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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/20/13

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE!

   Here's another great recipe from www.saveur.com .  Instead of buying one of those frozen ones from the grocery store.  Try and make your own.  It will probably taste bettter and you will enjoy it more making it from scratch.









Chocolate Cream Pie

A crunchy crust and pudding-like filling make this pie a standout. This pie should be well chilled before it’s served.



16 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2"
 
   cubes and chilled, plus more for pie plate
1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1  9-oz. package chocolate wafers,
 
   such as Nabisco, finely ground
 
   (about 2 1⁄4 cups)
3 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
2⁄3 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1⁄4 cup cornstarch
9 egg yolks
9 oz. semisweet chocolate,
 
   finely chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate,
 
   finely chopped
2 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
Dark chocolate, for garnish

1. Heat oven to 375°. Grease bottom and sides of a 9" glass pie plate with butter; set aside. Heat 8 tbsp. butter and brown sugar in a 1-qt. saucepan until sugar dissolves. Transfer butter mixture to a medium bowl; stir in ground wafers. Transfer mixture to pie plate; press into bottom and sides, using the bottom of a measuring cup to compress crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake until set, about 15 minutes; let cool.

2. Heat half-and-half in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer; remove pan from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together 2⁄3 cup sugar and cornstarch; add egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Drizzle half-and-half into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until bubbles rise to the surface and mixture is very thick, 3–4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add remaining butter and chocolates in small batches, whisking until smooth; stir in 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla. Set a sieve over a medium bowl and strain chocolate mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto surface; refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. 

3. Remove plastic wrap from chocolate filling and, using a rubber spatula, stir mixture until smooth. Spoon mixture into reserved crust, forming a dome, and smooth surface with the spatula. In a large bowl, whisk remaining sugar, remaining vanilla, and heavy cream until stiff peaks form; spread on top of filling, forming a dome. Using a peeler, shave some of the dark chocolate onto top of pie. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


SERVES 8 – 12

HOW TO MAKE LOGO COOKIES AND FIX COOKIE EDGES!

   Here's another great tutorial from www.sweetopia.net  .  Enjoy!






How to Make Logo Cookies

There are a few ways I make edible ink logo cookies. Both involve using frosting sheets but the difference is in how they’re applied.
Putting the frosting sheets onto wet icing is one fast technique, but I find it a little less neat than my second method, which I’ll be sharing in this post, and have also shown here.

If you’d like to make logo cookies too, you’ll need:

  • Sugar Cookie Recipe here or Gingerbread Recipe here.
  • Royal Icing Recipe here. *White is the best colour to tint your icing. Any other colour as the base tends to cloud the image when applied to the cookie.
  • Edible Frosting Sheets
  • Edible Ink Printer and Food Coloring Cartridges
  • Edible Marker
  • Clear Corn Syrup
  • Paintbrush or Foam Brush
  • Piping Tips (#2, star tip #14)
  • Coupler
  • Piping Bag
  • White Gel Colouring
  • Optional – Disco dust
*
Instructions
Before decorating:
  • You’ll need to print your image onto frosting sheets using an edible ink printer. If you only have a few images to print and don’t want to invest in a printer, check your local bakery shop to see if they can print a sheet for you. Where I live, the Sobey’s store prints them for $10.00 per sheet.
  • Cut cookie shapes according to image size & shape.
*
Ready to decorate:
Step One: Flood your cookie with tinted white royal icing and let it dry for 12-24 hours. The length of time depends on the humidity of your area. Have a test cookie so you can ‘taste-test’ or ‘poke-test’ to see when your cookie is dry.
If you’d like more flooding instructions please check out my youtube channel here.

Step Two: Gently cut out wafer paper image. I used a small bowl and an edible ink marker to draw the outline of the shape I needed to cut out. You could make your own template, or even trace the cookie cutter you’re planning on using.

Step Three: Apply clear corn syrup to the back of the wafer paper or onto the dried royal icing with a ‘food-only’ paintbrush.
Apply image, gently smoothing over the surface all the way to the edges with clean, dry fingers. Have a damp & dry cloth nearby to wipe your hands as they can get sticky.

Step Four: Using a #14 star piping tip, pipe a scalloped edge around the borders with thick royal icing. If you’d like to add a little bit of glittery bling, sprinkle disco dust on the edges while the icing is wet.

And you’re done!
There’s one step that I didn’t mention, because I only used it for this rectangular cookie:

I think you can tell from the photo what my tip is… I love using a microplane rasp zester to file down the edges of a cookie if the edges aren’t so crisp. A neat little idea I have to thank my husband for!

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PONGAL FESTIVAL!









   Pongal is a harvest festival-the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving.  In an agriculture based civilization, the harvest plays an important part.  The farmer cultivating his land depends on cattle, timely rain and the Sun.  Once a year, he expresses his gratitude to these during the harvest festival.  With the end of the est month of Margazhi (mid December to mid January) the new Tamil month of Thai heralds a series of festivals.  The first day of the month is a festival day known as "Pongal Day".  Pongal means the 'boiling over" of milk and rice during the month of Thai.










    The act of boiling over of milk in the clay pot is considered to denote future prosperity for the family.  Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the harvest by thanking the rain, sun and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest.  Pongal is celebrated by the Indian state of Tamil Ndu as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauitius, South Africa, USA, Canada and Singapore.  The festival is at least 1000 years old although some believe that the festival is more that 2000 years old.  It used to be celebrated as Puthiyeedu during Medieval Chola empire days.  It is thought the Puthiyeedu meant the first harvest of the year.  People of all religions celebrate the Pongal festival.











    Tamils refer to Pongal as "Tamizhar Thirunal" (meaning "the festival of Tamils").  This festival originated in Tamil Nadu.  The saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" meaning "the birth of the month of Thai will have the way for new opportunities", often is quoted regarding the Pongal festival.
   Usually, the festival takes place January 12th to the 15th (on the Gregorian calandar).  The festival is celebrated 4 days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi (December-January) to the third day of Thai (January-February).  The first day, Bhogi, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials, by setting them on fire, marking the end of the old Thai and the emergence of the new Thai.










   The astronomical significance of the festival is that it marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the sun's movement northward for a six month period.  Markar Sankranthi refers to the event of the sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn).  While Pongal is predominantly a Tamil festival, similar festivals are also celebrated in several other Indian states under different names.  In Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka, the harvest festival Sankranthi is celebrated.  In northern India, it is called Makara Sankranti.  In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is celebrated on the date of the annual kite flying day, Uttarayah.  It also coincides with the bonfire and harvest festval in Punjab and Haryana, known as Lohri.  Similar harvest festivals in the same time frame are also celebrated by farmers in Burma, Cambodia, and Korea.