Caramel Clementines

IMG_0219 Caramel Clementines.jpg

 

Fresh orange slices bathed in a butterscotch caramel sauce — is simply divine, bright, and bold. Known as “aranci caramellizzati” in Italy, it was first introduced by food writer Elizabeth David in her 1954 work, Italian Food. who wrote appreciatively of caramelized Sicilian oranges. This stylish confection was popularized in the 1970s in a cooking course published as a monthly magazine by London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Exotic and sweetly astringent, they were a standby of posh dinner parties throughout the Commonwealth, the sort of dish that was not particularly difficult to make but still signaled a home cook’s understanding of elegance. Similar desserts were all the rage on London dessert carts during the ’80s. Today, there are a number of modern recipes for this dessert by British cooks such as Nigel Slater and Sophie Grigson. Even Nigella Lawson offers a similar recipe in Forever Summer and suggests serving the oranges with yogurt. If yogurt is not your style, this dessert is versatile enough that you can accompany caramelized fruit with a slice of pound cake or vanilla ice cream, if you desire. Also, think about serving it over meringues to make it an caramelized orange pavlovas.

Adapted from Matthew Card 
Milk Street Magazine, 2017

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4½ pounds of clementines or 8 navel or cara medium oranges
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
A splash of triple sec or Grand Marnier
Pistachio nuts, for garnish (optional)

For serving:
Plain Greek Yogurt

Directions:

Carefully peel the clementines and slice crosswise, into thirds. If using oranges, cut the top and bottom ½ inch off of the oranges. Stand each orange on one of its flat ends and use a sharp knife to cut down and around the fruit, peeling away all the skin and pith. Thinly slice the oranges crosswise. Evenly shingle the sliced fruit in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Combine the sugar, ¼ cup of the orange juice, and the cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, 2 to 3 minutes,  and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar begins to color around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Note that the bubbles should go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery-brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add a splash of the remaining orange juice  and whisk until smooth. Note that the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously, then add the remaining orange juice and triple sec and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves. Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to stand for 25 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the oranges to a serving platter or individual plates. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and whisk the caramel to recombine. Pour the caramel over the oranges. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the fruit to stand at room temperature.

To serve, spoon  a large dollop of yogurt into a bowl and top with the fruit and lightly drizzle with the caramel sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of pistachio nuts.

Cook’s Notes: 

Don’t think about the caramel’s color for the first few minutes. The sugar mixture will melt, froth furiously as the heat increases (and moisture evaporates), and finally subside into larger, shinier bubbles before coloring. If the sugar browns too quickly, slide the pan off heat and whisk steadily to incorporate cooling air.

You can also use an assortment of citrus fruits instead of just oranges. The differences in size, acidity and sweetness make the dish all the more fascinating.

Also, to switch up the flavor, replace the cinnamon sticks with two star anise (our favorite) or six cardamom pods (lightly crushed). Use granulated white sugar, not a “natural” sugar, since the latter will make the color of the caramel hard to judge. Unsalted butter and a pinch of salt replaces salted butter. You also can serve the oranges with ice cream, pound cake or topped with a handful of toasted and chopped nuts.

The original recipe calls for the dessert to  be served cold, but we liked it more at room temperature, where the fruit seemed more flavorful.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!


Sweet Potato Pecan Streusel Pie

 

The only pie you'll need on your Thanksgiving dessert table, delicious Pumpkin pie with dark brown sugar topped with a Rich Pecan Streusel topping. Who says you need to choose pumpkin OR pecan pie?

 

This is recipe is a twist on the traditional sweet potato pie, using staple ingredients found in a Southern pantry with a German flair in having a  a rich streusel topping.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

One 9-inch commercially prepared pie crust (See Cook’s Note)

For the Sweet Potato Puree:
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Pie Filling:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
15 ounces sweet potato puree
12 evaporated milk
2 large eggs

For the Streusel:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whipped Cream, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the crust in a baking dish and prick with a fork. Line the  pie crust with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Partially  blind bake the pie crust, until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the sweet potatoes, place a steamer insert or a mesh colander in a large pot and add enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer. Place the sweet potatoes in the steamer and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook over simmering water for about 25 minutes, until very tender. Check occasionally to be sure the water does not completely evaporate.Transfer the sweet potatoes to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, gradually add the milk then butter. Process until silken. Note: the puree can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

To a large bowl, add   thee sugar, light brown sugar,  flour, cinnamon,  vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the sweet potato puree, evaporated milk, and eggs. Stir to combine and set aside.

To make the streusel, combine dark brown sugar, old fashioned oats, chopped pecans, flour, butter, cinnamon, teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl.

Add the pie filling to the prepared crust. Add the pecan streusel evenly over the pie filling.

Place the pie in the oven and bake for 60  minutes until the middle of the pie is set or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean . Allow the pie to cool before serving with whip cream.

 

Cook’s Notes:

There is nothing like a homemade pie crust. If you have the time, here is a simple recipe for a for single-crust pie  pastry (9 inches): Combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cut in 1/2 cup cold butter until crumbly. Gradually add 3-5 tablespoons ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.


New York Style Cheesecake

 

 

AdobeStock_204861933.jpeg

This month, we a continuing to showcase the food of New York with this recipe for New York Style Cheesecake.

Contrary to popular belief, the first “cheese cake” may have been created 4,000 years ago on the Greek island of Samos and not in New York City. In Greece, cheesecake was considered to be a good source of energy, and there is evidence that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms were also known to use cheesecake as a wedding cake. When the Romans conquered Greece circa 146 B.C., the cheesecake recipe was just one spoil of war. They added their own spin on the recipe including crushed cheese and eggs. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and they served it on special occasions. Marcus Cato (234 – 139 B.C,), a Roman politician in the first century BC, is credited as recording the oldest known Roman cheesecake recipe. The writer Athenaeus is credited for writing the only known surviving Greek recipe for cheesecake in 230 A.D.

As the Romans expanded their empire, they brought cheesecake recipes to Europe around 1000 AD. Great Britain and Eastern Europe began experimenting with ways to put their own unique spin on cheesecake. Cheesecakes were also flourishing throughout Scandinavia and northwestern Europe.

propertitle-lgIn Europe, the recipes started taking on different cultural shapes, using ingredients native to each region. A cookbook entitled “A Propre new booke of Cokery” (1545) was printed in London during the Renaissance and it described cheesecake as a flour-based sweet food.

It was not until the 18th century, however, that cheesecake would start to look like something we recognize in the United States today. In the 18th century, Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their breads and cakes rise. Removing the overpowering yeast flavor made cheesecake taste more like a dessert treat. When Europeans immigrated to America, some brought their cheesecake recipes along.

Many foods that Americans have come to regard as uniquely “American”, are Jewish originating from the Ashkenazi. Because of the Jewish dietary restrictions (Kashruth), the restriction on serving meat and dairy products at the same meal gave rise to a set of traditional dairy dishes including blintzes, cheesecake, and noodle pudding. The concept of delicatessens also came to the United States in the mid-19th century with a new influx of European immigrants.

In 1888, Katz’s Deli was the first Jewish American delicatessen to open in New York City. The popularity of delicatessens that specialized in kosher food spread throughout American culture with the help of the Ashkenazi. As delicatessens began to spring up in many Jewish communities they locally became known as “delis” as they proved even popular with the general public.

Katz'sDeli01 (2).jpg

Photo Credit: Katz Delli circa 1920s.  Marvin Padover and Marlene Katz Padover

 

Cream cheese was an American addition to the cake, and it has since becomehistory_cont_1872_new.jpg a staple ingredient in the United States. It was invented in 1872 by American dairyman William Lawrence of Chester, New York, who accidentally developed a method of producing cream cheese while trying to reproduce a French cheese called Neufchatel. In 1880 Lawrence started distributing his cream cheese in foil wrappers under the name of the Empire Cheese Co. of South Edmeston, New York, where he manufactured the product. He called his cheese Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, now a famous trademark. Lawrence adopted ‘Philadelphia’  as the brand name, after the city that was considered at the time to be the home of top quality food, including ice cream….but that is another story for another time. 

In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Co. of New York bought the business and with it the Philadelphia trademark. The brand was bought by the Kraft Cheese Co. in 1928. Kraft Foods still owns and produces Philadelphia Cream Cheese today.James L. Kraft invented pasteurized cheese in 1912, which led to the development of pasteurized Philadelphia Brand cream cheese. It is now the most popular cheese used for making cheesecake today.

By the 1900s, New Yorkers were in love with cheesecake. Nearly every restaurant had its own version of the dessert on their menus.

 

 

arnoldreuben1946-2By the 1920s, the deli became a celebrated gathering place in Jewish and American life and the signature sandwiches were a standard. Sandwiches like the overstuffed pastrami or corned beef on rye was popular choice in Jewish American delicatessens — becoming a hallmark of an iconic New York institution. Even though he is best known for his resturants and signature sandwiches, Jewish-German immigrant Arnold Reuben (1883-1970) is generally credited for creating the New York Style cheesecake in 1929. The story goes that Reuben was invited to a dinner party where the hostess served a cheese pie. Allegedly, he was so intrigued by this dish that he experimented with the recipe until he developed the beloved New York Style cheesecake. New Yorkers have vied for bragging rights for having the original recipe ever since.

As all food lovers know, New York is not the only place in America that puts its own spin on cheesecakes. In Chicago, sour cream is added to the recipe to keep it creamy. Meanwhile, Philadelphia cheesecake is known for being lighter and creamier than New York style cheesecake and it can be served with fruit or chocolate toppings. In St. Louis, they enjoy a gooey butter cake, which has an additional layer of cake topping on the cheesecake filling. Even around the  World, every country  has its own take on the best way to make the dessert. For example, the Italians use ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use mizithra or feta. Germans prefer cottage cheese, while the Japanese use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites. There are specialty cheesecakes that include blue cheese, seafood, spicy chilies and even tofu! In spite of all the variations, the popular dessert’s main ingredients – cheese, wheat and a sweetener –remain the same.

No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time. From its earliest recorded beginnings on Samos over 4,000 years ago to its current iconic status around the world this creamy cake remains a favorite for sweet tooths of all ages.

 

Makes 1 9-inch cheesecake, Serving 8 to 10

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
½ stick unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
Four 8-ounce packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh fruit, for garnish

 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 º F.

To make the crust: In a large bowl, add the crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Blend until a sandy texture is achieved.

Evenly spoon the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, halfway up, pressing down the sides and bottom firmly making the crust adhere to the pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and then bake the crust until set, for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

To make the filling:  In a large bowl add 1 package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together and using an electric mixer, beat on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the cream just until completely blended.

Gently pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Prepare a ban-marie (water bath). Place the cake pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes approximately 1 inch up the side of the springform pan.

Bake until the edge is light golden brown, the top is light gold, and the center barely jiggles, about 1 1/4 hours.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours undisturbed. While remaining in the springfrom pan, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, for 24 hours.

On the following day, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and unmold from the springform pan. Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with fruit if desired.

Cook’s Notes:
In slicing the cheesecake, use a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, to get a clean cut. Be sure to rinse the knife with warm water between slices. Refrigerate any leftover cake, tightly covered, and enjoy within 2 days, or wrap and freeze it  for up to 1 month.

 

stock-photo-new-york-style-cheesecake-on-white-plate-decorated-with-fresh-strawberry-parsley-and-strawberry-657935272.jpg