Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boston Cream Cheesecake

Boston Cream Cheesecake

Have you tried Betty Crocker’s gluten free cake mixes yet? 

I've tried both their devil’s food and yellow cake varieties and feel that the latter leaves much to be desired.  Compared to most basic yellow cake mixes from my days prior to being gluten free, this cake mix is a bit on the heavy side with a texture almost reminiscent of cornbread.  Their gluten free devil’s food mix doesn't share these negative textural traits and gets much higher marks.

Now here’s where both varieties fail in my book.  Each mix costs approximately 2-3 times the price of a regular cake mix but they each only make a single 8-9” layer or a dozen cupcakes. 

That’s a travesty in my book.  A single layer cake isn't going to impress anyone.  Can't we have a full sized cake after paying so much more?   

Between the single cake layer situation and mediocre mix itself which I had previously tested as basic cupcakes, I tried to make a dessert that would raise this mediocre mix to epic heights of deliciousness.

And so the Boston Cream Cheesecake was born.

And it doesn't get any simpler than using a cake mix on the bottom layer then topping it with a thick rich no-bake cheesecake before crowning the whole thing with a two ingredient chocolate ganache.   

The end result was delicious indeed. 

Note to self …  I gotta do a basic yellow cake for my readers.

Boston Cream Cheesecake
Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 40-40 min
Servings: 8-12

  • 1 box Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix (prepared with instructions on the box)
  • For the mix you’ll need: 2/3 cup water, 1 stick butter, 2 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs
  • (3) 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, very well softened
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • (2) 3.4 oz boxes of instant French vanilla pudding
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 6 oz of mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz of heavy cream

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C) and line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. Cool the cake for 5 minutes, remove the sides of the pan and insert strips of parchment around the edges of the cake that come up about an inch higher than the pan edges then put the collar back onto the pan.
  4. For the vanilla cheesecake layer, mix or beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well combined and smooth.
  5. In another bowl whisk together the milk and pudding mix until well combined and smooth then add it to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and mix or beat until you have a well combined homogenous mixture.  Use a rubber spatula periodically to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl ensuring that it is well mixed.
  6. Add the cheesecake mixture on top of the yellow cake and use the back of a spoon or spatula to carefully spread it to the edges of the pan without disrupting the parchment.
  7. Chill for 2 hours, remove from the pan and peel away the parchment.
  8. To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl combine the semisweet chocolate and heavy cream then microwave in 30 second increments stirring after each session until you've got a smooth glossy ganache.
  9. Let the ganache cool for a few minutes before pouring into the center of the cake then use the back of a spoon or spatula spread it to the edges of the cake.  Serve immediately or return to the fridge for two hours for a more solidified ganache layer.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger

This had to be the best burger I've had in a while. 

The key is the bacon. 

Well actually it’s not the bacon it’s the bacon cooking technique.  Have you ever had basket weaved bacon.  It does incredible things for any sandwich.  Think about it.  Instead of just sticking strips of bacon into your burger willy-nilly this technique weaves three strips of bacon into a perfect interlocked square that covers every inch of the burger. 

Actually every bite has a double layer of bacon.  And that bacon stays in place.  Forget the days where you take a bite of your sandwich and have pieces of bacon falling out onto the plate.  This is a winner.  If my instructions seem confusing just watch the video tutorial.

And don’t forget to toast your burger bun for maximum flavor.  I actually used a Glutino English muffin for my bun.  It worked incredibly well against the huge burger and all those  delicious toppings.

The only drawback to this one is the calorie count.  With this burger coming in at almost 850 calories, it’s not something you can eat every day.  That being said, sometimes you just have to put your healthy eating plan on the back burner for the love of an epic burger. 

Basket Weave Bacon Blue Cheese Burger
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 1

  • 3 strips of bacon, halved
  • 6 oz hamburger (I used ground chuck and sirloin)
  • 1 gluten free hamburger bun (I used a Glutino English muffin)
  • salt and pepper
  • fried onions
  • sautéed spinach or kale
  • crumbled blue cheese

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425°F or 218 °C and line a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. To make the basket weave bacon plank, line up three half strips of bacon parallel to one another on the prepared baking sheet sprayed.
  3. Fold back the center strip by 1/3 and lay down a slice perpendicular to the first three slices.  Move to the opposite end and fold back the two end slices then place a slice right next slice you just placed.  Fold those pieces back down and fold back the middle slice before putting the last piece in place. 
  4. Bake it for 15-20 minutes flipping it over after 10 minutes then drain on paper towels.
  5. Season the burger with salt and pepper then place it onto a very hot dry cast iron skillet and cook it for 2 minutes on the first side then flip the burger and cook it for 1 ½ minutes on the second side.  Flip it again and cook for just over another minute per side for a medium rare burger. 
  6. Toast the bun for 1-2 minutes per side in a dry skillet.
  7. To build the burger, layer on the fried onions, add the burger, top with the bacon, sautéed spinach or kale and add the crumbled blue cheese and serve.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gluten Free Egg McMuffin

Egg McMuffin Gluten Free Copycat

When was the last time you had an actual Egg McMuffin? 

If you've been on a gluten free diet for any length of time I’m sure it’s been a while.  I used to love those little breakfast sandwiches.  They were so easy to grab and clocked it at only about 300 calories which for me was worth it for a pretty nutritious and delicious breakfast sandwich. 

And I was definitely missing my little breakfast buddy when I happened to stumble upon Glutino’s English muffins at my supermarket.  I was definitely daydreaming about the good old days.  Then when the kitchen gadget isle also happened to have those little silicone egg rings that I knew would make it easy to do the egg part the fate of this little endeavor was sealed. 

Sometimes recipes just happen to be inspired by what you stumble upon.

It was indeed high time to do an Egg McMuffin copycat. 

Gluten Free Egg McMuffin
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min
Servings: 1

  • 1 gluten free English muffin (I used glutino)
  • 1 slice of yellow American cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 piece of Canadian bacon
  • butter (enough to fry the egg)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Toast the English muffin for about a minute per side in a dry skillet then place one slice of cheese on the bottom half of the muffin.
  2. Heat the Canadian bacon in a skillet for about two minutes per side or until it has a little color on each side. 
  3. Place a silicone egg ring into a cast iron or nonstick skillet heated to medium then melt a small pat of butter in the ring and add the egg, break the yolk, cover with a lid and cook for a minute. Then to keep the bottom from getting too overdone, lift the lid, splash in about a tablespoon of water around the outside of the ring and let the egg steam under the lid for another minute and it’s done
  4. Add the egg to the sandwich on top of the cheese then add the Canadian bacon before adding the top of the English muffin then serve while still warm.    

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ricotta Spinach Sausage Easter Pie

Ricotta  Spinach Sausage Easter Pie

Don’t you hate when life gets in the way of your other passions.  This post should have been up weeks ago.  If only I was more efficient with schedule planning for this blog, you would've seen this pie the week before Easter. 

But alas, since the idea to make this actually struck me the Saturday afternoon before Easter, I knew there was no way to edit the video and write the post in time.  

But I did film the process hoping to bring it to you just a few days late.  That didn’t happen either.  You see, to further complicate my schedule, I've been dealing with some horrendous basement flooding every time it rains.  It appears that my backyard needs to be torn up and new concrete needs to be poured.  I’m behind with everything.

Enough with my ranting and complaining … May I present the Easter pie. 

All is not lost folks.  With its savory blend of three cheeses to compliment the sautéed garlicky spinach and sweet Italian sausage, this pie would be an outstanding addition to any spring gathering.  

Mother’s day is just around the corner.  

Did you hear that kids?   Mother’s day is coming.  Read the recipe.  Watch the video and make this for your moms.  Or at least make her something from the heart.  We all love that stuff. 

Ricotta  Spinach Sausage Easter Pie
Prep time: 1 hour 
Cook time: 45 min
Servings: 10-12

  • gluten free cream cheese pie crust (I used 1 1/2 crusts of the double crust batch I demonstrated in my apple turnover video)
  • 12 oz frozen spinach,defrosted
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 links of Italian sausage
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 oz pecorino romano, grated
  • 4 oz shredded asiago, grated
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Sauté the spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a tablespoon of olive oil with some salt and pepper to taste then set aside to cool.
  2. Pan fry the sausage until cooked then chop into small pieces, return it to the pan and saute for another 3 minutes to develop more flavor then set aside to cool. 
  3. Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment and place it onto a baking sheet.
  4. Roll the pie crust large enough to fit the pan and come up the sides by about 1 ¾ inches.  If the crust falls apart as you place it in the pan piece it together and press it in place then chill. 
  5. For the lattice roll a 10 x 5 inch rectangle then use a ravioli cutter or knife to divide the dough into 6 long strips and chill while you make the filling.
  6. For the filling combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino romano, asiago, garlic powder, and black pepper and stir to combine.
  7. Add the spinach and sausage to the filling and stir until the mixture is homogeneous then fill the pie shell  and use the back of a spoon or spatula to smooth out the top.
  8. Place three lattice strips onto the pie parallel to each other and three more strips perpendicular to the first ones.
  9. Trim the lattice ends with a small paring knife and brush with an egg wash (one egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of cream) 
  10. Bake the pie in a preheated 375°F (or 190 °C) oven for 45 minutes then allow it to cool for 15 minutes before you remove it from the spring form pan to cool completely.  See notes.

  1. This pie is typically served at room temperature or even slightly chilled.  I refrigerated my pie overnight then took it out about 2 hours before serving to bring it closer to room temperature.
  2. I made a double pie crust recipe and used 1 crust to fill the pan and about a half a crust recipe to roll into the  10 x 5 inch rectangle for the lattice.  The remaining half crust was used a week later to make 2 large apple turnovers.

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