Much of what I love cooking takes a lot of time, and that's just fine when I don't have much in the way of contracts. But when I'm working fulltime (like I have been, which is why this blog has lagged over the summer), coming home after a long day and turning out a healthy tasty dinner can be a challenge. I've long wanted a collection of fast recipes that do not compromise on taste, and Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way fits the bill perfectly. I cannot say enough good things about this cookbook. I've spent over a week cooking from his book, and have enjoyed every recipe I've tried so far. Among the standouts recpes in this collection are his fast beef tenderloin stew and little shrimp casseroles.
The hasty pudding isn't the star dessert of this collection, but I love the simplicity and the very homey-ness of this dessert. It's an everyday kind of dessert, that can be dressed up or down to fit the occasion.
Hasty Pudding with Apricot Sauce
2 cups half-n-half (or whole cream)
1/3 cup semolina
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. sliced almonds
1/3 cup apricot jam
3 Tbs. armagnac, cognac, or brandy
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Pudding: Bring the half-n-half to boil in a saucepan. Add the semolina, mix well with a wisk, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to very low and stir until creamy and thick but still pourable -- just 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sugar, zest, and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the sour cream. Pour into a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate.
Sauce: Toast the sliced almonds until light brown. (400 F oven for just a few minutes.) Combine remaining ingredients and the almonds. Stire to mix well. I found it helpful to heat the apricot jam in the microwave to soften it up.
At serving time, spread the sauce over the pudding and serve.