Love and Confections: February 2013

February 28, 2013

Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce

1 comment:

Yesterday I posted about these individual Banana Bread Puddings. They were good on their own, but I wanted something to jazz it up and really make it over-the-top. This Rum Sauce was the perfect addition. It only took a few minutes to make and it was very easy.

This sauce is so insanely good. It's great on top of Apple Pie. You could even put it on ice cream, for a decadent topping. I might even try glazing a cake with it. You could just eat it by the spoonful - I'm not saying I did... but I'm not denying it either. ;)

Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce
a Love and Confections original recipe

Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce Ingredients:
 - 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
 - 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
 - 3 tablespoons Rum (spiced or dark, whichever you prefer)
 - 1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce Directions:
 - Cut Butter into cubes and place in medium-sized saucepan. Add Brown sugar. Cook on medium heat until the butter and sugar are melted and there are no granules left. This should only take a few minutes.
 - Take the pan off the heat and add the Rum, starting off slowly because it will bubble up, while stirring constantly. After the all the rum is added, add in the Heavy Cream.
 - Place the pan back on the stove, on medium-low heat, whisking almost constantly. The mixture will need to cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until it thickens and reduces.
 - Once it is done, take it off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Be careful and do not eat it immediately, as it is an extremely hot sauce.

Until next time,

February 27, 2013

Banana Bread Pudding

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A few weeks ago, I went to Boma, a restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, to celebrate a friend's birthday. It is a buffet style meal, showcasing the flavors of Africa. The food was great! I didn't really have any expectations because I had never had African cuisine before. They had Salads, Soups - I am totally going to recreate the seafood soup - Meat, Chicken, Vegetables, Rice and Curry; the list goes on and on.

Everyone's favorite was the dessert buffet, of course. Bite-sized treats filled our plates, some were very boozy. There was also a Fruit Crisp and a Banana Bread Pudding. This bread pudding was pretty great. It also had a choice of Vanilla or Rum Sauce. As if there was really a choice? Most of us tried both.

While we were finishing dessert, I decided to recreate this at home. I do have an affinity for Bread Pudding, and always love a moist and delicious Banana Bread - so why not put the two together? I also added some chopped Pecans for a little crunch. My Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce was the "icing on the cake" Come back tomorrow for the Brown Sugar Rum Sauce recipe! Warm Bread Pudding is, in my personal opinion, the best way to serve this dish.  Definitely one I will make again!

Banana Bread Pudding
a Love and Confections original recipe

Bread Pudding Ingredients:
 - 400 grams day-old Banana Bread, cubed
 - 300 grams Crusty Bread (Italian or Country), cubed
 - 500 grams Whole Milk
 - 5 medium to large Eggs
 - 200 grams Granulated Sugar
 - 2 very ripe Bananas
 - 50 grams chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)
 - 4 cups hot tap Water - for water bath

Bread Pudding Directions:
 - Cut the Banana Bread and Bread into inch-sized cubes and set aside.
 - In a medium saucepan, scald the Whole Milk but do not bring it to a boil. While the Milk is heating, crack the Eggs into a large bowl and whisk vigorously with the Granulated sugar. Add in Bananas and whisk or use immersion blender to mix thoroughly.
 - Once the Milk is warm, slowly pour into the Egg and Sugar mixture while whisking constantly (called Tempering, so the Eggs don't curdle/scramble).
 - Place all the bread into the large bowl so it can soak up the mixture. You can toss it with a spoon and press down to make sure all the bread touches liquid. Leave it to "soak" for 30 minutes.
 - Heat the oven to 300F.
 - Add Nuts to the bread mixture after it has soaked, tossing to combine. Divide mixture evenly between 6 ramekins.
 - One of the most important steps when making bread pudding is to use a water bath, or Bain Marie. Place a large dish or pan (big enough to fit the ramekins and about 4 cups of water) on the rack in the middle of your oven. Place the ramekins inside and then add the water - this is the easiest way so you don't create a big mess by moving the already full water bath into to oven.
 - Cook for 45-55 minutes. The top will look slightly crisp and the bread should be moist, but cake-like with no excess liquid around the edges. Very carefully, and if you can, take the bread pudding out of the water bath and let it cool slightly before eating. If you can't grab the ramekins, take both containers out of the oven and let the water cool, until you can get the ramekins out of the water bath. Again, please be careful, because the water bath is extremely hot!
 - Best served warm with either vanilla ice cream or Brown Sugar Butter Rum Sauce.

Until next time,

February 24, 2013

Brunch Mania

I have always been a fan of breakfast. Waking up on the weekends to Mom's Pancakes or Dad's French Toast was always a treat I savored.  Even though KB and I are grown, sometimes Mom still makes us Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes! I often still ask for mine with chocolate chips.

Toasting with Mimosas before wedding dress shopping with MC & her Family

After I posted a recent pic of some mimosas I made, one of my best friends, MC said that she "created a monster". It's true, I have brunched a lot with her, as we have been spending a lot more time together recently. She got engaged late last year and asked me to be a Bridesmaid! So exciting!

Brunch with MC at Big City Tavern in Ft. Lauderdale. Stuffed French Toast & Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

Over the past two months, I have either traveled to see her or she has come here for a visit - and we have had brunch every time. I love the idea of Brunch! A combination of breakfast and lunch, paired with coffee and mimosas, always hits the spot. I am fortunate to have weekends off with my current job - which is a rarity in the baking and pastry field. I can sleep in and enjoy a late meal.

Chicken & Waffles at Dexter's in Thornton Park, Orlando 

Until next time,

February 15, 2013

My Friend, the Master Baker

I have had the pleasure of working alongside and becoming friends with Denny Gruendner, a German Master Baker.

 Denny has been a great mentor since the first day I started working with him. If you have visited either the Winter Garden Farmer's Market (Saturdays 9-1) or the Lake Eola Farmer's Market (Sundays 10-4) you would have seen him. He still works for a bakery I used to, and I can't wait for him to own his own bakery someday soon!

Denny makes amazing breads and baked goods, and they are preservative free. In addition to the classic French Baguette, he makes a German Country Loaf, German Country with Swiss Cheese & Onions, Multi-Grain Bread and Ciabatta. He sometimes makes special items like Sourdough, Focaccia, Braided or Tomato & Mozzarella Loaf.

He also does Viennoisserie (baked goods made from a yeast-leavened dough or puff pastry, that has added ingredients to make it richer than regular bread). His variety of croissants can include Plain, Chocolate, Almond, Spinach & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Tomato & Mozzarella. He also has Cinnamon Twists, Raspberry Twists and Palmiers (Elephant Ears).

Some of Denny's signature and authentic items are Pretzels and Strudel. The Pretzels come three ways:  traditional Pretzel, a Pretzel Roll and a Pretzel Roll with Swiss Cheese. The Pretzels are best enjoyed with a cold beer - which you can get from one of the Lake Eola Farmer's Market vendors. The Apple Strudel is heavenly, especially served warm with some Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Denny is very knowledgeable and is more than willing to suggest a bread or pastry for your needs. If you stick around his table long enough, you'll hear him go from speaking English with one customer straight into German with the next. If you happen to go to either of those markets, I highly encourage you to grab a croissant to eat while you walk around and a loaf of bread for later. Tell him Terri sent you.

Until next time,

February 5, 2013

Apple Almond Tart for your Sweetheart!


It's that time of year where everything is red and pink. Hearts, roses boxes full of assorted chocolates and over-sized teddy bears crowd store windows. I don't really do anything too big for Valentine's Day. Restaurants are too crowded and most are too pricey. I'd rather stay home, cook a nice dinner, have some wine and relax. Well, this year I will probably be exhausted and need more than just one glass.

Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year at my job. The bakery is in high gear, prepping for the day. My schedule next week has me starting at or before 8am through "?". I literally have a question mark on the schedule - the entire week. It's basically a work until you can't work anymore, schedule.

Hopefully you will have time to prepare something nice for the holiday, if you celebrate it. If you don't, this is still a great tart for any special occasion. Or just because - just because tarts are great too. If you don't have a tart pan, you can use a pie pan, but it will not be the same shape and the measurements for everything will be different. I recommend a tart pan, though, because it looks so pretty with the fluted edge. Otherwise it's just a pie. Believe me, nothing is wrong with just a pie, but an Apple Almond Tart makes it sound a little more special.

Apple Almond Tart
Love & Confections original recipe

Tart Dough Ingredients*:
- 560 grams All Purpose Flour
- 225 grams Butter, cold and cut in small cubes
- 225 grams Confectioner's Sugar
- 5 grams Salt
- 158 grams Eggs (roughly 3 large eggs)

Tart Dough Directions:
- Combine first 4 ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, on a low speed, mix the ingredients until the Butter becomes pea-sized and the mixture feels somewhat like sand.
- Add the Eggs, half at a time, and mix until combined. This is a very sticky dough.
- Once mixed, enclose the dough on plastic wrap, shaping it into a rough circle, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- After the dough has chilled and rested, roll the dough out on a floured work surface. Gently place the dough in the tart pan without stretching it. Press it to the bottom, in the corners, and up the sides. Dock the dough, line it with a piece of parchment on it and pie weights or beans, and par bake it for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and let cool. The tart shell can me made ahead and frozen.

Frangipane Ingredients*:
- 16 ounces Almond Paste
- 100 grams Sugar
- 195 grams Butter, room temperature
- 30 grams Almond Meal/Flour
- 250 grams Eggs (5 large eggs)
- 115 grams Flour, sifted

Frangipane Directions:
- This can be made while the dough is resting.
- Combine Almond Paste, Sugar, Butter and Almond Flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix the ingredients on medium, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes.
- While on low, add in the Eggs one at a time, making sure the Egg is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is mixed properly
- Add in the Flour and mix on low until incorporated.
- Refrigerate mixture until ready to use, or divide into freezer bags as stated above.

Other Ingredients:
- 3 Granny Smith Apples
- Cinnamon Sugar (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cup Apricot Jelly

Tart Assembly:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Measure 300 grams of the Frangipane into the tart shell. Using an offset spatula, spread and level the Frangipane. Peel and core the Granny Smith Apples. Slice them, either by hand or with a mandolin, thin enough so they are flexible and can be layer in a pattern on the frangipane.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until you stick a knife under the apples into the frangipane and it comes out clean (like a cake).
- Remove the tart from the pan and place on a cardboard cake round. Sprinkle with Cinnamon Sugar if desired.
- Warm the Apricot Jelly in a saucepan until liquid. You will need to add a few tablespoons of water, one at a time, to the jelly, so it doesn't burn or darken too much.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the apples with the Apricot glaze. This is best done right before serving. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.
- Another option is to fully prepare the tart and freeze before baking. The baking time will be increased slightly, but all you need to do is pop it in the oven and bake!
- Enjoy!

*this recipe makes enough for 2 tarts

Until next time,