Friday, November 28, 2014

Munich Beer Cream

Here I am the day after Thanksgiving waiving an Oktoberfest style treat in your face. Late to the party much?

Called Münchener Biercreme in German, this unusual pudding-like dessert is flavored with a mild dark beer. The dessert itself contains no cream or milk, just gelatin to give it a pudding like consistency. However the addition of sweet whipped cream as a garnish on top takes the flavor of the dessert to a whole new level. 

I used a "dunkel" or dark German beer for this recipe but you can experiment with other types of brews. Using a weissbier or a lighter colored and flavored beer would probably create a lighter flavored pudding. I am sure there are some non-traditional, unusual flavored beers out on the market that would be fun to experiment with using this recipe. I've seen peach, coconut and creme brulee versions.

Munich Beer Cream
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Total Time: 20 minutes 
Yield: 6 Servings 
  • 1 cup mild dark beer
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 large eggs, separated.
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectionary or powdered sugar
  • In the top of a double boiler (no heat yet), mix together the dark beer, 1/2 cup of the water, white granulated sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cup of water and mix it in until dissolved. 
  • Add the gelatin water to the sugared dark beer mixture. Stir to combine
  • Beat the egg yolks together slightly and stir them slowly into the beer mixture.
  • Heat water in the lower part of the double boiler until simmering and place the top part with the beer mixture in it over the simmering water.
  • Cook about 8 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture thickens a bit enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the mixture from heat, cool completely.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. 
  • Fold the egg whites into the sweet beer mixture, making sure they are thoroughly combined.
  • Spoon the beer cream into individual dessert glasses or ramkins and chill.
  • Before serving. Whip the heavy cream and the tablespoon of powdered sugar together until stiff.
  • Spoon the whipped cream on top of each portion of beer cream and serve immediately. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pumpkin Marzipan Ice Cream

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I know everyone is beyond over pumpkin ANYTHING. So the absolute nerve of me to post two pumpkin recipes in a row. However, I'm pushing the proverbial pumpkin envelope today and posting this amazing, delicious ice cream.

If you have time today (haha who has time the day before preparing a Thanksgiving meal?), the ingredients and the inclination, make this for your guests. They will love you forever.

I happened to have roasted pumpkin puree on hand as well as a big ball of homemade marzipan in the freezer. Also there were various cartons of milk, cream, half and half in my fridge that desperately needed to be used up.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Macaron Monday: Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake French Macarons

I love Thanksgiving, always insisting on celebrating this holiday no matter what country I was living in at the time. Creating the the menus, decorating the table and inviting people near and far is all part of the fun and creativity. The problem is, no matter how much I plan, it always arrives like a freight train.

So I don't know how I managed it but I created these perfect Thanksgiving French macarons before Thanksgiving rolled up.

I've said this before, and I am sticking to it. For big holiday meals, I might make one cake but mostly I create platters of  several different types of bite size desserts so guests can sample different items without feeling they are eating to the point of bursting.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Swabian Apple Cake

Swabian apple cake or Schwäbischer Apfelkuchen is another German dessert perfect for Thanksgiving. 

Sometimes, just a few simple ingredients are the tastiest. The simply delicious apple, raisin almond filling in this cake is covered with a pie-like crust. Sort of  a deep dish or mile high apple pie. A butter, sugar, almond combination is layered on the top and baked in for added sweetness and crunch. 

This recipe is from the Swabian part of Germany. Simple, hearty, unpretentious food is a trademark of that region.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pink Banana Squash Chocolate Ginger Tart

A while back I Instagramed this picture of a HUGE pink banana squash I bought at the Farmer's Market in Milford PA.

Imagine my disappointment when breaking open this bigger than a baby vegetable to roast it, the flesh was sooo not pink, but pumpkin color.

The seeds, however, surpassed expectations. They were plump and easy to pick out. I sprinkled them with adobo flavored salt and roasted them. Too late, I realized I should have candied them with brown sugar and ginger and sprinkled them on top of the finished tart, instead I cut up some crystalized ginger and sprinkled it on top. But boy were those adobe seasoned seeds good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Macaron Monday: Fuji Apple French Macarons with Cocoa Walnut Butter Filling

Last summer I met the Walnut Butter Man. Anthony Novelle is a sports nutritionist/wellness professional who created a line of all natural walnut butters. Each vegan, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, no GMO, low glycemic jar is packed with healthy, natural flavor.

Of course, I immediately lusted after the product with one goal in mind - to use it as a French macaron filling. Anthony gifted me with two jars, one natural and one cacao flavor. I chose the latter to pair with fuji apple flavored French macaron shells. The shells were flavored by grinding up dehydrated fuji apple slices from Trader Joe's and adding the resulting powder to the shell batter.

For optics, red food coloring was stirred into the shell batter and almost throughly mixed in. I wanted the shells to have a slight marbleized effect by not completely mixing in the color.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pastry Pretzel Cookies

This German treat, often called Olga Brezeln,  is a cross between a pastry and a cookie. The recipe uses both plain cookie dough and puff pastry affixed together, twisted into cords, then arranged on baking sheets into pretzel shapes.

The recipe called for vanilla sugar. Although common in every supermarket in Germany, this ingredient can by hard to come by in the United States, unless of course, you use homemade. Consequently, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in the cookie dough for the vanilla sugar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brandied Plum Pudding

This dessert, called "Cognac Pflaumenpudding" in German is more like a boozy jello mold. However, the flavor is much bolder than a traditional jello dessert.

Pulverized canned plums provide intense flavor. I substituted fresh ones, simmering them in water and sugar first, creating a plum syrup to add to the recipe.

To spike the dessert, I used Sliwowitz brand plum brandy (popular in central and Eastern Europe) which is made from Damson plums. You can also substitute cherry brandy. The spices can be swapped out as well. I added ground cinnamon to this version but you can try allspice or a combination of clove or nutmeg powder.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Butterscotch French Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

One of my absolutely favorite treats as a child was butterscotch pudding. I also seriously coveted those butterscotch hard candies my grandmother carried around occasionally handing them out to us as treats.

The grownup version of my butterscotch lust involves butterscotch flavored vodka martinis. Discovered those at a favorite watering hole in LA. Back when I lived there in the mid 90's, we used to go there after work on the Paramount Lot and down these unique flavored drinks. Once I discovered how to make them at home (butterscotch schnapps + Vanilla Absolute + crushed butterscotch candies for the rims of the glasses), these were enjoyed on special occasions every place I lived since. 

I even regularly smuggled several bottles of the butterscotch schnapps in my suitcase from the States back to Germany where, for all it's great lifestyle attributes, was sadly lacking in butterscotch schnapps. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rye Bread & Cranberry Meringue Pudding

In exploring the Germany's regional dishes and desserts, I found this delicious dessert made with rye bread called Bielefelder Schwarzbrotpudding.

Bielefeld is a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. This dessert is a regional specialty of the cuisine of that area, which has many international influences.

Bielefelder Schwarzbrotpudding is completely unique and a perfect addition to any holiday table. It's also flexible and can be adapted by substituting other varieties of seasonal berries.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Macarons Monday: English Toffee French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream Filling

These French macarons have such an elegant flavor I was tempted to save them for a special occasion.

We had friends visiting from Vienna this past week. Once they tasted the macarons, they gobbled them up in no time. I had thought maybe a pre birthday party party would be a perfect fit for these but friends visiting from Vienna is a special occasion and I am happy and flattered they went so fast and enjoyed them so much.

I used a few drops of English Toffee oil flavoring for the shells. When you have such a high class flavor, it's hard to outdo it with a filling so I went with plain chocolate buttercream.