Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

I know a lot of people rave about their KitchenAid mixers.  I like mine.  It’s useful.  But I don’t want to marry it.  My kitchen isn’t that big so it can’t just sit on the counter, and sometimes it feels like pulling it down from the top of the fridge is more work than just stirring the batter by hand.

So, here is a super delicious dessert that requires no mixer.  It’s good.  Really good.  The recipe itself is really basic and perfect as is, but would probably also be lovely with some cinnamon added, or maybe even some minced fresh rosemary.

Buttery Apple Cake
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heavy cream, for serving (optional, I skipped it and instead went for a dusting of confectioners’ sugar)

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325. Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread apples in pan; set aside.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over apples. Bake until set and pale golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Make the topping: Stir together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Remove cake from oven, and pour topping over cake.

Bake another 25 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Remove sides of pan, and transfer cake to a serving plate.

Serve slices drizzled with cream or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

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Summer is almost here and there’s finally a wide variety of fruit in season again.  I went to a barbeque last weekend and decided to be brave, and not only make pie crust, but attempt a lattice crust.

I survived and the finished product actually looked pretty good, if I do say so myself.  And, even better, it tasted delicious.  There’s not a lot of ingredients here, so it has a very fresh, summery taste to it.

Blueberry Pie
Adapted from Simply Recipes

Enough pie crust dough for two crusts (I used a double batch of Martha Stewart’s pate sucree, because I’ve had luck with that in the past, but use whatever recipe you feel most comfortable with)
6 cups of fresh (or frozen) blueberries, rinsed and stems removed (if using frozen, defrost and drain first)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for thickening)
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (which I forgot to add)
2 Tbsp butter (unsalted), cut into small pieces
Plus 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk for the egg wash

I found my pie to be a little runny, so next time I’d probably add a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it up a bit.  If you want a really thick filling that gels, I think its worth a try.

Prepare the crust.  Roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch-thick circle on a lightly floured work surface, about 13 inches in diameter.  Mine of course didn’t look like a circle, but this part is going on the bottom so it doesn’t matter if its ugly and a little cracked or weird.  Place the dough over a 9 inch pie pan, rolling around a rolling pin to transfer, if its falling apart or too difficult to move.  Trim the edges so you’ve got 1/2 inch or so hanging over all the way around.  Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Gently mix the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Pour them in the chilled bottom crust of the pie pan.   Dot with butter pieces.

Roll out remaining dough to the same size and thickness as the first.  If you want to make a lattice crust, cut the crust into one inch thick strips. Place four or five of the strips on top of the pie in vertical rows.  Weave the remaining strips through horizontally.  The crust isn’t really wet or messy so its easy to fix mistakes and work with the dough on top of the filling.   If I can do it, you can do it.  But, if you don’t wan to try it, just place the entire crust on top of the filling.

Seal the edges of the top layer with the bottom layer and crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork.  Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Whisk egg and milk together to make an egg wash.  Brush the top of the pie with the wash.  If you didn’t make a lattice crust, score the pie with a few cuts or prick with a fork so the steam can escape.  Place the pie on the middle rack on the oven with parchment paper or a silpat on the lower rack to catch any filling that bubbles over.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425°. Reduce heat to 350°F.  Cover the edges with tinfoil if they are starting to burn.  Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes until juices are bubbling and have thickened.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving.

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I have an irrational phobia of pie crust.

Actually, it’s not entirely irrational.  When I first started learning some basic cooking techniques, I watched an Alton Brown episode on pie crust.  Inspired, I decided that that year, for Thanksgiving, I was going to make the best damn pie crust anyone had ever eaten.  So that Wednesday night, I got home from work, and armed with Alton’s meticulously researched directions, set about on my pie crust adventure.

And two hours later, my kitchen was covered in a crumbly, buttery mess, and I was in the grocery store buying Pillsbury frozen crusts.

Ever since then, I have pretty much stayed away. I keep frozen ones in my freezer for quiches and other quick meals.  I’ll do pies with cookie-type crusts to press into the pan, but I don’t think I’ve attempted a proper pie crust since then. 

Until now.

I’ve been seeing beautiful fruit tarts popping up in others’ blogs and I was getting the itch.  When I went to the farmers market on Saturday and saw some gorgeous peaches and lovely organic lavender, I knew my time had come to conquer my pie crust fear.


And I am so glad I did.  I used Martha Stewart’s pate sucree recipe, which wasn’t too difficult.  And the nice thing about a galette is that its shape is free form and rustic looking so when the directions call for you to roll the dough out into a circle and your flattened dough looks more like the shape of Michigan, you don’t have to resort to Pillsbury.

Peach Lavender Galette
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Plum Galette and Food and Wine’s Peach Lavender Cobbler

For the Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling
5 cups peaches, pitted and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (approximately 5 peaches)
2 teaspoons lavender blossoms (just tug the little bulbs off the stem, they should come off pretty easily)
1 Tablespoon flour, plus more for work surface
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar), plus more for sprinkling (Martha suggests turbinado, I used vanilla sugar again)
1 egg white


To make the crust
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and process for approximately 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

With the machine running, add ice water, drop by drop and slowly add egg yolks, until the dough just holds together without being wet or sticky; about 30 seconds. Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together. If it is too crumbly, add a bit more water.

Turn dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Grasping the ends of the plastic wrap with your hands, press dough into a flat circle with your fists. Wrap dough in the plastic and chill for at least an hour.

To make the galette
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle a lightly floured work surface with flour.  Roll out dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick.  Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 hour. 

In a large bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, sugar, and the lavender.  Gently toss in peaches until evenly coated with the flour mixture.

Transfer to the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over plum mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere the folds.

Brush edges of dough with reserved egg white, and sprinkle with either turbinado sugar or vanilla sugar.  Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.


It was really good.  The lavender works perfectly with the peaches, which are slightly floral themselves.   And yes, I am posting two pictures of it because I am so pleased with my crust.  You would never know that that dough was once shaped like Michigan.


 We brought it over to some friends’ place, where it was a hit.  The only bad thing about it was parting with the leftovers, but my friends gave me something very exciting in return.  Something I’ve been wanting for a while.  Stay tuned, as I’ll be cooking with it later this week…

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