Tag Archives: Desserts

Bailey’s Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings – Happy St. Patty’s Day!

This post is a bit late in making it for St. Patty’s Day, but after all, this is dessert, so it should be getting to you at about the right hour (if you are on the West Coast). I had a little post I had to do earlier in the day for the Sunshine Award (thanks again, Denise), so I am behind in all things (as usual).

I have to admit something…after making this ice cream, I am not sure I will ever want to eat another bite of ice cream out of a supermarket pre-packaged container again. I do not care who makes it or how much it costs…there is just no comparison to homemade ice cream! Besides, they don’t have the big boozy flavor that this one has! 😉 How can you go wrong with Bailey’s Irish Cream and dark chocolate??? Besides, with a little green whipped cream, this one is soooo perfect to end your dinner of green beer (oh, yuck!) and Irish Stew for St. Patty’s Day!

As with most recipes for homemade ice cream, this one is simple. I always like to make the base for ice creams or sorbet a day ahead so it is well chilled. Other than that, piece of cake (no – ice cream!).

Anyway, I was going to just make the Bailey’s ice cream just straight up (ha ha), however, there was this bar of dark Valrhona chocolate just dying to get mixed up in that bucket of ice cream, so naturally, I had to comply!

Bailey’s Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings
Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups Bailey’s liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
3 lg. egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk (why skimp now??)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla (the really good stuff)
1/2 cup dark chocolate shavings (something semi-sweet) from a block of dark chocolate (I shaved the chocolate with a veggie peeler.)

Bring the Bailey’s to a simmer in a small, heavy saucepan and continue to simmer over medium heat. Cook until the liqueur is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Mine took about 15 minutes. The liqueur will be thicker and slightly syrupy. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar into the egg yolks until thickened and pale yellow.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and the sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or a wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. (Be careful not to let it boil or you will have scrambled eggs on your hands (and not custard). I usually check to see if the mixture slightly coats the back of a spoon. If it does, you are done!).

Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Add the heavy cream, vanilla and reduced Bailey’ Irish Cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Stir the chilled mixture and then place in your ice cream freezer and freeze (according to your own machine’s directions). When the ice cream is semi-frozen, toss in the chocolate shavings and freeze until firm.

This stuff will not become totally frozen due to the amount of Bailey’s, so I put it in the freezer overnight to help firm it up a bit.

Wow…it it so rich and creamy and chocolaty! And if that wasn’t enough…I topped it with a little sweetened whipped cream with just a hint of green. Even though there is something scary about eating/drinking things that are not meant to be green…I just had to do it! 😉 You will not, however, be seeing that picture….

Hope you had a Happy St. Patty’s Day!



Filed under Bailey's Irish Cream, Chocolate, Desserts, Holidays, Ice Cream, Irish, Recipes, St. Patrick's Day

Creme Brulee for Valentine’s Day!

I do believe that it is true that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! That would work for my hubby anyway! Creme brulee is certainly one of those foods that has him wanting more, so what better dessert would there possibly be to serve for Valentine’s Day dinner than creme brulee?! 😉

I have even had men, whose hearts I am not at all interested in, asking me to make my creme brulee when we invite friends over for dinner. Maybe French origins have to do with the seductiveness of the dessert. There obviously is something about creme brulee…and I will not go down that road in this post!

If you are not interested in getting the guy and you are trying to get the girl…CHOCOLATE! Just forget all the other sweet stuff and buy the darkest and finest chocolate you can. Truffles with some yummy fillings are especially desirable, but chocolate works for sure!

Anyway, back to creme brulee. I have tried other recipes and have not cared for them at all. I even ended up with a kitchen disaster on one particular occasion. I won’t name names of chefs, but I wondered when the recipe called for a total of 9 eggs with 3 cups of cream…Hmmm….Scrambled eggs is what I got! What a total nightmare!

Any other recipes that I have tried have left me with creme brulees that have either been less creamy, too eggy in taste or breakfast, so here is my highly recommended recipe for this sexy French dessert. Go with Ina! Her recipe is foolproof, as long as you follow directions! Click here to view the recipe.

I cannot claim that I have changed or adapted a thing on this recipe. We like our creme brulee just straight up plain like it was meant to be! No pumpkin, no fruit cooked in the middle…just pure cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla (maybe spiked with a touch of cognac!). Ina adds the cognac and I have to say we do really enjoy the flavor. The only fancy thing I did was cook it in heart-shaped ramekins! Ahhhh….very romantic.

So, if you are feeling amorous (and certainly that extends beyond Valentine’s Day!), I suggest you whip up a batch of this creme brulee and you just might find your way into that someone special’s heart! If, however, you are pressed for time, pop a cork on some champagne, it might just do the trick! 😉


Filed under Cream, Creme Brulee, Desserts, French, Valentine's Day

When Life Gives You Meyer Lemons…Make Budino!

This picture of Budino is featured today on Foodie Views! It was my first time submitting a photo and it was selected as one of the best food pictures on the web! Please go to the following link to vote for my picture! Thanks!
Click here to vote for my picture on Foodie Views.

Meyer Lemons are delightful. They are wonderfully fragrant. Originating in China, they are a combination of a regular lemon and a sweet orange (like a mandarin). So, they are perfect for lemony desserts when you want a little less tang. Unfortunately, their season is somewhat brief (beginning in November to as late as April). However, I usually do not see them for that number of months. They seem to peak right around this time.

So, naturally, I had to purchase a few when they were in great abundance at Harry’s Farmer’s Market the other day. You have to get these precious fruits while you can! So, with Meyer Lemons in hand, I decided to make this wonderful dessert, Budino (which is pudding in Italian). It is light and lemony; not too sweet.

You may or may not know that we have been on a new lifestyle change program for the New Year. We are also participating in Ten in 2010 (ten weeks to a healthy lifestyle), so I am not making too many desserts these days. We are, however, allowing ourselves one day a week (most likely a weekend day) to eat whatever we would like (within reason, of course). This dessert was the perfect finale to a really lovely dinner Saturday night (our “off” day).

This recipe was originally published in Bob Appetit in September 2006.


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter six 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Whisk in milk.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until frothy. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in 2 additions.Divide mixture among prepared custard cups. Place custard cups in roasting pan.Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups. Bake puddings until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Remove cups from water. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

* Be sure not to overcook the pudding. You want to have the wonderful runny, lemon pudding at the bottom of the custard cups. They only took 25 minutes in my oven.

* Also, be sure to remove them immediately from the hot water bath and away from the heat (for the same reason) and allow them to cool, or eat immediately.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful dessert while Meyer Lemons are in season. It is a lovely ending to a meal, it cleanses the palate and it special enough for guests. Buon Appetito!

Lemon Pudding Cake on Foodista

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Filed under Desserts, Italian, Meyer Lemons, Pudding, Recipes

The Last Supper (well, not exactly…)

This will be my last “heavy food” post for awhile (I think so, anyway). I had to post it since dinner was really good. We called this meal my husband’s “last supper” because he is really going to be changing everything he eats for the new year and this certainly did not fit into that new lifestyle plan! We had this a few nights ago and are already craving something just like it again!

What better dish could a good Italian boy have for a “last supper” than Chicken Parm??? It was pretty awesome, if I say so myself! I have made this dish many times before (that would be why we are in the position we are in to change how we eat). However, I decided to also take a peek at a new Italian cookbook I received from My Aunt Fran and Uncle Joe (good Philly folks) to see how Chicken Parmigiana was prepared in it. Aunt Fran is friends with the author, Mary Falbo, who has put together a collection of her mother’s old world Italian recipes. The cookbook is Giovanna’s Legacy and the recipes look fabulous. I will be working on making them “healthy” in the New Year! Anyway, it seems that Giovanna and I are on the same page as far as cooking this dish.

So, I prepared the chicken as I normally would have, except I added the flour step prior to the breadcrumbs (Giovanna’s suggestion). I think it did add a little more crispiness to the chicken. Since I do not add much butter/olive oil to the pan (that’s part of my constant diet), I generally do not get a really crispy crust. That is okay because the chicken gets covered up with sauce anyway. I also normally put the chicken in the oven with the tomato sauce and bake it with both the mozzarella and parmesan reggiano cheeses. Giovanna suggested doing the parmesan first and then the mozzarella, so I did that. I needed to put the broiler on just for a few seconds to get the mozzarella cheese to melt and brown just a little bit to finish the dish.

Since I was writing blogs all day and doing other things around the house, I cheated and used another bottle of Del Grosso’s sauce. (It was 8:30 pm by the time we ate dinner!) This time we tried the tomato and basil (gosh, it is so good…why make sauce??). Even I said that I have not had Chicken Parmigiana this good in a restaurant! Yum, what a great last supper!

I served it with a side a spaghetti (of course) and a really nice salad with mixed lettuces, olives, mushrooms and avocados (that is what was in the fridge and cupboard). We always use a great olive oil (the one we had that night is direct from our trip to Tuscany) and a good, or great if you can afford it, balsamic vinegar.

Since this dinner would be for my hubby, here is his quote on our outstanding wine we had that evening. “Chicken Parmigiana requires a wine of substance. One might assume a Chianti Classico would be appropriate to serve with this dish, however, an Italian Super Tuscan (Sangiovese, Cabernet and Cab Franc) possesses the depth of flavor to complement Chicken Parmigiana. Therefore, I chose a bottle of Tignanello. It has a wonderful bouquet of leather (like a horse saddle), tobacco, dark fruits, black currant, and a slight sign of olives. The wine showed gorgeous dark fruits on the palate, plums, cherries and berries with a touch of vanilla to balance out fruitiness. We shared a bottle of the 1998 vintage. This wine has reached its peak and should be used within the next few years. If this is a last supper drink, we can only hope to have more last suppers.” This would be a direct quote from my hubby the wine expert!

Here is the recipe with some additions by Giovanna:

Chicken Parmigiana
Serves 2-3

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Flour (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
Italian breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Unsalted butter (optional)
Marinara or Tomato Basil sauce (homemade or cheat)
Mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
Parmigiana Reggiano (a really good one)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound your chicken breasts until they are flattened into cutlets. Dip cutlets into flour that has been seasoned well with salt and pepper (you can skip this step if you like). Dip chicken into beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. Pour enough olive oil in the pan to have a coat the bottom of the skillet. (I use a mixture of half butter and half olive oil. Be careful not to burn the butter if you use both since it burns at a lower temperature). Cooking over medium heat, brown on one side of the chicken (about 5-6 minutes) and then turn and brown on the other side.

Spray a large casserole dish with Pam or lightly oil it. Put the chicken breasts in the dish and cover the breasts with the sauce (I just use enough to cover the chicken, otherwise, I think it gets too mushy). You can either grate some parmesan reggiano over the sauce and bake the chicken for about 20 minutes until it is done, adding the mozzarella about 5 minutes before the chicken is cooked (Giovanna’s suggestion). Or you can put mozzarella cheese and then the parmesan reggiano on top of the cutlets and bake 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Either way will work.

I have also been known to add sauteed mushrooms which makes for an even heartier dish. I would have thrown them in had there been some in the fridge.

To finish off this gluttonous supper, we just happened to have an extra creme brulee lying around, so we had a few bites of that along with a few bites from a slice of flourless chocolate cake from foodie neighbor friends (it was so good!). That would be the end of the big food for awhile and we enjoyed every bite and every sip of wine.


Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Creme Brulee, Desserts, Italian, Pasta, Recipes

Cheese Logs to English Trifle – It was an Old Fashioned Christmas

Twas the morning after Christmas and all through the house, barely a person was stirring including me and my spouse…It will be a lazy day today, that is for sure. I was in the kitchen all day yesterday. I went all out with cooking a traditional Christmas dinner to make up for the lack of decorations. We did, however, get a wreath on the front door about mid-day yesterday, so we are not complete slackers!

Anyway, we had our two sons with us yesterday. One son was here and then gone and then back with a girlfriend at the end of the day. It was uncertain how many I was cooking for, but we always enjoy the leftovers (especially when the kitchen is closed today!). It was a nice day and actually felt like Christmas once I got to cooking and we all were together. I was having a hard time getting in the Christmas mood this year, but I finally got there yesterday.

I made a cheese log two days ago, so we had that to nibble on before dinner (along with my husband’s family’s Bourbon Slush). He will not even give ME the recipe for that one. He said he might have to kill me if that gets out…it is that top-secret! I decided to make this old-fashioned cheesy treat (the classic cheese log) since it would be perfect to prepare ahead. It is a great recipe and reminded me of something I used to make years ago. It really is quite “Christmasy” with red and green speckled throughout from the pimento and parsley. You need to know that if you make it as directed, you will be making something the size of a small baseball bat. Either prepare half the recipe or you can divide the entire cheese mixture into halves or thirds for normal size cheese logs. I am freezing the other half for another evening coming up. I still have plenty leftover from yesterday to serve for the weekend.

By the way, I have added an 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese to the recipe to mix in with the cheddar cheese. I made it without the first time (which was the original recipe). By making this addition, it helped to bind the cheese together and make for smoother slicing. Without this, the original log was too crumbly.

I used Cabot’s Black Wax Sharp Cheddar Cheese. It is a great tasting cheddar with a nice bite. You can find the 2 pound package at Costco.

Here is the recipe from Saveur’s website with my changes:

Cheddar Cheese Log

Makes one 8″ Log (NOT – try 18″ if you do it as suggested)

This retro hors d’oeuvre is among the many recipes Ella Fitzgerald marked in her copy of James Beard’s American Cookery (Little, Brown, 1972).

2 lbs. grated cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp), I used the Cabot sharp cheddar (yum), softened at room temperature
* 1 8 oz package Philly cream cheese, softened (my addition)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp.)
1⁄2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (I used about 1 tsp. of Louisiana Hot Sauce – I think it has more flavor than Tabasco)
1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1⁄4 cup finely chopped pimento
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (You will need at least 1/2 – 3/4 cup, depending on how many nuts you want on the log)

1. Place softened cheddar cheese in a large bowl with cream cheese. Add Dijon mustard, Tabasco (Louisiana Hot Sauce), parsley and pimento. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed (with your hands is best), then, if necessary, correct seasoning with mustard and Tabasco.

2. Place a piece of plastic wrap about 9″ long on a clean surface. Mound cheese mixture along edge nearest you, then roll in plastic, pressing and molding to form a log about 1 1⁄2″ wide (mine was about 2 – 2 1/2″ wide) and 8″ long. (*You will need to make at least 2 logs to have a normal sized cheese log).

3. Carefully remove plastic and roll log in chopped pecans, pressing nuts into log as you roll. Rewrap log with fresh plastic and chill for at least one hour. Serve with crackers.

The rest of our dinner was wonderful as well. I made the ultimate moist ham. I glazed a Smithfield spiral cut ham with an orange marmalade and maple syrup glaze. It has an added kick with Dijon mustard and freshly ground black pepper. It stays extra moist thanks to an oven bag (good old Reynolds Wrap Oven Bags) and a slow cooking process.It truly was delicious and far better than buying a ham already prepared or one where you use the glaze packet that comes with the ham. Take the time to make your own glaze. There is no comparison.

This year I made the usual suspects (sweet potato casserole and squash casserole), but I tried some new recipes. They were slightly different from what I usually make. Both were very tasty. The sweet potatoes were topped with chopped pecans and marshmallows (you cannot go wrong with that mix). There were pecans in the mashed sweet potatoes along with brown sugar. I used large marshmallows instead of the smaller ones to top the casserole. My husband said he liked it better than usual since the marshmallows tasted like they were hot off the campfire!

The squash was sauteed with butter and onions and then combined with a cheddar cheese sauce. Because the squash was sauteed and not boiled or steamed, you avoid the watery mess that sometimes occurs with a squash casserole. It was also a nice change from the egg, bread crumb and cheese mixture that usually accompanies the sometimes watery squash. Finally, I blanched some fresh greens beans and then sauteed them with butter and toasted, sliced almonds (beans and nuts, as my Dad always called them).

I did cut corners in the roll department, but I have actually used these Sister Schubert rolls for many years and they are very good. You can find them in various flavors (yeast, whole wheat, and cinnamon) in the frozen foods department (at least here in the South). I use the single yeast rolls. I brush them with some melted, unsalted butter before popping them in the oven and they are really close to a yeast roll that you would get out in a restaurant. Great in a pinch.

For the big finale, I think my English Trifle made up for the cheating on the yeast rolls. The alternative name is a Christmas Trifle and I know why. You probably don’t want to make it more than once a year. It is time consuming, but well worth the effort. Everyone was here for dessert and a movie (Public Enemy) and it was a hit. My son raved, so I know it must have been good. It also is a beautiful dessert and perfect for a larger crowd. Since we did not have a big crowd, too bad, we have lots of leftovers!

This recipe has been adapted from a couple of older cookbooks. I have changed and made additions over the years. I have tried many custard recipes and other variations on the cake combination, but this seems to give the prettiest and tastiest results. So many trifle recipes now use gingerbread or chocolate. This is the perfect original English Trifle that was so popular many years ago. The original custard recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of butter, but I always use 2 Tablespoons and it is equally as delicious and rich. Gotta cut calories somewhere (ha ha with this meal).

Old English Trifle

Serves 10-12

For the cake layers:
1 whole pound cake loaf (I use the vanilla pound cake from Whole Foods)
Seedless raspberry jam (You will need about 10 oz.)
1/2 cup dry sherry

For the custard:
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract (I use Nielson-Massey)

3 cups fresh fruit (I used sliced strawberries, blueberries and peaches, but you can use any combination you choose)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Fresh fruit for garnish

1. Cut cake into 1-inch cubes. Split cubes in half. Spread jam on one side of half of the cube and reassemble by placing the two halves back together. This is time consuming, but very pretty.As you start to stack the cubes in a bowl, sprinkle with sherry as you go (I use a squeeze bottle). Set aside cake cubes for one hour.

2. Mix the sugar, flour and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Temper the egg yolks by whisking in a little of the hot milk slowly (about 1/2 cup), then pour the mixture back into the pot and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Let stand until cool.

3. To assemble the trifle, layer 1/3 of the cake cubes in the trifle dish. Be sure to place the cubes in the dish so that the jam shows in between the cubes. Top with 1/3 of the fruit, then with 1/3 of cooled custard mixture. Repeat 2 more times. You should have 3 layers ending with the custard.

4. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form and then top the trifle with the whipped cream.

5. Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours. Top with fresh fruit right before serving.

It was a really nice Christmas with family and great food. The dog even had a big day. I know that we are always searching for new dishes and reinventing the recipes we have. I do it much of the time myself. Many of the cooking magazines this season had features on Christmas dinners that were inspired by other countries and cuisines. While these dishes are fun to try at other times during the year, I find at Christmastime it is comforting to stick with some of the old-time favorites. They can truly be the best. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.

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Filed under Appetizers, Christmas, Desserts, Entrees, Ham, Recipes, Vegetables

Baked Pears with Caramel Sauce…Yummmm!

This delicious dessert was the finale to our Boeuf Bourguignon dinner last evening. It is so amazing in taste and yet so simple to prepare. I found a recipe some time ago for something similar, but the sauce was too runny, so I created a version that carmelizes the sauce and makes it thicker. It is much tastier (especially over the vanilla ice cream!).

By the way, I found mammoth sized pears at Costco (isn’t everything mammoth in size at that store?) that were quite inexpensive and every bit as good as the ones you would purchase at your local grocery. (The only difference I noticed was that since they were so large, they were a little “woody” where the stem runs through the pear. You might want to remove this section down to the core). If you are preparing dessert for a large dinner party, I suggest you go there if you can to buy your pears since they were so reasonably priced. They also were perfectly shaped and looked quite pretty to serve to guests. Surprisingly, they cooked in the same amount of time as smaller pears, so be sure not to cook them any longer than 30 minutes even if they are larger.

Here is my recipe:

Baked Pears with Caramel Sauce

Serves 4

2 firm Bosc pears, cut in half, peeled and cored
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Good vanilla ice cream (I used Haagen-Dazs)
Fresh mint, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine brown sugar and apple cider in a small saucepan and bring to a slight boil, making sure sugar is dissolved. Stir in butter. Place pears in a shallow baking dish cut side up (mine were so large last night that I had to use a 13 X 9 inch dish). Pour sauce over pears.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, basting pears frequently. Check to make sure they are fork tender. Remove the pears and keep warm. Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and reduce over medium heat until it is thick and syrupy, whisking constantly to keep it from separating.

Drizzle sauce over pears and ice cream. Garnish with fresh mint (I did not have any last night, but it makes for a nicer presentation). Serve immediately.

This is a perfect Winter dessert when pears are in season. The flavors will definitely impress your guests!

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Filed under Desserts, Pears, Recipes