Cream horn. This little pastry gem falls under the category simple but tasty. So simple to make. Sure you can buy them at the store, but when you make them at home you can also know that they are fresh and have not been sitting there for God knows how long. Growing up my Mom used to buy cream horns at the store all the time. We weren’t really a twinkie kind of household. Explains a lot, no? When I was in pastry school and we learned how to make fresh puff pastry this little pastry treat was one of the recipes we made. You can make a million things with puff pastry and it’s handy to have a box in your freezer when the mood strikes you to make something tasty and easy. Our teacher in pastry school; the amazing pastry chef Nancy Pitta taught us to put a spin on the recipe and add a piped stripe of raspberry jam on the inside belly of the horn before piping in the cream. I will never make a plain cream horn ever again since that day. The raspberry jam totally makes this simple treat even better.
Raspberry and Cream Horns
yield: about 12 cream horns
1 box puff pastry
metal “horns” for wrapping puff pastry on (note; if you do not have the metal horns you can create your own by using tinfoil to shape a horn shape) cannoli tubes also work if you happen to have them
coarse sanding sugar
seedless raspberry jam
stabilized whipped cream (recipe below)
Stabilized whipped cream:
4 tsp. cold water
2 tsp. gelatin
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment for at least 15 minutes before using. Place cold water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften 5 minutes.
2. Dissolve gelatin by microwaving for about 20-30 seconds. Remove from microwave and place the bowl in the fridge; you want the gelatin to be liquid but not warm when added to cream.
3. Remove bowl and whisk from refrigerator and pour in cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat together just until beater marks begin to show distinctly; about 1 minute. Remove the gelatin from the fridge, with the mixer still running, pour the gelatin mixture in a fine stream into cream, pouring in a steady stream while beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.
1. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Roll over the pastry a few times with a rolling pin to secure any seams in the pastry. With a pastry wheel or sharp knife cut strips of the puff about 3/4 inch in diameter. Lightly grease the metal horns with nonstick baking spray. Wrap the puff strips around the metal horn starting at the tapered end and overlapping 1/2 half of each strip as you make your way up the horn. Add strips as you need to so you have a continuous wrap up the metal horn. Secure and pinch any loose seams to keep the wrap tight as you go.
2. Once the horns are completely wrapped brush each horn on one side with water and press into coarse sugar. Place the pastry horns on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet with the sugar side facing up and chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely on the tray.
4. Pipe each bottom floor of the pastry horn with raspberry jam. Fill the remaining pastry horn with stabilized whipped cream. These are best served the same day, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Spring is in the air. I can feel it. I can smell it. And yes, I want to taste it. I’m in a sunshine yellow state of mind. The sun is rising earlier and I’m starting to notice as I drive home from work that there is more daylight each and every day. I think our tastes change subtly with the dawning of a new season too. You aren’t always overtly aware of it, but suddenly you start craving different flavors. Brighter, fresher, lighter flavors. I start dreaming of new recipes. Spring has always been my favorite season. Always. Growing up in Michigan I used to get excited when you had those early teaser signs of spring. The first time you saw a robin bird you knew. Spring was coming, then you would wake up the next day to a snow shower. Spring is fickle that way. Now that I live in San Francisco, I still get excited about spring as it is the time to enjoy the sunshine before the fog rolls in. This is what you start to notice first; suddenly there is hardly any fog. Like I said, I’m in a sunshine yellow state of mind….
Mango And Jasmine Macarons
200 gms almond flour, sifted
200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp. finely ground freeze dried mango (freeze-dried mango found at Trader Joes)
85 gms egg whites
optional: yellow food coloring
200 gms granulated sugar
50 gms water
75 gms egg whites (room temp)
pinch of cream of tartar
White Jasmine Tea Ganache
9 oz. white chocolate chopped fine
4.5 oz. heavy cream
2 white jasmine tea bags
Make the ganache: heat the heavy cream in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Steep the tea bags in the heavy cream for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes; squeeze the tea bags into the cream until dry and discard. Place the white chocolate in a medium size heat proof bowl. Using the microwave, heat the heavy cream again on high until very hot and pour over the chocolate; let sit one minute then whisk until emulsified. If there are chocolate pieces remaining; reheat the mixture on high at 20 second intervals until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set the ganache in the refrigerator until firm while you make the macarons. You can prepare the ganache the day before.
Make the macarons:
1. Grind the dried mango either in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Combine the almond meal, confectioners sugar and ground mango in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the 85 gms of egg whites and yellow food coloring (optional) and set aside.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.
3. At the same time combine the 200 gms of granulated sugar and 50 gms of water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.
4. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer to high and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.
5. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. When you lift the spatula the batter should fall in sheets. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.
6. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 18-20 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool.
7. Pipe the cookies with ganache.
I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me the secret to a good red velvet cake recipe. People swear to me [and I'm not braggin'] that my red velvet cake is the best. You wanna know the secret? No, you don’t have to move to the South. No, you don’t need to add vinegar. No, you don’t have to use buttermilk. You wanna know? Do ya? Do ya? Okay. Here’s the answer….Drum roll….wait for it, wait for it…
You go to www.mcCormick.com and look for the recipe. Or better yet; it’s right below for your convenience. That’s right. The same recipe I have been using for years comes straight from the people who supply that red food color/one ounce of/love it red boldness/gotta make red velvet cake color red food color. That’s right. You heard me right. I’m not even kidding. I’ve tried all kinds of recipes and theirs is the best. I swear-you just have to trust me on this. I just have one piece of advice. When you go to the store to buy the McCormick red food color buy more than one bottle. Buy three. Next time when you want to make red velvet cake and you can’t find red food color because let’s say it’s the eve of Valentines Day and every other baker Betty has cleared the shelf; you’ll thank me. Keep it on hand. Okay, down to business. One other piece of advice. Make sure the dairy and the eggs are room temp when you go to mix the batter. That’s it. Carry on.
Red Velvet Cake
(recipe from McCormick spice co.)
(yield: 24 cupcakes, one 2 layer 9 inch cake or one 9 x 13 inch pan)
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs (room temp)
1 cup sour cream (room temp)
1/2 cup milk (room temp)
1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick® Red Food Color
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans; or (for cupcakes prepare a standard size muffin/cupcake tin with 24 paper liners) or (for 9×13 inch pan grease and flour the pan, tap out excess flour). Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into prepared pans/cupcake pan. [For cupcakes use a 1/4 cup equivalent ice cream scoop to fill them 2/3 full].
3. For 9 inch Cake pans: Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For Cupcakes: Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For 9 x 13 inch pan; Bake for about 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans if using 9 inch pans; cool completely on wire rack.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: (Suzie tip: I make double the amount of the recipe originally called for in the recipe). I can’t stand a cake that wimps out on the amount of frosting. I’m just sayin’
2 (8 oz. packages) (1 lb. total) cream cheese, softened
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 Cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
(optional)* 8 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled
Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fill and frost cooled cake or frost cupcakes with frosting.
* Suzie variation: If I’m making the 9 inch cake where I’m using the frosting as filling and frosting I like to add the white chocolate. It gives the frosting a little more body and adds a really rich flavor.
I came across this recipe by another blogger. I thought it was quite genius. Simple and delicious. Perfect party fare. Check out her blog; do you not just love her with a name like this?? her blog is: www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com Her name is Jonna. Go sister! Do you find it daunting sometimes to come up with a recipe to bring to party? Sure, you can bring brownies or cookies. I just thought this was such a darn cute idea. These are perfect finger party food. If you want to guild the lilly you could make some salted caramel sauce and dip them in caramel. Yum.
Apples In A Blanket
(yield: 16 apple bites)
(recipe adapted from Jonna at www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com)
Your favorite pie crust recipe. (enough for a double crust pie) (See my recipe for “Fearless pie crust” if you need a recipe).
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, and cut with an apple core/slicer to equal 16 equal pieces.
1-2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl place the apple wedges and toss with the lemon juice; this is to prevent the apples from oxidizing. Take 1/2 cup of the sugar-cinnamon mixture and combine with the apples. Reserve the rest of the 1/2 cup sugar mixture for step 4 of the recipe.
3. Roll out your pie dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut strips of dough about 2 1/2 inches wide x 4 inches long. Place each apple wedge at the end of and on top of one strip of pie dough and roll up like a pig in a blanket. Pinch the end where the crust comes together to form a seal.
4. Take each “apple blanket” and roll in the reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place each apple blanket on a parchment lined baking sheet or Silpat lined baking sheet to prevent sticking. Chill for 30 minutes. Brush each apple blanket with heavy cream. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar.
5. Bake the blankets at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool and serve.
The gospel has been spread. Everyone knows now. I love a good lemon. Keep the lemons coming! Why is it that people with lemon trees really don’t make much with them? Perhaps they are just over it. Perhaps they are sick of lemonade and don’t know what else to make with their precious little golden beauties. I grew up in Michigan. Having a lemon tree in your backyard was a total foreign concept to me. Ice skating rink yes, lemon tree, no. When I moved to California and started meeting all kinds of people with lemon trees I got a little giddy. Thirteen years later, I am still giddy when I get fresh lemons from my “lemony friends”. Now I’m a little giddy for two reasons. Second reason is limoncello. ACTUALLY giddy. The stuff is potent and for sure you will feel quite giddy after you’ve had a good sip or five… If you have the patience you too can make your own limoncello. It’s quite fun. All you need is a few ingredients and nice glass jar and some time. Make sure to make extra and place it in nice pretty bottles so you can share with your friends.
Is this not the most beautiful yellow thing you’ve seen? ……
(recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)
- 10 lemons (organic, wax free)
- 1 liter vodka
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- glass jar
2. After three weeks, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Do not stir. Boil for 15 minutes. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature. Pour the entire vodka/lemon peel mixture into a large clean pot and remove/discard the lemon peels; reserve the booze of course. Wash out the glass container as you are going to use it again to pour the mixture back into to let it “cure” for 2 more weeks. Pour the mixture back into the clean glass container. Stir syrup into vodka mixture using the same glass container.
3. Let the mixture sit on your counter top in a cool place; out of direct sunlight (covered). You will notice that every few days you will notice some sediment or cloudiness that forms on top; strain the mixture through a double thickness cheese cloth placed over a wire mesh strainer over a large clean pot. Pour the mixture back into the glass container each time you do this. Let mixture age for 2 weeks at room temperature; every few days continue to look for any sediment/cloudiness and strain as above each time and pour back into the glass container until mixture shows no more sediment/cloudiness.
4. EVERY FEW DAYS, WALK PAST THE CONTAINER AND GRIN. THAT’S RIGHT; SHOW IT THE LOVE IT DESERVES. GRIN HAPPILY. YES, IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING. THIS IS KEY OKAY?! YOU MUST STOP, GAZE AT IT AND GRIN. Like talking to a plant, show it the love. The limoncello love. Okay, I admit. I stopped, gazed and dipped into it, [sipped] a little along the way. After those two exhausting weeks are over…Thank God!!!! Take a funnel, pour the mixture into decorative glass bottles or glass canning jars and store as below.
4. Place the bottled liqueur into the freezer. When icy cold, serve in chilled vodka glasses or shot glasses. The stuff is potent, so you can also serve over ice or even with a little lemon/lime soda would be good too. Shhh, don’t tell the Italians I said that, they would probably cringe. To your health.