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Guest at the Doorstep Apple-Berry Charlotte

*This week Chef Karen is going solo……

What is a Charlotte?  I had to look this one up.  I had heard it used in “food-lands” before but didn’t really care…. until now.  Easily defined, it’s a cake that can be served hot or cold.  The one distinction between Charlotte and other cake is that you use a batter for the mold and fill it with fruit.

That being said, I found this Charlotte very easy to make.  The hardest part was peeling and cutting the apples (which I HATE doing!) so if you like the chore, you’ll find this VERY easy. I used frozen blueberries I had in my freezer from pickings I did last summer and the local grocery store had blackberries on sale… YAY!  This is a great time-of-the-year for apples, too.  It says to use a cast-iron pan. I don’t have one so I used one of my fry pans that I can put into the oven.  I’m pretty sure you could also use a baking dish. Just make sure you check for it being done according to how big your dish is.   I took this for a snack and it got rave reviews.  I’m sure you’ll get the same reviews.  I highly recommend this recipe.

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Chocolate Lasagna

Chef Karen: When I saw this picture on Facebook, I KNEW we had to make this.  Whomever I got it from did a great sell-job with it.  I found it fairly easy to make but not an amazing dessert. It’s quite similar to many others and I told Chef Jonathan that I gave it a 7 out of 10.  It wasn’t horrible, just “ok”.  One issue I had was how to store it.  I was afraid if I left it in the fridge it would get soggy.  I stored it in the freezer. I had to wait quite awhile for it to thaw out enough to eat it.  Kinda frustrating. Here’s the link to the recipe: Chocolate Lasagna.  Maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

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Two words: Chocolate Lasagna. This is a great concept for a dessert but similar to Chef Karen’s views on it, the recipe was lacking a bit. In order for it to be a ‘lasagna’, I tend to think it should have more layers to it, but it’s still yummers none-the-same. I do like the cream cheese layer though, I think that sort of pulls all the flavours together and makes it not too rich, but nice and creamy. So, give it a go and try out this recipe, but maybe just make a few changes to let it suit your particular cravings.

Chocolate Lasagna

 

Pumpkin Loaf

Chef Karen: I was inspired by Chef Jonathan to make a Pumpkin Loaf.  I’m not a HUGE fan of pumpkin but every-so-often it’s a nice taste – especially for fall!  The loaf recipe that I used was so easy to make!  I even accidentally put in double the baking soda and it still turned out yummy!  I found the recipe from Anna Olsen on the Food Network website.  I made it exactly as written (except for the baking soda)…… I think I would add walnuts next time; that’s the only change I’d make.  It did take over an hour to bake so be prepared for that.  This loaf is VERY moist!  I was very surprised at how moist it was….. must be the pumpkin 🙂  I served this to a group of people and it got rave reviews – I didn’t see any of it in the garbage – which is a bonus! Try this recipe. I know you’ll enjoy it.

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Chef Jonathan: This is my absolute favourite recipe to make whenever even a hint of fall appears. This is my own recipe that I’ve adapted from one that I used in Culinary School for Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf. So, when a work function asked me to bake something, this my obvious choice. It consists of very simple methods: creaming butter and sugar, incorporating eggs, adding dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, ginger, cloves), and finally adding pumpkin puree, cranberries and vanilla along with a secret ingredient that I wont reveal to anyone (not even my mother…..) One thing I did change this time was using pure pumpkin and sweetening it with brown sugar and spices, I found this a bit better than using the pie filling, because you get it to the sweetness desired. This is always a hit at every gathering, try it out!

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Peach and Blueberry Trifle

Chef Karen: The title may sound simple but it bring a whole lot of happiness to the mouth! There are as many trifle recipes as there are chefs. That’s why Chef Jonathan and I decided to use a white cake of some sort, vanilla pudding, fruit and whipped cream and see what we could come up with. I chose to make individual trifles. I used Twinkies as the white cake; I soaked them in rum extract for a more “grown-up” taste, plain vanilla pudding and real whipped cream. Because my peaches were a bit hard, I cut them up, sprinkled some sugar on them and let them set for a few hours. This softened them up and make them quite yummy. I layered my ingredients as a true trifle is layered, added a sprig of mint in honour of great friend, and voila! A refreshing late-summer dessert. Simple but stunning, I’d say 🙂

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Chef Jonathan: I decided to use angel food cake as my base for the trifle, a little unoriginal, I know, but I thought it would best to go back-to-the-basics for this week’s dessert. I then layered with creme chantilly, then roughly chopped peaches. I also whipped up a vanilla custard to go next, then more cake, cream, then the blueberries. I finished off with the whipped cream, and topped off with more blueberries. This is a nice simple end of the summer dessert, enjoy!

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Peach Cobbler

*This week we’ve each used different recipes so for this post you can call us: “Two Recipes, Two Kitchens….”

Chef Karen: I love peaches so I’m pretty honoured to have my Grandma Wibert’s peach cobbler recipe.  This is the one I used this week.  It’s pretty simple and very tasty.  I made it in about 15 minutes; including peeling and cutting the peaches.  I did add blueberries to it for a little twist – I’m sure she wouldn’t care 🙂  Here is the recipe:

2 C peaches, sliced, peeled and pitted

1 1/2 C sugar; divided

3/4 C milk

3/4 C flour

2 t baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 C melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix the peaches with 1/2C of the sugar and put them in an 8×8 baking dish.

3. Mix the rest of the sugar, IC, with the milk.

4. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk; whisk well.

5. Whisk in the melted butter until it is thoroughly mixed in.

6. Pour the batter over the peaches and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

7. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy!

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Chef Jonathan: My version of this classic summer dessert was fairly rustic. I cut my peaches into dissimilar pieces, mixed with a touch of lemon juice, almond extract, cornstarch and a few tablespoons of sugar. Thrown into the oven for 20 minutes, this makes the peaches nice and soft and the aroma is amazing! Making the cobbler, consisting of a pâté sucre (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) rub in the cold butter, egg, and cream. Dropping spoonfuls of the cobbler over the peaches, it spreads nicely when it bakes for 15 more minutes. This is the perfect summer dessert, replace your favourite summer fruit for peaches!

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Lemon-Blueberry Crumb Bars

Chef Karen: Summer and fresh fruit go hand-in-hand.  That’s why this recipe caught my eye; It had the word “blueberry” in it!  I love blueberries.  I love picking them, eating them right off the bush and figuring out how many different ways I can use them in baking. (Yes, yes, I know there are other uses for blueberries but I’m a baker at heart.)  I found the recipe we’ve tested this week very easy to make. I worried about what the crust would taste like and I found it to be pretty good. The bars tasted a bit like cheesecake but weren’t too “cheese-cakey” and I was happy with that.  If you want cheesecake, make cheesecake – don’t make a substitute 🙂  My one comment was that it seemed to dry out easily once I had it in the fridge for a few days.  If you have to keep it, make sure you wrap it tightly to keep this from happening.  I recommend this recipe while you can still go and pick your own blueberries!

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Chef Jonathan: This is a nice summer recipe if you have some nice fresh berries. It can be done with any berries, not just of the blue variety, but we here at ORTK love blueberries! Making this dessert reminded me exactly of a New York Lemon Cheesecake I made in school, except for the blueberries are baked inside the bar, instead of a blueberry coulis……Making the crust, I found that there wasn’t nearly enough to fill the bottom of the pan, and do a topping, so I put all of it on the bottom, and left it Non En Croute which I actually prefer. Again, I love this recipe and I will definitely be making it again, possibly this summer. Enjoy!

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Here is the website for the recipe. It’s from the Kraft website.  http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/lemon-blueberry-crumb-bars-124041.aspx?cm_mmc=eml-_-rbecaen-_-20130717-_-2066&cm_lm=D5FF970BB300121967A3D6C9693765E2

 

Croissants!

Note: One reason for our blog is to give chefs encouragement to try new things, stretch themselves and maybe even fail. Sometimes the recipes we try work….sometimes they don’t Therefore, we’re pretty honest when we feel something doesn’t work. That”s where we are today.

Chef Karen: I’ve always wanted to make croissants. I love them but was afraid to make them. When Chef Jonathan agreed for them to be our topic this week, I was happy. As I searched for suitable recipes I found there were many choices to choose from. I chose one that I thought looked do-able. We both found out that there were a few challenges with this recipe. Chef Jonathan speaks about some of them so I won’t repeat. One issue was that I found the dough to be dry. Secondly, I found the croissant turned out to be more like a roll than a croissant. They were very dense and not light and crumbly like a croissant should be. Thirdly, the recipe says that the Prep Time is 3 hours. With the rising and waiting, I found it was more like 5 hours. After this experience I’ll never complain about the price of croissants,again. I was very disappointed with the results of this recipe. I think I’ll try another Croissant recipe to appease myself of failure.

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Chef Jonathan: The French Croissant (pronouced Kwaw-son(e) for you non-frenchies….), is one of the most intricate pastries in French Cuisine, along with Profiteroles and Tuile. After making these for the first time, I appreciate the time and effort that a true French Patissier spends each day preparing these wonderful little rolls of dough and butter. This is a pastry that I will likely make once a year, only when I’m feeling super ambitious, because of the time requirement it takes to prepare the croissant. That said, there a few changes to this recipe I would make, of course: first of all, when mixing the dough together, using a hook attachment, I added a few drops of water to bring it together which I then also had to add a tablespoon or two of flour to soak up the moisture I just added. Also, in the method, it states to fold the dough into thirds and refrigerate twice, I only did this once, and afterwards: roll out, spread with butter, fold into thirds and roll out again before slicing into triangles and rolling up. Other than that, not a particularly difficult pastry to make, just a time-consuming one. In the words of renowned French Chef, Julia Child: Bon Appetit!

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Here is the recipe (We don’t recommend it): http://frenchfood.about.com/od/breadandpastry/r/croissants.htm