Archive for April, 2007

Eclairs and the Like.

April 26, 2007

Eclairs and  profiteroles are made from choux pastry which is a French word pronounced ‘shoe’ and it is not a pastry you roll out, but a mixture of butter, water, eggs and flour made in a saucepan and then either piped out on to a baking sheet or spooned out with a teaspoon to make whatever size you like.

When we eat eclairs they are piped out in a piping bag with a plain nozzle on to the baking sheet in to a long shape which is as long or short as you wish. They can also be piped out in a round shape.  You can use a teaspoon to place them on the baking sheet if you don’t want to mess around with a piping bag.

Profiteroles on the other hand are piped out  either with a plain nozzle or a star shaped one.  The size can be small or medium.  Whether you make an eclair or profiterole they are removed from the oven and slit open with a knife to let steam escape and put on to a rack to cool.

Before serving they can be filled with icecream, whipped cream or confectioners custard or even a thick chocolate sauce and topped off with a chocolate glaze or just plain melted chocolate.

 Profiteroles can also be served as a savory finger food with cream cheese and herb filling or any savory filling the hostess wishes to use.

 The basic recipe is  1/2 cup a water   measured into a medium saucepan and you add 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Heat rapidly until butter melts.  Bring to a boil and remove pan from the heat and immediatly add 1/2 cup flour all at once,beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the side of the pan.  Do not do it over the heat as that will separate the butter from the mixture.

Cool slightly and make a well and add 2 eggs one at a time and beat until it looks glossy and mixture falls away from the spoon.

Either place mixture in a piping bag with a plain nozzle or a star if using, and pipe onto a greased baking sheet.  Or use a teaspoon instead.    Bake at 400F about 20-25 minutes until brown and crisp.  Remove from the oven and slit open one side to allow steam to escape.  Fill with your choice of filling.

If you want to make chocolate profiteroles you simply add 1  1/2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder when you add the flour.

A quick and easy dessert to serve up and they can be made well in advance.  Just put into a warm oven if using at a later time, for them to refresh.


Bread Pudding Again!

April 20, 2007

The other day I recently came across some more bread pudding recipes.  I had visited a website by Paul Hollywood from England who bakes bread.  I found from his site and found a recipe for Date and Walnut Bread Pudding and another for Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding.

 It is an English thing to do Bread and Butter Pudding raisons and both these recipes have softened butter or melted butter in them.  The idea is to spread the softened butter on the sliced bread and lay in the dish.  This really is not necessary and I don’t do this.  I do the usual bread pudding recipe with eggs, milk, sugar.  In this case you add the dates and walnuts and with the blueberry one you add the fruit and sprinkle sliced almonds on top and bake.

 I have yet to make these two, but before long I will.  We enjoy the coffee chocolate one so much I made it yet again.  Now for a change next time around.  I think I’ll do the date and walnut first.  A butterscotch recipe was given following it, so it can be served with it, but that could be too sweet and either French Vanilla yogurt or vanilla icecream would probably be better.  Or served alone who knows that could do just as well.

Poached Pears.

April 15, 2007

I have never really got in to making poached pears for a dessert, but recently I watched Jacques Pepin on TV and he poached pears in red wine.  Nothing new, but somehow it looked so good it inspired me to give it a go, and it is so easy.

He also poached them in a coffee syrup, that is delicious.  Cooking for two I halved the quantity – just 2 pears and one cup of coffee.  He uses left over coffee, but I just made a cup of instant coffee with brown sugar to taste and poured over the pears.  They are brought to the boil and then covered and simmered for 15-20 minutes.  Remove pears to a dish and reduce liquid so that it thickens to a syrup.

I always have trouble with that, it doesn’t thicken that much, but I just pour it over the pears. He served his with organic vanilla icecream and since I had some in the freezer (we only eat organic icecream) I served it on top.  Quite delicious.

I am sure with some thought there must be other flavors one can poach pears in, so I’ll start thinking and check recipes elsewhere.

Bread Pudding.

April 10, 2007

Bread Pudding is either making an appearance in the food magazines or on TV and then on blogs. 

My mother used to make this as a dessert when I was a child, but it was called bread and butter pudding, simply because the bread was buttered, why I don’t know.   These days there is no mention of buttering the bread, you just do a basic recipe of eggs and milks and soak  the bread in it with raisons and it’s called bread pudding.

 There seem to many variations of flavor for bread pudding, whether it is almond, chocolate or whatever one desires to do.  I found a recipe for a chocolate coffee bread pudding on that had been adapted from a Food TV recipe, and I made it, adapting it again in that I made half quantity, I did not use coffee liquer because I don’t have any, I used instant coffee in hot water and I added raisons.  I also did not use half and  half, but instead used milk, it works just as well.

It turned out very good and chocolately, so two weeks later I made it again.  From time to time I plan to  have this on our menu for dessert it was so good.

 I also found a recipe for an apple bread pudding which also turned out well.  Just the basic bread pudding recipe with the usual 2 eggs and 2 cups of milk.  The apple is cubed and can be cooked a little first if desired, or put straight in mixed up with the bread and raisons as well.  It worked well, and we enjoyed that too, but our favourite was definitely the chocolate and coffee.

There are bound to be many more varieties for this recipe, it’s a case of using the imagination which can know no limits.

Eggs is Eggs and Cheese Too!

April 4, 2007

Eggs and cheese are used in countless dishes from breads to quiche to omlettes and crepes to name just a few dishes.

Eggs are delicious whether boiled, fried, scrambled or poached.  Scrambled eggs are said to the most unhealthy way of cooking them because of the immediate high heat involved in the cooking.

That being said, I recently read of somebody who enjoyed a scrambled egg sandwich, and although I’m sure I’ve had one at some time in the distant past, it has been a long time.  So I have now started having an occasional sandwich.  I make the toast and then cook the scrambled egg to be moist not dry.  I make a sandwich and put a little ketchup on the side to dip into.  Delicious!

At one time eggs were given a bad rap, but not any more.  Granted those folks with high cholesterol have to limit their intake or avoid eating them altogether.  The white of an egg is the healthiest part since the yolk has the high fat content, but that is also the yummy part.  What to do?  As in all things moderation is the key.

Cheese can be a delight as an after dinner course when the cheese board with crackers is placed on the table with a selection of three or four cheeses and maybe some fruit with it.

Cheese is made in and comes from many countries and they all have their own distinctive flavor.  Gouda is from Holland, Feta from Greece, the delightful English Cheddar which is a harder cheese and has a taste of its own when produced in England.  Then we have Brie and Parmesan used not only in a dish but often Parmesan is grated on top of a dish or on top of soup.

Goat’s cheese is another with quite a taste of its own – stronger in taste because the milk of a goat is stronger.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are enjoyed my many and indeed a cheese slice or two is often put as a topping on a panini sandwich, and often a slice will top an open sandwich before it is put under the grill.

For those who are lactose intolerant soy cheese is a good alternative.

What ever happens, cheese crops up everywhere- and eggs do too!