Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's Begin Monday with a Crisp . . . .
and Green Apple Sorbet

To be more specific a "Pear Crisp with Dried Cherries".  I don't know about anyone else, but the only crisp I ever made was 'Apple Crisp'.  I was very excited to see that there are other variations to an old southern recipe.  

The dessert is described as a 'terrific fall dessert', but I say it is an anytime dessert - especially for a party or just a family get together.  It's easy to prepare and add home-made ice cream, YUM! Just try it for yourself.

    Pear Crisp with Dried Sour Cherries
 1 cup of dried sour cherries
(water or fruity red wine, such as a Zinfandel to cover.  Guess which one I used - highly recommend the fruity red wine)
8 ripe pears (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced (5 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarsely ground almonds, toasted
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1. In a small saucepan, combine the cherries with enough water or wine (or a combination) to cover them by 2 inches.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then turn off the heat and let cool.  Let the cherries soak overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 8 hours, until they are plump and soft.  Drain the cherries, reserving the juices.

2. In a  large bowl, combine the pears, drained cherries, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and toss well.  Mix in 1/2 cup of the cherry soaking liquid, or whatever cherry soaking liquid is left plus enough water to make 1/2 cup.  Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of  granulated sugar, the flour, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and  nutmeg.  Slowly drizzle in the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and all the flour is incorporated.  Do not allow the mixture to come together in a ball.  Break up any large crumbs with your fingers.  The crumbs should be smaller than 1 inch in size (otherwise they won' cook all the way through.)

4.  Spoon the fruit into eight 8-ounce ramekins and place them on a baking sheet.  Evenly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the fruit.  Bake the crisps until the filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes (keep an eye on them - don't let the topping burn.)  Serve hot or warm. (If you top with ice cream it will definitely melt over the sides, which makes it even better.)

 Green Apple Sorbet
(This is both tart and sweet at the same time.  The sparkling cider intensifies the 
apple flavorA dessert that refreshes on a beautiful summer day.)


4 green apples (such as Granny Smith)
1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid (find in the canning section of a grocery store)
1 1/2 cups sparking cider
1 1/2 cups Simple Syrup

1. In a juicer, juice the apples to yield 1 1/2 cups juice.  Immediately mix in the ascorbic acid to prevent discoloration.

 2. In a large bowl, stir together the apple juice, cider, and Simple Syrup.  Chill until the mixture is thoroughly cold, at least 3 hours.  Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

   Thanks for Stopping By!
(Tuesday's post will be a day of reflection, renovation, & more wonderful desserts.)


Monday, April 1, 2013

Craziness & Renovation

That has been the story of my life for the past 2 weeks.  We are having some renovation work
done on the house inside and out.  That means workers inside and out, dust from
sanding drywall, saws, hammers, paint.  You get the picture - basically chaos; but a
good kind of chaos.  When they are through we will have siding and freshly 
painted house, new windows, a whole new wall.  It's really all very exciting.
They are doing a great job and there has really only been one mishap.  While putting 
up the siding our cable was cut and well, you know; there goes the internet,
 the phones, and the T.V's.   But, we are all fixed and back in business!

I am caught up with my recipe testing and photographs.  This recipe that I am about 
to share it a MUST TRY.  I woke up this morning and felt like baking cookies.  Of course,
I thumbed through "The Last Course" Cookbook I have been sharing with you.  I found this wonderful recipe "Chocolate Brownie Cookies".  I am not a big chocolate fan - but this
is one recipe that is to die for.  The cookies are rich, chocolaty, and chewy.  I 
could only eat about 4 or 5. 

Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Yields: 5 dozen

¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
½ tablespoon brewed espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces extra bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup mini chocolate chips (I used a whole bag of the Nestles)

       1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper 
         (unless you have sil pads on your cookie sheets.)

       2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

      3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whip the eggs to break them up.  Add the
          sugar, espresso, and vanilla and beat on high speed for 15 minutes, until thick.

      4. While the eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top of a double boiler, or 
          in a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, and
          scatter the extra-bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate on top.  Heat until the
          butter and chocolate melt.  Remove from over the water and stir the chocolate 
          and butter until smooth.

      5. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined 
          (there should still be some streaks).  Add the flour mixture to the batter and 
           carefully fold it in.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  If the batter is very runny, let it
           rest in the refrigerator until it thickens slightly, (I did it for 30 minutes, the recipe
           says 5 minutes). 

       6. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and
           bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 9 minutes.  **Cool on a wire rack before 
           removing from the baking sheets. (this is important because the can fall apart)

 Hope you have a Wonderful Day!
 Thanks for Stopping By

Happy Thanksgiving

  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Many Blessings and Love to All