“Things that were hard to bear were sweet to remember,” said Seneca. If you were to ask my sister, the Roman philosopher was clearly anticipating the challenges of making rhubarb pie in a friend’s kitchen without a food processor, pastry blender or rolling pin. But through adversity, there is redemption and Claire made the dough with a fork and rolled it out using a Bacardi bottle wrapped in Saran Wrap. The result? A spectacularly delicious rhubarb pie, one that we will be making all summer. Recipe via food52.com.
Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’
Recently I got several pounds of tangerines in my CSA farm bag and promptly put them to nostalgic use. For those whose happiest childhood memories involve a Creamsicle—that perfect balance of tart, sweet and creamy—this Creamsicle Float from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques is made for you. Goin suggests using tangelos, which are sweet and not too acidic and have very few seeds. But tangerines will also do the trick. I made these for Easter and again the following week when my inlaws were visiting. I’m hoping someone will make them for me on Mother’s Day.
To make, squeeze 1/2 cup of juice per serving (or juice from two to three tangerines depending on size and juiciness). In each glass place a large scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Pour over 1/2 cup tangerine or tangelo juice. Top with seltzer. Serve with a straw.
Our friends Hugh and Aimee brought over a bag generously overflowing with fuyu persimmons from their tree. Besides being gorgeous to look at, persimmons are fantastic in cakes and sticky puddings. Of course, the catch is that I don’t bake. So yesterday I begged Tiny G’s nanny to embark on a project with the little guy to bake a Persimmon Cake with Cream Cheese frosting (omitting the currants because personally I find them to be an epic bummer in cakes). In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous with a masters in Egyptology from Cambridge University under her belt, Tiny G’s nanny is also infuriatingly good in the kitchen. She whipped this up like it was as easy as Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics (because, as it happens, Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics are easy for her)…
It turns out we have enough persimmons for about 10 of these cakes, and we just might make that many because they are THAT GOOD.
Make this! My sister did on Sunday night and it was outstanding. It’s a Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata from the May issue of Bon Appétit Magazine, and it would be great for Mother’s Day this weekend. The whole wheat flour in the crust gives a nutty flavor that I hope you love as much as I did! Come August, can’t wait to try the crust topped with ripe peaches and cardamom.
I know we have a ways till Thanksgiving, but I’m already sold on this year’s dessert. This past weekend—for my Turkey in Mole Poblano soiree—I liberated a leftover can of pumpkin purée, added it to a flan and topped with some pepitas toasted in ancho salt. MAGIC. I might make it again this weekend for the Oscars, any excuse really. This was the first time I’d made flan and the first time I’d made a dry caramel. Talk about weird science. You just heat plain cane sugar in a pan until it turns to caramel. (Obvi for some, revolutionary for the rest of us.)
The caramel gets poured into a souffle dish, and then the flan so that when you eventually turn it upside down, the caramel spills out and pools around the flan.
The flan itself is a snap—you probably already have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. Click HERE for recipe. The flavor and texture—absolute perfection. My flan was a little runny in the middle so next time I might cook a little longer than the recommended hour and 15 minutes, and make sure it has more than 6 hours chilling in the fridge to set. Oh, and with any dessert it passes the most important test of all: A++ leftover for breakfast the next morning with a cup of coffee.
My husband married me with the clear understanding that ours would a cakeless union. I can count on one hand the number of cakes I’ve baked in my life. But sometimes in a marriage, expectations change and you suddenly find yourself standing over a double boiler whipping egg whites and sugar for your very first Seven Minute Frosting.
Coconut cake is our mutual favorite, and for other people’s birthdays we often order an exemplary version from Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose. For the inaugural run on a coconut cake of my very own, I consulted Martha, Alton, Epicurious et al, but in the end let’s cut the crap. Do I need to be splitting coconuts with a screwdriver? I do not. And if we’re going to be totally honest here, who do we really think makes the best coconut cake? I put my money on Paula Deen. When it comes to butter, sugar and more of both, Paula doesn’t disappoint. Her recipe for Jamie’s Coconut Cake uses a basic cake recipe, subbing in rich coconut milk for regular. (I saved the leftover coconut milk with the design of making a Thai iced coffee for an afternoon indulgence. I mean, if you’re going to go out in a caloric supernova, why stop at cake?) It’s a three-layer situation, which makes icing the thing a little tricky.
I love Paula’s method of poking holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon so that the sour cream-coconut filling really seeps into the cake’s layers.
What resulted was pure moist and rich coconut goodness. Even better for breakfast the next morning. Happy belated birthday, my love!
Next up: dealing with my frosting technique.
For this past Saturday night’s picnic in the graveyard to see All About Eve, my sister, Claire, was charged with making dessert. Earlier in the week she had asked for ideas. The question came after I’d enjoyed a couple gin and tonics one night. “Obviously, you should make apple galette,” I said, having never made one myself. “Why, obviously?” she asked. “You know,” I said, “All About Eve? The apple?” And then I forgot about it. But Claire did not. She is a good sport that way. And my lordy does she have a way with pastry dough. To say nothing of apple arrangement!
The recipe follows, with one extra-special Claire flair…
She arranged the apples on a bed of apricot preserves with Sauternes, which, I might add have also jazzed up one of my billion dollar brown rice rolls today as an afternoon snack:
This recipe is inspired by a tart from Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Total Time: 3 Hours
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep dough chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine apple slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Slide long thin knife between parchment and galette. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
I have three delicious words for you: Summer. Fruit. Shortcake. Okay, five, if you add: With. Mascarpone. Two crucial and decadent words. I mean, really, this recipe might be the last word in summer desserts. Our friend Vincent brought it over the other night in all its summery glory. It’s one large shortcake, which Vincent then cut into individual slices and—with a flair for drama—sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with fruit juices reserved from the fresh raspberry, blackberry and peach filling.
It was so pretty that we busted out the silver. And then we cleaned our plates. And I mean CLEANED. Thank you, Vincent!
Back in what I like to call my “fashion past,” friend, documentary filmmaker and fashion photographer extraordinaire Robert Trachtenberg and I made a lot of pretty pictures together. But perhaps none so delicious as the above, which appeared on T Magazine‘s blog several weeks ago, along with a fantastic story about Valerie Confections “vintage cake” revival of some of LA’s most beloved desserts (think Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake or Chasen’s Banana Shortcake). Those of us lucky enough to live in Los Angeles know Valerie’s chocolates all too well, and word is spreading fast. In fact just this week Alice Waters popped into the shop and loaded up on Valerie’s mint mendiants, liquid caramels, nut toffees, preserves, and Champagne (my kind of girl).
But back to this coconut mass of heaven. Ever since I saw Robert’s story, I’ve had this coconut cream pie on the brain. And so finally—at 5 o’clock on Thursday evening—I caved and tried Valerie’s recipe. By 9 pm Mr. Foodinista and I were eating a slice of the best (if not as pretty as Robert’s) coconut cream pie I can remember. Oh, and guess what I had for breakfast?
Note about recipe: look for cream of coconut in a liquor store or in the booze aisle of the grocery store (if you live in a state like California where you can buy such things at the supermarket). It comes in a can and apparently is used for piña coladas and the like: