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Archive for August, 2015

Baked Stuffed Pears

Ingredients:

4 green-skinned pears, stems intact

1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1 large egg white

1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Using an apple corer or a small spoon, cut out the core from the bottom of each pear (laving a little of the core at the top will help keep stem attached).  Use the spoon to enlarge each cavity to hold 2 Tbsp filling.

In a small bowl, stir together the chopped and ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest, and egg white.  Divide the mixture evenly among the pears, pressing it firmly into the cavities.  Stand the pears in a shallow baking dish, cutting slices from the bottoms, if necessary, so that they stand upright.  Drizzle with the maple syrup.  Cover tightly with foil and bake until the pars are easily pierced with a skewer, about 1 hour.  Transfer the pears to plates, spoon the cooking syrup on top, and serve.

From Williams Sonoma’s Dessert of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year Cookbook, p216

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 FOR THE CORNMEAL PASTRY

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup coarse cornmeal

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE FRUIT FILLING

1/3 cup nectarine jam

1 tsp cornstarch

3-4 firm, ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the butter, flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the yogurt and pulse until the mixture starts to come together in a ball.  Do not overwork.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface covered with plastic wrap and press into a disk.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a round about 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan and press evenly into the pan.  Trim the edge.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Bake the tart shell until the pastry is lightly colored, about 30 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg white and bake for 5 minutes longer.  Let cool on wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the jam and cornstarch. Spread in the pastry shell and arrange the nectarines on top.  In another small bowl, stir together the vanilla and sugar and sprinkle over the nectarines.  Bake until the fruit is tender and bubbling, about 35 minutes.  Serve warm or chilled, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

You can substitute other fruit for the nectarines (both fresh & jam); I have used apricots in the past.  A little whip cream is also amazing on top!

Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Dessert of the Day cookbook by Kim Law (page 160).

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Ingredients:

4 Plums, pitted—1 cut into 8 wedges and 3 roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. balsalmic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

Salt & pepper

2 cucumbers—peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

1lb pork tenderloin, patted dry

1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for coating

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Place a 9×13” metal pan in the oven and preheat to 500°. In a bowl, toss the first three ingredients; season.  In a colander, toss the cucumbers with 3/4 tsp. salt; let sit in the sink to drain.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit 2 inches deep along the center of the tenderloin. Rub with olive oil and season.  Insert 5 or 6 plum wedges, skin side out.  Drizzle the balsamic liquid over the plums.  Close the pork over them, securing with toothpicks.
  3. Transfer to the pan seam up; roast 8 minutes. Flip, add chopped plums to the pan and roast until pork registers 145° on an instant-read thermometer, 10-14 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board.
  4. Rinse the cucumbers and toss with the onion, lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season.  Slice the port and serve it with the saucy chopped plums and the cucumbers.

Mix it up!  You can substitute any other juicy fruit for the plums—peaches, nectarines, cherries, etc.

Recipe from Rachelraymag.com September 2013 issue, page 62

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Ingredients:

2lbs nectarines, peeled, pitted and chopped (you could also use peaches)

1 cup cider vinegar

3-4 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded (if desired) and coarsely chopped (wear gloves!)

5 cups sugar

1/2 of a 6-ounce package (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin

Directions:

1) In a large saucepan, use a potato masher to crush nectarines.  Add vinegar and chile peppers.  Bring to aboiling over high heat; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until nectarines and peppers are very soft.  Using a jelly bag or a colander lined with several layers of 100% cotton cheesecloth, strain the mixture.  You should have about 2 cups strained liquid.  Discard solids.

2) In the same large sauce pan, combine the 2 cups strained liquid and the sugar.  Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Quickly stir in pectin.  Return to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off foam with a metal spoon.

3) Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4” headspace.  Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.

4) Process filled jars in a boiling-water caner for 5 minutes (start timing when the water returns to boiling).  Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.  Before serving, let jelly stand at room temp for 2-3 days or until jelly is set.

Makes 5 half-pints.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens Canning Edition, 2013

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