Poached Pear Mummy Pies

Awhile ago I was watching The Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood challenged the contestants to recreate his mini pear pies, which are poached pears wrapped in pastry. My husband and I immediately commented on how we wanted to make them, but then as I watched the bakers wrap the pears in strips of dough like little pear mummies a light bulb went off in my head…PEAR MUMMIES!

poached-pear-mummy-pies-5This adorable dessert will take your Halloween shindig to the next level. Here’s how you make them.

Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Mini Pear Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

Store bought puff pastry
6 large, firm pears (preferably ones that are straight and tall)
10½ oz caster sugar
18 oz white wine
14 oz water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zest only
12 whole cloves

Directions

Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. In a large saucepan combine the water, white wine, cinnamon and orange zest and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for three minutes.

Poached Pear Mummy Pies Add the pears to the pan. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reserving the syrup, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool on kitchen paper. Use a melon baller or small teaspoon remove the core from the pears.

Return the syrup to the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half and the syrup is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

When the fruit and syrup are cool, roll out the chilled puff pastry to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. Then use a knife to cut into thin, long strips, about 1/3 inch wide.

Poached Pear Mummy PiesBrush the pears with the cooled sugar syrup and starting from the bottom, wrap the pastry strips around the pears. When you come to the end of the pastry strip, brush the end lightly with syrup and press to adhere to the next pastry strip. Leave an opening near the center of the pear for the eyes. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. Place two cloves into the pear where you want the eyes to be.

poached-pear-mummy-pies-3Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the pastry covered pears on a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then serve with a drizzle of the reduced sugar syrup.

poached-pear-mummy-pies-4

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Are you guys ready for a fun and easy sweet treat? I know you are!

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

One of my husband’s favorite desserts is cookie ice cream sandwiches and he’s always asking if we can make them. I’m always hesitant because I don’t usually feel like baking dozens of cookies and store bought cookies aren’t usually the right texture for optimal ice cream sandwich making. At least that’s what I thought until I found out about the new Otis Smunkmeyer cookies! Click here to find them in a store near you.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Their cookies are honestly delicious and are the perfect size and texture for cookie sandwiches. They also have “No Funky Stuff”, meaning they’re made without artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated oil. With cookie baking out of the picture, I have no excuse to not make cookie sandwiches at home. This is such an easy and fun dessert to make and the extras can easily be stored in the freezer for later enjoyment. This is also a great dessert to make with kids! They’re the perfect weekend or after school snack for those days when your kids particularly deserve it.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

What you need:

Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies

Ice cream

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Toppings

 

Some of my favorite toppings are snowcaps, crushed potato chips, toffee bits, coconut, sprinkles, and sea salt.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

First you’re going to make the sandwiches. Just put a scoop of ice cream in between two cookies and lightly press together. Place them back into the freezer until you get your dipping chocolate and toppings ready.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Empty a bag of chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir for 30 seconds. Repeat this until the chocolate is melted and glossy.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dip half of the cookie sandwiches in the melted chocolate and then dip in your toppings. Place them on a cookie sheet and put them back into the freezer until the chocolate is set.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you have left over sandwiches you can store them in your freezer in ziplock bags or air tight containers.

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Ice Cream SandwichesBut wait, there’s more! WANT A CHANCE TO WIN $250 VISA GIFT CARD??  Otis Smunkmeyer and I have a challenge for you! We want to see your Otis Smunkmeyer recipe hacks. Show us what you can come up with using the new line of Otis Smunkmeyer “No Funky Stuff” products by posting a picture of your recipe and tagging us on social media (handles below). Be sure to use the hashtag #OtisSnackHack. Contest ends 9/28/2016, so hurry up and get your snack on!

Instagram: @melodrama & @OtisSmunkmeyer
Twitter: @melodramablog & @Otis_Spunkmeyer

 

This post was sponsored by my friends at Otis Spunkmeyer, but all opinions are my own.

Chocolate Pots de Creme with Campari Whipped Cream

Alright, you guys, I’m not going to waste your time with a cute little intro to this recipe. It’s too good for words so I’m just going to say it’s delicious, easy to make, and totally perfect for any occasion. The creamy chocolate custard and the fluffy whipped cream are like a beautiful food love story.

Chocolate Pot de Creme with Campari Whipped CreamHere’s what you do.

Chocolate Pots de Creme
Ingredients
10 ounces good semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the chocolate in a blender (Or in a large bowl if using an immersion blender). Whisk milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Be careful not to over-whisk, you don’t want a lot of bubbles to form. Stir constantly with a spatula for 6 to 7 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula.

Immediately pour the milk mixture through a sieve over the chocolate in the blender (or in the bowl if using an immersion blender). Blend until combined and smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture amongst the vessels of your choice.

I like to use cocktail glasses because I think it looks very elegant and romantic, but you can use tea cups, ramekins, or small bowls.

Refrigerate for several hours until the chocolate is set and firm.

Lastly you need to finish it off with a dollop of whipped topping, chocolate shavings, and a chocolate truffle. You can make regular whipped cream but I threw some Campari in mine. It is me after all, and I think the bitterness of the Campari plays well with the sweetness of the dessert.

Campari Whipped Cream
Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Campari

Whip with a whisk until fluffy.

Chocolate Pot de Creme with Campari Whipped Cream

Voila. Enjoy!

 

Caramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches

Happy New Year, you guys! I took a couple of weeks off to decompress from the holidays and all that jazz, but I’m BACK. For this post I’ve teamed up with La Brea Bakery to bring you two really great things.

La Bakery Bakery Super Bowl Giveaway

1. A GIVEAWAY! Now is your chance to win two tickets to the Super Bowl, including hotel and airfare! That’s pretty amazing right? All you have to do is enter here and take a little interactive quiz. If you’re lucky you’ll be sitting in the stadium screaming your head off over goals and touchdowns, or whatever they’re called, before you know it!

2. I may not know a lot about football, but I do know about food. La Brea Bakery’s Telera Roll Sliders are perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. I grew up eating telera, it’s a Mexican bread that is similar to French bread. It’s soft and airy and can be used for any kind of sandwhich. EVEN ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!Caramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream SandwichesI’m not always in the mood for ice cream sandwiches that are made with cookies. They’re just a little too much for me. I know. I’m weird. I do, however, enjoy an ice cream sandwich made on bread. Telera bread happens to be perfect for this. It has a nice crust but is still soft and easy to eat.

I like to do a little sugar brulee on the bread before filling it with ice cream. To do this, you put a thin later of room temperature butter on the bread, and sprinkle sugar over it.Caramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream SlidersCaramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream Sliders

Then place the bread under your broiler so it bubbles up and caramelizes. Just like you’d see on creme brulee.Caramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream Sliders

Let the bread cool and then fill it with ice cream. Delicious! Caramelized Telera Bread Ice Cream SandwichesYou should definitely try serving these at your Super Bowl party.

 

Don’t forget to buy your talera sliders and enter the sweepstakes! Good luck!

 

Homemade Peach Pie Custard Ice Cream

I love pie. I love pie with ice cream more. Sometimes I even like putting pie and ice cream in a blender and turning it into a milkshake. Well, this time I dumped pie into my ice cream maker and made PEACH PIE ICE CREAM. This is the perfect way to use left over pie, and you can experiment with different pie flavors, which I will be doing immediately. For the purpose of this demonstration, I will use peach pie.
Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via MelodramaI should note that this isn’t one of those “no churn” recipes, so you’ll need an ice cream maker. I use a small $60 Cuisinart machine and it works great.

What You’ll Need:
1/2 of a peach pie, refrigerated
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar together until the mixture is pale and thick.

Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, cream, the remaining half of the sugar, and salt in a saucepan until mixture to a slight boil.

Once the cream mixture reaches a slight boil, slowly pour and whisk in 1/3 of it into the egg mixture. Add the combined egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil or the eggs will over cook and scramble. This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Once the mixture is thickened, pour through a fine mesh strainer and bring to room temperature. You can let it sit on the countertop, or you can use an ice bath to cool it down faster. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Peach Pie Ice Cream RecipeMeanwhile, rough chop your pie into pieces and refrigerate until the ice cream base is ready.

Once the mixture is cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and let it churn to a soft serve consistency, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cold bowl and evenly fold in pie pieces. Transfer to an airtight ice cream container and freeze for about 2 hours.

YAY PEACH PIE ICE CREAM!

Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodrama The chunks of peaches are my favorite.Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodrama

No, just kidding, the chunks of pie crust are my favorite.Peach Pie Ice Cream Recipe via Melodama

Now grab yourself a pie, and all of the above mentioned dairy, and make yourself this ice cream immediately.

Lucky Charms Cake Mix Cookies

I’m a huge fan of cereal. Any cereal. I can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The sugary, food-colored kind is my favorite though. We were trying to think up a few fun recipes and it got me thinking –what can we make with cereal? What else goes well with milk? Cookies, duh.

Lucky Charms Cake Mix Cookies

These cookies are cakey and tender, they actually kind of remind me of cupcake tops (aka the best part). This recipe can be adapted to use any cereal (and trust me I’ll be doing that), but since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, Lucky Charms were the perfect choice. Besides tasting good, they’re super cute and colorful.

The base of this recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s Gooey Butter Cookie recipe.

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18 oz) box moist vanilla cake mix
1 cup Lucky Charms marshmallows

Directions Set oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Using a wooden spoon, stir in Lucky Charms marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours until firm. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until set.

Lucky Charms Cake Mix CookiesOriginally, I tried using the cereal pieces along with the marshmallows, but they got way too chewy and gross and didn’t add much to the flavor of the cookie. I would definitely recommend avoiding them. Just pick out all the cute marshmallows. They’re are the best part anyway.

Lucky Charms Cake Mix Cookies

Moonshine Cherry Vanilla Chocolate Milkshake

I recently received a jar of these moonshine cherries from Ole Smoky and I am completely smitten. I’m sure I’m going to be using them for heaps of things, but you know me and boozy desserts. I immediately blended them up in a creamy milkshake with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate shavings. They’re soaked in 100 proof moonshine so they have a serious kick. I was buzzing on both sugar and alcohol by the time I was halfway through the shake. Perfect.

Moonshine Cherry Chocolate Vanilla shake

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up I figured I would share my recipe with you. Either you’re going to want to share this with a date, maybe your gals if you’re into the Galentine’s thing, or you’re going to drink the entire thing alone while watching some Audrey Hepburn movie on Netflix. Either way alcohol, ice cream, and chocolate are pretty standard on Valentine’s Day. Here’s how to mix them all together for a bomb.com milkshake.

I used a 16 oz glass…don’t judge me.

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries (with liquid)

2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate

Blend it all together with a splash of milk if needed. Serve with whipped cream, more chocolate, and a moonshine cherry on top.

 

Ole Smoky describes the cherries as “a sweet hello followed by a warm goodbye.” I can’t describe it any better. When mixed with creamy ice cream and bitter dark chocolate, it’s the ultimate dessert combo. Try it!

 

Thank you to Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine for providing product for this post.

 

Butternut Squash Pie with Speculoos Cookie Crust and Pecan Streusel

Butternut Squash Pie Recipe with Pecan Streusel and Speculoos Cookie Crust. Full Recipe!

I love baking pies, you guys. For me there’s no better way to spend a cold autumn morning than baking a pie and listening to my favorite holiday mix. We’ve finally had some cooler weather and rain in California, so it was time to wake and bake. Pumpkin? Nah, been there. Sweet potato? Nah, done that. Butternut squash?  Yes. Butternut squash is probably my most favorite of the squashes, but I’d never had it in pie form, so I was unreasonably excited.

I didn’t feel like using regular pie crust, either. I’m such a rebel \m/. I thought maybe it would be nice with a cookie crust. *Light bulb* Have you ever had speculoos cookies? Jesus C. they’re good. They’re spiced and very crunchy. Perfect for crust making.

The result was exactly what I’d hoped for. The filling has a similar consistency to pumpkin and sweet potato pie, but it has more of a fruity aroma and taste. The spiced cookie crust paired well with it and gave a nice texture. I added a pecan streusel on top because I like the roasted nut flavor along side all the sweetness. Ok, I’m starting to sound like a foodie d-bag. I won’t go on and on with the Top Chef style food chatter, but basically the pie is yummy and you should make it. Here’s the recipe.

Speculoos Cookie Pie Crust
Speculoos Cookie Crust:
1 pack of Speculoos cookies, 1 1/2 cups of crumbs
5 tbs melted butter

Use a blender or food processor to finely crush your cookies into crumbs. (If you don’t have either of those appliances, put the cookies in a large ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin.) Melt butter on stove stop or microwave. Mix melted butter and crumbs together until it has a wet sand consistency. It should hold together when you pinch it. If your crust is still a little dry and won’t hold together, you can add a bit more melted butter until it does.  Put in pie pan and use your hands or a measuring cup to press and flatten the crumbs to the bottom and up against the sides.

Speculoos Cookie Pie Crust

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until it has set and slightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Speculoos Cookie Pie Crust

This part of the pie is optional but highly recommended.

Pecan Streusel Topping

Pecan Streusel Topping (Optional):
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Toss ingredients together and reserve for sprinkling on top of pie halfway through baking.

Now for the filling.

Butternut Squash Pie Filling Recipe

Pie Filling:
1 large butternut squash (approx. 2- 2/12 cups of puree)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

There are a few different methods to cooking the squash. First is the method I used because it gives a nice roasted flavor and cooks faster:
1.Peel, cut into large chunks, and roast at 400 degrees for 40-ish minutes.
Or, alternatively you can:
2. Cut it in half and bake it cut side down, for about 1-1/2 hours.
3. Peel, cut into large chunks, and boil until tender.

Let it cool and then puree it.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and eggs. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice and mix really well. Stir in the butternut squash puree and cream and mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie shell.

Butternut Squash Pie Recipe

Bake for about 45 minutes until filling has set and slightly risen in the middle. Let cool completely and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. [Note: If using optional streusel mixture, sprinkle onto pie after 20 minutes and then continue baking for 25 more minutes]

Butternut Squash Pie with Pecan Streusel and Speculoos Cookie Crust. Full Recipe!

 

Concord Grape, White Balsamic, and Rosemary Spoon Cake

Up until this week my husband and I had never had a concord grape. Well, aside from the grape jellies and juices made from them. They have been seemingly unfindable in our local markets, and believe me we have searched! A few days ago, across a crowded room, I locked eyes with the voluptuous purple grapes sitting there in the produce section. It was like finally finding the one you’ve always been searching for. I know, I know, THEY’RE JUST GRAPES (blahblahblah), but I was very excited.

Anyway, the grapes are good. They taste exactly how I thought they would, because they basically taste like grape jelly. I can get down with that.

Now we had to decide what to do with them. Rosemary seemed like a great companion. For acidity, balsamic vinegar sounded perfect. White balsamic though. It’s is milder in flavor and has its own taste that we prefer over regular balsamic vinegar in this particular recipe.

Spoon cakes are great dessert to whip up. No cooling, frosting, or layering required. Just pour the batter into a pie or baking dish and then spoon it out for everyone once it’s ready. Spoon cakes also have a casual style and appeal that I like for family style meals and gatherings.

Concord Grape, White Balsamic, and Rosemary Spoon Cake

Anyway enough of my rambling, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients
1lb Concord Grapes
1tbs Honey
1tbs White Balsamic Vinegar
1tbs Rosemary (Roughly chopped)
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease an 8″ deep pie dish or cake pan.
In a bowl, toss the grapes with honey, white balsamic vinegar, and rosemary and set aside.
In another bowl, sift the flour, salt, and nutmeg.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugar on medium-high speed for about 10 minutes, until thick and pale yellow (a ribbon should form when you lift the beater).
Fold in the dry ingredients gently with a spatula, until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
Pour the batter into the baking dish, and gently spread the grapes on top. They’ll sink and settle nicely into the cake.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and a tester comes out clean.
Dust with powdered sugar.

Concord Grape, White Balsamic, Rosemary Spoon Cake

This tastes best when served warm. It also tastes amazing with vanilla ice cream. To me, nothing is better than a warm piece of spoon cake with cold ice cream. Get. It.

Concord Grape, White Balsamic, Rosemary Spoon Cake

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream

Fall is almost here and that means one thing: PUMPKIN. Pumpkin flavored food has become an American tradition and our appetite for it only seems to be growing. Forget the leaves. Forget the sweaters. We want our pumpkin flavored foods and we want them now! Bring on the cookies, pies, and bread puddings.

I usually like to wait until summer is officially over before I indulge in autumnal themed foods, but this ice cream is the perfect recipe to transition you into fall. It’s a cool treat but with all the warm flavors of the season: pumpkin, spice, and bourbon.

It took a couple of tries but I think we nailed it with this recipe. The texture is light and creamy and all of the flavors harmoniously hit your palate. You can taste the pumpkin, spices, and bourbon without one outshining the others.

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup bourbon

In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, nutmeg, 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved.

Then, in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and remaining 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until little bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly at a low simmer for about 5 minutes and it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is run through it. Do not boil! Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.

Note: You can cool the mixture in an ice bath by placing the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. This will cool the custard faster. Otherwise, place plastic wrap directly over the custard (to avoid a skin from forming) and let cool on countertop, before refrigerating.

Whisk the pumpkin mixture and the bourbon into the chilled custard. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s instructions. For firmer ice cream, transfer to freezer safe container and freeze for an additional 2-3 hours.

Makes about 1.5 quarts

Serve with crumbled graham crackers or speculoos cookies for added delight.

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

 
Special thanks to Cuisinart®.