Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Arancini......What? (Risotto Balls)

This recipe is a great use of leftovers.  Sometimes we make risotto, just to have these the next day, or so.  These risotto balls are stuffed with a little cube of cheese just to put them over the top. I used Fontina Fontal, but once again, use whatever cheese you like or have on hand.

Risotto Balls (Arancini)

2 cups risotto, chilled (great use for leftovers!)
2 ounces cheese, cubed 1/2"
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 T Italian seasoning
½-3/4 cup of bread crumbs
½-3/4 cup of grated parmesan (don’t use shredded)
1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
Peanut oil, for deep frying

You can use a deep fryer to make these, but I make them on the stove, using a heavy pan and heat about 3" of oil to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add the salt and pepper, basil and Italian seasoning, mixing well.  Add in the Risotto, depending on how sticky the risotto is how much bread crumbs and parmesan you will need to add.  The eggs will act as a binder, but will also loosen up the mixture, so by adding the crumbs and parm, it will tighten up with mix.

Prepare a baking sheet with waxed paper. Take about 2 heaping tablespoon(or a small cookie scoop, scooping out 2 balls) of risotto and form it into a ball, about 2 inches.  Make a small hole in the ball and insert the block of cheese. Reform the ball so the cheese is covered. Cover and chill for approximately 2 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator.  Balls should be sticky.  If you find they are not, whisk another egg and dredge each ball in the flour then into the egg then into the Panko crumbs.  Otherwise you can just dredge the balls in the Panko.

Drop into the heated oil and fry until brown and heated through, about 4 minutes, turning the balls halfway through frying. Drain on paper towel.

These can also be made ahead and frozen.  Wait until you are ready to fry to coat in Panko.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mississippi Mud Pie

M-I-Crooked letter-Crooked letter-I-Crooked letter-Crooked letter-I-Humpback-Humpback-I....That is the way we would spell Mississippi when we young.  I bring this up because when I found this recipe a few months ago, all I could think about was my dad and sister repeating this spelling again and again.  And I kept repeating it while I was making this cake. 

I found that this pie was a little more involved that most Mississippi Mud Pies, or dishes.  But man was it incredible.  When I make it again, and I will make it again, I will adjust the was a little thick, and I would prefer not to use a premade cookie (Oreos).  So I will be looking for an alternative...maybe graham cracker crumbs, flavored with chocolate....we'll see.


Mississippi Mud Pie


For the crust:
16 ounces Oreos (about 35-40 cookies)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup Kahlua (or strong coffee at room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, divided

For the chocolate pudding:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 & 1/2 cups cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%)

For the whipped cream:
1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 300°. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with parchment. Spray parchment and sides of pan.

Place cookies in food processor and grind to a fine crumb. Transfer the crumbs (about 3 & 1/2 cups) to a small bowl. Pour melted butter over crumbs. Mix until combined.

Using the back of a spoon or your hands, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Place pan in freezer for about 10 minutes to let crust set.

Bake 10 minutes, or until crust is dry to the touch. Cool in pan on wire rack.

To make the cake:

Increase oven temperature to 350°.

Melt butter and chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together espresso powder, Kahlua (or coffee), salt, and vanilla. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until mixture is light and almost doubled in volume (about 5 minutes). Add chocolate mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down sides and mix on low speed for 5 seconds. Add Kahlua mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down sides and mix on low speed for 5 seconds.

In a separate bowl, still using the stand mixer and a clean whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually increase speed to high. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

Scoop about 1 cup of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in egg whites for about 30 seconds. Add remaining egg whites and continue folding until they are almost combined. Do not overmix.

Pour batter onto cookie crust. Bake 38-42 minutes, until cake is set but jiggles slightly. Cool in pan on wire rack. As the cake cools, it will deflate in the center. Wrap cooled cake tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To make the chocolate pudding:

Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, corn starch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add egg yolks and whisk until combined and resembles a thick paste. Slowly pour in milk while whisking constantly.

Place saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of pan. Boil for 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Whisk until combined. Continue whisking for a few minutes to cool mixture slightly. Let pudding stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skim from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Stir pudding to loosen it. Pour on top of cake, staying inside crust border. Using an offset spatula, spread pudding evenly.

Refrigerate cake for at least 30 minutes.

To make the whipped cream:

Pour cream into chilled metal bowl. Beat with a chilled whisk until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Sprinkle sugar onto cream. Continue whisking vigorously until stiff peaks form.

Spread whipped cream all the way to the sides on top of pudding layer of cake. Unmold cake and serve immediately.