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Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Eggnog Glaze

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Oh! Sweet Christmas, It is that time of the year where you want to enjoy yourself in the kitchen, to give and to allow the time to go by with no remorse while indulging the guiltless pleasure of a Holiday morning…. Waaahw Wahhw Wahhw Wahhw… Rewind that… you wake up and your children are screaming “Can we open the presents?” Dog barking, Phone ringing, hubby half sleep, you are feeling cranky because you stayed up late making these rolls for breakfast… this is more like it right?, But where is the Christmas spirit?… No worries, it’s coming out of the oven in a few minutes. Make coffee, place the tray of Apple Cinnamon Rolls in the oven to warm up while you open a few presents. Twenty minutes later your house will start to smell like the north pole kitchen. Cinnamon is in the air! Drizzle the glaze, and scream “Breakfast is ready!”

I know this recipe is not the 1,2, 3 mix and done cinnamon rolls. But, why settle for less?, let’s make it AWESOME, It’s Christmas! I promise you it’s all worth it.

One bite of these rolls and you will feel how the world is merry, joyful, and your efforts so worth it when making these rolls. Time to sit, relax and enjoy!

Undoubtedly, these Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Eggnog glaze will ungrinch-ify the grinchiest Grinch.

Merry Christmas, Happy holidays, Joy and Hugs!

Ian & Mariana

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Ponche de Frutas – Warm Fruit Punch

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It is freezing and wet cold here in Austin, I really needed  a warm drink, so last night I geared up and made this warm fruit punch recipe, it is divine and it works like a charm!. This Punch is traditionally from Mexico and is served, on the cold weather months November, December, January, “Ponche de Frutas” Warm Fruit Punch is a delicious warm drink made with fall and winter stone fruits like apples, pears, crabapples, hawthorns, oranges, mandarines, guavas, prunes, plums, raw sugar cane sticks, tamarind, hibiscus tea, cloves, cinnamon well everything but the kitchen zinc!

Imagine all these ingredients gather in a pot, slowly simmering to magically deliver  fantastic warm aromas and wintery flavors with only one mission: warm you up!

There are no rules when making the punch, the only ingredient that is a must is the Mexican cinnamon. For the rest, you can make it with your favorite fruit combinations, but I will encourage you to use at least 2 kind of stone fruits, 1 citrus and either hibiscus or tamarind they add the acidity background note needed to balance the sweetness.

This drink is not meant to be overly sweet. In fact most of the sweetness comes mainly from the fruits so adding a small amount of sugar is just what you need to balance the flavors.

You can use brown sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, dark agave nectar, monk-fruit sweetener or piloncillo* which its my favorite option in small amounts. Piloncillo is raw-pure unrefined sugar compressed into a cone that resembles in flavor to molasses; some times you can find it with cinnamon, anise and a little vanilla added. It is used to sweeten desserts, drinks and bake goods. So a little goes along way.

Can you imagine the aromas that this concoction will bring to your kitchen? spices, apples, cinnamon, oranges, warming up the house!…**sigh**

This punch is served in mugs and with a little spoon so you can eat the fruits from the bottom as you drink along. It is great for parties and family gatherings kids love it!
For the grownups you can spike it up by adding a little splash-a-rooh of your favorite rum or vodka as you serve it.
Whether you make a large, medium or small pot, this fruit punch will definitely warm you up inside out!…

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Apple Buckwheat Crepe Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce

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“With an apple I will astonish Paris.”
~ Paul Cezanne ~

This cake is for the person who loves to cook and who enjoys the process of creating, and building something from scratch; layering flavors, textures, and aromas. This cake taught me patience. From the conception, to the making I learned all the way. I learned that fast and easy are not always worth it. I was reminded of the “virtuous” character of patience. We can use it when we desire the outcome we imagine. To enjoy making this cake, reserve time, and relax. There is something about craftsmanship in this recipe that I love, especially the gratification of assembling the components. The results of such efforts are worth every step.

Time, and patience are the main ingredients. Apples, buckwheat flour ,butter and apple cider are the witnesses to the madness. The smells are insane once you start to cook; peeling the green apples, that crisp sweetness from breaking the skins, to the nutty and buttery aromas that fill the kitchen with a warm cloud when making the buckwheat crepes.

Imagine 26 soft silky layers of light, thin, buttery and nutty buckwheat crepes carefully layered with thinly sliced tart green apples sautéed with cinnamon and honey, mascarpone cinnamon cheese spread between layers. Add toasted pecans and a tipsy cider caramel sauce that sinuously hangs from the crispy feathery crêpe edges…This is the ultimate tribute to the apple and buckwheat love affair.

When you cut the first slice of this cake, your work shows, it makes you feel like a better person and all that patience and love invested in the creation it is absolutely worth it for a slice of this cake.

Fifty percent apples plus cheese and a bit of flour make it almost guiltless and mildly sweet, do not get the appearance trick you.

If you want to enjoy an apple cake this season, something memorable, and not so overly sweet, Apple Buckwheat Crepe Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce is the dessert you been waiting for.
Make time for this love affair and prepare to astonish.

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Apple-Buckwheat-Crepe-Cake_ingredients

Apple Buckwheat Crepe Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce

Serves 8-10

For the Crepes:

11/2 cups buckwheat flour
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons turbinado sugar or agave nectar.
¾ teaspoon fine salt
1 pinch of cinnamon

3 cups of milk
4 Large eggs
3 tablespoons of melted butter
2 tablespoons mild extra virgin olive oil

Plus about 3 more tablespoons of butter to cook the crepes.
1 – 8” non-stick pan
1 Ice cream scooper
1 baking sheet or cookie sheet tray

For the Apples:

7 medium size green tart Granny smith apples*
3 medium size Braeburn apples*
½ cup honey
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup apple cider

Note:  I’m combining two different types of apples, green tart wich are super crisp and hold their texture when sautéed, and the Braeburn wich are sweet and fragrant and wich also hold their texture when they are cooked. Once balance the others, I did not wanted to use a lot of sugar, since the cake will be drizzled with a cider caramel sauce. My advice is please, taste your apples: If they are to sweet or two tart you might need to add more sugar or honey is up to your preference and your sweet tooth.

For the Mascarpone filling:

2 cups mascarpone cheese
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the Apple Cider Caramel Sauce:

2 cups apple cider
½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup calvados.

1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans.

Directions:

1. Start by preparing your Crepe batter. Combine all dry ingredients, Combine all wet ingredients and add them little by little to the dy ingredients whisking throughly until well combined and no lumps. Cover your batter with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is touching the mixture, to avoid a skin to form. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can make it the night before or in the morning and make the crepes at night. The batter will keep for about 48 hours.

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2. Mean time your crêpe batter is resting, prepare your apples. Peel them, core them as you peel and core them place the apples on a bowl with water and lemon juice to prevent the apples turning brown. Slice the apples about an 1/8 inch thin using a mandolin or the food processor. When using a mandolin, I always use a metal mesh glove, it is safe and comfortable when slicing, than the plastic apparatus that come with the mandolin set.

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3. Place them on a bowl and toss them with the honey, sugar, salt cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice lemon zest. On a large pot over medium high heat melt the butter and add the tossed apples. Mix the cold apple cider with the cornstarch to avoid lumps, and add to the apples. Saute the apples tossing gently for about 6-7 minutes until they are tender, but not mushy, they have a glistening light brown color the juices are reduced. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar if needed. Set aside, to allow to cool. Reserve some of the best looking round slices to decorate the top layer.

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3. Once your batter has rested, pull it out f the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, whisk a little and start preparing to make the crepes. Pre-heat your 8” nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a little dab of butter until melted and remove excess with a folded paper towel. Poor about 1.5 to 2 ounces of batter into the center of the pan immediately swirl the pan all around to spread the batter on an evenly coat that covers all the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds until the edges start releasing when you pull them with the help of a spatula. At this point flip. And cook for another 10 to 15 seconds, transfer to the baking sheet, lay them out flat and allow them to cool. Continue with the same procedure, using the buttered paper towel in between crepes works great, you do not have to add butter every time to the pan, a small coat from the napkin will do it. Continue until your batter is gone.

Tips and Notes to the crêpe maker:
– I use an Ice cream scooper to portion the batter, this allow me to have equal thickness every time. a small ladle will work too.
-The first crêpe is not always the prettiest, usually is the test drive; it allows you to adjust the temperature in your pan and rectify the heat.
– If this is your first time making crepes please do not get discouraged, it gets better as you go. Once you get the groove on it is fun and the smell on your kitchen is heavenly!

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4. Once you finish making all the crepes, allow them to cool, and make your mascarpone filling. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whip them for 2-3 minutes with a hand blender until smooth and well combined.
5. Now that you have all the components start assembling, on a flat platter or a cake stand, place a dollop of the cheese and place your first crêpe, arrange a single even layer of the sautéed apples unfolding the slices if tangled, then add a crêpe, then a thin layer of mascarpone cheese, apples. Between, crêpe and crêpe, gently press to ensure you have even layers. Continue until you are done with the crepes and filling, ending with a crêpe. Cover the cake with some plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so the layers can set.  Mean time make the caramel sauce.

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6. On a small heavy bottom pot, add the apple cider, sugar, honey and butter. Bring to a rapid simmer, you want o evaporate as much water on the sauce. This will take around 15-20 minutes until reduced by half. You will see the formation of big bubbles, and the consistency of the sauce is thicker it resembles more like a syrup.
At this point add the heavy cream whisking at all times, until all is incorporated. Add the Calvados and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the consistency of a caramel sauce. Remove sauce from heat. And transfer into a small poring jar. Allow to cool before drizzling on the cake.

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7. Pull the cake out of the refrigerator, place the reserved pretty slices of sautéed apples and decorate the top, once the caramel has cool down a little, pour some of the caramel sauce all over the cake drizzle all edges and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.
8. Make sure you reserve at least half of the sauce to drizzle some extra when the cake is served. Enjoy.

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Apple Buckwheat Crepe Cake

with Cider Caramel Sauce

Music Pairing: Erik Satie – The Essential Collection

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Hatch Apple Pie

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Last week I went prickly pear hunting with my good friends Andrea and Arin. This involved intense heat, lots of driving, and careful handling of ingredients, and lots of tiny needles. After picking these thorny fruits, we juiced them and they produced a bright pink fragrant juice which tastes like a sweet tart lemonade. Afterwards, we were having a food conversation over our drinks and Hatch chilli’s which are in season became the topic,no matter what we always end up talking about food is inevitable…I love it!. As ingredients go Hatch peppers its one of the gems of the chili world, having a mild heat and great flavor. Andrea’s Hatch mode was contagious. After tossing around some favorite Hatch combinations, I began considering Apple Pie with Hatch peppers. Apple pie is normally reserved for the fall but I am married to a man who can eat it regardless of season. I thought this would be the right time to bake a test batch (which ran on Instagram, which you knew because all of you MUST follow YMP on Instagram) and they turned out splendidly, or at least the eaters of the samples left not a crumb,apple, or chili behind.

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I twisted my classic crostata crust recipe which you can find the step by step in this post (Ian this phrase is just for me!..need to plug the link!) and I added cheddar cheese! Yes you heard well, sharp cheddar cheese. It came to me like a dream. The cheddar adds the savory a bit salty note to the crust, and it makes it airy and flaky. I also tried a new technique when kneading the pie crust, I learned by watching one of the episodes “ The Mind of a Chef ” with Sean Brock and southern baker Lisa Donovan who were making her amazing buttermilk pies. What I learned about her Pate brise type of dough, (which is my favorite kind for pie), is the following: she “flaked the butter” when she was making her dough, instead of leaving those famous “pea size butter chunks”. She squeezes them between her thumb and index finger to create what she called “butter flakes” Genius!!!! So I tried her technique and I added grated cheddar to create more flaking. The result is this utterly buttery and flaky crust, you can see the pictures which do not lie! Omg what a great technique and awesome combination between the fat of the butter and the cheese if I do say so myself.

But where is the hatch? After I chard them, they were hanging out with the apples in a combination of raw sugar, Gause Jaupon honey, Mexican cinnamon, and nutmeg. That’s what the crust had to stand up to! You can only imagine the amazing outcome after all these ingredients colliding in the same universe. Amazing pie. Go for it. Don’t be shy. If you want to comment on your experience with it please e-mail me. If you love the recipe shout it on the streets! …Enjoy!

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Hatch Apple Pie

A tongue twister by name and by taste!
Makes 2- 5” baby pies

For the pie filling:

2 green apples
2 red Apples
2-3 hatch chiles charred, skinned , de-seeded and chopped. (I used hot!)
¼ cup honey
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon mexican cinnamon grated
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon corn starch
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 good pinch of salt

For the cheddar cheese crust:

1+1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 stick = 4 oz. of european style butter cut into small cubes.
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 pinch of kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons of iced water.

Extra flour for dusting and rolling the dough.
1 egg for egg-wash the pie tops
a little extra turbinado sugar to sprinkle on crust.

Preparation method:

1. Start by making the crust. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Then add the chilled butter cubes, and the grated cheddar cheese. With you hands start rubbing the flour and butter between your fingers and creating “the flakes” see picture bellow) you want to be gentle and as fast as possible.
2. Once your dough looks flaky and coarse, add the iced water and quickly combine by incorporating the flour with the least kneading possible. (see picture below)
3. The dough will look almost like is not together. Gently press into a flat ball and divide into fours. (you will need two tops, and two bottoms)
4. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and quickly shape into 4 small disks. Chill them for at least 15-20 minutes in the freezer.

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5. Meantime, prepare the apple filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples. In a medium bowl toss the sliced apples, diced roasted hatch peppers, honey, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, salt apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Use your hands to well combine every ingredient. Set aside.

 

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6. Time to roll up your dough!.. this is fun! Using 2 small 5” baking pie dishes. Roll each dough piece into a 7- 8” rounds. Rub some butter into the dishes, and then place the bottom disc shaping the dough into the dish with your hands.
7. Fill each pie with half of the apple filling. Arrange the apple pieces in flat layers. You don’t want to be to fussy about it, just pay attention at not leaving apple gaps specially on the bottom layer ; )

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8. Now your pies look like mountains of apples, that’s great! Roll the other two pastry disks into 7”-8” and cover your pies.
9. Crimp the edges of the pie with the help of a fork, make four 1” slits on top of the pie. Beat one egg and 1 teaspoon of water and with a pastry brush, brush the tops of the pies with this egg wash mixture. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top, and edges of the pie.hatch-apple-pie_sprinkle-some-sugar
10. Line up a baking sheet with a lip with aluminum foil. Place the two pies in the tray. Place the tray in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
11. Place the rack oven into the bottom third of the oven. Preheat your oven at 400F.
12. After 20 minutes, remove the pies from freezer and place them directly into the oven.
13. Bake at 400F for the first 20 minutes. Rotate the pies and lower the temperature to 350F. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.
14. By now your house smell like heaven! Place the pies into a cooling rack let them cool for about 30 minutes. Serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and a dash of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

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Life is too short. Make pie. Eat pie. Repeat!

Music Pairing: Nouvelle Vague – Dancing with Myself

 

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