Paganini's Pantry (163)

Friday, 04 December 2015 08:09

Smoked Trout Pops

8oz smoked trout

8oz cream cheese

Zest and juice of one lemon

2tsp drained capers

1tsp fresh dill, finely minced

salt & pepper

1 cup toasted walnuts

1Tbsp sesame seeds

35 thin pretzel sticks


In the food processor, blend together capers, trout, lemon juice, cream cheese, salt and pepper until smooth.  Adjust to taste.  Pipe or scoop into small gumball sized balls (approx 24 balls).  Cover and chill mousse overnight in the refrigerator.  Chop 10 pretzel sticks, dill, toasted walnuts annd sesame seeds into small pieces and mix together.

Place remaining pretzel sticks inside each ball to resemble a lollipop.

Roll the ball in the chopped mixture.

Thursday, 19 November 2015 11:46

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Dough

1 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

1 egg, beaten

4 cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground cloves


In a saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar and molasses.   Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a mixing bowl.  Stir in vanilla and cool for 5 minutes.  Add egg and beat well.  Set aside.


In another bowl, sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Add to the butter mixture in thirds.  Mix well after every addition.  Divide dough in half.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or over night.


Pre-heat oven to 350˚.


On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/8” thickness, working with a half of the dough at a time.  Cut and trim cookies.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool and decorate.




Meringue Powder Royal Icing

Makes 2 cup of icing

1/2 cup meringue powder

1 cup cold water

2 lb. 10X confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoon lemon extract

Green food coloring


Add meringue powder to cold water in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until you see soft peaks.


Add sugar, one cup at a time, beating the mixture after each cup.  (Beat for a total time of 5 to 7 minutes) Fold in green food coloring.  Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Friday, 06 November 2015 06:06



Yield: 24 3-inch Squares

1 3/4 Cups Sugar

3/4 Cup Water

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp Rose Water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook

about 5 minutes to dissolve sugar and thicken. Remove syrup from heat, stir in rose water, and

cool until needed.


1 lb Pistachios, shell off

2 Tbsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Water

In a food processor, pulse pistachios, sugar, and cinnamon until nuts are finely chopped. Add

water and process briefly to incorporate. The mixture should be fairly dense and sticky. Reserve

for later use.


2 Cups Clarified Butter

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

Generously brush a 13-inch x 17-inch sheet pan with clarified butter. Combine the rest of the

clarified butter with the vegetable oil.


1 lb Phyllo Dough

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

Working quickly, place a phyllo sheet on the sheet pan, brush it with butter, and give it a light

sprinkling of Graham cracker crumbs. Repeat until the phyllo is eight sheets thick.

Using both hands, crumble the reserved pistachio mixture over the phyllo in an even layer, being

sure to get the filling to the edges of the pan. Do not try to make the filling perfectly flat and do not

press down on it overly much or the baklava will be very dense after baking.


Place a piece of phyllo over the nut filling and gently press it into place. Brush the phyllo with

butter, sprinkle with Graham cracker crumbs, and cover with another layer of phyllo. Repeat until

the phyllo is eight layers thick. Butter the last sheet of phyllo, but do not put Graham cracker

crumbs on the top layer.


Trim the excess phyllo from the edges of the baklava with scissors or a very sharp knife. Using a

very sharp paring knife and cutting all the way down to the sheet pan, cut the baklava into 3-inch

squares. (You will be making four rows and six columns on the pan.)


Bake the baklava in a 325 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Turn the temperature to 400 degrees F

and continue baking until crisp and golden brown, about another 15-20 minutes. Remove the

baklava from the oven and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the top of the pastry. Let cool.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:38

Sacher Torte


5 oz, unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp. vanilla sugar

6 eggs, separated

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted

5 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted, cooled

16 oz. apricot jam



8 oz. semisweet chocolate

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened


Lightly butter and line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.  Dust lightly with flour. 

Preheat oven to 350°F.


Cream together butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until thick.  Mix in the melted and cooled chocolate.  Beat egg whites with salt until foamy, slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, but they are not too dry.  Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture, gently fold it in to lighten up and then fold in the rest of the whites until you can still see some of the whites.  Add in cake flour in two additions, be very careful not to over mix.


Pour into prepared cake pan and bake 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool cake for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert cake onto a cooling rack.  Remove parchment paper and let cool.


Cut cooled cake in half, horizontally, heat jam with 1 tablespoon of water, spread some jam on the bottom layer and tope with second layer.  Cover cake with jam and refrigerate. 


Melt chocolate glaze in a heatproof bowl over simmering water.  Heat cream until it starts to bubble on the edge, pour over chocolate, add butter and stir until smooth.  Cool to room temperature and cover cake.  Chill until chocolate has set.  Serve with whipped cream.

By Loretta Paganini

Serves 6

1 (2 lb.) butternut squash

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely diced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock

2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Salt and pepper

2 oz. diced pancetta

1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted


Remove the top and bottom of the squash. Peel away the skin, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice.  Repeat process with the other piece.


Place on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15 minutes, until soft and slightly browned.


Add the remaining olive oil to a heavy sauté pan and brown the pancetta.  Add the butter, garlic and shallots and sauté gently for 3 minutes, until softened but not colored.


Add the rice and stir well to coat the grains with the oil and butter. Add the wine and deglaze the pan for about 2 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the hot stock a ladle-full at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed into the rice. Keep rice covered with liquid at all times. Continue adding stock in this way, cooking until the rice is creamy but the grains are still firm. This should take about 20 minutes.


Remove the squash from the oven; add to the risotto with the parmesan and remaining butter.


Remove from heat and stir in Gorgonzola and walnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, 15 October 2015 09:25

Bacon Potato Skins

Serves 8


5 large baking potatoes

6 oz shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup sour cream 

½ cup crumbled cooked bacon

¼ cup chopped scallions

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F


Prick a potato with a fork then bake potatoes in oven on a cookie sheet  until fork tender.  Allow them to cool.  Cut in half and scoop out half of the potato inside of each half. Leave some flesh inside the potato halves.


Take the scooped out potato filling and mix with cheddar cheese, half the scallions and bacon.  Set aside. 


Heat vegetable oil to 360-380 degrees F.  Fry the potato halves until slightly crisp.  Set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil. 


Place potatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet and load each potato half with potato cheese mixture. 


Place potatoes in oven to bake 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Top with a dollop of sour cream and remaining scallions and serve. 

Friday, 09 October 2015 07:32

Spicy Tomato Black Bean Soup

Serves 8-10

Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1/4 cup 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 white onion, dice 
1 green pepper, dice

2 Yukon potatoes, diced 
1 (16 oz.) can of black beans drained and rinsed 
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
3 ½ cups chopped tomatoes

2 cups white wine

6-8 cups chicken stock

¼ cup tomato paste

3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large stockpot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and sauté onions, green pepper, red pepper, potato, and garlic until tender.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes. Deglaze with white wine. Add chicken stock, and black beans.  Add cilantro, spices, salt, and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil. Simmer about 20 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Friday, 02 October 2015 07:18

Apple Butter Tart

Serves 12

Apple Topping:

3-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced in thin 1/8 inch slices

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Water and lemon juice (for storing apples while peeling and cutting to prevent browning)

1/2 cup apple jelly


Apple Filling: 

2 Tablespoons apple brandy

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt


In a medium sized saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook until apples are semi-tender.  Adjust flavors to taste. Allow to cool.  Blend in a food processor into an apple sauce consistency 



Tart Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste

4 lg. egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined.


Add butter chucks, process until mixture resembles cornmeal. Pulse as you add yolks and vanilla until dough start to come together.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and blend dough by pushing it away with the heel of your hand and gathering it up with a pastry scraper into a ball.


Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten it into a disk and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.


Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to 1/8-inch thickness. Press the pastry gently into the pan and run the rolling pin over the top to cut the edges of the pastry.


Line tart with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights. Par-bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 6 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and remove pie weights and parchment.  Place tart back into oven and bake an additional 4 minutes to dry out the center part of tart.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.


Spread apple mixture into the tart shell and then arrange apple slices on top

Place tart back into the oven and allow to bake 15-20 minutes until apples are baked.  


When tart is cooled, warm up apple jelly and with a pastry brush, brush a thin layer over the tart to make it shiny. 

Friday, 25 September 2015 04:45

Pina Colada Cake

Makes 2 cakes each can serve  8-12


2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with liquid
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup finely chopped maraschino cherries 

For garnish:
toasted coconut flakes


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare two 8x2 baking pans by greasing it with butter and flour and placing a parchment round in the center. 
3. Cream together sugar and eggs. Add vanilla and pineapple with juice. 
4. In a bowl mix together flour and baking soda, salt, and ginger. 
5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture until incorporated. Do not overmix.
6. Fold in cherries.
7. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. 
8. Bake until golden brown and spongy firmness in center, approximately 20-30 minutes. 


Coconut Rum Cream Cheese Frosting


8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup powdered sugar (can use more if needed)
2 Tablespoon coconut rum

Whip together all ingredients until reach desired frosting consistency.  To Decorate Cake:  Spread frosting over cooled pineapple cake. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.  Place cake in refrigerator to chill. Serve cold.

Friday, 18 September 2015 04:54



1 Cup cornmeal
1 Cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup soft butter
Combine dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, and butter.  Beat with electric mix until just smooth, about 1 minute.  Do not overbeat.
Pour into well greased 9x9 pan.  Bake in hot oven (425) until done in center.  (approx 20-25 mins)
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