PERFECT CHEESECAKE ~ BAKING PARTNER’S CHALLENGE #9

We had many scrumptious choices this month – too many – hard to choose just one. It was a beautiful and classic cheesecake, tangy and sweet, with a velvety smooth and rich texture.I added my homemade caramel sauce and served it for Easter.
Perfect Cheesecake.jpg
adapted from Perfect Cheesecake by Simply recipes for Baking Partners GROUP

Crust
2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs (I used a combo of ginger snaps and vanilla wafers)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted

Filling
32 ounces cream cheese at room temperature and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of Sea salt
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla
4 large eggs
2/3 cup regular sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Topping – I omitted to help cut down on the cholesterol since I was adding the caramel sauce
2 cups regular sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

CRUST PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a 9 inch spring form pan on a large sheet of heavy duty foil.  Smooth foil up the sides rolling at the top edge.  You are basically making your pan water proof.
  • Grind the graham crackers and/or ginger snaps in a food processor until finely ground.
  • In a large bowl stir together the crackers, sugar and salt. With your hands blend in the melted butter until you have a uniform consistency.
  • Press the cracker crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared springform pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

FILLING PREPARATION

  • Cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and beat for a few minutes more.
  • Add the salt and vanilla, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add the sour cream, beating until well blended.
  • Add the heavy cream, beating until well blended.
  • Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl scraping up any thicker bits of cream cheese that has stuck to the sides or bottom.

BAKING

  • Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan.
  • Pour about 2 quarts of boiling water around the pan.
  • Pour the prepared cream cheese filling into the springform pan over the cracker crust.
  • Smooth the filling level.
  • Bake on the lower rack of your oven.
  • Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan creating a water bath for the cheesecake. Pour enough water to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Turn off the oven.
  • Crack open the oven door 1-inch or so, and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. Slow cooling this way helps prevent cracking in the cheesecake.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and discard the foil.
  • With a fresh piece of foil, tent the cheesecake so that the foil doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

TOPPING PREPARATION

  • In a large mixing bowl cream together the sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, until well blended.
  • Chill topping mixture until you are ready to serve the cake.

PREPARE THE CAKE FOR SERVING

  • Run a table knife around the inside edge of the spring form pan to release anything that might have stuck during baking.
  • Remove outer pan ring.
  • Spread the sour cream topping evenly on cheesecake.
  • Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.
  • Enjoy.

CARAMEL SAUCE
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color.
  • Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in.
  • Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.

Makes 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: Microwave20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving.



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Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie
  DATE BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
MONDAY 11/11 YOGURT SALADS BACON CHEESEBURGER HAMBURGER HELPER NOT!
TUESDAY 11/12 TOAST C.O.R.N. NOT YOUR MOM’S TUNA/CHICKEN CASSEROLE
WEDNESDAY 11/13 YOGURT SOUP SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAORDINAIRE
THURSDAY 11/14 FRUIT CHEESE & FRUIT ITALIAN SAUSAGE BAKE
FRIDAY 11/15 CEREAL SALAD C.O.R.N
SATURDAY 11/16 CARAMELIZED BACON and ONION FRITTATA OUT APPLE DAPPLE CHICKEN
SUNDAY 11/17 PEANUT BUTTER and JELLY PANCAKES C.O.R.N SLOPPY JOES
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WEEKLY MENU PLAN

Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie
  DATE BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
MONDAY 9/2 YOGURT SANDWICHES BAJA CHICKEN
TUESDAY 9/3 TOAST C.O.R.N. C.O.R.N
WEDNESDAY 9/4 YOGURT SOUP MONTE’ CRISTO
THURSDAY 9/5 FRUIT CHEESE & FRUIT TOUCH DOWN TACO DIP
FRIDAY 9/6 CEREAL SALAD ASIAGO CHICKEN
SATURDAY 9/7 FARMER’S BREAKFAST OUT PASTA FAGIOLI
SUNDAY 9/8 SHIRRED EGGS TUNA MELTS CHICKEN & WINE
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TASTE & CREATE – ASIAN-ESQUE BEEFY BROTH

Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.
This month I was paired with Kat from STUDY FOOD.  Many of her recipes are done without proportions making it fun to try and recreate her pictures.  I’m still on a semi-liquid/soft diet so thought I’d try her Asian-esque Beefy Broth.

Sometimes less really is more.  This recipe makes for a super simple, but flavor bursting pick me up.  Unfortunately my carrots weren’t thin enough and sank to the bottom.

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LINK PARTY PALOOZA & FOODIE FRIDAY submissions by 3 Sides of Crazy

It’s FOODIE FRIDAY over at RATTLEBRIDGE FARM and a great time for me to catch up on a few recipes that needed posting from the recently tried stack of Magazine Monday recipes and this week there were quite a few winners I must say.

First up is:

BULLAI RUBBED CHICKEN
2 pounds chicken tenders, rinsed and dried
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 KNORR onion bouillon cube, crushed
1 teaspoon California sweet Paprika
1 KNORR chicken homestyle stock tub
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons butter, divided

  • Combine spices until well blended.
  • Sprinkle rub on both sides of chicken  rubbing in well.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat.
  • Cook chicken pieces until just done, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken pieces, keeping them warm.
  • Add remaining butter and KNORR stock and hot water, whisking into drippings until well blended.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and simmer about 10 minutes until reduced by half.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice and whipping cream until well blended.
  • Add sun dried tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat, simmering to desired consistency.
  • Pour over chicken and mashed potatoes.

Next was a super easy and SUPER tasty recipe:

GERMAN SMASHED POTATOES
3 pounds YUKON GOLD potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, cooked tender
1/2 pound bacon
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

  • Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.
  • Add vinegar and sugar to bacon fat, being sure to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan and cook until well blended. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl add the potatoes and smash.
  • Crumble the bacon over the potatoes.
  • Pour the vinegar mixture over top and mix well.
  • Enjoy.

Then came a more time consuming recipe, but one hubs fell in love with:

I also found that they now make refried BLACK beans – gotta tell you I’m loving these!
LAYERED TORTILLA PIE
1 cup salsa
1 pound ground beef
homemade taco seasoning
1 can refried BLACK beans
1 can traditional refried beans
8 inch flour tortillas
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
sour cream
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

  • Brown the hamburger and drain off the grease.
  • Add 1/2 cup water and taco seasoning to the hamburger.
  • Cook until liquid is absorbed.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a medium bowl mash together the refried beans, 1/2 the salsa and 1/2 the garlic.
  • In another medium bowl mash together the refried BLACK beans, 1/2 the salsa and 1/2 the garlic.
  • Spray a shallow pie pan with PURE.
  • Spread a small amount of sour cream on a tortilla and lay in the bottom of the pie pan.
  • Spread with one of the bean mixtures.
  • Add another tortilla and spread with some meat mixture.  Top with a thin layer of cheese.
  • Repeat layers until you have about 7 or 8 layers.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Cover lightly with foil.
  • Bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
  • Cut into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Here’s an all-time favorite:

SEAFOOD SALAD
Shredded Romaine
Tomato wedges
Sliced green onions
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 large can tuna, drained really well
Mayo to taste

  • Toss all together and enjoy with some garlic bread.

And lastly one of our new favorites:

ITALIAN MEATLOAF CUPS w/ PARMA ROSA PASTA

1 pound hamburger
1 pound Italian sausage
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 sleeve saltines, crushed
2 eggs
1 can Italian tomato paste
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend all together.
  • I use the mini loaf pans and fill each one 2/3.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until top is crispy.
  • Pour off excess fat before serving.
  • Bake how ever many you need today and freeze the others for future meals. Thaw in refrigerator before baking.
These are truly greatest hits at our house and welcome leftovers for weekend picnic sandwiches.
PARMA ROSA PASTA
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 tablespoon Classico sun-dried tomato paste
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Gradually add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Stir in salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until melted.
  • Whisk in egg quickly and heat through.

Recipes Submitted to:

and TATERTOTS & JELLO’S  LINK PARTY PALOOZA

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MY DAYBOOK for HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY

Happy Homemaker MondayIt’s been awhile since I felt like I was in my regular routine.  It’s time to try and get back into the groove of things.

THE SIMPLE WOMAN’S DAYBOOK is hosted by Peggy &

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY is hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home MOM

Outside my window/WEATHER… VERY little sun is peeking through smokey hazy skies as firefighters continue to battle and are finally winning the “Mountain Fire”.  As soon as they have it completely contained I am going to have to wash down the house starting at the roof peak and the pool will have to be REALLY cleaned as the ash is settling into the water and filter.

I am thinking… it’s a going to be a busy day as I continue to wade through the paperwork that has accumulated on my desktop.

I am thankful for my family and their love.

In the kitchen… we have a few more new recipes still brewing for the July menu and I’m starting on some new ones for August too.  I’ll post the successful ones on my food blog ALWAYS EAT ON THE GOOD CHINA.

  • Ritzy Cheddar Chicken
  • Lemon Cream Chicken
  • Potato Crusted Tilapia
  • Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

I’M WEARING… a swimsuit and coverup.

I’M CREATING… some quilt pieces that have been needing finished for a while (I just have problems sitting for any length of time due to the scar tissue from my cancer surgery), Christmas gifts for next year – quit laughing, these things take time and I’m also creating some new recipes. Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie

MENU THIS WEEK:
MONDAYRitzy Cheddar Chicken
TUESDAYLemon Cream Chicken
WEDNESDAYPotato Crusted Tilapia
THURSDAYGarlic & Brown Sugar Chicken
FRIDAY –OUT
SATURDAY – BIL’s surprise birthday party
SUNDAY –  C.O.R.N. 

I am going… to BIL’s surprise birthday party and am looking forward to seeing family we’ve been missing.I am wondering… just who to contact next regarding the VA mess – seems like we’re always starting over.

MY READING LIST… love my kindle paperwhite and have been enjoying a new author (at least to me) Marie Force.  Since Christmas I have devoured every book she ever wrote.

MY TV LINEUP THIS WEEK…  ALL ON DVR SO I CAN SKIP THE COMMERCIALS LATER

  • FALLING SKIES
  • DROP DEAD DIVA
  • RIZZOLI AND ISLES
  • FRANKLIN & BASH
  • ROYAL PAINS
  • LONGMIRE
  • THE GLADES
  • SWITCHED AT BIRTH and many more…

I am hoping… things turn around soon

I am looking forward to… getting away for a few days next month for our anniversary.

I am learning… how to be patient, but also how to squeak the wheel for oil!

Around the house… were finishing a few projects.

I am praying… to live in the day and not worry about the future as much.

A favorite quote for todayDreams are only thoughts you didn’t have time to think about during the day. ~Author Unknown

  • my morning coffee
  • cooler weather
  • my kindle
  • the laundry being done
  • the grocery shopping being done 

MY TO DO LIST 

  • Creating a few new recipes
  • getting into a new exercise routine to keep getting my energy back
  • laundry
  • grocery store
  • research
  • blog catch up

Favorite picture from my camera this week… I had my golden shaved for the oppressive heat this summer and she just looks so darned cute with her paws crossed so politely.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAKING PARTNERS – CHALLENGE #13 – LEMON CHIFFON CAKE

It’s our birthday! Our group is turning 1 year old.
Happy Birthday BAKING PARTNERS!!!!

Chiffon cakes are foamy and airy cakes in texture and combine the richness of a butter cake with lightness of a sponge cake. They are leavened primarily with beaten egg whites, just like Angel foot cakes are. In fact, they are very similar in appearance to angel food cakes and are usually baked in the same type of tube pan. Chiffon cakes, unlike angel food cakes, contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil. These two ingredients keep the cake moist, soft and tender and result in a cake that tastes great and keeps well.  Even refrigerated, the oil in the cake remains soft and makes it much more tender and contain less sugar than an Angel food cake. 

The chiffon cake was created by Harry Baker, a Los Angeles insurance agent, in 1927.  Baker carefully guarded his secret technique for almost two decades, only selling his cakes to celebrities and the famous Brown Derby restaurant. The popularity of his cakes grew quickly, and he eventually sold the recipe to General Mills in 1947.
Now, Mr. Baker had two big secrets with his chiffon cake recipe. The first is that chiffon cakes use oil instead of butter, which aides in the airy quality of the cake. It is also nice because the cake can be refrigerated without firming up. The second secret of the chiffon cake is to whip the egg whites separately from the yolks and to fold them ever so gently into the batter.  If done correctly, the results are divine. If not, you can end up with an oozy-gooey mess in your pans.Saraswathi of Sara’s kitchen suggested this Lemon Glow Chiffon cake.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 50 to 55 minutes

Makes: 1 ungreased two piece 10 inch tube pan OR can be halved and baked in 9 inch tube pan or 10 inch round cake pan or 8 inch round cake pan + 6 inch cake pan.

Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ~ 2 tablespoons lemon zest
Wet Ingredients
½ cup canola oil or sunflower oil
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup water @ room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence

For Meringue
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
7 large egg whites

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Use a 10-inch tube pan with a detachable bottom, but do not grease it as the batter needs to climb up the sides OR line two 9 inch baking pan with wax paper and do not grease the pan. Place a ramekin in middle of the pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the lemon zest. 
  • With your fingertips, work the zest and sugar together until the sugar is grainy and very aromatic.  
  • Add the cake flour, baking soda and salt to the bowl.
  • If using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment and beat on low until the ingredients are well incorporated. You can also do this by hand with a whisk.
  • Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and vanilla.   
  • Mix for about one minute on medium speed until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
  • In a second large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. 
  • Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until they reach soft peak stage. You will know your egg whites have reached this stage when the beaters start to leave a trail or when the peaks fall over when the beaters are raised. 
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are raised.
  • Using a slotted spoon or balloon whisk, add 1/3 of  egg whites to your cake batter and gently stir them until they are incorporated. 
  • Add the remaining egg whites to the batter and very gently fold them into the batter until they are incorporated and no traces of egg whites remain.
  • Pour the batter into the ungreased pan and run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets. 
  • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes  or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed in the center.  
  • Once cooked, take the cake out of the oven and immediately turn it upside down over a bottle* or similar to it  until it is completely  cool, which can take up to 90 minutes.
  • Using an up and down motion, use a palette knife to loosen the sides of the cake away from the tin. 
  • Pull out the cake and use the palette knife around the bottom of the cake to release it from the base. 
  • Turn it over so that the base becomes the top (I didn’t because I like the rustic look of my funky pan) and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar to serve. I used a bourbon lemon glaze.

Cake will stay fresh for 3 days in room temperature, 10 days refrigerated or  2 months frozen.

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BAKING PARTNERS CHALLENGE #11 CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Baking Partners collage button
We are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.   In order to achieve the best results, a perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.  We are a small group of home bakers, who love to bake and want to learn more about the tips and secrets of baking and baking well.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food.
This month is an awesome choice of Chocolate eclairs!
Baking Partners #11

Chocolate Eclairs and French laundry Gougeres
This month baking partner’s challenge we are going to learn, Pate a choux pastry, a French pastry, which is used in sweet and savory items.  The recipe came from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book.  I have to admit my first batch turned out wrong, but it was all my fault working too fast.  Batch #2 was delicious and perfect. There is also a recipe of chocolate éclairs recipe from Food network’s Alton brown.

Please try to make both recipes if not at least one. If you don’t know what pate a choux is, here is the link you can read about it. We were asked to stick to the recipe as much as possible. You can see step to step tutorial of gougeres making from this link.

Choux Pastry Bouchon Bakery for Éclairs – Makes 15 large Éclairs

Pate a choux for Eclairs
1 ¼ cups All purpose flour
2 tablespoons+ 2 teaspoons Sugar
1 cup Water
4.2 ounces Unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ + 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 Eggs (use one more if needed)

  • Get your kitchen aid stand mixer ready with the paddle tool, if you don’t have kitchen aid use your hand mixer.
  • Sift the flour and mix with the sugar, set aside.
  • Combine water, butter and salt n a medium sauce pan. Place it over medium low heat and stir until butter is melted.
  • When butter is melted turn the heat up and bring it to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  • Add the flour/sugar mix and stir until well combined and the mixture has a paste like consistency.
  • Then place over medium heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides and the bottom of the pan is clean.
  • Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl and mix on low for 1 min to release little of the steam and heat.
  • Start adding the eggs, one at a time, beating until every egg is completely absorbed
  • After all the eggs are added, beat on medium for 2 min.
  • When the paddle is lifted the dough should form a bird’s beak – It should hold its shape and turn down over itself.
  • Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and chill until completely cold.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Make a piping template by drawing six 15 cm/6 inch lines, 5 cm apart on parchment paper. Then place the template under the parchment paper you will pipe on.
  • With a large star tip pipe the éclairs, following the lines on the template.
  • When the pastry is reaching its 15 cm/6inch, begin to lessen the pressure, and then stop it as you bring the dough back over itself, leaving a little curl at the end.
  • Wet your finger and gently press down the tip of the curls.
  • Spray the éclairs lightly with water.
  • Place in the hot oven and immediately turn the heat down to350°.
  • Bake for 40 min, rotating the pan half way through.
  • Lower the temp to 325° and bake for additional 20 min.
  • Lower the temperature to 300° and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • Your puffs should now be light brown, light and hollow.

Chocolate pastry cream
5.8 ounces 70% chocolate chopped
.8 ounce 100% unsweetened chocolate chopped
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon Custard powder or all purpose flour
1/4cup + 1 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Egg yolks (1/4cup)
1/4 cup+ 3 tablespoons sugar
1.8 ounces Unsalted butter at room temperature

  • Melt two chocolate together in double boiler and set aside
  • Combine the custard powder or all purpose flour and cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  • In a bowl add some ice and water and set aside. This is our ice bath.
  • Whisk in egg yolks and sugar by gradually adding sugar and to this add custard powder or flour mixtures then add milk and combined very well.
  • Heat the above egg-sugar-flours-milk mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken with constant string.
  • Pour the pastry cream over the strainer and pressing gently to push the thickened cream through. Whisk for about 1 minute to cool. Then add butter in 2 additions and mix in well. Then add melted chocolate and mix in very well until everything is combined well.
  • Transfer to air tight container and line with plastic wrap on the top to prevent the film from forming, refrigerate for at least 1 hour and you can keep this chocolate cream for about 4 days.
  • When you are ready to use the cream transfer to bowl and stir gently until it has creamy consistency.

Instead of chocolate pastry cream you can also use orange custard.  I chose the orange to help make the flavor more delicate and then topped them with a chocolate glaze.

Orange Custard
1 1/4 cups Whole milk
1 tablespoon Orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
3  Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2.5 tbs  cornstarch
1 tablespoon Grand Mariner (optional)

  • In a small saucepan, warm the milk and orange zest over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam.
  • While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.
  • Temper the eggs by adding a little bit of the warm milk and whisk constantly. Add little at a time until you have added half of the milk.
  • Then pour the eggs/milk mix into the pan with the remaining hot milk.
  • Heat it over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture reaches 170° and is very thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in Grand Mariner.
  • Chill before piping into the Éclairs.

How to fill the Éclairs

  • Use a 0.4-0.6 cm plane tip.
  • Poke 2 holes, 1/2 inch from each end, into the bottom of each éclair. (I made mini ones-about 2 inches long) so only poked from one end to fill them)
  • Fill a pastry bag with custard of your choice.
  • Place the tip of the pastry bag into one of the holes and begin filling the éclair.
  • Pipe cream as needed into the second hole or until the éclair feels heavy.
  • You should use 1/4 cup of cream.

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BAKING PARTNERS CHALLENGE #10 – PIZZA

Baking Partners collage buttonWe are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.   In order to achieve the best results, a perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.  We are a small group of home bakers, who love to bake and want to learn more about the tips and secrets of baking and baking well.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food.
Baking Partners Pizza

THIS MONTH WE ARE MAKING NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA AND SAUCE – YAY!  I chose Archana of Tangy Minds recipe because we love thin or original crusts. Recipe adapted from SeriousEats

Ingredients for the thin crust:
22 1/2 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
15 ounces lukewarm water

Ingredients for making its NY Style pizza sauce
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes or Fresh Tomatoes.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
2 six-inch sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
1 teaspoon sugar

Toppings:

Any sliced or chopped veggies of your choice such as capscium, sliced onions, mushrooms. Also you can add paneer or sliced jalapenos or even fruit such as pineapple. I used very thinly sliced mushrooms.

Any Meat as you like. Preferable pre-cooked Chicken pieces if you want. It is optional. I used super thin pepperoni just under the cheese.

CHEESE – 1 to 2 cups (depends on the size of the pizza) grated cheese – Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese.

For Making the sauce:

  • Pulse the tomatoes and their juice in food processor / Mixie until pureed, or puree with hand blender. Puree should not be completely smooth, but should have no chunks larger than 1/16 of an inch. Set tomatoes aside.
  • Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and large pinch salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

For Making the thin crust pizza:

  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor or in a bowl. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated if you have food processor. otherwise mix well together with the help of the whisk . Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer. Those who don’t have food processor. try it with hand mixer or stand mixer or knead it with your hands and how are you kneading like chappati/roti dough.
  • Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. It should pass the windowpane test. Divide dough into three even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day, and up to 5.
  • At least two hours before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and shape into balls by gathering dough towards bottom and pinching shut. Flour well and place each one in a separate medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature until roughly doubled in volume.
  • 1 hour before baking, Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to pizza pan.
  • Spread approximately 2/3 cup of sauce evenly over surface of crust, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch border along edge. Add toppings of your choice evenly and spread 1/3 of cheese over sauce evenly.
  • Bake until cheese is melted with some browned spots and crust is golden brown and puffed, 10 to 15 minutes or varies depends on your oven.
  • Transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining two dough balls, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.



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BLACK PEPPER CHICKEN

Taste and Create was started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food.  The whole purpose of Taste and Create was, and has been, and continues to be to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and try a new recipe from one another’s blog.

This month I was paired with Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I love being paired with someone I’ve never been paired with before I inevitably learn sooooooo much, and find great new recipes. She has a huge diversity in recipes. I finally settled on the Black Pepper Chicken from The Law Student’s Cookbook.  I did make a few alterations for us, but none that would drastically affect the flavor.

According to wikipedia, pepper originates in South East Asia and has been used in Indian cooking essentially forever. Peppercorns used to be known as “black-gold” and were used as a form of money. Black pepper is now commonly used in cuisines all around the world.

Black Pepper ChickenBLACK PEPPER CHICKEN
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
Juice of large lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch fresh ginger root, skinned and minced (I omitted as hubs hates ginger)
1 tablespoon ground black peppercorns, coarsely ground
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (omit if grilling)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (also omitted since I have a deathly allergy to mustard)
pinch of red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Marinate the chicken in the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, chili powder, turmeric, chili flakes, corriander, cumin and salt.
  • Remove chicken, reserving the marinade.
  • Let sit for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. (I let it marinade for several hours.)
  • In a deep pan heat the vegetable oil, on high. Add the mustard and chili flakes. Fry for 15 seconds. Add the coriander and cumin, and stir for 35 seconds.
  • Heat grill to medium high.
  • Spray grill with PAM.
  • Grill chicken for 5 minutes each side, basting well with marinade after 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pan, browning the chicken on each side. Lower the heat, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes.

* serves 2

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