Friday, February 13, 2015

Something Sweet and Something Spicy for a Go'Shay Mardi Gras

So most of you who follow me know that the reason my posts as Seattlepastrygirl have been few and far between is because I'm posting on my other blog as Roadtrekgirl. Sometimes there is crossover and this is one of those times.

I love to experiment and challenge myself with our meals while we are on the road.  And sometimes I get really ambitious and push myself and my little Roadtrek cooking area to the limit.  This week was one of those times.  We were on our way to meet up with a group of friends in Gautier, MS to celebrate Mardi Gras.  Everyone was bringing something and I volunteered to bring dessert and an appetizer.  I wanted to stick with the Mardi Gras theme so I came up with spicy deviled eggs for the appetizer-deviled eggs with Andouille sausage-yummy.

With the appetizer out of the way I searched the Internet and I couldn't find anything that struck my fancy, that is until I ran into Bananas Foster. Hmm, that had possibilities.  But what I needed to do was make it small enough to fit into our 3 way oven in the Roadtrek (its a microwave,convection and half time Apollo oven). Plus it needed to be easily stored since I would have to prepare it ahead of time and store it in our little space.  And of course I wanted it to be something easy and neat to serve-and thus my version of Bananas Foster Cupcakes !

I took a few recipes from all over the Internet and played with them until I came up with what I wanted for my cupcakes.  They turned out decadent and delicious.  I will warn you of two things. 1. Don't even ask how many calories are contained in each one; and 2. This is not a quick bake it and go recipe-it has multiple steps but each step is easy to accomplish.

Caramelized bananas being added to the pastry cream

Bananas Foster Pastry Cream
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 yolks
4 Tablespoons Butter
For the Caramelized Bananas
4 medium bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt

2/3 cup whipped cream

Banana Instructions
1. Cut up the banana in to 1 inch pieces and toss with the brown sugar
2. Let it macerate it for ten minutes while the sugar draws the moisture out of the bananas.
3.Place the mixture in a heavy duty pan ( I used cast iron) and place it on to medium heat. Stir often, so that it does not burn. It will take about 15 minutes to cook. Really, stir ofter, it will get close to a medium amber color.
4. Spread the mixture out on a plate evenly and place in the refrigerator so it can cool. Now go and make the pastry cream.

Pastry Cream Instructions
1.Place the milk in a heavy bottomed pot with the scrapings of the vanilla bean as well as the whole pod. Turn that on and bring it to a scald. 
2. Place the eggs, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Have ready a heat proof spatula, and a larger bowl that will fit the pastry cream. 
3. Cut up your butter and have it accessible.
4. Once the milk has come to a scald. Add small amounts of it to the egg mixture completely stirring in the milk before adding a small amount more. This helps to stop the eggs from scrambling
5. Once you have added about 1/4 a cup of milk to the eggs, add the egg mixture to the pot and mix until totally incorporated. Turn the heat on to medium high. With a combination of the whisk and the spatula stir constantly, mainly with the spatula. Making sure that bottom of the pan is constantly being stirred, because anything left to long directly on the bottom will scramble and burn. 
6. When four or five bubbles start to appear, it is ready,and it will be fairly thick. 
7. Turn it off and add the cut up butter. 
8. Put the the caramelized bananas into that large bowl you set aside and mix until smooth and then add pastry and cream and mix until smooth.
9. Chill this mixture overnight in a shallow dish, I put it inside 2 small bowls,since the refrigerator in a Roadtrek doesn't have a great deal of space.
10.Cover it with plastic,placing the plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream so that it doesn’t form a skin.
11.The next day, whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks. Then with a spatula or bowl scraper gently fold the whip cream in to banana pastry cream mixture. Now it is ready to use.

Toasting the pecans in butter

Filling up my little cupcake cups

Butter Pecan Cupcakes

 2 cups chopped pecans
 1 1/4 cup salted butter (2 1/2 sticks) softened to room temperature
 2 cups granulated sugar
 4 large eggs
 1 TBS Butter Vanilla Emulsion (or plain vanilla extract)
 3 cups all purpose flour
 2 tsp baking powder
 1 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350-use the convection control on the Half Time Oven. Line 24 muffin tins with liners or if you are using rigid cups like I did just set them up on the metal plate from the Half Time Over. You will have to bake them 12 at a time due to the size of the oven. Set aside.
2. Place 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until toasted. Remove from oven and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Combine milk and emulsion (or extract) in a measuring glass. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of your mixer, beat 1 cup butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy -- about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. With the mixer on medium low, add flour and milk mixtures alternately, starting and ending with flour. Fold in the toasted pecans.
5. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove to cooling rack to cool.
6. Once cool , use whatever tool you have, a teaspoon or knife to scoop out the center of the cupcake in order to make room for the banana pastry cream.
7. Fill the cupcakes with the pastry cream-I used a small spatula. Once filled also lightly ice the top layer of the cupcake with the remainder of the pastry cream.
8. Once you finish your buttercream icing, ice the cupcakes,then place a dehydrated banana slice in the center of the cupcake.  Let the cupcakes set up for about 1 hour before drizzling with caramel.
9. Once the caramel cools-about 45 minutes to an hour drizzle over the cupcakes, and voila , your masterpiece !

And here is that lovely amber caramel getting ready to drizzle on the cupcakes

Easy Caramel Sauce
From the Pioneer Woman
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ sticks Butter (4 Tablespoons)
½ cups Half-and-half Or Cream (cream Will Make It Thicker)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Pinch Of Salt
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook
while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. Let cool ,so that it doesn't melt your icing. (If sauce is thin, just continue cooking for a few more minutes.)

Kracken Black Spiced Rum Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup spiced rum
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Whip the butter with a whisk attachment. 
2. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. 
3. After 3 cups add the cinnamon and salt. Beat to combine.
4. Add the rum
5. Add as much cream as you need to make the frosting the desired consistency. You are ready to ice those babies.

Lethal !

And for you savory types, here is the recipe  for the Spicy Andouille Deviled Eggs

Spicy Deviled Eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package (13.5 ounce) Fully Cooked Andouille Sausage,diced
2 dozen eggs, hard­boiled
2  teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Several dashes of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt a few turns of freshly ground black pepper

1.Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium­ high heat. When oil is shimmering, add diced
Andouille Sausage. Cook until well ­browned on all sides. Remove from pan with
slotted spoon; set aside to drain on paper towels.
2. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and grate on small holes of box grater into mixing
bowl. Add mustard, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add yolk
mixture to a large seal able plastic bag.
3,Fill egg whites half way with diced sausage. Cut off tip of plastic bag and pipe yolk mixture into
the egg whites over diced sausage, over­filling the whites. Top yolk mixture with more diced
4 Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Check out the Mardi Gras party I made these for at Roadtrekgirl. We had such a great time !  Bon Appetit everyone-see you can be a Roadtrek Chef !