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Dairy Free Creme Brulee with Chef Joe Murphy

Welcome to my first installment of Pro Pastry. This series focuses on recipes from chefs I’ve worked with, adapted with the gluten and dairy removed so that my body can indulge in them. I’ll also be simultaneously posting long-form interviews or book reviews of the chefs over at WordsFoodArt.com. Take a look at the why’s behind this series, and click on the links within to sneak into the fun little life I have as a chef writer. xoxo

My Creme Brûlée Recipe Needed an Update

It’s been one of the most popular posts on this site for years now and, though I haven’t made it recently, creme brûlée so easy and fun to make that I used to devour it often.

But the original recipe went up in 2011. Time fricken flies, man. In that time I shifted from blogging and playwriting to “chef writing” and, 150 some-odd chefs later, I’ve lived so many beautiful moments and seen countless plates of breathtaking food. Recently, I was chatting with a bartender while Brent shot away in a neighboring dining room, when a “creme brûlée” hit my ears, and inspired this first Pro Pastry recipe. Continue reading

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Coconut Milk Creme Brulee – Easy, Spot-On and Dairy Free!

How time does fly!

This recipe is from 2011, and it’s still one of the most popular ones on this site. It produces a quick, thick creme brulee that’s great for beginners. Want something a touch above? Try my updated version with Chef Joe Murphy as part of my Pro Pastry, Gluten (and dairy!) Free series.

And for the adorable original text, scroll below the recipe.

Happy torching!

– Jacqueline

Crunchy crust and lightly lemon scented biscuits

This recipe made FoodBuzz’s Top 9 on December 29th! Thanks for all the buzzing love!

Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Equipment:

  • 4 5oz ramekins
  • glass or ceramic baking dish
  • kitchen torch

Method:

Preheat oven to 300° F.  Set a pot or kettle full of water on to boil.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth.  Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.

Pour into ramekins.

Place in ceramic baking dish and pour hot water until it comes halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until just slightly jiggly in the middle.

Cool until ready to serve or chill until cold.  When ready, sprinkle with about 2 tsp white sugar and torch until crispy and brown.

Notes: It’s a bit dense.  I based the recipe on one that used lemon to cut the thickness.  But unlike some other dairy-free creme brulee recipes you won’t have to worry about it not setting.  While I was totally pleased with this turnout, you could probably omit one yolk and still find success.

Also, HERE’S THE TORCH I HAVE. You’ll use it more than you think you will. Charring marshmallows and browning meringue are just two fun things…

Life is delicious.  After a packed weekend of family and amazing food and lit fires and lots of hugging, I sat back at a desk Monday morning, worked the day away, then packed Mitra and my Christmas loot into my little blue Subaru and booked it back to NYC.  Because I had a guest coming over.  A man.  Who was cooking me dinner.

I’m not the easiest person to cook for, having this whole gluten and dairy free diet thing.  My last two boyfriends were great eaters and practically non-existent cooks (Ruark, three bf’s ago, makes a meat sauce to die for).  Being domestically bent, I easily fall into the role of kitchen wizard (so a friend once called me) in relationships.  I now have a “no cooking for you before the 4th date rule” (a loose rule, but there nonetheless).  So a guy offering to come to my place to cook on our second date… was a first.

(Side note: I’m getting distracted writing up this post because there’s a horrible holiday movie my roommate recorded playing and while it’s truly wretched Mark-Paul Gosselaar is a-DOR-able. Definitely aging well.)

While I made some fancy cocktails (ginger ale, fresh sweet lime and zested ginger with bourbon for me and vodka for him), date man made us an incredible dinner.  Flavorful, tasty, relaxed, and much appreciated.  I made dessert.  A dairy-free creme brulee with loads of vanilla and a perfectly torched crust.

We didn’t end up eating it.  Cocktails with neighbors led to a late evening and full bellies.  So tonight my under-slept self enjoyed the crap outta it while watching Mad Men (and said horrible/adorable Christmas movie)  and cuddling the dog.  Neighbors upstairs got the rest.  It’s dense and just sweet enough, with the perfect little crunch.  Using vanilla bean gives it an incredible punch.  I’ve so missed creme brulee, and now I’m satiated.

Let me know if you make it, who you share it with, how you adapt it, and what you think.

Cheers to second dates, Christmases full of goodness, Mad Men, and little dogs.

Easiest Chicken Liver Mousse with Chef Jamie Biss

Welcome to my second installment of Pro Pastry. Today over at WordsFoodArt.com, I have a review of the cookbook this recipe came from – out today! – and a bit more on the chef behind it. Take a look at the why’s behind this series, and here for my first piece in this series, Dairy-Free Creme Brulee from Chef Joe Murphy.

Okay, so this title is kinda misleading.

There’s no gluten to be found in the original of this recipe, and I did not eat that beautiful slice of toasted bread in the image above. The recipe’s not completely dairy free, as it contains copious amounts of butter. But it did take a touch of adaptation to work with it and I’m so glad I did, because I devoured it on some rice crackers, feasted it to a friend on that bread as part of his birthday dinner and, a few days later, the ladies in my writers group helped me polish off yet another ramekin, with one of the ladies going to town on it. After I explained that she was eating chicken livers, she proclaimed its excellence and said she was glad not to have originally known what was in it, as she wouldn’t have tried nor fell in love with it if she had.

Game, set, match! for Jacqueline (still have the U.S. Open on the brain, and still boggled by their scoring system). Continue reading

A Change’ll Do Me Good!

Life can be funny, man!

I recently put a “Hey, I’m moving on!” notice up here, as it’s been well over a month since my last post and even that wasn’t a recipe. Many bloggers I know take pause or stop blogging when they have babies; I’m raising a growing writing career which has shifted in the past few years from writing about fictional people to writing about real ones.

I’ve now profiled around 150 chefs internationally for various avenues (columns on Serious Eats, Tasting Table, and Easy Eats Magazine, stuff on Imagista and in Plate Magazine, and ghostwriting for chefs). I’m currently in the beginning stages of my first book; a collection of first-person essays from some of my favorite chefs in my home city. I jump between projects and editors and ideas, and I love my fiercely independent freelance lifestyle, pulling it all together on WordsFoodArt.com.

There are only so many hours in the day and I’m filling them with work I love, leaving little time to be hyper-aware of the photos of food I’m taking or making sure I jot down each and everything I bake (that typed with love and thanks to those who have read this blog over the years). Lyme symptoms also make balancing work and my body a little tough, so my workable hours are reduced as well

But then there’s this dude up there. The chef in a black coat looking up at me with puppy dog eyes at  the first (and last) pastry competition (for a good cause!) I entered a few years ago. My Holiday in a Hand Pie won two of the four awards; it was gluten and dairy free, so I was shocked. I had no idea who chef Johnny Iuzzini was when I met him, nor the famous restaurant he worked at, the TV show he hosted, or the James Beard award he’d won.

‘Cause I was lame like that. Continue reading

Hot Chocolate / Foam / Custardy Thing! A Dairy-Free Vintage Recipe Swap

Hot Chocolate Foam

It’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap time again!  Click on that site for a background on our awesome group of 20-ish swappers from the world over!

I’m usually rather prepared for this monthly recipe swap, with ideas bandied about and recipes tested.  But the holidays.  The HOLIDAYS! I sorta went into hibernation mode after New Years, bunkering down with work and not baking for DAYS.  I’m also working on a gluten free pasta feature for Easy Eats Magazine, so my kitchen has been ALL about pasta lately (not a bad way to start a new year).

Thankfully CM picked a relatively easy and festive recipe for our first of 2012:

Burwell General Store Recipe Swap recipe, January 2012

A frothy, potent cocktail dessert.  Which, were I entertaining, I’d totally jump on.  Which, were I totally still drinking my fill, I would make for myself if I weren’t.

But, like I said, I’m hunkering down, hibernating, rolling and boiling pasta and entertaining only the resolute January tradition of simplifying and stripping down the gluttonous and extravagance that I totally indulged in these past few months.

Along with making lots of pasta, I’ve  been experimenting with custards (check out my new favorite, Coconut Milk Creme Brulee!).  So I have lots of egg whites proofing in the fridge, ready for the macaron making that gets soclose to happening and then quickly abandoned when Downton Abbey is once again rerun on the tube (yay for season two starting tonight!).

A few months ago I was working on a hot chocolate recipe that my photographer partner and I were pitching to Saveur (it’s coming out soon!).  For it I was playing with a spicy Mexican hot chocolate recipe from Beaner Bar and one from my buddy Johnny Iuzzini that required a coconut milk foam.  Could I take this basic swap recipe, use some of those lonely egg whites and leftover bricks of chocolate and my newly-found hot chocolate skills and make my own deliciously foamy, dairy-free hot chocolate?

Yes, I could. And did.

Now, I’m not hugely into a lot of sugar in my sweet drinks: I’d rather punch something up with liquor.  And even though I have an incessant sweet tooth, I’ve need to chill the f out with all the sugar (sorry for the vulgarity).

So here we have an incredibly creamy, frothy, custardy, chocolatey foam that you can adapt for the occasion.

Suggestions:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of white or raw sugar to sweeten it up and drink/eat it straight as an incredibly creamy hot chocolate.
  • Add some red wine or liquor for a potent cocktail.
  • Spoon over an incredibly sweet dessert to add some unique texture and flavor balance.
  • Spice up with a bit of cayenne for a smoky, warming treat.
  • Use as a dip for shortbread cookies or cut up fruit

Whatever you use it for, this is a quick, easy, satisfying little trick of a recipe and a technique that might inspire some creative new desserts for 2012.

Happy New Year Bloggereaders.  I am so thankful for you!  And for some of my favorite bloggers out there who I monthly get to play with!  Please check out my fellow swappers by clicking on the little frog right here:

Foam.

This mixture makes about 1 1/2 cups of foam, good for 2 people for a small dessert or one large hot chocolate, depending on what you add into it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (two bricks) Mexican Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (plus more for garnishing)
  • 3/4 cup milk per person (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites per person

Directions:

  • Crush chocolate to a fine powder.
  • Add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and whisk to combine.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp chocolate mixture, milk and egg white until the mixture thickens and doubles in size.  This may take about 6 minutes or so of constant whisking, until it’s nice and thick.
  • Serve garnished with a bit of the crushed chocolate, some freshly grated nutmeg, candied ginger or whatever leftover cookies you have around ready for dunking.

These Are A Few of my Favorite (Gluten Free) Things: 2011

Hello bloggereaders.

I’ve had a few mimosas today.  Going to go pour another.  And… I’m back.  It is New Years Day, after all.

Saturn returned with a vengeance this year and, amongst some painful growth spurts, 2011 brought so many beautiful things; experiences and people that have made my time richer and of fuller value.  This morning, while cleaning up from the breakfast I made for my guests before they hit the road back south, I took stock of the people I’ve come to cherish that I didn’t know a year ago.  Of the little pup that now depends on me for health and happiness.  Of the moments of incredible joy and fulfillment I’ve found both in work and personal matters.  Of the insanely talented chefs who’ve devoted their lives to the art of food and have gifted me with recipes for my work.  Of those who have given me the opportunity to write for an increasingly wider audience.  And those who gave me the chance to perform for live ones.

Thank you.

This year will see the premiere of the Dusty Baking Show (check out a little demo above!), my first article on Saveur.com, my work in Easy Eats Magazine (including lots of pasta and some recipes by some of my favorite chefs) and scores of new people and experiences I’m sure so amazing I can’t even imagine.

So I look forward to this new year not with any grandiose statements of how I’ll radically change any of my choices or habits.  But with a continued attempt at baby steps.  Of mantras to get me through a day or week.  Of living in the moment, practicing patience and gratitude, learning as much as I possibly can from the fascinating people around me.  To just breathing.  To keeping going.

Happy 2012 you lovely, lovely people.

– Jacqueline

Top Recipes of 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes - Gluten and Dairy Free

Sweet Potato Pierogi - Gluten Free

Chocolate Almond Biscotti - Gluten Free, Dairy Optional

Coconut Milk Creme Brulee - Dairy Free

Vegan Frosting - Pipeable and Incredibly Fluffy

Teff Crepes

How to Make Just 6 Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry Walnut Scones

Fiber Full Pumpkin Spice Donuts

The Platine Bleue Hen Egg Series

Platine Bleue Hen Eggs

I’m out of town, rehearsing a show in the gorgeous Hamptons, and staying with my director in her… well, let’s just say the house I’m staying in is quite, perfect, in my opinion.  Her and her partner grow almost all of their own vegetables, they live on the bay (so I see water outside my window!) and they COOK for me!! As my boyfriend and roommate don’t really cook (cough), this is a luxury.  Fresh salads of garden spinach, asparagus, vegetable soups… all that AND I’m staying in a en suite attic that Louisa May Alcott would have found much inspiration in.

That said, I don’t quite have a kitchen or my equipment to do much cooking in at the moment, other than the one day a week I run home for a visit.  So there hasn’t been much posting since I’ve started here.

But one of the things I love about doing shows outside of New York City is exploring new areas… and new areas of FOOD!  So browsing through the local health supermarket the other day I found a container of Pete and Gerry’s Platine Bleue Hen Eggs and immediately rushed back to show them off.

Eggs of various blue tones

From Pete and Gerry’s: The indigenous Mapuche people of South America have produced blue eggs since the mid-sixteenth century. Their Araucana chickens developed fully feathered faces as insulation against Patagonia’s frigid winters.

Our cage-free Ameraucana hens are derived from these chickens and now considered a distinct breed. They have slate-colored legs and colorful plumage. Their beautiful, pastel blue eggs have deep yellow yolks and very rich flavor.

Pastel blue inside of the eggs

The eggs vary in tone – some are striking on the outside, some a pale slate color.  The inside of all eggs is a smooth, vibrant pastel blue, which reflects light in quite a magical way.  None of the pictures in this post are altered – this is how the morning light hit them.

To fully experience the allegedly deep and rich yolks, I cooked one over low heat in an ungreased skillet and then boiled the rest, making sure to only let them simmer and sit in hot water until just cooked, then ran them under cold water to stop the process and help the egg pull from the shell.

Incredibly vibrant egg yolk

The word in the hen house spoke truly – look at that yolk!!  So powerful even the “white” around it had no choice but to take some in!  These eggs seem to have a bit more protein than normal hen eggs, and I would challenge anyone to a duel were they to suggest separating these eggs and only eating the whites.The boiled eggs produced the same incredible colors – the yolk practically dousing sunshine.  They also took up a great deal more room of the actual egg – I imagine they would make a stunning frittata or quiche.

Breakfast of Platine Bleue Hen Eggs

But how do these beauties taste?  The yolk, my housemate Jess and I noticed, was so creamy and soft, almost buttery in flavor and quite indulgent.  The white was crisp and clean – the perfect canvas to showcase the yolk.

Dusty conclusion?  Don’t try to show up the simple delicacy of these Platine Bleue eggs by doing too much to them.  Yes, they probably make a killer creme brulee.  But cooked simply and perfectly, seasoned with a tiny bit of sea salt and a side of fresh veggies – there is little more I’d ask for in a breakfast.

A perfect, Dusty breakfast

Gluten-and-Dairy Free Hush Puppies with Chef Amanda Cohen

I’ve never had a “real” hush puppy. 

When you’ve been off gluten and cow-dairy pretty much for twenty years, there are things you miss. I don’t know the luxurious treat that is thick vanilla pastry cream oozing from a fluffy pastry casing that they call an eclair. I couldn’t tell you the proper viscosity of a real creme brûlée (though my versions make me happy). And I have no childhood memories of tasting a fresh-outta-the-fryer hush puppy.

Thankfully I’m an adult now, dammit, and I can make whatever I want!

Enter Chef Amanda Cohen and her Dirt Candy cookbook.

Continue reading

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