Ginger Crème Brûlée with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

#baketogether @abbydodge

I haven’t been able to participate in Abby Dodge’s #baketogether for several months, and I’ve really missed it! Her recipe this month is for vanilla pots de crème with strawberry sauce. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to jump in. I raise fancy breed chickens and have a steady supply of farm fresh eggs. I make a lot of egg dishes, and my crème brûlée is a family favorite. I usually make a simple rich & creamy vanilla crème brûlée, but for #baketogether I wanted to create something new. I’ve been enjoying the FL oranges we’ve been getting here in PA, and I also have a large ginger tuber growing in my greenhouse. I liked the idea of those two flavors together, so I decided I would make Ginger Crème Brûlée with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce.

(btw, to learn more about Abby Dodge and #baketogether visit her website… it’s a super fun group, if you love to bake creatively please join us!)

I took Abby’s original recipe, added ginger to the already heavenly custard and made a companion caramel sauce with blood orange. I just used my last vanilla bean pod and need to order more, so instead of a pod I used a good madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste. (Maybe I will win Abby’s vanilla extravaganza giveaway this month! fingers crossed…)  You can see the hunk of ginger root I dug from my garden this morning on the grater. I decided to use 1/2 vanilla-infused sugar and 1/2 Fieldstone Farm raw honey to sweeten the custard. And you can see the beautiful hues of the eggs that I am getting from “the girls” – they know Spring is on the way!

Mis en Place

Mis en Place


TIP: vanilla infused sugar is so easy to make, simple put your used vanilla bean pods in a tall "restaurant style" sugar dispenser and fill with sugar! Keep replenishing with new sugar as you use it, it will impart flavor for a good year.

TIP: vanilla infused sugar is so easy to make, simply put your used vanilla bean pods in a tall “restaurant style” sugar dispenser and fill with sugar! Keep replenishing with new sugar as you use it, it will impart flavor for a good year.


If you can find farm fresh, free-range chicken eggs (truly pasture raised!) you will appreciate the difference. The yolks are a much deeper orange color and overall the eggs will have more texture. They have been proven to be healthier too. (Coming from someone who thinks crème brûlée is an appropriate breakfast food, you can see how health concious I am!) I whisked the yolks, then added the half & half, sugar, honey and salt. Stirring constantly over medium heat it took about 4 minutes for the custard to reach 170′ and coat a spoon nicely:

dark orange yolks add a golden glow to vanilla custard

Dark orange yolks add a golden glow to vanilla custard

custard is ready to bake when it reaches about 170' & coats a spoon nicely

Custard is ready to bake when it reaches about 170′ & coats a spoon nicely

Just off the heat, I added the vanilla bean paste and about 1 T. freshly grated ginger. I filled the ramekins nearly to the top but left enough room for a nice coating of sugar:

I used smaller, wider ramekins, which will be good for the "burnt sugar" brulee

I used smaller, wider ramekins, which will be good for the “burnt sugar” brulee

I had enough custard for an additional heart ramekin. I filled a baking dish with hot water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins:

Custard is ready for the oven

Custard is ready for the oven

While the custard was baking in a 325′ oven for about 30 minutes, I made the blood orange caramel sauce:



2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. water

scant 1/2 c. fresh squeezed blood orange juice

2-3 t. grated blood orange peel

I haven't used this little juicer since I was first married

I love the deep color of blood oranges, and these were juicy and sweet

blood oranges are so beautiful, and these were juicy and sweet

I haven’t used this little juicer since I was newlywed… good thing I don’t throw things away!


First, I juiced about a half cup orange juice. I combined sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan and stirred over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolved. I turned the heat up and boiled without stirring until it was a deep amber color, occasionally swirling pan, about 8 minutes:

sugar will dissolve in water and bubble

The sugar will dissolve in the water and bubble


sugar water will begin to turn amber, and will start smelling like heavenly caramel

The sugar water will begin to turn amber, and will start smelling like caramel


it's carmelized when it becomes a clear, deep amber

It’s carmelized when it becomes a clear, deep amber and smells heavenly

I carefully added the orange juice and orange peel (it bubbled furiously.) I stirred over low heat until it was smooth and all the little caramel bits had dissolved. I let it completely cool, then covered it and let it stand at room temperature:

Blood orange caramel sauce cooling on the windowsill

Blood orange caramel sauce cooling on the windowsill


ginger cremes cooled in the fridge overnight and are ready to brulee

Ginger cremes chilled in the fridge overnight are ready to carmelize


To fuse the caramel sauce with the custard, I took Abby’s idea of scooping out a bit and adding the sauce but I used a chopstick to make several little pockets and used a squeeze bottle to fill each with caramel sauce. I didn’t have to worry about being “neat” because I was going to cover it over with sugar to carmelize:



All you need to fire up the brûlée is a small hand-held propane tank, economically available at a hardware store. A long lighter comes in handy too.



The flame didn’t show up in the picture (I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous!) but you can see on the left how the sugar melts, bubbles and turns brown as you go. The end result is a brittle topping of caramel yumminess. I have used virtually every kind of sugar for brûlée, here I used a brown organic turbinado which turned very dark brown. (Fine white sugars make a more or less clear brûlée, and then there’s everything in-between.):

**Note: Don’t carmelize the brûlée more than a couple hours before serving. The wonderfully brittle “crust” will soften, which is a cardinal crème brûlée sin!**


I was pleased that it fired perfectly, the custard stayed nice and creamy, and there was a little blood orange sauce in every bite :)


I love vanilla, but the ginger and blood orange flavors combined to create a fantastic flavor. The brûlée was crunchy, the custard was creamy and the sauce was gooie… it was a party for my tastebuds!

 I served additional blood orange caramel sauce on the side, it really brought a lot to the party!

It was a party for my tastebuds!

Thanks for joining me today… bon appetit!





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Salsita Margarita


Every summer, I make copious amounts of garden fresh salsa to freeze. I grow my favorite varieties of habeneros, heirloom tomatoes, tomatillas, onions, garlic and cilantro just for salsas. It freezes beautifully, but when thawed I must drain away the liquid that has separated during freezing. I saw a post featuring a Caprese Margarita from the always inspiring Barbara of Creative Culinary at exactly the moment I was wondering what I could do with my wonderfully tasty “salsa juice.” Hold on to your sombreros, mis amigos, me gustaría introducir:  LA SALSITA MARGARITA (muy bonita!)

Salsita Margarita

2 oz. tequila
2 oz. lemon/lime simple syrup (1 part lemon juice, 1 part lime juice, 2 parts water, 4 parts sugar)
2 oz. salsa juice, drained from thawed homemade salsa

Fill shaker with ice. Add all ingredients, shake till thoroughly chilled. Pour into margarita glass. Drink. Repeat.


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French Sables Trifecta

French Sables ~3 different ways~ #baketogether @abbydodge

My French Sable Trifecta

Spicy Parmesan Sables (L), Roquefort & Walnut Sable (Center), Sun Dried Tomato, Chevre, Garlic & Basil Sables (R)

Everyone really loved the Spicy Rosemary Parmesan Sables I made for Abby Dodge’s March #baketogether (for more info & the original recipe, please see my previous post on French Sables.) To stock up for an upcoming week of company and entertaining over Spring Break & Easter, I made 3 different variations. Total prep time for all 3 was under 1 hour (it’s so easy to throw everything into the food processer.) I baked a few of each variety the following day, and put the remaining doughs in the freezer to bake as needed. I’m happy to share my “Sables Trifecta” with you!

1.Sun Dried Tomato, Chevre, Garlic & Basil Sables

Sun Dried Tomato, Chevre, Garlic & Basil Sables

I substituted a nice locally made chevre (goat cheese) from Kirchenberg Farm for the parmesan. I also used basil from my greenhouse instead of thyme. I added about 1 oz. of sun dried tomatoes (a Principe Borghese variety that I grow every year just to dry) and 3 cloves of homegrown garlic. It made a nice looking sable – the bits of tomato and basil were colorful – and they had a very “mellow” taste.  I paired it with white wine.

2. Roquefort & Walnut Sables

Roquefort & Walnut Sable with Grilled Chicken Salad on Sauteed Swiss Chard and Fieldstone Farm Apple Cider

I wanted to try a roquefort sable – not everyone likes the taste of this “stinky” cheese, but I do on occasion (it must be that splash of English on my Father’s side…) Here, I substituted a French roquefort called “Societie” – it was a pricey import, but hey! I only needed 2 ounces! I also added about an ounce of toasted walnuts. I made a strategic error in adding the walnuts first, which produced a very “blended” looking sable.  I would have preferred to have seen little bits of walnut and will add the walnuts last next time, just pulsing the processor a few times.

I was surprised at how tasty these turned out to be! The roquefort flavor came through very cleanly. I would not serve these as wine crackers, but they paired very nicely with a grilled chicken salad and my own Fieldstone Farm apple cider. I would also serve these with my Fieldstone Farm apple cider martinis.

3. Spicy Rosemary Parmesan Sables

Spicy Rosemary Parmesan Sables

These were so good the first time around, I whipped up another batch to have on hand. My homegrown “Joe’s Long” cayenne adds some nice heat, I substituted rosemary for thyme, and the parmesan cheese is a solid umami hit. I was right the first time… this will be a “go-to” recipe for me.

Here, the doughs are wrapped and ready to refrigerate until baking.

Front 2 Back: Roquefort & Walnut dough, Spicy Rosemary Parmesan dough, Sun Dried Tomato w/Chevre &Garlic dough

I shaped the roquefort sables larger to pair with a grilled chicken salad. I will serve both the chevre and the parmesan sables with wine.

Roquefort & Walnut Sable (L), Sun Dried Tomato, Chevre, Garlic & Basil Sable (Center), Spicy Parmesan Sable (R)

I really enjoyed learning how to make this wonderful French “savory cookie.” I can’t wait to see what’s on the burner for April’s #baketogether @abbydodge !





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French Sables #baketogether @abbydodge

Spicy Parmesan Sables

This month’s #baketogether challenge features a savory french cookie, the sable. My mouth started watering when I read the recipe Abby posted! It’s a classic, rich parmesan wafer and as usual we’ve been invited to make the recipe “our way.” I love this group! (btw, if you are interested in baking along all you have to do is visit the website of Abby Dodge and look for #baketogether, or find her on twitter @abbydodge or on Facebook. Come on! It’s really fun!)

I made my first batch of sables yesterday and baked them today -a couple friends are coming over before we go out to dinner and I thought the sables would be perfect with a glass of wine. For this “virgin” bake, I didn’t tweak Abby’s recipe very much – it looked pretty darn good to begin with, and I wanted to see what kind of texture I was dealing with. (FYI, it’s kind of grainy… and “sable” means “sand” in French. Well, that explains a lot!)

I did substitute rosemary for the thyme – I grow a lot of rosemary, and love it’s fragrance and flavor. I also added twice as much cayenne. My cayenne is more “flaky” than “powdery”, which is noticeable in the crackers. I have a favorite cayenne pepper that I grow every year in the garden expressly for drying – Joe’s Long Cayenne. It looks beautiful, dries consistently, and packs a nice punch. It’s easy to grow, and coincidentally I just started a few seedlings in the greenhouse this very week!

Below is a picture of my first batch. The sables are really delicious! They even brought the hubby out of his man-cave for a taste… that’s always an endorsement! I will be serving them plain tonight – they melt in your mouth – but I also topped just a few with a venison mixture for an “amuse-bouche.”

Spicy Parmesan Rosemary Sables

I am going to try to “bake outside the cookie jar” with this recipe in the coming week, but I have to say it’s going to be hard to beat the flavor of these little gems. I have no doubt that this will be a go-to recipe for me. Here is the original recipe for you:

Spicy Parmesan Sables
Makes 29 sables.

  • 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices, well chilled
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons very cold water
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)

To make the dough:
1. Put the flour, cheese, salt and cayenne in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses depending on your machine. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that are just beginning to clump together, about 8 or 9 more pulses depending on your machine.

2. Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of you hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears.  Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time,  until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
4. The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables in a heavy duty zip top bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325°F to refresh the flavors.




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Raspberry Lemon Meringue Cheesecake ala Fieldstone Farm

@abbydodge #baketogether
This month’s #baketogether challenge is cheesecake, I couldn’t resist! Cheesecake was my Mom’s signature dessert, and her friends still talk about the many wonderful cheesecakes she would bring to school for special occasions (she was a special education teacher.)  Abby provided a great basic recipe for vanilla cheesecake with a cookie crust. We were to take this recipe and run with it. I had more fun than a gal alone in the kitchen should have… and just in time for the Academy Awards! #WhyI’mNotOnTheRedCarpet

Mis en place includes: Fieldstone Farm fresh eggs (thank you girls… I’m getting lots of gorgeous eggs!) & frozen Fieldstone Farm rasperries from last Fall.

Mise en Place


I made my cookie crust with Girl Scout shortbread Trefoils, which I had on hand thanks to my beautiful, community-minded Granddaughters Nina & Lexi! With cinnamon & butter from Abby’s original recipe, I added about 1T lemon zest for some extra lemon flavor.

Girl Scout cookie crust


My cheesecake followed Abby’s basic recipe, but I added the zest from 5 (CA organic) lemons. They were small. It added a load of lemon flavor… yes, I licked the paddle!

Lemon Cheesecake Mix


It baked up nicely, with no cracking (altho I missed popping a few small bubbles.)

Baked Lemon Cheesecake


I made raspberry sauce with about a pint of frozen berries, adding 1/4c sugar, 2T lemon juice, and 1T cornstarch dissolved in 1/2c cold water.

raspberry sauce


I strained the seeds out, then added a little lemon juice for more fresh lemon flavor.

straining seeds from raspberry sauce


It covered the cheesecake nicely and covered minor imperfections.

raspberry topping


For the meringue, I put the eggs in hot water for about 10 minutes so that when I separated the whites they would be nice & warm. They whip up much better when warm.

Warming The Eggs


I read several meringue recipes, but ended up with my own “tweak”. For my 9″ cheesecake I used 2/3c eggs whites, 1/4c turbinado sugar, 1tsp vanilla & a pinch of salt.

egg whites get foamy


I whisked the already warm mixture while it was placed on a bowl of hot water to help keep it warm, until soft peaks formed.

soft peaks forming


I know from making many angel food cakes that you don’t want to overbeat those egg whites. Stop when the peaks will stand up on their own.

perfect meringue texture


I plopped the meringe onto the cheescake, that was fun & easy! But, would it hold up??

meringue topping added to cheesecake


I baked it for 5 min. @200 degrees to set it a bit, then put it under the broiler and watched it with an EAGLE EYE.

baking meringue


About 2 min. under the broiler was perfect! Whew!

hot from oven


This actually turned out pretty much as I had imagined it in my head… I love when that happens! It’s packed with fresh lemon flavor but has a nice raspberry note. The meringue added a pleasant “mellow” to the rich cheesecake. It also stayed creamy & moist, and held up well in the fridge.Can’t wait to see what #baketogether is doing in March! And I will never look at professional food photos again without appreciation. Memo to self: work on photo composition and skills!

ready for the fun part!


I’m ready to watch the Academy Awards tonight. Cheesecake… it’s not just for breakfast anymore!

A Perfect Lunch!


Following is Abby Dodge’s recipe for classic vanilla bean cheesecake. I based my raspberry lemon meringue cheesecake on this recipe, with the exceptions/additions noted above in my post. This is a great basic cheesecake! For further information, visit

Classic Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Makes 12 to 14 servings.

For the crust:
•    2 cups (9 ounces) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
•    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
•    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
▪    3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
▪    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
▪    Good pinch of  table salt
▪    1 1/3 cups (9 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
▪    3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
▪    Seeds scraped from 3  large vanilla beans or 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste
▪    4 large eggs, at room temperature

To make the crust:
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a piece of aluminum foil and clasp the outer ring over the foil so the edges hang outside the ring. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix until well blended.

2. Dump the crumbs into the springform pan and cover with large piece of plastic wrap. Place your hands on the plastic wrap and press the crumbs about 2 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.(The plastic wrap will keep the crumbs from sticking to your hands.) With the plastic wrap still in place, redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and firmly press down to make a compact layer. I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat bottom for this task.. Bake until the crumbs are fragrant, about 12 minutes and set on a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

To make the filling:
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt until very smooth and no lumps remain. It’s very important for the cream cheese to be lump free at this point so stop and scrape the beater and sides of the bowl frequently. Add the sugar, sour cream and vanilla seeds or extract and beat until well blended and smooth, stopping to scrape beater and bowl several times. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended, stopping to scrape beater and bowl before each addition. (Don’t over beat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Tap the bowl several times on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Using the tip of a small knife or a toothpick, pop any air bubbles on the surface.

2. Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like jello when nudged, 63 to 68 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight or up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen up to 1 month.

To serve:
Have a flat serving plate ready and close by. Unclasp the pan’s ring, remove it, and using the excess foil, gently nudge and lift the cake to be sure it’s released. Using the foil, carefully lift the cheesecake and slide it onto the serving plate and center it.. Tear off one side of the foil close to the cheese cake. On the opposite side of the cake, gently pull the remaining foil  out from the cheesecake. (If you are topping the cake with something yummy, do so now.) Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

Posted on by Jody Hulber | 2 Comments