Category Archives: Desserts

Carolina Peach Pie

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Peach Pie

Peach Season is here! Nothing can compare to peaches grown in South Carolina and Georgia and this is the time of year when they are at their peak. Beautiful soft orbs of sweet juicy fruit, which are naturally bright and beautiful can be utilized in many ways. I grill them, make chutney, jam them, eat in hand, freeze at least 20# to use for winter and of course make peach pies among other things. This pie is one of my favorites, the other style is a glazed peach pie, which I will be making soon. This one is so easy and delicious.

Carolina Peach Pie

1 recipe of pie dough for a double crust pie

10-12 large ripe peaches

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup of sugar

5 grinds of TSTE Baker’s Secret (cocoa nibs, vanilla turbinado sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup granules, ginger, nutmeg)

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter cut into slivers

2 tablespoons of TSTE Coconut Sugar or extra fine white sugar

1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Peach Pie for the ready

Make an x in the bottom of the peaches, dunk in boiling water for 5 seconds and immediately plunge into ice water. Using a paring knife, pull off the skins. Cut the peaches into bite size pieces and layer with lemon juice sugar as you cut. When all of the peaches are sliced, stir and let sit for 10 minutes while you roll out the crust.

  • Using a spoon, pour off excess juice. Stir in the flour and Baker’s Secret.
  • Pile the peaches into the bottom crust so that the peaches are mounded high.
  • Add slivers of butter all around the peaches.
  • Put the top crust on.
  • Brush on the egg wash, covering the whole top crust
  • Sprinkle with Coconut Sugar
  • Make 3 slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape
  • Place on a foil lined cookie sheet
  • Make a cuff of foil to go around the edge of the pie (this prevents burning)and put into the oven on the center rack.

After the pie has baked for 30 minutes at 400, reduce the heat to 350 and bake another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden. Remove and cool. Allow the pie to rest for at least 40 minutes before slicing.

 

Roasted Cinnamon Gelato

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Roasted Vietnamese Cinnamon Gelato

Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks of TSTE Korintje Cinnamon,Chunks pan roasted and ground in a grinder
1 TSTE nutmeg grated with a microplane
1/8 teaspoon TSTE Fleur de Sel
2 large eggs + 1 yolk
1 teaspoon TSTE Tahitian Vanilla 

Method

  • Mix cream, half-and-half, sugar, roasted cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium saucepan. Simmer on medium heat.
  • Beat eggs in medium bowl. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking until well blended. Gradually whisk this mixture back into the remaining cream mixture in the saucepan.
  • Cook and stir on medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain custard into medium metal bowl. Stir in vanilla.
  • Place bowl over ice water bath. Lightly whisk custard occasionally until cooled.
  • Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until well chilled. Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Charleston’s Newest Restaurant

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There are some new kids on the block. I say kids because Nicole and Jay Kees are at least as young as my adult children. Though they are well seasoned food adventurers who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina just 12 weeks ago to open their new eatery, Angel Oak Restaurant.  I was invited to attend a media dinner at Angel Oak last night and I was pleasantly pleased. It is not just the interesting locally based seasonal food that caught my eye, but attention to the smallest details in the choices for decor and service ware. The restaurant has a very personal feel to it and that is because everything in it was hand picked from antique markets in upstate New York before the Kees moved to Charleston. Antique bottles filled with herbs are on each table and in window frames, the tables which are covered in brown paper are set with vintage china and when you order coffee, the cream comes in old pint milk bottles. The toile banquettes were hand made by the couple, chairs bought on Craigs List and antique doors provide cover for the busing station. Though the mason jar drinking glasses are a southern staple, the decor is fresh, art filled and not at all cloying.

Now, let’s talk about the food. The Angel Oak Restaurant has a seasonal locally inspired menu which is printed up daily. All pasta is made in house. Sauces & condiments are made from scratch and interestingly presented. Their supper menu includes appetizers such as oysters on the half shell with fresh horseradish, champagne mignonette ($7), deep fried bacon drizzled with a Buffalo sauce served with home made blue cheese dressing ($6), Port Wine Pate fresh creamy chicken liver pate, green tomato chow-chow, pickled vegetables, selection of mustards, toast points ($8) and Lobster Mac with fresh lobster, creamy herbed champagne cheese sauce and a baked panko crust ($12) among other offerings.

Port Wine Pate~fresh creamy chicken liver pate, green tomato chow-chow
pickled vegetables, selection of mustards, toast points

They also have a fun “snack” menu for just $3 you can have a taste of House-Made Ricotta with toast points and local honey,  Fried Green Tomatoes, Deviled Eggs and Yorkshire Pudding with Gravy. It is a playful way to taste some really interesting flavors. At our table the house made ricotta was a big hit.

House made ricotta with honey

Fried Bacon with Buffalo Sauce and house made blue cheese
Pate with house made pickles, mustard and green tomato chow chow

Entrees, salads and sandwiches fill out the rest of the supper menu. The entrees vary from Southern staples (Chef Kees is from Southern Missisippi and trained at the C.I.A.) to interesting plays of local ingredients. Their stellar Buttermilk Fried Chicken, drizzled with five spice herb honey served with  macaroni and cheese gratin and collard greens ($17) made several diners smile. Shrimp Carbonara with sautéed Low Country shrimp, house made pasta with peas, roasted lardons of local bacon tossed in a creamy herb sauce ($16). My Steak Au Poivre; seared peppercorn crusted local grass fed sirloin finished with a brandy cream sauce were served with herbed shoestring fries in a brown paper bag ($21) was a perfectly cooked medium rare. Other offerings round out the supper menu. Sides ($3) include herbed shoestring fries, macaroni and cheese gratin, roasted corn on the cob,creamed smashed potatoes, stone ground grits, braised carrots, collard greens & seasonal vegetables.

Classic Steak Au Poivre ~ seared peppercorn crusted sirloin finished with a brandy cream sauce & herbed shoestring fries

Perfectly cooked crispy fries served in a brown paper bag

After all of that good food, it might be difficult to save room for dessert, but their banana pudding served in a jelly jar was worth the extra calories.

Banana Puddiing

Restaurant owners: Executive Chef Jay Kees and Manager Nicole Kees

Sunday Brunch is served from 10-4, Lunch is served buffet style with lemonade or tea from 11-4 Tuesday-Friday ($8.95~ call for menu items as they change daily) and dinner is available Tuesday-Thursday till 9 and Friday-Saturday till 10. Angel Oak is located near Johns Island, 3669 Savannah Highway Johns Island, SC 29455. Indoor and out door seating is available. For reservations call 843) 556-7525. Go to Facebook and “like” Angel Oak Restaurant to stay in the loop on what is happening at this fun new dining spot.

If you are not from Charleston, you might want to read more about the namesake of this restaurant, the Angel Oak Tree. It is thought to be the oldest living organism East of the Mississippi River.

The original Angel Oak on Johns Island, SC

I am looking forward to return visits and having a chance to taste more of Chef Kee’s creations. I will be sharing them with you then.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

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Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The Cupcakes
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs 
3/4 cup buttermilk 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
3/4 cup warm water 

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat until smooth and combined.

Spoon the batter into liners about two-thirds full. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Transfer tins to wire racks and allow to cool for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month in air tight containers.

To finish, use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake and throw away the pieces (or eat them). Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm Salted Caramel Filling into each hollowed-out cupcake. You will notice the caramel will sink into the cupcake a little, just fill it up a bit more. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Use a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip and pipe Dark Chocolate Frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted. Store at room temperature in airtight containers – do NOT refrigerate. 

Salted Caramel Filling
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sugar 
2/3 cup water 
1 tablespoon light corn syrup 
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, preferably fleur de sel 

Directions
Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan and stop stirring.

Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360°F. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Use immediately; if caramel begins to harden reheat gently until pourable.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients:
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water 
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions:
Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.

With electric mixer on medium-high, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. 

Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month in an air tight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again. Pipe onto cupcakes. 

Lavender Gelato

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Gelato is ice cream’s smoother more flavorful Italian cousin. In Italy there are gelaterie shops everywhere. The trend came to the US several years ago, but there are still many people I meet that are not familiar with gelato. It is best made in small batches. It has less butterfat than most ice cream and there are a few secrets to making it smoother. Most recipes for gelato use only egg yolks, no whites. The yolk works as a stabilizer in the process. The other secret is to cook the custard and then after straining let it sit for for several hours after pasteurization is complete for the milk proteins to hydrate, or bind. This hydration reduces the size of the ice crystals, making a smoother texture in the final product.

I have an Italian gelato machine. But you do not have to have one to make good gelato. It does help if you have a machine which stirs while refrigerating, but you can still get good results with an old fashioned ice cream machine. My machine is made by Lusso and I call her Lucille.Image

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup dried culinary lavender flowers
  • Zest of one lemon in large strips (use a vegetable peeler not a zester)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Purple food coloring paste (buy this in cake decorating section of a craft store) optional
Method: 
  1. Bring milk, lemon zest and lavender almost to a boil
  2. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 1 hour
  3. Strain and discard lavender & lemon peel
  4. Add cream with a whisk
  5. Reheat strained milk & cream until bubbles form around edge of the pan
  6. Beat the egg yolks with with sugar and a pinch of salt in a stainless steel bowl that will fit over a saucepan of water. Beat vigorously until the mixture is yellow and creamy (about 3 minutes)
  7. Add a ladle of the hot milk/cream to the egg/sugar mixture and continue to whisk, then add the remaining milk/cream mixture very slowly
  8. Maintain a simmer in the bottom of the double boiler, do not allow it to come to a rolling boil
  9. Beat by hand or with a mixer while cooking for about 15 minutes, do not allow it to boil
  10. When the back of a wooden spoon is coated with the mixture and you can draw a line with your finger it is ready.
  11. Stir in the vanilla and pour through a strainer into another bowl that will fit into a larger bowl fitted with ice
  12. Whisk in the coloring if you want to use it
  13. Place plastic wrap over the entire top of the mixture, touching it all the way around. This creates a seal and will not allow a skin to form.
  14. Place the bowl with the mixture in it into the bowl of ice and allow to rest until all of the ice melts.
  15. At this point you can place it in the refrigerator to chill further, as long as over night.
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Process according to your machine’s directions. Put into plastic containers and freeze or serve immediately
 You might want to try one of my other favorite gelato recipes: Salted Caramel Gelato  pictured below: