Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote

Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote - Candy Coated Culinista

Spiced Apple and Blackberry Compote – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a multi-purpose recipe. I made this recipe thinking it would help me to enjoy plain Greek yoghurt and I ended up finding many other uses for this recipe.

Slightly altered from: Simply Nigella

Yield/Serving: approx 235ml
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
• 1/3 cup blackberries, chopped
• 1 stick cinnamon
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Assembly
1. Peel and chop apples into small pieces and place in a medium sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid on top.
2. Add blackberries, cinnamon and water and place the lid on over medium-low heat.
3. Check mixture at the 2-3 minute mark and see if the water has come to a boil.
4. Replace lid and let cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes with a wooden spoon. (to ensure nothing stick to the bottom of the pot)
5. When the fruit has broken down into a puree, remove pot and cinnamon stick from the heat and add maple syrup and stir.
6. If the mixture hasn’t broken down, give it a quick pulse in a blender until smooth.

Tips
• Compote will keep in the fridge for up to five days
• Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The smell of this compote was delicious and reminds me of those colder winter months. Serve on top of Greek yoghurt if you like; but I still couldn’t tolerate the yoghurt even with this delicious compote. I fell back to my usual go to of adding this to my smoothies and to accompany my pork loin.

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd - Candy Coated Culinista

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd – Candy Coated Culinista

I first made this recipe in November of 2012 when the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook just came out as I am a huge fan of Deb Perleman’s. This was one of the first few cookbooks I ever bought and even managed to be second in line for her booking signing and interview session at George Brown Colleges Culinary School. I know now 2 ½ years later (hindsight being 20:20) that this recipe was probably too much for someone who has barely stepped foot into the cooking world. Yet this recipe grabbed my attention and I just had to make it. I tried this recipe two different times that first year re-visiting this recipe and seeing if time and experience would produce better results. Well it didn’t so here is my many attempts below dating back from 2012 to now 2015. My third time may not look exactly like the picture; but everything set and I didn’t give up on this one I am very happy to say.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 25 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

This is the first recipe I am trying from the book I’ve been waiting to be released. I’m talking about the Smitten Kitchen, a food blogger I have been following since before I ever even considered blogging myself. Her blog is a great read and Deb’s photos are top notch.

Attempt #1
Ingredients
White Chocolate Pudding

• 3 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 tsp sugar
• ¼ tsp table salt
• 2 ¼ cups whole milk
• 4 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
Quick Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan.
2. Before turning on the heat, slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
3. Place over gently simmering water, and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.
4. Use a whisk as necessary, should lumps begin to form.
5. After 15-20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
6. Continue stirring for about 2 – 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
8. For perfectly silken texture, you can strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you don’t mind a lump or two) into a bowl with a spout, and pour into individual serving dishes.
9. Chill in fridge.
Blackberry Curd
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

Tips
• Just make sure you don’t make scramble eggs while making the curd. Slow and low is the key.

My Thoughts
There’s no use crying over spilt milk, but I wasted all that milk and I had such high hopes for my first recipe out of this cookbook, and not to mention the blackberries. The curd tasted great; the perfect combination of sweet, sour and tart. I was unsure if I was to use a double boiler or cook in one pot; but I decided to use the double boiler and it did thicken but not like I thought it would.

Most of my fails until now all have a common factor; it’s moving the recipe to the fridge to chill or set. Every time my recipes need to make this move 9 out of 10 times I’m left with a fail. I am starting to wonder if I need to do recipes that just stay out of the fridge. My brulee has turned out so well and it gave me hope that I could make pudding. I have decided that I will try this recipe again but with another pudding recipe and add the curd on top, and if it doesn’t work I’m moving on and possibly staying away from these types of recipes.

Attempt #2
I have adapted a Chocolate pudding recipe from Smitten Kitchen Blog in hope that using this different pudding recipe will result in a firmer pudding.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup cornstarch
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 3 cups whole milk
• 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
2. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.
3. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
4. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
6. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you’re a slacker like me who is absolutely certain that there is nary a lump her puddin’) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.
7. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).
Blackberry Curd
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

My thoughts
I used white chocolate instead of the semi-sweet & dark chocolate that was called for in this recipe as my goal was to accomplish this as close to the cookbook as possible. It’s funny how two recipes from the same person can have different basic ingredients. Surprise surprise this attempt was also a fail for me. It had lumps at the bottom this time; which I didn’t last time, so I knew it was thickening more. However, it still never thickened enough and I kept it on the burner longer hoping it would thicken up more. When it finally coated the spoon to my liking I poured it and set it in the fridge overnight. In the morning the pudding was slightly thicker, but still a soup. I don’t know what is going wrong, but I checked online and others seem to have this issue too. I didn’t make the curd this time as I didn’t want to waste the blackberries if the pudding didn’t set. Day 2 in the fridge and the pudding still is a liquid, so I’m calling it a fail when it hits 3 days in the fridge.

Attempt #3
I think after getting my ice cream down I have a confidence that I just didn’t have 3 years ago and this probably wasn’t a great idea to be one of my first recipes; but the picture drew me in those years ago when I had no cooking experience besides a handful of recipes and no deserts. Time, growth and my skills have got me here; sure it took awhile but I made it out the other side happier and undefeated. I may even try another pudding recipe sometime.

Yield/Serving: 3
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Smitten Kitchen – batched down

Ingredients
White Chocolate Pudding

• 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
• ½ tsp sugar
• ¼ tsp table salt
• 1 ¼ cups whole milk
• 2 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
Blackberry Curd
• ½ cup fresh blackberries
• ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 large egg
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly/Method
Pudding

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan.
2. Before turning on the heat, slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
3. Place over gently simmering water, and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides.
4. Use a whisk as necessary, should lumps begin to form.
5. After 15-20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate.
6. Continue stirring for about 2 – 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
8. For perfectly silken texture, you can strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you don’t mind a lump or two) into a bowl with a spout, and pour into individual serving dishes.
9. Chill in fridge.
Blackberry topping
1. Puree berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible.
2. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.
3. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of puree.
4. Whisk together the blackberry puree, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan.
5. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat. Whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk and until the first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer again if you want a perfect texture (again she doesn’t usually bother).
6. Divide curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces.

Tips
• Just make sure you don’t make scramble eggs while making the curd. Slow and low is the key.

My Thoughts
This actually tasted like pudding which is a good thing; but not for me. I have never been a fan of pudding and this hasn’t changed my mind. It tasted like it sound and had the right consistency with the distinct taste of white chocolate and vanilla. I really didn’t taste the blackberries though and I would probably use less sugar. I am still very happy that after all this time I have conquered the white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd. For the first time 3rd times a charm. Everything set and setting and I don’t get along. I managed to make this recipe in one night and not have to give extended setting times. I wish the blackberry curd was more like the picture and a dark purple vs this lilac but everything came together and I will rejoice.

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail - Candy Coated Culinista

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

Does anyone remember Take Home Chef that ran from 2006 to 2007? Well I sure do. Back then TLC (The Learning Channel) was one of my favourite TV stations and as an early riser (we’re talking between 5 and 6 am every morning) I would wake up and turn on the TV as I started my day making breakfast and such. Take Home Chef was a show that I tuned into every morning for an hour and introduced me to Curtis Stone and his style of cooking. I loved the idea of someone just going about their day shopping for groceries and her comes a chef offering his services to help the person make dinner for their partner or guest with an out of this world dinner. The one thing I always remember is how charming Curtis was and still is today and that while the meals were made with easy to find ingredients; it was still a very classy elegant meal. I have most recently seen Curtis hosting shows like Top Chef Duels and Kitchen Inferno which made me check to see what he was up to now cook book wise. I picked up his new cookbook Good Food Good Life and started testing recipes to find out that he was making a trek to Toronto and I of course then have to be at this event. When Curtis arrived he briefly talked about the book and said that his life is very busy and even more so now that he is married with two kids so this cookbook is perfect for those people always on the go. A quick anecdote he mentioned which made us all chuckle was that his eldest son Hudson just loves to be in the kitchen cooking with daddy and he loves to be barefoot and on top of the counter. He quipped that it wouldn’t pass any health codes, but in his home kitchen it would always get a pass; to which we all laughed and laughed.

I got my Relaxed Cooking along with Good Food Good Life signed as I always bring my back catalogue just incase the author decides to sign, which he did for this event. When I got up he shook my hand and we took a picture. I mentioned that I had already made the Mint Chip Gelato (post to come soon) and he said “amazing! By hand” I said yes I steeped the fresh mint leaves and everything to which I got a high five; which I thought was pretty cool. I asked which was his favourite recipe and the Chocolate Salted Caramel Kisses are his favourite, so I will be trying to make these also. I mentioned I would be making the Blackberry Cocktail when I get home and enjoying his book some more.

This cookbookworm had a fun time chatting with other ladies in line and seeing how far some of them came just to have a 2 minute encounter with Curtis. I will say Curtis is definitely on the top of my most friendly, charming and modest chefs to date. It also helps that I am a sucker for a tall man and an accent.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Good Food Goof Life

Ingredients
• 3 cups of ice
• 1/3 cup fresh blackberries
• 2 tsp sugar, or to taste
• 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup silver rum
• 1 tbsp St-Germain, elderflower liquor
• ¼ cup club soda

Assembly
1. Using a food processor, grind the ice to a finely crush and fluffy consistency, like shaved ice.
2. Place blackberries, sugar, lime juice in a rocks glass and muddle.
3. Stir in the rum, St-Germain and ½ cup of crushed ice.
4. Pack more ice into the glass, mounding it well above the rim.
5. Pour the club soda over and serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
What a tasty, refreshing adult beverage. I have never been a fan of club soda and unflavoured carbonated water but this added a fizziness to the drink I liked. When I got to the bottom it was a little bit sweeter; which I appreciated as sometimes I like an extra bit of sugar. I didn’t crush my ice because well I am a little lazy of that front, but it still tasted wonderful to me sans crushed ice.

Blackberry Strawberry Chia Jam

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I am trying to cut some of those hard to pronounce ingredients from my life and here’s my attempt at jam. I don’t really use jam unless in baked goods, but if I can get Mr. C. to like this more natural organic preparation, I’d be really happy.

Yield/Serving: 1 pint
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: about 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Handful of strawberries, stems cut off & cut in quarters
• Handful of blackberries, cut in half
• Handful of frozen cranberries
• 5 tbsp agave nectar
• Juice from one orange
• 1 tsp pear extract
• 3 tbsp chia seeds

Assembly
1. Prep the berries and pour into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and allow berries to break down.
2. Add orange juice and allow to boil stirring frequently.
3. Add in chia seeds, pear extract and continue to stir.
4. Reduce to low heat and allow jam to thicken up.
5. Pour into mason jars and let cool to room temperature.
6. Store in refrigerator.

Tips
• Jam will keep for up to two weeks.
• Use any type of sweetener or no sweetener at all if you like.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This jam was fast and simple and healthy. The chia seeds work well as the berries and seems to help the jam bind better.

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