Friday, November 15, 2013

World Food Championships 2013, Part 1

This is a view of the Freemont Experience where the World Food Championships took place last week. It looks pretty tame in this picture but when the home cooks and bonafied chefs were competing, it was a hot-bed of excitement. And the aromas were heavenly. Each night when the awards were presented, I could barely get close enough to the stage to snap a picture. But I did get a good one, the Pasta Recipe top ten finals. Six of my buddies are up on the stage. You rock ladies! And you're all home cooks, how great is that?

Unfortunately I didn't make the top ten, but since I ranked 16 in desserts I'm feeling like "I almost made it". One of the most disappointing things about not making the top ten is that I didn't get to make my yummy Calypso Cakes with Pineapple Coconut Coulis. We had about two weeks to plan and think about our final build, and I must admit I spent a lot of time and energy coming up with this concoction. I decided to make individual cakes to cut down on cooking time (they really put us to the test when it came to delivering our dishes on time). Seventeen minutes in the oven, and a few extra steps to make them competition worthy. Here's the recipe. It has a lot of steps, but is really pretty simple. If you know me, you know I don't make anything that is difficult.

Calypso Cake with Coconut Pineapple Coulis
makes 12 2 inch servings in square, flat muffin tins

For the cake
1 cup Splenda no sugar sweetener
2 cups AP flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 20 oz can Dole Crushed pineapple drained (save liquid for coulis)
1/2 cup ground sweetened coconut
1-1/4 cup Thai coconut milk from 13.5 oz can (reserve the rest for coulis)

For the frosting
8 oz neufchatel cheese room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1/4 cup ground sweetened coconut
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp coconut extract

For the coulis
Reserved sauce from can of crushed pineapple
Reserverd coconut milk
1 T cornstarch
3 T Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sweetened coconut
1 can Dole Pineapple Slices drained and patted dry

To make the cake: Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In large bowl combine dry ingredients and whisk with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake 17-19 minutes. Set aside to cool. Remove from baking pan to further cool.

To make the frosting: Mix cheese and butter until airy. Now add the ground coconut (I grind my coconut in my small spice grinder) and the coconut extract and combine until smooth. Now add your confectioner's sugar. Set aside in a cool place.

To make the sauce: In small pan combine Splenda Brown Sugar Blend and salt and heat on low. In a small mixing bowl whisk reserved pineapple juice, reserved coconut milk and cornstarch. Pour into warmed sugar mixture, increase heat, then simmer uncovered until it reduces by half. Set aside to cool.

Garnish: Place coconut on parchment lined cookie sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes, checking and tossing every few minutes, you don't want burnt coconut.

Fire up your indoor grill and sear pineapple slices until they are browned on both sides. Remove from grill and when they are cooled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Assembly: Top cakes with the creamy frosting. Pour a little sauce over frosted cake and make a little puddle of sauce on your plates. Place cake on top of sauce puddle, sprinkle top with toasted coconut and add a few slices of grilled pineapple. Doesn't this look yummy?

At the WFC we have to present tasting portions for the judges, and while I was thinking of how to plate this entry, Pier One Imports was having a promotion on their "tasting" wares. I opted for the Asian soup spoons (75 cents each-good deal right?). Love the way this looks.

As you can see, a lot of work went into this dessert that never got to be made at the WFC. But I will be making these little Calypso Cakes often and I hope you'll give them a try too. I know, a lot of steps- but sooo worth it. Congrats to all the competitors, we are surely a talented group of crazies.


Kimberly said...

Hi Linda, I sure missed out on getting to meet you at the WFC. I am sure this would of been a winning recipe as it looks and sounds amazing! I'm sure that you had fun just like I did in competing at the WFC and would love to attend again.

Linda said...

Hi Kim, I think I did meet you if you're the Kim who was in chili. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!