Festive Dessert:: Italian Almond Cake

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato with Italian Almond Cake | http://annettejosephstyle.com/
Earlier this week, I shared my recipe for meatless lasagna, my ultimate Italian comfort food! If you’re entertaining family and friends over the next few weeks, the lasagna would be a wonderful dish to serve. Of course, all meals are made even more complete with a fantastic dessert. Pair the lasagna with almond cake. You’ll love this recipe for Italian Almond Cake by Alisa Barry.

Grazie Mille Alisa, molto buono! xx

Italian Almond Cake

You will need:

– 7 oz. almond paste
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup almond meal
– 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla
– 6 eggs
– ¾ cup all purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ¼ tsp. salt

Note: This is one of my favorite (and so easy!) dessert recipes adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook. I like to add locally milled almond meal for flavor and texture, but you can substitute with all purpose flavor if not available. You can also make it gluten free by using more almond meal instead of flour. It will be more dense, but nonetheless delicious! The beauty of this dessert is that it can be made a day ahead of time, the flavor actually improves as it sits.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a food processor, blend the almond paste, sugar and almond meal until finely ground. Add the butter and vanilla . Process the ingredients until creamed. Add the eggs one at a time with the processing running until the batter is smooth. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the food processor and mix just until combined .

Pour the batter into buttered and floured 8 inch spring form pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until toothpick is dry when inserted. Remove from the oven to cool on a rack.

Serve with warm or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: John McDonald

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Atlanta Magazine’s Home, Holiday Entertaining with Hudson|Grace 2018

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As you all know, I take great pleasure in my role working for Atlanta Magazine’s Home as the entertaining editor. This creative endeavor is always filled with great food, fun hosts and interesting guests, but mainly it gives me the opportunity to shine a light on folks I love in Atlanta and places that are worth paying a visit.

I try very hard to pick hosts that have a point of view on entertaining, food cocktails or a particular expertise at throwing parties. The holiday entertaining feature is one of my favorites to produce since it celebrates the period from Thanksgiving to the New Year. This year our hosts were the co-founders of one of the best of the best specialty stores in Atlanta on the Westside, Hudson | Grace.

The store is located at Westside Provisions and has everything from great hostess gifts to all the accessories you would need to host the perfect party. Monelle and her business partner Gary have pitch perfect taste. As you can imagine ,it was a breeze producing this soiree. Have look at the beautiful party we celebrated together in the winter issue. Pick up a copy on newsstands now!

xx Annette

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Make Ahead Holiday Dessert:: Salted Chocolate Pots de Crème

PotsDeCreme

One thing that’s super important when it comes to hosting is to be a stress-free hostess. A key to remaining calm and collected is to make a few dishes ahead of time. Pots de Crème are a lovely way to end a meal, and they happen to be a great make ahead dessert choice. In fact, these can be made up to two days in advance! It’s an elegant, indulgent dessert that’s sure to wow your guests. Let me know if you give them a try; I’m confident you’ll love it if you do!

Salted Chocolate Pots de Crème
Serves 6-8

You will need:
1 ½ cup whole milk
– 1/2 cup whipping cream
– 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
– 1 teaspoon sea salt, or flake salt
– 6 large egg yolks
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup whipped cream for topping

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring milk and cream just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and salt; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.

Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.) Top with whip cream, and serve.

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Poached Pears in Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine Poached Pears

Poached fruit is a simple yet sophisticated dessert that will wow your guests this holiday season. It is, in fact, a little trick I use when I don’t want to make a complicated dessert. It’s so easy to just grab apples or pears and poach them in wine which is something I always have on had.

These mulled wine poached pears are the perfect classic dessert for fall and winter. Your guests will be impressed with the presentation, and the flavor is subtle and light which after a heavy meal can be just the perfect finish. Top them with homemade whipped cream for a festive end of meal treat.

Mulled Wine Poached Pears
Serves 8

You will need:
– 8 pears
– 1 bottle of Red Wine (I like to use a Merlot, or a Pinot Noir)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 star anise
– 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar

To prepare:

Peel the whole pears leaving the stem in tact.

In a large cast iron pot, empty the bottle of wine, add the sugar, cinnamon, star anise.

Place the peeled pears on their side, then simmer them in the wine for about 15 minutes, occasionally with a large spoon roll the pears to evenly cook them. Turn off the heat, and leave the pears to macerate in the wine (this literally can be all day). Again occasionally turning them to evenly coat the pears. The pears will become a beautiful pink color from the mulled red wine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, add the whipping cream and sugar whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes.

To serve:

Warm the pears through about 3 minutes and place the warm pears in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the mulled wine. Add a dollop of whipped cream and serve.

NOTE: This is the perfect make ahead dessert, and it will truly impress your guests! 

xx Annette

 

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Last Minute Recipe:: Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you’re spending today surrounded by friends and family eating an incredible meal.

A staple at our Thanksgiving table is cranberry sauce, but I always like to put my own twist on it. Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, but instead of opening a can, give this easy recipe a try instead. Even though the end product is luscious and luxurious, cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and this kumquat cranberry sauce is perfection.

Everyone will love the citrus flavors paired with the tart cranberries, and you’ll be the star of the meal. This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it perfect for leftovers. I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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