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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bring Vacation Home

Hello Tuesday! The tri-state area is stuck in a heat wave (UGH) so I think it's more than a little appropriate that we all close our eyes, turn up the Bob Marley (a staple in all restaurants on my Caribbean vacation), blow a fan in our hair (act like it's a little breeze - humor me), and pretend we're all in the Caribbean. Now while we do that, let's take a look at a few recipes that bring Caribbean flavors into your home kitchen.

Tropical Rainbow
Laura Fyfe

  • 1/2 cup (125 g) superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons blue curaçao
  • 1/2 cup (250 g) chopped mango
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) chopped strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  1. Place the sugar and 1 cup (250 ml) water in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Let simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  2. Place the blueberries in a food processor and add the blue curaçao and one-third of the sugar syrup (about 5 tablespoons). Blitz until completely smooth, then pour into the bottom of four popsicle molds and place in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, clean the food processor bowl and add the mango with the tequila and another one-third of the syrup. Blitz until completely smooth.
  4. When the blueberry base is frozen solid, remove the molds from the freezer and pour over the mango mixture. Return the molds to the freezer and freeze for another 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Finally, blitz together the strawberries, rum, and remaining syrup. Pour the strawberry mixture over the mango layer once it has frozen solid.
  6. Freeze for another 1 1/2 hours, or until completely solid.

Aruba tourism website

  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed Milk
  • 1 can of evaporated Milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Notes:This is Aruba's version of what is known in the US as 'flan' and in Europe as 'creme caramel'.
Kesio is also the papiamento spelling for 'quesillo' in Spanish.

  1. On top of a double boiler, but directly over a low flame, place: 3 Tbs. Sugar
  2. Melt slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar becomes a caramel syrup. Remove from fire and cool.
  3. Slightly beat: 4 eggs, pinch of salt. Add gradually: 4 Tbs. Sugar. Beat well until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Slowly stir in: 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  5. Strain the mixture into the double boiler containing the caramelized sugar. Place over gently simmering water for about forty minutes, or until a silver knife inserted in the center comes out free of custard. Remove from the fire, and cool immediately in the double boiler. 
  6. At serving time unmold the kesio on to a shallow platter. If some of the caramel clings to the pan, heat gently until it melts. Cool slightly and pour over the unmolded kesio.

Coconut Rum Cake
Maggie Ruggiero

For cake:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs plus 3 large yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut such as Coco López
For coconut slivers:
  • 1 medium coconut
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
For icing:
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • Equipment: a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep); an adjustable-blade slicer
Make cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Lightly butter parchment, then flour pan.
  2. Whisk together flour (1 1/4 cups), baking powder, and salt.
  3. Whisk together whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in flour mixture until combined, then whisk in butter until just combined. Pour into cake pan and rap pan on counter to expel air bubbles.
  4. Bake until golden brown and cake starts to pull away from side of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Invert cake onto rack (discard parchment) and cool 10 minutes more. Generously brush top and side of warm cake with cream of coconut, allowing it to soak in before brushing on more. Cool completely.
Make coconut slivers as cake cools:
  1. Pierce softest eye of coconut with a small screwdriver, then drain and discard liquid. Bake coconut in a shallow baking pan 15 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Break shell with a hammer, then pry flesh from shell with screwdriver.
  2. Thinly shave enough coconut with slicer to measure 2 cups and toss with confectioners sugar, then spread in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Bake until just dry but not golden (some tips may color), 5 to 10 minutes. (Shave and bake remaining coconut with more confectioners sugar to serve on the side, or freeze for another use.) Cool coconut completely. (It will crisp as it cools.)
Make icing:
  1. Beat together cream cheese, cream of coconut, rum, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons cream with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in confectioners sugar. Icing should be smooth and slightly runny; stir in remaining tablespoon cream if necessary.
  2. Smooth icing over top of cooled cake, allowing some to drip over side, then top with coconut slivers.
  • Cake can be baked 1 day ahead and soaked with cream of coconut, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. 
  • Cake can be iced 2 hours ahead. 
  • Coconut slivers can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Happy baking!

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