Category: cream

Panettone French Toast

Sometimes, I procrastinate.

This recipe is something that I’ve wanted to make for years. YEARS. Why have I never done it? Procrastination, my friends. Well, that, and severe lack of Panettone. Now that I live in Little, Little Italy (Lasalle), there is an abundance of this fluffy Italian treat – at all times of year! So many varieties to choose from in fact, that I found it slightly overwhelming. Do I want currant Panettone? Chocolate Panettone? Coffee Panettone? Mixed Fruits? Original? Yellow? White? Which brand do I choose? (Italians and Panettone lovers, please weigh in on this – I still don’t know!)
Once my choice was made (chocolate-filled!), I decided to go ahead and let it sit on my counter for weeks. You see, I’m SO good at procrastinating, that I also procrastinate eating things. How does someone NOT consume an entire pannetone all by themselves? Self-control, people. Self. Control.  I knew that this particular panettone was destined for great things. This particular panettone was born to be transformed. This particular panettone would soon become a marvelously chocolatey, marvelously boozy breakfast miracle. Five months and mucho procrastination later, I share with you the one and only way that you’ll ever want to eat panettone again.
Panettone French Toast with Chocolate
an original recipe by allison sklar

Notes:  Leftover panettone freezes very well, and is easier to cut into cubes when frozen. Don’t use more than half of your panettone at a time, or you’ll end up with an overflowing pan, soggy toast, and unhappy tastebuds.

ingredients

1/2 packaged panettone, cut into cubes
1/4 cup chocolate chips

2 tbsp Nutella

2 tbsp milk


6 eggs

1/4 cup 15% cream
1/4 cup Bailey’s or chocolate liqueur 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar



method
Line a 9×13″ baking tray with parchment paper. Place cubes evenly into tray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk and nutella for about 20 seconds, until soft. Whisk together and drizzle over toast.

Whisk together eggs,  cream, liqueur, vanilla and sugar until very frothy. Pour over panettone mixture.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set and golden. 

Serve hot, sprinkled with icing sugar if desired.




Peaches and Cream (Grilled Peach Melba Sundaes)

What better way to test out our new BBQ than by grilling… peaches?! No but seriously. That’s exactly what we did last weekend. An unexpectedly delicious combination, the charred brown sugar and butter coating resulted in an explosion of flavour. We got so excited about it that we started grilling other fruits too. We tried out some pineapple, and I can’t wait to try grilling bananas next. I’m telling you, if you haven’t tasted grilled fruit yet, you really haven’t lived. Tossed into a fish taco, cubed up in a salad, on little toothpicks with cheese… the BBQ takes fruit to a whole new level! 

Alright, let’s get back to the peaches. So imagine this. Smoky sweet peaches. On top of vanilla ice cream. Drizzled with warm raspberry syrup. Topped off with fresh berries and a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds.
Yeah. You know you want it. 
This über summery dessert would look super cute all layered up in a mason jar, but I opted to serve it in crystal wine glasses instead, putting a fancy twist on a casual sundae. What a hit! I threw on a dollop of fresh whipped chantilly cream (I couldn’t help myself), and a dash of cinnamon. Perfection in a glass. 
Now now, I can’t take all the credit. Though the cinnamon was my idea, the whole recipe actually comes from Canadian Living’s wonderful July issue, on newsstands today! But just for you, loyal readers, I’ll include a link to the recipe below so that you can try it out yourself. It’s quick and easy, and looks as fab as it tastes. Throwing together a last minute brunch and don’t have time to make the raspberry syrup? Don’t fret. Some store bought jam would work in it’s place! Oh, and take my advice, top it with a dash of cinnamon. It brings all the flavours together so nicely. 
Peach pit removal tip: to remove peaches from the pits, slice down the middle and twist while the skins are still on. If your peaches are ripe enough, the pit should come out without much fuss! 
For the full recipe, click here. 

Cool As Custard (Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle with Pound Cake)

Being a student in pastry school means exactly what you’d imagine: that I get to spend 8 hours a day in a kitchen, making delicious pastry. It also unfortunately means that I’m no longer home on weeknights, so weekend dinners with the boy have become an extra special affair.

I decided that the best way to toast to our new home was to make some kind of stellar springtime-inspired dessert. My favourite seasonal combo? Strawberries, rhubarb and cream. But how could I take these three ingredients and turn them into something dazzling? Easily! Whip up some custard, chop up a pound cake, and layer it all into a trifle, just like the one on the cover of Canadian Living’s April issue. Lacking a trifle dish? No worries! A big glass bowl propped up on a cake stand will work well. Or, be super resourceful and scoop them into tall drinking glasses. The colourful, layered presentation remains intact, and each person gets their own individual serving. Brilliant, right?

Canadian Living suggests using a pound cake, which is easy to find at any grocery store, but also very easy to make at home. Coincidentally, we recently spent an entire class making various pound cakes, so I’ve become quite the pro. (I’ve included a simple recipe below!)

I love the versatility of the pound cake – you can add virtually any flavour to it, and one simple recipe can yield a different flavoured cake every time you bake one. The pound cake manages to retain it’s form nicely when soaked in the tangy rhubarb sauce, and it’s dense texture compliments the airy cream and the velvety custard.

Helpful hints

You don’t have to be a pro to make this stellar trifle, though making custard might seem a little intimidating for some. Follow the recipe quantities exactly as shown, and you’ll be a-ok! Still nervous? Don’t be!

Here are a few helpful tips that will help you achieve the velvetiest of custards.

Custard is a type of pastry cream that is thickened using eggs and cornstarch. It’s important that your eggs don’t get too hot, or else they will curdle & scramble, which is why you can’t just throw all of the ingredients into the pot right off the bat. You absolutely must temper the eggs (by pouring the tepid milk into them in a steady stream while whisking.) This is a crucial step to follow for a nice texture.

Once the eggs are added, your custard should always be cooked on medium heat. 

Do. Not. Stop. Whisking. Whisk that custard! Build those pastry muscles! Once you’ve tempered your eggs and poured them back into the pot, whisk it all until it boils, then continue whisking for one to two minutes. You know your custard is ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Make sure to strain it as the recipe instructs, to ensure that you don’t have any hidden lumps.

If your mixture starts to curdle, remove from heat immediately and whisk. Return to heat once the curdles are broken up. Your burner was likely too hot.

How to cool your custard faster : Line a baking sheet / cookie tray with plastic wrap, hanging it well over the edges. Pour your hot custard onto the plastic. Fold over the plastic wrap to cover custard. Place in fridge for about an hour. Voila! Cool as custard. Use a spatula to remove from plastic after. If custard turns gelatinous in the fridge, just give it a quick whisk and it’ll be smooth as silk.

Substitutions

If you don’t have a vanilla bean as the recipe suggests, you can substitute vanilla extract – just make sure that you beat it in at the very end, once the custard is off of the heat. Extracts will vaporize in the cooking process and will leave you with very little flavour if you add them too early. 1 tbsp is all you need. (An extra tbsp of dark rhum or rhum extract would also be sinfully delicious.)

I’m not a huge fan of orange, so I substituted with lemon zest (I even used a lemon pound cake!). The acidity balanced out the sweetness very well.

The Recipes

You can find the original trifle recipe over at Canadian Living, or pick up a copy of the April issue for even more yummy stuff.

For my pound cake recipe, see below!

Basic Pound Cake

Pound cake is made using equal quantities (in weight, not in volume) of eggs, butter, sugar and flour. Historically, pound cakes were made using a pound of each ingredient, which, as you can imagine, meant they were huge. I’ve cut down the quantities, but I’ve kept the ratio intact. The recipe below will yield 2 standard loaf pans.

what you’ll need
200g sugar
200g butter
200g eggs, beaten (approx 4 eggs)
200g flour
5g vanilla

how to do it
Cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla. Fold in flour until completely incorporated. Grease or parchment-line 2 loaf pans. Divide batter equally. (Fill about 1/2 to 3/4 way up the pan, your cakes will rise!) Bake at 350F, 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

VARIATIONS: You can add any extract of your choice (almond, maple, rhum), nuts, seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, citrus zest, or any combination that you like, such as lemon-poppy-seed. Mix your desired quantity of add-ins after you fold in the flour. Tip: If you’re adding dried fruits, toss them in flour before they go into the mixture. This will help them spread out evenly and not sink to the bottom as the cake bakes.




Petits Délices (vanilla pots de creme with brown sugar caramel)


Mouth watering. Impressive. Unbelievably simple. Creamy. Refreshing. Amazing. 
Need more adjectives? Try out the recipe and come up with your own! Thanks to Lisa over at Bites of Sweetness for her inspiration. 

Vanilla Pots-de-Creme
with Brown Sugar Caramel

what you’ll need
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla bean (optional, but worth it)
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp water
 how to do it
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, honey and vanilla until thickened. Slowly pour the warm cream into the yolks while whisking to temper the yolks. Continue pouring a little at a time until well blended, then transfer to a large measuring cup.
Evenly pour the mixture into ramekins, place in a deep roasting pan and fill the pan half way up the sides of the ramekins with water. Bake for 30-35 minutes until they are only a little wobbly (only one or two ripples when you shake the pan.)
Leave to cool in pan, then remove ramekins and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. If refrigerating longer, allow to fully cool and then cover with plastic wrap.
Caramel sauce: Heat brown sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Stir often with a heatproof spatula until desired consistency is reached. Pour over cooled pots-de-creme and serve. 

Fallin’ For You (Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce)

Pumpkin alfredo sauce, where have you been all of my life?

I came up with this quick and simple dish after flipping through the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. For a couple of weeks, I’d routinely flip back to the same page, drooling over a photo of tortellini bathed in this dreamy pumpkin sauce. The original recipe asked to sautée pumpkin with nutmeg, but since I’m really not a nutmeg kind of gal, I decided to omit that step. I then reassessed the rest of the recipe, and well, I pretty well stripped it down to the basics (pumpkin puree and cream) and then added my own little twist.

My version comes together when delicious pumpkin puree meets with heavy cream, gets sprinkled with a hint of marinated garlic and finished off with a generous sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano cheese. Toss it with pasta and top it all off with sea salt and pepper, and you’ve got a meal. This sauce is so velvety that it tastes sinful, yet it’s surprisingly light thanks to the magic that is pumpkin puree.
(Also, what better way to get a picky eater to eat his or her veggies?!)

This recipe’s quick, easy, and ridiculously tasty – so make it tonight! Whether it’s for yourself, or to impress a lucky guest, tastebuds everywhere will be rejoicing in the glory of this newfound autumn comfort food.

Note: I served this with fresh cheese ravioli, but it would be a great companion to tortellini, fettuccine, tagliatelle or any other of your favorite pasta varieties.

Pumpkin Alfredo Ravioli
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
1 cup fresh pasta
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin (NOT pie filling!)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp crushed marinated garlic
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
salt & pepper to taste

how to do it
Prepare your pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, begin to warm pumpkin in medium saucepan over low heat. Slowly add cream, stirring constantly with a non-stick spatula. Add garlic and heat until mixture begins to bubble. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Toss desired amount of sauce with drained pasta.

Serve with extra shredded cheese & fresh ground pepper sprinkled on top.
Enjoy!


Warm Up (Mushroom Risotto with Thyme and Cheddar)

It’s that time of year again, Montreal! You know, that season that isn’t quite a season? For those of you who don’t live here, let me fill you in. We’ve had the kind of days that’ve started off in cozy sweaters and boots, and have ended off in shorts and flip flops. We’ve seen the kind of weeks that have offered us weather reminiscent of Melbourne – rain, sun, frost and heat all within 24 hours.

One certainty in all of this is that Autumn has officially arrived! The general drop in temps has offered us a much needed break after our wildly humid summer, so we can put our hair down and lace our boots up. Because, let’s face it – the best part of fall is the fashion… Oh, and of course, the other best part is the comfort food!

So, without further adieu, I present to you the rich, the tasty, the creamy mushroom risotto! Inspired by a deliciously rich dish that I recently ate at a small resto (in the suburbs, who’d have imagined!?) I decided to create my very own version.

It does take some time to make, but don’t let that stop you – it’s totally and completely worth it.
Now go get cooking!


Mushroom Risotto with Thyme and Cheddar

what you’ll need
1 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped marinated garlic
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano cheese
1 cup water + more as needed

how to do it
Sautee mushrooms and green onions in oil in a medium saucepan. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring rice and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until rice absorbs the liquid. Slowly add in one cup wine. Simmer and stir until absorbed. Add one cup of stock at a time, waiting until absorbed before each addition, and constantly stirring. (Note – If rice is not fully cooked – tender, but not crunchy – after three cups of stock, continue the process with water or wine.) Once rice is tender, stir in mushroom mixture, garlic and thyme. Fold in cheeses. Sprinkle a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper into the mixture. Serve immediately, sprinkled with extra cheese if desired.

Wine and Dine (Creamy Wine Sauce)

Cream sauce, I have mastered thee.

After numerous failed attempts at concocting my own alfredo, I finally hit the milky jackpot. I quickly discovered that combining mushrooms, cream and wine will result in some tasty magic on my dinner plate. Simple, smooth and satisfying, this base will be my go-to for any white sauce I’ll be craving in the near future. If you’re not a fan of funghi, don’t fret: substitute chopped spinach, onions or garlic in place of the mushrooms for an equally delicious variation.


Simple Cream Sauce with Mushrooms
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp ground sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped mushrooms (or spinach)
2 tbsp fresh thyme (optional)
2 tbsp cooking wine (white is best, but red works fine)
1/2 cup cooking cream
1 tbsp white flour

how to do it
In a saucepan over medium-low, melt butter. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until golden. Add cream and wine, stirring well after each addition. Once mixture is bubbling, whisk in flour, stirring until sauce begins to thicken, about one minute. Add salt to taste.
Serve hot, over pasta or vegetables.