Monday, July 27, 2020

Pina Colada Cloud

Nothing beats a frosty pina colada when the summer heat gets crazy.
Even better? This Pina Colada Cloud dessert! It'll transport you to the tropics while you are staying at home in your own backyard. Make it in a 9 X 13 pan for a bigger group OR in 2 - 8 inch pans if you want to share it! 
Layers of graham crumbs, rum cheesecake, pineapple, banana, and coconut ensure this dessert will be your go-to for BBQs all summer long! 

Pina Colada Cloud 
(Slightly altered from Ramona Johnson, Valleyview Alta)

Crust Layer
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter

Rum Cheesecake Layer
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 - 8 oz brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp rum extract

Banana Layer
3 medium bananas

Pineapple Layer
2 cans (398 ml each) crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Coconut Whipped Cream Layer
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup toasted, shredded coconut

Prepare Crust Layer - combine graham crumbs and butter until well mixed. Press firmly into bottom of pan. Chill while preparing next layer. 
Prepare Rum Cheesecake Layer - beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, icing sugar, and rum extract. (NOTE - if you do not have rum extract you could use 2 Tbsp of rum) until smooth. Beat the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream until just combined. Spread over the crumb base. 
Prepare Banana Layer - Slice bananas into a single layer on top of the cheesecake layer. Cover and chill while preparing the pineapple layer. 
Prepare Pineapple Layer - in a saucepan, combine pineapple, water, brown sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely - it speeds things up if you pop it in the freezer for about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. 
Spread the cooled pineapple mixture over the bananas.  

Prepare Coconut Whipped Cream Layer - beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream with the coconut extract until stiff peaks form. Spread over the pineapple layer. Sprinkle evenly with the toasted coconut. 

Chill until ready to serve. At least 3 hours. 

If you like Pina Coladas then you will love this dessert. 

Layers of pineapple, banana, coconut, and rum.... what's not to love?

This is best the day it is made but will last in the fridge for a couple of days. I usually make it the morning I am planning to serve it so it has time to chill for several hours. I've made it the night before and it is fine too - the crust just gets a bit soggy the longer it sits. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Cuban Sandwich

Sue and I eat a lot of sandwiches. Sandwiches are awesome. 
What is weird is that we haven't shared a lot of sandwiches on our blog. 
We definitely need to fix that. I'm going to start right now by sharing one of our favorites. A Cuban sandwich. You can make this on normal bread but if you want it to taste like a super de duper delicious Cuban sandwich then you need to make it on Cuban bread (pan cubano). Homemade bread is a little consuming but always worthwhile in the end! FYI - This is a great way to use up leftover pork roast. 

Cuban Sandwich

Pan Cubano
1 1/4 cup hot water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
4 tsp sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp lard (can use butter), melted

yellow mustard
Swiss cheese
deli ham
pork roast 

Prepare bread - In a small bowl, whisk together water, yeast, and sugar. Let bloom for 5 minutes. 
In another bowl, put in flour, salt, and melted lard (or butter). Stir in the active yeast. 
Knead dough for 5 minutes, until smooth. Add in a little more flour if dough is too sticky. 
Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and place somewhere warm to rise for an hour. 
After dough has risen: punch down and divide into 6 logs. Let rest for 15 minutes. Then shape the pieces of dough into 8 inch logs with tapered ends. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise somewhere warm for another hour. 
After buns have risen: preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray the buns with water (or very gently brush water on with a basting brush) With a very sharp blade, place a slash down the center of each bun, leaving about an inch on each end not cut. 
Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, until buns are golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Prepare sandwiches - Cut Cuban buns in half and place on work surface. 
Spread one half of each bun with butter. Then spread both halves generously with yellow mustard. 
Top both sides with a slice or two of Swiss cheese. Then layer on the ham, pork roast, and pickle.

Close sandwich and admire how beautiful it is. 

Now slather the top with a generous amount of butter. 

Place sandwich in tinfoil. I like to put a smear of butter under the sandwich as well. 

Wrap the sandwich in the tinfoil (see photo for clarification).

To cook the Cuban sandwich - heat BBQ grill to medium/low heat. Place wrapped sandwich on the grill and top with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet. Grill for 5 minutes. Flip sandwich over and repeat on other side for 5 minutes.
Unwrap the sandwich and grill for 2 - 3 more minutes on each side. 
If you do not have a grill - You can cook the sandwiches in a frying pan on the stove top. You do not need to wrap them in foil to do this. Simply get the stage where you cover the top and and bottom with butter, then place in a frying pan over medium/low heat. Place something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, on top and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. You want the cheese to be melted and the sandwich to be heated through. 

You can add more cheese if you want things gooier, of course. 

I didn't have a lot of pork roast leftover so I diced mine so it would go further. If you want to leave it in thin slices then that works great too. Even shredded pork roast is fabulous on a Cuban sandwich. 
Like a grilled cheese but a magic, otherworldly grilled cheese. 
I recommend making the bread up before you need it and freezing it. 
You can easily double the recipe for 12 buns instead of 6.