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

01/05/2024

~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~"

11/05/2023

~ 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~"

10/20/2023

~ 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 ~"

08/05/2023

~ 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 ~"

07/05/2023

~ 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) growing in the garden, I need to speed things up in order to make use of all the fresh fruits and vegetables in a timely, manner. When it comes to "short shelf life" fruits like 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....... View full recipe for "~ A Very Berry Sour Cherry and/or Blueberry Cobbler ~"

06/30/2023

~ 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 ~"

06/25/2023

~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~"

06/20/2023

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

What's the difference between pie filling and pudding? That was the first question I should have wanted to find an answer to when I wanted to make my first chocolate pie. Why? Because it wasn't exactly a success. I was about sixteen and wanted to surprise my mom with a chocolate pie for her birthday. I filled a store-bought pie shell with mom's recipe for chocolate pudding and put it in the refrigerator. Topped with whipped cream, it looked lovely, and it was indeed edible enough (very tasty actually), but, it was, as you'd imagine, a mess to serve. What...... View full recipe for "~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~"

06/15/2023

~ 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 ~"

06/10/2023

~ 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 ~"

06/05/2023

~ 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 ~"

03/20/2023

~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words -- especially if it only requires two ingredients. And, if you're a fan of mint-chocolate anything (candies, cocktails, brownies, cookies and/or ice-cream), one look at the above photo will most likely inspire you to bake some cookies and pick up a pint of the best mint-chip ice-cream you have access too. Except for a great recipe for home-baked mint-chocolate-chip cookies, which is kind of the point of this post, it is now in your hands. My recipe for Andes Creme-de-Menthe Mint-Chocolate Cookies: Plus, the mint-chip ice-cream brand of your choice: Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream...... View full recipe for "~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~"

02/25/2023

~The Pineapple -- the Universal Symbol of Hospitality~

Pineapple was introduced to the United States in the mid 19th Century via South American trade routes north to the to the Caribbean and into the West Indies, where Christopher Columbus found them. In Caribbean native tongue, the pineapple's original name was "anana", meaning "excellent fruit". The European explorers called it the "pine of the Indies", and, when the fruit started being exported to English-speaking parts of Europe via The Columbian Exchange, the suffix "apple" was added (to associate it with their favorite "excellent fruit", the apple). From there, the pineapple spread to other parts of civilization and was placed...... View full recipe for "~The Pineapple -- the Universal Symbol of Hospitality~"

02/20/2023

~ The Reason the Pineapple was Named Pineapple ~

I adore pineapple. Spring and Summer, I'm rarely without some form of fresh pineapple in my kitchen or refrigerator. Heck, my husband grows two or three in pots on our deck each year (see photo below). Fall and Winter, I'm never without canned pineapple in in my pantry. Fresh, it's my "go to" Summer tropical fruit, and canned (packed in 100% juice), it's not a compromise. A bit about pineapple and pineapple pie: Pineapple was introduced to the United States in the mid 19th Century via South American trade routes north to the Caribbean and into the West Indies, where...... View full recipe for "~ The Reason the Pineapple was Named Pineapple ~"

02/10/2023

~ Cheese on or w/Your Apple Pie -- Yes or No & Why ~

I love the combination of cheese and apples. I love to put a slice of sharp cheddar on a fresh, crisp apple slice, and, I also adore them slathered with super-soft triple-creme Brie. Apple slices and cheese are a delightful snack. That said, I do not cotton to cheese served with or melted atop my slice of apple pie, nor do I want it baked into the pie pastry. If offered anything with or on my pie slice, I'm all-in with a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream, but, even that adornment is not necessary for me to be gleefully contented...... View full recipe for "~ Cheese on or w/Your Apple Pie -- Yes or No & Why ~"

02/05/2023

~ Love is the Sweetest Personal-Sized Apple Pie(s) ~

The only thing that could possibly be more heartwarming than a home-baked apple pie for dessert on Valentine's Day, or almost any occasion, would be a personal-sized apple pie -- for me it would be absolute perfection. The great part about serving personal-sized pies is they're so easy to serve -- no slicing and no transfer from pie dish to plates, which means no crumbs scattering all over. The only things it requires (next to a good apple pie recipe) are the right size pie dishes and a foolproof formula that allows you to make as many as you want...... View full recipe for "~ Love is the Sweetest Personal-Sized Apple Pie(s) ~"

07/03/2022

~Feel the Love for Our Native All-American Blueberry~

Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and cultivated commercially. Before I go any further, I should mention the other six: concord grapes, cranberries, strawberries, corn, beans and squash. This means these plants were in existence before any of our immigrant ancestors arrived in this new world and the Native Americans were eating them and creating their own uses for them long before they introduced them to the original Colonists. That said, blueberries were domesticated entirely in the 20th century and it did not take long for this "very American berry" to...... View full recipe for "~Feel the Love for Our Native All-American Blueberry~"

06/23/2022

~ Crème Caramel -- The Ultimate Custard Dessert ~

Crème caramel is a sophisticated dessert that is eaten around the world, but, was made famous in the later part of the 20th century in French restaurants. It is a silky-smooth custard that is gently baked/steamed in a caramel-coated mold or in individual porcelain ramekins. When slightly warm or room temperature the delicate custard is turned out onto its serving plate. It emerges elegantly-glazed and exquisitely-sauced with the caramel from the bottom of the mold. In the French language, the word crème means custard. In French, crème means custard. It's worth mentioning that making crème caramel in individual-sized ramekin is...... View full recipe for "~ Crème Caramel -- The Ultimate Custard Dessert ~"

05/20/2022

~The Difference between Frozen-Custard & IceCream~

The Summer holidays are just around the corner. Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day -- they are indeed our country's Summertime patriotic big-three, but, all are also associated with laid-back atmospheres full of fun activities shared family, friends and, of course, food. Whether it be an outdoor picnic in the grass under a shade tree at the park, or on a blanket on a sandy beach, or eating from grill-to-table around the backyard pool or on the patio, or, simply story-telling in the night-air gathered around the campfire, nothing screams Summer like a scoop or two of home-churned...... View full recipe for "~The Difference between Frozen-Custard & IceCream~"

01/21/2022

~ A Bit about Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Powder ~

Vanilla extract is the number one flavoring added to baked goods. Vanilla extract, which is basically made by macerating ground vanilla beans in alcohol and water, is known for its enchanting scent and exotic taste. Everyone who bakes stores high-quality pure vanilla extract in their pantry (not imitation vanilla flavoring), and usually a few precious vanilla bean pods too. Vanilla beans and vanilla extract are available everywhere, with extract being more economical than whole bean pods. That said, there are two other lesser known, but not less important, vanilla-based products that I keep in my pantry too: vanilla bean paste...... View full recipe for "~ A Bit about Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Powder ~"

11/30/2021

~ Boston Cream Pie -- Why this Cake is called a Pie ~

Boston Cream Pie, a feel-good dessert that won the hearts of Americans over a century ago. The crazy thing is, it's a cake, not a pie -- not even close to a pie. That said, this retro cake, sandwiched between a layer of pastry cream and topped with chocolate, is one of my favorite cake desserts. Don't ask me why -- ok ask me why -- I find myself making Boston Cream Pie in the dead cold of Winter. That's because my mom always made it for the Thanksgiving holiday, as a cake dessert to accompany her pies (and please...... View full recipe for "~ Boston Cream Pie -- Why this Cake is called a Pie ~"

10/09/2021

~ Pucker Up For Tart Green or Red Stalked Rhubarb ~

This quick post, hopefully once and for all, will answer this question: Is there a difference between green and red stalked rhubarb? The answer is no. They are both perfectly ripe and they are both ready to be cooked. Period. End of discussion. Me personally, I love the pucker-up experience that rhubarb provides, and, while I understand why people often pair it with strawberries (they do playwell together), in my opinion, like the tart apple or the sour cherry, rhubarb requires no distractions. I prefer my rhubarb unadulterated. That said, there are a few things us rhubarb aficionados do know...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up For Tart Green or Red Stalked Rhubarb ~"

09/09/2021

~Crisp, Crunch, Betty, Cobbler, Grunt, Slump & Buckle~

Our forefathers' wives. the true mothers-of-invention, invented several amusing words to define our now vintage American-heritaged fruit desserts -- none of which, uniquely, fall under the category of pie. It's a short list. Seven words that can confound even the savviest of bakers. Seven words that can confound even the savviest of bakers: A crisp is a fruit mixture topped with a crispy crumb or streusel (a streusel contains oats, a crumb does not, which makes it crumbly). If a crisp has a bottom crust, it's called a crunch. To turn a crisp or a crunch into a betty, the...... View full recipe for "~Crisp, Crunch, Betty, Cobbler, Grunt, Slump & Buckle~"

09/06/2021

~Coffeecake: Traditional Fare for Breakfast or Brunch~

Thanks to post WWII advertising campaigns by the American Coffee Bureau, by 1950, America was a country of coffee drinkers. In the workplace, the 15-minute coffee break was born, and, if you were a housewife, once you got your husband off to work and the kids off to school, you likely participated in a daily, weekly or occasional mid-morning "coffee klatch" with neighborhood friends. The term "coffee klatch" comes from the German word "kaffeeklatsch", meaning "coffee chat" -- a casual gathering for sharing coffee and conversation with close confidants. Literally translated: kaffee = coffee, and, klatsch = gossip. I like...... View full recipe for "~Coffeecake: Traditional Fare for Breakfast or Brunch~"

08/15/2021

~ Demystifying the Differences Between Four Flours ~

All-purpose flour, bread flour, cake flour and pastry flour. It really is all in the name, and, a well-written recipe will specify the type of flour required to produce the best results. I for one would rather not bake something than substitute a different flour. Why? Unlike cooking, baking is a precise science. It is a series of chemical reactions that occur based upon a list of weighed and/or measured ingredients. The words "smidgen", "pinch" and "dash" have no place in the baking world. The moment you grasp this, you can embrace baking. And, please don't let the words "precise...... View full recipe for "~ Demystifying the Differences Between Four Flours ~"

12/15/2020

~ Cheesecake Pie w/Lorna Doone Shortbread Crust ~

Making a cheesecake pie is a quick way to quell a craving for classic cheesecake. Sometimes known as poor man's cheesecake, this particular easy-to-make, lightly-baked cheesecake pie is remarkably resemblant of a New York-style cheesecake, complete with a two-ingredient, Lindy's-type short-pastry cookie-type crust -- meaning, not a run-of-the-mill graham cracker crust. New York-style cheesecake is always a cream-cheese based cheesecake that incorporates cream or sour cream along with eggs, vanilla and/or lemon. It's gently baked in a deep springform pan that has been placed in a baine marie (a water bath) to prevent it from browning. The typical New York-style...... View full recipe for "~ Cheesecake Pie w/Lorna Doone Shortbread Crust ~"

12/13/2020

~An E-Z Two-Ingredient Shortbread-Cookie Pie Crust~

Cheesecakes, cream pies, many layered bar-type cookies, and, some refrigerated pudding and frozen ice-cream desserts call for using a graham cracker crumb crust or cookie crumb crust as a buttery, crunchy base. While homemade graham crackers, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, gingersnaps and chocolate wafers make exceptional crumb crusts, I won't lie, it would have to be one heck of an insanely over-the-top dessert for me to bake any of them for the sole purpose of starting with a real-deal scratch-made base. That said, I learned early in my baking life that I don't at all care for the quality of...... View full recipe for "~An E-Z Two-Ingredient Shortbread-Cookie Pie Crust~"

11/06/2020

~Quicker than Typical Triple-Lemon Lemon Loaf Cake~

Ina Garten, host of The Food Network show Barefoot Contessa, has long been one of my favorite TV cooks and cookbook authors. Her low-key, soft-spoken on-camera persona makes her easy to listen to. In keeping with that, her published recipes are, in turn, well-written, easy-to-follow, and, approachable, meaning: for the most part, there's no need to scurry to the store or conduct any on-line searches for hard-to-find ingredients. Shortly after watching her make lemon loaf cakes on a picnic-themed episode, I decided to make her cakes, and, I served them for dessert at my own outdoor get-together -- as the...... View full recipe for "~Quicker than Typical Triple-Lemon Lemon Loaf Cake~"

09/30/2020

~Oh My Cherry-Pie-Filling Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups~

When it comes to breakfast or bunch, I am always looking for the easiest way to serve good food. Mornings in the average family tend to have a lot of things happening at once. I love my family and I enjoy my guests, but, back in the days when I was trying to get three kids off to meet the school bus and my husband out the door to the office, or, fast forward to when I happen to be organizing breakfast for a few overnight guests, no one appreciates having a few time-saving recipes that taste as good as...... View full recipe for "~Oh My Cherry-Pie-Filling Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups~"

09/28/2020

~ Peachy-Keen Pie-Filling-Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups ~

When it comes to breakfast or bunch, I am always looking for the easiest way to serve good food. Mornings in the average family tend to have a lot of things happening at once. I love my family and I enjoy my guests, but, back in the days when I was trying to get three kids off to meet the school bus and my husband out the door to the office, or, fast forward to when I happen to be organizing breakfast for a few overnight guests, no one appreciates having a few time-saving recipes that taste as good as...... View full recipe for "~ Peachy-Keen Pie-Filling-Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups ~"

07/23/2020

~Grands Apple-Pie-Filling Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups~

When it comes to breakfast or bunch, I am always looking for the easiest way to serve good food. Mornings in the average family tend to have a lot of things happening at once. I love my family and I enjoy my guests, but, back in the days when I was trying to get three kids off to meet the school bus and my husband out the door to the office, or, fast forward to when I happen to be organizing breakfast for a few overnight guests, no one appreciates having a few time-saving recipes that taste as good as...... View full recipe for "~Grands Apple-Pie-Filling Filled Cinnamon-Roll Cups~"

10/20/2019

~ Pucker Up for Buttery Lemon & Yogurt Pound Cake ~

Pucker up. I am an eternal sourpuss. Lemonade, lemon sorbet, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, lemon cheesecake, lemon shortbread, etc. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, these are a few of my lemony favorites. As a lover of all things tart and citrusy, I consider the lemon the diva of all citrus. I'm never without lemons in my refrigerator and lemon oil in my pantry, because, like salt, fresh lemon zest and juice, and, textureless bold-flavored oil just makes everything taste better. I'm not a lemon snob though. I prefer the ordinary, tart, supermarket lemon to the "sweet" Meyer lemon --...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up for Buttery Lemon & Yogurt Pound Cake ~"

09/02/2019

~ Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake ~

There's nothing like the aroma of a spice cake baking on the eve of the Fall season. We can all agree that an applesauce and spice cake is even better. A one-bowl cake that can be mixed in minutes with just the aid of a whisk and a rubber spatula is better yet. This recipe appeared in our local newspaper 20+ years ago (it was that long ago because we lived in another house). It was our local Grange Fair's baking contest winner. It touted a gingerbread-like texture containing all the flavors of Fall (cinnamon, ginger and cloves), and, it...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake ~"

07/28/2019

~ PA-Dutch Blueberry & Lemon-Custard Streusel Pie ~

A buttery-rich, crispy-topped streusel fruit pie is one of my favorite things, and, that, quite naturally, makes me one of those people who prefers a streusel-topped pie to a two-crust pie. It's often said there are two types of pie eaters: those who prefer crust, and those who prefer filling. I can honestly say I am neither. I simply prefer streusel over a top crust because of the sweet-and-savory textural edge it lends to a fruit pie -- I can't resist those crunchy, buttery, crumbles. That said, how lucky was I to grow up in the Lehigh Valley region of...... View full recipe for "~ PA-Dutch Blueberry & Lemon-Custard Streusel Pie ~"

07/25/2019

~ My Glazed Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Bundt Cake ~

Bundt cakes are perhaps my favorite cakes to bake. Even the words "bundt cake" sound warm and inviting. Simply saying "bundt cake" evokes happy, fond memories from kinder, gentler times. I'm not saying that humble sheet cakes and grandiose layer cakes don't have a place in this food world -- they do and they're delicious too. I'm merely suggesting that bundt cakes have more gravitational pull (haha) than other cakes -- even an unembellished bundt cake will pull more people to the dessert buffet than the other cakes. That said, more often than not, the base recipe for a bundt...... View full recipe for "~ My Glazed Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Bundt Cake ~"

07/22/2019

~ Love is a Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Pound Cake ~

Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and cultivated commercially. Before I go any further, I should mention the other six: concord grapes, cranberries, strawberries, corn, beans and squash. This means these plants were in existence before any of our immigrant ancestors arrived in this new world and the Native Americans were eating them and creating their own uses for them long before they introduced them to the original Colonists. That said, blueberries were domesticated entirely in the 20th century and it did not take long for this "very American berry" to...... View full recipe for "~ Love is a Blueberry, Lemon & Ricotta Pound Cake ~"

07/20/2019

~ Pucker Up for a Very Blueberry and Lemon Cobbler ~

Blueberry cobbler is simply the easiest fruit cobbler to make. As fruits and berries go, blueberries are not only a super food, they are super user friendly -- they don't have to be peeled, pitted, sliced or diced prior to using them. They come ready to go -- they are one quick measure or weigh away from being ready to add to whatever you're making or baking. That said, the combination of blueberries and lemon together is delightful -- the two go hand-in-hand together. Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker Up for a Very Blueberry and Lemon Cobbler ~"

07/04/2019

~ A Simply-Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cobbler ~

Fresh strawberry cobbler with home-churned strawberry ice cream, made the old-fashioned way, is going on our picnic table tonight. A few years ago that I realized strawberries make superb cobbler. I experimented on a whim and it turned out great. It was so successful, I tried this same recipe, substituting pineapple for strawberries that same Summer, meaning: I gained cobbler confidence. I don't know why it surprised me, strawberries contain a lot of citric acid, so, their own natural flavor makes them perfect for the relatively-fast turn-around in the oven required for a traditional cobbler. The moral of the story...... View full recipe for "~ A Simply-Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cobbler ~"

05/31/2019

~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~

Rice pudding is to us Northerners what banana pudding is to the Southerners -- a staple in every diner. Speaking from lots of experience on behalf of parts of the Northeast (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be specific), I'm here to tell you our diner-style rice pudding is: to die for. Sit me in any diner and I can assure two things you can always count on: the fork-tender meatloaf (served up with fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy), and, the rice pudding (garnished with a generous squirt of Redi-whipped cream and a maraschino cherry -- banana pudding gets...... View full recipe for "~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~"

05/28/2019

~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~

If, like me, you're a rice pudding lover, you'll eat it whenever offered. That said, as a rice pudding lover, until now, I never thought of it as a Summer dessert. This time of year, my mindset naturally turns to fruit or berry pie, shortcake, sorbet and ice cream as a perfect ending to a meal. Then, last night on a whim, I put the rum and the coconut in the rice pudding. Served warm on a starry night, or cold on a sun-drenched afternoon, this Island-style version of rice pudding is a fine finale to any Caribbean-themed feast, or,...... View full recipe for "~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~"

03/17/2019

~ Green-for-the-Day Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake ~

A green cake is not something one sees everyday, but, a green cake would obviously be an ideal dessert to serve for your St. Patrick's Day celebration. That said, this recipe came into my life for a very different celebration -- my bridal shower. My (now retro) signature color was a pale shade of prissy avocado green. A close friend of my mother offered to bake the cakes -- three, three-layer cakes decoratively slathered with a lovely shade of pastel-green frosting presented on three graduated-height cake pedestals. Agnes loved to bake and was a wonderful baker. Use a boxed cake...... View full recipe for "~ Green-for-the-Day Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake ~"

03/03/2019

~ Using Natural and Dutch-Process Cocoa Powders ~

It's not a matter of what's on-hand in the pantry, what mom or grandma used, brand recognition or cost. There is a difference between natural and Dutch-process cocoa powder, and, it is rocket science. The word is "acidity". Those of the mindset the two can be used interchangeably, babbling on about it being mostly a matter of preference (I have witnessed it said many times), are contributing to recipe failure -- which is the number one reason why some folks hate to bake. The cocoa bean is a dried, fatty seed found inside a 10"-12" cocoa pod, and, each pod...... View full recipe for "~ Using Natural and Dutch-Process Cocoa Powders ~"

02/28/2019

~ Chocolate, Sour Cream and Buttermilk Pound Cake ~

I'd never proclaim to have the best recipe for pound cake (unless I did and I do) because almost everyone claims their mother or grandmother made the best pound cake. Truth told, in many cases, these are false claims. I know, because I've had to test and taste a few recipes that left a lot to be desired in the (lack of) flavor and (dried out) texture departments. That said: My grandmother made the best buttery vanilla pound cake I ever tasted -- her recipe is so spot on perfect, no one I know who has tried hers has ever...... View full recipe for "~ Chocolate, Sour Cream and Buttermilk Pound Cake ~"

02/22/2019

~ Just Say Yes to Canned Peaches to Make Clafoutis ~

What a wonderful way to make a Summer fruit dessert in the middle of Winter. It's no secret that, without exception, I'll always choose to make a fruit dessert over any dessert -- and that causes me problems when lot of my favorite stone fruits and berries are out of season. I'm always hesitant to substitute canned fruit in a recipe that calls for fresh (everyone should be), but, yesterday, on a whim, I decided to give the two 29-ounce cans of sliced peaches in my pantry a try in my clafoutis recipe. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and I gained...... View full recipe for "~ Just Say Yes to Canned Peaches to Make Clafoutis ~"

02/11/2019

~ Effortlessly-Regal No-Brainer Blackberry Clafoutis ~

I'm continually astonished by how many cooks have no idea what clafoutis is, or, assume from its name that it's hard to make. If I were to write The Big Book of No-Brainer Desserts, clafoutis would be on the cover. Whisk up a simple batter (eggs, cream or milk, sugar, salt, flour, melted butter and brandy or extract), pour it over some fresh fruit and bake. Cherries are the classic addition, with any type of berries, combination of berries, or tender stone fruit like apricots, plums and peaches being common substitutions. Currently, I'm secretly addicted to the one-pound boxes of...... View full recipe for "~ Effortlessly-Regal No-Brainer Blackberry Clafoutis ~"

10/28/2018

~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~

Fall is when we all start gravitating to apple desserts, and, while pie is the first thing that comes to most folks minds, I have a date with my grandmother's apple fritters today. Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~"

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~"