(Family Features) Amazing food is the centerpiece of most holiday gatherings. This Easter, impress guests with your culinary talent by making simple dishes simply amazing. With a little special attention, even the most basic foods can evolve into dishes worth sharing with loved ones.
Most chefs agree that spices and seasonings are essential elements of your kitchen arsenal. This Easter, give your spread a boost with spices and herbs of the highest quality, such as those from Spice Islands, which crafts and packages spices and herbs from around the world to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible.
With its rich hue and warm aroma, cinnamon can bring spicy sweetness to all kinds of baked goods. However, all cinnamon is not the same. There are two main varieties of cinnamon, Indonesian and Vietnamese.
Vietnamese, which is used in the Spice Islands Saigon Cinnamon featured in these recipes, tends to have a brighter, spicy taste. The forests of Vietnam are known for their premium cinnamon. High in volatile oils, the Vietnamese cinnamon trees produce a deep, reddish-brown cinnamon with an intense fragrance and sweet, red-hot-candy-like flavor.
Update your traditional ham with a spicy, honeyed glaze; give a side serving of carrots a tasty twist and end the affair on a sweet note with a rustic, utterly delicious dessert. Find more flavorful ideas to elevate your Easter menu at spiceislands.com.
Spiced Honey and Black Pepper-Glazed Ham
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 8-10 pounds cooked shank-end ham
- water (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Spice Islands Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Spice Islands Ground Mustard
- 1 tablespoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cloves
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- With sharp knife, score ham at 1-inch intervals; place in baking dish. If ham appears dry, moisten surface with water. In small bowl, combine black pepper, mustard and garlic powder. Rub pepper mixture over surface of ham. Roast according to package directions.
- Combine honey, cinnamon and cloves. Drizzle over ham during last 30 minutes of roasting. Remove ham from oven and let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
Spiced Maple Carrots
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 pound (4 cups) baby carrots
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger
- 2 tablespoons Maple Grove Farms 100% Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- sea salt, to taste
- In large skillet, combine carrots, water, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well. Cover and cook on high 6 minutes until almost tender.
- Add maple syrup and butter. Mix well and continue to cook, uncovered, 2-3 minutes, until carrots are well-glazed. Season, to taste, with sea salt.
Anise, Pear and Almond Crostata
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Fine Mediterranean Sea Salt
- 1/4 cup ice water
Anise Almond Filling:
- 1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
- 3/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Anise Seeds
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Fine Mediterranean Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3 Fiorelle or small pears, sliced into thin wedges
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons Polaner Apricot Preserves, heated
- cream or ice cream (optional)
- To make crust: In food processor, combine flour, frozen butter and salt. Pulse until dough is size of large peas. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and pulse several times. Pinch dough to see if it is holding together; if not, add water a couple of teaspoons at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until dough holds together. Form dough into disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- To make filling: In food processor, blend almonds, anise seeds, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt until paste forms. Add room temperature butter and blend again. Set aside.
- Toss sliced pears with 2 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice. Set aside.
- On sheet of floured parchment paper, roll out dough into 13-inch circle; transfer on parchment to rimless cookie sheet.
- Spread almond paste onto circle, leaving 2-inch border. Scatter pears on top, covering almond paste. Fold dough up and over pears, overlapping dough as needed. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle crust generously with extra sugar.
- Bake until pears are tender, 40-45 minutes. If crust starts to get too brown, lightly cover with foil. Remove tart from oven and brush pears with heated apricot preserves. Serve with cream or ice cream, if desired.