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Miscellaneous Desserts

Eiswein vs Muscat - Alice Gomez
             Sara Waterson
Deep-fried Oreos - Bob Henrickson
Flan, According to the New Shorter OED - Martin Watts
John Meyn's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Poached Pears
             Mary S.
             Tom Collin
Tamales Dulces and Chile Rellenos
             Tamales Dulces - Astrid Bear
             Chile Rellenos - Alice Gomez
Tarte Au Sucre - Kyle Lerfald
Quark Pie (Rahkapiirakka) - Mary S.

Eiswein vs Muscat - Alice Gomez
Wanting to try something different for a Sunday "New Year's" dinner, I found a recipe for a "Sweet-wine Custard Tart" that sounded easy and wasn't too heavy: regular tart base, typical custard filling plus a little "sweet dessert wine (such as Muscat Canelli)."
I used an eiswein instead of a muscat.
I baked the tart base and I made the custard and added the six tablespoons of eiswein. The tart and custard bake up just fine. And it tastes ... well, rather boring, actually. I can't remember anything that I went to that much trouble for that tastes of practically nothing. It's kind of sweet, but could benefit greatly with addition of something with more flavor. (I'm thinking Amaretto, Laird's Apple Jack, jeez, even Scotch!)
So - here comes the question - would making the custard with a Muscat Canelli have made it taste differently? Or given in a special Muscat-y taste?
Here's the recipe:
Sweet-wine Custard Tart
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons (about) ice water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 large eggs
2/3 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons sweet dessert wine (such as Muscat Canelli)
For crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in enough water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch (reserve dough scraps). Fold overhang in; press dough firmly to create double-thick sides. Freeze crust 10 minutes.
Line crust with foil. Fill crust with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust sets, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans and bake crust until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely. Gently cover any cracks in crust with small bits of reserved dough and press lightly to smooth. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
For filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add 3 eggs, whipping cream and dessert wine and whisk until filling is well blended. Place crust on baking sheet. Pour filling into crust. Bake until filling sets and top browns, about 20 minutes. Transfer tart to rack
and cool 15 minutes.
Remove tart pan sides. Transfer tart to platter. Serve warm.

Sara Waterson
If I were making custard for a tart, I wouldn't use cornflower [cornstarch] for a start - sucks out flavour from anything. The eggs should be sufficient to make the custard set - I use two whole eggs and two yolks to about a pint of milk [just under half a litre] when making custard for e.g., creme bruleé. Using cream, you'd possibly get away with one yolk. I'd use a little vanilla to give some flavour to the custard - either a couple of drops of essence, or steep a pod in the warmed milk/cream you are going to use for the custard. Or put a pod in the sugar you are going to use, e.g., overnight. An alternative might be almond essence - it has a flowery bitter-sweetness, which would go well with the muscat or other sweet wine.
The wine: Muscat does have a particular smokey flavour which you can't really replicate. If you don't want to use that, then find something else with a distinctive flavour - I hesitate to suggest Chateau Yquem, but a Monbazillac might do the trick, or a fortified wine such as Madeira, m'dear. Rum might be good too. But not Eiswein - it doesn't have the 'body' for the job.
Vin Santo, the Tuscan 'pudding wine' which is served with 'biscotti' might be good if you don't like the flavour of Muscat. But vanilla is the thing.

Deep-fried Oreos - Bob Henrickson
In continuation of reports of deep fried Mars bars and other delicacies over the years here on the list, the following note from the August 28 Washington Post (Food Section!):
"Seen at the Montgomery County Fair last weekend: Fried Oreos, $1.59 Each. They had enough batter to look like onion rings and were served with a pile of powdered sugar."

Flan, According to the New Shorter OED - Martin Watts
The NSOED tells me that our word "flan" comes from the old French "flaon". Catalan "flaoun" must be from the same root. There is also "flawn" meaning a custard or cheesecake. These words are also linked to medieval Latin "flado, fladon" which is also the root for the Dutch "vlade, vla", a custard-like delicacy I remember with great pleasure from our visit to the Netherlands in 1994.

John Meyn's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Which I made some vanilla ice-cream today using demerara and soft brown sugar.

Poached Pears
Mary S.
I ordered some of those luscious Royal Riviera pears, and some cheese, for our holiday pleasure, but the swabs sent them WEEKS ago even though I specified "for Christmas." I've had to put the poor dears in the refrigerator and even so, fear they won't be very good by Wednesday (and that's when our offspring are arriving).
If I made something like Poached Pears, would they be capable of refrigeration and revival when the time comes? Any good recipes, or suggestions, from all the talented cooks here?

If you poach your pears in brandy or wine, they'll keep. And you can make them red, too, for the season.

Tom Collin
Pears come in such variety that this may or may not work.
If you are willing to sacrifice a pear to culinary experiment, you might peel, halve and core one, and then poach it in a simple syrup. Simple syrup is water and sugar in a two water (or three, especially here) to one sugar ratio by volume brought to a boil for a minute or three. Place pear half in the hot syrup and simmer for only a few minutes, until barely tender to a fork; keep checking and do not overcook. If the pear half has an adequate consistency, cool, cover and refrigerate the entire collation. Additions such as cinnamon are not recommended as they mask an already delicate flavor. Full details in The Joy of Cooking under Pears.

Tamales Dulces and Chile Rellenos
Tamales Dulces - Astrid Bear
Tamales dulce are sweet tamales, obviously enough -- maybe more of a Mexican thing than a New Mexican thing. The recipe in Diana' Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico calls for a tamale dough with added cinnamon, sugar, and pecans. The filling is raisins, and you wrap in corn husks and steam in the usual way. I've often heard of them as a traditional Christmas time treat (it's always someone's grandmother who makes them, it seems) although she says they are popular for breakfast or supper with a cup of hot chocolate, the implication being that they can be served year round.

Chile Rellenos - Alice Gomez
Sally does make a sweet version of chile rellenos, using raisins and nuts, green chile, and a little flour to hold everything together. The dough, such as it is, is rolled into walnut-size bites or formed into small logs about the size of a pinky finger, and fried. Afterward they are dusted with powdered sugar.

Tarte Au Sucre - Kyle Lerfald
There are those that claim you will not be able to get the real thing outside of French Canada, but several recipes are available - most follow the pattern of:
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 8-inch pie shell, unbaked
1/3 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine maple sugar, brown sugar and flour.
Spread evenly over pie shell.
Pour cream over sugar mixture.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Serve warm.
Then retire for strong coffee, and a bit of a nap.

Quark Pie (Rahkapiirakka) - Mary S.
From Finnguide: Finnish Quark Pie Recipe : Rahkapiirakka
Ingredients for the Dough:
5 dl milk
50 gr yeast
1 egg
2 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom
200g butter or margarine
12 - 14 dl of flour
5 dl quark (maitorahka)
2 dl cream
2 eggs
1 1/2 dl sugar
1 tbs vanilla sugar
3 tbs lemon juice
1dl raisins
Recipe Cooking and Preparation Method:
Dissolve the yeast into lukewarm milk in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, cardamom and egg, and mix ingredients together. Add half of the flour and stir into a soft dough. Mix the soft margarine or butter into the dough and as much of the rest of the flour as is needed. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the bowl or your fingers. Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Place the dough on a floured pastry board or table, knead and roll out with a rolling pin into a thin sheet (slightly bigger than a baking tray).
Place the dough on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Trim the edges. (From the extra dough you can form crosswise stripes to decorate the top of the pie). Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Mix together the quark, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon juice and raisins and pour over the dough sheet. Raise the edges. Decorate the top of the pie with crosswise stripes. Brush the dough with beaten egg. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius, on the middle oven rack, for approximately 30 minutes.
Food Serving Suggestion
Serve the Quark Pie warm or cold with a cup of coffee or tea. In Finland, Quark Pie (Rahkapiirakka) is traditionally served at Easter time.