Category Archives: Dessert

Blueberry Buckle

It’s official–My baking block is over! I’m back to cooking too. The long work hours, new wifehood, and zumba take up a lot of a girl’s time and doesn’t leave time for much of anything else. Most of the time, I get home from work or class and all I feel like doing is plopping. My little bro and I call it “potato time”. (Oh, did I mention–my younger brother is now living with me? Yes, in my studio. He has a mattress all the way on the other side of the coffee table. I’ll get more into it later, but it’s actually pretty great. I like having him around!)

Anyway, potato time. Its been my go-to home hobby for the past, oh, 6 months. So much has happened. I started my dream job, Liam moved in, I fell in love with zumba–and I got married. And as a result, I stopped cooking, baking, and sometimes even cleaning. But it’s all over now. I’m back!

Yesterday was Sunday–my new LMA (leave me alone) day. And I baked this pretty little blueberry buckle. Much like the French apple tart recipe from my last post, fruit is the leading lady. It’s like a pound of blueberries, a simple batter, and streusel topping.

Love: The streusel is the batter mix before adding liquid.
Love: Berries start on top and sink to through the batter while baking.
Love: Super transportable for taking to work.

Don’t love: I had to bake 20 min. longer than stated in the recipe.

It’s tart and über-berry. I think you’ll like it. So here’s the recipe and a few pics of the sweet thing.

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French Apple Cake

I think it’s been 6 months since I last posted. I even thought about giving up my little blog. In the end, though, I think I’ll keep going.

I’ve been wanting to this cake for weeks. It’s simple, custardy, and more apple than cake. Here’s the link to the recipe. It’s delicious and super fruity. Make it. Oh, an eat it with ice cream.

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Coconut Pumpkin Pie with an Almond Crust

I better get a move on with all these recipes. Christmas is almost here and I’m still trying to catch upon everything from Thanksgiving! So I’ll keep this post short and sweet.

What: Coconut Pumpkin Pie with an Almond Crust

Where: From 101 Cookbooks

Why it’s special: The filling is made with coconut milk and the edge is lined with roasted almond paste. (The paste SHOULD have been a spread for the crust, but I forgot and only remembered last minute to use it.)

Coconut Pumpkin Pie (recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks and Butter)

INGREDIENTS

Crust (Makes enough for 2)

3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup super fine sugar
1 1/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

2 cups hazelnuts (divided) , toasted (I used almonds.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 extra large eggs PLUS one for glaze, lightly beaten
1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

For the crust

  1. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor or stand mixer. Mix on a low speed until mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg yolks, cold water and vanilla, and process until a dough forms.
  3. Form two disc from the  dough and wrap each separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the nut paste

  1. Puree 1 1/2 cups of the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they turn into a hazelnut paste, past the ‘crumble’ stage. Set aside.
  2. Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of hazelnuts and set aside separately, these will be sprinkled on top after the pie is baked. (I forgot this entire part and only as an afterthought did I use the paste to line the edge of the pie. Spread on the crust would have been better.)

For the filling

  1. To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice blend, salt and arrowroot. Stir in the pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Now stir in the eggs and coconut milk until just combined. Set aside.

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. When you are ready to make your pie, remove one of the discs of pastry from the fridge. (The other you can save for your next pie.)
  2. On a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is big enough to line your pie dish.
  3. Lightly flour the dough and gently roll it up onto your rolling pin. Then unroll it into your pie dish, easing it in and pressing it into any edges. Trim the excess pastry, leaving a 2cm (1 inch) overhang.
  4. Before filling the pie crust, crumble the hazelnut paste on top of the pie dough into the pie plate, quickly and gently press it into a thin layer across the bottom creating a layer of hazelnuts that will sit between the dough and the filling. Using the last egg gently brush the decorative edges of the pie dough. Use a fork to prick the pie dough a few times to prevent air bubbles.
  5. Fill the pie crust with the filling and bake for about 50 minutes – the center of the pie should just barely jiggle when you move the pie – the edges should be set.
  6. Let the pie cool a bit, this makes slicing less messy. Serve straight or with a dollop of bourbon-spiked, sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.

Someone's excited for pie!


Classic Apple Pie with a Braided Crust

There are no surprises when it comes to apple pie, which is probably one of the reasons it’s such a classic and beloved dessert. Flaky crust; sweet and tart filling–a good one will soothe and fill every heart, soul and tummy with content!

That said, this pie did surprise me: First, by it’s interesting cook-before-you-bake filling and second, by its overwhelming popularity. It was more popular than the coconut pumpkin (recipe to come soon) AND I was asked to make a second, larger one just two days later!

It’s basically one recipe I used here, from Butter. The filling requires stewing before baking, which was a new concept to me. I was worried that the apples would end up a smushy mess, but they didn’t. They totally held they’re shape. The cooking softened the tartness and allowed the juices and spice to really marry and develop. As for the crust, it’s basic and really good–flaky, buttery, light. As with any crust, just be careful not to over work it when you roll it out–it’ll be hard and heavy if you do. The cool shaping into braids idea came from Food For My Family. I saw her photo on Tastespotting and decided to try to recreate it the effect. It turned out to be super simple and so very delicate and pretty!

I love this pie: yummy filling, lovely crust. The first one was great and the second was even better! I threw a handful of raisins in with the apples. They added a nice juicy pop, I thought. Also, I was able to serve the pie still warm and it was awesome. I’d definitely suggest serving it warm if you can.

Enjoy!

Classic Apple Pie (recipe courtesy of Butter and Food For My Family)

Serves 8-10.

INGREDIENTS

Crust

3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup super fine sugar
250g (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Filling

8 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornflour

METHOD

For the crust

  1. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor or stand mixer. Mix on a low speed until mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg yolks, cold water and vanilla, and process until a dough forms.
  3. Take a third of the dough, shape it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. This will be your lattice. Form a disc with the remaining dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. This will be your crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the filling

  1. Peel, core and chop the apples into 2cm (1 inch) cubes.
  2. Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan. Cook, over a low heat for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be soft but still hold their shape.
  3. Drain the juice from the apples into a small bowl. Stir in the cornflour until it dissolves and return this mixture to the apples. Mix to combine. Set aside.

Assembly

  1. When you are ready to make your pie, remove the larger disc of pastry from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 365 F and grease a pie dish well.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is big enough to line your pie dish.
  3. Lightly flour the dough and gently roll it up onto your rolling pin. Then unroll it into your pie dish, easing it in and pressing it into any edges. Trim the excess pastry, leaving a 2cm (1 inch) overhang.
  4. Fill the pastry shell with the apple filling.
  5. Remove the smaller disc of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is big enough to cover your pie dish. Trim the extra dough so that you create an even lip that just reaches the edge of the dish.
  6. Roll out the excess dough and cut into thin, long strips. Then braid and line the edge of the pie. Press gently to seal.
  7. Brush the entire pie with water or egg wash. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until the crust is golden brown.

Pretty braided crust

Another Portland Thanksgiving

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I’m home again. I baked, I ate, I traditioned. After all that, I’m ready for sleep.

I’ll write about the pies tomorrow.

Ciao ciao and happy thanksgiving

Theresa

It’s raining. I need cake.

Yes, it’s raining in San Francisco. I’m from Oregon, so I shouldn’t (and normally don’t) care. But, it’s been a tough week at work, I’m tired, it’s wet outside…and I haven’t baked in ages.

So I stayed in tonight, foregoing happy hour, friends and perhaps even dancing. Instead, I made cake. And actually, I’m really happy I did. It feels good to be home, doing something just for me. I need to do this more often.

The recipe is Martha Stewart’s via Shoots and Roots. I made a few modifications:

  • 2 eggs, not 1: Because 2 in this case seemed better than 1!
  • 1 tbsp sugar, not  2 for sprinkling: Shoots and Roots said so.
  • Almond milk, not regular: I needed to save the milk for my morning coffee 🙂
  • Loaf pan, not pie: Because I halved the recipe. (It IS just for me–and the rest for the office tomorrow.)
It’s good. It’s one of those humble share-with-the-one-you-love cakes. You know those? The kind that warms your heart on rainy days like today.

Enjoy.

Strawberry Cake (a Martha Stewart recipe courtesy of Shoots and Roots)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup, plus 2 tbsp sugar

2  large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10 inch pie plate or 10 1/2 inch cast iron pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix butter and 1 cup sugar in a separate large bowl and mix on medium high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is soft and fluffy, ca. 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and add the eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
  3. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Transfer the batter the pie plate or cast iron pan and spread evenly. The batter will be thick. Arrange strawberries on top, cut side down. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp sugar on top of the cake.
  4. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 F. Bake until golden brown, ca. firm to the touch and pulled away from the sides of the pan, 55-60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges (or slices) and serve. Cover loosely; can be stored on the countertop for up to 2 days.

Haupia

A gift from my friend Candice. Delicious, creamy coconut pudding from Hawaii.

And it came from a mix.


Liwi’s Believe in God Brownies

I was in Phoenix visiting my best friend Leah. (Oh! Already 2 months ago!) Our fairy tale began when we were 11 years old, believe it or not. We were both in the middle school band–she played trumpet and I played the clarinet. Maaaany years later, she is still my heart, my Liwi.

Anyway, my weekend desert getaway with Liwi was full of coffee, crosswords, swimming and general bopping around. I even convinced her to bake her  famous “Believe in God” Brownies for me. With a name like that one, you just know these are no ordinary brownies. The recipe calls for 1 cup butter, 4 cups chocolate, 1 cup cream, so you’ll definitely want to save making them for only very special occasions.

White and dark chocolate brownie smothered with creamy, rich ganache and topped with toasted nuts. I’m speechless.

So here is the recipe–from Liwi to me and now me to you.

Believe in God Brownies (recipe courtesy of Leah)

INGREDIENTS

Brownies

1 cup butter

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white chocolate chips

Ganache

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups premium chocolate chips

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans

METHOD

For the brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9 by 13 inch baking pan by greasing with butter or spraying with a cooking spray (such as Pam).
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Over low heat add unsweetened chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted.
  3. Remove from heat, mix in sugar (in saucepan). Add eggs and vanilla, stir until incorporated.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir just until combined (be careful not to overwork). Gently stir in white chocolate.
  5. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes just until brownies begin to pull away from the sides. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the ganache-nut topping:

  1. Over low heat in a medium saucepan, bring heavy cream to just to boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Let sit for a few moments in order to melt chocolate. Stir until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Let mixture cool and thicken slightly, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Spread chocolate ganache over completely cooled brownies.
  3. Press chopped, toasted pecans into the ganache. Let ganache harden and then cut into squares and then into triangles.

Hefeschnecken (Sweet Rolls with Hazelnut-Raisin Filling)

Alright, one recipe for you. (Blogging after being away for such a long time is hard!) Sugary, sticky, pull apart rolls filled with ground hazelnut, grated apple and raisins! In German they’re called “Hefeschnecken” which literally means “yeast snails”. Ick, I prefer my English title. 😀

By the way, the recipe I used is from my favorite Swiss cookbook, Tiptopf. I think it’s the one all the kids use when they learn to cook at school. It’s the best!

Enjoy!

Hefeschnecken (recipe from Tiptopf)

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough

300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

60 g (2 tbsp) butter, at room temp.

20 g fresh (2 1/4 tsp active dry) yeast

100 ml milk

1 egg

Filling

3 tbsp apricot jam (I used plum)

150 g ground hazelnuts

3 tbsp sugar

1 apple, grated (with peel is fine)

1/2 cup raisins

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

4-6 tbsp milk or cream, at room temp.

Glaze

5 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp water

METHOD

For the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, mixing lightly with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Stir together yeast and milk. Allow to sit and “activate” for ca. 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and mix, gradually bringing the dry into the wet. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then cover, put in a warm place and allow it to rest until doubled in size.
For the nut filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ground nuts, sugar, raisins, grated apple, lemon zest and juice and milk or cream. Note: the filling should be moist, but not runny.
For assembly:
  1. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 3 mm thick.
  2. Spread the apricot jam over the surface of the dough, followed by the nut filling. Then distribute the raisins evenly over the top.
  3. From one end of the dough, start rolling. Once rolled, hold the outermost dough layer in place and slice into 5 cm thick disks.
  4. Lay the disks cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the bottom half of a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 220 C and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. When the rolls are about ready to come out of the oven, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water until combined.
  2. With a pastry brush, spread evenly over the hot rolls.


A Request for Bread Pudding

I got a special request for bread pudding the other day. Though I could have mixed in fun things like coconut, apple, rum or pumpkin and made an extra caramel, bourbon or hot custard sauce to serve, I decided to keep things simple. It’s interesting—whenever people ask me to make something, I think about who s/he is as a person in life and then try to translate this into the dish. In the case of this bread pudding, nostalgia was key. So as I listened to reminiscences about the version a beloved grandmother used to make, I knew that classic, warm and with raisins was the way to go.

The recipe is from Allrecipes. There are exactly eight ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your kitchen. You mix it all together, bake and what you get is soft eggy-bread in a sweet, heartwarming custard. It may be simple, but sometimes simple really is best.

Enjoy.

Bread Pudding (slightly adapted from Allrecipes)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

6 slices day-old bread (I used half a day-old batard)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, plus extra for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C.
  2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar over the top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.