Custard Filled Cream Puffs


We celebrated our youngest daughter's 10th birthday on Valentines Day. My little sweets request.. my Lusciously Rich Custard Filled Cream Puffs! They really are the best and never disappoint  I hope you enjoy!

Pastry Cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise (not vanilla extract)
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoons butter

Directions
In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the milk and the split vanilla bean; cook till it begins to simmer. Watch carefully so your milk doesn’t scald or you will have a skin on top. If you do notice a skin forming, remove it before you are ready to add it to your egg mixture. Turn heat off.  

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until creamy pale yellow. You can also do this in a medium size stainless steel bowl with a wire whisk, but beat hard and consistently. (This is how I start my Zabaione when making an Italian custard) Next add the flour and beat hard till well incorporated and it has the texture of a thick paste. 

Slowly pour hot milk into egg mixture in a very thin stream whisking constantly to prevent curdling. When incorporated, remove vanilla bean. Scrape the seeds from the pod and stir them into the custard mix. Return custard to pan you heated the milk in and place on medium heat till mixture begins to thicken and come to a soft boil. Stir constantly and mix from bottom of pan to prevent custard from scalding. When it begins to come to a slow boil time it for another minute or so.. custard will be a medium consistency. Turn off heat. 
  
Add the 1 tablespoons of butter and mix well. Scrape the custard into a bowl. Smoothe plastic wrap directly on top of the custard. The first time I read this in directions I was kind of disconcerted thinking I would waste much of the top layer of custard when I pulled it from the top. When refrigerated and cooled, the plastic comes off clean from the top of the custard. No waste! 



Choux Pastry Puffs
Ingredients
1-cup water
1/2-cup butter (no substitutes)
1-cup all-purpose flour
1/4-teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Directions
In a saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove puffs to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape. Cool. Split puffs and remove soft dough.


The Inspired Plate | December | Cast Iron


I always have mixed feelings this time of year. Our last post usually means changes with our TIP group of gals. We have all grown in our art, our photography and even our businesses. It's a good thing.. but it often means our schedules change and we all can't keep up with the demands. I'm going to miss those gals who won't be participating next year!

This last post of the season is Cast Iron Cookware/ or Favorite pots and pans. My favorites are definitely my cast iron. So.. everything cooked here today has been baked, browned and grilled on three different forms of cast iron. My Artisan Boule bread was baked in an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven, my leg of lamb was warmed/browned in my favorite antique cast iron pan, and my panini sandwhich was pressed and grilled on my cast iron grill and weighted down with a cast iron pan.

So here we go..

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Panini
with Currant Jelly, Spinach and English Cheddar 
on a Fresh Artisan Boule


I hope you enjoy the photo journaling of this recipe.. I enjoyed preparing it just as much as my little family enjoyed eating it!


I used the no knead procedure here. It made a WONDERFUL dough with beautiful air pockets, crunchy crust and a perfectly chewy crumb! The best recipe I have yet used for bread!



Baked in an enameled cast iron pot. So easy and quick!!


Mmmm.. perfect loaf!!


This pretty little piece of pottery is from my daughter Kat, who bought it for me at her college's Art Department Christmas Boutique. She bought it specifically for my photo stylings. :) I love the colors and have decided these shades really do need to appear more in my photo shoots!


I made a rosemary & herb crusted roasted lamb for Christmas dinner. It was SO moist and made the perfect grilled panini sandwiches!


Spread a hearty helping of currant jam on the inside slices of bread, thick slices of English cheddar cheese, good sized portions of lamb slices. Spread butter on outsides of bread. Place on hot cast iron grill and place a heavy cast iron pan or pot on top to weight it down. Turn over to grill on other side. When done add spinach.. Voila!


Be sure to head on over to see what my dear friend Stacey Siegal | Kitchen Serendipity | Longobat Key & Bradenton FL Photographer is cooking and photographing! 
And check out her beautiful recipes and food photos when your there.. this gal can cook!! :)

Till next year.. 
Buon Appetito!! 

The Inspired Plate | November | A Casual Holiday Breakfast


Welcome to The Inspired Plate. It's the Holidays and we're shooting special foods styled in a holiday setting! I chose breakfast because the aroma of the apples and spices lingering in my house with this granola preparation always puts me in the mood for music, baking and hot tea! I can't believe another year has gone by! Starting January, we'll be celebrating 3 years with The Inspired Plate. So if you're a professional photographer with a niche for food.. definitely email us and let us know! Or visit us at our Facebook Page and leave us a comment!


Casual breakfasts are the key to a stress free day here in our household, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. At least once a week I make a big batch of this granola. This is an adapted recipe that my mom happened to get from one of the cooks at our church's, (Calvary Chapel) Retreat Center here in our local San Bernardino Mountains.


What I love about this granola is the ease of changing the flavor with just a different combination of fruits, nuts and spices. My husband and I like ours with plain greek yogurt and fruit, while the kids prefer there's with milk.. and sometimes as a snack in a baggie for their lunches. This shoot was photographed using a wonderful cranberry sauce, "Crushing Cranberry" that my friend Cheryl made. She made around 200 jars for our church's Christmas Boutique. The best Cranberry Sauce with the essence of orange I've ever had!


Here is the simple granola recipe.. and please don't forget to make your way over to see the rest of the gals' festive food fare! Next up is my dear friend Kim Kelly, San Diego Food Photographer. Her amazing recipes never disappoint!


Laurie's Homemade Granola
Adapted from CC Conference Center Twin Peaks Kitchen
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Fresh Grated Nutmeg
6 Cups Old Fashion Oats (not quick oats)
**Chopped Apples
1 Cup Honey
3/4 Cups Salad Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine almonds, coconut, cinnamon and oats. Mix well.
In a small saucepan, heat honey and oil to simmer, add to the oats mixture
stirring to mix. Divide between two 9x13 or so, baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Add chopped apples, stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes. When granola is cool, store in sealed containers.



** For this Holiday Granola; I made it with the slivered almonds, chopped apples, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Perfect for our breakfast celebration! But I often substitute *soaked raisins or dried cranberries with a variety of nuts and spices.

* For soaked raisins; Put your raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them steep for 5-10 minutes or over night, and then drain them thoroughly.