sex in a pan

Did I catch your attention? Good.
This is a sinfully decadent, sinfully easy dessert with a sinfully rewarding response.

It’s not the daintiest, nor the prettiest. As a matter of fact, it’s basically a hot mess in a pan.
But you know what? Despite it’s frightening appearance, people just can’t keep their hands off of it.
I made this for the first time for my school’s Winter Sports Banquet.  In the morning, I put it in the fridge, all wrapped up in foil with a big sign saying DO NOT EAT…

When I came back to get it for the banquet, some sneaky little devil had eaten half the pan.  I wonder who it was…
Was it the P.E. teacher, trying to get his chocolate fix before he had to teach another period of freshman Health?
Was it the librarian, trying to drown her sorrows due to the fact that no one checks out anything but textbooks anymore?
Was it that “innocent” little freshman boy from Baking club?
I’ll never know…

However, what I do know is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
I served this hot little (half-eaten) mess at the sports banquet and it was a hit.  I love telling people what it’s called — talk about a conversation starter 😉 Plus, the intrigue gets people jumping at the chance to try this naughty little dessert without even knowing what it is!

Speaking of going with the flow, I did a little bit of improvisation while making this.  My chocolate pudding was a gummy mess, so I left it out and added a layer of my favorite chocolate-hazelnut cookies instead.  There’s nothing that two tubs of Cool Whip can’t fix ;).

You could make homemade whipped cream and pudding if that floats your boat — but personally, this is one of the few instances where I prefer instant.  It just adds to the naughty, decadent nature of this recipe.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 cup pecans, chopped

3 tbsp white sugar

1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup flour

Cream cheese layer

1 8 oz package cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar (use 1/2 cup for less sweetness)

1 cup whipped cream or cool whip

Vanilla Cream Layer
1 package of instant vanilla pudding (5.1 oz or 144 g)

3 cups milk (use 2 cups if you want a firmer pudding)

Chocolate Hazelnut Pirouette Cookies (crushed)
2 cups whipped cream or cool whip
Cocoa Powder

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a mixer mix all the crust ingredients together and press the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake it for about 20 minutes.
  5. Prepare the vanilla pudding as per the instructions on the package.
  6. In a mixer add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and the cup of whipped cream. Mix until light and fluffy.
  7. Let
    the crust cool. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust evenly.
    Spread the vanilla pudding over the bottom crust. Sprinkle with crushed pirouette cookies Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
  8. Refrigerate for a couple hours so that it sets.

Adapted from Jo Cooks

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apple cornbread stuffing

 Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I’ve been busy planning my menu for a while now.  I’ve already found the perfect cornbread, we’ve ordered a turkey, I have six pie crusts in my fridge… the only thing left is the stuffing! Stuffing has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dish, so this year, it better be good.  We usually make stuffing from a mix, but  I want to make homemade stuffing this year.  I was getting frustrated finding a recipe that measured up to Kraft’s Stove Top Stuffing Mix.  The recipes that I tried all have either too much chicken broth, are to mushy, or are too oily.

Luckily, this one is different.  It’s not a traditional stuffing (i.e. you can’t actually stuff a turkey with it), but boy is it good. It’s technically a bread pudding, but when served in a casserole dish, it can totally pass for stuffing. It is a wonderful medley of sweet and savory flavors.  Apples, fluffy bread, and whipping cream complement sage, cornbread and onions.

This recipe is from the restaurant Ris in Washington D.C.. The Washingtonian has a series called “recipe sleuth” where they track down awesome recipes from famous restaurants in Washington D.C.. I love knowing that I can save time and money making real, restaurant food at home.  It makes me feel like I’m beating the system.

When I tested the recipe, I used a loaf of brioche from Whole Foods. However, there was a sale on panettone at the grocery store this weekend, so I am planning on replacing the brioche with panettone for our Thanksgiving feast.  I use homemade cornbread in this recipe (bake up a double batch, use half in this recipe, and serve half as a side dish); however, store bought cornbread would work just fine as well.

With love,
Erica

NOTE: The panettone makes this recipe absolutely delicious! Brioche and challah are good, but panettone makes this casserole absolutely legendary. If you can get your hands on one, by all means use panettone.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
1 cup peeled, ¾-inch diced Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples
1 cup finely julienned onions
2 cups ¾-inch diced cornbread, from a favorite recipe or storebought
2 cups ¾-inch diced brioche or challah (I use Panettone which is DELICIOUS)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (blanch the leaves before chopping)
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
½ teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces apple butter (see recipe below)
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 cups heavy cream

Butter
the bottom and sides of eight 8-ounce ramekins and set aside. Preheat
the oven to 300 degrees for a convection oven or 325 for a conventional
oven.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium-high heat.
Add the cut apples, letting them sit briefly to gain color. Stir and
allow them to cook a few minutes more until they’re lightly brown but
still firm. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt the other
tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stirring
occasionally until they’re soft and lightly colored, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool.

In a large
bowl, combine the cornbread, brioche, herbs, salt, white pepper, apple
butter, and the caramelized apples and onions once they’ve cooled. In a
separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, Tabasco, and cream.
Add the egg mixture to the cornbread mixture and let soak for 10
minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Divide the mixture into each of the buttered ramekins, filling
each to ¼ inch from the top. Place the ramekins in a water bath and bake
for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
(This recipe can be prepared in a larger casserole form, which bakes for
a longer time, roughly 45 minutes. Again, test the doneness with a
toothpick.)


Apple Butter

2 Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced (roughly ¼-inch thick)
1 tablespoon butter

Melt
the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced apples, letting
them rest a minute or two to get color. Stir and cook a few minutes
longer so the apples are lightly brown and soft. Purée in a blender, and
let cool before mixing with other ingredients.

From the Washingtonian

salted butterscotch pots de creme

My favorite restaurant that we ate at in San Francisco was Claudine. It is
tucked away in the French Quarter, right behind the famous Cafe Claude. It’s a
tiny restaurant with a charming, green, outdoor seating area– an alluring
oasis away from the busy streets of San Francisco. The cuisine is a fusino
between Californian (think avocados and citrus) and traditoinal French cuisine.
Claudine refers to it as “an intersection where slow food concepts meet
global inspiration.”

The best part of our meal was dessert (of course!). My dad ordered the
salted butterscotch pot de creme. A light sprinkling of sea salt really adds a
whole new dimension to the familiar flavor of caramel. It turns this from a
butterscotch pudding into an elegant pot de creme au caramel — oozing
with extraordinary butterscotch flavor.

This no-bake recipe is the easiest one out there, no egg yolks, no heavy
cream — just really good caramel and milk whisked together to
pudding-perfection! The hardest part is waiting for it to set in the
fridge. 

These desserts can be kept chilled in the fridge for a few days — making
them perfect for a simple yet sophisticated make-ahead dessert. I made mine in
my new mini Weck jars that I couldn’t wait to use.  If you don’t have
clear small pots, you can always use ramekins.

With love,
Erica

Butterscotch Pudding

Adapted from Ripe For Dessert

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 tablespoons (60g) butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 cup (180g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2½ (625ml) cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt and whipped cream for garnish

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the dark brown
sugar and salt, then stir until the sugar is well-moistened. Remove from
heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with about 1/4 cup
(60ml) of the milk until smooth (there should be no visible pills of
cornstarch), then whisk in the eggs.
Gradually pour the remaining milk into the melted brown sugar,
whisking constantly, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture as well.
Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil,
whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low
simmer and continue to cook for one minute, whisking non-stop, until the
pudding thickens to the consistency of hot fudge sauce.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour into 4-6 serving glasses or custard cups and chill thoroughly, at least four hours, before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh sea salt before serving.