Swiss Apple Tiramisu

I posted this originally in 2012, and wanted to share it with those new to the blog!  I’ll be making this tonight as a dessert to Swiss cheese fondue; despite the cream layer, it will make a light and refreshing contrast to the heavier main meal.  Over a decade ago, I got this recipe from a Swiss friend; I’ve made it dozens of times, and it always gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe!  Unlike other tiramisu, this has no raw eggs, or coffee.

 

lady finger cookies

Lady Fingers Cookies

Swiss Apple Tiramisu

 

750 gr. apples

Peel them, chop into large chunks, and blitz them with a chopper (or knife if you’re a purist) into a coarse apple puree.  Add:

1 Tbs. vanilla sugar

½ lemon’s juice

1 C. apple juice

a dash of Amaretto or almond extract

Mix it all together into an apple sauce.  Next, in a separate bowl, mix the cream layer:

500 gr. mascarpone

5 dl. whipped cream

2 Tbs. apple schnapps (Calvados)

Beat til foamy.  You’ll also need:

3 pkgs. Lady Finger cookies (approx. 18 per 2 layers = 36)

In a casserole dish, layer as follows: A bit of applesauce, then rows of biscuits, and whipped topping; repeat once more.

Make this at least an hour before serving, and chill it until time to serve.  I stab toothpicks around the edge and a few down the centre to keep the plastic foil from touching a nicely-smoothed surface.

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Strawberry–Pretzel Delight

strawberry-pretzel dessertThe recipe last week reminded me of this dessert; this has a shock factor, as people don’t often associate pretzels with something as sweet as this concoction!  I made this for a dinner with my husband’s work team and their spouses, and it was a huge hit – the salty pretzels are a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries.  You could substitute any fruit you want, and I’m sure it would turn into a smash hit too!

Strawberry Pretzel Delight

2 C. Crushed pretzels
¾ C. Butter, melted
3 Tbs. Sugar
8 oz. (225 gr.) Mascarpone (or cream cheese), softened
¾ C. Sugar
8 oz. (225 ml.) whipped cream (sweetened [American] or unsweetened [the European way!])
6 oz. (170 gr.) strawberry Jello (or plain gelatin + 1 tsp. strawberry extract and part of the frozen strawberry juice)
2 C. Boiling water
2½ C. Strawberries (frozen and thawed, or fresh – the freezing brings out their juices when thawed)

A few fresh strawberries, prepared for a garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons white sugar; mix well and press mixture into bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake 8-10 minutes, until set; set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream together the Mascarpone and sugar. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in (frozen) strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of raw egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.  Garnish, and serve with a smile.

Salt-Roasted Cashew Nuts

Here’s a recipe that’s fast, simple and delicious… it can’t get any better than that!  A batch of these freshly roasted will liven up a party, or make a nice, healthy snack for some time to come.  For another great recipe to match, try my smoked almonds too!

For a twist, try adding other spices instead of salt, or just let the taste of the nuts come shining through.  Eat them as-is, or sprinkle them over salads, or Asian, Indian or Persian cuisine.

Salt-Roasted CashewsSalt-Roasted Cashew Nuts

To start off, pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).  You’ll need a shallow baking pan (and a piece of baking paper or baking mat), a bowl and spoon.

1 lb. (450 gr.) raw cashews

Salt

Just a bit of oil (either coconut oil, or olive oil for the best tastes)

Spread cashews in a single layer over the pan (you might need to use more than one pan, depending on the size). Then roast for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden-brown.  Keep an eye on these, as they can tend to burn!

Pour them into a large bowl, add a bit of oil (start with a tsp. or less) and stir, coating completely—if the nuts are stirred well it won’t take much oil at all!—then stir in salt (start off under-salting, and add to taste – it’s easier to add more than to remove!).  Done!

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Instead of flour, this crust has flower power!  It may sound unconventional, and it is, but it’s also delicious!  It’s touted as a pizza crust but don’t limit yourself!  This could be the start of a whole new relationship.  And experiment with other vegetables – broccoli, zucchini… the only limit is your imagination.

cauliflowerCauliflower Crust

1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley, or 1 Tbs. dried
2 eggs
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.  Blend cauliflower pieces in a blender or food processor until it’s finely shredded, and then stir in the Parmesan, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and press and shape into a pizza crust.  Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes; meanwhile prepare your favourite pizza toppings.  Top up, then complete the baking until your toppings are golden brown (~15-20 minutes more).  Enjoy!

BEET & WALNUT DIP with CORIANDER

This week the young woman living with us cooked  (with her boyfriend) a surprise dinner for us; she chose a few vegan and vegetarian recipes, and this was the appetizer.  It was amazing, and well worth sharing!  The beet gives a vibrant touch to the meal, and the flavor combinations are almost addictive.

beet & walnut dipBEET & WALNUT DIP with CORIANDER

4 small beets, scrubbed & boiled until tender (or pre-boiled beets)
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
3 teaspoons sherry vinegar or lemon juice
a few fresh herbs, such as coriander (OR thyme, sage – your taste choice!)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (optional, to make it a bit more creamy if you’d like)

If you are using fresh beets: Cover the beets with water in a small pot and bring to a boil; simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes (less time if you chop them up first). Drain the water from the pan, then run cold water over the beets, removing stems and skins (which should slip right off now).

Walnuts: In a frying pan, dry-roast the walnuts, stirring constantly, until they smell toasty. Let them cool and, optionally, rub them in a dishtowel to remove more of their skins (which can be bitter).
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend the beets, walnuts, garlic, sherry vinegar, herbs and salt; scrape down the side of the bowl every now and then. Blend until the mixture looks like a coarse puree.
With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, then the yogurt (optional).
Taste the mixture and add more salt or vinegar as needed, then scoop into a bowl and serve with fresh veggie sticks, crackers, bread or pita chips.

Absolutely Revoltingly Disgusting Quesadilla-cum-Quiche Casserole

Every two weeks, two teenagers (siblings) come over for a visit, dinner, and usually a movie or baking together.  This tradition started back in 2009, and despite their busy schedules they still come!  I’ll enjoy it while I can, because soon they’ll be adults!  They love coming for the good food, relaxed atmosphere, and the fun we have together.  We have an inside joke that when they really like the dinner, they’ll say it’s “absolutely disgusting.”  Their mother almost swallowed her tongue the first time she heard her son say that to me!  This time, he said, “That was an absolutely revoltingly disgusting experiment.  You’ll have to try that again sometime.”  This dish literally takes about 10 minutes to put together, and serves 3-4.

So here’s what I did for such a high compliment:

Whole-Wheat-Tortillas

Quesadilla-cum-Quiche Casserole

6 whole-wheat tortillas

1 small-to-medium onion, finely chopped

~½ – 1 Cup cheese, finely chopped or grated (I used Raclette cheese, but any semi-firm cheese will taste great)

spices of choice, to taste (I used a “Tex-Mex” taste combination of coriander, lemon pepper and chili powder)

~½ – 1 Cup ham, finely chopped

½ can kidney beans

You could also toss in ~½ C. finely chopped fresh mushrooms if you want to expand it.

Mix it all together; if it’s too dry for your taste, stir in a bit of plain yogurt.

Spoon the mixture down the center of each tortilla and wrap them, laying them seam-side-down in a casserole dish.  Once you have the dish full (mine was a 6-tortilla dish, but this is stretchable or reducible), mix the following:

3 eggs, whipped

~1 – 1½ C. milk

A generous squeeze of lemon juice; this combined with the milk makes buttermilk

~150 gr. grated cheese

a generous dash of chives, pepper and salt to taste

Mix well and pour over the tortillas; the liquid should fill the dish.

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs for a crunchy top.

Bake at 200°C (400°) for 35-40 minutes, until the crumbs are golden brown.

 

Beef & Feta Cabbage Rolls

Recently my husband requested Cabbage Rolls with Feta and ground beef; I couldn’t find a good recipe, so I came up with this.  It’s a wee bit of work, but well worth the time!  You could mix up the components the day before if you wanted, to save time on the day.  It’s worthy of being a guest menu, especially when served with a robust red wine.  As a side dish you could serve green beans or another steamed vegetable.

Cabbage RollsBeef & Feta Cabbage Rolls

500 gr. ground beef

1-2 packages Feta cheese, diced

cumin, salt, pepper to taste

lemon juice

1 onion, chopped

5-6 fresh mushrooms, sliced

2-3 C. rice, boiled

Saute the onions and mushrooms, adding the meat and browning.  Spice to taste, then toss in the Feta to melt into the mixture.  Set aside to cool, stirring in the rice whenever it is ready.

Savoy Cabbage

1 head Savoy Cabbage

You can prepare the cabbage one of two ways:  Either blanch the entire head in a large pot of boiling water, or do as I did:  Carefully separate the individual leaves, wash them, and “shave” down the thick spines to make them more flexible once softened.  Quickly microwave the leaves in batches (30 seconds to 1 minute on full power); this will make them pliable to roll.  Let them cool down a bit before handling.

250 gr. Grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan, Gruyére, etc.) to sprinkle on top just before baking

~1/2 – 1 C. Bread crumbs to sprinkle on top for an extra crunch (optional)

 

This next recipe is a basic white sauce; you can either use this or your own recipe, or mix up a batch of Make-Ahead Sauce.

BECHAMEL SAUCE (White Sauce)

6 Tbs. Butter

8 Tbs. Flour

4 C. (1 L) milk

Salt & white pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat.  Stir in the flour & cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has lost the floury aroma.  Do not allow to brown.  Add the milk gradually, stirring to dissolve any lumps that have formed.  Heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce boils & becomes thick.  Spice to taste.

 

To Assemble:

Taking each leave, spoon in a bit of the meat mixture in the centre and roll the leave around it, laying the leaf seam-side down in a casserole dish.  Repeat until the casserole dish is full; any leftover meat can either be saved for a later meal or spread out atop the cabbage rolls.  Pour in the prepared White Sauce, and then top with the grated cheese. Place in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for ~45-60 minutes, or until the cheese / bread crumb topping browns nicely.

Serve with a dry red wine.