Entries Tagged as 'Fruits'

Peach Pound Cake

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

peach pound cake

Okay, okay, I’ve been AWOL.  The truth is…summer finally got to me!  Summer in LA is a very slow starter and it doesn’t even get legitimately warm enough for beach weather until August.  Of course that means that my apartment in Beachtown, which doesn’t need air conditioning 11 out of the 12 months of the year, is all of a sudden sweltering.  Standing in the hot kitchen was, truthfully, the last thing I want to do, especially when I could hop on my beach cruiser and head down the breezy coast instead.  But I’m back and I want to share one last grab at Summer’s bounty with this Peach Pound Cake!

I hope that you’ve still got a handful of peaches hanging around at the grocery store, even if Fall apples are breathing down their necks, ready to take their spot in the produce section.  This cake is a cinch to throw together, has a tasty sugar crust and features my favorite summer fruit, so get on it while you still can!

Peach Pound Cake
Adapted from The Fresh Market, via Annie’s Eats

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar set aside
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup flour set aside
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with baking spray and sprinkle generously with the 1/4 cup of sugar that was set aside.  Make sure to evenly cover the whole pan with sugar, shaking and tilting the pan to cover every inch.  Gently dump out the extra, without knocking too much of what’s already stuck to the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the remaining sugar and butter, beating for 5 minutes.  While that’s beating, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together the 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, stopping after the streaks of flour have disappeared.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of flour, nutmeg and cinnamon, then toss with the peaches until the peaches are evenly coated in the flour-spice mixture.
  6. Fold the peaches into the batter (it will be quite a thick batter, so it’ll take a little bit of elbow grease) and transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan, spreading so that it’s evenly distributed in the pan.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  8. Let it cool on a wire cooling rack before slicing.  Enjoy!

Bell Pepper-Sausage Kolache & Apricot-Nectarine Kolache

Monday, August 20, 2012


Being a part of a family that very proudly celebrates our Slovak heritage, I was fascinated to hear about Texas’ love affair with kolache, a Czech pastry.  Even better, kolache is a strongly featured recipe in The Pastry Queen—I’m so glad that I was able to circle back around and make it before Project Pastry Queen was officially over.  My biggest problem, it turns out, was just figuring out how to say the darn thing!  The world wide webiverse told me it was “ko-losh” or “ko-losh-ee”.  Enlisting the help of a Czech coworker, she said it was “ko-lotch-ee”.  I guess, in the end, it doesn’t matter, because—even though I’m still uneasy with all bread-making activities—these were mostly successful.  I’ve never eaten one made by someone else, so I don’t have anything to compare them to, but I can say that the dough is sweet and tastes very close to my favorite Cantonese Dim Sum BBQ Pork Filled Buns, albeit a little bit denser.  I know it’s a strange comparison, but in the end, it’s a small world, after all.

bell pepper sausage kolache

I split the recipe into half and made one half open-faced with nectarines, apricot jam, and brown sugar streusel.  The other half had the dough wrapped around a red bell pepper and sausage filling so that the filling was hidden inside.  I will say that I definitely have to work on my technique—as we all know here, bread dough and I don’t get along, so the nectarine kolache weren’t so much perfect little deep wells of fruit, but instead the fruit kind of hovered on top.  I also would add more of the savory filling next time because you can, obviously, never have enough sausage.  Overall, though, they were great!  The dough didn’t require any kneading, so, even though mine weren’t perfectly beautiful, I still recommend this recipe to anyone wanting to try yeast breads.  You literally just mix the dough, then stick in the fridge till morning and voila!

apricot nectarine kolache

Makes 16-18 kolache
Dough adaptation directly from The Foodie Bride

Fillings inspired by The Pastry Queen

Dough (for a full recipe - 16-18 kolache)

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water, warmed to 110-115F
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115F
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to warm
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5/8 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 1/4 cups flour

Red Bell Pepper & Sausage Filling (for a half recipe - 8-9 kolache)

  • 1 cup cooked sausage, chopped (I used a chicken sausage)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

Nectarine-Apricot Filling & Streusel (for a half recipe - 8-9 kolache)

  • 1 large nectarine, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam/jelly, melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter
  1. Add your warm water to your mixing bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) and stir in 1 teaspoon sugar..  Sprinkle yeast over the sugar water mixture and let stand 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. Add milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt to bowl and mix on low until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Also on low, mix in half of the flour, wait until its incorporated, then mix in the second half of the flour, mixing just until incorporated.  My dough was pretty lumpy looking and, truthfully, I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to look or not.
  4. Let the dough rest 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.  Punch the dough down (deflate it) and then cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.  If you’re in a rush, 4 hours is enough, but who doesn’t want the ease of just throwing something in the fridge and not worrying about it until morning?
  5. When ready to start, heat the oven to 375, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use non-stick spray) and divide the dough into balls.  They’ll be a bigger than golf balls, about 2 1/2″ wide.  Shawnda helpfully points out that the balls should weigh about 2.5 oz each.
  6. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling ingredients- make sure the bell pepper and sausage is chopped; combine the warmed apricot jam in a bowl with the chopped nectarine and stir to coat the nectarine.  You could easily make the streusel topping in a food processor, but it’s such a small amount that I just tossed the flour, brown sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and mushed it around with a fork and a butter knife until it was well combined and crumbly.
  7. If making sausage kolache, flatten out the balls of dough, press about a tablespoon of filling into each round of dough and then wrap the dough over the filling, pinching it shut.  Arrange the balls of dough with the seam side down on the baking sheet and arrange so that the balls are just an inch or so apart.
  8. If making open faced nectarine kolache, slightly flatten the balls and then poke a little well into the dough.  Fill the well with a tablespoon or so of fruit filling, then sprinkle the streusel topping over each one.  Arrange on the baking sheet so that the edges are just touching.
  9. Let the prepared kolache rest for 20 minutes or so and then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.  I brushed some melted butter over the tops of the kolache warm from the oven, but that’s up to you.
  10. Serve warm and enjoy!

White Peach Cream Cheese Tart

Monday, August 6, 2012

 white peach cream cheese tart

I turned the Way-Back Machine on for Project Pastry Queen this week, everybody!  The truth is, we’re nearing the end of the book and the final handful of remaining recipes aren’t the most interesting to most people.  As such, we’re going back to pick some recipes that were completed before most of us joined the group.  I’ve had this tart on my list of things to make for quite some time, but had to wait until peach season hit full stride, of course.

The truth with this tart is that I had it in the oven for approximately 1 and a half minutes before I realized that I had miscalculated my time and we had to leave for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl right that moment and not in the hour that I originally thought.  Cut to me hurriedly swiping the tart out of the hot oven, throwing it in the fridge and running out the door hoping to goodness I didn’t have flour hand prints all over my dark jeans.  I came back home and found that the peaches dipped in cinnamon and sugar macerated while sitting on the tart in the fridge, so there was peach juice all over the surface of the cream cheese filling. Oh well!  In to the oven it goes.

When I pulled it out, there was no sign of the juice anywhere-success!  But because I used white peaches (they were all that were ripe at the store), the cinnamon’s brown color was more dominant than the cheery yellow color of everyone else’s tarts.  Also, I a) forgot to peel them, but that’s no big deal and b) chose not to use halves of peaches as Rebecca suggests, instead going with a more elegant circular pattern that still covers the top of the cream cheese filling just fine.

White Peach Cream Cheese Tart
Makes one 10″ tart
Adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Lemon Zest Tart Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 11 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into Tbsp sized chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 package)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 large peaches


  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1 1/2 tsp brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp water
  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and combine ingredients at low speed.
  2. Add the butter chunks one at a time to the flour mixture and continue beating until the mixture is crumbly and no large chunks of butter remain (the largest size should be pea-sized).
  3. Whisk together the egg and cream and pour into the flour mixture, beating on low until just incorporated.  Watching as the mixer beats on low speed, the dough should form a ball within seconds.  If it’s too dry, you can add a tablespoon of cream more.
  4. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, turn the dough out onto the saran wrap and form the dough into a round disk.  Wrap it with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. After an hour, generously flour a flat surface (and rub some flour onto your rolling pin) and roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick.
  6. Once the right thickness, gently roll it up on your rolling pin and transfer it to your tart pan, pressing it into place and trimming off the edges that stick out over the top of the tart pan sides.
  7. At this point, you can heat the oven to 375 degrees and you might want to clean out your mixer’s bowl, too.
  8. In your mixer’s bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar about 2 minutes, until well combined.
  9. Add the mascarpone and vanilla and beat until, again, well combined (you’ll probably need to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl in the middle of this).
  10. Add the eggs and beat for about one minute until smooth, then add the flour and salt, beating just until combined.
  11. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the unbaked tart shell and set aside while you slice the peaches.
  12. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  13. Slice the peaches in half and then again into 6 slices per half.  Drop the slices into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss until the peaches are evenly coated.  Arrange the slices on top of the cream cheese filling, making sure to cover as much of the filling as possible.
  14. Bake for 50-57 minutes until the center is set and the edges are turning golden brown.
  15. In the final minutes before the tart comes out of the oven, heat the jam, brandy and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil for a minute or two, then let cool for five minutes.
  16. Once the tart comes out of the oven, brush the glaze over the tart and leave it to cool before serving.  Enjoy!

Plum Blueberry Upside Down Cake

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

plum blueberry upside down cake

My CSA box came this week with a bag of plums.  I do like plums but they’re not my favorite to eat by themselves, so I started trying to figure out ways to utilize them.  I made Plum Butter last summer, but wanted to try something new.  The box also had some blueberries, so when I found a recipe for spiced plum and raspberry cake, my mind immediately turned to those blueberries.

The cake was such a hit at the office that I didn’t even get a chance to try it, but I’ll take that as a sign that it was great!

Plum Blueberry Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Sept 2001

  • 10 Tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature, divided into 2 Tbsp and 8 Tbsp
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 6-8 medium red plums, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9″ springform pan with non-stick baking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt and whisk the brown sugar and 2 Tbsp of butter together over low heat until melted and thoroughly mixed.  Pour the mixture into the springform pan and use a spoon or spatula to spread the mixture relatively evenly over the bottom of the pan (don’t worry about being too neat or covering every inch of the pan).
  3. Place the plums, cut flat side down facing the bottom of the pan, evenly spaced within the pan and fill in the spaces between the plums with the blueberries.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder & soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the rest of the butter (8 Tbsp) with the granulated sugar for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat the vanilla extract in as well as the egg yolks, one at a time.
  7. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then mix in the sour cream, then the rest of the flour mixture until just incorporated.
  8. Gently spread the batter in the pan over the plums and blueberries, being careful not to move them around too much.
  9. Lay a square of tin foil onto a cookie sheet and place the springform pan on top of the foil, to catch drips.
  10. Bake for about 60 minutes, until golden brown on top and an inserted tester comes out clean.
  11. Let cool for one hour on a wire cooling rack, then invert onto a plate and remove the springform pan and parchment paper from the top of the cake.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

Strawberries with Honey-Vanilla Creme Anglaise

Monday, July 23, 2012

strawberries with honey vanilla creme anglais

Last summer I posted a recipe for Roasted Peaches with Oatmeal Streusel and Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise.  While the picture definitely leaves something to be desired (it’s MUCH more tasty than it looks in that photo), that creme Anglaise pretty much changed my life.  I never knew such vanilla-packed creaminess could come out of my kitchen.  Now that summer fruits and berries are back with a vengeance, I knew the creme would be making an appearance again, but I wasn’t sure when until I saw Not Without Salt’s honey variation a few weeks ago.  She posted the recipe on July 3 and by the next morning I was serving it for 4th of July brunch.

strawberries with honey vanilla creme anglais - overhead

While I loved the intense vanilla flavor of the first creme Anglaise I made, this version has overtones of honey that lend a very interesting depth to the creme.  It elevated what were already perfect summer strawberries to a whole new level.  Best of all, you can absolutely make this easy sauce ahead of time and all you have to do later to serve it is slice up some strawberries.

Honey-Vanilla Creme Anglaise
Adapted from Not Without Salt

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla bean paste or extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 egg yolks
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the cream, milk and vanilla.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and then let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the salt, honey and egg yolks until thoroughly combined.
  3. Bring the cream-milk mixture back to a simmer.
  4. Slowly drizzle the warmed milk mixture into the honey-yolk mixture, whisking constantly as you go.
  5. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and heat slowly to 175 degrees.  You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture coats the back of your wooden spoon.
  6. Using a fine mesh strainer over a clean medium mixing bowl, strain the mixture.
  7. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the creme Anglaise and refrigerate it for at least half an hour.  It will thicken and cool while in there.  (Not Without Salt suggests you can eat it warm, but my favorite is cold)
  8. When ready to serve over fruit, pour a little into the serving bowl first, then add the berries, then top with more creme.  Enjoy for brunch, dessert, whenever!

Pineapple Coconut Cobbler

Friday, July 20, 2012

coconut pineapple cobbler

When I think of cobbler, I always think of berries, or maybe peaches.  Pineapple had never EVER crossed my mind to put in cobbler and, I confess, now that I’ve made it, I can’t stop thinking about it.  The same thing happened when I moved to California, where fresh pineapple is much more abundant-I never went back to canned pineapple again.  This cobbler is a delicious tropical version of a very traditional dessert and one you should give a try as soon as you can!

When I found this recipe, it was good the first time, but I felt like it could use some spicing up, so I tweaked it to include flavors that would compliment the tropical fruit featured-ginger, vanilla, rum.  I think it’s perfection, as long as you have a scoop of vanilla ice cream to compliment it on your plate.

Pineapple Coconut Cobbler
Adapted from Patrick Callarec, executive chef, Aulani

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (if you want a less sweet cobbler, track down some unsweetened coconut)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon rum
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with baking spray-you can use an 8 x 6″ square pan as the original recipe suggested, but I used a 2 quart oval baking dish.
  2. In a large saute pan, stir the pineapple and brown sugar together until melted and bubbling.  Let the mixture simmer and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally stirring.
  3. After sauteing, pour the mixture into a small bowl and add the coconut.  Mix together until the coconut is evenly coated in the melted brown sugar-pineapple mixture (or until the pineapple is evenly coated in coconut, depending on which way you look at it) and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients-flour, sugar, milk, butter, baking powder, spices and rum.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and evenly distribute the pineapple-coconut mixture over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Chocolate & Strawberry Pie

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

chocolate strawberry pie

I have been waiting to make this pie for almost 2 months.  I bought the strawberries and the cookies for the crust…then too much time would pass, I’d have to eat the strawberries that were about to go bad and go buy more while the cookies sat patiently unopened on the counter.  Repeat this scenario three or four times.  Last night, though, the stars aligned and I finally was able to make this perfect combination of chocolate and strawberries.  Because it’s a chilled pie, it’s great for the hot summer nights coming up and Lindsay, of Love and Olive Oil, who created the recipe, included some unusual flavors in the rich chocolate.  It has a touch of ginger and nutmeg that plays on your tongue in that first bite and as the pie warmed on the counter between rounds of slicing, we noticed the bourbon flavor became more pronounced.  And my favorite part, of course, were the strawberries.  You can’t see it in the photo, but there’s a whole layer of fresh, peak-of-ripeness strawberry halves lining the crust below that chocolate filling.  Expect to find me crying when strawberry season is over again in the fall.

Chocolate & Strawberry Pie
Adapted from Love & Olive Oil

For Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies, about 30 cookies (I used 1/2 Oreos left over from a previous recipe and 1/2 Trader Joe’s Chocolatey Cookies.  Next time I’ll use all Oreos for their deeper chocolate flavor and crunchier texture)

For Filling:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2 cups half and half and 1/2 cup of milk for a richer filling)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved (or you can wait to cut them until just before you need them)
  1. Spray a pie plate with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small, microwave safe bowl.  While the butter is still hot, add the chopped chocolate, let sit for a moment, then stir vigorously until the chocolate and butter are fully combined and the mixture looks like smooth chocolate.
  3. Process the cookies in a food processor until all pieces of cookie are turned into crumbs; transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the melted butter-chocolate mixture over the crumbs and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated and moistened.
  5. Press the crumbs into the pie plate and move the plate into the freezer for 30 minutes while you make the filling.
  6. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
  7. Add the egg yolks and whisk until the yolks are fully incorporated.
  8. One half cup at a time, add the milk to the saucepan, mixing thoroughly each time before adding more.
  9. Turn the heat on under the saucepan to medium and heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until thickened and boiling.  It will take a little time for it to heat up-10-15 minutes, but you’ll find that once it hits temperature, it will all of a sudden and without warning, turn the consistency of pudding.  Once it reaches this stage, keep whisking as it is boiling for one full minute (be careful of your hands!  It splattered on me a little and boy did it hurt).
  10. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Wait for a minute, then whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.
  11. Whisk in the bourbon and vanilla until fully incorporated.  Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes while you slice the strawberries, whisking occasionally.
  12. Take the crust out of the freezer and line it with a layer of strawberry halves, arranged so you can fit in as many strawberries as possible.
  13. Pour the filling over the strawberries and crust, smooth the top with the back of a spoon, add some strawberry decoration on top if you wish, and refrigerate for two hours before serving.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Supreme

Monday, June 18, 2012

This blog story has two parts.  First, my fellow Project Pastry Queen-er, Emily Ruf of the blog “Ruf Love”, is having a baby boy in July!  I immediately jumped on the chance to host a virtual baby shower for her.  What could be a more blogger-appropriate way to show Emily our support in what is surely going to be one of the most wonderful and important parts of her life?  Because Emily & husband are welcoming a baby boy into their lives, I wanted do something with a blue theme and this recipe seemed perfect for the event.  I made it into individual servings, which would be perfect if we had been having a real baby shower, and topped them with some vanilla ice cream to cool off during these hot summer days.  I only wish that I could share these with the PPQ ladies in person!

blueberry crisp

The second part of the story is where this recipe actually came from.  I was on a trip last weekend to Missouri, Kansas & Oklahoma on what ended up being one long tour of my family history.  We started with the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival, to celebrate my Great-Grandmother and her family immigrating from Slovakia; traveled to Tonganoxie, Kansas to see where my Grandfather’s family settled after leaving England; and ended up in Oklahoma where my Grandmother and Great-Aunt currently live.  The last night we were in town, my Great Aunt Doris, who never fails to pull out an amazing recipe out of her stacks of cookbooks whenever we’re around, ended the dinner with this “Blueberry Supreme” from the Junior League of Tulsa’s “Cook’s Collage”, 1978.  Sharing recipes like this is just as important to the family history as it was to go hunting for photos of Great-Great-Great Uncles hanging in tiny town museums on the prairie.  Its ingredients are so simple, but something about this recipe made it the best blueberry dessert I’d ever tasted.  There isn’t even any sugar in the filling, just plump delicious blueberries.  The original recipe calls for making one large dish of the dessert, but I split it into 6 ramekins; you can choose whichever suits you.  Because the recipe is from the 70s, it’s not necessarily the most exact.  I’ll give approximate measurements where I can, but I warn you, when it just said “sprinkle generously”, that’s all I did.  Enjoy it warm with some of that ice cream!

Blueberry Supreme
Adapted from “Cook’s Collage” by The Junior League of Tulsa, 1978
Serves 6

  • 20-30 oz of blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • cinnamon (approx 1/2 Tablespoon)
  • nutmeg (approx 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse blueberries and pick them over for little stems and old dry wrinkly berries; put them in a medium bowl.
  3. Drizzle lemon juice over the berries and stir gently until evenly coated in the juice.  Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg generously over the blueberries and again gently stir until berries are evenly coated.
  4. Pour the berries and juice into an 8×8″ glass baking dish or split evenly among six ramekins.
  5. Sift the flour and sugar together, then in a food processor, pulse the flour-sugar mixture together with the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.  Pulsing just a few more times will get you bigger crumbles.
  6. Sprinkle the crumbles over the blueberries until you have a thick covering-I only used about half of the mixture.  Also, some of it sinks down into the berries while baking, so be generous with it.  What you see in the photos above is actually twice baked-I baked it once with what I thought was a generous crumb topping, but 50% or more of it sunk into the berries, so I added a second layer of topping and baked again for a little while.
  7. If you are using ramekins, cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set the ramekins on the baking sheet before moving it into the oven.  Otherwise, just place the baking dish into the oven (its sides will be high enough to contain the juices).
  8. Bake approximately 40 minutes, until the berries are bubbling and the topping is turning golden brown.
  9. Let cool about 30 minutes, then top with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!


Pineapple Jam

Friday, June 8, 2012

Two Decembers ago, The Boyfriend came home to Georgia with me for his first Southern Christmas and, in a very thoughtful gesture, my Dad made a Pineapple Pie our first night home—fitting, considering pineapples are the universal sign for “welcome”.  I remember Dad remarking on how much he loved pineapple pie and it stuck with me, mostly because I don’t remember us ever really making it before that Christmas.

Usually resigned to seeing my family only once a year, I have the rare pleasure of seeing my family this weekend—and it’s not even a holiday!  Since Father’s Day is only a week away, I decided to take the opportunity to make Dad a little gift.  Remembering the Pineapple Pie, I was pleased as punch when I came up with an idea to make Pineapple Jam, a fitting summer twist on the pie.  I haven’t told him yet, so no one ruin the surprise until tonight, okay?

For those of you nervous about jam-making, this makes a very small batch and one that is relatively quick as well.  It’s a great starter into the world of jam and canning!  That said, I do wonder if what I made is more like Pineapple jelly rather than jam, but either way it’s a delightfully sweet and acidic flavor that you wouldn’t normally find at the grocery store.  Even better, if you’re not a breakfast person, you can use it as a glaze for ham or chicken instead.

Finally, you’ll notice in the photo that one jar is darker than the other.  I made one jar of plain Pineapple Jam (to showcase the clean sweetness I love about pineapple) and, to make things interesting, I stirred a little bit of vanilla bean paste and some powdered ginger into the other jar while the jam was still hot.  Since the jars have been through the canning process so they were airtight for my parents to be able to travel back home with, I admit I haven’t been able to taste it, but I promise I will report back here with Dad’s thoughts—fingers crossed he loves it.  I’ve listed the ingredients for the variation at the bottom if you don’t want to wait for our word on it.

Update: Dad loved both jams!  He said that initially his favorite was the plain jam and finished that jar first, but he let me know later that after the Ginger-Vanilla flavor had a chance to mellow and meld in the fridge, that it turned out to be his favorite after all.  So just know, you’ll want this flavored jam to “age”  a little bit, but you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful depth of flavor.

Note:  For canning, you’ll need two ½ pint jars, plus an extra little Tupperware or jar for whatever doesn’t fit into the first two jars—you’ll throw this extra in the fridge to eat in the next week or so without having to worry about the canning process since there will be too much air in that last jar to go through canning.

Pineapple Jam
Adapted From Coleen’s Recipes
Makes 2-3 cups

  • One can (20 oz) crushed pineapple
  • 1 ¼ cups pineapple juice
  • 1 ¾ oz fruit pectin powder
  • 3 cups sugar
  1. Start a large pot of water boiling and in the meantime, wash your jars and lids with hot soapy water.  Set the jars and lids into the pot of water and let them boil for ten minutes (about the time it takes to measure out the ingredients and make the jam).  Doing this keeps the jars hot so that they don’t crack and break, which would happen if you put hot jam into cold jars.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the pineapple, juice and pectin and stir continuously until boiling.  Make sure the pectin is completely dissolved and no blobs of powder remain.  If you want a smoother jam, you can use a stick blender to blend the pineapple a little bit (later I wondered if this is why mine came out more jelly like in texture.  I won’t blend it next time).
  3. After it’s boiling, add the sugar, stirring until dissolved, and bring it back to a rolling boil.  Coleen says to bring it “a boil you can’t stir down”, which was an excellent way to put it, and let it boil for 1 minute.
  4. Spread a clean towel on your kitchen counter and (I just use normal kitchen tongs) carefully pull the jars and lids out of the hot water and wipe them down with another clean towel (be careful, they’re hot!).  Keep the pot boiling in the meantime.
  5. Skim the foam off the top of the boiling jam and discard.
  6. Ladle the jam into the waiting jars, filling the jars to within ¼” of the top rim.  Wipe off any jam that you dripped on them, and quickly screw the lids on (they don’t need to be super tight, just tight enough that you’ll be able to unscrew them without issue later).
  7. Carefully lower the lidded jars into the boiling water and let them boil for 10 minutes.  Putting a towel in the bottom of the pot will reduce some of the racket of the jars rattling around.
  8. After ten minutes is up, take the jars out and set them on another clean towel on your counter.  Press the lids—they should be tight and not pop up and down.  If they pop up and down when you press, put them back in the water for another 5 minutes.  I will admit that the last time I made a large batch, some of the lids popped up and down slightly and I was just too tired at that point to put them back in the water, so I left them on the counter and when I came back in the morning, tada!  They were tight in the morning and didn’t pop.  But then, I’ve always been a little lax when it comes to rules like that and I’ve never gotten food poisoning, so I’ll leave that call up to you.
  9. The jars that have been through the canning process can be left out until ready to give as gifts or to use yourself, but once you open them, put them in the fridge.  The leftovers that didn’t fill up a whole jar should go straight into the fridge.  Enjoy on toast or as a glaze to spice up whatever meat you’re cooking that night!


Variation: Ginger-Vanilla Bean Pineapple Jam

If you want your whole batch to be flavored, stir in a ½ teaspoon of ground ginger and 2/3 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or seeds of ½ a scraped vanilla bean, plus a splash of extract).  If you want one jar flavored and one plain, ladle the jam into the jars and then stir ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/3 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste directly into one of the jars before canning.

Strawberry Cake

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mission: a birthday cake for a little girl.  Obstacle:  it must be bright pink.  Naturally, my mind immediately turned to the rows and rows of boxes full of ripe strawberries at the market.  What could be more perfect for a little girl’s spring princess birthday party than a strawberry cake?  Sweetapolita had just the recipe I was looking for, which included some strawberry jell-o to the batter to up the color from a gentle soft pink hue to bright hot pink.  Although I don’t have pictures of the inside, you’ll have to take my word for it-this was a seriously pink cake!  The jell-o also gave an otherwise light and fluffy cake a bit of a firmer, dense texture, but in a good, rich-tasting way, not in a “I accidentally used too much flour” way.

strawberry cake - close up

Then I strained some strawberry puree for the buttercream frosting and covered that pink cake in more pink.  To top it off, I picked the brightest, most perfect strawberries from the bunch to place on top of the cake.  If you squint, it’s almost like a crown or a castle, perfect for the pink princess theme!  As if you need any more encouraging, just as Sweetapolita promises, this cake tastes exactly like strawberry ice cream…so why are you still reading?  Go bake!

Notes: This recipe makes three layers, 8″ across, so you’ll need 3 specific 8″ pans for this cake.  Many bloggers have discussed how a three layer 8″ cakes have the most pleasing ratio of width to height, and I must say that I’m on board with them.  Also, going forward, I would make 1 1/2 recipes of the frosting, as it was a bit thin on the sides-you can just barely make out the layers through the frosting in the photo above.  That said, it would be strictly for aesthetic purposes; I don’t love tons of frosting, and many people said it was just the right ratio of cake-to-frosting so you can go based on your own preferences.

Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Sweetapolita

  • 1 lb box of strawberries
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 box (3 oz) strawberry jell-o
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs


  • 3 sticks + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of strained strawberry puree (you don’t want seeds in your frosting!)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees; line your three cake pans (8″ width) with parchment paper rounds and spray with nonstick baking spray (and pull out your butter to soften, if you haven’t already)
  2. Pick out the 6 prettiest strawberries and set aside for the top of the cake; hull and puree a handful of the remaining strawberries to get 1/4 cup of puree plus 3-5 tablespoons of puree for the frosting later (I love my hand held stick blender and the “smoothie cup” it comes with for this purpose).
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and 1/4 cup strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and jell-o with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time, letting each egg fully incorporate before adding the next (and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary).
  7. Add approx 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the eggs/butter/sugar batter, 1/2 of the liquid ingredients, the second 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last of the liquid ingredients and then the last of the dry ingredients.  Stop mixing as soon as that last streak of white flour disappears.
  8. Divide the batter equally among the three prepared cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes.  A toothpick or cake tester should come out clean when poked into the cake.  The cake won’t brown too much on top at all.
  9. Let the cakes cool on wire cooling racks for 10 minutes before taking them out of the pans and letting them sit on the racks until fully cooled.
  10. To make the frosting, whip the butter in an electric mixer for 8 minutes on medium speed; the butter should be super super soft and fluffy.
  11. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, and beat until fully incorporated and the frosting is creamy.
  12. If you plan on doing some white frosting decorations on your cake, take out about 3/4 cup of frosting and set it aside now.
  13. Add the strawberry puree and beat until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  14. To assemble the cake, spread a 1/2″ layer of frosting on the first cake layer, top with the second cake layer and spread another 1/2″ layer of frosting.  Add the last cake layer on top.
  15. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.  (I know this “crumb layer” step seems like a waste of time, but I promise, this is the first time I gave it a try and I fully understand now why it is necessary.)
  16. Spread the rest of the frosting over the cake in an even layer, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then decorate with your white frosting.  I did a piped border around the bottom of the cake, then piped little circles at intervals around the top edge of the cake and nestled the hulled strawberries on each of the rings.  Enjoy!