Showing posts with label crème fraîche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crème fraîche. Show all posts

February 19, 2013

BAKED APPLES WITH HAZELNUTS, MAPLE CREAM + CREME FRAICHE


Last month I decided to say no to refined sugar for the time being, just to give my belly a break. I LOVE sweet treats and tend to go a little overboard when surrounded by tempting sugary concoctions. In years past, I've taken white sugar out of my kitchen for long stretches of times (for years, in fact) and I'm amazed at how much better I feel when I do.

Deprivation is not an option for me, so I get a lot of joy from playing with alternative sugars and whipping up natural sweets.  Honey, coconut and date sugars are always wonderful, and a jar of maple cream, recently to given to me by my awesome neighbors Rich and Caitlin, begged to be put to good use. I like to think of maple cream as nature's caramel! These baked apples, sweetened with the maple cream, satisfy my sweet-tooth while keeping my belly happy. I hope they warm your bellies too.

You can serve the apples as dessert of course, or you could eat them on top of a bowl of oatmeal for
breakfast.

INGREDIENTS
{printable recipe}
  • 6 apples: pink ladies and honey crisps are wonderful here
  • 1/2 cup crushed toasted hazelnuts (toasted pecans or walnuts are also great)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • zest of 2 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pats
  • maldon flaky sea salt 
  • for topping: maple cream, creme fraiche ( for making your own creme fraiche, try this easy recipe), heavy cream



Preheat oven to 375.

Peel the upper 5th of your apple. Use a pairing knife to cut out the core - you want to cut a wider opening at the top, tapering down to the bottom of the apple. Place cored apples onto a baking dish or cookie sheet. If one of your apples won't sit up straight, slice a tiny bit off the bottom to give it a steady base.

Stuff apples with crushed hazelnuts. In a little cup or bowl, combine maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. Scoop a spoonful or two of this tasty liquid over each hazelnut-stuffed apple. Place a pat of butter onto the top of each apple. Sprinkle on some flaky salt.

Place stuffed apples into the hot oven. Cook for 25-35 minutes until the sides of the apples have a little give when you press with your fingers. I like my baked apples pretty firm and just cooked through, not at all mushy.

While the apples are baking, scoop creme fraiche into a little pitcher. Use a fork to whisk in just enough heavy cream make the creme fraiche a pourable consistency.

Serve apples warm with a pitcher of runny creme fraiche and a ramekin of maple butter (amazing stuff!) or another pitcher of maple syrup to scoop over the baked apples.


Serves 6

June 12, 2010

Strawberries with Homemade Crème Fraîche and Brown Sugar



This dessert brings back such memories: living in the foothills of the Sierra's; the dry heat of summer; picking fresh ripe strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries from our lush organic garden. My mom and step dad headed back to the land in the mid eighties and worked tirelessly growing loads of veggies and fruit. I was a young teen, more interested in punk and smoking cloves with my friends than tending the garden. Still, food was a lure for me even then - promise of mom's fresh berry pies or this simple dessert would get me to put down my Walkman and start picking berries

My step dad introduced us to this dessert and I think it is one of those simple revelations that should be shared. Back then we used sour cream. My husband adamantly refuses to eat sour cream, but loves crème fraîche, so that's what we use now. Either one does the trick. Eating strawberries with your fingers to me is what summer is all about and I love serving this spread at a picnic or barbecue with friends.

INGREDIENTS

Set out a platter with strawberries with a bowl of crème fraîche and a bowl of brown sugar. Everyone should help him/herself. Using the strawberry stem as a holder, dip the berry's tip into the crème fraîche then dip into the brown sugar.






Repeat until you can eat no more.

Homemade Crème Fraîche


For ages my mother-in-law has been urging me to make my own crème fraîche. She is right - it is so easy! Now there is no excuse for me to ever buy crème fraîche again.


INGREDIENTS
(Nearly every one of my favorite cookbooks has this recipe)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk


Pour milk into a clean jar.  


Add buttermilk.


Mix well.


Loosely cover and let sit at room temp for about 24 hours.



Then cover jar tightly and refrigerate for 4 hours to thicken more. Crème fraîche will keep for a week or so if stored in the refrigerator. Stir in a little cream if it gets too thick.

Once I had this luscious jar of crème fraîche in my fridge, I found myself slathering it onto waffles with peaches,  crepes with berries, and veggie soups.
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