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Posts tagged ‘dessert’

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Low Sugar

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I am working very hard to change my eating habits and as I’ve mentioned before one thing I have a real problem with is going without dessert. I made that cheesecake with the fruit topping which was delicious but I wanted to try something I didn’t have to bake. This is really a non recipe, only a few simple ingredients but it turned out absolutely delicious. Again it’s all about portion size and I made these in little cupcake papers. They are tiny but just enough to satisfy. What I love about this is that there is no cooking or baking required and it’s ready in a flash.

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

Makes 6

8 oz cream cheese

2 tsp organic stevia

1 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 oz dark chocolate broken into pieces

1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

Carrs whole meal biscuit

chocolate to drizzle

ground hazelnuts to garnish ((I used King Arthur toasted hazelnut flour)

Heat the half and half or heavy cream in the microwave to scalding approximately 40 seconds. Add the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, if you need to put it back in the microwave do it for 20 seconds.

Place cream cheese,stevia and vanilla in the food processor and pulse until creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and process for a few seconds until combined and it’s smooth.

Place a whole meal biscuit at the bottom of the cupcake liners and spoon a little of the cheesecake mixture on top. Smooth the top and refrigerate until set. About 4 hours.

I used cupcake cups with straight sides but you can use regular cupcake liners. Removing was fairly simple, I ran a small flexible offset spatula to loosen the edges then tore the cupcake paper to release and using the spatula I lifted the cheesecake onto the plate.

Serve with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of ground hazelnuts.

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The Versatile Crepe

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Does anyone remember Magic Pan Creperie? I don’t know if they are still around but it was always one of my favorite places to eat. Crepes are such a wonderful food you can have them at any meal, they can be a lovely breakfast either sweet or savory and make an amazing dessert, think Crepe Suzette. They are light and paper thin pancakes, more egg than flour, a very runny batter swirled in a crepe pan. They take only minutes to cook and are so delicious. I have used this recipe for many years, it’s from Julia Child and it never fails to produce a perfect crepe.

Fill with ricotta or farmers cheese and serve with a mound of berries, they are delicious served as shown in my photo at the top of the page, very simple, folded, topped with blackberries macerated in orange or tangerine syrup and a squeeze of orange or tangerine juice and dust with some confectioners sugar, or a savory breakfast crepe can be filled with scrambled eggs, chives, cheese  and if you like bacon. ham or sausage. A dinner crepe can be filled with meat or vegetables or make manicotti . For dessert you can serve Crepe Suzette or simply fill with vanilla ice cream and add roasted apples or pears. The possibilities are endless, and it’s all good.

I am bringing the manicotti to Fiesta Friday #114,  steadfast Angie has this party every week without fail and this week her co host, yep co host this week is the lovely Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook 

I am also bringing Mr. Percy I hope it’s a pet friendly party, maybe there will be some other dogs for Percy to play with and I got him an assortment of bow ties just for the occasion. Which one should Percy wear to the party, they are all so festive. Percy is part of a pug pack on Instagram and you will see many of the pugs wearing these adorable bow ties. I got these ties from Mollys Pawtique in case anyone wants a super cute bow tie for their fur kid.

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Crepes

Makes 10 8 inch crepes

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup cold milk

2/3 cup cold water

3 large eggs

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbs melted unsalted butter

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s all combined and there is no trace of lumps or flour. Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour or more before making the crepes.

Heat your pan (I recommend non stick)  until drops of water dance on the surface. Brush pan with butter and pour approximatly 3 or 4 tbs of batter into the pan swirling the pan in all directions until the bottom is covered. Cook  on medium high until the edges start to come away from the sides of the pan, gently flip with spatula the crepe will be lightly browned, let the other side brown, stack on rack with parchment in between each crepe. If serving immediately you can keep them in the oven with the temperature on warm. They freeze beautifully as well separated by parchment and place in zip lock bag.

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Manicotti

Makes 4

1-1 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta

1 egg lightly beaten

small handfull Italian flat leaf parsley chopped

1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top

salt and pepper

your favorite marinara sauce

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with some of the marinara. Place a crepe on work surface and add a few tbs of the ricotta filling, roll the crepe and place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon more of the marinara on top of the manicotti and sprinkle with some grated cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. Serve immediately with some more sauce and grated cheese.

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Triple Layer Black Forest Cake For Fiesta Friday #100

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This is really a simple cake to both make and assemble. My favorite chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s is so easy to make and quick to prepare, whipped cream frosting and cherry preserves. It’s the Holidays so go festive with the garnish, I shaved some chocolate on top and coated some fruit (apricots, cherries,kumquats,grapes and cranberries) with sugar by simply brushing with lightly beaten egg white and dusting with granulated sugar except the sugared cranberries which get a good soak in a sugar syrup then a roll in granulated sugar.

As I mentioned in my last post this is the 100th Fiesta Friday Party, it’s a milestone and I am honored to be a co host for this 2 week, (YES, the party lasts 2 weeks) bash. Our host as always is the effervescent and steadfast Angie, thank you for making this possible Angie, and my wonderful and lovely co-hosts are Judi, Mollie, Steffi, we are waiting to welcome you all to the party. EVERYONE is welcome to join in the festivities, the link to join is at the end of this post. Merry Christmas to all have a joyous day with friends and family and enjoy copious amounts of delicious food!!

Chocolate Cake

From Hershey’s

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup milk at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare three 8 inch round cake pans, grease or butter or spray, line with parchment round, grease again and dust with flour.

In large mixing bowl whisk or sift together the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the wet ingredients, milk, egg, oil, vanilla but NOT the boiling water. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and mix only until combined. Distribute evenly in baking pans and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on your oven or until cake tester comes out clean.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

From James Mcnair’s Cakes

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups Heavy whipping cream Divided
1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
Place metal bowl and wire whisk beater or beaters in freezer to chill.
In a small saucepan combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch whisk until mixed. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream whisk until smooth. Place on medium heat and stir constantly to prevent scorching at the bottom stir constantly until mixture thickens and almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside stirring occasionally until it reaches room temperature.
In the chilled bowl combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and the vanilla beat with the chilled whisk of your stand mixer or your hand held mixer until the cream begins to hold shape. While still beating add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat just until the mixture forms stiff peaks when the beater is raised and is spreadable, be careful not to over beat. Use immediately.

Assembling the Cake

Place bottom layer on cake stand, spread some cherry preserves on and top with some whipped cream frosting, place the second layer on and do the same finishing with the top layer flat side on the top. Top with more whipped cream frosting and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving arrange the sugared fruit on top or whatever garnish you choose.

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To make sugared fruit click here and see a video tutorial from Martha Stewart. It’s so simple.

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I hope you all will want to come to the party and all are welcome!! To link your recipe simply click the button. See you at the party!!

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A “Divine” Chocolate Giveaway And A DIVINE Triple Chocolate Cake

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

I planned on two posts this was going to be the second, the first is a recipe I am developing using Divine Chocolate, well this will be first because I have had some setbacks and the recipe didn’t turn out so it’s back to the drawing board. Stay tuned for another totally DIVINE recipe. The chocolate is fantastic and so is the company, owned and operated by the farmers it is truly a cooperative venture that is a recipe for success.  A Fair Trade product of outstanding quality you don’t get better than that.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, well I am sure there are a few that don’t and then there are those poor souls that are allergic. But for the rest of us and speaking for myself there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t at least have a bite of chocolate. Since I discovered just how wonderful Divine Chocolate is, it’s always in my pantry and is now my go to chocolate for baking and eating,  I have partnered with the very lovely people at Divine for a fantastic giveaway, I know you will love this chocolate as much as I do and you will really love this Bakers collection.  Open to US residents only I am so sorry my friends abroad!! Just leave a comment here and I will use random.org to pick 3 lucky winners on October 14, see below for directions on how to enter. Good luck everyone!!

Divine Chocolate Giveaway 3 lucky winners!!
Divine Chocolate, the premium chocolate brand and Fair Trade social enterprise co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, is giving away ***THREE*** Divine Bakers’ Collection Gift Sets so you can Make Something Divine. Each gift collection contains two 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars, one 38% Milk Chocolate Baking Bar and a 4.5 tin of unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is:

  • Follow @bklynpuggal on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set #DivineInNYC
  • Like Divine Chocolate USA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/divinechocolateUSA) and leave the comment:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by apuginthekitchen #DivineInNYC
  • Follow @DivineChocUSA on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by bklynpuggal#DivineInNYC

Good Luck! Winners will be selected at random and notified by [Oct. 14, 2013]. Divine Chocolate is responsible for delivery of the Gift Sets. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

I couldn’t resist, since I am working  with all of this fabulous Divine Chocolate I had to resurrect my favorite chocolate cake. For this cake you are using 3 types of chocolate , Divine unsweetened cocoa powder in the cake, Divine white chocolate in the Mousse and Divine Milk Chocolate for the ganache, Irresistible!!

White Chocolate Mousse
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 6 ounces Divine white chocolate chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups Divine unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
  • soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour.
In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cakes sit in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto cake rack to cool.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 oz Divine milk chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)
Assembling:
Place one cake layer on serving plate, spoon the mousse on and spread, you may not need to use all of the mousse it will be very thick I used about half, place other layer on top, pour and  spread the ganache on the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving if it was refrigerated.

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

I entered this cake in a recipe contest at Food52, we had to create a frozen dessert. I am a real lover of chocolate so I satisfied my craving with this cake. I am honored that my recipe was tested and photographed by the editors at Food52 and the beautiful photograph below was taken by James Ransom. I received a Community Pick!!

Who doesn’t love a Brooklyn Blackout Cake, the iconic cake that became the official cake of Brooklyn, made famous by it’s creators at Ebingers Bakery. Three layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding, frosted with the pudding and cake crumbs pressed on the side of the cake. This is a frozen version of this famous cake, 3 layers of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate semifreddo,chocolate ganache and cake crumbs. I made a chocolate sponge but you can use whatever type of cake you want or even cookie crumbs, this particular cake recipe freezes really well. I used my new favorite brand of chocolate for this cake, Divine (fair trade) chocolate, both the cocoa powder and the bar chocolate. It’s wonderful and I can’t say enough about the quality. Love it!

Makes 1 large loaf cake

Cake and Semifreddo:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Semifreddo
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and buter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.
  2. In a bowl over a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave at high heat stirring every 30 seconds), melt chocolate and espresso powder and set aside. Keep pot of water simmering on the stove – you’ll use it again.  Whip cream and cream cheese to soft peaks and store in fridge until ready to use. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a metal or glass bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk until it thickens and sugar is melted, remove from simmering water and whisk constantly until doubled in volume, and whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted from bowl. Whisk in melted chocolate and allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes, you don’t want to melt the whipped cream. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, in two additions, until evenly incorporated.

Ganache and assembling:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
  1. Heat milk until scalding, add chocolate and corn syrup to hot cream, let sit for approximately 5 minutes, stir until smooth. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. Line loaf pan with plastic wrap (I like to spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray before I lay the sheet of plastic. Take your cooled cake and cut 3 pieces that will fit in your loaf pan, lay one layer on the bottom pour half of the semifreddo on top, add another layer of cake, pour on the rest of the semifreddo, top with another layer of cake. Save the leftover cake you will need it for the crumb layer. Wrap well with plastic wrap and let freeze overnight.
  3. Crumble the leftover cake and set aside, I pulsed a couple of time in the processor. Remove cake from loaf pan, all you have to do is lift out the plastic if it won’t come out just quickly dip pan in some warm water. place on serving dish and remove plastic. Spread a thin layer of ganache on the sides of cake, press crumbs on sides, spread ganache on top of cake and freeze until ready to serve.

Here is the photo taken by James Ransom at food52. Looks so much better than mine.

Photo by James Ransom,Food52

Photo by James Ransom,Food52

Stuffed Pears en Papillote

Baked Pears

Baked Pears

I made this over a year ago and posted on Food52, it’s a light and delicious dessert and thought it was a good idea to re-visit and post here. Baked pears remind me of the fall and winter.  For this dish I used forelle pears, they are very small and you will need 2 pears per serving I stuffed them with walnuts that I toasted with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and added dried cranberries, then I slathered them with softened butter and rolled in turbinado sugar. I wanted to try a different method to bake them and I decided to try baking in parchment. The result is a tender pear steamed in its own juices its sweet and buttery. Delicious on its own or served with some ice cream, whipped cream,mascarpone, soft cheese or creme anglaise. You can use the pear of your choice for this recipe.

Serves 4

The filling:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup walnuts (depending on the size of the pears)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries (depending on the size of the pears)
  • 1-2 tablespoon salted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Melt your butter. In bowl add the walnuts and pour melted butter on the nuts toss to coat, Add the brown sugar and cinnamon toss again to make sure the brown sugar and cinnamon coat each walnut.
  2. Pour onto baking sheet and spread out. Bake for 5-8 minutes careful not to burn the nuts. Remove from oven and let cool. When they are cooled give the nuts a rough chop and add the cranberries, toss to combine and set aside.

The Pears and baking:

  • 8 forelle pears cored and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened (use more or less as needed)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup turbinado sugar(start with 1/4 cup add more if you need it)
  • parchment paper and butchers twine
  • walnut and cranberry mixture
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and core your pears from the bottom leave the stem intact. Peel the pear. Stuff each with the walnut and cranberries. Rub each pear generously with the softened butter, roll the pear in the turbinado sugar.
  2. Tear off 8 generously sized pieces of parchment, place the pear in the middle and gather up around the stem and tie off with butchers twine if there is too much on top trim with scissors, Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. If you use larger pears the baking time will increase to 35-40 minutes approximately. Enjoy alone or with ice cream,whipped cream or cheese.

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Semolina Olive Oil Cake

Semolina Olive Oil Cake

Semolina Olive Oil Cake

I went to brunch with a friend and she said I had to taste a piece of this lovely citrusy rustic cake.  One bite and I knew I had to try to recreate it. I thought it might be a semolina olive oil cake infused with citrus (It was an Italian Restaurant). I researched some recipes and came up with this recipe that I adapted from Epicurious.  They made it in a 9″ springform pan ( I thought I had one but didn’t) so I decided to use a loaf pan. Their recipe also had candied orange slices on top which I decided not to do but instead rely on the juice and zest of the citrus to provide the citrus flavor. The cake is very moist and sweet, while the cake is hot you poke small holes with a thin skewer all over the cake and pour the warm syrup all over it, let it soak in and then pour some more. I am including the recipe with the original proportion of sugar in the cake but next time I make it I am going to reduce the sugar by half because the syrup really sweetens the cake. The loaf pan is oiled with olive oil and the cake develops a lovely almost crisp exterior on the bottom and sides of the cake.

Syrup:
2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of small orange or tangerine and lemon
Place all ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat, reduce to med/high and boil for 10-15 minutes or until syrup reduces by approximately half.  Set aside.
 Cake:
1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour (pasta flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush loaf pan pan with oil. Whisk both flours and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl for 1 minute. Beat in yolks, then flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter just to blend in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top.Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a skewer. Slowly drizzle 1/4 cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 1/4 cup more syrup over. Reserve remaining syrup for serving. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Applesauce Coffee Cake
I make this recipe every year during apple season, it’s hands down one of my favorites. The cake is so moist and the aroma when baking is heavenly. I like to make homemade apple cider applesauce for the cake, it’s so easy and I think it really adds to the flavor of the cake, but using commercially made applesauce is perfectly acceptable. I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine about 6 years ago. It’s loaded with apples, spices and is utterly delicious. I can’t wait for the apples to arrive at the farmers market this will be the first thing I make. My family loves it as do I. It keeps well and even tastes better the next day.
APPLE CIDER APPLESAUCE
  • 1 pound juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled. cored and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup  apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, you can use white, turbinado or brown your choice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Clean, peel, core and quarter the apples. Add to a medium saucepan. Add the cider, sugar and salt and boil until apples are soft. Remove from heat and mash (I used a potato masher) keep some small chunks of apples. Set aside to cool.
THE CRUMBLE TOPPING AND CAKE
  •  The Crumble Topping
  • 4 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup toasted pecans chopped (If you have a nut allergy the nuts can be omitted)
  •  The Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons  cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves (Optional, I didn’t use, really don’t like cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup  apple cider applesauce
  • 2 small juicy apples (Macintosh work very well) peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans chopped OPTIONAL
  1. Make your crumble topping. In small bowl combine the butter, sugar, oats,flour, cinnamon, salt and pecans mix with fork or by hand to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your tube pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. (I recommend using a non stick pan) Sift flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Cream butter and white and brown sugar in your electric mixer until smooth about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time make sure egg is incorporated before you add another one. With mixer on low add the applesauce and then the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Add the optional chopped pecans and fold in.
  3. Pour batter into oiled pan. Place apple slices on top of cake tucking some into the batter,sprinkle on the crumble topping. Bake for 60-70 minutes check by inserting cake tester (I used a bamboo skewer) near the middle of the cake and it should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pan on wire rack.
  4. Remove from pan and if you do not serve immediately wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to serve. NOTE: if you make in a bundt pan like I did it could take some coaxing to get it out of the pan when  cooled. It could be easier to remove from a tube pan because it does not have all the grooves that a bundt pan does.

Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Figs are in season and then they are gone like a flash. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fresh figs available in a recipe using Mosto Cotto syrup. It’s delicious, and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. I used it as a syrup to pair with a buttermilk panna cotta and as a glaze for ribs. It’s so versatile. For this recipe I steeped fresh mission figs in Mosto Cotto with black peppercorns, orange and cointreau. I wanted the figs to retain their shape and texture so instead of poaching in the syrup I steeped them for a few hours. The figs were soft but firm enough to retain their shape and the flavor of the syrup permeated each fig. I then sliced them, and reduced the syrup by about half and used it as a glaze for the figs. The tangy goat cheese only slightly sweetened with honey and  the figs steeped in delicious Mosto Cotto syrup is delicious. I made a traditional pie dough because I wanted something flaky and a bit more delicate than a tart dough, I used my go to recipe from Julia Child. This would be equally delicious though in a more substantial tart crust or even puff pastry.I created this recipe when I was asked to do a guest post for Marx Foods, who carry Mosto Cotto,  and I happily agreed to do so. I will always keep a bottle in my pantry, it’s just that good.  The beauty of this tart is how easy it is to prepare. It really takes almost no time at all to put together, and makes a lovely not too sweet dessert or put a slice or two of prosciutto di parma on top for a nice lunch. NOTE: If you can purchase Mosto Cotto I highly recommend but if you can’t use wine, the Mosto Cotto is made from Montepulciano grapes from the Abruzzo region of Italy and also Amarena Cherries, try to find a wine using those grapes if you can (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)  for the syrup if you cannot then use a good red wine it will be fine.

Figs and Syrup

1lb (6-7 fresh ripe figs)
1/2 cup Mosto Cotto Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
2 strips (approx 2 inches wide) orange skin- careful not to include the pith
3 whole black peppercorns
1 tbs cointreau
Bring mosto cotto, sugar, orange rind, peppercorns and cointreau to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s simmering slice the figs in half and place in heat proof bowl. Pour the hot syrup over the figs and cover. Let sit until it reaches room temperature.
Making the tart
10.5 oz soft goat cheese (chevre) at room temperature
1 heaping tbs honey (I used peach blossom)
Favorite pie dough, tart crust recipe. (You could also use puff pastry for this)

Juilia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough.  Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Blind bake your pie dough, I like to use a rectangular shape for this tart, either use a fluted rectuangular tart pan or a small 1/2 sheet pan. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your dough to fit into the tin, prick with fort multiple times, ( chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes before baking) place a piece of parchment on top and add pie weights or beans.Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and bake again for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool. While the pie crust is cooling slice the figs into thin slices approximately 1/4 inch thick, set aside. Pour the remaining syrup into sauce pan, removing peppercorns and orange zest and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and reduce by 1/2 (It takes about 10 minutes) or until syrup thickens.  Let cool.
Place goat cheese in mixing bowl add honey and whip until fluffy.
Smooth onto tart, arrange figs on top and brush some of the reduced mosto cotto syrup over the fruit. Serve as is or it’s delicious to lay a slice of prosciutto di parma on top.

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.