Sophie’s Dulce De Leche-Spice Genoise Cake Bread Pudding With White Chocolate Custard And Orange Essence “Snow”

A nice chocolatey bread pudding filled with winter flavors and made with love. Enjoy.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

10 Whole Eggs, Divided Use

Molasses

Dulce De Leche

Ground Cinnamon, to taste

Ground Nutmeg, to taste

Ground Ginger, to taste

Allspice, to taste

1 1/4 Sticks, plus 2 tsp Butter or Margarine, Softened

1 Cup Whole Milk or Half And Half or Heavy Cream

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

White Chocolate, Melted

Tapioca Maltodextrin

Orange Oil

For the dulce de leche-spice genoise cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Set up a double boiler. On the bottom, place a saucepan filled with water over the stove. On the top, place a small bowl filled with 6 whole eggs and brown sugar.

3. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until it reaches the ribbon stage, and turn off the heat.

4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat it until thick and pale orange in color.

5. Sift flour and salt over it in three additions, and fold in each one.

6. Melt butter with molasses, dulce de leche, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and allspice in a pan over the stove, and fold it into the batter.

7. Pour the cake into a well greased cake pan, and bake for about 35 minutes. Do not open the oven while it is baking in order to keep the temperature stable. Unstable temperature can cause the cakes to sink. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when the cake is done.

8. Remove from oven and let cool. Run a serrated knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, and set aside.

9. Let sit out overnight, uncovered, to dry out slightly.

10. The next day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F on broil.

11. Crumble the cake into a well greased baking tin.

12. Bake until toasted.

13. Remove from oven, and set aside.

For the custard:

1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, whole milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and melted white chocolate.

For the orange essence “snow”:

1. In a food processor, grind together tapioca maltodextrin and orange oil until it becomes a dry sandy powder.

For the finished bread pudding:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pour custard over stale crumbled cake.

3. Bake on the bottom rack for about 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when the bread pudding is done.

4. Remove from oven, and let cool. Sprinkle on orange essence “snow”, cut, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 dulce de leche-spice genoise cake bread pudding with white chocolate custard and orange essence “snow”

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Brunch, Baby: I’m A Brunch Girl Now!!!!!

I just got back from Florida where I spent my week’s worth of winter bread with my grandparents, my sister, and one of my brothers. I got to spend time with my aunts and uncles and cousins that I don’t see all the time, and it was a lot of fun!!!!! As usual, I sat in front of the TV day in and day out whenever I wasn’t playing golf and tennis or eating lunch at the country club in our development or going out to dinner at various restaurants. Speaking of which, the country club in the development where I stay, called the Polo Club, has great places for us to eat lunch. While you can eat outside at the Barefoot Cafe, most people prefer eating inside at the popular lunch place there called Steeple Chase, and it’s no surprise considering their awesome buffet. All you have to do is get a table, order drinks, and off to the buffet you go, with its array of delicious choices, from a special of pancakes or waffles every day to an omelet bar where the chef cooks it right in front of you, and you can tell him what you want in it to a salad bar with a variety of options. I swear, it’s so hard to choose. I mean, not only that, there’s bacon, sausages sometimes, sometimes mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, these are foods that change every day. One day, I remember it was Asian with chicken and rice and all sorts of stuff, and then, there was the Christmas brunch, and they also have soups every day, like matzoh ball soup, as well as sandwiches, and, of course, a dessert bar. You just can’t have this kind of a buffet without a dessert bar, right? And, that’s as good as it gets, but it’s really good. I got the special of pancakes or waffles, depending on what it was that day, every day, except for the last day when we were rushing because we had to get to the airport to fly back home, and I wasn’t in the mood for my usual lunch, so I got a hot crab po’boy instead. For those of you who don’t know, a po’boy is a New Orleans, Louisiana sandwich that usually consists of meat or seafood and sometimes a remoulade sauce. Mine just had crab and ooey gooey melty cheese. It actually reminded me of grilled cheese, just with an addition of crab, and I love shellfish now, so, of course, I loved it. So, the reason I say now that I’m a brunch girl is because I occasionally watch Brunch @ Bobby’s, and now, I’m obsessed with Beat Bobby Flay, so I figured that I might as well start watching it more because I like him more (I’m also obsessed with this new show, The Bobby And Damaris Show, because, I mean, you have Bobby, the Iron Chef, and Damaris, the nut job who I always get a laugh from, and they just work so well together)…well, that, and the fact that the food that I got at the club every has helped me rediscover how much I love brunch food. I never eat breakfast in the morning because either I don’t have time, or I’m not in the mood for it, or whatever, but now, I’m starting to remember how much I love this stuff. I just saw an episode this morning called The Savory Side Of Brunch, where Bobby added savory flavors to sweet brunch items, which is right up my alley because I like savory food more than I do sweet. He made things that I just wanted to eat right through the TV: of course, he made a cocktail, a verde mary, the one thing I didn’t want because I’m only 15, but what I did want was everything else he made, which consisted of stuffed French toast with Gruyere, mustard greens and double-smoked bacon that just looked like a savory French toast sandwich with a spicy crème fraîche Dijon spread and caramelized red onions soaked in a Parmesan custard with the perfect choice of sourdough bread, McFlay McScones that were biscuit-shaped, flavored with smoked ham and Muenster cheese, and turned into a sandwich (which is what I was hoping for) with herby oven-roasted plum tomatoes, watercress, and, of course, you can’t have a Bobby Flay brunch sandwich without a fried egg, and a savory yogurt bowl with chickpeas, cucumbers and beets, made extra healthy and delicious with tahini, acid from lemon juice and vinegar, and spices and herbs, and he used this Icelandic-style Greek yogurt, something I’ve never heard of before, but it looked good. Now, I don’t know if I’d be into the yogurt bowl, but my mom sure would, as for the McFlay McScones, I surprisingly don’t really like fried eggs, so take those off the sandwiches, and I’ll probably eat a few, and when it comes to the stuffed French toast, I would probably just eat it as a sandwich without soaking it in the custard and pan-frying it, but I also might try it that way because it seems kind of cool. So, that’s my story for today, and I’m going to be posting a few New Years creations later. I’m having some of my friends over and so are my parents and my sister and my brothers, and I’m really excited!!!!! Happy New Year, everyone!!!!!

Sophie’s Black And White Cookies

My version of those classic cakey vanilla and chocolate cookies you love to buy at NYC bakeries that, while it looks and is less authentic than the original, actually might taste better. Enjoy.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

1 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

2 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened

2 Whole Eggs

1/4 Cup, plus more Milk

1 tsp, plus more Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Lemon Extract

Confectioners Sugar

Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, a dash of milk, 1 tsp of vanilla, and lemon.

4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.

5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk into the batter, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

6. Scoop onto two well greased baking sheets.

7. Bake for 9 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, and let cool.

9. In a small bowl, combine some Confectioners sugar, some milk, and some vanilla. Pour half of it into another bowl, and stir some cocoa powder into that half. They should be thick but pourable.

10. Spread vanilla glaze on half of each cookie, and spread chocolate glaze on the other half. Let the glazes set, and enjoy.

Yields: about 2 dozen cookies

Sophie’s Sugar,-Spice,-And-Citrus-Poached Quince Galette Gift

A holiday “rustic pie” full of color and a balance of sweet and sour that’s perfect for a Chanukah party. Enjoy.

1 9″ Pie Crust

All Purpose Flour

3 Quince, Washed, Peeled, Cored, And Sliced

3 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Madagascar Vanilla Bean

2 Cinnamon Sticks

Ground Nutmeg, to taste

Lemon Slices

1 Egg Yolk

1 Tbsp Heavy Cream

Marzipan

Confectioners Sugar

Red Food Coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Bring a saucepan of water, granulated sugar, vanilla bean pod, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg, and lemon slices to a simmer, and add quince. Bring back to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. They should be cooked halfway through. Uncover, discard the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices, and strain. Let cool, and set aside.

3. Take the pie crust out of the shell, press it together, flatten out the dough on a clean work surface that has been sprinkled with some flour to prevent it from sticking.

4. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk and heavy cream.

5. Place poached quince in the middle of the dough, fold the dough into the center over the filling, slightly overlapping each fold, and brush the folded dough with egg wash.

6. Bake for 25 minutes.

7. Remove from oven, and let cool.

8. Press down, and flatten out the marzipan on a clean work surface that has been sprinkled with some Confectioners sugar to prevent it from sticking. Work red food coloring into some of the marzipan with your hands, and roll it out. Cut the red marzipan into the shape of a bow, and roll the regular marzipan into a log. Wrap it around the middle of the bow, and set aside.

9. Place the bow onto the center of the galette.

10. Sift some more Confectioners sugar over it, cut, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 sugar,-spice,-and-citrus-poached quince galette gift

Sophie’s Spiced Red Velvet Olive Oil Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic cupcakes with added warm spices and a healthy olive oil twist that’s sure to impress someone on their birthday. Enjoy.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 Cup Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

a pinch Ground Cinnamon

a pinch Ground Nutmeg

2 Whole Eggs

1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Half And Half or Heavy Cream

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Red Food Coloring

1/2 Cup Water

1 Stick Butter or Margarine, Softened

1 Cup Confectioners Sugar

1 container Cream Cheese, Softened

For the original cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground nutmeg.

3. In a separate bowl, beat 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, whole eggs, whole milk, oil, and vanilla.

4. Slowly add to flour mixture, and mix until well combined.

5. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and red food coloring until smooth and red.

6. Stir into batter, and pour into well greased cupcake liners. Place in cupcake tin, and bang it before putting it in the oven to release the air bubbles.

7. Bake for 15 minutes. Toothpicks inserted into the centers should come out clean when the cupcakes are done.

8. Remove from oven, let cool, and set aside.

For the cream cheese frosting:

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, and Confectioners sugar on low speed until everything is thoroughly combined.

For the finished cupcakes:

1. Brush the simple syrup on them.

2. Use a rubber spatula to scoop the cream cheese frosting into a pastry bag fitted with any tip you would like.

3. Twist the bag, gently squeeze it to pipe some of the frosting on each, and enjoy.

Yields: about a dozen cupcakes

Sophie’s Sweet And Smokey Southern Butter Bean And Heart Of Palm Succotash

A damn good Southern classic with bold flavors and pantry ingredients that’s made in a cast iron skillet but tastes like it’s been grilled. Enjoy.

1 can Butter Beans (Lima Beans), Drained

1/2 can Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, Drained

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed And Diced

1 can Hearts of Palm Pre-Cut, Drained

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Diced

Sweet Chili Sauce

Liquid Smoke

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Oil a cast iron skillet, and add diced red onion. Sauté until slightly cooked, and add corn, tomatoes, and hearts of palm. Let cook, stirring occasionally, stir in butter beans, sweet chili sauce, and liquid smoke, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Remove from skillet, let cool, and enjoy.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Sophie’s Cranberry-Pomegranate-Orange Clafoutis

A fancy French dessert that’s actually super easy to make, super delicious, and partially resembles a Dutch baby pancake; it’s great for a bar/bat mitzvah brunch. Enjoy.

1/4 bag Fresh Cranberries, Washed

Pomegranate Seeds

1/2 Cup, plus 3/4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

Orange Juice (from 1 Florida Juice Orange)

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Stick Butter or Margarine, Melted

4 Whole Eggs

1 Cup Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Confectioners’ Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, pomegranate seeds, 3/4 Tbsp of granulated sugar, and orange juice, and pour into the bottom of a pie plate.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, remaining granulated sugar, eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. It should be thick like pancake batter.

4. Pour over custard.

5. Bake for about 55 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, and let cool. Sift Confectioners’ sugar over it, cut and enjoy.

Yields: 1 cranberry-pomegranate-orange clafoutis

Sophie’s Vegetarian Fall Rolls With Asian Dipping Sauce And Peanut Sauce

A spin on spring rolls with noodles, yummy vegetables, and two dipping sauces. Enjoy.

2 Rice Paper Wrappers

1/3 box Pad Thai Noodles

1 Cup Chinese Broccoli, Washed And Chopped

4 stalks Celery, Washed And Chopped

1 Cup Carrots, Washed, Peeled, Halved Widthwise, And Julienned

Baby Corn, Washed, Halved, And Steamed

Snow Peas, Washed And Trimmed

1 Radish, Washed And Thinly Sliced

Bean Sprouts, Washed

1 Scallion, Washed And Thinly Sliced

1/2 can Water Chestnuts, Drained And Chopped

Soy Sauce, to taste

Sesame Oil, to taste

4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Grated, Divided Use

Rice Vinegar, to taste

Packed Dark Brown Sugar, to taste

Sweet Chili Sauce

Ground Ginger, to taste

Sesame Seeds

Peanut or Cookie Butter

Lime Juice

For the original rolls:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the snow peas. Stir continuously for a few seconds with a slotted spoon or “spider” until the snow peas become brighter in color.

3. Remove the snow peas with whatever you are using to stir them, and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Plunge everything in deep to really let the water get into it, and stir to make sure they are cool enough to handle before you remove them.

4. Dry the snow peas on a paper towel, and set aside.

For the dipping sauce:

1. In a small serving dish, combine some soy sauce, some sesame oil, 2 cloves of grated garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, some sweet chili sauce, some ground ginger, and sesame seeds.

For the peanut sauce:

1. In a pan, heat peanut butter, some more soy sauce, some more sesame oil, some more sweet chili sauce, remaining grated garlic, lime juice, and some more ground ginger, stir in some hot water to thin it out, and pour into another small serving dish.

For the finished rolls:

1. Soak rice paper strips in warm water until soft and workable, using your hands to move them around as they soak. This should take about 20 seconds or so.

2. Lay some of the cooked noodles and vegetables in a straight line in the middle of a rice paper wrapper, and start by folding in the sides. Finish by rolling it up from another end, mimicking a burrito. Repeat with the rest of the rice paper wrappers, the rest of the cooked noodles, and the rest of the vegetables, serve with Asian dipping sauce and peanut sauce, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 vegetarian fall rolls with Asian dipping sauce and peanut sauce

Sophie’s Tomato Basil Salad

A colorful salad filled with fresh flavors inspired by the one from Taste Of Samarkand in Queens, this time excluding the cucumber. Enjoy.

3 Roma Tomatoes, Washed And Cut Into Wedges

1/4 Red Onion, Peeled And Diced

Fresh Basil Leaves, Washed And Chiffonaded

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Olive Oil

1. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, diced red onion, and chiffonaded fresh basil leaves, add olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 servings

Sophie’s Thanksgiving Pie Cream Puffs: Spiced Cream Puffs Filled With Pumpkin Marshmallow Pastry Cream And Caramel Apple Pastry Cream

Classic French pâte à choux dough (Duff Goldman’s recipe with my own flavor) and pastry cream turned into yummy cream puffs with an awesome spin reminiscent of the most popular Thanksgiving pies. Enjoy.

1 1/4 Sticks Butter or Margarine, Softened, Divided Use

1 Tbsp, plus 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

a pinch Salt

1 Cup Water

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

3-4 Whole Eggs

Ground Cinnamon, to taste

Ground Nutmeg, to taste

1 Cup Milk

4 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup Cornstarch

Pumpkin Purée

Marshmallow Fluff

Pumpkin Pie Spice, to taste

Apple Butter

Dulce De Leche

Apple Pie Spice, to taste

Confectioners Sugar

For the pâte à choux:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a saucepan, combine 1 stick of butter, 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar, salt, and water, and bring to a boil. The butter should melt.

3. Turn off the heat, and pour in flour, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms.

4. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until all the steam is released, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg, and continue to beat until the dough clings to the paddle in “spokes” as it spins in the bowl. You might need to add more or less of the amount of eggs listed depending on their size and other factors, so beat the dough well after each egg is added, and watch the consistency.

6. Scoop onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake for 15 minutes, and rotate the pan. Then, decrease the temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake for 15 more minutes, making sure not to open the oven door otherwise while the puffs are baking. They should be deep golden brown, and sound hollow when you tap on them.

8. Remove from oven, let cool, and set aside.

For the pumpkin marshmallow pastry cream and caramel apple pastry cream:

1. In a saucepan, combine milk and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, and bring to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, remaining granulated sugar, and cornstarch until thick and pale yellow in color.

3. Pour some of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the milk-egg mixture to the rest of the hot milk mixture so that the eggs do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

4. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick, and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F, turn off the heat, and stir in remaining butter. Let cool, and strain into a two bowls. Stir pumpkin purée, marshmallow fluff, and pumpkin pie spice into one bowl, and stir apple butter, dulce de leche, and apple pie spice into the other. Cover each with plastic wrap, pressing it directly over the surface of the pastry creams to prevent a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.

5. Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and set aside.

For the finished cream puffs:

1. Use a rubber spatula to scoop the chilled pumpkin marshmallow pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with any tip you would like, and use a rubber spatula to scoop the chilled caramel apple pastry cream into another pastry bag fitted with any tip you would like.

2. Twist one of the bags, insert the tip into the bottom of each puff, and gently squeeze the bag to pipe some of the chilled pastry cream inside half of them, doing the same with the other pastry cream and the other half of the puffs.

3. Sift Confectioners sugar over them, and enjoy.

Yields: about 17 Thanksgiving pie cream puffs