Revenant “Beary Good” Bear Claws

 

20160225_152856724_iOSAhhh, the buttery flaky deliciousness of Danish pastry filled here with a sweet brown sugar and almond filling, just waiting for you to take that first crunchy, tender bite! After seeing the movie Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio, I’ll never look at a bear claw the same way again, and these too,  will make you growl with delight! See the full movie review and how to make these giant “paws” on Sweet Movie Review: https://youtu.be/nbPhpx-w6YU

In honor of one of the best, nominated for an Oscar, movies of the year, a wonderful recipe for Bear Claws, with my own almond filling!

Revenant Review Bear Claws

1 recipe Danish pastry dough ( I used the one from Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan)

Almond Filling:

1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg white, divided

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon flour

1/4 cup sliced almonds, (not toasted), for garnish

Place cooled toasted, sliced almonds in the bowl of food processor and process until very fine, but not a powder or paste. Add brown sugar and butter and mix in processor, then add 2 Tablespoons of the lightly beaten egg white, the almond extract and the flour, making a nice nutty almost paste, but still with fine bits of nuts in it.

Fill pastry or cover tightly and refrigerate.

To shape bear claws, after final chilling of the dough, roll dough into an approximate 14″ x 10″ rectangle, and using a spoon or pastry bag, filled with filling, pipe a 1″ wide line of filling down the middle the length of the pastry.20160225_161219186_iOS

Fold lengthwise up to just over the filling and press down, then bring other side down to just over the previous dough seam and press. Then turn narrow pastry over, so that the seam is on the bottom. Trim short edges to make even, then continue to cut crosswise into 3-4 bear claws, depending on the size you want.20160225_161401074_iOS

On the folded side opposite the filling side of each “claw”, make 3-4 cuts about 1-2 inches in, just until you get to the filling. Then spread the “toes” slightly by bending the pastry.20160225_161628515_iOS

Place on parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap to rest for about 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested, brush with remaining egg white, sprinkle with untoasted sliced almonds if desired, and place in 375 degree oven until golden brown about 12-18 minutes.

These are the best served warm, the same day, watching Leonardo and cuddled up with a blanket!….Or watching your blanket and cuddling with Leonardo…even better!

Makes approximately 8 Bear Claws.

 

 

 

Deadpool, the Raspberry Fool

20160223_023531730_iOS

Deadpool, the merc with the mouth, dressed in raspberry and black, in not your average comic book movie! And what a mouth this guy has! There was no question why this movie is rated R. Definitely not for the faint of heart! But funny, and he liked to fool around, annoying people, so hence the Raspberry Fool. (yes, that is the actual name of this dessert!) Fool is an English dessert that used to be made with stewed fruit and custard, but has transformed into a very simple dessert with whipped cream, sugar and raspberries that is, well, foolproof! To see my full movie review and recipe demo, go to https://youtu.be/afXxWXAf78U

This is a very short and sweet recipe with not a lot of photos. Basically, you whip the heavy cream with the sugar (a bowl of white!), puree your raspberries, you can add liqueur or orange juice if you like, fold the puree and whipped cream together, all the way, or just swirled and serve…see, even a fool can do it!

20160223_023720976_iOS

Here’s the raspberry puree, just chillin’. I left the seeds in for texture, but you can strain if you like for extra smoothness.

Deadpool Raspberry Fool

1/2 pint heavy cream, cold

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed

2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or orange juice

Fresh raspberries for garnish

Whip the chilled heavy cream, gradually adding sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

In food processor, puree the thawed raspberries, strain out those little seeds if you like, and add juice or liqueur if using.

Fold desired amount of puree into the whipped cream. Fold in partially, or until completely combined.

Spoon into serving dishes, parfait glasses or small bowls. Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve immediately.

20160222_235144527_iOS

Makes 2-4 servings, or 1 if you’re really hungry!

 

 

 

 

Bloody Zombie Fingers a.k.a. Ladyfingers with Blood Orange Sauce

20160206_175959711_iOS

This recipe, which was inspired by reviewing the movie “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”, has more “blood” in it than the movie, and is much more enjoyable! Of course, I’m not talking about actual blood, but the juice that comes from the lovely and aptly named, Blood Orange, which is in season now, just in time for this recipe! For my full movie review and recipe show-how see Sweet Movie Review at: https://youtu.be/0dcuNChNZ-o

These “Zombie Fingers” which are of course in reality, Ladyfingers, are a very versatile cookie and a necessity in any baker’s repertoire. They are most commonly used in the positively delicious dessert Tiramisu, but are also very nice on their own. They are somehow firm, yet light, perfect for coffee dunking, or soaking up all that liqueur in the aforementioned Tiramisu, or other layered desserts.

The history of Ladyfingers is quite interesting: They were served in 11th century France in the royal court to Peter the Great, and I assume the not-so-great Catherine, who liked them so much, that instead of just asking for the recipe, they actually bought the baker, and took him back to Russia with them. They are presumably called Ladyfingers, because they represent a lady’s finger, although one wonders just how large a lady’s finger was back then. But I guess it just wouldn’t have done to call them Man Fingers! Somehow it doesn’t sound as appetizing!

I’m a little at the back of the pack with the adoration of the Blood Orange. I have, of course, seen them in recipes and on the menus at restaurants, but never seen them in person or bought one, until this recipe came to mind! What better to have with Zombie Fingers, then Blood Orange Sauce. Not just the name is appropriate, but the amazingly beautiful red color. This juice on its own would be perfect to serve at a Halloween brunch or breakfast…no food coloring required! Just look at this, straight from the orange itself:

20160206_172449340_iOSBlood oranges taste quite a bit like regular navel oranges, but maybe a little sweeter and just a hint of bitterness, mostly popular for their color. Wouldn’t it be beautiful in a Mimosa?

So first, it’s basically standard procedure: separate your eggs while they are still cold, then let them sit at room temperature, covered, until they are, well, room temperature! See how yellow the yolks are:20160206_155557666_iOS

Now I know you’re not an idiot, that you’ve seen egg yolks before! I’m showing you this to compare what your yolks should look like after you’ve beaten them into submission for about five minutes! They will double in volume (not get louder, silly!) and will be light yellow in color. 20160206_160138863_iOS

See? These are the yolks after beating, with sugar added, but before the vanilla. Now a special note: I like to beat my egg whites first (with the sugar and cream of tartar), before the yolks, then I don’t have to wash my beaters (not a euphemism!) in between. If you beat the yolks first, you will have to get every drop of yolk off the beaters before you touch the whites, or the whites and yolk will have a showdown and the whites will lose! (they won’t fluff it up!) So here are the whites, with first cream of tartar added when just foamy and with sugar beaten in until they are glossy and stiff, but not dry:20160206_155901986_iOS

Then it’s time to fold in the flour alternately with the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture, being extremely careful not to over mix! There’s nothing worse in life than to have deflated eggs! Here’s a picture of the batter, with the last of the white mixture going in:20160206_160448137_iOS

Notice the using of a spatula for the folding! Fascinating, isn’t it?! (Rhetorical, really.)

And here we have the “piping of the fingers” onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper: notice the exact precision with which they have been piped! (Just kidding. But if you do want perfection, draw a line on the back of the parchment to guide you in your piping endeavors!)20160206_160735186_iOS

Now they are ready for the all-important, never-to-be-forgotten step of sprinkling with powdered sugar BEFORE you put your fingers into the oven (okay, that sounds cruel), your ladyfingers into the oven. Putting it on before, ensures the crisp outside on your cookie.

This picture shows how they look right out of the oven, just a little puffier, and just barely beginning to brown around the edges. The best way to tell if they’re done, is to lightly touch one on top, and if you don’t leave a fingerprint on your finger, they’re done!20160206_161722332_iOS

So here are the recipes, with photos of the making of the blood sauce toward the end!

Celeste’s Zombie Ladyfingers

3 egg whites, room temperature

2 egg yolks, room temperature

1/2 sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cake flour

Powdered sugar (about 1/4-1/2 cup) for finger sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In small bowl, beat egg whites til foamy. Add cream of tartar, continue beating, gradually adding sugar. Beat until glossy and stiff (the egg whites, naughty)! Now beat the yolks in a separate medium bowl, adding sugar gradually. Beat in vanilla toward the end when yolks become the consistency of pancake batter, are light yellow in color and have doubled in volume.

Add flour alternately with egg whites, to your egg yolk mixture, folding in each addition gently with a spatula.

Put mixture in a pastry bag (or see tip in youtube video) and pipe onto parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar before baking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 18 zombie fingers.

Blood Orange Sauce (can also be used as cake filing, yum!)

3/4 cup blood orange juice (about 2 oranges)

1 tsp. grated orange zest (optional)

3 Tablespoons sugar (may vary on the sweetness of your oranges and how tart you like           your sauce)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Dash salt

1 Tablespoon of water

1 Tablespoon of butter

Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a small saucepan, whisk together. Whisk in juice and water. Add zest, if using. Place over medium low heat, constantly stirring with wooden spoon, just until bubbles appear around the edge of the sauce and sauce is thick.

20160206_173532747_iOS

Off heat, stir in the butter until melted. Pour into your serving dish and while still warm, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent zombie skin from forming. Chill until ready to use.

Makes about 3/4 cup.20160206_173916858_iOS

Even better with a full moon!20160207_154134614_iOS