Posts Tagged ‘maida heatter’

Cinnamon Challah Croutons with Berries and Cream (Decontructed Blintzes)

May 20, 2013

smallcinnamoncrouton

Apparently, dessert croutons are a thing, lately. There are places that sell toasted cubes of cake to eat as snacks or use in desserts or salads. The LA Times recently published a recipe by Nancy Silverton which featured bread croutons as a garnish for a rich chocolate dessert (Bittersweet Chocolate Tartufo with Olive Oil Gelato and Olive Oil Fried Croutons). And there are recipes featuring fruit, ice cream or some other creamy mixture, and sweet croutons (see here and here).

Anyway, I was thinking about a recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts called Top Secret Topping. It is nothing more than plain or lightly sweetened cottage cheese, which is somehow transformed by being pureed in the food processor into a luscious creamy smooth topping for fresh fruit. Maida said she swooned when she first tried it over strawberries, and her friends couldn’t guess what it was (yogurt? sour cream? creme fraiche? cream?) (here is her original description, reprinted in Maida’s Heatter’s Pies and Tarts).

She says you can use 1% or 2%, but you really need to use 4% to get the full effect. The extra fat in the 4% makes it possible for the mixture to whip up and increase in volume. The increased airiness as well as the smoothness of the pureed cottage cheese creates the impression of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

I decided to add cinnamon challah croutons to Maida’s combination of strawberries and top secret topping. The result: a taste I can only describe as deconstructed cheese blintz. I also tried the croutons on strawberry spinach salad with my fat-free orange dressing. It was nice, but I liked the combination of creamy cheese, berries and cinnamon croutons a bit more.

The cinnamon challah croutons remind me a bit of those mock blintzes made from toast stuffed with cream cheese. Made with coconut oil, they are pareve, but taste dairy, almost buttery.

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Maida’s Famous Bran Muffins and a Variation

February 15, 2012

At the risk of gross oversimplification, there are basically two ways to make bran muffins: (1) with unprocessed wheat bran, and (2) with bran cereal.

You would think that cereal would be the more expensive option, but an 18 ounce box of All Bran Cereal costs about the same as a 14 ounce box of Hodgson Mills Unprocessed Bran. Some cereals have additives, like artificial sweeteners, but the above cereal is just bran, sugar, malt and salt. Comparing the nutritional information on the boxes, I figured out that 93 grams of cereal (about 1 1/2 cups) is the same as 75 grams of unprocessed bran (about 1 1/4 cups). So pricewise and nutritionwise, there isn’t too much difference.

The bran cereal is pre-cooked, which is a disadvantage is certain applications, but I think an advantage with something that is so briefly baked (muffins bake for 15-20 minutes). In fact, in doing a side by side comparison of bran muffins baked with cereal and unprocessed bran, I toasted the unprocessed bran before adding it to the batter to add some deeper color and flavor.

One more advantage in using cereal rather than unprocessed bran: you can readily eat up the leftover cereal for breakfast (well, over the course of many breakfasts), while the rest of the box of bran might linger in the freezer for a while.

Is there a taste advantage of one versus the other? I’m not sure. I made two batches of muffins and compared them side by side and the flavor was fairly similar.

So, the choice is yours. The below recipe  (adapted from Maida Heatter’s famous recipe) lets you choose either raw bran flakes or cereal. And, by the way, if you think bran muffins are dry and tasteless, you must try this moist, deeply flavorful muffin.

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Chocolate Cookies You Must Make for Passover

March 16, 2011

(From the archives (February 2009), but updated with new pictures and more information)

These cookies are fabulous. A thin crackly crust yields to a soft, moist, intensely chocolate interior, punctuated with rivulets of melted chocolate and large  and chunks of nuts.
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Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake (Dorie Greenspan)

January 21, 2011

I made lots of Dorie desserts for Hanukah: speculoos, apple cake (this time with flour instead of potato starch), this mousse cake, and croquants.

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Julia’s Genoise Electrique Morphed into Passover Marble Chiffon

March 26, 2010

As I’ve said before, Passover desserts fall into two camps: (1) recipes that are not based on flour and need little or no changes to work for Passover, and (2) recipes that are based on flour and need to be converted to work with potato starch and matzoh cake meal.

Generally, flourless desserts are a safer bet. But, sponge cake and chiffon cakes are a holiday tradition.

In the past, I have not had spectacular success with this kind of recipe. This year, I think I am finally making headway.

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Chocolate and More Chocolate Passover Desserts

March 24, 2010

When it comes to Passover desserts, you have two options: (1) make a recipe that substitutes potato starch or matzoh meal for flour, or (2) use a recipe that does not depend on flour. Option two is usually the most successful.

Flourless chocolate cakes are the most obvious choice (and I will get to my favorite momentarily). There are cookies that are more or less flourless that are great options as well.

Maida Heatter’s famous mulattoes (also known as Soho Gobs, Mudslides, Bittersweet Decadence and a bunch of other names) are a fail-safe cookie choice. I especially like Alice Medrich’s take on this cookie in her book Bittersweet. Just substitute potato starch for the minimal amount of flour called for in the recipe.

I just discovered another winner: Beacon Hill cookies, as reinterpreted by Alice Medrich. So easy and so good–the only catch is that the cookies do not have much of a shelf life.

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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Cookies

February 23, 2009

cookie

I am already thinking ahead to Passover. I gave one of my favorite flourless cookies from last year a test run.

The cookies are based on a recipe from Maida Heatter that has been copied all over.  Or rather, it is based on that recipe plus a variation by Alice Medrich that calls for all semisweet chocolate and a mere two tablespoons of butter.

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