January

Chapter 1 – ALL WRAPPED UP

Inspiration:  January, the dead of winter

Your guests will arrive all wrapped up and they’ll stay warm and cozy with foods handsomely wrapped and suitably scrumptious.

 

COOK’S INTRODUCTION

The holidays have come and gone, the days are darker and temperatures have dipped. We all want to ward off winter’s bleakness, so now is the perfect time to gather with guests to share the warmth of friendship flavored with fun.

 

What could be better than food that’s all wrapped up for the occasion? Everything is wrapped, so each dish is seasoned with mystery and surprise, a strategy guaranteed to build intrigue and interest. Handsome wrappings and alluring aromas will entice your guests.  Contrasting textures and warm, satisfying tastes will reward each bite they take. Soup and salad supply special surprises.  The soup’s golden-brown puff pastry splits open with a cloud of fragrant steam, the antithesis of winter cold. Later, endive leaves unfold like a flower, alluding to the coming of spring.

 

Wrappings not only warm us, they comfort us too. From swaddling, an ancient practice used to soothe infants, to the cozy security of a shawl around one’s shoulders, a wrap conveys contentment and well-being – as do familiar foods. To maintain and enhance these feelings, this dinner features familiar foods, tweaked just enough to suit the intrigue stirred up by their wrappings.

    

So there you have it. In the dead of winter, put on your favorite wrap or scarf, gather your guests and get 

ALL WRAPPED UP!

 

Appropriate for:  Anytime in January, of course, or whenever it’s cold outside.

 

MENU

 

ALL WRAPPED UP

You have arrived all wrapped up and we intend that you stay warm and cozy with foods handsomely wrapped and suitably scrumptious.

 

COCKTAIL

Mulled Wine

Wrapped in spicy warmth

APPETIZERS

Mascarpone with Capers and Dill

Wrapped in Smoked Salmon and Arugula

 

Fillet Mignon with Anchovy/Tarragon Mayonnaise

Wrapped in Flour Tortilla

 

Pear with Balsamic Vinegar

Wrapped in Baked Parmesan Cheese

SOUP

Fennel and Leek Bisque

Wrapped in Puff Pastry

 

ENTREE

Pork Tenderloins and Sage Leaves

Wrapped in Speck

 

Saute of Swiss Chard with Dried Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Wrapped in Chard Leaves Poached in Merlot

 

Mushrooms in Mushroom Syrup

Wrapped in French Bread Crust

SALAD

Mesclun with Vanilla-Vodka Vinaigrette

Wrapped in Belgian Endive with Scallion Ties

DESSERTS

Rhubarb and Blood Orange Coffee Cake

Wrapped in Fondant

 

Anjou Pears Baked in Chardonnay

Wrapped in Dessert Crepes, Drizzled with Honey and Cream

THAT’S A WRAP!

BACKING UP THE THEME

 

Souvenir Menus

Basic:  Print, preferably on cream-colored or parchment paper, the menu shown above. It will look quite distinctive if rolled and tied with a fancy ribbon.

Ornamental: Wrap it up, of course. Choose paper with a warm-looking pattern on one side. Print the menu on the plain side. Roll and tie the menu with an appropriate ribbon. Then, group all the menus together vertically and tie with a broad, fancy, warmth-generating ribbon. You may wish to wait until all guests arrive and then have each person select one from the all-wrapped-up menus.

 

Symbols. “All Wrapped Up” is about warmth and comfort. Wraps are the pivotal symbol and each recipe involves a wrap. Other symbols of warmth and comfort include soft light, a roaring fireplace, furry blankets, stuffed animals and deep cushions. Use them to create a cozy atmosphere.  

 

Color. From cream to chocolate, brown hues express warmth. Subdued colors convey the same message, as do auburns in the red family, golds in the yellow family and deep forest green.

 

Table Décor. Make sure your dinner table radiates warmth and light. For the centerpiece, create an ice luminary, a gorgeous creation of winter symbols (evergreens and red berries) wrapped up in ice with a small candle glowing with warmth in the center. (Instructions are included in the recipe section.) 

Use linens in brown shades, incorporating some contrast. Examples are tablecloth or placemats in taupe with creamy napkins (or vice versa) or cream with forest green or auburn. Similarly, use dishes that reflect warmth. If you can, avoid white china, which has a cold, formal look. In keeping with the theme, wrap each set of flatware in the guest’s napkin.

 

Other Décor. Throw a decorative blanket on your sofa, perhaps a faux mink blanket. If you have a fireplace, light a roaring fire. Keep the lighting low, but be extravagant with candles.

Welcome your guests wearing your favorite wrap or neck scarf. Wrap your appetizer dishes for an enchanting preamble to the evening ahead. Enclose each dish in a beautiful cloth, scarf or shawl, or large napkin. You could use coordinating shades of tissue paper, although paper does not communicate warmth as well as cloth. If you have one, a three-tier cake stand enclosed in handsome fabric will beguile your guests when you lead them to your coffee table in the living room. Unwrap it with panache for an awesome start to the evening.

 

Music. The occasion calls for soft, relaxing music. New Age or spa music are the best possibilities for most groups of guests.

 

Favor. Blood oranges, available only during winter months, make a delicious and appropriate take home souvenir. Place two or more in a decorative pouch or wrap in festive paper.

Note for favor: We hope that you will enjoy these blood oranges. Unwrap (i.e., peel) these jewels of the citrus family to reveal segments as lush in coloring as they are luscious in taste.

 

BEVERAGE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Opening Cocktail. Warm and spicy, mulled wine makes a perfect start for this dinner. You’ll need two bottles of (preferably inexpensive!) fruity red wine such as Zinfandel.  Place 2 cups in a large, heavy saucepan. Add ¼ cup sugar, one peeled orange in thin slices, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 allspice berries, 5 thin slices of fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon anise seeds or 2 star anise and 10 cloves. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Take off heat and strain. You may prepare this mixture up to 8 hours in advance. Just before guests arrive, stir in the rest of the 2 bottles of wine and gently heat for 3 minutes. Do not boil. Gently reheat as necessary. Ideally, serve in glass mugs and garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick.  

 

Soup. Make it a buttery Chardonnay and use the same one in the soup.

 

Entrée. A red wine with medium body, such as a Chianti reserve, will work well.

 

After Dinner.  A good cognac or brandy to warm your guests before their departure makes a cordial conclusion.

 

ICE LUMINARY

This unusual and beautiful centerpiece nicely reflects the evening’s theme. The evergreens and berries are all wrapped up in ice and the candle, too, is inside. The ice represents winter’s cold; the evergreens and berries, its beauty. The candle flame conveys warmth and its comfort in the face of winter’s cold.

 

Note

Up to 1 month and at least 2 days prior to use:  Complete the luminary.

Components

½-gallon empty cardboard (not plastic) container (e.g., for milk or juice).  

1 small plastic garbage bag

8-ounce empty aluminum can (e.g., for soda or juice) 

1 cup of marbles, stones or other weights

Ice cubes, approximately 1 tray

3-4 sprigs of holly or other evergreen, plus 3-4 more for tray decoration

1 cup crushed ice

1 cup of cranberries or raspberries

1 tea-light candle

1 serving tray

Instructions

  1. From bottom of cardboard container, measure up 7 inches and cut off remainder. Line the container with plastic bag.  Press into the corners and smooth up the sides as much as possible.

  2. Place several ice cubes at the bottom of the container. Fill can with weights and place can on ice cubes so that it will be aligned with top of container. Continue placing ice cubes into the container all around the can until ice is flush with top of the container. Be sure that no ice cubes enter the can.   

  3. Insert holly or evergreens of your choice around the interior of the container between the ice cubes, being careful not to move the can.  To keep the berries in place, add crushed ice.  

  4. Fill the container with water to top of container and freeze until solid, approximately 24 hours.

  5. Remove from freezer when frozen solid. Empty the weights from the inner can. Fill the can with hot tap water until you can work the can out gently. Once it is removed, place container on a tray with a rim to catch melting ice. Carefully peel away the container and remove the plastic liner from the luminary surface. Decorate the tray with additional greenery.  Insert the candle where you removed the can, light and enjoy!

APPETIZERS

 

 

 

 

MASCARPONE WITH CAPERS AND DILL

Wrapped in Smoked Salmon and Arugula

This dish is a sensual symphony of color, taste and texture. With each bite, the firm, smoky flesh of coral salmon yields to soft white cream and emerald counterpoints of parsley, tangy capers, sharp chives and peppery arugula.  Serves 8.  

 

Notes

Yield:  8 wraps

Up to 2 hours ahead:  Complete wraps; cover and refrigerate.  

 

Ingredients

Cheese

   6 ounces mascarpone at room temperature

   1 tablespoon scallion, white part only, minced  

   1 tablespoon small capers, rinsed well

   1 tablespoon fresh Italian (flat) parsley, minced

   ½ tablespoon fresh dill, minced 

   ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

   Salt and pepper to taste

 

16 arugula leaves (or other peppery lettuce such as watercress), stems removed

 

Wrap

¾ pound smoked salmon, cut into 8 lengths, each 2x4 inches

Toothpicks

 

Garnish

9 lemon wedges

Parsley sprigs

 

Preparation

  1. Mix all cheese ingredients in a small bowl.  Divide into 8 spoonfuls.  

  2. For the wrap, place one arugula on the middle of each strip of salmon so that the top of the leaf projects past the salmon. Add a spoonful of cheese mixture onto the middle of the salmon strip. Add a second arugula leaf on top of the spoonful of cheese so that the leaf also projects past the top of the salmon once rolled. Roll and stand upright with arugula leaves pointing upward. Fasten with toothpick. Refrigerate until serving.  

 

Presentation

Arrange lemon wedges radiating outward from the center of a circular serving plate. Place one end of each wrap in the space between 2 lemon wedges.  Sprinkle parsley sprigs in between the rolls.  

 

FILET MIGNON WITH ANCHOVY/TARRAGON MAYONAISSE

Wrapped in Flour Tortilla 

Guaranteed, your guests will experience an explosion of taste as the contents of this wrap come in contact with their taste buds.  Serves 8.

 

Notes

Yield:  8 wraps

Up to 4 hours in advance:  Prepare mayonnaise spread.  Cook steak; keep covered at room temperature.

 

Ingredients

Mayonnaise spread

2 garlic cloves, grated or minced

½ cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

½ cup sour cream

1½ teaspoons anchovy paste, or 1 whole anchovy, drained and rinsed 

1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Steak

1 pound filet mignon

 

Wrap

4 flour tortillas, 8-inch size

1 bunch watercress 

Toothpicks

 

Garnish

1 bunch watercress

 

Preparation

  1. Mayonnaise spread. Mash garlic into a paste with a pinch of salt. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovy paste, lemon juice, tarragon and pepper.  Set aside.

  2. Steak. In broiler or on grill, cook filet mignon until medium rare or to your preference. Set aside for at least 15 minutes, then slice into 16 strips of equal thickness and length.

  3. Wrap. Toast flour tortillas directly over flame on stovetop. Using tongs, turn to brown evenly. Transfer to a towel and cover until ready to fill.

  4. Assemble. Slice tortillas in half. Spread each half with a layer of mayonnaise mixture and 2 slices of filet mignon, covering about half of the tortilla. Add a a few sprigs of watercress, roll and fasten with toothpick.

 

Presentation

Place wraps on serving dish and garnish platter with watercress.

PEAR WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR

Wrapped in Baked Parmesan Cheese

The combination of ripe pear, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese is a popular party dish. Transform it by baking the cheese over the pear. Now, the soft, sweet pear contrasts with the crispy, savory cheese wrap. Balsamic vinegar adds an extra burst of flavor. Serves 8.

 

Notes

Yield:  24 wraps

Up to 2 hours in advance: Make dish through Step 3; place each piece on baking sheet; keep at room temperature

Ingredients

2 Bosc pears, cored 

Good balsamic vinegar

4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Slice pears into 8 sections lengthwise.  From those sections, cut 24 flat pieces, roughly triangular in shape, no more than 1 inch on a side and 1/8 inch thick. Put 1 or 2 drops of balsamic vinegar on each pear piece.

  2. It is best to make the wraps in 3 batches. Use about 1 generous tablespoon of cheese for each wrap. On a plain baking sheet, form each spoonful into a circle about twice the size of the pear pieces. Don’t worry if the edges are a little uneven. Lightly flatten the center of the circle.

  3. Bake in oven for 4-6 minutes, until cheese has melted but is not yet crisp. Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately place one pear piece at the edge of one circle. With a spatula, fold the cheese over the pear so that the edges of the cheese join and completely cover the pear. It will look like a half circle.  

  4. Return baking sheet to oven and bake for 1 minute. The cheese should be crisp and light golden brown in color.

 

Presentation

If not using a three-tier stand for the appetizers, use a small breadbasket for this appetizer. Spread a colorful napkin inside the basket, place the pear/Parmesan pieces on the napkin, then fold the napkin over them. Unwrap with panache!

 

SOUP

FENNEL AND LEEK BISQUE

Wrapped in Puff Pastry

This soup is a showstopper! The pastry over the bisque puffs up like a huge chef’s hat. A spoon breaks the hat and POOF!   A cloud of fragrant steam! Serves 8.

 

Note

Up to 1 day in advance: Make soup; store covered in refrigerator; return to room temperature before reheating.

 

Ingredients

Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut crosswise to ½-inch sections  

2 medium potatoes, Yukon Gold preferred, peeled and cut into eighths  

3 medium fennel bulbs, cored and roughly chopped 

1 medium shallot, minced

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade

1½ cups water  

1 teaspoon salt 

¼ teaspoon black pepper 

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

¼ cup chopped Italian (flat) parsley

Pastry topping

1 package (17 ounces) frozen puff pastry

 

8 ramekins, 8-ounce size, 4 inches in diameter

 

Preparation

  1. In 6-8 quart stockpot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook leeks, potato, fennel and shallot until softened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

  2. Lower heat and add stock, water, salt, pepper, cardamom and peppermint extract. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened. Do not allow to boil.

  3. Purée soup in batches in blender until smooth. Transfer to ramekins.  Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley.

  4. For each ramekin, cover the top and ½-inch of the outsides with a 4½-inch  square of pastry. Press the pastry against the side of the ramekin. Place ramekins on cookie sheet. Cook until pastry rises and turns light brown, about 12 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

 

Presentation

This is a simple one -- place ramekin on individual plate and serve!

ENTREE

PORK TENDERLOINS AND SAGE LEAVES

Wrapped in Speck

Pork and sage are a classic combination. In this preparation, sage does double duty by lending its dusky flavor to two distinct pork tastes. Speck, dense and savory, encases the soft, sweet tenderloin slices and sage leaves. High heat and fast cooking preserve flavorful juices and the different dimensions of flavor. Serves 8.  

 

Note

Up to 4 hours in advance: Prepare pork wraps through Step 3; cover tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate; bring to room temperature before roasting.  

Ingredients

8 slices boneless pork tenderloin, each about 6 ounces and ¾ inch thick

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

16 large fresh sage leaves

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

8 wide slices of speck, 1/8 inch thick

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

Garnish

16 sage leaves

 

Preparation

  1. Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500ºF.

  2. Place vinegar in a medium bowl and add sage leaves. Soak for 5 minutes then drain on paper towels.

  3. Salt and pepper individual tenderloin rounds. Place 2 sage leaves on top of each pork tenderloin in a crisscross pattern.

  4. Wrap 1 slice of speck over the sage leaves and around the tenderloin packages.  

  5. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush oil over wrapped tenderloins. Roast for 10 minutes.

  6. Transfer to a warmed serving platter. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Presentation

Serve tenderloins seam side down. Garnish each with 2 sage leaves.

 

SAUTÉ OF SWISS CHARD WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES AND PINE NUTS

Wrapped in Chard Leaves Poached in Merlot

This chard is chock-full of rich flavor with a filling that is a variation of the classic winter combination of dried fruit and nuts.  The poaching liquid for the wrap subtly alters the chard’s flavor. Serves 8.

 

Note

Up to 4 hours in advance: Complete wraps; cover and keep at room temperature; warm before serving.

 

Ingredients

Chard Mixture

2 pounds Swiss chard, approximately 2 large bunches

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 cup vegetable broth, preferably  homemade

1 teaspoon salt 

1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded

Pinch of dried red pepper flakes

½ cup of pine nuts, toasted in skillet until light brown, seasoned with salt

 

Poached leaves

8 Swiss chard leaves

½ cup Merlot wine

½ cup vegetable broth 

Salt and pepper      

 

Preparation 

1.  Carefully remove stems from chard leaves. Set aside 8 outside leaves for the wraps. Coarsely chop stems and remaining  leaves and set aside separately.

2.  Chard mixture. Heat oil and butter in heavy, large skillet over moderate heat and cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add chopped chard stems and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add dried cranberries and ½ cup broth. Simmer, covered, until stems are softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped chard leaves, remaining ½ cup broth and salt. Simmer, partially covered, until leaves are tender, about 7 minutes. Season with pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. Add carrot, pepper flakes and toasted pine nuts to mixture and place mixture in bowl.

4.  Poach outside leaves. In the same skillet, bring to boil vegetable broth and merlot. Reduce to simmer and add 2 chard leaves at a time. Poach 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towel.

5.  Assemble. Fill each leaf with a heaping tablespoon of the mixture. Roll and set on serving plate seam side down.  Warm prior to serving.

 

Presentation

Present chard wraps on serving platter, preferably ivory or beige.

 

MUSHROOMS IN MUSHROOM SYRUP 

Wrapped in French Bread Crust

A mushroom reduction intensifies the earthy flavor of mushrooms. The crisp wrap supplies contrast in texture.  Serves 8.

 

Note

Up to 1 day in advance: Prepare mushroom syrup and mixture; cover and refrigerate; heat before serving.

 

Ingredients

Syrup

8 ounces white mushrooms

2 large shallots, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

1 cup water

1 cup dry white wine, preferably a Chardonnay

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary   

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

 

 Mushroom mixture

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil   

2 medium shallots, minced  

2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (preferably chanterelle, shiitake and cremini), stems discarded, roughly chopped 

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Crust

1 loaf of crusty French bread

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced  

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation

  1. Syrup. Melt butter in large skillet over moderate heat. Sauté white mushrooms and shallots. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Season with pepper. Add water, wine, herbs and lemon zest. Simmer briskly for 10 minutes and stir occasionally. Pour mixture through a strainer into a small skillet; press on solids until they no longer give up liquid. Discard solids (or save for soup stock). Boil until liquid is syrupy and coats a spoon, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Mushroom mixture. In a large skillet over moderately high heat, sauté shallots  in oil for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, stirring often, until mushrooms begin to brown, approximately 15 minutes. Stir in parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

  3. Crust. Preheat oven to 500ºF. Cut 8 slices, each ½ inch thick, from the bread. Carefully remove inside soft bread (store for future use, e.g., making fresh bread crumbs), leaving unbroken rings of French bread crust. Mash the oil with the garlic and brush on crusts, inside and out. Season with salt and pepper. Place crusts on baking sheet in middle of oven and bake approximately 2 minutes or until lightly browned.


Presentation

Place toasted crusts on plate, fill with warm mushroom mixture and drizzle warm syrup over top.  Serve immediately.  

 

Entrée Plating

Place pork wrap at bottom center of plate. Position wrapped chard to one side above it and mushroom wrap to the other side.  

 

SALAD

 MESCLUN WITH VANILLA-VODKA VINAIGRETTE

Wrapped in Belgian Endive with Scallion Ties

Once untied, this salad gracefully unfolds like a flower while imparting the heady, sweet aroma of vanilla. Serves 8.

 

Notes

Yield:  8 lettuce wraps

Up to 4 hours in advance:  Prepare vinaigrette; cover and refrigerate.  

Up to 1 hour in advance: Assemble salad wraps; cover in plastic and refrigerate with bottoms in lemon water until serving.

 

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

½ cup vanilla vodka

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup hazelnut oil

 

Salad

8 large heads of Belgian endive, bottom cores removed

4 cups mesclun

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Garnish

8 scallions, green part for ties

 

Preparation

  1. Vinaigrette. Whisk together vinegar, vodka, honey, salt and pepper in small bowl.

       Add oil in slow stream, whisking until combined.

  1. Salad. Remove 10-12 leaves from each endive and set aside. Tear mesclun into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with vinaigrette.

  2. Assemble. For each, in the palm of hand, place two endive leaves so their bottoms overlap. Continue adding leaves, 8-10 in total, overlapping them until it resembles a completed flower. Drop in ½ cup of dressed mesclun. Bring fingers together to close salad within endive leaves. If you need to add another endive leaf to ensure outside of packet is solid, do so at this point.

  3. Wrap scallion tie around endive and pull ends into knot. Continue process to complete eight individual wraps.  

 

Presentation

Stand each tied endive bunch in center of a flat, individual plate. Once scallion tie is removed, endive will unfold like a flower in bloom!

 

DESSERTS

 

RHUBARB AND BLOOD ORANGE COFFEE CAKE

Wrapped in Fondant

Rhubarb and blood orange, noted for their assertive sour flavors, combine to make a super sweet. Fondant, as wide as the cake is high, enwraps the sides. Serves 8.

 

Note

Up to 1 day in advance: Bake cake; cover and keep at room temperature.  

 

Ingredients

Topping

1 cup demerara, turbinado or light brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated blood orange zest

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Cake

2 cups flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated blood-orange zest

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 teaspoon melted butter

1 cup of fresh squeezed blood orange juice

1½ cups chopped rhubarb, in ½-inch pieces (3-4 stalks)

 

Decoration

1 package of brown or pink fondant

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

  2. Topping.  Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Cake. In medium bowl, stir together the 5 dry ingredients. In small bowl, lightly beat eggs. Blend in vanilla, zest, cardamom, butter and blood orange juice. Combine egg and dry mixtures: stir until evenly combined.

  4. Spread half the batter into pan and cover top evenly with chopped rhubarb. Spoon remaining batter on top; smooth.  Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.

  5. Bake for about 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack.

  6. Follow package instructions to roll out fondant. Cut fondant with serrated cutting wheel or knife into 4 strips, each 8x1½ inches. 

 

Presentation

Sprinkle a cake stand with powdered sugar. Place cake on it. Place fondant strips, one at a time, along the cake sides, bottom edge on plate. Pinch lengths together and smooth seams so that the fondant makes one continuous wrap.

 

ANJOU PEARS BAKED IN CHARDONNAY

Wrapped in Dessert Crêpe

The gentle sweetness of the pears, heightened and compounded by the baking liquid, harmonizes beautifully with the strong flavors of the rhubarb and blood orange cake. Serve warm with cool cream for added complexity in this duet of desserts.  Serves 8.  

 

Note

Up to 4 hours in advance: Complete steps 1-3; cover pears with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature; reheat gently just before serving.

 

Ingredients

Pears

1 cup Chardonnay wine

½ cup sparkling water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

4 firm Anjou pears, peeled, seeded and cut lengthwise in ½-inch-thick slices

 

Wrap

Package of dessert crêpes, 8 count, at room temperature

8 teaspoons mild blossom honey

8 tablespoons heavy cream, whipped

 

Garnish

Mint leaves

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

  2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil the wine, sparkling water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

  3. Brush a cookie sheet with melted butter. Line pan with pear slices and spoon wine mixture over pears.  Bake for 20 minutes, basting every 5 minutes. Remove pears from pan and reserve pan liquid.

  4. Divide pear slices into 8 portions. Place one portion of sliced pears in the middle of each crêpe and spoon some of the reserved liquid over the top. Roll the crêpes, drizzle each with 1 teaspoon honey and top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Serve immediately.

 

Presentation

Place crêpe on individual dessert plate and garnish with mint leaf.

 

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