Creole Cream Cheese and Ponchatoula Strawberry Ice Cream

We drove through Ponchatoula, Louisiana the other day and picked up two flats of fresh strawberries from Berry Town Produce. I had already bought a package of Creole Cream Cheese from Dorignac’s Food Center in Metairie. For those who don’t regularly follow this blog, Creole Cream Cheese is tart like sour cream but also sweet and goes really well in ice cream. It is also an easy cheese to make at home (though I strongly recommend whole milk and liquid rennet) when you don’t have a neighborhood grocery to supply it.

This make a little more than my usual ice cream recipe but I wasn’t paying attention when I poured it into the ice cream maker and over filled it. I came back later and there was a quite a mess. A tasty, tasty mess but a mess indeed!

Creole Cream Cheese and Ponchatoula Strawberry Ice Cream

1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 (11.5-ounce) package Creole Cream Cheese
1.5 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Mix until fluffy and pale yellow in color. In a small pot, combine milk and cream. Bring to a simmer but do not boil. Remove milk from heat and slowly blend one ladle at a time into the egg mixture, stirring constantly to keep eggs from scrambling. Continue blending until all is incorporated. Add vanilla. Chill overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.

Pulse the sliced strawberries in a food processor just enough to chop but not enough to puree. When ready to make the ice cream, thoroughly blend the Creole cream cheese into the custard mixture. Mix in the strawberries and their juice. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Place ice cream in the freezer or allow it to temper 2 hours prior to serving.

Yummy!

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Bourbon Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Michelle made an awesome cheesecake for my 50th birthday. She used as a stepping off point, the recipe from WildFlour Pastry bakery in Charleston that was published in Garden and Gun. She made many changes and it resulted in an incredible cheesecake.

To make the caramel – put a sealed can of sweetened condensed milk that you’ve peeled the label off into your slow cooker. Cover entirely with water. Cook on low overnight for about 10 hours. Remove from the water to cool completely before opening.

Bourbon Caramel Pecan Cheesecake

Crust:
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake:
4 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
3/4 cup caramel (see above), warmed slightly
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1/2 cup caramel
2 teaspoons cream (or milk)
2 teaspoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
whole and chopped toasted and salted pecans for garnish
flake salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Pulse the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add in the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and pulse until combined. Press into the bottom of a greased 10-inch springform pan. Lightly brown crust for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl whip the softened cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Pour in the sugar and mix to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream until well combined. Mix in vanilla extract and bourbon. Add in the warmed caramel and salt and mix until combined.

Pour into prepared crust. Bake for 3 hours in a low oven. Turn oven off and let cool in oven for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the sides to release from the pan. Let cool in pan on rack another 30 minutes before putting it the refrigerator to cool completely before adding topping, at least three hours. We cooled ours overnight.

Warm the remaining caramel in the microwave. Add to it 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 3 teaspoons of cream (milk would work if you have no cream) and 2 tablespoons of bourbon. Whisk until smooth. Carefully spread on the top of the cheesecake. Top with pecans. Sprinkle with flake salt.

It was a very happy birthday to me!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I woke up this morning craving chocolate chip cookies. When I went into the kitchen I saw the jar of peanut butter that I hadn’t but back in the cabinet after a snack of peanut butter and crackers last night and decided to alter my plans to include some peanut butter.

Just adding peanut butter to an existing chocolate chip cookie recipe would make cookies without enough chocolate for my craving. However, adding melted chocolate would give me the hit I wanted needed. I also switched the semi-sweet chocolate for bittersweet. Feel free to change it back when making the recipe for yourself, if you don’t want such darkly chocolate cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 ounce bar bittersweet chocolate, broken into bits
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ounce package bittersweet morsels

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Melt the bittersweet chocolate bar in the microwave or on top of a double boiler.

Mix together in a medium bowl the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in the peanut butter. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl and then slowly add the flour mixture. Pour in the melted chocolate. Scrape down the bowl and then stir in the bittersweet chocolate chips.

Make 2 tablespoon balls of the mixture in your hands (if necessary, chill the dough for about 10 minutes first) and then place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 23 minutes or until set but still soft. Cool on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to a wire rack and cooling completely.

Better Than Math Pie for Pi Day

This pie is a variation of the “Better Than Sex” pie (chocolate, peanut butter, more chocolate). In honor of Pi Day (3.14), I’m naming this one “Better Than Math.”

It is a multi-part recipe – make the dulce de leche first, followed by the ganache, then make the crust and the filling before assembling and cooling it down.

 

Better Than Math Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 pint heavy cream, divided
6 ounces Oreo cookies – about 25 cookies
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 – 10 ounce package bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Peel the label off the can of sweetened condensed milk. Place in a saucepan and put water in the pan to cover the can with 1 to 2 inches water. Bring water to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours (checking regularly to ensure that the water completely covers the can at all times). Turn the can over and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours. Remove can and let cool completely before opening. (You can also make this in a slow cooker – 8-10 hours on low).

Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture has emulsified.  Place the ganache in the refrigerator until it has cooled and thicken (no more than 2 hours).

Scrape off the cream filling from the Oreo. Place Oreo cookies sans cream filling into a food processor and pulse until it make crumbs. Pour in butter and pulse to combine. Press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan.

In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate chips. Add in the peanut butter and stir until combined. Add melted chocolate chips and peanut butter, cream cheese and 1 cup whipping cream together in a stand mixer. Beat until thick and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Spread almost all of the ganache over the Oreo crust. Reserve 2 tablespoons for drizzling on the top of pie.

Spoon chocolate peanut butter mixture into the pie crust over the ganache layer.

Drizzle half the can of sweetened condensed milk dulce de leche over the chocolate mixture. Reserve remainder for another use. Drizzle extra ganache over top.

Refrigerate overnight or place pie in freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve already posted the Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake Michelle and I made using a John Besh recipe as our template. Besides wanting to make it truly our own, the big problem was that it just wasn’t blackberry enough. Michelle had the idea of making it more of a structured filling and we figured that double the blackberries meant double the flavor.

We were right! Intense fruit flavor balanced with creamy cheesecake. Major yum!

Michell made these in three 8×8 pans for easy freezing and transportation. To do so, she had to triple the graham cracker crust but the rest of the recipe is plenty of batter to fill them up.

Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 pounds cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon limoncello

3 cups blackberries, pureed
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
Juice from one lemon (zest lemon and put the zest in the cheesecake batter)
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Grease a 9 inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Press onto the bottom and part way up the sides of the pan. Bake it for 10 or 15 minutes before putting in the filling.

 

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in the sour cream, flour, lemon zest and limoncello until smooth. Divide the mixture between two bowls.

 

In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries with the lemon juice. Mix in sugar and flour. Pulse a few times before adding in egg and vanilla extract.

 

Pour half the cheesecake mixture into prepared pans. Then add the blackberry filling in dollops on top. Pour on remaining cheesecake batter.

 

Place in oven and bake for 2 hours, until the topping is set. Remove from the oven. Raise temperature to 350 and return pan to oven to bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

 

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bus 57 Apple Cake

Here is a very easy cake recipe from the kitchen of Miryam Levy. Seems she had listened in on a conversation in French between two women sitting behind her on the 57 line from Haifa to Kiryat Bialik. And, voila, bus cake!

My only addition was to toss the apples with a little cinnamon (1.5 teaspoons) for a little more flavor. However, the cake should be just fine without that step. I experimented with both red (Honey crisp) and green (Granny Smith). The sugar was a little much with the red ones but perfect with the tarter, green ones. The green apple cake, because the apples aren’t as juicy, had a lovely crunch along the edges as well. The red apple cake was more moist and dense, so it is really up to personal taste as to which apples you choose to use. Heck, I may try it again with a mix of apples!

Red (Honey Crisp) Apple Cake

I also still had the grater out when doing the second cake and so I grated the butter for more even distribution on the top of the cake. The top picture is the red apple cake with sliced butter. The bottom picture is the Granny Smith cake with grated butter.

Green (Granny Smith) Apple Cake

Bus 57 Apple Cake

1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick cold butter, divided
3-5 apples, depending on size to make 3 cups grated (I recommend Granny Smith)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Generously butter a round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter it as well. I used one tablespoon of butter on this step.

Mix semolina, sugar, salt and flour together and pour half the amount into pan. Peel, core and grate apples. If desired, toss the grated apples with a little cinnamon. Evenly spread the apples over the first layer of dry cake mix. Pour the rest of the dry mix over grated apples. Slice or grate the butter and layer  it over the top of the cake.

Bake until golden, about 60 minutes.

Serve hot, topped with ice cream or whipped cream. I also had it cold the next morning with my tea and it was wonderful, too!

As this recipe doesn’t use eggs, substitute margarine for butter and you’ve got a terrific vegan dessert!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

Time for more quick, no-bake desserts. This one is a little messy but the darker chocolate compensates for the sweetness of the cereal.

The recipe calls for 8 cups of cereal but I just used the entire 12.5 ounce box and an entire bag of bittersweet chocolate chips.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups bittersweet chocolate morsels
8 cups Honeycomb cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place cereal in a large bowl. Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Let cool slightly and then pour over the cereal. Stir gently until everything is well coated.  Pour onto a baking sheet and let the chocolate set for an hour.

In a large paper bag, place 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Dump in the chocolate covered cereal into the bag and shake out another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar on the top. Shake vigorously until sugar coats the pieces. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and let cool completely before putting in zip top plastic bags.