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Vanilla Pastry Crème for Custard Tarts, Cream Puffs and Other Pastries

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Tables Infused Sugars

Classic Pastry Crème is usually flavored with a whole vanilla bean so that there are no flecks of spice or discoloration from an extract. But The Salt Table’s Vanilla Bean Sugar makes it so much easier to get the flavor and pristine look without fussing with a whole bean. But you don’t have to stick with one flavor: try substituting The Salt Table’s Ginger Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, or any of the fruit-based sugars. You may need to experiment with proportions to get the right flavor.

 

Serves 6 to 9

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk

How to make it:

  1. Lightly whisk together the egg yolks in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Prepare the bottom half of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Mix the flour and both sugars together in the top pan and slowly whisk in the milk. Bring this to a simmer over direct medium heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Whisk ½ cup of hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Slowly whisk this into the remaining milk and transfer the pan to the simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is quite thick, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir for a minute longer, then set it aside to cool.
  3. To use the pastry crème for custard tarts, while it is still quite warm, pipe it using a pastry bag fitted with a plain round piping tip into fully baked tart shells. To use it to fill cream puffs, napoleons, and other filled pastries, let it get completely cool and use a bag fitted with a tube filling tip. You may also spoon it into custard cups, let it cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate until chilled and serve it as is, or topped with raspberry sauce or a fruit coulis.

Custard Jam Tarts

Makes 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 pre-baked individual tart pastries
  • About 1/3-1/2 cup Peachey’s Peach, Blackberry, or Cherry Jam
  • 1 Recipe Vanilla Pastry Crème
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Bean Sugar

How to make it:

  1. The pastries should be cooled before filling them. Put about 1 tablespoon of jam in the bottom of each pastry (how much will depend on the shape and size of your pastries) and spread it evenly over the bottom. Spoon the pastry crème to the fill the pastry to its top edge. Chill until ready to serve.
  2. When ready to serve, pour the cream into a chilled bowl and whip until it’s beginning to thicken. Sprinkle the sugar over it and then continue whipping to soft peaks. Top each tart with a generous dollop of whipped cream and if you like a small ¼-teaspoon dollop of jam.

Vanilla Bean Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Ginger Sugar

 

 

Old-Fashioned Peach Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s Vanilla Bean Sugar and Peachey’s Peach Jam

Thumbprint cookies are really just a rich shortbread dough shaped and pressed either with your thumb, the back of a spoon, or the fat, rounded bottom of a thick-handled wooden spoon to make a well for jam. The Salt Table’s Vanilla Sugar is ideal for flavoring both the dough and the sugar that’s used to coat them before baking.

You can use just about any jam that suits you, but we’ve used our favorite Georgia-grown Peachey’s Peach Jam.

 

Makes about 30 (2½ dozen) cookies

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks or 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons The Salt Table Vanilla Bean Sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon The Salt Table Fine Sea or Himalayan Salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, for coating
  • About ½ cup Peachey’s Peach (or Blackberry or Cherry) Jam, at room temperature

How to make it:

  1. Cream the butter until fluffy and light and blend in the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla sugar. Blend in the egg yolk. Whisk or sift together the flour and salt. Gradually work it into the butter and sugar mixture to form a fairly stiff dough. Cover and let it rest 15-20 minutes.
  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Blend together the remaining tablespoon of Vanilla Sugar with the granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop round tablespoons of the dough onto the parchment, then with your hands roll them into an even ball. Roll each ball of dough in the granulated sugar and lay them on the parchment, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  3. Using your thumb or the back of a round ½-teaspoon measuring spoon, press a well into the center of each cookie. When all the cookies are rolled, shaped, and pressed, refrigerate them until the dough is very firm, at least 30 minutes.
  4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Put the jam in a shallow bowl and stir until it’s smooth and soft enough to spoon. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and spoon enough jam into each imprint to fill it even with the top (about ½ teaspoon).
  5. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom and beginning to color at the edges, about 12-15 minutes. Cool them in the pan on a wire cooling rack before storing in airtight tins with parchment paper between each layer.

Vanilla Bean Sugar

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pots De Crème with Salt Table Infused Sugars

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s The Salt Table Infused Sugars

Despite their elegant-sounding French name, pots de crème are just little cup custards. They’re simple and easy to make in a blender, where the heat generated by the speed of the blade and the boiling cream “cook” the egg liaison. Here they take on a lively South of the Border accent with two of The Salt Table’s flavored sugars: Cinnamon and Habanero. The Habanero sugar is spicy, so be stingy the first time you use it. After that, you’ll know how much you like.

 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • Salt Table Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼-½ teaspoon Salt Table Habanero Sugar (to taste)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup heavy cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 cup unsweetened whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting

How to make it:

  1. Put the chocolate in a blender and blend at a moderately high speed until it’s ground fine. Add a small pinch of salt, both sugars, and the egg. Blend for 20 seconds at the high speed, or until almost smooth.
  2. Bring the cream to the boiling point in a small, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Turn on the blender to high, and slowly add the hot cream through the small lid opening. Turn off the machine, scrape down the sides, and add the bourbon. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Divide the custard evenly among 6 pots-de-crème cups, demitasse cups, or small ramekins. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a light dusting of ground cinnamon.

Cinnamon Sugar

Habanero Sugar

Christmas Amaretto Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table Vanilla and Lemon Sugars

The Salt Table’s sugars add instant flavor without fuss: simply mix them in along with the regular granulated sugar in the recipe. You can also change up the flavor of this classic Italian dessert simply by substituting The Salt Table’s Cinnamon, Ginger, Lime, Strawberry, or Blueberry sugars for the Vanilla Sugar called for here.

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 recipe Raspberry Lemon Sauce (recipe is below)

How to make it:

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of milk and let it soften for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining milk and cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the softened gelatin and both sugars. Bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly, and simmer 3-4 minutes, or until the gelatin is completely dissolved, stirring often. Add the liqueur or extract and turn off the heat.
  2. Prepare an basin of crushed ice and water. Transfer the panna cotta to a large bowl and set the bowl in the ice bath so that it comes halfway up the sides of the bowl. Stir until it’s cold and beginning to thicken. Lightly oil six custard cups or ramekins and ladle in the cream. Cover and chill until set, at least 4 hours. Can be made a day ahead.
  3. Before serving, dip the cups briefly in hot water, loosen the edge with a sharp knife, and invert them over serving plates. Shake to unmold. Spoon the sauce over them and serve immediately.

Raspberry Lemon Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Lemon Sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Raspberry liqueur or Grand Marnier
  1. Put the raspberries and their juice in the work bowl of blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the Lemon Sugar and sweeten to taste with granulated. Pulse until raspberries are pureed.
  2. Taste and adjust sugar, pulse to mix, and strain through wire mesh strainer into glass bowl. Stir in the liqueur, cover, and chill until needed.

Vanilla Bean Sugar

Lemon Sugar

Lime Sugar

Strawberry Sugar

Wild Blueberry Sugar

Ginger Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Bourbon Cinnamon Pecan Squares with The Salt Table’s Cinnamon Sugar

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s Cinnamon Sugar

Adapted from Damon Lee Fowler’s cookbook Essentials of Southern Cooking, these are perfect for tailgate parties. Kissing cousin to that old Southern favorite, those bite-sized pecan pie tartlets known as tassies, these get a nice lift from the Salt Table’s Cinnamon Sugar and since they don’t have to be shaped into individual tartlets are a snap to make.

Makes 2 dozen

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole pecan halves
  • 10 ounces (about 2 cups) Southern soft wheat or all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-fine white cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Salt
  • 10 ounces (1¼ cups or 2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (tightly packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Salt Table Cinnamon Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon

How to make it:

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375° F. Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast in center of oven until beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
  2. Sift together 2 cups flour, cornmeal, ½ cup sugar and small pinch salt. Add 8 ounces (1 cup, or 2 sticks) butter and work into flour until smooth. You may do first part of this step in food processor fitted with steel blade. Put in flour, meal, sugar, and salt and pulse several times to sift. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn out into mixing bowl and finish blending by hand. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Press the dough into a 9-by-13-inch pan in a uniform layer over the bottom and about ½-inch up the sides. Lightly prick it with fork and bake in center of oven 20 minutes, or lightly browned, then remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Melt the remaining butter, let cool slightly, and beat it together with the eggs, remaining ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, Salt Table Cinnamon Sugar, and a small pinch salt. Stir in the bourbon and pecans. Sift in remaining tablespoon of flour and stir until smooth. Spread this evenly over the crust and bake until golden and set, about 25 minutes. Cool it in the pan on a wire cooling rack before cutting into 24 squares.

Cinnamon Sugar

Old Fashioned Ambrosia

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s Coconut Sugar

The natural coconut flavor of the Salt Table’s Coconut Sugar intensifies the flavor of fresh grated coconut and, when you don’t have a fresh nut to grate, perks up frozen flaked coconut.

 

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small, fresh coconut with juice or about 2 cups unsweetened frozen coconut, thawed
  • 1 fresh, ripe pineapple
  • 6 large, sweet oranges, such as navel or Honeybell
  • Salt Table Toasted Coconut Sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • 12-15 Maraschino Cherries, pitted and halved, optional

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. If not using a fresh coconut, skip to step 2. Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. With a skewer, ice pick, or Philips-head screwdriver, punch out the stem scars that make the monkey face on one side of the coconut. Invert it over the strainer and drain. The juice should smell of fresh coconut: if it’s musty, discard the whole thing. Lay the nut on an unbreakable surface (a patio, bare concrete floor, front walk). Tap it firmly around the middle with a hammer, rotating, until it cracks and splits. Turn each half rounded end up, and tap until the shell breaks apart. Pry the white flesh from the shell, peel off the brown skin, and shred the nutmeat with a fine grater.
  2. Cut off the stem and sprout ends of the pineapple, and peel it. Cut out the core and slice the pineapple in 1/4-inch thick pieces. A pineapple corer, which looks like a corkscrew on steroids, makes short work of this step or if you’re lucky, some grocers will peel and core it for you. Cut the sliced pineapple into bite-sized chunks.
  3. Cut off the stem and blossom ends of the orange, cutting all the way through to the pulp. Holding the fruit over a bowl to catch the juices, peel them by cutting all the way through to the inner pulp. Slice crosswise ¼-inch-thick and remove the seeds from each slice.
  4. Cover the bottom of a deep glass bowl with a layer of oranges, sprinkle generously with coconut, a teaspoon or so of the coconut sugar, and a tablespoon or so regular granulated sugar to taste. Cover with a layer of pineapple and sprinkle with more coconut, coconut sugar, and regular sugar. If liked, scatter a few cherry halves among the pineapple. Repeat until all the fruit is in the dish, finishing with a layer of oranges and a thick one of coconut and, if using, cherry halves for garnish. Let stand 1 hour before serving or cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.

Toasted Coconut Sugar

 

Wine Jelly and Bourbon Custard (2 Recipes)

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s Savannah Cinnamon and Vanilla Sugars 

This old-fashioned holiday treat has lost a lot of its cachet thanks to the advent of packaged flavored gelatin, but it is a lovely, light dessert that (somewhat) counterbalances heavy holiday fare, especially when we’ve rather over-indulged ourselves.

The Salt Table’s Cinnamon and Vanilla infused sugars simplify the spicing of this traditional treat and infuse them with deep flavor without having to food with whole cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans.

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 2¼ cups water
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons Salt Table Cinnamon Sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2/3 cups cream sherry, madeira, or port
  • Bourbon Custard (recipe follows)

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from half of a large or all of a small lemon in 2-3 pieces. Halve and juice the lemons through strainer. Bring 2 cups of water and the zest to a boil in a small saucepan. Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin in remaining ¼ cup cold water and let it soften 5 minutes. Add both sugars to the simmering water and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat. Add the softened gelatin and stir well, making sure that the gelatin completely dissolves. Let it cool.
  3. Stir in the sherry and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the lemon juice, stir well, and pour it into individual glass or crystal dishes such as champagne glasses or, if you happen to have them, those trumpet-shaped jelly glasses. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Serve with Bourbon Custard poured over each, or pass the custard in a pitcher.

Bourbon Custard

The Salt Table’s Vanilla Sugar infuses delicate but distinctive vanilla flavoring into this traditional Southern treat without the trouble a whole vanilla bean or sharp flavor that vanilla extract often imparts.

Makes about 2½ cups

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Bean Sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (½ cup minus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. If you don’t have a really heavy-bottomed saucepan with a copper or aluminum core, prepare the bottom pan of a double boiler with simmering water. Over direct medium heat, scald the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan or top pan of a double boiler, bringing it just under the boiling point. When it’s almost boiling, if you’re using the heavy pan, lower the heat to medium-low or put the double-boiler top pan over the pan of simmering water.
  2. In heatproof bowl, beat together the egg yolks and both sugars until it’s light and smooth and runs off the spoon in ribbons. Slowly beat in 1 cup of the hot milk, then slowly beat into the remaining hot milk.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden or metal spoon (not silicone), until it thickly coats the back of the spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Remove it from the heat (if using a double boiler, remove it from over the water) and stir until cooled slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the bourbon. Let it cool completely, cover, and chill before serving

Cinnamon Sugar

Vanilla Bean Sugar

Bourbon Apple Cobbler

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler, featuring

Salt Table’s Cinnamon Sugar

Homemade apple pies and cobblers are to fall what fruitcake is to Christmas, and The Salt Table’s Cinnamon Sugar makes putting the filling together a cinch. Since the flavor is infused into the sugar, it’s more intense than regular sugar, you wouldn’t want to use it in the same proportions that you’d use regular cinnamon sugar, which is just ground cinnamon blended with white sugar. Here it’s blended with Turbinado (raw) sugar.

Serves 6

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large tart apples such as Granny Smith
  • 3 tablespoons Salt Table Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼-½ cup Turbinado (raw) sugar or regular granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons instant-blending or all-purpose flour
  • Basic Pastry (Recipe Follows) or 1 package roll-out pie crust
  • 1 large egg white lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Vanilla, cinnamon ice cream, or dulce de leche, for serving, optional

HOW TO MAKE IT:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 400° F. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Put them in a ceramic or glass bowl and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of the Cinnamon Sugar, Turbinado sugar to taste, and the bourbon. Toss gently and let stand while you prepare the crust.
  2. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to a little less than 1/8-inch thick. Line a 9-to-9½-inch deep-dish pie plate or 9-inch round casserole with it. Trim the edges of the crust so that the pastry overlaps the sides by about half an inch. Lightly prick the bottom with a fork. Sprinkle the instant-blending flour over the apples, fold it in, and pour the apples and their accumulated juice into the pastry-lined dish. Level them with a spatula.
  3. Roll out the remaining pastry, trim it to completely cover the top of the cobbler, cut 2-3 vent holes in the pastry with a small, decorative cutter, and lay the pastry over the apple filling. Moisten the edges with cold water and fold the bottom pastry over it, then crimp the edges to seal it. If you like, cut decorative shapes out of the excess pastry, paint the backs with cold water, and lay them over the edges of the crust. Brush the entire top crust lightly with the diluted egg white and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of Cinnamon Sugar.
  4. Set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and put it into the center of the oven. Bake 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until the filling is bubbling at the center and the crust is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes longer. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least 15-20 minutes before serving, if liked, with a scoop of vanilla, cinnamon, or dulce de leche ice cream.

Basic Pastry

Makes enough to make 2 9-inch pie shells, 1 double crust pie, or to cover 4 individual potpies

  • 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chilled lard or shortening, cut into bits
  • 8 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water
  1. Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, and sage. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender until the flour resembles coarse meal with random lumps of fat no larger than small peas. Stir in ¼ cup of ice water and work it in. Continue adding water by spoonfuls as needed until the dough is holding together but not wet.
  2. Gather the pastry into two balls (for the above recipe, make one a little larger than the other) press each one into a 1-inch thick flat disk, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or for up to 2 days. Let it come almost to room temperature before rolling it out.

 

Cinnamon Sugar