I could go for a ginger cookie…

November 6, 2009


If you read yesterday, you know that I’m taking the easy way out to end the week by recycling some of my favourite cold weather comfort food posts.

On the list today are recipes from my sweet kitchen:
Microwave butterscotch pudding
Tarte Tatin
Super crisp ginger cookies
Butter Tarts

What sweet treat epitomizes warming comfort for you? Again, feel free to link to your site or recipes that we can all bookmark for a day when we need an indulgence.


Topline Trends Tuesday: brown butter

August 11, 2009


From brown butter frosting, butterscotch pudding, shortbread cookies and tart pastry, brown butter (called beurre noisette by chefs) is infiltrating the sweet kitchen. This nut-brown ingredient has a toasty aroma and flavour that has enraptured the palates of home bakers and pastry chefs alike.

Brown butter is made by cooking butter long enough to turn the milk solids and salt particles brown while cooking out any water present in the solid mixture. When I was in chef school we used it in traditional dishes like trout meuniere and my husband has a signature grilled calamari dish on his menu (PDF file) that features the flavours of brown butter with roasted garlic, capers and olives – so good!

It’s finicky to make brown butter if you’re a multi-tasker, but easy to make if you pay close attention:

• Place at least a 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter in a dry saucepan.
Melt over medium-high heat until the butter begins to foam; skim off and discard any scum that accumulates on the surface. When the butter turns a light, tan colour, remove from the heat. (The butter will continue cooking even after you remove it from the burner so take it off before it reaches a nutty coloured brown.)
• Cool slightly. Strain through cheesecloth or a Chinoise before using as directed in the recipe.

Daring Bakers Ride Again

January 29, 2009

img_2470Lord knows this is not my best food photograph. Nor was this my best Daring Baker’s challenge ever. Sigh. My kitchen karma was severely out of whack when I went to make these tuiles.  The result: most of them turned out pretty much ugly.

I paired my not so pretty tuiles with my semi-famous microwave butterscotch pudding (made with homo milk instead of the 2% called for in the original recipe and with demerrara sugar for a deep, rich flavour). The recipe uses two egg yolks so it was a perfect choice as a companion for the tuiles on a practical level.

My embarrassing results sting badly; you see I used to make a version of these feather light cookies on a daily basis when, at the beginning of my career, I was the pastry assistant in a restaurant kitchen. Oh the shame! Am I washed up?  Have I lost my touch? Or, was it just a bad baking day?  Sometimes the simplest tasks can be the most humbling!

But, enough whining about my uninspired results. Visit the Daring Baker’s site and click on the links to see what my fellow bakers have cooked up. Some of their results are absolutely lovely!

Credits:  This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Butterscotch pudding

January 24, 2008

butterscothpudding.jpgWhen I was growing up I loved homemade butterscotch pudding. In fact, I vowed that as soon as I was an adult I would make an entire pot of butterscotch pudding and eat it all by myself. I still find that idea wonderfully appealing; however, as I mentioned on television recently, I’m also trying to stay slim and trim (BTW: I’ve lost four of the six pounds I talked about losing that day!).

When I originally envisioned eating an entire batch of butterscotch pudding, it was a big batch. A really big batch. Enough for eight, in fact. While I know that my adult metabolism can definitely not handle that kind of indulgence, I do still love creamy, rich homemade butterscotch pudding. There’s just no substitute for scratch butterscotch pudding. The single-serve commercially prepared butterscotch puddings available in grocery stores don’t even taste like butterscotch. No, once you go homemade, there’s no turning back when it comes to butterscotch pudding!

To satisfy my cravings and maintain portion control, I developed this smaller batch, microwave version of my favorite childhood dessert. Although it makes enough to share with a friend, you could eat the entire batch. You’d be blowing your diet for the day but you won’t have to lie down to recover!

What’s your favorite childhood food? Are sweets more “cravable” than savoury foods for you?

Dana’s Microwave Butterscotch Pudding
4 tsp (20 mL) cornstarch
½ cup (125 mL) lightly packed dark brown sugar
pinch salt
1 cup (250 mL) 2 % milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 tbsp (30 mL) cold, salted butter, cubed
¼ tsp (1 mL) pure vanilla extract

Blend the cornstarch with the sugar and salt until well combined in a microwave safe bowl or large glass-measuring cup. Whisk in about 1/4 of the milk until smooth. Blend in remaining milk, whisking until smooth.

Cook mixture in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Whisk well and cook for 2 minutes longer or until thickened. Spoon a little of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Stir until smooth. Scrape the egg mixture into the hot milk mixture using a rubber spatula. Whisk well and cook for 1 minute longer on HIGH. Whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Makes 2 servings.