Christmas Creations

Christmas Sweet Roll

Well, the holiday menus were written, executed, and consumed.

Adjustments were made from original ideas and some items were forgotten completely for future years but that’s how it goes.

So as you’ll recall I had guests coming over the Monday before Christmas and I was debating between chicken and sausage gumbo or a vegetarian one. Well I could never decide so I went with a Chicken and Sausage Vegetable gumbo. This was a tasty treat that included Linquica sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and other tasty vegetables.

Then Christmas itself arrived. The menu consisted of a Dijon-Maple Crusted Prime Rib with a onion and mushroom demi-glace, Five Cheese Au Gratin Potatoes, and Chorizo Cornbread stuffing. We also had Oven “Fried” Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese – mainly for the six and under crowd. I was mostly pleased with the way everything turned out.

We started out with fresh Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese frosting and lots of butter. The wife made these and the dinner rolls. Here main task assignment for the day. A+ from the whole crew on these babies.

Christmas Dinner

So about dinner.

I don’t usually do a sauce with Prime Rib but I wasn’t up for the traditional jus and horseradish cream and so thought I’d try something different. The stuffing was the best in years though it still wasn’t perfect. The cornbread I used for the stuffing turned out to be too sweet and even though I didn’t use a lot of it in comparison to the white bread it was still too much. The chorizo and mushrooms that I incorporated were completely lost as well. I have some bread crumbs left maybe I still have time to make 2008 the year I conquered stuffing.

The oven “fried” chicken was tasty and healthier than the alternative. I’m never completely satisfied with oven “fried” chicken because it never quite approximates the real thing. I don’t have a lot of childhood food memories but fried chicken is one that I do have and until I find a way of approximating my Babe’s (my grandmother) fried chicken the healthier oven variety will always fall short.

The potatoes were delicious but we’ve been serving this for the past several weeks in my professional kitchen and I was definitely tired of them and found that I was less than wowed by them. Should of had them for Thanksgiving before I had to see 400-plus pounds of them go out on holiday buffets in three weeks.

Also it dawned on me as I was eating that my so-called aversion to vegetables won out again and I neglected to plan any color for the menu. A common mistake I have. 2009 is the year of the vegetable in my life…just wait and see.

Christmas Dessert

Dessert was delicious. First I made Dulce de Leche Ice Cream which, in my opinion, was near equal to the Hagen Daz variety and will most definitely be produced again. ( Frozen Desserts: The definitive guide to making ice creams, ices, sorbets, gelati, and other frozen delights) This was paired with a Pecan Pumpkin Torte that was very delicious and surprisingly similar in texture and flavor as banana bread!?

The recipe for the torte was inspired by and adapted from a Hazelnut Torte with Raspberry Jam recipe from the December 2003 issue of “Gourmet” magazine. The pumpkin mousse recipe is a simple pumpkin curd with whipped cream folded in. In the future I will probably add a little more pumpkin to the torte just so I can have more of the flavor of pumpkin pie and less the reminiscence of banana bread. This was the perfect amount of sweetness, however, as the torte was not overwhelmingly sweet which left room for the Ice Cream to be.

PECAN PUMPKIN TORTE
Serves 6 to 8

1 cup pecans
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup unslated butter, softened
3 eggs
1/4 cup pumpkin mousse

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Grease a 13-by-9 inch metal baking pan and line bottom with wax paper or parchment, then grease paper.
  • Finely grind nuts with flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor.
  • Beat together butter and remaining1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time and continue to mix until pale and creamy.
  • Fold in nut mixutre gently but thoroughly.
  • Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until torte is lightly browned around the edges and firm but springy to the touch, about 15 minutes.
  • Run a small knife around edges of cake, then invert a rack over pan and flip cake onto rack. Remove paper, turn cake right side up, and cool 10 minutes. Transfer cake to a cutting board and halve crosswise. Spread mousse on top of 1 half, then place second half on top, right side up.
  • Cut torte into 4 squares, then cut each square diagonally into triangles. Dust triangles with confectioners sugar.
  •  

PUMPKIN MOUSSE
4 eggs
5 oz butter
10 oz granulated sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  • Mix the eggs, granulated sugar, butter, and pumpkin together in the top portion of a double boiler. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. If necessary strain the mixture through a sieve and then set apart and let cool.
  • In a seperate bowl whip the remaining ingredients to stiff peaks and set aside.
  • Once pumpkin mixture is cold fold in whipped cream.

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~ by Mel's Boy on Saturday, 27 December 2008.

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