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Posts Tagged ‘cardamon’

I know, I know…prunes again.  But I think I already provided you with full disclosure.   I love prunes.  And meanwhile, I’ve had this Bergamot sitting in the fridge, calling my name, begging me to do something interesting with it. And then I happened upon Molly Wizenberg’s recipe for stewed prunes in her book, A Homemade Life.  Have you read it?  I love it.  It’s  sweet and romantic in a lovely-life sort of way.

Well, Molly uses an orange and cinnamon stick as flavoring, but I thought that this would be a perfect place to use that Bergamot.  And it uses the whole thing, which is a plus, since Bergamots are hard to come by and expensive!! I wasn’t willing to use just the juice, or just the zest.  I wanted to get my money’s worth!

Have you ever tasted a Bergamot?  Really, I’m not sure how to describe the flavor.  The flesh is sweet and kind-of earthy-musty- floral- all- at-once.  In fact, it’s part of the flavor profile in Earl Grey Tea, and is used as a “scent” in some cleaning products.  But to have a fresh one, cut in front of you is wonderful.  If ever you come across a Bergamot- shell out the bucks and buy it!

Prunes stewed with Bergamot and Cardamon adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

  • 12 ounces pitted prunes
  • 1 small bergamot
  • 4 cardamon pods

Slice the bergamot into 1/4-inch slices- skin and all.  Remove the seeds.  Place the slices in a wide, shallow sauce pan along with the pitted prunes and cardomon pods.  Add water to barely cover. Place the sauce pot over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer until the water barely “trembles” (Molly’s description- don’t you love it?).  Cook very gently for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and store, refrigerated for at least 24 hours before using.

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Pear-cardomon butter

I made this last year and fell for it-hard.  I ate it on bagels, with peanut butter, off the spoon…and then I ran out.  And pear season was over.  So here I am, rejoicing in the new batch.  The only thing I did differently this year was to leave the pears somewhat chunky.  Not because I disliked the smooth puree, but because I just wanted to see how I enjoyed the other end of the spectrum.  We had it on french toast New Year’s morning- so yummy!

Pear Cardamom Butter from The Traveler’s Lunchbox

To make a smooth puree, cook the pears until they have completely softened.  Remove the pot from the heat and use a hand-blender to puree until smooth.  Return the pot the the heat and continue to cook to the desired thickness.

  • 6 pounds pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamon or 1 teaspoon pre-ground cardamon (the fresh stuff is soooo much better!)

Peel, core and roughly dice the pears. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and pears and allow them to macerate for 1-2 hours.

When the mixture has become very juicy, pour it into a large, heavy-bottomed pot.  Add the lemon juice and cardamon.  Bring the mixture up to a simmer and skim any scum that rises to the surface.  Continue to simmer gently, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, for at least one hour, or until thick. (To test for thickness, have a small dish chilled in the freezer.  Place a dollop of hot pear butter on the dish.  It will cool quickly so that you may judge it’s consistency.)

Ladle into sterilized jars and either freeze, or process in a boiling water bath.

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The month of May is like a gift-giving extravaganza in our family.  It all started with me, naturally.  Well, I was the first born!  ONE.  And then came the little brother (who was due on my birthday, thank-you very much).  Lucky for him he was born 3 days late!  TWO.  And of course, he happened to show up on Mother’s day.  THREE.  Then I went and married this crazy Aries, and with only three weeks between our birthdays, he just gets shoved into the extravaganza too.  FOUR.  And now look at me.  Not only do I have to share with that pesky kid brother, but with my mom and husband too!  Where is the love I ask you?  Where is the individual attention?  The doting quality time?  Oy.

Well, this year, I’ve volunteered to make dessert for the aforementioned extravaganza.  “You can’t make your own birthday cake!” my mom whined.  But who else could possibly make it?  Dad’s really just a cookie-maker.  Lars, well it’s his extravaganza too.  Laura’s working, and Scott…well, we’ll have a conversation about the five gallons of chocolate mousse another day… But ahh, I reminded her that I love making dessert, and with 9 people attending the extravaganza, we were pretty much guaranteed to eat it all, foregoing the possibility of having too much left-over.  Truly, a great situation to be in!

So I’ve planned to make this cool strawberry pie-like, cake-like thing-a-ma-bob, accompanied by home-churned cardamon ice cream.

I made my regular ice-cream recipe, and added 4 pods-worth of mortared cardamon while it was cooking.  I also threw in a “spent” vanilla bean, leftover from a different project.  I’ll be churning in the morning and the pictures will follow!

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Basic Ice Cream Base
yields approximately one quart

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Before starting, prepare a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl large enough to accept the ice cream base.

Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a 2 quart saucepan.  Warm the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn off the heat.

Separately, whisk the egg yolks to just mix them.  Then whisk a few ladles of the warm cream mixture into the yolks (this method is called “tempering”).  Pour the yolk mixture back in to the cream mixture, whisking as you pour.

Turn the heat back to low and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula, cook the base until it “coats” the spoon.  I always cook it until it reaches 160 degrees for safety’s sake.  Cooking the base too long, or too aggressively will coagulate the egg proteins and result in scrambled eggs.

Strain the base through the mesh strainer and then pour into a storage container.

Refrigerate over-night, or until it is thoroughly chilled.

Churn!

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