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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Food Funny

Ok, my mother told me not to play with my food and I took that to heart. But she never saw the video that Lynzee Klingman just posted on her Facebook page.

Using Beethoven's 5th Symphony, the Shanghai Taro Dance Company from Osaka, Japan considers what's for breakfast.

Never was a menu so entertainingly performed. The funny thing is, even though this is a comedy piece, it made me hungry!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Light and Cool Summer Dessert: Raspberry Custard

My favorite cold weather desserts need to be sweet and full of flavor. When it's cold and rainy outside, nothing is better than a slice of flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a bowl of hot apple cobbler and a spoonful of heavy cream. Rich and sweet or hot and sweet, yumm.

In summer, heaviness is out of place. My preferred dessert is beautifully ripe fruit from our local farmers' market: a bowl of ripe berries, a slice of ice cold watermelon or cantaloupe, a ripe pluot, peach, or nectarine.

When I want a more elaborate dessert, I supplement fresh fruit with custard.

Custard is easy to make, requiring only grade-school math: 2 (eggs) + 1 (cup cream) + 1/2 (cup sugar). Poured in a buttered pan, baked in a water bath. In and out of a 350 degree oven in an hour. Simple, easy, and delicious.

Then I had a thought.

Why not separate the eggs and get a souffle-effect by beating the whites? With a bit of experimentation, I discovered the souffle needed more support, so I adjusted the proportions by adding a third egg. To lighten the flavor and lower the calories, instead of using all cream, I split the difference with a 50-50 mixture of cream and plain yogurt. If you can find Greek yogurt, all the better, for its sour-edge.

Just for the record, I tried using all yogurt and it wasn't creamy enough for my taste.

Cream and Yogurt Custard with Fresh Raspberries

Yield: 4-6 servings

Time: 15 minutes to prepare, 75 minutes to bake

Ingredients

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, finely chopped
1 basket raspberries, washed, dried
1 teaspoon sweet butter, melted

Method

With the melted butter, paint an 8" or 9" ovenproof bowl to prevent sticking. Put the whites into a mixer with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat until the whites peak, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Beat together the yolks and the remaining sugar until well-blended. Add the vanilla, yogurt, cream, and lemon peel. Mix well. Carefully fold in the whites, then the fresh raspberries.

Pour into the ovenproof bowl, place into a water bath with 2" of water, put in a preheated 350 degree oven.

After 30 minutes, rotate the bowl for even cooking and place an aluminum foil tent over the top to prevent burning. Be sure that the "tent" peaks above the surface of the bowl, otherwise as the souffle top rises, it will stick to the foil.

You'll know the custard is set when rotating the bowl, the custard moves only a little bit. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For lunch, serve cold from the refrigerator. For dinner, it is better at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Variations

Instead of raspberries, use any berry.

Top with whipped cream instead of powdered sugar.

Top with a caramelized nut: chopped walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts