Face lift(now all I need is my tummy tuck)…

When I started this blog three and a half years ago there weren’t a lot of food blogs around, unlike now! I had two options for a template…one with coffee (which I felt was too clichƒ© for a Seattle area blogger) and a watermelon. As you all know, I went with the watermelon.
Now, I like watermelon, especially on a hot Summer day with a little salt sprinkled on it, but really, the watermelon was starting to get to me.
Right around the time of my 3 year blog anniversary I started thinking I needed a change. Since I am computer illiterate and my husband, though a computer software guy is not a web designer, I decided that maybe I should hire someone. One of my regular reads in the food blogging world, Cannelle et Vanille had recently gotten a “face lift” on her blog and I was admiring it greatly. It wasn’t what I wanted for me, but I felt it really captured the feel of her blog. Aran makes such beautiful and sophisticated baked goods and pastry and her new blog design reflected that. I emailed her and asked her about price (gulp) and about her experience with her designer, Kaytlyn of Beneficial Design. She had nothing but great things to say about Kaytlyn, and of course now I know why. As luck would have it, Beneficial Design is right here in the Seattle area (well, Bellevue to be exact). I took that as a sign and contacted her. I was raring to go but got slightly deflated as Katlyn was already working on projects (how dare she :P ) and though it was July I would be waiting until September to actually get started. Turned out, that was good. For I had several months to really focus on what did I want my blog to look like. Which blogs do I already read that I like their design and so on.
So when push come to shove I really knew what I wanted, I had some idea in July, but by September I pretty much had my concept. What was my concept you ask..quirky and simple. Let’s face it, I don’t make sophisticated foods (I leave that for Helen and Aran). I make stuff that hopefully anyone can make. My first cooking show I ever watched was Martin Yan on PBS. He ended each show with, “Yan can cook, so can you” and I often feel like saying, “Peabody can bake, so can you!” to all of my readers.
At first I think Kaytlyn thought I was going for more of a upscale style, but one in person meeting took care of that. ;) And with that, things took off. Yes, the color is the same, I like the green. Yes, I kept a nod to the old blog design by having a little watermelon in the banner ( I just had to) as well as in the links button. Hopefully you like the new stuff that was added (p.s. the comments are on the top of the post now) and more importantly I hope you feel that it represents me.
So thanks to Kaytlyn for getting the essence of who I am and translating that into my blog. It was a pleasure to work with you and I would say thanks for putting up with me, but really, I’m not that much of a pain. Lol ;)

So of course the next thing I had to figure out was what to make. I originally had this grandiose idea, but I am still recovering from pneumonia and that didn’t sound all that fun anymore (I will make later I am sure).
Should I make a Dorie? Nah, I do that almost weekly. What about Yard? Ah yes, Sherry is my other go to gal in the baking world. Though ironically, no baking here. I was drawn to this recipe because I still can’t have dairy (fills up in my lungs) and so I am craving it. Also, I have been drinking this local Honeycrisp Apple Cider like a mad woman and saw an opportunity to use it. You can use just about any type of apple (though I would stay away from Granny Smith). There are several steps but none of them are hard, just a little time consuming. If you are not familiar with semifreddo, its similar (at least to me) to a frozen mousse. Though it doesn’t stay frozen long, as you can see from my photos…and it was 62F in the house. Imagine that on a hot day.
I was a bad girl and had a little piece, and yes, I paid the price. Oh well, it was worth it. Make it even better by throwing some caramel sauce on it.
I also included the Caramel Bavarian version which is basically the same recipe with gelatin added. So two recipes for the price of one…sounds good to me.

Caramel Apple Semifreddo

1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP water
½ cup Apple Caramel Glaze

1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp butter
3 TBSP granulated sugar

Using a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the cream and vanilla extract on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until it reaches the medium-peak stage. Set aside in the refrigerator., Clean and dry the beaters.
In a small saute pan, melt the butter and add the apple pieces. Let cook for about 3 minutes, until they start to get soft. Add the sugar and let them caramelize. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl , whip the eggs on medium speed for 5 minutes, until thick and pale yellow in color.
Meanwhile, bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the  heat . This is the simple syrup.
As soon as the eggs reach the ribbon stage, drizzle in the simple syrup very slowly, still whipping at medium speed. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling. Take about 2 minutes to add all the syrup. Continue whipping for 5 minutes, or until the eggs have triple in volume and are cool to the touch.
Transfer the whipped eggs to a large bowl. Add the glaze and using a rubber spatula, fold the egg foam and the glaze together. Next, fold in the reserved whipped cream. Lastly fold in the apples and any caramel that formed. This is the semifreddo base. Pour the base into a freezer container (I just used mini loaf pans), cups, or glasses and freeze until firm, about 3 hours before serving.

Master Caramel

¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 TBSP light corn syrup

Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Whisk them together, making sure no lumps of dry sugar remain.
Cover the sauce pan and place it over medium heat for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and bring to boil Do not stir from this point on. Keep an eye on the pan. It will be very bubbly. When stray sugar crystals appear on the side of the pan, crush them down with a clean, wet pastry brush.
As the sugar cooks, the bubbles will get larger. Insert a candy thermometer, and when the temperature reaches 300F, lower the heat to medium, which will slow the cooking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 325F; this will happen quickly. It will be golden brown. At 325F, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 1 minutes, or until the bubbles subside.

Apple Caramel Glaze

1 recipe Master Caramel, prepared through heated to 350F
½ cup apple cider
¼ cup water
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP sliced fresh ginger
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod

Bring the cider, water, sugar and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Immediately remove the syrup form the heat and carefully add it to the caramel. Stir with a whisk to incorporate completely.
Cover the pan and let it cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then remove the spice with a slotted spoon or strainer. The glaze can be used immediately or refrigerated for later use.

Caramel Bavarian Cream:

The semifreddo recipe can also be used to cream a caramel Bavarian cream by adding 1 envelope powdered gelatin. Dissolve the gelatin by sprinkling it over ¼ cup cold water and letting it sir t for 5 minutes. Stir in the gelatin into the syrup, add the mixture to the eggs in step 4, and continue with the recipe. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, before serving.

Adpated from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

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Comments

  1. Pretty! Very fresh looking.

  2. If you are going for a tummy tuck you need to pay one for me too! Ever since I stumbled onto your blog and got to know you I think I have gained 100 kilos! I’d say Kaytlyn did a pretty good job with the face lift!

  3. It was my pleasure, Peabody. You were such a great client to work with, I can only hope for more just like you.

    And it came out so great! Enjoy!

  4. One meeting in person:)
    Pea, it’s you! All over! Right down to the touch of watermelon!
    And the Caramel Apple Semifreddo just perfect here!

  5. It looks great! The quirky header made me smile and was a cheerful start to my day :-)

  6. Congrats Peabody! The new site looks awesome, as does the semifreddo!

  7. Yum, this looks super amazing!!

  8. I love your new look! That dessert looks icredibly good and scrumptious to boot!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  9. I love, Love, LOVE the new look, Gracie!! It’s just adorable and very fitting to what you bake – which is usually always fun and ALWAYS droolworthy :)

    The semifreddo looks heavenly as well.. everytime I see someone make it, I kick myself in the arse for never thinking of it since I am such an ice cream addict without an ice cream machine.. duh! :)

    Hugs!
    xoxoxoxox

  10. Hee, the watermelon is the first thing I looked for ;) The semifreddo looks so totally worth it– we’re mostly lactose-intolerant on this side of the world, but I don’t care!

  11. Semifreddo is AMAZING! And caramel apple?? YUM! But I’m LOVING the new layout! Great job!!

  12. I like it.

  13. I love the new design! The caramel apple combination is one of my favorites, and you can’t go wrong with a Sherry Yard recipe!

  14. Fun! I had wondered about the watermelon motif. Thanks for sharing the story.

  15. Dude I love your new look! It’s so friendly. And this semifreddo looks unbelievable! I swoon at the idea of Honeycrisp cider!

    And I used to watch Martin Yan on PBS as a kid too! I love his aprons. And that’s a total bummer you aren’t all better from the pneumonia yet. Get well soon!

  16. I like the new look, especially since you kept a little slice of watermelon in the corner.
    Cute.
    I love semifreddo. I used to make a chocolate malted semifreddo back when I worked in a restaurant, yummy.

  17. Cool! I was wondering if you were going to update it soon!

  18. Love the refresh, and the subtle little details take the cake. Beautiful

  19. LOOOOOVE the new blog layout, Peabody!! It’s totally pimped-out now ;-)

    Okay, I ADORE honeycrisp apples, yet have never tried Honeycrisp apple CIDER – sounds enticing!! And of course your Caramel Apple Semifreddo LOOKS super tantalizing and sensational. You never disappoint!! :-)

  20. Wow, the site looks great!

  21. it looks great! very fresh!

  22. I love your new look!

    I ran into Craig Conroy’s mom yesterday (while getting my flu shot!) and was telling her about my blog (she and I used to work in the same office). I then proceeded to tell her about your blog and that you were a big hockey (Flames) fan! I directed her to your site also! :)

  23. Looks good! and that dessert looks very tasty!

  24. I really like the new design. The boys have been bugging me for caramel apples but my 7yr old has loose teeth. I’ll try this one on him to see if it satisfies his craving!

  25. Super fun and quirky! Love the new look:)

  26. beautiful re-do and definitely captures your spirit and whismy! i love the new look!

  27. Love it! Congrats on your new look!

  28. Love the new look! Congrats!

  29. I love the new look! I’m working on something new as well, but I can’t decide really what I want to do. Maybe I need a few months like you had!!

    I hope you are doing better soon and can enjoy dairy – I would have a very hard time not eating a whole serving (or two!) of this!

  30. Love the new look!! The semifreddo looks great too!

  31. Love the facelift. :) Thanks for your blog. I enjoy reading it, and baking from it.

  32. Lovin’ the new design, Peabody!! Super cute!

  33. i was curious what the new design would look like. it’s fun!

  34. I love your new banner – congratulations! And the apple semifreddo idea is so unique – and sounds like a great way to use of some of the 15 pounds of apples currently sitting in my fridge. Thanks!

  35. Wow I love your new look! The food in the letters alone makes me hungry, before i even get to the delicious things you bake!

  36. Love the new look, and the semifreddo look divine!

  37. The new design rocks!

    It is really hard to pinpoint exactly what you want your blog to look like and how you want it to feel — you girls both did a great job working through that process, as it looks fabulous! :)

  38. Pretty new banner!
    The apple dessert looks good too.
    I’m glad to hear you are feeling better and hope you get to eat some dairy soon (like ice cream maybe, to sooth a sore throat? Oh wait, that’s me.)

  39. Love it! Still looks like you, only fresher. Perfect. :)

  40. Wow! The semifreddo looks divine! I found your bio on thenest (in the election post)..yay for change and great food! I’ll check back often.

  41. I love the revamp! It’s totally “you”

    And the recipes…caramel apple is my favorite this time of year- YUM!!

  42. Carole Resnick says:

    LOVE IT!

  43. great new look!

  44. wow great new look :) I like it. This caramel apple semifreddo looks delicious :)

  45. Love the new look! It still has the old you…I guess that’s why you call it a face lift :) .

  46. Great look! :-)

  47. Isn’t Kaytlyn the best? I’m glad she was able to design for you what you really wanted. Now enjoy!! :)

  48. I love the new look, and what do you mean you don’t bake sophisticated? :)

  49. I’m crazy for your face lift Peabody!! Looks fantastic. Im glad to see that little slice of melon still featuring there….well done xxx

  50. Love the new look!

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