A friend found this recipe in the New York Daily News and gave it to me. I used clementines but you can use any kind of oranges you like, tangerines too.
For the caramel –
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup fresh squeezed & strained orange juice
For the custard –
2 cups half & half
½ cup granulated sugar
1 rosemary sprig (optional)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup fresh squeezed & strained orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350o with a rack in the middle. Have six 4-ounce ramekins ready.
Put sugar and juice in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer and stir for about 10 minutes until it begins to thicken and darken. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. Pour an equal amount into each ramekin and set aside.
Put the half & half, sugar, vanilla, and rosemary into a pot. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
Whisk the eggs and tangerine juice then whisk in the hot half & half mix a little at a time. Strain the custard through a sieve into the 6 ramekins, about half a cup each. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and add enough hot water to come up halfway to their sides. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the ramekins, let cool, and cover with Saran wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
To serve, run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekin to loosen the flan. Then cover it with a dessert plate and flip over the ramekin and plate. Tap the ramekin and the flan should fall into the plate. If not, give it a minute and it should fall on its own.
A simple recipe for Banana Bread Pudding that works as dessert or breakfast. I adapted this from Marta Rivera Diaz’s recipe in the New York Daily News.
For the pudding –
½ stick butter (4 pats divided)
1 cup brown sugar
3 ripe bananas divided
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup dark rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. day old French bread
For the toffee sauce –
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. dark rum
¼ cup heavy cream
Heat the oven to 350o with a rack in the middle.
Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with 2 pats of butter.
Trim the crust from the bread (leave a little for color and texture) and cut the bread into one inch pieces. I used a French boule which is just about a pound.
Make the custard –
Put a cup of brown sugar and 2 ripe bananas in a large bowl and mask together with a fork until the mixture is smooth with no large chunks. Melt the remaining 2 pats of butter and add to the mix with the cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Mix until everything is combined. Add 3 cups of milk, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, ¼ cup of rum, and the vanilla extract. Mix until the bread is coated. Let it rest for 10 minutes for the bread to absorb the liquid and then re-mix.
Pour the mixture into the pan. Slice the last banana and dot the top with the slices. Bake until it’s lightly browned, about 60 minutes.
Make the toffee sauce –
While the custard is baking, melt 1 stick of butter in a small pot. Add ½ cup of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, and mix while simmering for about 3 minutes until it resembles caramel. Turn off the heat so it doesn’t flame and add the 3 tablespoons of rum. Turn the heat back on and whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the ¼ cup of cream and whisk to combine.
When the bread pudding is done let it cool for 15 minutes and serve with the toffee sauce poured over each serving. If you have any sauce left over its good on French toast or pancakes.
Persimmons are an underutilized fruit. People see them in the market and are mystified. You can’t eat them like an apple or peel them like a banana so what do you do with them?
Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons
There are two types usually available, the Fuyu and the Hachiya. The Fuyu can be sliced and eaten as is, but the Hachiya needs to be soft and ripe or it’s much too astringent. Don’t buy Hachiya unless they’re very soft. And make sure you have a napkin handy.
Hachiya Persimmons – a little sloppy but good.
Broiled Fuyu Persimmons
Fuyus are good raw but this is a pretty simple recipe and when served it appears to be something special and elegant.
3 tbsp. Bourbon
3 tbsp. honey
3 Fuyu persimmons
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp. soft goat cheese
Turn on the broiler and mix together the Bourbon and honey in a small bowl.
Cut off the top, stem portion of the persimmon. Then cut the fruit into half inch slices. You may only get two slices. Put the sliced persimmons in a lightly oiled pan or oven proof dish and spoon half of the Bourbon-honey mix over them. Put them under the broiler on a middle rack. After 6 or 7 minutes, spoon the rest of the mix over them and broil for another 4 or 5 minutes.
Watch closely so the honey doesn’t char. If it does, just lift the char off the slices with a spoon. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit. Sprinkle the top with the walnuts, add a teaspoon of the goat cheese to each and serve at room temperature or cold.
Biscotti and coffee are one of my favorite breakfasts. And Reginas are my favorite biscotti. Their name means Queen’s Cookies. This was my Aunt Vicky’s recipe except for the lemon zest. That was my idea.
9 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
4 oz. olive oil
3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
1 tbsp. honey
2 oz. milk
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 cup sesame seeds
Start by mixing the flour, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl. Add the beaten egg yolks, honey, milk, and zest and mix with your hands until dough forms. You can do this part with a food processor. Roll it into a ball, wrap with Saran, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they start to darken. Immediately remove them from the hot pan and put aside on a plate.
Beat the 3 egg whites and 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
Cut the dough ball into 4 sections and roll each section into a 1-inch-wide log. Cut the log into 1 to 1 ½ inch sections. You should get 5 or 6 pieces from each log.
Dip each piece in the egg white–water mixture. Roll them in the sesame seeds, covering all sides. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
A friend unexpectedly stopped by for dinner. I took him shopping with me to get something to cook when he noticed pomegranates at the grocery store. He mentioned that he’d seen them before but never tried one.
I said, “What? How could you live in New York and never have had a pomegranate? Let’s get a couple and I’ll show you how good they are.”
How to cut and remove the seeds –
Cut the skin around the top and remove it.
Make 5 shallow cuts along the sides and pull apart into sections.
Break up the seeds into a bowl.
Fill the bowl with water so the membrane floats and can be removed.
Ready to eat.
Pomegranate Juice –
On the street in Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast.
Put the seeds in a blender with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and blend for a few minutes.
Strain the mixture, squeezing the seeds in a sieve.
Ready to drink.
Pomegranate Liqueur –
After we’d made my Aunt Lena’s Coffee Sport and it turned out so well, Bridget and I got adventurous and decided to try making pomegranate liqueur. I went to the nearest Korean grocer. In NY, Korean grocer means general merchandise and very fresh and varied fruit and vegetables. I picked out 12 pomegranates and went to the cashier. As I started to unload them from the basket to the counter, a couple got on line behind me.
When they saw what I was buying the woman asked, “What could you possibly do with all of those pomegranates?”
Her husband looked embarrassed and so did she. “I apologize. Those words just fell out of my mouth.”
“There’s no need to apologize. And since you asked, my wife and I make some old Italian cordial recipes and this is for one we one we made up.”
The cashier who knew I shopped there regularly said, “These are very expensive. And you’re buying so many.”
“Maybe but that will turn into a bottle of something that will be worth it.”
The woman who apologized asked, “Why can’t you just use bottled pomegranate juice?”
Maybe I looked a little indignant when I said, “Bottled juice just won’t be a good as fresh. We squeeze the juice, strain, then simmer it until it’s thickened a bit. Then we mix it with simple syrup and grain alcohol, and it’s done. That’s it, a simple cordial and ready to drink.”
My Aunt Lena made the best gingerbread. Whenever she made it, usually after I asked her to, I’d have it for dessert and breakfast. I recently tried some gingerbread recipes and came up with this one that’s a lot like hers.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup coffee
2/3 cup mild-flavored molasses
4 tbsp. butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9-in square pan with butter. Mix dry ingredients 1 to 5 in a bowl.
Heat but don’t boil the coffee, molasses, butter, and brown sugar in a small pot. Let it cool and then whisk in the egg.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into the buttered pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
Gingerbread is perfect plain but you can also dress it up with fruit and heavy cream.
Too late for Thanksgiving but in time for Christmas and Hanukkah. Cranberry Lemon Bars have a sweet-tart topping on a butter cookie base. I got this in the New York Times.
Cranberry and Lemon Topping –
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
2 large lemons
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 large room temperature eggs
The Crust –
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
9 by 13 inch pan, lined with foil and coated with cooking spray
Combine the cranberries, ¾ cup of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of water, and the zest of 2 lemons in a small pot. Bring it to a boil, stir and cook for about 10 minutes until the berries burst.
The Crust (heat oven to 350o)
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the vanilla and butter. Mix until dough forms. Press the dough into the pan in an even layer. Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until brown around the edges.
While the crust is baking squeeze the zested lemons for ½ cup of juice. Squeeze another lemon if needed. Mix the ¼ cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and the beaten eggs until incorporated. Add the lemon juice and mix until smooth.
After the crust has cooled for a few minutes spread the cranberry topping over it. Then slowly pour the lemon topping on the cranberry.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is set. Let it cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Use the foil to lift it out of the pan. Cut into bars and sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar.
This is an old desert recipe that’s not too common in most restaurants today but still very popular in New Orleans, especially Brennan’s where it was invented. It’s prepared and served table-side and the flaming presentation is impressive. Be careful when you light it – use a long reach lighter or wooden match.
Ingredients (1 banana per serving):
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 banana cut lengthwise and in half
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tsp. banana liqueur
1 oz. light rum
1 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Melt and mix the butter and sugar in a pan on medium heat. Brown the banana pieces lightly on both sides, sprinkle with cinnamon and remove for the pan to a dish with the ice cream. Pour the banana liqueur and rum to the pan and carefully light it. Spoon the sauce over the bananas and ice cream and serve it while it’s hot.
Banana Rum Old Fashioned
If you’d like something else to do with your Banana Liqueur, try this variation on an Old Fashion. I got this a recipe in Food & Wine magazine.
1 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. banana liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange peel garnish
Put all of ingredients except the orange peel in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the orange peel.