Spanish Flan

Slice Of Spanish Flan seen ovcer head on a white dessert plateThe Romans are said to have invented the culinary dish they called Flan. After hundreds of years being enjoyed by many cultures, Spain popularized flan as a sweet custard dessert made with caramelized sugar, and the Moors added

Orange and Almond Flan by Patis Mexican Table

Orange and Almond Flan by Patis Mexican Table

citrus and almonds to the Flan. The Moors were Muslim inhabitants of Maghreb, the Iberian PeninsulaSicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages.

When Christopher Columbus the Spanish explorer found America, flan had soon after that made its way throughout Mexico, central and South America.

Though flan today is especially associated with Mexico where it prepared in the kitchens of most all the inhabitants of Mexico.

Flan is a favorite desert at our house. Once you get the hang of it, flan is easy and simple to make. Here is what you will need to make Splendid Recipe and More’s version of Spanish Flan…

½ cup sugar
1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, add sugar, stirring constantly (can also vigorously move sauce pan back and forth over burner with one hand while stir with the other) until the sugar becomes liquid and golden.

caramelized sugar for Spanish Flan in a 9-inch metal pie panPour into a 9-inch round metal baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides if possible. We found that a metal pan works’s the best for making flan. Also after pour the hot golden liquid sugar into the pan, use gloves as you move the pan about coating it, as it will become hot to the touch. Set aside.

three images preparing Spanish Flan

In a food processor, or a large boil with a hand beater, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Mix in condensed and evaporated milks and vanilla until smooth. Strain egg mixture while pouring into the caramel coated pan.

Spanish Flan in a roasting pan - filled with hot waterPlace pan into a roasting pan. Carefully fill the roasting pan with hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the metal baking dish.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until flan is just set (does not wobble). place the flan on a wire rack. First loosen the sides with a knife and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Spanish Flan inverted onto a platter seen over head Next invert carefully on a rimmed serving platter. Be careful as the liquid caramel will flow out over flan and down the sides. Place platter in the refrigerator and chill 3 hours up to 24 hours.

Spanish Flan with a picture incert of a slice on a dessert plate When chilled, and you are ready for dessert, remove flan from refrigerator, plate and serve.

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Raspberry Tiramisu

Raspberry Tiramisu

If you like Tiramisu and raspberries even more, then you’re gong to like Raspberry Tiramisu.  This recipe is a twist on the Italian favorite. Ladyfingers are layered in the dish with a mascarpone, ricotta, raspberry mixed filling.

Others have also gotten away from the traditional cake with a Chocolate-Raspberry Tiramisu, and a Mango Tiramisu with Raspberry Sauce.

We used all organic dairy products. It is true that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States says there is no difference in the use of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) in traditional dairy over non use in organic dairy. But we feel that statement is not really accurate, as the flavor is very different. The dairy products that come from cows that did not receive any BGH, is more creamier as well. How it always was and should be, before the use of BGH in the raising of cows.

The lady fingers in this recipe was purchased at the Whole Foods Market. They did have a gluten free lady fingers product, but we did not like the fact that it included mono-glycerides and diglycerides in it. What is our concern?

First, it is a food additive commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don’t ordinarily combine well.

Made up in part of fatty acids, mono- and diglycerides may contain trans fats, either when manufactured in a lab or, if they come from an animal or vegetable source, when exposed to heat for processing into packaged and prepared foods.

Trans fats are associated with increased risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and also causes inflammation in the body raising LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and lowers the HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Now for our featured recipe: Raspberry Tiramisu, and here is what you will need.

2 lemons

Raspberry Tiramisu - in cake dish1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 sprigs fresh mint

3/4 cup filtered water

8 oz. mascarpone

8 oz. whole-milk ricotta

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

4 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

2 packages lady fingers (each package contains 20 cookies)

lemon peel mint sugur waterWith a vegetable peeler, remove rind of one lemon in strips and place into a medium sauce pan. With the other peeled lemonlemon finely grate the zest and place aside.

Next add 1/4 cup of lemon juice, sugar, mint, and water into the sauce pan with the lemon rind. Bring pan to a boil, lower heat, simmer for 1 minute.

Set pan aside to let cool completely, then discard the lemon zest and mint. You should have 1 cup (8 ounces) of prepared lemon syrup.

mixing dairy products, zest and sugar - folding in raspberries for Raspberry TiramisuAdd mascarpone, ricotta, reserved zest and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar to a large bowl, and mix together with an electric beater on medium speed until smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the heavy cream, mixing to incorporate. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the raspberries with a large mixing spoon or spatula, gently mashing them against the sides of the bowl.

building the Raspberry TiramisuUsing a baking dish that will allow for a two layer cake, line a 9 X 9-inch baking dish with lady fingers, as shown in illustration. Drizzle half the lemon syrup over the lady fingers, then top with half the cream mixture (about 4 cups).

Repeat with the remaining fingers, syrup and raspberry cream. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. After one hour of refrigeration, cover the dish so cream doesn’t give you a dried out look.

Raspberry Tiramisu -LgPlate and serve. If you wish top each plated serving with mint and fresh raspberries.

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Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar Glaze

Here’s a Peach Upside Down Cake that is just peachy. This dessert is made with a brown sugar glaze. It’s a natural syrup with no added chemicals and it’s not like the ordinary glaze of just water, powdered sugar and a little milk.

Cutting the cake into six (6) servings would make it 49.5 grams of Carb, 18.75 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein. If you used raw sugar and whole wheat flour, both with their fiber intake, you could add 3 grams more of protein to this dessert.

If you view dessert like that, it isn’t so bad. It is true there are sugars in the recipe. But you can always change out processed foods for more natural foods that are minimally processed, therefore making a recipe closer to more natural and still enjoy dessert.

Peaches provide about 18 mg phytosterols, which are plant-based nutrients, and they lower your cholesterol levels. Knowing this about peaches also can make the dessert more Peachesappealing. Don’t you agree?

But wait there’s more. A large peach has niacin, or vitamin B-3, that helps with energy metabolism in your body.

Peaches are high in vitamin-C, which we all know is an antioxidant and an essential nutrient for a healthy immune system and strong joints. Peaches also have vitamin-A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision.

Peaches can also help regulate your blood pressure. The fruit provides about 332 mg potassium each, and they are sodium-free.

A high-sodium, low-potassium diet may cause high blood pressure and an increased risk for stroke and kidney disease, and most of us need to increase potassium and decrease sodium. Most all of the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are high-potassium, low-sodium foods.

Now for our featured dessert: Peach Upside Down Cake, and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Peach Upside Down CakeBrown-Sugar Glaze

¼ cup butter, softened

½ cup packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced, pitted and peeled peaches

Cake Ingredients 

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and set aside.

melting butter, adding brown sugar and spreading on bottom of spring form panGrab the room temperature butter and melt in a small sauce pan over medium heat and then add the brown sugar and stir until sugar is completely moistened and mix well with the butter. Next spread sugar mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared spring-form pan.

arranging peaches in uniform over brown sugar mixtureLine peaches in a circular pattern on the bottom of the spring form pan until it is filled with the peaches (as shown in image). Set aside.

pour batter over peaches and spreadIn a food processor, combine the ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of sugar and process till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and process until combined.  Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, process on -mix- speed after each addition just until combined.

Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly over the peaches using the back of a large spoon or flexible spatula.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Peach Upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar GlazeLoosen cake first by running a knife around sides and loosen ring and lift off. Grabbing edge of parchment paper, carefully pull cake to a serving platter. Cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

slice of Peach upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar GlazePlate and serve.

 

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Blueberry Lemon Flognarde

Blueberry Lemon Flognarde

This dessert is not a custard, like Crème Burlee or Spanish Flan but rather a fruit-filled batter like cake. Blueberry Lemon Florgnarde is considered a French dessert. As a matter of fact you can use any fruit to make this very splendidly tasteful dessert. If you wanted you could even have this dessert for breakfast. With the eggs, you have your protein and the blueberries provide the complex carbohydrate. It only has 6 tablespoons of sugar in it. Those three eggs provide 3 – 4 grams of protein per serving.

Here is what you will need:

ingredients for Blueberry Lemon Flognarde

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

6 tbsp. sugar, divided

¾ cup fresh blueberries

3 eggs

1 1/3 cups milk

2/3 cup flour

1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

preparing the pie plate for the Bluberry Lemon Flognarde

Butter a 9″ pie pan and arrange the blueberries to cover the bottom of the pie pan and sprinkle 3 tbsp. of sugar on top of the blueberries.

grating lemon zest

Next, with a grater and a fresh lemon, grate 1 tablespoon of zest. Save the rest of the lemon for another recipe. Cut it in to 4 quarters and freeze it. When you need a few spoonfuls of zest you have it in the freezer, saving time from going to the store for just one lemon. You can do the same with orange peels. I also use the zest of both the citrus peels when I make fresh ginger root tea.

processing ingredients for the lemon Blueberry Flognarde

Next, with a food processor, combine the remaining 3 tbsp. sugar, eggs, milk, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt, and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

pouring Lemon Blueberry Flognarde over blueberries

Once all ingredients are processed, pour the batter over the blueberries. Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until firm and lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes then dust with powdered sugar. Slice and serve warm.

Flavorful Lemon Blueberry Flognarde

This dessert is very delectable to the palate and goes well with a good cup of coffee. It has a hint of lemon flavor and the fresh blueberries are very juicy.

 

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Mexican Desserts to Satisfy Any Sweet Tooth

Mexican Dessert Menu

 

If you hear “Mexican food,” your thoughts may instantly turn to enchiladas, burritos, guacamole, Pico de Gallo and fajitas. But what comes after those savory, spicy delights?

Something sweet, of course!

The best way to wrap up a delicious Mexican meal is with a classic Mexican dessert. Sweet and decadent, the three tasty desserts listed below never go out of style. What’s even better is they are all easy to make once you know how!

Let’s take a look at these desserts and get busy planning your next adventure in Mexican cooking.

Flan

Flan

Flan

This ancient recipe can be traced all the way back to Rome where chickens were first known to be used just for their eggs. This custard dish was originally a savory meal, but was so versatile that it soon became flavored with other natural ingredients, like honey.

We can see an evolution of flan through the centuries and across borders. Because flan is such a simple dish to make, it became popular with many cultures, each adding their own local special touches. We can see the Spanish influence in the Mexican recipes which are traditionally sweetened with a glaze of caramelized sugar.

When Columbus journeyed to the Americas, he brought with him his love of flan and his recipes. Flan became a classic dessert in Mexican homes. Chickens – and their eggs – were plentiful, making this dessert affordable for all people of any economic status.

This wonderfully elegant, yet simple dessert remains virtually unchanged in Mexican cooking where it is basic custard, molded, then turned over onto a plate. It may have a caramel coating or caramelized sugar coating, and is served either room temperature or cold.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches

Tres Leches

Cake is good, but cake soaked in something delicious is better. Like flan, you can trace this type of cake way back to ancient times. There are soaked cakes on every continent with so many variations that it boggles the mind.

For instance, rum or sherry soaked cakes are very British, while fruit juice soaked cakes are a familiar dessert in tropical regions. Cakes soaked in wine are common in Italy and France. It seems that each version has reasons why the ingredients are what they are. The Mexican version features a sweet spongy cake soaked in three kinds of milk.

This dessert, the Tres Leches Cake, translates to “3 milks” cake. The origin of that term and the recipe itself is still questionable. Some believe the recipe originated with the introduction of condensed and evaporated milk. The three milks included in most recipes for Tres Leches Cake are sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.

No matter what the origin of the recipe is, the combination of these three rich milks makes one delightful dessert.

You can serve your Tres Leches Cake with a layer of whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon, topped with fruit, or plain. It’s a nice treat any way you choose.

Empanadas

When you think of an empanada, you could be thinking of many types of foods. As a matter of fact, the word simply means a pastry. That leaves a lot to the imagination, but the basic design is the same for any recipe.

The pastry itself is simple, much like a pie pastry. You form a circle or a square, spoon in the filling, fold, seal and bake or fry. The filling is what makes the dish. In this case, we are making a Mexican dessert so we are going to stick to a sweet filling.

In Mexico, a dessert empanada could contain many fruits and other fillings, but what comes to mind, of course, is bananas along with another Mexican favorite, chocolate. Nuts would add a lot of flavor and texture to this dessert. As with many authentic Mexican recipes, keeping the empanada pastry plain and simple is traditional. If you want to get a little more creative, try using puff pastry instead.

If you are not a fan of making homemade pastry, go ahead and use pre-made pie crusts, frozen empanada discs or other pastry dough. As long as it’s flaky, hot, and sweet, your Mexican empanada dessert will be perfect.

Try your hand at these three desserts the next time you want to treat your family to something deliciously sweet after dinner. These classic Mexican desserts will become family favorites in no time!

 

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Honey Has Healing Power

Honey Has Healing Power

Honey has many uses in our lives. We my use it to sweeten our coffee or tea. We may use it as a substitute for sweetening our food creations, either it be cooking or baking.

Splendid Recipes did post an article: Cooking with Honey – The Healthy Sweetener.

Are you aware of the healing powers of honey? You may think of the most popular one, being used as a cough remedy. But there are a lot more.

Here is an article from the Health News library I thought you would enjoy: The Healing Powers of Honey.

The article goes on to say:

When you go to the grocery store, you see an entire shelf dedicated to various types of honey. One of the great things about honey is how good is tastes.

If you have heard about the power of honey as a healing remedy, it’s important to note that it is found with raw honey. Raw honey has not been “sterilized” with high heat, and it has not had anything added to it…READ MORE

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Check out our Desserts and if you wish to substitute the sugar for honey, do the following:

use 13th/16th of a  cup of honey — that’s 1 cup minus 3 tablespoons. Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.

You’ll also find some vinaigrette‘s here that use honey or sugar that you can substitute for honey: Vinaigrette’s to Complete Your Salad.

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Remember the healing powers of honey, it has medicinal qualities, it kills germs, soothes burns, fights coughs, helps heal wounds, helps with dry skin. That’s the power of honey.

Read the article here The Healing Power of Honey.

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Perfect Panna Cotta

Perfect Panna Cotta topped with strawberry sauce and a fresh strawberry

 

Panna Cotta is a classic northern Italian dessert with roots in the dairy-rich Piedmont region. Although it only takes a few minutes to prepare, it lends a sophisticated finish to any special meal or occasion. This recipe proves once again that a dish doesn’t have to be complicated to be out-of-this-world delicious.

 Here is what you will need

1/3 cup cold water

1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin

2 cups heavy cream (you can use 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, can make for a creamer panna cotta)

2 cups half & half

½ cup honey or 1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium glass bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the heavy cream, half & half and honey to a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour the warm mixture over the gelatin and stir until thoroughly dissolved.

Divide into wine goblets and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours before serving.

To serve, top with strawberry sauce, seasonal fresh berries, caramel sauce or drizzled with honey.

To make your Italian dessert a Mocha Panna Cotta: delete the vanilla extract and replace with 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder and top with shaved dark chocolate.

 

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