madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking


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brown sugar steamed custard

lovely light and easy to make custard cook it as you like, stovetop or baked

lovely light brown-sugar custard, cook it as you like, stove-top or baked

Cooking for me is all about sharing. I have never been alone as long as I have been able to share a meal. That’s in fact how I made most friends in my life, around the stove-top and around the table.

And so it is that after publishing more than 100 recipes I have taken the courage to share two ways.

It’s time to ask what you, my readers, like. Of course I can read the blog stats, but I am not interested in soulless numbers, I am interested in people. Would you please help me? I need suggestions.

You know when you are making a search on a website and you click on the “find more like this” button? Please “click” on “write more recipes like this“.

Here is how to do it:

Please go to my recipe list, open your favorite or browse and find one that you intend to prepare. Please post in the comments which one you like and how you would like another similar one.

For example would you like more pasta sauces with vegetables? More simple puddings? More techniques? Why is one of my recipes a favorite of yours?

Please help, I will treasure your suggestions and try to work on recipes that I know you can use and enjoy for special occasion and – even better – for your everyday life.

Today’s recipe is for my friend Sandra who presently lives in a place that does not have an oven. As a consequence she can’t bake cakes. This is compensated by living at walking distance to the Colosseum, poor girl.

This is a delicious pudding that can be cooked on the stove-top in 20 minutes. It’s not only suitable to those who pursue their dreams in small city apartments but to various other occasions.

For example you can prepare it when your oven is full with other dishes or when it’s so hot that you don’t want to heat up the kitchen any further. Or you wish to save energy because you’re cooking for two.

However the recipe can be as easily baked in  the oven in which case you can double it or triple it for a crowd.

Recipe

Pudding

  • 300 ml heavy cream
  • 100 gr dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sauce

  • 2 organic oranges
  • 3 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy

If baking, pre-heat the oven to 150°C / 300°F. If cooking on the stove-top prepare a shallow saucepan that can hold the pudding in its containers, e.g. individual ramekins.

individual custards cooked au bain marie

how to arrange the individual custards in a pan

In a small pan, warm the cream, brown sugar and salt over a medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. I actually microwave the cream/sugar mixture until warm enough to desolve the sugar.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture. Get read of the foam which has formed by straining it into a jug. This improves the custard’s structure.
Pour into 4 x 120ml (1/2 cup) ramekins or heavy custard cups. Cover tightly with a double layer of foil.
Transfer in a shallow pan lined with a kitchen towel as in the picture above. Fill the pan with boiling water until it comes to about a half way up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 20-25 min. The custards will just set but still wobble slightly in the middle (they will set further on cooling). Remove from the pan.
If baking, transfer the ramekins into a deep roasting tin. Fill the tin with boiling water until it comes to about a half  way up the sides of the ramekins. Put it in the oven for 20 min. Remove and let it cool.
Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
Sauce
You can make the sauce in advance as well as at the last minute but make sure to add it to the custards just before serving. If you add it too early its acidity will melt the surface of pudding in a quite unsightly way (I have done it :) ).
Halve the oranges and slice thin, less than 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Arrange in one or two layers in a shallow pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and with a few tablespoon to cover. Cover and simmer on very low heat until the slices are soft. Add brandy. Serve at room temperature or heat up slightly before serving.
you can also make una single pudding and serve it with the soft orange slices on top

you can also make una single pudding and serve it with the soft orange slices on top

In the first picture I have chopped the orange slices before piling it on the custards. Then I have topped them with one piece of my homemade candied peel and curls of dark chocolate.

Serves 4


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salted almond praline gelato

my homemade gelato

GELATO ALLA PANNA CON PRALINA AL CARAMELLO SALATO.

I must confess I generally am not a fashionable cook. On the contrary, I am a firm believer in tradition and repetition. The simpler a recipe, the better. And, if it’s been invented already and everybody knows it, then I am probably not going to be able to improve it.

I have been ignoring fusion food of any provenance for years. Soy sauce on foie gras? No thanks. Lobster ice cream? Rose flavored salt? mpf……..

Then I met salt and sugar. Years ago, before everybody –   including Obama – started to be crazy about salted caramel.

We were on a Thai island, guests of an adorable local family, preparing a dessert of sticky rice boiled in coconut milk and palm sugar. The whole experience was fantastic. However, what it’s been impressed in my memory was how a sprinkle of salt changed and improved the taste of the coconut and sugar combination.

No news, you will say. We have been adding salt to cakes forever.

Indeed, it’s a tradition. I had forgotten and I had to get all the way to the other side of the world to remember.

It’s a good excuse to go back, I think I need more inspiration :)

Recipe

  • 100 gr/ 3 oz plain peeled almonds, finely chopped
  • 60 gr (1/4 cup) plus 2 tablespoon regular sugar
  • 60 gr (1/3 cup) organic brown sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
  • 200 ml (4/5 cup) full fat milk

In a small skillet over low heat, toast the almonds with  2 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt.  Keep stirring to coat the almonds with the melted sugar. Continue for a few more minutes until nuts caramelize to a dark brown color, about 5 minutes. Spread them out on a non-stick surface to cool. When cooled, pulverize in a food processor or chop finely to obtain a praline.

Heat the milk with both brown and regular sugar. Stir to dissolve, add the cream and refrigerate for at least one hour. This will shorten the churning time.

Process the creamy mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture is set, sprinkle in the praline and process until it hardens further. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

Please note that  I like my gelato to be egg-free and a relatively modest in sugar. As a consequence  it melts quickly. That is, if you can wait long enough before polishing the bowl.

Serves 4-6

unfogettable fun in Thailand

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