Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta

Cranberry and Pistachio Panna Cotta

Servings

 6

Active time:

15 minutes

Ready In:

6 hours and 30 minutes

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I always end up with extra cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving and this is the perfect way to use it up.  I usually make my own but this recipe would work with canned as well.  I used my fancy glasses because I don’t get many chances and it really makes a beautiful presentation but ramakins or any small bowls would work. 

Ingredients

  •  1 cup jellied style cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts (split evenly)
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

To get started warm the cranberry sauce in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is pourable and divide equally in 6 dessert glasses. If you have a chunky style sauce like the Cranberry Blueberry recipe below, blend it with a blender or stick blender and run it through a sieve to get a smooth consistency.  You an angle the glasses or just put a nice layer on the bottom.  Place in the refrigerator while you make the panna cotta.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in the measuring cup and let it stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2

Pour milk and gelatin into a heavy saucepan and the split vanilla pods and 1/2 of the pistachio nuts.  Stir over medium heat about 5 minutes until the gelatin dissolves.  Don’t let the milk boil. Turn off the heat and let the vanilla beans and pistachio nuts steep in the warm milk for about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add the cream, honey and salt. Turn the heat on medium and stir 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is warm but not boiling. Remove from the heat and strain out the vanilla beans and nuts.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and cool for about 15 minutes. Pour into the glasses. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.  Garnish with cranberries (sugared by dipping in simple syrup then sugar) and the remaining nuts.

Naked Pecan Pie Cake

Naked Pecan Pie Cake

Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

Filling – Chill at least 4 hours

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ cup real maple syrup reduced to 1 cup (or 1 cup dark corn syrup)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake

  • 4 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1  cup room temperature butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 c. milk mixed with 1 T. vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 cup real maple syrup reduced to 1 cup (or 1 cup dark corn syrup)
  • Optional 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 1/2  cranberries

Instructions

To begin:  Toast the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet  in a 350 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.  If using real maple syrup, which will give a more delicate flavor, place the 3 cups into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is thickened and reduced to 2 cups.  Dark corn syrup is more traditional and equally delicious if that’s what you have.

Filling

Whisk together all ingredients except the butter and vanilla in a 3 quart saucepan until smooth and all lumps are gone. Continue whisking constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute until it is thick.  Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.  Pour into a heatproof bowl and place plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is better.  If you prefer you can quick chill by whisking it over a bowl filed with ice until thick enough to spread.


Cake

Generously butter two 9 inch square or three 8 inch round cake pans. Divide 3 cups pecans evenly into buttered pans; shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.

Beat the butter until smooth and gradually add the sugar beating until fluffy. Add the eggs yolks one at a time and beat until very light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk starting and ending with flour. Add the remaining 1 cup of pecans and cranberries if used.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert layers onto wire racks with wax or parchment paper underneath. Brush the tops and sides of each layer with maple syrup or corn syrup, allow to cool completely.



Assembling Cake: 

For three 8 inch layers place one cake layer, pecan side up, on your cake stand; spread half of the filling on top. Place second cake layer, pecan side up, on top of filling; spread with remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer, pecan side up.

For two 9 inch layers cut each layer in half.  Place the bottom half of the first layer on the cake plate, top with 1/3 of the filling on top.  Place second half of the cake pecan side up on top of the filling; repeat with the remaining layers.

Sugared Cranberries

If you desire, decorate with sugared cranberries. 

To make the sugared cranberries make a simple syrup by heating ½ cup each of sugar and water in a small saucepan to a boil.  Add 1 ½ cups cranberries and bring back to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Saving the syrup, strain out and place the cranberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and allow to dry for 30 minutes.  Save the simple syrup for use in tea or other beverages.  Finally roll the cranberries in an additional ¼ cup of sugar.  Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.  If the sugar coating melts it can be coated again with fresh sugar.

Chocolate Mousse Fraisier

Chocolate Mousse Fraisier

It’s been quite a while since I’ve added anything here.  As with most everyone now, I have been able to spend more time baking although I have had to be careful because there is also a lack of eaters.   I’ve been used to making huge batches to take to work and even though perfectly willing, husband and I alone shouldn’t try to keep up.  I most often see pictures of something that looks really good and can’t resist. Plus . . . chocolate!  It was delicious and really pretty.  It did take some time so you need to plan ahead, but isn’t difficult. 

I basically followed this recipe from King Arthur Flour https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gesines-chocolate-and-strawberry-cream-puff-cake-recipe but I was a little lazy and skipped the cream puffs.  I recommend the recipe as it was pretty easy to follow and I will definitely make it again, maybe with raspberries.  I suppose that would make it not a Fraisier but I’ve never been one to follow a recipe exactly.

I was surprised that the cake recipe had no eggs and wasn’t sure what to expect but it came out very moist and chocolaty. I’m going to remember that if I ever run out of eggs and want to make a cake.  It made more mousse than would fit in the pan but we were able to overcome that calamity with a couple of spoons.

salernos@simplycooking101.com

Alaska Trip

Alaska Trip

This is not food, but we took a trip to Alaska with a side trip to Seattle and it was so beautiful I wanted to share.

Seattle Pike Place Market
Seattle Market
Seattle Market
Italian Caprese Sliders – Top 5 in LA Times Battle of the Burgers

Italian Caprese Sliders – Top 5 in LA Times Battle of the Burgers

Italian Caprese Sliders

Ok I admit it, I lied. It is #NationalHamburgerDay and it’s been years now so I’m reposting this one. I’m also making them for the holiday.

I know everyone is probably tired of these, but in honor of their being chosen in the Top 5 by the LA Times Battle of the Burgers, I’m reposting them (for the last time I promise).  I’ve made a new batch because I really didn’t like the pictures in the old posts.

When I was growing up my father was a true grill man – charcoal only and whatever he was making, there was one beer to splash on the food and one for him!  I on the other hand, love my gas grill (and I think dad has one now too) mostly because I’m lazy and don’t want to mess with the charcoal.  Of course, dad would probably not been caught making “wimpy” sliders and I am generally prone to enormous burgers stuffed with cheese but as I mentioned in a previous recipe for the Bacon Sliders, my husband brought home a “slider” pan which I determined wasn’t worth much, but I did like the sliders so here’s another variation.  If you have the time, it is well worth it to make fresh rolls from either your own or the frozen dough.

Italian Caprese Sliders Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2      lb            ground beef

1             lb            hot Italian sausage

1             tsp          dried Italian seasoning

1             med       onion finely chopped

1                            bell pepper finely chopped

3                            cloves minced garlic

18                          (White Dinner Rolls freshly baked – your recipe or frozen dough best)

8             oz           fresh Mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4 inch thick

4             large      Roma tomatoes sliced in 1/4 in thick slices

36          large         fresh basil leaves stems removed

freshly ground black pepper

3             Tbs         extra virgin olive oil

3             Tbs         balsamic vinegar

Freshly baked rolls
Garlic, Onion, peppers and fresh herbs
Ready to mix
Mix gently

1             Gently but thoroughly mix together the ground beef and ground Italian sausage (removing from the casings if any), along with the Italian spices, chopped onion, chopped Bell pepper and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Flatten
Use spatula to measure squares
Use spatula to measure squares
Cut squares
Cut entire pan into squares

2             Press the mixture into a jelly roll pan using a rolling pin to make a flat even layer.  Cut the meat into 2″ squares.

3             Grill 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through to a temperature of at least 160.

4             If not fresh from the oven, wrap the rolls in foil and warm on the top rack of the grill while the burgers are cooking on their second side.

5             When the burgers are done, place a slice of mozzarella on each burger and tent with foil while preparing the buns.

6             Whisk together olive oil, balsamic and remaining 1 clove minced garlic

7             Place the burger with cheese on the bottom of the bun, add a slice of tomato and two good-sized basil leaves and drizzle each burger with 1/2 teaspoon of the balsamic/olive oil dressing.

Italian Caprese Sliders

Cranberry Cookie Bars – Finalist at Food52.com

Cranberry Cookie Bars – Finalist at Food52.com

cranberrybars

Cranberry Cookie Bars


I’m very exited to announce that my recipe for Cranberry Cookie Bars is a finalist in this weeks Food52.com recipe contest.  The theme was how to use up those after Thanksgiving leftovers.  Please use this link to vote for it.  I promise there will be no nasty campaign debates or unrealistic promises, just lots of great recipes at one of my favorite sites. Thanks everyone!
https://food52.com/contests/432-your-best-recipe-with-thanksgiving-leftovers
Here’s a repeat of my original post:  Cranberry Cookie Bars: what to do with that leftover cranberry sauce

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

IMG_6092
I know I’ve not posted forever but here’s my latest: a wedding cake for a co-worker.  I was happy with how it turned out and glad I was able to get it to the reception without any tragic incidents!

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

I love the things that can be done with fondant, but although nobody seems to acknowledge it, the stuff doesn’t really taste very good.  Years ago I saw the recipe for white chocolate (which I adore) plastic but had forgotten about it until I saw it again recently and thought I’d give it a try.  It still isn’t quite as good as plain white chocolate but it is much better than fondant.  After I did these, I got a suggestion that I tried on a new batch which made them even better.  Being artistically challenged, I was having trouble with the petals drooping unless I kept them pretty thick (as you can see in the pictures the cupcakes are thicker and the how-to pictures are thinner) and she recommended keeping a cup of ice water handy and dipping them in.  That worked much better and faster than trying to refrigerate them after each step since my hot little hands were making the chocolate too soft.  The quick dip in the ice water helped them to keep their shape.  I loved these cupcake papers and with the roses, they looked quite special for the birthday girls.
For the cupcakes I used the recipe Magnolia’s Chocolate Cupcakes, from More From Magnolia but for each cupcake I put two maraschino cherries in the middle of the batter and added a little of the maraschino cherry juice to a swiss buttercream.  I know the recipe is on a wedding site but the recipe is great and even has a video to go with it.  For the last step, I added about 1/4 cup of the maraschino cherry juice to give it a touch of flavor and a nice pink color.
Printable Version for Making White Chocolate Roses
Now for the roses:
First a day ahead, make the white chocolate plastic which is basically white chocolate and corn syrup melted together.  When you’re ready to begin you’ll need plastic wrap, small pastry roller or rolling-pin (you can use your fingers if you don’t have one but this works faster) and a medium to large size bowl filled with ice water.  If you want to color the white chocolate, you can knead in some food coloring (paste works best) or as I did, use a food color spray and some cake glitter after they are assembled.  Keep the white chocolate plastic wrapped in plastic except the portion you are using or it will dry out.
Cover a cutting board or table with a large piece of plastic wrap and have another piece the same size set aside.  For each rose, pull off a very small piece of the chocolate and roll it into a cone shape.  Roll about twenty very small  (between 1/4 and 1/2 inch at the most) balls making some really small, some just a little larger and some a little larger placing them about 2 inches apart on the plastic.   You don’t have to be precise, flowers are never exact anyway and they will look more natural that way (in case you can’t tell, as well as being artistically challenged I’m not a perfectionist but if it suits you, go for it and make them all consistent – I’m hoping to improve both speed and accuracy with practice).   You can make more or less petals (for buds) and larger or smaller cones and petals for different size roses.

Roll into balls

The next step is to cover them with another layer of plastic wrap then flatten the balls (not the cone) using the pastry roller.  I gave them a little dent in the middle, then pushed out each side.  Again it’s up to you how perfect you want your petals to be.  I did find that using the ice water later allowed me to make them much thinner which I thought made them more realistic although the thick ones did hold up a little better. Refrigerate them while making the next batch.

Making White Chocolate Roses

Making White Chocolate Roses

After the petals and cones have firmed up, take the cone and starting at the top gently wrap a petal around it.  Add petals overlapping each one until you have the size and shape you want.  If the petals start to droop dip them into the ice water for a second or two and they will firm up.  When you’ve finished again place them in the refrigerator so they will keep their shape.

Making white Chocolate plastic roses

White Chocolate Plastic Rose put together

The next step (if you didn’t already color the white chocolate) is to either spray or use a brush to paint color on.  I used the spray and when that was dry, a little cake glitter.

White Chocolate rose finished

Here’s how it looked.  I also made a few red ones.  The spray did tend to make some “dots” but I kind of liked it.  If you don’t just spray a little lighter or use a paintbrush if you want to just do the tips of the petals.  I plan on trying lots of different flowers, it was quite fun and they came out pretty well considering my lack of talent.

Red White Chocolate Roses

Here’s some other pictures.

Chocolate Maraschino Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Roses

King Arthur Flour #Bakealong

King Arthur Flour #Bakealong

Pastry

Almond Puff Loaf

Since returning to work full time, I haven’t had as much time to devote to this.   I have continued to bake and photograph, but not so much posting.  My coworkers are very fond of cakes, particularly carrot cake and I am happy to oblige.  I have always had really good luck with the recipes on the King Arthur Flour site and one of their pizza dough recipes is a favorite that I use almost weekly  Pizza Crust or Cracker Bread.  Lately I’ve been doing their monthly #bakealongs and each one has turned out really well.  I can recommend them, and will definitely make them again.  To get the recipes, just click on the title.
cake slice_8149

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries

IMG_8258

Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves