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June 2000 Issue
The Spices -- Part One
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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Rossana's Phyllo Streudel

This is by way of being a "some of this, some of that" type recipe so bear with me. I promise you it's simple, quick to put together, and a guaranteed success every time!!
    Okay . . . start with a few apples that you've peeled and sliced thinly. I usually use about four good sized ones, trying to have a couple of different kinds and including a Granny Smith for some tartness. Your favourite ones will do nicely. I'll sometimes substitutive a pear and almost always add a peach that's been peeled and thinly sliced.

    Place your fruit slices into a good sized bowl so you can mix them easily and sprinkle in no particular order, the following on top (remember all amounts are approximate and subject to change according to your taste preferences . . . I use a lot of cinnamon . . . I know it's more than 2 tsp!) :

    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
    • 1 tsp allspice, ground
    • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
    • 1 tsp ginger, ground
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom, ground
    • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
    • juice of half a lemon
    • 1/2 cup (or more) raisins (or fresh cranberries, halved)
    Mix it all together till nicely blended and set aside.

    Now . . . I use about eight sheets of phyllo pastry (the store bought stuff). Brush melted butter between each layer until you have at least eight and butter the top one generously. Sprinkle about a half cup of ground almonds (or hazelnuts, or walnuts) over the pastry and then spread the fruit filling to within an inch of three of the edges and a couple of inches from one of the longer edges. Now starting at the opposite long edge, roll the pastry jelly roll style finishing with the seam on the bottom. Brush the top with butter. Make a couple of slits in it. Bake at 350F til nicely golden. This should take about 30 - 40 minutes. Allow to cool a little and serve garnished with creme fraiche (a close facsimile recipe follows) or your favourite ice cream. Stand back and appreciate the applause.

    Now, I haven't made this for a while but if I remember correctly that amount of fruit makes enough for two streudels. They freeze really well.



Creme Fraiche (sort of)

    This is a recipe I found in some cookbook somewhere that gave close facsimiles of ingredients we can't get on this side of the ocean. I use it instead of cream or milk in my quiche mixtures and it gives them a most yummy texture. But mostly I use it as a garnish for fresh fruit. You'll never use plain whipped cream again!!

    In a non-metallic bowl (that means plastic, glass or ceramic) place equal parts of 35% (whipping cream) and sour cream, depending on how much you want to make. For instance, I always use 500 ml (one pint) of each.

    It keeps for several weeks in the fridge so if you make more than you can use immediately, don't worry about it, refrigerate it and find a million uses for it. Or make quiche!!

    Whisk it well to make sure it's completely blended, cover your bowl loosely and set in a warmish place over night. Yes, overnight. No, not in the fridge!! I usually set it in my microwave with the door slightly ajar.

    The next morning (actually go for close to 24 hours) remove it from your "warmish" place, whisk it again to blend and refrigerate until you're ready to use it. Because it keeps well, you can make this several days ahead with no problems.


Oh yeah -- and the quiche??

Simple. I use frozen puff pastry for the crust -- I have too heavy a hand with pie crust and ruin it all the time. Line your quiche pan with it and poke a few holes in the bottom. Sprinkle your choice of fillings -- spinach, mushrooms, grated Swiss -- crumbled bacon, grated cheddar, mushrooms -- crumbled feta, sliced peppers, sliced red onion, diced tomato -- asparagus, ham, grated gruyere -- whatever your favourite combination is. Then make your custard mixture. For a nine inch quiche pan I use 4 extra large eggs and one and a half cups of creme fraiche, a couple of pinches of salt, the same of white pepper, a generous sprinkle of nutmeg and a sprinkle of cayenne. Blend it well and pour into the quiche pan over your filling ingredients.

Bake at 450F for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat without opening the oven door to 350F and continue cooking till set. This should take another half hour or so.

Voila!! Quiche that even real men will eat!

Okay, nuff said for this month … see you next time!!


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