Sweet Eats: Panettone Bread Pudding

When I used to work in an Italian restaurant, Christmas was a very busy season. Despite all the food that needed to be cooked and prepped for service, the chef made us stop working to enjoy an Italian Christmas tradition—eating and sharing a Panetonne. One chef would make the zabaione, an Italian custard, and we would all gather into a very tiny pastry room to rip apart a giant, delicious, fragrant Panettone and dip it into the zabaione. This 10 minute break taught me how to eat Panetonne like the Italians do.

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If you end up with an extra Panetonne or two at Christmastime and can’t quite manage to eat it on your own, try making it into bread pudding. The bread is sweet, filled with raisins and tons of flavour. It may not look like the prettiest dessert you’ve ever served but it will certainly be one of the tastiest!

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Panettone Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

1 Panettone, sliced into 1½” thick slices
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups 35% cream
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
Zest from 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 13” baking dish.
  2. Layer the slices of Panettone evenly in the prepared dish. Mix the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl. Pour the custard mixture over the Panettone ensuring most of the bread is soaked.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the custard has set. If you want to bake the dish another time, cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in the fridge.
  4. This dish is delicious served warm with custard or cream poured all over top.

SONY DSC Miranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer and writer who used to live in London, UK but moved back to Canada for nanaimo bars, maple syrup and poutine. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram @littlemirandapiggy and Twitter @mirandaak.

Dan’s Good Side: Lobster and Green Pepper-Stuffed Mushroom Caps

I was chatting with my friend Mel the other week about the fact that green peppers always seem to suck. They aren’t great raw, they aren’t great cooked. Is there a good way to cook them? Is there? I may just be a jaded, old green pepper hater, but I’m willing to keep trying avenues where they can be more enjoyable.

Anyway…recently I spent a good chunk of time out on the east coast, so I decided to bring a few lobsters back home with me to cook up a lobster-centric dinner for some friends. I thought it would be fun to go a little old school with some stuffed mushroom caps and there happened to be a green pepper from my last Spud Calgary delivery pre-travels, staring at me every time I opened the fridge, so it was time to use it.

It’s hard to go wrong with stuffed mushroom caps, especially when cream cheese and lobster are involved, but I must admit, the green pepper was an enjoyable addition to this recipe and everyone seemed to love them, so maybe I just need to cool it on my anti-green pepper campaign…

Lobster and Green Pepper-Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Yields: 24 stuffed mushroom caps
Total Time: 45 minutes

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Ingredients:

1 green pepper (halved and seeds removed)
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tablespoons white wine
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups cream cheese (softened)
2 cups cooked lobster meat (finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon liquid honey
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
salt and pepper (to taste)
24 white mushroom caps (stems removed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. Place green pepper on a small roasting pan, drizzle lightly with oil and let roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat and cook onion and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add white wine to pan and let cook until almost completely reduced, then add the butter and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Transfer contents of pan to a blender, puree until smooth and set aside to cool. While that’s cooling, dice up the roasted green pepper and place into a large mixing bowl along with the next 4 ingredients.
  6. Once onion puree is cool, add it to the bowl and stir until everything is well-incorporated, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Place mushroom caps on a large baking sheet and spoon the cream cheese and lobster mixture into each cap. Bake in oven until mushroom is tender and the filling has started to brown, about 18-20 minutes.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Sweet Eats: Christmas Meringue Kisses

Meringue is one of the most versatile recipes to have in your back pocket. This fluffy sweet confectionery can be transformed into so many different desserts: Eton mess, Pavlova and baked Alaska, but they are equally delicious as meringue kisses.

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Always use whole eggs and separate the eggs from the yolks to make meringue—boxed egg whites never quite whip up to form soft peaks, the same way as whole eggs.

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Meringue Kisses

Ingredients:

5 egg whites
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring
Piping bag
Star tip or 1” round tip
Paint brush

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Before whisking your meringue, prepare your piping bag. Place the tip in the bag and using your paint brush, brush stripes of food colouring inside the bag (painting 3 or four stripes around the inside of the bag). Set aside in a large pint glass for easy filling.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium until frothy. Add the salt and vanilla. Turn the mixer onto medium-high and add the sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  4. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk until the meringue is shiny and very stiff, about 5 minutes. Put the meringue into the prepared piping bag and pipe meringue kisses 1” apart.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until the meringues are dry and can be lifted easily off the parchment paper. Let cool completely.
  6. *Alternatively use green food colour to make mini Christmas trees. Use a star tip and pipe one big kiss with two smaller ones on top to create a tree. Bake for 2 to 2½ hours until dry. Decorate with royal icing and sprinkles.

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SONY DSC Miranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer and writer who used to live in London, UK but moved back to Canada for nanaimo bars, maple syrup and poutine. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram @littlemirandapiggy and Twitter @mirandaak.

5 Ways To Master Phyllo Pastry

Transforming this wispy-thin pastry into a myriad of festive options is easier than you think. From a delightful cherry almond strudel to brunch-friendly smoked ham and egg cups, here are five reasons to get your phyllo on right now.

1. Phyllo Egg Cups with Ham and Cheese

Churning out brunch for a crowd with the ease of a seasoned line cook is a breeze with these delightfully light phyllo pastry cups, filled with smoked ham, shredded cheese and eggs, all baked to a golden brown perfection.

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2. Cherry Almond Strudel

Brimming with ripe, juicy cherries encased in crisp, flaky layers of phyllo pastry and topped with a dusting of cinnamon, brown sugar and almonds, this delicate and sophisticated treat is a cinch to pull off thanks to the PC® Black Label Sour Cherry Fruit Spread.

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3. Classic Greek Baklava

Dripping with honey and crunchy bits of walnut, this showstopper dish is where phyllo pastry really shines. Serve alongside grapes and a dollop of Greek yogurt to balance out the sweetness of this classic Greek dessert.

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4. Tomato Cheese Tart

This knock-out recipe for savoury tomatoes on a crisp, buttery tart can be thrown together in a snap, making it the perfect recipe to have on hand during the holiday season.

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5. Camembert Feuilletee with Apricot Syrup and Pistachios

Sweet apricot, creamy Camembert and pistachio, all wrapped up in a buttery phyllo purse is bound to become a dinner party staple. Because who doesn’t love melted cheese paired with fruit and nuts?

Made Easy: Chewy Ginger Cookies

I love making cookies at Christmastime because 1. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying presents and 2. Anything homemade automatically trumps anything store-bought. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time (or the steady hands) to make icing and meticulously squiggle happy faces on gingerbread men. Also, let’s be honest—no one ever eats more than one iced cookie because the sugar content is through the roof.

Instead, I turned to this recipe for a spiced molasses cookie developed by my friend Eric Vellend, who in turn adapted his recipe from American cookbook author Dorie Greenspan. It’s like a very delicious broken telephone.

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When I first made these cookies, I misread the recipe and used freshly grated ginger rather than ground ginger (in my defense, Chinese kitchens are way more accustomed to cooking with fresh than ground ginger). In the end, it didn’t turn into the ginger snap it was supposed to. Instead, I got an incredibly moist, fluffy, and chewy cookie, with an intense fresh kick of ginger. I loved it, my family loved it, and that’s why I kept doing it.

The original recipe also calls for brown sugar, but you can make your own by simply adding a Tablespoon of fancy molasses for every cup of sugar. The recipe uses molasses and sugar anyway, so you might as well use a little extra and save yourself from having to buy an additional ingredient.

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Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup and 1 Tablespoon fancy molasses
1 large egg

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Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and 1 Tbsp of molasses on medium speed until it reaches a fluffy consistency. Turn down the speed and add the rest of the molasses and egg. Continue mixing until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Carefully add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until just blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
  4. Preheat the oven at 350°F.
  5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1-Tablespoon cookie scoop (or measuring spoon), form balls of cookie dough and roll them in granulated sugar.
  6. Place the balls on the baking sheet 3 inches apart from each other. Flatten the balls with the back of a spatula until they reach about 2 inches (5 centimetres) in diameter and about 1 centimetre thick. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges start to brown but the centre is still soft. Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a metal rack to cool completely. (The centre of the cookie will solidify a bit more but still remain soft.)
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.