Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
2 cups grated Parmesan
6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Layer the cauliflower, heavy cream, and the 3 cheeses in a medium casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note: Recipe can be doubled and made in a roasting pan.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Roast Prime Rib with Thyme Au Jus

1 bone-in prime rib (6 to 7 pounds)
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups red wine
4 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Thirty minutes before roasting the prime rib, remove from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make small slits all over the prime rib and fill each slit with a slice of the garlic. Season liberally with the salt and coarse pepper, place on a rack set inside a roasting pan and roast for about 2 hours until medium-rare, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 135 degrees F. Remove the meat to a platter, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over 2 burners set on high heat. Add the wine to the pan drippings in the pan and cook over high heat until reduced, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Slice meat as desired and serve with thyme au jus.


Buche de Noel

Walnut Biscuit:
5 eggs, separated, room temperature
100 grams granulated sugar
25 grams granulated maple sugar
125 grams cake flour, sifted
3 ounces toasted walnuts, finely chopped

Pastry Cream

4 large egg yolks
55 grams cornstarch
40 grams sugar, plus 75 grams sugar
75 grams maple syrup
2 tablespoons whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniels)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups milk
28 grams butter
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup heavy cream

113 grams sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 to 2 tablespoons whisky (recommended: Jack Daniels)
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
12 ounces butter, room temperature
Sugared Cranberries:
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups cranberries (cannot have been frozen)
Candied walnuts, store-bought
Candied orange peel, store-bought
Maple Tuiles

225 grams butter, at room temperature
350 grams maple syrup
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 teaspoon salt
240 grams egg whites
225 grams all-purpose flour
Luster dust, optional

For the walnut biscuit:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a half sheet pan, line with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust with flour.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Beat in both sugars and whip to a stiff, glossy meringue.

Alternately fold the cake flour and egg yolks into the meringue in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the nuts.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan, and bake until the cake is pale gold, the center springs back when you press it lightly with your finger, and the edges start to pull from the sides of the pan, 10 to 12 minutes.

For the pastry cream:
Whisk the yolks, cornstarch, and the 40 grams sugar in a medium bowl; the mixture will be very thick, but try to whisk enough to remove most of the lumps.

Put the 75 grams sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until dark brown; don't worry if it crystallizes a bit. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup, then whisk in the whisky, turn up the heat, and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to boil off the alcohol.

Whisk the milk and vanilla bean scrapings into the caramel mixture and bring to simmer. Slowly whisk about half of the hot mixture into the yolks, then whisk that mixture back into the pot, bring to a boil, whisking, and cook, still whisking, until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, salt and maple extract. Pour into a shallow dish, press plastic wrap onto the surface, and chill until set and very cold, about 4 hours.

Beat the cold pastry cream in a standing mixer until smooth. When ready to use, whip the cream until it is very stiff, then beat into the pastry cream. Chill until ready to use.

For the buttercream:
Put the sugar in a medium pot and add enough water just to moisten; use your fingers to wet the sugar evenly. Bring to a boil. While the sugar is heating, start beating the yolks and egg in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment.

When the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (softball stage), pour it into the yolks with the mixer still running, taking care not to pour it onto the whisk. Beat until cooled to room temperature. Beat in the whisky and the maple extract.

Cream the butter in another mixing bowl using the paddle attachment. Beat in the cooled egg mixture until smooth. You can use it right away, or chill it overnight; if you chill it, rebeat when you are ready to assemble the cake.

For the sugared cranberries:
Have a cookie sheet or shallow dish and a slotted spoon next to the stove.

Put the sugar in a medium pot and add enough water just to moisten; use your fingers to wet the sugar evenly. Add the cinnamon stick.

Bring to a boil, add the cranberries, and immediately pull from the heat. Transfer the cranberries to the cookie sheet with the slotted spoon. Cool.

For the maple tuiles:
Cream the butter, maple syrup, vanilla bean scrapings and salt until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in egg whites until smooth. Beat in the flour. Let the batter rest and hour or so at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with a silpat. Using a stencil, smear the batter thinly on the silpat and bake until dark golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan while still warm. If you want to shape the cookies, put them over a bottle or rolling pin while warm; let cool. If desired, brush lightly with luster dust.

Turn the cooled cake onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper with a long side near you. Spread the chilled pastry cream evenly over the surface, leaving a 2-inch border across from you. Using the parchment paper to lift, roll the cake as tightly as possible. Set seam side down on a platter or large pan, and chill for an hour or so.

Frost the cake with the buttercream, smoothing the surface so it looks like bark. Decorate with candied cranberries, walnuts, orange peel, and tuiles.