We’ve been doing enormously well on our path to better health so when we had friends over for dinner recently I asked JT what dessert he wanted and he said banana cream pie! Banana cream pie is definitely NOT diet food, but you need a treat every once in a while.
There are many recipes out there and JT was specific that he didn’t want chunks of banana so I had to improvise by adding puréed bananas and increasing the thickening agent to make up for the added liquid ratio. I used Martha’s recipe as a starting point. This pie is not overly sweet and it packs a lot of banana flavour. It’s best to make this dessert the day before to allow it to set.
Banana Cream Pie
Makes one rectangular pie about 12 cm x 36 cm (14 inch x 4.5 inch)
Ingredients for the crust:
- 3/4 cup cookie crumbs (I save mine from broken cookies in a freezer bag)
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup oats (not instant)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tbsp Skor® bits
Directions for the crust:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- Combine everything but the butter and Skor bits in the small bowl of a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the butter. Fold in the Skor bits.
- Press into a 12 cm x 36 cm (14 inch x 4.5 inch) rectangular tart pan (preferably one that has a removable bottom to make it easier to release).
- Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
- 3 ripe bananas (about 1 cup puréed)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups half & half
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- Whipping cream
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan or double boiler, combine cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, half & half, and salt and mix well. Set over simmering water or medium to low heat and whisk until thoroughly thickened.
- Cool over an ice bath and when cooled, whisk in the vanilla and puréed bananas. Set plastic film over the top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until set.
- Whip the butter until light and slowly add the cooled filling to incorporate butter evenly.
- Combine bananas and lemon juice and purée until smooth. Whip into the prepared pudding.
- Spoon into the prepared pastry crust and set another plastic film over the top. Refrigerate.
- Serve slices of the pie garnished with stabilized whipped cream and sprinkled with Skor® bits.
- Cookie crumbs are usually trimmings I save from bars, broken cookies and such. I save them in a zip-lock baggy in the freezer and blitz them in the food processor for pie crusts. I got the idea from Momofuko’s Momofuko’s Crack Pie Recipe, plus it gives us a good reason not to eat the trimmings! (Method in my madness!)
- The Skor® bits add a lovely crunch and flavour to the crust, omit without repercussions if you wish.
- The bananas do oxidized a bit, so I modified the instructions to include the puréed bananas just prior to adding to the crust.
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Posted in Desserts, Gluten Free, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Recipes, Vegetarian, tagged Avocado, comfort food, delicious, Dessert, Gluten Free, salted caramel, skor®, tasty on January 16, 2017|
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Here in Toronto, we have a lovely grocery store chain called Loblaws; you may have heard of them through their widely distributed President’s Choice (PC) products, a high-end food product range created by Dave Nichol. What has this got to do with my recipe today? Patience grasshopper…
In recent years, Loblaws has rebranded themselves and have created a truly upscale grocery shopping experience; their stores are beautiful and inspiring. The Toronto flagship store is the Loblaws at the old Maple Leaf Gardens and they merchandise product in a visually appealing way, so much so, that a long-time shopper like me, ends up adding a few extras into my grocery cart when I shop there! In addition to an inspiring shopping experience, Loblaws offers cooking classes! Some of the cooking classes are demonstration-style and for $10 (Canadian) we watch a real Chef cook a couple of recipes to make a meal, and at the end of the demonstration we get to eat the results! And, because they promote several PC products, we are given a $10 Loblaws gift card to use at our leisure! Win/win in my opinion.
In December, they offered a special cooking class focusing on a few new premium Black Label PC products, but they only advertised it to regulars at the cooking classes. It was a bit more expensive ($15 Canadian) but SO WELL WORTH IT! I went with a bunch of friends and we made an evening of it. We cooked up some pretty amazing things that evening, Crispy Sesame Rice cakes with PC® Tuna Tataki, PC® La Belle Rivière Cheese, Cranberry and Pear Stuffed Roasted Turkey Breast with Peri Peri Kale with PC® Hollandaise Sauce. I enjoyed the turkey and Kale so much, I made it for JT for Christmas Day dinner. The pièce de resistance was the Avocado Lime and Coconut No-Bake Cheesecake, but our Chef decided to make it a semifreddo instead and he won me over. As you know, I am not much of a dessert eater, but the semifreddo was too difficult to resist, I polished off my entire slice! I have since made the semifreddo version of this tart and sweet dessert without the crust and it was very well received. Just after the holidays, I had an avocado on its way out so I thought I’d recreate the dessert using a caramel sauce I made for a Christmas party and froze the leftovers, the recipe below, Salted Caramel Semifreddo with Skor Bits is the result. I served it for a dinner party last week. It’s not much of a calorie saver (duh, caramel sauce!) but it’s a nice treat from time to time, plus did I mention it has Skor® bits?
This small slice bangs a lot of flavour.
Salted Caramel Semifreddo with Skor® Bits
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe
Makes about 500 mL (about 2 cups)
- 160 g cream cheese (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 ripe avocado (mine was on the smaller side but larger will work too)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 85 g (about 1/3 cup) caramel sauce (or to taste)
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp Skor® caramel bits
- Combine cream cheese, avocado, lemon juice and caramel sauce in the small bowl of your food processor (I used my Cuisinart Smartstick mini processor attachment).
- Prepare your freezer-safe containers by spraying them with non-stick spray and lining with parchment if possible (round containers may prove difficult).
- Evenly sprinkle sea salt and Skor® bits on the bottom of each container and pour the cream over. Cover and freeze overnight.
- Using the parchment to lift out the semifreddo (or dip ever so slightly into warm water), put it on a cutting board and slice or plate. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Serve immediately.
Note: I was not renumerated in any way for this post, it is simply my opinion of an entertaining event in Toronto that is not too expensive.
I used gold sea salt to make it more festive!
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Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe we’re at the beginning of 2017! Wasn’t it just Y2K yesterday? Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say. And we did have fun in 2016!
Crème Caramel has been on my bucket list for a long as I can remember. I seem to recall it being really popular in the 1980’s but I haven’t seen it on a menu in a really long time. It’s a light-tasting, creamy baked custard with a surprise when you turn it out on a plate: deliciously moreish caramel oozes over the out-turned dessert. It’s classy looking and it’s super easy and I’m going to bet that you will love it. I referred to this Martha Stewart recipe because, as luck would have it, I had two egg yolks that needed to be used. I also reduced the recipe to make 3 ramekins because that’s what I needed for a dinner party. Martha’s recipe makes 8 servings so if you need more, feel free to use her original proportions. I also used slightly larger ramekins (250 mL or 1 cup size) but filled each one about 120 mL or 1/2 cup of the custard.
Makes about 360 mL (about 1 1/2 cups) custard (3 or 4 servings)
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 1/8 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 350 mL (~1 1/2 cups) unsweetened cashew milk (I use this brand)
- pinch of salt
- teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C). Place a large, high-sided pan into the oven and fill about half way with warm water.
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, add 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice and water and mix well. Place pan over medium-high heat and melt the sugar without stirring until it reaches a beautiful amber colour. Remove from heat and pour evenly into each ramekin. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, combine the eggs, cashew milk, salt and vanilla extract and whisk over simmering water until slightly thickened and warm.
- Pour into prepared ramekins evenly. Place ramekins into the pan in the oven and add more water so it reaches about two-thirds up the side of the ramekins. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the custard has set.
- Remove from the water bath and allow to cool. Place in the refrigerator so that the custard sets up (a couple of hours should do).
- To serve, carefully run a thin knife around the edge and place a plate face down over the ramekin and flip. You may need to give the ramekin a bit of a jiggle to release the custard. Serve as is or with raspberries and whipped cream.
It’s a lovely, light-tasting dessert.
- I used cashew milk because I had some on hand from recipe testing, but in all honesty, I would do it again! Cashew milk is less than a quarter of the calories and less than half of the fat of 2% milk! And the flavour was spot on.
- Feel free to use almond milk or even coconut milk for taste variation, with same quantity.
- If you use coconut milk instead, consider making coconut caramel by using coconut sugar (a simple substitution will work just fine or use double of this recipe).
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A few weeks back, I assisted a fellow food stylist for a well-known retailer on their magazine’s Christmas edition. I had to track down two FRESH 10-12 lb turkeys in July! Can you imagine? Not many butchers carry fresh turkeys at the beginning of July but I was lucky because one in particular supplies many food stylists in Toronto and I was able to get the two 11 lb birds on short notice! Note to self, this butcher ROCKS! The quality is exceptional and when I asked for 10-12 lb turkeys, he gave me 11 lb not 14 lb like my butcher does!
Ontario Strawberries are generally small, sweet, little heart-shaped berries.
During this shoot, we made pies and while the pies we made were beautiful, the stylist mentioned she would make a galette for the crew using the leftover fruit, so galette stuck in my head. Fast forward to the Sunday, JT and I were driving up to the cottage (he had a councillor meeting first thing on Monday morning) and I was able to purchase fresh, Ontario Strawberries from a road-side farm vendor (I think the kids were selling them!), the strawberries were picked that very morning. Ontario strawberries are usually the small, heart-shaped berries that taste like strawberries, totally unlike the gargantuan berries we usually have all year round from California (sorry guys, but California must send us the most tasteless, most gigantic strawberries ever and keep all the good stuff for themselves!) I put this quick galette together using my brand new cottage immersion blender, with the mini food processor attachment. I adore the rustic look of a galette, perfect for the cottage!
Ontario Strawberry and Blueberry Galette
The original recipe for the pastry is from Dori Greenspan’s beautiful book, Baking with Julia, but you can find the recipe on-line, here, here and here to name a few!
Makes 1 galette about 20 cm or 10 inches in diameter
- 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp AP unbleached flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk with a splash of water
- 2 cups small strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 3 tbsp AP unbleached flour
- 2 tbsp sugar, plus more for dusting the pastry
- Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse quickly until the butter is totally incorporated and the dough resembles a coarse meal. Pour all of the water in at once and process again until the dough, more or less, comes together. Pour out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and working quickly, press the dough into a single disk. Cover with the wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes, like I did.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C) (I have convection (fan) at the cottage).
- Wash and dry strawberries and blueberries. Toss with the 3 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp sugar until well coated. Set into the refrigerator while you work on the pastry.
- Roll out the pastry dough into a 30 cm or 12 inch round. Pile the berries into the centre and fold up the edges, pinching to contain the excess pastry. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk (and a splash of water) and sprinkle with additional sugar (sanding sugar would have been great, but I was at the cottage so I didn’t have any).
- Bake on a piece of parchment for 20-30 minutes (I have a small convection oven, so it baked very quickly). Serve warm with basil ice yogurt (see notes below).
- JT said that my fruit to pastry ratio was off, so I adjusted the above recipe and doubled the fruit.
- Basil Ice Yogurt is simple to make: combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup honey (or to taste), chiffonade of 8-10 basil leaves and mix well. Freeze for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t freeze solid.
- Basil and strawberries are a lovely combo.
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The marketing company that I work with from time to time recently moved into their new exciting office space and they invited me down for a look. I decided to bring them a baked treat (because that is how I roll) and created this new chewy chocolate peanut butter brownie recipe! I was inspired by your generous reaction to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark with Gold Sea Salt that I created, thank you. This is not an overly sweet brownie but it is richly flavoured with chocolate with the classic peanut butter combo. I used natural, chunky PB that isn’t sugared or salted, but feel free to use your traditional grocery store PB and omit the additional sugar and salt that I add in the later part of this recipe. The recipe is loosely based on my Go-To brownie recipe that my dear Mom cut out of the Toronto Star about 20 years ago (click here and here).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe
Makes about 25 brownies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 5 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 45 g (1 1/2 oz) semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup natural, chunky peanut butter
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Sift flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
- Melt butter with chocolate chips, add vanilla and water and stir well.
- Beat in the egg whites (if the liquid is still hot, temper them so you don’t get scrambled eggs!)
- Add dry ingredients and stir well.
- Pour into a prepared 9″ x 9″ pan and line the pan with parchment paper, then spray with non-stick baking spray. Bake for 25-40 minutes until firm and cake tester comes out clean.
- Option to frost with a butter icing, but not necessary as this brownie is very moist and flavourful.
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Last month we had another progressive dinner (number 11 to be exact) and we decided to make up some new rules. In general, we alternate clockwise for the courses and this time it was neighbours John and Nancy’s turn to make the main course. The first new rule is that the couple who has the main course chooses the theme. The second new rule, is that the main course couple may also invite a “guest couple” to participate in the eating but not in the making; having four courses has put the main course much too late in the evening (around 10:30-11) because we inevitably stay too long at each house! For this progressive dinner, John and Nancy chose Thai food because Nancy was recently in Thailand and had a marvellous time. It was our turn for dessert.
There aren’t too many desserts in Thailand and I recently learned that they generally don’t serve a sweet after dinner, desserts are usually saved for celebrations, like weddings. Thai desserts are often not sweet and sometimes even savoury (don’t you worry, I didn’t choose savoury (you know who you are!)). I did have a rather difficult time landing on three desserts that would WOW our party because I wanted to choose something obviously Thai and put my own spin on it. I finally chose a baked Coconut Custard Slice (from my Easy Thai-Style Cookery from the Australian Woman’s Weekly, published in 1996), also from the same cookbook, a Sticky Rice Pudding infused with Kafir Lime Leaves with a Coconut and Lime Custard and lastly a Mango Mousse garnished with a Mango Rose (from Epicurious). All three desserts were served in small portions, as above. I made all three in advance and portioned them out so that on the evening I needed only to plate them. These dinners always get out of control with the volume of food so small portions is all anyone ever wants, but I had made enough for leftovers in case someone wanted more. I really like coconut so both the custard cake and the rice pudding were high on my favourite list, but I have to say the mango mousse was also refreshing and delicious. Which one would you choose as your favourite?
A very nicely textured coconut lemon custard.
Baked Coconut Custard Cake
Makes one 24 cm (9.5 inch) tart, about 1 cm (0.5 inch) deep.
For original recipe, please click here.
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut cream
- 1 cup 18% cream
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut, toasted
- Lemon or Lime zest for garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Prepare an 24 cm (9.5 inch) removable bottom scalloped tart pan by lightly greasing and lining the exterior bottom in foil making sure it comes up more than half way on the sides and is waterproof. Set aside.
- Combine coconut cream, cream, eggs and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and stir over medium-low heat until warm; do not boil (the coconut cream will separate).
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Place the tart pan into larger pan that can accommodate enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the tart pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre of custard is just set. Cool custard for 30 minutes and then refrigerate custard 1 hour or 1-2 days before serving.
- Cut into wedges and sprinkle with extra coconut and lemon or lime zest, if desired.
A delicious rice pudding scented with kaffir lime leaves and a baked custard topping.
Kaffir Lime Sticky Rice Pudding
Serves 4 individual portions or 9 mini portions.
For original recipe, please click here.
Ingredients for the rice pudding:
- 1/2 cup (100 g) short grain rice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk (including the cream)
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 10-20 dried kafir lime leaves (depending on how much you like kafir limes)
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
Ingredients for the custard:
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk, including the cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- juice from 1/2 a lime
- Lightly grease nine 125 mL (1/2 cup) capacity ovenproof mason jars with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine rice, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, coconut milk and water in a thick bottom pan, and slowly bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed (about 30 minutes). Cool slightly. Remove Kafir lime leaves, discard.
- To make the custard, combine the milk with the eggs, sugar and lime juice and whisk together. Set aside.
- To each prepared mason jar, add 2 slightly heaping tablespoons of the rice pudding and press into the bottom of the jar. Pour the prepared custard evenly into each of the nine jars.
- Place jars into a large rimmed pan and fill the pan with warm water to about 1/2 way up the mason jars. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until custard has set.
- Remove jars and allow to cool. Refrigerate until 2 hours before serving, then remove from fridge and serve at room temperature garnished with the toasted sesame seeds.
A lightly set mousse (not heavy on the gelatin) with a good punch of mango and a dash of lime.
Makes one 23 cm x 23 cm (9″ x 9″) pan of mousse.
For original recipe please click here.
- 1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
- 500 mL (2 cups) fresh mango purée (about 4 small mangos)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
- 3 egg whites, beaten until stiff but not dry (you may substitute whipped cream for the egg whites, about 1 cup whipped)
- 1 mango for rose garnises and lime zest
- In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water, let it soften for 1 minute, then heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.
- In a blender or using an emersion blender, blend together the mango purée, sugar, vanilla, and yoghurt and add the gelatin mixture and blend the mixture well.
- Beat the egg whites (or whipping cream) until they hold stiff peaks, fold it into the mango mixture gently but thoroughly.
- Pour into a plastic-lined 23 cm x 23 cm (9″ x 9″) pan.
- Chill the mousse for at least 4 hours or overnight. Freeze for 30 minutes before serving (improves both the flavour and texture, and makes it much easier to handle).
- Cut 9 servings using a flower cookie cutter and place carefully on a plate, garnish with mango roses. To make mango roses, I simply used my vegetable peeler and peeled slices about 30 cm (12 inches) long from each mango and then rolled into a rose. I prepared the roses in advance to make serving easier.
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