WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE FLAVOR BROUGHT OUT BY THE SMOKING PROCESS!

Wood Fired Apple WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

As the second most consumed fruit in the USA, apples are loaded with antioxidant benefits and have been found to have extensive benefit to the colon due to the high level of gut bacteria present in its polyphenols.  Plus, this is a fruit that is readily available all year long making it an ideal choice for cooking.

We are taking the Gala variety and putting them over a coal fire for wood-fired flavor in our apple pie cake.  Pick your favorite variety of apple and get out the charcoal grill for this fun and simple technique and recipe.

Fire Up the Grill

Fire up the Stok grill

After purchasing 12 apples of your choice, get the charcoal grill going, so the flames can reduce to hot coals.  That’s all needed for our apple cooking!  Any size charcoal grill will do, including the small portable grill.  I use a chimney started to lite charwood from SmokinLicious® as this is my preferred product when I do a short cook fruit or vegetable item.  The reason?  It is not fully carbonized, so it still releases plenty of flavonoids from the hardwood.  You certainly can use a standard hardwood charcoal but add a chunk or two of SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks to be sure you get a wood flavor.

While the chimney starter is burning down to hot coals, I peel and thinly slice 12 apples.  I use a Gala variety for my recipe and a Stôk charcoal grill, equipped with an insert system.  I place my sliced apples in the insert vegetable basket for this simple method of wood firing the apples.  Just be sure to spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray to ensure the apples don’t stick.

A Cake by Name

With my hot SmokinLicious® charwood producing steady heat, my 12 Gala apples peeled and sliced thin, I’m ready to place the vegetable basket over the hot coals.  Remember, apples have a lot of water content, so they will steam initially.  The water will attract the smoke vapor and bring great color and flavor.  After approximately 10 minutes, I shake the apple slices in the basket to allow them to rotate for even cooking and color.  You’ll see the edges become bronzed as they cook.   In 20 minutes, these will be ready to go.

wood-fired apples make the best cake

Adding the Ingredients & Cook Time

Our wood fired apples and dry ingredients mixed in the pan ready for baking

After the apples are removed from the grill and cooled slightly, add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to maintain color until baked in the oven.  Set those aside and gather together 2 cups flour, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 sticks of cold butter cut into 8 cubes.

Start by combining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of packed light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Taking one piece of cold butter at a time, add to the flour mixture, cutting each piece using either an electric hand mixer, 2 knives or a pastry cutter.  You want to have pea-size pieces of butter mixed into the flour mixture.  Press 2/3 of this mixture into a 9-inch springform pan then add the wood-fired apple slices, spreading evenly in pan.

With the wood fired apple slices nestled in the simple cake batter of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, it’s time to top the apples with the remaining 1/3 flour mixture.  Be sure all areas are covered.  Set the springform pan on the foil lined sheet pan and place in a 350°F oven for 75 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to sit in the springform pan until cool.  Just run a knife along the edge of the cake to ensure it will separate from the pan’s ring once removed.  Remove the ring when the cake has cooled then sift a ¼ cup powdered sugar on the surface of the cake.

Cake Perfection

Our finished wood fired apple pie cake nicely golden brown

 

After giving Gala apple slices the lick of smoke from our charwood grill, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon with butter for a great cake batter, and baking everything together, the ultimate in apple pie cake is born.  With a light coating of powder sugar, the wood-fired apple slices pile high for perfection in the single bite.  More like a cobbler batter than cake, you’ll love the simplicity of the construction and the unique flavor a wood fire gives to apples.  Perfect anytime of the year, just like apples are, you’ll be the envy of your neighborhood when you fire up the grill for wood infusion to apples.  Now you must also prove that Wood-Fired Apples make the best Cake – Enjoy!

The Culinary Crew wants you to know …

… that this recipe can easily be adapted with the substitution of apples with fruits like peaches, pears or even strawberries.  This switch will offer more of a traditional cobbler type baking with these moisture rich fruits taking on incredible but delicate smoky flavor.

Visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Press above to visit our narrated video with more pictures and step-by-step instructions.

SmokinLicious® products:

Charwood

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

More recipes to try:

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-A SAVORY TAKE ON THE PANCAKE FROM SMOKINLICIOUS®

 

Dr Smoke- "

Dr. Smoke- “This is a MUST try recipe”!

Our Finished Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with a Smokey Twist!

Our Finished Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with a Smokey Twist!

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with a Smokey Twist! Click To Tweet

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Strawberry Rhubarb Fool–Fresh rhubarb means great recipes most of which consist of dessert!  This one is no exception.  Not only am I going to use smoked rhubarb but I’m including smoked strawberry as well.

This is the SmokinLicious® version of the Strawberry-Rhubarb Fool a popular dessert in late Spring and Early Summer.  Our creamy version is taking on a new flavor as we add another element: smoked components.  That means you need to smoke the rhubarb and strawberries first, before you make our recipe.  You can find our tips on smoking the strawberries and the rhubarb on our Tips and Techniques Blog.  Don’t be scared!  These are simple techniques you can do on any type of equipment including with a hand held food smoker.

Get smoking your fresh strawberries and rhubarb and then, let’s make the sweetest, creamiest strawberry-rhubarb fool smoker’s style!

 Tame Those Flavors

Our Finished Smoked Strawberry on a try

#smokedstrawberry

 I find it easiest to work with rhubarb and strawberries when they are cut down in size after the smoking.  For me, rhubarb cut into 3-inch lengths and strawberries sliced thin work best for this recipe.  Don’t forget to keep any of the juice that comes off the smoked strawberries both during the smoking process and as you prepare the strawberries.

The combination of the tart rhubarb and the sweetness of the strawberry plus the smoky quality from both will produce a perfect balance.  Let’s get these two flavors combined to make the perfect fool.

Since rhubarb borders on the bitter, it needs to have some additional sweet added to it.  Place your smoked rhubarb cuts which equal about one pound, into a saucepan and add a ½ cup of sugar.  Heat on medium high.  While that is sweetening and tenderizing, place the smoked strawberries (about 8-10 ounces depending on the size) into a bowl and add ¼ cup sugar, allowing this to dissolve completely.    This process will take about 30 minutes.  Feel free to adjust the level of sugar in the strawberries based on the sweetness you feel the raw strawberry already presents with as well as your own personal preference.

Our Rhubarb in the pot with sugar added

#Rhubarb

Once the sugar has dissolved in the smoked strawberries and the rhubarb has begun to shred apart, it’s time to remove the rhubarb from the heat.  Stir in the sweetened smoked strawberries and transfer to a bowl.  Refrigerate this compote uncovered until cold.  This will take about 1-1/2 hours though I prefer to leave this overnight.  Once the compote is in the refrigerator, place a metal bowl in the refrigerator as well.  You will need this to produce the trademark cream-base for our fool dessert.

Tasting Notes: Some find the texture of tenderized rhubarb to be too stringy.  If that’s the case, feel free to process the rhubarb in a food processor or blender before combining with the macerated strawberries.  Also, depending on the size of the strawberries, you may prefer to leave larger chunks, by halving the berries rather than slicing.

 Making a Fool for Me!

Folding the ingredients into a fool

#fool

Time to remove the chilled metal bowl from the refrigerator and add ¾ cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar.  Whisk this together until soft peaks form.  Be sure you don’t over beat the mixture or you will lose all the air that makes this whipped cream.  Set aside 1/3 cup of the cold smoked compote which will be used for topping the finished dessert servings.  Take the rest of the compote and fold into the whipped cream just until the mixture looks streaky.  Spoon into serving glasses or bowls and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Whenever I need a simple and quick dessert that looks elegant, I love to make a fool.  If I’m serving a more formal event, I prefer to serve these in stemmed glasses like a martini glass.  For a family barbeque or daily dessert, small bowls work well or even clear throw away cups or bowls.  Once the cream and compote mixture are spooned into the serving vessel, top with about a tablespoon of reserved compote.  I prefer to add mint leaves to finish this off.  Strawberry-Rhubarb Smoked Fool – a simple yet elegant looking treat that everyone is going to love!

Tasting Notes: Here’s a tip: this can be served cold or you can freeze it for a super cold treat on a really hot day.  The frozen rendition will remind you of a semifreddo or frozen yogurt treat.

What’s your favorite fool recipe?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® Products:

Wood Chunks- Double Filet

Wood Chips- Minuto® and Piccolo®

For more reading related to Strawberry Rhubarb Fool and try other recipes! Don't forget to share your experience

For more reading related to Strawberry Rhubarb Fool and try other recipes! Don’t forget to share your experience

 

Other smoky desserts you might enjoy:

-STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO GETS SMOKY

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Dr. Smoke you must try this Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with a Smokey Twist!

Dr. Smoke you must try this Strawberry Rhubarb Fool with a Smokey Twist!

SMOKED STRAWBERRY NAPOLEON WITH PROSECCO CREAM

Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

SUMMARY:

Enjoy fresh Strawberries on strawberry shortcake or strawberry napoleon and then increase the flavor with Smoked Strawberries!  The smoking intensifies the Strawberries for this smoked strawberry napoleon!  This will be a must addition to your strawberry napoleon recipes! Also try as a smoked strawberry shortcake!

listen to the audio of this blog posting

Take advantage of the short, fresh strawberry season by using your harvest in unique and flavorful recipes.  Up first, this take on strawberry shortcake that is in a league of its own!

INGREDIENT LIST

 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Packaged Won-Ton wrappers
  • Frying oil (be sure to use one for high heat)
  • 1 quart of smoked strawberries smoked with Minuto® chips (reserve about 6 whole strawberries for garnish)
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup cold Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • ¼ cup cold Prosecco
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

PREPARING THE WON-TONS

Frying the Won Tons

Frying the Won Tons

In a large skillet, heat 1 cup of high heat oil.  When ready, reduce the heat to medium-high and begin adding won-ton wrappers one at a time without crowding the pan. I usually can fit about 4 at a time. This step will take you a bit to do enough wrappers to ensure you have 3 per Napoleon serving.  I like to cook the entire package of won-ton wrappers as these make excellent snacks either alone or for dipping salsa, guacamole or your favorite dip.  Plus, they make a great sweet snack when sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar or powdered sugar. When cooking the won tons, watch for a tan hue and bubbles to begin on the wrapper. Turn once and remove to a paper towel lined plate about 20 seconds after turning, as the won-ton holds a lot of heat and will continue to cook out of the pan.

 

PREPARING THE STRAWBERRY FILLING

Placed the quartered smoked strawberries in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla; toss to coat.  Set aside until we are ready to assemble everything.

PREPARING THE PROSECCO CREAM

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until golden about 5-7 minutes.  Set aside.

Combine the mascarpone, heavy cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, ground red pepper, and the prosecco in a medium bowl.  Beat with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Be sure not to over beat.  Refrigerate briefly to bind everything.

ASSEMBLING THE NAPOLEON

Assembled Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Assembled Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

Place one cooked won-ton on a serving plate.  Top with a large dollop of Prosecco cream and then cover with smoked strawberries. Repeat this process 2 more times so you have three won-ton layers per plate.  Top with almonds and a whole smoked strawberry on top plus a little extra of your smoked strawberries.

THE ULTIMATE TREAT THAT ISN’T TOO SINFUL!

With the sweetness of the Prosecco cream, the hint of smoke in the strawberries, and that crispy crunch of the won-ton layers, this is a one of kind napoleon that you and your guests won’t soon forget.  Feel free to experiment with different cream fillings and fruits.  I like cannoli cream as well with a hint of cinnamon.  And don’t forget to take picture of your masterpiece and send along to us at SmokinLicious®.

Top with Almond Slivers for an Extra Crunch and Serve!

Top with Almond Slivers for an Extra Crunch and Serve!

For audio instructions visit our Instagram account @smokinlicious #smokinliciousmenu

Bon Bar B Que

 

SmokinLicious® Products for this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to

For more reading related to Smoked Strawberry Napoleon, try these recipes

More recipes you may enjoy:

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

-STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO GETS SMOKY

-STRAWBERRY BELLINI BOTH SWEET & SMOKY

Dr Smoke

 

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Our Finished grilled hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns cooked on the Grill! Click To Tweet

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I know – hot cross buns are traditionally enjoyed during lent and holy Easter weekend.  The basic recipe dates to the 12th century and is known as a sweet dough ball.  Did you know that pretty much any recipe can be made on a grill or smoker, including hot cross buns?

I’m going to take a traditional hot cross bun recipe and make it using the grill with wood chunks for added flavor and the cooking.  Don’t worry that this is a recipe that involves yeast.  You don’t have to know everything about bread making to make this recipe work.  You can add the dried fruit of your choice to customize the flavors as well as selecting the hardwood you like best.

Let’s get started so you can enjoy the SmokinLicious® version of Hot Cross Buns Wood Fired any time of year!

Yeast Makes Dough

our covered yeast and flour mixture wrap to rise

#activedryyeast

These buns start with yeast blooming.  We are using active-dry yeast in our dough which means it must be re-activated in water. Start by pouring water that is between 105° and 155°F into a large bowl and sprinkle 2-1/4 teaspoons of active-dry yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the water.  Stir the mixture to dissolve the ingredients and let stand until foamy which will take about 10 minutes.  Then add ½ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon, 1 cup of warm milk, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ cup of softened butter.  Mix well then add 3 cups of all-purpose flour.  Beat with the paddle attachment of a mixer until smooth and elastic.

After beating the initial dry ingredients, it’s time to add the eggs.  Do this step by adding one egg at a time for a total of 3 eggs.  Once the eggs are mixed in, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice such as currants, raisins, chopped apricots, and/or candied citrus.  I’m including currants in my dough.  Once mixed well, add 3 cups of additional flour ½ cup at a time, until a soft dough emerges.  Next, it will be time to turn the dough out on a work surface.

Tasting Notes:

These are traditionally a drier sweet dough.  That means you want to use dry fruit items in order to prevent the dough from becoming too moist.  Feel free to expand on the options for the fruit and use combinations that are pleasing to your palate.

Patience Is Key

slicing our dough into smaller amounts

#portioningdough

After adding all the ingredients to our hot cross bun dough, it’s time to turn the dough out and begin to proof also known as rising of the dough.  Start by turning the mixed dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, then form into a circle.  Grease a large bowl and place the rounded dough into the greased bowl, turning the dough once to ensure it is coated with the grease on all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double in volume.  This will take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Once the dough has proofed and doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down.  This is a step that releases some of the gas bubbles that have formed by the yeast during the rising time.  Once the dough has the gas released, cover it with a bowl on a dry surface and let stand for 10 minutes.  After that time, divide the dough in half and then quarters.  For each quarter, cut into six equal pieces.  Roll each dough portion into a ball and place on a greased sheet pan, spacing 1-1/2 inches apart.  This is a good time to start the grill by lighting only half the burners and placing a smoker box with wood chunks on the hot side.  We’ll be aiming for a grill temperature of 375°F.

Grill-Baking with Hardwood

Our sheet pan of dough on the grill with wood flavor

#gasgrill #woodchunks

With our grill lit using a two-zone cooking method and wood chunks of maple, white oak, and cherry in the smoker box on the hot side of the grill, it’s time to finish off the hot cross bun dough.  After spacing the dough balls on a sheet pan, I allowed them to rise for about 30 minutes.  Using the white of one large egg and a teaspoon of water mixed together, I brush each of the 24 dough balls with the egg wash.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each roll no more than ½ inch deep.  Place one sheet pan of rolls on the unlit side of the grill and cook until golden brown which takes about 25-30 minutes.  I like to rotate my sheet pan ½ way through the cooking time for more even coloring to the rolls.  When finished, transfer the grilled rolls to cooling racks.

Tasting Notes:

I’m using a ½ sheet pan for my cooking but note that standard cookie sheets will work well.  If using the ½ sheet pan, your grill area may not be large enough to accommodate the pan while closing the lid completely.  I simply grill with the lid partially open, adjust my temperature control knobs to ensure the 375°F remains stable.

While the buns are cooking on the grill, you can prepare the icing that will go on top of the finish buns.  Start by mixing together 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of milk.  You can adjust the thickness of the finished icing by adding drops of milk if you want it thinner.  Just be sure that when you add this to a pastry bag, you will be able to push it out in a steady stream and don’t find that it pours out on its own.

Tasting Notes:

Here’s my tip for filling a pastry bag.  Tip-I like to use the disposable bags for icings. Click To Tweet I simply roll down the bag about half-way to form a cuff.  I place the pointed side of the pastry bag into the opening of a roll of paper towels.  This allows me to scrap every bit of icing from the bowl without worrying about the pastry bag.  I leave the filled pastry bag in the roll until the buns are cool enough for applying the icing.

The Perfect Sweet Dough Treat with a Kick of Wood Flavor

basket of our hot cross buns

#hotcrossbuns

After making our hot cross bun dough from scratch, allowing the dough to proof, then dividing into our individual buns.  We baked these on the gas grill set up two-zone method: a hot side that we added three hardwood chunks to using a smoker box on the grill grate.  The buns were placed on the unlit side of the grill and baked at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan just one time.  Once cooled, we added lemon icing crosses to each bun.  We do this by working with twelve buns at a time, lining them up on the sheet pan tightly to each other.  Using the pastry bag of icing, I place a steady stream of icing vertically on each bun, then do the same horizontally for each row, forming a cross.  Allow the icing to set and then serve.

Although hot cross buns are associated with a specific time of the year, SmokinLicious® feels these are a sweet dough treat to be enjoyed any time of the year.  And, they are best when made on outdoor equipment that can include natural hardwood for unbelievable flavor.

Tasting Notes: 

If served warm, you’ll pick up more of the wood smoke flavoring Click To Tweet these buns were exposed to on the grill.  Adding a bit of butter makes them even sweeter!

What’s your favorite dried fruit to add to hot cross buns?  Comment to let us know.   Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to

For more reading related to- how to bake on the grill.

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-BEST GINGERBREAD MEETS THE GRILL

-SMOKED RICOTTA-CINNAMON PASTRY HORN

-LOVE PUFFS OF PLEASURE WITH SMOKED CHOCOLATE

 

Dr. Smoke

Dr. Smoke-  the grill is perfect for cooking Hot Cross Buns

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Our Hearts of pleasure are filled with great Smoked chocolate! You or your favorite person must try Smoked Chocolate!

Imagine a puffed pastry filled with Smoked Chocolate and Nuts! Click To Tweet

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Sometimes you need a special dessert or treat for that occasion that you want to express your love or appreciation.  An anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, or even as a thank you gesture.  I have the perfect treat that is simple to make and allows you to customize the ingredients to fit the preferences of the recipient.  I’ll give you my version of the Heart Puffs of Pleasure but know too, you can change the shape of this treat to any cookie cutter shape you find adorable to use.  It all starts with adding a bit of smoky flavor to some of the filling ingredients so let’s start there.

DIY Stove Top Smoker

I’m using my DIY stove top smoker technique which uses a standard stock pot and a round roasting rack for the smoking.  You can visit our previous posting on this technique on our Tips & Techniques Blog.

Our stove top smoker is a simple stock pot with wood chips in the bottom and rack on top

#stovetopsmoker

I placed Sugar Maple Minuto® Wood Chips in the base and will smoke 2 of my filling ingredients: milk and dark chocolate and peanut and cashew pieces.  I’m also including shredded coconut in my filling but I’ll just do a light toasting of this in the oven.

Before smoking, I break up the large chocolate bars to allow for easier smoke infusion and place in heat tolerant containers.  The nuts will be smoked first since I’m using a hot smoking technique for them, then I’ll remove the pot from the heat and put the chocolate pieces in to infuse with the remaining smoke vapor.  It’s important that you quickly remove the nut container and reseal the pot in order to keep the smoke vapor generating.  If needed, keep the pot on the burner for a few minutes after the nuts have been removed.  Then take off the heat, allow the pot to cool slightly, then add the chocolate pieces container.

Tasting Notes: Although you can select any ingredients you want for your stuffed puff pastry design, be sure you understand which ingredients are appropriate for hot smoking and which would require cold smoke application.  Remember, items that traditionally melt with heat will melt from any temperature above 80°F.

Cookie Cutter for Easy Design

our heart shaped cookie cutters, you can do any design

#cookiecutter

Here’s the fun part of this treat!  Selecting the design shapes you want to encase your great fillings in.  I’ve decided to do heart shapes in two sizes: a 4-inch and 3-inch heart using cookie cutters.

Using store bought puff pastry sheets, I thaw according to the package directions and then lay one sheet out on a board.  I place my cookie cutters on the pastry sheet spacing accordingly so I end up with four hearts per sheet.  Remember, you will need a top and bottom pastry heart for each treat.  I’m using a total of four pastry sheets which will provide me with three large finished hearts and six smaller.  Simply cutout the heart shapes and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Keep the pastry cold until you are ready to fill them, with a damp cloth placed over the hearts to keep the pastry from drying out.

 

all the goodies inside, smoked chocolate and nuts!

#smokedchocolate #smokednuts #stuffedpuffpastry

Ready to Fill!

With our filling choices smoked, it’s time to start assembling the pastry hearts.  Start by placing three pieces of smoked chocolate on a pastry heart followed by the other fillings.  In my case, that’s a spoonful of smoked nut pieces and toasted coconut.  Place a second pastry heart over the first and pinch the edges together.  I secure the edges in place by using the tines of a small fork which also adds a decorative edge.  Then egg wash your finished pastry heart.  Continue with the other pastry cutouts until complete, noting that the smaller hearts will take just two pieces of smoked chocolate.  Do not allow the fillings to go to the pastry edges.

Once all the puff pastry hearts as filled, sealed, and egg washed, it’s time to place the prepared sheet pans into a 375°F oven.  These will take between 15-18 minutes to become golden brown and “puffed”.  It’s important that you check the bottom of the pastry hearts to ensure they are golden as well so there are no raw dough segments.  Once baked, remove from the oven and place on cooling racks.  These must be cooled completely through before attempting to ice.

 Dessert Means Icing

While the pastry hearts are baking, you can make icing to drizzle over the tops.  Be sure you cool the hearts completely before icing otherwise you’ll end up with a thin, melted icing.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar with milk or cream.  I take about 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and mix well.  I like a consistency that is the thickness of gravy so I can control the drizzle on my finished pastry.

For coloring, I like to use gel food colorings which require much less coloring and have a greater variety of colors available.  I decided to use violet, pink, and red though my red was more of a deep pink as I used such a small amount.  When the pastry is completely cool, I use a spoon to drizzle the colored icing over the top of each heart.  Allow to dry for about 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.

finished stuffed pastry will icing added

#puffpastry #mothersday #Valentines_day

Here’s the best part about our puff pastry hearts.  They can hold any fillings you can think of.  Whether sweet, savory, spicy or other, you can make these with all types of ingredients.  And the pastry can be cut into any shape and size. Consider the person you’re making them for, the special event or occasion, and then have fun customizing them.   Even with the stove top smoking components, these can easily be made in under two hours.  Try our technique and create a truly unique and flavorful result that will be appreciated by the recipient!

What’s your favorite filling to use in a stuffed puff pastry?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

Smokinlicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

For more reading related to smoked Chocolate and other great recipe ideas!

More recipes you may like:

-SMOKED RICOTTA-CINNAMON PASTRY HORN

-SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

 

Dr. Smoke-Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

Dr. Smoke- I Love the taste of Smoked Chocolate! Try these puff pleasures for your favorite person or just for yourself!

 

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

Our pastry horns in the over baking getting ready to be filled with our Smoked Ricotta Cheese we made in our tips blog

CINNAMON PASTRY HORN- SMOKED RICOTTA ON THE STOVE-TOP Click To Tweet

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Have I got a great treat for you!  Featuring smoked ricotta, I’m making a pastry horn filled with the sweetness of cinnamon infused smoked ricotta with a touch of crushed almond and shredded coconut.  I have an easy method of making the puff pastry horns that don’t require purchased molds and helpful hints on filling these light, golden horns of goodness.

Be sure to follow our previous tips posting on how to smoke ricotta using a DIY stove top smoker technique, and you’ll be ready for our smoked horns of ricotta goodness!

No Purchase Necessary

There’s no need to purchase horn molds as I have a very inexpensive way to make the perfect sized horns for filling.  Start by purchasing a box of sugar cones and aluminum foil sheets that are precut.  For each sheet of foil, cut in half.  Place one cone on the ½ sheet of foil and start to roll the foil around the cone until the final edge meets the cone.  Take the excess foil and push it into the top of the cone.  Continue covering all the cones – most cartons will have 12 cones total.

Tasting Notes: These foil-wrapped cones can be used again and again, as long as you keep them preserved.  To do that, keep the foil on the cones and place in a storage bag, with all the excess air removed from the bag.  I use my cones until they either become too soft or break apart.

Wrapping the Molds

wrapping the puff pastry around our cone

#pastryhorn

This recipe is easier when you use ready to use puff pastry sheets that are readily available in most freezer sections of the grocery store.

Start by following the thaw directions for the pastry.  Using a pizza cutter, I make roughly 3/8-inch strips of pastry.  Taking a foil wrapped cone, I start about ¾-inch from the pointed end and begin wrapping the mold with the pastry strip, overlapping each edge as I progress.  Add a 2nd strip, overlapping the end of the first until completely covered.  You do not have to cover the entire cone.  Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and finish covering the rest of the cones.

With all the horn molds wrapped with puff pastry strips, it’s time to ensure they get golden brown when baking.  That means they need an egg wash.  Taking one slightly beaten egg, brush each horn with the egg.  Use the egg wash to secure any loose ends as well.  Then bake according to package directions which usually is at 400° F for 12-15 minutes.   I usually rotate the sheet pan half way through the baking time to ensure even color.  Remove from the oven when golden brown and gently remove the foil cone from each horn.  Allow to cool prior to filling.

Ready to Fill!

our pastry bag filled with Smoked Ricotta Cheese.

#smokedricotta

With the pastry horns baked and cooling, it’s time to make the filling for the horns.  Start by adding powdered sugar, cream, cinnamon and cinnamon chips to the smoked ricotta. Mix well and then place the filling in a pastry bag.  I prefer the disposable kind to allow for easy clean up.  For the 3 pounds of ricotta I’ve smoked, I’ll need about four pastry bags of ricotta mixture.  In addition, I’m going to have two options for the ends of my horns – shredded coconut and chopped almond.  Be sure you refrigerate the ricotta mixture for at least 30 minutes prior to piping into the horn shells.

 Tasting Notes: For the 3 pounds of smoked ricotta I used, I included ¼ cup cream, 3-1/2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup of cinnamon chips.  You can use these measurements as a guide if you elect to decrease the amount of ricotta used.

 Horn of Flavorful Plenty

Now comes the fun part.  Assembling the pastry horns.  Starting with the large opening on the horn, begin piping the ricotta mixture into the horn in a circular fashion.  Allow the mixture to go just past the end of the horn.  Then pipe additional ricotta into the smaller end opening.  Next, dip the ends or sprinkle using a spoon with the shredded coconut or chopped almond, or both – one on each end.  Then place the finished horn on a serving tray.    Repeat with the other horns until all are filled.  Remember, work with only one bag of the ricotta mixture at a time keeping the others refrigerated until needed.  Use your imagination and think of other great ingredients to use with the smoked ricotta like peppermint extract and chocolate mint chips.  This is a recipe that is highly adaptable and don’t forget, food coloring small batches of the ricotta mixture will give you a colorful serving platter of delight.

Our finished pastry horns filled with Smoked Ricotta cheese

#smokedricottadessert

What’s your favorite filling to go with smoked ricotta?  Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes.  Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chips- Minuto®

 

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

For more reading related to- Learn how to do Smoked Ricotta Cheese by following our method in our Tips blog

Additional reading:

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-SMOKED BANANA DOUBLE BITES

-EMBER FIRED ZUCCHINI & RICOTTA GALETTE

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

Dr. Smoke- We love Smoked Ricotta Cheese filled Pastry Horn!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

The best 6 recipes from our 2018 collection!

Listen to our blog

We’ve reviewed the numbers and are pleased to introduce the best recipes of 2018!

These are the recipes that garnered the most views and hopefully, were cooked in your household.   Vegetable recipes by far dominated this listed.

Without further delay, here are the top 6 recipes starting with number six.

#6 Smoked Carrot-Almond-Ricotta Cake

Slice of Our Smokey Carrot Cake on a plate with the a touch of Almond and Ricotta Cream on the side

#carrotcake

This recipe was completed on the gas grill using wood chunks for great smoky flavor to shredded fresh carrots.  By using a griddle insert on my grill, I prevent overcooking and dehydration to the carrot, since this is a main component to our cake.

You’ll find the full recipe here: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/11/16/our-smoked-carrot-cake/

 

#5 Charred Corn on the Cob

The how to instructions for cooking corn on a gas grill!

#grilledcornonthecob

It’s clear that corn is one of the most popular vegetables to put on the grill or smoker.  Our recipe featured whole corn on the cob done direct cooking on the gas grill with wood chunks placed directly on the heat shields for the perfect char flavor.

Here’s our technique and recipe: https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/26/smoky-charry-fresh-corn-cob/

 

#4 Avocado-Chocolate Pudding

refrigerate the Chocolate Avocado pudding before serving.

#avocadopudding

We always strive in the Test Kitchen to bring recipes that meet a variety of dietary needs.  For the dairy-free follower, we made the perfect dessert featuring creamy avocado and rich chocolate for the perfect pudding.

Just follow our simple recipe that includes grilling halved avocado on the grill with wood

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/19/avocado-chocolate-pudding/

 

#3 Cheesy Potato Bake

Cheesy Potato Bake

#cheesypotatoes

Our 3rd recipe of the top 6 overall features one of my favorite vegetables: potato.  This time, we took our pan of lusciousness directly to the bullet smoker for a long infusion of flavor.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/cheesy-potato-bake/

 

 

#2 Ember-Fired Fresh Zucchini

Zucchini on embers using the direct fire method for cooking!

#smokedzucchini

One of the things we try to do in our recipe offerings is to give a variety of options on technique.  Our fresh zucchini recipe was one such offering as we took this vegetable to the hot embers to tenderize and char.  This is one great way to use the entire wood fire before it reduces to cold ash.

https://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/ember-fired-fresh-zucchini/

 

#1 Wood-Fired Guacamole

Wood fired guacamole by grilling the avocado's before you make the guacamole will excite your taste buds! Your quests will wonder how you did this simple recipe by adding only one small step!

#guacamole

The top recipe of 2018 was our wood-fired guacamole!  Given the popularity of avocado as well as dips in general for easy entertaining, this is one special guacamole.  The wood fired flavor works so well whether you serve this with chips or use it as a condiment to top a burger or chicken sandwich.  With versatility to add special flavor to any meal, it’s no wonder wood-fired guacamole is our number one recipe for 2018!

https://smokinlicious.com/recipe/2017/10/12/wood-fired-guacamole/

 

Did your favorite SmokinLicious® recipe from 2018 make the list?  Leave us a comment to share your views.  Bringing you informative recipes, techniques, and the science beyond the fire, smoke, and flavor.  That’s SmokinLicious®!

SmokinLicious® products used:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Charwood

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

For more reading related to the best recipes of the 52 we published in 2018!

Related reading:

-Top 10 Vegetables to Cook in Hot Embers

-GRILLED PRIME RIB THE ULTIMATE WITH WOOD

-SMOKED HAM ON THE GAS GRILL

-SMOKE A TURKEY- LEARN HOW

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

Dr. Smoke- these are the best recipes from 2018 selected by our readers!

 

These finished apples get smoky are a wonderful fall treat!

These finished smokey baked apples are a wonderful fall treat! Easy to do on the gas grill with a two-zone cooking method with wood chunks.

SEASONAL SMOKEY BAKED APPLES WITH SWEET STUFFING

listen to the audio of this blog posting

Listen to the smokey baked apples blog!

The apples we bought at the Farmers Market

Apple season is here and I’ve found some beauties to make a simple but super sweet and flavorful recipe.    And of course, I’m taking it to the grill to let the apple get a kiss of smoke while tenderizing.  With so many varieties of apples available, you can pick your favorite and use this filling for the perfect stuffed apple.

In my home state of New York, there are over 25 varieties of apples.  Since these can be cold stored, they are available year-round but there is nothing like the fresh harvest.  In fact, controlled atmosphere storage was pioneered in New York State.

Whether served as the dessert or a sweet side dish is up to you but either way, you’re going to love the ease of making this dish and consuming all its seasonal goodness.  Pick your favorite variety of apple and get ready to stuff them with goodness everyone is going to love!  Smokey baked apples done on the grill, cleanup is a breeze!

Apple Preparation

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

 

I’ll be using my gas grill for this recipe so I start by lighting only half the burners on my grill which I’ve added a smoker box that contains 3 hardwood chunks.  This will provide for the great smoke flavor to the apples.  While the grill heats up to about 375°F, I prepare the Macintosh apples.  First, wash and pat dry the apples.  You can use an apple corer to remove the core but note you do not want to produce a clean hole through the entire apple.  We want to produce an opening for adding the stuffing but we don’t want it to run out of the apples.  I like to use a small, sharp knife, cut into the apple stem end about ¾-inch from the stem making a circle.  Remove the core membrane and seeds leaving a firm base to the apple for filling.

Tasting Notes: Although I’ve selected Macintosh apples to know any variety will do.  Just note, if the apples are significantly larger, you will need to make an additional filling.

Sweet Stuffing

our sweet stuffing in the mixing bowl

With our apples cored, it’s time to make the sweet filling before heading to the grill.  First, know I like to use a disposable foil pan to make clean up a breeze.  In that pan, I place a roasting rack so the apples will be exposed to radiant heat all the way around the apple.  I’m making ten stuffed apple but I will give you the ingredients needed for making eight apples.

Place 1 stick of softened butter in a bowl.  Add 1 cup of light brown sugar, ½ cup chopped pecans, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.  I prefer to mix this with my hand to ensure good distribution of the ingredients.  Taking a small amount of the mixed filling, I form a log shape and insert into the apple opening, pressing down to make sure this is filled to the top of the apple.  Once all the apples are filled, I head to the grill with my pan.

 

Tasting Notes: The stuffing for this apple recipe can be easily modified.  Feel free to swap the pecan for another nut like walnut, hazelnut or almond.  For spices, consider adding ginger, allspice, and clove either in addition to or in place of the cinnamon.

No Fuss Grilling

Our Smoker box with wood chunks for smokey flavor

Once at the grill, I check to ensure my wood chunks are smoking well.  I place my pan of prepared apples on the unlit side of the grill and pour enough water into the pan to coat the bottom by about 1-inch.  This will allow moisture into the cooking area to get the apples very tender in a short amount of time.  I usually check the apples after 45 minutes and rotate the pan if needed.  When the apples are tender and the filling browned, these are ready and can be removed from the grill-#grilledapples.

Tasting Notes:  Note that if you elect to use a charcoal grill the smoke infusion produced will be stronger.  You are encouraged to still use a two-zone set up on the charcoal grill to keep the sugars from burning.

 

Serve ‘Em Up

Once the apples are tender and the filling browned, it’s time to remove the apples and prepare to serve them.  There are many options for an accompaniment to the apples.  Today, I’m using a vanilla bean ice cream that I’ve sliced into wedges.  Certainly, the apples can be served with whipped topping, another flavor of ice cream, a vanilla custard or pudding, or even a slice of hard or rind cheese.    These are best if served warm.  Don’t forget, if any filling is left, add to a pureed squash for another great recipe.  That’s why I always make extra!

our finished smokey stuffed apple!

our finished smokey stuffed apple!

SmokinLicious® Products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

For more reading related to winter squash and other grilling/smoking techniques- #wintersquash

For more reading related to smokey #stuffedapples and another grilling/smoking techniques

Related reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Smoked Strawberry Napoleon

-ACORN SQUASH- SWEET & SMOKY

-STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO GETS SMOKY

Dr. Smoke-Seasonal Apple cake with a special smoky twist!

Dr. Smoke-Seasonal smokey baked apples with wood chunks on the gas grill!

We served our Best Gingerbread from the Grill as a dessert! The grilled smoky flavor was too good for a Gingerbread house!

We served our Best Gingerbread from the Grill as a dessert! The grilled smoky flavor was too Tasty for a Gingerbread house!

BEST GINGERBREAD MEETS THE GRILL

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Gingerbread is one of those terms that are generic in the definition for a broad category, in this case, something made from ginger, cinnamon, clove, and a sweetener like molasses and sugar.  Although “bread” is in the name it can produce great cakes, cookies, bars, and of course, bread.

One of the reasons gingerbread is ideal for cooking on the grill is because it contains bold flavors of spices and molasses.  I’ll be taking a traditional recipe for gingerbread and introducing the cooking to the grill that I’m equipping with wood chunks for a unique wood flavoring.

You’re going to love the dense, flavorful result that is the perfect recipe to keep on hand for those unexpected and expected guests.

Smoke coming from our wood chunks! Using a two zone cooking method

#Two-Zone Cooking

If you follow my gas grill recipes, then you know I am a fan of the two-zone cooking method.  By lighting the burners on only half the grill and placing the food on the unlit side, I can guarantee controlled temperature that allows me to walk away as I do with my indoor oven.

I start by preheating my grill by lighting the burners on just one side.  I want a cooking temperature of 325°F so I’ll set the dials to low.  On the lit side, I also add a metal smoker box that contains 3 wood chunks.  By the time my batter is mixed, the wood chunks will be smoking for the cooking of the gingerbread.

Our Batter ready for the baking pan

Quick Batter

First, I butter and flour an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer).  There is only one mixing bowl needed for this recipe to combine the following ingredients and beat until combined well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed:

 

 

2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup shortening

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

¾ cup hot water

1 tablespoon crème Fraiche

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

1 egg

Once mixed, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and get ready to put it on the grill.

Tasting Notes: My non-traditional ingredient is the addition of the crème Fraiche.  I use this only when making a cake or loaf as if used for cookie batter, this would be too thin.  Remember, there are many variations to a gingerbread recipe.  Bolder flavors can be produced through the addition of ground clove and nutmeg.  For sweeter versions, adding honey or condensed milk.  Remember, molasses was used in baking centuries ago as a means of saving money due to the high cost of sugar.

Gingerbread Grilling

Our Batter on the grill cooking and absorbing smoke

With the batter poured, we are ready to wood grill the cake.  Place the prepared pan on the unlit side of the grill, making sure that the grill’s temperature is close to 325°F.  Now you can walk away for about 35 minutes.   Return at that point to simply rotate the cake pan and ensure the cake is cooking evenly.  If the wood chunks are completely black, you may want to add a couple of more.  Total grill-baking time will be 50-55 minutes.  Remove from the grill and cool the cake on a wire rack.  Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.

Tasting Notes:  I prefer to serve this version of gingerbread with butterscotch sauce and whipped topping but other choices include melted semi-sweet chocolate, orange sauce, and even a cream cheese frosting.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Hope you tried our best gingerbread recipe! If you like more grilling, smoking or ember cooking recipes go to our blogs!

Hope you tried our best #gingerbread recipe! If you like more grilling, smoking or ember cooking recipes go to our blogs!

Additional reading:

-CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-RICH PUMPKIN BUTTER YOU’LL CRAVE!

Dr. Smoke-Our Best Gingerbread Recipe! Try on the grill this holiday season

Dr. Smoke-Our Best Gingerbread Recipe! Try on the grill this holiday season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The classic Chocolate War Cake baked on the Grill- cut in pieces

The classic Chocolate War Cake Baked on the Grill

CHOCOLATE WAR CAKE BAKED ON THE GRILL

listen to the audio of this blog posting

I’m going to show you how easy it is to cook a cake on the gas grill using wood chunks for added flavor.  I simply love how chocolate reacts to smoke vapor and this chocolate recipe of mine is simply outstanding for the grill.

The gas grill was originally intended to provide for a quick cook method but I view this as an extension of the indoor kitchen as the grill really is an oven.  I’m going to turn my grill into a wood-burning oven by incorporating a smoker box that I’ve added cherry wood chunks too.

simple ingredients for this recipes

Why is this referred to as a “war” cake?  During World War I and II, eggs, butter, and milk were rationed.  Although I am including one egg in this recipe, I still consider this a variation of the “war” cake.  You certainly can make any variation you find as there are lots of options available online.

Let’s gather our simple ingredients, heat up the grill, and make perfection in a chocolate cake!

 

Two-Zone Cooking

If you follow my gas grill recipes, then you know I am a fan of the two-zone cooking method.  By lighting the burners on only half the grill and placing the food on the unlit side, I can guarantee controlled temperature that allows me to walk away like I do with my indoor oven.

I start by adding two cherry wood chunks to a metal smoker box.  I place this box under the grill grate, directly on a burner heat shield.  Next, I turn those burners on to medium and allow the grill to warm up while I make my cake batter.

The Unusual Batter

The Chocolate Batter mixed and ready for baking

First, I butter an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside (you can use the non-stick cooking spray if you prefer).  I start with the dry ingredients: 1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon table salt.  Whisk all this together in a large bowl and set aside.

With the dry ingredients prepared, it’s time to start on the wet.  In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup (2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 2 ounces high quality, bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine.  Pour over the chocolates 1 cup of hot coffee, whisking to aid melting.  Allow cooling then whisk in 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Tasting Notes: Whenever you bake on the grill, it is important to use a two-zone cooking method rather than direct heat cooking.  This will reduce the risk of burning the batter or producing off flavors, especially if you use a charcoal grill.

Grilling the Cake

With the beautiful chocolate batter finished, it’s time to pour this into the prepared dish.  Note you can use disposable pans or glass, ceramic – any high heat pan works just fine.

I check the cake about ½ way through the 35-minute cooking time.  If I see that there is some uneven cooking occurring, I simply rotate the pan and position where there are no cold spots.  An infrared thermometer will help locate any cold/hot spots.

grilling two zone with wood chunks

After grilling until firm to the touch or, you can do the toothpick test – insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, the cake is done – I remove the pan from the grill and let cool for 2 hours untouched.  After the cooling time, I invert the cake onto a cutting board.  At this point, you can sift some powdered sugar over the top of the cake or serve with a side of whipped cream.  Any way you serve this, it is going to be loved, with the serving plate cleaned quickly.  Baked on the Grill is fun!

Tasting Notes:  This cake can also be served with some additional fruit flavoring pairings like cherries, figs, raspberry, pear, and strawberryYou still will maintain a 350°F grilling temperature.

 

SmokinLicious® products used in this recipe:

Wood Chunks- Double & Single Filet

Additional reading:

-WOOD-FIRED APPLES MAKE THE BEST CAKE

-Our Smoked Carrot Cake

-AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!

Dr. Smoke Baked on the Grill, the classic Chocolate War Cake is a real keeper of a recipe!

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