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Posts tagged ‘bake together’

Vanilla Bean White Chocolate Rose Scented Pot de Creme #Bake Together

Pot de Creme

Pot de Creme

I have to say that I was so excited about this months Bake Together with Abby Dodge, she challenged us to put our own twist on one of my favorite desserts, Pot de Creme. I have to confess, up until now I only had chocolate never vanilla so this was a bit of a departure for me but I am up for a challenge. This recipe was inspired by a dear friend of mine, a chef in Montana, Cynthia who has a lovely blog “The Solitary Cook”. she created this recipe for a contest on Food52 and I loved the flavors so much I thought it would make a wonderful pot de creme. Her creation was rose petal ice cream scooped into balls and covered in white chocolate. Delicious right? I took Abby’s brilliant recipe for Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme and tweaked it a bit, adding white chocolate and a hint of rosewater. It is delicious, you can’t really go wrong when your base recipe is genius and I am thankful for that. The rosewater is barely there, just a hint and paired with the white chocolate in a creamy dessert its heavenly. I topped with raspberry whipped cream. NOTE: I used a dropper for the rose water, I put 3 drops in, starting with 2, I am cautious and flavor it gingerly so it doesn’t get soapy. You determine how strong or weak you want it to be depending on your personal taste.

For the pots of heaven:
1 vanilla bean split
1 3/4 cup half & half
5 large egg yolks
2 Tbs granulated sugar(I used vanilla sugar)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
2-4 drops Rose Water
2 oz white chocolate chopped

To make the pots:

1.Measure the half and half in a 2-cup glass measure.

2. Position the vanilla bean on a cutting board and, using the tip of a sharp knife, split the bean lengthwise down the middle. Slide the edge of the knife down the cut side of each piece of the bean to release the seeds. Add the seeds and vanilla bean pieces to the half & half. Heat the mixture in the microwave until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Let steep for up to 2 hours to intensify the vanilla flavor.

3. Position the oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange four 6-ounce ramekins in a baking pan with 2-inch high sides. I use my 8-inch square baking pan.

4. In a small saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar and salt until well blended.(Don’t let them sit or the eggs will begin to break down.)  Uncover the half & half and, whisking, slowly pour the half and half (with the vanilla bean pieces) into the yolk mixture. Whisk until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon or heat-proof spatula, until thickened and coats the back of a spoon or spatula (170-172°F on an instant read or candy thermometer), about 4 to 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in the 2 cup measuring cup, pour hot custard over white chocolate, let sit for approximately 2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and very smooth.

5. Fish out the vanilla bean and scrape any custard from the pod back into the custard. Stir in vanilla paste and rosewater stir to combine. You can pour into a sieve if you like to remove any errant pieces and  ensure that it’s totally smooth (I recommend you do). Pour the custard into the ramekins  Carefully fill the baking pan with hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan loosely with foil.

6. Bake until the pot de crèmes wiggle like jello when nudged, 35 to 45 minutes depending on thickness of the ramekin walls. Transfer the baking pan to a rack let cool completely. Remove ramekins from baking pan and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

Raspberry Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream very cold
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1-2 tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In cold bowl with cold whisk or beaters whip the cream  and sugar until it becomes thick and billowy, fold in crushed raspberries. Place a dollop on each pot de creme. If using frozen raspberries drain well before adding to the whipped cream.


Bake Together-Caramelized Pecan Sweet Potato Skillet Souffle

Sweet Potato Skillet Souffle

This months Bake Together with Abby Dodge is a skillet souffle, Abby’s beautiful caramelized pear souffle was the base recipe and as always we are given creative license to make it our own, I used the basic recipe switching pecans for pears and sweet potato puree for the mascarpone, I made a few other little tweaks to the recipe and I must say this is like a super light pecan pie. It was not without mishaps, I had to make it three times, the first time I burnt the pecans (multi tasking doesn’t work when you have time sensitive food on the stove) the second time I didn’t burn the pecans but I caramelized the pecans in the brown sugar and found that when the souffle was done the brown sugar and pecans turned to hard candy, it was overcooked. To remedy this I roasted the pecans in the butter, added the brown sugar, syrup and rum and just let it sit until I was ready to put the souffle in the pan. This yielded the gooey caramel sauce i wanted.

I just want to give a shameless plug for Abby’s new book,  Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets I made her triple threat chocolate squares and they are so good, rich and fudgy I recommend you get this book, I want to make every single recipe.

Sweet caramel pecans

3/4 cup pecan halves
3 tbs butter
2 tbs firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbs Lyles golden syrup
1 tbs  dark rum
Melt butter in non stick oven safe 8 inch saute pan, add pecans and saute for 2 minutes or until you can smell the nuts, add the brown sugar, rum and golden syrup stir to combine  spread the pecans evenly in the pan and let sit until you are ready to add the souffle.
2 large eggs at room temperature separated
1/4 cup sweet potato puree
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs brown sugar packed
2 tbs flour
pinch of salt
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees, wash sweet potato or yam, wrap in foil place on baking sheet and bake for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the potato. You will know its done by pressing on it with your finger and it will feel very soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
When potato can be handled comfortably blend in food processor or blender until very smooth
Make the souffle
 In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, sweet potato puree, heavy cream and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Add the flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and salt and whisk until well blended.

In a (very clean) medium bowl ( you can use a stand mixer, if you’d like. I did.), beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until the whites are frothy, 30 – 45
seconds. Increase the speed to to medium high and beat until the whites are very foamy and barely soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, increase the speed to high. Continue beating until the peaks are glossy and
form soft, floppy peaks (see pic above). Scrape the beaten whites into the yolk mixture and gently fold until just blended.

Heat the skillet (with the pecans) over medium low heat.  Gently pour/scrape the souffle mixture into the skillet and smooth the top. Reduce heat to low and cook until the edges begin to look dry, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a potholder, slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the top is puffed, golden brown and the center springs back when lightly pressed, 5 to 7 minutes. Working quickly and using potholders (the
handle is super hot), move the skillet to a wire rack (or cool stovetop and dust the souffle with a light coating of confectioners’ sugar. Gently place the serving plate on top of the souffle and invert. Carefully
lift off the skillet. Using a small serrated knife, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies With Banana Hazelnut Filling

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies

Every month I look forward to Bake Together, Abby always comes up with a delicious recipe to challenge and entice. Septembers Bake Together is a party, to celebrate the release of Abby’s new cookbook, Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat! The pie dough is amazing, it’s really adapted from a cookie dough in her book. There is brown butter and brown sugar and each pie is filled with a delicious fruit filling. I took Abby’s wonderful recipe for Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies and added my own touch, I thought it would be fun to make a chocolate crust filled with banana’s and hazelnuts with a hint of orange, a bit of a change from your traditional filling. Abby’s pie’s were rectangular I decided to go for round, using a fluted cutter. The banana mixed with the nuts, brown sugar and orange zest is delicious.

For the  chocolate brown butter dough
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup+ 1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4-5 medium size ripe but firm banana’s chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar not packed
1/2 tsp orange zest
Make the filling right before you are going to assemble the tarts, place chopped banana, hazelnuts, orange zest and brown sugar in a bowl and toss to combine, the brown sugar should coat each piece of banana.

Make the dough
Put the butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until nutty brown and the milk solids are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is almost dissolved, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Using your fingertip, check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm but not hot. If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a few more minutes before continuing with the recipe.

Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Add the flour and cocoa and stir until a smooth, soft dough forms.

 Arrange two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter and scrape the dough onto the center of one. Divide the dough in half (about 14 3/4 ounces each) and put half on the second piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, shape both into 5-inch squares.Wrap in the plastic and set aside at room temperature until firm enough to roll, about 3 hours. (You can pop the dough into the refrigerator for a hour or so, but you don’t want the dough to be too chilled. It would be impossible to roll.)

Assemble and bake
Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. Put the egg and water in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix until well blended.

Working with one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment (this dough is soft, so the parchment is a must for successful rolling), roll out to a rectangle slightly larger than 9×15 inches. Using a sharp paring knife or a fluted roller and a ruler, trim the edges to get a neat 9×15-inch rectangle, then cut into 3 x 2 1/2-inch rectangles (for a total of 18 rectangles).  Arrange the pastry rectangles about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets and cover with plastic. Roll out and cut the second piece of dough as you did the first one. NOTE: I made round pie’s so I did not make an even rectangle.

 Uncover the dough on one of the cookie sheets. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each rectangle and spread down the center, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Using a small pastry brush, brush the edges of each rectangle with egg wash. Lay the remaining rectangles over the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press (or crimp) the pastry edges to seal. Lightly brush the top of each hand tart with egg wash. Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut 2 small slits in the top of each hand tart to let steam escape. Sprinkle the tops with some of the turbanado sugar and slide the cookie sheets into the fridge while the oven heats up. (NOTE: because I used fluted rounds I brushed the edge of each with the egg wash, laid the top on and gently pressed all the way around to seal)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake on center rack in oven for approximately 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan then remove to wire cooling rack. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Bake Together-Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Mosto Cotto Champagne Grape Syrup

Bake Together Buttermilk Panna Cotta

First let me say I LOVE panna cotta, and I was so happy to see this bake together didn’t involve a hot stove, not that I don’t enjoy baking, I do, really do, but it’s been so hot this is a welcome change.Abby’s Ricotta Panna Cotta with Raspberry Syrup is divine, the use of ricotta is brilliant.

The lovely people at Marx foods sent me a bottle of Mosto Cotto and I have been toying with idea’s on how to use it and the first thing that came to mind when I received it was somehow incorporating with panna cotta. First let me explain what Mosto Cotto is, it’s an Italian syrup naturally sweetened, made from Montepulciano grapes and Amarena cherries, it’s complex and utterly delicious. Tasting it, I thought it would go nicely with a tangy panna cotta.  Instead of using heavy cream and ricotta I used some full fat buttermilk,sour cream and a little heavy cream, a little less sugar than the original recipe called for and some fragrant vanilla. I saw some beautiful champagne grapes at the market and thought they would go very nicely in the syrup. The resulting dessert is a little tangy sweet and fruity.  If you don’t have this syrup you can make a cherry syrup using fresh cherries, I do recommend it though, it’s so delicious. Thank you Abby for the inspiration as always.

1 cup full fat buttermilk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp gelatin

1/4 cup water

Add the water to a pyrex measuring cup or ramekin, sprinkle gelatin on the water and set aside until the gelatin blooms.

Add buttermilk, sour cream, cream, sugar and vanilla to mixing bowl and whisk until everything is blended, there are no lumps and sugar is dissolved.

When gelatin has bloomed heat in microwave for a few seconds to liquify, whisk into the buttermilk mixture.

Pour into serving glasses or ramekins (NOTE: if using ramekins that will need to be un-molded, oil the ramekins with cooking spray or neutral oil). Pour into glasses or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Mosto Cotto Champagne Grape Syrup

1/2 cup Mosto Cotto Syrup

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup champagne grapes

zest of half a lemon

2 tbs good Italian red wine (OPTIONAL) A slightly sweet and fruity wine is good. I used  Il Conte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Add syrup to small saucepan, now add lemon zest and sugar and heat until sugar dissolves, add the grapes and cook for a few minutes, I cooked for approximately 3 minutes on med heat (You don’t want the heat too high). the grapes will start to break down a little. Remove from heat, pour through a sieve mashing the grapes (add optional red wine now) and refrigerate until ready to use. You will probably have leftover syrup, make some drinks, it’s wonderful with sparkling water served ice cold.

To Serve:

Pour cold syrup on top of the panna cotta and serve. If un-molding ramekins, put a few inches of hot water in the sink and sit the ramekin in the sink for about 5 seconds run a small flexible offset spatula or butter knife around the panna cotta to loosen the sides. Invert onto serving plate and spoon syrup over panna cotta.

Bake Together-Chocolate Shortcake With Cognac Infused Apricots

Chocolate Shortcake With Apricots

Every month I look forward to Bake Together with Abby Dodge, I was especially excited about this months challenge. I adore strawberry shortcake and Abby decided to give this American classic a twist by making a chocolate shortcake, our challenge was to make it our own, keeping the basic premise of the challenge of course,but we are able to make changes, adding our own creative spin. I made the shortcake as directed by Abby but baked it as one sheet, slightly thinner than Abby’s. After it cooled I cut rounds with my biscuit cutter. It’s the same basic idea but slightly different execution. Instead of Strawberries I used some beautiful apricots which I macerated in sugar and cognac. The whipped cream is lightly sweetened and flavored with cognac also. Chocolate and apricots are delicious together and the cognac rounds it all out beautifully. Thanks Abby for another great month of baking with you!


1 lb apricots cleaned and sliced (don’t peel)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs good cognac

Place the sliced apricots in a bowl add the sugar and cognac and gently stir to combine. Cover and let sit for an hour or more.

Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbs super fine sugar

1 tsp cognac

Whip in a cold bowl with cold beaters until it’s thick and the desired consistency,

Double Chocolate- Strawberry Shortcakes
Makes 8 servings

For the Shortcakes
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7 7/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chopped chocolate or chips
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (turbando, demerara), optional

To make the shortcakes:
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner.

2. Cut the butter in half lengthwise, cut each half lengthwise again, and then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Pile the butter onto a plate and slide it into the freezer until ready to use. Measure the buttermilk in a 1-cup Pyrex measure and add the vanilla. Using a fork, whisk until blended and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add the cold butter pieces and, using short pulses, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pieces of butter (about pea-sized) still visible, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add chopped chocolate.

4. Pour the buttermilk and vanilla over the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir and fold until it forms a shaggy, moist dough with some floury bits remaining. Scrape the dough and any remaining floury bits onto the counter and knead a few times until the dough is evenly moist and holds together well.

5. Gently press the dough into a thick 8 x 4 -inch rectangle. Using a large sharp knife, trim the edges to make a neat rectangle and cut into 8 equal squares.  Arrange the biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops with the sanding sugar, if using. Bake until puffed and spring back when the tops are gently pressed, 16 to 18 minutes. Move the sheet to a cooling rack and let the biscuits sit until they’re cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature

Place bottom half of shortcake on serving dish, spoon on apricots. Put top half on top of fruit. Spoon on the whipped cream, drizzle with some of the syrup from the apricots and enjoy.

Bake Together-Creamy Blackberry,Raspberry,Basil Galette

I am excited about this months Bake Together, Abby’s challenge this month is pie, Very Berry Mini Pies to be exact. As always we follow the basic premise of the recipe but are given the freedom to make it our own. My submission is one of my favorite spring/summer combinations, blackberry and basil. I make gelato, simple syrup and what ever I can from this flavorful combination.I decided to make small galette’s (free form tarts) and fill with blackberries and raspberries folded into a mascarpone basil cream. The crust is my go to pie crust from Julia Child and instead of vegetable shortening I use leaf lard. These sweet little galettes are creamy, loaded with berries and really delicious. Thanks Abby for another great challenge.

The Dough:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter (I used cultured) cut into pieces

4 tbs cold leaf lard or shortening cut into pieces

1/2 cup ice cold water

Add the flour and salt to food processor and pulse twice. Add the butter, lard or shortening and pulse until it resembles crumbs, pour into mixing bowl and add the water. Gently mix to combine. Divide into two discs, cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.


2 pints blackberries

1 pint raspberries (red or black)

4 basil leaves rolled and cut chiffonade

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup mascarpone

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

pinch of salt

zest of 1 lemon

Add the mascarpone, egg yolk, basil, sugar,lemon zest, flour  and salt to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the berries and fold in. Refrigerate until ready to use

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On floured surface roll a piece of the dough into a round that is approximately 7-8 inches in diameter. Spoon some of the blackberry mixture into the middle of the round and bring the sides up leaving a little of the berries exposed. Continue until you have 8 galettes’s. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When the galette’s are chilled, bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, brush with warmed apricot jam (optional) and let cool on a rack until ready to serve.

Bake Together:Date And Orange Cornmeal Buttermilk Muffins With Cardamom Streusel Topping

Bake together with Abby Dodge  this month is Cornmeal buttermilk muffins. I just want to say that I love participating in this, it is a wonderful way to be creative and as always I have a lot of fun. I used Abby’s basic recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk muffins (original recipe found by clicking on Abby Dodge above) and added my own touch. My latest obsession is with Medjool dates, the are so soft and creamy and sweet I find myself snacking on them several times a day. Dates and orange and cardamom  go together really well so I thought I would incorporate all those wonderful ingredients into these muffins. The muffins contain orange zest and dates and I made a streusel topping flavored with cardamom. NOTE: I also decreased the sugar to 1/4 cup because the dates are so sweet and I made a dozen mini muffins rather than 6 large ones.
For the muffins:
3/4 cup (3 3/8 ounces) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped medjool dates pitted
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
Streusel Topping
3 tbs flour
2 tbs light brown sugar packed
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 tbs soft butter
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 6 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners or to make mini muffins 12 liners in 12 cup muffin tin.
Mix the soft butter, flour, sugars and cardamom and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Whisk until well blended. Measure the buttermilk using a 2 cup glass measure, pour buttermilk into blender and add the chopped dates , pulse a few times so that the dates are broken up but still are in small pieces, add back to 2 cup measuring cup. Add the egg, oil, and orange zest  and mix with a table fork until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended.
Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (1/4 cup of batter per cup will be about three-quarters of the way full a little less for mini muffins). Crumble the streusel topping on each muffin. Bake until the tops are pale golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes for larger muffins because mine were smaller it took 15 minutes to bake. Move to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set them on a wire rack. Serve immediately or cool completely and stow in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. I like them best when they are served warm so please reheat before serving.

Bake Together-Goat Cheese, Pepper, Lemon Sables

Goat Cheese, Lemon,Pepper Sables

Abby Dodge’s Bake together this month is Sables,we used her spicy Parmesan sable as the base recipe and I tweaked it a bit to accommodate the ingredients that I used. Because I used goats cheese which is more moist than parmesan I decreased both the butter and liquid and instead of using water I used cold freshly squeezed lemon juice. The pepper is a 5 pepper blend, pink, white, black, green and central american allspice which I crushed using a mortar and pestle. The addition of lemon zest as well as lemon juice gives these sables a tangy flavor and the goat cheese and pepper give a bit of a bite. I served with some soft goat cheese with red pepper jam and tomato jam. Delicious! Here is the link to Bake Together with Abby Dodge.

6 oz flour- 1 1/3 cups
2 oz crumbled goat cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed whole 5 pepper blend crushed with mortar and pestle
zest of 1 lemon
7 tbs cold unsalted butter
2 tbs  cold lemon juice
Weigh or measure the flour, crush the peppercorns and add to the food processor along with the salt and lemon zest, pulse a few times. Add the goat cheese and butter and pulse until it resembles crumbs, add the lemon juice and pulse 2 or 3 more times.   Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of you hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears.  Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart (they don’t spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time,  until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Lemon Saffron Cheese Cake with Whole Meal,Pistachio,Cardamom Crust

This is my submission for the fabulous Abby Dodge’s “Bake Together” cheesecake challenge. I recently worked with Amanda from the blog “Dabblings and Whimsey” on some Persian food and that inspired this cheesecake. You find saffron in almost every Persian dish as well as a citrus element. The crust is made from ground roasted pistahio’s, whole meal cookies and cardamom. I used Abby’s cheesecake recipe and tweaked it a bit.To intensify the lemon flavor I candied lemon slices and arranged them on top of the cake. Here is the link to Abby’s blog, this was so much fun, join in and make a cheesecake!

1 1/2 cup whole meal cookies (12-14 cookies) I used Carr’s, ground in the food processor
1/2 cup roasted pistachio’s ground
3 1/2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
6 tbs butter melted.
Roast the pistachio’s on sheet pan in 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. you will smell the nuts. Take them out and let them cool.
When pistachio’s are cool place in food processor and process until nuts are ground into a fine meal. Add the whole meal cookies that have been broken into pieces and process until they are ground into a fine meal. Change oven temp to 375 degrees.
Add pistachio/whole meal crumbs to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar,cardamom and melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Press into the bottom of the prepared 9″ springform pan that has been lined with foil (tear off a large piece of foil there should be a significant overhang) Bake for 12 minutes remove from oven and let cool. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Pressed in crust

1 lemon sliced in thin slices
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Place water and sugar in small saucepan and bring to a boil, add the lemon slices and boil until the slices are almost translucent and cooked through. Remove from heat let cool and place in covered container.
3 8 oz packages of cream cheese softened to room temp
2 tbs flour
good pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs saffron
zest of one lemon
4 large eggs at room temp
Fresh raspberries to garnish
Put the lemon juice in a ramekin and add the saffron, stir and let sit while you are preparing the other ingredients.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt until very smooth and no lumps remain. It’s very important for the cream cheese to be lump free at this point so stop and scrape the beater and sides of the bowl frequently. Add the sugar, sour cream and lemon juice infused with the saffron and beat until well blended and smooth, stopping to scrape beater and bowl several times. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended, stopping to scrape beater and bowl before each addition. (Don’t over beat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Tap the bowl several times on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Using the tip of a small knife or a toothpick, pop any air bubbles on the surface.

 Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like jello when nudged, 63 to 68 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight or up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen up to 1 month.
When you are ready to serve, arrange the lemon slices on the cake brush top of cake with some of the syrup, dip each raspberry in the lemon simple syrup and arrange on cake.