Showing posts with label whipped cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label whipped cream. Show all posts

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Crème de Menthe Parfait

A simple retro cocktail recipe that can double as dessert, this delicious parfait is made with vanilla bean ice cream, crème de menthe liqueur, whipped cream and is topped with a cherry or two! 

When I saw the theme for today’s Sunday Supper – Retro Recipes – I was delighted. I’ve got quite a few cookbooks and magazines that date back to the Good Old Days of Jello mold salads and meatloaves baked in tube pans, many older than I am. It’s always amusing to see what my foremothers must have thought was the cutting edge of what was new and fun to bake and cook back then.

I can never resist buying a cookbook put together for a fundraiser either! Among my collection, I have books published  - with proceeds going to charities - by Jakarta International School, the Association of British Women in Malaysia, the American Society of Rio, Maadi Women’s Guild (Egypt), the American Women’s Association of Indonesia and the British Women’s Association of Singapore, just to name a few that I can lay my hands on. These are full of what I would call retro recipes, even that one that was published in the Nineties, because back before the days of the World Wide Web in far-flung places, we cooked what we knew and those were the old recipes.

Just a few of a vast collection!

My mother has a beautiful frosted glass decanter, rather like this one, which she kept filled with bright green crème de menthe liqueur when I was a child. To my young mind, it was the height of sophistication to sip something out of the tiny glasses that matched the decanter and I loved when my parents entertained and the crème de menthe was served. How could I resist making a crème de menthe cocktail for Retro Recipes! Many thanks to our host, Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks for organizing this great event.

One thing that I’ve noticed about vintage cookbooks, is that quantities are often lacking and methods are not as complete as what we are used to now. Fortunately that doesn’t really matter when it comes to ice cream and whipped cream. This parfait recipe comes from a book published by Arrow Cordials in 1960 and I found it on Mid Century Menu, a blog that is all about retro food and vintage recipes.

1 oz or 30ml crème de menthe
Vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen-Daz Vanilla Bean.)
Whipped cream
Maraschino cherry or two

Optional to serve: drinking straws

Scoop your ice cream into a pretty glass. Two or three balls will probably do. I don’t own parfait glasses so I used a Champagne flute. A brandy snifter would also work.

Pour crème de menthe over the ice cream.

Even the color is retro, don't you think?

Top with generous scoop of whipped cream and then a cherry. If you want to drizzle just the tiniest little bit more crème de menthe on the whipped cream, I would second that impulse. Stick a couple of plastic straws in, if desired.


Let’s take a walk back in time together and check out all the groovy vintage recipes from my Sunday Supper group today!

Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:
Made in the Shade Main Dishes:
Swell Side Dishes:
Dreamy Desserts:
The Bee's Knees Beverages:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rhubarb Nectarine Puff Pastry Tarts

Many years ago, we lived just south of Paris and were blessed with a large garden, most unusual, even in our neighborhood, because of the way our city block was shaped.  The front garden was wide, about 40 feet across, narrowing down by almost 20 feet by the time you got behind the house to the backyard, a large pie-piece shaped garden with the tip cut off.   In the front, we had all the hazelnuts we could eat, courtesy of the left side neighbor, Madame Coucou, so named by us because she would call to me from her porch, “Cou cou!”  In the back, we had a fabulous sweet cherry tree that produced more cherries than we could possibly use, no matter that we ate them steadily and made jam and pies and cherry bounce.   We gave them away to friends and neighbors.  What I didn’t know until our last year there, was that we also had rhubarb in the front yard.  My in-laws came to visit and pointed it out, all hidden under a large bush, so low to the ground.   How could we have missed it!  Rhubarb is one of our favorite things.  My excitement at the discovery was tinged with sadness for the years of missed crops.

Now every summer we eagerly await rhubarb season, when a few choice stalks can be purchased and pie can be baked.  Often it is apple and rhubarb, but occasionally sweet yellow nectarines also make their irresistible appearance.   Summer means a hot kitchen so cooking the fruit on the stove and quick baking puff pastry lets me crank the oven up and then turn it off rather than baking a whole fruit pie for an hour or more.  You could do this with any seasonal fruit.

3 stalks rhubarb
2 ripe nectarines
3-4 tablespoons vanilla sugar or normal sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Good pinch salt
2 sheets puff pastry (about 8in x 8in or 20cm x 20cm)
1/2 cup or 120ml whipping cream

Preheat to 400°F or 200°C.  Fold your sheets of puff pastry in half and then in half again.

Cut around the square with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to create a circle – or, honestly, leave it square if you want.  I just think the circles are prettier.  But do trim the edges off all around.  Freshly cut puff pastry puffs up way more successfully.

Use a large round cookie cutter to score a circle in the middle of the puff pastry.  Do not cut all the way through.

Dock the middle of the circles with the tines of a fork.   Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden all over.  Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb into chunks.

Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits.  Cut in chunks.

Put the fruit in a small pot with the 3 tablespoons sugar and salt.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is completely softened and the nectarines are cooked.  Taste and add the extra sugar if necessary.  Set aside to cool.

When the puff pastry is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut around the scored circle with a sharp pointy knife and then gently press it down, creating a hole for the fruit.  Set aside.

When you are ready to serve, whip the cream and fill the pastry shells with fruit and then top with whipped cream.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Filo Pastry with Raspberries and Whipped Cream

My mother called me the other night, all excited. She had been watching PBS and Julia Child was on with a guest chef, Gale Gand.  I have DirecTV so I don’t get her same PBS and I had to find the episode online. I don’t know if folks outside the US can watch this, but I am still in Houston, so I could.  This show first aired 15 years ago on 11 September 1996 and young pastry chef Gand made a filo pastry ice cream sandwich.  I love filo for several desserts so I was instantly intrigued. I pretty much followed her instructions for the raspberries but decided to add whipped cream to the top instead of ice cream. Also, each person would get one filo pastry “crust” instead of two, as in an ice cream sandwich.  I also didn’t bother with the berry anchor sticks since I didn’t need to hold another filo pastry circle on top.  If you can’t see the video, don’t worry. I’ll tell you what I did do!

In retrospect, this looks very much like my Meringues with Berries and Whipped Cream but is way less time consuming than making meringues so it was perfect for an impromptu visit to my sister’s.  (I had just been to the imaging center for my mammogram or “the annual mashing,” as I like to call it, so I needed cheering up and nothing cheers me up like a visit to Whole Foods and cooking something for family. Next month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you haven’t been for a mammogram yet this year, consider this is your reminder to make an appointment now!)  

3 -6 oz packages of raspberries
1/4 cup of melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Half package of filo pastry

I preheated my oven (actually sent youngest daughter a text from Whole Foods asking her to preheat the oven so it would be ready when I got home and finished the prep) to 400 °F or 200 °C.

I did follow Gand’s example and cut the filo into fettuccine-width strips.  As she did, I left the plastic on and pulled it all out at the same time as I fluffed up the pastry.

Then I made mounds of the pastry on a parchment covered baking sheet and drizzled them with melted butter and then sprinkled them very lightly with sugar.  I popped them into the oven and baked until golden, about 12 minutes.

While my pastry was in the oven, I prepared the berries. I had three 6 oz packages. I pureed the first one with two tablespoons of raw sugar (but white caster or fine sugar will work) and then folded in the other two packets, to coat the raspberries with the pureed mixture.

Next I whipped 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks formed and stored it, covered, in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, each person gets one filo pastry round, a heap of berries and a goodly scoop of whipped cream. (I ended up serving this at my sister’s house so please excuse the paper plate.) Delicious!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meringues with Berries and Whipped Cream

Beautiful fluffy meringues make perfect sweet edible bowls for fresh berries. Top with whipped cream and you've got one simple but impressive dessert.

With as much moving around as we’ve done in our almost 25 years as expats, there is good and there is bad. The good is clearly the wonderful places we get to not just visit but to immerse ourselves in their culture and become friends with their inhabitants – natives and other expats alike. The bad is always the saying goodbye to that town, country, culture, those people, who have entered your heart and become a part of who you are and who you will become, even as you move onto the next country and culture and challenge. The way to make the good last, to prolong it, is to keep in touch with the special people who became family and touched your lives in a profound way you will never forget.

Carol and Greg and their sweet children are some of those special people. From Carol I learned, way back when, that people can really enjoy exercise. She was the first person I had ever met who told me she loved getting on her treadmill. It was a revelation and I thought there might be hope for me yet. (I am still hoping.)

Lately she has taught me that we are never too old to aspire to another career and that, with enough perseverance, and determination, that change of career is possible for those who want it and are willing to put in the time and effort it requires. Greg has long awed me with the example he sets as a supportive husband and, along with my own helpful, loving husband, he has shown me that good men do exist and has reinforced my sense that, while marriage for many is a push-me-pull-you proposition, it doesn’t have to be.

All of this is a prelude to another dinner invitation and another offer to bring dessert. Once again, during this time of fresh, sweet summer fruit, I had to go simple and fruit-oriented. This is one of my favorite desserts to make because it looks fancy but it isn’t difficult at all.

From Petit Mont Blancs – Delia Smith

For the meringues:
3 large egg whites
6 oz or 165g fine white caster sugar (not confectioner’s sugar)

For the filling – with plenty extra for just eating
2 lbs strawberries
12 oz blueberries
1/4 -1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

For the topping:
1 pint (16 oz) heavy whipping cream
1-2 pinches of cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 300°F or 150°C.

To make the meringues, place the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl and, using an electric hand whisk (or free-standing mixer) on a low speed, begin whisking. Continue for about 2 minutes, until the whites are foamy, then switch the speed to medium and carry on whisking for another minute.

Now turn the speed to high and continue whisking until the egg whites reach the stiff-peak stage.

Next, whisk the sugar in on fast speed, a little (about a tablespoon) at a time, until you have a stiff and glossy mixture.

Now all you do is spoon the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet (I greased the pan with Pam and then put a sheet of baking parchment), spacing them evenly. (I ran out of space and ended up making seven.) Then, using the back of the spoon, hollow out the centers. Don’t worry if they are not all the same shape. Next, pop them on the center shelf of the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 275°F, 140°C, and leave them for 30 minutes.

After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out in the warmth of the oven until it is completely cold (usually about 4 hours.) Since I knew I was serving these that night I was not so concerned about their drying completely out, and beside, I didn’t have time. Mine were probably in for just one hour after the 30 minutes with the oven on. 

If you are baking these ahead to be served much later in the day or even another day, do let them dry out and store them in an airtight container. Meringues can even be made ahead and frozen in an airtight container.

Meanwhile, prepare your fruit that will go in the hollowed out centers. Any fruit will do but our family favorite for this dessert is fresh berries. Today I chose 2 pounds of fresh strawberries and about 12 oz of blueberries. I know this is way too much fruit for the meringues, but fresh berries are so nice with whipped cream and I know they will get eaten when the meringues are gone. To just fill the meringues you probably could use half that amount. Anyway, hull your strawberries and cut the larger ones into smaller pieces. Little strawberries can be left whole. Rinse the strawberries and blueberries, drain well, then sprinkle them with the sugar.

Depending on the sweetness of your berries you may not need the whole 1/2 cup. Let your taste decide. I put as little as I think I can get away with! This time it was only the quarter cup. If you want to use Splenda or the like, that would probably work too. Add the balsamic and stir. Put this mixture in the fridge until it’s time to serve.

Another meanwhile. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form, adding a pinch or two of cream of tartar, which helps the cream stiffen and make good peaks. If you have hand beaters, this is probably not a problem, but if you have a big hands-free mixer like mine, do not walk away and do NOT overbeat as your cream will start to turn to butter. Store cream in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Assembling the Mont Blancs: Each person gets a meringue, topped with a heap of berries and a heap of whipped cream. Drizzle some of the juice over the top of the whipped cream. This is a feast for the eyes, and then the mouth, on a plate.

Greg was in charge of dinner and he barbecued succulent, tender beef ribeyes, along with grilled vegetables that would knock your socks off. We ate the leftover steak for breakfast (yes, this was a slumber party!) with buttered toast and poached eggs, courtesy of Carol. I can highly recommend the Nutter Bed and Breakfast. Love you all!