Desserts/Pastries · Sponsored

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
If you’ve been with me for awhile then you’re probably familiar with my family’s obsession with ALL things matcha green tea flavored. So when it comes to our celebrations, I’m constantly trying to think of different ways to incorporate the finely ground matcha green tea powder in our desserts

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
We’ve done…..

You’d think we’d be sick of it all by now—but of course, we can’t seem to get enough of it!

There are even some health benefits to matcha — high in antioxidants, can assist with your concentration and help to detox. And if you use it in baked goods like I do, it finishes into a beautiful green hue –perfectly festive for the  holidays.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake
To close out my year as a Davidson’s Dozen, I thought I would take one of our favorite ingredients and combine it with their Safest Choice® pasteurized eggs. The end resulted in a rich and decadent Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake.

There are several different forms cheesecakes. Some are baked and some are unbaked like my Matcha Green Tea Icebox Cheesecake. There are fruit flavored, chocolate based and some are light and airy whereas others are rich and dense.

I generally prefer a denser texture –more along the lines of a New York style cheesecake –which is how this baked Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake was inspired by.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

The crust of the cheesecake started off with chocolate sandwich cookies that I threw into the food processor — cream filling and all. Once the cookies were pulsed into the texture of sand, it’s then mixed with some melted butter and baked off in a springform pan for a few minutes to set.

The filling is a combination of cream cheese, sour cream (for that added bit of tang), sugar, Safest Choice®  Eggs, and a hefty dose of ground matcha green tea. Davidson’s Safest Choice® Pasteurized Eggs are all-natural, hormone and antibiotic free which all leads towards a delicious farm-fresh flavor. They give the cheesecake a smooth and creamy consistency that your loved ones will adore for the holidays.

The cheesecake is then baked in a water bath to provide moisture in the oven so that the top doesn’t crack. After chilling in the fridge overnight, it’s then topped with matcha flavored whipped cream. And I’ve got to admit–it tastes fantastic! Chocolate pairs especially well with matcha — the green tea is slightly bitter and balances the sweetness from the cake.

Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake

If you’d like the recipe for my Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake, click here. And if you need other delicious ideas for your holiday events, visit the recipe center at SafeEggs.com for cocktails, appetizers, entrees and desserts!

Happy Holidays!

Davidsons-Dozen-Blogger-Badge*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.*

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Desserts/Pastries

I love Kitchen Gadgets…and Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis

I’m not one of those gals who dream about huge walk in closets for my clothes and accessories–though let’s be honest, I also wouldn’t turn it down either.

But no, I dream about a huge kitchen with spacious storage for cooking gear.

That.Would.Be.So.Rad.

Cherry Clafoutis

But I have to confess….although I do face some serious storage issues, that does not mean I stop collecting cooking gadgets. I just love them!

So when I got my hands on a Cherry Pitter courtesy of OXO, I was STOKED! I couldn’t wait to grab some of the sweet summer black cherries that have been in season and start pittin’!

Cherry Clafoutis

I decided to make a simple Cherry Clafoutis to showcase the fruit and maximize the wonderful flavor. I’ve been told that traditional Cherry Clafoutis are made with intact cherries to add that “almond-like” flavor. But really…how pleasant is it to spit out pits while enjoying dessert? Meh–not so much!

In hopes of emulating the flavor without the pits, I used almond extract and added some Amaretto liqueur. The end results were quite delicious. Fairly light considering the “custard-like” clafoutis batter and slightly sweet from the cherries.

And with that….. Pits out Homies!

(Sorry, I just couldn’t resist….)

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Cherry Clafoutis
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur (optional)
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter cake pan or ramekins. Arrange cherries in a single layer in pan. Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Stir in Amaretto. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle. Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.
Desserts/Pastries

Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut-Graham Crust

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

The Tết Festivities (Lunar New Year) has finally come to a close. And so far, the Year of the Dragon isn’t looking too bad at all. I’ve eaten a ton of yummy food, my home is spankin’ clean, work hasn’t been a hot mess, and I even found money in the pocket of one of my coats I haven’t worn in awhile. Score!

Ok, let me revise that. The BEST thing this week is that I get to meet my brand new nephew, Leonidas (Leo), tomorrow! He’s so adorable and CHUBBY! Of course, pictures are to come.

Over the weekend, the clan got together at my auntie’s home for Tết. We ate, drank, gambled, gave/received lì xì (lucky money), and had a good ol’ time with the peeps.

I had struggled for some time thinking what I should bring to the party as my aunties and sis would be covering the Vietnamese dishes. Vietnamese desserts aren’t really my specialty so after much mulling around, I decided to whip up a few Chocolate Tarts. I know…not the least bit Vietnamese or even Asian for that fact but I was pretty sure the fam wouldn’t complain.

For the recipe and cute video tutorial, check out Dulce Delight.

I’ve got two quick tips should you try this little number out… … First, after you bake the tart you may freak out a bit if the filling looks a bit grainy or bubbly. I know, cause I totally did! But don’t worry, once it cools, it all settles and the gorgeous honey-ganache glaze covers any imperfections. And second, although the flavor of the crust was divine, mine was really crumbly. I’d recommend throwing in another tablespoon of butter to the party.

I served the tart with fresh whipped cream and it was bliss. The tart itself is like a rich, decadent truffle and the hazelnut crusts added a great crunch and flavor—kind of like a Ferrero Rochers. Mmmm…I love those.

All in all, I’m liking the Dragon. 🙂

Desserts/Pastries · Sponsored

Tiramisu–Molto Delizioso!

Tiramisu

I remember the first time I ever tried Tiramisu.

It was on a date with my high school bf at an Italian restaurant in Orange County. At the end of the meal, our server brought over a huge dish of Tiramisu, compliments of the restaurant. Who knows…..he was probably trying to help the guy to impress me. 🙂

Not one to ever pass on desserts, I quickly grabbed a spoon and took a big bite. My sweet tooth was forever changed. It was rich, creamy and yet somehow light and fluffy at the same time.

So good! Then again, it could have been the rum in it that was skewing my 16 year old taste buds.

Like my previous post of Oeufs en Cocotte, you absolutely MUST use the freshest eggs possible in this dessert as Tiramisu is not cooked. The Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs I received were perfectly put to use in this.

The recipe below is a slightly tweaked version from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar from the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. They are such a cute pair and I absolutely love watching them. Their preparation is quite simple to do and yields delish results. One thing to note is to be careful not to soak the ladyfingers too long in the liquids or else it will get way too mushy. A quick dip of just one side of the cookie does the trick.

Molto Delizioso!

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Tiramisu
Serves 8
Slightly Adapted from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar

Ingredients:

2 cups freshly brewed, strong coffee (cooled)
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
5 eggs, separated
14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
2 ounces dark rum
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish

While the coffee is still warm, add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool in a shallow dish. Once cooled, stir in the rum.

Whisk the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and beaut until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg yolk mixture and continue to mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture.

Quickly dip one side of each of the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee mixture, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.

Desserts/Pastries · Vietnamese

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)


Desserts (tráng miệng) are not a huge component to Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese “desserts” are usually fresh fruits but there are a few such as various forms of chè (sweet soups/puddings), rau câu (flavored jellos/gelatin), bánh (“cakes” that could include sweet cassava cakes, taro cakes, glutinous rice flour & coconut milk cakes, doughnuts, etc.), or kẹo (“candies” that are flavored with coconut, sesame, etc.).

Growing up, our Mom and grandma Mệ would often make such desserts. Some family favorites included Chè xôi nước (sticky rice dumplings filled with mung beans in a ginger-sugar soup), Chè đậu trắng (with black eyed peas),  Chè đậu xanh (with mung bean), and the gorgeous & colorful thạch Mom would create.

Lately, our big sis, N, has taken up the reigns in this area and has shared her preparation of Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup) with me…..and well, now you 🙂

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)

Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (also spelled as “đậu phụ” ortàu hũ”) is surprisingly easy to make, tasty, and only uses 5 ingredients! Unsweetened soy milk is combined with agar-agar and is topped with a generous helping of syrup that has been flavored with slightly spicy & aromatic ginger. You just can’t get any easier than that!

The texture of Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng is up to personal preference. You can find it quite soft and silky—kind of like the texture of panna cotta. In those cases, the Đậu Hũ  is usually made with gelatin. However, if you prefer a slightly firmer texture (like how my nieces and I do) then the ratios below with agar-agar are the way to go. And by using agar-agar and the appropriate sugar, it can be a great Vegan dessert, too!

I also like to sometimes flavor my Đậu Hũ with lá duá (pandan). To me, pandan has a floral and even coconut flavor to it. If I have fresh leaves, I’ll bruise the leaves up and steep it in the soy milk before adding in the agar-agar. If using the pandan flavoring (as seen above), I add about 1-2 teaspoons of it into the liquids before ladling it into the serving dishes.

If you’re looking for a dessert to cool down with this summer, try out this Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng. It’s light but will fulfill any sweet tooth with very minimal guilt 🙂

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Đậu Hũ Nước Đường Gừng (Vietnamese Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup)
Serves 8

Ingredients:

4 Cups Unsweetened Soy Milk
½ Tablespoon Agar-Agar Powder
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
½ Cup Warm Water
3 Inch Ginger Knob, peeled and sliced

In a saucepan, heat soy milk over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Whisk in agar-agar powder until dissolved. Cook on a low simmer, mixing frequently for approximately 7-8 minutes. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the liquids before dividing between 8 4-ounce dishes. After a few minutes, use toothpicks and run along the side/tops of each dish to remove & discard the thin “skin” layer that has formed on top. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter then, cover each dish and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or until firm.

While the tofu is chilling, prepare the ginger syrup. In a sauce pan, use a rubber spatula to stir and dissolve the water and sugar. Add in the ginger slices and cook on medium low heat until it reaches a slight simmer. Reduce the heat to low and allow the syrup to cook and thicken for about 10-15 minutes—-be careful not to burn the sugars. Cool the syrup before using.

To serve, spoon a heaping tablespoon (or more if desired) of the ginger syrup over each dish. Enjoy!

 

 

 

**This is my submission to Delicious Vietnam #16 a monthly blogging event celebrating Vietnamese cuisine which was started by Anh of A Food Lover’s Journey and Hong & Kim of  Ravenous Couple. For more information, please visit Delicious Vietnam Thanks to Chi Anh from Door to My Kitchen for hosting this month!**

Miscellaneous

Here’s to Good Eatin’ in 2010!

Happy New Year Friends! :)

Alas, the whirlwind of holiday festivities, coupled with a long bout of the flu, has kept me away from blogging. But, I’m baaaaacccckkkkk and ready to kick in 2010!

At the close of 2009, I experienced an “Out-of-Body-Baking-Frenzy”. I kid you not….I was a baking machine and I was sure my better-half was going to have to hide the butter and sugar to keep me out of the kitchen!

Below are a few snapshots of evidence from my craze:

Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting © Photo rights reserved.
Fixing up some Caramel © Photo rights reserved.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting © Photo rights reserved.
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark...Somehow I ended up making over 5lbs. of it! © Photo rights reserved.
Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies dipped in Ghirardelli Chocolate © Photo rights reserved.
Grinding up the Macadamia Nuts © Photo rights reserved.
Prepping a Raspberry Coulis © Photo rights reserved.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust © Photo rights reserved.

Luna's Dessert Platter: Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies with Toffee Chips, Milk Chocolate Brownies, and Molasses Cookies © Photo rights reserved.

I needed an intervention. Seriously. :)

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I caught the “ickies” quickly after Christmas which put a pause on my culinary experiments. However, the recoup time gave me the perfect excuse to plop on the couch and catch up on some serious Food TV.

One of my most anticipated shows during the holidays was the Super Chef Battle of Iron Chef America that first screened on January 3rd.

Iron Chef America Mario Batali & Emeril Lagasse took on Iron Chef America Bobby Flay & White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford for this 2 hour battle. The Secret Ingredient? ANYTHING from the White House Garden. As charged by First Lady Michelle Obama, these duo teams were asked to create 5 dishes that featured healthy meals to inspire America.

Upon their return to Kitchen Stadium, the chefs were shown various ingredients displayed on the altar– all grown/harvested within 100 miles of the Stadium. Local, fresh ingredients—-my kind of battle. Unfortunately, that’s when things kind of took a turn.

First off, where was the Chairman??? He was MIA from such an important “Super Chef Battle”? And although the beloved Alton Brown filled in and got to sit and taste the dishes with the judges, it seemed quite odd that Mark Dacascos (yes, the Chairman’s true name) would not be present. Perhaps some R&R was needed after his stint on “Dancing with the Stars“?

Speaking of the judges……this leads me to the next “whhaaat???” moment of the show. The panel consisted of Nigella Lawson, Jane Seymour, and Natalie Coughlin. With the exception of Nigella, seriously—Jane Seymour and Natalie Coughlin? Don’t get me wrong, this is no disrespect to Actresses-turned-Jewelry-Designers or Olympians but this is a Super Chef Battle! I was hoping for a Hubert Keller or better yet, a panel consisting of the old school Iron Chefs! That would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Nope….no such thing.

As for the rest of the battle….it turned out to be pretty “meh”. Perhaps my expectations were set high since the word “super” was in the title (hey, I’m impressionable like that) but overall, it was a “C+” television experience for me.

But—-No Fear, as 2010 is shaping up to become an epic year for “good eats”. With San Francisco’s Dine-About-Town just around the corner, coupled with several new recipes and cooking gadgets I have yet to try—-my kitchen and tummy will be quite busy.

So with that, dear friends, I hope your holidays and New Year’s Festivities were joyful and delicious! :)