Making a Yuletide Flip 

Whether you spike or not it's known as ait de poule from the French which literally means hen milk; or egg flip by the British. With low taxed rum easily available from the caribbean it was a way for the British to inexpensively extend their dairy. Here in North America it's eggnog. The popular yuletide beverage received it's popularity with the colonies in the 18th century due to the large amount of dairy available in the new world. As corn and rye became a staple in the colonies, whiskey and bourbon became the common dairy stretcher to the traditional British egg flip. So you could say Americans gave rum the flip so to speak as whiskey and bourbon found it's way into glasses in North America. 

There is good reason why rich and delicious eggnog is limited to being served-up only during the holiday season. Is it possibly the caloric intake, or is it just reason to reserve it to be one of those nostalgic beverages you look forward to toasting with each and every year? May be a bit of both. 

One thing is for sure, if I am toasting with it, it might as well be spiked! Cheers!

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Hirsch's Traditional Eggnog 

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 4 Servings

6 egg yolks, save the whites *see below

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup bourbon, or rum 

1/4 brandy

1/2 cup pure cane sugar, or Turbinado

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Using a mixer with a whip attachment on medium speed; whip the egg yolks until light in color, about 4-5 minutes. Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside.

In double boiler, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange rind and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and combine, while tempering the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.

Return all ingredients to double boiler and heat constantly stirring with a spatula until the mixture reaches 160 degrees (well below simmer), eggnog begins to resemble custard.

Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, and brandy. Pour into a bowl, cool and refrigerate for at least two-four hours. Best if refrigerated overnight.

Serve in cups with a shaved chocolate, or unsweetened cocoa powder dusted on top.

Optional Toppings: with a dollop of *meringue (made from all the left over egg whites), or ice cream, or whipped cream.

Directions to make Meringue...

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On the First Day of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent me a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

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Making homemade desserts can be intimidating if you are not a trained pastry chef. Solution, my Apple Pear Tartelette. When the apples and pears are ripe it’s time to pick & prepare. This tart is also a great last minute “I’m entertaining tonight dessert.” And, once you’ve made this a couple times you’ll want to strut your pastry 101 skills and whip it up in front of your guests. Enjoy!

George Hirsch Pear Tart

Warm Apple Pear Tartlette 
Makes six servings
chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 
1/4 cup unsalted sweet butter
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons water + 2 Tablespoons white pure cane sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium size Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced + 2 medium size gala or a sweeter apple; peeled, cored and sliced + 2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 store bought frozen puff pastry shells, baked  

Preheat sauté pan to medium temperature. 
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a simmer. Reduce temperature and let simmer two minutes. Cool and mix with sliced apples.
Optional: 
Add 2 Tablespoons cranberries or toasted walnuts to apple filling.
In center of baked puff pastry, top with warm apple and pear filling. Serve with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.

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Nougatkugeln

Aka the chocolate truffle, the bite-sized petit four is made from a creamy mixture of chocolate ganache, usually with butter and cream. However, this German version I've prepared below is with less fat in the recipe, but does not sacrifice the decadent chocolate flavor. As I've written prior, the quality of the truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of chocolate you start with. I can't stress this enough.

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Nougatkugeln

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes about 35 truffles 

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*2 Tablespoons espresso or strong brewed coffee, or as needed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts or almonds, lightly toasted & ground 

Optional filling: To make an all chocolate truffle: substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate, ground medium-fine, for the hazelnuts.

Optional flavoring: Reduce espresso by 1 Tablespoon and substitute with 1 Tablespoon of Frangelico (halzelnut flavor liquor), or Grand Marnier (orange flavor liquor) 

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid over heating. As chocolate begins to melt, remove the bowl from the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder with a wire whisk. Mix in espresso, vanilla, and nuts. Mixture should be slightly thick, add additional espresso if truffle mixture needs to be slightly smoother. 

Cool mixture slightly; and with a small scoop or by hand form small balls by shaping into 1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter balls. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  

Garniture: Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate and roll truffle balls in one of the following:

Toasted crushed nuts

Powdered sugar

Cocoa powder

Tempered chocolate striped over truffles

Coconut

Shaved chocolate

Chill until firm. Nougatkugeln is best when served at room temperature. 

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Mini Cake Hors D’oeuvres

You can't go wrong with serving crab cakes as appetizers, it's a crowd pleaser for sure. It is also a good complement when meat is being served as a main course dish. I suggest making mini cakes so guests can easily nibble while making interesting pre-dinner conversation. 

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Savory Crab Cakes

Makes four-six entrée servings or 20-24 hors d’ oeuvre size

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Step One

3/4 pound Maryland lump crabmeat

2 teaspoons each- thyme, basil, parsley

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 drops hot sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh plum tomatoes, chopped

1 egg, beaten

5 drops lemon juice

1/2 cup Fresh ground bread crumbs

1/4 sweet onion, minced

1 rib celery, minced

1 green onion, minced

Step Two
1/4 pound Maryland lump or super lump crab meat
1 cup each- fine corn meal and fresh breads crumbs, mixed for breading of crab cakes
Olive oil for sautéing crab cakes
- Mix all ingredients in step one. 
- Gently mix in remaining crabmeat in Step Two, do not over mix.
- Pre heat a non-stick pan to medium heat.
- Form crab cakes into desired size serving pieces and place in breading mix. Lightly coat outside of crab cakes with bread crumb mixture forming into patties.
- Add olive oil to sauté pan and carefully place crab cakes in pan, cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown turning once. 
- Serve crab cakes with lemon and cocktail, tartar or marinara sauce on side.



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Stollenschutzverband

Much like the Dutch Kerststol or the more familiar Italian Panettone during the holiday season, the German Stollen is a loaf-shaped dense sweet dough or bread-like cake containing dried fruit, covered with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or fondant icing. 

The German people take their stollen seriously. So much so, they have an official association of Stollen Bakers. So when you are shopping for your loaf of stollen, be sure it dons the golden “Seal of Quality" on the package. Only products labeled with that seal are genuine Dresden Christmas Stollen. The Stollenschutzverband (Trade Protection Society Dresden Stollen) awards this quality seal as an authenticity certificate and thereby guarantees that the respective Stollen has been made by hand in Greater Dresden and meets the high quality demands of the Stollenschutzverband; like from Bäckerei & Konditorei Gnauck Bakery. I wouldn't want you eating an unofficial Stollen!

25th Stollen Festival takes place December 8th, 2018 in Dresden Germany.

Traditionally, Dresden’s bakers and pastry-chefs celebrate the so-called Stollen Festival on every Saturday prior to the 2nd Advent. Thus, this year’s Stollen Festival takes place on December 8, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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If you dare try, here's an authentic recipe, translated. Note measurements in grams.

Dresden Stollen -recipe with one "Metze" (4 kg) flour for 6 four-pound-stollen

4000 gram wheaten flour

1600 gram butter

  500 gram butter lard

  600 gram preserving sugar

  750 gram sweet almonds, pulverized

  250 gram bitter almonds, pulverized

  600 gram candid lemon peel

3000 gram seedless raisins

1000 gram milk

  250 gram yeast

    50 gram salt

  100 gram lemon peel

    10 gram Macis

  300 gram rum

      1 gram vanilla pod

Dresden Christmas Stollen (translated from native tongue, German)

The Dresden woman Lenelies Pause delivered in her monography about the "royal Children" a stollen recipe in his high developed form. It demonstrated the high school of the art to bake Dresden stollen: 

"There are a lof of tales. The history tells, they don't used milk, they better took the rich cream, 2 cans, full, directly from a farmer. It is the speech of a "Metze" (4 kilogram) dusty wheaten flour. This "Metze" devours desirous 2 kilogram of the best butter, snatch 3 kilogram seedless raisins with themselves, satisfied themselves with 1 kilogram almonds. It desires an hand full with bitter glassy candied lemon peel, planed orange peel, takes also a breath mace - rubbed soft over a peace of sugar with powerless hand -, demands a charge of the good old  Arrak and takes the sugar not in the modern crystallized form, but after the good old tradition as an hat which is packed in blue paper, and then also only martared, sifted and on the lemon rubbed off. The Stollen is an unready children only mixed, formed and baked. With 1000 gram melted hot butter the stollen will be slowly and softly touched und steeped, sugar, smells like vanila, sinks up like a snow clouds, till it finally carried home, with a sweet aroma, which march through the whole city in the days before Christmas and all bakeries, whichs breathes out of all corridors."

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