Wow... it feels like I've been gone forever. December was filled with a string of events that allowed me little time for Passions to Pastry. Aside from the Christmas holiday with out-of-town family visiting, my husband and I left for several days (unheard of two weeks before Christmas!) and traveled to southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Now that my husband is retired, I expect we will occasionally... just take off.
We drove to Bentonville, Arkansas to tour the month-old Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We were impressed by more than the amazing artwork that spans centuries, most of which was already in the possession of Alice Walton (daughter of Sam Walton) when she first proposed opening a museum in the hometown of retailer Walmart. The museum's building, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, is reason enough to make the pilgrimage to Arkansas.
My eldest daughter also became engaged in December. I guess I am now going to find out anything and everything that's involved in planning a wedding.
And, as I have done for over 20 years, I prepared for my annual New Year's Day brunch.
Appetizers to occupy my 13 guests -- Bar Nuts, Chocolate and Ginger Scones, and a Blue Cheese, Pecan, and Port Dip.
I just had to make the Cauliflower Soup with Parsley Oil, Almonds and Carrot-Ginger Sorbet that I ate in Paris last fall and recreated for a dinner party I hosted in October. The soup was followed by Steak au Poive, Shingled Potatoes, Seared Haricot Verts, and 2 Chocolate-Orange Rolls with Candied Orange Zest.
I found the recipe for this Chocolate Roll at Joy the Baker, and made it as she did, with a peppermint whipped cream filling for my Christmas Eve dinner. I changed it out for New Year's, flavoring the heavy cream with lots of orange zest and a good dose of Grand Marnier. I then diced candied orange peel I had made and sprinkled it onto the oozing chocolate ganache that topped the chocolate logs.
Orange Cream Filling:
• 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, cold
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• Scrapings from 1 big, moist, vanilla bean
• Finely grated zest from half of a large, organic orange
• 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1. Place all of the Orange Cream Filling ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until you have soft peaks.
2. Spread onto the chocolate cake and proceed with Joy the Baker's recipe.
3. Once the cake roll is drizzled with the chocolate ganache, top with diced Candied Orange Peel (recipe here).
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