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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

The days are getting shorter and the nights chillier, fall is definitely upon us in Ontario; you can feel it, see it and even smell it. We had a fire last night in our wood burning fire place! I even put closed toe shoes on today. I say it every year: I’M NOT READY!!! Is it just me or do you also feel that time is even a bit faster these days — where did the summer go?
Several friends and family have now gone gluten free, some by choice and some by necessity. Even at our house we try to limit our Gluten intake, so I’m always on the lookout for new gluten free, beautiful and tasty dessert recipes.
My friend Charlie at Hotly Spiced made this wonderful Gluten Free Sour Cherry Cake a while back and I knew I had to make it as soon as I saw her post! Thanks Charlie! The cake is moist, and the texture is perfect. It reminded me a little of a semolina cake, but with a finer texture. I usually have a dislike to the flavour of gluten free flours, so I made a few alterations which worked out famously; I added lemon rind, lemon essence and because I was short on butter, substituted cream cheese for the missing weight — I hope you don’t mind Charlie! It was absolutely wonderful and it’s going on my list of ‘Go-To’ Gluten Free desserts!

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I only put 1/2 cup of cherries into my cake, next time it will be a full cup (recipe is adjusted already).

Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Serves 6-8 from an 20 cm or 8″ spring form pan

Ingredients:

  • 75 g softened butter
  • 25 g softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar (super fine sugar, but not icing sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lemon rind
  • 1/2 tsp lemon essence
  • 2 free-range eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup GF flour
  • 3/4 tsp GF baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 37 g almond meal
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk (or cow’s milk)
  • 1 cup cherries

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180° C (375° F).
  2. Prepare a 20 cm (8 inch) spring form pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until they are as white and fluffy as can be (this takes several minutes). Once you’ve reach the light fluffy consistency, gradually add sugar. then add the vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.  Add the egg and beat in until well combined.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and using a wooden spoon, mix into the butter fluff. Then fold in the almond meal and buttermilk.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
  6. Drain the cherries then scatter across the top of the cake.  (No need to be decorative as they will sink during the cooking process).
  7. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or when your cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
  9. Serve with dusted icing sugar and cherry sauce (or ice cream, whipped cream etc.
GFCherryCake_0924

It’s a delicately flavoured moist cake, the sauce isn’t really necessary,
but it’s darn nice!

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I seem to have come into quite a bit of free time of late; you may have noticed my sporadic commenting and I do apologize but we’ve been spending a lot of time at the cottage (cabin/lake house). We renovated or more accurately, gave it a face lift and that makes me want to spend more time there. Freshly painted white walls instead of the dowdy wood panelling from the 1960’s, replaced the linoleum and industrial carpeting with lovely wood laminate flooring added some kitchen cabinets in my efforts to annoy the mice and even gave the furniture a face lift too with new slip covers — and purchased new artwork! You can see my excitement. So we’ve been making the most of it. Come September I hope to be back in the normal swing of things.
In the meantime I wanted to share a recipe for Butter Tartlets that I made for my birthday bash from my very ancient Five Roses Flour cookbook and I’ve been making these tartlets since I began to bake in my early teens — they have been a family favourite. This time I used a flower cookie cutter to give them a lovely scalloped edge and I baked them in mini muffin tins so they are quite small, one or two bites.

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Caramelized brown sugar coating the flaky pastry.

Prize Butter Tartlets

Original recipe from Five Roses Flour Cookbook (1983)

Makes about 18 mini two bite tartlets

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cup of AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 tbsp ice cold water

Directions for the pastry:

We all have our favourite pastry recipes so if you prefer to use your own, by all means do so but I hope you make these tasty tarts!

  1. Mix flour and salt together and cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly (like oatmeal).
  2. Add water a little at a time until the mixture hold together, do not overwork.
  3. Roll out to about an 1/8th of an inch or 1 mm thick and cut with an appropriate cookie cutter (I used a lovely scalloped edge to make my tartlets).
  4. Press into a mini muffin tin and refrigerate until you have prepared the filling.
ButterTartlette_0474

They are rather small, are you sure I can’t interest you in more than one?

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup or 36 small pieces of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (unsalted)
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp dark rum (secret ingredient)

Directions for the filling:

  1. Melt brown sugar and butter together (I do this in a microwave, on low) allow to cool a bit.
  2. Add the beaten egg, milk and flavourings. Mix well.
  3. Spoon about 2 teaspoonful into each pastry tartlet and add 2 walnut pieces to each. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has browned a bit.

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You know you want one!


These two are before photos, dark and dowdy:

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We changed the colour scheme to blues and whites to reflect the boathouse theme a bit more. The refrigerator was a later gift from my Mom’s husband so it’s a bit of an after thought, we’ll incorporate it into the kitchen when we get rid of the propane burners, which protrude out from the wall.
Sigh, back to reality!

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Happy Independence Day! Since it’s Thursday, do you take Friday off and make it an extra long holiday? How do you celebrate? Last year we were in Wisconsin at our friend’s lake house (Paul & Ts) and at around 9pm we boated out to the middle of the lake and watched the most amazing fireworks–it was awesome!
Speaking of awesome, if you want your guests to see fireworks in their heads, THIS is the dessert to serve. It’s a perfect summer dessert combining popular tropical flavours: pineapple, rum and coconut. You can’t go wrong, and it’s very impressive making it the perfect dessert to serve on such an important holiday.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

The first time I saw this recipe was at Jed, the Sports Glutton’s blog and I knew I would make it, I just didn’t realize how soon! We were entertaining my uni BFF and her hubby a while back and I needed a gluten free desert (she is gluten intolerant) and I wanted something that wasn’t too bad for you…so I chose fruit but even better it was sweet, caramelized Pineapple. I loved the grilled pineapple salsa we made for the grilled shrimp so I knew this dessert would be a hit; it turned out so well, JT suggested that I make it for our next progressive dinner, so I did! What was super cool about the latest progressive dinner was that each course had to be made on the BBQ! This is the perfect summertime dessert, not having to heat the house up by turning on the oven — there are better ways to heat things up ;)!

This is the version I served to my BFF for brunch, no cake!

This is the version I served to my BFF for brunch, sadly there was no cake!

So, I present to you, an inspired version of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Since we sliced the pineapple thinner, they didn't hold their shape, I suggest skewering them as well.

Since we sliced the pineapple thinner, they didn’t hold their shape, I suggest skewering them as well.

Deconstructed Piña Colada: Grilled Buttered Rum Pineapple with Grilled Coconut Pound Cake

Serves 8 (1 cm or 1/2″ slices of cake, with lots left over)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • the rind of one lemon
  • I

  • 1 /4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pineapples, peeled and cored and cut into 8 spears each
  • 24 smallish strawberries
  • 1 Coconut pound cake (recipe can be found here).
  • pineapple sage finely julienned (or mint)

Directions:

  1. Combine the Greek yogurt, vanilla, powdered sugar and lemon rind and stir well. Refrigerate.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the rum, brown sugar and salt and give it a good boil (to burn off the alcohol).
  3. Using the buttered rum sauce, baste the pineapple spears and grill until you have achieved grill marks, you can baste throughout the grilling process but make sure you reserve some sauce for drizzling. Keep the grilled pineapple spears warm.
  4. Slice the coconut pound cake into 1-2 cm (1/2″-3/4″) slices, brush lightly with the buttered rum sauce and grill until you have achieved grill marks.

Assembly:

  1. Place the slice of grilled coconut pound cake on the plate, arrange the spears so that they overlap the pound cake and each other.
  2. Add three washed strawberries clustered together.
  3. Add a dollop of the Greek Yogurt sauce and finally drizzle with the remaining buttered rum.
  4. Garnish with the pineapple sage julienne. Serve immediately.

*Clip art from Microsoft Clip Art.

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Happy Canada Day! Today is Canada’s birthday and she’s a whopping 146 (now my birthday won’t seem half bad!). How are you celebrating this auspicious holiday?

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!*

We’re at the cottage, spending a long overdue weekend with good friends. The redecorating has taken a bit of a back seat due to being crazy busy at work and not being able to take a little extra time up north, so it’ll just get done later. Being at the cottage means everything slows down and it forces you to enjoy the quiet. I usually bring a craft to do or read, which I don’t often get to do in the city. It also forces you to reflect and in reflection I remember some really good times; one in particular is this:

A couple of months ago I received an email from my friend Kristy (Eat, Play, Love, Our family food adventures) that she was coming up to Toronto and did I want to meet her? WHAT? Of course I want to meet her, who wouldn’t? Kristy and Mike have an incredible blog where they actively involve their two beautiful children, Mr. N and Miss. A; I particularly love that they do that because it’s how I became interested in cooking.

At first I was going to keep Kristy all to myself and not share the adventure, but then I felt that would be selfish so I emailed Barb (Profiteroles and Ponytails) and that got me thinking…what about Kelly (Inspired Edibles), she’s not far from Toronto and she might also be interested, and that’s where it all started. You already know that I’ve known Barb for many years and we’re very good friends with she and her husband — Barb’s blog is a lovely presentation of easy, family friendly recipes. Kelly is a fellow Ontarian, up in Ottawa (only a four hour drive away) and she runs a fantastic blog focusing on health and nutrition. Kelly and I have emailed once or twice before so I didn’t feel awkward in presenting the invitation. Without hesitation both ladies jumped (and I mean JUMPED) at the offer and boy am I glad because it was an incredible night of camaraderie, friendship, good conversation and few very hearty laughs! Thank you ladies for making the evening.

We started at a the classy Roof Lounge at the top of the Park Hyatt in Yorkville; it was as if we’d known one another a lifetime, the conversation just flowed and it was so easy to talk to everyone. We then made our way to Bar Mercurio our favourite Italian restaurant. JT and I have been dining at Bar Mercurio for quite some time and they know us by name so I knew were would get the royal treatment, and we weren’t disappointed. We had a complimentary dessert platter of biscotti and complimentary Lemoncello. Of course, I forgot to take photos early in the evening when there was still daylight, but fortunately Barb and Kristy both brought their iPhone 5s and the very lovely Omar obliged us with a photo. Thank you ladies again for a wonderful evening, I hope we can do it again soon.

It's a shame you can't see our lovely shoes!

It’s a shame you can’t see our lovely shoes!

Complimentary Biscotti always hits the spot.

Complimentary Biscotti always hits the spot.

Of course, one very popular topic of conversation was food and I happened to mention that we’re doing another progressive dinner on our street and that this time our theme is the BBQ, which means that every part of this meal must be grilled. I volunteered for dessert, because I love the challenge. This Coconut Pound Cake is one component to this very delicious dessert, but I won’t spoil the surprise!
I did alter this recipe to make it slightly healthier, by cutting the butter in half and replacing it with puréed apple (or you can use store bought unsweetened apple sauce). It worked out very well indeed!

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Preparing the cast iron pan for the BBQ

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I photographed the batter so you could see that the apple purée did not affect the texture

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Baking on the BBQ

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Cooling the pound cake. Or do I call it the kilo cake?

Coconut Pound Cake

Serves 10-12

Original recipe from Epicurious, I made some adjustments to make it a bit healthier (original recipe had 1 cup butter in it)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup of apple purée – see note below
  • 1 cup sugar (reduced from 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (6 oz) (original used sweetened)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the BBQ to 325°F. Turn off 1 burner completely.
  2. Prepare1.4L pâte terrine enamelled cast iron pan with non-stick cooking spray (or you can use a 9″ by 5″ by 3″ loaf pan) and line it with parchment leaving ‘handles’ on the long sides.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside.
  4. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 8 to 10 minutes with a handheld. In small increments, add the apple purée and beat an additional minute it two until full incorporated (don’t worry if it looks separated, just beat a little longer on a higher speed and it will smooth out).
  5. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in coconut gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula.
  6. Spoon batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing top. Bake in a BBQ on a warming rack in the back with the burner directly below turned off until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2hours.
  7. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of cake, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Notes:

  • In order to reduce the butter, I used baked and puréed apples. Peel and core two apples, cut into small cubes, microwave in a heat proof glass bowl with 2-3 tbsp of water until very soft. Purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Push through a fine sieve. Cool and use as directed in recipe above.
  • Cake may be made in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator until required.
  • Cut slices may be frozen for future use (this is what I did)

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Hello Spring

Spring has finally sprung in The Big Smoke so I thought I would run some lovely signs of spring first. I’m always surprised at how elated I am when I see the first buds on the trees and then somehow, it seems that from one minute to the next BOOM, we have blooms. It’s like spring explodes into nature; trees go from no leaves to full leaves, bulbs spring up, lilacs bloom and everything is glad to be alive. Finally.

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The Azaleas are one of the first to bloom

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A visiting Cardinal. He is just too big for our feeder, so he eats the dregs.

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Our new Japanese Cherry Tree just loves its new home.

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Completely covered in blooms

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Even sitting on the back deck is quite pleasant with a little fire and heat.

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Our lovely trillium returned in the back 20.

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And last but not least, this 7 year old lilac FINALLY bloomed this year. Ironically, this was the year I had planned to replace it with a Rose of Sharon.

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A drive through High Park to showcase the beautiful Japanese Cherry trees just prior to their peak.

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It’s a lovely fresh aroma

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There were tour buses on the weekend

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The trees are dispersed throughout the park, but there are also gorgeous clumps of them.

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I took these pictures on Saturday; the trees were definitely at their peak.

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Such gorgeous delicate blossoms.

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I wish they bloomed all year round; that would make me very happy.

We had my family Easter dinner in mid-April because my brother and family always have other plans on Easter Weekend. I don’t mind having these holiday dinners at a different time, things are generally cheaper, it’s fun to have the festivities again (we had an Easter Egg Hunt) and it gives a good excuse to get together regardless of missing the holiday. Win-win.

We made a couple of BBQ’d Herbes of Provence chickens which always turn out exceptionally well, even though we remove every bit of skin it’s super moist and flavourful (I can’t believe I haven’t done a post about this flavourfull chicken, but here is a photo of the bird on the BBQ). And of course, this wonderful dish pairs so well with Susur Lee’s Singapore Slaw (aka 19 Ingredient Slaw) that I made it again. We also had some lovely roasted sweet potatoes.

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My first Angel Food Cake from scratch. Who knew it would be so easy?

And of course, the dessert: Strawberry Shortcake made with a lovely Angel Food Cake. My very first scratch Angel Food Cake. I always hesitated to make this cake because my MIL warned me about how difficult and finicky it was. So as she did, I used a mix. Strange but true. I hadn’t thought about an Angel Food Cake in a lot of years (she’s been gone for more than 15 years) but I wanted a light cake with little to no fat and this fit the bill. Now to find a recipe which doesn’t use 14 or 16 egg whites! I found this recipe created by Anna Olson for a light chiffon cake using 8 egg whites. Perfect.

Now you know me by now that I generally don’t have a lot of dessert eaters, so when I chose a dessert (whether it be slightly better for you than ordinary) I always make it smaller. Who needs left overs? So I figured out the volume of the 10″ tube pan Anna used and cut it in half to fit my 8″ spring form pan! Clever? I must warn you, that the tube pan is used to help bake this light, airy meringue-like cake through the centre; my small spring form was just the right size and it baked relatively evenly. I would not recommend going larger as your edges will dry out and your insides will be runny. Anyway, food for thought!

I got a nice crumb on the cake, the bottom of the spring form had a harder time releasing due to the little dimples in it, so next time, I will line it with a piece of ungreased parchment, that should do the trick. Oh, and it’s really important not to jump around the oven like a mad dance, or even open the oven door during the first 20 minutes of baking. Also note that although this pan is smaller, it did take a bit longer to bake through, probably because there wasn’t the chimney effect heating the centre through. And having said that, I’d do it again in an instant, it’s a lovely light-feeling dessert.

Strawberry Shortcake_4489

A cake slathered in stabilized whipped cream and way too many strawberries.

You’re probably wondering “what the heck is stabilized whipped cream?” Well, maybe only some of you. I was looking for a way to make this cake up a few hours in advance and not have the whipped cream fall flat and runny on me. It’s really rather easy, 1 tsp of gelatin in about 3 tbsp cold water, nuked until gelatin melts complete, cooled down but not set and drizzled into the whipped cream with (1 tbsp icing sugar and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract) as you’re whipping. So easy and it sets the whipped cream ever so slightly so it won’t go all sloppy and meltie. You can’t taste the difference.

Strawberry Shortcake_4490

It just looked so yummy, I had to take another photo.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6 from an 20 cm or 8″ spring form pan

  • 1/2 cup cake and pastry flour (less protein than bread flour)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 236 mL (1/2 pint) whipping cream, stabilized as above
  • Strawberries, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 163° C or 325° F.
  2. Sift the flour and granulated sugar twice and set aside.
  3. Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until foamy, then gradually add the icing sugar, whipping until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Sift in the flour and sugar mixture to the whipped whites in 2 additions and using a whisk to fold in the flour evenly and easily. Scrape the batter into a 8-inch ungreased spring form pan, spread it to level and bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, until it springs back when gently pressed (try not to open the oven before 25 minutes).
  5. Cool upside down (this is apparently important so the cake doesn’t deflate and fall). Wait until it is thoroughly cook (I’m not kidding) to remove from pan (you must cut it out with a clean knife). To slice the cake in half, use an unserated blade and cut with short delft strokes until full severed.
  6. Serve the cake with whipped cream and berries, if you wish. The cake will keep, well wrapped (not refrigerated – it will dry it out) for up to 3 days.
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It’s only about 20 cm or 8″ wide. My 13 year old nephew had half of it.

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Last week I needed a dessert for my pie loving in-law family and I was lucky enough to find Charles‘ beautiful Appelkaka, a Swedish apple cake. I knew JTs family would like it because they are pie people and apple is one of their fav’s. We’re all trying to cut down our carbs, so when I saw this cake is made without the traditional pastry, I decided to make it. Of course, things don’t always go as planned, so when I started out to make the cake, I gathered all my ingredients. Apples: check. Sugar substitute: check (I had one diabetic and one hypo-glycemic in the house). Bread crumbs: wait…does that package say Parmesan Bread Crumbs? Oh my. Change of plans. Nix the bread crumbs and get out the food processor and pulse 120 g of Oats a few times, I wanted some texture, so it wasn’t pulsed to a smooth powder, but almost. And there we had it. When I changed up the bread crumbs to oats, I thought I’d change up the method as bit as well. I hope you don’t mind Charles, it turned out quite successful and the plates were licked clean. Thanks again for a lovely Swedish dessert.

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A quick taste of spring, and then it snowed.

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I think they may have retreated back into the ground.

Appelkaka, A Swedish Apple Cake

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A delicious combination of apples, almonds, oats and cinnamon

Serves 8-10, depending on the slice size

Ingredients:

  • 6 or 7 large Apples
  • 4-6 tsp Stevia (I had organic stevia powder at home, so I just used that. I think it was this brand – no weird aftertaste)
  • 120 g Oats, pulsed a few times in a food processor (not quite 100% powdery but close)
  • 50 g almond meal or roughly chopped almonds
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Sliced almonds for garnish
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 395°F. Line a 10″ spring form pan with a little parchment (my pan didn’t have tall enough sides, so I had to make my sides out of parchment).
  2. Peel and coarsely grate the apples and splash a bit of lemon juice into it so it stops them from discolouring.
  3. Mix the pulsed oats, cinnamon, almonds and butter until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Take about 1/3 of the oat mix and press firmly into the bottom of the spring form pan. Add about 1/2 of the grated apples on top and sprinkle with another third of the oats. Finish with the remainder of the apples and press firmly down. Sprinkle the final third of the oat mix on top, just like a crumble.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  6. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve with Greek yogurt, flavoured with a tsp of stevia, lemon zest and a small splash of pure vanilla.
A very tasty appelkaka

A very tasty appelkaka

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Laura, Brady and Brian

Our Easter Lunch, complete with the wonderful Beef Tenderloin.

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Dan, Joan, Dad and JT

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Beef Tenderloin with a port sauce.

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Hi Everyone, hope all my lovely readers in the North East fared well through that huge storm the other day. I watched it on the Weather Network radar and it looked absolutely brutal.

I have one more thing to ask of you lovely readers (in fact, my friend Smidge from Just a Smidgen also requested it). Kindly link your Gravatar to your blog, otherwise we have no way of knowing where you came from and we cannot comment on your blog. It’s in Gravatar.com, you’ll have to sign in and Edit your Public Profile, update your link to your blog in My Links. Thank goodness Smidge asked me to do this because believe it or not mine WASN’T linked! Thanks Smidge!

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A friend dated a guy with whom we became close. They broke up, so we asked her if she would mind if we kept him; she said not at all. So we did. He came for dinner a few weeks ago and I made a Hungarian themed dinner party; Hungarian Cheese Sticks (Sajtos Rud), Celeriac Velouté with Caramelized Onion Focaccia Croutons (recipe to come), Chicken Paprikas with Nokedli (I updated the nokedli part as Barb mentioned to me that her’s didn’t turn out), a nice Hungarian Cucumber salad (recipe to come) and Krémes. I was looking for a new dessert that would finish off the evening in style so I ‘traveled’ all the way to British Columbia to my good Hungarian friend Zsuzsa’s blog and found these wonderfully delicious Custard Squares. She spoke very highly of the recipe so I knew they would not disappoint. They are labour intensive but well worth the effort. They totally remind me of Mille Feuille that was my favourite when I was a child. The pastry is fantastically flaky.

I divided the recipe into a third of the original as I didn’t need quite as many. JT said I should have made the entire batch (that’s a testament to how good they are!). Thank you Zsuzsa for a tremendous dessert. I turned the most of the measurements into weight because it was easier to divide into 3 that way! You should get yourself a digital kitchen scale (I have this one), it is essential for baking.

Although these squares sound rich, they really are not. Really.

Although these squares sound rich, they really are not. Really.

Hungarian Custard Squares (Krémes)

Makes 8 squares in a 5″ x 9″ loaf pan (if you want more, please see Zsuzsa’s original recipe, she has excellent photos on the process of making the pastry too).

Custard Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 vanilla pod
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pk gelatin
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • dash of lemon juice

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 72 g all purpose flour
  • 76 g butter
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp cold water
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Pastry Directions:

  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan or microwave, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, and add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat and allow the vanilla to infuse for one hour. Set aside.
  2. Next make the flaky pastry. In a food processor with metal blades, combine the flour and chilled butter until it resembles a fine crumble. Add the salt and pulse to distribute. Combine the vinegar and the water and stream into the processor until a dough ball forms.
  3. Generously flour a board and roll out the pastry into a rectangle and divide into 4 equal parts. Stack the four rectangles on top of one another and chill for twenty minutes.
  4. Once chilled, separate each part and roll the dough into 4 very thin rectangles, roughly bigger than your loaf pan. Place in the bottom of your loaf pan, allowing the dough to form creases to fit into the pan. Repeat for the second rectangle, this will be the top. Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 14-18 minutes keeping watch as the pastry burns easily.
  5. When the pastry is golden brown, remove pan from the oven and immediately cut pastry into 8 squares (4 by 2). Wait a few minutes and carefully remove the squares and set them aside in the same order as they were in the pan, set aside.
  6. Repeat with the other two rectangles and bake, this is the bottom layer (do not cut this layer). Allow to cool, and remove from the pan, and put a good layer of plastic wrap into the pan with a generous amount coming up the side (this will help you lift it out). Return the bottom layer into the bottom of the pan, smoothing out the side of the plastic wrap.
  7. Next make the custard layer.
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It’s misleading because it has cream in the name, but there is no cream in the recipe.

Custard Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl beat the egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar for 8 minutes (they will become thick and pale). Add the vanilla
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and gelatine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the beaten egg yolks and continue to beat until smooth.
  3. Remove the vanilla pods from the vanilla infused milk and gradually add the vanilla infused milk to the bowl with the eggs and the flour.
  4. Over a simmering bain-marie cook the custard stirring it constantly until it reaches 80°C or 176° F with a candy thermometer (be careful as it can burn easily). As soon as it reaches 80° C remove immediately from the heat stir in the butter and set aside to cool.
  5. While the custard is cooling whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the lemon juice and continue beating until almost stiff. Add 2 tbsp sugar and beat until shiny and stiff. You are trying to beat the sugar into the egg whites so they are no longer grainy (this takes several minutes).
  6. Once the custard has cooled, press it through a fine sieve (my custard got a bit lumpy because I didn’t stir well enough as it was cooking)
  7. Take about 1/3 of the egg whites and fold it into the custard to loosen it up. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the custard very slowly
  8. Pour this custard onto the bottom layer of the pastry and even out using a spatula, pushing it into the corners and sides. Add the top layer of pastry in the same order that you removed it from the pan, leaving a little space between each one to allow your knife to slide through to make the squares. Refrigerate until the custard has set.
  9. Once set, using the plastic wrap, lift the pastry dessert out of the pan onto a cutting board. Generously sprinkle with icing sugar. Using a wet knife, slice the custard into 8 equal squares, using your top pastry as your guide.
  10. Serve cold, perhaps with a dollop of whipping cream.
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Those little dots are from the vanilla bean that was infused in the milk

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A little fresh raspberries would have looked awesome in this photo. The forks are from Hungary, my Mom bought them for me.

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