Tag Archives: Vanilla

Blueberry-Peach Focaccia

25 Jul

1-1/3 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees F)

1 pkg. active dry yeast

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. sugar

3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

tsp. kosher or coarse sea salt

peaches

cup fresh blueberries

Tbsp. sugar

tsp. vanilla

to 3 Tbsp. small fresh basil leaves (optional)

1.In a small bowl combine the warm water, yeast, 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil, and 1 tsp. sugar.

Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.

In a large bowl combine 3 cups of the flour and 1 tsp. of the salt. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture. Stir until combined. If necessary, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough.

Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that is nearly smooth but still slightly sticky (about 3 minutes).

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once.

Cover. Let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1-1/2 hours).

2.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper; lightly oil paper. Turn dough into prepared pan and gently press evenly into the pan. Loosely cover; let stand in a warm place while halving, pitting, and slicing peaches.

3.Arrange peaches and blueberries atop dough in pan. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp. sugar and the remaining 1 tsp. salt. In a small bowl stir together remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and the vanilla. Drizzle over focaccia.

4.Bake about 30 minutes or until peaches are softened and bread is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with basil just before serving. Makes 24 servings.

Make-ahead: After placing dough in the oiled bowl, cover and chill dough up to 24 hours. Let dough stand at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the dough is double in size. Continue as directed in step 2.

Better Homes and Gardens, August, 2010

This is one of my favorite sweet snacks and/or desserts to bring to bigger get-togethers.  It’s both salty and sweet, light and fruity, soft and crunchy.   I also think it allows for some fun experimentation – you could substitute strawberries or raspberries for the blueberries, plums or plucots for the peaches.   You can get creative with the fruit arrangements.  And so far I’ve never served this to anyone who didn’t like it.  Perfect for hot summer block parties and cooler evening grill-outs.

Coconut Cream Pie

2 Mar

  • 1/2  (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  cup  half-and-half
  • 1 1/2  cups  flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1  vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 1/3  cup  cornstarch
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  large egg yolks
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 3  large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  water
  • 1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; remove weights and foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze over bowl to release moisture. Discard solids.

4. Combine 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

5. Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut before serving.

Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD, Cooking Light, March 2011

Best coconut cream pie recipe I’ve ever tried.  Both the filling and the merengue came out to the perfect consistency.  The filling is light with a subtle flavor and the crust adds the perfect crisp complement.  Instead of using the prepared dough, I recommend using Alan Carter’s Pie Recipe (https://chicagodinnerbell.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/alan-carters-pie-pastry/).  I also use flat rocks that we brought back from Lake Superior as my pie weights.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a nice alternative to having to buy yet another kitchen tool – I, for one, am out of room!

Vanilla Flan with Butterscotch Sauce

22 Feb

  • 3 cups  half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup  packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • granulated sugar

1. In medium saucepan heat half-and-half and vanilla bean over medium heat until steaming (140 -145 degrees), about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; cover.  Steep for 15 minutes.

2. Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl combine brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. of the salt, pinching and mashing to eliminate lumps. Spoon mixture into 9-inch deep–ish pie plate. Pack into firm, even layer.

3. Remove bean from half-and-half (let cool if hot to handle); cut bean lengthwise. With point of small knife, scrape seeds from bean and add to half-and-half. Briefly reheat mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, just to steaming.

4. In large bowl whisk eggs, granulated sugar, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Gradually whisk in warm half-and-half until well-combined.

5. Slowly pour egg mixture in pie plate over brown sugar. Some sugar may float up but will settle to bottom eventually.

6. Place pie plate in deep roasting pan. Place pan in oven. Pour boiling water in roasting pan to halfway up sides of pie plate. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

7. Carefully remove pie plate from roasting pan. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. To serve, gently run a thin metal spatula or knife around edge of flan. Invert onto serving plate. Makes 8 servings.

Better Homes & Gardens, February 2010

This is one of the tastiest flans I have ever tried, but I am a total sucker for all things butterscotch.  I made this exactly as instructed, using the vanilla extract method since I didn’t have any vanilla beans on hand.  Delicious!

Unfortunately, I do not have any sort of serving platter so the flan was bent a little out of shape by my up-turned dinner plates but it made no difference.  Once the pieces were cut and moved to serving plates, they bounced back to the standard flan shape.  However, I should warn that the butterscotch sauce is very sticky and fluid.   So if you plan to flip the flan onto a plate or small platter, be sure to put something under it because it will ooze everywhere.

That said, this was the first flan I’ve ever made and I thought the process was relatively easy and the product was damn impressive.  Can’t wait to have some more tonight.