Sunday, August 29, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake - No Bake

                If you have ever been to Olive Garden and indulged into their white chocolate cheesecake, then you will most definitely understand the need for such a recipe accessible to the home cook.

The restaurant mentioned above describes this dessert as:
" White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Raspberry-swirled white chocolate cheesecake topped with slivers of white chocolate."

Enough said and HERE is where I got the recipe from.
I shared my oh-so-good final product with the people at church today and they just loved it !
And so will you !
I used frozen raspberries and used 340 gr, a little bit more than the original recipe calls for and also used a ready made pie crust.

Serves 12
For the crust: 
100 gr digestive biscuits, crushed  
100 gr ginger nut biscuits, crushed
100 gr butter, melted

For the filling:
500 gr (1lb 2oz) white chocolate, broken into pieces (I used chocolate chips and melted them on a double boiler)
50 gr (2oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
500 gr (1lb 2oz) full fat soft cheese
50 gr white sugar
175 ml whipping cream
250 gr fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate

For the base, combine biscuits & butter, then press into the base of a 23cm (9.5") spring form tin.
For the filling, put the chocolate, butter and vanilla pod in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 20-second bursts to melt it or just set up a double boiler where you need to slowly and constantly stir until the chocolate and butter are melted.
Allow to cool slightly.
In another bowl, mix the soft cheese, sugar and whipping cream til smooth.
Stir the chocolate into the cream.
Gently stir in raspberries with a spatula, then spoon on top of the base, smooth carefully, and leave in the fridge to set (8-24 hours).

Remove from tin and decorate with raspberries and some lemon rind to serve.

If you would like to go ahead and make the version with the chocolate crust, go HERE for a recipe I found.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mixed Berries in your Pie !!

When our dear neighbor brought over 2 big bags of mixed berries, I knew I had to prepare 2 of my favorite desserts, which are berry pie with lattice topping and berry crumble, this time using Giada de Laurentiis' recipe.
I made a 6 inch pie and a 9 inch crumble.
Here is a picture of the peach crumble, and I assure you it is by far one of the best I have ever had and I have really got to try it with peach and strawberries.

I don't think I have shown you my Snoopy tshirt that I found in here it is:

And now to get back to the berry goodness...

Ingredients for the Berry Pie:
* the berry pie resembles THIS blueberry pie recipe;
3 to 4 handfuls of mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries - or any other combination you like)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon citrus zest if you have
1 TBSP tapioca pearls
2 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions for the Filling:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 min if the berries are fresh and for at least 2 hours if the berries are frozen.

Ingredients for the pie crust:
2 and 1/4 cups flour or 175 gr
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 stick of cold butter or 115 gr or 8 TBSP, cubed
 1/4 cup or 60 ml cold water

Directions for the Pie Crust:
Place flour, salt, sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine, then add the butter and mix slowly until it resembles coarse meal.
Through the lid opening, with the food processor running pour the ice water and mix for just a bit until the dough just holds together.
Turn onto your work surface and knead slightly until it holds its shape.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
You can always double the quantities and make a 9 inch double crust pie.

While the berries are resting, line your 6 inch pie pan with 2/3 of the dough and roll the remaining 1/3 into a circle and cut strips for the lattice topping.
Preheat the oven to 400 F, then place the berries and their juices in the pie pan and top with the lattice.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the aluminum and bake for 30 to 40 more minutes.
Check on it occasionally and you will notice how it bubbles.
If you are worried that it might overflow, then just place the pie pan onto a baking sheet at the beginning.
Let rest for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Ingredients for the Berry Crumble:
1 lb berries or whatever the capacity of your pie pan is
2 TBSP corn starch dissolved in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or 2/3 if you like yours sweeter

Ingredients for the Topping:
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds or finely chopped almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish or a 9 inch pie pan. Set aside.
Mix the ingredients for the filling and pour them in the pan, then mix the ingredients for the topping and cover your berries.
Shake the pie pan a bit to make sure the topping is evenly distributed, then place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy !

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Friend's Wedding on July 4th 2010 (Ana & Alin Iacobovici)

Recently my husband and I went to Europe for a number of reasons among which was my friend's wedding.
Since I got back I did not have a chance to show you the wedding pictures, so here they are, along with some explanations here and there.

She opted for a different, shorter type of dress, no veil and it suited her personality wonderfully.
Hope you will enjoy the pictures and let me know what you thought of the dress and any other things you might spot.
The day before the wedding my friend wanted me to come over and try on her dress so she would have an idea how it looks when worn, and here I am !
No, I'm not really going to stab her....just fooling around. No worries !

Yes, here I am, wearing her dress:

This is at the church, right after the ceremony ended.
Unfortunately, it started to rain just as everyone was  coming out from the church...

The next stop was the reception location where we partied until 6 am !!!
Look at the lovely bridal set !

Here is the "one of a kind" or "one of each" trio:

Look at those feathers !

Yes, my brown rose had its own feathers as well....

Here you can see my sister, my husband and I:

My sister and her boyfriend, the bride's brother and I:

The happiest couple of them all:

The cake was absolutely delicious - a tiramisu cake.

I'd like to know how you liked these.
Enjoy !!
 Oh, these last two uploads are from the bachelorette party which also lasted until 6 am !

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cinnamon Cinnamon-y Brioche Loaf

A brioche loaf is usually brown and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, it is warm, puffy and the pieces you pull slowly from the slice you just cut are just wonderful.
This picture below is of my regular brioche.
Sorry for not posting a picture of a slice of the dark rich color of this awesome cinnamon brioche loaf.

But there is something that tops that now.
Something a million times better.
I promise you.
It is called cinnamon infused brioche loaf.

When you bite into it you will feel like you died ans gone to Heaven - trust me.
It is one of my own personal creations for my wonderful husband and now it is unveiled here for you to try and enjoy.

500 gr flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
10 gr instant yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles (Jimmies)

2/3 cup sugar (you can use Splenda)
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk or a few TBSP of milk combined with some sugar - for glaze
3 tbsp brown raw sugar for topping

Dissolve the yeast into the milk, then add the rest of the ingredients, making sure you add the salt at the end.
It is believed that having salt in direct contact with the yeast - kills the yeast and you do not want that.
Knead 10 to 20 minutes minutes and let rest for 35-60 minutes.
Punch it down and pat it so you can flatten it.
Roll the dough and place it into a greased loaf pan, 5 by 10 inches if possible.

If you are not sure that only greasing the loaf pan will help with the removal of the brioche at the end, then use either parchment paper or waxed paper.
However, Alton Brown says that waxed paper will burn.
Keep in mind that the brioche will double, even triple in volume.
Let it rise for at least 45 more minutes.
Glaze it and bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes.
If it starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
When the loaf is cooked through, it should sound hollow when you knock on it.
Make sure the pan is placed in the middle of the oven.
After the baking time, let the brioche sit in the pan for approx. 5 minutes, then remove it and let it cool on a cooling rack.

Keeps well in a ziplock plastic bag, at room temperature or in the fridge.

I sliced my loaf after I had a few slices and froze it and when I want to enjoy a slice, then I just microwave every slice for 12 seconds on each side, then toast it for about 1 minute on high in your toaster oven. 
Look how nicely it rose and baked !
If allowed to proof and rise for long enough, then the final baked loaf will be puffy and not at all flat. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

My new Favorite Website

This is it:
my new favorite website that I am happy to share with you all.
Check it out and let me know how much it has helped you by they time you are done reading the information provided by the authors.
Also, if you care for tests or if you are just curious how you will do one one of them, check them out here:
Have fun !!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What is your Favorite Food ?

Thinking of my favorite food along the time, I came to realize that my taste has changed considerably in a 10 years span and it got me thinking...what is my favorite food at THIS MOMENT ?
I would have to say it is oven roasted garlic meatballs with creamy fluffy mashed potatoes and a side of roasted red bell peppers dipped in a vinegrette.
Too bad I do not have a picture of it as I would have loved to post it here to show you.
And so, this brings me to the most important part of this post of today:
You might have dessert as favorite and not necessarily a savory dish like mine, but nonetheless I would love to know what you LOVE eating THE MOST.

I cannot wait to get your feedback on this !!

Also - what is the food you would never ever eat ?
I'll have to say mine is squid.