Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Vanilla+Ginger=Yum! January 8, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 3:48 pm
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I have fallen in love with the vanilla beans from beanilla.com, they are of the finest quality and a great value.

Today I present one of my favorites, Vanilla Ginger Creme Brulée. This dish is on its way to becoming my signature dessert.

Custard is wonderfully simple to make and so rich and delicious. The addition of ginger was an idea I had to give the custard more depth. Using real, fresh vanilla beans instead of extract or that dried up old stuff you get in the spice jar is necessary to give the custard a luxurious taste and Beanilla’s beans from Tonga make it absolutely sinful. Vanilla beans from Tonga are often used by gourmet chocolate makers for the bold, pronounced, and unique flavor. This type of bean shines through the complex flavor of my brûlée.

Fun Fact: Tonga only produces 144 tons of Vanilla Beans annually. These rare and highly sought after beans are impossible to buy online, except at beanilla.com.

Ok! Enough gushing about the vanilla, here’s the recipe…

Vanilla Ginger Creme Brûlée

6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup sugar, fine grain bakers sugar is best
2 vanilla beans
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

Garnish:

12-18 thin slices of ginger (2 or 3 per serving)
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of Beanilla’s Vanilla Fleur de Sel (or regular sea salt and half of one bean split and seeded)

Start by making the garnish the night before or earlier if you can – the longer it sits the better.

In an airtight container, mix sugar, (vanilla) and salt. If you are using a half bean here, cut the bean lengthwise and use your knife to scrape out some of the seeds from the bean, put the bean and the seeds into the mixture and give it a good stir with your knife to incorporate. Peel and thinly slice ginger into several rounds, like the ones you would see next to your wasabi, and drop into the container. Place the lid on the container and shake until the ginger is completely covered. Keep sealed and let sit at room temperature overnight or longer. Every once in a while shake the container to help the flavors infuse. This results in candied ginger for garnish and the most delicious sugar for the brûlée.

Now the custard.

Separate 6 eggs. I use a three bowl method – two medium-sized bowls and one small. You break and separate each egg into the small bowl, then pour the uncontaminated whites from the small bowl into the larger bowl and the yolks into the other. That way if you break a yolk it only effects that one egg instead of the whole batch. Hold on to the whites for meringue cookies or anything else you can think of, they will keep well in a sealed container for a few days.

Preheat the over to 300 degrees. Add sugar to the yolks and whisk until creamy and set aside. In a medium pot and a medium temperature, slowly boil cream and vanilla beans – splitting and seeding like mentioned above. Whisk cream occasionally, when the cream starts to boil, lower the heat and remove the beans. Slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture – whisking quickly to prevent curdling. You can also pour a little bit of the cream into the bowl first to temper the yolks before pouring into the pot. Continue to whisk for about five minutes and then take off heat.

Set up about 6 small ramekins (ceramic cups and small wide mouth glass jars work great too!) or one large ramekin in a baking dish and pour equal amounts of the custard into the dishes. Then carefully fill the baking dish about halfway with water, not getting water in the custard – the sprayer on your faucet works well. Place dish into the oven, center rack works best and bake for about 15-20 min. The custard should look solid but slightly giggly. Remove ramekins from the water bath and chill in the fridge for at least 15 min – you can make these a day ahead, adding the brûlée just before serving.

Remove the pieces of ginger from the container and shake off the excess sugar and place on a cookie sheet. *Take the vanilla bean and place in a small bottle or jar and fill with vodka, store it in a cool dark place and in a few weeks you will have vanilla extract!

Sprinkle the now infused sugar over the custard, giving it a good layer. Using a brûlée torch or the broiler of your oven, melt the sugar until it bubbles and turns golden. Using the torch, or broiler also give the slices of ginger a quick once over, not until brown just glossy. Place a few pieces on each dish and serve right away.

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craving October 22, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 12:48 pm
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I had a craving for a spice cake with pumpkin filling. I thought it would be neat to roll it, I also thought my idea was somewhat original. Until I researched it. I’m posting the recipe I used AND the one I found on food network. I like Paula Dean, I also like that she used booze. That’s why I’m crediting her.

Pumpkin Roll Spice Cake

2 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

Filling:
1/2 can Pumpkin mix, with spices – no sweetener if possible
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 package pudding; either vanilla, caramel or pumpkin spice – you can use any other flavor that you think will work with pumpkin, those are my suggestions.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a baking sheet. Whisk dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl. Mix milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a 2-cup measuring cup. Beat softened butter into dry ingredients, first on low, then medium, until mixture forms pebble-sized pieces. Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat on low until smooth. Add remaining milk mixture in two stages; beat on medium speed until batter is just smooth. Add the sugar; beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Run a knife around the pan perimeter while the cake is hot, dust generously with powdered sugar. Loosen the edges and turn the cake out onto a kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the edge of the cake and roll up. Cool completely, edge down, for 1 hour in the refrigerator. While the cake is hot, dust generously with powdered sugar. Loosen the edges and turn the cake out onto a kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the edge of the cake and roll up. Cool completely, edge down, for 1 hour in the refrigerator. While the cake is cooling, add pudding mix and cream together in a large bowl, mix with an electric mixer on high for a few minutes, it will become very stiff very quickly. Fold in the pumpkin mix scoopful at a time; you can use more or less pumpkin mix – depending on your preference. If you use sweetened pumpkin mix you will probably want to use less, otherwise it will be very sweet. When cake is cool; unroll gently, make sure not to crack it. Pipe in pumpkin filling evenly, it doesn’t have to be pretty. Roll cake and trim edges so you get a nice swirl end. Plate seam side down. Dust with powdered sugar or pipe excess filling as decoration,

Paula Deen’s version

Cake:
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
6 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup canned pumpkin, packed
1/8 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

Filling:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup English toffee pieces for garnish
Additional powdered sugar, for garnish
1 1/2 cups purchased caramel sauce, warmed, for garnish