Archive for ‘Fruit’

May 16, 2012

Strawberry shortcake cake

Pioneer Woman

Serves: 10


  • 1-1/2 cup Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream, Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


  • 1/2 pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1-1/2 pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound Strawberries

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

*Chef’s note: This was the first thing I baked in the oven of my new apartment! Probably not the best idea, in hindsight. I think my oven runs a bit hot, because I checked the cakes very early after 30 minutes and they already were done. Perhaps a bit too done. The outside was more of a crust, which makes this tough to cut. I also would double the amount of strawberries. It may seem like a lot, but it’s a lot of cake! Especially with my overly dry version, more moisture and sweetness would have been great. The cake did have a great flavor, though. It was a nice switch-up from the typical biscuit base. As requested by my boyfriend, the recipient of this cake, we used Cool Whip in place of the frosting. T’was delicious! I recommend letting it thaw a tad before digging in when you remove it from the fridge.

May 16, 2012

Apple galette

Oprah (Jane Lockhart)

Serves: 8-10

  • 4 medium Yellow Delicious or Gala apples
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • powdered sugar for dusting
While the pastry is defrosting, peel the apples, cut in half, and core.
Slice the apples very thin, approximately 1/8″ thick. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the sliced apples to prevent them from browning.

Dust counter with a little flour. Sprinkle some flour onto rolling pin. Roll pastry out into a rectangle. Fold and crimp edges of pastry about 1 inch on each side to make a 1/2″ border. (Crimping the border prevents the folded edges from coming undone while in the oven.) Transfer pastry dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Start in one corner with the sliced apples and overlap the slices so that they cover about half of the previous row. Continue to overlap apples in rows until the apples cover the entire pastry. Sprinkle the softened butter over the apples. Sprinkle the sugar over the apples. Place pastry in the oven and bake until the tart is deep golden brown and the apples are caramelizing, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Mix the apricot preserves with water and either microwave or place in a small pot under low heat on the stove until it is warm. Strain the preserves. Brush glaze onto the apples and cool. With a piece of parchment paper, cover the apple part of the Galette, leaving the edges exposed. Dust edges with powdered sugar. Cut the Galette in large squares and serve.

*Chef’s note: I love the simplicity of this elegant dessert. It was a huge hit when I made it for my mom’s French-themed book club meeting (along with Ghiradelli dark chocolate truffles, Food Network’s Croque Monsieur and more). I used granny smith apples but next time may use a combination with a sweeter apple added.

September 24, 2011

Apple pound cake

Sunny Anderson

Makes:16-20 slices

  • 5 jumbo-sized eggs (or 6 large eggs), separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 sticks butter, plus 1 tablespoon, for pan
  • 3 cups cake flour, plus 2 tablespoons, for pan
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Let the eggs, milk and butter come to room temperature on the counter before beginning. (Butter goes on the counter last.)

Butter the Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, then add 2 tablespoons of flour and shake and tap to coat the interior of the pan; set aside. Put the diced apples in a bowl with the cinnamon and lemon juice. In a large bowl or stand mixer add the butter and 2 cups of sugar and beat until smooth. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, and blend to completely incorporate before adding the next. The mixture will become very light in color. Add the buttermilk and the extracts and mix to combine. Stir in 3 cups of flour along with the baking powder and stir until incorporated.

In a separate clean dry bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until shiny and soft peaks form when removing the whisk from the whites. Gently fold this into the cake batter. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apples in the center of the ring all the way around, being sure they don’t touch the outer or inner edge of the pan. Pour in the remainingbatter and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely. Put a large plate or cake plate on top of the pan, then holding both together, flip them so that the curved bottom of the Bundt pan is on the top and the plate is resting on a flat surface. Slowly remove the pan from the cake by lifting it straight up. Slice and serve.

*Chef’s note: Soooo gooood. I obviously didn’t grease my bundt pan the best, as you can tell by the pieces missing from the edge of the cake. Otherwise, it would have been beautiful, and it still tasted awesome. Super moist, full of flavor, smelled divine. Great alone or with ice cream.

September 24, 2011

Peanut butter banana bread

Joy the Baker blog (recipe originally adapted from Cooking Light magazine)
Makes: 1  9″ x 5″ loaf
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla fat free yogurt
  • 1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (Joy the Baker says: I’ve also baked this bread without the flaxseed meal because I forgot to add it, and the bread was still moist and delicious)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground allspice.

In a medium bowl, whisk together  mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter and melted butter.  Whisk in eggs and sugars.  Blend mixture until no sugar lumps remain.

Pour the wet mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients.  Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.  Fold in the chopped nuts as well.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges of the pan and inverting the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This bread lasts, well wrapped at room temperature,for up to 4 days.  It is also great to store, well wrapped, in the freezer.

*Chef’s note: I was a little disappointed with this recipe; I think I was expecting more of a peanut butter taste. I substituted crunchy peanut butter (and a couple tablespoons more than the recipe calls for) for the peanut butter and dry roasted peanuts. I came up just a 1/4 cup short on the mashed bananas, so I added natural plain applesauce to make up the difference. I also added just a dash of vanilla and left out the allspice and flax because I was all out. Be sure to test with a skewer all the way to the bottom, not just with a toothpick (it took 60 minutes for me).

September 1, 2011

Blueberry oat muffins

Inspired by Food Network and The Healthy College Cookbook

Makes: 14 muffins

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill greased muffin cups about 3/4 full, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
*Chef’s note: Tasty tasty tasty. You really can taste the nutmeg. For me, a nice treat to satisfy a sweet tooth as well as a snack that doesn’t make me feel guilty.
September 1, 2011

Piggy pudding

Paula Deen

Serves: 4-5

  • 16 link pork sausages
  • 4 to 5 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1   7.5-ounce package corn bread mix (batter prepared according to package directions)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook sausages until done, piercing with fork to let out fat. Drain, then arrange in a 9-inch square baking dish. Layer sliced apples on top. Pour corn bread batter over all, and bake for about 30 minutes or until corn bread is done. Serve with warm maple syrup.
*Chef’s note: I took a change on this recipe, thinking it would be either super delicious or really gross. It was very yummy! I had it for dinner, using Granny Smith apples (actually only 2) and a sweet corn bread mix, skipping the syrup. You really don’t need any more ingredients, either – everything tastes full of flavor, even with lower-fat sausage like I used. I might make this again for brunch, trying it with the syrup ;)
August 14, 2011

Strawberry and apricot hand pies

Oprah magazine


Makes: 8 hand pies

  • 8 Tbsp. (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup strawberry or apricot jam
  • 3/4 cup strawberries (6 to 8) or chopped apricots (about 2)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. raw (turbinado) sugar

Note: The dough can be made up to a day ahead; remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before rolling it out so it has time to warm up slightly.

In a food processor, pulse together cream cheese, butter, cream, granulated sugar and salt until smooth. Add flour and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Cover dough snugly in plastic wrap; chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Working on a floured surface, roll out dough into a 10 x 20 rectangle. Using a bowl or glass, cut out 8 (4 1/2″) circles.

Drop about 2 tsp. jam onto 1 side of each circle and top with 1 Tbsp. strawberries or apricots. Brush the outer edge of each circle with egg, and then fold over to make half-moons. Press the edges together firmly, and then seal with the tines of a fork. Place on a parchment-paper-lined sheet tray and cut 3 (½) slits in each top. Brush with egg, sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

*Chef’s note: !!! These little pies pack a big punch of flavor. My parents, brother, uncle and grandparents all enjoyed these. I made both flavors and couldn’t choose a favorite. I had a little dough trouble at first; be sure to use a LOT of flour on your workspace, and don’t skimp on the refrigeration time. Everything else was “easy as pie.” ;)

July 2, 2011

Turkey meatloaf burgers with cranberry sauce and white cheddar

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small McIntosh apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small rib celery, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs (a rounded handful)
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey (no white meat)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (about 2/3 palmful)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • Sliced sharp white cheddar, for topping
  • 1/3 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 large sandwich-size sourdough English muffins, split and toasted
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 4 leaves red leaf or red romaine lettuce

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to melt, then add the apple, onion and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook under a loose foil tent until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then transfer to a bowl to cool; reserve the skillet.

Mix in the turkey, egg, parsley, mustard and poultry seasoning into the breadcrumb mixture; season with salt and pepper. Form into four 4-inch patties.

Wipe out the reserved skillet and add a liberal drizzle of EVOO. Warm over medium-high heat, add the patties and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 11-12 minutes. Melt the cheddar cheese over the top during the last minute.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the cranberry sauce, sour cream and chives.

Serve the patties on the English muffins with the red onion, lettuce and cranberry-sour cream sauce.

*Chef’s note: Definitely not your average turkey burger. Tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing at my house :) It made 6 large burgers for me, not 4. I recommend cooking them more “low and slow,” on medium, possibly for a bit longer. They will be all white inside when cooked through. For me, cooking them on a higher heat caused burning really fast, possibly from the sugars in the contents. But very tasty and makes the kitchen smell divine!

July 1, 2011

Apple Annie bars

Steamboat Entertains

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup strained applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • powdered sugar to top

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream shortening. Add sugar and egg; mix well. Add baking soda and applesauce. Sift remaining ingredients together; add to applesauce mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

*Chef’s note: Awesome! Really easy to make, and not too many ingredients. F.y.i., it’s basically a cake, not bars…. It was light and fluffy and tasted like fall :) I had only cinnamon applesauce on hand, so I used that and halved the amount of ground cinnamon added. I’m sure you could play around with the type of applesauce you put in, and next time I might try adding diced apples. And it would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla icecream on top!

June 18, 2011

Mama Bear’s chunky fruit and oatmeal cookies

Mary Roeser

Makes: 2 dozen cookies

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-fat or skim milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups Quaker oatmeal (quick, uncooked)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup diced dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Beat butter and sugars until fluffly. Beat in milk, egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients, and mix well. Stir in nuts and fruit.

Place dough in heaping tablespoons on cookie sheets, three inchs apart, and flatten the mounds. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool one minue on cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack. Store tightly covered.

*Chef’s note: This is my late grandmother’s recipe. A delicious and satisfying cookie! Great for a snack or a sweet treat you won’t feel guilty eating. If you’re afraid it looks too healthy, don’t shy away– I promise it’s very tasty. Mama Bear knew what she was doing in the kitchen.