Prosciutto + Pistachio Salad

Prosciutto + Pistachio Salad

Last week I gave you a simple recipe that used seasonal local ingredients. My Onion, Fig, & Feta tarts used cheese from a local goat farm and seasonal fresh figs. And although the tarts are extremely delectable on their own, I created them with the intent to include the pastries as part of a larger meal that is just as simple to prepare as the first portion.

Fig pastry recipe is here: Onion, Feta, & Fig Tarts

If you have thumbed around my blog, for even a second, you will notice that it is filled with hearty southern food and decadent baked goods. I am not a one trick pony, I do (quite often) make healthy(ish) food. I swear you can find a salad recipe some fifty posts ago.

Like my fig tarts, and this recipe uses fresh local ingredients; plus, you can whip it up in a dash. My homemade salad dressing, which sets any salad apart, is made with local Savannah honey and white balsamic for a punch.

I crisp of some salty prosciutto and sprinkle over pistachios. Served on the side, which add sweet and savory notes, are the fig tarts posted last week.

This one is a dinner party show stopper (along with well cooked protien) or a satisfying weeknight meal that is better than that frozen pizza we always go to.

Pistachio & Proscuitto Salad

Pistachio & Proscuitto Salad

Ingredients

  • For The Dressing:
  • 1/4 Cup of White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Honey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon
  • For The Salad:
  • 1 Cup of Shelled Pistachios, toasted
  • 4 Ounces of Prosciutto
  • 1 Pound of Spring Mix
  • 2 Onion, Fig, & Feta Tarts Per Person

Instructions

  1. The day before, or a few hours before, make the salad dressing.
  2. In a mason jar, combine all of the dressing ingredients.
  3. Vigorously shake.
  4. Place the dressing in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. To make the salad, heat up a medium skillet and fry the prosciutto until crispy.
  6. Drain cooked prosciutto on paper towels.
  7. Make each salad by topping them evenly with pistachios, crumbled prosciutto, the dressing, and 2 tarts.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/07/25/prosciutto-pistachio-salad/

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Vanilla Meringues with Rhubarb Jam + Pistachios

Vanilla Meringues with Rhubarb Jam + Pistachios

Confession time.

I love GBBO. If you do not know what that stands for…leave now.

Just kidding, don’t leave. GBBO stands for Great British Bake Off, otherwise known as one of the greatest television shows ever. Naturally I have watched every single episode I could find here in the States, and get very excited when I find a new season is out.

A lot of inspiration can come from this show because the bakes are so different to what is found in America. We love our apple pies, chocolate chip cookies, and banana puddings. (For good reason might I add.)

Occasionally it is nice to get a bit of insight into other cultures, especially if you do not feel like spending thousands to fly to a foreign land. Each episode of GBBO has three rounds of different desserts, the majority of which are traditional British treats.

Have you ever had a bakewell tart, mince pie, or chelsea bun? Have you even heard of those things? Yeah, me either. Although, I would love to try them all.

Another dessert I have never tasted, also featured on GBBO, is the Pavlova. This one is not traditionally British, if you hadn’t guessed by the name.  Pavlova is three large layers of baked meringue and some sort of fruity filling.

And although I am not a fan of meringue, mainly because I have only ever tried the kind you get on top of a pie that is never prepared properly, the idea of a proper meringue sounds very delicious. If done right, the outside is light and crispy, and the inside is like a sweet airy pillow. As for the flavor, it should be reminiscent of a marshmallow.

In order to achieve a good meringue, the sugar has to be added in very slowly. This allows the sugar to dissolve into the eggs (so it will not be grainy), and keeps the eggs from deflating. As for baking, you have to dry them out low and slow to achieve the perfect outer and inner textures.

For this recipe, rhubarb was a no brainer because it is in season. Pistachios would add the perfect crunchy jolt of saltiness. And of course I kept the meringue itself as simple as possible, adding only the flavoring of vanilla. I decided to make little individual meringues, and not shackle myself to one giant cake that would most certainly fall apart before you could finish it. By keeping the meringues small and the toppings separate I could extend the shelf life and allow eaters to personalize their dessert. You could surely impress your friends by featuring them as the dessert for a summer dinner party. They look very fancy once all together.

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound of Rhubarb, cubed
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • A Pinch of Salt

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, water, salt, and lemon.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Once bubbling, turn the heat to medim-low.
  4. Allow the rhubarb to cook over medium-low for approximately 45 minutes, or until the jam is thick and reduced in half.
  5. Allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/06/23/vanilla-clouds-meringues-with-rhubarb-jam-pistachios/

NOTE: This jam can store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Vanilla Meringues

Ingredients: Makes 8-12

  • 4 Large Egg Whites
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line two baking sheets with slipmats. Set aside.
  3. Prepare a large piping bag with the desired tip. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium for one minute.
  5. Add in cream of tartar and continue to mix on medium for another minute.
  6. Mix together salt, sugar, and corn starch. Add into mixer, while on medium, one tablespoon at a time.
  7. Continue to beat until soft peaks have formed.
  8. Add in vanilla, and beat meringue on medium until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently transfer meringue into prepared piping bags. Pipe meringue, in your desired shape, onto prepared baking sheets. I piped cones, but most people pipe a nest to hold their topping.
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until meringues are very lightly golden on the outside.
  11. Let cool in the oven for 4-6 hours before serving.
  12. To serve, top each meringue with a tablespoon of jam and a sprinkling of pistachios.

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Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

St. Patricks Day came and went here in Savannah, and, along with it, the Irish Cream Fudge I created just for the occasion. Like any good tailgate, everyone who watches the parade with my family brings a plate of food to snack on while drinking their green beer. Occasionally my family doesn’t exactly love the food I bring because it tends to stray outside the realm of a normal potluck dish. In fact I have heard the words “Don’t make something weird”, so for this year’s celebration I wanted to stick with a traditional southern dish.

Fudge was a southern treat my family grew up making for every special occasion, but normally it would be flavored with chocolate or peanut butter. If you have never had fudge, it is a creamy candy that is cooked to the soft stage of candy making and flavored with butter and something else. Fudge truly tastes like a southern dish — extremely sweet and sinful. I have never tasted another flavor of fudge besides chocolate or peanut butter (or seen anyone I know make a different flavor), so in making this Irish Cream Fudge for St. Patricks day I was not confident on how it would turn out. But to say the least, I did not hear the word “weird”.

The finished result was true to the southern originals: super rich. For this recipe I cut back the sugar to compensate for the sweetness of the Irish Cream. When cooking the candy the alcohol of the Irish Cream cooks off, so instead of finishing the batch with vanilla I replaced it with more Irish Cream so there was a bite of alcohol. The addition of a bitter chocolate and salty pistachios would help balance the decadent candy while adding texture to the buttery mouthfeel. The small tray goes a very long way because most people can only eat one small piece at a time.

Irish Cream Fudge

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Small Container of Marshmallow Fluff, 7 ounces
  • 1 1/4 Cup Of White Chocolate Chips
  • 5 Tablespoons of Irish Cream
  • A Dash of Salt
  • 1 Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup of Shelled Pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish by lining it in parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, combine the dark chocolate and coconut oil. Heat, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the temperature drops to 82 degrees.
  3. Pour into the bottom of your 8×8 dish, and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar, salt, 4 tablespoons of Irish Cream, and heavy cream over medium heat.
  5. Once at a boil, stir sugar to combine. Continue to cook until temperature reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage).
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your marshmallow cream, white chocolate, and remaining 1 tablespoons of Irish cream, making sure it all completely combines.
  7. Pour into your baking dish and spread to even it out. Immediately sprinkle with pistachios and press in.
  8. Let set in the fridge for an hour, or on the counter for one to two hours.
  9. Remove firm fudge from the dish and cut into 1 inch squares.

Pistachio Peanut Brittle + Cracked Black Pepper

Pistachio Peanut Brittle + Cracked Black Pepper

When you think of brittle, you think peanut. But, in my opinion, there is another crunchy, salty treat that far exceeds the peanut: the pistachio. What most people don’t think of when they dream of a perfectly roasted pistachio is cracked black pepper. Let me tell you, the flavor combination of the two is delightful.

This all came about a few nights ago when my husband and I had a friend (who just so happens to be the chef/owner of a tasty local eatery) over for dinner. Of course, whatever I cooked had to be unique and perfect. He usually doesn’t make dessert, so the challenge to make something balanced but sweet was upon me. Lately I have been obsessed with pistachios, so naturally I wanted to incorporate them into the dessert course. I had already settled on making ice cream, so I could wow our chef buddy with my ability to make a créme anglaise.

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A brittle will compliment anything, but I didn’t want just any old brittle. My recent obsession instantly brought me to the substitution of pistachios, but still I felt like it wasn’t enough. I considered making a peppercorn ice cream to compliment the brittle but remembered how yummy black pepper tastes on pistachios.  I figured it was worth a shot to crack some black pepper and throw it into my candy mixture. If it didn’t work, I had ice cream to fall back on.

The addition of dark chocolate came later, which was a consequence of my general opinion that dark chocolate makes everything taste better. If you don’t share my adoration for dark chocolate, the brittle is just as lovely without it. You can expect a bigger punch from the pepper if you forego the chocolate layer.

I hope you enjoy the brittle and the process to make it as much as I have. If anything, you will have a very unique gift to put among the sea of red velvet treats at your holiday parties this season!

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Cracked Black Pepper Pistachio Brittle with Dark Chocolate:

Tools:

  • Candy Thermometer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Double Boiler
  • Cookie Cooling Rack
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Rolling-pin
  • Saucepan

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper corns
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • 6 oz of good dark chocolate

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Directions for the Brittle:

Combine first three ingredients into your saucepan and place over medium heat. While the candy mixture begins to cook, you can prep your other ingredients. Don’t worry about leaving this alone for a few minutes because it takes some time to get up to the needed temperature. The final temperature will be 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the peppercorns in a zip lock baggie, seal it,  then crack them with your rolling-pin. Roughly chop your pistachios and mix with the peppercorns.

Tear a good sized piece of parchment paper and place on your counter or a sheet pan. Spray the parchment paper with cooking oil, this prevents the brittle from sticking after it cools.

Coming back to your candy mixture, it should be close to boiling if it has not already started to boil by, so stick your candy thermometer into the mixture to watch the temperature. Once the candy reaches 270 degrees, add in your butter, pistachios, and black pepper. The candy will initially seize but will loosen up if you leave it on the heat and continue to stir.

Note: I do not add the pistachios any earlier because they will burn and taste bitter.

Once the candy has loosened up, it is time to add in the baking soda. Be warned, for those who have never made brittle before, this creates a chemical reaction where the acid in the sugar mixture reacts with the alkaline baking soda, releasing carbon dioxide and making the brittle porous. Once you add the baking soda, you have to quickly stir to incorporate it all. By the time you’ve completely incorporated the baking soda, the temperature should be at 280 degrees. Pour it out onto your parchment paper. Spread it out as thin as possible with your spatula, and sprinkle on the sea salt.

The brittle needs to cool completely before you can add the dark chocolate. I flip it over onto the cookie rack (so you can coat the back of the brittle) and let in cool on the counter.

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Chocolate:

Now you’re going to have to temper the chocolate. If you’ve never tempered chocolate before, don’t be intimidated. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Set up your double boiler over medium heat. Once the water comes up to temperature and is boiling on medium heat, add in 2/3 of the chocolate to the mixing bowl on top of the double boiler. Constantly stir until the chocolate has fully melted. You will need to bring the chocolate, because it is dark, up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it is at the right temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Mix until it has fully melted and has cooled to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour over the back of the brittle, and let the chocolate fully set before you snap the brittle into pieces.

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