Gingerbread Orange Cheese Tart with Caramel Sauce & a Slickepott Giveaway! {Winner Announced!}

{Giveaway is closed.}

And the winner is Susan Christy! Congratulations, Susan! To receive your 13 oz jar of Slickepott caramel sauce, please see reply to your comment below.

Thanks so much for participating everyone! 

Several years ago, my two sisters, Sage and Tera, visited Europe – namely, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England and Iceland. Four weeks later they brought home treasures and stories that would last a lifetime and beyond.

There was a little place, they said, called Grasmere in Cumbria, England, that had the best gingerbread ever.

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“The loveliest spot that man hath ever found.” quoth William Wordsworth, apparently a satisfied dweller there. Perhaps it was the gingerbread that made him sing the town’s praises. The girls brought home two postcards, each with a different recipe on the front, for this delightful, world renown treat.

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The place to get Grasmere gingerbread…

Of course, we could bet neither recipe shared the “secret ingredients” in Sarah Nelson’s famous creation, so I began to play around with them both, mixing them and adding different ingredients to get something that tasted more like what they had experienced in the heart of the English Lake District.

I don’t know how close it came, but the resulting gingerbread didn’t leave much to be desired. Slightly chewy, gingery warm, with citrus overtones… it’s not like the gingerbread we’re used to…it’s like the gingerbread of our dreams.

Now if you fly west and slightly south from England, you just might make it to Delhi, New York. Never heard of it before? Well, remember it now that you have, because I predict, one day, Delhi will be known for its caramel sauce like Grasmere is known for its gingerbread.

Located near the Catskill Mountains, Ian Lamont started his business, Slickepott, making a phenomenally fudge-y chocolate sauce from an old family recipe. Those of you having read my blog through the years might remember my post about it here. When we heard he was adding caramel sauce to his repertoire, I was thrilled. He was kind enough to send us a preview of it, which, of course, thrilled me even more. That resulted in the delicious combination of Mango Ginger Stilton and Caramel on Ritz Crackers. I think you’ll want to make these hors d’oeuvres for your next party.

Flecked with vanilla bean, hinting of sea salt, and dripping with the golden goodness of caramelized demerara sugar, Ian’s caramel sauce is over-the-top stupendous.

And that is why I’ve merged these two delectable ingredients into one tantalizing dessert.

Introducing the Grasmere and Delhi inspired…

Gingerbread Crusted Orange Cheesecake Caramel Sauce Tart

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The Crust:

  • 1 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. flour (I used whole wheat because I like the texture better for this gingerbread.)
  • 1/3 c. sugar (or  do 1/2 c. brown sugar and omit the molasses)
  • 2 t. molasses
  • 1/2 c. crystallized ginger pieces
  • 2 t. ginger, powdered
  • 1 T. fresh, finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 t. each of orange, lemon and lime zest
  • 1/2 c. butter

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oats and flour in a food processor and pulse until fine.

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Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter.

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Pulse again until no chunks remain. Add butter and process until combined.

Press into a tart pan.

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Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

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Don’t let the puffiness alarm you. It will deflate. You can give it a light tap on the counter as you set it down if you’re worried. (EDIT: You know what? I change my mind. DO give it a light tap on the counter when you set it down to really ensure you have enough room for the cream cheese mixture. ) Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, the filling:

  • 2 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 t. pure orange extract

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix on med to high until smooth. Spoon into cooled crust and spread evenly.

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Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Slickepott Caramel Sauce in to a glass jar. Place inside a sauce pan and add about an inch of water to the sauce pan. Warm over medium heat just until the sauce softens and will pour off a spoon.

Garnish around the edges of the tart with canned, drained mandarin oranges or sectioned fresh oranges, both of which should be patted dry with a paper towel.

Now comes the fun part…

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See those specks of vanilla bean? Oh yum!

Spoon that caramel sauce all over the top making sure to leave a big lake of it in the middle so it will drip down the sides of each slice as it’s cut.

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Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It can be made a day in advance, but I recommend saving the orange slices and caramel sauce until the day you want to serve it.

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I think I need to make this again…

Hello, Ian? Could I order about 173 jars of caramel sauce, please? Oh! And while you’re at it, I’ll take 157 jars of fudge sauce. Overnight shipping? Yes, please!

Oh my! I think I’m going overboard here…just a little…

Okay, I know you’ve been waiting, oh so patiently, for the first Stir It Up! giveaway ever! Can you guess what it is?

Can you tell I’m excited?

Ian, at Slickepott, is graciously providing and shipping one 13 oz. jar of “silky smooth caramel bliss” right to the winner’s front door! That’s right, you get the chance to dip your spoon into this very sauce I’ve been talking about and see if I’ve been telling you the truth.

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To enter, just leave a comment below telling me what you are going to do with your jar of Slickepott Caramel Sauce!

Photo courtesy of Slickepott

Photo courtesy Ian Lamont

One entry per person please. Drawing ends June 10th and one winner will be announced on this post shortly thereafter. {An apology to my international readers: This giveaway is only open to the USA. It’s not because I’m partial (I’d probably rather be in your country right now…except for the fact that I couldn’t get any caramel sauce!), it’s just that Slickepott doesn’t ship internationally …yet. :}

I’m so happy to be able to share a jar of Slickepott’s caramel sauce with you through my blog, but if you just can’t wait for the winner to be known you can head directly over to Slickepott and order some sauce for yourself right now. I know you won’t be disappointed!

Happy Spoon Licking!

Sarah

{Giveaway is closed.}

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Drying Your Own Citrus Peel

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I love citrus – the scent, the taste, the look…

It makes me think of summer days and fresh squeezed lemonade. A constant inspiration in the kitchen, no matter the season, citrus works wonders in sweet and sour dishes alike.

Did you know that lemon peel contains 5 -10 times more vitamins than the juice does? That’s not the only benefit to eating the peels of lemon! It also reduces oxidation stress levels and helps fight cancers. You can read more about that here on the Health Extremist.

I use zest of lemon, orange, and lime in many different recipes, but one thing that concerns me is the wax and pesticide residue on the outside of the fruits. I don’t mind using non-organic citrus for juice, but the peels make me wary.

Organic citrus is rather hard to find around here though, so whenever I can get it, I try to make the most of it by peeling and drying the zest. It’s cheap and easy and the resulting product is fragrant with a powerful citrus flavor. The real benefit is having a handy jar of it around whenever you want to throw some citrus zing into a last-minute recipe.

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I use a lemon zester like this one for long ribbon-like peel, but if you prefer your zest smaller, a Microplane grater works fabulously as well. I love the one I have!

Simply zest the citrus fruit over parchment paper, spread it out in one layer and let dry for about 2 days on the counter.

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Store it in an air tight glass jar, you know that spice jar of ginger you just finished off? Perfect!

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Sometimes the drying process does strange things to lemon peel…

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Orange, lime, and lemon zest, just waiting to be used…

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What is your favorite recipe calling for citrus peel?

I’ll be sharing one of mine in the next post or two along with a giveaway featuring Slickepott‘s new caramel sauce! You’re going to LOVE it, so be sure to follow my blog in order to not miss out on more citrus-y, caramel-y deliciousness!

Caution: Hot Sauce!

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So, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never been a huge condiment fan, but suddenly I find myself eating hot sauce on everything. It’s crazy! After polishing off the remains of the Cholula (who can resist the cute bottles!) and chugging down the “Breakfast on the Edge”, I knew I had to do something about this…

Like make my own.  Yeah.

I browsed recipes, but in the end, just looked at the ingredients on the bottle and tried to replicate what I liked. Of course, who knows what “natural flavor” and “spices” really embody. At the very least, I now know what’s really in my hot sauce! And it’s as simple as this…

(Makes about 16oz. )

3 oz. package dried red peppers

boiling water

2 small cloves garlic

1 1/2 t. ground chipotle

1/2 c. distilled vinegar

1 T. salt

1 t. smoked salt

1 T. organic cane sugar

2 T. butter

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Soak the peppers in the hot water for about 30 minutes.

Put the vinegar, garlic, chipotle powder, sugar, salt and soaked, drained peppers (reserve liquid) in a blender…

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And puree until well blended, adding the reserved water to get the right consistency. Strain through a mesh strainer, unless you want all the seeds. They will make the heat much more intense. I prefer the look of no seeds. I know, it’s all about looks, right?

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Use a spoon to get ever last drop of delicious liquid out of the pulpiness.

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Place the strained liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

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Add butter and whisk to combine. Lower to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Let cool before bottling.

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And be ready for some HOT STUFF!

This is the perfect thing to make on a freezingly bitter cold day because it warms you up from the outside in. No kidding! I was practically sweating while making it. And remember – DON’T rub your eyes or skin after handling peppers! Here’s a cool tip from Alton Brown on Good Eats to help take care of that! (Start watching the video at 14:48 for the hot pepper tip, or watch the whole video for a very interesting and practical guide on knives, knife handling, cutting boards and chopping techniques.)

To prevent burning your hands with capsaicin, the oil in hot peppers that causes such discomfort, occasionally dip your fingers into a 5 to 1 solution of water and bleach while you’re working. That will turn the capsaicin into a water soluble salt that washes away with water.

How cool is that?

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Next up, I’ll share one of my recently discovered favorite breakfast dishes that, of course, calls for hot sauce.

Speaking of breakfast dishes…

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I stumbled upon a frittata idea just this morning by accident and absolutely have to share it with you this minute!

Sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and cubed, leftover sweet potato (winter squashes like butternut or pumpkin would work as well) – seasoned with fresh rosemary, oregano, sage and salt and pepper. Pour eggs and cream over the mixture, sprinkle on some cheese (creamy goat or something sharp would be outrageous, but I just had cheddar.) and bake until set. Oh my! I love “accidental stumbles” in the kitchen!

And speaking of eggs…

My Mom bought some beautiful Cuckoo and Black Copper Marans and Welsummer hens and chicks (originating from France and Holland, respectively) and we hope to have our own farm fresh eggs soon.

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Black Copper Maran eggs are a dark chocolaty brown – the darkest of any other laying hens. These eggs are prized by French chefs and and are so expensive here in the US that a 3 egg omelet would cost $30.00! I wonder if someone could even enjoy eating an omelet that expensive?? Anyway, Mom wants to get several breeds of chickens that lay eggs of all different colors, so I’m excited to see that egg basket when they start laying!

Speaking of chickens…

My Mom is not only a chicken farmer, along with a gillion other titles, but she’s a great artist too. And, over on her garden/chicken blog, she’s giving away this oil painting of a Columbian Rock chicken. It’s it lovely?

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Folksy Chicken

Head over to Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme for a chance to win!

Speaking of winning…

Just kidding! I’m done…for now.

But don’t you wish I wasn’t? Winning is always such a great topic!