Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

I got home last night to find my mailbox bursting open.

When I looked inside, I found…

A tiny rhubarb pie made just for me!

Please excuse this short post, I must go eat my tiny pie!

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I was looking through one of my cookbooks today and I saw a recipe for apple strudel.

I have always wanted to learn how to make it and this recipe looked very thorough. There are two components, the dough and the filling.

The dough was really fun to make! It needs to be stretched out, so I used bread flour and kneaded for a good 20 minutes. The trick to knowing that it has been kneaded long enough is, pulling a little dough away from the ball and being able to see through it…

While the dough was resting:

I prepared the apples, soaked the raisins in some rum, and chopped walnuts…

I used some day, or two, old bread to make breadcrumbs that I later mixed with some melted butter.

Now it was time for the fun part! Stretching the dough. I cut the dough in half so I could make one with and one without walnuts. Then I formed the dough into a level disc…

and began to stretch it on the table…

Thankfully, I had the help of my friend Sarah. It made it a lot easier having two people to stretch the dough!

We pulled and pulled and stretched and stretched until the dough was translucent.

After the dough was sufficiently stretched, I brushed it with melted butter…

…and placed the fruit mixture in a long mound at one end.

I topped it with buttered breadcrumbs and sour cream…

Next, I rolled it up. As I rolled I continued to gently stretch the dough. I used parchment paper as a sort of guide for rolling, the technique was similar to wrapping sushi with a bamboo mat.

I trimmed the ends and folded them under, gently nudging the filling toward the center of the log. I brushed the log with the rest of the melted butter and popped it in the over. When it was finished baking and had cooled down, I dusted it with some powdered sugar and touch of cinnamon.

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Yesterday was my friend Katie‘s birthday (lucky for me, she lives in the same town) so I made her a cake. While I was visiting my family in Iowa, I picked up a jar of “Coco Passion Jam”. This jam is somewhere between a butter and a curd. I thought it would be perfect for a cake topping and then I remembered that my sister had made a cake using it, a few months ago.

I started out by making a coconut cake with Haitian vanilla and coconut milk…

I hadn’t followed the recipe before so I was a little worried when it was time to fold in the egg whites and the batter was really heavy and slippery from the coconut milk. It was too late so I folded them in and hoped for the best…

A couple of friends came over to partake in the assembly. I don’t have a cake plate so I cut a large circle out of an old cereal box and covered it with tin foil. We sliced each cake in half so we had a total of four layers. We whipped together some Greek style yogurt and a little bit of the coconut passion fruit jam to spread between the layers.

We then frosted it with a, not too sweet, cream cheese frosting and dusted the sides with shredded coconut.

I finished it with a little chain of beaded frosting and a jam glaze.

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Erika taught Heli and I how to make crostata in Italy. She showed us how to make it in pretty much the same way her mother (and probably grandmother, etc, etc.) made it. Erika made one exception, she melted the butter. Somehow she was able to pull it off, but when I have tried to repeat this feat, I have ended up with a very very hard tart…

So Heli and I cut in the butter. And then add an egg, and a little milk, and let the dough chill. If you have an extra jar of jam, this is the perfect desert. Sweet, but not too sweet, and fresh with the zest of a lemon in the crust.

We made ours with Heli’s apricot jam. With the left over dough we made a mini crostata with pear butter.

We latticed the tops, and drove the tarts into town to bake at the store (again..).

We had a little tart for my mom’s birthday, and snacked here and there for the rest of the afternoon…

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