East Meets West BBQ Sauce

If you’re grilling this holiday weekend…..have I got a sauce for you.
East Meets West BBQ Sauce | whiskandmuddler.com
East Meets West BBQ Sauce | whiskandmuddler.com
East Meets West BBQ Sauce | whiskandmuddler.com

I call it my East Meets West BBQ Sauce – all the classic spices and ingredients from a traditional Southern-style barbecue sauce, but jazzed up with South East Asian fire and flare by using the balmy aromatics found in ginger,  kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chili and sambal matah– a spice blend from Indonesia made from chili peppers, shallots, garlic and lemongrass. This crazy mashup definitely has a kick,  but there’s also a subtle sweetness from the two types of ketchup used. Speaking of ketchup, I’m not a big ketchup-eater really, so a bottle typically lasts me for months. It had been awhile since I’d been down the condiment aisle and I was pleasantly surprised to find this new balsamic vinegar version. It’s probably been around for ages and I’m just late to the party on this one. Anywhoo, I like the depth of flavor and it’s not as sweet as regular ketchup.
East Meets West BBQ Sauce ingredients | whiskandmuddler.com

East Meets West BBQ Sauce spices | whiskandmuddler.com

clockwise: ginger, dried oregano, bird’s eye chiles, garlic, cumin seed, dried kaffir lime leaves

guajillo chili | whiskandmuddler.com

guajillo chili

balsamic vinegar ketchup | whiskandmuddler.com

And the great thing about this sauce is it’s a no-cook recipe….plus a cinch to whip up. You put all the ingredients in a blender and then whiz away. You’re done! I like to put a third of the sauce aside to use for dipping, and the rest goes in a zip top bag with whatever protein you’re going to be grilling. My favorite is country-style pork spareribs (pictured). But use whatever cut of meat or poultry you like. Marinate over night (or 6-8 hours) for best flavor and then onto the grill. Happy Fourth of July !

East Meets West BBQ Sauce
yields 6 cups | East Meets West BBQ Sauce (PDF)

2 guajillo chiles
2 teaspoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons oregano
4-5 kaffir lime leaves (dried or fresh)
5 bird’s eye chiles
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 12-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup balsamic ketchup (or use 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)
1/2 cup sambal matah (I like the Trader Joe’s brand)
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
1 serrano chili
4 cloves of garlic
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
1 lime, juice and zest

To prep spices:
Put guajillo chiles into a spice grinder and pulse into a fine powder. Set aside. Put cumin seed, oregano, bird’s eye chiles, kaffir lime leaves, salt & pepper into a spice grinder. Pulse into a fine powder. Set aside.

For sauce:
In a blender or food processor, combine remaining ingredients, along with guajillo chiles and spice blend. Blend on medium speed until thick sauce develops. If too thick, add more lime juice to thin out.

Suggested uses:
I love this sauce on pork spareribs (any cut), chicken thighs or strip steak for fajitas. This even works well as condiment on a grilled Brat.
East Meets West BBQ Sauce | whiskandmuddler.com

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Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream

Red apple spice cake + fluffy whipped cream + fresh blueberries = my salute to the red, white and blue.
apple spice cake with fresh blueberry cream | whiskandmuddler.com
apple spice cake with fresh blueberry cream | whiskandmuddler.com
apple spice cake with fresh blueberry cream | whiskandmuddler.com

What could be more American than apple pie. How about taking all the warm baking spices and juicy apples from a pie,  lightening them up into a mini cake, then sandwiching it with fresh blueberry cream? Now that’s a dessert that spells Americana and can be the star of your table this Fourth Of July holiday. Did you know that blueberries are thought to have been around for over 13,000 years and are indigenous to North America? Native Americans called them “star berries” because the blossom end of each berry forms a perfect 5-pointed star. So what better way to honor our country and its homegrown fruits than with Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream.

I wanted to create a dessert featuring the ingredients we typically associate with Fourth of July—but, with a twist. Everyone tends to make an apple pie for the Fourth right? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good apple pie. But when I saw these cute little gingham baking cups at the store…and then some delicious looking blueberries…well, the idea hit me to borrow all the traditional holiday flavors, but use them in a slightly different way.
apples and blueberries | whiskandmuddler.com
apples and blueberries | whiskandmuddler.com
blueberries | whiskandmuddler.com
apple spice cake ingredients | whiskandmuddler.com

spices for apple spice cake | whiskandmuddler.com

spices (clockwise): ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice (center): fine sea salt

You can make the cake (and whip the cream) the night before the big cookout, then easily add in the fresh blueberries to the cream and fill the mini cakes the morning of. Just before serving, top with a small dollop of cream and garnish with a couple of blueberries. Oh, and some patriotic sprinkles for good measure.  Sprinkles are always welcome on desserts….at least I think so! Also, this is not fancy dessert and is meant to be rustic— so the cutting of the cake and piping of the cream doesn’t have to be perfect. These should be low-fuss and something your family and friends will enjoy tucking into at a barbeque or summer picnic. There you have it.  A light, summery, sweet bite that pays tribute to this great nation on its special day. Happy Fourth of July everyone!
apple spice cake with fresh blueberry cream | whiskandmuddler.com

Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream
yields 18 mini cakes | Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream PDF

Apple Spice Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water
3 apples, cored and finely chopped ( I used two Honey Crisp and one Granny Smith)

Fresh Blueberry Cream
1 cup heavy whipped cream, chilled
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries, chilled + extra for garnish
patriotic sprinkles (optional, but c’mon, why wouldn’t you?)

For Apple Spice Cake:
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch high pan. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, spices, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla bean paste, continue mixing until well-incorporated. In a separate small pinch bowl, mix baking soda and warm water until smooth and no lumps. Add to butter/sugar mixture and continue to mix on low speed. Blend in flour mixture just until all the flour has been incorporated. Remove bowl from machine and by hand with a spoon or spatula, add in the apples until well blended. Batter should be thick but still have air in it. Pour batter into prepared pan. You may have extra batter (like I did) so spoon it into a 6 slot muffin tin–snack on those later! Bake at 375F for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan. Set aside.

For Fresh Blueberry Cream:
Place fresh berries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to firm up, not become frozen. In a medium size chilled bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks. Add in confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until cream is firm. Using a sharp knife, chop chilled blueberries into halves or quarters. It’s super important to start with ice cold berries, otherwise you’ll have a juicy mess*See note below on fresh versus frozen berries. Gently fold chopped berries into cream just until you see the cream begin to streak the blueberries. You’re going for a swirled look here.

Move cake to wooden board. With a biscuit or cookie cutter cut out desired shape. I used a 2-inch round cutter which was slightly smaller than my presentation cup. But you could totally skip the baking cups and use a star cutter or any other shape.  Get creative!  With a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally so that you have a top and a bottom. Put bottom piece into presentation cup and pipe or spoon blueberry cream onto bottom layer, then pop top layer back on. Use a smaller star tip or spoon to decorate top with more blueberry cream. Add a garnish of blueberries and sprinkles. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Notes: Although you’re going to chill the berries in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before chopping them, it’s not recommended to use frozen (packaged) berries. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but you need fresh berries for this recipe. Frozen ones contain too much water and will ooze  juice into the cream. The fresh berries, once firm, will hold their shape (and liquid) just enough to swirl the cream. Plus there’s nothing like the taste of fresh blueberries!

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