Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mmmmm Mmmm Mmmmm....Some Books Are Just "Finger Lickin' Good"!

I was given the pleasure of reviewing two of Heather Long's books.  They are part of Decadent Publishing's One Night Stand series.

The One Night Stand Series is just as it sounds......only more.

The first book I read was Heather Long's "Once Her Man, Always Her Man".   This book, while being a part of the One Night Stand Series, was such a sweet book.  I won't give away a lot because I want you to experience it the same way I did.

Let me just say that Heather reaches out and grabs your heart with this couple.  Yes, there is a steamy scene and it delivers.  Boy did it deliver.  The passion that the characters share is one of those that is sweet but palpable.  Even though you aren't seeing it for your own eyes (such as in a movie -- no I'm not talking about being a Peepin' Tonya), Heather paints a picture with her words that lets your mind wander just a bit (in a good way) and gives you the "Full Monty" at the same time.  The One Night Stand Series are short books, something you can read on your lunch break -- if you want to be thinking about the steamy stuff when you go back to work *winks*.

Now its time for the big reveal of the recipe that I thought would compliment this book the most.  It may be a bit cliché but you'll understand once you've read it.

Apple Crisp
To change it up a bit, you can also make this with 4 cups of pears and a big handful of dried cranberries! Give it a go and add the cranberries to the apple version as well!

4 generous cups Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
. cup all-purpose fl our
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
⅛ teaspoon salt
Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or straight-up heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, with a rack in the middle. 
2. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
3. In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and cinnamon sugar.
In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar, fl our, butter and salt together, first
with a pastry blender or two knives, and then with your hands.
3. Put the apple slices into the loaf pan. Press the topping over them. 
4. Bake the apple crisp for 1 hour. 
5. Serve the apple crisp warm or cold with the ice cream or cream.

Now, onto the next book of Heather's that I reviewed, Proud To Serve Her.  It's in the same, One Night Stand Series for Decadent Publishing.  This one is completely different in the direction (yes, it still is a finger burner when you turn the page) but it is a direction that I know I wish someone would take me into.
The characters in this book seem completely opposite from each other.  One is uptight, very business oriented.  The other is, well, lets just say that he is more of the creative type.  His creations just so happy to tempt the senses in more ways than one.  This is a very seductive book. Damon takes control of this one-night stand and leaves you wanting more and more of his seduction.  I'll never look at certain meals again without thinking about this book.  No -- I'm not talking about the type of thing where he is feasting on food that has been displayed across her body.  He makes sure that she enjoys the meal he has had prepared for her step by luscious step.  The way he describes the food, explains different wines and well, heck, feeds her the food makes you want to just crawl into his lap and never leave -- well, until he wants to cook for you again! Any Day!

The characters, even though so completely different, compliment each other in ways you wouldn't think.  He enjoys sharing with her his passion for cooking and the delicacies food can bring to you -- as it states in the book (and I'm paraphrasing here), there is eating for the purpose of fueling up and then there is eating and cooking to feed the soul -- and boy does he feed her soul.

I have to admit, it was a challenge to find a recipe to go along with this book.  You'll understand why when you read it -- and read it you should!!

To grab a copy of Heather's books, hop on over to Decadent Publishing.  You won't regret it!

This is one is a complex recipe; however, I think that after you read about Damon and Helena's love of sharing food, you will see how perfect it is for them.

Photo and recipe were found at Donal Skehan Homecooked Kitchen Blog.

Earl Grey Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate & Tonka Glaze and Honeyed Figs

These are a classic choux pastry dessert that are rescued from 80s campness by the addition of an elegant Earl Grey tea crème pâtissière and a decadent bitter dark chocolate glaze infused with tonka beans. Served with honey glazed fresh figs these make for a glorious dessert.
Makes approx. 17 profileroles
For the Earl Grey tea crème pâtissière:500ml milk (single estate if possible)
3 Earl Grey tea bags or 3 heaped teaspoons of loose leaves
30g unsalted Irish butter
6 organic egg yolks (at room temperature)
100g caster sugar
40g cornflour
40ml organic cream
For the profiteroles:100g plain flour
75g unsalted Irish butter
175ml water
Pinch of salt
3 large organic eggs
For the dark chocolate & tonka glaze:
200g dark chocolate (min.70%)
100ml double cream
40g unsalted butter
tonka bean
To decorate:
8 figs (miniature figs work best, but any small figs will do)
2 tbsp Irish honey, ideally Burren wildflower honey
Dried cornflowers (Steenbergs)
For the crème pâtissière, heat the milk and butter in a medium pan until they reach boiling point, remove from the heat and add the Earl Grey tea; leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Use a tea strainer to strain the infused milk, discard the leaves or bags, put the milk back into the cleaned pan and bring back up to the boil.
Meanwhile, put the yolks, sugar and cornflour into a heatproof bowl and whisk for a minute or two until light and moussy. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture while continuing to whisk until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.
Tip the mixture back into the pan and stir constantly on a medium heat until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so when you feel the mixture change and give resistance remove from the heat and pour into a large shallow bowl. Put a piece of cling film directly on the top of the crème, to stop it forming a skin. Leave it to cool before putting it in the fridge.
For the profiteroles, sieve the flour and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Put the butter, water and salt into a medium pan, melt together slowly and then raise the heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and add the flour, beating furiously with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth and heavy dough.
Put the pan back on a low heat for 30 seconds to a minute beating to cook out the flour.
Put the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and leave to cool slightly. Beat the eggs together in a jug and add a bit at a time to the warm dough, beating thoroughly after each addition until fully incorporated before adding the next. Make sure the dough doesn’t become too wet; you may not need all the eggs. The mixture should be of the consistency that can be piped and hold its shape.
Put the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round piping nozzle. Pipe 3cm diameter balls spaced 5cm apart onto the parchment lined baking tray. Use a clean finger dipped in the remaining beaten egg to smooth them and then put them into the preheated oven.
Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C, then turn the oven down to 180°C and rapidly open and close the oven door to let out the steam. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes at the reduced temperature until golden and risen. Remove from the oven and using a sharp knife make a hole in each profiterole to let out the steam from the centre. Put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
For the dark chocolate glaze, heat the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile, finely grind the tonka bean (these are very potent so you will only need about half a bean) and add to the melting chocolate. When it is fully melted, slowly pour in the cream and keep stirring until they incorporate, then add the butter in small lumps, stirring until it is a shiny, dark glaze that is viscous not runny.
To assemble, put the cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk to soft peaks. Add the set crème patissiere and whisk until smooth. Put in a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle and generously pipe the crème into each profiterole. Spread a spoonful of the chocolate tonka glaze on to the top of each and then sprinkle with some dried cornflowers.
Score the figs with a deep cross and squeeze the bottom to open it up; arrange artfully around the profiteroles. Cut some figs into quarters and dot about. Warm the honey in a small pan until it becomes runny and use a pastry brush to drizzle over the figs.


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