Menus: Whit’s Frozen Custard

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It’s rare that I include a franchise in my favorite restaurants, but I have a soft spot for Whit’s Frozen Custard.  It was a special treat when I felt up to it after my radiation treatments when I was battling cancer.  Of course we had our favorite spot in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

The first Whit’s Frozen Custard opened on March 3, 2003, in Granville, Ohio, at the end of one of the region’s coldest and snowiest winters in years. Granville did not know what frozen custard was and many felt it would not survive. However, there was a destiny to Whit’s beginning and, against all odds, mother nature could not delay Whit’s inevitable success.

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38 Ocean Boulevard

Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233

(904) 853-5384

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Simple Saltine Toffee

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An oldie but a goodie.

About 50 saltine crackers
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

Lay the crackers out in one layer as close together as possible, filling the baking sheet.

Melt the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the butter is melted, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, and keep at a boil for about 3 minutes, stirring. When the 3 minutes are up, give it a good stir and pour evenly over the crackers on the baking sheet.

Spread the caramel around with a spatula if needed, but don’t worry if the surface isn’t covered completely, you just don’t want it pooling in one place. Bake the crackers for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top in an even layer. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer over the crackers.

Sprinkle the pecans and the sea salt evenly over the top of the toffee. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator for about an hour for the chocolate to set. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

 

Lavender Ice Cream

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More and more lavender farms are popping up all over the South. So with that in mind I share this easy lavender ice cream:

½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds

equipment: Ice Cream Maker

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, buttermilk, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lavender. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or longer if you want a stronger lavender flavor.

Strain out the lavender and discard it. Freeze the cream mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.”

 

“Edna Lewis” Inspired Profiterole Filled with Whipped Cream and Custard and Served with Hot Chocolate Sauce

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Profiterole

1 cup milk
1stick soft butter
½ tablespoon sugar
1cup sifted flour
4 eggs
⅓ cup blanched slivered almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Put the milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and let mixture come to a boil. Add the flour bit by bit until the batter is well mixed and smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is again smooth

Using a small rounded spoon, drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, forming a 9” circular or 10” oval ring about 1” across and 1” high. (There will be enough batter left over to make 5 to 6 individual puffs.) The dough can also be piped onto the sheet with a cookie press. If you like the crunchiness of nuts, the ring can be sprinkled with slivered almonds

Place in a 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. To prevent the ring from collapsing, do not open the oven door for 25 minutes.

Remove the ring from the baking sheet and place it on a wire rack to cool. A half hour before serving, cut through the profiterole with a serrated bread knife, lay the top aside, and remove any moist dough from the center.

Fill the ring with the whipped cream into which you have folded ½ cup of custard sauce. Replace the top. Serve the profiterole with rich chocolate sauce.

Whipped Cream for Filling

1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sugar to taste

Whip the cream, sweeten to taste, and flavor with vanilla extract.

Custard Sauce (Pastry Cream)

1 cup milk
⅓ cup fine granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or brandy

Scald the milk with the vanilla bean and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

Beat the eggs and mix in cornstarch well.

Remove the vanilla bean from the hot milk mixture, and slowly pour the milk into the blended eggs and cornstarch. Mix well and place in a double boiler over water that is barely simmering or over very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring all the while. Strain the sauce and cool.

When cool, flavor with vanilla extract or brandy.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup light cream
⅔ cup extra-fine sugar
3 squares bitter chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate over hot water. Stir in the sugar. Scald the cream in a separate saucepan and stir into the chocolate-sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring often. Cook until it is smooth and thick. Remove the pan from the burner, and when the sauce has cooled, add the vanilla flavoring.

 

 

Basic Halva

 

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Halva is a confection made from raw tehina and sugar, sometimes stabilized with additives.  In Israel, you’ll see halva stalls with huge slabs in every imaginable flavor, from rose water to pistachio to chocolate to coffee.

2 cups sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups tehina
Pinch kosher salt

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Have ready another sheet of parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest with ½ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the sugar syrup is cooking, place the tehina and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium speed.

When the sugar syrup reaches 245 degrees carefully stream it into the tehina with the mixer running. Mix until the syrup is incorporated and the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Working quickly with a flexible heatproof spatula, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press the top of the halva flat with the sheet of parchment paper and your hands. Let cool completely to room temperature. Cut into squares and store at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic wrap.

Will keep for up to a week.

 

Southern Peach Pie

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  • 6 cups about 1½–2 pounds, sweet, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, sliced and chopped
  • ¼–½ cup sugar; to taste
  • A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 double-crust pie
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for on top of the pie
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the peaches, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, flour, and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl. Mix lightly until the fruit is coated.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in a pie pan.

Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter cut into little pieces.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.

Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When there are 10 to 15 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Close the oven and continue baking for final 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see steady bubbling in the filling coming through the vents.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up, warm peach pie is delicious too.

 

Asbusas (Ancient Egyptian Cookies)

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Abusas are an ancient Egyptian cookie:

2 lbs semolina (this is cream of wheat)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound butter
16 ounces of plain yogurt
slivered almond halves

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and semolina (cream of wheat). Rub the butter into this mixture by hand until very well blended. Add the yogurt and mix with your hands until the dough feels smooth. If it feels dry add one tablespoon of water at a time until a firm dough forms.

Butter a 13x9x2 inch pan and pat the dough into the pan. With a sharp knife slice the dough in 2 x 2 inch squares. Press one almond half onto the surface of each piece. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.