Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge -Bakewell Tart

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England

I must confess, I've never heard or tasted a Bakewell Tart before so I was excited to try this recipe and see what it was all about. I decided to make the traditional Bakewell Tart with raspberry jam which worked out well since I had 1 jar of raspberry freezer jam left in my freezer that I needed to use up before jam making time rolls around again. The tart dough was very easy to put together as was the frangipane layer. I plan on using the tart dough recipe again since I loved the shortbread taste and texture it had and think it would go well with so many different types of fillings. I loved the finished product that this recipe produced. The almond flavour with the raspberry filling was really delicious and for the minimal effort this tart took to make it totally tasted and looked like something that came from a bakery. Needless to say I will most certainly be making this tart again and want to thank Jasmine and Annemarie for introducing me to it!

Here is a photo diary of the process:

Tart dough mixed, balled and ready to "chill":
Frangipane layer mixed and ready to go:
Raspberry Freezer Jam that I made last summer:
Tart dough ready to fill:
First layer: Raspberry Freezer Jam:
Topped with frangipane layer and ready for the oven:
Tart just out of the oven: Cooled, sliced and ready to eat!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For my Dad...

Although Blackforest Cake is not my absolute favourite cake in the world my father loves it so this year for Father's Day I made it for him and he was very happy I did. Although it's not a difficult cake to make it does take some time since you have to make the cake layer, the boozed up cherry filling, a boozy syrup to soak into the cake and of course copious amounts of sweetened whipped cream. It's definitely a cake to make or serve to someone who appreciates Blackforest Cake in all it's chocolaty, cherry, boozy glory and my Father certainly did! Happy Father's Day Dad :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge-Chinese Dumplings/Pot Stickers

This months challenge was brought to us Daring Cooks by Jen from use real butter . I am so happy to report that she selected one of my most favourite things to eat Chinese Dumplings/Pot Stickers. I totally love these little filled dough "purses" but have only ever had the frozen ones at Costco so I was more than excited to actually make my own.

The dough and filling (other than all the chopping) was super easy...pleating not-so-much. My Mom and I make perogies all the time so I was used to stuffing rounds of dough but with perogies you just pinch the ends together, these little babies required special care and dedication. I guess mine came out okay in the end and they didn't fall apart once I steamed them so I "think" I did good~lol I decided to make the Pork/Shrimp filling combo and the only change I made was to decrease the amount of ginger, I'm not a huge fan so I only put maybe 1 tsp of grated ginger in my filling mixture. I loved the flavour of these, especially the crunchy addition of the water chesnuts which I've never had in a Chinese Dumpling before. I steamed mine first, then lightly fried them using a non stick pan and a little bit of cooking spray. They were TOTALLY delish!!

Thanks Jen for choosing this challenge, the dumplings were a lot of fun to make and something I probably never would of attempted to make on my own but certainly will make again!! I apologize in advance for the crappy photography, it was late and I was tired~lol

The dough getting ready for a "rest"

Pork/Shrimp filling mixture:


Pinched and Pleated:

As you can see I made a couple different sizes:

Steamed Dumplings, I was sooo happy none of them opened up on me:

The link for the recipe is here Pot Stickers

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I LOVE guacamole, it requires such few ingredients but is oooh so good. This is an easy peasy recipe from my favourite "celebrity" chef Ina Garten. I've made it so many times I no longer need to refer to the recipe. I have an aversion to cilantro so I don't add it to my guacamole but for those that love it...add away.

Makes 3 cups

4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup small diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small diced

-cut avocados in half, remove pits and scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl.
-add the rest of ingredients.
-mix well, mashing or dicing the mixture to your desired texture.
-serve with plain nachos.
**Tip, when storing guacamole place plastic wrap directly on top of guacamole to prevent the air from getting to it and turning it brown**

Fudgie Brownies

I love this recipe for brownies because you can literally throw in whatever ingredients you want and they turn out perfect everytime. I made these ones with chopped walnuts and of course chocolate chips but as the recipe suggests, you could put in "whatever floats your boat".

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet, white, butterscotch, peanut butter) or raisins or chopped marachino cherries or chopped nuts or M&M'or Reese's pieces or miniature marshmellows
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
3 In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
4 Add sugar and mix well.
5 Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
6 Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
8 Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
9 DO NOT OVER-BAKE -- your brownies will come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
10 Cool completely before cutting into squares.
11 For double recipe, bake in 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to baking time.

An oldie but a goodie!!!!

I love to make fancy desserts but sometimes the simplest things are the best. There's nothing like a warm chocolate chip cookie and a big tall cold glass of milk. I found this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies from one of my favourite food blogs Good Things Catered I know there are tonnes of recipes for this classic cookie recipe out there but this one really is the BEST. The recipe is easy to follow and the finished product is the way a chocolate chip cookie should be, a little crunchie on the outside but still soft (not raw) on the inside. Thanks again Katie for a wonderful recipe.

I used a small ice cream scoop to "form" my cookies:

Just out of the oven:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A different take on pizza...

Sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit and I make Stromboli when I’m craving pizza but want something different. A Stromboli is like a big pizza in jelly roll form. You can add anything you want to it just like when you make pizza. I like to serve mine with marinara sauce and leftovers are great reheated the next day.

Ground Beef-Pepperoni Stromboli

1 ball of frozen pizza dough, unthawed or you can make your own pizza dough from scratch
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, if desired to taste or 4-5 fresh minced garlic cloves, if desired to taste
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lb ground beef or ground chuck, cooked and drained
1/4 lb sliced pepperoni, to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, to taste
1 small onion, chopped

-Place each loaf of thawed bread dough in a greased glass bowl (turning once to grease top).
-Cover, and let rise in a warm place for approx 45 minutes, or until doubled; punch down dough. -Roll each loaf into a 15x12-inch rectangle.
-In a small bowl, mix or whisk together the eggs, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard and oregano; brush evenly over EACH dough to within 1/2-inch of edges (this mixture may be doubled if desired).
-Set the remaining egg mixture aside.
-Arrange beef, onion, cheeses and pepperoni on the dough, within 1/2-inch of the edges.
-Roll up the doughs into jelly-roll style, beginning with the long end first; seal the edges very well.
-Place seam-side down on a greased baking/cookie sheet or sheets.
-Brush with remaining egg mixture.
-Bake in a 375 degree oven, for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden.
-Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.
-Serve with heated marinara sauce either store bought or made from scratch.

Rolled and ready for the oven:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Raspberry Brown Butter Tart

They had a sale on berries at the market this weekend and I love berries of any kind so I bought some delicious red raspberries and found a recipe for Raspberry Brown Butter Tart on the bon appetit web site. This is a simple recipe but produces something that is total bakery quality. Next time I make it I will probably double the recipe, especially if I use one of my round tart pans; I used a small rectangular tart pan and thought it could have used more raspberries, filling and crust. Anyways, this one is a winner and the minimal effort involved for a fabulous final product puts this one in the “keeper” file.

Another use for non-eaten bananas..

Once again, I bought bananas last week with the intent on eating one every morning for breakfast on my way to work and once again I ended up with an uneaten bunch of bananas by Friday. So when life gives you slowly rotting make Banana Coconut Cream Pie!!!

Banana Coconut Cream Pie


1 9-inch deep dish pie shell, baked
3 cups whole milk
1 cup shredded coconut

3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas


-Have baked 9-inch pie shell ready.
-In a large saucepan, scald the milk.
-In another saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt; gradually stir in the scalded milk.

-Add coconut.
-Over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened.
-Cover and, stirring occasionally, cook for two minutes longer.
-In a small bowl, have the 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, ready; stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten yolks; when thoroughly combined, stir yolks into hot mixture.
-Cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly.
-Remove from heat and blend in the butter and vanilla.
-Let sit until lukewarm.
-When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell; pour warm mixture over bananas.
-Let chill in fridge overnight.

I topped my pie with sweetened whipped cream, toasted coconut and of course a cherry!!

I had some leftover cream filling so I made 2 coconut custard cups with whipped cream.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I found some fresh rhubarb at the market this weekend and decided to make a pie after seeing a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie on one of my favourite blogs Good Things Catered. I did have some minor ooozing issues with the filling and was glad I put a baking tray under the pie plate while it was baking but I think it turned out pretty good. Thanks for the recipe Katie!

Cookie of the Month mmmm...Strawberries

I love getting my monthly issue of Martha Stewart Living, as soon as I get it in the mail the first thing I do is flip to the back to see what the cookie of the month is. This month I was happy to see it involved strawberries (one of my favourite fruits). This cookie almost reminds me of a scone since it is very buttery and soft in texture. I loved this cookie and plan on putting it in my "keeper" file for future use. The original recipe says it yields 3 dozen cookies, I however only got 18, I guess mine were a bit bigger than Martha's.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen (or in my case 18 really big cookies)

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (2 cups)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Combine diced strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
-Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl.
-Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
-Stir in Cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
-Using ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.
-Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes.
-Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
-Martha says "cookies are best served immediately", but I actually liked them better the next day cold right out of the fridge.