Friday, January 27, 2012

Elephant Hill's Shortbread and Lemon Tian, Lemon Sherbet and Lemon Confit

Elephant Hill Winery and Restaurant
 Elephant Hill may be the newest winery in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand's North Island, but it is quickly gathering a reputation for fine wines and the sustainable and eco-friendly way they are grown.

Like many Hawkes Bay wineries, Elephant Hill has a restaurant where visitors can enjoy the wines as they are meant to be - with food. Very good food. Executive Chef Ashley Jones put together a superb luncheon, but we all raved about dessert with its grand combination of lemon and textures.

Note: To read more about Elephant Hill and other Hawke's Bay wineries as well as the area itself, go to my blogs at  Travel on the Levelv

Naturally, I asked for the recipe and with typical Kiwi good will and hospitality it was shared. It's a bit of a challenge but anyone you feed it to will be wowed. Enjoy. 

Elephant Hill's Lemon Tian

Lemon confit:
Ø     5 lemons
Ø     2/3 lbs. Castor Sugar (approx. 3 cups)
Ø     2/3 cup (scant)  water
Ø     1/2 cup (scant) Glucose (available at health food stores)
Ø     1/2 Vanilla pod, cut lengthwise.
1.     Add water, sugar and glucose together and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Set aside.
2.     Slice lemons to less than 1/8 inch thick. Blanch and refresh the slices three times to reduce the acidity and bitterness.
3.     Soak blanched lemon slices in cooled sugar syrup in a large tray with the vanilla pod for 2 hours.
4.     Cook in an electric oven at 280 degrees F.  for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally until sugar syrup is reduced to a thick consistency similar to marmalade.

Lemon Curd:
Ø     3 cups (generous) Castor Sugar
Ø     3/4 lb. (very generous) Cold Butter, cubed.
Ø     8 Whole Eggs
Ø     8 Egg Yolks
Ø     2/3 cup  Lemon Juice
Ø     3 Lemons,  Zest of
Ø     3 Gelatine Leaves (gelatin powder can be substituted)
1.     Gently whisk all egg products with the castor sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.
2.     Place this mixture over a double boiler and start to cook out, whisking continuously.
3.     As the mix gets hot, add in half the quantity of cubed butter, cube by cube to prevent curdling. When the mixture resembles the consistency of thick mayonnaise, take off heat and add the remaining quantity of butter and lemon zest.
4.     Soak Gelatine leaves in cold water until softened, squeeze out the water and add to your egg mixture, incorporate with a whisk.
5.     Finally Strain the mix through a fine conical strainer to remove any inconsistencies and refrigerate.
Lemon Sable:
Ø  1 cup Confectioner's sugar
Ø  1 cup (generous) Butter, at room temperature
Ø  3/4 (generous) Ground Almond
Ø 5 cups (scant) Plain Flour, sieved with ground almond
Ø  2 Lemons, zest of
1.    Cream butter, lemon zest and icing sugar until pale in a mixer.
2.    Incorporate your sieved flour and ground almond into the butter and sugar; be careful not to overwork as the dough will become tough when cooking.
3.    Form into a rectangular shape so it will become easy to roll out, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to allow the pastry to rest.
4.    Take out chilled dough; let it come to room temperature before rolling. Roll out to desired thickness and cut into desired shape and bake on a silicone mat at 330-340 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Don’t forget to dock your pastry with a fork as this helps the cooking process.
Lemoncello Sherbet
Ø  2 1/2 cup  Castor Sugar
Ø  1 cup (generous) Water
Ø 21 cup (generous)  Lemon juice
Ø  1/3 cup (scant) Crème Fraiche
Ø  5 lemons, Zest of
1.     Boil water and sugar for 5 minutes, take of heat and allow to cool but keep warm.
2.     Whisk in lemon juice, zest and crème fraiche until fully incorporated.
3.     Put into containers and freeze.
Lemon Fizzy

Note: This is a bit like gilding the lily. It did add a different texture in the mouth but the dessert would be pretty spectacular without it.
Ø     100g  Fizzy (el bulli textures range; can be bought online)
Ø     5 cups Castor sugar
Ø     3/4 cup (generous) Water
Ø     5 lemons, zest of
1.     Boil sugar and water until a temperature of a 140®C is reached, take off heat.
2.     Add Fizzy and lemon zest immediately and incorporate. Pour onto a greased tray quickly as sugar will begin to swell in volume.
3.      Allow to set and then grind into a powder.
4.     Use as desired. This has the effect of that fizziness you would find in traditional sherbet.

Pipe small amounts of curd onto  a round bowl plate to hold the tian in place. Lay one sable pastry disc in the center, pipe lemon curd in a circular fashion on it, add a second disc and repeat the piping.  Add a third disc without the curd.

Cut three cubes of lemon confit and place in a triangular fashion around the plate. Sprinkle the ground fizzy on top of the finished tian to hold the sorbet in place. finish with a scoop of the lemon sorbet.
 NOTE: Taste as you go along - this recipe has been converted from metric measurements and we all know that's an inexact science.
To simplify, you could buy the lemon curd and substitute regular shortbread,but it won't be the same.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Prize-winning Datil Pepper Feisty Fiesta Cheesecake

Stella Brown
When Hot Shot Bakery in St. Augustine, FL, announced a Spicy Holiday Heat recipe contest, Stella Brown had the perfect entry. Everyone else thought so too and she won.

Stella Brown’s Datil Pepper Feisty Fiesta Cheesecake

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream (divided)
1 package taco seasoning mix
3 eggs, room temperature
1 TBS. Datil Pepper 2nd Degree Burn Sauce
2/3 cups salsa
1 package blue corn chips with flax seeds

 Heat oven to 350.

Combine cream cheese and shredded cheese in large bowl. Beat until fluffy.
Stir in 1 cup sour cream and taco seasoning mix.

Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Fold in datil pepper sauce and pour into a 9” spring form pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until center is firm. Remove from oven and cool for ten minutes.

Spoon remaining sour cream over cheese and bake 5 minutes longer. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate several hours.

Before serving, remove sides of spring form pan and top with salsa.
Serve with taco chips or blue corn chips.

Note from Stella: This is a recipe that can be served easily. The recipe has been developed over many years; I have substituted the datil pepper sauce for a feisty taste. It looks attractive and can also be served sliced with chips. It freezes well so it can be made in advance!

Note from me: You could substitute another hot sauce, but make it a datil pepper one.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to Publish Your Own Cookbook

If you've always dreamed of publishing a cookbook let the pros at a two-day workshop stir your creative juices and give you the how-to's to write that cookbook and get it published, whether commercially or as a family keepsake. 

From Pantry to Published: The 2-Day Legacy Workshop March 13 and 14 brings together successful cookbook authors, a professional food photographer and an expert in publishing and marketing who will set you on the way.

The setting is the historic oceanfront Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, where Chef Aaron Webb will introduce you to his award-winning New Beach Cuisine.

Sessions include

Writing for Success with Patricia Mack, cookbook author and award-winning journalist - Honing your writing skills, developing a "voice" and unique style, organizing materials, recipe testing protocols and recipe writing techniques.

Collecting Memories with Belinda Hulin, author of six cookbooks including the much-praised Roux Memories, A Cajun-Creole Love Story with Recipes - How to gather the elements, interview and collect stories to spice up your recipes and recreate recipes you thought were lost.

Food Photography - Planning and Producing with Cheryl Balara - Developing the "look" of your cookbook, strategies for a photo shoot, post-production skills, reviewing and delivering final images professionally.

Publishing - Putting it all Together with Sherrie Wilkolaski - How to publish from start to finish, marketing your cookbook, how to get your book on Amazon, in bookstores and specialty sales channels.

Accommodations, the full 2-day workshop, 2 breakfasts, lunch, wine tasting and Chef's Dinner are priced accordingly:

Accommodations in a Deluxe Room - $425.

Accommodations in a Parlor Suite - $465.

Workshop, 2 breakfasts, lunch, wine tasting and Chef's Dinner only - $290.

For information and workshop reservations, contact Leigh Cort, or 904-806-3613.