Posts tagged ‘jewish desserts’

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!

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 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!

April 26, 2011

Passover pumperKugel

Having the passion for food that I do, I’m always eager to try new things and learn about the traditional foods from different backgrounds.  I’m lucky enough to have been exposed to an array of exciting and delicious Jewish foods, as well as the history and stories behind each dish, thanks to Evan’s grandmother.  I look forward to each and every holiday with Evan’s wonderful family and I enjoy so much spending time visiting with them and sharing in their family traditions.

My favorite of the many delectable dishes I’ve had with Evan’s family is undoubtedly the kugel.  A kugel is a sweet, noodle pudding that is normally served as a side dish (but can very easily pass as an indulgent dessert) during Passover.  Other versions of kugel start with a potato or sweet potato base, but Evan’s grandma’s luscious concoction of egg noodles, pineapple, and golden raisins has me convinced that noodles are the way to go.  Although I might miss her incredible candied sweet potatoes, I could easily be satisfied with a Passover feast composed of a plate filled with only kugel.

I’ve experimented with a couple different recipes in the past, but the kugel that I created for this year’s Passover was my best effort yet.  I incorporated pineapple and golden raisins as a tribute to Evan’s grandmother’s version, and even threw in a few bites of creamy, baked sweet potato in order to have both of my favorite of her dishes represented in the meal.  I topped it with ground cinnamon, just as she does, along with a salty-sweet matzo crumble, my own little twist.  Evan agreed that the kugel was the best of my previous attempts and described it as being delicious and extra “dessert-y” (Me? Dessert? Big surprise).  It may not be the most glamorous dish but, kugel doesn’t need any fancy frills or even a holiday to be delicious.

Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel

Inspired by: ‘Grandma’ Millie’s “Pineapple-Raisin Kugel”

Adapted from Andrea Marks Carneiro & Roz Marks’ “Apple-Raisin Noodle Kugel,” The Modern Girl’s Guide To Cooking Like A Jewish Grandmother

1 sweet potato

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted, divided

2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces chunk pineapple (in juice)             ¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup golden raisins                                      3 eggs

6 ounces egg noodles                                    ¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup cream cheese                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sour cream                                           2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

½ cup ricotta cheese                                      -recipe yield: about 5-8 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet tray with tin foil.  Peel and dice the sweet potato and place in a medium bowl.  Toss the diced potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper until potatoes are evenly coated.  Arrange coated potatoes in an even layer onto the lined tray and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Set aside to cool and reduce oven heat to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides a 2 ½-quart souffle dish and set aside.

Pour into a saucepan about ½ cup or so of the extracted pineapple juice.  Heat the juice over low-medium heat for a few minutes until warmed through.  Turn off the heat and pour the hot juice into a small glass bowl or mug.  Add in the golden raisins and allow them to rehydrate and soak in the juice for about 10 minutes, until they have slightly plumped.  Strain the raisins, discarding the juice, and in a small bowl, toss them together with the cooled sweet potatoes.  Slice each of the pineapple chunks in half and toss them with the potato-raisin mixture as well.

Bring to boil a large pot of lightly salted water.  Add egg noodles to the boiling water and cook until just tender for about 6-8 minutes, or according to package instructions.  Drain noodles and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the remaining granulated sugar until fluffy and creamed.  Beat in ricotta cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Whisk in heavy cream, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.  Gently stir in the pineapple-potato mixture.  Pour in the cooked, drained noodles and drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Toss the entire mixture together until noodles are well coated.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Mazto Crumble Topping

This crisp-like topping is completely optional, as the kugel is divine on it’s own.  The crumble gives it a little extra crunch and salty-sweetness that can help balance out the ultra-richness of the noodle-pudding.

¼ cup whole grain (as this dish is so health concious) matzo meal*

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces

Empty all ingredients into food processor and pulse until texture is crumbly, adding a teaspoon of cold water if necessary.  Sprinkle the crumble into an even layer onto the kugel before baking, and top with another teaspoon of ground cinnamon.**  Bake kugel at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until it has set and the top is golden.

Allow kugel to cool and set for at least 15-20 minutes.  Kugel can be enjoyed warm or cold (both are delish, but Evan and I prefer it cold) and should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.

*Although the matzo made the dish much more Passover-traditional, I only used it because I had some leftover from the matzo ball soup I’d prepared earlier in the week.  The matzo meal can easily be substituted for flour.

**If choosing to omit the crumble topping, sprinkle the top of the kugel with an extra generous teaspoon of ground cinnamon before baking.

April 22, 2011

Traditional Seven Layer Cake for an Untraditional Passover

It’s been pretty busy in my apartment lately, as celebrations and preparations for Passover as well as Holy Week and Easter Sunday have all taken place this week.  Since Evan and I aren’t able to visit our families in Michigan this holiday season, I wanted to bring as much festivity as I could to our quiet home.  Each day of Passover I tried to prepare a different dish that followed either a family or Jewish tradition, including a matzo ball soup, Evan’s family’s favorite Caprese salad, and a kugel (more to come on this soon!).

Ever since I first heard of them, I’ve been anxious to try to make a Jewish seven layer cake.  Regardless of the fact that customary Passover foods aren’t supposed to contain any chametz (leavening agents), I decided to use the high holiday as an opportunity to bake the cake.  Yes, an entire seven layer cake may be a ridiculous dessert to make for a celebration involving a total of two people, but I justified this by making it at the very beginning of the week in hopes that the cake would be consumed a little at a time throughout the length of Passover.

There are many different versions of  the seven layer cake, including a Hungarian and a German version.  I found a Jewish recipe and adapted it a little to fit Evan’s description of what he remembers.  The cake is made up of six thin layers of a yellow sponge cake stacked in between six thin layers of a rich chocolate buttercream, and then topped with the seventh layer of cake,  which has been sliced and covered in caramel.Evan had described the cake to me as being a little “mocha-y,” so I added a good amount of coffee to the buttercream.  And even though he didn’t recall the caramel layer as being a part of the cake that he’d enjoyed as a kid, I decided to do it as I thought it would add a cool, dramatic look to the cake.  That simple little caramel layer actually ended up being my favorite part of the cake…  I’m certainly glad that I didn’t pass-it-over! : )

Traditional Jewish Seven Layer Cake

Inspired by: “Seven Layer Cake” -Diamond Bakery (West Bloomfield, MI)

Adapted from Gil Marks’ “7-Layer Cake,” The World of Jewish Desserts

Chocolate-Mocha Buttercream

I highly suggest making the buttercream the day before, as baking and assembling the actual cake is a pretty big project that can easily take up an entire day.  Store the buttercream in a covered container in the refrigerator, and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour before attempting to assemble the cake.

10 ounces semisweet chocolate                     1  pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate                  ½ cup vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules            1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups sugar                                               ½ teaspoon rum extract

¾ cup water                                                    ¼ teaspoon salt

6 egg yolks

Prepare a double boiler fitted with a medium glass bowl and melt the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate.  When chocolate is melted, stir in the coffee granules and remove from stove top to allow to cool slightly.  In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water and sugar and place on the stove over low heat.  Stir mixture for about five minutes or until the sugar has dissolved, and increase the heat to medium and, without stirring, bring the syrup to a boil.  Allow boiling syrup to reach 250 degrees on a candy thermometer (also called the “soft-ball stage”), before removing from heat.

While syrup is boiling, beat egg yolks in a large bowl until pale and thick, about 4 minutes.  Once sugar syrup has reached 250 degrees, very slowly drizzle the syrup into the eggs by allowing it to flow in a steady stream down the side of the bowl gradually into the eggs while continuing to beat the mixture.  Once all the hot syrup has been added, continue to beat on high until the mixture has thickened and cooled to room temperature (about 10 minutes).

Once the thick mixture has cooled, continue to beat while adding in, a couple tablespoons at a time, the butter and shortening.  After both have been fully incorporated, gradually beat in the melted, cooled chocolate-coffee mixture, followed by the salt, vanilla, and rum extracts, beating well with the addition of each ingredient.  Once all ingredients have been incorporated, push entire mixture through a strainer and discard any undissolved coffee granules or solid egg parts.  Cover and store the buttercream frosting in the refrigerator until an hour before ready to frost the cake.  Spoon ¼ of the buttercream into a zip-lock or pastry bag and leave the rest in the bowl to be spread onto the cakes with an angled spatula.

Sponge Cake Layers

12 egg whites, room temperature

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

12 egg yolks

¼ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line bottom of 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and butter and flour paper and sides of pans.  It’s very important that the buttering and flouring be done extremely thoroughly or the baked cakes will be very difficult to remove from the pans, as there is no butter in the batter itself.  Unless you have 7 cake pans, you’ll have to bake the cake layers in batches (which isn’t a big deal since the cakes bake pretty quickly) and re-prepare the pans this way each time.

In a medium bowl, beat room temperature egg whites until they have formed soft peaks, and set aside.  In a separate, large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar on a high speed for 5-9 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.  Reduce mixing speed to low and add in the buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, along with the vanilla extract and the salt, and replace mixing speed to high.  Once the mixture has been beaten and has re-thickened, remove electric mixture and gradually and gently fold egg whites into the yolk mixture.  Once all the whites have been incorporated, slowly and in small batches, sift in the flour, folding after each addition of flour.

Measure out 1 cup of the batter for each cake pan and gently spread the batter into a thin, even layer in each pan.  Measuring the batter will ensure that each layer be exactly the same thickness, creating a pretty finished product and also allowing each layer to have the same baking time.  Tap the bottom of the cake pans against the countertop to help some of the larger air-bubbles to release so that the cakes bake evenly.  Bake the layers either one or two at a time (any more than two cake pans in the oven will bring the temperature down) for 6-8 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time.  When cakes are finished baking, the edges will turn light golden and will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.  Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 1-2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Caramel

Covering the seventh layer of the cake with this caramel is optional, but encouraged!  The caramel shouldn’t be made until ready to cover cake.  Without the caramel, the last cake layer can be stacked between buttercream with the other layers.

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup water

½ tablespoon unsalted butter

In a small skillet, stir together sugar and water on high heat.  Once the sugar has dissolved into a syrup (about 5 minutes), add butter and allow mixture to come to a boil.  Continue to stir the syrup so the caramel browns evenly.  Once the caramel has reached desired color, remove from heat and immediately pour onto prepared cake layer (see specific directions below).

Assembly:

First, I like to slice off the outer edges of each of the cake layers using a perforated knife (or even a pizza cuter) and a round tupperware top or cardboard cutout as a guide.  It’s important to wait to trim the cakes this way until just before ready to frost them, as the exposed edges will dry out if left uncovered for too long.

Smear a dollop of the room temperature buttercream onto the center of cake plate or server to secure the cake and center one cake layer atop the buttercream dollop.  Using a pastry or zip-lock bag, follow the edges of the cake and pipe a ring of buttercream on top of the layer.  Measure out 1/3 cup of the buttercream (from the bowl) and spoon onto the center of the layer.  Using a small, angled spatula,  push the buttercream out towards the ring of piped buttercream until it has been spread into an even layer covering the top of the cake.  Add the second layer of cake on top of the layer of buttercream, pipe another ring of buttercream, and measure and spread 1/3 cup of the frosting into another even layer.  Continue this process until the sixth layer of cake has been stacked and covered in buttercream.  Slip a few small strips of parchment paper under the bottom layer of the cake to catch any drips of buttercream.  Spread the remaining buttercream from the bowl onto the sides of the cake into an  even layer.  Once the entire cake has been evenly covered in buttercream, transfer cake to the refrigerator to cool and slightly harden the buttercream while you prepare the caramel and seventh cake layer.

Using the back edge of a large knife, score the seventh layer of the cake into 8 or 12 portions, making grooves into the cake but not cutting all the way through.  Lay the scored cake onto a layer of parchment paper and prepare the caramel as directed above.  Pour the hot caramel evenly onto the cake layer and spread using a buttered spatula until the layer has been fully covered by the caramel.  Before the warm caramel cools and hardens, use a large, buttered knife to slice the caramel-covered cake into slices along the score marks.  Re-buttering the knife as needed, trim off any excess caramel that has spread outside the cake.  Allow caramel-covered cake slivers to cool completely before topping the frosted, assembled cake.

Once the frosted cake has cooled and hardened slightly, remove it from the fridge.  Using an angled spatula dipped in very hot water, smooth out any imperfections in the buttercream, making a even surface for decorating.  Remove parchment strips from the bottom of the cake.

Transfer any extra buttercream to a pastry or zip-lock bag with a decorative tip and pipe a border on the bottom and/or top edges of the cake, or decorate however you wish.  Depending upon how many slices the caramel-cake layer has been sliced into, I would suggest piping the same number of buttercream dollops or rosettes onto the top of the frosted cake to serve as little pillows for the caramel-cake slivers.  Arrange the slivers on top of the cake, resting them on the rosettes.  Pipe one final rosette in the center of the cake, if desired, and serve.