Tuesday, February 25, 2014

blueberry dutch baby pancake

I love dutch baby pancakes. They are SO simple and quick to make and usually consist of just eggs, a little flour, a little butter, and some fruit. Basically they are like a huge souffle and I love a souffle (you might remember my souffle obsession from last year).

I made one last Saturday with blueberries because that's what I had in my kitchen. Other berries or pears or apples would work well in this recipe. If you want a slightly sweeter version, just add a few tablespoons of honey or powdered sugar to the batter.

I typically see dutch baby recipes made in cast iron skillets. I don't have one so I just used a plain glass pie dish. A cast iron skillet is on my kitchen wish list but I need to get rid of some kitchen items before I bring in any other new things!

blueberry dutch baby pancake (serves about three)
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
powdered sugar (for dusting)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a 10 inch pie dish (or 10 inch cast iron skillet) in the oven with a tablespoon of butter in it.  The butter will melt while the oven preheats.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined. Add in the flour, salt and two remaining tablespoons of butter (melt these two tablespoons first) and continue to whisk until the batter is lump free.
3. Remove the heated dish from the oven and swirl around the melted butter until it coats the bottom and the sides and the dish. Pour in the batter and top with blueberries.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for about ten minutes (until puffed and golden), then reduce the heat to 350 and continue to cook for another ten minutes (until the pancake is set).

Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar.

I hope you guys all had a great weekend! Mine was spent mostly being productive (cleaning, working, organizing my studio, etc) at home. This dish made for the perfect Saturday morning treat.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

banoffee custard pie

Last weekend was Neil's birthday, so I made him a banoffee pie.  

I love banoffee pie. It's a popular dessert in Ireland and traditionally is made from a cookie crust (I used graham crackers, but plain digestives would be used in Ireland), a layer of toffee, a layer of bananas, and a layer of whipped cream. I decided to add a layer of banana custard because....why not? Custard only makes this pie better.   

My banoffee custard pie is buttery, sticky, sweet, creamy, and so delicious. Not one bit of it is healthy or slimmed down in any manner but whatevs, sometimes you just need a full on dessert. This pie should serve about ten people. 

We had it in our refrigerator for three days and every time I went into the kitchen, I would take a bite. It was bad. But also so good.

This dessert has several steps but each one is really easy. I suggest making the bottom three layers (crust, toffee, and custard) several hours ahead of time and them finishing off with the banana and whipped cream topping an hour or so before serving.

banoffee custard pie (serves about 10)

for the crust-
2/3 a box of graham crackers (I used two out of the three packs in the box)
6 tablespoons of melted butter

for the toffee
one can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter

for the custard
1 3/4 cup milk (fat free or full fat, either works)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a generous sprinkle of cinnamon
1 small banana
pinch of salt

one large banana (or two small - enough slices to cover the top of the pie)
one cup of heavy whipping cream
dark chocolate shavings (optional)

1. To make the crust, put the graham crackers in a food processor and process until they are crumbs.  This should take less than 30 seconds. Once they turn to crumbs, pour in the melted butter.  The crust will begin to come together after a few seconds.  
2. Dump the graham cracker/butter mixture out into a nine inch springform pan. Use clean hands or a spatula to spread the mixture along the bottom and somewhat up the sides of the pan.
3. Set the crust in the freezer for about ten minutes while you make the toffee.

4. For the toffee, melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan.  Stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk and whisk all together.  
5. Bring to a boil and stir constantly.  Boil and stir for about 3 minutes.  When the color of the toffee has darkened to a light brown, it's finished.
6. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the toffee into the pan.  Set aside for about ten minutes so that it can cool slightly.

7. While the toffee is cooling, make the custard.  Put the milk, sugar, and cornstarch into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and whisk.  Pour this into a blender with a small banana.  Blend until smooth and pour the mixture into a small saucepan.  Do not turn on the heat yet.  First let the blended mixture settle for about ten minutes, as it will have a layer of foam on top from being blended.
8. After the foam has settled, turn the heat to medium-high and stir almost constantly.  Bring the custard to a boil and then begin to constantly stir, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.  Allow this to boil for about a minute, remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
9. Spread the custard out over the toffee, allow the pie to cool at room temp for about 30 minutes and then put in the refrigerator for several hours (at least three).

10. A little bit before serving, make the whipped cream.  Whip the cold whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
11. Top the pie with slices of banana, then spread a thick layer of the whipped cream over the bananas.
12. Finish off with dark chocolate shavings and enjoy!  It's totally worth all the steps. 

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