Category Archives: Sauces and Syrups

Apple Pie Dessert Panini with Salted Caramel

A few week-ends ago I borrowed a Panini press to experiment a little.  I’ve had some good café lunches and wanted to try some of these recipes at home.  As a result, we Panini-d our way through the entire week-end and this Apple Pie Dessert Panini with Salted Caramel was born.

Apple Pie Panini1

I don’t have very many kitchen appliances and I don’t follow too many food fads and now I know why.  I become slightly obsessed with a new toy or idea, and I make a ridiculous amount of food with it for a while.  Remember the cupcake craze?  I didn’t just make cupcakes for every acquaintance I knew, I opened a cupcake shop and made thousands!  That cupcake craze nearly did me in.  And when I bought our first deep fryer?  This place smelled like a fish and chip shop for weeks.   Our arteries are still recovering.  So yup, when I borrowed that Panini press, I dashed to the grocery store and bought all kinds of breads, meats and cheeses and melt-y things to put inside.  I became a bit of a freak about it, grilling something, and then wiping it down and trying something new.   I’m not kidding when I say, I made something in it for every meal.  As you know, I have teenagers, so when I started making grilled sandwiches again for dinner, a lot of eye rolling ensued.  It was getting to be time to back away from that Panini press, before I started planning my next sandwich shop.  I’m not even kidding.

But I lured those teenagers back with dessert (I’ll take any small victory with my teens at this point)!  I presented them with some golden raisin bread, oozing with brown sugar cream cheese, cinnamon sugar and apple slices.  I topped it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce while still warm.  All melt-y and sweet and gooey, this Panini dessert was a real winner.  It was a fitting end to a week-end of Panini’s, and a super quick dessert to throw together.

Apple Pie Dessert Panini via SweetRevelations

Just to prove to you how over the top I can be, we ate this insanely good treat, and then I packed the press up to return it to its rightful owner.  I had to get it out of here, before the next days meals rolled around.  But not before I made a batch of homemade cherry pie filling, and showed up at their door with a bag of fresh egg bread, and ice cream.  Then I proceeded to invade their kitchen and make dessert Panini’s for them.

True story.

Salted Caramel via SweetRevelations

Happy week-end everyone!

Apple Pie Dessert Panini with Salted Caramel

  • 2 raisin bread slices
  • butter to spread on bread
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar cream cheese (store-bought)
  • very thinly sliced apple (you will only use 1/4 of it)
  • cinnamon sugar (mix 1/4 tsp cinnamon with tsp sugar)
  • vanilla ice cream

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Make the salted caramel sauce first.   You will have leftovers, so cut the recipe in half if you need to.  But seriously, why would you?  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.   Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce.  Allow the caramel to cool.   The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
  2. While the Panini press is heating up, butter one side of each slice of raisin bread.   Flip the bread over, so the buttered sides are on the bottom.  Spread the cream cheese on one piece of bread.  Layer some apples slices on top of that.  Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon sugar, and top with the last piece of bread, buttered side out.  Place on the press and grill for 3-4 minutes, until the bread is golden and crispy.  Remove, slice the sandwich in half and top with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.

 

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Filed under Ice Cream, Sauces and Syrups, Scones and Breads

Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

And so begins the season of pumpkin everything.  Some people celebrate their birthday month, but in this house, we rejoice in pumpkin month.  A celebration, all month-long, of how many recipes I can fit pumpkin into.

Isn’t it funny how the pumpkin craze becomes slightly over the top in October?  People are hoarding cans and cans of puree, and then for the rest of the year the poor pumpkin pie spice sits, untouched, literally ignored?  If you figure out what the deal is with that, let me know.

pumpkin cupcakes

I haven’t posted cupcakes in a long time, so I thought these Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel, would be the perfect start to pumpkin everything month.  Just as the name implies, it’s a spicy but super moist delicate pumpkin cupcake, with a gorgeous brown sugar swiss meringue swirl, and a sweet and salty pool of homemade salted caramel.    It’s the pumpkin and salted caramel combination that gets me every time.  Not to mention cloves and cinnamon.  I do love the smell of cloves.

pumpkin cupcakes

These pumpkin cupcakes are an excellent recipe that do double duty as easy muffins too.  I simply double the recipe and freeze half for lunches, because they freeze so well.  They are also an easy make ahead dessert, because every component can be prepared in advance.  Make and freeze the cupcakes until you need them, whip and refrigerate the icing a few days ahead, and keep that salted caramel in the fridge for up to a week!   Your prep time is literally only minutes when you need to ice and serve them.  For this reason alone, these are a superb choice for any Thanksgiving celebrations you might be preparing for.

pumpkin cupcake

And don’t be afraid to make your own pumpkin puree too!  Although I do love the convenience of canned puree, it is incredibly easy to buy pie pumpkins from market and make your own.

Now excuse me while I spend the next few hours scouring Pinterest for the next great pumpkin recipe.  Have you got one?  Share it with me in the comments!

Happy pumpkin baking friends,

Renee

xo

Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners

  1.  In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, set aside.  In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil.  Mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  Slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  2. Fill tins with a 1/4 cup of batter or use a cookie scoop, to ensure all of the cupcakes are the same size.  The recipe will yield approx. 20 cupcakes.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

 

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place the bowl of eff whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a week.  Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.

Salted Caramel Sauce

*Cooking  Channel TV

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.

2  Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce.  Allow the caramel to cool.   The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Reheat for a few seconds before drizzling if needed.

Cupcake Assembly

Pipe an icing dam around the perimeter of the top of the cake, with a large round tip, leaving a hole in the middle.  Using a small spoon carefully drizzle salted caramel into the hole.  Top with raw pepitas for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Cup Cakes, Fondant and Icing, Sauces and Syrups

DIY Homemade Yogurt

I have made an insane amount of Homemade Yogurt in the last while.  I didn’t realize until recently just how simple the process really is and how amazing the results can be.   I’m pretty late to this party because people have been making this for years and years.  It honestly never occurred to me and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t try it sooner. Much like making my own breads, the satisfaction that comes from making my own yogurt is the same.    It’s essentially 5 steps: scald, cool, starter, incubate, refrigerate.

The very best part of the process is that all of the work is done while we’re in bed, with no special equipment.  In the evening, I scald some cream and milk, add some organic natural yogurt as a “starter” and wake up to a full jar of creamy yogurt.  It’s left in the oven all night to incubate and become thick and creamy and tangy.  I’ve been enjoying it late in the morning for a snack with some homemade granola and a drizzle of Date Syrup that a student made for me.

homemadeyogurt

The Date Syrup is a coveted jar because she took the time to write down her mom’s recipe, which is fairly detailed, and includes soaking the dates and boiling them down into a thick syrup.  This girl is a wonderful young lady, who I know is going to change with world.  She told me it’s a Middle Eastern tradition to eat it for breakfast drizzled atop Tahini with some bread for dipping.  It makes a lovely sweetener substitute and tastes divine when stirred into some homemade yogurt in the morning.   It adds just enough sweetness, without hiding the rich, tang of the yogurt.

DIYyogurt

 

In the morning, I take the jar out of the oven and put it in the refrigerator to continue to firm up.  After an hour or two, I drain it in cheesecloth until nice and thick, which is exactly how Greek Yogurt is made.  Sometimes I can’t wait and choose to eat it warm and slightly thinner with some fresh fruit puree stirred in.   It’s absolutely heavenly.  If I drain it for quite a while I’m left with a tangy yogurt cheese (also called Labneh), which has the same consistency as cream cheese and is outstanding when spread on rye crisps.  Who knew there were so many options!

yogurtdraining

My first attempt to make it was a complete disaster, and it never set up properly.  But, I’m nothing if not persistent and I tried again until I was happy with the results.  Fresh dairy is key and I’m an advocate for using premium local dairy when I can.  It just tastes better and it’s better for my family and my community.  I use Organic Whole Milk and sometimes, when I have some left over, I use cream to make it just a little more decadent.

 

jarsofyogurt

The hands on prep time is about 30 minutes.   The longer it’s left to incubate, the tangier it is.   Be prepared because this doesn’t have the store-bought added sweetener taste that you might be used to.  It’s slightly tangy and any sweetness is added by you.  Try honey or agave.  Use fresh seasonal fruit.  Stir in some lemon curd (insanely good) or jam.  Make frozen yogurt.  Stay tuned because I made the most sensational Eton Mess with it that I’m going to share soon!

The possibilities are endless.  Just try it!   I urge you to try it.  If you’re a yogurt loving family like we are this is a win-win situation.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Renee

 

 

Homemade Yogurt

  • 4 cups Whole Organic Milk (or sometimes I sub in one cup of cream for the milk)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Plain Yogurt with Active Cultures (a MUST)

 

1.  Fill a quart sized mason jar half way with boiling water and cover lightly with the lid.  Set aside while you do the rest of the prep.  Turn the oven light on.

2.  In a large pan, heat the milk to 190° on medium heat.  This might take some time but avoids burnt milk at the bottom of the pot.  I find that if I take my time bringing the milk to temperature, my yogurt is not grainy.  Whisk often as the milk is heating.  Once to temperature, remove from heat and let milk rest until it comes down to 120°.   You can set the pot in a few inches of cold water in the sink and whisk continually to help the temp come down faster if you’re pressed for time.  Whisk in the yogurt.  Whisk well to spread all of those active cultures around.

3.  Empty the water from the mason jar and pour the milk mixture in.  Cover with the lid.  I like to wrap the jar in a towel at this point.  Place the jar in the oven with the oven light on.  Leave overnight- some have results in as little as five hours but I prefer the overnight method.  In the morning transfer the yogurt to smaller containers if desired and refrigerate.  It will firm up more in the refrigerator.  If you like really thick yogurt, strain it in some cheesecloth that is suspended from a deep bowl (in the refrigerator).  The yogurt will become thicker after an hour or so but leave it until it reaches your desired consistency.  Leave it overnight for some Yogurt Cheese.  Refrigerate the yogurt as you normally would.

Note:  1.  Keep a 1/4 of yogurt from your new batch to use as a starter for your next batch!

2.  No worries if there is a clear liquid on top.  That’s pure whey and is excellent when substituted for water in bread making.  Refrigerate it and use it in smoothies.   Some swear by watering their plants with it too.

3.  Sometimes I don’t even bother with the mason jar.   I have used the blue pottery bowl you see in the pictures with a smaller plate placed on top.  The results have always been excellent!

jarofcream

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Tutorial

Self-Saucing Pear and Whiskey Cake

I asked my husband this week-end if he ever had self-saucing cakes as a boy.  He had never heard of such a thing.  Same with the moms I asked at the arena.  They had no idea what I was talking about.

top 2

It’s right up there with moms heart-shaped cookies she used to put in our lunch or the sweet apple strudel she would buy as a treat on the week-ends sometimes.  Those magical boxes of mix that would bake with a warm, bubbling sauce on the bottom and a moist, warm cake layer on top?

close

I tried a scratch version last week-end that was insanely good and brought back all the comfort of eating desserts as a kid at mom’s house again.

Minus the whiskey…..

scoop

It was a last minute decision to generously splash some whiskey into the caramel sauce on the bottom.  I can’t even tell you how much I used.  But I could taste it in there!  It complimented the spicy cloves and pears perfectly and left the most amazing caramel whiskey sauce on the bottom.

The perfect treat on a freezing winters night.

pears (1)

Have you ever eaten Self-Saucing Cake?  Do you make a dessert that takes you right back to your mom’s kitchen table?

Enjoy!

Renee

 

Self-Saucing Cake with Pears and Whiskey

* this made 8 1-cup ramekins (probably could’ve got 9 with less overflow) or would work well in a deep dish pie plate

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1-2 sliced green or red pears

For the sauce:

  • 1.5  tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 3 tbsp whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly spray baking dishes with non stick spray and place on a cookie sheet.

1. For the cake:  In a medium bowl mix the flour, spices and baking powder; set aside.  In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.   Add the flour mixture to butter in thirds, alternating with milk, and beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix just until incorporated.  Fill the ramekins just slightly over half full.  Top each with pear slices.

2. For the sauce:  In a microwave safe bowl heat the sugar, butter and water until mixture is steaming hot and sugar/butter is melted.  Stir in whiskey.  Immediately pour over cake and pears in the ramekins, dividing evenly amongst the dishes.

3.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until skewer comes clean when inserted into the cake.  Let sit for 5 minutes and eat warm.  Delicious with a scoop of ice cream on top too!

 

 

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

I wish this blog was scratch and sniff…I really do.

vanillabeans4

 

This is my coveted jar of homemade vanilla that I’ve been using for over 4 years.  The smell is so intense and the flavor in baked goods is bar none.  It’s a simple mix of vodka and vanilla beans that I’ve been adding to and refilling for quite some time.   It is by far one of my best ingredients and the scent can be associated with so many amazing things.  Moms cookies, vanilla bean cake, homemade ice cream and marshmallows.  The list goes on and on.

vanillabeans2

A while ago when I was teaching basic baking classes to some young boys, they always argued over who got to pour the vanilla in.  It’s such a tiny part of most recipes but the flavor it imparts can’t be denied.  It enhances everything else in the bowl.  It’s essential!

vanillabeans1

It’s also an easy gift to make.  If you started a jar of vanilla extract today you could have a some pretty awesome Christmas gifts for December!  It really only needs a couple of months to steep, but the longer it sits the better.  Keep the bottle in the pantry and give it a shake every now and then.  There are loads of vanilla extract printables on line (like the one below from tidymom.net) and you can cross a whole mess of people off your Christmas list ~ in July everyone!  That’s the best part!

vanillabeans3

What’s your favourite vanilla memory?

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Use 3-4 whole vanilla beans per cup of vodka.  Split the beans in half, place in a sealable jar and pour vodka on top!  Place in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before using.  Give the jar a shake every now and then.  I continue to add beans that I have used in baking (however not if they have been steeped in any kind of milk or cream), and adding more vodka when low.

 

 

 

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Filed under Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Tutorial

Pomegranate Jelly

I know in the last few years I’ve shared with you some of my favourite things:
1. Chocolate ~ of any kind.
2. Beautiful Cupcakes.
3. Frosting.

Add to that list my undying adoration for the pomegranate. It’s such a gorgeous deep crimson fruit that’s full of vitamin C and antioxidants.

I eat one a day, and soon the season will be over around here and my daily treat will be scarce. I thought I needed to bottle up some of that sweet tart juicy pom love so I made a jelly.

It was just the prettiest darn jelly I have ever seen.

pom3

As a treat after dinner I made some easy butter puff pastry nests with mascarpone whip piped around the top and a dollop of jelly in the middle. So darn good. A light dessert that’s like a little bite of spring.

pom1

No word of a lie, if the world was crumbling around me I would not move an inch until I had licked the mascarpone whip bowl clean. It’s that delicious.  It’s the same whip that I used here only with mascarpone cheese.

Make extra and dip it with some fruit.  Or just selfishly eat it with a spoon like I did.

pom4

I read a few recipes and combined them for my own.   The grated orange peel gives this jelly an amazing flavour that can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Enjoy,

Pomegranate Jelly

*this made eleven 8 oz jars

  • 5 cups fresh pomegranate juice – you can use POM juice too for less mess
  • 7  cups white sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 packages of liquid pectin

1.   Combine pomegranate juice, butter, zest and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat and add liquid pectin. Bring back to a full boil, and boil  exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if any.

2.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top.   Seal with lids (that have been sitting in some hot water) and rings.   Leave the jars to rest on the counter for 24 hours.

** the puff pastry nests are store bought pastry that I cut with a round cutter.

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Filed under Breakfast, Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Uncategorized

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

I’ve decided to forgo any New Years Resolutions this year because I always seem to disappoint myself and irritate everyone who lives with me.  Instead, I’m going to put my energy into expanding my baking repertoire and my sometimes lacklustre food styling.  Really, at this point in the year this house is cupcaked out!

So I thought to start, I would make some Buttermilk Panna Cotta which I have been really wanting to try since buying my new Miette Book (Meg Ray is living my dream right now!).   Panna Cotta is essentially ‘cooked cream’ paired with gelatin and a few simple flavourings and then left to set for a few hours.   Since I love anything creamy – I heart clotted cream -and I’ve thrown my resolutions out the window, this simple yet elegant dessert is right up my alley.  You don`t have to use buttermilk, most recipes use just heavy cream, but buttermilk gives it a nice tangy taste.  I did a combination of recipes, both from the book and online.  Essentially, the instructions and ingredients are all the same.

I made two sauces to try.  The first was a simple Apricot and Honey Compote from Martha Stewart.  Hello delicious.  So simple and it`s thick enough that as it was cooling I could envision a gorgeous spoonful atop a buttermilk scone.   The second was a Red-Wine Poached Rhubarb recipe.   I`ll have to post those pictures at a later date.

Okay, the apricot got me.  It was pretty yummy.

On a cold winters day, some Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Apricot and Honey Compote is like a little ray of sunshine.  Top with some slivered almonds for a little nutty crunch.  Bye bye winter blues!

Panna Cotta is like a blank canvas.  There are so many options for toppings although I do think simple is best sometimes.  Any ‘in season’ fruit would be a treat.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

  •  2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

2. Combine sugar and cream in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  Add in the vanilla bean and seeds, remove from heat and allow cream to steep for 30 minutes.  Bring back to heat and almost to a boil. 

3. Stir in the gelatin until dissolved.

4. Add the buttermilk to the cream mixture and continue whisking. 

5. Remove from heat and strain the mixture into a glass measuring cup.

6. Pour the strained mixture into cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

Top with Apricot and Honey Compote and slivered almonds.   Serve immediately.

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Early Spring Crop

Rhubarb is a “do like” or “definately don’t” kind of thing.   It’s a tart and sour fella that can produce the yummiest cobblers and coffee cakes.  And we all, I’m sure, have tried the rhubarb/strawberry combo.  My father-in-law has a patch in his large garden and I have recently been asking, “Is it ready yet??”  The season usually starts here in late May or early June.   His won’t be ready until next week so I hauled my sorry self out of bed early this morning to go to the market in search of freshly picked stalks for todays post.  I strolled by a few vendors who didn’t have any yet and then almost ran to the vendor who had a nice big basket full of freshly harvested stocks (I think she was taken aback by my excitement, it is only rhubarb after all…)…

Enjoy todays post, just in time for the rhubarb season to start.   A really simple Rum Butter Cherry Rhubarb sauce served warm over homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.   And I guarantee that once you make your own ice cream (without the ice cream maker…) you will turn your nose up at any store bought carton again!  Enjoy,

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop 

1 cup homogenized milk

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups half and half cream- you can also use heavy cream for a creamier texture

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and let milk infuse for one hour.

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Pour the half and half into the 2-quart bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Put the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens. It should be thick enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.  Several hours or overnight is best.

Once the mixture has chillled for several hours you can remove the vanilla bean* and put it in your ice cream machine and follow manufacterers instructions or do it without a machine as outlined below:

1. Remove the vanilla bean and pour ice cream into a freezer safe bowl (I use stainless).  Leave in the freezer (uncovered) for 45 minutes.  Remove from freezer and whisk for approx. 3 minutes.  Back into the freezer for another 30 minutes and whisk again.  Continue freezing and whisking for about 2 1/2 -3 hours until set.  Place ice cream in a sealable container and freeze until ready to use.

*Keep that vanilla bean!  Wash it with water and allow it to dry out.  Put it in your sugar canister to give an extra kick to baked goods.  And, you can use it again for your next batch of ice cream!

Rum Butter Cherry Rhubarb Sauce

*Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

2 cups jarred sour cherries (reserve juice)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sliced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp amber rum

1.  In saucepan, bring 1/4 cup cherry juice, sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat, until sugar dissolves.  Add cherries and rhubarb: cook over medium heat until rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes.

3.  Blend cornstarch with rum; stir into fruit mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened.

Spoon warm mixture over ice cream.

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