Bacardi Gold Spiked Peach Trifles

Bacardi Gold

Happy Saturday!

I love to cook; I like to bake, but people–it’s summer. All the recipes should be easy, light, and fun. More time should be spent outdoors than in during this time of year. Today’s post will make sure that you are enjoying life instead of slave driving in the kitchen (although I have a lot of fun in here, usually!) This recipe is tasty, fun, and easy. It’s particularly a crowd pleaser because of the booze (I used Bacardi Gold Rum)–alcohol in desserts always piques people’s interest. Now if you need to sober up this recipe, not to worry–this tastes fine with lesser or no alcohol, too.

I made this trifle last week to complement my future Mother In Law’s grilled kebabs. Her friend made this really awesome bean and rice salad (yes, rice can be made into a salad–I will post that recipe eventually), and I figured I would make dessert. I wanted to utilize the peaches that she had on the counter, and my mind went immediately to the trifle. It’s so easy, and it’s great to make ahead! Store bought pound cake makes this recipe nice because you won’t need to turn on your oven, either!

For those of you who don’t know what a trifle is, essentially it’s a layered dessert that traditionally has alternates sponge cake, fruit, and custard/pudding filling in a “trifle” (which is a large glass bowl that’s used for entertaining). I find that the trifle bowl does look lovely for presentation, but once you dig into it to scoop some out, it gets messy and ruins all the beauty you destroyed in preparing it. To me, I rather make the dessert more fun by making this into individual servings. Because mine have booze, I like to put these in martini glasses. Alternatively, you could use a smaller pudding cup as well. Any smaller glass can do!

For this trifle, I am using vanilla pudding, pound cake, and sweet, ripened peaches. They are perfectly paired for summer, and they take almost no time to prepare.

These peach trifles are not only easy to make, but they are easy to devour. As many of my readers know, I don’t always look for the simplest recipes to make. I always complicate things to make it gain just the slightest edge in flavor. I have made this trifle many times in many variations. When I feel like I need more of a challenge, I will substitute the pudding out and actually create a vanilla bean custard instead. But the truth…is in the pudding.

Yes, I used (gasp) pudding mix, and to make my crime worsened, I even used INSTANT PUDDING. You can get a soft set from instant pudding in about 5 minutes by simply whisking whole milk and the pudding powder. When the pool or the ocean is calling my name, I rather not turn on the stove and waste an extra 20, 30 minutes. If you really feel guilty about not making “real pudding,” by all means, go traditionally here. Or go gourmet like I’ve done before and make a fine custard. Up to you, peaches. 🙂

Lastly, I do believe in the authenticity of whipped cream being fresh. You do not prepare the whipped cream until you’re about to serve, but every thing else could made ahead. I usually make this about 4-5 hours before serving.

By the way, if you are drawn to this because of the alcohol, I would like to say that there is flexibility in which type of alcohol you use as well. When I made this recipe originally, I used Jim Bean (this is a southern inspired recipe that calls for bourbon). I personally think the rum is more summery, and it complements the peaches very well, but using bourbon is perfectly acceptable; that’s what I used last year! Rum and cake are always a great pairing, just ask the Caribbean natives! 🙂

Grocery List

1 (3 1/2-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (or you can use the larger package if you plan on making more)
2 cups milk
6-8 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 (20-ounce) package pound cake
1/3 cup gold rum (I used Bacardi)**–Again, if you want to leave the booze out, that’s perfectly fine!
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

 

Simple Directions (Recipe makes 6-8 individual servings)

1.) Prepare pudding mix according to package directions, using 2 cups milk. Cover and chill 5 minutes in the refrigerator.

2.) Peel the skin off your peaches. Once the peaches are peeled, slice them into a cubed dice. Discard the pit and skins.

3.) If your peaches aren’t particularly sweet, toss diced peaches with granulated sugar (1-3 teaspoons, depending on sweetness of the peaches in their natural state.) Taste to make sure.

4.) Cut pound cake into cubes. Place half of cake cubes on bottom of a martini class; drizzle evenly with half of gold rum.

5.) Next, spoon half of peach mixture evenly over cake cubes. Spread half of pudding over peaches. Repeat with remaining cake cube, rum, peach mixture, and pudding. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

6.) Upon being ready to serve, beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over trifle; sprinkle with almonds. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Pork and Poblano Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers with Melted Jack Cheese

Pork and Poblano Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers with Melted Jack Cheese.jpg

Happy Saturday!

I am not making excuses, but I have not blogged in a while because I have been super overwhelmed with life. I’ve moved back to Pennsylvania from North Carolina; this consumed a lot of my free time. I also started teaching summer school and have been booked up with weddings galore! In fact, my best friend is getting married tomorrow, so I need to finish this post quickly so I can attend to her needs. I have to be ready on standby!

Speaking of celebration, I think the best foods to eat are hor d’oeuvres which to me simply means fancy finger food. There’s something to be said about food that requires no silverware or linen. These peppers are a great appetizer for a crowd mainly because of their size! If you have never worked with a mini bell pepper, I highly recommend it. They are colorful, fun, and they cook in no time at all. They have all the sweetness of your conventional bell pepper, but they are “fun-sized.” They are quite the party.

The flavor can be as intense or as relaxed as you want it to be, but if you like regular stuffed peppers, you know that spiciness is not necessarily a requirement. I use a poblano pepper and ground pork to stuff these peppers. I have also done a rendition of this recipe adding leftover saffron rice and some corn, so if you have any of these handy, by all means, add it! These peppers are small, so they can’t contain too much, but if you’re like me, you’ll do open heart surgery and make sure each pepper is maxed out in its capacity.

I will say that if you don’t have dainty fingers, you might find stuffing these peppers to be slightly tedious. A conventional stuffed pepper takes hardly no time to prepare because the pepper is about the size of a hand. Stuffing these little guys are a bit of an art form, but it’s worth it. This would be a fun recipe to make with a friend–divide and conquer!

I made these for a fourth of July party; I tamed the spices to a mild taste level so people wouldn’t have sweat more than they would already on a 90 degree day; however, if you like spicy food, go ahead and chop up a jalapeño or a habanero alongside with the poblano to bring up the heat. You could also add more spices to your taste level. Make sure you taste your filling before you put it in the pepper! Tasting is key.

I think what also makes these peppers very tasty is the fact they have a roasted flavor from being first sautéed in a bath of olive oil in a frying pan. Cooking the peppers first, not just throwing them in the oven, assures perfect tenderness and flavor development.

Let’s get this party started! These would be perfect for a Mexican themed party; I first made these for a Cinco de Mayo recipe, but these are perfectly suited for any summer celebration. 🙂 I doubled the recipe when I made this last to make about 50 peppers, but this is the scaled down version for a smaller gathering.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound assorted baby bell peppers (about 24)
1 small onion, diced
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and diced (Remember–you can add a jalapeño or habanero to kick these up!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder**
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder**
Kosher salt
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional–I personally am not a HUGE fan of cilantro, but it fits here)
3 ounces jack cheese, diced (about 3/4 cup)**(Feel free to use more cheese. That never hurts

**-(The ancho and chipotle powders are very distinctive in flavor, but I will say they are optional if you don’t feel like running to the store–you can use regular chile powder, but these two have more authentic Mexican profile)

Directions

1.) First, prep your ingredients. Dice your poblano (or other spicy peppers) and onion finely. Next, mince your garlic finely.

2.) Once your ingredients are prepped, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the baby bell peppers (whole) in a single layer and cook, turning, until the skins blister and start browning. Depending on your stovetop, it could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Make sure you flip them and see a slight char. You should also towards the end be able to feel with a fork if they are soft and tender (not overly soft, but enough to bend and not be raw.)

3.) Once you’re done cooking the peppers, use the same pan and add the onion and poblano. If you need more olive oil, add it before sautéeing the onion and poblano. Make sure the onion is translucent before adding the garlic, cumin, oregano, ancho and chipotle chile powders and 1 teaspoon salt to the skillet. The whole mixture should be tender in a little under ten minutes.

4.) Next, raise the heat to medium high and add the pork. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the final mixture cool.
5.) While the mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

6.) Here’s the fun part: stuffing the peppers! Make a slit in each baby bell pepper with a knife, cutting from stem to tip. Once slit open, use your index finger to scoop out the few seeds that are in there and to carefully make a little room for the filling.

7.) Crumble the meat mixture into small bits, then stir in the cilantro. Stuff 2 to 3 teaspoons of the meat mixture into each pepper using your fingers or a small spoon; transfer to a baking sheet.

8.) Put a piece of jack cheese on top of each individual pepper. Cut each piece of cheese so it fits inside the pepper(cubes work well or long strips). You may stuff the cheese so that it is tucked all inside, or you may just put the slice cheese right on top and have it melt all over if you’re in a rush.
9.) Bake until the peppers are hot and the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Once the peppers come out, sprinkle kosher salt on the peppers (just a pinch.)

10.) Eat these peppers immediately. Have a margarita with salt on your rim to complement this fiesta

. 🙂