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. πŸ˜‹

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. 😊

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!

Pork Piccata – gluten free

This is the Secondi we will be making and serving, for the Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

Secondi means second course in Italian. It is the main protein course which consists of meat, poultry or fish. I decided to create a play on the classic veal piccata, by using Berkshire Pork tenderloin supplied to me by our neighbors, Rose & James, at Peach Creek Farm. I like supporting our local producers and going straight from The Ranch to The Table. Couldn’t get any more local than the neighboring ranch! πŸ‘πŸ˜ƒ

Berkshire pork is a gourmet product from a breed of pigs that originated in the English county of Berkshire. The meat has shorter muscle fibers than regular pork, making the meat more tender. The meat is also highly marbled with intramuscular fat, making the meat more succulent and flavorful. Rose & James treat their animals with care. The pigs are not caged and no hormones or chemicals are used in raising them.

In making classic veal piccata, the veal is pounded thin and dredged in flour. I decided to not use flour so I can make the dish gluten free and keto friendly. The flour dredging is traditionally used to protect the thin, lean veal cutlet from drying out, to create a golden brown crust and to thicken the piccata sauce. I will be using Berkshire pork medallions that are 1.25 inches thick and are higher in fat than veal, so they don’t need flour dredging to protect them from drying out. I will get additional flavor and a golden brown crust by coating the pork medallions with my Italian Spice Mix. I will be able to thicken the piccata sauce by adding and whisking in butter at the end. This is a French sauce making technique called Beurre Monte. Which means to mount with butter.

In the test recipe I used bone less pork chops. They turned out well, but I decided to use center cut pork loin medallions for the cooking class/supper club because it is a more tender cut of meat. I will be serving two 1.25 inch center cut pork medallions per person. The pork piccata will be accompanied by roasted squash medallions and seasonal vegetables. Click on the link in the previous sentence for the roasted squash recipe. It has turned out to to be my most viewed post. The recipe was posted on November 17, 2017.

Ingredients: for 4 servings

  • 8 – 1.25 inch thick center cut pork medallions
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (1 to coat the pork, 1 to coat the pan, and 1 for the piccata sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • 3 pats of the best unsalted butter you can find
  • 2 tablespoons of small capers
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1 lemon
  • handful of Italian flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Prep:

  • Coat the pork with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Italian spice mix. Rub the spices into the pork. Cover with plastic and set in the frig while you do the rest of the prep. If you marinate the pork overnight it will be even better.
  • Mince the garlic and parsley leaves
  • Zest and juice the lemon

Cooking the pork:

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on medium high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot place the pork medallions in the pan. Cook on first side for 2 minutes and then flip.
  • Cook on the second side for 1 minute. Do not over cook the pork or it will dry out.
  • Remove the pork medallions from the pan. Set aside and cover to keep warm. I used a crockpot container with its lid on to hold the pork warm.

Making the piccata sauce:

Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pat of butter to the pan you used to cook the pork medallions. Turn the flame to medium.
Sprinkle in the chopped parsley.

Taste the sauce. Adjust for salt pepper and acid. During the cooking process, I added only 1/2 the lemon juice. If you need more acid you can add it at this time. Once you are happy with the way the sauce tastes pour it over the pork medallions.

When I am doing a cooking class or a party, I hold the pork piccata in a warm crock pot until I am ready to serve. This makes it easier for all my guests to have warm plates of food, served simultaneously, so we can all eat together.

I have been told many times that the best part of our pop up supper club event is the camaraderie generated by sharing a meal together while supporting our community. It brings me a great deal of joy to be able to hold these events. πŸ’•

Next week I will be posting the final recipe for our up coming cooking class/pop up supper club. Be on the look out for it. Until then ciao! πŸ–πŸ˜ƒ

Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry

Cooking With Love and Spices is so excited to be able to do another event in support of The Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. The event details are shown in the flyer below. All the recipes, except for the surprise Halloween cocktail, will be posted ahead of the event. I am doing this because many of the students, who attended the previous cooking classes, requested that I post the recipes in advance.

In May of 2020, I did an event planning survey, to find out what my students and guests would like for the next event. Most people wanted the next event to be Italian cuisine. So I have created an Italian menu with a Halloween flair.

We will start off with cocktails and crostini to honor the Italian tradition of Aperitivo. Aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink and small snack. My husband will be making his Chili Cherry Bourbon and an additional Halloween cocktail. The “ghoulicious” Halloween cocktail will be posted on Saturday October 31, 2020, on Halloween Day Of Course. 😈

Next we will be having an Antipasto (appetizer) consisting of Italian Stuffed Vegetables. The vegetable will vary depending on seasonal availability, but I will post the recipe for stuffed squash on October 10, 2020 to show the basic recipe for stuffing vegetables Italian style.

For the Insalata we will be having Golden Beet Salad topped with crispy goat cheese croutons. If you want to see the full recipe, click on the link above. This recipe was posted on January 13, 2018.

Following the salad, will be the Primo, which means first course in Italian. It usually consists of a risotto or pasta. We will be having Pumpkin Gnocchi with Collard Greens. This recipe was created in 2017 for our family’s Thanksgiving Dinner. For the full recipe, click on the link above. This recipe was posted on December 13, 2017. I just realized that was my dad’s 84th birthday. He loved that Pumpkin Gnocchi 😊

After the pasta course we will be having the Secondi, which means second course in Italian. It is the main protein course which consists of meat, poultry or fish. I created a very special gourmet Berkshire Pork Piccata for the main course. The Berkshire pork is supplied to us by our neighbors at Peach Creek Farm. Since I am a pescatarian, I don’t eat pork, so I will also have a fish piccata option. The full recipe for the Pork Piccata will be posted on October 17, 2020.

All of the above courses will be paired with local Texas Italian style wines from Duchman Family Winery. My husband will be selecting the wines for each course. We like supporting our local producers. For the last two events, we served wines from Messina Hof. This time we decided to work with Duchman.

Last but not least, to celebrate the Dolce Vita (sweet life), I created a unique dessert called Cranberry Tiramisu. It is made with Texas South Wind Cranberry Fruit Wine. The full recipe will be posted on October 24, 2020.

I am very proud of the Cranberry Tiramisu. I did a test low carb recipe. I invited a friend to come over and taste test it. If I do say so myself, it turned out so yummy that I just had to eat it. As written in my post entitled, “My Personal Story of Recovery,” I have been leading a ketogenic life style since February of 2019 so that I can control my blood sugar without medication. In all that time, this is only the third dessert I have eaten. I save my dessert eating for low carb, high quality desserts that are very special. I tested my fasting blood sugar the next day and it was fine. I was so happy. 😊

Just for the record, the first dessert I had was in May of 2019 in Killarney, Ireland. It was a fresh out of the oven, pear and almond custard tart. Still warm with a buttery crust, very flavorful and not too sweet. The second dessert I had was in November 2019 in Amritsar, India. My home town. It was Firni, a rice powder custard flavored with saffron, cardamom and pistachios. For special occasions, the top is garnished with silver leaf.

My grandmother used to make this all the time, so it brought back a lot of childhood memories. I will have to post the recipe for this some day.

Getting off memory lane and back to the event, the Cranberry Tiramisu will be paired with a champagne cocktail created by my husband. It will be a combination of Messina Hof Almond “Champagne” and the Texas South Wind cranberry fruit wine that I used in the dessert.

I had a lot of fun creating this menu. I hope everybody enjoys it. πŸ’•