Posts tagged ‘peach’

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.

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June 7, 2011

Mango Peach Tart For A Sweet Summer Start

Salsa is one of those go-to snacks that’s fit to satisfy all year round.  With different levels of spice, heat, and sweet, and a seemingly endless number of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s bound to be a salsa for everyone.  Evan’s favorite salsa is the mango-peach salsa made by Garden Fresh, a brand originating from Ferndale, Michigan.  And no, I promise it’s not just the homegrown comfort of the salsa that makes it so appealing to us Michigan-natives.  It’s legitimately incredible salsa.  And it also happens to be my inspiration behind today’s recipe.

I decided, if salsa-makers can marry mangoes, peaches and peppers together in sweet-heat harmony, so can I.  I used jalapenos and poblanos along with a dash of red pepper flake and cayenne to add some zip to the tangy-sweet fruit and piled it all into a buttery, cake-y shell.  All tasters agreed that it could handle even more heat, so feel free to turn up the amount of peppers and spice.  Please don’t be put off by the idea of a somewhat spicy dessert… it really was delicious.  Those too timid to add the peppers should definitely still whip up a batch of the cayenne cream.  That whipped cream and a spoon could keep me happy all summer long.

Mango Peach Tart with Cayenne Whipped Cream

Inspired by: “Mango Peach Salsa” -Garden Fresh Gourmet

Adapted from Marco Canora’s “White Peach Tart,” Food & Wine
and 
“Easy Peach Preserves,” Delicious Living

2 large mangoes                                                   1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 medium peaches                                                1/3 tablespoon gelatin

½-1 tablespoon grated red jalapeno                    1 tart crust (recipe below)

½-1 tablespoon grated poblano peppers             ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flake                       2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar                                        1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-recipe yield: 1 ten-inch tart

Peel and remove the core from both mangoes, then set one aside.  Chop one mango and two peaches (skin on) in a medium-small dice.  Transfer the diced fruit, grated peppers, pepper flakes, sugar and vinegar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over the stove, constantly stirring.  Continuing to stir periodically, reduce heat to medium-low and allow mixture to rapidly simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until fruit has somewhat broken down.  In a separate small bowl, sprinkle gelatin into ¼ cup cold water and let set for about 1 minutes. Then, add it to the fruit and allow it to heat, stirring it until the gelatin is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes).  Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool completely before using or covering and refrigerating.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice remaining mango and peaches into ¼-½ inch wedges and set aside.  Prepare tart crust dough (recipe below) and bring mango-peach gelatin mixture to room temperature.  If cold gelatin has solidified, stir with a fork and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until lukewarm and spreadable.  Spoon ¾-1 cup of mango-peach mixture into tart pan atop the dough and spread into an even layer, setting aside the remaining mixture to be used later.  Arrange mango slices into a large circle on top of the fruit mixture in the pan, and then peach slices on top of the mango slices.  Arrange fruit so that it is slightly overlapping.  Place smaller fruit slices in the center portion of the tart. Place tart into the oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove the tart and, using a pastry brush, brush a bit of the liquid from the gelatin mixture onto the exposed fruit slices on the tart.  Place the tart back into the oven and allow to bake another 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is puffed and golden and the fruit is tender.  Allow tart to rest for at least 30 minutes, or until completely cooled, before slicing and serving.

To prepare the cream, place chilled whipping cream into a medium bowl and beat until soft peaks have been achieved.  Beat in the confectioner’s sugar and cayenne pepper until it’s reached stiff peaks.  Serve on top of or alongside tart slices.

Tart Crust

1½ cups all-purpose flour           ½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup granulated sugar              ½ teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon baking powder        1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, softened butter, salt, and lemon zest . Pulse ingredients until combined.  Add in egg and egg yolk and process until a soft dough forms.  Remove dough from the processor onto a clean surface and knead until it just comes together. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

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