Sunday, December 15, 2013

Non-alcoholic “Gluehwein’ (mulled wine)

After a long day of snow shoveling and first winter storm I felt like gluehwein tonight, but I had no wine at home.  How could I capture the flavors of gluehwein without wine and rum? Tazo Passion tea to the rescue! Tazo Passion tea is a full-flavor, bright red hibiscus tea, and the iced tea version is particularly flavorful. – I brewed a pot of tea with a mulling spice, fresh orange slices, rum extract and sugar to sweeten it up. Perfect! (You can easily spike it by using real rum.)


How to make non-alcoholic gluehwein?
  • 1 quart hot water
  • 1 bag Taxo passion ice teabag (or 3-4 bag regular passion tea)
  • 1.5 oranges, sliced (discard the ends)
  • 1 TB mulling spices (e.g. Trader joes, or make your own with cinnamon, cloves and juniper berries)
  • 2-4 TB sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rum extract
In a pot, heat bring the water to a boil, and add all the ingredients (beside the rum extract). Boil for about 3 minutes, and then turn down the heat. Keep at a simmer to keep the ‘gluehwein’ hot for serving. Now, add the rum extract. Serve with a slice of the orange.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter berry cake

The winter holidays are the time for fruit cakes, often dried fruit cakes. But with the invention of ice boxes, there is an option of winter frozen  fruit cake. This is one came out really well, especially complimented by its sides of a tangy cinnamon cream cheese frosting with a hot berry compote.


Winter Berry Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 2 sticks  (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
Powder Sugar Frosting (on cake):
  • 1 cup powdered or confections’ sugar
  • 2 TB of milk
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (as side): (ca 4-6 servings)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 TB fresh pressed orange juice
Hot berry compote  (as side): (ca 4-6 servings)
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 TB red currant jelly (or orange marmelade)
  • 1 TB powdered sugar
  • 1 TB brandy or rum (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray. Set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on a lower speed, add your eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla, too. Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture.   Prepare the berries: if the berries are too big, shortly chop them in a food processor or cut them with a knife into smaller pieces. Also, chop the fresh cranberries in the food processor, rather finely. In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the fresh and frozen chopped berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter (I actually used the stand mixer, and the cake turned rather pink, which I did not mind).  Plop the cake batter in large spoonfuls into the pan, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for  60 to 65 minutes. The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter.  Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely.  cake_collage_1  fruit_cake_9 Cake frosting: whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, until smooth. Drip over the cooled cake.  Sides to cake: With a hand mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and its frosting ingredients (powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice and powder sugar) until fluffy.  In a pan, heat the berries until hot, but not boiling. Add the sugar, jelly and rum (optional), mix to combine and keep warm until serving.  fruit_cake_7 fruit_cake_10