Monday, August 13, 2018

Rum, Bananas and a Pretzel Crust

Yep! This twist has it all! Abbie Dodge, who wrote the new cookbook The Everyday Baker stopped by Tonia's Kitchen, to talk about her Banana Rum Truffle Tart.  Abbie told Tonia that it's a wonderful combination of salty and sweet, with the added treat of dark rum.  It's a real treat that will have your party guests clamoring for more!

For The Crust:

1 cup (35⁄8 oz./103 g) finely    crushed salted pretzel crumbs
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Good pinch of table salt
5 Tbs. (21⁄2 oz./71 g) unsalted    butter, melted
For the filling
5 Tbs. (21⁄2 oz./71 g) unsalted    butter, divided
14 oz. (397 g) bittersweet chocolate,    finely chopped (see p. 380)
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
11⁄4 tsp. table salt
2 medium (5 oz./142 g each) ripe    bananas (see p. 114)
2 Tbs. firmly packed light or dark    brown sugar
2 Tbs. dark rum

For the topping
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream 
1 cup (8 oz./227 g) mascarpone
1⁄3 cup (23⁄8 oz./67 g) firmly    packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. dark rum
Pinch of table salt
Pretzel sticks, for garnish

Make the crust
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas 4). Have ready a 91⁄4-inch (23.5 cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. Put the pretzel crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir until blended. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and, using a silicone spatula, mix until well blended and the crumbs are evenly moist. Taste and add more salt if needed—the flavor should be both sweet and salty. Dump the mixture into the tart pan and lay a large piece of plastic on top of the crumbs. With your fingers directly on the plastic, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. (A straight-sided, flat-bottomed coffee mug or a measuring cup works well at the end to ensure the crumbs are tightly packed on the bottom.) Remove the plastic and bake the crust until fragrant, 9 to 11 minutes. Move the pan to a rack and set aside to cool.
Make the filling
1. Cut 4 Tbs. (2 oz./57 g) of the butter into pieces, then add it with the chocolate and milk to a medium, heatproof bowl and melt in a microwave or in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Remove from the heat, add the salt, and whisk until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
2. Peel the bananas, slice into 1⁄2-inch (12 mm) pieces, and cut each piece in half. Put the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in a medium skillet and cook over medium heat until melted and bubbling. Add the banana pieces and sprinkle with the brown sugar and rum. Cook, using a silicone spatula to turn and gently stir, until the bananas are slightly softened and the juices are reduced and very thick, 2 to 3 minutes (see the Essential Technique on the facing page). Slide the pan off the heat.
3. Pour about one-third of the chocolate mixture into the crust and spread evenly to form a thin layer. Scatter the bananas in an even layer over the top and pour the remaining chocolate on top to cover the bananas and form an even layer. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled, about 3 hours. Cover and continue chilling until the filling is set, about another 4 hours, or up to 2 days, before proceeding with the recipe.
Make and add the topping
1. Put the heavy cream, mascarpone, brown sugar, rum, and salt in a medium bowl and beat with an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the cream is thick and holds firm peaks.
2. Scrape the topping onto the center of the filling and, using a small offset or silicone spatula, spread to cover the filling, leaving the center slightly domed along with lots of swirls and peaks. Cover loosely and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
To serve
Set the tart pan on top of a wide can and allow the outer ring to drop down (see the Essential Technique on the facing page). Move the tart to the counter and run a long, thin metal spatula between the bottom crust and the bottom of the pan. Using two long, wide spatulas, carefully lift and slide the tart onto a flat serving plate. Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the tart into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice. Serve the slices topped with the pretzel sticks.
Flavor swap
Change the fruit: Instead of the bananas, omit the cooking, butter, sugar, and rum and use 6 oz. (170 g) raspberries or 8 oz. (227 g) cherries (Bing or Rainier), pitted and halved (see p. 322).
Finishing Touches
Just before serving, lightly dust with unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Some Ice to Cool You Down?

It's probably hot outside, but we've got you covered! Here at Tonia's Kitchen, we try to make staying cool a delicious task.  Marilyn Linton, who wrote the book 125 Best New Ice Cream Recipes stopped by to tell Tonia about her Blueberry Ginger Ice.  She takes two cups of blueberries, simple syrup (half sugar and half water that's been cooked), grated ginger root, lime juice, a nice amount of mint and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Marilyn then adds it all to ice cream maker and freezes the mix later.  No cream, just healthy fruit that's got a job to keep you cool!

  • 2 cups (500 mL) blueberries 
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Simple Syrup 
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) grated ginger root 
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh mint (see Notes) 
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice 


1. In a food processor or blender, purée blueberries, syrup, ginger, lime juice, mint and lemon juice until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold or overnight.
2. Stir berry mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Blueberry Ginger Zinfandel Ice: Add ½ cup (125 mL) white Zinfandel wine to mixture before chilling.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Main(e) Event

It's true, when you combine the sharp sweetness of the blueberry and the tempting texture of the peach, you get a wonderful combination that makes most desserts sing. And Brooke Dojny, who wrote the cookbook Dishing Up Maine (where admittedly, they know a little bit about blueberries) stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about a fantastic recipe that really brings these two winning foods together. Brooke told Tonia about her Blueberry-Peach Crustada, where she uses a tart crust with some corn starch.  She then presses the crust into a spring-form pan.  Toss blueberries and sliced peaches into the crust, along with more corn starch and sugar, and bake it all together.  Brooke says the sugar will caramelize, and the blueberry juice will run right into the peaches.  It's an amazing taste experience!

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons ice cold water

1 pint fresh blueberries
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Egg wash: 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Coarse sugar for sprinkling on dough


To make the crust:
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar.
Pulse in butter until mixture looks like cornmeal.
Add just enough water until dough starts to come together.
Flatten into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

To make the fruit filling:
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the blueberries, sliced peaches, and lemon juice.
Gently toss to coat the fruit with the mixture.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
Place the fruit in the center of the dough circle, leaving a 2-inch border all around.
Gently fold the dough border up and around the edges of the filling.

Carefully slide the paper with the crostata onto a baking sheet.
Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.
Sprinkle some coarse sugar over the dough border.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover dough with foil to prevent burning.
Return to oven and bake additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer crostata with paper to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Taste of the Tropics, In a Salad

There's no question, the more fruit you eat, the healthier you probably are!  But fruit need not be boring!  In fact, you can take a tropical trip with something that's as simple as a salad. Patricia Green, who co-authored the book Grain Power stopped by Tonia's Kitchen with her Toasted Coconut Fruit Salad.  She starts with 2 cups of Quinoa, along with seasonal fruit.  Add a generous amount of toasted coconut, and toss with a mixture of pineapple and lime juices.  It's a tropical treat that won't leave you worried about getting into a swimsuit!   For more details, visit Patricia's website

  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup quinoa seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup unsweetened, dried coconut
  • 3 ripe kiwis, peeled, quartered and each quarter cut into thirds
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 can (14 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained, 1/3 cup pineapple juice reserved
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)


Combine the water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook with the cover on for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, with the cover off, to cool completely.

Preheat a sauté pan on medium heat. Add coconut. Stir constantly until it turns a golden color and is fragrant (about 1 to 3 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, toss the quinoa, kiwis, strawberries and pineapple with the reserved pineapple juice and lime juice. Sprinkle with coconut just prior to serving.