Cranberry Tiramisu

Cranberry Tiramisu, is the dessert recipe I created for our up coming Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. It is a play on the classic coffee-flavored Italian Tiramisu. I used cranberry to fit the flavor profile of the the American holiday season. Using cranberry, also gave me a chance to support our local Texas South Wind Winery. They make a superb all cranberry fruit wine that sells out fast during the holiday season.

Ingredients: for 4 servings

This dessert has 3 components:

  1. The Cranberry Compote.
  2. The Cranberry Tiramisu Cream – an egg custard base with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream folded in.
  3. The cranberry wine soaked Savoiardi (Italian lady finger cookies.)

Each serving has 3 lady finger cookies, so we will need a total of 12. We will also need 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese that has been brought up to room temperature.

Ingredients for the Cranberry Compote:

  • 4 ounces of frozen cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of cranberry wine

Making the Cranberry Compote:

Add all four of the above ingredients to a heavy duty stainless steel pan and place on a medium high flame.
Bring to a simmer
Cook for 10 minutes. The natural pectin in the cranberries will allow it to turn into a jam.
Transfer to a glass bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature while you make the Cranberry Tiramisu Cream.

Ingredients for the Cranberry Tiramisu Custard Base:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cranberry wine
  • 1 tablespoon of extra fine sugar

Making the Cranberry Tiramisu Custard Base:

Bring water to a simmer in the base of a double boiler pan. While the water is coming to a simmer whisk together the 4 egg yolks, sugar, fennel powder and cranberry wine.
Place the egg mixture on top of the simmering water and continue to whisk until it turns frothy and pale in color.
Transfer the cooked egg mixture to a glass container and let it cool to room temperature.

While the egg base is cooling make the whipped cream by whisking together a cup of heavy cream with a tablespoon of extra fine sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of fennel powder.

Once the egg base is cooled gently fold in the 8 ounces of room temperature mascarpone.

Assembling the Cranberry Tiramisu:

I used a rocks glass to serve the tiramisu. You can use any parfait glass that you like. Start by placing 3/4 cups of cranberry wine in the bottom of a glass dish. This cranberry wine will be used for soaking the lady fingers. Set up your assembly station as shown in the photo below.

ASSEMBLY SET UP: 12 lady fingers. Cranberry Compote. Cranberry Wine. Cranberry Tiramisu Cream.
Soak the lady finger cookies in the wine for 1 second on each side. The idea is to let the cookies absorb the wine without getting soggy in the center.
Add a dollop of Cranberry Tiramisu Cream to the bottom of the glass. Top with a teaspoon of Cranberry Compote.
Break the cranberry wine soaked lady fingers into thirds. Place 5 pieces up right in each glass.
Cover the cookies with a large dollop of Cranberry Tiramisu Cream and another teaspoon of Cranberry Compote.
Place 3 or 4 additional cookies pieces in each glass.
Cover with a layer of Cranberry Tiramisu Cream and place a cranberry in the center of each glass for garnish. It is best to make this dessert a day before serving. Refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to marry. It tastes great the next day. ūüėč

For the feature photo, I used a pumpkin platter and 2 servings of Cranberry Tiramisu on it. I thought it made a cute Halloween presentation similar to the one I used for my Pork Piccata last week.

I usually place each Cranberry Tiramisu on a fancy plate for a pretty presentation.

I am very proud of the Cranberry Tiramisu. I was able to cut the sugar down by using fennel powder which gives the illusion of sweetness. I have used this trick before in other recipes such as my marinara sauce and my berry zabaglione. I also used Savoiardi cookies imported from Italy. They are organic, have higher quality flour, and less sugar than American made lady fingers.

When I did the test recipe, I invited a friend over to be my taste tester. It turned out so yummy that I just had to eat one myself. I tested my fasting blood sugar the next day and it was fine. I was so happy. ūüėä

With this recipe, I have now posted all the recipes for my upcoming Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. I am now going to spend the next four days getting everything ready for the event. Wish me luck!

Fig Fillo Bites

My neighbor, Billy, brought me another fresh batch of figs from his tree.  I decided to make a batch of Fig Fillo Bites and invite my next door neighbor, Mary Ellen for mid-morning tea.  Mary Ellen loves figs.  We had a great time visiting with each other, talking and enjoying masala chai and these fig bites.  It was a beautiful sunny morning, so I arranged tea under the pergola on our front deck.  There was a beautiful summer breeze blowing.  I felt very blessed to live in such a gorgeous place and have time to visit with my lovely neighbor.

Fig Fillo Bites Feature

Here is the recipe.  Try it and let me know what you think.

INGREDIENTS: (enough for 15 little tarts)

  • 15 figs
  • 1 box of mini Fillo Shells (15 in a box)
  • 8 ounces of Mascarpone, at room temp
  • 15 pine nuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons of Agave nectar
  • 4 tablespoons of Elderberry Jelly (you can use any jelly you like)
  • dash of fennel seed powder (to make the powder just put a few fennel seeds in a spice grinder and whiz them up)

PREP:

Fig Fillo Bites Prep

  • Trim the stems off the figs
  • Zest the lemon
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon
  • Toast the pine nuts on the stove top on low heat.¬† Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.Fig Fillo Bites Pinenuts Toasting
  • Bake the mini Fillo shells for 3 minutes at 350 F and let cool to room temp.

GLAZING THE FIGS:

  • Place a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of Agave nectar, 2 tablespoons of Elderberry jelly, half the lemon juice, half the lemon zest and half the fennel seed powder. (If you want to add a boozy touch you can also add a splash of Chambord or red raspberry wine at this point.)
  • Whisk to blend
  • Add the figs.¬† Using a silicone spatula, gently coat the figs with the glaze.
  • Transfer the glazed figs to a glass container and set aside.

MAKING THE CREAM FILLING:

  • Transfer the Mascarpone to a medium mixing bowl
  • Add 2 tablespoons of Agave nectar, 2 tablespoons of Elderberry Jelly, half the lemon juice, half the lemon zest and half the fennel seed powder.
  • Using a spoon, combine all ingredients.
  • Transfer to a glass dish and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the fig bites.

ASSEMBLING THE FILLO FIG BITES:

Fig Fillo Bites Assembly

  • Using a small ice cream disher, scoop out a dollop of the mascarpone cream filling and place it in the cooled Fillo shell.
  • Place a glazed fig, fat side down, on top of the cream filling.
  • Insert a toasted pine nut into the stem side of the fig.¬† The pine nut adds crunch and flavor.¬† It also replaces the stem that was trimmed so that the fig looks whole.

RECIPE NOTE:  If you want to make these a little boozy, you can add a splash of Chambord or red raspberry wine to the glaze.

I used a local red raspberry, all fruit wine from Texas SouthWind Vineyard and Winery, YUM!!!  My husband created a cocktail he called, Texan Raspberry 75 using this wine to pair with the fig bites.   ENJOY and please leave a comment to give me your feedback.  I love hearing from you.

Red Raspberry Wine

 

Peach Bellini Tartlets

Ingredients:¬† The peaches are from my neighbor’s tree !!!

 

  • 6 medium peaches–skinned and finely diced.¬† Dice the peaches on a board with a groove that will collect the juice.¬† Use the juice along with the diced peaches to make the filling.
  • 1/4 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar.¬† The sweeter the peaches are the less¬† sugar you will need.¬† I use organic evaporated cane juice which has leftover vanilla pods sitting in it.¬† I always throw my leftover vanilla pods into my sugar jar to make vanilla sugar.¬† If you don’t have vanilla sugar just use regular sugar with a splash of vanilla extract.
  • 1/2 cup of toasted hazelnuts.¬† Toast the hazelnuts.¬† Let them cool.¬† Set aside 15 hazelnuts for garnish.¬† Pulverize the rest, into a coarse powder, in a spice grinder or food processor.
  • 1 package of mini fillo shells.¬† The package I used has 15 shells.
  • 1 split bottle of prosecco
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chai masala (optional)
  • 15 small mint leaves for garnish

Making the peach filling:

  • Place a heavy skillet on a medium flame
  • Add the butter to the skillet and let it melt and turn light brown.¬† Watch the butter carefully.¬† Do not let it burn.¬† Letting the butter brown adds a deep nutty flavor to the filling.
  • As soon as the butter is brown add the peaches and vanilla sugar to your level of sweetness.¬† Set aside a little sugar to make the ricotta cream for the topping.
  • Stirring occasionally, cook the peaches until their liquid evaporates.
  • Add the hazelnut powder and spices.¬† Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with 1/2 of the prosecco from the small prosecco bottle.¬† Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let the peach filling cool to room temperature.

Making the ricotta topping:

  • Place the ricotta in a medium mixing bowl and add vanilla sugar to your level of sweetness.
  • Use a fork or small whisk to cream the ricotta and sugar together.
  • If the mixture is too thick add a bit of prosecco to thin it out.¬† It should be the thickness of whip cream.

Cook the tart shells according to the package instructions and set aside to cool.

Assembling the tartlets:

  • Fill each shell with the peach filling
  • Top with a dollop of the ricotta cream
  • Garnish with a whole hazelnut and a small mint leaf

Serve with a glass of prosecco and enjoy.  They are so cute and absolutely delicious.

Peach Tartlets IG

 

Dewberry Tarts

Dewberries are wild blackberries.  They grow wild in our fields.  They come up at about the same time as the spring wildflowers.  Dewberries

If you don’t have access to dewberries, you can use blackberries or any other berry you like.

Ingredients: Makes 6 tarts

Dewberry Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dewberries (set aside 6 berries, 1 as a topper for each tart)
  • 2 pats of butter
  • vanilla sugar to taste (I used 1/4 cup of organic evaporated cane juice with vanilla beans in it.¬† I throw left over vanilla beans into my sugar jar to flavor the sugar.)
  • 1 package of puff pastry shells (they usually come in packages of 6)
  • 6 dollops of cream to top off each tart.¬† (You can use whip cream or creme fraiche.¬† I accidentally made goat milk creme fraiche as a by product of making¬†Paneer (Indian Cheese)¬†I will explain later in the recipe.
  • 6 small sprigs of mint as a garnish for each tart

Making the dewberry jam: place all but 6 berries into a heavy saucepan along with the vanilla sugar.  Place on a low flame and cook until the sugar melts and the berries cook down.  Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.  It takes about 20 minutes for the jam to form.  When the jam forms, melt in the 2 pats of butter.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Dewberry Jam

My accidental goat milk creme fraiche:  When I was making the Paneer (Indian Cheese) from goats milk, I had the whey left over.  I used Boer goat milk from my goat, Oreo.  This milk has about 10% fat, so when I stored the left over whey, it still had quite a bit of fat which rose to the top and turned into creme fraiche over night in the frig.   This was such a nice surprise.  I decided to use it to top off my tart.

 

Preparing the puff pastry shells: Just place on top of a lined baking sheet and bake according to the package instructions.  I used a Silpat to line my baking sheet.  Use what works best for you.  Usually puff pastry is baked in a oven preheated to 400 degress F for about 18 to 20 minutes.  Cook the pastry until it puffs and is golden brown.

Dewberry Puff Pastry

Assembling the tarts: Remove the top from the cooked shells and fill them with the cooled dewberry jam.

Dewberry Puff with Jam

Top off with a dollop of cream, a dewberry and a small sprig of mint.

Dewberry Instagram

These are so pretty and yummy.  If you have any left over dewberry jam, serve it over vanilla ice cream.  This way you get two desserts in one.

Dewberry Compote

Pumpkin Pot de Crème (Photo by Leilani Kulkarni)

Pumpkin Pot de Crème topped with Cranberry Cardamom Cream

Ingredients:  Serves 8

 

  • 3 cups heavy cream (plus 1/2 a cup reserved for making the whipped topping)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chai masala (optional)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 inches of ginger, cut into coins
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

Garnish:

  • Agave-candied cranberries (cook fresh cranberries in a little agave syrup)
  • Whole, raw, shelled pistachios
  • Cranberry Cardamom Cream:¬† 1/2 cup heavy cream, a tablespoon of agave nectar,¬†a tablespoon of the cranberry syrup from the agave-candied¬†cranberries, and a pinch of chai masala¬†whipped together to soft peaks

Cranberry Cardomom Creme

Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 300 F
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk and spices over medium heat.¬† Stirring occasionally, heat the milk until it just comes to a boil.¬† Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Pot Du Creme Prep 2

  • Gradually add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
  • Once the cream mixture has cooled, strain it into a large measuring cup with a spout to make it easier to pour.
  • Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the cream mixture into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
  • Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  • Using a small ladle, pour the mixture into 8 oven proof ramekins.¬† Place the filled ramekins into an ovenproof glass container.

Punmpkin Pot Du Creme in oven

Cook:

  • Place the custard into the center of the pre-heated oven.
  • Carefully add water to the glass containers the ramekins are sitting in.¬† The water should come half way up the side of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.¬† The custard should jiggle a bit when you shake the pan.¬† It will firm up more as it cools.
  • Remove from the water bath and let cool for 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Pot Du Creme out of oven

  • Tightly cover each ramekin.¬† I have a lid for each ramekin.¬† If you don’t have a lid use plastic wrap.¬† Make sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours.¬† Overnight works.¬† I make it the day before serving.

When ready to serve garnish with the Cranberry Cardamom Cream, top with a candied cranberry and pistachios.

My family really enjoyed this for our Thanksgiving Dessert.  It was sublime, creamy, very flavorful and not too sweet.  ENJOY!!!