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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream

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My sister, Tina was coming over to do a photoshoot of a few of my favorite traditional Greek dishes. She took a lot of amazing pictures so I had a little something in store for her. For dessert, I’m made a Blackberry Cornbread Cake With Maple Whipped Cream.

Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Mint

Fresh Mint Leaves

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet, 2 large mixing bowls, 1medium-size mixing bowl, hand-held electric mixer, whisk

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
2 cups of whole-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons of whole milk ricotta, room temperature
1 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of fine white cornmeal
3/4 cup of maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
2 pints of blackberries, reserve 1/2 of 1 pint for garnish
Pure Maple syrup for serving
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

Ingredients For Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Maple emulsion (extract)
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Cinnamon sugar for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron (ovenproof) skillet with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla extract, ricotta, and eggs. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, maple sugar, baking soda, and salt, whisk dry ingredients together until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the buttermilk mixture until smooth.

Line the blackberries in the buttered skillet, then pour the batter over the top. Finally, pour heavy cream into the center of the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Directions For Maple Whipped Cream:
In the meantime, in a pre-chilled large mixing bowl, add heavy cream. Using a hand-held mixer, beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Add maple emulsion (extract) and powdered sugar. Beat until firm. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.

I like to serve my Blackberry Cornbread Cake warm with a dollop of cold Maple Whipped Cream on top. Finish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a sprig of fresh mint.

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Banana Cream Cheesecake

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What do you get when you mix banana cream pie with cheesecake? A Banana Cream Cheesecake. This dessert will have you coming back for seconds.

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Above is a picture of my vanilla sugar. I keep my vanilla pods after I’ve scraped the caviar out, I add the pod into my granulated sugar jar, this way I always have vanilla sugar on hand.  I’m using vanilla sugar in my shortbread cookie crust for this recipe

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Offset Spatula

Above is what’s called an offset spatula. This makes frosting any type of cake so much easier than using, for example; a butter knife.

Note: A useful tip for frosting is to dip the offset spatula into very hot water then wiping off the spatula off. You want to do this once you spread the cream all over the top with the Bavarian cream.  This technique will give you a smooth top and defined outer edge.

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Yields: 12 servings
Bake Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Inactive Bake Time: 30 minutes in the oven
Cool Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Equipment: Electric or Stand Mixer, Spring Form Pan, Food Processor

Crust:
2 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
4 tbsp granulated sugar (optional vanilla sugar)

Bavarian Cream:
1 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp banana extract

2/3 cup cold heaving whipping cream
5 tbsp powdered sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
4 tsp banana extract
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pureed bananas (2 bananas)*
3 large eggs, room temperature

Directions For Whipped Cream Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 fresh sliced bananas

Note: Use ripe bananas, not ones that have browned

Directions For Crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper lined in the bottom and grease the sides. Add the broken up shortbread cookies to a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Press pulse a few times to process the cookies into crumbs. Add in the melted butter, and keep pulsing, until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Carefully remove the blade, then dump the crumbs into the springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides (ex: pictures above) of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that the water doesn’t seep through the springform pan. (ex: pictures above). Set prepared pan aside.

Directions For Bavarian Cream:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin onto the milk and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and set aside. Add the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and banana extract to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until warm. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly pour the hot cream into the whisked eggs to temper* them. Add the egg and cream mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or reaches 160 degrees F. This process should happen pretty quickly. Add the gelatin mixture to the hot cream and stir until smooth.

Pour the custard into another bowl and set that bowl inside another larger bowl containing a good amount of ice. Allow the custard cool to room temperature. While the custard is cooling, add heavy cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Once the custard (Bavarian cream) has cooled, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard. (Note: Be sure the custard is, at a minimum, room temperature so whipped cream does not wilt). Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the custard so a skin doesn’t form on top, and transfer to refrigerator.

Directions For Cheesecake:
Set oven temperature to 300 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on low speed until completely combined and smooth. Be sure to use low speed to reduce the amount of air add to the batter, ( this may cause cracks in the cake). Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sour cream, banana and vanilla extract, mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly to combine after each of them are added. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. Place the springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top of the aluminum foil on the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. The center should be set, but still slightly. Turn the oven off and leave the door closed for an additional 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook but slowly begins to cool as well.

Crack the oven door for an additional 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly. This helps to prevent cracking. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath along with the foil wrapping. Place onto a cooling rack and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the springform pan.

Spread the chilled Bavarian cream, using an offset spatula, all over the top. A good tip for frosting (underneath the picture of the offset spatula) is referenced above. Refrigerate the cheesecake until completely cool and firm, about 6 hours.

Add the heavy whipping, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for the whipped cream topping to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. whisk on high speed until stiff peaks. Pipe swirls of whipped cream around the edges of the cheesecake. Add sliced fresh bananas for the top and along the sides.

Store in refrigerator. If you’re decorating in advance with the whipped cream and fresh bananas, place cheesecake in a plastic cake container, then into the freezer.  This will stop the bananas from turning brown.  Bring the cheesecake out to thaw out enough to slice before serving.

*To Temper, is the process of adding a small amount of the hot cream slowly to beaten eggs while whisking so the eggs won’t scramble. Then add the egg mixture back to the pot, combining it with the rest of the cream mixture.

 

 

 

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna dish is loaded with flavor. I promise you won’t miss the meat! Mushrooms are such a great substitute for meat. Their meaty texture and earthy flavor paired with spinach, fresh mozzarella, and creamy Béchamel sauce take comfort food to a whole other level.

My Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna video will take you through a shortened version of this recipe. No one wants to watch an entire video from start to finish on making a Lasagna. To keep the video short and sweet, I decided to prepare all the components for the lasagna in advance. While generally going through the steps the video really concentrates on the assembly and the cooking process.

The top picture is after it’s rested for 20 minutes. The picture below is after the entire casserole dish had been refrigerated overnight and then a piece was cut.  You can see a big difference in the presentation. Truth be told, I think lasagna is always better the second day.

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

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Shitake Mushrooms (2)

Trumpet Mushrooms

Cremini Mushrooms (2)

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Oyster Mushrooms

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Portobello Mushroms

Cremini And White Button Mushrooms

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Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (10)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (1)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (4)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (6)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (7)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (5)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (2)

Wid Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (3)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (8)

Wild Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna (9)

 

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 12 servings
Equipment: 3-quart baking dish (15″ x 9 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ high), 6-quart saucepot, 3 large mixing  bowls, medium-size bowl, large deep-sided frying pan, Chef’s knife, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 boxes of dried oven-ready lasagna noodles ( you may only need a little over 1 box)
2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 stick for Bechamel sauce, 3 tablespoons for mushrooms, the remainder for greasing the baking dish
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups whole milk
2 10-ounce packages of thawed, drained spinach, squeeze out excess water
3/4 (24 ounces) of a 32-ounce container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (for Ricotta mixture)
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (for Ricotta mixture)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large package of fresh Mozzarella, slice into 14 rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of grated Parmesan
8 ounces (1 cup) of store-bought shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup of fresh and finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for Ricotta mixture,
2 tablespoons dried parsley for garnish

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
(approx. 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms total)
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 pint of white Button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
5 Oyster mushrooms, cleaned, central stem removed and discarded
6 Trumpet mushrooms, bottom tip removed, then sliced into 2-inch pieces
10 Shitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/4 cup unsalted beef stock, or a good red wine

Directions For Sautèed Wild Mushrooms:
In a large deep-sided frying pan (if you don’t have one of these pans, sauté your mushrooms in two batches, about 5 minutes per batch) over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil then add in fresh and dried thyme. Next, add the mushrooms, tossing and stirring continuously. As the mushrooms cook they’ll start to release their water.

Add in the minced garlic and black pepper, again, stirring occasionally.  Once all their water has evaporated, there will be mushroom bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and scrape all those delicious bits up using a wooden spoon. Once the mushrooms have really started to brown, this is when you want to salt the mushrooms. Continue stirring and allow the mushrooms to cook, absorbing the remainder of the beef broth and become tender about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Spinach:
Defrost both boxes of frozen spinach the day before. Once thawed, drain and squeeze dry any excess water. You want the spinach to be as free of any water as possible. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Directions For Cheeses:
Place store-bought shredded Mozzarella cheese in a bowl and set aside. Chop up the Parmesan cheese into small chunks and place them into a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of ground cheese. For the fresh Mozzarella, slice the Mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place all prepped cheeses in the frig until needed.

Directions For Ricotta:
In a large bowl add Ricotta, 3 beaten large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, and pepper, and finely chopped fresh flat leave Italian parsley. Mix together until well combined and set aside.

Directions For The Bechamel Sauce:
Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, whisking constantly until the flour has cooked out and becomes blonde in color. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Double-check the thickness of the Bechamel sauce by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separated and doesn’t run together, the sauce is ready. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly over the sauce, preventing a skin from forming, and set aside.

Assembling Lasagna:
Preheat
 oven to 375-degrees F.
Spread some of the sauce in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Arrange a layer of oven-ready noodles on top, then ladle more Bechamel sauce. Sprinkle both grated Parmesan and shredded  Mozzarella cheeses. Next, add half the spinach and mushrooms. To that, add the fresh Mozzarella slices.  Repeat this process once more. Next, add all of the Ricotta mixtures and top with another layer of the noodles. Lightly press, with your hands, on the top to make sure all the ingredients are nice and level in the dish. Over that last layer of noodles top with the rest of the Bechamel sauce and a final sprinkle of both grated Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella cheeses. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley over the top for color.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Once out of the oven, let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Directions For Reheating Refrigerated Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Pour between 2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup of water over the lasagna (depending on its size). Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sprayed side down over the lasagna and seal tight around the edges of the baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until lasagna is hot and bubbly.

Directions For Freezing Fully-Cooked Lasagna:
Make sure the lasagna has cooled completely, at least an hour and a half. Wrap the entire baking dish in freezer-safe plastic wrap. This ensures there are no gaps in the wrap where air can get in and cause freezer burn. Then place foil over the top. It can keep up to three months.

Directions For Cooking Frozen Lasagna:
Transfer the frozen lasagna to the refrigerator 24 hours in advance.
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Before going into the oven, remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace it with new foil that’s been sprayed with some non-stick cooking spray, on the dull side of the foil.  Add  2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup (depending on the size of the lasagna) of water over the top of the lasagna. Place the sprayed side down over the top, seal the edges tight. This will prevent any cheese from sticking to foil. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

 

YouTube video for this recipe is at http://www.YouTube.com/Linda Lou Hamel

 

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