Maybe it's just that time of year - but I am addicted to spices. After spending a Saturday afternoon playing around with various spices and flavors in the kitchen, the entire house is suffused with a mixture of sweet and sharp fragrances. It's almost like living in a spice store!
I even have small oranges spiked with cloves adorning my Fall tabletop decorations. So, as I relax on the couch to go through my notes, there is that sensational sweet, tangy and clove-y aroma that lingers in the air.
A little while back when I made homemade quark, I think it hit all the right food tones with you. I received several emails after that post with questions and help shouts. It was exciting to accompany a few of my blog friends as they made homemade quark from that specific post.
So once the quark is made what can you do with it? - a few wanted to know. If you too are looking for inspiration you can turn to a selection of quark recipes provided by yours truly.
Maybe your tastebuds will find pleasure in my newest creation. A delightful dessert somewhere between a light and fluffy mousse and a creamy panna cotta. Looking at the method it indeed is prepared like any panna cotta recipe, however with the addition of quark, the dessert takes on a whole new dimension. The quark panna cotta becomes lighter with a slight tangy flavor, it's still rich but airy at the same time.
Very much en vogue, cranberries provide a beautiful flavor balance to the sweeter quark panna cotta cream. The cranberry compote is spiced with star anise and a hint of cinnamon, which is found again in the spiced pecan brittle. The pecan brittle is a delicacy in itself, but adding a lovely texture to the entire quark panna cotta and cranberry compote. Spiced with ground cardamom, cinnamon and a touch of allspice, you'll find not nibbling on them before the guests arrive extremely arduous!
This is a perfect make ahead dessert. The quark panna cotta can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, the cranberry compote will keep up to a week if stored in an air-tight jars in the refrigerator and the pecan brittle can also be made a day ahead, then stored in a dry air-tight container. All you need to do is assemble the individual components just before serving.
I am just about wrapping up my Holiday menu idea with this post. Next week I have one last treat in store for you. Something for "après dinner", when the boys are watching football and we girls want to indulge in something more sophisticated. LOL!
This month the team over at the Daily Tiffin are hosting the Monthly Mingle. We are all looking forward and eagerly awaiting your ideas and creations to this session's theme - Low-Sugar Treats. Come on over and share your healthy treats.
The deadline is December 8th, 2008. See you there.
Recipe: Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta with Star Anise Cranberry Compote and Spiced Pecan Brittle
Printable version of recipe here.
Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta
300g heavy cream
2 sheets gelatine
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
Start Anise Cranberry Compote
Spiced Pecan Brittle
MethodQuark Vanilla Panna Cotta
In a saucepan bring the sugar, cream and vanilla, including the pod, to an energetic boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and discard the vanilla pod. Squeeze out the gelatine and dissolve in the hot cream mixture.
In a small bowl whisk the quark until smooth and creamy. First stir in 2 tablespoons quark into the warm cream mixture, then pour the cream mixture into the quark. Stir to incorporate.
Fill 6 individual serving bowls or one large bowl with the quark panna cotta. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
Start Anise Cranberry Compote
In a large sauce pan add sugar, fresh cranberry and juice. Stir until ingredients have incorporated. Turn heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the spices, then reduce to medium and allow to simmer until the cranberry mixture has reduced and resembles a thick jelly-like consistency. Taste for sweetness.
Discard whole spices and set the cranberry compote aside.
Note: If making ahead the cranberry compote can be stored in sterilized jars for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Spiced Pecan Brittle
First you need to make a caramel like mixture by adding the sugar and water in a saucepan. Mix with a wooden spoon, then turn up heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the caramel turns a amber color. This will take 8-10 minutes.
Continue in medium-low heat until the mixture has reduced into a thick syrupy consistency.
Prepare a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. In a bowl large enough to hold the pecans, mix together the ground spices.
Once your caramel mixture is thick and sticky (the mixture is ready when a small amount dropping in a cup of cold water becomes brittle) add the pecans, stirring quickly to coat the nuts with the sugar. Then add the warm sugared pecans to the bowl with the spices and toss quickly. Turn out the pecans onto the waxed paper and allow to set.
Once set, coarsely chop the pecans.
Serving: If you are serving the quark panna cotta in individual bowls, once set, add a tablespoon of cranberry compote on top and sprinkle generously with the pecan brittle. Alternatively, if you have made one large bowl, dip a large tablespoon in warm water and scoop out separate portions onto a plate. You can serve the cranberry compote on the side or decoratively around the quark panna cotta portions. Sprinkle with the spiced pecan brittle.
Conclude any dinner with this creamy elegance and you'll have your guests begging for more. Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts and I have often made several variations, however, with the addition of quark this dessert became a whole new experience. The star anise spiced cranberry compote brings fruity flavor and the spiced pecans a luxurious texture to the entire dessert. The warm spices are soothing, yet tantalizing rounding off your meal perfectly.
I hope I was able to inspire you just a bit with this Holiday menu idea. Maybe you will be able to integrate a few aspects from the menu for your own Holiday meal. If you have any questions let me know either in the comments sections of this post or simply email me.
If you are looking for more Holiday menu ideas, join me over at FoodieView, where in my latest article - The Big Holiday Menu Planner, I have compiled an excellent list of appetizers, entrées, sides and desserts, from all around the blogesphere.
You might like these dessert varieties from WFLH:
|Banana Brioche Pudding with Baileys Caramel Cream||Cantuccini Plum Cheese Cakelettes||Lemon Meringue Pie|
From around the blogs:
- Blueberry buttermilk panna cotta - Delicious Days
- Honey Mousse - Tasting menu
- Vanilla & Cardamom Rice Pudding - Souvlaki For the Soul
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