Pies! Cherry, Blueberry

Cherry Pie

These recipes come from the back of the book and are not really part of the restaurant tour but inspired by the abundance of cherries from my cherry tree this summer I tried them out. I was worried that the cherry pie filling was going to be too sweet as I prefer my pies quite light on sugar but in the end it was okay and the final product was, I would say, a quintessential American cherry pie.

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Blueberry Pie

The blueberry pie ended up being a little wet and I would recommend lightly cooking in the sugar and cornstarch so that the cornstarch activates. Other than that a serviceable pie with a touch of nutmeg that gave it a slightly perfumed after taste.

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Italian Tipsy Pudding

I made two technical errors when attempting this dish. The first was in beating the batter for the cake. The recipe called for an electric hand mixer but lacking this, I tried a blender. What I found out later on in that a blender doesn’t aerate the batter which meant that the cake didn’t rise and I ended up having to do it twice in order to have three layers of cake, all of which were a little too dense. Not the biggest problem but I should have just did it by hand to get the right effect. I’ll have to buy a hand mixer! The second error was in cooking the custard. I was supposed to cook the custard until thick (but what is thick exactly?) So my vanilla custard didn’t set. Luckily, while melting down my chocolate for the second half of the custard it actually was able to cook enough and set perfectly (ah that thick!) Doing recipes for the first time can be tricky because you don’t have much to go on as to whether you are over or under cooking things. The result was still pretty tasty although the dessert looked and tasted incredibly dated. Something you would find in an old 50s diner right beside the rice pudding! Not bad but I’ll be moving on to bigger and better things in the future. And at least it was a learning experience.

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Lombatina Di Vitella Alla Passetto (Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce)

When you read the title, “Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce” you kind of envision this grey, salty gravy like a can of Campbell’s mushroom soup. The truth is, however, that this is a rich tomato sauce almost like a Bolognese meat sauce but with finely chopped mushrooms. The prosciutto and capers give the sauce an incredible depth of flavour that is really quite extraordinary. The veal itself was fine, personally I’m not the biggest fan of veal, but the mushroom sauce is something that I could see myself make over and over again just to have with pasta or bread or anything. A real find. A note on the recipe: the veal is served off the bone however with the sauce covering the chop it becomes a kind of mystery box as to whether you’re putting meat, bone, or fat into your mouth. So, I would perhaps recommend actually de-boning the veal chop before cooking.

Chicken Cannelloni with Cream Sauce

This dish is taken from an Italian restaurant in Rome called Passetto’s. It is a delicious and fairly achievable dish with the white wine elevating the fairly simple ingredients that go into it. I opted out of making fresh cannelloni but I think next time I will make the pasta fresh so that the dish doesn’t have to stay in the oven as long and dry up and so that the cannelloni’s can be made larger than the store bought ones.  I did use chicken but the recipes could also be substituted for turkey or veal.

Noisettes Des Tournelles (Fillets of Lamb with Onion Sauce)

I served this dish as the star attraction at a big family gathering and boy was it a home run. As Vincent promises, the onion sauce (soubise) really does taste marvelous and could go with just about anything. However what really elevated this dish was the pan Madeira sauce that you poured over top the lamb and onion sauce. Using the pan drippings from the lamb and combining it with half a cup of Madeira wine, chicken stock and butter the result is just unbelievable. In the future I would probably just leave the canned artichoke bottoms out altogether (or go fresh) and use whole lamb chops instead of boning the already small rib lamb chops. Also, use your own better judgment when it comes to cooking times on meat. I find the suggested cooking times a little generous and tend to overcook the meat. It may not be the prettiest plate but it certainly was one of the tastiest to come out of this book so far.

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