Tuesday, November 29, 2016

“Mille Feuille” (Napoleon) – Short and Sweet

This mille feuille, which I’m sure I pronounced perfectly in the video, is also referred to as a Napoleon, and is the easiest, “fancy” pastry I know. The technique for creating your “thousand leaves” is very simple, especially if you use frozen dough, which any sensible person should do.

Whether you use frozen or homemade dough, the key is to keep it flat. We do this by “docking” the dough, and pressing with another pan. I used a few layers of foil before placing the pan on top, to make sure it was in contact with the dough, and depending on the size and shape of your pans, you may need to do the same.

Most patisseriers will make these well ahead, and keep them in the fridge, so that the pastry softens a bit, as it absorbs moisture from the filling. This is standard procedure, and they are much easier to eat that way, but I actually prefer to enjoy them right away, so as to fully experience the contrast between the crispy, buttery pastry, and the cold, creamy custard. 

Stay tuned for the new and improved pastry cream video heading your way soon. In the meantime, your favorite recipe should work, as well as things like whipped cream, sweetened ricotta/mascarpone, and/or lemon curd. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


-- Bake at 400 F. for about 15 minutes “pressed,” and then continue for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered, or until browned and crisp. I turned mine once during that time.

-- To make the icing, simply add enough water or milk to powdered sugar, until the right consistency is reached. For the chocolate one, I started with one part unsweetened cocoa to four parts powdered sugar, and then stirred in the liquid. Check this video if you are confused.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Candied Yams – So Good You’ll Forget You’re Eating Sweet Potatoes

While it’s true the “yams” used in this gorgeous candied yams recipe are really just orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, it’s also true that no one cares, “yams” sounds better, and takes less characters to share on Twitter. Like I said in the video, I only mentioned it in case “that guy” is at your Thanksgiving.

I’m not a huge sweet side dish person, but I do make an exception for these candied yams, since it’s, well, exceptional. Part of that, I believe, is using lemon instead of orange juice, since we have plenty of sweetness, and what we really need is some tartness for balance.

Speaking of sweetness, I like to use a Grade B maple syrup, since it seems to have a little deeper maple flavor; or at least that’s what Alton Brown said once, and I believed him. Having said that, any real maple syrup will be just fine.

This will be our last video before the Thanksgiving holiday, and I’ll be taking the next few days off, so just a heads-up that I won’t be around to answer questions on the blog. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Anyway, I want to wish you all a very healthy, and happy holiday, and I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
For the yams:
3 pounds yams, peeled, cut in 2-inch pieces,
2 quarts cold water
3 tablespoons kosher salt (or about 5 teaspoons of fine salt)
For the glaze:
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch cayenne
salt to taste
chopped pecans, walnuts or pistachios for garnish

Friday, November 18, 2016

Creamy Corn Pudding – Perfect for Holidays, Weekdays, and Weekday Holidays

Corn pudding doesn’t get the same attention as some other holiday side dishes, but it’s a real crowd-pleaser that pairs perfect with all your favorite special occasion meats. 

It also looks, and tastes like you have to be a good cook to make, which happily you don’t. If you have a decent blender, or food processor, there isn’t much that can go wrong.

If you are sans mechanical pureeing device, you can still make this by using the corn kernels whole. In fact, many corn pudding makers will leave some portion whole for texture, but as I said in the video, I like the smooth version best. 

The pan under the baking dish is optional, and if you’re in a hurry, you can skip it, which will cut about 15 to 30 minutes off your cooking time; but I like that it slows the cooking, which I think improves the texture. You can do the same thing with a water bath, but that’s slightly more work, and this really isn’t that temperamental of a recipe.

Speaking of cooking time, I used an 8” x 11” baking dish, which is kind of an odd size, so if you use the more common 9” x 12” casserole, you’ll have to test for doneness, as the batter will probably cook faster. Either way, if you’re looking for a special holiday side dish, or just something delicious to throw next to sausage on a Tuesday night, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for a 12 portions:
2 pounds frozen yellow corn (buy premium quality)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 teaspoons kosher salt (1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter, divided (2/3 for batter, 1/3 for baking dish)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

- Place baking dish on a sheet pan and bake at 350 F. for between 60 and 75 minutes, or until brown and just set. You may need to adjust for different size/shape baking dishes.