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Posts from the ‘Desserts’ Category

Cookies, Fruitcake and More Cookies

I am going to try to keep this short and sweet. I have been baking and packing gift boxes for the last week. My meals are take out or a quick sandwich. Have to say my new oven is amazing. It literally cuts baking time in half having an oven that actually works like it’s supposed to. My first attempt at convection baking wasn’t the best, not a disaster but not great, I read that it automatically converts the temperature and I didn’t realize you have to change the setting on the stove to convert the temp. Second round was perfect.

Got 3 gift boxes mailed, no small feat as I had to wait almost 2 hours in line at the post office. It’s been pretty busy around here, I volunteered as a foster for a rescue organization and they had an urgent need to foster a little chiweenie (chihuahua dachshund mix). He is about 7-8 yrs old and is named Gosha. He will stay with me until he finds a forever home much to the chagrin of Mr. Percy, he is not pleased and is moping around the house, won’t eat unless I hand feed him and is generally perturbed.

Christmas cards have been pouring in, for Percy, LOL! I have gotten 2 with over 30 cards for Percy from our friends on social media.

I found a great recipe for Chocolate thumbprint cookies, better than the recipe I have been using for the last few years. It’s from Martha Stewart and have to say it’s terrific. The cookies are soft and moist and I love adding the striped Hershey’s kiss in the center while the cookies are still warm.

chocolate thumbprint cookies

I’ve also made fruitcakes, chocolate chip cookies, rugelach and biscotti. This week I’m making Stollen, more cookies and more.

rugelach, chocolate, orange hazelnut

fruitcake

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Makes 90 small cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup plus 1 tbs dutch cocoa, unsweetened

2 tsp course salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened

1 1/3 cup sugar (plus more for rolling the cookies in)

2 large egg yolks

2 tbs heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add egg yolks, cream and vanilla, beat until combined scraping sides when needed. Beat in flour mixture just until combined.

Scoop out approximately 2 tsp and roll into a ball, roll in sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Use your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon to make an indent in each cookie. Bake for 5 minutes rotating the pan and then bake another 5 minutes (10 minutes total baking time).
Remove from oven and place a Hershey’s kiss in the center, let cool completely before packaging or storing.

Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

 

Continuing my homage to the apple, the quintessential harbinger of Autumn I made an apple cake. I have been making this cake for many years and it never fails, I found it years ago while watching an episode of Martha Stewarts show on Food Network.  The cake is moist and rustic in texture, loaded with apples and warm autumn spices. Sometimes I use a cream cheese frosting but this time I made the frosting that is featured in the recipe on Martha Stewarts site. The frosting is gently sweet, buttery and has a lovely caramel flavor that comes from using brown sugar instead of granulated.

I really love this cake, it couldn’t be easier to make, no mixer required. The recipe calls for grated and diced apples but I like to use homemade applesauce, I make it in the oven, peel and quarter 4 apples, add a splash of apple cider, cover and bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Let them cool and mash with a fork. I prefer using applesauce rather than grating apples, the cake has some small pieces of apples and a balanced apple flavor. I think the buttercream is good but I prefer the cream cheese frosting,  it’s a bit sweeter but the tangy creaminess from the cream cheese goes so well with this cake. Just saying!!

I am bringing the cake to Fiesta Friday #196. This weeks co hosts are Antonia@Zoale.com and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.

Cake

Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup applesauce or 4 apples peeled- 2 grated and 2 diced)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare 3 8 inch round baking pans by lining with parchment, butter or grease and dust with flour, set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and eggs. Fold in the applesauce or apples. Add the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Divide equally into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from Martha Stewart

4 egg whites from large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

3 sticks or 12 oz of softened unsalted butter

Set pan with about 2 inches of water on low heat, place the egg whites and brown sugar in mixing bowl and set on top of the simmering water (bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is completely melted. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy and completely cooled, approximately 15 minutes. Change to paddle attachment and add the soft butter 1 tbs at a time while the mixer is on med low speed. Once butter is incorporated continue to mix on medium speed for another 3-5 minutes. If it curdles it’s ok, keep mixing it will come together. Frost cake immediately.  I piled way too much frosting on top, don’t do like I do and make sure the frosting is evenly spread all over the cake. Thats what happens when you are in a hurry.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Making the pumpkin spice doughnuts was fun and they turned out really well so I decided to try a recipe I found for apple cider doughnuts. One of the first stands visible at the farmers market, always front and center is also one of my favorites, apples, apple cider and doughnuts and it’s a favorite of mine and IMHO it epitomizes Fall. The recipe is from Bon Appetit and sounded really wonderful. The cake doughnuts contain homemade apple butter and apple cider syrup, at my last trip to the farmers market I bought a jar of apple butter which eliminated one step but I did make the cider syrup, it’s a bit of a slow process but fills your house with the most wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon.  I love apples so much I decided to devote the next several blog posts to recipes using apples. This is the first in the apple installment and it’s a great way to kick off all things apples.

This is a really really good recipe, the doughnuts are the perfect texture and crumb, love how they get a bit craggy when frying, gives them character. The flavor is out of this world delicious. Highly recommend you give this a try if you want to make doughnuts. They are the perfect dunking donut if you know what I mean, it always makes me laugh thinking of the Seinfeld episode where they were all wondering if Joe DiMaggio dunks when they were in Dinky Donut, so funny.

I am bringing these bad boys to Fiesta Friday #195 this week, you must check out all the Halloween goodies, amazing. The co  hosts this week are  Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sandhya @ Indfused

That was 3 cups of cider

Apple Cider Syrup

3 cups apple cider

2-3 cinnamon sticks

Boil on medium high heat in large wide pot (makes the process quicker). The cider will reduce to a thick syrup and the yield will be about 1/3 cup. It takes approximately 30 minutes. Make sure you watch it because it can burn and removing the burnt cider is a challenge, (burned my first batch).

Doughnuts

1/2 cup apple butter

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs + 2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbs + 1 tsp cinnamon divided

3 1/2 cup all purpose flour

6 tbs unsalted butter softened and at room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar (divided)

Vegetable oil for frying

Whisk together the apple butter, apple cider syrup, buttermilk, vanilla and set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium high speed cream the butter, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy (takes about 4 minutes) Add the eggs one at a time beating between each addition. Reduce mixer to low and add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, alternating with the cider mixture. Make sure you start with the dry, add half the cider mixture, then the other half of dry ingredients and ending with cider mixture. The dough will be soft and sticky.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread about 1/3 cup of flour on the sheet. Put the dough on the parchment and sprinkle with a little flour. With your hands gently pat the dough spreading it on the lined sheet pan, you want the dough to be about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

When dough is sufficiently chilled, start heating your oil, pour about 3 inches of oil in a pot and heat to 350 degree’s using a deep fry thermometer. While oil is heating cut out your doughnuts using a 3 inch round biscuit cutter and to make the hole in the center a 1 or 1/2 inch. Place cut doughnuts on a floured piece of parchment and drop them carefully in the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time letting them get nicely browned on both sides. After the doughnuts are done fry the holes.

Mix 1 cup sugar and 1 tbs cinnamon in a bowl and roll the warm doughnuts in the sugar mixture and place on cooling rack.

love to dunk

 

 

All About Pumpkin, Soup And Doughnuts

Recently I ordered 2 cans of pumpkin from my online grocer, I simply added to my cart without looking at the size of the cans, thinking it is the usual small cans of pumpkin puree. What arrived were the big cans, a whole lotta pumpkin and once opened it has to be used. I don’t really like freezing it because it becomes watery. I made 3 mini loaves of pumpkin spice bread, some chickpea pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice donuts and there is still enough leftover for a few pumpkin spice latte’s.

The pumpkin loaves I can practically make with my eyes closed, I use my recipe for banana bread and adapt to pumpkin adding spices.  The soup was my own creation and turned out quite well and is super easy to make. Now Doughnuts are another thing entirely. I have only made doughnuts once I think,  they were less than stellar so I abandoned  making those delicious little fried cakes and opted to buy them (the best doughnuts EVER are in my neighborhood).  We had a brief (2 days) of cool weather, back to warmer temps for the rest of the week but the soup on a cool day was just perfect. I used what I had in the pantry and refrigerator, threw everything in my oval roaster and slow cooked for about 6 hours. I didn’t pre soak the chick peas, just threw them in with some vegetable broth, carrot, onion, celery and everything cooked up beautifully. At the end I pureed some of the chickpeas, added pumpkin, Sri Lankan curry powder and some creme fraiche. So easy really, and no recipe required. You can add whatever you like or have on hand. I think that next I will try making yeast doughnuts now that I have cake doughnuts down.

curried pumpkin chickpea soup

Curried Pumpkin Chickpea Soup

2 cups dried chick peas

1 onion quartered

2 stalks celery

1 large or 2 small carrot

8 cups vegetable broth (you can also use water or chicken broth)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp curry powder (I used Sri Lankan)

Optional 1/2 cup creme fraiche

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325 degree’s. Put everything in the pot, put it in the oven and let it cook slow and long. I cooked it for 6 hours. When done, scoop out about 2/3 of the chick peas and a little of the broth along with the celery and onion. Puree in the blender until smooth, add the pumpkin, curry powder and optional creme fraiche. Add back to the pot, cut the carrots into bite size pieces and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and if you like at the end add some spinach. I had some that needed to be used and it was nice in the soup.

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and holes

Recipe from Good Housekeeping

2 tbs softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

dash of ground nutmeg or about 1/8 tsp

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying

Cream butter until fluffy, it’s only 2 tbs so it won’t be that fluffy. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until combined scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the pumpkin, buttermilk, egg and egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Using a wooden spoon stir in flour until well combined. Cover bowl and chill for at least 3 hours or over night.

Heat the oil to 365 degrees. On work surface dusted with flour roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using doughnut cutter or biscuit cutter cut the doughnuts and place on parchment lined baking sheet. When oil is at the right temperature drop 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time and turn once browned making sure they are evenly brown and cooked through. It takes about 3 – 4 minutest per doughnut. When done place on rack lined with paper bag or paper towels. Prepare some sugar and cinnamon and roll each doughnut while still warm in the sugar mixture. Let cool and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Basic Hummus And A Vegan Apple Tart

This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s cookbook “Jerusalem” it calls for dried chickpeas rather than canned. I always stayed away from recipes where you have to cook the beans/peas and rather opt for canned because it’s easy and I guess I am a bit lazy. Well, have to say there is a difference, a big difference in flavor and texture when you use freshly made chick peas. I love just about anything from any of the cookbooks by Ottolenghi or the team of Ottolenghi and Tamimi. The books are beautiful to look at, the ingredients they use are always fresh and the recipes are simple but creative and everything so far that I have made has been absolutely delicious. Like chocolate chip cookies there are thousands of recipes out there for hummus. It’s not rocket science and is made easily and quickly and has always been welcome as an appetizer or part of the main meal. It’s a wonderful recipe and if you are hesitant to use dried chickpeas, it takes a little more time and effort but the results are well worth the effort. The only change I made when making this recipe is that I use half the garlic indicated, I am not a big fan of raw garlic, the garlic is flavor is definitely there but is more subtle with 2 cloves, of course if your garlic cloves are very small use more.

I am bringing the hummus and tart to Fiesta Friday #191, this week, the co cohosts are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Antonia@ Zoale.com thank you ladies for co hosting and as always a big thank you to Angie for putting this party together every week!

Basic Hummus

Serves 6 or more

1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas

1 tsp baking soda

6 1/2 cups water

1 cup plus 2 tbs light tahini

4 tbs lemon juice freshly squeezed

4 cloves garlic crushed (I used 2 cloves)

6 1/2 tbs ice cold water

The night before put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the chickpeas and baking soda, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20-40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.

Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups. Place the chickpeas in the food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then with the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to process for 5 minutes until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes before serving, you can also refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. I drizzle the hummus with olive oil and sprinkle some sumac.

Delicious with fresh veggies and pita

I recently heard from friend I used to work with, it had been years since we have seen each other and I invited him over the other day to catch up, he is vegan and specifically requested pastry.  This tart is vegan,  has very little sugar, only about 2 tbs and is drizzled with apple cider cinnamon reduction. It couldn’t be simpler and it’s so beautiful. The pie crust is from the Crisco package and is one my Mother used for her pies, she didn’t even know her pie crust was vegan, I sliced the apples hasselback style, sprinkled with a little sugar, flour, cinnamon mixture, dotted a little earth balance and baked.

Simple, beautiful and delicious and it’s vegan

Flaky Pie Crust (Vegan)

Recipe on Crisco Shortening- makes single 9 inch pie crust

1 1/3 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

6-8 tbs ice cold water

Whisk flour and salt together, add the shortening and with a pastry cutter combine until it resembles moist crumbs. Add water and stir with a fork. Gather together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll the dough on floured work surface and line your tart pan. Refrigerate.

While dough is chilling, cut the apples in half, skin on, core and slice thinly keeping each half together, it’s easier to lift the sliced apples and place in pie shell. Heat oven to 400 degree’s. Mix 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small ramekin and set aside. Arrange the apples in the cold pie shell and sprinkle with the sugar, flour, cinnamon mixture. Dot with butter or vegan butter. Line a baking sheet with parchment and bake the tart until golden brown approximately 40-45 minutes.

Apple Cider Reduction

1 cup apple cider

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs sugar

Place everything in a non reactive heavy bottom saucepan and boil on medium high until it reduces to a syrup. Approximately 30-40 minutes.

Served with Vegan salted caramel ice cream.

 

Block Party, Judging At Community Garden, A Bowl Of Vegetables And A One Bowl Chocolate Cake

It has been an exhausting few weeks. It was crunch time as our annual block party was coming up quicker than I would have liked it to. Organizing is not my strong suite but as the block association president much of the planning and prep work falls on me and I have to step outside my comfort zone and try to be the party planner. There is always so much to do, not enough time to do it and invariably something goes wrong. I have had torrential rain and had to cancel because of it, this year it was sunny and hot (way too hot for me) almost 90 degree’s. Something I have planned on for a year was cancelled, the rock climbing wall that our brave policeman bring to events, the kids love it and it’s so much fun for all. Last year my reservation for the wall got lost when the Officer retired and we only got it for an hour, I reserved it this year, almost a year ahead and 2 days before the event the police contacted me with bad news, the rock wall had broken and needs to be repaired. The children were all disappointed but the block party went off almost without a hitch and everyone had a good time.

Vegetables from the community garden

I live across the street from a Community Garden and they asked me if I would be a judge for a food event at their annual Harvest Festival, I was more than happy to do so. We tasted fresh vegetables grown in the garden which were judged on beauty and taste. Other things we tried were homemade pickles and desserts made with apples from the tree in the garden. It was a lot of fun, everything was delicious and some of the other judges were a food stylist, food photographer and cookbook publisher.

The block party is something everyone looks forward to all year, our block along with people from the neighborhood come together to eat, drink, talk, we all love watching the children have fun in the bouncy castle and ride their bicycles and skateboards in the street without fear of traffic. I usually have a bake sale but have been so incredibly busy I only made cookies which sold out very quickly. We grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, had pizza, drinks, music from a fantastic DJ and an amazing Ukelele group.

The day after I was completely exhausted and wanted a light simple meal. A bowl of roasted vegetables with cheesy cauliflower mash was exactly what I needed. I used an assortment of vegetables and mashed cauliflower with gruyere. Simple, healthful and delicious.  Had some green beans, zucchini, tomato and shallot drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 400 degree’s. Cauliflower mash is so easy, simply boil the cauliflower, let it dry in the oven on 200 for about 20 minutes then put in the food processor with some butter, sour cream and season with salt and pepper.  I added some grated gruyere and popped into the oven at 200 for a few minutes to heat and melt the cheese.

This super easy one bowl no measure chocolate cake is awesome. It’s a recipe on Food52. The fact that it’s quick and no measure immediately prompted me to give this recipe a try. The cake uses full fat plain Greek yogurt, I used Fage and you use the yogurt container as the means of measuring. Pretty cool right?

The cake will have cracks thats ok

Simple One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Recipe on food52

1  container (7 oz) plain Greek yogurt

1 container neutral flavored oil (I used canola)

2 large eggs

2 containers self rising flour

1 container unsweetened cocoa powder

1 container sugar

1 container warm water or coffee

Heat Oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare a 10 inch spring form pan by greasing or spraying the bottom, add a parchment round and then grease and flour the pan.

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix on low until the flour is incorporated, then increase to medium high and beat for approximately 2 minutes. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cake Tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan, release the pan and remove the cake. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

London Fog Cake

I have been wanting to make a cake for a while now but lacked inspiration to try something a little different. There is a tendency to stick with the tried and true in both flavors and recipes, not that there is anything wrong with that but sometimes I feel the need to do something different. Since I got the tea from Adagio I have wanted to make another recipe using it that isn’t a cup of hot or iced tea. Yesterday an email appeared in my inbox from Pinterest and I saw this cake and immediately was struck by how utterly delicious it looked but then when I clicked on the link the frosting is flavors with Earl Grey Tea. The cake itself is pretty simple chocolate cake with a earl grey buttercream and then it’s drizzled with caramel. Sounds great right? I thought so too!! I decided to take it a step further and infuse the caramel with tea as well. The recipe is from The Cake Blog and it’s beautifully decorated and photographed. Decorating cakes is not my strong suite nor is photography but irregardless this cake sounds too good not to make. My recommendations are in bold print, I found the earl grey flavor overpowering and would recommend reducing the amount of tea used to infuse the butter. I love earl grey tea but feel that the buttercream needed to be a little more subtle in flavor.

This is my favorite chocolate cake, a recipe from Hershey’s which is on the can of unsweetened cocoa powder, the recipe has also been posted here on the blog many times click here to see it. I’ve made other cake recipes and nothing IMHO even compares. It’s simple, moist and delicious and never fails.

I am going to bring this cake with me to Fiesta Friday #188 and this weeks co hosts are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Nimmi @ Adorable Life

Earl Grey Buttercream

Recipe from Theresa Huff for The Cake Blog

Frosts 2 layer 9 inch cake or 3 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups unsalted butter

1/4 cup loose earl grey tea (Recommend to reduce to 1-2 tbs)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs egg whites ( 150 grams) the whites from 4-5 large eggs

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or seeds from half a vanilla bean

Place one cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let tea steep for another 5 minutes. Strain the butter into a bowl and refrigerate until the butter is the consistency of softened butter approximate 20-30 minutes or longer it took over an hour before my butter hardened.

Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and hand whisk until foamy and mixed. Place an inch or two of water in a saucepan on medium heat, place the bowl with the egg whites and sugar on top of it being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Whisk frequently until the sugar melts it should register 155-160 on the candy thermometer or until it’s hot to the touch. Fit the bowl onto your stand mixer.

Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high for 8-10 minutes until the mixture holds medium stiff peaks. When done the outside of the bowl should be room temperature and there should be no residual heat, you also should hold your hand over the bowl and you should not feel any heat at all.  Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and replace with a paddle.

With the mixer on low speed add the vanilla, the tea infused butter and the other butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once the butter is incorporated turn the mixer to medium high and beat for another 3-5 minutes. The buttercream will be thick and silky.

Earl Grey caramel sauce

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbs light corn syrup

2 tbs strong earl grey tea

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbs butter,diced

generous pinch sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a deep heavy bottom saucepan, stir to combine. Heat over high heat swirling occasionally for 8-10 minutes. The sugar mixture will start to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once it has reached the desired color, I like a deep amber. Note: my caramel got a bit over done, almost burnt. I cooked on high and all of a sudden it started rising almost to the top of the pot after I removed from the heat. I didn’t want to add the cream and butter until it settled but that was a mistake, I should have added it to cool it down and stop the cooking process. So my caramel is a bit bitter. My advise is to remove from the heat right when it turns a light amber and add the butter and cream. Because it was so bitter I threw away half and replaced that half with a chocolate ganache. The pot I used was too small and it almost boiled over hence the over cooking, the caramel continues to cook even after removed from the heat and what stops that is adding the butter and cream. Because my pot was not big enough I had to wait until the bubbles went down a bit. 

Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream being careful to stand back because it will sputter and foam so stand clear.

Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Now add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into a heat proof container and let cool, it will thicken as it cools.

Assembling the cake

Place one of the layers on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread some of the butter cream to cover the layer and continue until all layers are place. Frost top and sides of cake and refrigerate until cooled at least 20 minutes.

Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the cooled cake letting it drip down the sides.

I made this cake yesterday and wasn’t in love with the flavor, today it tastes better maybe the tea flavor has mellowed but I still recommend reducing the amount of tea used in the buttercream. I love the buttercream recipe it is silky and just the perfect consistency and will definitely be using it again.

A Tale Of Two Cobblers

Making cobbler with summers best produce is one of my favorites. Using fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables  makes this delicious dish even more amazing. I thought I would make both savory and sweet just for fun. The other day I went to the farmers market and stocked up on fresh vegetables and fruit without knowing what I would make with them, I was inspired by Mollie @frugalhausfrau, she and I were commenting about how much fun it would be to make cobblers, pandowdy’s, crisps etc… she has some awesome recipes make sure you check her blog out.

Both recipes are original or as original as any recipe can be. I posted the cobbler pastry on food52 years ago, it is adapted from Julia Childs Galette dough. The savory cobbler is Vegetarian, loaded with vegetables in a rich mushroom leek cream sauce. I used a biscuit cutter for the cobbler top rather than a rough look and to finish it, I grated some gruyere on top of each round. The beauty of the savory cobbler is that you can make the mushroom and leek base and add whatever kind of vegetables you like or have on hand. Note: For the savory cobbler I added some baking powder, I had thought about that before and my friend Emily who made this also suggested it. It’s not necessary for the sweet cobbler really as I treat it more like a pie crust but can be used for both.

The dessert cobbler is made with fresh ripe nectarines which are sweetened only with some gooseberry jam that I made a few weeks ago, the cobbler top is roughly pressed on top of fruit and sprinkled with a little sugar before baking. There is really no recipe required for this you can ad lib adding the type of fruit you like and sugar or jam. I love super easy to prepare foods.

This week I am honored to co host Fiesta Friday # 185 with the totally awesome Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and I am bringing both a dessert and main with me, both in the form of cobbler

Pastry for Cobbler

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder (recommended for savory cobbler)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar or brown sugar (Use 1 tbs for the savory cobbler pastry)

3 tbs cold butter cut into pieces

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup whole milk

Whisk together the dry ingredients, add the cold butter and break up with your hands or pastry cutter until it looks crumbly. Add the sour cream and milk and mix with a fork. It will become a cohesive but slightly wet/moist dough. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Savory filling

3 small leeks, using only the white parts, cleaned VERY well (I cut into rounds and put in cold water rinsing until there is no sand in the bottom of the bowl)

1 package of mushrooms (I used white button) cleaned and sliced

String beans ( I used yellow) stem end removed (I did’t measure add as much as you like)

1 medium size zucchini – cut into bite size pieces

2 small carrots quartered lengthwise

2 tbs flour

cherry tomatoes cut in half

3 sprigs thyme

white wine (about 1/2 cup)

1 cup heavy cream (You can also use light cream, milk, half and half or non dairy milk)

splash of Worcestershire sauce (omit if making vegetarian or vegan)

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Line a sheet pan with parchment, place the zucchini, carrots and beans on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper and roast until tender (approximately 20 minutes. While the vegetables are in the oven, put a little butter in a sauté pan and add the leeks, cook on medium high until softened, add the mushrooms and continue cooking until soft. Add the flour and continue to cook stirring so that the flour coats the leeks and mushrooms, add the wine, continue to cook, it will thicken considerably, stir in the cream and thyme,  cook until thickened, you can add a little water to thin it out if desired. Add the Worcestershire sauce and cherry tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, remove the thyme sprigs. When vegetables in the oven are done add to the cream sauce and let cool a bit and spoon into baking dish, or a  10 inch cast iron skillet.

Making the cobbler

Increase oven temperature to 400 degree’s. Press the pastry into a circle approximately 1/2 inch thick. Using a glass or biscuit cutter cut rounds using all the dough. Place on top of the filling, grate a little gruyere or your favorite cheese on top of the rounds and bake until golden brown and bubbly about 35-45 minutes depending on your oven.

Nectarine Gooseberry Cobbler

1 small cobbler made in 6 inch cast iron skillet – serves 2

First let me say many will not have gooseberry jam, you can use anything you want or omit jam and use just fruit mixed with a little sugar.  I happened to have gooseberry jam in the fridge but any jam would be good, cherry I think would be delicious.

2-3 nectarines, cleaned and sliced

1/3 cup gooseberry or your favorite jam (if using just fruit add 2-3 tbs sugar)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of foil or parchment on baking sheet. Mix the fruit and jam or sugar and put into the skillet,  press the cobbler crust on top, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake until browned and bubbly approximately 30 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, heavy cream poured on or a spoonful of lightly sweetened creme fraiche.

 

 

 

 

Some Jam, Scones And Sour Cherry Hand Pies

When I saw the baskets of sour cherries and gooseberries at the farmers market I had to buy them. Both are delicious but really not great eaten fresh/raw. They are very sour on their own and I thought they would be best made into jam or preserves and a small jar of sour cherry pie filling. They are very tedious to prep, the sour cherries are small and soft and juicy and hard to pit, (please don’t eat cherry pits you can actually get sick when eaten in large enough quantities, saw this article on food52) and the gooseberries need to have the ends pinched off, both ends. Luckily I did not buy a huge amount of the fruit so although tedious it didn’t take me all day to prep them. I have been working on recipes for Teagan’s wonderful Thistledown episodes, I absolutely love this story and am inspired by the magickal world of faeries.

Refrigerator jam is a wonderful thing, no muss no fuss, no canning or preserving, it’s stored in the refrigerator rather than sealed properly and stored in the pantry. I still use sterilized jars and it does seal somewhat but not enough to make me comfortable storing unrefrigerated. It really lasts a long time in the fridge and if you haven’t ever made your own jam or preserves you must give it a go, it really is delicious.

I had 3 pints of sour cherries and 2 pint of gooseberries which was enough to make 2 16 ounce jars and 8 ounces of cherry pie filling. The scones are my favorite recipe from my friend on Food52 Liz Larkin aka @sconeladylarkin on Instagram. The recipe for scones IMHO is the best scone recipe ever, they are tender and light and delicious.

The hand pies were an after thought. There was leftover galette dough after making the tomato tart, and the small jar of cherry pie filling. Cherry pie has always been one of my favorites especially warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Royal Wedding Scones

Recipe by Liz Larkin on Food52

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

6 tbs cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Pulse the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder a couple of times in the food processor, add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the butter is broken up in the flour mixture don’t worry if there are some larger pieces butter it doesn’t have to be uniform crumbs. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the frozen blueberries. Mix the egg, cream and vanilla together and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until just combined, be careful not to over mix.

The dough will be a bit shaggy, place on floured work surface and press gently into a circle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in half, in half again and then each quarter into two wedges you will have 8 scones. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until completely frozen about 1 hour. You can then bake them or store in freezer bags until ready to use, I like to wrap each frozen scone individually in either plastic wrap or parchment.  Before baking brush the scones with some heavy cream and sprinkle some sugar on them. Bake in a 420 degree oven until golden brown, when touched with finger they will feel solid. Don’t over bake, because they are frozen it can take a little longer than usual approximately 20-25 minutes.

Sour Cherry Jam and Gooseberry jam

Makes 2 16 oz jars

2 pint sour cherries pitted, in separate pot 2 pint gooseberries trimmed

1 1/2 cup sugar each

pinch of salt

Cook on medium high heat until thickened. Test to see if its ready by spooning some of the jam on a very cold spoon, if it thickens it’s ready because it was not a lot of jam it only took a little less than 30 minutes to cook. Pour into sterilized jar, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Note: The longer you cook the thicker your jam will be, I like mine on the loose side so for my taste about 30 minutes was perfect.

Sour cherry pie filling

Makes 8 ounces

1 pint sour cherries pitted

2/3 cup sugar

4 tsp corn starch

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

place everything in a medium non reactive pot and cook on medium high heat until thickened. Pour into clean or sterilized jar and refrigerate after it’s cooled to room temperature.

To make the hand pies use your favorite recipe for pie dough or pre made dough works great as well, using a biscuit or something round cut out circles, you will need 2 for each pie. Spoon a little filling in the middle, brush some egg was on the edge of the circle place the other round on top, seal, cut a vent in the top, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake in 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Pies And Tarts: Blackberry Peach Pie And A Tomato Tart

In the summer it’s hard to find balance. I love to cook but it’s so hot out it kind of knocks the wind out of my sails but I was inspired to get in the kitchen after reading Teagan newest serial Thistledown.  I love the story and Teagan is so brilliant, her readers are part of the the story we were given faery names and oh well you’ll just have to read it, it’s wonderful!!! My characters faery name is Peaches Dragonfly and you might have guessed it yes, Peaches is a cook.

When I buy blackberries what I don’t eat I freeze, adding to the freezer container with each unused portion of berries. I do the same with other fruit, peaches, strawberries etc… There happened to be a rather large bag of blackberries and some peaches that I wanted to use and today the temperature is pleasant, a good day to fire up the oven and bake.

Pies are one of my favorite indulgences, especially fruit pies. They are simple to make, and are such a great dessert both homey and elegant. The combination of blackberries and peaches has always been one of my favorites and put them in a flaky buttery pastry crust and it’s pretty much heaven on earth. I’ve published the pie crust recipe I use probably more than a dozen times. It never fails, is always good and its from Julia Child.

I think I will bring both of these the pie and tomato tart to Fiesta Friday #182 the co hosts this week are Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons and Jenny @ Jenny Is Baking

Blackberry Peach Pie

Makes one 9 inch double crust pie

Pastry

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz unsalted cold butter cut into pieces

4 tbs shortening (cold)

1/2 cup ice water

Whisk the flours and salt in large mixing bowl. Add the butter and shortening and using a pastry cutter or your hands break up the fat into the flour until it resembles crumbs. It’s ok to have small pieces of butter I actually prefer it the pastry is extra flaky. Mix together until if forms a cohesive dough. Divide into two disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Fruit and assembling the pie

approximately 3 cups blackberries

approximately 2 cups sliced peaches

2/3-1 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)

3 tbs-1/4 cup flour

pinch of salt and pinch of cinnamon

NOTE: If using frozen fruit use 1/4 cup flour + 1 tbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix the fruit with the flour and sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Roll out the bottom crust and place in your pie pan, add the fruit dot with some butter and place in the refrigerator while you roll out the top crust.  I made a lattice top crust  for this pie and all you do is cut strips and basket weave. Roll out the top crust and lay on the pie, crimp the edges however you like, cut a vent or prick with a fork, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Heirloom tomatoes

The first tomatoes of the season are also showing up at the green market and I love buying heirloom tomatoes, they are my favorite, different colors, sizes and shapes and other than enjoying in salad or on their own making a tart is a great way to eat them. This time of year with so much bounty and just me to eat, I end up preserving or freezing much of what I purchase. This year my basil died, not sure why and it was very upsetting so I ended up buying a huge bunch at the farmers market and thought I would make some pesto.

The tomato tart is made using Julia Childs recipe for a galette pastry, it’s very different from a traditional pie crust, you mix flour and corn meal, butter, sour cream or creme fraiche and ice water. It’s a delicious rustic pastry dough and this recipe is one I have been using for many years.

Because tomatoes are so juicy I roast the tomatoes first in the oven until they are soft and a bit drier, I made the mistake once of putting fresh tomato slices on a tart and the crust was soggy, not good.

Tomato Tart

Makes one 9 inch tart

1 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

7 tbs cold unsalted butter

3 tbs sour cream or creme fraiche

1/3 cup ice water

Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in mixing bowl, cut in the butter until it resembles crumbs. Mix the sour cream and ice water and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until it forms a cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Roasting the tomatoes and making the tart

Heat oven to 400 degree’s

Line a sheet pan with parchment, cut your tomatoes into thick slices and place on parchment lined baking sheet, bake for about 25-30 minutes they will just start to caramelize and will dry out a bit. Remove carefully so they stay whole and set aside.

Press the dough into your tart pan or roll it out and place in the pan,  put in the freezer for approximately  15 minutes or until partially frozen. Remove from freezer and weight it down by placing a parchment sheet on the pastry and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake on sheet pan for 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and place back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread some pesto on the bottom of the tart crust, sprinkle with some cheese and layer your tomato slices. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.