Spice Girls Cooking Club
Last night the Spice Girls enjoyed a fabulous meal. This one is a keeper!!
Thai Cashew Noodles with Spicy Scallops and Cashew Butter
Cashew Butter
Makes 1/2 cup (double it!!! You will use it for other things)
1 cup roasted cashews
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Pulse cashews in a mini food processor until paste-like. Add water and oil; pulse until mixture is creamy. Add sugar and salt; pulse to incorporate. refrigerate inane airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Thai Cashew Noodles with Spicy Scallops
Makes 4 servings; Total time 40 minutes.
2 limes, divided
4 Tbsp. honey, divided
2 tsp chili garlic sauce, divided
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
12 sea scallops
1/2 cup Cashew Butter
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup roasted cashew halves
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, julienned
2 cups snow peas (6 oz)
4 oz wide rice noodles
salt to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Combine juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce, i Tbsp. ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Add scallops, tossing to coat; marinate in the frig for 20 mins. to up to 2 hours.
Saute bell pepper, carrots and snow peas in oil, adding salt and garlic to taste.
Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions.
Drain noodles, reserving 2-3 sups of the cooking water.
Combine cashew butter, juice of remaining lime, 2 Tbsp. honey, t tsp chili garlic sauce, and 1 Tbsp ginger; whisk until blended. Add sauce to vegetables and noodles in pot.
Thin sauce with reserved water until sauce reaches desired consistency; season with salt.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Remove scallops from marinade and discard marinade. Pat scallops dry with paper towels.
Sear scallops until browned on one side; flip and brown on other side.
Divide noodle mixture among 4 plates. Top each with 3 scallops. Garnish with cilantro and roasted cashew halves.
Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home April 2010

Last night the Spice Girls enjoyed a fabulous meal. This one is a keeper!!


Thai Cashew Noodles with Spicy Scallops and Cashew Butter


Cashew Butter

Makes 1/2 cup (double it!!! You will use it for other things)

1 cup roasted cashews

3 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Pulse cashews in a mini food processor until paste-like. Add water and oil; pulse until mixture is creamy. Add sugar and salt; pulse to incorporate. refrigerate inane airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Thai Cashew Noodles with Spicy Scallops


Makes 4 servings; Total time 40 minutes.

2 limes, divided

4 Tbsp. honey, divided

2 tsp chili garlic sauce, divided

2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

12 sea scallops

1/2 cup Cashew Butter

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup roasted cashew halves

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, julienned

2 cups snow peas (6 oz)

4 oz wide rice noodles

salt to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Combine juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce, i Tbsp. ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Add scallops, tossing to coat; marinate in the frig for 20 mins. to up to 2 hours.

Saute bell pepper, carrots and snow peas in oil, adding salt and garlic to taste.

Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions.

Drain noodles, reserving 2-3 sups of the cooking water.

Combine cashew butter, juice of remaining lime, 2 Tbsp. honey, t tsp chili garlic sauce, and 1 Tbsp ginger; whisk until blended. Add sauce to vegetables and noodles in pot.

Thin sauce with reserved water until sauce reaches desired consistency; season with salt.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Remove scallops from marinade and discard marinade. Pat scallops dry with paper towels.

Sear scallops until browned on one side; flip and brown on other side.

Divide noodle mixture among 4 plates. Top each with 3 scallops. Garnish with cilantro and roasted cashew halves.

Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home April 2010

This Friday night the Spice Girls sharpened their knives and got to work preparing this Latin Masterpiece of a meal!  The menu consisted of Latin-spiced Steak with Escabeche, Sweet Potato Mofongo and Yellow Mole. The recipes come form Cuisine at Home February 2007.

The Spice Girls are alive and well!! We have been cooking, just have not been good about taking photos and blogging!! Here is last Tuesday night’s Weeknight dinner. Its super simple and very good!

Bacon-Cider Pork with Marmalade Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Saute

Bacon Cider Pork

1 pork tenderloin (1 1/2-2 lbs)

8 strips thin-sliced bacon

1/4 cup shallots, sliced

1/2 cup apple cider or juice

2 T. unsalted cold butter, sliced

Trim tenderloin of fat and silverskin and cut into 1 1/2 inch steaks. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each steak with a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté pork 5 mins. per side, or until browned. Tip the steaks to brown the bacon, about 3 mins. Cover and finish cooking to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 5 mins. Remove pork and keep warm. In the same pan, saute shallots for 2 mins. stirring constantly. Deglaze with apple cider, scraping up the brown bits and simmer for 2 mins. Add butter, swirling until melted. Return  pork to pan along with any accumulated juices and season sauce with salt and pepper.

Marmalade Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the inside of a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Cut 2-3 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 lb) into wedges, 8 from each potato. Toss with marmalade and season with salt. Arrange on prepared pan in a single layer, then roast for 35 mins. or until fork tender, turning once.

Spinach Saute

Saute in 2 T. olive oil 1 T. sliced garlic and 1/2 t. red pepper flakes for 1 min. over medium heat. Add spinach (about 1 lb. or 16 cups) in batches, cooking about 1 min. Using tongs, turn the spinach, allowing it to wilt. Once wilted, season with salt. Finish with 1 T. balsamic vinegar.

Recipes from Cuisine at Home Weeknight Menus cookbook.

Last night we adapted a recipe from the Fishing Channel, that’s right…not the Cooking Channel, but the Fishing Channel. Must say that it is a definite keeper, pardon the pun. We started with fresh grouper coated with some Cajun spice, egg, and panko crumbs. We sauted the fish in a little olive oil until crispy, then finished it in a 350 degree oven. When done, it was topped with melted butter and lime juice. Then a fresh mango salsa was added and finally topped off with fried plantains that were sprinkled with lime zest, cayenne and sea salt. Talk about good!!! This was served with a green salad and Pam’s homemade dressing. We finished with Mike’s award winning Key Lime Pie. All in all, it was a great meal with great wine and great friends!! 
Mango Salsa
2 ripe mangos, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely minced
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used orange-infused olive oil)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the mango into 1/4 inch dice and place in bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and fold together with a rudder spatula. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 hours before serving.


Plantain Chips
3 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
3 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes
peanut oil
2 green plantains
Stir together lime zest, salt and cayenne and set aside.
Peel plantians and cut lengthwise with vegetable peeler into very thin strips.
Heat oil in a heavy pot until oil begins to smoke. 
Fry strips, 6 at a time, turning frequently, until golden, 30-45 seconds.
Transfer to a muslin bag or brown paper bag, pour in salt mixture and shake to coat.

Last night we adapted a recipe from the Fishing Channel, that’s right…not the Cooking Channel, but the Fishing Channel. Must say that it is a definite keeper, pardon the pun. We started with fresh grouper coated with some Cajun spice, egg, and panko crumbs. We sauted the fish in a little olive oil until crispy, then finished it in a 350 degree oven. When done, it was topped with melted butter and lime juice. Then a fresh mango salsa was added and finally topped off with fried plantains that were sprinkled with lime zest, cayenne and sea salt. Talk about good!!! This was served with a green salad and Pam’s homemade dressing. We finished with Mike’s award winning Key Lime Pie. All in all, it was a great meal with great wine and great friends!! 

Mango Salsa

2 ripe mangos, peeled and pitted

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely minced

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used orange-infused olive oil)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the mango into 1/4 inch dice and place in bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and fold together with a rudder spatula. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 hours before serving.

Plantain Chips

3 teaspoons finely grated lime zest

3 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes

peanut oil

2 green plantains

Stir together lime zest, salt and cayenne and set aside.

Peel plantians and cut lengthwise with vegetable peeler into very thin strips.

Heat oil in a heavy pot until oil begins to smoke. 

Fry strips, 6 at a time, turning frequently, until golden, 30-45 seconds.

Transfer to a muslin bag or brown paper bag, pour in salt mixture and shake to coat.

POPCORN SCALLOP TACOS with CILANTRO-AVOCADO CREMA and MEXICAN RICE WITH GREEN PEAS
Our Spice Girls Cooking Club dinner last night got rave reviews, and we Spice Girls can be harsh critics!! This was excellent!! “King James” prepared us a round of “King James” cocktails and the chopping, dicing and frying began. This is a Keeper!!
Recipes from Cuisine at Home April 2011
Popcorn Scallop Tacos
Makes 4 tacos; Total time 30 minutes
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cups canola oil
8 oz. bay scallops, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 corn tortillas (6 inch)
4 leaves red leaf lettuce
1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
1/4 cup sliced red onion
Combine cornstarch, 3/4 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a shallow dish; set aside.
Whisk eggs, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper together in a shallow dish; set aside. Pour  panko into a third shallow dish and set aside.
Heat  oil in a large saute pan over medium heat to 360 degrees.
Dredge each scallop in cornstarch mixture, lightly coating sides. Dip into egg mixture, then into panko.
Fry scallops in oil until browned on all sides. remove scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt and set aside.
Coat a nonstick skillet with non-stick spray; fry each tortilla over medium heat, 30 seconds per side. Or if you are lucky enough to have a gas cooktop, just lay each tortilla on the grill over the burner for 20-30 seconds per side.
Fill tortillas with lettuce, mango, and onion. Divide scallops among tacos, then top with Cilantro-Avacodo Crema.
Cilantro-Avocado Crema
Makes 1/2 cup; Total time: 10 minutes
Puree: 
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
Lime juice, minced jalapeno, salt and pepper to taste
Puree sour cream, cilantro, oil,  garlic, and avocado in a food processor until smooth.
Season crema with lime juice, jalapeno, salt and pepper; chill until ready to serve.
We had minced jalapeno and lime slices in small bowls on the table foe each person to add if desired.
Mexican Rice with Green Peas
Makes 2 cups; Total time: 25 minutes
1/3 cups diced onion
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 1/2 tsp. minced jalapeno
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry converted white rice
1/2 cup chopped Roma tomatos
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, tomato paste, jalapeno, garlic and cumin in oil in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add broth, rice, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer until water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, fluff with fork.
Stir in peas; season with salt and pepper and serve.

POPCORN SCALLOP TACOS with CILANTRO-AVOCADO CREMA and MEXICAN RICE WITH GREEN PEAS

Our Spice Girls Cooking Club dinner last night got rave reviews, and we Spice Girls can be harsh critics!! This was excellent!! “King James” prepared us a round of “King James” cocktails and the chopping, dicing and frying began. This is a Keeper!!

Recipes from Cuisine at Home April 2011

Popcorn Scallop Tacos

Makes 4 tacos; Total time 30 minutes

1/2 cup cornstarch

3/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 cups canola oil

8 oz. bay scallops, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper

4 corn tortillas (6 inch)

4 leaves red leaf lettuce

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced

1/4 cup sliced red onion

Combine cornstarch, 3/4 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a shallow dish; set aside.

Whisk eggs, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper together in a shallow dish; set aside. Pour  panko into a third shallow dish and set aside.

Heat  oil in a large saute pan over medium heat to 360 degrees.

Dredge each scallop in cornstarch mixture, lightly coating sides. Dip into egg mixture, then into panko.

Fry scallops in oil until browned on all sides. remove scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt and set aside.

Coat a nonstick skillet with non-stick spray; fry each tortilla over medium heat, 30 seconds per side. Or if you are lucky enough to have a gas cooktop, just lay each tortilla on the grill over the burner for 20-30 seconds per side.

Fill tortillas with lettuce, mango, and onion. Divide scallops among tacos, then top with Cilantro-Avacodo Crema.

Cilantro-Avocado Crema

Makes 1/2 cup; Total time: 10 minutes

Puree: 

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 small avocado, pitted and peeled

Lime juice, minced jalapeno, salt and pepper to taste

Puree sour cream, cilantro, oil,  garlic, and avocado in a food processor until smooth.

Season crema with lime juice, jalapeno, salt and pepper; chill until ready to serve.

We had minced jalapeno and lime slices in small bowls on the table foe each person to add if desired.

Mexican Rice with Green Peas

Makes 2 cups; Total time: 25 minutes

1/3 cups diced onion

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 1/2 tsp. minced jalapeno

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry converted white rice

1/2 cup chopped Roma tomatos

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, tomato paste, jalapeno, garlic and cumin in oil in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes.

Add broth, rice, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer until water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, fluff with fork.

Stir in peas; season with salt and pepper and serve.

Having trouble deciding on a name for our new drink!!  My very Spicy husband Jim created this the other evening.  It has Blood OJ and red grapefruit juice (from our tree) with Myers dark rum and a lime.  Tried adding a little Triple Sec…the guys liked it, but the Spice Girls thought it was better without. Jim wants to call it “The King James” which I think is a little much, but he did create it and served us (which we really like). Other ideas were: Sarasota Sling, Sex on Siesta and Sarasota Sunset (note the “Flash of Green”). What do you think?
2 parts red grapefruit juice
1 part blood orange juice
2 parts dark rum
lime slices

Having trouble deciding on a name for our new drink!!  My very Spicy husband Jim created this the other evening.  It has Blood OJ and red grapefruit juice (from our tree) with Myers dark rum and a lime.  Tried adding a little Triple Sec…the guys liked it, but the Spice Girls thought it was better without. Jim wants to call it “The King James” which I think is a little much, but he did create it and served us (which we really like). Other ideas were: Sarasota Sling, Sex on Siesta and Sarasota Sunset (note the “Flash of Green”). What do you think?

2 parts red grapefruit juice

1 part blood orange juice

2 parts dark rum

lime slices

Red Velvet Ice Cream


This recipe showed up right before Valentines Day on a facebook page that I like. I had saved it to try later as I figured what is not to like about Red Velvet anything! It turned out to be just as good as it sounded! Thanks to Vittles and Bits for the recipe. Find them at www.vittlesandbits.blogspot.com or @Vittles and Bits on facebook.

Red Velvet Ice Cream

1 C. coconut milk

1 C. half and half

3 egg yolks

2/3 C. sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

2 t. dutch cocoa powder

1 T. red food coloring

1 C. heavy cream

Pour coconut milk and half and half into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until just steaming.  

Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a heat proof bowl.

Add half of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan and return to burner on medium-low.

Cook approximately 5 minutes, or until you dip a spatula in the mixture, run your finger along it and it leaves a trail. 

Remove pan from heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk it in completely.

Add vanilla extract and food coloring and whisk them in completely.

Transfer to a large bowl. Add the heavy cream, but do not stir.

Cover and refrigerate for an hour. When chilled, transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When done, transfer to a freezable covered container and freeze for at least 3 hours prior to serving. Makes about 1 quart.

Dessert Salad with Pound Cake Croutons

This is a simple, delicious and pretty dessert!!

Makes 4 salads; Total time: 20 minutes

 

1 T. unsalted butter

4 pound cake slices, 1/2” thick

1 T. sugar

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 T. honey

2 bananas, quartered

1/2 pint strawberries, halved

1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chunked

1/4 cup blueberries

 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cake slices and saute until browned, about 1 minute. Flip and sprinkle browned side with sugar. Saute an additional 30 seconds or until browned on the other side. Remove from pan and cute into “croutons”. Set aside.

Whisk yogurt and honey together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Prepare the fruit and assemble salads starting with two slices of bananas (this keeps the smaller fruit from sliding on the dish). Divide remaining fruit and croutons evenly over each salad and drizzle with yogurt.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Weeknight Cookbook

Kristy, a friend of mine from work, shared a cookbook, “Ready in Minutes” by Alan Coxon, with me. Since I still have red grapefruit on my tree, I decided to try this recipe.  My husband loved it! It is spicy with the grapefruit juice providing a nice contrast to the heat.

 

Blackened Chicken with Cuban Mojo Dressing

 

Serves 4

 

6 gloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts

 

Mojo dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

juice of 1-2 grapefruits (you need about 1 1/2 cups)

segments of 1 grapefruit

salt and freshly ground pepper

 

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Place garlic, onion, spices and thyme into a food processor and blitz until it forms a puree.
  3. Using a thin-bladed knife, make 3-4 insertions in each chicken breast,  but do not cut all the way through.
  4. Rub the puree all over the chicken breasts.
  5. Place the chicken into a grill pan and place on grill.
  6. Cook chicken for 7-8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the mojo dressing. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant-do not brown.
  9. Add the cumin and mix in well.
  10. Add the grapefruit juice and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes.
  11. Add the grapefruit segments and season to taste.
  12. Serve the chicken with the hot or cold mojo dressing accompanied with rice or a fresh salad.

 

Adapted from Alan Coxon’s “Ready in Minutes”

The Spice Girls met last night for the first of our “Weeknight Dinner” meetings. The goal, besides getting together more often, was to try recipes that were quickly prepared and menus that were less complicated. We are certainly off to a good start with the following pasta recipe. We had a simple salad of greens and cherry tomatoes with a vinaigrette that contained a delicious fig flavored vinegar! The cupcakes were not quick, but worth the effort. Ginger had baked the cupcakes and prepared the pastry cream and the chocolate glaze in advance.  The Spice Girls assembled them after quite a bit of test-tasting of the glaze. Since Ginger’s house is undergoing extensive renovations, this meeting was held at her boyfriend’s beautiful home. We were thrilled that while cooking, we enjoyed music provided by Tim playing his gorgeous baby grand piano. The Spice Girls could easily get used to such special treatment. And then, with apologies to our northern friends, we sat down to our great dinner outside by the pool. Yes, in February!! All in all, a weeknight worthy of weekend status!

Chicken Pappardelle with Sun-Dried Tomatoes  

Makes 7 cups; Total Time 25 minutes

8 oz. dry pappardelle (or wide egg noodles)

2 strips thick sliced bacon

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, minced

3 cups cooked chicken, sliced (12 oz), you can use a rotisserie chicken)

1 T. garlic, minced

1/2 t. red pepper flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Saute bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  When bacon is almost browned, add tomatoes.  Saute for another minute or so. Add chicken, garlic and pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts to brown.

Deglaze with wine, scraping bottom of skillet. Stir in broth, cream and pasta, and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Boston Cream Cupcakes

Makes 16; Total time about 2 hours

Prepare:

1 recipe Pastry Cream (recipe below)

Whisk together:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. table salt

Cream: Add:

2 cups sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)

4 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 t. vanilla extract

Fold in:

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 t. instant espresso dissolved in 2 T. hot water

Preheat over to 325 degrees; line 16 muffin cups with paper liners and coat with non-stick spray.

Prepare pastry cream and chill.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.

Cream sugar and butter in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in 1/2 of the flour mixture, then add buttermilk and vanilla; mix until combined. Add remaining flour and mix until blended. Transfer 2 cups batter to a small bowl.

Fold cocoa and espresso mixture into 2 cups batter until incorporated. Scoop a heaping tablespoon chocolate batter into the bottom of each liner; smooth to cover bottom. Top with vanilla cake batter; filling liners to top, the bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 20 minutes, transfer to a rack, then, when cool, assemble with pastry cream and glaze. Store in the refrigerator.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, slice off the tops and spread the bases with a layer of pastry cream.

Spread 2 T. of Chocolate Glaze (recipe below) on each cupcake.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 t. kosher salt

2 eggs

2 T. unsalted butter

1/2 t. vanilla extract

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium until it begins to steam and bubbles form around the edge. Remove milk from burner.

Whisk suger, cornstarch and slat together in a bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth, then gradually whisk in 1/2 of the hot milk.

Pour the egg-milk mixture into the remaining milk in the pan, and return pan to the burner. Cook custard over medium heat, whisking often, until thick. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly, to eliminate the starchy taste of the flour and to thicken further.

Off heat, stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic, pressing it onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill before using.

Chocolate Glaze

Makes 1 1/2 cups; Total time: 10 minutes

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 T. light corn syrup

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Boil cream and corn syrup in a saucepan. Off heat, whisk in chocolate until smooth. (May be made up to 1 week ahead and chilled.) Spread 2 T. glaze on each cupcake.

Recipes adapted from Cuisine at Home February 2008.