Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peach Cake and Risotto with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola

One of my absolute favorite desserts comes from the Silver Palate cookbook. Peach Cake is AMAZING. Unfortunately I had to modify it a little bit but it was wonderful anyway. We ate it so fast there aren't any pictures of it. But I implore you to try it you won't be disappointed.

Peach Cake (The Silver Palate)

4 tbsp. unsalted butter + extra for greasing the pan
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (original called for 3 but I couldn't fit that many)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
4 tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a heavy 9" skillet (my mother always used cast iron but I used my all-clad since I don't own one) well. Prepare the cake: cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Sift the dry ingredients together. Beat half into the creamed mixture. Repeat; beating well. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Arrange the peach slices on top of the batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the ingredients for the topping together in a small bowl with a fork. After the cake has baked for 25 minutes, open the oven and quickly crumble the topping over the peaches. Close the oven and bake until the cake is firm and has pulled away from the edges of the skillet, another 8 minutes. Serve warm, accompanied by a pitcher of heavy cream (that's what the original called for to serve, I whipped the cream with a little sugar and vanilla and served that one top instead). 8 portions (we ate 2 portions each)

One of our favorite flavor combinations is pear and blue cheese. From tartlets to flatbread pizza we just can't get enough of it. I don't particularly like raw pears in fact. Browsing around one day I found a recipe for a risotto with this combination. I've been searching for a risotto that J will eat and enjoy and so I decided to try my hand at a similar (though not the same) recipe.

Risotto with Caramelized Pears and Gorgonzola (inspired by a recipe from Dana McMahan)

1 pear, thinly sliced and peeled
1/3 sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1.5 Tsp sugar

handful of hazelnuts, chopped

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat
  2. Add pears , sugar and onion
  3. Cook over medium high heat at least 10-12 minutes or until caramelized.
  4. Reduce heat to lowest setting.
  5. Add hazelnuts so they can toast for about 4-5 minutes.

2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup of white wine
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
Broth (about 4 cups, maybe a bit more or less; chicken or vegetable broth can be used)
1-2 oz gorgonzola cheese

3 tbsp cream

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook the chopped onion until translucent and very slightly colored.
  3. Add the rice and cook about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the wine to the rice and allow it to evaporate.
  5. Add about ½ cup of broth and simmer.
  6. Add the rest of the broth, about ½ cup at a time, keeping mixture at a simmer.
  7. Simmer the rice until the risotto is creamy, about 20 minutes stirring constantly.
  8. Stir in blue cheese.
  9. Stir in pear mixture.
  10. Allow cheese to melt.
  11. Serve with a drizzle of cream and black pepper.
I thought the whole thing was HEAVENLY. J wasn't quite as impressed. I'm starting to think he's never going to appreciate risotto or that I am cooking it incorrectly. I thought it was perfectly toothsome and creamy without the usual hearty dose of Parmesan. I'll try and put up the not so great picture of the meal I took on my phone but the quality was atrocious. I would definitely make this again even if J won't eat it again.

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