With wet snow falling outside my window this morning (again), it was a perfect day to tackle this month’s Blog Party Challenge: Another Bite of Dessert, hosted by the Happy Sorceress. The theme was straightforward: dessert canapés.
So many choices…Last week, for the first time, I finally got access to the Food Network as part of my new digital TV system. And for the first time, I got to see the Iron Chef of America show. Well-timed, the show was titled: All-Star Holiday Dessert Battle: Cora/Deen vs. Irvine/Florence. From the Food Network website:
In another All-Star culinary showdown, the Chairman has invited Paula Deen to partner up with Iron Chef Cat Cora and compete against Food Network’s own Tyler Florence and Robert Irvine.
The hour was filled with a myriad of desserts and sweets. My fillings were hurting at the final offering to the judges. Tina Fey was comatose by the end of it all. But, I had found my inspiration for this challenge.
Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge was intriguing. I had baked cream cheese with chocolate, but Velveeta cheese?…I decided to tone down the richness of that fudge by using it as a base and adding cranberries as a topping.
Cheesy Fudge Cranberry Tarts
Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge
Press one tablespoon into greased mini cupcake molds. Refrigerate.
1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
Splash of Southern Comfort (could also use Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
Fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
In a small saucepan, heat up the Southern Comfort with the chopped cranberries over medium heat. Add the sugar and water, reduce. Remove from heat and cool.
Unmold the fudge cups, spoon some of the cranberry mixture in the cup and garnish with mint chiffonade.
The ladies also concocted a peppermint martini for the judges. This triggered my second canapé:
Profiteroles: Choux paste recipe
Peppermint Pastry Cream:
2/3 cup whole milk
2 inch vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the milk and vanilla bean and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until well blended. When the milk reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Stir in the peppermint extract. Discard the vanilla bean and cool.
Candy cane, crushed
Pipe the pastry cream into each choux. Dip each choux into warm ganache. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane.
For the cocktail, I decided to keep it simple: Brandy Toddy, from DrinkMixer website.
2 oz brandy
1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp water
1 twist lemon peel
Dissolve powdered sugar in 1 tsp. water in an old-fashioned glass. Add brandy and one ice cube and stir. Add twist of lemon peel on top and serve.
Happy holidays all!