Layered Orange Mousse Cups

Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
I always toss oranges into a salad or peel and eat them plain. Why? I have no idea. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, I finally decided it was time to stop the insanity and actually achieve a different result. An orange DESSERT was in order!
Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any oranges on hand! But I did have canned mandarin oranges in the pantry so decided to use them for my dessert. They turned out just fine. The really nice thing about canned mandarin oranges is they’re very uniform in size with almost no broken segments. Best of all, opening a can is way easier than peeling a bunch of oranges and separating the segments yourself. This dessert is best made the day before you plan to serve it because of the time needed to chill the different layers.
Mini Mandarin Orange Trifles | Pinky's Pantry

LAYERED ORANGE MOUSSE CUPS

  • 1 loaf pound cake (ready-made or you can bake your own)
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) Jell-O orange gelatin
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 3 cans (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup juice from cans of mandarin oranges
  • 1 tub (16 oz.) cool whip, thawed
  • 12 clear glass ramekins
  1. Place cans of mandarin oranges in refrigerator to chill while you work with the cake.
  2. Slice pound cake into twelve ½-inch thick slices.
  3. Using one of your ramekins or a round cookie cutter, cut a cake circle the same diameter as your ramekins from each slice of cake. Depending on how large your ramekins are, you may only be able to get one whole circle per slice of cake.
  4. Press a cake circle into the bottom of each ramekin. Feel free to patch together cake pieces if you can’t get a whole cake circle from one slice of pound cake.
  5. In a large bowl, stir jello and boiling water together for 2 minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  6. Open cans of mandarin oranges and drain juice into a 1-cup measuring cup.
  7. Stir chilled juice into hot gelatin.
  8. Refrigerate gelatin for 40 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  9. Remove from refrigerator and whisk in 4 cups cool whip until well blended.
  10. Divide orange mousse evenly over cake in ramekins.
  11. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
  12. Top each with a layer of plain cool whip.
  13. Decorate top with orange slices. I arranged 3 mandarin slices to look like a flower.
  14. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Breakfast Egg Puff

Breakfast Egg Puff | Pinky's PantryJessica, one of my co-workers, gave me this recipe some months ago. It’s perfect for breakfast or brunch with the family or to take to a potluck with friends. The eggs puff up into a light, golden, soufflé-like dish that goes really well with sausage, ham or bacon; and the cheese provides a rich flavor that to me makes the addition of salt unnecessary.

This recipe lends itself to some interesting flavor variations so if you don’t want to serve a plain egg dish, you could add any one of the following ingredients to the mixture or try a combination of them:
1 large can diced green chiles
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 lb. bulk sausage, browned and drained well
any other ingredients you might want to try

As with any soufflé type of dish, the eggs puff up while baking but will start to fall shortly after removing from the oven so although it’s not entirely necessary, it’s nice if you can serve this dish as soon after taking it out of the oven as possible.

BREAKFAST EGG PUFF

  • 12 eggs
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1 lb. shredded cheese (combination of ½ lb. monterey jack and ½ lb. cheddar)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9×13 rectangular pyrex baking dish.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients.
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Leek and Gruyère Soufflé

Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's PantryA soufflé is one of those dishes that inspires fear in people. I think it has something to do with the fact that people view it as this temperamental dish which will collapse if you shut the oven door a little too hard or sneeze while you’re carrying it from the oven to the table. What people don’t realize is that soufflés always collapse within 5 to 10 minutes of being removed from the oven. That’s just what they do. You haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, the name soufflé comes from the French verb soufflér which means to blow or puff which is basically what happens when it’s in the oven. The dish puffs up airy and high above the rim of the ramekin or soufflé dish, then slowly starts to fall after it’s removed from the oven.Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's PantryWhether savory or sweet, soufflés are all made from 2 basic components — a base which provides the flavor, and beaten egg whites which provide the lift. Savory soufflés have a base made from meat, fish or vegetable purees, and sweet soufflés have a base of pastry cream or fruit purees. The exception is chocolate soufflé which can be made by simply combining beaten egg whites with a chocolate ganache. As far as equiment, all you need are ramekins or a soufflé dish which has tall, straight sides, an electric mixer or balloon whisk, and a rubber spatula. It’s a lot easier to make than you think. The trick is not to forget the old adage, “The diner waits for the soufflé; the soufflé does not wait for the diner.” Have your guests seated ahead of time and serve the soufflé straight from the oven to the table as quickly as possible. With just a little practice, you could be turning out this impressive and sophisticated entrée which is guaranteed to wow your dinner guests every time. Et voilà!Leek & Gruyere Souffle | Pinky's Pantry

LEEK AND GRUYÈRE SOUFFLÉ
(Serves 6 to 8)

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened,
    plus 5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 leeks, about 1-1/2 lbs. total, trimmed, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 2-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 eggs, separated
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 14-inch oval gratin dish or large souffle dish with 2 tbsp. butter and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1/2 cup of the cheese.
  2. In a large frying pan set over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
  3. Add the leeks and thyme and cook until the leeks are tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from fire, season with salt and set aside to cool.
  5. In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 5 tbsp. butter.
  6. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute until combined.
  7. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  10. Stir in the remaining 1-1/2 cups cheese and the leeks.
  11. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  12. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  13. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the leek mixture.
  14. Working quickly but carefully so as not to deflate the whites, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  15. Pour into the prepared dish. You want the dish to be about 3/4 full.
  16. Bake until the soufflé is golden brown, about 25 minutes. To check if the soufflé is done, lightly shake the dish. If the center jiggles, it’s not done. If the whole thing moves back and forth as one mass, it’s done!
  17. Take the soufflé out of the oven and serve it immediately.