Rum-spiked Horchata, grainy refreshment

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The Horchata is a traditional beverage made from ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley, or tigernuts. The name is traditionally from the Spanish region of Catalonia and the drink is served cold in the summer as a natural form of refreshment.

To make the Rum-spiked Horchata, you will need 1 cup uncooked long grain rice, 2 quarts warm water, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 1/4 cups milk, 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract , 1/4 cup rum, or to taste, and 16 cubes ice.

To prepare, mix the the rice and warm water together in a bowl and let it stand for 1/2 hour. Save the water and drain and put the rice in the bowl of a food processor. Next add the cinnamon and process until it forms a paste. Return the rice to the water and let stand it stand for at least 2 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally as the water turns milky white. Strain the rice through a fine sieve into a bowl or pitcher and stir in the milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and rum until it is evenly blended. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve divide the ice cubes between four glasses, and pour the chilled horchata.

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Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

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Nothing says Italy like biscotti. These long, oval, crunchy, flavoured biscuits can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee, tea, or on their own. Biscotti, also known as cantuccini are twice baked biscuits that originated in the Italian city of Prato.

To make the cinnamon hazelnut biscotti take 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup hazelnuts.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy and beat in the eggs and vanilla. Sift in flour cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and mix it into the egg mixture. Add the hazelnuts.

Next shape the dough into logs and place on the baking sheet and flatten to about a ½ inch. Bake for 30 minutes until the edges are brown and the centre is firm. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, slice into long ovals. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

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Zabaglione with berries, simple and delicious

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Zabaglione (read here other news), this Italian dessert which sometimes doubles as a beverage, has been making waves in the United States for over 40 years.

As a dessert it is sometimes served in restaurants. It is also popular in France, Dalmatia, and in the South American countries of Argentina and Uruguay where it is known as sambayon.

To make this simple treat you will need 1 quart sliced strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, 5 egg yolks, 1 egg white, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon Marsala wine, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, salt, and biscotti.

To prepare, toss 1 quart sliced with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and allow to macerate for 10 minutes.

Place egg yolks, egg white, 3 tablespoons sugar, wine, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Be careful not to let the saucepan touch the bowl with water.

Whisk vigorously over medium to medium-high heat until thick and creamy, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately pour over the berries and serve with biscotti

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Spanish Flan, sweet dessert

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The flan, also known as crème caramel or caramel custard in some countries, is a tasty simple sweet dessert that may be served at fancy dinner parties as part of a variety for guests.

It differs from plain custard because of its sugary base which becomes its topping when inverted.

The recipe calls for 1 cup white sugar, 3 eggs, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 can evaporated milk, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Ahead of preparation preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Then in a medium saucepan over a medium low flame, melt sugar until it turns into liquid and golden in colour. Slowly and carefully pour the hot sugary syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish making sure to turn the dish to ensure that the sides and bottom are evenly coated. Place aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs; then beat in the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes. When finished allow to cool completely.

After the flan has been completely cooled and you are ready to serve, carefully invert the flan on a serving plate with edges.

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