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Delicious Bread Pudding

With the days getting colder and darker, I try to make getting up early something the kids can look forward to. I light up our dining room with candles and serve out some tasty treat. That sets the mood for the day and makes getting up, when it looks like the middle of the night, not such a bad thing.

candles

Some of my go to recipes, that I can make the night before, are Pumpkin Pie, Bread Pudding, Chocolate cake with coffee(decaf) custard, and Apple pie or Crumble. Then there are the ones I can prepare ahead of time and just bake them in the morning and serve them warm. Cinnamon rolls, Scones, Mini muffins, and so on.

Granted I am not always able to serve out a special breakfast, but I do try to make something about that time of day special.

On days I just put out cereal, we’ll have hot tea. Each child chooses his or her favorite flavor. On days I serve out bread and spreads, I make some hot chocolate.

When you are looking ahead to biking to school in freezing weather, I feel that little bit of extra ‘nice’ in the morning, is a perfect pick-me-up.

So on to the recent favorite of the breakfast yummies:

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Bread pudding with butter vanilla sauce

Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

6 cups cubed bread

3 cups milk

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

2 tblsp. Vanilla sugar

2 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp. Nutmeg

Instructions:

Cut or rip up the bread into pieces. Measure out 6 cups in a large bowl.

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In a smaller bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon, and nut meg.

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Add the eggs and mix. Add the milk.

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Pour egg/milk mixture into the bread and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

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Butter a 9×13 pan. Pour the bread mix in and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

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It should not be runny, but neither should it look dry. Take it out a little before it is fully done.

Sauce

Ingredients:

¼ cup butter

1 tblsp. Flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tblsp. Vanilla sugar

1 tblsp. Vanilla extract

1 cup cream

Instructions:

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Melt the butter on a low heat. Mix in the flour until well blended. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar, extract, and cream, mixing all the while. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

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It’s Pumpkin Season

pumpkin pie

Over 10 years ago I made my first pumpkin pie. It was love at first taste for our family and is still a family favorite today.

The basic recipe came from my mother’s well worn Joy of Cooking book. A book I have used many a time before the internet became so all-encompassing. It was so used by me and my slew of sisters, 4 to be exact, that it had to be rebound 3 times and is currently missing the cover and spattered in all manner of food stuffs.

joycookbook

I tried this recipe with a variety of pumpkins; sugar pie, butternut, golden nugget, etc. Generally the flavor is the same, yum, but I settled finally with Butternut since I get more flesh per kilo. The skin is not as thick and heavy as other sorts.

butternut

Butternut Pumpkin aka Butternut Squash

Now that the season for pumpkins has started, that means pumpkin pie EVERY weekend. And I started buying double the pumpkins, so that I could freeze some each week in order to have pumpkin pie even once the season is over. Yay for futuristic thinking.

So, on to the recipe:

Pumpkin Pie

This makes one 9 inch round or a 8 x 12 pie

Ingredients:

Crust

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2/3 cup oil

3 tblsp. Cold milk

Filling

3 cups cooked pumpkin

2 ¼ cup condensed milk

¾ cup brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp all-spice

1 pinch powdered cloves

3 eggs

Instructions:

Crust

Preheat oven to 180°C (350 F).

In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla sugar. Mix well with a fork. In a cup mix oil and milk till creamy. Add the oil mixture to the flour and stir with a fork until fully combined. Dough is right when it sticks together when pressed.

Take the dough a bit at a time and press it into the pan. Bake for about 15 min.

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Dough nicely pressed into pan

Filling

Put the pumpkin and half the condensed milk into a blender/food processor.

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Pulse till well blended. In a large bowl put the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Mix well. Pour in the blended pumpkin and finally add the rest of the condensed milk. Mix thoroughly.

Pour filling into pre-baked pie shell and bake for about 30 min. Pie is done when the surface looks firm, yet the center still wobbles a bit.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature.Forgot to take a pic of the finished pie, but since I make it so much I’ll hopefully remember next time. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, and a steaming cup of coffee. Soo good!

Crème Brûlée

cremebrulee

During a holiday trip to the south of Switzerland, my hubby and boys went across the border, to France, for dinner. They ordered Crème Brûlée for dessert, and liked it so much I decided to try making some at home.

Previously, for some reason, it always sounded like a complicated dessert, and I pushed off trying it, but once I did, I found it very easy with no complicated techniques.

I do not have a blow torch, so I used the grill setting on the oven at the end and it came out great. According to my sons it tasted the same as the one made by a pro chef. Home cooking rocks.

Recipe for 6 to 8 ramekins, depending on how big they are and how much you fill them.

Ingredients:

6 yolks

4 tablespoons brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

3 cups cream

-+2 tblsp. brown sugar for topping

Instructions:

Beat yolks, sugar and vanilla, in a heat proof bowl, until thick and creamy. Set aside.

Pour cream into a saucepan and and heat till it bubbles around the edge. Remove from heat.

While beating the yolks, slowly pour in the cream. Mix until well combined.

Over a double boiler cook the mixture until thick; about 3 minutes.

Pour cream into ramekins and bake until the center is slightly wobbly. Remove from oven. Once it is cooled down, place in the fridge for an hour or so.

About an hour before serving, preheat oven to 200°C, broiler setting. Sprinkle brown sugar over the custard and place under broiler until sugar is fully melted. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate until served.

And now that I finished writing about them, I feel like eating some.

Brownie Goodness

browniefudge

Crunchy Butterscotch Brownie-Fudge

Brownies are one of my favorite snacks. I also love butterscotch, especially sauce, on pancakes and popcorn. I decided to try combining the two and see what would come out of it. Topped with a Mascarpone cream topping made it divine.

Makes a 9 inch square pan

Ingredients:

Butterscotch

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup cream

about ½ to ¾ cup walnuts, chopped

Brownies

½ cup butter

110 gr. (4 oz.) Dark chocolate

4 eggs

pinch of salt

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

Topping

125 gr. (4 ½ oz.) Mascarpone

1 cup cream, chilled

½ tsp. Vanilla sugar

Instructions:

Butterscotch

Melt butter on low heat. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar and cream. Stir continually on medium to low heat, until sugar is completely melted. Remove from heat, add the walnuts, and set aside to cool.

Brownies

Preheat oven to 175° C (350 F).

In a heat proof bowl, microwave works too, melt the butter and chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat until creamy. Add the chocolate and mix briefly, then add the flour. Mix till fully combined and uniform in color.

Bake the brownies for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Change setting to grill/broil. Pour the butterscotch over the brownies. Return to the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes to crisp the nuts and butterscotch. Allow brownies to cool before serving. The liquid caramel combined with the warm brownies makes it turn out a bit fudge like, hence the name.

Topping

Whip cream with vanilla sugar, until stiff peaks form. Cream mascarpone and add it to the whipped cream. Beat on low until smooth. Spoon a good sized dollop on top of your brownie-fudge and enjoy.

Summer Desserts 2

Another summer favorite is my lemon cake with lemon curd filling and a white-chocolate Limoncello butter cream. This cake is fluffy, lightly lemoned, and together with the tart curd and sweet buttercream is just amazing. I made this cake for a wedding cake and had 3 layers extra of cake, so I used my leftover curd and buttercream, made a small cake and planned to serve it out as dessert sometime. Turned out most everyone was gone on holiday trips, so I at the whole thing myself. And I wonder why I am not losing my new-baby-weight. 🙂


lemonlimoncellocake

Lemon Limoncello Cake

Cake recipe makes 2 layered 8 inch cake or 4 layered 6 inch cake

Curd recipe makes enough to fill a four layered 8 inch cake. I never had problems with leftovers. Just ate ’em up.

Buttercream is enough to frost the 4 layered 6 inch, or the 2 layered 8 inch. The recipe is easy to double, triple etc, and always comes out good.

Ingredients:

Cake

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3 tsp. Baking powder

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup water

½ cup canola oil

rind of 1 lemon

Curd

¾ cup sugar

zest of 3 lemons

3 eggs

5 yolks (refrigerate whites for the meringue)

1 cup lemon juice

150 gr. Softened butter

Buttercream

½ cup butter

2 cups icing sugar

100 gr. white chocolate

30 ml Limoncello plus some for brushing on the cake

Instructions:

Cake

Preheat oven to 150C. Grease baking pan

Sift flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl mix the lemon juice, buttermilk, water, oil, and lemon rind. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix on medium speed.

Fill pans and bake for aprox. 25/30 minutes for the two 8 in. pans, or 45+ minutes for the two six inch pans, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set cakes aside to cool completely.

Curd

In a heat proof bowl mix the sugar, eggs, yolks, zest and the lemon juice. Place over simmering water stiring constantly until the mixture thickens. Takes about 12 minutes or so.

Remove from heat and pour through a sieve into another bowl. Using a spatula stir in the butter, one chunk at a time. Set curd aside in fridge to set.

Buttercream

Sift icing sugar. Beat the butter until light and fluffy and add the icing sugar gradually until well mixed. Chop the white chocolate and place in a small bowl. Add the Limoncello and melt gradually in the microwave, or on a double boiler. When fully melted and smooth add the chocolate to the butter and sugar. Beat on high speed until light. Set aside.

Putting it together

I had not taken any pictures of the steps, at the time I made this cake, but I hope to take some in the future, and will add them as I do.

Once the cakes are completely cooled, trimmed, and torted if needed, brush limoncello on the surface of each layer. Pipe a dam around edge of one layer with the white chocolate buttercream. This stops the softer filling from leaking out. Refrigerate for a few minutes to firm up the buttercream. Fill with the curd. Lay another layer on top and continue on until all layers are filled. Cover the entire cake in the buttercream and smooth, or make a decorative design. Refrigerate cake for a few hours, or over night, for it to set and the flavours to blend well. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Summer Desserts

Summer heat makes one think of something fresh. I always think of lemony type desserts that need to be eaten cold.

One of my favorites, for lack of a better name, I call Frozen Lemon Dessert. (I should totally think up something better sounding like Lemon Heaven, or Lemony Paradise) Whatever the name it’s delicious.

frozenlemondessert

Frozen Lemon Dessert

Ingredients:

Crust

200gr. Ladyfingers

12 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

¾ cup sugar

zest of 3 lemons

3 eggs

5 yolks (refrigerate whites for the meringue)

1 cup lemon juice

150 gr. softened butter

200 gr crème fraiche

1 cup whipping cream

Meringue

5 whites at room temperature

½ cup sugar

Instructions:

Crust

In a food processor, blend the lady fingers until finely crushed. Pour in the melted butter and continue blending until fully mixed. Put the ‘dough’ in the pan, and pat it in place, on the bottom and up the sides. Place in the fridge to set.

Filling

In a heat proof bowl mix the sugar, eggs, yolks, zest and the lemon juice. Place over simmering water stiring constantly until the mixture thickens. Takes about 12 minutes or so.

Remove from heat and pour through a sieve into another bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Using a spatula fold in butter, one chunk at a time into the lemon curd.

Add the crème fraiche and then fold in the whipped cream.

Pour filling into pie shell. Wrap pan in saran wrap and leave in the freezer over night.

Meringue

About 30 minutes before serving, pull out the pie. Place the egg whites in a bowl that was wiped down with lemon juice or white vinegar. Using the whisk attachment, which was also wiped down with vinegar, beat on high speed until fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time beating constantly on high until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spread meringue on top of the pie. Put oven on 180°C, grill setting, and bake till the meringue is browned. Serve.

Welcome

I have wanted to blog for a while, but never thought I could think up enough material to write about. However no need to think up food related stuff since I am always doing something in the kitchen. So, I decided to put some time into jotting down things I love to do, recipes that work like a charm, tips that make a busy mom’s life easier, and just stuff.

I spent a good deal of time thinking about a name for my blog. I thought of all the things I love about cooking, all the goodies I make often, and in spite of my varied repertoire, my thoughts always turned to, yup, chocolate and Irish cream. I love them. I can consume a good deal of chocolaty desserts without regret, and I also shamelessly pour a dash of Irish cream in my coffee, over my ice cream, over my cakes, in my ganache…you get the point.

So to kick off my first post, here is an easy and delicious chocolate and Irish cream recipe.

chocobaileyscheesecake

Chocolate and Baileys Cheesecake

Recipe for a 7 or 8 inch pan

Ingredients:

Crust

Make a regular Graham cracker crust; prebaked

Filling

200 gr. (7 ounces) dark chocolate

1/3 cup Baileys (or any Irish cream)

250 gr. mascarpone

200 gr. creamcheese

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla sugar

2 eggs

Instructions:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or however you usually melt chocolate and allow to cool.

On a low speed, beat the mascarpone and creamcheese till blended. Add the sugar and egg. Add the melted chocolate, and the Irish cream. Fill pan and bake at around 100ºC (200 F) for about 1.5 hours to 1 hour 45 min*, or until it looks done, but the center is still slightly wobbly. Turn off heat and leave in oven to cool down for about half an hour. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate a couple hours or overnight.

Serve topped with chocolate shavings and whipped cream

*cooking time for the 8 inch will take a bit shorter.