Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mango Pudding

Mango is a fabulous way to get your fruit fix in the depths of winter. Bright, sunny mango is delicious with a fabulous nutritional punch. Here's a light but flavorful way to end a meal. Not terribly sweet, but will be sweeter the riper your mangoes are.

Mango Pudding

1 envelopes envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups diced frozen mango, thawed (Trader Joes handy here)
7-ounce nonfat sweetened condensed milk (about half a 14 oz can - extra is fabulous for Thai iced tea and coffee)
2 tablespoons lime juice
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand until softened, about 1 minute. Microwave on High, uncovered, until the gelatin has completely dissolved but the liquid is not boiling, 10 to 20 seconds. Stir the mixture until smooth. Be cautious here in cold weather, gelatin will set quickly so don't do this until right before you add it to the rest of the mixture. Solidified anyway? Warm it in the microwave for 10 sec. until liquid again.
Place mango in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Push through a very fine sieve into a large measuring cup until you have 1 cups puree (or put through a foodmill on the finest setting). Whisk the mango puree, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the softened gelatin mixture until well combined.

Lightly coat eight 4- to 10-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Divide the pudding among the ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
To serve, run a knife around the inside of each ramekin to loosen the pudding. Dip the bottom of the ramekin in hot water for 30 to 40 seconds, then invert onto a serving plate, holding ramekin and plate tightly together.


Ever since tasting Ebelskiver or Danish pancakes at Broder's in Portland, Mr. P and I could barely contain our enthusiasm for making some of our own. Luckily, Santa brought us a fabulous Ebelskiver pan for Christmas (thanks to the handy elf-work of my lovely MIL) and we finally got to try making our own. We hunted down a recipe that sounded good and were not disappointed. You can fill these little beauties with just about anything. We used homemade raspberry jam, but I imagine sweets like bananas, nutella, caramelized apples or savories like breakfast meats, cheese, green onions and more would all be fabulous fillings also. They are also fabulous plain with topping. Serve with syrup, lingonberries, powdered sugar, whipped cream or the Mr.'s favorite - lemon curd. Wondering what to do with that leftover buttermilk? This is one fabulous application. Makes enough for two hungry people with a bit leftover.

Basic Ebelskiver Batter

1 eggs, separated
1 cups buttermilk
1 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. Melted butter
Separate eggs; beat egg whites until stiff. Mix all the other ingredients together at one time and beat until smooth. Fold in egg whites.
Heat pan on low to medium heat. Put 1/2 tsp. butter, oil or shortening in each cup. Pour in batter near top but not filling cup. If desired, put 1/2 tsp. of jam, a piece of pineapple, blueberries, raisins, etc., in batter. (If fruit is added, reduce the amount of batter initially placed in cup. Add fruit and cover with a small amount of batter.) When bubbly, turn ball with a fork or skewer. Continue cooking until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm as desired.


That's right. Making butter. Rocket science you say? Hardly. If I had any idea just how simple it was to knock out a batch of butter, I would've been doing this years ago. It's hard to believe sometimes just how separated we are from our food sources, when an adult has a vague sense of how butter gets to her table, but is sure it involves a hyper-complicated process or hours and hours at one of those old-school churners that seem to be used almost exclusively as country decor tchatchkas, nick-knacks or occasionally, storage. I felt almost ashamed that it took Karen Solomon's lovely cookbook Jam It, Cure It, Pickle It, to make me realize just how simple making your own goodies like butter really are. No wonder each family used to make their own butter! So simple, you get beautiful, fresh buttermilk and fabulous butter all at once! How does the magic happen you ask? Shake. Shake. Shake. Or, for the weak-armed, Mix. That's right. Grab yourself some heavy whipping cream and let's get started.

from Jam It, Pickle It, Preserve it by Karen Solomon

1 c Heavy Whipping Cream
salt to taste

Place cream in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Jar should be large enough for cream to only take up half of it. Shake. I imagine this would be an awesome game for kids - just beware of launching jars. Shake, dancing along with the shaking is even more fun. Shake while reading the paper. Shake for 3 minutes or so (depending on the temperature, warmer = faster), you'll have whipped cream. Another few minutes you'll have the beginnings of butter. Once you get a good amount of solidified mass and separated buttermilk, pour and reserve the buttermilk in a separate bowl (for ideas on how to use the buttermilk, see the next post!).

Once buttermilk is removed, pour just enough water to cover the nascent butter into the jar and shake some more. Once more solid, dump this water out (do not keep this liquid). Repeat once more. Once the butter consistency is to your liking, mix with your favorite salt or fresh herbs, garlic, whatever your little heart desires. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Also makes a great gift.

ALTERNATIVELY, if you just don't have the shake in you, place cream in stand mixer (or use hand-held mixer) and mix until the butter is mostly solidified and you have your buttermilk. Reserve buttermilk by pouring into separate bowl. Add water to butter, again mix until it's at the consistency you want, pour out water (no need to keep this water) and add in any of your favorite mixings as mentioned above.

Sea Salt Caramels

This Christmas, the Mr. and I managed to put together a whole bunch of homemade gifts. My favorite by far was a recipe for caramels I'd had my eye on since I noticed it at the apartment therapy blog in 2008. Caramel and candy making in general has always daunted me with it's talk of precise temperatures, "hard ball" stages and vivid memories from my childhood of the smell of burnt sugar from a particularly disastrous caramel-apple making session at a friends house. However, with one wee little candy thermometer (which you can pick up for less than $5), this recipe couldn't be simpler. I ended up making many batches of these babies and perfected the technique with each attempt, but honestly, each batch was delectable as was - even the first batch! Though it requires careful babysitting on the stove, this process is surprisingly simple and incredibly delicious.

Sea Salt Caramels
adapted from

1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.
Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.
Boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage. Carefully stir in the cream mixture—the mixture will bubble up. Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F. The mixture will slowly darken and turn golden brown. Once to the consistency you want (see candymaker tip below), pour the mixture into the baking pan and cool 2 hours.
Yield: About 40 caramels
CANDYMAKER TIP: To get the caramel consistency you want, test by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a bowl of cold water. It will form a ball, which you can test with your fingers. Stop cooking when the ball is the consistency that you want.
OPTIONAL: You can enrobe your caramels in tempered melted chocolate; sprinkle the top with some grains of sea salt (pretty salts make a difference); or press in some culinary lavender buds.* Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy.*
ALTERNATIVE: Pour the caramel into individual candy cups.