Holiday Breakfast Endeavours: Variations of French Toast

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend (for those of you who had it). The mornings were nice as the sun was coming up and to have the opportunity to make some breakfast, go out on the balcony, and relax.

First attempt: The first attempt at french toast i went with a caramelized pear combination which I then added crished macadamis nuts too. It was quite tasty and had the flavors reminiscent of a monkey-bread. It was also topped with blueberries.

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Second attempt: The second day, I went with more of an apple-berry flavor combination. I diced up apples into small pieces, put into a small saucepan, and then i added blackberry port. This was then thickened with a little corn starch to make more of a syrup as it was heating it.

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Both came with the side of homemade bacon which can be seen here.

Enjoy.

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Macarons…some various seasonal flavors

Going way back to sometime in the early Spring when I had first done macarons (click here) you can find my general recipe and it takes you through the process from food processing and sifting ingredients to folding in and eventually pouring the batter and cooking in the oven.

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This post is more into the aspect of filling flavors and being how we are almost, sort of in between seasons, I figured I could go in either direction (though more fall flavors will come deeper into the fall).

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In some cases, I made a white chocolate gnache with simply using a Ghiradelli White Chocolate bar and some heavy cream in a sauce pan and constant stirring (followed by cooling in the refrigerator. In these cases I placed a thin layer on both sides of the macaron and then either places in between some fresh raspberry that I had cut into smaller pieces or a whole blueberry. Optionally, some of the raspberry ones are topped with flaked coconut.

Another fruit based cream filling I had done involved fresh cantaloupe, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and some basil. These were all heated and blended together to make a nice thick cream. Some of the shells for these were topped with crushed mint leaves.

A fall seasonal flavor I tried was utilizing apples and fresh ginger. These ingredients were chopped finely and mixed together in a light homemade caramel until soft enough to become a more homogenous caramel cream.

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Finally I ended with filling some with the traditional chocolate gnache (utilization of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates by Ghiradelli). In all, a nice variety of flavor combinations, was pleased with flavors as well as the way the shells cooked and came out. They developed nice feet and there were no issues with air pockets of any sort.

Later to come in the fall, when I do find some fresh pumpkin, going to be experimenting with that. Also looking into other apple combinations as well as doing something with poached pears.

Stay tuned.

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Happy Birthday…Well not to me.

This past weekend we had celebrated my father’s birthday. Traditionally, as it is his favorite type of cake, he always wants a cheesecake for his birthday. I obliged and went along to make a nice Italian style cheesecake which is a bit different than the more traditional New-York style cheesecake typically seen.

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As the above photo shows, this was done in a 9 inch spring-form pan. For the bottom crust all that was needed was almond slivers or slices, graham crackers (I used the cinnamon ones), some unsalted butter, and my optional unsweetened cocoa powder. They are all blended together (I used my magic bullet) until fine ground and slightly moist. It was then spread over the bottom of the pan and baked in the oven for 15 minutes at 350.

Now for the filling, it was 16 ounces, cream cheese, 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, 1 cup sugar (I used fine grain), some lemon juice, some cinnamon, and I flavored it with a white port which was infused with chocolate.

After the crust was baked on its own, I let it cool and then poured in the above mentioned mixture after I mixed it until smooth. The spring-form pan was placed in a turkey roaster which was then filled with water up to about 3/4 up the side of the cake pan. This was then places in the oven at 325 for just over an hour.

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Upon completion of cooking, I let it sit on the counter for one hour to cool and then put into the refrigerator to settle (at least 8 hours). After that period, I then made a light cream with mascarpone and whipping cream for the outer edge and then used a rubber spatula to place almond slices along the sides.

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For the top, I had taken pecans and roasted them in some oil and spices in the oven for about 20 minutes, let them cool, and ground them a little in my magic bullet. I also proceeded to make a caramel sauce which was just a little bit of water, sugar (used both regular and brown), some heavy cream and some vanilla extract to flavor. I spread a little bit of this over the top (allowed for a surface for the pecans to stick too) and used the excess to drizzle over the individual slices.

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Enjoy.