Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 31: Chocolate Truffle Tart

I figured I would conclude my 31 series with a delectable dessert that is truly perfect for any season of the year, but it would make a nice completion to a fall flavored dinner.  If you enjoy eating truffles, then you will like this; it's basically a huge truffle with a chocolate tart crust.

When I'm planning meals for entertaining I usually try to choose at least one element of the meal to be a bit more difficult to make or at least something that isn't normally on my meal plan.  The first time I made this dessert I served it after serving homemade pizzas.  The pizza was easy, but the dessert took a bit more time and some ingredients I didn't normally have on hand, so it worked well for me.  As you're planning your holiday entertaining menus, this might be a good way to incorporate new dishes into your already tried and true favorites.

The original recipe for this calls for two types of chocolate:  hazelnut and bittersweet or semisweet.  I used milk chocolate and semisweet, but you could use any two types of chocolate for this, so be creative!  Just be sure that you at least use some kind of sweet chocolate so that you don't end up with a bitter dessert.

Chocolate Truffle Tart (or the name on the recipe Torta Galosa)
Printable Version

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

7 ounces milk chocolate chips
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream

For Crust: 
In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in medium bowl.  Beat in egg yolks.  Add flour and cocoa.  Mix just until combined.  Form dough into ball; flatten into disk.  Wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Roll out dough on floured surface to 11-inch round (or 13-inch if using an 11-inch tart pan).  Transfer to 9-inch (or 11-inch) tart pan with removable bottom.

Fold in overhang; press to form double-thick sides.

Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights (I used barley).

 Bake until edges are set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans.  Bake until firm, about 10 minutes longer; cool.

For Filling:
Place chocolate in medium bowl.

Bring cream to boil in small saucepan.  Pour hot cream over chocolate; whisk until smooth.

don't worry that it's runny; it hardens in the fridge

Cool slightly.  Pour chocolate mixture into cooled crust.

it will be shiny 

Cover and chill at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Remove tart from pan.  If desired, sift cocoa powder lightly over tart.  Cut into small wedges.

source: Bon Appetit, May 2007

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30: Classic Quiche Lorraine

This is the second to last post in my October series 31 Days of Fall from the Kitchen.  Quite honestly, I'll be glad when it's over and I can resume my normal blogging schedule :).

Every now and then I like to make breakfast for dinner, or make a lighter dinner.  This quiche recipe could fall into either of those categories, and it's perfect for a brisk fall night at home.  We love to pair it with homemade applesauce, but it would also be great with a side salad.

Quiche Lorraine
Printable Version

1 9-inch pie crust, uncooked
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
4 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

Heat oven to 425F.  Make pie crust, if not already made, and place in a deep dish 9-inch pie plate (or a quiche dish if you happen to have one).

Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion into pie crust.

I don't own many Pampered Chef items, but I love this grater that they make!  It was easy to just grate the cheese right into the pan.

Beat eggs slightly in large bowl with whisk.  Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into quiche dish.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 300F.  Bake about 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

source: Betty Crocker

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29:Cheese Dip

There is one cheese dip that trumps all others and I'm going to share the recipe with you right now.  This would definitely get eaten up at a football party, holiday party, or any other event where food is involved.  It's easy to make, great leftover, and delicious.

I've been wanting to share this recipe with you all month, but just like making this apple pie for myself wouldn't be a good idea, neither would making this dip.  You see, it's loaded with fat and grease (which equals yummy) and even though I'm pregnant, I try not to give into all of my cravings.  I waited for my parents to be in town so they could help me devour it, and they did.  Normally I make it with green chiles, but my husband doesn't care for those so I left them out.  I would recommend NOT leaving them out as they add quite a bit of flavor to the dip.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Cheese Dip
Printable Version

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. monterey jack cheese, grated
24 oz. sour cream
1 small can green chiles

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.  Lay 1/3 of sharp cheddar cheese on the bottom of the dish.  Place 1/3 of green chiles on top of this.  Then, spread 1/3 of the sour cream over this.  Next, sprinkle the mild cheddar, and top with monterey jack.  Repeat layers in this order 2 more times.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve hot with tortilla chips.

source: my mom

*Yes, I did just throw in an announcement about being pregnant in the midst of sharing with you a cheese dip recipe.  We are absolutely thrilled and so thankful for another little one that will make his/her appearnce at the end of April.*

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 28: Homemade Cake Doughnuts

I'm a Krispy Kreme fan, myself, but I do love a good cake doughnut.  Whenever we move to a new place one of our first tasks is to scout out the doughnut situation, hoping to find a mom and pop joint that's been around for years.  So far we haven't found one here, but there is not a lack of Krispy Kreme, and there are even a few Dunkin Donuts around.

My husband grew up overseas where you couldn't just stop by a doughnut shop, so his mom made doughnuts for them.  He's begged me since we've been married to make them, and last year I finally gave it a try.  I was surprised at how relatively easy it is!  The only trouble, I see, is using so much oil to cook them in, which makes the house smell for a day or so.  BUT, I recently discovered (and I'm probably behind the times on this) that they make doughnut molds so that you can bake doughnuts!  This is going on my Christmas list, although I'm a bit skeptical that they will taste as good.

If you're looking for something fun to make for breakfast this weekend, this might be a great try.  This recipe is a classic from Better Homes and Gardens, so you can count on it being tried and true.

Homemade Cake Doughnuts

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
vegetable oil for frying

In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar, beating until thick.  Combine milk and melted butter; pour into sugar mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture to ingredients in large bowl and mix until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  The dough will still be sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll (or pat) to 1/2-inch thickness.

Cut with a floured 2 1/2-inch cutter.  Use a 1 1/4-inch cutter to cut out the center.  (I used a glass turned upside down for the large circle, and then cut out the center with a knife.  Improvise here).

Fry about 3 doughnuts at a time in hot oil (it should be at 375F) for 2 1/2 - 5 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

I used a candy thermometer to keep the oil at the right temp.
Coat warm doughnuts in cinnamon/sugar mixture or powdered sugar.  Makes about 15 doughnuts and doughnut holes.

source: Better Homes and Gardens

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27: Martha Stewart's Apple Crumb Pie

Apple pie is one of the most classic American desserts.  You'll find it listed on most dessert menus, in some form or fashion, and it usually finds its way into peoples' homes during the holiday season.  My husband is not a big fruit dessert fan, so I knew that making an apple pie for just our family was not a good idea (I would end up eating most of it, which is not necessary!).  When I found out  my parents would be visiting this month I decided to wait for them to come because apple pie is one of my dad's favorites!

If you're like me the inside of the pie really could be discarded.  Just give me crust and crumbs!  Seriously, after we ate this last night, my mom and I decided that next time we would just leave out the apples and layer crust and crumbs.  Apples are great too, but there's nothing like a buttery crust and crumb topping--this recipe is packed with these!  If you like apple pie, you're going to love this version!

  • Apple Crumb Pie
  • Printable Version

  • for crumb topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together with your fingers until it becomes clumpy.  Freeze.

  • for pie crust
  • I used this recipe, but you can use your favorite pie crust recipe (just please don't use a pre-made one for this.  If you've never made a pie crust before, go ahead and try it out on this one.  Then, you'll be ready to make pies for the holidays and everyone will rave about your homemade crust!)

  • Place your pie crust dough on a floured surface.  Roll out to a 14-inch circle.  

  • Place it into a deep dish 9-inch pie plate, pressing it gently against the bottom and up the sides of the dish.  Leave the overhang in place and refrigerate while you prepare the apples. 

for the apples
  • 9 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel, core and slice apples 1/8-inch thick.  Dump them into a bowl with the lemon/lime juice as you slice, so that they don't brown.  

Add sugar, flour and cinnamon to apples, and combine.  

Place the apple mixture into the chilled crust, packing the apples down. 

Carefully pull the crust over the top of the apples and pleat along the edges as you bring it up.  

Put the pie dish on top of a cookie sheet (to catch the juices as it bakes) and bake at 375F for 45 minutes.  Remove pie and place crumb topping on top.  Bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, until crumb topping is golden and apples are bubbly.  Cool for several hours before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26: Beef and Barley Stew

A few years ago my husband was on a health kick and we started changing some of our eating habits. After a trip to the public library, he came home with a book, Eating for Life.  Not only was it a guide in how to take care of yourself with the foods you eat, but it also included some great recipes.  One such recipe was Beef and Barley Stew--now one of our favorite fall/winter soups.

I had never eaten barley before and was a little hesitant that it would taste too healthy, you know what I mean?  Well, barley is actually really good and has a nice texture when cooked in a stew like this.  I usually throw in frozen corn instead of the green beans, mostly for added color, and I'm really picky about frozen green beans :).  Most of the time I omit the carrot because my husband is not a fan, but other than that I stick to the original recipe and it's great!  Another bonus about this stew is that it freezes really well.  If you're feeling overly ambitious, go ahead and make a double batch and freeze the second one for later.  As is, it will feed about 6 people.  Enjoy!

Beef &Barley Stew
Printable Version

 1 T oil
1 1/2 lbs stew meat
4 C beef broth
1 C water
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1 t. oregano
1/4 t pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C barley
1 bay leaf
10 oz. green beans
1 can diced tomatoes
10 oz peas

Cook meat in oil until browned.  Stir in next 10 ingredients.  Bring to boil, reduce to low, cover for 45 min.  Stir in remaining ingredients  Cook about 15 more minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25: Soft Pretzel Bites

A couple weeks ago we were visiting my sister and her husband and decided to go out to dinner to Mellow Mushroom, a favorite pizza joint.  It was pretty busy in there that night, so we ordered some appetizers:  2 different kinds of soft pretzels.  They were good, but I hated having to pull apart a small portion of a big pretzel every time I wanted a little taste.  So, I decided to recreate these, but on a smaller scale.  I present to you homemade soft pretzel bites, 3 different ways:  salted, Parmesan cheese, and cinnamon/sugar.

I was shocked at how EASY it is to make soft pretzels!  They do require yeast, but there is no rising time or even a ton of kneading and rolling out the dough.  Basically, you mix the ingredients together, shape it as you want, bake, and 'accessorize'.  These would make fantastic appetizers for a football game, after school snacks, or as an addition to your family movie night.  Enjoy!

Soft Pretzel Bites
Printable Version

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425F.  Measure warm water into medium mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast into water and stir until dissolved.  Add salt, sugar and flour.  Mix until well combined.

Knead on a floured surface until easy to handle and not sticky.

Shape into logs with your hands.

Cut into small rectangles.

Place on greased cookie sheet.

Brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 11-15 minutes, until golden brown.

For Parmesan Bites:
Dip top of bites into melted butter.

Then, dip into cheese.

Serve with marinara sauce

For Salted Bites:
Dip top of bites into water.

  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Serve with honey mustard dressing.

For Cinnamon Sugar Bites:
Mix together 1/4 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Dip top of bites into melted butter.

Then, dip into cinnamon sugar mixture.

Best if served warm.

source: church cookbook, Leanna's recipe for soft pretzels.  Toppings were my idea, inspired by Mellow Mushroom.

Linking to:
Strictly Homemade

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