Deep Fried Coke with Sour Cherries

The Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge is all about baking and making sweets. Every month we are given two required ingredients to work with. This month it was Coca Cola and Cherry. Yep soda, pop, cola, coke. A though one indeed. Then inspiration struck. Let’s try the crazy sounding Deep Fried Coke that is served at fair and carnivals. And to complete the requirement I just tossed in some chopped cherries. The result are nice puffy beignets of Deep Fried Coke with Sour Cherries.

Deep Fried Coke with Sour Cherry

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

SRC: Oreo Truffles

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Oreo Truffles.

oreo truffles 2

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Cherry Clafoutis

A couple of weekends ago I had a little dinner party at my place with my 7 closest friends, making us a total number of 8. Eight was the crucial number. My friends came over for a Swiss Raclette dinner and the Raclette machine we used had 8 trays, one each. My next post will be about that evening and I’ll have a few pics to show you but if you do not know what a Raclette is, imagine cut up potatoes, veggies, sausages, etc placed on a little tray which is covered with a slice of semi-firm cow’s milk cheese and then placed under a heat source to make the cheese melt. It is a really fun thing to do and the wine flows very easily.

I could not find a Swiss dessert to my liking – there are not that many to chose from – to stay in the theme so I chose a French dessert, a Clafoutis, I saw on The Novice Housewife who was my last Secret Recipe Club match. I wanted something light as well since we would mostly be quite full at that time after an open bar cheese buffet.

A Clafoutis is a baked French dessert traditionally made with black cherries arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. If you use any other fruit than the name changes to Flaugnarde. What I love about this dessert is that it is quite light, like a pie without a crust, or a sweet quiche, or a denser souffle. It was a big hit and was polished off on the first serving….I was told seconds would have been appreciated lol.

Ξ Cherry Clafoutis Ξ
from The Novice Housewife, adapted from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups  cherries
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch round or oval gratin dish or pie pan.
  2. Rinse, stem and pit the cherries, placing them in a colander set over a bowl to catch the juices.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, flour and the reserved cherry juices. Process until blended and smooth without over mixing.
  4. Place the cherries in the buttered dish. Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle the top with sugar.
  5. Bake until the edges are dark golden and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, usually 45 to 50 minutes. The clafoutis will fall when it comes out of the oven; cool on a wire rack. Serve warm into 6 to 8 portions.

Note: I could not find fresh cherries in winter at a price that was reasonable so I got dried cherries which I re-hydrated in hot water.  The taste was perfect but it looks a bit different without big plump dark red spheres.

Matcha Fudge Fruit Cake

Lately, reading my favorite food blogs has been a guaranteed catalyst to get into the holiday mood. Blogs of Thanksgiving feasts are the kick in the rump I need right now since Montreal is not showing any signs yet of a white Christmas – or what ever holiday you celebrate. But I know one morning soon I will open the curtains of my bedroom window and feel the sudden urge to hang my mistletoe.

Thankfully the holiday cheer is quite present in the kitchen. The wonderful people at Faye Clack invited me to participate in a fun contest hosted by California Walnuts. The theme: coming up with a completely original recipe that screams holiday gatherings and winter entertaining.

 

I humbly present you my entry post for the California Walnuts Holiday Blogger Challenge: my Matcha Fudge Fruit Cake.

Coming up with an original recipe with walnuts is not exactly a small feat! We are talking about a very popular nut here that graces most holiday recipes. This was a perplexing challenge, until I opened my kitchen cupboard and a bag of matcha powder fell out, bringing on inspiration.

Visions of sugar plums and fairies…oh wait that is the Nutcracker. Visions of a sliced fruitcake with gorgeous chunks of red cherries and chocolate coated walnuts dances in my head…all of it wrapped up in a melt in your mouth matcha fudge. I wanted to reinvent the fruit cake. To achieve my pale green fudge color I chose a basic white fudge recipe where I added a touch of matcha powder.

 

Ξ Matcha Fudge Fruit Cake Ξ

Ingredients:

250 gr dark chocolate
1 cup California Walnuts
3/4 cup maraschino cherries
500g white chocolate, chopped
1-300ml can of condensed milk
30gr of butter
2 teaspoons matcha powder

 

Directions:

  1. Melt dark chocolate in a bowl. Dip the walnuts in the melted chocolate one by one plan place on a wrack to let excess chocolate drip off. Place the chocolate covered walnuts  in the fridge to harden
  2. Drain and dry cherries on a couple of layers of paper towels.
  3. Line with cheesecloth a 25cm x 10cm (10” x 4”) loaf pan. Make sure the cheesecloth hangs over the edged of the pan.
  4. Place all the white chocolate, condensed milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir well. Microwave for 30 another seconds.
  5. Remove, add the matcha powder and stir well. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir completely.
  6. Add cherries, chocolate covered walnuts and stir once very fast (stir too much and the dark chocolate will melt).
  7. Quickly poor mixture into the loaf pan, fold the cheesecloth over the top and press down to level the top.
  8. Set fudge in the fridge for 8 hours. Remove from pan and slice.

I was absolutely thrilled the results. The matcha flavor was subtle, the cherries were a juicy surprise and the chocolate covered walnuts gave the perfect amount of crunch. This makes a big log of fudge so you can slice it up, take what you need to a few parties and then just freeze the rest. Happy Holidays!

Cherry Bounce

When I found out a few months ago that I would be traveling to Raleigh, NC I contacted the tourism bureau to receive a travel brochure.

Of course I scrutinized the brochure for food facts or suggestions. One thing that went on my MUST list was the so called local cocktail the Cherry Bounce.  It talked about the ingredients (bourbon, cherries, sugar) and described its historical relevance but the article also said it was not a popular drink in bars and may be hard to find. The picture of the drink did advertise a specific bar with a logo on the glass.

I asked my hosts about the Cherry Bounce, plus a few people I met when I was there and they had never heard of it.  It was declared by them as fabrication for tourists.  Pfft, maybe…but I wanted a Cherry Bounce, and  there was a historical reference after all. From the VisitRaleigh site:

The official story goes that the Constitutional Convention met in 1788 and decided the capital must be established within 10 miles of Isaac Hunter’s tavern and plantation in Wake County.

After exploring the area, the commissioners agreed to purchase a parcel of land from Joel Lane, a local Revolutionary War colonel who had hosted General Assembly sessions at his home during the war. In 1792 Lane sold one thousand acres of his Wake County property for 1,378 pounds ($2,756) to provide a site for North Carolina’s permanent capital, Raleigh.

But according to local legend, Lane, who–like Isaac Hunter–operated a tavern and inn out of his house, relied upon a potent fruit and alcohol drink called Cherry Bounce to sway the legislators in favor of buying property from him, rather than Hunter. Cherry Bounce is a concoction made up of mashed cherries, sugar and whiskey or brandy, aged for several weeks.

Regardless, the city of Raleigh was established in 1792 and named after Sir Walter Raleigh, the explorer who in 1587 founded the first English colony in the New World on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Raleigh is one of only three U.S. capitals that was planned on paper before being built.

Visitors today are not likely to find Cherry Bounce in Raleigh, but they will find that the tradition of Southern hospitality.

Turns out you can get it at the bar indicated by the logo on the glass in the picture from the brochure but I only found this out after.  In the end, did I get my Cherry Bounce?  Yes, sort off.  This is a story on its own.  On my last night I went out for dinner with a lovely local gentleman named Rich.  He took me on my only real North Carolina meal that weekend.  We went to a restaurant called Lucky 32.  Although the menu is more southern then NC, they did have a lot of local specialties (post coming soon with the meal recap).

Certainly they would have my Cherry Bounce here!  After establishing with the waiter I was a tourist and wanted the local Raleigh cocktail he looked at me quizzically but said encouragingly, “Not sure Ma’am but I will find out.”  It was during the next following minutes that I fully became aware of true southern hospitality where everyone bent over backwards to try and please me!

The sweet young waiter came back announcing it was not on the menu but if I told him the recipe he would do his best to bring me one.  Well, I could not remember exactly what was in it so he said he would be back in a minute. Rich and I discussed the possible ingredients as he read the article a few hours before.  The waiter came back with the bartender.  After mentioning what we could remember the bartender sadly announced he was not familiar with it.  At this point my waiter declared he would get his Iphone and try to look up the recipe online.  Rich then jumped on his blackberry to do the same.

My sorta Cherry Bounce

At this point I am extremely flattered but I kind of want them to stop…I was getting a  little embarrassed by the fuss my request caused.  Guess who showed up next at our table concerning the Cherry Bounce drama?  The manager!  He looked it up online and said they could make it but did I really want it.  What?  It turns out that what he found online was basically a glass of bourbon, brown sugar and a few cherries.  Well, I do like my bourbon but not that much.  I asked if they had cherry juice, he said just the juice from the marashino cherry jar.  We agreed on less bourbon and some cherry juice.   And so finally my cute waiter — all proud — brought me my sorta Cherry Bounce cocktail (pic above).  How was it?  Freaking sweet and freaking strong…got drunk on it.

I did research the actual real recipe and share it with you, should you be curious and want to try it.

Cherry Bounce

(one of many versions)

1 qt. cherries
1 qt. vodka

peel of 1 lemon
2 c. brown sugar

Combine ingredients and let stand for 3 months, stirring occasionally.

Drain cherries. Squeeze out excess juice. Bottle.

Serve chilled with or without sweet or sour soda.

Thursday’s Thingamajig: Progressive Cherry-It Pitter

My friend Karyn, a pro baker by the way that I will write about soon, sent me this website for great gadgets I’ll be referring to them a lot, really neat stuff.

This week is a gadget I have been wanting for a while: a cherry pitter. But this is an improvement model as you can do 4 cherries at 1 time!

Progressive Cherry-It Pitter

Special reversible inner holding tray fits both small and large cherries to quickly extract stones without the stains or the mess. Spring-loaded lid features 4 spikes to pierce the thick skin of cherries and deposit stones into the built-in base. Pits dozens of cherries in minutes for pies, cobblers, yogurts, hors d’oeuvres and garnishes. Easily removes pits from olives for pasta dishes, dips, pizzas and platters. Nonskid feet for stability. Locks closed to store. Plastic, zinc alloy and stainless-steel.

Product Features
• Extracts pits cleanly and easily from 4 cherries or olives with a press of the lever
• Special reversible inner tray cradles large and small cherries
• Spring-loaded lid features 4 spikes to pierce thick outer skin and deposit stones into the bottom base
• Removes dozens of cherry stones for pies, cobblers, yogurts and hors d’oeuvres
• Removes pits from olives for pasta dishes, dips, pizzas and cold platters
• Nonskid feet for stability
• Locks closed to store

Specifications
• Model GPC-5000
• 6 3/4″L x 2 3/4″W x 2 3/4″H
• 12-oz.

Care and Use
• Dishwasher-safe

Oklahoma Foodie Exchange

Yes Its time for another Foodie exchange show and tell. This time its from JC in Oklahoma City.

Unfortunately one item did not arrive intact. This would be why the pic is so so. What was probably divine BBQ sauce was not a messy goo amongst broken glass. Even with a Bible quote printed on the bottle there was no Divine intervention alas for saving the sauce.

But the rest was not affected by the breakage so I will be enjoying two of my favorite foods: cherries in a Tart Red Cherry Jam and Pecans. I LOVE pecans and I used these in the Veerrine I made for Christmas Eve (and snaked on them a lot too).

Want to do a foodie Exchange too? Join us by clicking on the image below!