Experimenting with Recipes

Hi everyone!  I have not stopped blogging, I have been extremely busy revising recipes.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to share a kitchen with Perfect Pastry.  I am getting together samples for restaurants and cafes.  Also the owner at Perfect Pastry wants to sell my small tarts.  This is an exciting time for me, I am so happy to be able to bake professionally again.  I do bake out of my home, but there is something about a commercial kitchen that gets the motor running!  Please be patient with me, I will be back to a new blog in no time.  Thanks for viewing my blog, I have reached my twenty-fifth blog! Yahoooooo!

Take a look at some of my creations, I put a lot of time into them.  I now see why the Chef back in pastry school told us that sometimes recipes cannot be cut into half.  I tried to do this to my Cocoa Mocha Torte recipe and it did not come out.  Does anyone know why some recipes cannot be cut into half?  I really want to know the reason.

These large tarts are for wholesale and the small tarts are for retail sales. (I haven’t perfected scratch and sniff yet for these photos!)  Creamsicle Cheesecake Tart

Caramel Walnut Torte

My favorite, Cocoa Mocha Tart.  This has a dense chocolate bottom layer and a fluffy light cocoa and Kaluha top layer.  The best of both worlds to me!

This is the Rasperapple Tart that I blogged about.  This is a small 4″ tart.  I love to warm this up and put a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.  Give this a try if you haven’t yet, I now like this better than just a plain apple pie.

I will be back blogging soon!

Super Easy Banana, Raisin Rice Pudding Brûlée

I was recently given a rice steamer.  I love it, the rice is just like in a Chinese restaurant, it is never sticky and you can use the cheap plain bagged rice.  My boyfriend loves rice pudding, so I steamed some rice with cinnamon and this recipe begins!

Steamed Cinnamon Rice

  • 2 Cups Plain Rice
  • Water as indicated in steamer (usually 2 to 1 ratio)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients into the rice steamer and cook as directed.  If you don’t have a steamer, just boil off 2 Cups of rice, after you drain it, stir in the cinnamon.  Let cool.  I refrigerated it overnight.

Homemade Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 5 Tblsp Constarch
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Tblsp Butter
  • 1 Tblsp Vanilla
  • 1 diced Banana

In a medium saucepan bring the milk and first 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil.  In a bowl whisk yolks, whole eggs, cornstarch and sugar.  Pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture and whisk.  Put back on the burner on medium high heat and whisk until it comes to a boil.  Take off heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and banana. You just made Pastry Cream, the main staple that baker’s always use for fillings, puddings and pies.  Wasn’t that simple!

Vanilla & Cinnamon Infused Raisins

  • 2 Cups Raisins
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Take off heat, the liquids should be absorbed into the raisins.  If you have any excess liquid just drain a little of it out.

Let’s assemble: Take the cinnamon rice, pastry cream and vanilla & cinnamon infused raisins and stir together.  Put this mixture into a buttered glass casserole dish, or if you have individual casserole dishes use them.  I recently treated myself to these small casserole dishes, I have used them many times for desserts as well as for mac n’ cheese.

Heat up your broiler, we are going to Brûlée the top of our pudding.

Sprinkle the top of the pudding with 3 to 4 Tablespoons of Sugar, enough to cover it.  Place under broiler.  Watch it carefully, you don’t want it to burn, you do want it to be bubbly and brown.  This takes about 6 to 7 minutes.

I think this is much quicker than traditional rice pudding.  I love the banana thrown into the mix, it adds texture and flavor.  Let the pudding cool a bit, this will allow the sugar to “crisp” up so you get the crunch of the Bruleed (I don’t think this is a word!) topping.  The texture is extra creamy and the taste of the vanilla and cinnamon shine through.  Anyone that likes rice pudding will go bananas over this one.  Give it a try!

Caramel, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Chocolate Bon Bon!

I was in the candy aisle craving a goodie, as usual, I wanted something sweet, yet salty, chocolatey, yet crunchy.  Couldn’t find what I was in the mood for, so I went home and came up with this recipe.  I love all of the above items, so why not put them into one monster size Bon Bon!  Now the definition of a Bon Bon is a small candy, so we are stretching the meaning a little, these are definitely not a small bite.  Let’s get started!

Caramel Candy

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 1/2 Tblsp Butter (cut into pieces)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Tblsp Water

Melt the heavy cream and butter together, set aside.  Put the rest of the ingredients into a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir until sugar is melted. Now swirl the pan until the sugar turns a light caramel color, take it off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter mixture.  STEP BACK! THIS WILL BUBBLE UP!  Put back on the burner, simmer on a low flame.  If you have a candy thermometer insert it now, you want to bring it up to 248 degrees.  I do not have a thermometer, so I have a bowl with water and ice cubes to test my sugar.  Stir frequently, in three minutes let’s test the sugar.  Put a drop of sugar into the ice water,using your fingers pick up the cool sugar to see the consistency.  When the sugar comes together into a ball and it semi-soft it is ready.

This only takes about five minutes from the time that you pour in the cream and butter mixture, so don’t walk away from the stove, you have to babysit your sugar!

Pour the caramel into a stainless steel bowl and set over a bowl filled with ice water.  Stirring often, we want to cool down the caramel so we can roll it into balls.

While that is cooling take 8 oz of pretzels and crush them in a cuisanart.  We want to keep some texture to them, so don’t finely crush ’em!

When the caramel is room temperature take one teaspoon of caramel and roll it into the crushed pretzels.  You will get 16 caramel balls. Put them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.  If they are still warm they will flatten, let them cool a little and re-roll into balls before you put them into the freezer.  While they are setting up let’s go ahead and make the peanut butter layer to wrap over the caramel balls.

Yummy Peanut Butter Dough

  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (Remember choosy bakers choose Jif)
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup finely crushed Graham Crackers (one half of 1 packet)

Melt the butter, put into a bowl with the paddle attachment.  Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Then add the powdered sugar and graham crumbs, incorporate them.  Take a taste, there will be some extra for you!  Reminds me of the inside of a Reese Peanut Butter Cup, see why I call it yummy!

Take the caramel balls out of the freezer.  Using about 1 Tblsp of peanut butter dough wrap it around the caramel ball.  Now roll this into the crushed pretzels.  Place them back into the freezer.

We will now make the final coating for our caramel peanut butter balls.

Chocolate Dip

  • 16 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tblsp Crisco

Put these ingredients into a bowl, microwave for one minute.  Take out and stir.  Now microwave for another 20 seconds.  Take out and stir thoroughly.

Remove the candies from the freezer, using a fork dip the ball into the chocolate to coat.  Don’t use your hands, I tried this and it was a mess. (not that I didn’t enjoy licking the chocolate off of my fingers)  I used another fork to maneuver the ball back onto the tray.

Now sprinkle the tops with more crushed pretzels.  You can set them back into the freezer to set up for five minutes.  They can be stored at room temperature.

Look at layers.  The chewy caramel center, with the pretzel crunch, smooth peanut butter with the pretzel crunch, then the rich chocolate coating.  This sure got me shaking my “Bon Bon” back to the plate for just one more!