Category: custard

38 Power Foods, Week 19 — Kiwi — Quick Individual Kiwi Tarts with Gingersnap Crust

38 Power Foods, Week 19 — Kiwi — Quick Individual Kiwi Tarts with Gingersnap Crust

An ultra thin ginger snap smothered with hot pastry cream serves as the “crust.”

How the Quick Kiwi Tart with Gingersnap Crust came to be…

While I love to bake a pie as much as the next woman (more than most, I’d guess), I also like nearly instant desserts that are luscious and don’t wear out the soles of your trainers.  (Like after you’ve cooked for company all day and still need dessert.)  I have a pocketful of favorites like a 30-second pumpkin custard (it’ll be in my soup book) and a blink-done  individual chocolate flourless “cake.” I also have no-bake favorites like a strawberry ice cream parfait layered with crumbled ginger shortbread and fresh peaches. In cases of real emergencies, I buy ice cream and cones–and not just for the kids.

But today I needed a kiwi something.  Not exactly in my bailiwick; I use kiwi in fruit salads or the occasional smoothie.  I kept picturing the industrial size, looks/tastes-like-Paris fruit tarts they sell at Marigold Bakery and Cafe in Colorado Springs.   The perfectly trained pastry chef turned out racks of these tarts daily–as well as many other pastries and breads.  You can’t count on him to spell your best friend’s name right on her birthday cake, but you can count on a piece of a tart at 3pm with your coffee or a full tart at 8pm for emergency company.  If you order ahead, you can get 12 for your son’s rehearsal dinner.  In other words, you can depend on that tart.  It’s topped with all the glories of many kinds of fruit.  But it’s not spring; it’s not summer.  Berries are over and I don’t need a BIG tart at all.  I need a T-tiny tart… (as my fine old friend Susan Gimarc would say)   Well, one for me and one for Dave.  Maybe two for tomorrow, though he usually gets all dessert leftovers.  But that’s it.  Enter the very petite and quick “Kiwi Tart with Ginger Snap Crust” made in a small ramekin.  The crust for each tart is one gingersnap at the bottom of a ramekin or small bowl.  Topped with hot pastry cream, the cookie doesn’t crumble, but softens into a beautiful crust made for a spoon.   Here’s how:

quick individual kiwi tarts with ginger snap crust   makes 4

Make a small pan of vanilla pastry cream (crème patissière, which is very like vanilla pudding). Recipe below.

Place one thin gingersnap in the bottom of each of four ramekins.
These are my favorite gingersnaps.  (Except for my own, of course)

Spoon hot pastry cream into ramekins.

If not serving right away, cover each tart with plastic wrap (pressing plastic down to cream) to prevent a skin from forming on the pastry cream.  Refrigerate for up to one day.  Otherwise, let cool a few minutes, and then go to next step:

Stand 3-4 slices of peeled kiwi in the cream. (Optional:  Heat 1 tablespoon apricot jam in microwave and brush kiwi with it.)  Serve immediately with extra ginger snaps if desired.

Ingredients List: 
3 kiwi fruit; each peeled and cut into four thin slices
4 thin gingersnaps, store-bought or homemade ( I like Anna‘s Ginger Thins.)
Pastry cream (below)
Optional:  1 tablespoon apricot jam
  
pastry cream recipe 
               from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins*

  • 1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks. Place over low heat and, whisking, bring to a boil.  Cook another minute and remove from heat.  Stir in butter, salt, and vanilla extract.

*There are many pastry cream recipes, but a lot of them make a large amount of pastry cream and many more use a larger amount of egg yolks.  Use whichever you like best. This one has a very simple and streamlined process, is tasty, and makes just enough for these four tarts.  You could also, of course, use a low-fat, light pudding or custard recipe if needed.  Difference between pastry cream and vanilla pudding?  I can’t tell much, though sometimes vanilla pudding doesn’t have eggs.  The difference, however, between pastry cream and custard is that custard is 1.  thickened only with eggs (no cornstarch or flour) and is 2. cooked in a water bath (bain marie) in the oven, while pastry cream or vanilla pudding is a stove top process.

**You can also flavor pastry cream with a little brandy or Grand Marnier–try 1/2 teaspoon first and add a second 1/2 if needed.

about those kiwi

Calories:  108 calories per cup of kiwi

Kiwifruit is one of nature’s perfect foods: low in calories, high in energy and an excellent source of antioxidants. Each one delivers a world of nutrition benefits, including:

  • Vitamin C: Each serving of kiwifruit has nearly two-and-a-half times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, proven to boost the immune system and fight the effects of stress and aging.
  • No fat: Kiwifruit is fat-free, an important consideration in today’s healthy diets and a rarity among foods containing so many other nutritional benefits.
  • Fiber: Two kiwifruit contain more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal, the tasty way to maintain heart health, regular digestion and lower cholesterol.
  • Potassium: A serving of California Kiwifruit has more potassium than a banana, ideal for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and for releasing energy during exercise.
  • Antioxidants: Kiwifruit is an excellent source of antioxidants which are important in reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
  • Low glycemic index: With a glycemic index of 52, kiwifruit is a fat-free, low-carb fruit that’s safe for diabetics and a smart part of any weight-loss diet.
  • Magnesium: Two kiwifruit deliver 30 mg of magnesium, which improves nerve and muscle function while boosting your energy level.
  • Lutein: Kiwifruit contains the phytochemical lutein, which works to prevent age-related blindness and protect eyes from various kinds of damage.
  • Folate: With nearly 10% of the recommended daily value of folate, kiwifruit is a good way to protect the health of mother and baby during pregnancy while helping prevent birth defects.
  • Zinc: Men will appreciate kiwifruit’s zinc content, which helps produce testosterone, while everyone can enjoy its other benefits like healthy hair, skin, teeth and nails.

Vitamin E: Kiwifruit is one just a handful of fat-free sources of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps lower cholesterol and boost immunity. (Info and photo:  Courtesy California Kiwifruit Commission)  

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 Today I’m baking oatmeal chocolate chips for the reception after the Historic Organ Recital at Prospect Park United Methodist (where I work as a choir director).  It’s 7:30 tonight, Friday, October 19.  See you there.  A favorite activity, I did it last week, too…

  •   a blog repeat, but fun:
    Saturday, I baked oatmeal chocolate chips for the authors in town for Opus and Olives, one of the premiere literary events in the Twin Cities held each fall  at the Crown Plaza Hotel in St. Paul. (Mark Shriver said he’d eaten his six all in a row; he’d had no food in hours while traveling!)  Dave and I also went the banquet and enjoyed a fine meal with great folks while we listened to the each author speak.  (My favorite was Cheryl Strayed, but then again, I adored her book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.)

    Happy Tuck

    I also meet today for lunch with a wonderful editor/writer who I hope will be doing some editing on the book, 30 Soups in 30 Minutes.  This week– test on turnip soup (lovely–no details given away here) and lots of work in Microsoft Word, which isn’t nearly so fun as drumming up new soups in my kitchen.  Not sure we’ll be done with this little ditty by Christmas, but who knows?

    Sing a new song,
    Alyce

    Women Game-Changers in Food – #34 Ella Brennan – Creole Bread Pudding

    Women Game-Changers in Food – #34 Ella Brennan – Creole Bread Pudding

      Conventional wisdom says, “If there’s bread pudding on the menu, order it.”  Now that I’ve made Brennan’s Creole Bread Pudding, I know why.  I won’t say who it is, but someone in my house is saying, “Please let me stay out of the frig as long as that bread pudding is in there.”

    Creole Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

    For number 34 on Gourmet Live’s List of Women Game-Changers in Food, there’s the infamous and famous Ella Brennan, New Orleans restauranteur extraordinaire.   Hailed as the most influential person in the American restaurant business ever,

      Ella Brennan, at center, seated with family.  (courtesy Commander’s Palace)
    … Brennan has made her mark with a series of fresh and innovative concepts: She pioneered the notion of nouvelle Creole cuisine. She elevated the profile of Louisiana cooking throughout the world. She forged a level of service that was the match of any anywhere. And she used her kitchen at Commander’s Palace as a kind of de facto New Orleans culinary academy, turning out dozens of the city’s finest chefs and thereby enlivening the local food scene beyond measure. (courtesy Elizabeth Mullener, Times-Picayune.)
     Part of a large restaurant family,  Ella Brennan began as a teen in the business with her brother Owen at Brennan’s, home of the famous “breakfast at Brennan’s.”   She went on to travel the world to learn about great food and better service, returning home to put the knowledge to work building one successful restaurant after another.  Not only that, she brought the tourists home with her, putting New Orleans on the map as a center for food and some say the most beautiful restaurant experience available in the United States.  After the family bought The Commander’s Palace in 1969, Brennan proceeded to hire and train chefs who went on to be famous in their own right, among them Paul Prodhomme and Emeril Lagasse.  Business woman and lover of perfect meals, she was an expert in the world of food though she never cooked at all.  “I never took to the kitchen,” she says.   My thought is she never needed to “take to the kitchen,” with the kind of talent she hired.                                           
    Order a copy of The Commander’s Palace New Orleans Cookbook here.

    Famed  food (editor, writer and) restaurant critic Ruth Reichl commented that her first visit to Commander’s Palace combined “upscale fun” with “the most extraordinary service [she]’d ever had in an American restaurant,” service which she credited to Brennan’s exacting standards. (courtesy Encyclopedia of Louisiana)

    Read all about The Commander’s Palace or make a reservation.  25 cent Martinis if you go!
     
    More info:  read a short biography of Ella Brennan here

    Want to try one of the most famous recipes?   Since Ella herself didn’t cook much I thought I’d make one of the cornerstones of the Brennan empire– bread pudding  Here it is:  (Note: Have salad for supper; this is Decadent with a Capital D and worth every calorie.)

    Invite friends.  What fun!   This makes a  huge pan of bread pudding.

    Creole Bread Pudding
    “Much as we all love Commander’s Bread Pudding Soufflé, sometimes plain
    Creole Bread Pudding is the most soul-satisfying taste of all. But do it right.
    One day, while my mother [Ella Brennan] and I were nibbling on some bread
    pudding, I watched her eyebrow go up as she discovered a morsel of dry bread.
    I hadn’t soaked thoroughly, a cardinal sin. When pastry chef Tom Robey
    walked by, Mom pointed to the dry morsel. She didn’t have to say a word.
    Tom shook his head and went off to explain to a protégé how we don’t
    rush things at Commander’s. Originally created as a way to utilize day-
    old bread, this dessert, along with
    pecan pie and crème caramel, is a must
    for any New Orleans restaurant.”

    Cook’s Note:  Make Whiskey Sauce (recipe below) while pudding bakes; it must cool.   Fyi: The Bread Pudding Soufflé is served in ramekins with  meringue and hard sauce.
     
    1 tablespoon butter
    12 medium eggs, beaten
    3 cups heavy cream (I used half and half  since my arteries were yelling, HELLO?)
    2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (use
    a high-quality extract, not an imitation)
    2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    *4 ounces day-old French bread, sliced 1 inch thick (I used a lot more bread; see note.)
    1 cup raisins

    –Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
    –Butter a large (11 x 8 1/2 x 3 inches) casserole dish and set aside. (Once in the oven, the casserole will sit inside a large pan. A roasting pan would be good.) Mix the eggs, cream and vanilla in a large bowl, and combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl. This helps to evenly dis- tribute the spices. Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture, and combine thoroughly.
    –Place the raisins in the bottom of the buttered casserole, and add the bread slices in a single layer. Gently pour the custard over the bread, making certain that all the bread thoroughly soaks up the custard. [We let ours stand for a while before baking.] (Turn the bread over in the custard to make sure each piece is well-coated.)

    –Cover the casserole with foil, place in a large dish (the roasting pan, if that’s what you decided to use) partly filled with hot water, and bake for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil, and increase the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour more, or until the pudding is golden brown and slightly firm. Use a spoon to make sure the custard is fully cooked; it should be moist but no longer runny. If you’re unsure whether it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it cool while it remains sitting in the water bath; the carryover effect will keep it cooking.
    –Serve slightly warm with whiskey sauce, recipe below (made ahead.)

                                                    
    Whiskey Sauce 
    • 1 cup(s) heavy cream
    • 1/2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon(s) waterhttp://a19.g.akamai.net/7/19/7125/1450/Ocellus.coupons.com/_images/showlist_icon.gif
    • 3 tablespoon(s) sugar
    • 1/4 cup(s) bourbon
    ·          
    ·           For the whiskey sauce: Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring to a boil. Whisk and let simmer for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat.
    Stir in the sugar and bourbon. Taste to make sure the sauce has a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor. Cool to room temperature.
    *4oz of French bread is a bit less than 1/4 of  the baguette I got from Whole Foods, which seemed like way too little bread to me; it didn’t cover half of the bottom of the casserole.  Typo in the recipe?   Wrong kind of bread??   I increased the amount to approximately 12 ounces; my baguette was 15 oz. total.   I don’t make bread pudding from a recipe usually; I just combine milk, eggs, and nutmeg and sweeten it to taste–which isn’t nearly as much sugar as this recipe calls for.  I did leave the amount of sugar the same in order to try and get a true test of the recipe. It was the right thing to do!
                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Other bloggers writing about Ella Brennan this week are:

    Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living
    Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo
    Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen
    Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades

    Scroll on over!
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    Sing a new song and make some bread pudding–Two-Dog Kitchen returns next post,
    Alyce