Saturday, August 20, 2011

I can't claim credit for this Limoncello but it does rock the house down.

I can't claim this recipe as my own. What I do with it however is my own more or less. The recipe comes from celebrity chef Mario Batali and it can be found HERE.

So what have I done with it other than serve it straight up over ice as an apertif? A few things actually.

A trick or two...don't use plastic in the process of making the recipe. The lemon oils with the help of the vodka will permeate the plastic and ruin it for anything else. Learned this the hard way so pay heed to this little warning. Storing the final product I found that using the Efferve stoppered bottles makes for a tight seal as well nice presentation. (I'm totally fond of the Efferve lemonade and blood orangeade so having empty bottles around is not an issue...rather than recycle I reuse this time around).

Limoncello marinated fruit is awesome over icecream or pound cake. Take strawberries, peaches and whatever other fruit you like that is in season and cut up into bite sized pieces in a bowl. I use a ratio of about 1 part limoncello to 4 parts cut fruit. Let it marinate overnight or at least 6 hours for all of that boozy lemony goodness to soak into the fruit before serving.

Limoncello cocktails...light and refreshing. Use equal parts club soda and limoncello over ice and a sprig of mint.

Limoncello cake....make your basic yellow cake. When done baking and cooled to room temp remove the cake from the pan. On a wire rack place cake, poke it with a cake tester (toothpick will work too) all over the top. Carefully and slowly pour 1/4c limoncello over each layer of cake.
Take the cake layers and frost as usual. (I haven't made a limoncello glaze yet but imagine it can be done and its on my test agenda to take the lemon taste up one more level).


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mocha Cheesecake - or mini cheesecakes of you like

Cheesecake is really not that hard to make, this version falls into the stupid easy category. Why? I use eagle brand sweetened condensed milk rather than sugar as it yields a creamier texture without as much work trying to cream it all. All the sweetness without the risk of a grainy cheesecake.

A secret to keep the large cakes from cracking too much is to add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to the batter. The starch blends nicely with the fats in the cream cheese and creates just enough stabilization to keep the cake from cracking too badly in the center.

Melting the chocolate can be as easy as using a double boiler or if in a hurry a microwave. If using microwave heat on high for only 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each micro-blast. This will keep the chocolate for scorching. Total microwave time in a 1200 watt unit worked out to be about 30 seconds.

Mocha Cheesecake
  • 1 pkg graham crackers (8 crackers)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c melted butter

  • Filling
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
  • 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T instant coffee
  • 1 T corn starch

  • Ganache
  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream

Combine crackers and sugar in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Pulse in melted butter until evenly blended. Press into 9 inch spring form pan.

Combine cream cheese, coffee, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Let sit about an hour until it comes to room temperature. In mixer beat until creamy and fluffy. Beat in corn starch. Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended.

Add the filling to the spring form pan. Put in preheated 300F oven and bake for about 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature and then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Make ganache by mixing chocolate chips and whipping cream. In microwave heat 1 minute on high then stir. Give it 1 more minute on high then stir until chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the cream. Cool to room temp then drizzle over the chilled cheesecake. (There will be leftover ganache that you can save to make truffles or even use as a frosting for cupcakes).

Mini Cheesecake variation. Line 24 cupcake pans with paper liners. Divide the graham cracker crumb mixture between all of the tins. Press lightly to compact. Divide the filling between the paper liners filling just until the top of the liner. Bake in 300F oven 25-30 minutes until the centers test clean with a toothpick. Chill and garnish with the ganache.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yikes..Donut Summit

The usual stuff has kept me from this blog the last few weeks. Don't worry we've been eating, just not blogging a whole lot as I've not been experimenting much in the kitchen.

This weekend was the Donut Summit in Elysian Park here in Los Angeles. It was a meet up of donut fans bringing their favorite dozen with them to share and vote to determine who makes the best in all of LA. Donut Man in Glendora won for best filled for its "Peach filled" donut, yes big chunks of fresh peaches inside a donut. Stan's in West LA Won Judges favorite with their Peanut butter filled, chocolate glazed. Newcomer to town, Babycakes won Best Overall.

More pics of the silliness in my flickr set.