Lemon Thyme & Ginger

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake, with a recipe.

Chocolate is a separate food group in my household and just like protein, I can’t live without it. Whenever I order a dessert in a restaurant, it is the chocolate desserts I gravitate to. However, I hesitate whenever I see a flourless chocolate cake on the menu because I do not know if it going to be fudge or cake. When it comes to flourless chocolate cake, I like them on the lighter side, not the ones that taste like dense fudge. It is not that I believe they taste bad, it is just they are very rich. The type of flourless chocolate cake I prefer, have a lighter airy texture, despite being moist and loaded with dark chocolate.

So far, I have come across two flourless chocolate cake recipes that satisfy my requirement of biting into a slice of cake, not a chunk of fudge. What makes them different from most flourless chocolate cake recipes out there is the use of finely ground nuts and whipped egg whites. The nuts act like a flour replacement and give the cake some texture and body. Also, because of the whipped egg whites, there is some air which gives the cake some lift and tastes light. Just like brownies, the cake is fudgy without being dense.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

The only challenging aspect to making a flourless chocolate cake is how fragile they are. Especially the types of cakes I prefer. Without the gluten to hold it together, the cake can easily break and crack. Transferring the cake off the bottom of the springform pan onto a serving dish requires the strength of all the good karma, prayers and best wishes you can muster. As well as patience and your best problem-solving skills. It is a very moist cake, especially in the middle which makes it very delicate.

My recipe is adapted from Diana Henry’s Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe in her cookbook, Simple. She uses ground almonds which I love, but I could not bring myself to use almonds a day after I wrote a post about Earth Day Recipes and how growing almonds in California is depleting their water supply. I will not give up almonds altogether, but I should leave some time before I start using them again.

Bitter Orange Chocolate Cake recipe

Flourless Chocolate Cake Variations

In my recipe I substitute almonds with ground walnuts and I added orange zest and Grand Marnier. Chocolate pairs well with many types of nuts, so you can’t go wrong using any type of nut. I do love walnuts and chocolate, especially with bitter orange flavors from orange zest and orange flavored liqueur. I kept all the proportions the same, but I also added Grand Marnier for an extra orange punch. There is just enough of the walnuts for a subtle nut flavor with the dark chocolate the focal point.

However, the addition of Grand Marnier makes the cake more fragile than without it. I believe this is because of the extra moisture in the cake batter. I don’t believe baking it longer will help. If you are concerned about the final show stopping appearance, then don’t add the Grand Marnier. The whipped cream has Grand Marnier in it, so the dessert will have the great chocolate and boozy orange flavor.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe.

Removing the cake off the bottom of the spingform pan is challenging with this moist and delicate cake. If you don’t care, remove the sides of the pan and place the cake still on top of the pan’s bottom, on a serving plate. No one will care or notice while they are enjoying your delicious cake. Or, you can try lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to see if that helps. If your cake does break don’t despair, you can break it up and make ice cream sundaes with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream with orange flavors and candied orange peel. Or, cut the cake up into bite size pieces for people to nibble on with their coffee or tea.

Orange Essence Flourless Chocolate Cake is worth making regardless of its delicate nature. Because the chocolate is the dominate flavor, use the best quality of chocolate you can buy with 70%- 72% cocoa butter. I have great success with Lindt chocolate and Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate, twilight delight found in candy section of the grocery store. Here is a link for more information on the best chocolate bars for baking from Serious Eats.

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Enjoy!

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake

An effortless flourless chocolate cake with intense dark chocolate flavor and a light and nutty texture. The cake is very moist and fudgy but not dense.   

Serve with whipped cream 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Flourless chocolate cake

  • 6.75 oz (192 g) unsalted butter about 1 2/3 sticks
  • 11.5 oz (328 g) good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces 70% coco solids
  • 3/4 cup (164 g) super fine sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) ground walnuts (see note)
  • finely grated zest from half a navel orange
  • 2 TB Grand Marnier Optional
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting the cake

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 TB confectioners' sugar or to taste
  • Zest from half an orange
  • 2 TB Ground Marnier or a 1/2 teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177°C /Gas Mark 4) oven. Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan. Set aside. 

  2. In a medium metal mixing bowl, add the broken-up chocolate, the butter and sugar to the bowl. 

  3. Add some water to a large 10-inch (25.5 cm) skillet just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Set on a burner over medium heat. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and place the bowl with the chocolate, butter and sugar in the center of the skillet. Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Do not let the water get to a brisk boil. Keep it at a gentle simmer, being careful not to splash water into the chocolate. 

  4. Remove the bowl from the skillet just before all the butter has melted and stir until all the chocolate and butter has melted. Let the chocolate cool for four minutes. 

  5. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the chocolate, stirring between each addition until each yolk is incorporated. 

  6. In a separate bowl, with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff with soft peaks and still wet. Soft peaks will form when you lift out the beaters. Gently fold in the Grand Marnier if using. 

  7. Add the orange zest to the ground walnuts and mix together. Add the walnut mixture to the chocolate and half of the whipped egg whites. Fold into the chocolate. Then fold in the remaining egg whites. 

  8. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and place on a rimmed sheet pan in case it leaks.  Place the cake in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. 

  9. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a cake rack. Don't get upset if you see the cake deflate and crack as it cools. When the cake is completely cool, unlatch the pan and carefully remove the sides. Run an icing spatula, or thin sharp knife under the cake to loosen. It helps to clean off the spatula or knife every time you pull it out from under the cake. Carefully transfer the cake onto a serving plate.

  10. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar right before serving. 

Whipped Cream

  1. Right before serving, use a hand-held mixer and whip the heavy cream until it just holds its shape. Sprinkle in the confectioners' sugar and Grand Marnier, if using. Whip until combined soft peaks form. Taste and correct the whipped cream for sweetness and the Grand Marnier. Place in a small serving bowl. 

  2. Serve the whipped cream with the cake and extra fruit, like berries. 

Recipe Notes

Before you start the cake, toast the walnuts in a preheated 350°F (177 °C / Gas Mark 4) oven. Spread a couple of handfuls (60 g) of the walnuts over a small rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7 minutes. Spread the toasted walnuts over a clean lint free kitchen towel. Fold a portion of the towel over the nuts to cover and rub the towel with the walnuts back and forth to remove the walnut skin. No need to go crazy rubbing off all the skin. Rub back and forth a few times until no more skin comes off without scrubbing. Collect the walnuts leaving the loose skin behind and grind the walnuts in a food processor. 

Bitter Orange Flourless Chocolate Cake. A flourless chocolate cake recipe made with ground walnuts and flavored with orange zest and Grand Marnier. It has intense dark chocolate flavor complemented with the bitter orange essence. A very moist and light cake.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Best Dessert Recipes

Looking over my blog posts I felt I needed some more dessert recipes, especially cake recipes. It is always good to collect dessert recipes ranging from easy to more challenging that you feel comfortable with. To add to my collection, I set out to publish a post for a yellow cake with chocolate ganache recipe today, but things did not work out as planned.

It all started when I made a cake from a recipe from Joanne Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar. Baking with less sugar is a goal of mine and a personal passion for Joanne Chang because her husband does not tolerate sugar well. I found, with this recipe, that just because there is less refined sugar does not mean it is low in fat. Quite the contrary.

Her cake was lovely, but the ganache frosting was an epic fail. Ganache is sometimes temperamental depending on the type of chocolate one uses. From my experience ganache sets easily by cooling it on the counter. This time something was off. Everything was fine until I put the ganache in the refrigerator as directed to set the ganache. This was the catalyst that turned everything upside down. The ganache hardened so much I could not penetrate the surface with a spoon. Almost as hard as a bar of chocolate. I whipped it with my hand-held mixer and it looked like seized chocolate mixed with over-whipped cream. It was awful.

Ughhh! I blame it on the butter. Immediately I made a second batch of ganache, without refrigerating it, and finished frosting the cake. Unfortunately, I did not love it. The ganache was very bitter, and I did not love the texture. Also, after a couple of hours the cake dried out.

Moving On

Instead of coming up with a new layer cake recipe, I decided to put together a post with links to some of my dessert recipes. Also included are a couple of links to dessert recipes from other websites. Everything in one place for easy access.

The spring is a time of celebration whether for graduations, new beginnings, and major life events. Make your celebrations special by making a homemade dessert. Here is a collection ranging from quick and easy to involved. All are tested and delicious.

Dessert Recipes for Cake

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake made with a sponge cake and whipped cream frosting with fresh fruit. I used to make this for my Dad’s birthday cake in July. Berries are available now, although not quite in season in my area, so instead of peaches, make the cake with strawberries and or blue berries. It is a cake version of strawberry shortcake and always a crowd pleaser.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with an gluten free sponge cake recipe

If you want a gluten free cake, I have a Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with gluten free oat flour instead of all-purpose flour.

Celebrate with Pink Champagne Cake recipe

For a special occasion, like for a bridal shower, birthday or graduation, this recipe for Pink Champagne Cake is lovely. My recipe differs from the traditional recipe because I made it with an Italian buttercream not with the traditional American buttercream. Pink champagne cake has a subtle strawberry and champagne flavor that grows on you. I love this cake and can’t wait for a special occasion to make it again. Then again, why wait? My recipe is adapted from the cookbook American Cake by Anne Byrn.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe

Chocolate Stout Cake is a delicious chocolate cake made with chocolate chili stout. You won’t necessarily taste the stout, but it makes the chocolate more enhanced. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is to die for especially with the chocolate stout glaze.

Best Dessert Recipes , Decadent Chocolate Cake

If a simple chocolate cake is what you are looking for, an old standby for me is Decadent Chocolate Cake by the Silver Palate.

This recipe from Fine Cooking is the one I should have published today because I have made it on several occasions. Four Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream. This cake is a yellow cake with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream frosting. It is very impressive looking even though it is made with your basic cake components. You will have to click-through a couple of links to the yellow cake and chocolate buttercream frosting.

Dessert Recipes for Pies

On this blog I have a couple of recipes for galettes and one crust-less apple pie. Clearly, I need to make some more. Personally, I love the ease of galettes especially during the summer months. You can use the galette recipes as a base and substitute with seasonal fruit. Lemon plums are in season now and taste great in a galette made with mixed berries. Or make a galette with apples and dried apricots.

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette recipe

Nectarine and Blueberry Galette

Almond Peach Galette Recipe

 

Almond Cherry Peach Galette

Swedish Apple Pie Recipe

Swedish Apple Pie

Double coconut pie recipe

For a gluten free pie try Double Coconut Pie. This is like eating a giant macaroon cookie.

Other Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme, a recipe.

For the Nutella lover in the family, Chocolate Nutella Pots de Creme. This is my husband’s favorite dessert. Smooth and silky with a little kick of sriracha with the chocolate.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

For a refreshing custard, Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta. Instead of figs you can substitute pears, or caramelized citrus. The panna cotta has a lovely tang from the yogurt and is silky smooth. This is a gelatin dessert, so it is not vegetarian.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries with Bourbon Sabayon Traditionally sabayon is made with champagne or Marsala wine, but for this recipe I made it with bourbon to pair with the peaches. Sabayon is an elegant dessert made with whipped eggs combined with whipped cream. Sabayon should not be confused with Zabayon, a similar dessert made from whipped eggs, Marsala and served warm.

Lemon Mousse is one of my favorite desserts. This recipe is very light and airy from Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts. This mousse is perfect for this time of year when we are between winter and spring fruit availability.

Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit Sauce, recipe.

Ever since I first made a pavlova, I put this dessert in the Five Star category. A classic dessert like early Hollywood actresses such as Catherine Deneuve and Grace Kelly It is exquisite with exceptional taste. Here is a recipe for Lemon Pavlova with Kiwi and Passion Fruit sauce. You can get the passion fruit pulp at your grocery store located in the Latin American food section of the frozen foods aisle.

Try making a vegan pavlova using Aquafaba Meringue with berries and coconut whipped cream. This recipe is from one of my first recipe posts when after three trials I could not whip coconut milk for the life of me. Since then, I have made whipped cream from the fat of full fat coconut milk with great success, especially when using Trader Joe’s brand.

Happy Spring

My promise to myself and my readers is, I will post nothing on this website that I am not satisfied with. Even though my son and husband thought there was nothing wrong with the cake, I just did not love it. I did not feel this was the type of cake that people will find irresistible and sneak in a slice for a midnight snack.

On the other hand, the above recipes are tried and true. I am looking forward to a new season and learning new dessert recipes to share with you.

 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Whenever I make Chocolate Pots de Creme or other custard dessert, I have a lot of egg whites looking for a purpose. For years I would throw out the unused egg whites until I learned egg whites freeze well. Now, I freeze the egg whites and pick a time to make one of my favorite desserts, mousse, dacquoise, or meringue cookies. During the winter, I especially enjoy peppermint meringue cookies with their pink swirls and minty flavor. These light and crispy cookies have just enough peppermint flavor and taste as good dressed up with peppermint candies or white chocolate, or as is. They are festive cookies, perfect for the holidays and make a great hostess gift.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 ways, recipe

Peppermint Meringue Cookie: 3 Ways, recipe.

It is not difficult to make peppermint meringue cookies, but there are a few factors to keep in mind.

  1. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, but room temperature egg whites get more volume. Separate the whites from the yolks when the eggs are just removed from the refrigerator. Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the egg whites. Leave the whites on the counter for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before making meringue.
  2. Use clean beaters and bowls. It seems like an obvious statement, but any trace of water, soap, egg yolk, or other proteins will hinder your success at getting silky and airy meringue with lots of volume.
  3. Add the egg whites and acid or Cream of Tartar together, then whisk the egg whites. Acid, like lemon juice, white vinegar, or Cream of Tartar, are stabilizers and help with the structure of airy meringue.
  4. Slowly add the sugar to the whites one tablespoon at a time. If you add the sugar in too quickly the egg whites will deflate.
  5. Pipe the meringue and bake the cookies immediately after you stop whisking the meringues.
  6. Cool the meringue cookies in the oven after baking. Unless you need the oven to make dinner, it is a perfect air tight space to cool the meringue. I often make meringue at night because meringue take so long to bake, then I keep the meringue in the oven overnight. Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container on the counter. Meringues do not like moisture and will sweat or get sticky when left out in the air.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

How to make the red swirls or stripes on the meringue cookies:

  1. Method 1 as suggested in the recipe: add drops of red food coloring to the finished meringue in the mixing bowl. Do not mix. Then spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip. Press out the air and secure the pastry bag. Pipe the meringue in a spiral motion and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle. This produces meringue cookies with swirly pink lines in each cookie. No two cookies look the same. As pictured in this blog post.
  2. Method 2: use an artist’s paint brush and paint 3 evenly spaced lines of red food coloring inside and up the length of the piping bag. It will look like three straight candy stripes in your piping bag. Carefully spoon the meringue into the piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip or your choice. Press out all the air and twist and secure the top of your pastry bag. This method produces uniform looking meringue cookies with evenly spaced vertical red lines.

Personally, I like the first method because I love the pink swirls in each cookie, and I don’t have to worry about messing up the painted lines while I am spooning the meringue into the piping bag. If you don’t own piping tips and a pastry bag, plastic bags work just as well. See recipe description for instructions.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 Toppings for your Peppermint Meringue Cookies

  1. Make the cookies as the recipe states without extra decoration. The peppermint flavor is pronounced, and the meringue cookie is light and crispy.
  2. For a little extra crunch, add crushed peppermint candy to the meringue cookie batter. And/or sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the meringue cookies before you place them in the oven.
  3. Dip the bottom or top of cooled meringue cookies in melted white chocolate, then coat the white chocolate bottoms with crushed peppermint candy or coconut flakes.

There are endless possibilities for decorating and personalizing your meringue cookies. If peppermint is not your thing, fold in a couple of tablespoons of freeze-dried coffee granules into meringue. The coffee granules will create a subtle swirly pattern of coffee-colored meringue in each cookie. The coffee meringue will also taste great dipped in white chocolate. Or flavor with lemon extract, orange blossom water, or rose water and minced pistachios.

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.  I use their piping technique, but I slightly changed the ingredients. These cookies are great as is, but I love the peppermint meringue cookies dipped in white chocolate and peppermint candy. The white chocolate adds a creamy texture and taste against the crispy and minty meringues. These airy cookies are a real crowd pleaser.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint meringues are crisp and airy cookies with a bright mint flavor. Decorate the meringue cookies with crushed peppermint candy, melted white chocolate and or unsweetened shredded coconut. These cookies make great hostess gifts for the holidays. You do not need a pastry bag to make meringue cookies. Fill a gallon size plastic bag with the meringue and shape it into a corner of the bag. Twist the bag at the top of the meringue to get a cone shape. Snip off the corner to make a 1/2 inch opening to squeeze the meringue through. To crush the peppermint candy, place the candy in a zip lock bag and pound the candy with a meat mallet until they reach the desired size.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (152 g) granulated sugar*
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp real peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food color

Optional Decorations

  • 12 oz (342 g) white chocolate, melted
  • About 1/2 cup (125 ml) crushed peppermint candies
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F/ 93°C
  2. Fit a ½ inch (1 cm) tip into a pastry bag and set upright inside a tall drinking glass. Fold the edges of the pastry bag over the glass rim. Set aside.
  3. Prepare two rimmed sheet pans. Cover each sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Add egg whites and vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites at medium speed until they are light and foamy with soft peaks, about a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn up the speed to medium-high and add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking the whites for a few seconds between additions. It will take around 6 minutes to add all the sugar.
  6. Once all the sugar is added, turn the speed up to high and whisk the meringue until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  7. Optional: If you want crushed peppermint candy in your meringue cookies, using a rubber spatula, fold in 2 Tablespoons of finely crushed peppermint candy into the meringue before you add the food coloring.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and add 12 drops of red food color scattered about the meringue. Do not mix.
  9. Spoon the meringue into the pastry bag, or gallon size Ziploc plastic bag, without stirring the meringue. Once all the meringue is added, twist the bag closed and squeeze down on the bag until the meringue is down to the tip without air pockets. If using a Ziploc bag, snip off the tip of a corner making a ½ inch (1 cm) opening.
  10. Using gentle, squeeze the meringue out of the piping bag and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle in an upward spiral, and space each meringue cookie about an inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  11. Bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meringue is dry.
  12. Turn off the oven and cool the meringue cookies in the oven. Once cooled, remove the meringue cookies and decorate, or store in an air tight container. Meringues do not like damp conditions or humid weather. Keep them out of the humidity or air long as possible.
  13. Decorate as you wish.

Optional Decorations

  1. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place in a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds. Stop and stir the chocolate and access the progress. Repeat, melting the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals then stirring, for as many intervals as needed until the chocolate is mostly melted.
  2. Take the chocolate out of the microwave and add the remaining white chocolate to the bowl and stir the white chocolate until all the chocolate has melted.
  3. Place crushed peppermint candies on a plate, and/or the coconut flakes if using. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  4. Dip the meringue cookies in the melted white chocolate, either the bottom or top, and turn the cookie around to get an even coating. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then press the chocolate coated cookie in the peppermint candy or coconut flakes. Place each meringue cookie on the prepared sheet pan until dry. Repeat until all the cookies are coated in chocolate.

Recipe Notes

* When making meringue, super fine sugar works better than granulated sugar. It dissolves faster and is not as dense. I cannot get super fine sugar in my grocery store, instead I process the granulated sugar in a food processor, about 5-6 pulses. If you don't have either option, granulated sugar works, but make sure you add it into the meringue slowly.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies with three ways to decorate them. Use white chocolate, crushed peppermint candy and or shredded unsweetened coconut. A fun and delicious holiday cookie recipe.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta

One of my pet peeves is how early product commercialization for the winter holidays begins. Just last week, when I walked through the electronic doors of a grocery store, the potent artificial scent of cinnamon pine cones accosted me. These pine cones were prominently on display at the entrance of the store. Why now? Is there really going to be a run on scented pine cones that you need to start selling them in August? I did not see pumpkins for sale, so why are scented pine cones available now? Instead of pine cones, grocery stores should feature the best produce that is in season now, like figs.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe

Fresh Mission Figs

I am pushing figs for several reasons, they are delicious, can be prepared for any type of meal, and I believe they are exquisite. In the Northeast US, figs have two short seasons in early summer and in late summer. In places like California, the season extends over the course of the summer. So, get them while you can because they will disappear soon.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

Eat them ripe and fresh as is, or serve with any number of cheeses. Figs and cheese are a classic pairing. I particularly enjoy figs with blue cheese or goat cheese. The sweetness of the fig mingles nicely with the sharp flavors of each cheese. Another great pairing is fig jam and brie. Figs are also delicious for dessert in cakes and pastries like an almond and fig tart. Or, make figs for a savory sauce for pork.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

Figs with blue cheese and chopped walnuts.

I wanted to make an easy and elegant dessert and decided to simmer the figs in a simple syrup with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper. Along with the spiced figs, I made a yogurt panna cotta. Together, the figs and panna cotta created an exquisite dessert with creamy, tangy and warm flavors. The silky texture of the panna cotta is so smooth and nicely contrasts with the vivid pink color and warmth of the spices in the sauce. I realize I complained about the cinnamon scented pine cones earlier, but this sauce has a natural cinnamon infusion along with other spices. It has just enough spice for the early fall.  What is great about this simple syrup recipe is you can use whatever spices you like. Freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, star anise, thyme, and rosemary are all wonderful choices to infuse this light fig sauce.

Figs and Prosciutto Salad Recipe

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe

Along with the fig sauce, panna cotta is one of the easiest desserts to make and has a luscious silky texture. My recipe is based on one from Food and Wine magazine. There are no eggs, just cream, yogurt, sugar and gelatin. You can adjust the flavor of the panna cotta with a number of sweeteners and spices. Because sugar is not important to the structure of panna cotta, it is easy to vary the amount of sugar when you make it. You can adjust the amount depending upon how sweet your sauce or fruit is.

I am always looking for ways to use my homemade yogurt, so I included yogurt in my recipe. If you do not like yogurt, you can use a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. I have also seen recipes for using goat cheese, yogurt and milk. Or, use a plant based milk product such as almond or coconut milk. I have read from TheKitchn, that unflavored Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts works very nicely for panna cotta. Currently, Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts is unavailable on Amazon. However, other vegan gelatin alternatives are available. Also, I read Whole Foods carries Vegan Jel. If anyone has used it I would love to know how you like it.

 

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

The most difficult thing when making panna cotta, is unmolding it from your ramekins or cups. I recommend a ramekin with smooth sides as it is easier to run a knife around the edge. Also recommended, is a light coating of canola or vegetable oil. The oil, and a quick dunk in a warm bath will eventually release the panna cotta from the dish to present on a plate. Or, forget about unmolding it and serve it directly in the container you set it in.

Save the scented pine cones for when it is cold enough to build a fire in the fire place and threatening to snow. Now is the time to set our sights on fresh produce, recently harvested and ripe. Fresh figs are a real treat so get them while you can.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

 

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta

Spiced fresh figs in a simple syrup is the perfect pair with creamy and tangy yogurt panna cotta. Season the simple syrup with any spices you prefer, or use the ones suggested in this recipe. This dessert is so easy to make and gives an elegant presentation that defies its simplicity. Panna cotta with fresh figs simmered in a spicy syrup is a real thing of beauty to look at and eat. If you do not have ramekins, small coffee cups will work. Or, use wine glasses and serve them straight from the glass without unmolding them. If you serve them in glasses or cups, make sure there is plenty of room to add the fruit and spiced syrup. The panna cotta recipe is adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey-Glazed Apricots. The spiced figs recipe is adapted from, The Spruce, Figs in Spiced Syrup. See notes for ingredient substitutions.
Prep Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 42 minutes
Servings 6
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Yogurt Panna Cotta

  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 2 1/4 tsp 7 g
  • 2 TB cold water
  • 1 cup 250 ml heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup 68 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp real vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
  • 1- 17.6 oz 500 g tub Greek yogurt, about 2 cups

Spiced Figs

  • 1/3 cup 36 g walnuts halves
  • 1/2 cup 100 g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 250 ml water
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1- inch 2.54 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/8 tsp anise seed
  • 12 fresh figs

Instructions

Yogurt Panna Cotta

  1. If you are planning to unmold the panna cotta, lightly grease the sides and bottoms of 6 - 1/2 cup (4 oz /125 ml) ramekins. Set aside. No need to do this step if you are keeping the panna cotta in the serving container.
  2. Add the gelatin and 2 Tb cold water to a small bowl. Let the gelatin rest to soften for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small sauce pan add the cream, sugar, vanilla or vanilla bean, and bring to a slight simmer Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn off the heat and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted.
  4. Pour the yogurt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk out any lumps. If using, remove the vanilla bean. Slowly add the cream into the bowl with the yogurt. Stir, or whisk, as you add the cream to help temper the yogurt.
  5. Once combined, pour the yogurt mixture into the greased 1/2 cup ramekins, or other serving containers and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 3 hours until set. It should look and feel solid with a little bit of jiggle. Once the panna cotta is set, cover each dish with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Spiced Figs

  1. Heat an 8-inch (20 cm) skillet over high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, but not smoking, add the walnut pieces and toast until the oil releases. Keep the walnuts in motion, by stirring them or flipping the nuts in the pan like a pro. You will know the walnuts are toasted when you see a slight sheen on the pan’s bottom surface and on your walnuts. Also, the aroma of the walnuts will be slightly more pronounced. Be careful not to burn the walnuts, or they will taste bitter. Remove the walnuts immediately from the skillet to cool.
  2. Add the water and sugar to a sauce pan just large enough to fit all the figs. Turn the heat to medium high and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Clean and trim the figs. Clean the figs by wiping them gently with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and discard. Add the figs and walnuts to the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the figs and place on a plate and turn off the heat. Cool the figs and syrup separately so the figs do not fall apart. After 15 minutes or so, strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and add the figs. Serve warm or chilled.
  5. Store the figs in the syrup in the refrigerator in a covered container. They will last for two weeks, covered in the refrigerator.

Assemble the panna cotta and spiced figs

  1. Remove the panna cotta from the ramekins. Run a thin sharp knife around the inside edge of the ramekin. Dip the container into warm water for 10 seconds. Remove the ramekins and place upside down on your serving dish. Tap the sides and top of your ramekins and jiggle them to encourage the panna cotta to slide out. If no movement occurs, dip the ramekin right side up in the warm water again. Try again. Repeat until the panna cotta are all unmolded.
  2. If you are not serving them right away, loosely cover each panna cotta with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Just before serving, spoon the spiced syrup over and around the panna cotta. Arrange the figs and walnuts on top or around the panna cotta and serve.

Recipe Notes

Use any spice combination you like. Cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice berries, vanilla bean, black peppercorns are all good suggestions. The spices in the simple syrup are subtly blended and not an overpowering taste experience.

I realize not everyone likes yogurt, so substitute the yogurt with 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk. and continue as directed. Any ratio of yogurt, to heavy cream, to half and half, to milk will work if you use the specified amount of gelatin for 3 cups (750 ml) of dairy.

Nutrition Facts
Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon

I can smell the peach aroma as soon as I walk into the market. It is sweet, floral and distinctive. Instantly, the peach scent produces an urge in me to make a pie. I follow the scent to their location and examine the peaches, taking in the glory of a massive display. Once satisfied, I look and listen to any orange hued fuzzy globes that speak to me, then make a selection and breath in its’ perfume. I wonder how many days must pass before they are ripe enough to eat.  The summer sunset colors are seductive, so I gather up a collection and bag them for home.

Peaches with Berries and Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Once home, my peaches are carefully placed on my kitchen windowsill to soak in the western sun. With gratitude and anticipation, I watch over the sun-drenched peaches and wait for the fruit to ripen.

My favorite way to eat peaches is as nature intended ripe, fresh and unadorned. Typically, I eat them standing in front of the kitchen sink, and with each bite into the sweet and yielding flesh, I feel the squirt of peach juice dripping down my chin. The taste is sweet and refreshing at the same time, like the first morning sip of orange juice after a long nights’ sleep. Ah, how I love summer peaches in all their glory.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Originally, I planned to make a galette. I love galettes and often make them for dessert. However, I changed my mind because I wanted to make something different. Once I get that curiosity itch I can’t stop. An idea came to mind for making a dessert I have not made in a long time, sabayon. Sabayon layered with fresh fruit is a delightful dessert and one that deserves to be served on a regular basis.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Sabayon is the French name for Zabayon, which is an Italian egg foam dessert. It is a delicate dessert made with egg yolks and wine, or Marsala. Eggs and wine are gently warmed and whisked together, creating a luscious and foamy sauce. It is light and creamy with a sweetness that perfectly complements fresh fruit.

Sabayon is usually chilled and the egg foam is folded into whipped cream. The whipped cream gives it a similar texture to mousse, and is less foamy than Zabayon. Because it is also chilled, sabayon is prepared ahead of time. Thus, it makes a perfect dessert for entertaining. Unlike sabayon, zabayon does not have cream and is served immediately while still warm and frothy. Both options are elegant dessert sauces.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Bourbon Sabayon

Peaches combined with berries and complimented by the sweet boozy sabayon is smooth, nutty and airy. I forgot how exquisite this dessert is. Every bite is a fruity explosion tempered with warm and subdued notes of bourbon, basil and sabayon. Bourbon sabayon is not as airy as my Lemon Mousse, but it satisfies just the same.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Sabayon is a great way to dress up a fresh fruit dessert. It does not take long to make, but it does take some practice, confidence and whisking power. It is important to control the heat and prevent the egg yolks from cooking and scrambling. The eggs require gentle heat and constant whisking. The process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your set up and how many eggs you are using. The result is all about keeping the yolks at the right temperature and vigorously whisking them into a thickened foamy sauce.

Traditionally, Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine, is used for sabayon and zabayon. Bourbon and peaches pair well together so I decided to try it with sabayon. I also added a touch of orange juice and zest to cut some of the sharp boozy notes. However, I noticed a difference in texture between sabayon with bourbon vs. with Marsala. The bourbon sabayon does not get as frothy, but it still works and I like the caramelized flavor with the peaches.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Summer Loves Peaches

This post is part of a collaborative project between food enthusiasts and bloggers. On June 29th, 2017, we are all celebrating the summer by posting a recipe featuring peaches. You can follow along on social medial and see what everyone else made using the hashtag, #summerlovespeaches. Below are links to all the #summerlovespeaches participants websites.

Amanda Skirp

Flours in Your Hair

Prickly Fresh

Mindy Cooking Obsession

Cocoa and Salt

The Good Cooker

Farm and Coast Cookery

Sprouting Radiance

Cooks and Kid

The Whole El’Chilada

Gobble the Cook

Weelicious

Pamela Salzman

Feed the Swimmers

The Gingered Whisk

Its a Vegworld Afterall

What Annie’s Eating

Blossom to Stem

Hola Jalapeno

Square Meal Round Table

Something New For Dinner

Foodfash

Cloudy Kitchen

Allo Maman, Whats Cooking

Always Eat Dessert

My Afternoon Kitchen

Especially Southern Dishes

Baking the Goods

Easy and Delicious

Fork to Summit

Playz with Food

Hatibon

Flotte Lotte

Carly Diaz

Pie Girl Bakes

Teebsie

Noci Sonoma- Salty Spicy Bitter and Sweet

Wellness With Alyssa

Jessie Sheehan Bakes

Measuring Cups Optional

Weeknight Bite

Confetti Kitchen

Ful-filled

Linda Campos

Do you have a favorite recipe using peaches? I would love to hear about it. Please post your favorite way to serve peaches in the comments section below my recipe.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon

Sabayon makes a luscious sauce to layer between, or mound over fresh fruit. It makes for an elegant dessert and perfect for an intimate dinner with friends or family. Sabayon with fruit tastes best when it is assembled right before serving. The sabayon and raspberry sauce can be made ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator. Peeling and slicing the peaches will take some time, and should not be done too far in advance. Once that is complete, assembly is simple and quick. For this recipe, I selected bourbon as my spirit of choice because it pairs nicely with peaches. You can substitute Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine if you prefer. Any alcohol beverage like rum, brandy, fruit brandy, whiskey or wine should work. When selecting your spirit keep in mind how it pairs with what your are serving the sabayon with. Slivered basil leaves are also added for extra panache. Mint leaves are nice additions as well. Included is a raspberry sauce recipe adapted from, Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison. She makes this sauce with blackcap raspberries, or black raspberries. If you can find them, their distinctive flavor is delicious. Fresh or frozen berries can be used to make the sauce. My sabayon recipe is inspired by and adapted from Peaches and Raspberries Layered with Honey Sabayon in Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Bourbon Sabayon

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 TB 27 g granulated sugar
  • 3 TB 45 ml Bourbon
  • 1 TB 15 ml fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml heavy cream
  • zest from half an orange

Raspberry Sauce

  • 2 cups 500 ml fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 TB 27 g granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup 75 ml water
  • Lemon juice to taste around 1 teaspoon

Fruit filling

  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 2 TB basil thinly sliced - chiffonade (optional or substitute with fresh mint leaves)
  • 1- 6 oz 175 g basket raspberries
  • 1- 6 oz 175 g basket blackberries
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml raspberry sauce

Instructions

Bourbon Sabayon

  1. Prepare a medium saucepan and fill with about an inch of water. Measure the bourbon and orange juice and keep in a measuring cup close to your work area. Add the egg yolks to a bowl that will easily fit over your saucepan, but will not touch the water. Add the sugar to the egg yolks placing the sugar to the side of the yolks.
  2. Turn on the heat to medium and place your bowl over your saucepan. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in the bowl. Continue to whisk the eggs until it gets light and frothy. Slowly add the bourbon and orange juice and continue to whisk. The eggs should double in volume, become lighter and creamy looking. You do not want to scramble the eggs, so keep the temperature low and constantly whisk. You can move the bowl on and off the heat while you are whisking to control the temperature and make sure your water is not boiling.
  3. The eggs are done when they have doubled in size, and there is no liquid left in the bowl, and everything is frothy. About 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the shape and size of your bowl and temperature. A recommended temperature when the sabayon done, is around 150F (65C) on an instant read thermometer.
  4. Remove the bowl with the eggs off the heat and continue to whisk for another five minutes to cool.
  5. Cover the frothy eggs with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  6. Whip the heavy cream and zest from half an orange until soft peaks are formed. Fold the whipped cream into chilled sabayon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Make the raspberry sauce

  1. Add the raspberries, sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring the fruit to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cook the berries at a high simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the raspberry liquid over a fine mesh strainer, catching the sauce in a bowl underneath. Press the pulp through the strainer. This will take some time, as the pulp clings to the seeds, but keep at it and you will be rewarded with a delicious berry sauce. The back side of a flat spoon is a great tool to press the pulp through the mesh. Scrape off any pulp from the underside of the strainer and add to the bowl. Discard the seeds. Cover and chill the sauce until needed. Will last 3 days in the refrigerator.

Prepare the fruit

  1. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring the water to a boil. Partially fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside near your stove.
  2. Lightly score the peaches with a crisscross pattern across the pointed south pole of the fruit.
  3. When the water is boiling, add the peaches and boil for 30 - 40 seconds. If your peaches are large and not as ripe, they will need the longer time. Quickly remove the peaches from the boiling water and put them in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
  4. Once cooled, peel away the skin from the peach flesh starting at the crisscross center. The skin should easily peel away. Use a sharp paring knife to assist you at any stubborn parts.
  5. Cut the peaches in half and slice into 1/2 inch wedges and place in a bowl. Add the basil and gently mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the sabayon.

Assemble the Sabayon

  1. You have at least two choices for how to present the sabayon. Use a tall wine glass or flute, and layer the sabayon between layers of fruit and raspberry sauce. Or, fill each glass with fruit and raspberry sauce, then top off the fruit with sabayon. Either way looks inviting and tastes delicious.
  2. Assemble the sabayon right before you serve it for dessert.
  3. Best eaten the day it is made.

Recipe Notes

The most time-consuming part is peeling and slicing all the peaches. Everything else is done within a 15-minute time frame.

The peaches will get soggy and discolor if you slice them too early, and it sits around for a while.

Deborah Madison recommends you can make the sabayon earlier in the day, then fold in the whipped cream one to two hours ahead of time. Peel and slice the peaches before you sit down for dinner. Assemble the dessert right before serving.

Click the see more for links to Orchards in the Hudson Valley where you can visit and pick your own peaches.

(more…)

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Food Blog Theme from Nimbus
Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: