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Blueberry Mille Feuille

Mille Feuille sounds like it would be one of those desserts that is completely complicated and intricate.

I mean, I had to turn to Google to find out how to pronounce it (and I’m still not 100% sure if I’m saying it correctly and most importantly, spelling it right, either). I could just call it a Napoleon and be done with it, but where would the fun be in that? 

 But let’s face it, French desserts aren’t exactly known for being simple. Oui, oui. 

Despite the hard to pronounce name, this one is. 

No, seriously, it is. Trust me, I don’t like things that are complicated. Which is not to say that I’m not complicated. Ask any ex-boyfriend. Very. 

But this isn’t. And here’s the proof: Pastry Cream + Puff Pastry + Blueberries. That’s it!

Blueberry

 Start by whisking together granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolks until they begin to thicken, or about a couple of minutes. 

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Add corn starch and whisk until completely incorporated.  

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 In a saucepan, heat milk until it has just begun to boil and bubble at the edges. Remove it from heat and very slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking while you do. I momentarily stopped whisking to snap a photo, but hopefully, you won’t have to do that.

Unless you’re like me and take pictures of everything. Yeah, I can be annoying like that 😉 

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 Pour the mixture into a saucepan and return to the stove. Cook on medium heat, stirring the entire time (being sure to scrape the bottoms and sides of the pan) to prevent the mixture from burning. Once it has begun to thicken and bubble, remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on top to prevent a thick skin from forming. Place into the refrigerator and allow to cool completely. 

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 Sorry, no pictures of the puff pastry process  – my hands were a little bit floury. But I’ll try my best to explain it.

Spread the puff pastry out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1.5 inch by 4 inch rectangles. 

Place each rectangle onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spacing them about a half inch apart. 

Now, here’s the fun part, and the only way I was able to keep the puff pastry from, well, puffing up at all while baking. I tried two different methods, and believe me, this was the most successful. 

Cover the rectangles in the pan with another piece of parchment paper. Place another cookie sheet on top of that. Then on top of that place a weight of some sort that is oven safe. I used two small iron skillets. 

Bake in a 375F degree oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the puff pastry to cool completely before assembling.

Once the puff pastry and pastry cream have both cooled, spoon the cream into a plastic storage bag or a pastry bag. Snip off the corner (Feel free to use a decorating tip if you want. Or not.). 

Place one of the puff pastry rectangles on a plate, and pipe a small-ish amount of pastry cream on top of it. Arrange the blueberries in two lines on top of the cream.

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 Place another rectangle on top of the blueberries. Pipe a more substantial amount of pastry cream on top of it.

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 Top with another rectangle. Dust with powdered sugar. Repeat the process. And voila! You’ll feel like you’re in a Parisian patisserie. Or maybe not.

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Blueberry Mille Feuille

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Blueberry Mille Feuille

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 small containers of blueberries
  • 1 package of puff pastry, thawed
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla for a couple of minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  2. Add corn starch and whisk in until completely incorporated.
  3. In a saucepan, heat milk until it just begins to boil. Remove from and slowly pour into egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time.
  4. Pour mixture into a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until it begins to bubble, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent burning.
  5. Remove pastry cream from heat. Pour into a large heat safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down until it is directly touching the cream to keep a skin from forming on top. Refrigerate until cooled.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, cut puff pastry into 1 1/2 inch by 4 inch rectangles. Place each rectangle on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cover the rectangles with another piece of parchment paper. Then, top with another cookie sheet. Weigh down with an oven safe weight of some sort. I used two small iron skillets.
  8. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before assembling.
  10. Place a puff pastry rectangle on a plate. Pipe a small amount of pastry cream on top of it, then place blueberries on top of the cream. Top with another puff pastry rectangle, and pipe pastry cream on top of it. Cover with another puff pastry rectangle. Dust with powdered sugar. Repeat process.
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Rhubarb Raspberry Scones

In southern Alabama, rhubarb isn’t exactly something we see a lot of. Okra, yes. Watermelons, definitely. Peanuts, for sure. But rhubarb?!?

In fact, the first time I ever even tried anything containing rhubarb was just last year. But it was so deliciously tart that the wait was well worth it. 

So, when Tractor Supply had non-gmo rhubarb to plant in the garden a couple of months ago, I grabbed a bag and brought them home with dreams of rhubarb crisp, rhubarb cake, and rhubarb everything dancing around in my head. Then, I promptly forgot about them until recently. 

We’ll see what happens with that, but for now, I can always buy fresh rhubarb. 

Which I did. And since I’m hoping to finally visit the Land of Scones this year (and maybe even on to the Land of the Stone of Scone) well, it wasn’t hard to figure out what to make. . . . 

Scones!!!

Rhubarb Raspberry Scones

Who doesn’t love a good scone?

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So, how do you make scones? Similar to biscuits. My grandmother enlisted me as her biscuit making assistant as soon as I could walk, so I thought ‘This’ll be so simple.’

And it was.

Start off by getting the rhubarb and raspberries ready. If you don’t want raspberries in your scones, feel free to leave them out. I only added them because I had bought an extra package for Raspberry Icebox Cake.

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 Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Then, rough chop the raspberries, running your knife through maybe once or twice just to break the berries up into smaller pieces. 

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 Stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. 

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 Add the half cup of butter and cut in using a fork or pastry cutter (or a food processor) until it has a crumbly texture. The add the rhubarb and raspberries and fold in. 

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 Combine 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream with vanilla extract. Add one egg, and whisk together. 

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 Add the heavy cream mixture and stir until combined.

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 Now, the next, I couldn’t take any pictures. Sticky, flour hands, you know?

Turn out the mixture onto a floured surface and knead a few times to bring the dough together. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. 

Pat and shape into a circle about an inch thick. Cut the circle into about 8 triangles. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of each scone. 

Bake in a 425F degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

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Enjoy with butter and jam or just plain.

Rhubarb Raspberry Scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8

Rhubarb Raspberry Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 (6 oz) package of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Plus:
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
  2. Chop the rhubarb. Rough chop the raspberries, running your knife through once or twice until the berries are a little smaller. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Cut in the butter using a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture has a crumbly texture.
  5. Stir in the rhubarb and raspberries.
  6. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla. Add an egg, and whisk together.
  7. Add the heavy cream mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine.
  8. Turn the mixture out on to a floured surface. Knead lightly a few times to bring the dough together. Add more flour if needed.
  9. Pat and shape into a circle that is about an inch thick. Cut into about 8 triangles.
  10. Place the triangles on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  11. In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of each scone.
  12. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown.
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Raspberry Icebox Cake

Maybe this should be named Raspberry Chocolate Icebox Cake, instead. 

Or even Raspberry Cheesecake Icebox Cake? But then, that almost qualifies as a tongue twister.

Raspberry

No matter what it’s named, I call it yummy. Probably because it contains some of my favorite ingredients.

Raspberries? Check. Fresh whipped cream? Check. Chocolate? Cream Cheese? Double check.

Combine all of that together and you have the perfect dessert for Mother’s Day. And my mom certainly enjoyed it. 

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 Start off by whipping about a cup of heavy cream in a mixing bowl, until it forms soft peaks. 

Add the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar and combine. 

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 In a small bowl, mash almost all of the raspberries with a fork. Be sure to save a few whole raspberries for decoration on top. 

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 Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture until they’re completely dispersed throughout. 

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 On your cake plate or serving platter of choice, spread a thin layer of the now pink-ish whipped cream concoction. This will help keep the wafers in place, so they’re not moving all over the plate. 

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 Place a layer of wafers on top of that in a circular shape.

This is the fun part. Or maybe not so fun, if you don’t like putting together puzzles. After a little mishap unloading groceries the day before, I only one (One!) cookie that wasn’t broken. No matter, it still turned out really well. 

Spread a layer of the whipped cream mixture on top of the cookies.

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 Repeat the last two steps at least five times or until you run out of cookies, ending with a layer of the whipped cream mixture on top. 

Decorated with the reserved raspberries, and refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Raspberry Icebox Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 8 - 10 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
  • 1 (6 oz) container of raspberries

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese, and mix in.
  3. Fold in the sugar, until completely incorporated.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, mash the raspberries with a fork. Be sure to reserve a few whole raspberries for decoration.
  5. Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture.
  6. Using an offset spatula, smear a small amount of the raspberry cream cheese mixture on to a cake plate or serving platter.
  7. Arrange a layer of wafer cookies on the cake plate.
  8. Top with some of the raspberry cream cheese mixture, spreading it out evenly with an offset spatula.
  9. Repeat the last two steps at least five more times, or until you run out of cookies.
  10. Decorate with a few whole raspberries. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
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20150510_173934Hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day, Mom!

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Ginger Coconut Lime Cupcakes

You put de lime in de coconut, you drank ’em both up.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a soap maker, but what’s not obvious is I’m obsessive about it. 

Seriously. I spend hours browsing all of the different supply websites on the lookout for new ingredients to try. And most of that time, I’m trying to decide between at least 10 different fragrances that I simply must have right then.

The fact that I can narrow it down to that few should be counted as a heroic feat. There are literally thousands of different fragrances available. Want hay scented soap? Yep, there’s a fragrance for that. How about wasabi? Uh-huh. Or bacon? Just check out this post here

But the one I’m having a hard time resisting right now: Coconut Lime. 

I haven’t bought it, yet. I already had way too much in my cart the last time to justify adding something else. But there will be a coconut lime soap in the Etsy shop (gratuitous link to the shop here) sometime in the future. Look for it!

Which brings me to these cupcakes. Considering that I just placed an order for soap supplies Friday, I think you know exactly what was on my mind. And it wasn’t carrot cake (by the way, there’s a fragrance for that, too). 

Enter ginger coconut lime cupcakes.

Ginger Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Which are amazingly delicious with just a hint of tartness. 

And of course, ea-zzy to make!

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 Top with a little toasted coconut and a lime, and you have some tasty treats.

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 And a lime, and you have some tasty treats.

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Or even better, forget the lime and instead place a couple of small candy eggs on top and you’ve got bird’s nest cupcakes. Perfect for Easter!

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Ginger Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Yield: 20 cupcakes

Ginger Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest from one lime
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Coconut 7 minute Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners, and then give each liner a little spritz of baking spray to prevent the cupcakes from sticking as bad.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ginger). Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Then, mix in the yogurt, milk, lime juice, vanilla, and zest.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture, mixing until combined.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner just a little over half full.
  7. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
  8. Coconut 7 Minute Frosting: In a large heat safe mixing bowl, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites, and mix well (for about a minute).
  9. Then, place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water) beating constantly with an electric mixer until the frosting forms peaks when the beaters are lifted out.
  10. Remove the bowl from the heat and mix in the coconut extract. Allow the frosting to cool before using.
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How to make goat cheese (chevre).

My life has been all about milking lately. Morning and evening. The girls have really been doing their jobs well. 

So what to do when you have so much extra milk you could practically bathe in it (Oh wait, I already do that.)?

Make cheese, of course!

How To Make Goat Cheese

Now, to make goat cheese, you can get really fancy and purchase specialized things like cultures and rennet and things like that, but I’m all for simple and inexpensive. Although, I’m not ruling out any cheese making purchases in the future.  

And when I say simple, I really do mean just that.

Two ingredients. That’s basically all this farm-style goat cheese has in it. Of course, you can pizzazz it up with a few extra additives for a little more flavor. 

First, you start with milk. 

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Which we have. This is slightly more than 2 quarts of fresh goat milk, and I used a another 2 quarts in all for this batch.

Now, you can totally use pasteurized milk to make goat cheese. Or you can use raw, which is what I did. 

Pour the milk into a large saucepan, and slowly heat to about 180 to 186F degrees, stirring constantly to try to keep the milk from scalding. If it does scald, that’s perfectly fine. Just try not to scrape the yucky stuff on the bottom up into the milk. 

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Once it has heated up to the desired temperature, remove from heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar (you can also use white distilled vinegar, lemon juice, or even citric acid. The milk will almost immediately begin to separate into curds and whey. This is my favorite part because it’s really neat to see the cheese forming in front of your eyes.

Allow it to set for about 10 minutes. 

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In the meantime, place a colander over a large bowl and line it with at least two layers of cheesecloth (Having trouble finding cheesecloth in the store? Try checking the crafts section).

After about ten minutes have passed, pour the curdled milk in the lined colander.

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The liquid in the bowl is the whey. I’ve read of people using it to bake with, as an extra ingredient in smoothies, to make ricotta, and as a protein booster (whey is full of protein). I haven’t used it for anything extra, but one day!

Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together to create a ball of cheese. Hang the cheesecloth covered ball of cheese over a bowl for about 1 to 2 hours so that any extra whey can drip out.

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I hang my cheese ball from a cabinet door handle, but some people also hang them from wooden spoons laid across the top of a tall stock pot. 

Once your cheese has finished dripping out whey, unwrap it and add any extras that you desire.

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This one had salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh rosemary added, but you can do things like fruit, nuts, sun dried tomatoes, chives, or any other herbs you’d like. Mix it all together, then pack it into a container (I just use a regular old Tupperware-type container) and place in the refrigerator. Allow about 2 days for the flavors to meld together for the best taste, but if you want to, it’ll still be perfectly tasty to eat right away.  

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I love goat cheese. 

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On salad. 

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Broccoli.

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Or on baked potato wedges. Or just by itself.

How to make goat cheese (chevre).

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon of goat milk
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cheesecloth
  • Colander
  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Spoon
  • Thermometer

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or pot on top of the stove on medium to medium high heat, allow the milk to slowly reach 180 - 186F degrees.
  2. Once it has, stir in the apple cider vinegar. The milk should begin curdling almost immediately. Allow it to set for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place a colander over another bowl (to capture the whey) and line the colander with two layers of cheese cloth.
  4. Pour the curdled milk into the lined colander. Gather together the corners of the cheese cloth to create a ball shape. Hang over a bowl to drain for about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Remove the ball of cheese from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, or any other additives you'd like and stir together until it's evenly incorporated.
  6. Place in a sealable container. Refrigerate for a couple of days for the best taste.
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