Sunday, June 14, 2020

Natural Fruit Syrups for Snow Cones

Summertime...the '90s...hella hot outside, my cousins were over and the afternoon episode of Saved By the Bell had just ended. What was my mama to do to entertain these kids? Turn on the sprinklers and make raspados, duh. Call it shaved ice. Or snow cones. However you identify with this treat, its always ice and syrup. My mom, picked up a "raspador", a hand-held ice shaver and she froze a block of ice the day before, because she knew this moment would come. She'd gracefully run the raspador over the giant block, open it up and empty its snowy contents into a bowl. A few blocks away was an ice cream shop that she had purchased a few flavors of syrup from and just the sight of that bright liquid hitting the ice, melting it slightly was glorious. Perfect for a hot day, perfect to share with my partners in crime as we ran through sprinklers taking in the scent of wet soil and fruit.

I bought a raspador on Amazon and when it arrived, I felt like it was a baton passed to me. Now it was my duty as a mother to carry on the tradition of making raspados. With shipping delays being what they are right now, I decided to make the syrups myself, and they are too good not to share! While bottled, commercial syrups last for a long time, these are made with real fruit, thus cutting down the shelf life significantly in comparison. But how often do you get out that snow cone machine? A few times per summer? A little forethought and these will be so much better than anything that's been sitting on the shelf for months.

You can use any type of fruit for this. The first step is to steep the fruit in the simple syrup to get the color out, then you reduce the syrup to get the consistency right and to intensify the flavor. The only accommodations you need to make while using different fruits is for the water content of the fruit itself. Read the recipe fully before making it, bust out some '90s R&B Summertime Jams and make these.

Fruit Syrups for Raspados
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Yield about 1 cup each
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 cup frozen blueberries
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
2 kiwis, peeled, diced and mashed
½ lime, zest peeled, and juiced
¾ cup passionfruit puree
Kosher salt
Lemon juice

1.    In 4 separate equally sized bowls, place the frozen blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, and passion fruit into their own bowls. Place the lime peels in the bowl with the kiwi. Let the fruit thaw while you prepare the syrup.

2.    Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small or medium pot, then pour the simple syrup into a large measuring cup.
3.    Divide the majority of the hot syrup over the blueberries, raspberries and kiwi, about 1 cup per and place the remaining ¼ cup or so into the passion fruit puree. Stir and allow the syrup to sit for about 45 minutes to an hour. This first step is mostly to get the right color. The next step is to develop the flavor. After the passionfruit has come to room temperature, it is done. It can be placed in the fridge to chill. 

4.    In the same pot used to make the simple syrup, begin with the kiwi-lime flavor. Gather a silicone spatula, a small strainer, and the lime juice. Pour the macerated fruit and simple syrup into the pot and bring to a boil, set the bowl aside. Keep the mixture at a boil for 4 minutes, or until the syrup drips slowly from the spatula. It should have the consistency of real maple syrup—thin, but slightly viscous. It will thicken as it chills.
5.    Pour the syrup back into its original bowl, stir in the lime juice and set aside to cool to room temperature.
6.    Rinse the pot, and repeat the steps with the raspberries, cooking that mixture for 3-4 minutes. Then repeat with the blueberries, but cook for only 2-3 minutes. Note: This cooking time is based on how much water the fruit contains and also how much natural pectin the fruit has. Blueberries have a lot, raspberries not so much, but they do have a lot of water. Add a tiny pinch of salt to each of these flavors and a squeeze of lemon juice (except the kiwi, it will have the lime juice) and cool to room temperature. 

7.    Taste it. Adjust the flavors to your liking. Add some green food color to the kiwi flavor, but this is optional
8.    Gather some squeeze bottles or festive glass bottles with spouts and a funnel that fits the opening (pour it freehand if you’re bold). Strain each flavor into its own bottle, pressing the solids to get all of the syrup out. Adding some of the kiwi seeds back into the syrup looks really pretty.
9.    Label the containers, and chill the syrup well before using. These will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

Serving note: these syrups are nice and sweet. Serving the shave ice/snow cone/raspados with the passion fruit will tame the sweet with its tart flavor. You can also add more lemon juice to taste.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Strawberry "Pop Tarts"

Hi, so yeah. I have a blog. Well, I started this blog YEARS ago, and then I started a different blog. So now I have two, but this one, OriginalCinn is my baby. The other blog was started after I had, well, an actual baby and felt the need to define myself in my new role. A few good recipes there, so take a look at Dinner with Bae if you'd like, but really, I'm glad to be home--back here at OriginalCinn for the time being.
See, what had happened was that we were all told to stay in our homes and not come out unless we were doing something essential. I won't bore you with the details, but it seems as though the whole world will have to do some more home cooking. With that, I've been asked for some recipes and as it turns out, I have a really cool place to share them.

Strawberry “Pop Tarts”
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Yield 8 pastries


For the pastry
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 stick Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed
2 Eggs

For the filling
2 cups Strawberries, diced
¼ cup + 2Tbsp Granulated Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
½ vanilla bean scraped
1 ½ Tbsp. Cornstarch

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1. To make the pastry, in a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or quickly with your fingers until the butter is almost completely worked in and the mixture has pea-sized chunks of butter incorporated throughout.
2. Beat the eggs together until well combined and add to the flour mixture. 
3. Knead gently and quickly with your hands until a dough forms and just sticks together. Toss some extra flour on it and knead a few times more times if it is too sticky, then knead until a smooth dough forms. This can also be made in a stand mixer.
4. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour, or until cold and firm, but soft enough to roll.
5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8” thick. Cut out 3”x4” rectangles and set each on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

1. To make the filling, add all ingredients except the cornstarch to a medium saucepan. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until the fruit has broken down some, and has started to concentrate.
2. Mix the cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of cold water and add it to the strawberries. Stir continuously until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep the mixture at a boil for at least 1 minute, then pour it into a heat-safe container. Cool to room temperature, cover and chill well, preferably overnight.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make an egg wash with 1 egg and a Tablespoon of water whisked together.
2. Remove the pastry rectangles and filling from the refrigerator. Both should be very cold.
3. Line up 8 rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and paint a thin layer of egg wash along the border, about ¾ -inch all around, with either a pastry brush or your finger.
4. Gently spread about 2 Tablespoons of filling onto the pastry keeping a rectangular shape.
5. Place another pastry rectangle over the filling and gently press all the way around to seal.
6. Using a sharp paring knife, cut enough of the dough away on each side to make all sides even. To make a decorative edge, press the tip of the knife firmly into the edge of the dough, being careful not to puncture. This will also help keep the dough from opening in the oven.
7. Brush the tops of the filled rectangles with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with granulated or decorative sugar. Cut vents on top with the paring knife.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown, and the filling has started to bubble. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool to room temperature to serve.