18 October 2018

Pumpkin Custards - Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin Custards - Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (this photo - custard baked in a half-pint jar for picnics or lunchboxes) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pumpkin Custards are the solution when you’ve got gluten-free, wheat-free, grain-free or refined-starch-free people coming for dinner. As long as they’re not also sugar-free, egg-free or dairy-free, that is. 

I don’t do sugar-free desserts using stevia or artificial sweeteners, but those who do will know how to adapt the recipe for whatever they use. (Is anyone else having a hard time giving a dinner party these days?!) 

Of course, at this time of year we are bombarded with pumpkin recipes, so many readers will have already moved on. But I’m a year-round pumpkin fan and couldn’t resist putting another one out there.

This time I used a couple of little round half-pint jars, too, because that turns an individual pumpkin custard into a totable/toteable (?) lunchbox dessert. And there’s enough room in the jar for whipped cream!

Mr Delightful was missing the pie crust, so I crushed a couple of Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Rounds to sprinkle on top. Loved it!

Baking these in a water bath is really easy and gives the custards such a wonderfully smooth texture. No need to get complicated, putting a tea towel in the bottom of the baking dish or anything; the ramekins won’t rattle around.

Are you ready for some pumpkin?


Pumpkin Custards - Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (this photo - custard baked in a ramekin for dining and in a half-pint jar for picnics or lunchboxes) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Pumpkin Custards – Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies


(Makes 6)

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon non-GMO cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce (425 grams) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cup (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) milk


1 Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Put the kettle on, heating water for the water bath. Place six 7-ounce ramekins or custard cups (or half-pint jars) in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

Note: These are similar but slightly larger white ceramic 8-ounce ramekins

2 In medium bowl (using a 2-quart glass measure makes it easy to pour the filling into the custard cups), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices. Whisk in the eggs, then the pumpkin and then the milk. 

3 Pour the filling into the ramekins. Close to the oven, pour the hot water into the baking dish at least halfway up the side of the ramekins and nearly to the level of the custard. Place in oven, being careful not to slosh water into the custards.

Pumpkin Custards - Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies (this photo - temperature taken, removed from water bath, cooling at room temperature for 1 hour before chilling) / www.delightfulrepast.com
My very favorite thermometer: ThermoWorks Super-Fast Thermapen MK4


4 Bake for about 60 minutes (maybe check at 55 minutes, all depends on your oven) or until it registers 175F/79C on an instant-read thermometer. The custards should still be slightly jiggly and will firm up as they cool. Forget about the old knife coming out clean thing; they would be waaay overbaked.

5 Cool completely, about 1 hour, on wire rack, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 or 4 days. Serve with softly whipped cream. I sweetened and flavored 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1 teaspoon of real maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Note: If you’re making these in the half-pint jars for a picnic or lunchboxes, whip the cream to a stiffer consistency so that it will hold up for a few hours. Top the custards with the cream (and shortbread crumbs, if you like) and put the lids on. Don’t forget to pack spoons!

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

11 October 2018

Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic

Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches and, in this case, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pimento Cheese (pimento is pronounced puh-MIN-uh, by the way wink wink) is an iconic Southern food that's been around for over a hundred years, but my Southern grandmother never mentioned it; I had to learn it on my own! There are many variations, but it's basically shredded sharp or medium Cheddar, mayonnaise and pimientos. 

Delicious on a hamburger, hot dog or bacon sandwich, it's more often just slapped on some soft white bread for a quick sandwich, cold or toasted. Apparently, you can also stuff celery with it, spread it on crackers or dip tortilla chips in it. But I only ever seem to serve it with crudités or in tea sandwiches.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

It "must" be made with real mayonnaise. Many Southern cooks swear by Duke’s mayonnaise, but I have to make do with Hellmann’s/ Best Foods or my Homemade Mayonnaise. Duke's is still made in Greenville, South Carolina, and sold throughout the South. Sticklers for authenticity can always do mail order!

Purists may not add anything to the basic ingredients, but I can't resist a little dill pickle and dill pickle juice along with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. You can add a few chopped green olives, red wine vinegar, Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce, so I might have to give that a try in the next batch. 

Some like it blended smooth, but I'm among those who prefer it a little chunky. Does your family have a pimento cheese tradition? Would you like to start one? I’d love to hear your thoughts on pimento cheese.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese) 


(Makes 3 cups)

1 pound medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 In a 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients until well blended. Leave it a little chunky, as I do, or use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you like. Transfer to serving bowl and cover. Chill for a few hours or up to one week.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches

2 Serve with a crudités platter, crackers, tortillas chips or bread. Spread on hamburgers, hot dogs or bacon sandwiches. Use it to make a cold or toasted cheese sandwich or, as I have here, tea sandwiches.

Jean

04 October 2018

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner - www.delightfulrepast.com

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner came to mind as I was perusing the offerings at my favorite meat shop. I love shopping there because it is pristine and all the meat is local, grass-fed (or pastured), sustainable and produced by farmers who practice good animal stewardship. I had the sheet pan dinner concept in the back of my mind and was looking at the chicken when I spied the brats.

I did not grow up eating bratwurst. I grew up avoiding processed meats, so rarely even had a hot dog. But a couple years ago I walked into this shop when one of the owners was making brats—Wisconsin-style with coarsely ground pork. They make all their own sausages with the best ingredients. So I took home four “homemade,” unprocessed brats and haven’t looked back since.

A sheet pan dinner is what I call streamlined cooking. And there are at least a few days a week when dinner really needs to be streamlined. It’s such an easy way to get lots of different vegetables into your diet because they all cook together. Cabbage wedges would’ve been good with this, and I’ll do that next time.

I do a lot of wine reductions but have never even heard of a beer reduction. It was just going to go against my grain to pour that beer down the drain, though, so I thought I'd make a little sauce out of it. Love it!

For more streamlined cooking, Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner


Sheet Pan Bratwurst Dinner - www.delightfulrepast.com


Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner


(Makes 4 servings)

The Brats and Vegetables

4 bratwurst sausages (about 5 ounces each)
1 12-ounce bottle Newcastle Brown Ale
2 medium orange-flesh sweet potatoes (about 22 ounces/624 grams total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
About 3/4 pound broccoli and cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1/8 teaspoon salt 
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

The Sauce

The beer reduction
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes


Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner (this photo - beer-boiling the brats) / www.delightfulrepast.com


1 Pierce the sausages six times each with a toothpick or a few times with a knife. Put them in a wide saucepan with the beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the brats in the beer until you place them on the baking sheet.

2 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line an 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. In a 1.5- to 2-quart bowl, toss sweet potato slices with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Lay out the slices at one end of the baking sheet. Sprinkle them evenly with the cinnamon-salt mixture.

3 In that same bowl, toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Spread them out at the other end of the baking sheet. Put the beer-boiled brats in the center of the baking sheet. Sprinkle the broccoli, cauliflower and brats with salt and pepper.


Sheet Pan Bratwurst Dinner (this photo - ready to go into the oven) / www.delightfulrepast.com

4 Bake for 30 minutes. In the meantime, strain the beer into a glass measuring cup and wipe out the saucepan. Pour the beer back into the saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and adjust the heat to keep it at a slow-ish boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Just pour it back into the glass measuring cup from time to time to check it. When it’s down to 1/2 cup, whisk in remaining ingredients.

5 Drizzle sauce over all, or let each person sauce his own plate. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

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