January 7, 2018

cooking show: baked in vermont

Happy Sunday! We’re officially one week into the new year, yay! I don’t know about you, but the colder weather (50-60 degrees here in Newport Beach) always draws me into the kitchen and I end up cooking a lot more than usual, especially on the weekends.

I was especially inspired by my latest discovery on the Food Network, Baked in Vermont with Gisine Bullock-Prado. Evidently I’ve missed several episodes this season, but the ones I’ve seen have me hooked!

Not only does Gesine bake up wonderful goodies in her Vermont kitchen that also doubles as a cooking school, but her personality is absolutely bubbly and so fun to watch!  

Gesine's a multi-talented pastry chef and baking instructor that you may have also seen on The Kitchen and on TheToday Show. Have you guys watched her show at all?

She lives and teaches in the 18th century farmhouse that she shares with her husband Ray. She also has some amazing savory recipes that she makes, but for today we're gonna keep it strictly sweet!  

Such a dreamy old home! 

Picture perfect!

Here’s a little peek at her BH&G feature from last year. 

When I first heard Gesine, her voice and mannerisms reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t pinpoint it right away... 

...then I remembered she’s Sandra Bullock’s little sister. They really do sound a lot a like!

At the top of my list of new dinner items to make this month are Gisine’s Turkey Potpie with Biscuit Crust and her Broccoli Salad with baked Croutons, but as for this today, I'm gonna start with making these lemony blueberry muffins. I wanted to give you a head start too, so here's the recipe, plus one more for good measure!

Lemon Blues Muffins with Crumble Topping

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon natural lemon extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon extract and mix to incorporate.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg and whisk for 30 seconds to evenly distribute the leavening. With the mixer running on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add the buttermilk and follow with the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Using a large rubber spatula, gently give the batter a few quick strokes to make sure there are no pockets of flour remaining. Fold in the blueberries. Fill each muffin cavity three-quarters full.

For the crumble: In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt using a wooden spoon or your fingers. Keep working the mixture until the butter is absorbed and the mixture starts to clump.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crumble on top of each muffin. Bake until the muffins just spring back when gently poked, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mini Berry Ladyfinger Tarts

Makes 8 individual tarts

2 packages of lady fingers

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
pinch salt
5 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup raspberry purée or jam

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups mixed whole fresh berries
1 spool decorative ribbon, 1 inch wide
Make the filling:

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and 1 cup of the cream and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the granulated sugar, egg yolks, salt, cornstarch, and raspberry purée. Whisk on high speed until combined. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, slowly pour it down the side of the bowl into the whisking egg yolk mixture and continue whisking until well combined.

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface so that a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.

Remove the filling from the refrigerator. It will have firmed up quite a bit; stir it with a wooden spoon until it loosens and is smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the filling until combined. Transfer the raspberry filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.

To assemble:
Place 8 metal rings on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Line each ring with ladyfingers, the sugar-dusted side facing out, by standing them up side by side until the ring is filled. Place a ladyfinger cake round into the bottom of the ring, trimming the round if it's too tight a fit with the standing ladyfingers. Repeat with each of the remaining rings.

Place 3 raspberries on the bottom layer of each ring. Pipe filling into each ring until it just reaches the top of the standing ladyfingers. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

To serve, carefully remove the rings. (Heat the rings gently with a kitchen torch or blow dryer for easier removal if necessary.) Arrange the mixed berries atop the filling. For an especially adorable presentation, gently tie a ribbon around each tart.

(I simplified this recipe by purchasing good-quality lady fingers. Gesine, of course bakes her own!) 

P.S. Gesine’s fun cookbook Bake It Like You Mean It is available on Amazon, or just tune in to the Food Network. Her next show is on Tuesday, January 9th at 12:30pm. 

ciao! fabiana

photo credits: Gisine Prado, Food Network, BH&G

By the way, don’t forget to watch the Golden Globe Awards tonight! I’ll be tuning in early to catch all the red carpet fashion for sure, and we can talk about it tomorrow!

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