slice of lime and several pieces of whole cilantro (coriander). Serve warm or cold.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie

 

 

Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)

Salsipuedes, Baja California

Last week, I went on a drive from San Diego to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico and stopped at a beautiful spot called Salsipuedes, located about 60 miles south of the U.S. border. This spot has beautiful cliffs and stunning coastal views – stopping for a few minutes to drink in the panorama, I wondered at the irony of the name Salsipuedes- which means “Get out, if you can!” in Spanish.

Salsipuedes

What has this got to do with my recipe for Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie? Not much, except that when I sit down to eat this delicious pie, I keep on thinking, “Stop eating this, if you can!” Not an easy thing to do when pumpkin pie happens to be my favourite pie, especially when you add a splash of bourbon and some tasty pecans to the recipe.

A few tips on making the pie crust (see detailed recipe below):

  • Roll out the dough so that about 1.5 inches of dough overhangs the edge of the pie pan. Trim the edge of the dough with kitchen scissors so that one inch remains hanging over the edge.
  • Tuck the ends of the dough under to form a thicker crust edge.
  • To form the fluted edges of the pie crust, pinch the dough together using the thumb and index finger of your left hand- then push your right thumb inward to form the fluted edge.
  • Pour the pureed pumpkin mixture into the pie crust and bake until the mixture sets.

 Pie (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

 P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!

Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie
Serves 8
Creamy Pumpkin Pie with a splash of bourbon and topped with pecans. Makes one 10-inch pie.
Write a review
Print
For the pie crust
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsp. (150 g) butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the pumpkin pie filling
  1. 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin purée (or fresh pumpkin)
  2. ½ cup brown sugar
  3. 1 ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  4. 1/4 cup bourbon
  5. 3 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  7. 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 tsp ground cloves
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 5 eggs
For the pecan topping
  1. 1 cup pecan halves (approximate)
  2. 3 tbsp molasses
  3. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  4. 1 tbsp butter
To prepare the pie crust
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand. (See following link for detailed instructions on how to make pie crust http://www.gdaysouffle.com/2014/01/12/quiche-lorraine-back-to-the-french-basics/).
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Knead the dough several times on work surface and form into firm ball. Roll out the dough until it measures about 1.5 inches larger than the dimensions of your pie pan. Trim the dough using kitchen scissors so that 1 inch of dough overhangs the pie pan. Tuck the edges of the dough under at the edges and then form into fluted edges. Set the dough aside.
To make the pumpkin pie filling
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, condensed milk, bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, cloves and salt. Stir in the eggs until combined.
  3. Place mixture in a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover edges with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until edges begin to puff and center is almost set. Remove from oven.
For the pecan topping
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the molasses, brown sugar and butter until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and stir until they are fully coated- arrange the pecans decoratively on top of the pie and bake for a further 15 minutes until the center of the pie sets. Cool and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon and Shallots

 

I was recently walking in the California Anza Borrego Desert, when I came across a road that was named Frying Pan Road. I am not usually inspired by road signs but this one ignited a fire in me. What should I cook next, another mouth-watering dessert? No, it’s time to make a mouth-watering side dish like Cauliflower Gratin.

Frying Pan

Comfort food at its best! Tender morsels of cauliflower, draped in a cheesy, buttery sauce with a hint of bacon and shallots. Cauliflower Gratin is typically a French recipe made with gruyère cheese, but you could also use other cheeses, such as a mixture of Mozzarella, Provolone and Parmesan.

To make my dish more flavorful, I added shallots and diced bacon pieces. Some recipes call for using breadcrumbs, but other chefs like Jacques Pepin don’t use them in their Cauliflower Gratin recipes. Like Pepin, (dare I compare myself with him?) I’ve left out the breadcrumbs since I felt that the diced bacon pieces already give a bit of crunch to the dish.

 Before I give you my recipe for Cauliflower Gratin, I would like to tell you about the 15 Big-horned sheep that I saw grazing on a hillside overlooking one of the desert canyons. There is no grass for them to eat in the desert so I saw them knock over a barrel cactus with their horns and eat the insides of the cactus. Now that’s being adaptable – no frying pan required!

 

Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon and Shallots
Serves 5
Cauliflower flavoured with bacon and shallots and topped with a cheesy white sauce.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cauliflower head (approximately 1 lb or 500 g)
  2. 3 tbsp shallots, finely diced
  3. 2 slices of bacon, cooked and finely diced
  4. 4 tbsp butter
  5. 4 tbsp flour
  6. 1 ½ cups milk
  7. ¾ cups gruyère cheese (or mixture of other white cheeses, such as mozzarella, provolone, etc)
  8. Salt/pepper to taste
  9. ½ cup additional gruyere cheese for the topping
  10. Sprinkle of parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the cauliflower into smaller florets, and steam them over a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5-7 minutes until they are just tender. Place the cauliflower pieces in a shallow baking dish, with the ‘heads’ facing upwards.
  2. Soften the diced shallots in a little butter on the stovetop; microwave the bacon slices on high for several minutes until crisp (but not over-cooked), or alternatively fry the bacon on the stovetop. Dry the bacon pieces on a paper towel and then ‘blitz’ in a food processor for 30 seconds until the bacon is finely diced; set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the flour until it forms a thick paste. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens. Add the ¾ cup gruyère cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour the sauce on top of the cauliflower pieces, top with ½ cup of additional gruyère cheese and then sprinkle with a handful of parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese topping turns a golden brown.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Profiteroles Re-visited

Aside

 

Profiteroles (7 of 7) (1 of 1)

Several years ago, I did a post on Profiteroles which has turned out to be my most popular post. I guess I’m not the only person who loves these delicate cream puffs, topped with a lovely chocolate sauce. Thousands of people seem to be surfing the net, searching for a good Profiterole recipe.

Because I’ve gotten quite a lot of feedback and questions regarding my recipe, I thought I’d share them with you and offer some ‘tips and traps.’ The feedback from my beloved readers has ranged from comments such as “my profiteroles turned out so hard I could have bounced them off the wall” to a an admission that one reader had used tequila instead of vanilla flavoring for the custard cream. I would have liked to taste that one!

Here is the profiterole photo from my original post of July 2013:

Here are some of the comments I’ve received, plus my suggestions for overcoming any problems (see below for the original printable recipe):

COMMENT:

The dough for my choux pastry was too runny, like pancake mix- they went ‘splat’ when I spooned them onto the baking tray!”

SOLUTION:

Try using less eggs for the choux pastry dough. The recipe calls for 3-4 large eggs. Start by beating in one egg at a time and then stop and re-evaluate after beating in the third egg. If the dough is smooth and elastic and falls easily off of your spoon or spatula, then you don’t need to add the fourth egg. If your dough is still a bit stiff, then add another 1/2 egg or 1 full egg. It all depends on the size of your eggs; if you add four jumbo eggs at once, then your dough will probably turn out too runny, like pancake mix. The trick is to stop and re-evaluate after adding the first three eggs.

The choux pastry dough should be smooth and elastic, not runny.

After adding the eggs, the dough should be smooth and elastic- not runny.

S- not runny.

 COMMENT

” My puff balls weren’t crisp on the outside when I took them out of the oven and then deflated quickly.”

SOLUTION:

The trick to getting crisp puff balls is to first bake them in the oven at a high temperature of 425 F for the first 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F for the remaining 10-15 minutes. I use an oven thermometer to ensure my oven has reached 425 F before putting the puff balls in the oven. If it looks like your buns are browning to fast, then reduce the oven temperature sooner. If using a convection oven (fan-forced), then reduce your  oven temperatures by 20 degrees (for 425 F reduce your temperature to 405 F, etc.).

If you follow this method of first baking at a high temperature, then your profiterole buns should not deflate soon after removing them from the oven. Store in an air-tight container if not serving right away.

 The puff balls should be crisp on the outside when finished baking

 
COMMENT

” My custard cream filling was too thick, like a paste.”

 SOLUTION

Try using less flour for the custard cream. The recipe calls for adding 1/3 cup flour to 3 egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar, so try reducing the amount to say 1/4 cup flour. Also, you should gradually add small amounts of the egg/flour/sugar mixture to the milk/cream so that it gradually thickens. The custard should be able to still pour easily after it’s cooked, but not be too runny.

The custard should still be able to pour easily; if too thick, add a bit more milk or cream.

 COMMENT

“My chocolate sauce seized up – became hard and grainy, instead of smooth.”

SOLUTION

If your chocolate gets too hot, it may seize up and get hard. Make sure you heat the chocolate, butter and cream together over low heat, preferably placing the ingredients in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.

COMMENT

“My profiteroles turned out hard as rocks- I could have bounced them off the wall!”

SOLUTION

The first time I made profiteroles, they were also as hard as rocks, but the second time I made them, they came out perfect. Try making them again!

“My custard cream tasted too much like eggs!”

SOLUTION

Sorry, nothing I can do about that. Since the custard is made of egg yolks, they are bound to taste like eggs! (But I guess you could try adding more vanilla flavoring to mask the egg taste).

Here is my original recipe for Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce and Custard Cream, first published July 2013. I hope you continue to enjoy them!
 
4.8 from 4 reviews
Profiteroles Re-visited
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Soft pastry puffs filled with custard cream and slathered with a rich chocolate sauce
Ingredients
  • !For the Choux Pastry
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • ⅓ cup (6 tbsp.) butter, cubed
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 – 4 large eggs
For the Custard Cream Filling
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla favoring
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) flour
  • For the Chocolate Sauce
  • 113 g (3/4 cup) dark baking chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 65 ml (1/4 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 tbs. sugar
Instructions
For the Choux Pastry
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. (220 C.)
  2. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and bring just to the boil.
  3. Remove pan from the heat. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. In one go, add these dry ingredients to the water/butter mixture.
  4. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough and falls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Beginning with three eggs, beat in one egg at a time, stirring in each egg until the dough mixture is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. After the third egg, the dough should be elastic and fall easily away from your spoon or spatula. If the dough is still a bit stiff, then add another ½ egg or another full egg until the dough reaches the right consistency; the dough should not be ‘runny’ like pancake batter but smooth and elastic.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a large tipped nozzle, pipe balls of dough onto the tray (spaced at least 2 inches apart), using about 2 tbsp. of dough for each ball. Pipe in concentric circles starting from the center and working outwards.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 F (220 C), then lower the temperature to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 10-15 minutes. The pastry balls will be done when they puff up and become golden. Each ball should feel light and airy.
  8. Turn off oven and remove the tray from the oven; slit a small hole in the base of each pastry ball to release any steam. Return the tray to the oven for another few minutes to dry out the insides of the pastry puffs.
For the Custard Cream Filling
  1. Warm the milk, cream and vanilla flavouring together over medium heat- do not boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks for at least 30 seconds until the mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow in color, then add the flour.
  3. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the egg/sugar mixture to the milk/cream mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens- if the custard is so thick that it will not pour easily, then add a little more milk or cream. Place in the fridge until chilled; the custard will continue to thicken some as it chills.
  4. To fill each puff ball with custard, lift open the top of each pastry ball and fill with 1 -2 tbsp. of custard.
For the Chocolate Sauce
  1. Over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter. Mix in the cream and sugar and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  2. To serve, place one or two pastries on a plate and cover with chocolate sauce.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Pulled Pork Casserole with Barbeque Whiskey Sauce

Jack Daniels can come anytime to my house for dinner, especially when he makes an appearance in my homemade barbeque sauce.

I’ve often thought that store-bought barbeque sauces were a bit too sweet and ‘sticky’, so I thought I’d experiment with making my own. Some recipes for barbeque sauce use molasses and others use brown sugar: I tried both and thought that the molasses works the best. I’m not normally a fan of whiskey, but adding a splash of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Liqueur gave my sauce a nice down-home southern taste. The Hickory Smoke flavoring is optional in the recipe, but I’d recommend buying it if you want that nice smoky hickory taste. (I bought mine online at The Spice House).

This pulled-pork casserole recipe is versatile since you could use it as filling for Pulled Pork Sliders or even as filling for Pork Tacos. I served my casserole in several small cast iron skillets: I think Jack Daniels would have been pleased!

Pulled Pork Casserole with Barbeque Whiskey Sauce
Serves 8
A taste of southern whiskey in this Barbeque sauce makes this a winner!
Write a review
Print
For the Barbeque Whiskey Sauce
  1. 2 cups tomato purée
  2. 1 cup molasses
  3. 1 tbsp onion powder
  4. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  6. Splash of Cardamom
  7. ½ tbsp. ground chipotle powder or chili powder
  8. ½ cup distilled vinegar
  9. 3 tbsp Ketchup
  10. ½ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Liqueur
  11. Hickory Smoke flavoring (optional)
  12. Salt to taste
To cook the pork
  1. 1 pork shoulder
  2. ½ onion roughly chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. 1-2 tbsp salt
  6. Enough water to cover the pork
For the pork casserole
  1. Shredded pork
  2. ½ cup from the cooking liquid (from above)
  3. 1 can pinto beans
  4. Barbeque sauce to taste
  5. 1 potato, peeled and sliced thinly
  6. Chopped parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the pork shoulder, onion, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick and salt in a large pot or Dutch oven; add enough water to cover the pork, cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat falls off the bone.
  2. While the pork is cooking, make the Barbeque sauce. Combine all ingredients; continually taste the sauce as you add the ingredients and adjust the seasoning, as required. (For instance, I like my sauce a bit spicy, so I added more of the ground Chipotle pepper).
  3. Remove the meat from the pot and let cool. Strain the cooking liquid and set aside.
  4. Using a fork, shred the pork. Place the shredded pork, beans and ½ cup of the strained cooking liquid into a casserole dish and add enough of the Barbeque sauce to taste (about ½ - 1 cup, depending on the amount of the pork).
  5. Slice the potato into thin slices; cook in boiling salted water for several minutes until the slices start to soften. Add 4-5 potato slices on top of ingredients in the casserole dish, brush with a little melted butter and bake for about 15 minutes until the potato slices start to brown. Sprinkle some chopped parsley on top and serve.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

 Pumpkin Cheesecake This year, I promised myself I wouldn’t do another pumpkin recipe during the Thanksgiving period, especially after experiencing ‘pumpkin overload’ from previous years (i.e. Starbucks selling ‘Pumpkin Lattes’ etc).

However, this year I couldn’t help myself (again). I decided the story must be told for Pumpkin and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake. This recipe came about almost by accident: I wanted to create a swirl effect using pumpkin puree and cheesecake, however there wasn’t enough contrast in color between the two elements. How could I create more drama and contrast in this dessert? By adding some swirls of chocolate, of course!

At first glance, it may seem that there may be too many flavors going on here; pumpkin, chocolate, cream cheese, REALLY? But everything works nicely- the pumpkin flavor is subtle with the chocolate creating a nice accent. For my recipe, I used Butternut Pumpkin (or ‘Butternut Squash’ for U.S. residents), but you can use canned pumpkin if you wish.

For this recipe, 1/2 of the pumpkin- cream cheese mixture is first added to the prepared crust and then 4-5 spoonfuls of melted chocolate are added on top. This process is repeated again and then a knife tip is used to swirl the chocolate throughout the mixture. A thin layer of the crust mixture is sprinkled around the rim of the cheesecake before baking for added decoration.

I served this dessert last night for a dinner party and one of the guests commented that the crust was so good, that it could have been served as a dessert in itself!

So, I’ve learned a lesson here- don’t make any promises that you can’t keep. I promise not to promise next year to avoid any more pumpkin recipes (even Starbucks’ pumpkin lattes can’t turn me away)- I just love pumpkin too much!

P.S. Would love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would make my day!

 

 

Pumpkin and Chocolate SwirlCheesecake
Serves 12
Swirls of chocolate incorporated into a pumpkin-flavored cheesecake
Write a review
Print
For the crust
  1. 1 cup graham crackers, finely crushed
  2. 1 cup ginger snaps, finely crushed
  3. ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
  4. ½ cup butter, melted
For the Filling
  1. 3 8-ounce packets of cream cheese, softened
  2. ¾ cup sugar
  3. 1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 cup puréed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
  6. 1 tbsp cinnamon
  7. ½ tsp nutmeg
  8. Dash cloves
  9. 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate, melted
  10. 2 tbsp thickened cream
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Combine the graham crackers, ginger snaps, pecans and melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (removable bottom). Reserve at least ¼ cup of the crust mixture for the final decoration (see below).
  2. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add one egg at a time, beating after each until just blended. Add the pumpkin and spices.
  3. In a separate pan, melt the chocolate over low heat on the stovetop- stir in the thickened cream. Add ½ of the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust, followed by 4-5 spoonfuls of the melted chocolate. Repeat the layers, then use the tip of a knife to create swirl patterns. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture around the rim of the dessert for added decoration.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the center of the dessert is almost set. Let cool then refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving.
Notes
  1. You can use either fresh pumpkin or canned for this recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come to Dinner Lab- USA!

DJ ParkIf you want the excitement of a pop-up restaurant that surprises you with new and exciting flavors (and whose location is kept secret until 24 hours ahead of time), then come to Dinner Lab! Dinner Lab is a concept that began in 2011 in New Orleans and has now spread to 30 other U.S. cities. It describes itself as a nomadic dining experience whose motto is new ideas. rotating chefs. unique spaces.

The dinners are held in unique spaces that exist for only 24 hours and chefs are selected to bring forth a delicious and adventurous menu. I was recently a guest of Dinner Lab, held at the Moniker Warehouse in San Diego’s East Village. DJ Park was the featured chef whose credentials include former stints at L.A. restaurants Okasha and The Fare Life. Chef Parker’s menu had a loose Thanksgiving theme and featured a variety of charred dishes and beer-based sauces (Sam Adams sponsored an open bar at the event). During the evening, Parker introduced his guests to some new taste adventures and definitely woke up some previously bored palettes with dishes such as Duck Carnitas.

The evening started off with the lovely event manager Samantha Saad, who rang a bell and welcomed everyone to Dinner Lab.

SaadNext, Chef DJ Park said a few words to the guests about his menu concept Friendsgiving, of bringing people together around the dinner table. He explained that the first Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving dinner in 1621 probably featured some seafood which influenced his Surf and Turf offering on the menu.

DJ ParkerAll guests were seated together at communal dining tables and were presented with five different courses throughout the evening, each course matched with an appropriate glass of Samuel Adams beer. All dishes were served on paper plates or bowls in order to keep things moving; the emphasis was more on taste rather than on beautiful plating of food.

Appetizer:  Pickled and Charred Crudité

The first course was Pickled and Charred Crudité, an appetizer of raw pickled vegetables dipped in a delicious beer-based sauce. The vegetables were dominated by purple cauliflower, which I had never eaten before, but tasted similar to the white variety. The sauce was a base of crème fraiche flavored with Sam Adams Winter Lager and seasoned with olive powder, a mixture made from dehydrated olives. Although I wasn’t exactly ‘wowed’ by this dish, I was certainly intrigued, thinking “what other interesting things does Chef DJ Park have in store for us this evening?”

Corn Porridge

The second course, Corn Porridge, extended the chef’s theme of charred vegetables, accenting the porridge with ember charred corn and toasted walnuts. I found the charred corn kernels to be a bit too brittle for my taste, but loved the leek ash butter which fused nicely with the porridge.

Roasted Vegetable Stuffing

Roasted Vegetable Stuffing was next up on the list, featuring croissant stuffing, oyster mushrooms and Sam Adams ‘Thirteenth Hour’ stout gravy. It’s not easy presenting a ‘stand alone’ vegetable stuffing, but the chef didn’t disappoint here, marrying the rich taste of the croissants with the meaty oyster mushrooms.

As the evening wore on, my anticipation for the main course reached a crescendo: would the chef trot out the usual turkey offerings or would we be graced with something new? 

Surf and Turf

Answer: we got something new! Surf and Turf, consisting of Duck carnitas, pork belly, charred lobster and seared sole. This dish was definitely the star of the show- the duck was tender and flaky and the pork belly- well let’s just say that I could go for seconds! The pickled berries offered a nice contrast to the savory duck and pork belly, however I felt that the seared sole lacked texture and could have been eliminated from the dish.

A delightful finish for the evening was Rustic Apple Tart– a dish that was small in size but big on taste. Toasted walnuts, cinnamon cream and apple butter, ‘Bravo’ to Chef DG Park!

Apple Tart

If you’d like to try a new dining adventure, come along to Dinner Lab! You can book a ticket for their events through their website  https://dinnerlab.com/ All tickets include cost of the food, tips, tax and unlimited access to the bar.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Dinner Lab; however all opinions are my own. Continue reading

Tulip Cookie with Fresh Mixed Berries

 

Tulip new 1Why not serve this Tulip Cookie with Mixed Berries at either Thanksgiving or Christmas to add some color to your table? I’m not suggesting that you give up your traditional pumpkin pie or Christmas pudding, but adding this dessert to your table may make your guests sit up and take notice!

A Tulip Cookie is made of a delicious wafer-like dough that is molded into shape right after it comes out of the oven. For my mold I used an 8-inch brioche tin (purchased online through Amazon) which produces a nice fluted pattern. However, you could also use a ramekin or custard cup to shape your cookie tulips (see instructions below).

To make the tulip cookie, you first spread the batter into a circular shape before baking it in the oven. As a rule of thumb, the diameter of your dough circle should be about the same diameter as your mold- for instance, my brioche mold was 8 inches in diameter, so I also made my dough circle 8 inches wide.

These tulip cookies are very versatile, you can fill it with almost anything, including ice cream or mousse. May your holiday table be graced with lovely food and lovely friends and family!

Makes one 8 inch wide tulip cookie or two 4 inch wide cookies

Ingredients  (see printed recipe below)

Tulip Batter

  • 4 tbsps softened butter
  • 6 tbsps confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 Filling

  • ¾ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup thickened cream, whipped
  • 3 tbsps white chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups (approx.) mixed berries
  • ¼ cup sugar

 Garnish

  • Additional whipped cream for the fleurettes (can use ready-made whipped cream from a canister, if desired)

 Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Beat the softened butter with a whisk or electric beater until creamy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until slightly fluffy then add to the butter-sugar mixture.
  • Add the flour and vanilla flavoring and combine until smooth (do not overmix).
  • Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet; using the back of a spoon, spread the batter into a round shape about 8 inches in diameter (or less, depending on the size of your mold) and 1/8 inch thick.

 

  •  Place in oven and reduce temperature to 350 F (180 C); bake for 7-10 minutes or until the tulip turns golden brown. Remove the tulip using a spatula and immediately press it into the inside of a brioche mold to form a ‘cookie dish’ with a flat bottom. This should be done while the tulip is still hot. Place the second mold immediately inside the first and press gently to shape it. Leave the tulip to set for several minutes then place in the freezer for several minutes to help firm the shape. If the tulip cools and becomes too brittle to shape, return to oven for 1 minute to soften. Gently remove the tulip cookie from the mold and set aside.

 Press warm cookie dough into inside of brioche mold and then place a second mold inside it  to hold the shape

Brioche tin

  • To prepare the filling, whip the thickened cream until stiff  peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese and add the melted white chocolate. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of the tulip cookie, filling it about 1/3 full.

 Tulip with cheese filling

  •  In a separate bowl, add ¼ cup sugar to a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Add these on top of the mascarpone/cream mixture.

 

  •  Add dots (or fleurettes) of whipped cream to the dessert, using a canister of whipped cream, such as ‘Reddi-wip’. (Alternatively, you can make your own whipped cream and pipe it onto the dessert).

 Cookie Tulip
Alternative to using a brioche mold

If you don’t have access to a brioche mold, you can use a ramekin or round custard dish to mold your tulip cookie dough. Press the warm cookie dough into the inside of a ramekin, let cool then fill with the mascarpone filling and fruit.

 

Tulip Cookie with Fresh Mixed Berries
A delicious vanilla-flavoured wafer shaped and filled with fruit or ice cream of your choice
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
35 min
For the Tulip Batter
  1. 4 tbsps softened butter
  2. 6 tbsps confectioner’s sugar
  3. 2 egg whites
  4. 5 tbsps all-purpose flour
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Filling
  1. ¾ cup mascarpone
  2. ½ cup thickened cream, whipped
  3. 3 tbsps white chocolate bits
  4. 2 cups (approx.) mixed berries
  5. ¼ cup sugar
For the Garnish
  1. Additional whipped cream for the fleurettes
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Beat the softened butter with a whisk or electric beater until creamy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until slightly fluffy then add them to the butter-sugar mixture.
  2. Add the flour and vanilla flavoring and combine until smooth (do not overmix).
  3. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet; using the back of a spoon, spread the batter into a round shape about 8 inches in diameter (or less, depending on the size of your mold) and 1/8 inch thick.
  4. Place in oven and reduce temperature to 350 F (180 C); bake for 7-10 minutes or until the tulip turns golden brown. Remove the tulip using a spatula and immediately press it into the inside of a brioche mold to form a ‘cookie dish’ with a flat bottom. This should be done while the tulip is still hot. Place the second mold inside the first and press gently to shape it. Leave the tulip to set for several minutes then place in the freezer for several minutes to help firm the shape. If the tulip cools and becomes too brittle to shape, return to oven for 1 minute to soften. Gently remove the tulip cookie from the mold and set aside.
  5. To prepare the filling, whip the thickened cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese and add the melted white chocolate. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of the tulip cookie, filling it about 1/3 full.
  6. In a separate bowl, add ¼ cup sugar to a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Add these on top of the mascarpone/cream mixture.
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Spicy Lamb Spiral Pie

Spiral 2

 Have you ever been reading a magazine in a doctor’s office or hairdresser’s and seen a great recipe that you just had to have, but you didn’t want to steal the magazine and have huge pangs of guilt? That’s what happened to me the other day when I saw this great recipe for Spicy Lamb Spiral Pie in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (I hope my hairdresser is not looking at this post)!

I was attracted to this recipe because I love lamb with Moroccan flavors and I also liked the unusual spiral shape of the pastry. How could I copy this recipe and take it home with me? Someone suggested that I take a photo of it with my Iphone but that didn’t work because the print was too fuzzy. I even went to my local library but there was already a 2-month waiting list for the magazine issue I wanted. I traipsed across the street to the supermarket to see if I could buy the magazine but it was already out of print. Another time, my hairdresser allowed me to borrow a particular magazine as long as I returned it the next day (but I wound up keeping it because I couldn’t bear to give up all the wonderful recipes displayed in it)!

 Yes, I was desperate to have this lamb spiral recipe! So the only thing I could think of to do was the Cough and Rip method. This is where you cough and rip the recipe out of the magazine at the same time so no one will hear you. I learned about this method when I saw a documentary about Philippe Petit , the tight rope walker who decided one day to walk across a wire suspended between the Twin Towers in New York after reading a magazine article in a dentists’ office.

So after looking around the hairdresser’s salon to see that none of the other ladies with their hair piled high with curlers and foils was looking, I executed my Cough and Rip procedure. (I must confess that I felt a little guilty and have now subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens to avoid being a recipe thief again).

This recipe was definitely worth the trouble in getting it. The lovely flavors of the lamb mixture blends well with the buttery filo pastry. It can be a little tricky to mold the filo pastry cylinders into a spiral shape but don’t worry if the spiral doesn’t look perfect- it’s the taste that counts!

P.S. Would love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would make my day!

Lamb Spiral

 

Spicy Lamb Spiral Pie
Serves 4
You'll enjoy the Moroccan flavors of the lamb set in an interesting spiral shape of filo pastry
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 9 sheets filo pastry
  2. 4 tbsp melted butter (approx.)
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, diced
  5. 1 lb (1/2 kg) lamb mince (ground lamb)
  6. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  7. 1 tsp cardamom powder
  8. 2 tsp fennel seeds
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 2-3 tbp pine nuts
  11. 2-3 tbp raisins
  12. 1 tsp coriander powder
  13. ¼ cup chicken or beef stock
  14. Salt/pepper to taste
For the garnish
  1. Poppy seeds and sesame seeds
  2. Several torn mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven at 350 F (180 C). Heat the chopped onion and diced garlic in a little oil on the stovetop until they soften. Add the lamb and cook until brown- drain any excess fat from the pan. Add the remaining ingredients (except the garnish) and stir over medium heat for at least 10 minutes until all the flavors infuse. The mixture should be moist but not runny. If it’s too dry, add a little more stock to the pan. Let cool while you prepare the filo pastry.
  2. Spread some melted butter on one sheet of filo pastry, covering the edges first, then spreading the butter all through the center. Add two more sheets on top, covering each one first with a layer of melted butter.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the lamb mixture along the bottom of the filo pastry, leaving a margin of about two inches on each side of the pastry .Fold the sides of the pastry inward, then starting from the bottom, roll up the pastry into a tight cylinder shape. Repeat this process twice more until you have a total of three cylinders. Form the three cylinders into one spiral shape, starting from the center and working outwards. Try to join the ends of the three spiral pieces together by rubbing your wet finger along the seams of the spiral ends (don’t worry if the pieces don’t join together smoothly). Brush the entire spiral with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and several torn mint leaves. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 15 minutes or until the pastry turns golden brown.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/