Monday, September 19, 2005

stuffed cinnamon swirl french toast

3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup butter
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs peach schnapps (opt)
¼ cup whipping cream
8 slices cinnamon swirl bread
3 large eggs

In a large skillet, over med-low heat, melt ½ of the butter. Stir in brown sugar until it’s dissolved. Add peaches and schnapps. Increase heat to med-high and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tbs of the cream and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Place 4 slices of bread on work surface. Using a slotted spoon, divide 2/3 of the peaches evenly between the slices, leaving a border on all sides. Top with remaining 4 slices of bread and press down gently. Set aside remaining peaches and caramelized syrup.

In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs together with remaining cream. Soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture for 2 minutes per side. Melt 1 tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry 2 of the sandwiches on each side until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in a 200-degree oven to keep warm. Repeat. Serve with remaining peaches and caramelized syrup from first step.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cranberry-Orange Scones

2 2/3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
(plus 1tbs for brushing tops)’
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and orange juice concentrate. Make a well in centre of crumbs and add liquid. Bring together with a fork, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times (add a little more flour if sticky). Knead in half of the cranberries, but don’t overwork or the dough with toughen. Pat into an 8-inch circle and press in remaining cranberries. Cut circle into 8 wedges and place on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

spinach artichoke mousse

5 oz fresh spinach, finely sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tsp butter
10 marinated artichoke heart quarters
14 oz (400g tub) light cream cheese, softened

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until just translucent. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Transfer to a strainer and place over a bowl. Refrigerate until cold.

In a food processor, pulse artichoke hearts. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Squeeze cooled spinach mixture to remove as much moisture as possible. Add to artichokes. Fold in cream cheese with a rubber spatula. Serve with slices of crusty bread.

sour cherry pie with almond crumble topping

for filling:
1 ¼ cup sugar
¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
pinch salt
½ tsp cinnamon
6 cups sour cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted or unpitted)
prepared deep dish pie shell

Whisk together sugar, tapioca, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large, deep skillet, place pitted cherries (if unpitted, prick each cherry with a fork or skewer so juices will run). Place over medium high heat and stir until cherries are soft and juices are running. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar mixture evenly over cherries. Stir until juices are thickened, about three minutes. Remove from heat and scrape into a prepared deep dish pie shell. Top with almond crumble. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for about 50 minutes more, until juices are bubbling thickly in the centre. (Cover loosely with foil if topping is browning too quickly.) Transfer to cooling rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

for topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cups ground almonds
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chilled butter

Whisk together flour, sugar, oats, almonds and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Note: It’s true, you don’t have to pit the cherries before baking with them. Some people say they give off a subtle almond flavour, but one must need a sophisticated palette to detect it. What’s sure is you can’t eat the unpitted pie in polite company, on account of the need to spit the pits.

Where to find it: Most sour cherries are processed, and fresh ones are usually only available at farmers’ markets. Buy them and freeze them for use all year.