Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cookology Baking Bootcamp #4: Classic Breads

Tonight, Cookology's Chef Brad taught us how to make Classic Italian White Loaf with Onion and Cinnamon, Honey and Pecan Swirls.

The Classic Italian White Loaf with Onion is a yeast-based bread. How did we manage to get a yeast-based bread to rise so quickly you ask?! Well, Chef Brad taught us a neat trick of how to do it over a double boiler (essentially) and then again on the sheet pan it will bake on over the pot of warm water. It worked like a charm. The downside is you lose a bit of the bread (to the bottom which starts to bake), but the loaf was done in a matter of minutes versus hours!

The mixing and kneading was done again, all by hand. This time it seemed to really make a difference. I could see how someone using a mixer could actually over mix these breads and come up with tough bricks. The bread is best enjoyed while still warm...and it's so wonderful on its own that it doesn't even need butter!

The Cinnamon, Honey and Pecan Swirls were so easy to make I couldn't believe it! They're not yeast based and were baked in cupcake tins! The dough was light and airy, the cinnamon fillling sticky and sweet. I adore pecans so, of course, I loaded mine up. The icing was a simple powdered sugar/heavy cream based icing with the touch of honey. So sweet and gooey...just like a cinnamon roll should be.

This Baking Bootcamp was a ton of fun. I would highly recommend Cookology to those that enjoy learning about food and getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. I didn't learn a ton of new techniques from this class, but I still had a great time and picked up some really great tips and recipes.

Onion White Loaf

Flour – 1lb. 5 oz.
Salt - .4 oz
Water - 12 oz
Yeast - .75 oz.
Sugar - 2.75 oz
Butter - 2.75 0z
1/2 onion chopped

Mix water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add sugar to water and stir until combined. Mix flour, salt, melted butter and water mixture together. Knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and shape into shape desired. Allow to rise for one hour and bake at 350 for approx. 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Quick Cinnamon Biscuits/Rolls
Adapted from The Moosewood Collectives Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
Yield: 9 biscuits

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
4 to 6 teaspoons milk or heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. For the Filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. For the Dough: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups cream, and stir until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. With your hands, fold the dough over a few times in the bowl, until the dough is smooth.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour your hands, and pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 X 13 inches. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar topping.

5. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder. Slice into 9 equal rounds. Place the rounds, cut side down, into an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish or a pie plate. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned.

6. For the Icing: While the biscuits bake, mix together the confectioners sugar and milk or cream until smooth. When you remove the biscuits from the oven, immediately drizzle them with icing. Serve warm.

Enjoy With Love,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cookology Baking Bootcamp #3: Understanding Cakes

Cookology's Chef Brad put us to work tonight making Genoise Chocolate and Orange Cake with Citrus Spiced Chocolate Ganache and Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting.

The Genoise Chocolate and Orange Cake with Citrus Spiced Chocolate Ganache sounded divine. It even smelled great and we enjoyed some really wonderful chocolate while making it. For me though, the final product wasn't what I expected and honestly, didn't enjoy all that much. The ganache was great, the wine that they shared (a wonderful Riesling) were to die for...the cake though, for me it was a bit dry. I think I remember Chef Brad saying that this was by design and that it was a more European-acquired taste. Still looked pretty.

The Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting were much more up my alley. I think it was so much fun that in all of these classes we never used an electric mixer or Kitchen Aid type machine. Everything was done by hand, spatula or wisk....everything. Cream that butter and sugar together with your fingers! Messy, but fun and you really gain an appreciation for the texture of various ingredients.

Chef Brad made the Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting ahead of time so that it would have time to set and be ready for our cupcakes. It is sooooo good. So light yet has that cream cheesey taste that everyone loves. The cakes themselves were pretty much like you expect in a cupcake with a moist, light crumb. The lavender and lemon are perfect together and so refreshing. I will DEFINITELY be making these again. In fact, I took the leftover frosting from class so I could get a headstart. :-)

Chocolate Genoise
3 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated white sugar

Note: When warming the eggs and sugar, whisk constantly to ensure the eggs do not overheat and curdle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9-inch round cake pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the melted unsalted butter with the vanilla. Keep this mixture warm. If needed, re-warm for a few second just before using.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, heat the eggs and sugar until lukewarm to the touch (this will take approximately 5 minutes depending on the temperature of the eggs and the simmering water). Remove from heat and transfer egg mixture to your electric mixer. Beat on high speed until the egg mixture has cooled, tripled in volume, and looks like softly whipped cream. This will take approximately 5 minutes and the batter is beaten sufficiently when the batter falls back into the bowl in a ribbon-like pattern.

Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and fold using a large rubber spatula or whisk. Fold in half the remaining flour, and then fold in the rest. Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter. Then take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it into the hot butter mixture with a small spatula. (This will lighten the butter mixture and make it easier to incorporate into the egg batter without deflating it.) When completely combined, use a spatula to fold the butter mixture into the rest of the egg batter. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until the cake shrinks slightly from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed (about 20-25 minutes). Cool on a metal rack. When the cake has cooled completely, run a small knife or spatula around the edges to release the cake. The genoise will keep well-wrapped two days in the refrigerator or else three months frozen.

Chocolate Ganache
1 part chocolate
1 part cream
1 teaspoon of flavoring

Bring cream and flavor to boil. Pour over chocolate and stir to combine.

Lemon Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar (can use 1 ¼ cup for less sweet taste or ¾ cup Splenda)
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening (very soft but not melted, Crisco is best)
¾ cup milk (or half and half)
1 tablespoon vanilla (or 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract)
2 large eggs
Zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour with sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.

Add in the shortening, milk, vanilla, lemon zest and eggs. Beat on medium speed scraping the bowl constantly until just blended (the batter will be thick, you may add a few more tablespoons of milk/cream if you desire).

Pour into paper-lined regular sized muffin tins, filling under ¾ full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cupcakes test done. Immediately remove from pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter (no substitutions), softened
½ cup cream cheese
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.

For Chocolate: Substitute ½ cup baking cocoa for ½ cup of the confectioners’ sugar.
For Peanut Butter: Substitute peanut butter for the butter.
For Lemon- or Orange-flavored: Substitute lemon or orange juice for milk and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest.
For Almond- or Peppermint-flavored: Substitute almond or peppermint extract for the vanilla.

Enjoy with Love,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Brunswick Stew (April 2010)

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Well, folks, I missed the March challenge, which was Risotto and I know that I'm posting April extremely late. BUT, I did do the April challenge in time, I've just not had time to write and's Spring afterall! I've been having too much fun at Baking Bootcamp and out with friends!
The April challenge also seemed a little off season for those of us in the US...this really would be much better to make in the fall. But, I realize that the Daring Cooks are an international group and this probably came just in time for those "down under" the equator.
Here's what our host, Wolf, had to say about Bruswick Stew:
"Brunswick Stew has a long, and oft debated history. Brunswick, Georgia claimed that the first Brunswick Stew was created there in 1898. There is, at the Golden Isles Welcome Center on Interstate 95, a bronzed stew pot with a plaque proclaiming this fact.

However, Brunswick, Virginia claims that the first Brunswick Stew was created there by a camp cook named Jimmy Matthews in 1828, for a hunting expedition led by Dr. Creed Haskings, a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years. He was said to have used squirrel in the original Brunswick Stew created for the group when they returned. The hunters were at first skeptical of the thick, hearty concoction, but upon tasting it, were convinced and asked for more.

Every year, there is an Annual Brunswick Stew Cookoff that pits ‘Stewmasters’ from both Virgina and Georgia against their counterparts, and takes place every October in Georgia.

In the early 20th Cent, the rivalry of the two Brunswicks helped make this dish as popular as it is today, and it quickly became a pan-Southern classic. Some recipe call for the original addition of squirrel, but most allow for chicken, turkey, ham, or pork, even beef on occasion. Rabbit is also used. The vegetables can vary widely from variation to variation, however, the Brunswick Stewmasters recipe says *exactly* what is used in competion stews, and states that “Adding any additional ingredient(s) will disqualify the stew from being an original Brunswick Stew.”

However, most agree that, Brunswick stew is not done properly “until the paddle stands up in the middle.”"

The stew was not difficult to make. Very easy in fact once you assembled all of the ingredients. Nothing too wild (I used pork instead of rabbit afterall!). I must admit that it smelled divine while simmering away. The results were much like a thick and hearty chicken noodle soup, without the noodles. I didn't eat much of this stew, it was just too hearty for my tastes....maybe I'll try it again next fall or winter.
The Recipe: Brunswick Stew
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners” by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Serves about 12

1/4 lb / 113.88 grams / 4 oz slab bacon, rough diced
2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
1lb / 455.52 grams / 16oz rabbit, quartered, skinned (I used pork)
1 4-5lb / 1822.08- 2277.6 grams / 64-80oz chicken, quartered, skinned, and most of the fat removed
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / ½ oz sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
2-3 quarts / 8-12 cups / 64.607-96.9oz Chicken Broth
2 Bay leaves
2 large celery stalks
2lbs / 911.04 grams / 32oz Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz carrots (about 5 small carrots), chopped
3 ½ / 804.72 grams / 28.266oz cups onion (about 4 medium onions) chopped
2 cups / 459.84 grams / 16.152oz fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
3 cups / 689.76 grams / 24.228oz butterbeans, preferably fresh (1 ¼ lbs) or defrosted frozen
1 35oz can / 996.45 grams / 4 cups whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup / 57.48 grams / 2.019 oz red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Tabasco sauce to taste

1. In the largest stockpot you have, which is hopefully larger than the 5 qt ones I have, preferably a 10-12 qt or even a Dutch Oven if you’re lucky enough to have one, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.

2. Season liberally both sides of the rabbit and chicken pieces with sea salt and pepper. Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear off all sides possible. You just want to brown them, not cook them completely. Remove to bowl with bacon and chiles, add more bacon fat if needed, or olive oil, or other oil of your choice, then add in chicken pieces, again, browning all sides nicely. Remember not to crowd your pieces, especially if you have a narrow bottomed pot. Put the chicken in the bowl with the bacon, chiles and rabbit. Set it aside.

3. Add 2 cups of your chicken broth or stock, if you prefer, to the pan and basically deglaze the4 pan, making sure to get all the goodness cooked onto the bottom. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, potatoes, chicken, rabbit, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ hours. Supposedly, the stock may become a yellow tinge with pieces of chicken or rabbit floating up, the celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock, according to the recipe, it “should taste like the best chicken soup you’ve ever had”.

4. With a pair of tongs, remove the chicken and rabbit pieces to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the meats will be very tender and may start falling apart. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon and discard.5 After you’ve allowed the meat to cool enough to handle, carefully remove all the meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the meat to the pot, throwing away the bones. Add in your carrots, and stir gently, allowing it to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots have started to soften.

5. Add in your onion, butterbeans, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up, be careful not to pull a me, and squirt juice straight up into the air, requiring cleaning of the entire stove. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and onions, corn and butterbeans are tender. Remove from heat and add in vinegar, lemon juice, stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.

6. You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot, either on its own, or with a side of corn bread, over steamed white rice, with any braised greens as a side.

Enjoy with Love,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cookology Baking Bootcamp #2: Pies and Tartlets

Wow! This week's class was so yummy! Cookology's Chef Brad showed us how to make Classic French Silk Chocolate Pie with Whipped Cinnamon Cream Topping and Mixed Berry and Rum Tartlets! Both were soooo good!

Again, we paired up with partners and shared the tasks of mixing and measuring. We started with the graham cracker crusts for our chocolate pies. Fairly basic recipe/technique for a graham crust. The main part of this pie is the didn't use cornstarch to thicken it! Instead, it used flour! We had to be careful to boil it only to a certain point so that the custard wouldn't burn...I was in charge of whisking while it was on the heat but made sure that my partner and Chef Brad were both close-by with watchful eyes. I certainly didn't want to be the reason our chocolate pies turned to burnt chocolate pies!

After successfully pouring the custard into the crusts the pies went into the freezer to set...while the class enjoyed the absolutely wonderful leftover warm custard....we were going to run out of tasting spoons quickly if something wasn't done! The pots were whisked away to be emptied and cleaned...we had another recipe to work through!

The tartlets started by us making the mixed berry mix. Interestingly enough we used frozen berries. Since I have friends in the food industry that have shared the secret of frozen fruits and veggies (they are picked and frozen at peak freshness!), I wasn't too worried about using the frozen nuggets. We let the berries marry with the sugar, cornstarch and the delicious smelling Port while we moved on to the dough.

Most people are scared of dough. Personally, I have had some success and some failures...usually it's all about the fact that I cook it too long and it burns! The recipe was fairly straight forward and we used the best utensils made to cut in the butter....our hands! The hardest part of the tartlets for me was crimping them. I'm always too delicate with my crimping and then things I went back over my crimps, which of course made them a bit messy. Since Chef Brad was in charge of the actual baking, they came out beautiful!

To pass the time while the tarts were baking, Chef Brad showed us how to make a cinnamon whipped cream. He'd already made a whipped cream and then just added the cinnamon and folded. Folding always gets me...I was glad he was doing that part. We got to taste it before we put it on our now set Classic French Silk Chocolate Pies. good! So good in fact that my partner and I munched our way through the leftover raw pie dough, berry mixure and some of the cream. It was dinner...I'm sure my blood sugars didn't approve but my taste buds won that battle!

We learned a lot about good vanilla (and Chef Brad even shared how to make it!), good Port and of course, how to make these wonderful desserts. The pie was too die for smooth and creamy while the tartlets were flaky and full of slighly tart/slightly sweet fresh berries. Both are something that I would very easily make again and share with friends and family.

Below are the glamor shots of the final products.

Classic French Silk Chocolate Pie Before Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Classic French Silk Chocolate Pie After Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Mixed Berry Tartlets

Next week: Understanding Cakes! (I'm told we won't work in coworkers may get to feast on the goodies afterall!)

Mixed Berry Tartlets

Pie Dough
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 -8 tablespoons of ice-water

Berry Filling:
Lemon Juice

Egg Wash

In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of ice-water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (If necessary, add up to 4 tablespoons more of water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure flaky crust, do not over process. Transfer half of the dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a square ¾ inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Repeat with other half. Refrigerate until firm; at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days).

Prepare the berry filling by tossing together berries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. (Amounts depend on freshness/juiciness of berries).

Preheat the oven to 425. On a lightly floured surface, roll first disk out to an 8 x 12 rectangle. Cut into six 4-inch squares. Spoon berry mixture into the center of each square. Brush 2 opposite sides of each square with egg wash and fold into triangles. Crimp edges to seal. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with second dough. Brush tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired, and make ½ inch incision to create a steam vent in the middle of each triangle. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes, rotating sheet pan halfway through.

Chocolate Pie Filling
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
Dash of salt
2 cups milk, divided in half
2 tablespoons vanilla
Put dry ingredients into quart jar. Shake well. Add 1 cup mild, shake well again. Add vanilla and 1 cup milk, shake well. Pour into pot and cook about 7 minutes, stirring continually while cooking. Pour into baked pie shell (or graham cracker crust). Top with meringue; or cool and top with Cool Whip.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
¼ cup cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Chill mixing bowl and beaters for at least 15 minutes before using. Place water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
Dissolve gelatin by microwaving for 3 minutes, stirring after every minutes. Remove from microwave and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes; gelatin must be liquid but not warm when added to cream.
Remove bowl and beaters from refrigerator and pour in cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat together just until beater marks begin to show distinctly. Add gelatin mixture to cream, pouring in a steady stream while beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
Enjoy with Love,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cookology's Baking Bootcamp #1: Pate Choux

There is a local hands-on cooking school that offers classes to the public. Cookology is located at the Dulles Town Center mall and ever since it opened I have wanted to take a class there. I just so happened to mention to the Easter Bunny that there was a baking bootcamp series coming up in the month of April, and the Easter Bunny decided to help me register! I was sooooo excited!

The instructor for the baking bootcamp is quite accomplished. Here is Brad Spates' bio according to the Cookology website:

"Brad studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and the James Rumsey School of Culinary Arts. He learned his baking skills under some of the best pastry chef's in the world such as Master Chef Judeth Stains, CIA Award Winning Chef Steve Brown, and Steve Weiss, who was part of the 2000 National Gold Winning Pastry Arts Team and the Executive Pastry Chef of the Trump Taj Mahal and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He has travelled and studied pastries worldwide, including an in-depth study of French, Italian, and classical American Pastry. Bread specializes in unique forms of design, while using classical techniques that are practiced by very few modern chef's, such as pastillage, formed marzipan, pulled and blown sugar, and casting chocolates. He has a passion for baking and creating, and can't wait to share his talents with the students at Cookology!"

Impressive right!? I knew our first class was going to be about Pate Choux (pronouced like pat a shoe), which I had tried to make YEARS ago and had mild success. They promised a sweet and savory version.

The class started and we were put into pairs. I teamed up with a gal named Karen who seemed sweet and approached things in a similar fashion as I did (good match! *phew!*). I unintentionally stood next to Brad...which turned out to be good for my tendancy to get distracted...he kept my attention for sure!

The instruction was paced well, we were able to ask all the questions we wanted and had a great time. The recipes will follow later (he sends them out about a week after the class), but I can tell you that the end results were WONDERFUL! Yumm!! Just look at these photos:

My Savory Chees Puffs

My Sweet Cream Filled Eclairs

Inside of the Yummy Eclairs (Held by Brad)

I certainly am looking forward to next week's class on pies and tartlets!

**Editted to add recipes:
Pate' choux

1 cup water
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
5 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam. Fill with pastry cream, whip cream, or pastry cream.

Pastry cream
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Cheese Mixture (to use instead of Cream Mixure)
Bleu cheese
Brie cheese
Parmesean Cheese
Cream cheese
Heavy cream

Mix all ingredients in equal proportions.
(Note: We used Bleu Cheese, Parmesean Cheese and Ricotta Cheese along with the cream for our "testers.")
Enjoy with Love,