Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter's Best Recipes

This White Chocolate bread pudding is ABSOLUTELY the best dessert I have ever made.  It is rich,  decadent and luscious.  I  usually make this at Christmas and Easter for my family.  It is a great dish to take to a potluck ( a fancy potluck!)  I have had many customers over the years that told me this was the best thing they ever ate! 
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
6 C - Heavy whipping cream
2 C - whole milk
1 C - Sugar
20 oz - White chocolate, chips or small pieces of premium white chocolate
6 Eggs
12 Egg yolks
2 loaves loaf of stale French bread (or Fresh sliced and dried in 275 oven
French bread
White Ganche' Sauce
12 ounces Premium WHite chocolate, broken in small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Stir together whipping cream, milk and sugar in a large heavy saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate pieces. Allow chocolate to melt for several minutes, then stir until smooth. Whisk together whole eggs and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour hot cream and chocolate mixture into the eggs in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you pour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all contents from the warm pot. Set pudding aside.

Preheat oven to 325. Thinly slice stale French bread and place in a 9" x 13" metal baking pan. Pour half of the pudding over the bread and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Use your fingers or a rubber spatula to press the bread into the pudding so that the liquid is absorbed and the bread becomes very soggy. Pour the remaining pudding over the bread and stir. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes, or until bread pudding is golden brown.

While bread pudding is baking, make white chocolate ganache by bringing cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate. Allow chocolate to melt for several minutes, then stir until smooth. 

Warm white chocolate bread pudding can be spooned directly out of the pan, or cut into slices. If serving in slices, chill bread pudding for 6-8 hours to allow to fully set. Loosen the sides from the pan with a knife and invert onto a cutting surface. Cut into squares, then halve squares to make triangular slices. Place bread pudding slices on a cookie sheet and heat in a 275° oven for 15 minutes, or until warm. Serve topped with warm white chocolate ganache and garnished with dark chocolate shavings


Notes: I like to cut off as much of the heavy brown crust that I can.  I use a serrated knife to do this.




Coconut Cake

INGREDIENTS:

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cream of coconut
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream 
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons flaked coconut

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 -9 inch cake pans.
2. Combine the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, cream of coconut and the sour cream and mix well for 4 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cake cool. Remove from pans and cut each layer in half.  Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with flaked coconut.
4. To Make Frosting: Combine the softened cream cheese, vanilla, milk and confectioners' sugar. Mix until smooth and spread over cooled cake. Top with flaked coconut.






Easter Ham


Ham in natural juices. This grade is somewhat confusingly named since the "natural juices" are actually added water (many hams of this grade weigh up to 10% more than their raw weight due to the extra water). These hams have a fine, meaty quality when baked, and the added water does help ensure that they stay juicy. This grade is a good value and is readily available at most supermarkets.

Ham, water added. The percentage of added water in this grade will be stated on the label (usually in fine print). A ham that says "water added--15%" means it weighs 15% more than its raw weight.

Ham and water product. Most producers of this lowest grade pump as much water as they can into the ham, which adds weight and allows them to sell it at a lower price. If the amount of water exceeds 50%, the ham must be labeled "water and ham product," since there is more water by weight than meat.


I buy “Ham with Natural Juices” or just plain ‘ol “Ham.” There are several grades of him, and it all has to do with how much water is injected (which keeps it moist). Ham labeled “with water added” or “ham and water product” in the lower quality, and and it’s something that I don’t recommend. There’s so much water added to the ham that it becomes tasteless and its texture spongy. Spongy ham is not good eats, especially for celebrating Easter. 


How to Score a Ham

Whole, fully cooked ham comes with the rind partially trimmed and a white layer of fat covering the meat. Don't remove the fat layer—it flavors the roast and keeps it moist during cooking.
However, the fat does need to be scored, or lightly cut, before cooking so that it crisps up as the meat roasts. The easiest way to do this is with a small chef's knife. Make crosshatches about 1/3 inch deep and spaced an inch or so apart, creating a diamond pattern over the entire surface.
The crosshatches will help the fat to crisp up, and a pretty diamond pattern will emerge during roasting. It's easiest to slice the ham roast with the fat still on, and let diners work around the fat. Also, if there are leftovers to be stashed in the fridge, the cap of fat will keep the meat moist. If you do choose to remove the fat, pry your fingers underneath the cap of fat and pull gently.
List of Ingredients


1 Fully-cooked Ham Half
Whole Cloves
Pineapple Rings and Maraschino Cherries

Ingredients for Glaze
About 6 ounces of Coke or other Cola
1 Cup of packed Brown Sugar
Pineapple or Orange Juice (to taste)
Ground Cinnamon (to taste)
Ground Cloves (to taste)
1 Tablespoon of Butter or Margarine (optional)




Recipe

Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and heat over Medium heat until sugar is melted and ingredients are blended. The glaze should be syrupy-thick. If too thin or runny, add more brown sugar. Set aside for the moment.

Score the top of the ham diagonally and stud with whole cloves. Garnish with pineapple rings (hold them in place with toothpicks while baking). Place a cherry in the middle of each ring.

Pour ham glaze over the top. Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven until heated throughout (about 15 minutes per pound).

While baking, baste the ham o with the glaze, which will mix nicely with the pan drippings. When ham is finished, pour off juices into a server and let guests ladle it on as desired.



We love deviled eggs, but only seem to make them for holidays and picnics.  This recipe came from my grandmother, and I tweeked it over the years.  Make sure you grate your onion very fine and drain the pickle relish and pimento well.  If not you will have a thin consistency because of too much liquid.  No Easter dinner is complete without deviled eggs!!
Heirloom Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

6 hard-cooked eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons grated onion
1-1/2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish- drained very well
1 tsp sugar
1 small jar diced pimento- drained well
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Salt/pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish
SLiced Green olives for garnish
Directions
Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks. Stir in the mayonnaise, onion, relish, sugar,mustard, salt, and pepper. Fold in pimento. Pipe or spoon into egg whites. If desired, slice 4 stuffed green olives into thirds and put on top of eggs.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 1 dozen.

Pineapple Stuffing Recipe

Every family, it seems, has a special dish that they serve on holidays. I found the original recipe in Southern Living over 25 years ago and it has been on our Easter menu ever since. It’s the perfect accompaniment to ham and also good with other meats and poultry.
Some in my family describe it as a cross between a bread pudding and a soufflé, Try it this Easter as an accompaniment to the Easter Ham.
Traditional family recipes are great fun, especially when they are shared!

8 Servings

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
5 slices white bread, cubed

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray. Dump the pineapple into a strainer and drain well, pressing out the juice a few times.  Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Stir in the pineapple until well-mixed. Fold in the bread cubes.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake 55-60 minutes or until golden on top and set in the middle.

Serve warm or at room temperature.





Swiss Asparagus Casserole
5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups fresh asparagus, sliced diagonally
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
¼ cup cracker crumbs


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet. Sauté asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes until barely tender. Remove from pan, and set aside. In same skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter until onion is soft. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute until flour is well blended. Add sour cream and shredded cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until cheese melts. Spoon asparagus into a buttered shallow baking dish. Top with cheese-and-sour-cream mixture. Sprinkle with crumbs, and dot with remaining butter. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. If top is not brown, place under broiler for an additional minute or two.

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