Lynn Gardner: mousse and puddings


Showing posts with label mousse and puddings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mousse and puddings. Show all posts

5.24.2018

Exploring Mexican Made Easy for Cookbook Club


For May's library cookbook club, I made "Maria Cookie & Lime Cream Trifle" from Marcela Valladolid's Mexican Made Easy. When I hear "trifle" I think of the English dessert made with fruit, sherry-soaked sponge, and custard. Well, this trifle is nothing like that, but it's still fabulous -- a creamy, sweet-tart no-bake treat that goes together in minutes, keeps well, and can go straight from fridge to table.

Maria cookies are a very mild, slightly sweetened cookie more similar to a British rich tea biscuit than a traditional American "cookie." They're usually easy to find in the "ethnic" aisle of most grocery stores although Valladolid writes graham crackers can be substituted for the Maria biscuits, if you prefer. I stuck with Maria cookies, because the recipe only uses four ingredients and so substituting one just seemed wrong.

I tried my best to make the recipe exactly as instructed, but ended up doubling the number of layers as I still had a lot of biscuit and cream left after following the instructions (it was either that or make two trifles ... which, in hindsight, I realize might have been a grand idea as I would have had my own private trifle). Proportionally, to get the number of layers Valladolid calls for, I think you'd need to halve the amount of ingredients.

The recipe says it makes six to eight servings, but I would say closer to ten to twelve. No-one stinted in their servings, but there was still plenty left for my coworkers. Honestly, it's a very bright, zesty pud -- rather like deconstructed key lime pie -- and I'm not going to complain about having had too much of it!

When I whizzed the milks and lime juice in my stand mixer, the liquids did thicken up a bit but were still worryingly soupy. However, when I went to serve the trifle seven hours later, the liquid had set into a thick pudding. The biscuits had softened up considerably, but still retained their shape and enough firmness to add a pleasing texture to the trifle.

In addition to the trifle, I've made two other recipes from Mexican Made Easy -- "Red and White Kidney Salad" and "Corn and Zucchini Sauté" -- and they were both easy and flavorful. While I imagine the sauté will be even better with in-season ingredients, it was still very satisfying as it was. The crunchy bacon added a delicious smoky savoriness to the dish that pushed the salad from very nice to "I'm going to eat the whole pan on my own."

The bean salad was also pretty wow. Bright and refreshing with just the right about of zip. A lot of bean salads I've made go the "more ingredients are better" route, but this simple combination of ingredients reminded me that more isn't always better. While I made a significant attempt to eat all the tasty beans the first night, there were leftovers and they kept very nicely in the fridge until the next day when I let them come to room temperature before tossing them with baby spinach and eating them as a main.


Overall, I'm very pleased with my experience cooking from Marcela Valladolid's Mexican Made Easy and look forward to trying out her other cookbooks soon.

10.10.2015

Choctoberfest: Barlean's Mint Chocolate Pudding


For Choctoberfest, the super awesome folks at Barlean's sent me the most delightful box of Chocolate Silk Greens and Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl Supplement.
  • Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens, a new product, are great to use in smoothies, for hot chocolate, in coffee, and can be added in cookies, protein bars, and puddings. It has 5 servings of vegetables and antioxidants with important vitamins and minerals and no sugar. It’s dairy and soy free and has superfoods in it. There’s different flavors to chose from too, but since this is Choctoberfest we're obviously working with the chocolate-flavored Greens!
  • Omega Swirl is a blend of Organic Evening Primrose Oil and Organic Flaxseed Oil and contains essential Omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. While it tastes all sweet and chocolaty, Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl is sweetened naturally with xylitol so it's actually sugar-free and contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular table sugar.
I'm already familiar with both Barlean's Flaxseed Oil and Orange Cream Total Omega Swirl 3-6-9 Supplement and unflavored Flaxseed Oil, so I was excited to try the Chocolate-Mint Omega Swirl ... but I wasn't sure about the Greens! I had zero experience with the greens and, to be honest, my "cooking" with the Omega Swirl was limited to stirring it into yoghurt, pudding, and oatmeal. How was I going to combine these ingredients with others in a way that was tasty and didn't make the folks at Barlean's regret they'd ever sent me anything?


While I was pretty sure no-one wanted a recipe for a mint chocolate milkshake (simply because it's too obvious to need a recipe) I thought a pudding -- a mint chocolate pudding fortified with Silk Greens and flavored with Omega Swirl -- might fly with you all. There's actual cooking in pudding-making, after all, and I'd made enough puds in the past that I (probably) knew what I was doing and (probably) wouldn't create a horrible mutant pudding that would make Barlean's come to my house and repossess my container of Greens.


Anyway, I think this pudding turned out really well! Dark and rich (but not heavy) with a beautiful color, it was dead easy to make and keeps well, covered, in the fridge. If you prefer a sweeter, more mild pudding (more like the instant mix stuff), feel free to boost the sugar and/or use milk chocolate morsels.

Barlean's Mint Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain almond coconut milk blend
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 Tbsp granulated white sugar, such as Imperial Sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 scoops Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens
  • 1 Tbsp Barlean's Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl Supplement
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Raspberries and fresh mint, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Whisk together ½ cup milk and cornstarch in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add remaining 1½ cups milk, cocoa, chocolate morsels, sugar, espresso powder, and Greens in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook, whisking regularly, over medium heat until the morsels have melted.
  3. Whisk in cornstarch slurry and cook over medium-low heat, whisking regularly, until pudding thickens and begins to boil.
  4. Remove pan from heat and quickly whisk in Omega Swirl and vanilla.
  5. Divide pudding evenly between four small bowls or dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with raspberries and mint, if desired.


If you're feeling inspired to try cooking with Barlean's Greens, you should consider subscribing to Barlean's Better Life newsletter which is full of product information, tips, offers, and coupons!





Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!

9.11.2015

Berries and Cream, You Fool

I've been browsing a lot of "old-timey" British cookbooks (blame The Great British Bake-Off) and have become quite smitten with puddings (which are generally quite different from American pudding). A fool seemed a good place to start as fools are fairly straight forward since they are, in their most basic form, little more than whipped cream folded into pureed fruit. Cream. Fruit. What's not to like?


And, if you're concerned with the amount of fat in the heavy cream, do what I did -- clean out the garage, cutting up piles of cardboard and cursing at the gigantic (and extra-creepy) spiders! A few hours of that leaves me so itchy, sweaty, and dirt-encrusted that I am completely certain I deserve heavy cream.

I used my Kitchen Aid Professional to make this fool as it really speeds things along. If you don't have a stand mixer or hand mixer or stick blender, a chilled metal bowl and hand whisk will work just fine, obviously, but it will take a bit longer to whip the cream.


The amount of sugar you use in the fool is dependent on the sweetness of your berries. My blackberries were almost overripe and bursting with sweetness so I mashed them with a single teaspoon of sugar. Less ripe/tarter berries may require more sugar, depending on your taste preferences.

Obviously, any berry (or mix of berries) would work well in this recipe so get experimenting!

Summer Blackberry Fool

Yield: 2 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 6 oz blackberries
  • 4 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 8 oz heavy (whipping) cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste [Nielsen-Massey]

Instructions

  1. Put the bowl and whisk attachment of your stand mixer in the freezer.
  2. Mash most of the blackberries (reserve a few for garnish) with the mint, lemon juice, and one teaspoon of sugar. Set aside for about 20 minutes so the flavors mingle and everything gets a bit juicy.
  3. Using the chilled bowl and whisk, whip the cream with the remaining sugar and vanilla crush. Gently fold the whipped cream and blackberry mix together to make a purple-colored cream.
  4. Garnish with additional mint and remaining blackberries. Nom!

6.29.2014

It's Tasty, But It's Not Ice Cream

A coworker shared the bones of this recipe with me a few weeks ago when we were discussing our deep and abiding love of ice cream. She told me she makes this recipe often as a healthy ice cream substitute and it sounded interesting, but (after the first attempt) I felt a need to embellish with vanilla and sugar as it was just a little too mouth-puckering without. A drizzle of honey or agave would work just as well, if that's your thing.


The Husband suggests this would also be better made with regular yoghurt as "the Greek yoghurt flavor just gets in my mouth and sucks the raspberry flavor right out."

I made this for two, hence the small amounts, but as long as you use a 1:1 ratio of berries and yoghurt you can probably make any quantity you desire.
Instant Frozen Yoghurt
Serves 2

Ingredients
6 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries
6 oz fat-free Greek yoghurt
½ Tbsp Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
2 tsp sugar (optional but highly recommended)
Fresh berries, if desired
Fresh mint, if desired

Directions
Pop you food processor bowl and blade into the freezer for 20 minutes so everything is cold.

Pulse the berries, yoghurt, sugar (if using), and vanilla around in your food processor until it develops a smooth frozen yoghurt-ish texture and the color is an even shade of raspberry red.

Scrape out into two small dessert bowls. Garnish with fresh berries and mint, if desired. Serve.
While I agree this frozen yogurt concoction is quite yummy and refreshing, it doesn't make me want ice cream any less! If anything, I find myself craving Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt Raspberry Fudge Chunk!

12.21.2013

Fantastic Raspberry Mascarpone Mousse

This mousse was meant to be August's Improv Challenge recipe, but time got away from me and I ended up skipping that month. However, since I decided to play with vanilla beans for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge, I thought I would finally give the mousse a go. It's based on a recipe for "Vanilla Mascarpone With Chocolate, Coconut and Berries" I found on the MailOnline (clearly, not a proponent of the Oxford comma), but I fear I undid any positive nutritional value the dish may have originally had!

Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse with Chocolate & Raspberries

This is, without a doubt, the very best raspberry mousse I've ever eaten and it comes together in a blink of the eye. Especially if, like me, you are the impatient sort and thaw your raspberries in the microwave. While mousse is creamy and rich, it is also very light and bright tasting. The kind of thing I could eat a lot of, before I really started thinking about the number of calories and grams of fat that went into it.

The Husband really enjoyed it, too -- he made a little moaning sound with each spoonful and when I asked if he liked it he said "Oh, yes! I could eat a lot of this! A big bowl of it and a spoon!"

I'm thinking about serving it at Christmas. Maybe using mint chocolate and with a garnish of mint leaves and raspberries?
Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse with Chocolate & Raspberries
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 oz frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
½ Tbsp sugar
1 tsp raspberry extract

8 oz mascarpone cheese
½ cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
1 oz dark chocolate, grated
[Lake Champlain Chocolates 70% Madagascar Dark]

Directions
Combine the raspberries, sugar, and extract. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the mascarpone, cream, and sugar with the vanilla scrapings until smooth. Change over to the whisk attachment and whisk until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate.

Divide the mixture between four serving bowls. Decorate with more grated chocolate, if desired.

7.15.2012

Eating The Alphabet: K is for Kiwi / L is for Lemon

I dithered over July's recipe possibilities for too long and, suddenly, it was last weekend and I still hadn't made anything. Flipping through my newest cookbook acquisition, Weight Watchers One-Pot Cookbook (Wiley, 2012), I stumbled across the recipe for "Lush No-bake Lemon Cheesecakes" and thought that, when tarted up with kiwi, raspberries, and fresh whipped cream, I might have a winner on my hands.

I already had kiwi, raspberries, lemon, and unflavored gelatin at home so it just meant a quick trip to the market for ricotta. I ended up buying part-skim ricotta, not fat-free, as the fat-free ricotta had (imho) too much stuff in it to keep it resembling cheese. The part-skim was just milk, vinegar, and salt. Also, if you're not keen on lemon, I don't see why you couldn't use lime or orange zest.

Was my trip to the market worth it? I'd say yes. Didn't that cheesecake turn out so pretty?

No-Bake Cheesecake & Fruit

These cheesecakes were a lot of fun to make and helped me get over my fear of double boilers. I'm always afraid I'll mess up with double boilers -- the bowl will be too close to the boiling water and get too hot or too far away and not get hot enough, etc -- and ruin whatever I'm trying to make. I promised myself I'd just relax and do as well as I could. If I ruined it, I'd just start over. The glass of wine I drank while re-reading the recipe probably helped, because I was very relaxed when the milk-zest mixture exploded all over the microwave.

When a recipe says "microwave on High until it boils, about 1½-2 minutes," you want to check at 1 minute. Don't whack it in for 2 and walk away. Clumps of zest and splashes of milk all over the inside of the microwave!

So I started over again and it all went smoothly. Things turned pale and thickened at precisely the right times. The ricotta mixtures beat smoothly into the thickened, cooled custard. The gelatin set up in the fridge. After four hours of refrigeration, I had achieved deliciousness.

Would I make these again? Oh, yes. They're smooth and creamy with a light, almost flirty, lemoniness. The chopped kiwi and raspberries paired well with the cheesecakes and fresh whipped cream never goes amiss! The Husband, who can be picky about lemon and "healthy" desserts, really liked these and seems to be of the opinion I should make them every weekend this summer.




Weight Watchers One-Pot Cookbook has a number of other interesting dessert recipes, including one for "Warm Cherries with Goat Cheese & Thyme" which uses a little dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme to make a sauce for the fresh cherries! Maybe for next year's Alphabet Challenge?

1.21.2012

Indian Pudding in My Slow Cooker, Pilgrim-Style

Friday, the weather actually felt like proper January weather. There was snow on the ground and the wind had a bitter edge to it. It was the kind of day that called for a hot bowl of Indian (corn meal) pudding. I'd never made Indian pudding before, but I had molasses, corn meal, eggs, and the Internet. How hard could it be? Not hard at all!

I used the slow cooker recipe for "Indian-Meal Pudding" from Pilgrim Seasonings, a Plimoth Plantation blog, as it had lots of photos to follow along with. I like lots of photos if I'm making a dish I'm not really sure of. I want to be able to look at my pot and then the pot in the photo and see that we have arrived at the same results.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding
Gather all your ingredients!

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Bring corn (Indian) meal, milk, and salt to boil. 
 Cook, stirring, for 5 min. Cover and simmer for 10.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Remove from heat and whisk in butter.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Mix your molasses, eggs, and spices together. 
Whisk in a little cornmeal mixture to temper.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Add molasses mixture to cornmeal mixture.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Dump in hot, buttered, slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Come back after 2 hours & check your pudding. 
Panic, because it looks burnt.

While my pudding only cooked for two hours on High, it looked overcooked. The recipe said "the finished pudding will be firm around the edges than the center" and my pudding looked uniformly firm with brown edges that had pulled away from the slow cooker insert. When I took the lid off my slow cooker at the two hour mark, I could hear the pudding sizzling. I freaked out a little bit, you know, and was quite certain I had burnt the pudding.

Happily, my pudding still tasted very good. Redolent of spices, the pudding was soft and custard-y with a strong molasses finish. I ate some of it warm with unsweetened fresh whipped cream and the leftovers were tasty reheated for breakfast with a splash of milk. I'd guess this pudding makes four generous servings or six more healthful ones.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

(I fed some to The Husband and he said, in very snooty British tones, that it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever fed him so ymmv, etc).