Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Few of His Favorite Things.

I have been thinking lately about all of the favorite foods that we have and how so many of them tend to be things we don't actually make ourselves. We all have those favorite restaurant foods that we are too intimidated to try and make, the fear that they won't quite live up to the original always in our minds. So I have been feeling drawn to try and replicate or make an "inspired by" version of some of our favorite items. I'm not fixated on exact duplicates really, just trying to capture the feel and flavors that we love. This weekend I took on two of my husbands favorites, Barbecue Chicken Pizza and Boston Cream Pie. For both of these I went the "inspired by" route and made my own take on these favorites. For the pizza I made my own whole wheat pizza dough in the bread machine, my own barbecue sauce, and decided to add sweet peppers and onions and bacon to the mix. For the Boston Cream Pie I went for cupcake form. I really like making cake recipes into cupcake form, it's the perfect size portion for me and I like the ratio of frosting and filling to cake that you get in the smaller form. I really enjoyed both recipes even though they are rather time consuming, but you could easily substitute store bought sauce for the pizza and even use instant pudding for the filling of the cupcakes with a store bought yellow cake mix. Both of these recipes have the same feel of the originals but with my own spin and are perfect if you have time to spend in the kitchen some cold Sunday.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

1 3/4 c. warm water
2 tbs. olive oil
2 c. bread flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp garlic powder

Place all ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manual. Set the machine to the dough cycle. When the cycle is over there is no need to let the dough rest again, it can go straight to the pizza pan. I like to sprinkle some cornmeal onto the baking sheet before stretching and rolling the dough. I kind of just use a combo of stretching and rolling until I get the shape and size that I want. This recipe will make a pretty large size pizza, enough for at least 6.

Barbecue Sauce:

2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground mustard seed
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. hot salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 c. water

Mix all the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes and then place in the refrigerator to cool. This recipe makes enough for the pizza so if you would like more you can double or triple the recipe.

Pizza Topping

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups of sliced green, red, and yellow peppers
1/2 sweet onion sliced
1/3 lb bacon slices cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c. pizza cheese or mixture of provolone and mozzarella
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese

In a skillet cook the chicken until no longer pink, add the bacon pieces and cook until almost done. On prepared pizza crust spread the barbecue sauce generously over the surface leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the chicken and bacon mixture over the top. Spread the peppers and onions evenly. Top with both cheeses. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before cutting.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes:


1 c. unsalted butter softened
1 c. white sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 350
In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla, stir until blended. Add the eggs stirring after each until all are incorporated. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter alternating with the milk until all is incorporated. Spoon batter into 24 prepared cupcake liners and bake at 350
for 15-18 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean, do not over bake. Remove from oven when done and let cool on a rack.

Custard Filling:

1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tbs. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 egg yolks
2 tbs. butter

In a heavy saucepan add the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir to combine. Add the milk a little at a time until the sugar, cornstarch and salt are dissolved. Add the rest of the milk, cream and vanilla. Turn on the heat and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture starts to get very thick. In a separate bowl gently stir the egg yolks. Add a little of the hot cream mixture to the eggs yolks and whisk quickly. Continue to add a little more hot cream to the eggs, whisking after each addition until the mixture is half and half, this is tempering the eggs and will keep them from scrambling when you add them to the hot cream mixture. After you have the eggs tempered add the mixture back to the hot cream mixture, stirring as you add. Once the egg mixture is incorporated into the cream, heat without stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the two tbs. of butter. Place in a bowl in the refrigerator until cool. When mixture has cooled place into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Insert the tip of the pastry bag into the center of each cupcake, making a small hole, pipe 2 tbs. of the custard filling into each cupcake. Some filling may spill out the top, I just use a knife to spread it evenly over the top of the cupcake.

Chocolate Frosting:

1/3 c. Cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. confectioners sugar
6 tbs. softened butter
1 tbs. milk

In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter, add the cocoa powder and mix until well blended. Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add the milk a little at a time until the icing is a smooth, spreadable consistency. Frost the filled cupcakes with 1 tbs. of icing for each.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of my weekend. I am now very, very tired. This is pretty much all I did Sunday with the exception of a million loads of laundry and getting to watch Sweets puppet show that she put on with her new hoard of sock puppets courtesy of some Meemaw craft time. I also took a nasty spill when tripping over some of Bug's toy trucks and am nursing a bruised wrist so if my typing is terrible lets blame it on that. It's actually kind of ironic that I tripped over the toy trucks, I honestly can't tell you how much time I spend preaching each day about the need to keep toys picked up so that someone doesn't trip and fall and of course when it finally comes to pass it has to be me that takes the spill. I was proud of Sweets though, when I fell she very calmly stepped over me and made her way upstairs to where her dad was napping and woke him up to tell him that "Mommy had fallen and needed help". Bug on the other hand just came over and sat on me and cried, I think he actually felt pretty shook up by seeing mommy hurt. I also realized that there comes a point in our lives when falling down really sucks. Kids fall all day long and just brush it off but when we fall we feel it for days afterward. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling it right now so I'm going to have a beer and some Tylenol p.m and call it a week.


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