Posts tagged ‘fruit’

October 12, 2011

Pumpercake & Joy Of Kosher, What A Nice “Pear”

It’s been less than a week since our last guest blog appearance on Joy Of Kosher, yet, Pumpercake was, once again, lucky enough to be featured on our favorite online Jewish community and magazine!  This time, I was asked to create a special autumn, dairy-free dessert for this week’s Sukkot celebrations.

I wanted to do a recipe that incorporated several techniques I’d recently learned in pastry class in order to pass on some very useful tips and tricks to the readers at JOK and, of course, you!  This frangipane tart does just that with a rich almond filling, dimpled with poached pears.  The tart was baked into a dairy-free version of my favorite sweet shortcrust, and was finished with a brush of sweet Amaretto-honey syrup and a sprinkle of crunch toasted almond slices.  Reminiscent of the Harry Potter treat shared in August, this Frangipane Tart with Amaretto and Honey Poached Pears has more of a rustic touch amidst the medley of Autumn flavors.

Be sure to stop on over to Joy Of Kosher today and throughout Sukkot for lots of great menu and dessert ideas.  And, of course, while you’re there, don’t forget to gloss over Pumpercake’s latest article and recipe contributions!  Happy Sukkot!

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October 7, 2011

Joy Of Pumper

Hello there, faithful followers!  I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve last checked in, and I apologize.  I appreciate your bearing with me throughout this period of post-less-ness.  I’m pleased, however, to share with you Pumpercake’s latest guest blog entry on Joy Of Kosher!

The post and the recipe for my Sticky Fig Sweet Buns is currently being featured on Joy Of Kosher’s website as a special Yom Kippur Break Fast treat.  Drop on by and take a look at this and many other wonderful recipes at Joy Of Kosher.com!

August 24, 2011

Pumpercake’s Cherry Chocolate Comeback

I’m ashamed of how long its been since I’ve shared a recipe with you.  There’s no excuse for my blatant neglect of the site, however, I assure you that the recent absence of posts doesn’t mean that there’s been any less baking going on in the Pumpercake kitchen.  Quite the opposite, actually.  The past couple weeks have been spent in preparation of and taking much joy in sharing a series of fun and delicious summertime treats to be enjoyed by friends and family during various visits and vacations.  In the weeks leading up to my jam-packed vacation week, I was able to plan and put together many delightful desserts, and even squeezed in a couple food-photo sessions (special thanks goes out to my favorite food photographer for these especially beautiful shots).What I wasn’t quite able to find time for, however, was the actual article-writing/recipe-posting/desperate-attempts-at-witty-storytelling.

Now, as I attempt to  find myself with a surplus of notes on pre-perfected recipes and hundreds of unedited dessert photos floating about my computer in a devastatingly unorganized manner, just waiting to be sorted and presented to you.  The recipe I chose to share today is one from the lovely vacation I went on with my favorite Virginia family (including my favorite Virginia baby) to Wrightsville Beach.

My cherry-almond chocolate ganache tart is inspired by my favorite kind of protein bar of the same flavor combination.  This version is gluten-free and to enjoyed by all.  As if that weren’t enough, the entire dessert can be made as a no-bake… perfect for a hot summer night when you can’t bare to turn on the oven.  Variations in the type of chocolate, fruit, and nuts used can be made according to your preferences, but I love this combination of silky bitter and semisweet chocolate freckled with juicy dark cherries and fragrant toasted almonds.  The simplicity of the ingredients and assembly seems to only enhance the rustic beauty of the final product.

Cherry-Dimpled Chocolate Ganache Tart

Inspired by: LUNA’s “Chocolate Cherry Almond Bar”

Adapted from Hot Polka Dot‘s Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart

1 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cherry extract

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

¼ cup salted almonds

Chocolate Tart Crust
(recipe below)

1 cup dark cherries, pitted

– -recipe yield:
12 x 8½-inch rectangle tart

Pour cream in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk in the extracts and corn syrup.  Place saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a rapid simmer.  While cream mixture is heating, roughly chop semisweet and bittersweet chocolate and place in a large bowl.  Pour simmering cream over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit, untouched, for about 2 minutes.  Then, whisk the mixture in the center of the bowl to melt the chocolate and form a smooth ganache.  Set aside for about 4-5 minutes to slightly cool and thicken.

Place whole almonds in a dry non-stick skillet over low heat while the ganache thickens.  Toss the almonds to toast them evenly and remove them from heat as soon as they are fragrant (which should only take a few minutes).  Transfer nuts to a cutting boar, and, once cooled, give them a rough chop to desired size.  Pour the lukewarm, thickened ganache into a completely cooled tart shell and smooth evenly with an angled spatula.  Scatter pitted cherries into the tart, pressing them slightly into the ganache, and sprinkle on the toasted, chopped almonds evenly over top of the cherry-dimpled tart.  Allow to set up at room temperature for about 3-4 hours, or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Chocolate Tart Crust

Adapted from  Dinners & DreamsCorn Flake Pie Crust

 6 cups gluten-free corn flakes

¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 egg, lightly beaten (omit for no-bake)

½ teaspoon salt

-recipe yield: one 12×8½-inch tart shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a large tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.  Pulse together in a food processor the corn flakes and cocoa powder until completely crushed and combined.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Prepare a double boiler fitted with a small glass bowl containing the butter, sugar and chocolate chips and place over medium heat until melted and homogeneous.  Pour the chocolate-butter mixture over the corn flake mixture along with the lightly beaten egg and the salt, and stir until the crumbly mixture has fully combined.  Press crust firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, and place into preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until crisped and slightly puffed.  Allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack before filling with ganache.


August 3, 2011

Éclairs With A Flair

I’m very pleased to share with you the news of my recent enrollment in a 6-month pastry program at a French culinary school here in the DC area.  Classes started just a couple weeks ago and I’ve already learned so much about the technique and art of pastry… I couldn’t be more thrilled with my personal and career decisions that have led me to culinary school and the exploration of the wonderful world of pastry!

My favorite of all of the lectures, demonstrations, and lessons thus far has been that of a simple and delicious pastry cream.  Pastry cream has been a staple for my desserts for quite a while now, but, as I’ve enhanced my understanding and adapted my techniques, my entire idea of pastry cream has completely changed.  My new go-to recipe is about ten times more simple than my old version, and the finished product is a billion times more delectable.  I’ve edited the recipe on my instructional pastry cream page (found on the upper tab above) and have been itching to include it in a Pumpercake recipe.
I decided to incorporate another of the “basics” I’ve learned so far in class into today’s recipe, “Choux paste,” which is the dough base for cream puffs, éclairs, and other pastries.   The appeal of the choux is that it can be piped into just about any shape (swans, anyone?) and, once baked, it acts as a bit of a blank canvas as it is beautifully hollow and can be filled with a delicious custard, curd, or cream.

On a mission to make a super summer version of the ever-traditional éclair, I chose to fold some citrus-y sweet fruit curds into the vanilla pastry cream and used brightly colored white chocolate glazes to coat the tops of them.  An explosion of strawberry-pomegranate and orange-grapefruit flavors burst from a buttery crisp envelope of delicate choux, which is then topped off with a bright and sweet chocolate glaze to dress up the pretty little pastries.  These tiny sweet treats are decadent enough to feel indulgent, yet light enough to allow for continuous enjoyment of 2 or 3 of them.  In fact, I’ve found that making the éclairs extra-tiny can really help to rationalize eating at least 4 per sitting…

Sweet Summertime Éclairs

-In flavors of Strawberry-Pomegranate and Orange-Grapefruit

Inspired by: Éclairs

Choux Paste (Éclair Base)

100 grams unsalted butter
(about 7¼ tablespoons)

½ cup milk

½ cup water

150 grams all-purpose flour
(about 1 cup & 2 tablespoons)

½ teaspoon salt

3-4 large eggs,
plus 1 for egg wash

–recipe yield:
about 50 4-inch éclairs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Add milk and water, increase heat to medium, and bring mixture to a full boil.  Remove immediately from heat and add combined flour and salt at once.  Stir together with a wooden spoon into a panade (thick, almost paste-like mixture).  Replace saucepan onto warm burner to evaporate some of the water and dry out the panade slightly, allowing easier incorporation of the eggs.  When panade can “flake” easily while breaking with a wooden spoon, transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Using a paddle attachment of an electric mixer on a low speed, turn and loosen the dough, allowing it to cool slightly until it reaches the point where you can touch the bottom of the bowl comfortably.  Mix in 2 eggs until absorbed, then add the 3rd egg, mixing until it has also been absorbed.  Beat the 4th egg in a separate dish and add gradually, as the entire egg may not be needed.  The choux paste is finished when it can be pulled up by the paddle attachment into a distinct point that easily folds when flipped (like a soft peak).

Transfer choux paste into a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain round tip.  Pipe paste into desired size éclair rectangles.  Coat each mound with a small amount of egg wash (1 egg, beaten) using a pastry brush, and tap the tops surface of each brushed éclair with the back of a fork that’s been dampened with water.  The egg wash helps the pastry to achieve a golden brown color, while the fork marks create expanding ridges, much like ribbing in clothing.  Bake until puffed, golden, and firm (about 20-25 minutes).

Strawberry Pomegranate Curd

½ cup strawberry pulp, strained

¼-1/3 cup pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tablespoon cornstarch

1 egg, plus 2 yolks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon salt

Place strawberry pulp and ¼ cup pomegranate juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to simmer.  Allow liquid to reduce by about half (4-5 minutes) before removing the syrup from heat and stirring in lemon juice and an extra splash of pomegranate juice.  While syrup cools, whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Whisk in egg and yolks until combined.  While continuing to whisk, gradually drizzle in the cooled syrup until it has all been added, and the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy.  Transfer mixture back into saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  After 6-8 minutes, when the curd has thickened greatly, remove from heat and push through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.  While stirring, gradually add in small pieces of the butter until it has all been dissolved into the curd.  Mix in salt, and continue to stir until curd has cooled.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to sag into the bowl and cover the entire surface of the curd so that it doesn’t develop a skin.  Store cooled, covered curd in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Orange Grapefruit Curd

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup grapefruit juice

zest of 2 oranges & ¼ grapefruit

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1½ teaspoons orange extract

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ tablespoon cornstarch

1 egg, plus 2 yolks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon salt

Place fruit juices in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to simmer.  Allow liquid to reduce by about half (5-6 minutes) before removing the syrup from heat and stirring in zest, lemon juice and orange extract.  While syrup cools, whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Whisk in egg and yolks until combined.  While continuing to whisk, gradually drizzle in the cooled syrup until it has all been added, and the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy.  Transfer mixture back into saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  After 6-8 minutes, when the curd has thickened greatly, remove from heat and push through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.  While stirring, gradually add in small pieces of the butter until it has all been dissolved into the curd.  Mix in salt, and continue to stir until curd has cooled.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to sag into the bowl and cover the entire surface of the curd so that it doesn’t develop a skin.  Store cooled, covered curd in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Additional Ingredients & Preparation:

A full batch of pastry cream should be prepared, and divided into two equal parts to be folded into the two fruit curds.  Pastry cream is the standard filling for éclairs, so one may choose to omit the curd portion of the recipe and fill the éclairs with only the vanilla cream.  Fruit curd-pastry creams should be stored the same as a regular pastry cream, refrigerated and covered tightly with a layer of plastic wrap draped onto the surface of the mixture.

A full batch of chocolate glaze should be prepared using white chocolate in the place of semisweet.  The prepared glaze can be divided in half and colored with pink rose and orange gel food colorings, if desired.

Assembly:

Transfer fruit curd pastry creams into pastry or zip-top bags fitted with small round tips.  Using a sharp paring knife, create two tiny slits on each end of the underside of each cooled éclair.  Place the tip of one of the bags of curd-cream into one slit, squeeze until slightly plumped, and then into the other slit, squeezing again.  This will help the éclairs to be filled evenly and prevent tearing or bursting.  Repeat this process with all the éclairs, filling half of them with strawberry pomegranate filling and half with orange grapefruit filling.

Dip the tops of each filled  éclair into the coordinating cooled chocolate glaze, and set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate glaze to set.  Éclairs should be served immediately to prevent sogginess, however, leftovers may be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

July 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse: A Dessert Tribute

Amy’s recent passing has brought about an incredible sadness in me, one that I didn’t know was possible to feel for someone whom I’ve never met.  I found myself with a temporary loss of inspiration in the kitchen, something that doesn’t happen often.  My mom suggested that I take the opportunity to allow Amy to inspire me, as she and her music have so many countless times before.  But, what could represent Amy on a plate?  After much loving deliberation, we found the inevitable answer: some sort of fabulous mess.

It may come as a surprise that Amy was actually said to be “quite the cook” and enjoyed preparing and feasting on a variety of  comfort foods.  Her dessert tribute, therefore, needed to be something comforting and soul-warming.  After a bit of back-and-forth, I eventually decided to use her favorite cocktail as a starting point for a flavor base, assuming that she’d appreciate a little splash or two of alcohol in the dish meant to celebrate her short life and her beautiful music.  The drink, called a “Rickstasy,” is a banana liqueur cocktail, which eventually lead me to the idea of a sort of  “Bananas Foster Bread Pudding,” to which I included the elements of the drink.  I also made sure to use a delicious loaf of braided Challah bread to represent her Jewish roots.  And, of course, in an attempt to honor her unique style and signature hair, I topped off each hot mess of a serving with a torched meringue “beehive.”

The decadent dessert turned out velvety, rich and smooth… lusciously resembling the same undeniable qualities of Amy’s gorgeous, soulful voice.  The dish may not even come close to doing justice to the ingenious musical stylings of Amy’s legacy, but the thought and process of preparing it and enjoying it was a great (and delicious) way to channel my grief while honoring the ever beautiful and exceptionally talented artist who I so adored and whose music I’ll forever cherish.

Banana Liqueured Bread Pudding

Inspired by: Amy Winehouse & the “Rickstasy”

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse‘s “Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

1 large loaf braided challah bread

½ cup unsalted butter

1½ cups light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

6 firm-ripe bananas, cut into ¾ slices

¼ cup banana liqueur

¼ cup vanilla vodka

¼ cup peach bourbon

4 large eggs

3 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup whole milk

½ cup Irish cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch salt

–recipe yield: about 10-12 servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 10×14” ovenproof dish. Using a serrated knife, slice bread into rough cubes, collecting about 6 cups of the cubed bread to be used for the pudding.Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, eventually stirring in 1 cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger until dissolved and combined (about 2 minutes). Add banana slices and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring and flipping the bananas to brown each side evenly. Stir in banana liqueur and allow to combine and warm through. Carefully add vodka and bourbon and shake to incorporate and flame the pan. Continue to gently shake the pan until the flame dies. Take skillet off heat to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, remaining brown sugar, cream, milk, Irish cream, vanilla, and salt.  Stir in the cooled fruit mixture and the cubed bread, tossing to coat.  Transfer entire mixture to prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until firm.  Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

To serve, scoop warm bread pudding onto individual dishes, topped with a “beehive” mound of vanilla meringue, if desired.

July 21, 2011

Chocolate Souffle For A Happy Birthday

Here at Pumpercake, every day last week was celebrated with a Harry Potter-inspired post and recipe.  Amidst all the Harry-hype, it seems that I somehow managed to omit Evan’s birthday dessert from the recipe lineup.  Although I was able to pull together a couple fabulous desserts for the occasion, I didn’t get the chance to whip up a post with the recipe!

Evan, the talented photographer behind the lovely photos of Pumpercake, has been quite the study-bug lately (as mentioned previously) and had requested a low-key, quiet birthday at home.  He suggested that we order some Asian take-out and rent a movie.  I decided to step it up a notch and spent the day placing orders at numerous Chinese, Thai, and Japanese restaurants, selecting his favorite specific dishes from each, and gave a different specified time for every take-out order to be delivered.  With each knock on the door throughout the evening, Evan was presented with an array of his favorite foods until the apartment had transformed into a sort of Asian-buffet.  Needless to say, I knew there would be little room for dessert, so I came up with one mini-dessert, and, to be enjoyed the following day, a more indulgent treat.

Evan is an avid fruit-lover, and his favorite combination is that of white chocolate and raspberries.  As his mini-dessert, I strung together a simple array berries and ran the skewered fruit through some rich white chocolate.  And instead of an extravagant Birthday cake, I went with individual white chocolate souffle cakes, filled with a dark chocolate and raspberry molten surprise.  The cakes turned out amazing.  The light, fluffy texture of a souffle paired with the richness of the warm white and dark chocolates, and the smooth bite and tang of the raspberry made for an incredible merriment of Evan’s favorite flavors.

A very happy (late) Birthday goes out to our wonderful “food-tographer!”  I hope you enjoyed your day (and your desserts!) as much as I enjoy and appreciate all you do for me and for Pumpercake!

White Chocolate Raspberry
Molten Soufflé Cakes

Inspired by: White Chocolate & Raspberries (Evan’s favorite!)

Adapted fromWhite Chocolate Soufflé Cakes with Raspberry-Chocolate Sauce,” Fine Cooking

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

small pinch of table salt

¾ cup whole milk

3 large eggs, separated & room temperature

6 ounces white chocolate, chopped

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

2¼ tablespoons superfine granulated sugar

6 balls raspberry-chocolate ganache (recipe below)

–recipe yield: 6 six-ounce servings

Prepare 6 six-ounce ovenproof ramekins by buttering them and lightly coating them with granulated or superfine sugar, tapping out the excess.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together flour, salt and about half of the milk to form a paste.  Whisk in the remaining milk and set saucepan over medium heat.  Whisking frequently, heat mixture for 2-3 minutes, or until it forms a thick cream sauce.  As mixture heats, crack egg yolks only into a large bowl, breaking them apart slightly with a fork.  Add a small amount of the cream sauce to the yolks while continuously whisking.  When the yolks have been brought up to temperature, pour them into the saucepan and continue to heat while constantly whisking.  Mixture should soon resemble a pastry cream, and should then be transferred to a large bowl.  Whisk white chocolate into the hot pastry cream mixture until melted and smooth, and then stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Position a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites until slightly foamy.  Add in cream of tartar and continue to whip until the whites just barely reach soft peaks.  Gradually beat in the superfine sugar and whip the meringue into medium-soft peaks.  Gently fold the meringue gradually into the tepid pastry cream until the mixture is combined.  Spoon the lightened mixture into each prepared ramekin until each is just about 1/3 full.  Place one chilled ball of raspberry-chocolate ganache into each ramekin on top of the first layer of the souffle mixture.  Spoon the remaining souffle mixture on top of and around each ball of ganache until the ganache has been completely covered and each ramekin is completely full.  Use the dull side of a butter knife to scrape the very top of each ramekin, leveling off the mixture.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the tops of the souffle cakes are golden and they’ve risen and are beautifully puffed, about 16-18 minutes.  They should quiver slightly when tapped and be warm and soft in the centers.  Let cool slightly before serving, but note that the longer they sit, the more they’ll deflate.  Dust with powdered sugar to serve.  Assembled and unbaked souffle cakes can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Raspberry-Chocolate Molten Ganache Filling

½ cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Place a small metal pan in freezer.  Pour raspberries in a food processor and pulse until pureed.  Push through a fine mesh sieve, discarding seeds.  Prepare a double boiler with a small glass bowl, and combine in the bowl the butter, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of raspberry puree (remaining puree can be discarded or used as garnish).  Heat until dissolved and hot, remove from heat, and stir in chocolate until melted and combined.  Pour mixture into the chilled pan and freeze for 20 minutes.  Use a small scoop to scrape the mixture into 6 balls.  Refrigerate ganache balls until ready to bake dessert.

July 14, 2011

Kosher Kupcakes

         

As if publishing Pumpercake’s Seven-Layer Cake this week wasn’t exciting enough, I’m absolutely thrilled to be a guest blogger at  Joy of Kosher today!

A Joy of Kosher representative contacted me asking for a guest post and a couple summery cupcake recipes that could be made pareve (without dairy).  My guest post features Pumpercake’s cocktail-inspired “Margarita Cupcakes,” and “Black & White Cupcakes,” inspired by the well known Jewish cookie.

Make sure you stop by Joy of Kosher today to take a look at Pumpercake’s cupcake article, recipes, and pictures, as well as the many other great articles and wonderful everyday recipes throughout the site!

July 14, 2011

Summer Pudding & Keeping Away the Nargles

I’m sad to admit that the end of Potter Week is near, but undeniably happy to be less than 24 hours away from the long-awaited final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  I have a few more Harry-themed recipes to share, including today’s Summer Pudding, which I just love.

While researching various British desserts for this week, I learned that the common British use of the word  “pudding” is somewhat interchangeable with the American use of the word “dessert.”  Any mention of pudding in the Harry Potter book series and films, therefore, may not actually be a reference to the sweet and creamy custard I’d always pictured.  And “loony” Luna Lovegood, the dreamily carefree, pudding-loving friend of Harry’s, wasn’t constantly craving a heaping bowl of vanilla tapioca or even rice pudding.  Luna, instead, frequently found herself with a bit of a sweet tooth and simply wanted a dessert of some sort (I can relate).  Either way, I still like to imagine Luna happily rushing over to the Ravenclaw table at the Hogwarts feast and scooping herself a large serving of rich, custard pudding.

If you haven’t guessed, it’s pretty apparent in the book series and even more so in the films that Luna is quite fond of pudding.  Upon first meeting Harry and friends in the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Luna both informs the group of her belief that her odd jewelry charm “keeps away the nargles,” and also expresses her desire for pudding, all in the same breath.

While Luna seems to be quite the pudding-fan, we cannot say the same for Dobby, the beloved house elf.  In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, mischievous Dobby sends evil Aunt Petunia’s “masterpiece of a pudding” crashing to the floor, disrupting a dinner party, and leaving Harry at the scene of the crime, completely covered in sugared flowers and cream.  Regardless of Dobby’s potential distaste, I thought it important to create some sort of pudding for Potter Week, and fell in love with the idea of “Summer Pudding,” a super simple, no-bake, berry-filled concoction.  I think that it would be a beautiful addition to any Hogwarts feast or perhaps ‘Harry Potter Movie Marathon Party’ buffet table…  fit for wizards, house elves, and muggles alike!

Summer Pudding

Inspired by: Luna Lovegood’s favorite (and Aunt Petunia’s ruined) “Pudding”

“I’ll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up.  It always does in the end…”
-Luna Lovegood, lightheartedly referencing her missing possessions, hidden by Hogwarts students in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Adapted from Craig Stoll’s
“Summer Berry Pudding,”
Fine Cooking

2 pints fresh strawberries

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 pints red raspberries

2 pints black raspberries

2 pints blackberries

juice and zest from 1 orange

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 loaf fine-crumb white bread

–recipe yield: about 8-12 servings

Hull and roughly chop strawberries into a small dice and place into medium saucepan.  Toss sliced strawberries with the sugar and place over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until berries have broken down into a thick syrup.  Remove and discard any large strawberry pieces, and reduce heat to low.  Add into the liquid the red raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries.  Allow the berries to slightly soften in the hot syrup for about 5 minutes before removing the whole berries from the liquid with a slotted spoon or strainer and transferring them to a small bowl to cool.  The syrup should remain in the saucepan over low heat for about 5 more minutes, allowing it to simmer and reduce.  Then, remove the reduced syrup from heat and stir in the orange juice and zest, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice.

As berries and syrup cool, butter the inside of  a large bowl line with plastic wrap. Remove all crusts from each slice of bread. Fit a few bread slices into an even layer lining bottom and sides of prepared bowl, further trimming slices if necessary. Dip slices into the cooled fruit syrup and arrange soaked slices back into the bowl. Spoon about ½ cup of berries into the center of the bowl atop the soaked bread. Cover berries with a few more slices of soaked bread, spooning on another ½ cup of berries onto those slices. Repeat bread-soaking and berry-layering until layers reach near level with the top of bread-lining up the sides of the bowl. Level with side bread-lining, arrange a final layer of soaked bread to cover the top of the berries completely and the entire surface of the dessert.

Cover the surface of the dessert with plastic wrap, and fit a small plate or round cardboard cutout into the bowl on top of the wrapped surface.  Place some slightly heavy objects (canned goods or a few small boxes of sugar, etc.) on top of the round cutout to weigh it down and condense the dessert into a dense solid.  Set the weighted dessert onto a rimmed sheet tray and place into refrigerator to chill overnight.  Invert the chilled dessert onto a serving dish, peeling away and discarding the plastic wrap.  Garish with confectioner’s sugar and/or extra berries if desired, slice, and serve.

July 10, 2011

Harry Potter and the Incredible Crumble

This week is Potter Week at Pumpercake!  Harry Potter inspired recipes will be published all week as we count down the days before the final movie is released into theaters!

Some of Harry’s happiest memories are those he has of time spent with his beloved Godfather, Sirius Black.  Sirius and Harry had a couple very memorable conversations during the tail-end of a meeting with the Order of the Phoenix, some of which took place during dinner.  Mrs. Weasley served up an extravagant feast for this particular occasion, and ended the meal with an impressive “rhubarb crumble and custard” that Harry thoroughly enjoyed.  This is my version of Harry’s favorite chef’s dessert.

I went with crimson-cherry rhubarb, twice baked, infused with orange flavors and a hint of cardamom.  I knew I needed to incorporate some sort of Sherbet Lemon element in one of the recipes for Potter Week.  Sherbet Lemon, of course, being “a kind of Muggle sweet” that Albus Dumbledore is “rather fond of.” The custard that Mrs. Weasley serves alongside her crumble was the perfect opportunity for me to include Albus’s favorite flavors.

“Three helpings of rhubarb crumble and custard later and the waistband on Harry’s jeans was feeling uncomfortably tight (which was saying something, as the jeans had once been Dudley’s).”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Rhubarb Crumble
with
“Sherbet Lemon”
Custard Sauce

Inspired by: Molly Weasley’s
“Rhubarb Crumble & Custard,” and Professor Dumbledore’s favorite
“Sherbet Lemon”

Adapted from Dinah Bucholz’s
“Rhubarb Crumble with Custard Sauce,”
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Rhubarb Crumble

1½ pound crimson red rhubarb

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon orange extract

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

zest from ½ an orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil.  Slice rhubarb into ½-inch pieces and toss together with granulated sugar, orange and vanilla extracts, cardamom, baking soda, and ¼ tablespoon of the cornstarch.  Spread rhubarb mixture onto lined sheet tray and bake for about 10 minutes to help soften and caramelize rhubarb.  Once removed from the oven, toss the mixture to cool it slightly.  Sift onto the rhubarb mixture the remaining cornstarch and the flour and mix, stirring in the orange zest as well.  Pour in an even layer into a 1-quart casserole dish and set aside while preparing crumble topping.

Crumble Topping

½ cup all-purpose flour              ½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup steel cut oats                  ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup almond flour                   6 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup brown sugar

Mix together in a food processor all ingredients, except for the butter, until thoroughly combined.  Cut the cold butter into a small dice and add the pieces into the food processor with the dry crumble mixture.  Pulse until butter has incorporated and the texture of the mixture resembles clumpy, wet sand. Sprinkle the crumb mixture into the dish in an even layer on top of the rhubarb.  Place in 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until rhubarb is bubbly and topping is golden.

“Sherbet Lemon” Custard Sauce

3 egg yolks

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup whole milk

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

zest from 1 lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

juice from ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon sherbet powder

–recipe yield: about 1¼ cups custard sauce

In a small bowl, lightly break up egg yolks with a fork, then set bowl aside.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch.  Whisk in milk, cream and lemon zest until cornstarch has dissolved.  Place over medium-high heat, constantly stirring, until thoroughly heated but not boiling.  Reduce heat to low and, while whisking the egg yolks, slowly pour into the small bowl a couple tablespoons of the hot liquid to bring eggs gently up to temperature without cooking them.  Once yolks have been heated, transfer the warm mixture into the saucepan and replace heat to medium-high.  Constantly stirring, continue to heat until mixture is thick and bubbling.  Remove from heat and pour mixture into a small bowl, allowing it to pass through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any solid pieces of egg.  Stir the vanilla and the lemon juice into the hot custard until incorporated.  Serve warm or chilled.  If not serving immediately, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic to sag into the bowl and cover the entire surface of the custard sauce so the sauce doesn’t develop a skin.  Store covered custard sauce in refrigerator.

July 8, 2011

Treacle Tart Even A Muggle Would Love

Exactly one week from today, the latest and last movie in the Harry Potter trilogy will premier in theaters.  I, like so many others, am a passionate fan of the book series and the movies and am devastated that the Potter-era is coming to an end.

While others my age have grown up reading each of the books as they were released and, therefore, feel as though they’ve grown up alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione themselves, this isn’t quite the case for me.  I developed an unreasonably stubborn attitude about HP & the gang back when the books first became popular.  My big, bad, middle-school aged self had barely skimmed through the second book (I didn’t even go in order!) before I decided that all the  “mystical stuff” was nonsense and not for me.  It wasn’t until this past December that Evan insisted I not only watch all the movies in order to accompany him to the latest premier, but he also insisted that I read each and every one of the books, too.  I thought this would be quite the chore, but was open to giving the books another shot.  Little did I know, I’d complete the entire series in just over one month and the only chore involved was my having to cope with the devastation of reading through the books much too fast and never wanting any of it to end.
Needless to say, midway through book 1, I was hooked. While so many other die-hard fans out there have had the pleasure of Harry being in their lives for over a decade, he’s only been in mine for a mere 6 months!

In order to savor and celebrate the final release of the end of this magical saga, I’ve decided that, starting today, it will be Potter Week here at Pumpercake.  From now until the movie premier next Friday, I’ll be sharing my interpretations of desserts mentioned throughout the series as we count down the days before the big movie premier.  Today, I’ve decided to start with a treacle tart, which is described in the books to be Harry’s favorite dish.  Treacle tart is a traditional English dessert and one that appears many times throughout the series… at least once per each of the seven books, if I’m not mistaken.  I chose a gingery version with a fragrant almond shortcrust and lemon poached pears.  I did my best to try and core the pears from the bottom but still keep the curvy, black stems attached, as I absolutely love the look they give to the dessert… dark, interesting and whimsical.

Ginger Pear Treacle Tart with Lemon-Almond Poached Pears

Inspired by: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’s “(Harry’s favorite) Treacle Tart,”

“The first whiff he identified was of warm treacle tart. It brought back pleasant memories of eating in the Great Hall with Ron and Hermione, throwing jokes around and laughing over dinner.”  -Harry, smelling Amortentia potion for the first time in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Amortentia is a powerful love potion and has a different aroma suited for everyone who smells it, reminding each person of the things that they find most desirable or attractive.

Adapted from Gingery Treacle Tart,” Good Food, December 2008
and Dinah Bucholz’s “Almond-Ginger-Peach Treacle Tart,” The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

1¼ cups golden treacle syrup

zest and juice of ½ lemon

1½-2½ teaspoons fresh ginger root, finely grated

¾ cup fresh honey wheat breadcrumbs

3 eggs

5 lemon-almond poached pears (recipe below)

9-inch sweet almond shortbread shell (recipe below)

–recipe yield: one 9-inch tart

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour syrup into a small saucepan and combine with lemon zest, juice and ginger.  Place over medium-low heat, warming the syrup until runny.  Pour the warm, runny syrup in a large bowl over the breadcrumbs and toss together until coated.  In a small bowl, whisk to break apart the eggs.  Pour the eggs into the syrup-breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine.

Slice the very bottom of each pear so they’re able to stand straight up.  Place pears into tart shell and spoon treacle filling into shell around the pears.  Place into preheated oven for 55-65 minutes (placing foil over tart edges if they become too brown), or until filling has set.  Allow tart to cool completely in pan on cooling rack before removing, slicing, and serving.

Lemon-Almond Poached Pears

These pears aren’t fully poached, as they’ll soften more when they’re baked with the tart.

5 bosc pears

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

zest & juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon almond extract

–recipe yield: 5 (partially) poached pears

Peel 5 whole pears, keeping core and stem in tact.  Combine sugar with 6 cups water in a large pot over medium heat.  Once sugar has dissolved and water has come to a low simmer, add in lemon zest, juice, and almond extract.   Bring water up to a very low boil and add in whole pears.  Allow pears to poach in simmering water for 12-15 minutes, or until they’re almost tender (as they’ll cook more in the oven later).  At this point, remove pears by their stems, set on paper towel and allow to cool.  Pears can be poached a day in advanced and stored in their cooled poaching liquid in an airtight container the refrigerator.

Sweet Almond Shortbread Tart Shell

1 cup all purpose flour                     ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold

¼ cup almond flour                          1 egg yolk

½ cup confectioner’s sugar              1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon salt                              ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Combine in a food processor the flour, almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter in very small pieces and pulse together until entire stick has been added and the texture is crumbly.  Using a fork, break apart egg yolk and combine with cream and almond extract.  Gradually pour the liquid into the mixture while pulsing together until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, kneading it lightly if necessary, and form into a disk.  Wrap disk completely in the plastic and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Press chilled dough into a buttered 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Line the shell with parchment paper, fill with baking beans, and place it in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove paper and beans, and place it back in the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before filling.