How to Make Fresh Butter

April 30th, 2014  |  2 Comments


Get ready, we are about to ride the seas of cream today. Cream to the left of you. Cream to the right of you. All cream. Cream, cream, cream.

And then butter.

This is good for those days when you set your cream to whip on high, in hopes of a fluffy, decadent topping, only to become distracted by a happy little tweety bird pecking outside the window, and then find the cream has gone too far. It’s turned itself into a lumpy mess.

Or am I the only one who likes to stare off into space?

If that is your fate, then there is no need to toss the remains. Just keep whipping until the full separation occurs, which takes all of five minutes. Then you can feel like you stepped right out of Little House on the Prairie, with fresh butter in the cupboard. Extra credit if you have a cow that gave you the cream in the first place.

Anyway, even if you don’t accidentally need this method, it’s also great to do this deliberately. There is an unrivaled freshness that you can taste from turning fresh cream into butter. It’s so sweet and wholesome that you may be tempted to stop buying butter all together, and just go this route every time.


How to Make Fresh Butter

Let’s get to it: Cream, any quantity that fits in your whipper. (Blush!)




 I’m doing this by hand just to show that you can, but I will say that the shoulder was barking. An electrical apparatus would have made me happier.



At first, it’s all standard business. The cream goes to soft peaks.



Then it starts to take on a dry appearance. In my opinion, this is past the point of being serve-able as whipped cream or folding into recipes.



And drier yet.



After a few more minutes, the cream gets a divorce. Butter curds go one way, and whey goes the other.



I strain.



Then squeeze out the excess, and press it into a ball.



You can just press it into a dish, or if you want to unmold it later, line some sort of small container with plastic.



Stuff it in there!



Then make just about any recipe on this blog, cuz butter’s always welcome around here.

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Glorious Key Lime Bars

April 24th, 2014  |  13 Comments


Last we left off, there were some graham crackers. This week, we have, what I consider to be the ultimate. Key lime bars. In my book, citrus wins out over chocolate any day of the week. No one will ever want to share a restaurant dessert with me because I seem to always choose the poor step sister. And if some (misguided) chef decides that a tart offering is not worthy of his menu, then I feel sorry for my dinner companion, because they’re in for some serious whining.

Anybody with me? Am I the only one with a deep love of citrus?

But ok, listen. These are soooooo smoooooooooooth. Sooooooooo creamy. Soooooooo rich and dreamy. So bursting with juicy freshness. Once you have a bite, it’s really all but impossible to stop. Oh lawd, I have to fan myself just thinking about it.

And I haven’t even mentioned what the graham cracker imparts to these babies. What a beautiful combination of warmth and crumbliness against the melty, custardy filling. Have mercy!


Now that my heart rate’s back to normal, let’s talk about the key limes. I did go ahead and order some from here. And I’ll tell you straight up that they are the size of golf balls. And do you know how many golf balls you have to squeeze to get enough juice for this recipe?

Well, I don’t know either because I made my boyfriend do it. Ha!

Ok, ok, all kidding aside, it’s a lot. About 5 pounds of them. And frankly, they are not easily found everywhere. Which means that you should feel free to substitute regular limes. The recipe will be just as good. In any case, whichever way you decide to go, please don’t opt for the bottled juice, because then you’ll wonder what I’m carrying on about, and why the little men in white coats haven’t yet hauled me away.



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Buttery Graham Crackers

April 17th, 2014  |  5 Comments


I don’t have nostalgic feeling towards graham crackers. They’re good and all, especially when called on to settle queasiness after giving blood. My friend loves to eat them with a cup of tea or as a midnight snack.

That’s all well and good, and if that’s where your graham crackers begin and end, then you’re in for an easy recipe here that is very, very tasty.  These have a deep, soulful flavor from the honey, cinnamon and molasses. And the butter really comes through, making these seem more like a cookie than a cracker.

I, on the other hand, love my graham crackers for crusts. All pastry chefs have a nagging sensation that everything needs to be made from scratch, whether truly necessary or not. We like to bake our own pumpkin to get puree for pumpkin pies, rather than used canned. We like to make our own puff pastry. Even Braveheart makes her own sprinkles.

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Chocolate Meringue Cookies, Chocolate Yogurt Ganache and Honeyed Raspberries

March 28th, 2014  |  11 Comments


It’s no surprise that we are not feather-weights around here. We like our cream and butter. This IS a pastry blog after all. So imagine my amazement when Mia from Shari’s Berries dropped me a note to talk to me about health and fitness — two words that sound as foreign to me as jibing (a sailing term) and spelunking (a cave explorer’s term). She graciously let me know that there was a focus on health and nutrition in the month of March, and might I be able to come up with a healthier recipe utilizing chocolate for their Fit for Fitness campaign, something along the lines of these Chocolate Sables.

Ohhhhh! Chocolate! Well that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame! Of course I want to swim in the seas of chocolate. Any excuse will do.

Truth be told, I never had a fat day in the restaurant kitchen. Even though I was surrounded by treats Willy Wonka would weep over, I just didn’t gain any weight. Could it be the 14-hour-straight shifts of running around, up the stairs, down the stairs, heaving 50 pound bags of flour, and sweating it up during a frantic, sweaty dinner service? In fact, just about every chef I’ve ever met was shaped like a lollipop — big head (ego), skinny body. Myself included. After toiling in food all day, the last thing any of us wanted to do was eat. Especially our own food.


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Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

March 18th, 2014  |  8 Comments

There must be an Elvis in the house because, while munching on a banana, my boyfriend exclaimed a wish for peanut butter and jelly ice cream. He’s a walking, craving inspiration. Ice cream is his Achilles’ Heel and he’s sampled one and all. It’s a hotly debated topic of conversation around here.

My personal favorite style of ice cream is the french custard style, meaning egg yolks are used in the recipe. I also can’t resist some sort of stir-in, which is the obvious act of stirring in whatever crazy whims come to mind into freshly spun ice cream. Don’t let me stop you. I’ve seen everything from lobster ice cream to bacon bits.

Consider this a kind of refresher course for French-style ice cream. If you look at this ginger ice cream version, you will see that it the EXACT SAME RECIPE. The only difference is that in that one I infused the ginger into the hot liquid. In this one I stirred in some peanut butter. Are you seeing a pattern? Are you seeing where I’m going here? This yellow brick road leads to your wild imagination. What can you substitute here to get a variation on the theme? Nutella? Almond butter? Let’s go off the rails, and try pureed bananas. Then squeeze that brain for ideas for stir-ins. Lets go for brittle, or crushed candy bars, or brownie bits.

Or just make this one, cuz Elvis said so.

Here’s what I’d suggest for ice cream makers. If you have freezer space, these pre-freeze bowls
work great. If you want something fancy with a full compressor system built in, where you don’t have to remember to pre-freeze a bowl, you can go for something like this.

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