Monday, October 29, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie

This is my first post for Daring Bakers and Mary of Alpineberry chose an unbelievably
delicious and decadent dessert that one's dinner guests will long remember and marvel at your skills in the kitchen.

Bostini Cream Pie, the high class cousin of Boston cream pie is a light and airy orange chiffon cake served with a smooth and creamy custard sauce and topped with a chocolate glaze. The orange juice and zest marry well with the intense vanilla custard and has a special affinity with the chocolate.

Created by Kurtis Baguley, now executive chef at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bostini Cream Pie won the San Francisco Chronicle's top recipe for 1996. Still served at Scala's Bistro in San Francisco, Bostini Cream pie is a grand dessert for special occasions.

Thanks to Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lis of La Mia Cucina for creating Daring Bakers.

Mary's recipe for Bostini Cream Pie.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bulgogi or Korean Barbecued Beef

The literal translation of Bulgogi in Korean is "bul"-"fire" and "gogi"-"meat", is traditionally made from beef or pork short ribs thinly sliced across the bone and grilled on skewers. However, beef sirloin is more readily available and less fatty. The meat is marinated in a lovely mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and other tasty ingredients such as ginger, scallions garlic and cayenne. After grilling, bulgogi can be wrapped in a lettuce leaf, served over rice or wrapped in thin pancakes. Kimchee is a popular side dish for Bulgogi.


1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin (frozen for about 10 minutes or so for easy slicing)
4 scallions (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon, or to taste, cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Long metal skewers
Romaine leaves
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Slice the beef diagonally across the grain into long strips about 1/4 inch thick.

Combine the scallions, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, sugar, black pepper, cayenne, molasses, lemon juice, soy sauce and sesame oil and a bowl and mix well. I doubled the marinade ingredients and reserved half for the sauce. Add the beef slices to the remaining half of the marinade,making sure all the beef is covered with the sauce. Place in a large plastic zippered bag and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat gas grill for 10 minutes on high. While waiting for the grill to get hot, remove beef from refrigerator. Oil or spray vegetable spray on the skewers, then thread a slice of beef lengthwise onto a skewer, keeping it flat. Repeat with remaining beef until all is skewered. Lay the skewers on an oiled grill over medium high heat. Grill, basting with the some of the reserved sauce and turning frequently to evenly cook the meat.

Transfer to a platter and remove the beef from the skewers. Cut into bite size pieces and place on lettuce-garnish with lemon slices and serve. Makes 10-12 skewers.

Recipe from "Asian Grilling" by Su-Mei-Yu

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cottage Pie

Meat pies in England date back to the Middle Ages. The pies consisted of meat, either lamb or beef, but also game was used. Cooked for hours over a slow fire, the pies were seasoned with spices and served in pastry. The Elizabethans favored pies made of mince meat, spices, raisins and prunes, hence "mincemeat".

Shepherd's pie made with cold lamb or mutton and topped with mashed potatoes didn't appear in England until the acceptance of potatoes in that country. Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the early 1500's by the Spanish, but didn't appeal to the English palate until the 18th century. A frugal dish designed to use up leftover meat, Shepherd's Pie originated in the north of England and Scotland where there were large numbers of sheep.

Cottage Pie and Shepherd's Pie are synonymously used to describe a dish made with minced meat and mashed potato topping, but to clarify the difference, Cottage Pie, the much older term for the pie, is made with minced beef and Shepherd's Pie with minced lamb. Today, it doesn't matter whether you call the pie Shepherd's or Cottage. The most important thing is the pie tastes wonderful and is a hearty and satisfying dish for winter meals. A veritable blank canvas, what goes into the meat mixture for Cottage or Shepherd's is up to the imagination and fancy of the cook.

For further reading on Cottage and Shepherd's Pie's, click here.

Cottage Pie


1 tablespoon oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce-(I substituted a seasoned pasta sauce for the tomato sauce)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas

For the Mashed Potato Topping

2 pounds (about 3 large potatoes), cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute ground beef, chopped onion, and chopped carrot in oil over medium heat until meat loses it pink color. Add minced garlic and cook one minute more. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and broth and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook 5 more minutes.

While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and potato chunks. Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain in a colander, transfer back to pot and mash adding milk and butter. Taste for seasoning.

Pour meat mixture in a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.

Serves 4-6

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pistachio Cherry Biscotti

A great long-lasting food for travelers many centuries ago, Biscotti was sustenance for the Roman legions on their military campaigns and was probably the original "hard tack", a dry hard biscuit designed to last almost forever by the twice ("bis") baking ("cotto") method. Its relatives are the German zwieback and the English biscuit. Those dunking their high-end little biscuits in a foamy cappuccino at the popular coffee shops today never imagined that biscotti has such utilitarian beginnings.

Biscotti's journey to sophistication began during the Renaissance when a Tuscan baker served the little biscuits dunked in "vin santo", a local sweet wine. The dry, crisp composition of the biscotti was the perfect instrument for dunking.

Authentic Italian biscotti is very simple to make and can be as fancy as you like by adding fruit and nuts or dipping the ends in white or dark chocolate. They make great gifts or for a simple dessert after a heavy meal.Although there are steps involved making biscotti, it is not difficult if you follow a few pointers. In the Spring 2007 issue of Baker's Companion, there is an article on creating authentic Italian biscotti which gives step-by-step instructions to ensure success in making these lovely little crisp cookies. Without going through all the steps in detail, here are three important ones.

1. To keep the biscotti from crumbling after the first baking, spritz the baked dough lightly, but thoroughly with water taking care to cover the sides and the top. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. This is an important step especially if your biscotti contains nuts and fruits.

2. When cutting the biscotti for the second bake, use a serrated knife and cut with a straight up and down motion. This steps ensures that the biscotti will stand up for the second bake.

3. Instead of flipping the biscotti over to bake a third time, stand them up on the prepared baking sheet so the air can circulate around them as they bake.

Pistachio-Cherry Biscotti

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 oz)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 drops strong cherry flavor(optional)or 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pistachios (4 1/4 oz)
1 cup sweet or sour dried cherries (5 oz)
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet (18x 13-inch) with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla or cherry flavoring until creamy looking. When properly beaten, the egg/sugar mixture will be thick and lemon colored and drop in a ribbon from the beater.

Lower the mixer speed and add the flour beating gently until incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape into a rough log about 14 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inch thick. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet dough scraper.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. With dried fruit and nuts, it may be necessary to bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan from 5-25 minutes. I let mine cool about 15 minutes. Spray with the water as in pointer step 1. Let stand 5 minutes. This will soften the crust to make slicing easier.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wait 5 minutes, then cut the biscotti on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices using a serrated knife and straight up and down motions. If you slice the biscotti wider at the top than the bottom, they will topple over while baking the second time.

Set the biscotti upright on the prepared baking sheet 1/2 inch apart so the air can circulate. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container to preserve their texture. If the biscotti aren't as hard as you like, store uncovered overnight to continue drying. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for two weeks; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze. Yield 14-16.

Recipe from The Baker's Companion, Spring 2007, page 64.

For more biscotti recipes, visit King Arthur Flour.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

San Francisco

Some scenes from our trip to San Francisco. I don't have to tell anyone who has visited this beautiful city that the food is excellent here-from Chinatown to Sunset.
Here are some photos from the trip. I am returning today and will post a pistachio cherry biscotti soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Coffee Ice Cream and Affogato al Caffe

"Coffee, men and chocolate-some things need to be rich". And rich indeed is this ice cream, the mixture a provocative infusion of fresh coffee beans,whole milk,cream and egg yolks. The ice cream has a much richer,fresher coffee flavor than one made with espresso powder which I find that I don't use all of before it stales.

The recipe comes from The Perfect Scoop by Dave Lebovitz, a great book on ice creams, granitas, sorbets and accompaniments given to me by Laura of eatdrinklive for winning HHDD#13 and whom I promised that there would be a future post with a recipe from The Perfect Scoop.

While not a quick ice cream to make, certain steps can be done ahead and then the mixture can be refrigerated until very cold before processing in an ice cream machine. There are many models of ice cream makers available at very reasonable prices.

After I made the coffee ice cream, I found that Elise from Simply Recipes had made the same recipe from The Perfect Scoop and had included all the steps taken in making the ice cream. Have a look at her post-it's well done.

Coffee Ice Cream

Rather than just serve the coffee ice cream as is, I took the process a step further and made a Affogato al Caffe, "drowned in coffee" in Italian. To make this decadent dessert, place several scoops of the coffee ice cream in a cup and pour a shot of espresso over. Garnish with grated chocolate. Any chocolate or coffee liqueur would also be good poured over when you add the espresso.

Affogato al Caffe

Coffee Ice Cream-From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz


1-1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups whole coffee beans
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee

Warm the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt and 1/4 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Rewarm the coffee-infused milk mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible, then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and the finely ground coffee and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes about 1 quart.