Tags Posts tagged with "Dessert"

Dessert

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boston cream fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know will look at Boston Cream fun facts.

Boston Cream fun factsThe Facts: This pudding and cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla flavored custard or crème pâtissière. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes powdered sugar or a cherry.

  • The Boston Cream Pie was created by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856.
  • Although it is called a Boston cream pie, it is in fact a cake, and not a pie.
  • A Boston cream doughnut is a name for a Berliner filled with vanilla custard or crème pâtissière and topped with icing made from chocolate.
  • October 23rd is Boston Cream Pie Day.
  • The Boston cream doughnut was designated the official doughnut of Massachusetts in 2003.
  • The Boston Cream Pie was proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert on December 12, 1996.

Boston Cream Fun Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Boston Cream.

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Chocolate, the “food of the gods,” is a common ingredient when it comes to creating desserts, but how often do you think about using it as part of a savory entree?

When you think of chocolate, most will come up with ideas for chocolate chip cookies, rich brownies or even the camper’s favorite; s’mores. While chocolate is typically included in a restaurant or food truck dessert menu in some countries adding chocolate or cocoa to savory dishes is as common as a teaspoon of salt or a dash of oregano.

chocolate in savory dishes
image from: dennysfoodandrecipes.blogspot.com

Though a rare ingredient in most American dishes many Latin and European chefs maintain the flavor of chocolate in main dishes should be more commonly used with traditional seasonings.

A brief history of chocolate

Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

The idea that chocolate has existed in the New World since at least 600 BC has been challenged by the discovery in the Yucatan of a 2,500 year old plate with traces of chocolate residue. Historians have even found proof that cocoa beans were used as a form of payment as well as a unit of calculation around 1000 A.D. Following that period it was found that all taxes were paid in cocoa beans to Feudal Aztecs.

When Cortez made his way to Mexico in 1519, he noticed the popularity of chocolate as a drink, either sweetened or thickened with cornmeal. He took it back to Europe and the sweetened version became immensely popular.

The refining and production of chocolate became more extensive over the next few centuries with the creation of the cocoa press and chocolate bars. These improvements in chocolate production has created a worldwide 50 billion dollar industry.

How chocolate is made

Chocolate is created from cacao beans, the seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree which is a tropical plant that grows only within 20 degrees latitude of the Equator. Chocolate begins with the harvest of the cacao pods. From there the pods are opened to reveal it’s seeds.

The cacao seed is naturally bitter and must be fermented, dried, roasted and crushed to make cocoa nibs, the essence of the cocoa bean that’s full of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

The nibs are then pureed with sugar and cocoa butter and liquefied. At that point, the liquid chocolate undergoes a process known as tempering, which entails raising and lowering the temperature, resulting in a distinctively smooth, solid and crisp texture upon cooling.

Finally, the chocolate is poured into molds, wrapped and shipped out to consumers around the world.

Chocolate used in savory dishes around the world

Chocolate, as most of us tend to think of it, is the rich, dark, seductive ending to a great meal. But that is not how it started out.

Mexico

Mexican cultures still embrace cacao in one of their noted sauces, mole.

Mole is a dark, rich, traditional Mexican sauce; it varies in color and flavor based on the recipe or what the cook has in their kitchen, but it’s generally made with onion, garlic, chilies, ground seeds and bitter chocolate. The chocolate adds depth to the sauce without over sweetness, since unsweetened or Mexican chocolate is used. Mole sauce is usually served with chicken.

France

The French use chocolate occasionally in duck and wild game dishes.

Spain

Spanish culture offers stuffed squid with chocolate sauce. In other cases we found that the addition of chocolate in Spanish cuisine is used to thicken whatever dish to which it is added.

Italy

Italian chefs began experimenting with chocolate, adding it to many savory dishes as early as the 1500’s.

Among the most classic and simplest uses of chocolate in savory food is as a topping to certain pasta dishes. Chocolate can be incorporated into fillings for ravioli, even the pasta itself can be made with chocolate. A popular Italian savory chocolate dish is agrodolce, a sour and sweet sauce, made from reduced vinegar seasoned with dark chocolate.

Chocolate adds a toasty flavor, deep chocolate aroma and infuses a silky finish to dishes and their accompanying sauces.

How you can add chocolate or cocoa to your menu

In most dishes the four natural flavors of cuisine (salty, sweet, sour and bitter) are always emphasized. Chocolate is extremely bitter and you can use it to enhance your savory menu items. Why not consider setting the mood of your menu with a different kind of chocolate dish: one that’s served at the beginning of dinner or even as the entree?

  • Add cocoa nibs to polenta or rice.
  • Grind a few tablespoons of cacao nibs with sea salt to make a tasty crust for steak.
  • Sprinkle them on top of baked potatoes, salad or soup for some added crunch.
  • Add a square of dark chocolate to meat dishes, such as beef stew, chili, BBQ or pasta meat sauce.
  • Add cocoa powder to spice rubs.
  • Add cocoa powder to your favorite bread recipe.
  • Melt and mix cocoa powder with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • Add white chocolate to seafood or cheese.

Cocoa butter is the fat from the cacao bean that is removed before it is processed into chocolate. With the increase of food knowledge by the general public you can find cocoa butter on the shelves of many commonly used grocery stores. Here are reasons you may want to add cocoa butter to your shopping list:

  • 1/2 the calories of butter without the animal by-products
  • High in antioxidants
  • It has the same properties as olive oil
  • Can be stored 1-3 years

What to look for when purchasing cocoa butter:

  • Should be fragrant free and flavorless
  • Color should be a creamy, buttery, pale yellow
  • Comes as a block or in powdered form

For those of us who have been lucky enough to enjoy a dish of chicken with a traditional mole sauce know just how exciting it can be when a chef begins looking at entrees that are created from outside of the box.

With a little imagination, using chocolate or cocoa with its natural deep flavor and silky texture in savory dishes (such as chicken, pork, pasta or even as a rub on beef) can transform the predictable into something your customers beg you for the secret ingredient included in the dish.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Caramel Custard fun facts.

caramel custard fun factsThe Facts: Caramel Custard, crème caramel or flan or caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top. The dish is eaten throughout the world.

  • Caramel custard is a variant of plain custard (crème) where sugar syrup cooked to caramel stage is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. It is usually cooked in a bain-marie on a stove top or in the oven in a water bath. It is turned and served with the caramel sauce on top, hence the alternate French name crème caramel renversée.
  • Flan is found in recipes as far back as ancient Rome. It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs. The Romans, with eggs in surplus, and consulting the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan.
  • October 3rd is National Caramel Custard Day.
  • When does caramel become caramel? When the heat on the milk solids combine with the sugar ingredients, a caramel flavor is created, therein creating the caramel.
  • According to Platina’s De Honesta Voluptate,(On Right Pleasure and Good Health), an Italian cookery text published in 1475, custard-type dishes were considered health food.

Caramel Custard Fun Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about  Caramel Custard.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, during our research for our daily content, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in a new section titled “Did You Know?”.

For today’s DYK fun facts we will look at Pots de Creme.

pots de creme fun factsThe Facts: Pots de Creme refers to both the custard dessert as well as the small lidded pots this dessert is served in.

  • August 27th is National Pot de Creme Day.
  • Pots de creme, or pot-au-creme translates from French to English as “pot of cream”.
  • Technically the pots de creme is a lightly set, baked custard.
  • The French do not have a word for “custard” the dish is simply referred to as “creme”.
  • Custards as we know them today date back to the Middle Ages when it was used as a filling for a Flan or a Tart.
  • The word custard is derived from “crustade” which is a tart with a crust.
  • After the 16th century fruit creams became popular and it was about this time that custards were made in individual dishes rather than a filling in a crust.
  • The pots may also be referred to as “petits pots“.
  • The traditional pots de creme flavor was vanilla but recipes can be found in many flavors including the very prominent chocolate as well as caramel, pumpkin or coffee.

Pots de Creme Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Pot de Creme.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know fun facts we will look at Pecan Tortes.

pecan torte fun factsThe Facts: A torte is a rich, usually multilayered, cake that is filled with whipped cream, butter creams, mousses, jams, or fruits.

  • So what’s the difference between a torte and a cake? For starters, tortes are denser, shorter and wider than cakes, and often multi-layered.
  • Tortes are also made without the leaveners we’re used to in baking, namely baking powder or soda. Instead, they get their airiness from whipped eggs that are light and fluffy.
  • To confuse things a little, torte actually means “cake” in German and Hungarian.
  • August 22nd is National Pecan Torte Day.
  • Pecans are the state tree of Texas

Pecan Torte Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Pecan Tortes.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know fun facts we will look at Rice Pudding.

rice pudding fun factsThe Facts: Rice pudding is a dish made from rice mixed with water or milk and sometimes other ingredients such as cinnamon and raisins. Different variants are used for either desserts or dinners.

  • Rice puddings are found in nearly every area of the world. Recipes can greatly vary even within a single country.
  • August 9th is National Rice Pudding Day.
  • In Canada and the United States, most recipes have descended from European immigrants. In the latter half of the twentieth century, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American recipes have also become more common.
  • In Europe, rice pudding with goat’s milk was first used by the Romans for medicinal purposes.
  • Buddhist Sutras state that Gautama Buddha’s final meal before his enlightenment was a large bowl of rice pudding, prepared for him by a girl named Sujata.
  • Rice Pudding is the title and subject of a poem by A. A. Milne, in which the narrator professes puzzlement as to what is the matter with Mary Jane, who is “crying with all her might and main/And she won’t eat her dinner—rice pudding again.
  • A particular tradition that is often associated with eating rice pudding during the Christmas season is hiding a whole almond in the pudding. In Sweden and Finland, popular belief has it that the one who eats the almond will be married the following year.
  • Rice pudding offers more health benefits than other desserts, such as custard or ice cream.

Rice Pudding Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Rice Pudding.

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penuche fun facts

The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know we will look at Penuche fun facts.

penuche fun factsThe Facts: Penuche is a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavorings except for vanilla.

  • The word penuche is derived from the Latin word for panicle, panicula.
  • Penuche often has a tannish color, and is lighter than regular fudge.
  • July 22nd is National Panuche Day.
  • It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar, thus its flavor is said to be reminiscent of caramel. Nuts, especially pecans, are often added to penuche for texture, especially in the making of penuche candies.
  • It is primarily a regional food, found in New England and some places in the Southern United States, though in the latter it goes by different names, usually “brown sugar fudge candy”.
  • While classified as fudge because of its similar preparation methods and texture, because of the use of brown sugar in lieu of white, penuche is technically not fudge.

Penuche Fun Facts We Missed

If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Penuche.

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Parfaits.

Parfait fun factsThe Facts: Parfait refers to a frozen dessert made from a base of sugar syrup, egg, and cream. A parfait contains enough fat, sugar, alcohol and/or to a lesser extent air to allow it to be made by stirring infrequently while freezing, making it possible to create in a home kitchen without specialist equipment. The fat, sugar, alcohol or air interferes with the formation of water crystals, which would otherwise give the ice cream an uncomfortable texture in the mouth. The formation of ice crystals is managed in the making of regular ice cream by agitating the ice cream constantly while it freezes or chemically by adding glycerol.

  • The American parfait, is made by layering parfait cream, ice cream, and/or flavored gelatins in a tall, clear glass, and topping the creation with whipped cream, fresh or canned fruit.
  • Although parfaits were originally served on decorative plates, today they are typically layered in tall, thin glasses.
  • Origin of PARFAIT: French, literally, something perfect, from parfait perfect, from Latin perfectus.
  • May 1st is National Chocolate Parfait Day.
  • November 25th is National parfait Day.

Parfait Facts We Missed

Please feel free to let us know if we may have missed some in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Parfait

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February 5th is World Nutella Day. Instead of providing a common recipe to use Nutella (crepes or cupcakes) we thought we would step outside the box and share a creative and tasty use of the popular chocolate hazelnut spread.

nutella ravioli

Nutella Ravioli

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 16 fresh mint leaves
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • Granulated sugar, for dredging
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place 1 wonton wrapper on the work surface. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with egg. Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate-hazelnut spread into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally in half over the filling and press the edges of the wrapper to seal. Place the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers, egg, and chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

Working in batches, carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining ravioli. (The fried ravioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool them completely, then cover and refrigerate. Before serving, place them on a baking sheet and rewarm in a preheated 375 degrees F oven just until they are heated through, about 7 minutes.)

Spray the top side of the mint leaves very lightly with nonstick spray. Working with 1 leaf at a time, dredge the coated side of the leaves in sugar to coat lightly.

Arrange 2 fried ravioli on each plate. Dust the ravioli with powdered sugar. Garnish with the sugared mint leaves and serve.

 

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Today is National Irish Coffee Day, but rather than share the common alcoholic drink recipe, we felt this delicious cake recipe would suit our readers better.

Irish Coffee Cake

Irish Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Coffee Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey

Topping

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Cake
Beat butter with sugar until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Dissolve espresso powder in vanilla, beat into butter mixture.
Mix flour, almonds, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture.
Spread batter in a greased 8-inch round cake pan.
Bake in 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Cool on rack for 5 minutes.
Run knife around edge of cake to separate from pan; turn out onto rack, let cool completely.

Coffee Syrup
In a saucepan, bring sugar and coffee to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in whiskey.
Return the cooled cake to the baking pan, poke holes all over top with a toothpick or skewer.
Pour coffee syrup over cake. Let cool for 1 hour or until syrup is absorbed.
Remove from pan; place on serving plate.

Topping
Whip cream with whiskey and sugar, pipe along the top edge of the cake.

NOTE: Prep time does not include cooling time.

 

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