strawberries Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter) Matzo Brei with Fresh Strawberry Syrup or Jam

March 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Breakfast, Fruit, Holiday, Jams/Jellies | 26 Comments
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I wanted to make Egg Foo Yung.

It was cooking class in 6th grade, mid-Passover.  The teacher said those of us who observed Passover would be making Matzo Brei and everyone else would be making Egg Foo Yung.

“Can I have a show of hands of those who observe Passover, please?” she asked with an evil glint in her eye.

Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter) Matzo Brei with Fresh Strawberry Syrup or Jam
Yes, evil, to me..because, seriously.. Matzo Brei versus Egg Foo Yung?  Not even remotely fair!  Plus, I’d already had my fair share of matzo brei at home for three days straight.

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Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Malted Yogurt Loaf for Twelve Loaves

August 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Posted in Breads, Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Twelve Loaves | 71 Comments
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Remember when I announced that there was a new bread baking challenge in town called The Bread Baking Society and I participated in the focaccia theme last May?  Well that new bread baking challenge is now a NEWER bread baking challenge.  My friend, Lora, of Cake Duchess, the brainchild behind The Bread Baking Society, has decided to give The Bread Baking Society a small makeover and has invited me, her Mom, Elizabeth of food and thrift,  Barbara of Creative Culinary, and Jamie of Life’s a Feast along for the ride.  Say hello to Twelve Loaves, and below is what it’s all about and the rules – beautifully written by Jamie and beautifully copied and pasted by me!

Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Malted Yogurt Loaf
Twelve Loaves
was created to inspire you to bake more from scratch at home, in your kitchen. Bake along with us every month and discover and rediscover the joys of home baking for your family and friends. We know it’s not an easy task and we are here to inspire you along the way. A Baking Revolution!

Continue Reading Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Malted Yogurt Loaf for Twelve Loaves…

Eat the Bowl Part Two – Maple Mousse in Candied Bacon Hazelnut Lace Bowls

April 30, 2011 at 10:13 am | Posted in Cakes, Cookies, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Puddings | 55 Comments
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So everything went horribly wrong – but then it went a little right, but not after much cursing, screaming, and a mess of epic proportions.  Then my knee acted up due to a big storm, delaying this entry even more.  I’m now three days late.  I think that’s a record for me.

That’s how I’m going to begin this entry because everything did go horribly wrong.  Ultimate FAIL, disaster.  I planned out this latest Daring Baker’s Challenge last week.  I tried to plan it out weeks before, but every time I came up with something, either someone else had done it, or after much thought, I decided it was A) Too much trouble since it might not work, B) Probably wouldn’t work, or C) Not cohesive.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

I’m not going to get into the details of what went horribly wrong with my first idea, since I plan on doing it again, within a few weeks, but I will tell you that I had everything ready to go except for two components, both forgotten about when it came time to put everything together for photographs.

I had the post written out, the photo area set up, and planned to have this up by 11:59 pm April 26th – one minute before the clock struck April 27th.  Then I would get a good night’s sleep, dreaming of my next entry.  All sounds great, huh?  Well, I never slept, because I ended up working on a completely different idea all night long – had to start from scratch using Plan B, and Plan B, although pretty, didn’t initially work out very well either.

This month is the sweet version of edible containers, and I almost didn’t have a container, just a stand, stump..whatever you’d want to call a small round of french toasted pound cake.  BUT, I persevered, and let my mousse stand tall in it’s own, edible container, although that really didn’t turn out how I wanted either.  Beats the stump container, though.

I can tell you what went wrong with Plan B.  When Plan A, which I loved, backfired on me at the very last second, I decided I would make little entremet like cakes, since our lovely hostess asked us to make an edible container to hold this yummy maple mousse recipe she provided.  Mousse cakes, love them, in case you didn’t know.  A joconde as my ‘container’, then maple mousse and whatever else struck me while preparing it.

So, i had some joconde left over from the Joconde Imprime/Entremet challenge last January, in the freezer.  I let it defrost, still calm and sure this was going to be a piece of cake..ha ha.  As the joconde defrosted, I made the mousse, candied some bacon  (part of this challenge was the option of pairing the mousse with candied bacon – I decided a little wouldn’t hurt, although I’m still not sold on meat in sweets), then thought long and hard about what else I wanted to add to these little towers of maple mousse.

I decided on a strawberry confit of a sort (I felt the addition of bacon afforded me that right – heh), -diced strawberries macerated with a little sugar, then combined with a bit of finely diced candied bacon, a grind or two of black pepper, and a bit of gelatin to stabilize it so it would remain suspended in the middle of the mousse, a surprise in the center!

This is the moment I first blew it.  A ‘What was she thinking?’ moment.  I could have sworn I had gelatin leaves and powder left.  I didn’t, I should have double-checked.  It was now 2 am, nothing open.  I saw a box of strawberry JELL-O. I felt this was genius in a pinch, just a little bit to set it up, completely forgetting all the red food color in a package of strawberry JELL-O.  Enough said, my inner cloud of strawberries and bits of bacon now looked like Leatherface stopped by for dessert.  Oh, and it didn’t ‘suspend’ in mid-mousse because of the clockwork red JELL-O blood-letting seepage into pound cake crumb labrynith.

Oh well, at least the flavors were there.  The contrast of slightly tart strawberries and bacon bits with this maple mousse, was sublime ( I tasted A LOT of the two together to make sure before layering), although some might find it odd, trust me on this one.

    Hershey’s chocolate syrup is NOT recommended as a substitute for joconde paste.  Stripes of fudge was my hope, until I tried to pull off the parchment paper.  One of my stupidest baking moments lol

Now that I had everything ready to go (it’s still early enough to finish and get a good night’s sleep, at this point) I returned to my defrosted joconde.  All I needed to do was cut some circles and strips to line the mousse rings – then pour the mousse – strawberry confit – mousse.  Whoohoo, sooo easy!!  The joconde is actually the biggest pain in the butt when using one for an entremet, the mousses and any other components are usually simple and fail proof.

I didn’t have to make it again because here it was..READY to go (Thank you, freezer!)!  I anxiously unwrapped it.  As I removed each sheet, it started to fall apart in my hands.  WTF??  Removed another piece more carefully, it felt very delicate, and not right – I’m suspecting freezer burn here – zip-not-lock-completely.  I placed it down verrry gently on a sheet pan, and started to cut – then gingerly lifted the cut piece up, insta-disintegration.  Soon I was whimpering into a sea of wet crumbs, chocolate and vanilla crumbs – not even a joconde paste stripe remaining or remotely recognizable.  Now what???  I need to think of something, quick!

Against my better judgement, especially since there was a lot of humidity in the air that day, I decided to make another joconde/imprime.  I would make a walnut sponge, and forget about the damn joconde paste!  Again, against my better judgement, and ‘What was she thinking?, NUMBER TWO, I hastily grabbed a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup from the fridge and went all Picasso on the parchment paper – then chucked it in the freezer and made the sponge.  Yes, good chance this won’t work, but just as good a chance it will.

Here’s a lesson learned –  it’s not a good idea to ‘try’ or experiment with something when you’re on a sort of deadline – better to stick with something tried and true.  You guessed it, didn’t work!  See photo! I should have avoided the Hershey’s syrup – who cares if I had an undecorated  ‘container’ of simple, walnut sponge?  Lesson learned, lesson learned, lesson learned – yeah, whatever.

I grabbed a frozen pound cake and cut out circles to fit in my mousse rings, then french toast battered and fried them up.

So, this was my container, a circle of french toasted pound cake.  That’s a stand – a stump.  Kind of sad, isn’t it?  Well, since I was already late, I decided to give one more container a try, a more tried and true one.  Hazelnut lace cookie bowls.  However, a little twist.  I added a tiny bit of chopped, partially cooked bacon to the lace cookie batter.  Voila.  Now I have an edible container, and it’s three days late.  Most Daring Bakers have probably moved on and won’t see it.  The reveal thread is rife with tumbleweeds.

If you want some more recipes for edible containers. and a recipe for vegan maple mousse, click HERE.  To see all the cool edible containers created by my fellow Daring Bakers, click on the links to their blog, HERE.

Maple Mousse Towers in Hazelnut Bacon Lace Cookie Bowls

Hazelnut Bacon Lace Cookie Bowls

makes 7-9 cookie bowls but you only need 4 for this recipe
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon finely chopped, partially cooked bacon

French Toasted Pound Cake Circles
4 3-inch circles cut from 4 1-inch slices of your favorite homemade pound cake,
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream (You can use half and half or milk)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
Maple syrup to brush cake circles

Maple Mousse
1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
4 large egg yolks
1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine (I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon since I was pouring to mold)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)

Strawberry ‘Confit’ Filling
6 fresh strawberries, stemmed and diced finely
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely diced, candied bacon
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin, dissolved in 1 scant Tablespoon of cold water
freshly ground black pepper, about 1 or two grinds.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the hazelnuts and flour. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir the dry ingredients into a pan. Transfer the batter to a bowl and stir occasionally until it thickens into a dough and is cool enough to handle, about 25 minutes.

2. With moistened hands, roll the dough into heaping tablespoon size balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets, 2 at a time, since they’re large and will spread quite a bit. Bake about 10-12 minutes, or until the active bubbling subsides. Place the baking sheet on rack and let cool until the cookies are firm enough to lift with a flexible metal spatula but are still malleable, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Using 2 small soup bowls measuring 4 1/2 to 5-inches across the tops – when set but still malleable, lift the cookies, one at a time, and place each in a bowl, nutty, bumpy side up. Gently press the bottom to flatten.  Let set, then remove and continue with rest of cookie bowls.  You should get about 7 – 9  bowls.  You need 4 bowls for this recipe.

1. In a medium bowl whisk egg, cream, spices. Soak pound cake circles in the mixture, making sure all sides are soaked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Heat butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Transfer soaked pound cake circles to the skillet and fry until golden brown on each side.

1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).

3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.

4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.

5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.

6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.

7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream.

1. Place diced strawberries in a bowl with sugar, and let macerate for about 10-15 minutes. Melt softened gelatin in the microwave for 5 seconds, or place bowl in a saute pan of simmering water, to melt. Stir bacon and melted gelatin into strawberries, then a grind or two of black pepper. Let sit until strawberry liquid thickens, like egg white.

1.  Line 4 mousse rings with acetete or parchment paper, extending a few inches above the rims.

2.  Place one french toasted pound cake circle in the bottom of each mousse ring.  Brush each with maple syrup.

3.  Divide half of mousse equally between the four mousse rings.  Top each with a heaping tablespoon of strawberry confit, then pour the reamining  mousse on top, again equally in each mousse ring,  Place in fridge and let set for several hours to overnight,  Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, some candied bacon, and a piece of strawberry.

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‘Chocolate dipped Strawberry’ Macarons and a Winner is announced!

February 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Giveaway, Macarons | 35 Comments
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I’ve lost my macaron mojo.  I don’t know if it’s temporary or permanent, but my cocky macaron assurance has left the building.  When I finally mastered these little babies last October, I was jubilant – I bragged all over creation about how every batch turned out perfect – beautiful feet and shells as smooth as a baby’s butt.  I waxed on and on about possibly starting a ‘mac a month’ entry on my blog – I joined up with Deeba and Jamie’s monthly MacTweets- Attack and I even bought almond meal in bulk, since surely I was going to be using it quite a bit now that I’d mastered macarons!  Well..I’ve been using it alright, but the bitches turned on me.

Every attempt at macarons the past 2 months has been met with complete failure.  The thing is, I already know they’re going to fail before I put them in the oven.  It’s a batter failure – too thick or too’s always one or the other . The perfect lava like consistency has abandoned me.

I’ve changed nothing.  I age my egg whites anywhere from 24-48 hours, sometimes longer, and all the dry ingredients are weighed on my newly calibrated scale which is rarely, if  I truly believe the macaron gods are teaching me a little lesson in humility here – as in don’t overstep your boundaries with these chicks.  Make them the center of attention rather than bragging about your sudden amazing ability to turn out pan after pan of  supermodels every.single.time. They need inclusive adoration to thrive.  Oh, and don’t call them bitches.  I think that’s what did me in.

These macarons are my third, yep count ’em, third attempt this month.  Last month I had to skip it altogether because four tries didn’t turn out.  On the third try this month, only 8 shells turned out ‘passable’ (translation – one good side to photograph).

However, I wasn’t going to miss this month’s Valentine Mac Attack, so I soldiered on and decided to make the most of these eight shells.  Did I mention the powdered red food coloring didn’t work either?  No idea why, but I ended up with dull, mauve shells, so I air brushed the bitches red.  Back to gel paste and drying the tant pour tant – IF the macarons gods will give me another chance.

I decided, since beauty wasn’t going to be an option this month, to load these babies with chocolate. inside-out.  I needed to disguise the imperfections and what better way to do it then with drizzles of chocolate?  Chocolate dipped strawberries scream Valentine’s Day to me (well, if I had my way, they’d scream every day to me).  Okay, so here’s what I did – I air brushed them red (because my red powdered food color was bluffin’) , drizzled tons of white and dark chocolate over the cooled shells, then filled them with 1) Strawberry Dark Chocolate Ganache and 2) Strawberry Mascarpone Cream.  Let me tell you, these were super duper tasty, and you know the old adage, beauty is in the eye..well mouth in this case, of the beholder.  They may not be beautiful, but their edibility factor rocks.

That said, a friend pointed out to me the similarities between my macaron shells and Eddie Van Halen’s favorite guitar.  I suppose there is a resemblance.  Like I said, these macarons ‘rock’.  I hate that word, but it fits.

Now on to the winner of my first giveaway!  I used and subtracted my 3 comments plus one of two posts from someone, leaving me with a lucky number between 1-43.   As you can see above, the number 2 turned up, and that corrresponds with the lovely Diva of Beach Eats!  Congrats, Diva!  Send your address to, and I’ll get it right in the mail.

Finally, Lauren of Celiac Teen did a wonderful thing (and an amazing job – she worked so hard on this!).  She gathered a bunch of bloggers and asked we donate recipes (87 recipes, by 71 food bloggers, from the comfort of our homes and hearts,) so she could create the below ebook for purchase, all proceeds donated to the victims of the Earthquake in Haiti.  Click on the photo below and grab a copy of your own, knowing all the to.die.for yummies you make from this book will be helping so many people!

Recipe verbatim from Helene of Tartelette
90 grams egg whites (about 3)
30 grams granulated sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
110 grams almonds

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Strawberry-Dark Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces dark chocolate (about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup strawberry preserves or jam, OR *reduced strawberry puree
2 tablespoons (1 oz) butter, cubed and softened

1. Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place it in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil.

2. Once the cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Gently whisk it together until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny chocolate liquid–this is your ganache. Add the softened butter and the strawberry preserves, jam or puree and whisk until they are incorporated. Press a layer of clingwrap on top of the ganache and chill until it is firm enough to pipe.

Strawberry-Mascarpone Filling
1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup strawberry preserves or jam, or *reduced strawberry puree

1. In a bowl with an electric beater combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberry preserves, jam or puree until uniform in color.  Pipe onto macaron shells and sandwich with another.

*For both fillings, if using the reduced strawberry puree in lieu of the preserves or jam, add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, depending on how sweet you like it.

Drizzle sandwiched macarons with melted white and dark chocolate.

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Berries and Buttermilk Puddings and my First GIVEAWAY!

February 3, 2010 at 10:56 am | Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Gluten Free, Healthy, Puddings | 59 Comments
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You know, I’ve had this blog going for almost 2 years, and I have yet to present a giveaway.  I feel left out, I feel cheap, I feel like the kid in the lunchroom with the sandwich that will no one will trade for.  OK, that’s overreacting to the 100th degree.  Let’s just say that I have tons and tons of goodies, most of which I’ll never use, that I’d like to share with you all.

Well, I’ll get to that part after I touch on these luscious, decadent buttermilk puddings with a strawberry-red wine sauce, and fresh, succulent berries.  The pudding sounds really fattening, doesn’t it?  I mean, some perceive buttermilk to be loaded with butter -but  it’s not.   It’s the sour liquid that remains after the butterfat has been removed from whole milk or cream by churning when making butter.  However, most commercial buttermilk is now produced by other means, mainly cultured –  aka cow’s milk with lactic acid bacteria added to it.

Alright enough with the scientific mishmash.  This pudding tastes like cheesecake – I mean it, creamy, rich cheesecake pudding, but’s’s actually low in fat, and even lower if you use low fat milk!  I had half a quart of buttermilk left from some muffins I made (coming soon) and I’m so bad when it comes to buttermilk – a certified buttermilk ‘waster’.  I buy it for one recipe (yes, I know, milk plus lemon juice or vinegar, but sometimes I feel like using something that is what it is), then it sits in the back of my fridge until it becomes it’s own life form..bacteria babies multiplying like bunny rabbits, then starting their own families, and so on and so forth.

When I dare to look, it’s actually moving and chunky. One sniff and well, I don’t think I need to elaborate any more than that.  Down the drain it goes, with a teeming shower of steaming hot water to melt the chunky parts.  Have I grossed anyone out yet?  It wasn’t my intention, but if you ask anyone who knows me, I’m not one to hold back when it comes to saying what’s on my mind..chunky bits or not.

                   Darn shiny glasses and fake lighting – couldn’t avoid the glare.

With that said, this time I wasn’t going to waste the damn buttermilk.  I surfed to, typed in buttermilk, and this was the first recipe that came up.  Usually, I need to sift for a while, but nope, this was right up my alley, especially after all the rich holiday food still clogging every artery, organ, pore etc.  I was not disappointed – you have to try these, and it’s truly, truly nowhere near as fattening as it tastes.  INDULGE!

Now to the fun part – my GIVEAWAY – YAY!  I’m starting slow, as I don’t want to overdo it since it’s my first one.  This isn’t stuff sent to me by a company to plug, this is from my humble, little kitchen. It’s simply something I want to give away because, well, friends and family give me a lot of food and kitchen related stuff as gifts, and as mentioned above, I’ll never use it all…so who better to pass it on to than my fellow food fanatics?

To put it simply, most of my giveaways will be akin to you coming over and while we chat, eat, cook/bake, play Twister, whatever, I keep piling stuff on you

“Here, take this, you’ll love it!”. ..”Oh, look, 10 different kinds of flavored oils, 9 of which I’ll never use..take them..please!”.

Granted, everything is brand spanking new..I’m not one of those types.   I once worked with a woman who actually saved half a sub sandwich she didn’t eat (2 days old), a little nibble off the corner, and brought it into work to pawn off on someone because she didn’t like to waste food.  If Wordpress had a disgusted/WTH?? emoticon, you’d see it right HERE.  That was the look on all of our faces when she decided we were no different than her dog.

OK, onto the haul.  I have enough panko breadcrumbs to bread enough food to feed almost all of Manhattan..seriously – SO, one, lucky reader..please take these!  Oh, here’s the cool part..they’re flavored panko, fusion panko!  We’ve got South West panko, Garlic panko, and Teriyaki panko..a three pack – NO mustard or plain.  Just leave a comment and I’ll use that random integer thingamahjig to choose a winner.  The winner will be announced one week from today.  By the way, this is not just limited to the USA..I will ship anywhere in the world.  Fair is fair, and whatever number comes up is where it goes!

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Puddings with Saucy Berries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 servings
Chill time: 8 hours
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine via
Buttermilk Puddings:
  • 1½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Berry Sauce:
  • ¼ cup dry red wine *
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
  • 1 (3-inch) strip orange zest
  • 1 Turkish or ½ California bay leaf
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups mixed berries (I used raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
Make the puddings
  1. Have ready 4 (6-to 8-ounce) bowls or wide glasses
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup milk in a small bowl and let soften 1 minute.
  3. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small heavy saucepan and add pod. Add remaining ¾ cup milk and sugar and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring until dissolved. Quickly chill in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cold but not thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in buttermilk, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measure, discarding solids. Pour into bowls and chill until set, at least 8 hours.
Make the sauce
  1. Bring wine, water, sugar, zests, and bay leaf to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil until reduced to about ⅓ cup, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add strawberries and simmer 5 minutes. Discard zests and bay leaf, then puree strawberry mixture in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force through clean fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Stir in tablespoon of lemon juice.
  3. Chill sauce, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour.
  1. Spoon sauce over puddings and top with mixed berries.
* If you'd prefer not to use red wine in the sauce, some good substitutes would be; grape juice, apple juice or cranberry juice.

Outrageously Creamy Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Puddings with Fresh Berry Sauce. Low-Fat and Low SugarBookmark and Share

Cake and Ice Cream…Hold the flour

February 28, 2009 at 1:08 am | Posted in Cakes, Candy, Cheese, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Frozen, Fruit | 113 Comments
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Yes, it’s that time of the month again – the Daring Bakers Challenge! Yesss, it’s another challenge where the difficulty factor wasn’t high, once again making it easy for me to participate without having to set knee in the kitchen, or for my helpers to have to set foot in the kitchen more than a few times. The main component of this month’s challenge contains only 3 ingredients, yep, just three ingredients – chocolate, butter and eggs. The second component (which I’m absolutely sure isn’t second to most people) is something I could cook, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Well, I guess the title kind of gave it away, but hey, I need some kind of intro.

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First off, I must add this paragraph so the DB-BOT will sense my participation and put me on it’s good baker list. It knows if I’ve been bad or good so I’ll be good for goodness…oh, wait, I’m confusing ‘it‘ with someone else. Here goes…

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge. Thank you for a great challenge, Dharm and Wendy! (That’s me thanking them – NOT part of THE paragraph).

OK, done! Seriously, though, I think it’s a great idea, and it’s so helpful to Lisa and Ivonne in keeping up with who’s still in it, and who isn’t, not to mention those who have ‘cut class’ without a note, more than several times!

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of dark (bittersweet) or even semisweet chocolate, I can tolerate semisweet, but I don’t know what it is, other than being born without a dark chocolate gene. Regardless, I still bake with both quite a bit because people like it, they really like it! For this challenge, I decided to keep the dark chocolate to a minimum.

I baked two flourless (Valentino) cakes, the first being a white chocolate-dark chocolate layered dealypoo.  I split the master batter in two, 8 oz of each chocolate, and just dropped alternating spoonfuls of white chocolate and dark chocolate batter into the pan,, for Valentine’s Day, and last week as yet another thank you gift to some of my helpers who came for dinner, a milk and dark chocolate Valentino, not layered or split, just melted together with the butter.

White chocolate really isn’t suited for a flourless chocolate cake because well, it isn’t chocolate and the cocoa butter content is very high. However, not being one to give up before actually testing something (unless it resembles a grenade or has a skull and crossbones on it), I went ahead with it. Guess what? It worked. You just need to work that confection like a cheap slu..ok, I’ll keep it G-rated – like  cream to butter.


Strawberry Lime Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Here’s the main caveat when you use white chocolate – the chocolate separates and curdles when you incorporate the egg yolks. Don’t be alarmed and give up, just keep mixing it and it’ll eventually come back together. The second caveat is that as it comes back together, it starts to firm up.

NO worries, because once you fold in the egg whites, it loosens up again. The last caveat is that the white chocolate batter is much looser than the batter using real chocolate. I originally wanted to do a zebra drop layering, but the dark chocolate batter didn’t spread nearly as much as the white chocolate batter, so I ended up (as I mentioned above) just alternating heaping tabelespoons of batter on top of one another in a rustic (aka sloppy) manner. I kind of left it up to the baking gods after that.

tulip img_5206small1

The end result was most of the the dark chocolate batter sinking to the bottom while most of the white chocolate batter rose to the top. It was perfectly fine though, as it still resulted in a pretty presentation and most importantly, tasted great! Surprisingly  it set up really well. I was initially apprehensive due to a few daring DB’ers encountering runny interiors when cutting into their white chocolate Valentino’s after it seemed set. No idea why it worked for me, but here’s what I did in my attempt to tame that cantankerous confection for this preparation…

  • I used Callebaut white chocolate (actually, it was all I had on hand)
  • Mixed the heck out of the white chocolate-butter amalgamation after adding the egg yolks.
  • Lightened the batter with a little more than a third of the egg whites, then folded in the rest
  • Baked it for 30-32 minutes instead of the 25 stated in the recipe, and after letting it set at room temperature, refrigerated it overnight.

That’s it, and it was perfect – perfect enough to stick with a Valentine’s Day motif by cutting hearts out of the cake. I got a total of four 3-inch whimsical hearts from the 8-inch round cake, and the scraps were up for grabs!

Flourless White and Dark Chocolate Heart Cakes with Strawberry Lime Cream Cheese Ice CreamThe next part of this challenge was to make an ice cream to go along with the cake. We were given two great vanilla ice cream recipes by Wendy and Dharm, one a precooked custard, the other a no cook mixture, prior to freezing. However, we were given free reign to use any ice cream recipe or come up with one of our own. Naturally I chose a no cook recipe as simplicity is exponentially key for me now, and not sure my electric fondue pot would have held all the ingredients for the cooked version, lol!

The recipe I chose was one I’ve been using for years from my old standby site, – a simple cream cheese ice cream that’s uber creamy and so incredibly smooth on the palate. I felt the light tang of the cream cheese would pair well with the extremely rich, dense cake. I put my own take on it by adding chopped strawberries, a touch of lime.

I also decreased the sugar since I felt it didn’t need as much as the recipe listed. Unfortunately, my ice cream bowls had been placed in a part of the freezer near the door where they never freeze up enough since the door is opened quite a bit. I didn’t realize this until I heard that liquidy sound during the churning. I removed the bowl and took some photos of the liquid ice cream anyway, not thinking I would use any of them, but one of the photos came out kind of cool, so I did (see above, next to the frozen heart by itself).

After taking the photos, I poured the ice cream into a container and stuck it in the fridge so I could freeze it the next day, after the bowl was properly frozen in the RIGHT part of the freezer! Thankfully, everything turned out well, and the ice cream froze just fine the next day.


I packed some of the ice cream into heart shaped molds for the final freeze (not that it mattered, since my frozen hearts started to melt into a puddle of goo the minute I started taking pictures), since I was going for Valentine kitsch. OK, kitsch is an understatement! Everything about my presentation was less than original, everything epitomizing Valentine’s Day – from the chocolate dipped strawberries to the heart shaped cakes and ice cream to the chocolate straws and strawberry-raspberry coulis.

Red, pink, chocolate, hearts GALORE!! It doesn’t get anymore Valentine than that! However, I was a little more creative with the dark chocolate-milk chocolate cake, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one, since I plan on blogging about it next time!

Speaking of presentation, I topped each heart with chocolate ganache, then placed it on a grid of 4 chocolate straws. I placed the ice cream heart on it’s side and gave it a drizzle of strawberry-raspberry coulis (HA! A bleeding heart – I should have called the plate ‘MY HEART BLEEDS FOR YOOOU!), with a few extra dots outside the chocolate grid. A white and dark chocolate dipped strawberry was the final touch. Original or not, it reeked of love and was enjoyed immensely. In the end, that’s all that mattered.

Chocolate Valentino (Flourless Chocolate Cake)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Depends on size pan you use
For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins. An instant read thermometer highly recommended. Also, this cake will (obviously) taste exactly like the chocolate you use, so use a good quality chocolate.
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped *
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated
  1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
  2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
  3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
  5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
  6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
  7. Fold in ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining ⅔rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan ¾ of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. **
  10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.
* For a white chocolate Valentino, use white chocolate instead of semisweet and follow directions in post on how to work the white chocolate. For a white and dark chocolate Valentino, split the recipe using half semisweet and half white chocolate. Split butter amount and use six eggs, three for each chocolate.
** If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet, when it's done.
Strawberry Lime Cream Cheese Ice Cream
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 1 Quart
Adapted from
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1¼ cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  1. Blend cream cheese, milk, lime juice, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in cream, strawberries, and lime zest. Chill mixture in covered bowl in the fridge for at least two hours to overnight.
  2. Once mixture is thoroughly chilled, freeze in ice cream maker following manufacturer's directions.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours. Let ice cream soften 5 minutes before serving.

Be sure to check out the magnificent creations by my fellow Daring Bakers by clicking on the links to their blogs at the Daring Bakers Blogroll site!

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