Saturday, January 19, 2013

Plum Pudding

I have always wanted to try plum pudding.  I guess I have a crazy fascination with with old English traditions.  
I have had this recipe in this cookbook marked to make forever.  This year was finally the year!  My cute mom came over and we made Carrot Pudding, which was a tradition for her family when she grew up, and plum pudding.  We served them both on Christmas.  I soaked some sugar cubes in lemon extract and we set the plum pudding on fire.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do that.  

I switched the "orange sauce" out to the more traditional lemon sauce which I found on this site.

 1/2 cups chopped, pitted prunes
1/2 cup orange juice
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mixed candied fruits (I didn't do this)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk

Pudding: In a medium bowl, soak prunes in orange juice for 1 hour.  Stir in grated apple, walnuts, candied fruits, and orange peel.  In a large mixer bowl, cream butter; add brown sugar and beat well.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt ginger and nutmeg.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk and ix well.  Stir in prune mixture.  Grease and flour 1 large or 2 or 3 medium molds or cans.  Spoon mixture into containers above 2/3 full.  Cover with foil.  Place containers on rack in large kettle with 2 inches of water.  Steam 2 hours for large or 1 1/2 hours for smaller containers, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes and invert on wire rack.

Lemon Sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Sauce: (serve hot)
  1. Mix cornstarch and sugar. Add to boiling water, stirring vigorously.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, zest, butter and salt.

    To Serve: Spoon warm pudding into dessert dishes and top with sauce.  Pudding and sauce can be stored in refrigerator up to two weeks.  Wrap pudding in plastic wrap and foil.  To reheat, return pudding to original mold and steam for 30 to 40 minutes.  Serves 18. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

I made this cake for Christmas dessert.  It is SO rich, but I was pretty in love with it.  It's two layers of chocolate cake with a peppermint cheese cake in between them frosted with peppermint frosting.  Oh heavenly!  It seems labor intensive, but it really wasn't.  I made it in one day, but you can make the layers in advance and freeze them.

    For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Cheesecake Layer:
  • 2 pkg (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 bag (10oz) Andes Peppermint baking chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bag (10oz) Andes Peppermint baking chips
  • candy cane for garnish
    For the Cakes:
  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup, mix together cooled coffee and milk. Set aside.
  3. Grease 2- 9inch round baking pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. IN mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Slowly add in dry ingredients alternating with the coffee and milk mixture, about 3 additions of each.
  5. Pour cake batter evenly into the 2 prepared pans. 
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack. When completely cooled, you can wrap each layer in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for later assembly!
  7. For the Cheesecake Layer:
  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a large roasting pan on the lower 2/3 of the oven, preheat the pan too!
  9. Prepare springform pan by wrapping bottom of pan (outside) with double layer of foil. Spray pan with nonstick baking spray and line bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper. Meanwhile, boil a kettle of water to use later.
  10. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream, heavy cream and peppermint extract. Fold in baking chips. Pour into prepared 9inch springform pan. Place pan in center of preheated roasting pan in the oven. Pour boiling water slowly into the roasting pan, until there is about an inch of water coming up the sides of the springform pan.
  11. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  12. When cooled, transfer entire springform pan into the freezer for several hours or overnight. I put it in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove cheesecake and wrap in plastic wrap and return to freezer, or assemble cake.
  13. For the frosting, beat butter for 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream and beat an additional 3-5 minutes until fluffy. Add baking chips.
  14. To assemble the cake, lay one frozen layer of chocolate cake on cake plate. Top with frozen cheesecake and second layer of chocolate cake. Frost sides and top with a thin layer of frosting to apply a crumb coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour. Remove from refrigerator and frost remaining cake. I keep the cake covered in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Remove and allow to sit about 15 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is my very favorite dish to eat.  The tragic thing about it is that I haven't really been able to make a good one ever.  I have tried since I got married and started cooking (yes I didn't start until then), to make a good one.  Well, tonight for dinner I made a dang good chicken cordon bleu.  I am a fan. The picture isn't great because I hurried and snapped it with my phone before we ate...

4 chicken breasts
8 thin slices of ham
4 stripes of swiss cheese (I add more, but you have to do some seriously secure tying with bakers twine so it doesn't ooze out)
Thyme or rosemary (I chose to use a little rosemary)
3 beaten eggs
1/2 cup of cornflake crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet until it is 1/4 inch thickness.

Place eggs in one bowel and cornflake crumbs in another.

Lay the chicken breast flat and place 2 pieces of ham and the cheese in the center.  After that I got bakers twine and tied it up like crazy so the cheese wouldn't ooze out.  I then dredged the chicken in the egg, and then in the cornflake crumbs and placed it on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake chicken 40 minutes.

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 cup milk1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

While the chicken bakes, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly, while cooking the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules and salt. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking.