Pistachio Crisps with Mascarpone Cream and Grape Compote

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  • 2 pounds large red seedless grapes, stemmed, halved
  • 5 tablespoons frozen white grape juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Mascarpone cream

  • 1 1/2 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese
  • 5 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise


  • 1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed

Recipe Preparation


  • Stir grapes and sugar in heavy large skillet to coat. Let stand 5 minutes. Add juice concentrate and spice powder. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until syrup thickens enough to coat spoon, about 30 minutes. Pour compote into sieve set over medium bowl; drain grapes well. Transfer grapes to another medium bowl. Refrigerate grapes and syrup separately until cold, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover each; keep refrigerated.

Mascarpone cream

  • Place mascarpone in small bowl; sift sugar over. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; stir to blend. Chill at least 1 hour. Cover and keep chilled.


  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend powdered sugar and nuts in processor until nuts are finely chopped. Sprinkle 10-inch square area on work surface with 1/3 cup nut sugar; top with pastry sheet. Sprinkle pastry with 1/3 cup nut sugar. Roll out pastry to 12-inch square. Roll up into 12-inch-long log. Cut into sixteen 3/4-inch-wide rounds. Roll out each to 4-inch-diameter round, sprinkling with more nut sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Arrange rounds on prepared sheets. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake pistachio rounds uncovered until brown on bottom and golden on top, reversing sheets after 10 minutes, about 16 minutes total. Transfer crisps to racks and cool. Store airtight at room temperature.

  • Spread 2 tablespoons mascarpone cream on each of 8 crisps. Place on plates. Spoon cooked grapes atop cream. Cut 8 crisps in half. Drizzle each dessert with grape syrup, then garnish each with 2 crisp halves, grape cluster, and mint.

Reviews Section

Cheese recipes

Cheese is so important in Italy that some banks accept wheels of aging Parmigiano Reggiano as collateral against loans. Whether made with milk from sheep, cow, goat or buffalo, Italian cheeses are versatile, lending themselves to both sweet and savoury dishes. Our collection of Italian cheese recipes proves just that.

Mozzarella and its luxurious, cream-filled cousin burrata are delicious served simply on their own, as part of a classic Caprese salad or melted on top of the perfect pizza. But can also be celebrated in more elaborate creations such as Teresa Buongiorno’s combination of crisp Kataifi pastry and and salty, aged ham. Ricotta might be even more versatile. Fresh and moist, it makes a simple but delicious filling for pasta as in these Herb and ricotta ravioli, which are finished with Parmesan – another indispensable Italian cheese. Or it can be salted, pressed and dried into the harder ricotta salata, which can be grated over many dishes and is used to bring flavour in Alessandro Gavagna’s Barbecued potato salad.

Ricotta is also indispensable in many sweet dishes, including the classic Sicilian dessert Cassata. Likewise, the richer, creamier mascarpone provides the perfect foil to strong, sweet coffee and booze-soaked biscuits in a Tiramisu.

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What The Cook

Ice cream probably isn't the first thing you think of when you think of wintery foods but bear with me. This ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to many a christmas dessert and it's the easiest thing in the world to make, especially seeing as though it looks and tastes so impressive!

Smooth, creamy ice cream with the odd crunch of nut and the sweet, distinctive flavour of pistachios combine to make the perfect dessert all year round. I made this recently for a dinner party and served it with my foolproof chocolate fondants and I really recommend you do the same if you're entertaining because both recipes can be made well in advance and kept frozen until they're needed.

Glorious Pistachio Ice Cream

For the pistachio paste:
500g unsalted pistachios, shelled and skinned
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
100ml water
1 or 2 drops green food dye
For the pistachio ice cream:
6 free-range egg yolks
120g caster sugar
250ml full-fat milk
250ml double cream
100g pistachio paste
125g unsalted pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped

For the pistachio paste, place all the ingredients, except the food dye, in a food processor and blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as you go. Once the mixture starts to form a smooth paste, you can add a few drops of green food dye but don't over do it as you want it to look natural! Transfer to a zip-lock bag and keep in the fridge for up to a month.

For the pistachio ice cream, whisk the yolks with 60g caster sugar in a large bowl until thick and creamy. Place the milk, cream and remaining caster sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and mix in the pistachio paste, stirring until dissolved. Pour the hot milk into the whisked yolks and stir well.

Return the pistachio mixture to the pan and cook over a very low heat stirring constantly with a spatula until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool the pistachio mixture, then refrigerate for at least one hour.

Strain the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen, following the manufacturer's instructions. Mix in the chopped pistachios and freeze until required.

Quick & Easy Healthy Living Recipes

Our quick and easy Healthy Living recipes are the solution for anyone who’s ever found it tough to eat well on a tight schedule. These easy foil-pack dinners, seafood dishes, pronto pastas, speedy stir-fry recipes and more will help you stick to your Healthy Living goals. Round out your meals with great accompaniments like salsa, quinoa and in-season fruits and veggies. You’ll find eating well is as good as it is quick and easy! And (as always) be sure to leave room for a Healthy Living dessert.

Our quick and easy Healthy Living recipes are the solution for anyone who’s ever found it tough to eat well on a tight schedule. These easy foil-pack dinners, seafood dishes, pronto pastas, speedy stir-fry recipes and more will help you stick to your Healthy Living goals. Round out your meals with great accompaniments like salsa, quinoa and in-season fruits and veggies. You’ll find eating well is as good as it is quick and easy! And (as always) be sure to leave room for a Healthy Living dessert.

Ultimate Pistachio Lover’s Gelato

With a light and creamy pistachio base, crunchy chopped pistachios, and a luxurious swirl of white chocolate pistachio cream, this homemade pistachio gelato is for serious pistachio lovers only. This isn&rsquot your boring old pistachio ice cream. With triple the pistachio flavor and a delightful contrast of textures from crunchy to creamy, it takes pistachio [&hellip]

With a light and creamy pistachio base, crunchy chopped pistachios, and a luxurious swirl of white chocolate pistachio cream, this homemade pistachio gelato is for serious pistachio lovers only.

This isn’t your boring old pistachio ice cream. With triple the pistachio flavor and a delightful contrast of textures from crunchy to creamy, it takes pistachio to a whole new level.

Taylor knows what he likes. When he finds it, he sticks with it (lucky for me, lol).

But this is also true for gelato. All throughout our travels, all the amazing gelato and ice cream shops we’ve discovered that wow me with their creative flavors, 9 out of 10 times he’ll end up with the pistachio.

Needless to say, he’s been a happy boy these last few weeks as I was testing this recipe.

I originally decided to make a pistachio gelato to use up the leftover jars of various pistachio creams/butters I had from testing these delicious morsels.

…and ultimately ended up buying way more pistachio stuff because I just can’t leave well enough alone.

Not only did I want to make a luscious, creamy pistachio gelato, but I also wanted to add a swirl of pistachio cream AND crunchy candied pistachios. The ultimate pistachio gelato, if you will.

But that basically meant I was testing 3 recipes in one.

I really make things hard on myself, don’t I?

(Of course, if Taylor was in charge he would make plain ass pistachio. But we all know that’s not how I roll.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Food for a Bad Week

I have spent the past week engulfed in melancholy.

Backstory: I was in New York last weekend, visiting friends from college -- you know, the important ones: those who make much of college worthwhile. It was glorious and exhausting and I relished every instant with a profound joy. The trip was touched with a bit of sadness, though I learned that most of them are. (how to put this delicately?) . not in the best of places right now. Being the nosy nice guy that I am, I want to step in and help, changing the world so that they can have an easier time of it. That's simply not possible, of course, and it infuriates me. As a result, I have spent all my time since then brooding, frustrated and morose.

My mood deteriorated even further when I saw the state of the kitchen upon my return. Not only did it have the usual filthy characteristics that I hate (recycling: overflowed sink: full of dishes all surfaces: encrusted with grime), but furthermore, the dishwasher was broken! I realise that as students, we are incredibly spoiled to have this machine. But it is of little use when it refuses to use water. Disgusted, I withdrew to (read: hid in) my room for a few days.

Passive aggressive? Maybe. But you know things are bad in this apartment when I refuse to cook, especially since I'm the one who suffers most from that decision. I get antsy and irritable (if I'm not already) when I can't create anything.

Fortunately, the weekend has witnessed an upturn of sorts. Melancholy has given way to grim determination, somehow fueled by the memory of joy. I've managed to spend a few hours cleaning and running errands, and the dishwasher has reconciled itself with water. Life is getting tolerable again. I haven't made a difference in New York yet that's next on my To-Do list. Me vs. the Universe. Yeah. Let's do this.

In the meantime, to keep myself distracted and celebrate the returned-to-functional kitchen, I continue to make interesting things. This here is a fascinating pasta dish that I once made a while ago, but didn't blog about it for some reason. If the mix of red wine, grapes, and Italian sausage doesn't grab your interest already, then think about the taste when the grapes macerate in the wine for 8 hours, along with sugar and vinegar. Hard to imagine, isn't it? Take it from me: the result is a delightful mix of sweetness from the fruit, bitterness from the vinegar, and spice from the sausage. And don't be intimidated by the wait after the overnight maceration, the rest of dish assembles very quickly.

  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb dried strozzapreti pasta // or whatever type of pasta you happen to have on hand
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1,1/2 lbs Italian sausage (about 4 links, recommended 2 spicy and 2 sweet), casings cut away and meat roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbs chopped parsley

Day 2:
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Remove the grape mixture from the fridge, place it in a medium saucepot, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Cook the mixture at a boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10min.

When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the strozzapreti and cook until the pasta is just al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the meat and begin to brown it for about 3-4min, stirring and breaking up the meat as you go.

Add the onion and continue cooking, stirring well, until the sausage and onion have cooked through, about 5-7min.

Add the sage and stir to combine.

Add the grape mixture and stir well.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it (but do not rinse it). Add the pasta to the pot with the grape-and-sausage mixture and cook together so the flavours combine and the pasta cooks a bit more, about 1,1/2min.

Remove the saucepot from the heat and add the butter, cheese, black pepper, and parsley. Sprinkle with more cheese and serve immediately.

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Cream of celeriac with garlicky croutons

Being an avid reader of this blog you might have noticed that the "jerusalem artichoke soup" has disappeared from the "coming soon" menu. Reason being that I have been searching high and low for them, without any success. So to recompensate you for this loss, I have decided to cook up some celeriac I bought on the weekend.
I find celeriac to be the most underrated vegetable around - most people in Austria only ever use it for producing stock, together with carrots, onions and parsnips. Here in the UK the situation seems to be even worse, since Sainsbury's see a need to stick little tags on them which read "mash me!", I have never seen them do this with potatoes (or any other kind of veg, for that matter), which indicates that it is not very commonly used.
Celeriac is much more versatile than that, though, and I should be posting a few recipes using it, like celeriac-vacherin purée, Gordon Ramsay's celeric lasagne (yum!), etc as my contribution to saving this rather unattractive, but very tasty root vegetable from extinction.
I will make the start with a thick and warming cream of celeriac topped with garlic croutons. I serve this sprinkled with a little pumpkin seed oil (see image) or truffle oil, if being lavish.

Cream of celeriac with garlicky croutons
(serves 4 as a lunch or 8 as a starter)

700 g celeriac (peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes)
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
25 g bacon (optional) (thinly diced)
1 tbsp olive oil
80 ml Noilly Prat
1 l vegetable stock (plus more to taste)

For the croutons:
2 large slices dark rye bread (cut into 2 cm cubes)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tsp herbes de provence (dry herb mix, or use any fresh herbs if on hand)
sea salt
pumpkin seed or truffle oil (optional)

Fry the onion (and the bacon, if using) in 1 tbsp olive oil, for 10 minutes, making sure they do not brown. Add the Noilly Prat and continue to cook until it has almost evaporated. Add the stock to the pan and cook until the celeriac has completely softened.
In the meantime heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add the bread and the garlic. Sauté until the bread is brown, making sure the garlic does not burn. Season with sea salt and herbes de provence.
Purée the soup with a hand-held blender and add stock to achieve the desired consistency (the above quantity is what I use myself, but you might prefer your soup to be thinner).
Serve the soup in bowls, with a heap of croutons and pumpkin seed or truffle oil to your liking.

Watch the video: Παγωτό με 2 υλικά χωρίς παγωτομηχανη. 冰淇淋.


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