This year's birthday cake for a newly-minted 14-year-old.
Saturday, 25 May 2013
Monday, 6 May 2013
Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream
1 pound pitted ripe sweet cherries
¾ cup milk
1 ¾ cups cream
½ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Amaretto, cherry liqueur, or rum4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine, keep in freezer until used
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional but recommended, helps with creaminess and avoiding iciness)
Put cherries, milk, one cup of the cream, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture is steamy, then lower the heat to warm and just let sit for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour mixture into a blender, or use an immersion blender, and carefully purée. (Careful because you are dealing with a hot liquid. Make sure you hold the cap down on the top of the blender while puréeing.)
Put mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ¾ cup of cream. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator until completely cold. (Can also place bowl over an ice bath, to speed up the cooling process.)
Before putting the mixture into your ice cream maker, stir in the lemon juice and the Amaretto or other liqueur. and xanthan gum if you are using it. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Once the ice cream has completed churning, it'll be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for several hours, at least.
Adapted almost imperceptibly from here.
Friday, 3 May 2013
Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.
Rhubarb - Strawberry Crumb Pie
1 store-bought 9-inch pastry round
1 pound rhubarb, sliced on 1/2" diagonal
1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch or King Arthur's pie filling enhancer according to the amounts they specify
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
Heat oven to 425F.
Make filling: Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl and allow to sit and macerate while you make the topping.
Make crumb topping: Whisk together all ingredients except butter. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly and butter is in pea-sized lumps. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
Unroll pastry round into a deep-dish pie pan. Spread filling evenly inside crust. Sprinkle topping on - yeah, you guessed it - top! You may wish to put a cookie sheet under the pie in the oven to catch drips. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn down heat to 375F and bake for another 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Are you the type who thinks using a boxed cake mix is akin to substituting a McRib for prime rib, you may wish to avert your eyes lest I offend. I, however, have no compunction about using a boxed mix, usually with a little 'boost' of some sort. It's a useful launching pad. So I found this pineapple mix at the market the other day and thought it interesting enough to try. And seeing that tomorrow's my birthday I had to make a cake ("had to"... yeah, sure!) so I thought it would be a good opportunity to test drive this.
Pineapple Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 boxed Pillsbury pineapple cake mix
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained super-duper well
8-ounce package cream cheese (I use fat-free)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavouring/extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
Make cake according to package directions, substituting pineapple juice for the water and applesauce for the oil. Mix in crushed pineapple at the end.
For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add additional sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. Stir in 1 cup coconut. If desired, toast the other 1 cup coconut to sprinkled evenly over frosted cake.
So there it is, my birthday cake! :-)
Err, yes, I'm not the best at cutting clean slices...
...but it was still delicious!
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Well, this took care of about 1/4 of the strawberries I bought today... right, so who's up for strawberry meatloaf then?
4 cups sliced strawberries
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups milk
Heat oven to 325F. Place butter in a 13×9 baking dish and melt in the oven as it preheats.
In a separate bowl, mix remaining 1 ½ cups flour and ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Remove dish with melted butter from oven. Pour batter over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon strawberries on top of batter. Again, do not stir.
It's really not very impressive at this point, I admit. But just you wait!
Adapted slightly from here.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
So I just made this up on the fly as part of Easter brunch this morning - and wow, it's pretty darned good if I do say so. And even better, really easy. I used reduced fat sausage and cheese, so I only feel mildly guilty for having seconds. And maybe thirds. OK, I feel kinda guilty about that.
Sausage/Hash Brown/Cheddar Bake
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound pork sausage (I use the Jimmy Dean reduced fat kind)
1 onion, minced
1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 pound (16 ounces, or half a package) Ore-Ida Southern Style frozen hash browns, or similar
fresh ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350F. In a nonstick skillet heat heat oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add sausage and cook through, using spoon to break into small pieces. Spread sausage evenly into an 8" square glass baking dish. Spoon soup over the meat and top with half of the cheese and a sprinkle of pepper. Spread frozen hash browns on top; cover with the other half of the cheese and more pepper. Bake 1 hour, and then put under the broiler for a few minutes to brown and crisp up the top.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
Like any perfectly sane person, I have a completely unnatural attachment to Trader Joe's cookie butter.
Cookie Butter Swirl Cheesecake
2 cups hard biscuits/cookies, cinnamon or ginger flavour preferred
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Heat oven to 350F. In a food processor grind up the cookies into a fine crumb. As machine is running, pour in melted butter and process until of even graininess. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform or removable-bottom pan (I use a flat-bottomed glass to press it in evenly).
Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is just lightly brown around the edges. Set aside and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 300F.
4 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
3 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla
Cookie Butter Swirl
¾ cup of cookie butter, gently warmed in microwave to be more pourable
Wipe out food processor bowl or use a mixer, and blend the cream cheese, eggs, eggs yolks, vanilla, sugar and heavy cream. Mix until you have a nice custard-like consistency and no lumps are visible.
Pour cheesecake batter into cooled crust pan. Using a spoon with the cookie butter, drizzle evenly around the batter. Using a chopstick or skewer, gently swirl the cookie butter around until you have a pleasing pattern. I drizzled in a spiral and then dragged the skewer zig-zag horizontally, and then again verically, for a marbled style.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the cake sit in the oven for an hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Slicing may be easier with a wet knife.
Adapted from here: