Monthly Archives: April 2017

Coffee Creme brûlée

Sorry to say, but this was a complete failure for me.  Not sure where I went wrong, but a big disappointment.

The making of the creme brûlée went easily enough, and after putting it in the water bath for the original 25 minutes, I only had to adjust the temp. to 325 degrees and added an additional 15 minutes,   blaming my oven on that score.

IMG_0801When I removed it from the oven it looked incredible.

After chilling it overnight it still looked good,  so I decided to caramelize until I realized my kitchen torch was empty.

Plan B was to use the broiler of my stove.  This is where I think I ruined it because the heat was a bit too much and softened the custard.

I placed them  in the refrigerator for a few hours  but they  never really had a good consistency.

The flavor was not bad, but I just could not eat it looking that wayIMG_0819


My mother was a terrific cook and could  prepare a meal that was so tasty using only what she had on hand.

When I look back, I wish that I had paid more attention to her cooking, but as with most young women at the time,  we were too busy with other things.

I decided to start teaching Tricia and her husband Peter about some of the old recipes that we have been making for years,  All of my  family love the traditions from the Italian side of the family.

This year we started by  working  on the recipe for Easter Pie,


The filling for this recipe consists of prosciutto, dry italian sausage, basket cheese, ricotta cheese, and eggs.  All of this is mixed together and poured into a springform pan that is lined with pizza dough.

Over the years I have tried using the dough recipe that was given to me from my mother in law,  but I could never figure out what I was doing wrong.  (Reminds me of a skit from “Everybody Loves Raymond” where the mother in law left out a key ingredient when sharing a recipe with  Debra.DSC_1066

I finally decided to buy pizza dough from the local pizzeria and it was much easier to work with and tasted a heck of a lot better.

On Holy Thursday, Tricia came with her camera and took many photos as  we progressed thru the recipe,   it was a lot of fun and,  as usual,  lots of laughs.

Below is the recipe for a 9″ springform pan.

1/2 lb. prosciutto,    1/2 lb. Dry Italian sausage,   1-1/2 lbs Whole Milk Ricotta,                       3/4 lb. Basket cheese (Scamuchatto)   and 6 eggs.

I always trim  the prosciutto to remove any silver skin and fat and then  chop it coarsely in the Cuisinart.  The dry sausage is chopped as well. The basket cheese is grated on a box grater for best results.

Mix all the ingredients together,  pour into the springform pan lined with the rolled out pizza dough.

This year we used 2 medium size pizzas,  one for the bottom and one for the top.  Both worked well, and the trimmings can be deep-fried to make zeppole.  But that’s a recipe and story for another day.

After filling pan,  sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and a bit of freshly ground black pepper on top before covering

Brush top with beaten egg yolk for a nice glaze.

Make 3/4  4 ” slits in crust  and place in a preheated 375 degee oven for about 1-1/2 hours. If crust starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil.


The end result, perfect.


Croquets salés aux olives

David mentions how important it is to have a good bread knife in the kitchen, and especially for the recipe we are preparing this week.

A perfect opportunity to use my Poilâne bread knife from the famed Paris  boulangerie,IMG_0800a treat from Tricia on one of our trips.

However,  that didn’t work very well, and neither did the next three knives I tried.

The recipe was fine,  no real problems until it came to the slicing part.  I’m not sure if my slices  were a 1/4″ or not, but any thinner and they  would have been bread crumbs.IMG_0774

I placed the slices  on the sheet pans and finished baking the recipe.  When they were removed from the oven they were crisp and quite tasty.IMG_0794

Using dried thyme and Kalamata olives in the mix with the buttermilk, almonds, and whole wheat flour,  it was a  strange flavor combination but it worked well together.

We definitely enjoyed them, and they do go very well with a glass of wine.

David mentioned that if you used  an airtight container for storage, these should last about a week.  Sorry to say,  after one night they were so soggy and tasteless I did not like them.

We tried letting  them dry out by covering them with a kitchen towel,  but to no avail.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it was such a disappointment with the leftover crisps.