Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Salted Caramel Budino

It was in spring a few years back, that eight of us gals from MGCC met up at the tulip fields of La Conner Washington. Once we were done trekking through the fields, we all went to Seeds Bistro for lunch. Though we had no intention of having dessert, the server talked us into sharing their specialty dessert that day...a salted caramel budino. One dessert.  Eight spoons.  We all had a taste.  I wrote down the name, one I had never heard of before.  Budino is the Italian word for custard or pudding.  Here is my attempt at replicating the 'sweet ending' we had in La Conner that day. 

Cookie Crust:
  • 1 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix crumbs, butter and salt in small bowl.  Reserve two tablespoons of mixture for garnish. Press remaining cookie mixture into the bottom of  six to eight small dessert cups or Mason jars.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 large egg plus two egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In large, heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, maple syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in the half-and-half and whipping cream. Stir until smooth.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the brown sugar mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Return to medium heat and continue to whisk until mixture thickens and is the consistency of pudding (about three minutes). 
  3. Divide among six to eight prepared dessert dishes.  
  4. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  5. Spoon one or two tablespoons of caramel sauce (recipe below) over each budino. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, whisking gently...until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Add vanilla and cook for another minute.
  4. Cool to room temperature. (It can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using or heat in microwave at 5 second intervals. Add a wee bit of cream if it is too thick.)
* Do not put the caramel sauce on until ready to serve, as it soaks into the custard.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Icelandic Donuts ~ Kleinur

I always enjoy sampling the traditional foods when visiting another country.  We were recently in Iceland and made sure we tried their Kleinur...a slightly sweet deep-fried bread which is rather like a twisted donut.  They are available in every bakery or coffee shop in the country.  I decided to give this Icelandic treat a taste-test in my own kitchen and I will share my version, which is quite similar to my Rollkuchen recipe. It is the addition of the aromatic spices (cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon) that sets them apart.

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg (or use 1 1/2 teaspoons total of your favorite)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  1. Combine 4 cups flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and sour cream. 
  3. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
  4. Continue to add flour until a soft (but not sticky) dough is formed.
  5. Divide dough into two balls and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll each piece out thin on a floured surface. Cut long strips about 2 inches wide and then cut diagonally across to for diamond-shaped pieces, using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. Cut a small slit in the centre of each piece, and gently pull one end through the slit to make a twist in the donut. 
  7. Deep fry in hot oil until golden on one side.  Flip and fry on the other side until golden.
  8. Serve 'hot off the grill' dusted in confectioner's sugar, or leave them plain and dip in sugar while eating. 
Someone 'near and dear' who was born in Iceland, recommended that we try Kleiner.  One of these days I'll have her sample my version and see if they pass the test.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mediterranean Orange Salad

This has become a favorite pre-dinner salad over here recently.  Oranges are at their finest at this time of the year.  When paired with chopped dates, pomegranate seeds, red onions, feta cheese, almonds and salad greens they make the best salad!  The orange vinaigrette dressing adds the perfect touch.


  • 4 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup slivered pitted dates 
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Line serving platter (or individual salad dishes) with mixed greens.  
  2. Arrange orange slices and onion on top of greens.  
  3. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, dates, almonds and feta cheese.  
  4. Whisk vinaigrette and drizzle over salad . 
Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl and whisk until smooth or process with hand-held blender.

Serves 4.