something sweet - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘something sweet’

Instant Indian Dessert: Fig Chutney & Masala Chai Ice Cream

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Every party needs a great finale. Why not feature the exotic spices of the Indian continent in a dessert. As part of my entertaining scheme for hosting a super, modern, party of small bites, try adding a chutney to your cheese board, and a spectacular chai-based ice cream for a fantastic Indian dessert.

To complete the party menu for our Modern Indian theme, I couldn’t help but suggest a couple of excellent products to add to the buffet. In these items, Indian flavors infiltrate the dessert phase in the most sophisticated way.

[1] Virginia Chutney Co  I love chutney. It’s got such a fine assortment of textures, sweetness, and a tanginess that can’t be beat. I like to think of it as a great shortcut ingredient to add in many recipes, including salad dressings and as a spread on sandwiches. (Think turkey.) The Virginia Chutney Co offers six interesting flavors and combinations, which are family-made in the blue hills of Virginia. For the Indian-themed party, I suggest a pairing with cheese—you can’t go wrong with any of their mixes.

The Balsamic Fig Chutney would be a nice complement with a goat cheese or a blue cheese. I couldn’t resist repeating the wonderfully descriptive tasting notes from the website… “Fig chutney is our lush hedonist, the notorious Italian uncle who arrives in Virginia with armloads of gifts, dances with all the ladies at the wedding, and keeps everyone awake singing operettas late at night. It’s all fig and no leaf, a loud sweetness rounded with a rich balsamic.”

Also fantastic is their Spicy Plum variety, whose spice-iness comes from caramelized onions and ginger. Match it with with Brie or cheddar. If you are more interested in presenting a sweet juxtaposition, go for the Sweet Peach which pairs up with just about any cheese. $8, available online at virginiachutney.com.

[2] TEA•RRIFIC Ice Cream The Masala Chai mixes Assam black and rooibos teas with cardamom, ginger, clove, and peppercorns, a truly sophisticated treat. $7, available at Whole Foods, Garden of Eden, and other local NYC markets. They’ve also got six other flavors, all tea-based. Try them all!  tearrificicecream.com

Easy Step-by-Step to the Perfect Banana Flan

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Here’s a flan with a little twist: the addition of fruit. Banana flan presents beautifully , and is a nice, light bite to end the night.

I made this banana flan with my best friend Jude, who is quite the baker. She made the process easy, being the detail-oriented person she is, and we got the flan in the oven in no time flat. (See photos below, I always find a visual helps when you are trying a recipe for the first time—as I was).

See more recipes and ideas for throwing a party with Latin-inspired cuisine at this link.

MAKES ONE 12-INCH FLAN

GET IT STARTED

Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil… Preheat oven 350ºF.

MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE

3/4 CUP sugar

Place sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow sugar to melt (do not stir). It will turn a light brown and start to bubble. Once it’s all melted, immediately pour into the glass baking dish and rotate quickly so caramel completely covers the bottom. It’s important to be fast, as the caramel will turn as hard as candy almost instantly. Place dish inside a rectangular pan.

HOBNOBMAG steps to make banana flan

GET OUT FOOD PROCESSOR … MAKE THE CUSTARD

3 CUPS milk
3/4 CUP sugar
1 can sweet condensed milk
3 ripe bananas, sliced
1/4 tsp salt

5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor add milk, sugar, condensed milk, bananas, salt, and pulse together. In a large bowl, break eggs and whisk lightly. Combine processed mixture slowly into the eggs. Add vanilla, mix. Pour into the glass baking dish. (Pour through a fine mesh sieve if you have patience.)

HOBNOBMAG steps to make banana flan

BAKE IT

Pull out middle shelf of oven and position the glass baking dish inside the rectangular pan. Pour boiling water into the rectangular pan, until it is halfway up the sides of the flan’s glass baking pan. Bake for 1 hr until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool. Cover and place in the fridge to set, at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, run a dull knife around the edge of the flan, and carefully invert onto serving dish.

HOBNOBMAG steps to make banana flan

Cocktail Ice Pops: How to Make Instant Pop Art

Posted on: August 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Wind down your dinner party with a fun treat— cocktail ice pops —and allow your guests to indulge in some creativity. The ZOKU Quick Pop Maker takes your concoctions from liquid to ice pop in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how it works: Store the base in the freezer.  Pull out when you are ready to make the pops. Pour your mix into the cavity. It will make 9 pops before having to refreeze the base—which will give you enough time to enjoy one, and come up with a new idea for the next round.

The kit comes with a cool accessories for the very creative, so you can experiment with tilted layers, and use different ingredients for the inside and outside of the pop. Think about using fresh fruit, yogurt, fruit juices, sodas—you get the idea. There is also a cool case to house the pops, if you want to make them ahead of time. $50 for the triple-base, with tools/sticks; $20 for the accessories; $20 for the storage case. Available online at zokuhome.com

For the mix, think of any low-alcohol cocktails that are kind of fruity—that will work as a pop. Sangria with lots of fruit would also work perfectly. Martinis, not so much.

HOBNOBMAG Instant Cocktail Ice Pops E

MAKE THE COCKTAIL ICE POP

1 part vodka
3 parts cranberry juice
1 part prosecco
strawberries, sliced

If you are using the Zoku pop maker, then just pour in the mixture, and wait 5 min for it to freeze. Voila! An instant cocktail ice pop. (Alternatively, pour into regular pop molds ahead of time, and allow at least 5 hours to freeze.)

Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris: Cookies with Benefits

Posted on: July 2nd, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Julie Morris has come up with a delightful assortment of recipes all having a super food (or two) as an ingredient. Many of her recipes in Superfood Kitchen use quite exotic items—you know those items you see in the health food store that you are not quite sure how to proceed with.

Hemp seeds, quinoa flakes, maca powder, and dried yacon find a home with myriad of fresh ingredients in meals you can eat throughout the day. A glossary fills you in on all the health benefits of the superfoods, plus flavor notes and ways to use them.

It’s a book you can get into a little at a time, and savor the knowledge. Photo, above left, shows Kabocha-Quinoa Risotto with Sage Cream & Sun-Dried Yacon Root, and photo, right, is our featured recipe for a chewy, healthy dessert. You can see more recipes with Super Foods in my party plan for hosting a healthy gathering.

featured recipe

MACA-MACAROONS

Cookies with benefits—now that’s the way to live! Easy to make and deliciously full of natural ingredients, the combination of maca and brazil nuts in these macaroons tastes almost like peanut butter … with a lovely coconut-ty embrace, of course. The results are quite irresistible.

Makes about 20 cookies

1 CUP raw brazil nuts
1 1/4 CUPS unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for rolling
1 1/2 TB maca powder
3/4 CUP (packed) soft Medjool dates (about 7 or 8), pits removed
1 TB maple syrup
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

Grind all the ingredients together in a food processor until a coarse dough has formed. Check the consistency: pinch the dough and make sure that it sticks together, yet still crumbles like a cookie. If the dough is too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time until the dough sticks. If the dough is too wet, add spoonfuls of extra coconut until the dough is just right.

Form the dough into balls, about a tablespoon at a time, and roll exterior in extra coconut. Flatten into cookies and serve. Kept covered, these cookies will last several weeks.

—Reprinted with permission from Superfood Kitchen © 2012 by Julie Morris, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Julie Morris

Vegan Mini Dessert: Nutty Coconut Cream & Berries

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

No need for baking here. These cups are assembled using only the best, healthy ingredients. Heads up: the coconut milk must go into the fridge for at least 6 hours, so plan ahead. For the cocoa lovers in your life, mix 2 TB cocoa powder or 1 CUP vegan chocolate chips to the coconut cream before inserting into the cups. Anyone who’s into super foods might like to check out the other recipes from our healing foods party menu.

MAKES 4 – 5 CUPS OF CREAM

PREPARE THE COCONUT MILK

2 cans full-fat coconut milk
metal bowl

Leave cans in refrigerator overnight. Place metal bowl in fridge for whipping.

MAKE THE NUTTY CUPS

1 CUP almonds
1 CUP rolled oats
10 dates
1 tsp vanilla
2 TB maple syrup
1/2 CUP coconut flakes
1 TB nutritional yeast (optional)

Pulse in food processor until combined. Mold mixture into a mini muffin tin to create the cups. Place in freezer for at least 10 minutes.

MAKE THE COCONUT CREAM

chilled coconut milk

1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 CUP superfine sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

Remove cans from the fridge carefully, do not shake. Open the cans. Remove the solids from the top, leaving the liquid behind (save for use in a smoothie). Transfer to the chilled metal bowl. With a hand mixer, beat the coconut cream until thick and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients, combine. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

ASSEMBLE THE DESSERT

nutty cups
coconut cream
blueberries, for garnish
mint leaf, for garnish

Spoon in the coconut cream into the cups. Top with blueberry and small mint leaf.

vegan mini dessert with blueberries

Light Dessert: Strawberries, Blue Cheese & Crushed Pecans

Posted on: June 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

A fresh berry with a punch of blue cheese and crunchy pecans could appeal to those who shy away from things that are overly-sweet.  This light dessert is so easy to assemble—the blue cheese adheres to the fruit, and the nuts stick to the cheese. Make sure to leave on the strawberry’s green tops, so it can be used as a handle for picking berries up. Include this ensemble if you are planning to do a 4th of July buffet—I love the red, white, and blue effect.

MAKES 36 STRAWBERRY HALVES

GET A NICE SHARP KNIFE

18 large strawberries
Maytag blue cheese, softened
20 pecans, chopped

Cut each strawberry in half leaving the greens intact. On each half, spoon on a little blue cheese, push down with thumb. Spread chopped pecans on a cutting board. Turn strawberries face down and press the blue cheese into the chopped nuts. Arrange on serving platter.

BLUE CHEESE BUYING GUIDE:

There are so many varieties of blue cheese, each one with its own texture, piquancy and taste. Keep in mind raw cheeses offer a more complex flavor profile, with a sense of terroir. Ask for tastes at your local cheese emporium!
[1] Gorgonzola Mountain -italy- Cow’s milk. Strong.
[2] Gorgonzola Dolce -italy- Cow’s milk. Soft, spreadable.
[3] Maytag Blue -iowa- Raw cow’s milk. Quintessential.
[4] Great Hill Blue -massachusetts- Raw cow’s milk. Piquant, slightly sweet.
[5] Fourme D’Ambert -france- Raw cow’s milk. Dense, crumbly.

blue cheese varieties

Cannoli Pizza for Dessert

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

When creating a menu for my pizza party, I thought, “What would work for dessert?” Enter the cannoli pizza, which takes the best of two worlds and combines it into one. This recipe is party-sized, with plenty to go around. The cannoli cream will be enough to cover an entire box of puff pastry, so if you make the whole recipe, you can decide if you want to send guests home with care packages of the extras, or keep it all to yourself!

Important: To ensure gourmet status, make sure to buy the best house-made ricotta you can find. I found mine at Garden of Eden, NYC. They have a brand of fresh ricotta that might have you licking its contents out of the package. As for the cinnamon addition in the mix, leave it out if you want a more traditional cannoli cream flavor, but I thought it added a nice twist to the equation.

If you are looking to host a fab pizza party, I’ve figured out the perfect plan for all the recipes for: bases, sauces, toppings, and finishing touches.

makes enough for one box of puff pastry (2 frozen pastries = 6 long pieces)

THAW PUFF PASTRY 40 MIN

thawed puff pastry

Preheat oven 400ºF. Cut puff pastry into thirds to get long strips. Bake for 15 min on baking sheet lined with parchment.

START THE CANNOLI CREAM

2 CUPS whole milk ricotta, excess liquid drained
3/4 CUP powdered sugar

Whisk ricotta until smooth. Incorporate powdered sugar.

GIVE IT SPICE

1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TB lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix into ricotta.

MAKE IT CREAMIER

1/2 CUP heavy cream

In a mixer, beat cream until it begins to form stiff peaks. Gently fold into ricotta using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate until ready to use.

MAKE THE PIZZA

baked puff pastry
cannoli cream
1/2 CUP pistachios, chopped

Allow puff pastry to cool completely, 10-15 min. Spread cannoli topping generously over entire surface. Sprinkle chopped pistachio.

Stir Fry Lotus Root with Kumquats

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Lotus root is just so special, I can think of a bunch of ways to showcase this ingredient and highlight its pretty, pure white color, in addition to the stir fry lotus root featured in our recipe below. Its unusual pattern makes it seem like food from outer space. The texture is the selling point, it has a satisfying, fresh-tasting crunch, akin to water chestnuts or turnips.

• Serve it as a salad accompanied by thin slices of cucumber and toss in a mayo-based dressing.

• Stir frying gives it additional crisp. In addition to this recipe, match it with a quick stir fry of snap peas, or mushrooms, or string beans.

• Add sliced lotus root to soups. It would look great in a light broth with a teeny star pasta and bean sprouts.

Whenever I host a party, I try to offer something unusual that people can try. The stir fry lotus root worked perfectly in my party menu featuring all white foods. See more of the recipes and ideas at this link to create a totally chill white scene on your buffet.

MAKES A SMALLISH CRUNCHY SNACK FOR 4 PEOPLE

GET OUT YOUR WOK (OR SKILLET)

1 TB peanut oil
pinch of red pepper flakes

Heat peanut oil over high flame. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

STIR FRY

bag of lotus root
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
6 kumquats, cut into rings
2 TB natural cane sugar

Add lotus, garlic and kumquats to wok, stir fry on high heat for about 2 min. Toss in sugar, stir together an additional minute or so. Serve in bowl or individual cups.

The Strudel Queen’s Hungarian Apple Strudel Filling

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Vera Eisenberg, a.k.a. The Strudel Queen, shares her recipe for her famous apple strudel filling, one of her many renditions on this classic, sophisticated pastry, which include sweet and savory versions. Thanks Vera!

Vera generously shared her recipe to be featured in our White Party theme, one of this website’s total party plans. As you can imagine, this menu features only food that is white, making for a stunning presentation. Choose all white, rather than red-and-green for a holiday hit.

Makes enough for 3 strudels or 15 servings

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF… MAKE THE APPLE MIX

4 LB cored and thinly sliced Belle de Boscop or other cooking apples
1/2 CUP granulated sugar
1 CUP golden raisins, soaked in 4 TB dark rum or apple cider
2 fresh lemons, juiced
1/2 CUP Cookie Dust (see recipe)

Combine the ingredients.

MAKE THE STRUDEL DOUGH

1 hand-pulled strudel dough (see recipe)
1/2 CUP Cookie Dust (see recipe bottom of page)

Prepare, and stretch strudel dough according to direction. (see directions on Vera’s blog) Sprinkle the Cookie Dust on the rolled out dough. Spoon apple mixture in a long even shape along the topside of dough leaving 2 inches on top and on each end. Using tablecloth, roll the dough over like a jellyroll, finishing with seam side down. Tuck ends under, cut strudel into 3 to fit baking pan.

BAKE THE STRUDEL

1/2 CUP melted unsalted butter

Confectioner sugar
Optional, vanilla ice cream or soft whipped cream

Carefully place strudels onto parchment-lined baking sheet with seam side down. Brush tops with melted butter, then make slits with a sharp knife 2 inches apart (to let stream escape while baking).

Lower oven to 375º. Bake strudel in middle of oven until golden brown and crisp, 35 to 40 min. Rotate for even baking.

Transfer to a rack and cool 30 min. Dust with confectioner sugar. Serve as is or with soft whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

We just give you the filling recipe here. To see the recipes for a traditional, tried-and-tested strudel dough and Vera’s special addition of cookie dust head to her website.

Baked Puddings Drenched in Caramel Whiskey Sauce from Try This at Home by Richard Blais

Posted on: March 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Richard Blais always does a fresh take on the ordinary. This dessert recipe for sticky pudding comes drenched in a caramel whiskey sauce for extra indulgence.

I fell in love with this book as soon as I laid eyes on it—it’s got all the things that I adore: a great design, super interesting recipes, and a down-to-earth attitude. There are lots of recipes for gadget-lovers in this book, sous vide reigns supreme, as well as other molecular diversions. Blais puts the joy into experimentation and provides familiar recipes and tastes with his signature twists. Enjoy this smoky dessert from the book.

featured recipe

Sticky Pudding with Scotch Sauce

SERVES 6

FOR THE PUDDING

1 CUP chopped pitted Medjool dates
1 1/4 CUPS water
1/4 CUP brewed espresso
1 tsp baking soda

4 TB (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 CUP packed dark brown sugar
3 TB sorghum syrup or molasses
3 large eggs, beaten
1 CUP all-purpose flour

To make the pudding: Put the dates, water, and espresso in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat, stir in the baking soda, and let stand for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 6-cup nonstick jumbo muffin tin with butter. Set it into a large deep baking dish.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 min. Add the sorghum syrup and mix well. Drain the soaked dates and add them to the butter mixture, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, with a large rubber spatula, fold the flour into the date mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among muffin cups.

Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the muffin tin. Bake until the puddings are set and spring back when touched in the center, about 30 min. Remove from the oven and let stand until the water in the baking dish is cool, but the puddings remain warm.

FOR THE SAUCE

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Scotch whiskey
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed
8 TB (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced

Meanwhile, to make the sauce: Put the sugar and Scotch into a medium saucepan and stir to moisten the sugar. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until the caramel turns dark amber. Very carefully pour in the cream (it will bubble up) and cook, whisking gently, until very smooth and any bits of caramel have dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time, whisking until melted and combined each time before adding more.

TO SERVE

Run a knife around each pudding. Place a large cutting board or platter over the pan and invert the pan and board; lift off the pan.

Arrange the puddings on dessert plates. Serve the puddings warm, with the Scotch sauce drizzled over the top.

—Reprinted with permission from “Try This at Home” by Richard Blais

Pear Apple Mini Tarts with a Savory Twist

Posted on: March 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Apples, pears, and figs mix with smoked almonds elevating this fruity dessert for the ultimate in sophistication. I think mini tarts are the way to go when entertaining, they look so cute in their individual dishes, and make guests feel you did something just for them. This recipe makes eight individual pear apple mini tarts, but if you don’t have the baking tins, it will make two pies, so plan accordingly.

Prepare the tarts earlier in the day and bake about an hour before you want to serve—straight out of the oven, for the most oohs and ahs. Of course, some ice cream on the top would be a sensational complement, so have some vanilla on hand, or even something with a coconut accent, or a Dulce de Leche (one of my favorite ice creams!)

I included the smoked almonds in these slightly savory mini tarts as part of the menu for our Smoky Party plan, which gives you recipes and ideas for throwing a professional-looking party. So check the link for menu planning.

MAKES 8 MINI TARTS OR 2 NINE-INCH PIES

LEAVE TIME TO DEFROST CRUSTS

Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Dough, 2 pieces

Defrost pie dough—this brand requires 3 hours of defrosting, so plan ahead. When totally defrosted, unroll carefully. Cut into 4 triangles if making mini tarts.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE NUT SUGAR MIX

1/2 CUP smoked almonds
1/4 CUP natural sugar

Pulse nuts till crumbly. Add sugar, pulse to mix.

PREPARE FRUIT FILLING

3 apples
3 pears
4 figs
1/2 CUP natural sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
2 TB cornstarch

Cut apples and pears into thin slices. Finely chop figs. Toss in a bowl with sugar, lemon, cornstarch.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF…PREPARE THE TARTS

defrosted dough
nut sugar mixture
fruit filling
1 egg, beaten

Place dough in tartlet pans, letting edges hang over. Cover bottom of dough with nut/sugar mixture. Divide fruit filling between all. Fold in edges of dough, brush with egg. Sprinkle nut/sugar mix all over the top.
4 steps to creating pear apple mini tarts

BAKE THE TARTS

Bake uncovered for 30 min, cover with aluminum foil, bake additional 15 min. Let tarts cool around 20 min before serving.

Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn Introduces Candied Bacon into a Less-Sweet Dessert

Posted on: March 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Now here’s a unique twist on sweets. Brian Alberg provides a 6-part less-sweet dessert for the finale of his James Beard House dinner using local Berkshire ingredients.

Before farm-to-table was even a phrase, Brian Alberg was living it. He and fellow chefs in the surrounding Berkshires have a bounty of produce and livestock to choose from.

At his ninth visit to the James Beard house, he created the most interesting non-dessert dessert I have ever experienced, featuring candied bacon from his own heritage breed pigs, a vanilla sweet-corn panna cotta, grape must, and blue cheese popcorn with salad and sliced apples. I chose to include this recipe to be a part of an entire plan for hosting a party with a menu focused on smoky tastes—that’s where the bacon comes in.

Brian is executive chef at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a piece of history, and a perfect spot for a weekend getaway from NYC. redlioninn.com

hobnobmag less-sweet desserts recipe candied bacon

recipe

CANDIED BACON DESSERT

Serves 6

Candied Bacon

1/4 CUP white sugar
1/4 CUP brown sugar
6 slices thick cut bacon

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix sugars in small bowl. Coat bacon slices liberally with sugar, place on sheet pan and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20-30 min. Remove from pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Bacon will crisp up as it cools.

hobnobmag less-sweet desserts recipe candied bacon

Sweet Corn Panna Cotta

1 qt half & half
2 ears of corn, kernels and cobs separated
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 sheets gelatin, bloomed in cold water

In a medium sauce pan, add half and half, corn kernels and cobs, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for approximately 35-40 min until reduced by half. Remove corn cobs, discard. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh colander. With the bottom of a spoon, press the liquid out of the corn. Discard corn kernels; you should be left with the corn cream. Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatin sheets and add to the half and half mixture. Stir thoroughly until all the gelatin is dissolved and incorporated. Divide evenly among 4 oz. portion cups. (Plastic works great for this as it is less work to invert panna cotta once set). Chill until set, approx. 2 hrs.

Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 CUP sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and blend with electric mixer until soft peaks form, cover and place in the refrigerator for later use.

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

1/4 CUP apple cider vinegar
1/4 CUP maple syrup
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
2 TB dijon mustard
2 tsp minced shallot
3/4 CUP corn oil
3/4 CUP olive oil

Use this dressing in place of the grape must: In a blender, blend all ingredients except the oils. With blender on low speed, slowly add the oils until incorporated.

Smoked Berkshire Blue Popcorn

1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 CUP popcorn kernels
1 tsp butter
1/4 CUP smoked blue cheese, finely shredded

In a medium heavy-bottom pot, on medium heat add oil and 3 to 4 popcorn kernels, cover with lid. Allow oil to heat up and kernels to pop. Once this happens, add butter and remaining popcorn. Continue cooking in covered pot, on medium heat, shaking frequently as to not burn the bottom kernels. Once the kernels start popping, shake more frequently until the time between popping kernels becomes 6-8 seconds apart. Remove from heat, and let stand 1 minute. Remove lid and stir in blue cheese.

Hot Buttered Rum Sauce

1 qt apple cider

1/2 CUP Berkshire Mountain Distillers rum
1 CUP butter, cubed

In a large sauce pan, reduce cider until you are left with approximately 1 cup. Remove from heat, add rum. Whisk in butter a couple cubes at a time until incorporated and slightly thickened.

Construction of the dessert

Place panna cotta in small shallow-sided bowl, as to be able to pour hot buttered rum around it. Top with whipped cream and candied bacon. Place the bowl on one side of a medium rectangular plate. On the other half of the plate, place the salad of frisee, arugula and tart apple, combined and tossed with enough of the maple-dijon vinaigrette to just coat the greens. Top with 5-6 pieces of the blue cheese popcorn. Finally, pour the hot buttered rum sauce on the outside of the panna cotta, approximately 1 oz per serving and serve immediately. Enjoy!

We’ve got more recipes with smoky ingredients to wow guests with, check it out in THE SMOKY PARTY.