Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tomato & Watermelon Salad

As summer winds down, I try to hang on to the fruits and vegetables that make summer great – fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and sweet watermelon. This salad is summer on a bowl.  The sweetness of the watermelon balances the acidity of the tomatoes contrasts with the pungent gorgonzola cheese. It’s refreshing and it excites all of your taste buds at the same time.
 
Ingredients
3 C Watermelon (1” cubes)
2 Ripe Tomatoes (diced)
½ C Crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese

Vinaigrette
2 TBS Champaigne or Cider Vinegar
Pinch Salt
3 grinds Fresh Black Pepper
1 TBS Fresh Mint (minced)
1 small Shallot (diced fine)
¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

Place the cubed watermelon, diced tomatoes, and gorgonzola cheese in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, mint, and diced shallot. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.

Pour the vinaigrette over the watermelon and tomatoes and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Serve with a burger or a steak and enjoy the end of summer.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Tomato & Watermellon Salad.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quick Pork & Eggplant Stew


 
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1 Medium Purple Eggplant (peel & dice 1” squares)
1 lb. Pork (diced ½” squares) 
 2 TBS Olive Oil
½ tsp Kosher Salt – divided ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
2 Cloves Garlic (minced large)
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes (halved)
1 C White Wine
1 C Marinara
½ C Grated Fontina Cheese 
2 TBS Grated Parmesan
1½ tsp Fresh Thyme (minced)
1 TBS Fresh Basil (minced)

Directions

Cover a large microwave safe plate with a paper towel. Spread the diced eggplant on the towel, sprinkle ¼ tsp kosher salt over the eggplant, and cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Dice the pork into ½” cubes trimming any excess fat. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt on the cubed pork.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the diced pork and sauté until all sides of the pork are light brown. Do not overcook.  Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked pork and put it in a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon to the frying pan and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the eggplant and tomatoes until the eggplant is softened. Add 1 cup white wine and reduce the wine by half.

Add the marinara, Fontina, Parmesan, thyme, and basil. Cover and simmer on low heat for ten minutes. Stir frequently.

Serve immediately with some crusty Italian bread and a glass of white wine. This stew also freezes well.

* Pronto Substitutes
Pork – you can use a variety of pork including pork chops, tenderloin or pork roast.
Fontina – Substitute any mild melting cheese such as mozzarella

To print a copy of this recipe go to Quick Pork & Eggplant Stew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fried Daylily Flowers with Ricotta


Fried zucchini flowers are a classic Italian dish. However I do not have space to grow zucchini so I used daylily flowers instead.
 
Ingredients
1 C Whole Milk Ricotta (drained)
1 Large Egg
½ C Fresh Chives (thinly sliced)
¼ C Grated Parmesan
¼ tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
12 Daylily Flowers (stamens removed)
1 lb Fresh Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
½ C + 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 Leaves Basil (sliced in strips)
1 tsp Salt

Directions

Place the Ricotta in a strained over a bowl in the refrigerator. Drain for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, chives, grated parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Using a teaspoon, stuff each daylily blossom with 1 ½ teaspoons of filling and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the diced tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Carefully place 2-3 flowers at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Be careful, the oil may splatter. Sprinkle lightly with salt after they are fried.

Serve the fried blossoms topped with the tomatoes.

To print a copy of this recipe go to Fried Daylily Flowers with Ricotta.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pulled Pork, Egg and Waffles


Makes 2 servings.

I was in a quandary, I had leftover pulled pork and I wanted to try using it in a different way – then inspiration struck when I saw my waffle maker. What I came up with was a cross between breakfast and dinner. I first made a Belgian waffle, covered it with Dr. Pepper® Pulled Pork smothered in Peach Balsamic BBQ sauce then topped with two over easy fried eggs. When you cut into it the yolks creamy flavor balanced out the tartness of the pulled pork and the crisp waffle held it all together. 

Ingredients

2 Belgian waffles (don’t make them too crispy)
2 C Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce*
1 TBS Salted Butter
4 Large Eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare 2 Belgian waffles according to your favorite recipe or buy frozen and prepare according to package directions. I used Bisquick® and the recipe on the box for my waffles.

Reheat the pulled pork. Make sure it has BBQ sauce on it and is “wet”. Spread 1 cup of pulled pork on each waffle.

Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet and fry the eggs over easy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place 2 fried eggs on top of the pulled pork.  Serve immediately.

*Pronto Substitute

Pulled Pork – You can substitute any pulled pork as long as it has a BBQ sauce on it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Baked Beans

Baked Beans.jpgAt your next barbecue kick up the beans a notch. This recipe will help you transform an ordinary can of baked beans into a dish that your guests will ask for the recipe. It has a rich, sweet, salty and savory taste that will make everyone smile.You'll never eat beans straight from the can again.


5 Slices of Bacon or 1/3 lb Pancetta
¼ C Green Pepper (diced very small)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
¼ C Onion (minced)
½ C Light Brown Sugar (packed)
½ C Barbecue Sauce or Ketchup
1 ½ tsp Yellow or Brown Mustard
2 16 oz Cans of Baked Beans
Cut the bacon or pancetta (if you use pancetta add 1 TBS olive oil to the pan) into small strips and fry in a large skillet for 3-4 minutes.  Add the diced pepper, and chopped onion.  Continue stirring until the pepper is tender and the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then add the brown sugar, barbecue sauce or ketchup, and mustard.  Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  Add the beans and stir carefully.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

To print a copy of the recipe go to Baked Beans.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Grilled Florentine Steak Salad


This is grilling Tuscan style. Florence is famous for their steaks. They use locally raised, grass fed cows that are tender and flavorful. It’s easy to duplicate this fantastic dish on your own home grill. Use a good quality steak and coat it in olive oil and garlic before grilling. You will love the results.

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients
1 Large Clove Garlic *
¼ tsp Kosher Salt
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary (Minced Finely)
1 8oz. New York Strip Steak
2 C Mixed Greens

Dressing
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar *
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper

Directions

Press the garlic clove through a garlic press or mince finely. Mix together the minced garlic, salt, olive oil, and rosemary. Coat the strip steak with the mixture and grill over a hot heat until it has an internal temperature of 130F. Remove from the grill and tent with foil for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the steak is grilling whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and mix with the greens. Place half the dressed greens on each plate. Slice the steak and place it on top of the greens. Serve immediately.

* Pronto Substitutes
Garlic Clove – for a sweeter flavor substitute 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic.
Balsamic Vinegar – Use apple cider vinegar


To print a copy of this recipe go to Grilled Florentine Steak Salad.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake

It’s strawberry season again and what better way to enjoy sweet berries is to marry them with cheese. This easy to make cheesecake is sweet creamy and melts in your mouth.

Servings 8 pieces

INGREDIENTS
1 ¼ C Ricotta Cheese
¼ C Honey
¼ C Flour
4 Large Eggs
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
7 to 8 Strawberries (sliced in thirds) *
Shortening or Butter (to grease the pan)
1 TBS Sugar (to sprinkle on top)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 in springform pan.

Wash and hull the strawberries then cut each one in three slices.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until stiff and reserve.
Beat the ricotta together with the honey. Add the yolks, the lemon zest, the vanilla and the flour and mix well. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites. Fold in the remaining egg whites and mix with care. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and place the strawberries slices on top. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the strawberries

Bake for 40/45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let it rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and run a knife around the outside of the pan before opening the springform pan.

Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Almond Meringue Cookies

Almond Meringue Cookies.JPG
Servings: 24-36 cookies


These delicious morsels are packed with almonds, lemon rind and cinnamon. Then they are drizzled with chocolate. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.


11 oz. Slivered Almonds (toasted and ground)
3 Egg Whites
1 C Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp Grated Lemon Zest
3/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 oz. Semisweet Chocolate


Directions


Preheat oven to 350F.


Spread the slivered almonds in a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes stirring them halfway through. They should be a light golden brown. Let them cool completely to room temperature.


Grind the almonds in a food processor until fine but not powdery.


Lower the oven temperature to 325F.


Grease and lightly flour 2 large cookie sheets (if you use a silpat you do not have to grease or flour).


In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the egg whites on low for two minutes, raise the speed to medium and whip for an additional 2 minutes. Finally raise the speed to high for an additional 1-2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Return the mixer to low and gradually add in the confectioners sugar until mixed.


Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest, cinnamon and almonds until just mixed.


Drop the tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until golden at the edges.


Let the cookies sheets rest on wire racks for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

When the cookies have completely cooled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Place the chocolate into a piping bag with a fine tip and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Allow the chocolate to completely harden then store for up to 1 week in an airtight container.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Almond Meringue Cookies.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash Fra Diavolo



I’ve always loved Shrimp Fra Diavolo but I have been trying to reduce the amount of carbohydrates I eat. I’ve reinvented Shrimp fra Diavolo as a gluten free dish by substituting spaghetti squash for pasta – and it’s just as good! Just imagine sweet shrimp bathed in a spicy marinara, wrapped in spaghetti squash. It’s an easy dish that even the carb lovers in your house will enjoy.

Makes 4 servings with a salad


Ingredients
1 Lg Spaghetti Squash
1 Lb 31-40 ct Shrimp (peeled & deveined)
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
¼ tsp Table Salt
1 Qt Marinara Sauce
¼ -½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ C Grated Parmesan

Directions
 
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pike several holes in the top of the spaghetti squash, place it on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 20-30 minutes. You will know when it is done when a knife is easily inserted into the squash. Let cool on the counter for 10 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, place the peeled and deveined shrimp, olive oil, minced garlic, and table salt in a small bowl and mix to coat. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place into the preheated oven for 2 ½ minutes. Flip all of the shrimp and cook for an additional 2 ½ minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp immediately to a small bowl.

When the squash is cooked and has had time to cool cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Take a fork and scrape the flesh. It will form spaghetti like strands.

In a large frying pan, heat the marinara, then add the grated parmesan, crushed red pepper, cooked shrimp and cooked spaghetti squash. Bring to a simmer and mix thoroughly, heating until everything has warmed.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash Fra Diavolo.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Prosciutto & Romano Popcorn

As many of my frends know, I’m addicted to ground locatelli romano cheese. It is similar in taste to parmesan but with a stronger flavor. I put it in my frittatas, pasta and now on my popcorn. Combine the salty cheese with the savory proscuitto and the crunch of the popcorn and you are in movie heaven - you will not be able to stop eating it.

Makes 3-4 Servings

Ingredients
1 + 2 TBS Canola Oil (divided)
2 oz Prosciutto (diced small) *
1/3 C Popping Corn Kernels
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1 TBS Melted Butter
½ C Grated Romano Cheese *

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of Canola oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the diced prosciutto and fry until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

In a mini processor blend the kosher salt and brown sugar until it becomes a fine powder. If you do not have a mini processor, substitute 1 teaspoon of popcorn salt (it’s already ground fine) and just mix it with the brown sugar.

In a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil with three kernels of popcorn until the kernels pop. Add the remaining popcorn and shake the pot to coat the kernels until they start to pop. Stop shaking and cook until the popping stops, about 5 minutes.

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and add the melted butter, salt and sugar mixture, cooked prosciutto, and the grated cheese. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

* Pronto Substitutes
Proscuitto – Use bacon or pancetta but eliminate the oil for frying
Romano – Substitute Po Popcorn.armesan Cheese

To print a copy of this recipe go to Proscuitto & Roman

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sweet Apple & Stone Cut Oatmeal Bake

After a lifetime of eating cereal for breakfast I’ve been looking for breakfast ideas that I would not have to prepare every morning. I tried the packets of instant oatmeal but they are full of artificial ingredients and are over processed. I had heard about how good stone-cut oatmeal was but I did not want to spend 45 minutes preparing my breakfast. This recipe enables me to make 6 servings of sweet stone-cut oatmeal bake over the weekend and just warm it in the microwave it in the morning. It’s sweet, crunchy, and has the wonderful taste and texture of stone cut oatmeal. I’m hoping it will also help lower my cholesterol.

Makes 12 Servings

Ingredients
1 C Steel-Cut Oats
½ C Almonds (chopped small)*
½ tsp Kosher Salt
1 Lg Egg
2 C Milk
½ C Firmly-Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ C Olive Oil
1 Diced Apple (~1C) *
2 oz. Pancetta (diced and fried crisp) Optional*

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, and salt. In a separate medium bowl beat the eggs then stir in the milk, brown sugar and olive oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold in the diced apples and pancetta.

Pour the oatmeal mixture into a 8” x 8” baking dish. Cover with aluminum and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve hot or cool completely and place it in the refrigerator. Cut into 6 pieces and enjoy all week. Just heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and enjoy.

Pronto Substitutes
*Almonds – You can substitute any nut
*Apples – Substitute other firm fruit like pears
*Pancetta – Substitute bacon


To print a copy of this recipe go to Sweet Apple & Stone-Cut Oatmeal Bake.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Nicola’s Pecan Crusted Fish

This recipe is easy and since it is baked it’s healthy. The crunch of the pecans and the tender white fish are accented by the saltiness of the grated parmesan and the tang of the lemon. Pair this with a glass of Chardonnay and a salad or vegetable and you have a great meal.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
1 lb. Tilapia filets
½ C Grated Parmesan or Locatelli Romano
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp freshly grated Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Eggs
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 C Pecans chopped
Cooking Spray
Lemon or Lime Wedges (Optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mix the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  In a second bowl, beat together the eggs and the oil. 

Chop the pecans in a food processor until they are the size of large crumbs but not powdery.  I find that they chop better if they are frozen.  Place the chopped pecans in a third bowl.

Place the filets in the parmesan mixture making sure that they are completely coated. 

Dip the coated filet in the egg mixture then place it on the chopped pecans until completely coated. 

Place the fish in a baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.  Spay the fish with the cooking spray as well.  This will help it form a crispy crust.

Bake the fish in the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky.

Squeeze some lemon on top when served.

Chef’s Note: Buy only fresh fish.  If it smells fishy—don't buy it.  I recommend purchasing it the day you are going to use it.  If you must buy it the day before put the fish in a bowl of milk.   The milk will help it stay fresher.

* Pronto Substitute
Tilapia – use any other mild white fish.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Nicola's Pecan Crusted Fish.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Artichoke Gemelli

My wife and I are constantly striving to eat healthier so I've been experimenting with healthy meals that are low in points. What I came up with is a wonderful combination of artichoke hearts and gemelli pasta. The sweetness of the artichokes contrasts with the savory parmesan cheese to bring this pasta dish to new heights, even if you are not on a diet.

Makes 2 servings (6 Weight Watchers points / serving)

Ingredients
5 oz Gemelli Pasta *
2 TBS + ¼ tsp Kosher salt
1 TBS olive oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion (sliced paper thin)
14oz Can Artichoke Hearts (drained and quartered)
3 Cloves Garlic (sliced thin)
½ C Chicken Broth
1 tsp Dried Parsley
2 C Pasta Water
1 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese.
½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional) *

Cook the pasta according to package directions making sure to add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the water.

While the pasta is cooking, slice the onion into paper thin slices. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sautee the onions until they are light brown in color, stirring frequently.  When the onions are cooked add the garlic and cook for an additional 60 seconds. Add the quartered artichoke hearts and cook until the pan is almost dry. Add the chicken broth and teaspoon of dried parsley and continue cooking until the pan is almost dry. Add 2 cups of water from the cooking pasta, turn the heat to high and cook down until only a little liquid is left.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the artichokes. Cook for an additional 60 seconds while stirring. Serve immediately, topping with the grated parmesan and optional red pepper flakes.

* Pronto Substitutes
Gemelli – Gemelli are small twisted pasta but you can use any smaller sized pasta.

Red Pepper Flakes – If you are serving this to children you may want to skip the red pepper flakes.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Artichoke Gemelli.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Easy Linguine with Clam Sauce

This is an easy weeknight dinner that twirls together the salty taste of the sea with savory garlic and linguine. It’s fast and tastes like it came from your favorite Italian restaurant. Serve with some garlic bread and a Pinot Noir and you have a feast.

Makes 4 main course servings

Ingredients
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil for frying
1 Lg Onion (diced)
¼ tsp Kosher Salt
2 Cloves garlic (minced)
¼ C Dry White Wine (i.e. Pinot Noir or Chardonnay)
1 6.5 oz Can Chopped Clams with Juice
1 6.5 oz Can Chopped Clams drained
1 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Anchovy Paste
1 lb Dried Linguine
3 TBS Fresh Italian Parsley (chopped)
1 TBS Drained Capers (optional)
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ C Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat 6 tablespoons in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and kosher salt and cook on low until soft and translucent (7-10 minutes), stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the wine and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook until aldente, about 12 minutes for most linguines, then drain.

While the pasta is cooking add the canned clams, lemon juice and anchovy paste to the onion mixture for one minute. Add the parsley and capers. Add the linguine to the sauce and mix. Pour into a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and mix in the grated cheese. Serve with extra cheese on the side.

Cook’s Note: Do not skip the anchovy paste. You will not taste the anchovy but it will add umami, a savory taste, that brings out all of the other flavors in the dish. Anchovy paste comes in a tube in the canned vegetable aisle.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Linguine with Clam Sauce.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fried Eggs and Polenta

The next time you want to enjoy a special weekend brunch or just make an easy dinner, serve fried eggs over creamy polenta with grated parmesan. The creamy yolk from the fried eggs lends richness to the cheesy polenta resulting in a happy marriage of flavors.

Ingredients
1 C Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/3 C Instant Polenta *
½ tsp Dried Parsley
1 TBS Grated Locatelli Romano or Parmesan
2 Lg Eggs
1 TBS Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

To make the polenta, bring the chicken broth to a simmer on a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the polenta in a thin stream while stirring. Add the parsley and cheese and continue cooking for two minutes or until the polenta thickens. Remove from the heat.

Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat until the butter starts to turn a pale brown. Add the two eggs and cook until the whites are set and the yolk is still runny. I usually cook them over easy. Place the polenta in a dish and top with the two eggs. Break the yolks and enjoy.

* Pronto Substitutes
Instant Polenta – You can substitute Instant Grits but it will not be as smooth as the polenta.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Fried Eggs and Polenta.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Peppermint Patty Cake


This chocolate cake is decadent, rich, and moist with soft gooey bits of melted peppermint patties in every bite. It’s guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth and get ooohs and ahhs from your guests and family. This cake lasts for days in the refrigerator and can be made a day ahead.

Cake Ingredients

1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix (I use Duncan Hines®)
1 3.9 oz Box of Chocolate Instant Pudding
4 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
1 ¼ C Water
½ C Vegetable Oil
Cooking Spray
Flour for coating pan
1 C chopped peppermint patties + extra for decorating
Parchment paper
9 inch Springform Pan

Filling Ingredients
1 C Heavy Cream
8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
½ C Confectioners’ Sugar
1 tsp Peppermint Extract

Ganache Ingredients
8oz. Semisweet Chocolate (chopped fine)
1 Cup Heavy cream

Cake
Freeze the peppermint patties for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line the bottom of the Springform pan with parchment paper.  Spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray or melted butter and coat with flour.  You could also use Bakers joy and forget the flour.  Do not try to make this in a regular cake pan or you will never get it out of the pan in one piece. 

In a large bowl, mix the devil’s food cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, water and vegetable oil.  Beat with a whisk or electric mixer for two minutes or until smooth – make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With a heavy knife cut the peppermint patties into small pieces and mix them into the cake batter, separating the pieces as you add them.  Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully go around the outside of the cake with a knife and the remove the sides of the Springform pan.  Release the edge of the parchment paper with a knife and slide onto a plate.  Let the cake cook completely before icing.  You can even freeze the cake two weeks ahead at this point. Let the cake cool to room temperature before filling.

Filling
Place the whipped cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and beat until it forms stiff peaks. Remove the whipped cream to another bowl. Place the cream cheese and peppermint extract into the electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Fold the beaten cream cheese into the whipped cream until incorporated.

Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake into three even layers. Place half of the filling on the bottom layer, repeat with the second layer. Place the top layer of cake on top of the second layer of filling.

Ganache (Frosting)
Place 1 cup of heavy cream and the chopped chocolate into a double boiler or in a bowl on top of a pan with boiling water to melt the chocolate.  Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and you have a thick dark ganache.  Pour this over the top and sides of the cooled cake.  You can decorate it with extra peppermint patties.  This cake should be kept refrigerated.

Take this cake out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.


To print a copy of this recipe go to Peppermint Patty Cake.