Baking Club – World Cup

Some friends and I started a “baking club” a couple of months back and it has been going really well.  We have gathered a nice little group of both professional and non-professional bakers.  I thought it would be a fun way to connect with people who have the same passion as I do, to talk about what happens in the kitchen while baking and what our thoughts are on recipes, etc.  We have structured it so we meet approximately once a month and whoever is hosting gets to pick a topic.  This month was “World Cup”, our challenge was to choose a country that has sent a team to the World Cup Match and make a dessert that represents that country’s culinary tradition.

I will be honest that I did not start planning for this assignment till the night before and well…with the forecast calling for 90+ degree weather I was thinking that I might have to take the “baking” out of my baking club project.  I for some reason was drawn to the idea of making something from Portugal.  I do have some Portuguese blood running through my veins but I have pretty much no knowledge of this country’s sweet treats.  I found some really yummy looking recipes for sweet custard filled pastries, but alas, I was determined to not turn on my oven.  My mind wandered to some Port that Bryan and I have in our cabinet.  This is a treat that Bryan and I have really come to enjoy very much, what could I do with that I thought?  I quickly found my no cook ice cream base recipe for buttermilk/sour cream ice cream and was envisioning it ice-cold from the freezer with some beautiful port macerated cherries spooned over it!!! Perfect!

For those of you unfamiliar with Port, I found the following helpful information regarding Port off of Wikipedia:

Port wine (also known as Vinho do Porto, Porto, and often simply Port) is a Portuguese style of fortified wine originating from the DouroValley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, and comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.  Port is produced from grapes grown and processed in the demarcated Douro region. The wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.  The wine received its name, “Port”, in the latter half of the 17th century from the city seaport of Porto at the mouth of the Douro River, where much of the product was brought to market or for export to other countries in Europe.

The two most common types of Port are:


Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. After fermentation, it is stored in tanks made of concrete or stainless steel to prevent oxidative aging and preserve its rich claret color. The wine is usually blended to match the style of the brand to which it is to be sold. The wine is fined and cold filtered before bottling and does not generally improve with age.


Tawny ports are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels using the Solera process, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to wood imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style. Tawny ports are sweet or medium dry and typically consumed as a dessert wine. When a Port is described as Tawny, without an indication of age, it is a basic blend of wood aged port that has spent at least seven years in barrels. Above this are Tawny with an indication of age which represent a blend of several vintages, with the average years “in wood” stated on the label. The official categories are 10, 20, 30 and over 40 years. The categories indicate a target age profile for the Ports, not their actual ages, though many people mistakenly believe that the categories indicate the minimum average ages of the blends. It is also possible to produce an aged white port in the manner of a tawny, with a number of shippers now marketing 10 year old White Ports.

Becca was hosting this month and her cute little apartment is in this really lovely house in Jamaica Plain.  Her front porch was the perfect place to be on a HOT and STICKY evening.  As we sat sampling our sweets we chatted about what culinary adventures we had over the past month both at home and, for some of us, in the workplace.  We talked about what happens when you use 2% milk in a pudding recipe that calls for whole milk, why an ice cream base with no eggs comes out just as creamy as one with, and why a can of sweet and condensed milk might explode while making Dulce de Leche!!! It was a wonderful evening, the cherries were a hit and I can’t wait to find out what next month’s topic is.

Here is the recipe for the easiest ice cream ever!!!!! If you want to make the cherries, just cut them in half, remove the pits and add brown sugar and a little Ruby Port to taste and let sit for 4 hours at room temp.

2 cups buttermilk

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 cups sour cream or creme fraiche

1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine till smooth – chill and freeze in ice cream maker. (Seriously that is it!!!!!)

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    • htcakes

       /  July 20, 2010

      HAHAHA!!! I saw this place in a magazine – seems like your kind of thing huh?! Maybe I will work on a “Winter Welcome Cupcake” for Thanksgiving!!!!


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