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Archive for the ‘Fruit Desserts’ Category

Greetings to the two faithful readers I still have left! (Hi Mom!) I have taken an unintended hiatus from blogging, but I am back baby! I’ve still been cooking, so have a back log of recipes to post and I am starting with this gem. I tore it out a (typically) underwhelming issue of Bon Appetit because, well, just look at the ingredients. Rhubarb and creme fraiche? Check. And in galette form? Sign me up!

This easily the best thing I’ve done with rhubarb all summer. It is a very simple recipe – as the Resident Frechman said, “this doesn’t have enough ingredients for you to make it. Where is the heavy cream?” But the result is very delicious and really allows the rhubarb to shine. I think it was totally worth leaving the oven on for an hour when it was 90 degrees this weekend in a barely air conditioned house, which for a summer recipe is the highest possible praise.

I feel that it is my mission in life to make everyone eat this crème fraîche. It is so much better than your average whipped cream. Honestly, I don’t even want to eat whipped cream after this. You have to try it. If you don’t have a full vanilla bean, sweetened crème fraîche still tastes amazing, but the vanilla really elevates it to another level.

My usual end tips: as I’ve said before, galettes are extremely forgiving. Don’t worry about rolling out the dough perfectly. It is supposed to look rustic (and therefore charming). My dough was somewhat shaped like France. Remember when you are adding the water to the dough that you may need more or less water – it depends on the humidity of your kitchen. The recipe calls for the rhubarb to be sliced into match stick strips, which I know sounds unforgivably picky. Don’t worry about getting the pieces super thin, these can be thick matchsticks. The important part is to keep them all the (relatively) same size, so they cook evenly. Finally, Bon Appetit directs you to arrange the rhubarb in concentric circles. How that is possible with strips, I am not really sure. So make up your own pattern! And if you get neat circles, let me know how you did it!

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June is birthday month! It was my friend Jeanette’s birthday and she requested angel food cake. I have never made an angel food cake before, so I was pretty excited to use the pan hanging out in my Mom’s cabinet. Finally a use for a pan with legs! I had no idea that you needed to let the cake rest upside down, so I had a great time documenting this:

The cake is marvelous – it has a perfect sponge-y texture and I love Martha’s addition of raspberry layers. They add a nice fruity contrast to the cake. The layers are very easy to make – all those egg whites make the batter extremely stiff, so you can easily spread the raspberry mixture onto the batter without a problem, making you appear to be some sort of cake layering genius.

I rarely pay attention to recipes that tell you to sift, but I highly recommend it here. The batter is very light and fluffy and if there are any lumps in the sugar or flour, it will be readily apparent in the cake. So sift away! I used my Mom’s sifter, which is wonderfully old school and works far better than my newer one.

Finally, don’t toss those egg yolks! I am saving mine to make a super batch of ice cream that will be so creamy, I will probably die of happiness. I had a fantastic salted caramel ice cream a few weeks ago that I would love to replicate, so if you know of any good recipes, leave a comment. Otherwise I might make ice cream with my second favorite ingredient, creme fraiche!

Unfortunately for the purpose of blog photos, we ate the cake on a bar patio, lit by candlelight. Great for ambiance, terrible for photos. So this was the sole focused, best lit photo of the cake. It is a bit hard to tell, but check out how awesome the raspberry layers look! Very delicious, angel food cake is now officially in recipe circulation.

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Okay, I promise this is the last puff pastry recipe for awhile. But I’ve saved the best for last, as this was beyond delicious. All this started because CristaBear requested a very specific dessert for her birthday party: layers of phyllo with strawberries, whipped cream and powdered sugar. Of course, me being me, I had to deviate slightly. I knew that whipped cream wouldn’t hold up for very long and would separate. So I made a whipped mascarpone cream, which is absolutely delicious. It tastes like a thicker, more flavorful whipped cream. Winter strawberries are a little sad, so they are doctored up with some sugar and lemon. Finally, I substituted puff pastry for phyllo because I knew it would be easier to work with.

I made two variations on this. For Crista’s birthday, I made strawberry Napoleons. Sadly, I only have one photo of them because my camera punked out and it is from my camera phone. They don’t look too great, but they were delicious and very pretty looking.

Because had I had tons of leftover cream and strawberries, I made a flat tart version which was just as delicious, if not as impressive looking. The recipe for the flat tart is below, as I have to admit it is much much easier than putting together Napoleons that constantly were trying to tip over (I was a little overambitious and made them slightly too tall). Either way, strawberries on cream on puff pastry is irresistible.

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Did you make a New Year’s resolution about eating healthier and/or eating less dessert? I did not – not because I don’t think I need less dessert – but because I know that is a resolution I can’t keep. I love dessert! But I digress, this is about crostatas! Healthy, fruity crostata that allows for dessert and a modicum of nutrition. This is not overly sweet and the yogurt topping gives a nice creamy, yet fresh, taste. It is a great compromise between healthy and dessert.

Also, I love this dessert because it is essentially a free form pie. I adore the slightly messy look of galettes, crostatas, whatever you want to call them. So rustic, so charming, so much easier than fluting the edges of a formal crust.

I basically took the recipe whole hog from Bon Appetit (despite my undying love for Gourmet, I will admit, I do love the Fast Easy Fresh column. Hello black bean chili), except I subbed walnuts for pistachios. I do not like green nuts, they seem a bit unnatural to me. Plus you can’t go wrong adding pecans to a dessert. My crostata opened up a bit, as I was working quickly and did not properly pleat and press one of the sections. But the filling stayed put, so I’m deeming this recipe fast, easy, fresh and (mostly) idiot proof.

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Ah the wonderful time of year when fresh cranberries are available! The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when if you poke around carefully in the supermarket, you can find whole bags of tart deliciousness. I’ve been stocking up whenever I see them – cranberries freeze really well – so expect more cranberry recipes. Stretching possibly into April.

Bread pudding is such a New Orleans thing that I hesitated to make it. I’ve had it so many times, at so many different restaurants that I really didn’t think I could meet my expectations. But this is a great recipe. The fresh cranberries add a bright fresh note and the French bread really stands up well. I think Challah could work well too, but the pudding would definitely be a not as stiff. And creme anglaise….mmm.

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Holy December Batman! Where did this year go?

I hardly ever make cakes and I don’t know why. Cakes are magical. Sure pies and tarts are awesome, but the ingredients you put in are pretty similar to what comes out. Cakes are more transformative. The batter is ugly and lumpy (well mine is). But the end result – so delicious! Apparently this is the first cake that French kids learn to bake. This means that somewhere across the ocean, a French child is probably making a better cake than I am.

This recipe called for a 10 in. cake pan, which astoundingly enough, I do not have. Neither does my mom, which is the even bigger surprise. So I found an adorable star shaped pan which worked fine. Any type of fruit should work in this, but I am a berry girl and blackberries were on sale. Finally, I used Liberte Lemon Yogurt because it has curd and zest in it, but any yogurt should do. As an aside, I love those yogurts! And in cake form, they are truly awesome.

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Meh. I hate to say it, but meh. I really wanted to love this. But I have a cranberry tart recipe that is way better and I should have made that for Thanksgiving instead of experimenting. I also forgot my camera so I don’t have too many photos either. If I were to make this again, I would definitely add more cranberries than I did, this tart needs more tartness (I love that sentence). I also would not blind bake the crust for as long as I did – I think 20 minutes, perhaps even 15 depending on the oven, should do it, since the tart is baked for quite a while with the filling. As a result of the long baking time, the crust was pretty dry and very brown (and it shrunk a ton). I am going to experiment with this one a bit though – it isn’t bad, it just needs a little something. Any ideas?

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