Category Archives: Desserts

Coffee-Caramel Crème Brûlée

I am a big fan of coffee, an even bigger fan of caramel, and these two flavors together really make me happy.  This coffee-caramel Crème Brûlée and reminds me of a rich caramel cappuccino.  I could eat this every day but generally save it for special occasions.

Crème Brûlée sounds intimidating but it’s really not.  The tricky part is making sure that your custard does not cook when adding the hot cream to the egg yolks.  Once past that part, it is relatively smooth sailing.

The caramelization of the sugary top can be done in your oven’s broiler.  But it is more fun to use a kitchen torch.

More fun than that is going to Home Depot and discussing the pros and cons of different blow torches with the knowledgeable sales staff .

“Exactly what do you plan to use this blow torch for?” the kind salesman finally asked after several minutes of deliberation.

“Crème Brûlée, of course.”

And then we laughed all the way home. Here is the recipe…

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Lemon Ginger Drop Cookies

Cathy loves ginger and Cathy loves lemon.  So, over the years, I have made ginger cookies as well as lemon cookies for her. This year, I decided to combine the two flavors and send them to her on her birthday.  She says these are now her favorite cookies.

I had lemons as well as crystallized ginger but no molasses, a common ingredient in the chewier ginger snap. I perused the cookbook collection for a recipe that was molasses-free and came across this one in an old Martha Stewart cookbook.

The lemon zest ensures a real lemony flavor and the crystallized ginger adds the necessary chew to this otherwise crisp and delicate cookie.  Bet you can’t eat just one. Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Cookies, Desserts

Peach and Blueberry Sour Cream Cobbler

M wanted a cobbler the other day so I made this one for him. If there’s anything he likes more than cookies, it’s blueberries and he eats them all summer long.

It starts when they are first available and we buy them even when they are still a bit too expensive.  The price drops as the months go by and as the price drops, it has the opposite effect on his consumption.

Sadly, it ends as it began. Scarcity sets in, prices rise, and then the blueberries disappear until next year.

The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.  “Right food, right place, right time” is his belief.  The book is written in diary form and chronicles a year in the kitchen creating seasonal dishes from local and readily available ingredients.

This recipe is actually from July 15,  but it can be made any time you are lucky enough to find fresh peaches and, of course, blueberries.   Here is the recipe…

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Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

I found this recipe in the letters section of the May 2010 issue of Bon Appétit.  Someone had written in to ask how to make one of the creations they had at the Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe in Santa Monica, CA.  I held on to it until the local organic blueberries were available and finally made it a few weeks ago.

As I have taken to doing recently, I substituted my 5″ silicone pans for the 10″ springform that the recipe calls for.  We ended up with two small cakes, the first of which M and I quickly devoured.  The second one was frozen and recently served with coffee as breakfast  to a houseguest.

There are so many great things about this cake but the overall texture is what really sets it apart.  It is crusty on the outside and, because of the amount of blueberries involved, super moist on the inside.  The addition of cornmeal to the batter gives the cake a grainy (but in a good way) texture.  It defies classification and is equally at home being served as a breakfast treat, on its own with tea or as a dessert.

Hurry up and try this before all the blueberries are gone!

Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Breads, Cakes, Desserts, Sweet

Cherry Pie

Sour Cherries

Tradition, tradition!

There’s nothing that says Fourth of July to me like a homemade cherry pie. Back in the day, when Gourmet was still around, or July 2007 to be exact, we saw the most beautiful cherry pie featured on the magazine’s cover and knew we had to give it a try. We made it with M’s mother and father who came to visit us for the holiday weekend.

The wonderfully flaky crust and the sour cherry, cinnamon-enhanced filling combine to create a delicious, fairly easy to make pie, as far as pies go. Throw in the fact that M is a true “dough whisperer” and that is how a tradition was born.

We made it again in the summer of 2009 and then again this year. I’m not sure what happened in the summer of 2008 or why we didn’t make the pie that year, but that is history and I have vowed not to repeat it.

Cherry Pie

Part of the fun, or frustration, depending on how things shake out, is finding the sour cherries. Like Meyer lemons, they too have a season. Lucky for us, we work steps away from the Union Square Green Market, one of the best in the country and certainly the best in New York. This year I learned, thanks to the friendly woman working the Samascott Orchards booth (I miss you Kinderhook) that the lighter colored sour cherries are not as sour as the deep red colored ones, the ones that I always mistook for sweet cherries.

The filling is really easy to make after the laborious pitting task is completed. The cherries are tossed with cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, tapioca and sugar and then allowed to rest for a while. The pie crust is somewhat more complicated but not overwhelmingly so.

That’s it. This pie is outrageously good and, once cool, keeps nicely on the counter until it slowly disappears slice by slice over a nice three-day weekend.
Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Desserts, Pies and Tarts, Sweet

Curry Sorbet

Aquavit. Love saying it, love drinking it and love the New York restaurant. It is truly one of our favorite special occasion places. Aquavit is Scandinavian cuisine at its finest served up in a sleek, modern minimalist (and quiet) setting.  So, this past holiday season, we were delighted to receive  the Aquavit cookbook after having it on our wish list for several years.

Last month, we set out to re-create several of our favorite dishes from the restaurant and cookbook. Pickled herring to start, followed by a beet and apple salad, followed by Swedish Meatballs served with garlic mashed potatoes, lingonberry preserves and quick pickled cucumbers. But what to end with?

After perusing the book and weighing different options, we finally settled on Curry Sorbet. I love curry and all things of an ice cream nature but wasn’t so sure about this particular combination. Until I tried it.

Curry Sorbet

The end result is so unusual – light, creamy, sweet, spicy, exotic and flavorful. The curry powder and coconut milk combination is not to be missed, provides a perfect ending to a lovely Swedish meal, and is just as good on its own.

Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Desserts, Frozen

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

I’ve seen an episode or three of The Hills and was always amazed by LC and the gang’s infatuation with Pinkberry. I dismissed it as silly, just like I did most of the show (although it remains a wonderful guilty pleasure).  If only there were more hours in the day.  Then, before Pinkberry opened its doors on the east coast, I heard of the treat being flown across the country for a child’s bat mitzvah.  Really?

It has now been in New York for some time and last weekend I finally paid a visit to the Pinkberry.  And, as much as I hate to admit, it does indeed live up to the hype.  They even have a motto and a catchy little rap song.  The motto goes like this…”frozen yogurt reinvented to create an experience that indulges the senses.”  I’ll say.  They are indeed on to something.  I had a mini combo with mango and plain yogurt, no toppings and it was remarkable.  I left rapping P-I-N-K-B-E-RRY, Pinkberry.

I then decided to go home and see if I could recreate the magic.  And, I modestly say that I think I did.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Since strawberries are in season, that seemed like an easy choice.  This recipe is so easy AND it even has vodka in it.  Tart, tangy and delicious.

Here is the recipe….

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