Category Archives: Desserts

Mink Pie. Possum Pie’s Overdressed Friend

I fluffed this ish up! Is it a cheese cake? Is it a mousse? Who cares! Its delightful. You should make the mousse many hours ahead so it can set.

For the mousse its Julia child’s recipe. She was a saint.

6oz semi sweet or dark chocolate

6 oz butter

1/4 cup brewed coffee

4 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 tablespoon water

A pinch of salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Melt together the butter, chocolate, and coffee, and mix it together until smooth. You can use a double boiler or a microwave. But you’ll be using that double broiler again in a hot minute so.. do you friend.

In a bowl over the double boiler, whisk together the egg yokes sugar, and rum and water until it thickens to tiny mayo, about 3 minutes.

Remove it from the heat, and place the bowl over another bowl of ice water, whisk it until it once again, thickens, and fold in the chocolate.

Next whisk your egg whites with the salt until they start to hold their shape and add in a tablespoon of sugar, and continue whisking until their shiny and peaks form. But not stiff peaks, and add in the vanilla.

Finally, fold the the whites into the chocolate until just combined, and pop it in the fridge to set for about 4 hours.

For the crust

1 1/2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs

5 tbs melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix together the brown sugar, melted butter and Graham crack crumbs. Press into a spring form pan and bake for 10 minutes. Then set it aside to cool completely.

For the cream cheese layer

8 oz Cream cheese

8 oz maracapone

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup chocolate shavings? Tiny chocolate chips? Crushed chocolate ribbons? Pick your poison

Combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar. Add the tiny chips after everything is well mixed.

Putting it together

After the crust has cooled, put down the chocolate layer first, filling the pie crust about halfway. Then do the cream cheese layer, about the same amount. I like to decorate mine with chocolate crisp pearls, the chocolate ribbons and edible gold dust to be super fancy, or you can just smother it with whip cream, your call. Those things are just sitting in my cupboard..

Possum pie is something you bring to the potluck when you are mad at the people attending. Mink pie is something made with love, and dressed to impress, that shouldn’t sit out on a potluck table for many hours, because it will probably kinda just melt into itself.

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Coconut Hazelnut Pecan Tart. My bastardized version of pecan pie.

I am a pecan pie naes-sayer. They are overly sweet and gooey, and if they aren’t cold they kind of ooze all over you with their sticky nutty mess. That being said, my mind was recently changed by my friend, Laura. I went over for a day of goofing off downtown and baking. I was pleasantly surprised by what popped out of the oven (she makes the best baked goods). We made pecan pie bars, with a large smattering of hazelnuts in them. Their sweet scent filled the  apartment, and they came out quite tasty. So I took that delightful bar recipe she found on allrecipes, and changed it into something that looks nothing like the original.

For the crust

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

approx 1 tbs or less ice cold water

Mix together the flour, butter, salt and brown sugar in a food processor, or by hand until the ingredients are reduced to crumbles. Add in the water, mix it into the dough, and press it into a lightly oiled tart pan. Its too sticky and soft to roll out. You’ll just end up using all your swears otherwise.

For the pecan pie goo.

4 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup crushed pecans

1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, whisk the eggs with the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla extract. Add in the coconut, pecans and hazelnuts, and pour that into your tart pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until when you give the pan a light shove it no longer undulates a wave of goo.

Semi Sweet Chocolate Drizzle

Just use dark or semi sweet chocolate, this thing is already teaming with sugar. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate is a welcome additive to the to the salivary gland squeezing sweetness of this tart.

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

On low, melt the butter. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until they are melted and combined well with the butter. If you’re a neanderthal like me, pour it into a plastic sandwich bag, seal the top, a cut a small hole in one of the corner. Drizzle that over the top of your pecan pie once it pops out of the oven, and let it cool for at least an hour.

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The Butterhorn Connoisseurs Butterhorn

Many years ago I worked for Starbucks. Back when they had butterhorn cookies. The thing about their butterhorns is, they came in two different qualities, often arriving in the same box. five or six of them would be smooth and shiny, and the rest of them would be this crackled, dull looking cookie. They tasted that way too. You could always tell the customers who knew what they were looking for by the sometimes VERY specific choice as to which butterhorn they wanted. 

What you put in the inside filling is really your business, I prefer simplicity. Brown sugar and cinnamon. Some people prefer finely chopped pecans or walnuts, others put raisins in it (sacrilege).

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream 

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamon

2 cups flour

Filling

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk (A splash, I’m guessing… never actually meassured)

Combine your wet ingredients until well mixed, and then add in the spices and flour. This is a relatively moist dough. You will need to chill it until its workable, possibly over night. Once your dough has chilled, split it in half. and roll it out into a circle on a floured surface and cut it up like a pizza. Cover the top of the circle in your filling, and roll the cookies from the fat side to the skinny side. and set them on a greased baking sheet. Bake them at 375 for approximately 15 minutes. Set them aside to cool for 15 minutes, and then spread a light layer of glaze over the top of each cookie. Let them sit for another 30 minutes and enjoy!DSC_0309

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Rhubarb and custard Tart

Guess what season it is kids?? Rhubarb season. I really think people don’t give this lovely vegetable enough credit. It goes great with fish, and makes lovely tart desserts, and it is possibly the easiest gigantic weed you’ll ever grow. I made some delicious rhubarb and custard tarts this weekend. My large tart was beautiful, and delicious however making this into mini tarts was the best option because its just a little impossible to serve them in pie slices.

For the rhubarb puree

4 large (deep red if you can) stocks of rhubarb

1 cup sugar

the juice and zest of 2 limes

1 cup of water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp flour

Put the rhubarb, sugar zest and juice in a sauce pan and mix the ingredients together. Add the water and bring it to a boil, occasionally stirring it. Once your rhubarb has softened drop the heat to medium low, add the salt and flour, let it simmer for about 30 more minutes, occasionally stirring it, and remove it from the heat.

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For the custard

8 egg yokes

2 cups milk

2 cups heave whipping cream

1/2 cup of sugar

2 vanilla beans

This portion is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s version. The only real difference is I love the taste that the little seeds put out. The whole bean was just not enough the first time I made it.  Whisk your egg yokes and 1/4 cup of sugar until they thicken. Slice open your vanilla bean and scrape out the magical insides. Put your milk, cream, vanilla bean seeds, and the rest of the sugar into a medium sized sauce pan, and bring it to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the burner and set it aside to cool for about 5 minutes. Add the cream to the egg mixture approximately 1/2 a cup at a time whisking in the ingredients as you go. Once you have finished, add the the mixture back into the sauce pan and put it on medium. Stir it constantly until just barely begins to simmer, and then remove it from the burner. It if curdles, pour it into a bowl, and take your whisk to it. Those little bastards can be beat back down. Set it aside to begin to cool. It should be thick, like a light gravy.

For the crust

1 1/2+ cups flour

1/2 cup cold butter cut into cubes

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 to 1 tsp cold water

Quickly mix the flour butter and salt together, until it forms into little nuggets of dough, add in the water, and kneed it once or twice to form it into  once big ball Separate it into 4 balls, roll them out, and gingerly place them into your little tart pans. Bake it at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove the pie crust from the pan and set it aside to cool.

Now for the grand finale. Place a layer of custard in the bottom of your tartlets, then drizzle a generous layer of your rhubarb, and then on more layer of custard, and then a final artistic layer of rhubarb on the top. Place them into the fridge to cool for several hour or over night and enjoy.

edited rhubarb

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Fijian Coconut Bread, Cooking from a memory

Years ago when I was over seas, I met some Fijians. They managed to dazzle my insides with coconut bread. It wasn’t a loaf, and it wasn’t a roll. It resembled a slightly mangled pastry, I’m guessing mainly because it was cooked in tinfoil. We didn’t have a baking pan. So I’ve been scowering the internet for this recipe for longer than I care to admit. Given up, restarted my search and failed, several times. And finally I just decided to figure it out for myself.  After one failed attempt, I found the flavor I was looking for. It wasn’t so much that the bread wasn’t made correctly, its that when they made it for me, they ever so slightly under cooked it. As a general rule cook things to just a tiny bit below perfectly finished to harness in a bit of the moistness. That day I took it out maybe 3 minutes too early and that was where the ticket was hiding. Its kind of what happens when some of the baddest warriors on the planet, make you bread. Impatience, and deliciousness.

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This morning I headed to Trader Joe’s for my weekend shopping, and once again stared at the coconut oil as if it was some kind of mystery oil. This time though I actually bought it. I took it home and stared at it, wondering what the hell to do with it. After a few moments I decided to make the most moist coconut bread ever.

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1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1 can coconut cream

2 beaten eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup coconut flakes

2 cups flour

Combine all  sugar, oil, vanilla, coconut cream and beaten eggs in a bowl. Mix in salt baking powder and coconut flakes. Slowly add in flour until it reaches cake batter consistency. Bake for 1 hour at 350, or until your toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 30 minutes, and gingerly devour the whole thing.

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Peppermint Christmas Fudge

Its Christmas cookie season! Time to put on no less than 7 pounds and eat as much magical deliciousness as you can fit in your belly. My great Aunt Eilene had an amazing fudge recipe that has been lost and found many many times. Its not too hard, its not too soft, it pours perfectly and tastes amazing. So of course I had to take it and make it just ever so slightly my own. I added peppermint extract to it, and bashed the hell out of some candy canes and sprinkled them on top. There is a secret to making this recipe. The weather has to be just right. Just below freezing and a bit dry. The freezing weather creates the perfect temperature for your fudge to set and cool.

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1 12 oz can evaporated milk

4 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup of butter cubed

2 tsp peppermint extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

18 oz of semi sweet nestle toll house chocolate chips

a dash of salt

2 cups finely chopped walnuts

8 candy canes crushed

 

Once this recipe gets started,everything gets added in really quick so line up your ingredients and get your stirring arm ready. First! Make your crushed candy canes. Your best bet is to stick them inside of a ziplock bag, and take out all your aggression on them with your rolling pin or meat tenderizer. Set them off to the side. In a large pot add the sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Turn your heat to medium, and slowly but constantly stir it until it hits a rolling boil. Stir it while it boils for 10 minutes. If you have ever had boiling sugar land on your skin, you know to wear a long sleeve shirt (it hurts like hell, and burns for a bit longer than if you had hot grease land on your skin). Once your 10 minutes are up immediately remove it from the heat and add in chocolate chips, vanilla and peppermint extract, and (if you want them) your walnuts. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed and smooth. Pour into two 9×9 square dishes, approximately 1 inch thick, sprinkle candy cane crumbs over the top, and set it out on your back porch to cool in the blisteringly cold weather for 1 1/2 to two hours…. or you could use a freezer… like a normal person, but wheres the fun in that?

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Cranberry Apple pie, The red headed slut of the pie world

Pumpkin pie haters of the world unite! I’ve made a lovely holiday pie certain to knock the socks off your guests. It’s Apple pie’s sultry, alcoholic sister, the cranberry apple pie. I went to my parents house today for my weekend visit. My mom handed me a container of cranberries to whip up for Thanksgiving dinner, and I couldn’t help but get into them and make some pie magic. I also snuck something else into the pie; 2 shots of peach dekuyper. The booze is cooked off while it bakes, and what you are left with is pie bliss. Plus, you can serve that up with what you can call your signature holiday drink, I personally call it a red headed slut.

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There is a war that quietly brews over pie over crust. Anyone who makes pie on a regular basis thinks that their pie crust is the best. They swear they’ve stolen the recipe from their late great granny, and the secret key to making good crust is ______. Usually some voodoo involving a blessing, your first born child and ice cold water. Anyone else’s pie crust by pales by comparison to theirs. Pie crust is almost a religion that divides some kitchens, homes, and neighborhoods. It briefly drove a small wedge between my own mother and I on the pie making front, but I prevailed. For me, nothing tops a butter crust. It might be a touch harder to make, and it might look a bit more rustic, but the taste and texture are unbeatable. I’m a crust snob. If its store bought I just assume that you hate me, and were raised by wolves. I am however a bit more on the relaxed end of things. The butter and water should be cold, and you should handle it as little as possible, but extra refrigeration etc. are unnecessary, unless its a really hot day. Its like only being religious on Christmas and Easter.

For the pie innards

8 large honey crisp apples pealed and cored

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cloves

2 shots peach dekuyper

1/4 cup butter chopped into small squares

A dash of salt

The juice and zest of 1/2 a  lemon

For the butter crust

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup butter chopped into small cubes

1 tsp salt

1-2 tbsp cold water

For the red headed slut

1 shot peach dekuyper

1 shot jaeggermeister

Cranberry juice

For the innards, slice up your apples to your favorite pie size. Add in cranberries, sugar, flour,  spices, salt, and booze. Mix it up, and allow it to sit while you make your amazing pie crust.

For the crust, this is important. DON’T use room temperature butter. The reason people hate to make butter crust is their butter is too warm. You’ll want to handle your dough as little as possible. You don’t kneed pie dough. No one does that anymore. It makes for a tough, sad girl crust. There are two ways to go about doing it. You can mix the ingredients by hand or with a pastry blender, or you can stick the butter, salt, and flour into your handy dandy food processor, and give it a slow whirl until it forms into little crumbs. Once you get your flour, butter and salt into a crumbly mixture, add about 1 tablespoon of cold water to it. Quickly mix that in, and form your dough into two equal balls. Roll each ball out until they are just shy of 1/4″ thick. Flip one into your pie dish, and fill it with your apples and cranberries. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped up butter over the top. Then roll out and flip the top on. If you get holes in your dough its ok. Grab a small pinch of the dough that is drooping over the side of your pie dish, get it a tiny bit wet, and press it into the holes.  (The best pie making tool I’ve bought is a bakers mat. It works wonders for flipping pie crusts and rolling anything out. I love it.)  A nice one will run you about $15.00) Seal your pie with any lovely method you see fit, and bake the pie at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until the pie juices start to bubble up. If your crust prematurely browns, just wrap a ring of tinfoil around the edges. Pull that puppy out, Sprinkle a cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top, bring on your signature holiday drink and enjoy.

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Black and white cookies.. I call them Cakies…

I’ve finally found a cookie worth adding to my Christmas cookie repertoire, Black and whites. Every once in a while that serendipitous moment happens, when you are trudging your way through recipes, and you find one that you have everything for. These cookies are from the great NYC.   I’m not a huge “cookie person” but I’ve heard a lot about these black and whites lately, on TV, on the radio, and from some transplant friends. I have to admit, I think I get it. They are thick and cakey. The cookie portion mixed with the frosting is just polar enough in sweetness, to create the perfect combo in your mouth, especially when you bite right down the center of  the frosting. Don’t let the deliciousness freak you out. These little puppies are also super easy to make. Seriously, I’m a horrible baker. If I can make them happen so can you.

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For the cookie

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp lemon extract

1/3 cup sour cream

White and chocolate frosting

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup corn syrup

4 1/2+ cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate shaved or chopped into small chunks

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Add your eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract, corn syrup, butter and sour cream. Mix that up until its a wet cookie dough, but dry enough to where you are just barely able to roll it into balls that are about the size of a ping pong ball. (Life hack: use a whoopie pie pan to make them perfectly circular and uniform.) GREASE YOUR COOKIE SHEET, and squish them down until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Pop them into the oven at 350, for about 10 minutes, or until they spring back when you push on them… or the toothpick comes back clean, but don’t go so far that you brown them. God forbid they become crispy… don’t be that barbarian that serves black and white cookies crispy. Let your cookies cool for about 15 minutes and add them to a wire rack before your make the frosting. Frosting is a very important and time sensitive step.

For the frosting, bring your water and corn syrup to a high simmer, but not a real boil. Remove it from the heat, (drop the burner on low) add in the vanilla, and the powdered sugar, and mix it up. In a second small sauce pan, throw your in your bakers chocolate, and add half of your frosting. Put it on the burner you’ve placed on low heat and mix it up. For prettiest results, do the white frosting first. Use a spatula to spread a dollop of frosting over half of each cookie, occasionally breaking to stir your chocolate. If your frosting gets to cold and starts to spread poorly, throw it back on the burner for a few seconds to heat it back up. Repeat the same process with the chocolate and give it about an hour to cool. You can then proceed to engorge yourself on them, hide them from your family and friends, destroy all evidence that they were made and quietly whisper to yourself that it was completely worth it.

Note: I’m sure that someone smarter than me would make mention of a double boiler for the frosting. To them I say, when the day arises that I ruin a sauce by not using one, I’ll send you a personal message saying that you were right and I wrong. But until then. I’ll hang onto my $39.99.

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Cardamom bread. Breakfast of champions.

I have been to the spice store. It’s a magical place with open jars of herbs and spices, that are high in quality and relatively inexpensive. One thing I found was white cardamom. I after smelling it, I immediately emitted a noise only bats and small dogs can hear. There are 4 kinds of cardamom, black, green, white, and Thai. Each seed has it’s own special and distinct flavor. Black has a Smokey flavor and is far less sweet. Green has a sweet floral scent with a hint of mint. And white (my new best friend) has had the minty flavor bleached out of it, and what is left is mild sweet floral pod that tastes like perfection.

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I’m making cardamom bread for breakfast. My boyfriend and  I went to midsommarfest at the park this year, and there was an old lady hanging out in the 90 degree heat with a stand full of cardamom bread. He decided to buy a roll. Instead, she grabbed a loaf and promptly rung him up for it (it was too hot to complain).  Once I got home to try it, I was happy she did. It had tiny bits of cardamom scattered through it, and the scent crept into my nose, and  exploded like a C4 explosion of sweet spice in my mouth(I now have Stockholm syndrome).

I give you Cardamom bread

1 packet fast acting dry active yeast

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

3 cups flour

1 tsp cardamom (preferably white, but green works too)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cardamom in 1/2 cup of sugar for sprinkling

In a small bowl mix together melted butter, milk, and yeast. While that is working its magic, mix together 2 cups of flour, cardamom and salt. Once your yeast has activated, pour it into your flour mixture, allow it to combine, and add in the whisked egg. Then slowly add in the rest of the flour until the dough sticks to your paddle. Grease up a bowl, pat your dough into a ball and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The longer you let it rise, the more fluffy and delicious it will be.

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Once the dough has risen, pat it down and roll it out. make several 1×2 inch slits along the edges and and fold them inward. (a delicious thing you can add to this recipe is a layer of apple butter in the middle) Allow the bread to rise one more time.  Brush the top with milk or butter, and sprinkle a mixture of cardamom and sugar over the top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until the surface begins to brown. Once you remove it from the oven, rub the surface with butter, and add another layer of cardamom and sugar. This bread is best had immediately, while its still steaming from the oven. But you can still reheat it for a couple days with happy results.

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