Friday, March 25, 2011

Dessert Wars. The March Challenge. The Step By Step Post.

Dessert Wars. March Madness. Go GREEN!
Our challenge this month was to make a dessert that involves two green ingredients - sort of a Chinese challenge in which we had to pick one from Column A and one from Column B. The instructions read "at least one" ingredient from each column. So Rosie, being Rosie, is determined to use as many ingredients from each column as she can and actually produce something edible. Wish me luck. Column A contains traditional dessert ingredients: Green apples Green Grapes Limes Pistachios Honey Dew Kiwi Green Pears Mint Pandan I didn't know what pandan is so I had to look it up. Don't think I'll be using any pandan. Column B contains non-traditional ingredients: Avocado Green Tea Cucumber Green Chilies Wasabi Basil or other green herbs Vegetables, like spinach, peas, and I hope green pepper. Lemon grass Green chile peppers Green cheese This dessert was partly inspired by Anne Burrell. I'd recently watched her make a panna cotta, and I was going to make a lime gelatin and a pistachio panna cotta. I headed off to the Teeter for Knox gelatin and vanilla beans. The Teeter had neither. I went home to my pantry and saw Lime Jello and Jello Pistachio Pudding. That will have to do. Had I made my own panna cotta and gelatin, this would have rocked my world. As it was, it was Jello, so I didn't have blaring trumpets. Oh ... to think what it could have been. It was still quite good, but my own gelatin and panna cotta would have taken this to a whole new level. My dessert this month for Dessert Wars is two part. The first part is a lime jello made with green tea, with green apple, green pear, and avocado slices, layered with pistachio pudding and garnished with Wasabi peas, toasted pistachios, sliced green grapes, and minced serrano chile. I wanted to pop a little heat in there. The second part will be a lime and cucumber granita, the iciness of which will be a nice complement to the heat of the serranos, and the texture of which will be an icy counterpoint to the smoothness of the custard and jello. Let's see: lime green tea pistachio green apples green pears avocado Wasabi peas grapes serrano chili That's ten ingredients- 5 traditional and 5 non-traditional ingredients.
My ingredients: lime jello 1 cup green tea (I used 4 tea bags.) pistachio pudding 1 pint heavy cream 1 avocado, thinly sliced 1/2 green pear, thinly sliced 1/2 green apple, thinly sliced imagine a couple of limes up there And for the garnish: 1 serrano chile, minced toasted pistachios, crushed Wasabi peas Brew 1 cup green tea. Prepare the lime jello according to package directions Instead of 1 cup boiling water, I used 1 cup boiling green tea. Stir to dissolve jello. When dissolved, stir in 1 cup cold water. Pour lime juice into 8 1-cup ramekins. Layer slices of apple, pear, and avocado in the ramekins, covering with lime juice to prevent discoloration. Pour lime jello into each ramekin and refrigerate until set. Next prepare pistachio pudding according to package directions. I used heavy cream instead of milk. Return to refrigerator for several hours to set. Dip ramekins in hot water for a few seconds and invert onto serving plate. Garnish with Wasabi peas, toasted crushed pistachios, and minced serrano chile. Cup of green tea into the jello. Whisk to dissolve.
Then I whisked in 1 cup iced water.
I juiced a few limes ...
... and I poured the lime juice into each of 8 ramekins. Just to cover the bottom.
Layer avocado, pear, and apple slices in the bottom of the ramekins, turning the fruit to coat it with the lime juice. Coat thoroughly with lime juice, so you won't get brown fruit. Keep it GREEN!
Pour in lime jello.
Ready to refrigerate until set.
When your jello has set, start on the pistachio filling.
Pour in a package of pistachio pudding mix into 2 cups cold heavy cream.
Beat until smooth.
Pour pistachio mix into ramekins and smooth tops.
Refrigerate until set. To unmold, set ramekins in warm water for a few seconds and invert. Garnish with Wasabi peas, toasted crushed pistachios, and minced serrano chile. Now, on to Part 2 of this dessert - Granita. I'm making a green tea mint-infused simple syrup for a lime and cucumber granita with green pears, green apples, kiwi, green pepper, basil, and parsley. That's another 10 ingredients - 5 traditional and 5 non-traditional.
For the simple syrup, I used 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, and 4 green tea bags. Combine water, sugar, and mint leaves. Bring water to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add in tea bags and let steep for 30 minutes. Remove solids.
Sugar into the water.
Mint leaves in.
You know how I love my action shots.
When the mixture has come to a boil, add in the tea bags and let steep for 30 minutes.
Here's the green tea mint infused simple syrup after steeping.
Remove solids.
Next, a chunky pear and apple sauce.
1/2 chopped apple
1/2 chopped pear
I added in a tablespoon of sugar ...
... and a little water.
Simmer ...
... until the pear and apple cook down to this - chunky sauce.
Green tea mint-infused simple syrup on left. Chunky pear/apple sauce on right.
The ingredients for my granita, from top left, clockwise: 1 cup green tea mint-infused simple syrup 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped 2 TB finely minced green pepper 1 kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped 4 limes, zested and juiced 1 TB mint, minced 1 TB parsley, minced apple/pear sauce And imagine there's some basil in there - 1 TB minced.
Minced parsley, basil, and mint.
Minced green pepper.
I peeled my cukes and sliced them.
Seeded the cucumbers ...
... and chopped them.
Zest of 2 limes.
Chopped cucumbers go into my Blue Ninja.
Add in the lumpy pear/apple sauce mix.
Juice of 4 limes in.
Green tea mint-infused simple syrup.
Lime zest in.
I coarse-chopped a kiwi ...
... and added that to the mix.
This smells so fresh and fruity and GREEN.
Process until nice and smooth.
Added in the minced parsley, basil, and mint.
Just pulse a few times to incorporate the herbs.
Pour into a 8 x 11 dish ...
... and freeze uncovered. After 30 minutes, take out and rake the icy concoction. Return to freezer. Every 20 - 30 minutes, take out and rake until desired consistency.
There's the Emerald Isle. With green adornments. And a dollop of green granita top left.
Mr. Hawthorne called this "good, and pretty, too."


Faith said...

Nice!!! first thought was to to a coconut milk panna cotta with a kiwi gelee and pistachio cookies but I just did that for daring bakers so I didnt want to just make another version!!! :)

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Faith, you are a woman of my own heart.