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Monthly Archive for December, 2013

Butternut Squash Gelato w/ Candied Pecans


A tasty seasonal flavor that is a yummy ending to your holiday meal! The pecans were given to me by a neighbor whose parents have pecan trees in their back yard in southern Missouri.

Butternut Squash Gelato w/ Candied Pecans


1 quart half & half

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 cup candied pecans (see procedure below)

2 cups roasted butternut squash pulp (see procedure below) 


For candied pecans:

1) Roast pecans in 300 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, then let cool

2) Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/8 cup water in saucepan

3) Boil to 333-335 degrees F (sugar will be amber at this point), occasionally brushing sides of pan w/ water to prevent crystals from forming, remove from heat immediately then add pecans and stir until they are well coated

4) Pour onto baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and quickly separate pecan halves w/ 2 forks (I began using my fingers because using the forks was too slow to separate the pecans before the sugar hardened)

5) When cool, roughly chop w/ a large knife or break pecans into large pieces w/ fingers; place in an airtight container

For roasted butternut squash:

1) Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds

2) Line a sheet pan w/ parchment paper and place squash, cut side down, on pan

3) Roast squash at 425 degrees F for 50 – 60 minutes until pulp is soft

4) Let cool, then scoop out pulp

For gelato:

1) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow

2) Place half & half in a heavy pot and heat until scalded

3) Very slowly whisk half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture

4) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling

5) In a food processor, pulse 3 cups of the gelato mixture into the butternut squash puree to thin, then stir puree into the remaining gelato mixture, blending well, and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight 

6) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions adding the candied pecans when mixture starts to freeze

7) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container, stir to evenly distribute the candied pecans, then place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm 

Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts 


May 2014 bring you good fortune… and good eats!!


Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways (Boule and Rolls)

This is an easy bread to make for your holiday festivities and it tastes great too! It goes well w/ roasted turkey, vegetables, pasta or whatever you’re cooking up. The cornmeal adds a nice texture and flavor to ordinary rolls or a boule. I like to slice the boule, wrap it, then put it in the freezer. That way it stays fresh and is readily available when I need a couple of pieces of bread to toast.

Cornmeal Bread 2 Ways:


1 cup cornmeal

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

 additional cornmeal for dusting pizza peel


1) Place yeast in a large bowl and pour 1/4 cup tepid water over the yeast; let sit until it becomes foamy (about 5 minutes)

2) In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal and salt

3) Add olive oil and remaining 1 1/4 cups tepid water to the yeast

4) Slowly add the flour mixture to the yeast while using your free hand to incorporate it w/ the yeast

5) Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes (add more flour a little bit at a time if dough is too sticky)

6) Form dough into a ball and place back into the large bowl (dust the bottom of the bowl w/ flour before placing dough into it); dust top of dough ball w/ flour and cover bowl w/ plastic wrap (I use a shower cap that I got from a hotel – it fits snugly over the bowl)

7) Let dough ferment (i.e., first rise) for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature (if your kitchen is too cold, place bowl in unlit oven w/ the light on – the temperature is usually 70 degrees F. During the winter months, let dough rise for 1 3/4 hours). The dough should have at least doubled in size when ready to shape

8) Remove dough from bowl, split in half, then form  half the dough into a ball (boule) shape, split the rest of the dough in half and form 2 small round rolls, then dust tops w/ flour, cover w/ plastic and let rise for 45 minutes (1 hour during winter months)

9) Meanwhile,  preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees F

10) When second rise is complete, slash top of boule and rolls w/ a serrated knife

11) Slide boule and rolls onto pizza stone, then mist sides of oven w/ water (I use a spray bottle) and quickly close oven door. For the first 2 1/2 minutes of baking mist the sides of the oven every 30 seconds – this delays crust formation and allows the bread to rise rapidly and evenly

12) After 10 minutes, rotate rolls front to back for even baking and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove rolls from oven, tap the bottoms; if it makes a hollow sound they’re ready. Leave boule in at 450 degrees for 10 more minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F, rotate boule front to back and bake for 10 additional minutes. Tap bottom as you did w/ rolls to determine readiness.

13) Allow bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing

Yield: 1 small boule and 2 rolls (or make one large boule or 4 rolls if you’d like)


It’s gotten cold and snowy here in St. Louis so I’m enjoying baking because it warms up the house. Having fresh, homemade bread around is an added bonus!

Happy Baking…