mango tapioca ambrosia

It seems I’m always thinking.  Depending on the day depends on what it’s about and sometime it works, but sometimes it doesn’t.  The one constant thing, however,  is I am always thinking about what I can make and how I will make it.   And that is exactly what happened on the day I was looking through one of my food magazines and saw a recipe for a mango and tapioca parfait.  I wanted to make it.

But I didn’t have a chance to make it as soon as I had hoped to,  which was perhaps, a blessing in disguise. I just couldn’t find small pearl tapioca anywhere!  I honestly think it is a rare commodity in my area, but if you have as much trouble finding it as I did, check your local asian market.  They will have it.  During the search, however, I was looking through my friend, Patrick Evans-Hylton’s new cookbook, “Dishing up Virginia”, and came across his Ambrosia recipe.  I now wanted to make that too.

Here’s where the thinking part came in.  What if I combined the mango parfait with the ambrosia recipe?  Now that was something worth thinking about and I have to say,  this one thought was with me almost every day.  How would I combine them, what would I take out and what would I keep?  For days I had both recipes open on my counter, reading and re-reading.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.

I may have blown a brain cell with all my thinking but I honestly believe I came up with a really great combination.  I have Patrick’s Ambrosia in a whole new way.  I don’t think Patrick would really mind me taking liberties with his recipe, in fact,  I’m almost positive he would love the fact that I did!

So the next time you see a recipe you like (including this one), think about popping a few brain cells, taking a few liberties and see what you come up with.  I think it could be something amazing!

See…..there I go again…. always thinking.  However, I believe this time it worked and it was a good thing.

mango tapioca ambrosia

Prep Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup small pearl tapioca
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk (1/2 of a 14 oz can)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peeled and diced mango
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 banana
  • 3 ounces fresh or frozen coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • maraschino cherries (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the tapioca, whole milk, vanilla bean and seeds and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until tapioca is translucent and tender, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk.

  2. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk with the sugar. Gradually whisk in half the warm tapioca in a steady stream. Continue whisking and pour egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean. (i usually cover with plastic wrap directly covering the top of the pudding to avoid “skin”)

  3. Whip the cream with an electric mixer in a medium chilled metal bowl until thick; fold in the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the mango, pineapple, lime zest and lime juice. Take half to a food processor and purée until smooth. Add purée to the other half of the diced mango and pineapple. Slice banana and add to the purée mixture to prevent browning.

  5. Once tapioca has cooled enough, fold whipped cream into it.

  6. To assemble begin with the fruit mixture, top with tapioca and whipped cream mixture, add toasted coconut, and then toasted pecans. Repeat until you have about two layers of everything. I use jelly canning jars and got six out of this recipe. Top with a maraschino cherry if desired.

Blueberry Pie Parfaits with White Chocolate Cream

Do you remember when you were younger and you would go blueberry picking?  I do.  Half the blueberries would be in the bucket and the other half in my mouth.  My shirt and fingers would be blue with the juice, but it was something I looked forward to every summer when they were ripe.  Now I just go to my back yard where I have two little starter bushes.  My only problem is I have to race the dog to see who gets there first!

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With blueberry season its natural to want to make blueberry pies.  I love a good pie but it is a little basic at times.  Imagine how pleased I was when I looked through a “Fine Cooking” magazine and discovered this blueberry pie parfait!  I had to give it a try…and taste!

This recipe had a white chocolate whipped cream and it was a welcome addition.  It lightened up the dessert without taking away from the blueberry pie flavor I expected and the white chocolate added a rich undertone.  The buttery almond-thyme streusel added more of a textural crunch than would a standard pie crust, which I really loved.  For me, this dessert was a huge winner on the flavor thermometer.

What I also liked about this is that if you’re tasting as you go along with the recipe, you can change it up to make it more to your personal liking.  A little more white chocolate in the whipped cream,  an extra squeeze of lemon into the blueberry or another shake of cinnamon into the streusel.

I’ve made these several times since my discovery of the recipe and it always gets rave reviews.  A few nights ago, we had been invited over to a friend’s home for dinner and I wanted to bring this but wasn’t sure about the trip.   It was easily solved when I used jelly canning jars, topped them with a lid and no spill! And I got extra points for presentation.

So enjoy your summer and bring some tasty fun to your family and friends.  They will love you for it!

Blueberry Pie Parfaits with White Chocolate Cream

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

FOR THE STREUSEL:

  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup scant slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

FOR THE CREAM:

  • 4 1/2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated and finely chopped lemon zest plus 1/2 teaspoon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  • Pinch kosher salt

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

MAKE THE STREUSEL:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, oats, butter, almonds, sugars, thyme, and salt on medium speed until the ingredients are evenly dispersed and some of the pieces of streusel are the size of hazelnuts. Transfer the streusel to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5 minutes to 6 minutes, until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the streusel cool completely before using.

MAKE THE CREAM:

  1. Put 3 ounces of the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of the cream and the lemon zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and salt, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

  2. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream to the chilled mixture and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

MAKE THE FILLING:

  1. Put the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. Using a potato masher or a silicone spatula, break up some of the blueberries to release their juice and cook, stirring often, until the mixture begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir constantly, reducing the heat to maintain a steady simmer, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice until melted. Let the filling cool until warm.

ASSEMBLE THE PARFAITS:

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of the streusel in the bottom of each of six 10 ounce parfait glasses. Divide the warm filling among them and scatter each with about 2 tablespoons streusel. Divide the remaining filling among the glasses and top with the remaining streusel. Dollop each with the white chocolate cream, sprinkle with the remaining chopped white chocolate and serve.

Rowena’s and my winning recipe!

I first discovered Rowena’s almond pound cake many years ago when I had a little sample at some show I can’t even remember.  I was in love and totally hooked!  At the time, it was just my two children and I so i would buy the little loaves and we would freeze them so we could have them all the time.  It never occurred to me that we could actually go to Norfolk and buy more.  We became Rowena Almond Pound Cake Horders.  They should have made a show about us.

You can imagine my delight when I saw there was a contest Rowena’s was hosting on National Pound Cake Day.  I really didn’t have anything that I made with pound cake so I was a little nervous about attempting this, but what did I have to lose?  I loved their pound cake so I did something that was so unlike me…..  I actually entered the contest.

And guess what?  I WON!!!    Wow…never did I expect to win in a million years!  This was one of my most exciting moments EVER! (i think i actually cried a little I was so happy)

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I was equally surprised when I received the package from them.  Not only did I have the winning options of almond pound cake and lemon curd (which also happens to be the best lemon curd), but I also had several other items that I’m excited to try in future recipes.  Raspberry curd, Lavender sauce and Jalapeno Ketchup, to name a few (the ketchup might actually help me to win in next year’s Don’t Let Your Meatloaf Party!)  I was also fortunate to receive Patrick Evans-Hylton’s new products that he is starting…the Historic Hot Chocolate and Chesapeake Bay Seasoning.  Can’t wait to try them all!

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You really need to buy an almond pound cake from Rowena’s for yourself.  If you love almond you will love this cake.  Just opening the package is an aromatic experience.  The almond scent is better than…..dare I say it?…..yes, for foodies, better than sex.  The cake is so moist and so flavorful that it takes all the self-control I have to not eat the entire thing myself.

This recipe is so easy to make.  It is great for a dinner party or if you’re all by yourself.  The only stipulation I have is to make sure you have a Rowena’s almond pound cake if you’re going to make it.  Any other would be a total disservice to this dessert.

Bon Appetite!

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