Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rustic Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or cold, unsalted butter
1/4 cups ice water, or as needed

* * * * * *

Preparing the filling:
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs total), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 T melted butter
pecan halves, for decoration

Preparing the pie:
In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the butter into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the feed tube as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl. Form the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap it in plastic; chill for one hour. The dough can be made in advance. It can be kept refrigerated for several days and even frozen.

When ready to make the pie, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool.

Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with no absolutely no resistance at the center when pieced with a fork.

Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato ricer or food processor.

As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.

Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more ground cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.

Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bobby's Beignets

These can be served with dusted with confectioners' sugar, jam, Nutella, etc.

1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
2 T unsalted butter, softened
2 quarts canola oil, plus more to oil bowl
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preparing the beignets:
Mix the yeast, water, and sugar in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Add the salt, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg, milk, and 1 1/2 cups flour; mix on medium speed until combined. Add the butter; mix until incorporated. Add 1 3/4 cups flour, and mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining 1/4 cup flour by hand until the dough is smooth, about five minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about one hour. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch down. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out circles with a one-inch round cutter; place on a floured baking sheet. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium pot or deep fryer until it registers 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry the beignets in batches, rolling them around constantly with a slotted spoon, until golden brown all over, one to two minutes. Transfer the beignets with the slotted spoon to a platter lined with paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Makes about 60 beignets


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolate Macaroons

2/3 cup plus 2 T all purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) bag sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate, melted

Preparing the macaroons:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place flour, coconut and salt in a mixing bowl and gently toss together. Stir sweetened condensed milk and almond extract together and fold into the coconut mixture until fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Using a small cookie scooper (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake macaroons for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the outer shell begins to brown.

Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes before dipping the bottoms in the melted chocolate, drizzling the tops with chocolate, and setting them on wax paper.

Makes 20 macaroons


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Honey-Poached Peaches and Apricots

Serve with olive oil wafers.

4 apricots
2 peaches
2 T white granulated sugar
2 T honey
1 drop orange flower water
2 T chopped pistachios

Optional: creme fraiche

Preparing the fruit:
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. With the point of a knife, make a cross in the bottom of the fruits. Plunge them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water. Peel, pit, and slice onto a platter.

Put the sugar and honey in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a few drops of orange flower water. Pour over the fruit, then scatter over the nuts. Serve with creme fraiche on the side.

Serves 4



2 2/3 cups (345 grams) sifted flour
1 teaspoon yeast
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

Optional: chopped sun-dried tomatoes, egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of water), large-grained salt

Preparing the fougasse:
Put the flour in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water. Stir 1/4-cup (60 grams) flour from the large bowl into the yeast to make a paste. Let sit until it starts to foam, about 10 minutes.

Make a well in the flour. Crack in the eggs, and add the salt, oil, and chopped rosemary. Pour in 1/4-cup (60 ml) water and mix. Finally, add the yeast starter to combine, and gradually draw in the flour to make dough. Add the olives (and sun-dried tomatoes, if using) and knead into smooth dough. Place in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and roll into a thin rectangle, using a rolling pin. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet and place the dough on top.

Cut three or four slits down each side, to give the bread a split-leaf philodendron-type look. Separate the slits with your fingers to make long holes. Let the bread rise 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together the egg and water, if using. Brush the top of the bread with the egg wash, sprinkle large-grained salt over the top, then bake until risen and golden, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.


Goat Cheese and Shallot Quiche

Ingredients for the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the filling
3 large shallots, halved, skins on
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cups 2-percent milk
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces (1/2 cup) goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups baby arugula
6 pieces thinly sliced prosciutto

Preparing the For the quiche pastry:
In a large bowl, put the flour, salt, and butter cubes. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the ingredients until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water a little at a time until the dough just comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a disk. Cover the disk with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

* * * * * *

Preparing the quiche:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly flour the work surface, roll-out the dough and put in a pan with a removable bottom. Allow the dough to hang over the edges. Trim the edges slightly, still leaving an overhang of dough. Poke or dock the bottom of the pastry with a fork.
Put the crust on a baking tray and cover the bottom of the pastry dough with aluminum foil. Fill the crust with dried beans or pastry weights and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and beans, and then put the pastry back in the oven until the bottom is golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.
Remove the pastry crust from the oven. While the pastry is still hot, brush a thin layer of quiche egg mixture over the bottom to seal.

* * * * *

Preparing the filling:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the shallots in a small saute pan skin-side up and coat with olive oil. Season the shallots with salt and roast for 30 minutes, until tender. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Peel the skins from the shallots and set the shallots aside. Put the milk in a pot over low heat until scalded, set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, thyme, salt, and pepper until incorporated. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture.

Scatter the roasted shallots and goat cheese into the base of the pastry crust.
Pour the egg mixture into the prepared quiche pastry crust. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, until the custard has set. Remove the quiche from the oven and allow to cool. Slice the quiche into portions and put the arugula and prosciutto over the quiche.

Serves 4


Meatballs Napolitano

Ingredients for the meatballs:
2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
1 cup milk
1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
9 ounces ground beef
9 ounces pork
2 eggs
2 ounces pecorino, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 buffalo mozzarella, drained and chopped into little pieces
unseasoned bread crumbs
extra virgin olive oil, for frying

* * * * *

Ingredients for the sauce:
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
3 (12-ounce) cans of peeled cherry tomatoes, or 36 ounces of fresh cherry tomatoes [Canned tomatoes are better for a sauce that needs cooking for a long time.]

Preparing the sauce:
Pour just enough oil into a saucepan to cover the surface. Add garlic and tomatoes, mashing them slightly. Boil the sauce for 5 minutes and simmer for another 3 minutes. Set aside.

* * * * *

Preparing the meatballs:
Cover the bread with milk, and let soak.

Put meat into a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the milk out of the bread and add to meat. Chop the parsley and garlic together and add to the meat. Add the eggs and the pecorino, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix by hand and shape the meatballs, and push a small piece of mozzarella into the middle. Pat into shape. Roll the meatballs in bread crumbs.

Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat, When it's very hot, add the meatballs for 5 minutes, or until they have formed a crust. Don't crowd the pan. Turn over and when golden brown and crusty on both sides remove the meatballs from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce, cover and cook very slowly on low heat for 45 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half.

Serves 6


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chocolate Bacon

8 slices thick cut bacon
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, optional for garnish

Preparing the chocolate bacon:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until the bacon is cooked to your liking - 15 minutes for soft bacon, 20 minutes for crispy bacon.

Let bacon cool on the parchment paper for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

Cover another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Set up a double boiler with a heat-proof bowl over simmering water. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and stir with a fork until smooth and completely melted.

Using tongs, carefully dip the bacon into the melted chocolate turning to coat all sides in chocolate. Transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining slices of bacon. Drizzle with the white chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is hard.


"The Maple Kind?"

Maple Bacon Ingredients:
3/4 pound thick-cut smoked bacon (16 slices)
1 to 2 T maple syrup

Preparing the bacon:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in one layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown.

Remove the pan carefully from the oven (hot grease in the pan). Brush the bacon slices with maple syrup and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the bacon is a warm golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

Serves 4 to 8


Friday, February 17, 2012

Beet Chutney

Serve with roasted meats or chicken or Indian curries.

8 to 10 ounces Chioggia beets, roasted and peeled
extra virgin olive oil
1 T freshly grated ginger
1 or 2 serrano peppers, minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
a pinch of ground cayenne
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T red wine vinegar
white granulated sugar, to taste
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Preparing the chutney:
Cut into 1/8 inch dice and put into a medium bowl. Add the ginger, serranos and orange zest, toss and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the vinegar, taste, correct for salt and taste again. If it seems a bit flat or flavorless, add a teaspoon of sugar, stir and taste again. Repeat 2 or 3 times until the flavors blossom. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Makes 1 cup


Roasting Beets

1 pound golden beets, washed and trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the beets:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the beets and coat them lightly with olive oil. Set in a small pan. Roast, shaking the pan periodically, until the beets are fully tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 60 minutes. Let cool and using fingers, slip off the skins. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6



These meatballs freeze well. Cut the cooking time by a few minutes, let them cool, place in a ziplock bag and freeze. To finish cooking, remove the meatballs from the freezer and drop them into a pan with marinara sauce to finish the cooking.

1/2 pound lean pork sausages, meat removed from casings
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk or water
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 T Italian seasoning
2 T fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
a dash of cayenne pepper

Preparing the meatballs:
In a large bowl, combine all the above ingredients. Gently mix them together with a wooden spoon, or use your hands, taking care not to overmix.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Shape into medium-sized balls (about 1 tablespoon each), and place on a lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the balls once or twice to promote even browning. Once browned, finish cooking in marinara sauce.

Makes 2 dozen meatballs


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TF's Neopolitan Pizza

Ingredients for the dough:
1 ounce fresh baker's yeast
1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 cups 00 flour
1 T sea salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil

* * * * *

Ingredients for the topping:
extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, cut into thin strips
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
12 ounces Robiola cheese
6 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
1 white truffle

Preparing the dough:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place the pizza stone on the bottom rack.

Crumble the yeast in a small bowl then add 1/4 cup of warm water and the syrup. Stir together and leave for 5 minutes to dissolve.

Put the flour and salt in a mixer fitted with a dough hook and give it a quick spin to mix. Pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining warm water and the olive oil at the same time.

Spin on low until the flour and water come together and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Put the ball of dough in a large bowl and drizzle a few drops of olive oil on top to keep it from forming a skin as it proofs. Cover with a towel and leave in warm place for 30 minutes to let the dough proof. When the dough has proofed it will double in size and look spongy.

* * * * *

Preparing the topping:
Caramelize the onions in a frying pan over low heat with a little olive oil and one of rosemary sprigs. When the onions are golden season with sea salt and black pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to bring out the flavor.

* * * * *

Assembling the pizza:
When the dough has proofed, roll it out onto to a floured surface and punch the air out with your hands, then start shaping it into a circle. When it's stretched out, dust a pizza paddle with flour and place the dough on it.

Cover with a generous splash of olive oil and scatter with pieces of Robiola. Shingle the pancetta slices around and add the caramelized onions, and the stripped needles of the remaining rosemary sprig. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and black pepper.

Slide the pizza onto the stone in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Shave white truffles over it.

Serves 6


Neopolitan Pizza

14 ounces 00 flour
1 T extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 ounce fresh yeast
1 1/4 cups tepid water

* * * * *

Ingredients for fresh tomato sauce:
1 pound pendula tomatoes (lightly smoked preserved but still fresh cherry tomatoes), or fresh cherry tomatoes, or roasted (with thyme) cherry tomatoes, or 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed in garlic press
extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

10 ounces Buffalo mozzarella, roughly chopped
12 basil leaves
1 cup parmesan

Preparing the dough:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Shape flour into a mound and make an indentation on the top. Pour the oil into the indentation and add the salt. Melt the yeast in a cup of tepid water and pour it into the middle. Start kneading the dough with your hands until all the yeast is absorbed and the dough feels elastic, firm, and looks shiny. Add more water if dough seems too dry.

Roll it into a ball, sprinkle with flour and place in a bowl. Make a cross on the top. Cover with a cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour in winter and 30 minutes in summer.

* * * * * *

Preparing the tomato sauce:
Cut the tomatoes in half. As you drop them into a medium-sized bowl squeeze them with your hands so that the juice comes out. Add garlic, olive oil, salt, and half the basil leaves. Leave to marinate while the dough rises.

* * * * * *

Assembling the pizza:
Stretch the dough and then roll it out with a rolling pin on a floury surface, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Cover the surface of a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place dough on baking sheet and press the edges in firmly with your fingers. Add tomatoes, reserving a little of the juice, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add chopped mozzarella. Tear the remaining basil leaves and scatter over mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan and the rest of the tomato juice. Cook for 5 minutes, until the cheeses melt.

Serves 6


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brownie Cakes With Ice Cream

1 stick plus 2 T unsalted butter
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
3 T cake flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

vanilla or coffee ice cream,

Preparing the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 8 cups in a standard-size muffin pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add one-fifth of the milk chocolate and whisk until melted. Let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk the cake flour with the all purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and the dry ingredients in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 22 minutes, until the cakes are risen and springy. Let the cakes cool in the muffin pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes longer. Serve the cakes warm, with ice cream.

Serves 8


Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
2 large eggs
1 cup hot water plus 2 teaspoons of instant coffee stirred in
3 T vegetable oil
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the whipped cream frosting:
1 pint heavy cream
2 T unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3 T confectioners sugar

Garnish: 18 dark chocolate covered espresso beans

Preparing the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, coffee, oil and vanilla with a whisk. Then add sugar. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add in dry ingredients to wet mixture then stir in sour cream.

Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. Divide batter evenly amongst liners then bake in oven until a cake tester comes out clean - about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set on racks to cool.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the whipped cream frosting:
Whip cream with a whisk until it forms soft peaks. Sift in confectioners sugar and cocoa powder then gently whisk together to combine until firm peaks form - the color will be a grainy cocoa color as the cocoa doesn't dissolve straight away.

When cupcakes are cool, drop a dollop of cocoa whipped cream on top of each cupcake. Garnish each with a dark chocolate covered espresso bean.

Makes 18 cupcakes


Rocky Road Brownies

1 cup less 1 T all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 marshmallows
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or large chocolate chips

Preparing the brownies:
Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil coated with cooking spray. (Leave enough of an overhang to be able to lift the brownies out of the pan later with the liner.) If you don’t plan to let the batter rest (up to quartering the marshmallows) before baking, position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan until sizzling. Remove from the heat and stir in cocoa, then sugar. (The mixture will look like a mass of very dark brown sugar.) Add egg, egg whites and vanilla. Stir briskly until smooth and glossy. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Then stir briskly for about 50 strokes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. T he batter will be very shallow in the pan. If you have time, cover the pan and refrigerate for a few hours or up to 12 hours, which hydrates the cocoa powder and flour and brings all the flavors into sharper focus. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking; preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Quarter marshmallows with an oiled knife. Distribute the pieces over the batter, pressing them in. Distribute nuts and chocolate (or chips) around the marshmallows.

Bake the brownies until the marshmallows are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. (If you can find a place to test for doneness where there is no melted chocolate or marshmallow, a toothpick should come out with some moist, gooey batter clinging to it. Brownies in a metal pan will bake faster than those in a glass pan; if you’re unsure, bake a few minutes longer to make sure the brownies are done in the middle.)

Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Lift the ends of the pan liner and transfer to a cutting board.



Ingredients for the cake:
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 eggs separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups chopped fresh apricots
2 T lemon juice

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips)
2 T light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the whipping cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 T sugar

Preparing the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave; set aside. Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, blending after each addition. Add the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate and flour. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes.

* * * * * *

Preparing the glaze:
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Add the apricots and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has broken down and the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes longer. Then remove from the heat and let cool.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

* * * * * *

Preparing the chocolate ganache:
Melt the butter in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Add the chocolate and corn syrup and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

* * * * * *

Preparing the whipping cream:
Combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar and beat with a mixer until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 cups.

* * * * * *

Assembling the sachertorte:
Cut the cake in thirds crosswise, making three layers. Stack the cake layers, spreading the apricot glaze as a filling between them. Set aside 1/4 cup of the chocolate ganache and pour the rest over the cake. Let cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, until set.

Scoop the reserved chocolate ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Use it to pipe a decorative border around the cake and in its center. Serve with whipped cream.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Double the recipe for the sauce and freeze any extra for other dishes.

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves of garlic (or more to taste), crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 to 2 T white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 T chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preparing the sauce:
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and wine. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours (or longer if desired), stirring occasionally.

* * * * * *

Preparing the noodles:
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and salt.

* * * * * *

Assembling the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. [To prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.]

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 12


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