Cran-Apple Compote with Meringue and Caramel Sauce

I had just finished my evening rituals with Gratsie (my Maine Coon cat) and was about to leave the family room when our guest cook sister entered the room waving her camera at me with a look in her eye that told me she was pleased with something she wanted to show me…

With one innovative idea she had succeeded in transforming our popular summer tart into a Fall/Winter version using apples and cranberries laced with caramel sauce, replacing the usual summer strawberries, peaches and nectarines.

A graceful (and delicious) transition from one season to another with an amazing result! We both smiled as the cat swished her tail, and we all went to bed purring.

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Cran-Apple Compote with Meringue and Caramel Sauce
SERVINGS
4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
2hrs
PREP TIME
35mins
READY IN
2 hrs35 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Meringue
  1. Separate one egg at a time into a small bowl, letting the white fall into the bowl and discarding the yolk. If there’s any trace of yolk in the white, discard the white and start over. If it’s yolk-free, transfer to a clean medium mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.
  2. Add cream of tartar to the whites and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Slowly add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more.
  4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a small amount of the meringue under each corner of the paper to secure it to the pan.
  6. Fill a 1-quart sealable plastic bag (or pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip) with the meringue. Seal the bag almost completely, leaving a small opening for air to escape from the top as you squeeze.
  7. Snip off one corner of the bag with scissors, making a 3/4-inch-wide opening. Fold the top of the bag over a few times, then gently push the meringue down to the snipped corner.
  8. Working with the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe the meringue into 2-inch-diameter tarts, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
  9. Bake the tarts until dry and crisp throughout, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the tarts cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Apple-Cranberry Compote
  1. Peel and chop the apples of your choice. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning and set aside. For this recipe, we used Golden Delicious.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter and add the chopped apples on medium heat.
  3. Add the sugar and seasonings to the apples and cook until fork-tender. Keep an eye on the apples and sugar, reduce heat if needed. The sugar should melt into a consistency similar to syrup. Turn the heat down if sugar starts to caramelize.
  4. Add the whole cranberries and cook a few minutes more until the cranberries start to burst. If you prefer, cook a bit longer to cook the cranberries a little more, adding sugar as necessary, depending on how tart the berries are.
  5. Remove from heat, set aside and arrange the meringues on a plate or serving platter.
  6. Gently heat the caramel sauce and spoon into the center of the meringue, tumbling the Cran-Apple compote on top. Drizzle with extra caramel sauce if desired.
  7. Serve at room-temperature and pair this tangy-sweet seasonal dessert with a steaming cup of tea, coffee or pressed cider!

Serve with your favorite Caramel Sauce!

Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts

Years ago, before our Priory Gifts gift shop had come into being, a weekly sale of our arts and crafts took place every Friday out on the front lawn overlooking the Bay. At that time, a suggestion was made that we serve  a plated tea in Bethany dining room. Several of us liked the idea and wanted to give it a try. Out of the butler’s pantry in Bethany kitchen came Mother Cay’s antique silver service, choice china tea cups and lovely fine linens, all of which had been used years before when Bethany, then known as Rock Harbor Manor, was one of Orleans’ foremost Bed and Breakfasts. They had been there all that time, just waiting to once again be put to use.

The speed with which attendance at these teas grew astonished us all. In no time the dining room was filled, overflowed into the living room, then to the sun-parlor, and from there out on to the patio and sometimes on to the lawn as well. I just learned that this Friday’s tea is already full. Our marvelous Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts are on the menu for dessert. These glorious tarts are not only a perfect finale for a scrumptious three course tea, but great summer dessert for any meal. The wide variety of fresh fruits that are now available make it an absolute joy to prepare.

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Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts
SERVINGS
201.5 inch cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
1.5 inch cookies
COOK TIME
1 3/4hr.
PREP TIME
15mins.
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Preparation
  1. Separate one egg at a time into a small bowl, letting the white fall into the bowl and discarding the yolk. If there’s any trace of yolk in the white, discard the white and start over. If it’s yolk-free, transfer to a clean medium mixing bowl.
  2. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.
  3. Add cream of tartar to the whites and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added.
  5. Continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy.
  6. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more.
  7. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Place a small amount of the meringue under each corner of the paper to secure it to the pan.
  10. Fill a 1-quart sealable plastic bag (or pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip) with the meringue.
  11. Seal the bag almost completely, leaving a small opening for air to escape from the top as you squeeze.
  12. Snip off one corner of the bag with scissors, making a 3/4-inch-wide opening.
  13. Fold the top of the bag over a few times, then gently push the meringue down to the snipped corner.
  14. Working with the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe the meringue into 2-inch-diameter tarts, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
  15. Bake the tarts until dry and crisp throughout, about 1 1/2 hours.
  16. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the tarts cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Filling
  1. Mix equal parts of lemon curd and whipped cream.
  2. Top with whipped cream and arrange fruit on top.

Tip: To get the most volume from beaten egg whites, it's best to start with whites at room temperature. Submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes before using.

Tip: To get the most volume from beaten egg whites, it's best to start with whites at room temperature. Submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes before using.

Little Fresh Lime Tartlet

Last week’s Elijah concerts at the Community of Jesus were amazingly successful……..full house attendance for both nights accompanied by so many heartfelt comments of how touched and moved listeners were by the richness and beauty of the singing and music.
The brass and organ concert the following week was very different in many ways, yet equally impressive and received enthusiastic applause and compliments from the energized and invigorated audience.
Both concerts were followed by a spectacular reception of both sweet and savory specialties. Among the desserts that received the most acclaim was our favorite little fresh lime tartlet…..so appealing to the eye as well as the palette, so perfect for this time of year.

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Little Fresh Lime Tartlet
SERVINGS
10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
12-15mins.
PREP TIME
35mins.
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Crush the graham cracker squares in a food processor or place in a gallon size bag and roll with a rolling pin.
  2. Add sugar and butter and mix into the crushed graham cracker.
  3. Press 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a cupcake liner. I put 1 tablespoon in and then pressed down with 1/4 cup measuring cup. You have the option to bake this at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes so that it can harden.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together egg whites, condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and Greek yogurt. Mix well.
  5. Fill the cupcakes about 3/4 of the way full with the mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool.
  6. Top with whip cream and garnish with lime if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Mother’s Day Pastel Meringue Kisses

Spring is here and we welcome it with open arms! I happened upon these whimsical, delightful pastel meringues. Immediately, Mother’s Day sprang to mind – little kisses with chewy centers and soft colors.. the perfect gift to show your mom how much you love and appreciate her.

 

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Pastel Meringues
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
1.5hrs
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
2hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 215 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  3. Place egg whites, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add a couple of inches of water to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Then place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.
  5. Heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch.
  6. Return mixing bowl back to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until glossy stiff peaks form (about 5-7 minutes or until the bowl of the mixer is cool to the touch).
  7. Halfway through mixing, add in the cream of tartar and salt.
  8. With about 1 minute left, add in gel food coloring.
  9. Stop mixer and removed bowl from stand. Add in whichever “extra” ingredient you would like: dried raspberries or cranberries, pistachios, chocolate shavings and orange zest, coconut or almonds, and gently fold with a rubber spatula to combine.
  10. Using a small ice cream scoop, or teaspoon, place dollops of meringue on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Then sprinkle with your toppings used in the meringue: pistachios, raspberries, craisins, chocolate shavings and orange zest, almonds, or coconut.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the outsides are crisp and dry and the insides are chewy.
  12. Serve immediately after cooling or store in an air-tight container away from any humidity.

Jan Hagel’s Dutch Cookies

Sitting in the refectory with my early morning coffee, I watched a young Sister stirring up something in the baking area of the kitchen.  I speculated that she was making a treat of some sort to take to the office since she works at Paraclete Press, the Community’s publishing house. It was not out of the ordinary for this to be happening especially at this time of year. Homemade goodies are known to increase production as well as good spirits in the workplace so it was no surprise to see her doing this. What was a surprise was finding a little plate of Jan Hagel cookies on my desk after returning from church.

As I savored each bite of the crisp buttery delicacies, I asked myself “Why have you not ever made these yourself”? Almost every year someone I know has made these traditional Dutch shortbread cookies and I have enjoyed them at their hands, but have never made them myself. These are the perfect treat to have with a cup of tea with holiday guests and to send home with them as a simple holiday remembrance. I set about to whip up a batch….simple, quick, easy and satisfying. I suggest you consider doing the same. You’ll be glad you did!

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Jan Hagel's Dutch Cookies
SERVINGS
12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
25-30mins
PREP TIME
15-20mins
READY IN
45-50mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and beat until creamy.
  3. Add the flour and mix well
  4. Spread thinly on a cookie sheet
  5. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with nuts and a little sugar if desired.
  6. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 – 30 minutes. Cut into squares or triangles while hot.

Cheese Soufflé

For years I thought of making a soufflé as something too difficult to tackle except by the experts, so I put off making them. After finally trying one, I was amazed to discover how simple and straightforward it really is…and how very satisfying! The sight of your creation as it begins to rise before your eyes in the oven and then finally puffs up into all its glory… is reward enough to say nothing of the delight in tasting it.

In case you have been intimidated as I was, this may be the perfect time for you to overcome that fear and tackle one, because these light fluffy wonders are perfect for hot weather meals when you want to serve something other than cold food, and you don’t want anything cooked that’s too heavy. Guests in our retreat house are always thrilled when served a soufflé.  They say it makes them feel so special!

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Cheese Soufflé
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
35-40minutes
PREP TIME
25minutes
READY IN
30minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Allow the egg yolks and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter; stir in flour, dry mustard, onion salt, Worcestershire and cayenne pepper.
  3. Add milk all at once.
  4. Cook and stir cheese sauce over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
  5. Turn heat to low. Add cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted.
  6. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks with a fork until combined.
  7. Slowly add cheese sauce to egg yolks, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
  8. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
  9. Gently fold about 1 cup of the stiffly beaten egg whites into cheese sauce.
  10. Gradually pour cheese sauce over remaining stiffly beaten egg whites, folding to combine.
  11. Grease with butter and coat with grated Parmesan a 2-quart soufflé dish.
  12. Pour batter into dish.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  14. In the last 10 minutes of baking sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons) for a nice crust on top.
  15. Serve immediately.

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