Category Archives: Recipes

To Pineapple or Not To Pineapple, That is the Question!

The big debate nowadays is whether to put pineapple on a pizza or not. No offense to those Hawaiian pizzas with spam and pineapple, but I say NO to that. There is one exception, however! I will explain in a moment.

I love my Margarita pizza with pizza sauce, lots of mozzarella and basil, so I guess I am a traditional pizza lover. However, if we change the subject to dessert pizzas then that is a different story.

Picture pineapple on this glorious concoction:

A baked pizza crust fresh from the oven. Top it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, drizzled (heavily) with chocolate sauce and then topped with all sorts of chopped fresh fruits such as: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and YES to fresh pineapple!!!

This dessert pizza is easy and simply DEVINE!!!

Try it sometime and get back to me about this pineapple “thing”.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail

 

 

Sneaking a Kiss on Valentine’s Day

Every year I like to surprise family and friends with something special for Valentine’s Day. Since my birthday, which is Valentine’s Day, actually falls on Tuesday this year and I teach on Tuesdays, I thought I would make a special treat for my class.

This recipe is so simple anyone can make it. The recipe is for a Chocolate Dipped Marbleized Pink Meringue Kiss. Not only is it easy, it is also gluten free!

Here’s how to make it:

Beat 4 egg whites in an electric mixer on medium speed until very foamy. Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (which will stabilize the meringue) and keep beating on medium speed.

Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time. Once all of the sugar is added, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now go full throttle and beat the meringue at high speed for about 8 minutes. The meringue should look very stiff; almost like marshmallow fluff.

Remove the mixing bowl from the motor. Add a few drops of red food coloring and fold in the color, with a rubber spatula, until it is almost completely blended in. Now drop in several more drops of red food coloring, but this time, barely mix the color in, just until there are streaks and the mixture looks like pink marble.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag that has been fitted with a large plain tip half full of meringue, and pipe out “kiss-like” shapes allowing the top of the meringue to form a point before you release pressure on the pastry bag. Re-fill the bag ,using up the remaining meringue, and keep forming several more “kisses”.

Bake the “kisses” for 2 hours rotating the pans after 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. They should be firm, but not have any color to them. Note to self: the 2 hours the “kisses” dry out in the oven goes fast and it is unsupervised time. You can go about your business while they are doing their thing.

Now we dip:

Melt some dark chocolate and dip the bottoms of each “kiss” into the chocolate and place it back onto the same sheet pan. Chill the “kisses” in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. If you use compound chocolate, which has no cocoa butter in it, you can keep the “kisses” at room temperature to harden. Either way, the chocolate hardens VERY quickly. That is why this such a GREAT last minute gift idea! You may even find yourself sneaking a few kisses before you even give them to anyone.

Place your “kisses ” in a clear bag and tie with a red ribbon. Give to the sweetie of your choice and watch how many kisses you get in return!!! Ooo LALA!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Baking!

Chef Gail

 

Celebrating 85 Years with Flan

My mother just turned 85 years old yesterday, and my family and I are having a small celebration tomorrow night to honor this milestone. Although, my mom almost did not live to see this wonderful age. She almost died when I was a young teenager.

After a life saving surgery for a bleeding ulcer, and a tremendous weight loss due to complications after the surgery, the doctors desperately wanted her to gain weight.

Even as a teenager I was always making something in the kitchen, and I knew my mom loved custards. All types– flan, crème caramel, crème brulee, and pastry creams. Looking at a dessert menu at a restaurant the family ALWAYS knew what she would order for dessert. If there was a custard, they had better save one for her.

Knowing this, I thought if I made her some custard it may help her appetite and help her to eat. After checking with the nursing staff they thought it was a wonderful idea.

A few days later, I brought  my best vanilla custard to the hospital. It was rich and smooth, full of egg and milk proteins to help mom to bulk up. It turned out she loved it so much she sometimes craved it in the middle of the night. The nurses had a solution for this. The custard was put in an airtight container outside on the window ledge of her hospital room for easy access. It was winter time so there was no chance that the custard would spoil.

Now almost every year I make some sort of custard to honor mom’s birthday, and she loves every bit of it.

For mom’s 85th we will have flan- a coconut coffee flan! Flan is super easy to make. So that you can celebrate along with us here is a quick recipe for you to enjoy:

Coconut Coffee Flan

Melt down some granulated sugar, about 1/2 cup to make a caramel. Add about 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to the sugar to prevent it from crystalizing. Stir it with a fork. Allow it to melt undisturbed in a small saucepan until it is the color of a lightly brewed tea. Remove it from the heat and slowly whisk in about 3 tablespoons brewed coffee. Do this over the heat so that the clumps of caramel melt.

Now quickly pour some of the coffee caramel into each of 6 ramekins. The ramekins should each have a 3/4 cup capacity. Tilt the ramekins so that the caramel covers the bottoms and slightly up the sides of each. Place the ramekins into a rectangular oven safe pan with a kitchen towel under them.

Heat about 1 1/4 cups of milk and one can of coconut milk to the simmer. In another bowl whisk 3 whole eggs and 2 yolks with 2/3 cup granulated sugar. Slowly whisk the milk into the eggs. Add about 1 teaspoon coconut extract and blend well. Divide the custard evenly between each ramekin. Pour some hot water into the pan being careful not to get any into the custard until the water comes halfway up the sides of the pan.

Bake the flan for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cut around each flan with a knife and allow to cool and chill over night.

Invert each flan onto a dessert plate allowing the coffee caramel sauce to spread all around it. Top with some shipped cream and serve at once!

Happy Baking and Happy Birthday Mom!

Chef Gail

 

Tuiles

Tuile, which is a French word meaning roof tile, is a very thin, crispy wafer cookie. These cookies are very flexible while still warm from the oven, so they can be molded into almost any shape desired. When cooled, they are a sweet, crispy cookie that elevates even the simplest dessert to a new level.

Makes approximately 14-16 tuiles depending on the size

2 large egg whites

½ cup superfine sugar

½ cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons heavy cream

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg whites and sugar on medium speed until foamy.
  3. On low speed, add the flour and blend well. Stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl down using a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the butter and cream to the flour mixture and blend until well combined. The batter can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
  5. Remove about 1 ½-2 tablespoons of batter and place it into a small bowl. Using a spoon, blend in the teaspoon of cocoa powder. This darker batter can be used to pipe onto the light batter to add some decorative detail to the tuiles before they are baked.

To Create Edible Bowls

  1. Place a silicone baking mat over the bottom of an overturned sheet pan of the same size. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the mat over to one side. Using a small offset spatula, spread the batter to a 5-6 inch rough circle. Drop another tablespoon of batter onto the other side and spread it out to create another circle of the same size. You will only be able to bake 2 cookies at a time.
  2. Place the darker batter into a small pastry bag fitted with a small plain pastry tip.
  3. Pipe a dark line around the perimeter of each circle.
  4. Bake the circles at 350°F for 9-10 minutes rotating the pan every 3 or 4 minutes until they are light brown. Watch to make sure the tuiles do not become too brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and using a small ice cream or cereal bowl or even an overturned ramekin, gently and carefully place one of the warm tuiles upside down over the bowl or ramekin shaping it into a bowl shape. Keep it in place until the tuile cools and hardens. Repeat with the other circle over another ramekin. You should now have 2 edible bowls.
  6. Repeat making more circles with batter and decorating them with the darker batter. Bake them off and shape, repeating to get as many bowls as you need.
  7. Keep tuile bowls in an airtight, cool, dry container for up to three days.

To Create Other Tuile Shapes like Spoons, Flowers, Etc.

Tuile molds or stencils are easily purchased from baking suppliers online.

  1. Lay a silicone baking mat over an overturned sheet pan of the same size.
  2. Lay a tuile mold on top of the silicone mat. Pour some batter over the mold and keeping the mold in place spread the batter using a large offset spatula so that the batter thinly covers the mold completely.
  3. Gently peel the mold off the silicone mat.
  4. Using the darker batter outline each tuile piping decorations as you desire.
  5. Bake the tuile or tuiles at 350°F or 6-9 minutes rotating the sheet pan every 3 or 4 minutes until they are a very, light brown. Do not allow the tuiles to get too brown.
  6. Using a clean offset spatula, gently peel the tuile off the mat and shape it as you wish or place it onto a clean sheet pan covered with wax paper.

Note

Superfine sugar can be found in most grocery stores or online. It is just granulated sugar that is finely ground so that it dissolves more quickly.