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162 posts categorized " 06) Cakes, Desserts, Fruit Desserts & Pies"

10/15/2018

~ Apple, Candied Pecan & Cheesecake Bundt Cake ~

Spice is always nice, but, let's all admit, when the cool weather hits, the aroma of spices baking in the oven or braising on the stovetop simply smell better -- they go from smelling mouth-wateringly good to ethereal. In this over-the-top moist, tender, calories-be-damned cake you'll find a batter loaded with loads of diced tart apples and candied pecans sandwiched in between two slightly-sweetened cream cheese, cheesecake-esque layers. The spice is right too: apple pie spice -- My grandmom used it, mom used it & I adore it: apple pie spice. Cheese-cake & candied pecans in their apple cake was...... View full recipe for "~ Apple, Candied Pecan & Cheesecake Bundt Cake ~"

10/05/2018

~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~

A humble bread pudding is the perfect use for past-its-prime bread, and, in my kitchen, next to a French baguette or batard, I believe buttery croissants to be perfect foil for flavor-laced eggy custard. In fact, croissants make such superb bread pudding, if I know I've got guests coming for the weekend (especially during the tailgate and holiday season), I purposely buy croissants two or three days ahead of time, just to be able to serve it as a sweet treat with breakfast or brunch. Croissants, split in half, w/raisins sandwiched in between... ... swimming in a butter-rum & vanilla...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~"

09/17/2018

~Tips and Things to Know about Granulated Gelatine~

Gelatine. Dating back to Egyptian times, it's a substance derived from the processing of animal collagen (beef and/or pork). That's important to know, as, I'm surprised by how many home cooks are under the mistaken impression this colorless, flavorless, pure-protein is vegetarian. The word "gelatine" comes from Latin word "gelatus", which means "jellied". Before the invention of our modern day forms (granulate and, sheet or leaf), gelatine was considered a sign of wealth. It took hours of tedious work to render and clarify the collagen from cattle hides, pig skins and bones so it could be used in fancy sophisticated...... View full recipe for "~Tips and Things to Know about Granulated Gelatine~"

09/14/2018

~Toasted-Coconut-Kissed Butter-Rum Mango Cream~

In terms of relatively quick-to-make no-bake desserts, this five-ingredient show-stopper takes the cake. It's refreshingly-light and smooth-as-silk with a trio of flavors everyone loves about the Caribbean islands accounted for in every creamy bite -- mango, rum and coconut. It's thickened by super-stiff whipped cream -- no eggs or gelatine. No one needs to know these didn't take all day to make. Serve 'em right after they're put together to quell a craving, or make 'em a day ahead to impress a few friends, just make 'em -- they are truly a don't worry, be happy dessert. Fall back fifty...... View full recipe for "~Toasted-Coconut-Kissed Butter-Rum Mango Cream~"

09/11/2018

~ Panna from Heaven: A Divine Mango Panna Cotta ~

Pretty as a picture and impressive indeed, "panna cotta" (Italian for "cooked cream") is, perhaps, the easiest of all the sweetened-cream-based, ramekin-molded type desserts. That said, unlike recipes for puddings, pastry creams, custards and egg-custards, (like creme caramel or creme brûlée), in the case of panna cotta, a bakeless sweet treat, the cream is thickened with gelatine, rather than eggs. Like all the aforementioned sweetened-cream desserts, every occasion, from blue-jean casual to high-heel upscale, is the right occasion to serve this dessert. Panna cotta is a delicate, softly-set dessert containing three ingredients: cream, sugar and galatine. A fourth ingredient, flavoring,...... View full recipe for "~ Panna from Heaven: A Divine Mango Panna Cotta ~"

06/28/2018

~ Simply-Scrumptious 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sauce ~

Strawberry sauce. Drizzled on pancakes or waffles for breakfast, atop strawberry ice cream for dessert, or, used to flavor a strawberry milkshake, it's hard to find a person that doesn't love this sweet condiment. I'm not here to tell you it's hard or time-consuming to make strawberry topping from scratch -- it's not. That said, it can be made even easier without any compromise to the end result. As we all know, sometimes there simply aren't even enough minutes in the day to make everything completely from scratch. I am here to tell you, if you've got store-bought or homemade...... View full recipe for "~ Simply-Scrumptious 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sauce ~"

06/22/2018

~ Old-Fashioned Very-Strawberry-Custard Ice Cream ~

When it comes to ice-cream, store-bought or scratch-made, of the basic big-three choices, vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, strawberry is my favorite -- it always has been, even as a child. In my hometown, their's a place, Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy, which, in my opinion makes the best strawberry ice-cream known to man- or woman-kind. Whether scooped into a bowl or onto a cone, it is always served at the perfect frozen-anything temperature. It's rich, creamy, not-too-sweet and full of bold-flavored bit's of to-the-tooth-textured strawberries -- not nasty clumps of ice. A bit about adding fresh fruit to ice-cream or frozen custard:...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Very-Strawberry-Custard Ice Cream ~"

06/19/2018

~ Old-Fashioned Chocolate-Custard Ice-Cream Base ~

Rich and creamy chocolate ice-cream. One dip or two, with or without bits of chocolate or sauce swirled throughout, it's almost impossible to resist. Kids love it, adults do too, and, I'm betting it's the favorite-flavor of at least one person in every family. No banana split would be complete without a dip of chocolate, and, it's a requirement when making the perfect double-chocolate shake or malt too. Whether it's firm scoops served in a bowl or swirls of soft-serve piled high atop a cone, the Summer heat is the perfect time to indulge in this cool and satisfying treat....... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Chocolate-Custard Ice-Cream Base ~"

06/17/2018

~ My Old-Fashioned Vanilla-Custard Ice-Cream Base ~

During June, July and August, we will all most likely eat more ice cream than we did during the past nine months. In my kitchen, during the next three months, I'll be making more than I did during the past nine too. Whatever flavor I've got churning, vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, everyone I know (myself included) will generically refer to it as ice cream. That said, what I'll technically be making is frozen custard, and, if you make homemade ice cream, I'm betting you're most likely making old-fashioned frozen custard (or a version of it), too. Read on. The difference...... View full recipe for "~ My Old-Fashioned Vanilla-Custard Ice-Cream Base ~"

06/15/2018

~ Have a Blackberry-Cobbler Ice-Cream Kind of Day ~

Newsflash. Blue Bell, the Texas-based ice cream company, announced on Twitter, that its Southern Blackberry-Cobbler Ice Cream will be available in stores, for a limited time only, starting Monday, June 4th. This popular seasonal flavor consists of a creamy, blackberry-flavored vanilla ice cream with flaky pie crust pieces and blackberry sauce swirled throughout. Being a worshiper of the blackberry, under normal circumstances, this news would have caused me to race around town in an attempt to hoard as much of it as I could stuff into my freezer. It didn't. Why? Homemade blackberry-cobbler frozen custard + tips on adding fruit...... View full recipe for "~ Have a Blackberry-Cobbler Ice-Cream Kind of Day ~"

06/12/2018

~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~

Here today, gone today. That's the lifespan of blackberries entering my kitchen. I've been told their dark color makes them really good for me -- even more antioxidants than blueberries. Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah, I'd eat them even if they were on on the not-so-good-for-me foods short list. When I buy a box of blackberries, I eat a box of blackberries. When I pick blackberries, they disappear on the walk to my kitchen door. I do not share blackberries -- well, maybe, probably I would, but, I've yet to be tested on this point. That said, because blackberries require no special treatment (peeling,...... View full recipe for "~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~"

06/10/2018

~Love is Blueberry Oatmeal-Crumble Cookie Squares~

Blueberries are a fruit best served cooked. Simmer down and read on. When it comes to eating fresh, perfectly-ripe, high-quality, locally-grown berries hand-to-mouth, there are three seedier-types I enjoy more -- blackberries, strawberries and raspberries (in that order). I love blueberries, but, it's my opinion that the blueberry is enhanced by cooking. Given a choice, I'll choose the blueberry jam, blueberry pie or blueberry bread pudding over the bowl of fresh blueberries any day of the week -- they even taste better after the little bit of cooking they get in pancakes. Dare to be a buttery-rich & delicately-crumbly kind...... View full recipe for "~Love is Blueberry Oatmeal-Crumble Cookie Squares~"

05/19/2018

~Summer's Coming Fresh-Fruit & Pastry-Cream Tarts~

One whirl around the produce section of the grocery store and it becomes crystal clear that Summer is coming to my Northeast. There are fresh berries galore and they're plump, juicy and super-flavorful -- my indicator that our own locally-grown berries will be appearing in our farmers' markets in a few weeks. I couldn't decide between the blackberries or the strawberries, so I bought 'em both, then I picked up a fresh pineapple too. My plan is to serve them as unadulterated and au natural as possible -- by using them "as is" in small, fresh fruit tartlets. A bit...... View full recipe for "~Summer's Coming Fresh-Fruit & Pastry-Cream Tarts~"

03/27/2018

~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~

Retro recipes with a history to report or a story to share, are fun for me to write. While plenty of versions for this particular cake are available on the internet, my reason for adding "mine" is two fold: plenty of present day cooks have no idea what a poke cake is, and, this particular one is, one of three poke cake recipes my mom made when I was growing up in the 1960's and '70's. Because banana pudding is classic and traditional Southern fare (a layered dessert of vanilla cookies, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and meringue), that would indeed...... View full recipe for "~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~"

02/16/2018

~ Warm and Cozy Crockpot Casserole Rice Pudding ~

Hear me out -- rice pudding made in the crockpot or slow cooker is never, EVER going to be competitive in a contest with the super-creamy-textured stovetop-cooked rice pudding made with Arborio-type rice simmered in a custard-esque cream and tempered-egg mixture. It won't happen and ignore those who promise it will -- but, don't let this information lower your expectations. Rice pudding made in the crockpot is simply scrumptious, and, seriously easy to make too, so: On the days when the machinations of hovering over rice pudding made on the stovetop is just too much fuss... ... simply allow the...... View full recipe for "~ Warm and Cozy Crockpot Casserole Rice Pudding ~"

01/02/2018

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

11/11/2017

~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~

The Summer peach season is long over, but, in my kitchen, that is not a reason to not bake a peach pie. Yes, you can use canned peaches to make a peach pie, and, if the peaches are home-canned with love, the pie is just as good, if not better, than a pie made with fresh peaches. I'm not joking. Women have been doing it for generations. They water-bath-canned large quantities of fruits and vegetables so the family could enjoy them during the cold weather months. My mother's pantry was never without home-canned peaches. My grandmother had a green thumb,...... View full recipe for "~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~"

10/07/2017

~ Nothing Fancy: Old-Fashioned Autumn Apple Pie ~

The best apple pie recipes aren't fancy -- they're special. Just put one in the oven and see what happens. Word travels fast. Everyone wants a slice of old-fashioned appleiscious goodness. "It's as easy as apple pie." Truth told, that's a kind of misleading statement. Baking a really good apple pie is not as easy as "A, B, C", "one, two three" or even "snap, crackle, pop". Too many people think that just because they've baked an apple pie it automatically qualifies for awesome apple pie status. It does not. I have encountered more than a few nasty renditions: from...... View full recipe for "~ Nothing Fancy: Old-Fashioned Autumn Apple Pie ~"

08/15/2017

~ Rich, Toasted Indian Basmati Rice Pudding (Kheer) ~

When it comes to worldly or exotic recipes, I always do my research and my best to keep them as close to authentic as I can. When it comes to Indian food, I always reply upon the advice of my four Indian girlfriends, and the woman who owns Krishan, Happy Valley's Indian grocery store, because you're all such good cooks. That said, when it comes to kheer, a delicately-spiced addictively-rich rice pudding dessert, if you're one of my Indian girlfriends, you might find yourself wincing in one or two spots while reading my recipe. Why? While the flavors in my...... View full recipe for "~ Rich, Toasted Indian Basmati Rice Pudding (Kheer) ~"

08/03/2017

~ She's Gone Bananas: Banana-Walnut Bundt Cake ~

How many bananas can a gal put into a bundt cake? Every time I bake this banana cake, I push the envelope a little farther, and, today I used the entire bunch. Six bananas. It yielded a total of 3 cups mashed bananas, and, the recipe, which started out using 1 3/4-2 cups, came out super-moist and full-flavored -- just perfect. Often times, this is how recipes are developed or improved upon (by trial, error and gutsy experimentation). That said, me thinks I'll stop improving this one. The original recipe came from my mother's recipe box and I'm pretty certain...... View full recipe for "~ She's Gone Bananas: Banana-Walnut Bundt Cake ~"

07/18/2017

~ A Very Berry Sour Cherry and/or Blueberry Cobbler ~

While I adore a traditional cherry or blueberry pie (who doesn't), sometimes, especially July thru September, the months when there is so much (too much) going on in our garden, I need to speed things in order to make use of all the fresh fruits and vegetables in a timely, manner. When it comes "short shelf life" fruits like our sour cherries and blueberries, this cobbler is my solution. All I need is four cups of one or the other or a combination of both, along with 15 minutes of hands-on time, and: dessert is in the oven. There's more....... View full recipe for "~ A Very Berry Sour Cherry and/or Blueberry Cobbler ~"

07/03/2017

~ Creamy Dreamy No-Bake Strawberry Key Lime Pie ~

Here's a pie I seldom get the opportunity to make because, after making strawberry shortcakes, a batch of strawberry preserves, and, some strawberry dessert topping, I rarely have leftover strawberries. That said, I keep this super-simple go-to recipe in my repertoire for times when I do have a few cups of seriously-ripe strawberries at that "use 'em or lose 'em" stage. Read on: The combination of strawberry & key lime is delightfully grown up. All of us have encountered recipes similar to this, and you've probably even tasted them once or twice -- it originated on the box of Jell-O...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Dreamy No-Bake Strawberry Key Lime Pie ~"

06/25/2017

~ Seriously Simple & Sweet: Fresh All Strawberry Pie ~

When it comes to freshly-picked, home-grown strawberries, past eating them out-of-hand, as a strawberry dessert lover, I'm a purest at heart. Today's recipe is a perfect example. I'd rather bake a smaller-sized pie that's loaded with lots of strawberries, than add another ingredient to them (because I don't have enough strawberries) to fill a bigger pie dish. Note: I have nothing (zero) against the quintessential strawberry-rhubarb pie concoction (we grow rhubarb in our garden too), I just prefer to indulge in a slice of pie containing all of one or all of the other. Period. My memories of fresh strawberry...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Simple & Sweet: Fresh All Strawberry Pie ~"

06/23/2017

~ Simple & Sweet: Homemade Strawberry Topping ~

Strawberries, one of the first fruits to ripen in the Spring, are considered to be the fruit that announces "Summer is here", and, here in Central Pennsylvania, we've been enjoying our own homegrown and locally-grown farmers-market strawberries for a couple of weeks now. From pancakes, waffles and French toast, to cheesecake, shortcake and ice-cream (to name a few), the 20-30 minutes it takes to make strawberry topping is well-worth the effort. It's luscious. Those who scratch-make this pretty-to-look-at positively-yummy tart-and-sweet topping make it to their own liking. Some folks hull and toss the berries in whole, then after it has...... View full recipe for "~ Simple & Sweet: Homemade Strawberry Topping ~"

06/15/2017

~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~

"What's the difference between pie filling and pudding?" That was the question that came across my desk last week, and, when you ask, I always answer. "I can't seem to find any recipes for pudding on your blog." That was the comment that followed the question that came across my desk last week, and, when it is brought to my attention that my blog is lacking something, I fix it. Thank-you Missy. You triggered my writing three pudding posts, ~ Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~, ~ Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~ and ~ Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~, one pie post, ~...... View full recipe for "~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~"

06/12/2017

~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~

Chocolate pie. The kind our grandmothers made before they had too-many-to-mention options for high-quality, super-expensive brands of chocolate, cocoa powder and extracts imported from all over the world. Two generations ago, when a mom wanted to surprise her family with a chocolate pie for dessert, she simply opened her pantry door, and, without hesitation, reached for a can of Hershey's cocoa powder and/or a few squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate. She cooked the pie filling on the stovetop, poured it into a baked pie shell, chilled the pie in the "icebox" and served it with freshly-whipped cream on top. Those...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~"

06/06/2017

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~

Exotically fragrant, vanilla is said to be the world's most popular flavor (and is the second most expensive next to saffron). One would be hard pressed to find an American kitchen pantry that doesn't contain at least one bottle of pure vanilla extract and/or a whole vanilla bean or two. Why? Something wonderful happens when any form of pure vanilla gets added to all sorts of sweet or savory dishes. My very vanilla pudding recipe is a spin-off of my grandmother's vanilla pudding recipe, and, it is the base recipe and starting point for all three of my favorite pudding...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~"

06/04/2017

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~

When I was raising three boys in the '70's and '80's, chocolate was, hands down, their favorite pudding flavor. Just like today, grocery store shelves were full of convenient pudding options (boxes and boxes of instant and quick-cooking pudding, and, ready-to-eat lunch-box-size pudding cups). While I was often tempted to succumb to their wishes and buy those boxes, I resisted. I grew up eating homemade, creamy, dreamy, rich real-deal pudding -- my memories prevented it. As for the pudding cups, I admit, I allowed them, on occasion, as a school lunchbox treat. Don't succumb to boxes of instant or quick-cooking...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~"

06/02/2017

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~

My three favorite flavors of pudding are butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla (in that order). They're all creamy and dreamy, but something wonderful happens when brown sugar and butter team up to make real-deal butterscotch. Homemade pudding (from scratch, not a box), was something my grandmother made often -- just for me. I'm in my early 60's, that was back in the latter 50's, and: there is no letting go of homemade pudding memories. Whether it was butterscotch, chocolate or vanilla, she'd always leave me an ample sample, in the bottom of her enamelware saucepan and on the wooden spoon, because:...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~"

05/31/2017

~A Few Bites of Summer: Pineapple-Meringue Tartlets~

During the Summer, our gas grill is the focal point for all sorts of fun, foodie get-togethers. While I like a rare-cooked steak or a juicy cheeseburger accompanied by a baked potato and a garden salad as much as the next person, for me, 'tis the season to partake in poultry and pork. Big, meaty bone-on breasts, chops or ribs, slathered with sweet and savory sauces accompanied by grilled vegetable kabobs are amongst my favorites, and all are deserving of a light, bright Summer fruit dessert. Pineapple-meringue tartlets are the perfect ending to a Summer evening. I adore pineapple. Spring...... View full recipe for "~A Few Bites of Summer: Pineapple-Meringue Tartlets~"

05/29/2017

~ How to: Cut, Form & Bake Pie-Pastry Tartlet Shells ~

When it comes to desserts in general, but especially desserts like pies, tarts and cheesecakes, if I'm baking for a large group of people or for a special occasion, small, individual-sized ones, while a bit more labor-intensive up front, are well worth the "fussy" extra effort in the end. Why? They're perfectly-portioned and require no slicing. Serving them is 100% mess-free and stress-free. This post refers to tartlets made w/classic, rolled pie pastry: To make pie-pastry tartlet shells, you need pie pastry, and, to make 14, 3"-round shells, you need the same amount you would use to make one, 9"...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Cut, Form & Bake Pie-Pastry Tartlet Shells ~"

04/30/2017

~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~

Everyone loves cream cheese frosting sandwiched between the layers and slathered on the sides and top of an applesauce, banana, carrot, coconut or pumpkin cake -- meet my short list of layer-, sheet-, or cup- cakes that require cream cheese frosting. That said, certain quick breads and muffins (which traditionally don't get frosted), many bundt cakes, cinnamon rolls, pastries and even an occasional cookie, benefit from a smooth, drizzly, glaze, and, the tang that cream cheese adds to the classic confectioners'-sugar-and-milk mixture is: a perfect finishing touch. I've decided, in tandem with a few professionals, that making the ultimate smooth,...... View full recipe for "~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~"

04/28/2017

~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~

Best described by me as "an extremely moist, banana and pineapple, cinnamon 'n spice cake containing toasted pecans and topped with cream cheese frosting", this absolutely scrumptious cake concoction is impossible for me to resist. It's simply irresistible. If you're like me, when you hear "bananas and pineapple", you likely say to yourself "that sounds tropical, akin to Caribbean, more than it does Southern." That's because it is. Hummingbird cake was created on the island of Jamaica during the 1960's and is named after their national bird, where the cake is also known as Doctor Bird Cake ("doctor bird" being...... View full recipe for "~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~"

04/18/2017

~ A Must Have Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~

If I knew you were coming I'd have baked you a mayonnaise cake. While that might not sound appetizing, I always say, "what happens in my kitchen, stays in my kitchen" and in my food world, there is no reason to reveal to anyone they are eating a mayonnaise cake unless they ask for the recipe. In the event anyone rolls their eyes or turns up their nose, the joke's on them, as, they obviously don't know mayonnaise is a concoction of oil (which makes cakes tender), eggs and a bit of flavor-boosting acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) --...... View full recipe for "~ A Must Have Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~"

02/24/2017

~ My Buttery Sour Cream & Buttermilk Pound Cake ~

No embellishments necessary. There is nothing like the first slice of a perfectly baked, slightly-warm pound cake. With or without a dusting of Confectioners' sugar or a drizzling of sweet creamy glaze, it's the perfect foil for berries, ice cream, whipped cream or all three. For me, just as pictured here, it is all I need for breakfast or brunch with a cup of coffee or tea. It's irresistible. Pound cake is personal. I'd never proclaim to have the best recipe because almost everyone's mother or grandmother made the best pound cake they ever tasted. I'm no exception: My grandmother...... View full recipe for "~ My Buttery Sour Cream & Buttermilk Pound Cake ~"

02/20/2017

~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~

Say "snack cake" and folks my age think "Twinkie" or "TandyCake". Interestingly, snack cakes have been in America since Colonial times. Recipes for gingerbread, both the hard cookie and the soft cake or loaf, came to the us with the English and German settlers. Gingeroot was delivered by boat to the pilgims -- they used it fresh, dried it, and, made syrup from it. Ginger beer, made by pouring boiling water over brown sugar and pounded ginger combined with yeast proofed in warm milk was bottled and served as a refreshing beverage on hot days. The first recipe for gingerbread...... View full recipe for "~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~"

02/14/2017

~ How to Make Whole Buttermilk & Crème Fraîche ~

Once upon a time here in Happy Valley, circa the 1970's and into the 80's, crème fraîche wasn't an item one could find in the dairy case of any market. Why? Most folks had no idea what it was except for schooled chefs and those of us who scoured French cookbooks and/or read magazines like Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and Gourmet. Yes indeed -- foodie life was very different pre- Food Network and the information superhighway we refer to as the internet. A bit about crème "fraîche" (pronounced "fresh" and meaning "fresh cream"): In technical terms, it's a French-invented...... View full recipe for "~ How to Make Whole Buttermilk & Crème Fraîche ~"

02/12/2017

~ Powdered Buttermilk: What it is & How to use it. ~

Once upon a time, buttermilk was something I kept on hand. As a cook and baker for our family of five, I used it regularly to make quite a few things: pancakes, waffles, biscuits, scones, coffee cake, pound cake, fried chicken and salad dressing. To breads and cakes it adds tangy flavor and volume and produces a fine, soft crumb. Its acidity when used as a marinade is a natural tenderizer for poultry and meat. There's more. It does all this without adding a lot of extra fat. Times change. Our children grew up and left the nest. That left...... View full recipe for "~ Powdered Buttermilk: What it is & How to use it. ~"

01/20/2017

~ The Differences Between: Cupcakes and Muffins ~

Cupcakes and muffins. Past their shape and portable-foodness, they have less in common than one might think. The fast, simple generic answer is: Cupcakes are fancy little cup-sized cakes and muffins are plain little cup-sized quick-breads. Served with an ice-cold glass of milk or cup of piping hot coffee, rare is the person who would take a pass on either. That said, I will always choose a muffin over a cupcake. Sorry cupcake -- this post is going to be a bit biased. Shape. They're both baked in multiple-cupped pans, to produce individual-sized, portable portions. Prior to the invention of...... View full recipe for "~ The Differences Between: Cupcakes and Muffins ~"

01/04/2017

~ Alice's Super-Simple Georgia Peach-Pie Cobbler ~

Alice was a friend and a member of our tailgate group back in the 1980's and 1990's. Alice was a Southern Belle who lived most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia. She made no secret of the fact that she detested the sport of cooking -- which complicates things for a woman in a tailgate group like ours. That said, she participated and prepared something good each week, and, from her, I got a few very nice recipes that were easy to make too. Since Georgia is known as the Peach State, it wasn't surprising that one of Alice's dessert...... View full recipe for "~ Alice's Super-Simple Georgia Peach-Pie Cobbler ~"

11/15/2016

~ So Sophisticated: Sweet Potato & Frangelico Tart ~

"So sophisticated." That was my mother-in-law's comment when I served this dessert in place of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving a few years back. I hung onto those words because Ann was a woman of few words who didn't hand out compliments often. We were having an unusually small gathering of eight people that year. Making one easy-to-serve dessert to feed us all, enabling me to offer seconds to a few, and, save me time too -- it worked out perfectly. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie (in addition to Dutch apple, pecan, and rhubarb) was/is always a part of my three-four...... View full recipe for "~ So Sophisticated: Sweet Potato & Frangelico Tart ~"

11/02/2016

~ Simply Divine: Chocolate Tart (Tarte au Chocolat) ~

Don't look now but the season of holiday entertaining and festive gatherings is quickly approaching. If you're like me, you're always "in the market" for another elegant yet easy-to-make dessert to serve at your own get-together or take to someone else's. A chocolate tart is a perfect ending to any occasion, and, in the case of this recipe, it doesn't require the skills of a trained pastry chef -- feel free to keep that a secret and let 'em think you slaved all day over it. "Tarte au Chocolate" -- No special skills required. A chocolate tart, or as they...... View full recipe for "~ Simply Divine: Chocolate Tart (Tarte au Chocolat) ~"

10/30/2016

~ Short and Sweet: A Three-Ingredient Tart Pastry ~

Pies and tarts: Two of my all-time favorite desserts. This isn't a "pass/fail", but, you only get out of something what you put into it, and, the pie or tart pastry you choose to use can turn a dessert from ordinary to extraordinary. While we all agree we love the time-saving convenience of picking up a store-bought pie crust or pastry on occasion, in our hearts we also know their taste and texture are a compromise. Even a store-bought, artificially-flavored graham cracker or cookie crust pales in comparison to one made at home using real-deal melted butter instead. Is there...... View full recipe for "~ Short and Sweet: A Three-Ingredient Tart Pastry ~"

10/27/2016

~ Pucker up for French Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron) ~

One thing I love about the late Fall and Winter is the vibrant-colored citrus fruit. Because it's available all year long, a lot of folks don't realize that citrus fruit (lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges) are in fact "winter fruit". This year, for some reason, the citrus fruit I've been purchasing, is extra-over-the-top, plump, tart 'n sweet and juicy. I've been eating grapefruit every morning, putting orange segments in our salads, lime slices in my gin and tonics, and, today I'm baking a lemon tart for dessert. Tarte au citron is a classic French dessert and every patisserie (bakery) in...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker up for French Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron) ~"

09/18/2016

~ The Old-Fashioned & Classic Banana Cream Pie ~

Put down that box of graham crackers. No you can't use those vanilla wafers either. Thou shall not use a graham cracker or any cookie crust to make my banana cream pie recipe. These two easier-to-make (or worse, easier to purchase) alternatives simply screw up the taste and texture of this iconic pie. A classically made banana cream pie deserves a scratch-made pie pastry, a traditionally-prepared pastry cream, lots of bananas, and, copious amounts of freshly-whipped cream. Save the cookie crusts for recipes that use instant pudding mixes. Got it? Good. Nothing about a banana cream pie should be understated...... View full recipe for "~ The Old-Fashioned & Classic Banana Cream Pie ~"

09/15/2016

~ The Old-Fashioned Classic Coconut Custard Pie ~

When I was growing up, two trucks pulled into my family's driveway twice a week (and they weren't FedEx or UPS which didn't even exist then). They were: The milk man and the baker. The milk man delivered milk, butter, eggs, sour cream and some cheeses. The baker delivered bread, sandwich rolls, cakes, pies and cookies. In the case of both, via a paper checklist, you ordered on a Tuesday what you wanted delivered on Saturday, and you ordered on Saturday what you wanted delivered on Tuesday. When mom said it was my turn to pick a dessert, it was...... View full recipe for "~ The Old-Fashioned Classic Coconut Custard Pie ~"

09/13/2016

~ Silky-Smooth & Delicate: Traditional Egg Custard ~

I have a penchant for sweet treats with smooth, creamy consistencies: pudding, mousse, ice cream, cheesecake, éclairs, cream pie, brûlée and crème caramel are off-the-top-of-my-head examples. They're luxurious and make me feel all "la-tee-da". As a young bride and novice cook it was only natural that these were the first dessert recipes I gravitated too. After a while it occurred to me that, technically speaking, they are all a form of basic egg custard -- the only creamy-type dessert my grandmother ever made and the first dessert that was spoonfed to me. In its most basic form, custard is thickened...... View full recipe for "~ Silky-Smooth & Delicate: Traditional Egg Custard ~"

09/11/2016

~ Bird's Custard Powder. You make it so special... ~

Custard powder. These are two words not typically on the tip of the average American foodie's tongue. That's understandable, because, unless an American cook has some form of culinary ties to the United Kingdom or Australia (via cookbooks, travel or personal friendship), it's not an ingredient that has made its way into our food lover's vocabulary. Given its popularity "across the pond", I find that hard to understand, because, for me it's a "nifty", time-saving pantry staple. I learned about custard powder back in the early 1990's. This was not an ingredient I ever found in my grandmother's or mother's...... View full recipe for "~ Bird's Custard Powder. You make it so special... ~"

07/23/2016

~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~

'Tis the season for fresh berries and fruit, and I especially love the fresh fruit and berries Joe grows right here in our backyard. That said, besides apples, fruit and berries don't have a particularly long shelf life. During the first three weeks of July, I've frozen our sour pie cherries and blueberries in 2-pound bags -- enough to make 20 cherry pies and 10 blueberry pies during the upcoming year. These two fruits are easy to freeze, and, they freeze really, really well. Peach freezing is not for me. The end doesn't justify the means. Peaches can be frozen,...... View full recipe for "~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~"

07/20/2016

~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~

I first came across this recipe in a stack of recipe cards held together with a rubber band. They were in a plastic bag full of newspaper- and magazine-clipped recipes that my late grandmother collected. I don't recall her making the cake, but, at some point in her life she must have, as she took the time to write it down in her own hand. It's an unpretentious, yellow cake made of butter or margarine, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, home-canned peaches or pears, pecans or walnuts and buttermilk or sour cream. It sure sounded good to me, and, its name...... View full recipe for "~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~"