Holiday Pannacotta

Holiday Pannacotta – Candy Coated Culinista

Here is another one of those recipes on my must make list from time that I am all of a sudden feeling the need to tackle. With it still being the holiday season; I say having a few pannacotta’s in the fridge ready to serve any visitors would be a splendid treat.

Yield/Serving: 10
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Ingredients
Pannacotta

• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 2 vanilla beans
• 5 sheets of gelatin
Sweet poached rhubarb
• 14oz sliced rhubarb, poached with one ball of stem ginger, ¾ cup + 5 tsp of Proseco, 1 tbsp of superfine sugar, and a fine grating of orange zest, serve with baby mint leaves and crushed nuts or almond biscotti.
C.C.’s South American Sauce (my sauce idea)
• 1 passionfruit, 1 tamarillo and granadilla to the South American inspired sauce, boiled in a little water and sugar to thicken.

Assembly
1. In a saucepan over low heat pour milk, cream and sugar.
2. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out and place in saucepan followed by the vanilla bean halves.
3. Heat over low heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Soak gelatin sheets in cold water for a few minutes.
5. Remove saucepan from the heat, drain the gelatin and squeeze out any excess water.
6. Stir in the cream until gelatin is dissolved.
7. Whisk again to evenly distribute the vanilla seeds and then divide amongst pudding molds or ramekins.
8. Place on a pan, cover and let set in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (They can stay in the fridge for up to 2 days)
9. When ready to serve, dip half of each mold into a bowl of hot water for 5 seconds and give the mold a little shake to ease the pannacotta out.
10. Place on a plate and serve.

Tips
• Use gelatin powder and follow instructions accordingly.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I saw this strange fruit the other day at the grocery store and it was tamarillo and since the label said it was from South America I went and picked up some passionfruit and granadilla to go along with it as they all seems to be seedy fruits. My pannacotta came out splendidly and since I was afraid it wouldn’t set I left them in overnight just to be extra sure. It was creamy with the specks of vanilla beans and the rich sauce. I quite enjoyed it and the rhubarb was tart and a touch sweet a great combination and the South American sauce was divine.

Holiday Pannacotta – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemony Letdowns: Vanilla Cheesecake Fudge Attempt 1, 2, 3 (my “white whale”)

Have you ever seen a recipe you love? I mean everything about it, the idea, the name, the concept, the picture it drums up in your mind. Now as you may or may not know I’m not a fan of cheese cake, yet I make cheesecake for others. I really wanted this fudge recipe to work so badly, but for some reason it would not set. Mr. C. and I are suspecting it the cream cheese that won’t allow this to set, and that’s the main ingredient. So what is a Culinista to do? She keeps trying and trying to re-invent this recipe until it works, or until she goes crazy (“white whale”). Every time I do this recipe I get a little glimmer of hope, I say “I think this one’s going to work” only for it to be dashed away in the morning when I open the fridge to see an un-set mess before me. So I then say “maybe I can fast set it in the freezer.” To my chagrin this also doesn’t help and I am left stumped and sad.

I have read articles on “the chemistry of fudge” and yet I cannot get this to work. I sometimes want to give up, but then cream cheese goes on sale and its attempt # (fill in the appropriate number here.) The only good thing to come out of this is that on attempt 2, I learned the concept of re-purposing my disasters. Until then I was only re-purposing food sauces, and other ingredients.

Yield/Serving: 12 – 24 pieces (depending on size)
Difficulty level is: I’m going to say hard as this was a huge colossal fail or this type of fudge is not meant for me.

Attempt 1: From. Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to make at home by Nina Wanat
Ingredients
• 4 cups of sugar
• ½ cup corn syrup
• 6 ounces of milk
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds only
• 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as cherries or blueberries.

Assembly
1. Oil an 8” round cake pan.
2. Bring the sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla seeds to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula. Boil to 250°F, stirring frequently. The syrup will become a light brown colour.
3. Pour mixture into a 9” x 13” baking pan, and let cool to 120°F, about 20 minutes.
4. Scrape the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the cream cheese and salt. Mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, and then mix on high-speed until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to hold its shape, about 10 minutes.
5. Pour into prepared cake pan, and sprinkle with dried fruit. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
6. Unmold from the pan and cut in wedge-shaped cake slices. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Review
This was a complete and utter failure. It never set and was runny in the pan in the freezer. The dried fruits sunk to the bottom of the pan so I ended up tossing it out.

Attempt 2
Ingredients
• 4 cups of sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds only
• 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
• ¼ tsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as cherries or blueberries.

Assembly
My variation
1. Put sugar, vanilla bean, cream cheese and salt together in mixer and mix until recipe thickens.
2. Pour into a pie dish or pan lined with plastic wrap and lightly oiled to set in fridge.
3. Add dried fruits and allow to set overnight.

Review
My second attempt was less wet as I wanted to see if I could get it to firm up with less liquid in the recipe; but it still wouldn’t set.

Attempt 3
A fudge recipe that has worked for me before.
• 1 package of cream cheese
• 1 ½ cup white chocolate chopped then melted in microwave in 30 sec intervals stirring every time
• 1 container of vanilla or cream cheese frosting (454g)
• 4 drops of vanilla extract

Assembly
1. Put all ingredients together in mixer and mix until recipe thickens.
2. Pour into a pie dish or pan lines with plastic wrap and lightly oiled to set in fridge. (Overnight to a day)
3. Depends on your altitude, humidity, fridge setting. Or try freezer. Like I said this is a temperamental foe.

Review
My result was the best yet, but still a little too soft. This recipe was a total experiment on my end, I tossed all caution to the wind and winged it with the very limited confection knowledge I have.

Please Don’t Enjoy

My thoughts
I’m not going to give up, I will keep trying every once and awhile. Check back here for more trials and errors.

Valentine’s Day: Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

A fancy and delicious dessert dish.

My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 2
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Pear
• 2 pears
• ½ of a lemon, zested
• ½ of an orange, zested
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• ¾ cups granulated sugar
• ½ cinnamon stick
• 75 – 100 ml white wine
• 100 ml water
• Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate Sauce
• 40g (1/4 cup) 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
• 40 ml whipping cream
• 20 ml milk
• 1 tbsp butter
Ice Cream
• 1 cup milk
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• Pinch salt
• large egg yolks
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly
Pear
1. Peel pears leaving the stems on and core out from the bottom of each using a sharp knife.
2. Flatten the bottom of the pear a little so the pear can stand up on its own.
3. Place pears in a saucepan along with zests, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, wine and water and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
4. Lower heat a poach pears for 20-25 minutes until pears are cooked all the way through.
5. Let cool in liquid.
6. When pears have cooled take out with a slotted spoon and place in a plate or bowl.
Chocolate Sauce
7. Create a double boiler and melt chocolate.
8. In another saucepan warm cream, milk and butter and stir into chocolate.
9. Pour over pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Ice Cream
10. Combine milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth.
11. Whisk together the egg yolks in a large bowl.
12. Add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, pouring in a constant stream while whisking.
13. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium-high heat until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 minutes.
14. Strain the base into a large bowl and mix in the cream and extract.
15. Set the bowl into an ice water bath and stir until the base becomes cool.
16. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap and let chill completely for at least 2 hours.
17. Freeze in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
18. Transfer to a chilled container and freeze until ice cream firms up before serving.

Tips
• This can be made a day ahead.
• The custard will look a little eggy but don’t fear it will turn out well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The ice cream tasted great and this is now my base ice cream recipe. The pears were soft, but not mushy and I could taste the wine, cinnamon and vanilla. The whole dessert tasted great and would impress anyone.

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