Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quick, Healthy, Brazing-Inspired Dessert

The main thing you are taught when learning to braze a bicycle frame, is temperature control. For instance: When brazing a lugged joint, the tube, the lug, the flux (gooey stuff the joint is smeared with) and the silver you add all heat up at different rates - and what you try to do is get them to the point where they are in sync. I thought about this as I eyed the pile of fruit and berries I'd brought home from the grocery store. I wanted to make dessert for the husband, and his request was something healthy and light. I decided to keep it simple and approach it as I would brazing: First I'd heat up the thick, heavy ingredients, adding the delicate, leaky ones after the overall temperature was sufficiently hot. Here is the result:

Autumnal Fruit and Nut Medley

Ingredients:
apples
cranberries
blackberries
blueberries
walnuts
lemon
honey
bourbon

Preparation time:
7 minutes

Instructions:
In a bowl, mix a bunch of hard sliced apples with a fistful of crushed walnuts and a fistful of raw cranberries. Add a spoon of lemon juice, a spoon of honey and a shot of bourbon. Heat in microwave for 2.5 minutes or in oven (in appropriate container) until apples turn soft. Alternatively, if preparing in workshop, you could use a brazing torch (held upside down and pointed at the bottom of the bowl - as you would heat a bottom bracket). Let sit for 30 seconds. Add blackberries and blueberries. Heat for additional 1 minute or just long enough for berries to release colour onto the rest of the concoction. Remove, let cool for a bit, and serve with tea.

This dish is basically like a fruit tart, only without the dough. Tastes surprisingly good, looks festive and takes very little effort to prepare. Want to make it less healthy? Add whipped cream.

Enjoy your Sunday evening!

26 comments:

  1. Yum!! Beautiful! I love that you didn't limit the bourbon...

    I was thinking about clotted cream today...

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    1. Please don't mention clotted cream! I got addicted to it in England; took me years to get over the withdrawal symptoms.

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  2. Thank you for this, I miss your funky cocktail recipes!

    Stanley

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  3. Vancouver Island CyclistNovember 11, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Who knew? Spin-off lessons from brazing applicable in the gourmet kitchen! Bon appetite.

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  4. You are obsessed my friend! I will try making this dessert, but I don't care for bourbon. Alternative suggestions?

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    1. If not bourbon, I would go with rum. Depending on what direction you want to take it, you could also try port or amaretto.

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  5. Mmmm, braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques :) Just the other day we had sauerkraut braised in chicken stock and apple cider with wild boar kielbasa. I don't think too many desserts are braised, though.

    This looks delicious. Would also be good with a lemon curd dollop on top :) Or maybe creme fraiche. Mmmmmm.

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    1. Actually, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I have seen recipes for braised pears for dessert...

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  6. Great idea, so simple and refreshing! With my new job I am too tired to cook or bake when I come home, so recipes like this are a godsent. Any suggestions for dinner?

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    1. The aforementioned braised sauerkraut is very simple - really only requires about 10 minutes of interactive time, though it does require cooking.

      Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

      Heat up about 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock and 1/4 cup apple cider in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling.

      In an oven-proof skillet, heat up a little olive oil, then brown any sausages of your choice (they will not be fully cooked yet at this point, just brown on the outside).

      Remove sausages, line bottom of skillet with sauerkraut, add hot stock/cider mixture, nestle sausages down in the sauerkraut, sprinkle with caraway seed, stick in oven until sausages are cooked through and everything's nice and bubbly.

      Serve with some good bread and a nice doppelbock :)

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    2. Lena - My general approach is to keep it simple. Things don't usually need all that much cooking. Grilling, steaming and stir frying takes just a few minutes. Braising too : )

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  7. Looks lovely. Here is my teenage male version from when I worked in a foundry/ironworks many years ago:

    Open a can of Dennison's Chili with Beans. Empty it into a cast iron frying pan. Open furnace lid. Remove crucible of molten zinc allow from furnace. Close furnace lid and place pan over exhaust hole. Heat for 30 seconds before portioning into individual serving bowls.

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  8. Something even I could manage in the kitchen. Although finding somewhere with a brazing torch sure seems like fun.

    You have begun to call the Co-habitant husband now?

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    1. It depends on the mood. He's grown a fluffy beard now, so feels rather husbandy.

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  9. There's got to be a lot of recipes that could be put together using a brazing torch. I know that caramelizing the sugar crust on the top of crème brûlée with a "kitchen torch" is standard practice now, and Nathan Myrhvold has introduced the use of a torch to create the Maillard reaction necessary to finish a steak cooked sous vide. Perhaps a Lovely Bicycle cookbook?

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    1. Crème brûlée seems like a must for those handy with a blow torch! Some day.

      If I wrote a cook book, it would be something like "Stuff you can make in 10 minutes and still get your loved ones to eat."

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  10. Are "the husband" cited today and the cohabitant two separate persons or different manifestations of the same person, sort of like father, son, and HG?

    Just asking.

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  11. Thanks for sharing, I am going to make this tonight!

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  12. Wow, the dish look yummy. I will need to prepare this when my wife comes home from her business trip to Singapore. Thanks for sharing.

    Rod

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  13. How many calories in a serving do you think?

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    1. Hard to say, since I didn't specify exact amounts of ingredients. I suspect 250 or so, most of it in the walnuts.

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  14. Making dessert with a brazing torch? Now why didn't I think of that? After all, I am Italian and French by ancestry!

    However that dessert came out, it has to be better than something I once saw a bike mechanic make: an ice cream sandwich with two Power Bars. And that was back in the old days, when Power Bars and other energy bars tasted almost medicinal.

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  15. There is a wonderful BBC documentary of Jack Taylor Cycles that shows the brothers making toast in their workshop. See 16:49 in this video:

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=ALNsQpCL8LY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DALNsQpCL8LY

    Velouria, I think you will also appreciate this short film showing Norman Taylor mitering tubes with a file -- after 40+ years of practice!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TMA8X5pk2kI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTMA8X5pk2kI


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  16. For the savory side I've done open faced brazed cheese sandwiches.
    Cover a thick and crusty slice of bread with butter, brown one side in a skilet, flip and cover with grated aged cheddar, sprinkle on a bit of coarse sea salt, fire up the torch and braze till the cheese is bubbly, golden brown.
    Mark

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