Not The Killing Type
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Add the vanilla seeds and pod. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and super fine sugar in a bowl and beat with electric beaters for 2 to 3 minutes or until light in color.
Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan and discard or save for another use, then pour the hot cream over the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Remove foam with a large spoon and discard. Strain the mixture into a large pitcher, then carefully pour it into six 7-or 8-ounce ovenproof ramekins. Put the ramekins in a deep roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the pan until it’s halfway up the sides of ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with foil, allowing some air to enter through the sides.
Bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The crème brûlée should still wiggle a little when done. Carefully remove ramekins from the oven and the water bath, and set aside to cool. Place the brown sugar on a baking tray, turn off the oven and place the tray inside for 15 minutes or until the sugar is completely dried out. Allow it to cool completely, then place it in a food processor and process to a powder. Store in an airtight container. Once the custards have cooled, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve, preheat the broiler on high. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar on top of each custard, using the back of a teaspoon to spread it evenly. Place the custards under the broiler until the sugar melts and caramelizes. (You can also use a mini blowtorch to caramelize the sugar.) Allow the custard to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
18 large uncooked shrimp
9 bacon strips (cut in half for each shrimp)
1½ cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Peel and devein the shrimp. Wrap a half strip of bacon on each shrimp and pierce with a toothpick.
Bake the shrimp on an ungreased baking sheet for 30 minutes. Remove to a slow cooker. Warm the barbecue sauce and pour it over the shrimp. Stir until covered. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove from the sauce to a serving dish and serve.
Yield: 18 pieces
Grandma Miles’s Peach Upside-Down Cake
1/3 cup butter, melted
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches (if using canned, rinse and drain)
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour the melted butter into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan; sprinkle with the brown sugar. Arrange the peach slices in a single layer over the brown sugar.
In a small mixing bowl, cream the shortening and granulated sugar. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and alternate with the milk. Spoon the batter over the peaches.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out on a plate. If desired, serve with whipped cream.
Yield: 6 servings
Baked Brie with Raspberry Preserves
½ (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (8-ounce) round of Brie cheese
¼ cup raspberry preserves (or ¼ cup of your favorite preserves)
1/8 cup toasted almond slices (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Roll the puff pastry out slightly. Place the cheese round on top of the pastry (do not remove the rind). Place the preserves on top of Brie. Sprinkle the preserves with the almonds. Wrap the puff pastry up and around the Brie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with crackers.
Yield: 4-6 servings