Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let's Give the American Classic with an Asian Kick....The Luscious Pecan Pie with Roasted Kabocha!

Recipe: Luscious Pecan Pie with Roasted Kabocha

This article is an extension to a previous post on Kabocha:
"Giving Thanks with Kabocha....the Japanese Pumpkin...."

Since most of us have our favourite recipe for this American Classic, I will not insert a recipe here.

~ Roasted Kabocha ~

1 (~ 2lb) Kabocha
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 tbs Unsalted Butter
4 tbs Brown Sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350oF
2. Split the Kabocha in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds with a spoon
3. Place 1 tbs of butter in each of the halfs, sprinkle evenly with brown sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice
4. Place 1 cinnamon stick in each half and bake for 1 hour
5. "Base" the Kabocha with the melted butter and sugar in its cavity, then bake for another 30 minutes, or until golden

~ Pecan Pie with Kabocha ~

1. Follow your favourite recipe for Pecan Pie, first prepare the crust
2. Slice the roasted Kabocha thinly and evenly spread the slices at the bottom of the crust in one single layer
3. Pour the filling over the Kabocha and decorate it with pecan halfs

4. Bake the Pecan Pie according to the time indicated in your recipe, plus 3-5 minutes

Bon Appetit!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks with Kabocha....the Japanese Pumpkin....

Sugar mmmm....often the choice for the luscious yet velvety pie to celebrate the season filled with foliage, and thankful wishes. While roaming the farmer's market that spanned the 3 square blocks of Union Square in NYC, bombarded by stands with farmers proudly displayed various species of squash and pumpkin, I could not pass on this opportunity to conduct experiments with this knobbly-looking one....the Kabocha!

Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash that is commonly known as the Japanese pumpkin. Today many of the kabocha in the market are of the type called Kuri kabocha, which was created based on Seiyo kabocha (buttercup squash). It's popular for its intense yet sweet flavour and moist, fluffy texture, which is similar to its perfect partner, the chestnut.

Kabocha is firm one shaped like a squatty pumpkin, and has a dull finished deep green skin with some celadon-to-white stripes that wraps the an intense yellow-orange flesh within, which often reminds me of sunflowers gazing the setting sun in Italy.

With its amiable flesh comes the explosive package of nutrients; Kabocha is high in carotene and could provide protective effects against vision loss, heart disease, and cancer. It is also a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins C & E and iron, with smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins.

When kabocha is just harvested, it is still growing. Therefore, unlike other vegetables and fruits, freshness is not as important. It should be fully matured first, in order to become flavorful. First, kabocha is ripened in a warm place (77°F) for 13 days, during which some of the starch converts to carbohydrate content. Then it is transferred to a cool place (50°F) and stored for about a month in order to increase its carbohydrate content. In this way the just-harvested, dry, bland-tasting kabocha is transformed into smooth, sweet kabocha. Fully ripened, succulent kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It reaches the peak of ripeness about 1.5–3 months after it is harvested.

With this golden gem roasting in the oven, the experiments begin....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Macarons that Shimmered for the Union of Two Hearts....the Perfect Couple....

~ le Macaron de l'amour ~
Almond Macaron with Matcha Ganache

This article is part of "The Macaron Series"

For the Macaron Recipe, please click on this link below for the recipe for the Earl Grey Macaron:

* Replace the 8g of Earl Grey tea powder with 8g of almond powder

~ Matcha Ganache ~

1 tbs Matcha or Green Tea Powder
8 oz White Chocolate Couverture, finely chopped and place in stainless steel bowl
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

1. Mix 2 tbs of heavy cream into the Matcha powder to form a smooth paste
2. Place the remaining heavy cream in a saucier over medium heat and bring it to a near simmer
3. Pour the hot cream over the finely chopped white chocolate, and very gently stir until all white chocolate pieces have melted
4. Stir in the Matcha paste until it has completely incorporated with the white chocolate ganache
5. Allow the Matcha ganache to cool and thicken
6. Place the Matcha ganache into a piping bag to assemble le Macaron de l'amour!

Each Macaron was dust with Super Pearl Luster Dust....

le Macaron de l'amour was used as the decor for these cupcakes....for the very special couple~!

Bon Appetit!


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