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Recipes

Yogurt Jam Tart

I love a good hack and here it is: if you make a fresh batch of jam and a tart crust you are halfway to tempting a few friends and family with a dessert that feasts on the last glut of end of summer fruit in a yogurt jam tart, which is precisely how a batch of my Dapple Dandy hibiscus jam talked its way into an empty tart shell.

Yogurt Jam Tart

Here’s something maybe sneaky if you’re not prone to turning your yogurt tub to read the ingredients. Gelatin is sometimes added to firm up yogurt for a tight consistency you can cut with a knife. Taking a cue from some yogurt companies (who will not be named!)–I wanted to pair the sweetness of stone fruit jam with the tart expression of a good Greek yogurt that could set more like a custard and work as the filling in a tart. So, I used agar agar, a Japanese seaweed gelling agent that’s vegetarian and a gelatin substitute. One word here is that the liquid combined with the agar agar need to be brought to a boiling temperature and then simmer for 5 minutes to set up properly.

Yogurt Jam Tart is a great way to make an easy dessert of either homemade jam or use storebought and a yogurt custard.

One word here again on yogurts is that not all in the refrigerated aisle are created the same (and honestly it’s so easy to make your own with the help of my friend Cheryl’s trusty guide in all things yogurt that you might decide to go that route. And now that I’ve heard there is a yogurt feature on Instant Pots, I might be back in plain yogurt-making business. Plain yogurt brings pizazz to all kinds of meals..  The agar agar slurry is intended to thicken up runny yogurts like Straus Organic or Wallaby, as I wanted a more set consistency in this tart.

The yogurt layer is fairly easy to make for the yogurt jam tart. Use agar agar to gel the yogurt for a stiff set.

If you don’t have time to make the yogurt filling, proceed with spreading a decent filling of jam in the tart. Then, you can simply add a dollop Greek yogurt and perhaps fresh fruit on top. I tagged Claire Ptak’s pate sablee recipe from her cookbook, Violet Bakery primarily because I want to cook from it more and there’s no time like the present. I like the way she thinks about baking and still associate her with Berkeley even if she’s come more into the public eye for her London bakery. She makes the tart dough in a food processor and you can use any pate sablee recipe you have on-hand, intended for a 9-inch tart pan.

Fresh fruit tiled on top makes this yogurt jam tart a stunning dessert that's different each time.

Yogurt Jam Tart

Course Dessert

Ingredients

  • Pate Sablee for 9-inch tart pan

Dapple Dandy Hibiscus Jam

  • 1 batch Dapple Dandy Hibiscus Jam

Yogurt Filling

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agar agar
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt

Fresh Fruit, optional

  • (such as tiger figs, blackberries, golden raspberries, red currants)

Instructions

Make the tart crust: Bake and cool.

  1. Fill the cooled tart crust with the hot jam (or if cool, warm the jam in a small skillet until easily spreadable. Set aside.

Make the yogurt filling:

  1. Whisk the milk and agar agar into a small saucepan set over high heat. Continue whisking and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to simmer for 5 minutes, whisking the whole time. Pour the hot yogurt into the tart, onto the jam carefully. Chill for 5 minutes.

  2. Remove the tart from the refrigerator and top with fresh fruit such as tiger figs, blackberries, and raspberries. Chill overnight before serving.

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Recipes

Sara Bir’s Italian Plum Cake

Do yourself a favor and go snatch up a pound of plums to make Sara Bir’s Italian plum cake before summer ends. Then, see if you can hold off on cutting into it until it’s set, but still warm. If you don’t have a favorite summer dessert yet, you’re about to taste it. Those are bold words, especially since I prefer chocolate always and fruit out of hand. But this cake! The olive oil and dash of balsamic vinegar really take it over the top. I bet it would be amazing with mission figs too.

Sara Bir's Italian Plum Cake

Once cooled, all you need is a dollop of Greek yogurt and dig in. I tucked  Dapple Dandy Pluots into this Italian plum cake, but Bir suggests you can swap in cherries, strawberries, nectarines, blackberries, or raspberries.

Sara Bir's Italian Plum Cake is fairly easy to mix together.

This recipe comes from her new cookbook, The Fruit Forager’s Companion. I made a few small tweaks to the recipe such as omitting the turbinado sugar (though I can imagine the delightful crunch it would give to the crumb of the cake) and instead of halving or quartering, I sliced the pluots wanting them to infuse a bit more juice into each bite.

When making Sara Bir's Italian Plum Cake, lay the sliced plums in a single layer on the batter in the pan.

Sara Bir's Italian Plum Cake

This recipe is from Sara Bir’s book The Fruit Forager’s Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018) and is reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Course Dessert
Keyword Plum Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound (455 grams) plums, pitted and halved or quartered (I used Dapple Dandy pluots, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C), and position a rack in the center. Line the bottom of a 10-inch (25 cm) spring-form pan with baking parchment. Grease the sides and bottom well with baking spray or butter. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest,  and cinnamon. Set aside.

  3. With an electric mixer, beat the egg and the sugar on high speed until the mixture is creamy, pale yellow, and lighter in volume, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the olive oil, then the milk and balsamic vinegar. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until it makes a smooth batter.

  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. It will look really skimpy once it's in the pan, but don't worry. Arrange the plums in a single layer across the batter, and sprinkle the cake with the sugar.

  5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the cake is golden brown on top, a little puffed, and set in the center (a toothpick should come out free of batter but may have a few crumbs clinging to it). Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the sides and cool until just barely warm. You can serve it either that way, or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Vanilla ice cream, whipped creme fraiche, or good plain whole-milk yogurt are all very nice accompaniments to this.

Sara Bir Italian Plum Cake_credit anneliesz_-0363sm

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Recipes

Rhubarb Rose Fools

Rose Rhubarb Fools are easy desserts to usher in spring.

We inherited a rose bush, fully mature and waving around her blooms like it’s the Macy’s Day parade everyday during season. It’s only a little bit unknown that I have a record with demerits for killing plants you can “neglect,” doing such a good job in my neglecting that they shrivel into a husk of their former selves. Not so with the rose bush. Call it adulting or call it dedicating oneself to the preservation of beauty in the world society, but I have doubled up efforts and that will soon include pruning and weeding. (Sidenote: who am I?)

Rhubarb season is just a blip but not so brief you can't make rose rhubarb fools.

Rhubarb usually takes me by surprise. It’s in the market, then a bevy of rhubarb shows up in my Instagram feed, all gossamer pink ribbons. Before you know it though, it’s gone. You’ve missed the season again. I vowed to not let that happen this year. Cue rhubarb rose fools. Rhubarb rose compote has just enough rosewater and citrusy pink peppercorn to make things interesting. That pairing–rhubarb, rose, and pink peppercorn are meant to be. And, I might be late to the rosewater party, but you’d be a fool not to fall for it.

Rose rhubarb fools are the kind of easy whip up at the last minute dessert every cook needs.

Also, whipping creme fraiche into lightly beaten whipped cream until soft peaks emerge is a bit of a revelation. You could swap in Greek yogurt instead of the creme fraiche, but if you do, taste and adjust the sweetness as it might be a bit too tangy. I wouldn’t advise using mascarpone or cream cheese, but if you do, consider adding a smidge of lemon juice to make it not quite so one note.

Rose Rhubarb Fools

Course Dessert
Servings 6

Ingredients

Rhubarb Rose Compote

  • 2 cups ¼inch chopped rhubarb (about 2 large stalks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pink peppercorn

Whipped Creme Fraiche

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup crème fraiche (1 7.5-ounce container)

Instructions

Make the Rhubarb Rose Compote

  1. Cook the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, rosewater, and peppercorn in a medium-sized heavy saucepan set over medium heat until the fruit softens and most of the liquid cooks out but the fruit is not sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, about 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently.

Make the Whipped Creme Fraiche

  1. Whip the cream for a minute, adding the sugar when it thickens up a bit. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in the crème fraiche, briefly beating it in until smooth soft peaks form, lustrous, and thick.

Assemble the Rose Rhubarb Fools

  1. Spoon a 1/4 cup dollop of whipped crème fraiche into six tumbler glasses. Stir in a tablespoon of rhubarb compote into the cream with a chopstick, swirling it in slightly, but only enough so there’s a marbled ribbon of fruit lacing through the cream. Top each tumbler with another 1/4 cup dollop of cream, and top each tumbler with a teaspoon of the remaining compote. Chill for 10 minutes or eat.

Spring fever starts here: rose rhubarb fools!

Categories
Recipes

Sunburst Yogurt

Have you ever tried Lemon Curd Yogurt? This is going to be your new favorite way to flavor plain yogurt for dessert.

Stowed away in my closet, in the farthest reaches of where the walls meet, a winter coat enclosed in a zippered bag waits. Nestled nearby, snow boots that are nearly good as forgotten, might as well yell that they still reside with me. It’s been almost a decade since I attended New England in the winter and summer for my poetry MFA, but I can almost hear the slight crunch of snow compacting underfoot. The break of seasons gives a natural rhythm to the year and even though winter sometimes can take its time finishing its lap, there is something whimsical about a world bathed in fresh snow and diffused light. Living in the golden state, we forget what winter can mean. For us, on good years, we can expect rain. And this year, days three and four involved climes of mid-seventies weather. So, I’m dedicating this recipe to my friends and family entrenched in a winter wonderland. Think of it as a love letter from California.

Do you have a buddha's hand? Zest it and mix it into lemon curd yogurt for a dreamy treat.

Winter sun for us means bright orbs of citrus that when sliced open reveal the jewel tones of gold, crimson, and copper. I have a slight obsession with one citrus in particular, a fruit so odd you might think it comical or creepy depending on how it comes to you. I dedicated a marmalade recipe to it in Steeped, sparked a hearty fascination with it candied and enrobed in chocolate, and sometimes just like to infuse it into a simple syrup with ginger. I’m teaching a cooking class on teatime around the world later this spring and while visiting the cooking school, kindly received two very unexpected gifts. You don’t expect an extra hand or two on a Monday! And so, I mused how I might best preserve their exquisite flavor and heady aroma. It doesn’t take much to get me considering curd and thus, I was reminded of my favorite way to eat yogurt in Seattle and crafted my own version. May your winter days grow shorter until spring shoots grace you with green. Until then, find bright moments of glee in a glass bowl of yogurt kissed by the sun, what I’m calling sunburst yogurt, but you can call Buddha’s Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt.

Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt will brighten any winter day.

Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd Yogurt

Course Dessert
Servings 8

Ingredients

Buddha's Hand Lemon Curd

  • 4 large yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Buddha's Hand
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 quart plain yogurt

Instructions

  1. Peel the Buddha's Hand. The zest is pure gold. Finely mince the peel. You should end up without 1 1/2 tablespoons of it, depending on the size of your Buddha's Hand.

  2. Set up a double boiler, placing a metal bowl or pot on top of a saucepan, set over medium heat and filled with an inch or two of water. The bowl should not touch the water. Whisk the sugar and yolks in the bowl until combined. Pour the lemon juice into the bowl and add the Buddha’s hand zest, whisking until the mixture thickens up and gets glossy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Pour into a container and bring to room temperature before chilling.

  3. Make the sunburst yogurt: Scoop or pour 1/2 cup of yogurt into a bowl. Spoon a tablespoon of warm citrus curd into the center of the yogurt. Using the skinnier end of a chopstick, drag the tip from the center of the curd circle, curving to the left. Continue drag-curving from the middle of the curd until you’ve made sun rays shooting out from around the curd. Then, taste a bit of sunshine.

Recipe Notes

PS- You can use whatever yogurt you'd like. I'm amenable to Greek yogurt with its thick pucker that transports me to Seattle. Or, I also like the looser cow's milk yogurt made by Straus Organic Yogurt. But, I'm a devoted fan of the lovely goat's milk yogurt from Redwood Hill Farms

PPS- Don't have Buddha's Hand on hand? (I had to do it). Feel free to add lemon zest for a basic curd or mix it up and add the zest from bergamot (if you can find some!), blood orange, cara cara, tangerines, or even clementines. I'm an equal opportunity citrus curd lover. I've also been known to make Feijoa (Pineapple Guava) Curd when it's in season.

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Recipes

Pumpkin Pie Latte Shakes

I’m on a mission of Thanksgiving leftovers reconsidered. Do you have leftover pumpkin pie? Before you even think about sneaking a piece onto your plate the day after, HOLD ON and consider the following: Pumpkin Pie Latte Shakes. In possibly the most meta-experiment of a pie-inspired drink coming back to the original concept and actually including pie in the drink without any of the funny food coloring or extras, there’s nothing basic about this dessert.

Pumpkin Pie Latte Shakes

Not all coffee ice cream is created the same. For the recipe below, I used Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream but you could also use Three Twins Milk Coffee too. Also, the spice level in each pumpkin pie filling differs, so if you tend to have a highly spiced filling in your pie, skip the garnishing of spices below. Otherwise, that extra dash of spice amplifies the oomph in the flavors.

Makes 4 servings

1 cup whole milk
1 pint coffee ice cream
1 hearty slice pumpkin pie, coarsely chopped
Ground ginger
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg

Place the milk and ice cream into a blender keeping the pie within fingers’ reach. Start on low and just as the milk and ice cream start coming together, lob chunks through the chute into the shake. Blend until just combined if you want any crunchy bits or until smooth if you’d prefer a creamy consistency. Pour into four rocks glasses. Sprinkle the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top.

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Cookery Bookshelf Recipes

Pumpkin Pie

If someone asked you the question, Are you a cook or a baker, the answer comes quickly for most. I am and always will be a cook first—I like the tactile process of tweaking along the way, tasting until a dish is just right. For a long time I didn’t think there was a baker inside of me. Two things changed that: my sourdough starter, Salvatore, and Kate McDermott. Kate and I met in New Orleans at IFBC years ago. After that food conference, I sought out her blog and discovered a post she wrote about her neighbor Sadie, a story that started me on the road to finding my inner baker. She wrote, “In her gentle way, she taught me that baking from the heart always tastes best, even if it doesn’t turn out quite like the picture in the magazine.” The post and quote made me rethink everything I had ever presumed about baking and question when Kate would write a book about her unfussy perspective on pies and baking.

And, what a book it is. Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott features photography from New York Times food photographer Andrew Scrivani. Each photo is a work of art, shot by my photography mentor numero uno, Andrew. It’s fitting really that they bring this book to pass—I loved seeing him and Kate collaborate on her first cookbook knowing that they’ve collaborated at food photography and baking events and share a deep friendship that I think comes across in the styling of the images. Rumor had it there was even a music jam in between shooting this cookbook.

I’ve been waiting over a year to share this book with you. Art of the Pie, the book, is the only pie book you will ever need. I know that sounds like a grand statement and you might think I am biased, but I’m not. Kate and I are friends, but I’m going to support my bold statement with examples.

Kate writes like a cooking teacher, bringing her decade plus experience of pie teaching (from Pie Camp!) into well-written recipe instructions that are specific, informative, with a touch of personality, as if she is with you when you are baking. Art of the Pie includes helpful sidebar conversations for the pie baker such as “lemon vs. vinegar” (p. 153) and a method for rendering your own leaf lard (p. 334). She calls herself a “pie-chiatrist” with rule number one on her tips for baking and life is to “Keep Everything Chilled, Especially Yourself.” That kind of no-nonsense attitude courses throughout the book. Baking pie is a small act of kindness: Kate invites you to do a Pie-By (p. 229) and offers tips for hosting a Pie Potluck (p.227).

But let’s start at the beginning. Have you ever made your own pie dough? Do you find it perplexing? Does your pie dough shrink or is it brittle rather than delicate under the fork? If you’ve never made pie crust from scratch before, it’s time and you’re in good hands with Art of the Pie. The section describing how to roll out pie dough is affectionately entitled, “Techniques and Tricks that Let the Good Pies Roll,” where she encourages the reader to “Look forward to rolling rather than fearing it.” (p. 43) She breaks the science behind how to nail a flaky dough every time with process photos along the way showing how the dough looks from start to finish. You will find not one but 10 pie crust recipes in the book—that’s not counting the graham cracker-style crusts, and of those 10, a handful are gluten-free (like Kate), and one is vegan and gluten-free.

Assembled less by season and more by pie style, an entire chapter is devoted to Apple Pie with an extensive list of varietals and their flavor profiles as well as a notation for when they are in season. Next spring, I’m going to snag rhubarb during its short window to bake a Rhuberry Bluebarb Pie (p 255). This winter, I’m making a plan for Cranberry Pie (p. 236). As soon as the lemons on my tree ripen to yellow, I’m eyeing the Shaker Lemon Pie (p.264). Next year will be the year for Nectarine Pie (p.228) and there’s a fairly strong possibility that Grasshopper Pie (p. 275) will sub in as birthday cake this year. The Cottage Pie from the savory chapter gets is requested when it’s cold out—I turn it into a Shepherd Pie (ground lamb instead of beef) and we love her brilliant addition of cheddar mixed into the mashed potatoes topping the meat.

But I know why you’re here. Last year, I hosted my first Thanksgiving feast, baking Art of the Pie Pecan Pie (p. 294) and Pumpkin Pie (p. 296). Before that day I was a charter member of team Pecan Pie. The only way I liked Pumpkin Pie was in my Curry Pumpkin Hand Pies. So, I’d never eaten traditional-style Pumpkin Pie quite like Kate’s before. There was a supple luscious quality to the custard that usually is so sturdy. The secret ingredient, in my opinion is the light coconut milk. It skips the rich dense filling heavy cream brings on with just enough eggs to hold it together. This pie is a marvel and the light coconut milk doesn’t make the pie taste coconutty. But don’t take my word on it. There’s still time to make this the Pumpkin Pie at  Thanksgiving. Or, plan a Pie-By, as Kate might nudge, a twinkle in her eye, leaving a warm pie stealthily on the porch of an unsuspecting friend for whom you are grateful.

art of the pie pumpkin pie - anneliesz

Art of the Pie Pumpkin Pie

The single-crust pie dough recipe called out below is in Art of the Pie but you could always use store-bought shells if you’re in a pinch for Thanksgiving. Rather than topping it with freshly whipped cream, I like this with a scoop of Greek yogurt. If you have someone attending who is gluten-free head over to her gluten-free pie crust.

(Reprinted with permission: Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott, published by The Countryman Press, 2016.)

Makes One 9-Inch Shallow Pie
 

1 recipe single-crust pie dough

3 eggs, lightly beaten

One 15-ounce can (about 2 cups or 245 grams) pumpkin

1 cup canned light coconut milk or evaporated milk

¾ cup (150 grams) sugar (equal parts white and packed brown sugar)

½ teaspoon (3 grams) salt

1 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon

1 teaspoon (2 grams) ginger

¼ teaspoon (.25 gram) freshly ground nutmeg

A tiny pinch of clove

 
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out a pie shell and place it in a pie pan. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until they are light-colored and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin, coconut milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour the filling into the pan. Place the pie in the oven and turn down immediately to 375°F. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely.

Categories
Recipes

Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler

Maple sugar and spice and everything nice (like apples and pecans). Making an Apple Maple Pecan cobbler is an easy dessert to bake for a warming dessert.

How did we end up here? It’s fall again. Lovely, wonderful fall, the season at the top of so many lists. And maybe a reason it’s a favorite is tied up in the idea of harvest. The idea of bounty. So, what happens when the bounty we find ourselves with is sorrow? Does it seem like 2017 has been particularly macabre? As I write this, the sky has been orange and hazy for two days, over an hour away from the wildfires in the Wine Country.

We have all grown up and into social media, we’re finding our ways of expressing sorrow and solidarity #sonomastrong #napastrong #prayforpuertorico #prayforlasvegas #prayforhouston #prayformexicocity #prayforflorida In the midst of all the hashtags, inevitably you’ll find commentary that hashtags are not enough. That we need to take action. And, that’s true. I sometimes wonder how the accessibility to almost instantaneous worldwide communications like twitter with its breaking news sound bites has made us better humans or shown inhumanity that was once locked away in our deepest selves? To not take a position is to take a position. I know that now.

When making an Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler, choose a mix of tart and sweet apples like Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples.

In a recent issue of the New Yorker, an article sucked me into an idea of recreating paradise, hand-plucking each applicant for his/her skill set to live in paradise for one year. Paradise, as defined here, was ensconced somewhere in Wales, and according to the article, if you looked hard enough, you could find a way out of it. Imagine that: scaling a wall to escape “paradise.” That premise of starting over in a utopian state isn’t naïve, it’s hopeful and yet putting the idea into action is an invitation to foreshadowing. Because what I didn’t need to be told is that it wouldn’t work. That factions would break off. That William Golding’s encampment of young boy savages resides in the deepest hearts of all of us. But I’m not convinced that has to be the end of the story.

Consider the city of Petaluma. In the midst of the fires, the city has rallied and come together to help evacuees. You too can volunteer / donate / find a resource for evacuees here. I called our local firehouse in Oakland this morning and offered to bake / bring items and was told they are helping fight the fire and cooking up in the Wine Country.

I have deep, deep ties to the Wine Country and have been on pins and needles as a person close to the fire but not so close that we can’t see the plume, even if our skies are smoky, even if we get our news by headlines ticking across Google search refresh.

Granny Smith Apples are indispensable in an Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler because their tart flavor melds well with the maple sugar.

It’s hard at a time like now to write about apples. It’s hard not to devour news like it’s a 24 hour buffet of food that doesn’t quite fill you up enough. The morning after the tragedy that unfolded in Las Vegas as Jason Aldean launched into his fourth song, I couldn’t help thinking about the previous morning, a friend excitedly recounting his trip the weekend before to Las Vegas and a Celine Dion concert.

It can be easy to read just the horror in the headlines, but sometimes we must excavate for the hope. Because, it’s there too. The vet who took action, tying off a bleeding appendage in a tourniquet, using someone else’s volunteered flannel shirt—he’s not alone in doing good, just the one guy who made it into a story. There’s the couple who ventured to Vegas to celebrate their anniversary and on Sunday evening, the husband covered his wife’s body with his own, sacrificially saving her. I can’t imagine what snaps inside a person to wrest against the impulse of self-preservation for other-preservation, but it exists. And, it makes me think of cobbler.

Top Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream for a homey autumn teatime.

A cobbler calls to mind community tables. It’s a dessert best shared, fruit still bubbling in its own sweet juices. And, surely you know someone who could really use something sweet in their life. So, who can you bake for? Can baking a cobbler be in its way a response to all that loss? I know what it’s like to have someone I love ripped from my life in an instant. I may not have survived the same kind of loss as a hurricane or massacre in Vegas, or even an entire home being eviscerated, but I know the kind of onslaught of grief that grips you day and night. And, lest you think a cobbler is a pat answer, what it really is, beyond the biscuits baked on top, all craggy corners with an underbelly cooked by fruit steam—a cobbler is an offer to see someone else’s hurt and offer a gift of time to be with them in all that darkness, bringing provisions. And for that person, for that time, it can be enough.

Who are you going to share an Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler with?

Apple Maple Pecan Cobbler

Have you ever seen maple sugar at the store? It’s not cheap, but that’s because it’s priceless. Maple syrup has been cooked down into granulated crystals that make it acceptable to use in baking where liquid sweetener isn’t invited. You can always make your own, or if neither of those work, you could try equivalent white sugar with a teaspoon of maple extract. To keep the fruit from browning, make a bowl of acidulated water (aka lemon juice squeezed into water) and add the peeled, cored slices into it as you’re prepping the other ingredients, until ready to use.

Makes 4 servings

5 cups ¼-inch sliced apples, peeled and cored (about 2 Granny Smith & 1 Pink Lady)

1/3 cup maple sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon maple sugar

1teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

¼ cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8×8 pan. Drain and pat the apple dry, if kept in the acidulated water. Toss the apples, maple sugar, flour, and cornstarch in a bowl until coated. Pour into the 8×8 pan.

Whisk the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, two forks or fingers if your hands tend to be cold and quick. Once the butter resembles peas and almonds, pour in the buttermilk, stirring until it comes together in one shaggy mass, pulling any errant bits into the whole. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Press out disks of dough using a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter. Polka dot them on top of the apples.

Bake the cobbler for 50 minutes, checking on the topping at 35 minutes–if it’s golden brown, cover the cobbler with foil and continue cooking until a fork inserts easily into one of the apples. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

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Recipes

Mint Basil Chip Popsicles

Infusing fresh herbs into cream is what makes these Mint Basil Chip Popsicles unforgettable

So much can change in a year. If I looked back on my life, I always knew where I was going or at least tried to play a good game. From high school to journalism school. From j-school to grad school. And then things completely went off the rails.

What looked like a future in India became a present in the Bay area that painted sweeping strokes of a new future. I stayed tuned into the possibility of rethinking where I was headed until one very decisive moment of the kind of vocational meltdown that can only happen in a public place. In a darkened movie theater, the heroine of the flick made a decision anyone else might think is career suicide. And, in the end, she re-envisioned a life for herself that was good and whole. What sprang unexpectedly into an emotional moment was the idea that somewhere I had lost my way. Could I get it back? I sat there, unexpectedly weeping during this scene of The Devil Wears Prada?!  My boss a few seats down. Hoping against hope that she wouldn’t see me with her laser intuition and grill me.  Instead, Anne Lamott saw me as I approached her hustling a few popcorn kernels into her mouth while in a lobby line for another movie. We didn’t say much. She didn’t need to. A beacon of light only has to shine.

And thus began a tiptoeing back to consider what my future might hold and how I might claim it. Perhaps it seems like a misstep to follow that drumbeat rhythm taking you deeper into your story, but mine led me to poetry school and gratefully, a husband, a house, two cats. Not at all the life I thought my wanderlust leanings would go.

One of the cats heard the siren song of the Mint Basil Chip Popsicles

And yet, we surprise ourselves all the time, don’t we. Finding an appetite for peas as an adult that we abhorred as children. Circling back to the classical music of childhood when contemporary music doesn’t quite cut it. Infusing fresh farmer’s market herbs into cream for something with a bit more oomph but that still hits all the right keys for my Mint Chip ice cream loving heart. Mint Basil Chip Popsicles are this year’s gold star pick on a wooden stick.

It’s popsicle week. Last year I narrowly missed it by a few days with my Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles but followed along swooning over the wide range of flavors. Last year was the deluge of good work writing, shooting, and planning that continues on into this year. It’s not where I expected to be when dreaming of the future as a child, but I can’t envision any other future better than this one. We make our lives or they make us?

The secret to Mint Basil Chip Popsicles is fresh chervil. It lends an herbal note you can't quite put your finger on.

Mint Basil Chip Popsicles

The inspiration for the base of these popsicles came from a visit to Tartine Manufactory and a swirl of their fior di latte herbal soft serve. I prefer my chocolate chipped in chocolate chip ice cream and accomplished the right texture using either the small or large holes on a box grater.

Makes about 8 popsicles

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups fresh mint leaves (about 1 bunch)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (about 2 robust sprigs)
1/2 cup fresh chervil leaves (about 9 slender sprigs)
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, grated

Bring the cream, milk and sugar to boil. Whisk to prevent scorching. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and cook for  2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Infuse the mint, basil, and chervil in the hot cream for 30 minutes. Strain out the leaves. Stir the chocolate shards into the infused liquid. Pour the liquid into the popsicle molds, filling them ¾ of the way. Leave no chocolate behind–spoon any remaining chocolate shards into the wells. Freeze for an hour. Insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze for 3 more hours.

Grating the chocolate for these Mint Basil Chip Popsicles gives you that classic chipped chocolate texture.

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Recipes

Chocolate Chile Sorbet with Cherry Compote

Chocolate Chile Sorbet with Fresh Cherry Compote - anneliesz

Some flavors tell you everything you need to know before tasting the dish. I’ve often thought that the role of writing a menu requires a special swish of the pen to word the description of a dish well enough to entice anticipation and need. For months, before and after we moved, if I had trouble keeping my eyes shut to descend into sleep, I would troll shelters and rescues looking for the right furry friend. Years ago, when I met Nathan he first went by the moniker CatLover29. And I remember thinking, man, he’s cute, but I’m allergic to cats… it doesn’t hurt to look. And here we are, all these years later, the cat man and the dog woman. He softened my resolve toward felines and after we married I began rethinking the possibility that maybe I might be able to circumvent my allergies for cats.

Fast forward to Memorial Day weekend– we drove to a local shelter to meet a kitty brother and sister we’d been looking at online named Hansel and Gretel. Gretel’s description read: “She likes to cuddle and sleep. She loves to run around and is very trusting.” Of Hansel: “he loves to lounge around and relax. He’s very sweet and vocal.” Reading their profiles reminded me of when i was on a hunt for a different kind of love, when I met CatLover29 and how pet profiles actually resemble a different kind of companionship connection. Reading about them online made me feel like I knew them and we sketched a plan to meet up.

Upon walking into the shelter, a sleek silver cat poked its head out of its cubby, meowing in our direction and rubbing itself along the wall of its crate. Meow, indeed. Hansel and Gretel ended up not working out for us, so we went back to the cat with seaglass green eyes, white whiskers askance, meowing when we entered the shelter. You have to know that I had read these small animals’ profiles so often, I felt like I knew them. So, I knew the cat by its name, Chai. She had been described online as skittish, chatty, and a people person. Our positive introduction with her meant we needed to seek out her mom, Priya and see if there was a cat connection. Meow, again. Bingo! We signed adoption papers as I prayed for my allergies to take a vacation and not return. Packed in their temporary carriers, we shuttled these two live wires to the car.

To say Chai freaked out is an understatement. She began ripping through the cardboard with her nose, desperate to get out. I drove on 580 going a snail’s pace of 45 miles, trying to avoid bumps and holes as Nathan sat in between both, trying to console them that everything would be okay. And it was, after we drove to the pet food store, its own version of Mission Impossible: Be quick! Don’t compare litters and cat foods, just buy a small bag and get back to the car as soon as possible. My sense of efficiency was tested and I passed the test, clocking less than 5 minutes to gather kitty essentials so we could finally head home. By this point, Chai had almost entirely torn out of her cardboard carrier. Her frantic meowing set my gas pedal foot on edge, knowing I needed to get home rapidly and carefully, but slowly too. We arrived home. One cat hid under the couch for a day and a night, hissing at the other cat. The other cat hopped out of the carrier and began exploring the new digs, deciding my lap might be her new favorite landing pad.

Later that day, I stirred together an idea for a deeply chocolatey treat without a lick of dairy and loaded with spice, but just enough to bring the heat without burning down the whole house. Chile and chocolate is one of my favorite pairings and it nudged its way into a Chocolate Chile Sorbet. As a kid, I saved the maraschino cherry until the end as one final bracingly sweet bite, so that taste memory poked its head in too with the idea of cooking down fresh cherries enough so that they gave off their juices but still kept their figures.

Can we really know what something will taste like when we read carefully selected words on a menu? Can we know a person’s personality as they describe themselves or an animal which has had their description written for them on an online profile? How can you know until you slip your tongue onto the cold spoon? Perhaps only on a first date with its foibles and flutters? Or, until a cat surrenders its chin or tummy where the softest fur beckons to be stroked? It’s hard to say. Some things you take at face value and others must be discovered singularly, like licking a scoop of sorbet, sweet, spicy, summer vacation in a bowl.

Chocolate Chile Sorbet with Fresh Cherry Compote - anneliesz

Chocolate Chile Sorbet with Cherry Compote

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Chocolate Chile Sorbet

4 cups water
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pasilla chile
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Cherry Compote

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Make the sorbet: Stir together the water, cocoa powder, sugar, chile, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt over medium low heat until well combined and the sugar has dissolved. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight so the flavors can meld and the mixture is very cold. Process the sorbet following the directions of an ice cream machine. Spoon into a container for it to set in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Make the compote: Cook the cherries, sugar, water, allspice, and lemon juice over medium heat in a small saucepan until the cherries have released some of their juices and cooked down without losing their shape, about 10-12 minutes, stirring continuously during the last two minutes. It’s done when there is little liquid in the pan and on the spoon is not drippy. Cool to room temperature.

 

PS – If you left the sorbet overnight in the freezer before serving, leave it on the counter for 15-20 minutes until an ice cream scoop passes through it easily but before it melts.

PPS – I’ve always found, as a great ice cream aficionado (read: devastater of pints!) that passing an ice cream scoop through hot water before rolling it through ice cream yields an easier, prettier ball of ice cream or sorbet.

PPPS – Chile or chili, that is the question. The Los Angeles Times picked a side and so have I.

Categories
Cookery Bookshelf Recipes

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

We eat with our eyes first and so it shouldn’t be such a surprise to say that the way I found Jennifer Farley was through her photography. Her sense of minimalist style mirrored my own desire to let the food speak for itself without much adornment. Last Fall, her cookbook The Gourmet Kitchen came out and I toted it along with me on a trip, doing my first pass of marking recipes to cook and making annotations in the margins.

Jennifer Farley's Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

We dined on her Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potatoes (p. 124) finding the double-baked approach a delightful way to enjoy that stellar pairing of broccoli and cheese. Her Poached Salmon Soup with Udon and Mushrooms (p. 72) is unbelievably easy and warmed us on rainy days. We noshed on Baked Acorn Squash with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce (p.140), an Afghani dish also known as kaddo bourani, as it reminded us of a favorite wedding anniversary meal several years ago. The Quinoa, Blueberry, and Almond Salad with Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette (p. 96) is on the menu this week for lunch, and I’m jonesing to prep the Sesame-Crusted Tofu Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (p.87) using some Hodo Soy tofu that’s in the fridge. Can you think of anything more decadent for dinner celebrations than Jumbo Lump Crab Pot Pie (p.185)?

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

I’m not sure I can wait until next Christmas to make the Orange Cardamom Cinnamon Buns (p. 45), though I know I’ll have to wait until that sliver of time in September to make the Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Bars (p. 261) since the Concord grapes necessary for the Concord Grape Curd (p. 222) aren’t in season until then. I initially became familiar with the author through her exquisite photography and blog, Savory Simple. Gourmet Kitchen gives Farley more room to dig deeper into au courant flavors like the Spicy Gochujang Chicken Wings (p. 168) or Salted Caramel Toffee Ice Cream (p. 209). She shares tricks from her culinary school training in methods like how to make ghee (p. 5) or in tips noted in the headnotes like using the corn cobs to make the corn stock for her Chilled Summer Corn Soup (p. 75). This is a cookbook for people who like to cook. Her recipes offer a straightforward approach to introducing sophisticated flavors into recipes easy enough for weeknights and others to pull out for parties.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting - anneliesz

In preparation for January 10, I pulled down my copy of The Gourmet Kitchen for one simple reason on page 253. Some friends knit pink pussyhats. Others made signs on poster board with permanent markers. Still others boarded airplanes bound for DC. I baked Jennifer Farley’s Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting - anneliesz

I couldn’t shake the vision of offering something sweet to others who decided it would be a good idea to march for whatever reason that brought them out. See, I have this crazy idea that if somehow we could all sit around a table and eat good food, we might be able to listen to one another, or at the very least give each other a chance to be seen. I’ve made these brownies twice and here’s something true: both times these brownies made friends and strangers smile. And, isn’t cooking or baking all about bringing a bit of something sweet into someone else’s life?

Maybe that’s the real secret of the gourmet kitchen.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Tahini Frosting

(Reprinted with permission from The Gourmet Kitchen by Jennifer Farley, published by Gallery Books, 2016.)

YIELD: 36 mini brownies / 16 full-sized brownies

BROWNIES
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour

SALTED TAHINI FROSTING
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup well-stirred tahini
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8×8-inch brownie pan with baking spray or butter and line it with parchment paper, allowing two sides to hang over the edges.

In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter, stirring until evenly combined and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and salt. Sift in the flour and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool to room temperature.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the tahini and mix on medium speed, scraping down the sides several times, until evenly combined with the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar and salt. Mix until the dry ingredients have incorporated. Scrape down the sides and turn the speed up to medium-high, allowing the frosting to mix for another minute, until light and smooth.

Use the excess parchment paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Use a spatula to evenly frost the brownies. Cut the brownies and serve.

Categories
Recipes

Menage a Trois Cookies

Menage a Trois Cookies - anneliesz

Menage a Trois Cookies

I’ve had cookies on the brain recently and with a very specific point of view: make one batch of cookie dough and then through minor adjustments make three flavors of cookies. Simplicity in execution and finding a simple hack for cookie season can be sexy, no? *Keep the butter at room temperature for 15 minutes so that your finger indents the butter easily but it’s not quite at the soft as skin balm stage.

Makes 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature*
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature

Pumpkin Spice Sparklers
2 tablespoons sparkling sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Ras el Hanout & Vanilla
1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout spice mix
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cacao & Pink Peppercorn
2 teaspoons cacao nibs
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pink peppercorn

 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes. Add each egg, one at a time to to the creamed butter, stopping between eggs and scraping down the sides of your bowl. Add all of the flour at once, pulsing 5 times to begin to integrate the flour into the wet ingredients. Mix the flour in until it just comes together. Divide the cookie dough into three portions (roughly 214 grams each) dispersed into three small bowls to create the three cookie flavors below.

Pumpkin Spice Sparkler: Stir together the sparkling sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a ramekin. Use a tablespoon to roll 8 dough balls. Roll each ball in the spiced sugar until well coated. Place the balls on a plate to chill for 1 hour at least.

Ras el Hanout and Vanilla: Sprinkle the ras el hanout onto the cookie dough in one of the two remaining bowls. Add the vanilla. Mix to combine. Chill the dough for at least one hour. When ready to bake, use a tablespoon to roll 8 balls of dough.

Cacao & Pink Peppercorn: Sprinkle the cacao nibs an pink peppercorn onto the cookie dough in the last bowl. Mix to combine. Chill the dough for at least one hour. When ready to bake, use a tablespoon to roll 8 balls of dough.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart– you’ll be baking in batches. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan at the 5 minute mark. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to fully cool on a wire rack. Bake the remaining cookies.

 

 

PS- Store the cookies in a sealed container for 1 week. And this is where you are in luck because cookie tins should start hitting the shelves soon.

PPS- I may be weird but I like to freeze cookies too as if it is some sort of deterrent to the cookie monster (*ahem*) finding them in the wilds of the countertop. If you’re going this route, consider freezing the cookie dough balls pre-baked. Said cookie monster actually likes frozen cookies but stops short of dough. This kind of prep will mean easy, fast fresh cookies ready to be baked off once you know company is coming over. They should be fine for a month if stored in a freezer-safe sealed bag.

Menage a Trois Cookies - annelies

Categories
Recipes

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles - anneliesz

Growing up, popsicles always seemed like the sad substitute for ice cream. The one exception to that rule were the creamy paletas we would pick up at the bodega when visiting our family in Mexico. Back home in Texas though, purple, red, and neon orange frozen confections resembled rockets that required licking and furtive patience as you had to work hard not to have them completely melt and drip on your hands during hot summer days. We pushed up on orange creamsicle push-up pops. We nibbled, licked, and slurped our way to the bottom of sundae ice cream cones hoping to find a well of hardened chocolate shell at the bottom like a secret prize. I scorned the Fudge Popsicle, regarding it as a low calorie impostor. I might have still been developing opinions and points of view about subjects in school or summer required reading, but for ice cream I always had an answer ready. I could tell you why one Texas creamery’s Homemade Vanilla tasted best without adornment (an accolade since I couldn’t fathom why people would ever want just plain vanilla). Chocolate always grabbed me in its clutches except when cloked as ice cream and especially figured into fudgesicles.Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles - anneliesz It’s a funny thing—growing up. The world continues to evolve and so do your tastes. A few years ago, it looked dubious that this same Texas creamery would be able to rebound after a production crisis. Or two. It’s strange to see companies that seemed so secure and inevitable during your childhood, companies you would be sure would be around when you have kids and they’re of the age to eat ice cream as summer relief, falter and struggle. Last autumn, while I visited Austin on book tour, I paid a visit to a local grocery store for supplies and there they were, behind doors in the freezer aisle. Gone were the Peaches and Cream. Nowhere to be seen was the Banana Pudding with hunks of vanilla wafers in the frozen custard. Even the stalwart Cookies & Cream with big chunks of chocolate sandwich cookies had flown the coop. Buttercup yellow pints of vanilla cozied up to pink-tinged brown pints of Dutch chocolate. They peered out and looked vulnerable. What once had been several shelves full of the cheering cow logo quarts had been reduced to two types of pints. It struck me as a picture of how in an instant, things can change, even if the instant takes place slowly—what are a few years in the whole of a person’s life but a blip?

Not long ago, I watched as a friend navigated the murky waters of the foundering ship that was the food company where she worked. Even when you see on the inside the cogs beginning to give way, it can be so hard to abandon ship. You want to believe that the brand you’ve known and love will muster through and make it to the other side of whatever battle in which they are entrenched. It can be incredibly jarring to invite a product into your refrigerator (and really, into your life) only to be made aware of its disappearance on the shelf and the subsequent absence it creates. How do you fill that need for a particular taste and the void it creates in your lexicon of ingredients?

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles - anneliesz

Out of sentimental attachment last fall, I discovered in a hotel room in Austin that my preference for vanilla had changed. I had changed. It felt like a sort of betrayal to shift my vanilla ice cream loyalty elsewhere. Was I any less of a Texan? Working at a food company makes you privy to so much that goes on behind the scenes and all the people essential to making a product succeed, including, of course, the customers themselves. You want to cheer on companies whose foods align with your values, whose flavors make you rally support in dollars spent. I have no idea the statistic of food companies that fail. It’s a question far too depressing to consider, really. Instead, I focus energy on applauding the effort—the belief that something tasted good enough that it must be shared. That all the countless hours spent getting a product on the shelf (not to mention the tireless efforts to keep said product on the shelf) are worthwhile.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that I’ve circled back to Fudge Popsicles and reconsidered my position. Because I’m older, I can be specific as to why Fudge Pops never quite did it for me as a kid (icy, water-based or skim milk-based which might as well be water). I owe that discovery also to mouthfeel and that I relish chewy popsicles. Because I’m older, I’ve made batch after batch of ice cream and the small failures along the way have led to the big reveal: life is short. Anything worth doing should be worth it even if it doesn’t last forever. We all have expiration dates on us, even businesses and brands. While we are able, life is meant to be lived, and sometimes that requires Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles.

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles - anneliesz

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles

These popsicles are inspired by a perfect square of Fauchon Pink Peppercorn Chocolate that brought me bliss from a recent souvenir care package. In my desire to recreate that sensation of dark chocolate melding with citrusy pink peppercorns, I decided these flavors would make a fudge pop for all other fudge pops to reckon with. I swear by Guittard 70% bittersweet chocolate, after recipe testing five different kinds of chocolate for the truffles recipe in Steeped. It’s my preferred chocolate and that coral red box claims to hold 6 ounces but my scale pronounces it 6 ¼. When developing this recipe, I tried to hold back on the sugar because I didn’t want the popsicles too sweet. I finally arrived at the amount below once I relaxed and remembered that sugar and salt amplify flavor—so you will find the popsicles are not cloyingly sweet, instead the chocolate and peppercorn flavors play up satisfyingly. I dedicate these popsicles to good friends who have a wicked sense of styling and find food photography a fun afternoon endeavor (Here’s looking at you, Steph) and friends who love you enough to tote special French chocolates back from the city of lights (bisous, mille fois, Olga).

Makes 10 popsicles

6 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (1 red box from Guittard), coarsely chopped

2 cups heavy cream

½ cup water

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons whole pink peppercorns

 

Place the chopped chocolate into a medium stainless steel bowl with a wooden spoon nearby. Bring the cream and water to just under a boil, whisking in the cocoa powder, salt, and sugar once tiny bubbles prick the outer edge of the saucepan, until dissolved. Remove from the heat once the bubbles grow to the size of a pinhead, usually 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Meanwhile, grind the peppercorns to a medium-coarse consistency in a mortar and pestle. Pour 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the chocolate while stirring until the chocolate has melted. Continue stirring, pouring in the remainder of the hot cream. Stir in the peppercorns. Pour the hot fudge cream into the open wells of a popsicle holder. Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze for 3 to 4 hours.

Pink Peppercorn Fudge Popsicles - anneliesz