Pear Cardamom Tart

pear_ cardamom_tart-1.jpg

Last month we went to Portland Nursery’s annual apple tasting festival. Everything is $1 per pound, with 60 different varieties of apples and pears. So we bought a lot. A real lot. Exactly 28 pounds. Maybe too many but they do store well in the refrigerator. I made this Pear Cardamom Tart which is a variation on the Pear Almond Tart I made a while back. I was inspired by this pear tart on Instagram which is absolutely gorgeous, Lauren Ko’s pie designs are amazing. So mine didn’t turn out like that, but I’m still happy with it, and it tastes really good which is sort of the bottom line when it comes to food. I used a few different types of pears: Bosc, Seckel, Red Anjou, Forelle. After it’s baked it loses the variety of bright colors, but you end up with some nice rich browns. I think it would make a handsome dessert for Thanksgiving. Enjoy :)

pear_ cardamom_tart-2.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-3.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-4.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-5.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-6.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-7.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-8.jpg
pear_ cardamom_tart-9.jpg

Pear Cardamom Tart

  • 6 ounces almond paste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons flour

  • 3 ounces unsalted butter (about 6 tablespoons) room temp 

  • 1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temp

  • 1/4 teaspoon Almond extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark rum

  • 4 pears (in a variety of color and size)

  • Pre-baked 9-inch Tart Shell, at room temperature (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

In a stand mixer beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour, until smooth. 

Gradually beat in the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, cardamom and rum. Spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell with a rubber spatula. 

Slice the pear quarters into 1/4” slices, then fan the slices in clusters over the almond filling, alternating colors and sizes. Press them slightly into the filling. Bake the tart for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the almond filling between the pears has browned. Remove from oven onto rack and cool slightly before serving. Can be served at room temperature. 

Tart Shell

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 large egg, whisked

Whisk sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Drizzle egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.) Place dough on floured surface. Roll to 11-12” circle, place dough in pan and press to fit, overlap edges inside. With a fork make holes in the crust to prevent bubbling. Cover the crust with parchment or foil and fill with rice or weights. Bake 10 minutes at 350° then remove foil and bake another 5 minutes until just firm but not browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding almond mixture. 

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin_bread-1.jpg

It’s that time of year again. All things Pumpkin! And dark. Well actually this October has been unusually sunny for Portland, but this past week the rain finally kicked in, raining every. single. day. oh no! But this time of year is also an opportunity for walks on misty mornings. I like this Pumpkin Bread recipe, it’s good but maybe not as good as the Pumpkin Loaf Cake with Walnut Glaze from four years ago. But I wouldn’t not eat it! It tastes great with a Double Spice Chai tea by Stash. This isn’t an endorsed or sponsored post, I just happen to love their tea. They do everything right.

fernhill_park-1.jpg
fernhill_park-2.jpg
fernhill_park-3.jpg
fernhill_park-4.jpg
pumpkin_bread-2.jpg

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)

  • Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and Pumpkin Spice.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, brown sugar, milk and egg whites. Add the canned pumpkin and mix together well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until well combined.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, then sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan before removing.

Honey Chocolate Fudge

honey_chocolate_fudge-1.jpg

Healthy fudge!? For real? A few weeks ago Sprouted Kitchen started a Cooking Club. I like Sarah’s recipes and thought it would be fun to join, so I did. Each week she provides a shopping list and recipes for three meals and a snack. This is one of the snacks. As with most of her recipes it’s pretty healthy and made with natural ingredients. This is the second time I’ve made it. The first time I made it I used whole raw almonds, here I made it with toasted almond slivers. I definitely prefer toasted almonds.

It’s not exactly like fudge but similar and I like it better in a lot of ways. She said the recipe was created and inspired by Honey Mamas fudge which is made right here in Portland! You can check our their site to get some ideas on variations, adding coconut, peppermint or spices. Enjoy :)

honey_chocolate_fudge-2.jpg
honey_chocolate_fudge-3.jpg
honey_chocolate_fudge-4.jpg
honey_chocolate_fudge-5.jpg
honey_chocolate_fudge-6.jpg

Honey Chocolate Fudge

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped

  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds 

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch) or raw cacao, plus more for dusting

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1/3 cup honey 

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup crisp rice cereal

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate along the bottom of the pan. 

In a food processor or a strong blender, combine the almonds, cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse sand, about 10 times. You want some crunchy bits of almonds. 

In a saucepan, combine the honey and coconut oil and bring it to a gentle boil. Stir to mix. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the almond mixture and the rice cereal into the wet mixture and stir to combine. Any extra add-ins would go in here (coconut, seeds or more nuts). Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, smooth the top and put it in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. Store refrigerated or a very cool place.

honey_chocolate_fudge-7.jpg

Coconut Cake

coconut_cake-1.jpg

Wouldn’t you know. On Jeff’s Birthday I’m ready to make this cake and… the oven is broken. It won’t heat and it’s only three years old! Luckily I had only prepared the cake pans while attempting to preheat the oven, so it wasn’t a total loss. We had an extended warranty on the stove but even with that it took a couple weeks to be resolved. Like it didn’t work when the repairman showed up, then it did and he left unsure of what was wrong, and then it didn’t again so he came back the next week after ordering parts. Turns out the ignitor needed replacing. Anyway, back to cake! I changed a few things but mostly stuck to this recipe. The original recipe says to buy a coconut and drill holes in it, bake it, crack it and all sorts of crazy stuff I didn’t want to do, so I just bought coconut cream and milk in cans at the market. It came out great. Really great. The texture of the cake is perfect, it has a nice density to it. The flavor is exactly what you would want. I read the reviews on the cake and one of the biggest complaints was the frosting, that it tasted too much like marshmallow, and I knew I didn’t want that super sweet stuff, so I made a version of the frosting I made last year for Jeff’s Birthday Cake with Mascarpone and whipped cream. Last time I ran short on frosting, so for this recipe I doubled it, then I went lightly frosting the layers (as you can see), but I ended up with so much leftover! I was concerned about running out, but believe me you can pile on the frosting between layers and have plenty for the top and sides. This is a delicious cake and well worth making.

coconut_cake-2.jpg
coconut_cake-3.jpg
coconut_cake-5.jpg
coconut_cake-4.jpg

Coconut Cake

  • Butter, for cake pan
  • 14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • Coconut flakes 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate, they will be easier to slice. While the cakes are chilling prepare the frosting (recipe below) Assemble: Cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers.  Frost each layer with a generous amount, then top with coconut flakes.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Beat together all ingredients in a stand mixer for a couple minutes until fluffy. 

Adapted from Alton Brown

Apple Pie

apple_pie-1.jpg

As simple as it can be to make Apple Pie, I still found myself searching for a recipe last week. You might remember I’ve made a French Apple Pie, but it’s actually been a very long time since I’ve made a traditional Apple Pie. So here it is! And the pie crust here is really my favorite, it’s easy to roll out and work with, when baked it keeps it form nicely without falling apart and at the same time doesn’t taste like cardboard. The apples? For this pie I used King David apples that we picked up at an apple festival last month. I’m never sure which apples are which these days with so many varieties, is it good for baking? eating? This was a good choice, they didn’t mush up and had a really nice texture, some bite to it, with a spicy flavor. So thumbs up on the King David Apples. 

We had a lovely Thanksgiving for two this year. I made a turkey roulade - a turkey breast rolled with dried cherry and sausage stuffing. It was the third time I’ve made this and it works out really great for a small feast. It’s deserving of a blog post so I’ll just have to make it again. I’m sure Jeff won’t mind.

apple_pie-2.jpg
apple_pie-3.jpg
apple_pie-4.jpg
apple_pie-5.jpg
apple_pie-6.jpg

Apple Pie

  • 6-8 apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • Lemon juice, 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg for egg wash 
  • 1 tablespoon or so Muscovado sugar (or large granulated sugar)

Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

To make the dough in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 5-7 pulses (you don’t want to over work the dough too much or it will become tough.) Remove from processor and place dough in large bowl, add 6 tablespoons of the ice water, combine with wood spoon. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it’s crumbly, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half (I make one half slightly larger for the bottom crust) and shape each into a disk. Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

 

Filling and Assembly

Preheat oven to 375°F. 

In small bowl combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. In large bowl place sliced apples, squeeze lemon juice, then add flour mixture and toss until well combined. Set aside.

Roll out your bottom crust about 2-3” larger than diameter of pie dish, place in pie dish and trim around the edges. Add the apple mixture. Roll your top crust to fit, cut out any desired designs, place on top of pie, trim any excess and pinch the edges together with thumb and forefinger. Roll out any additional dough and use pie cutter to top with leaf or apple design. Adding a leaf pattern around the edges looks pretty. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over top of pie, sprinkle some granulated sugar.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until brown. Allow to cool a bit before serving. It will slice better if you refrigerate and then bring to room temp. 

apple_pie-7.jpg

Also, I’m sorry to see these pie cutters are no longer available, I’m sure there are more out there but this was a nice selection of designs. 

10 Summer Favorites

It’s summer! I love summer even when it’s scorching hot. I’ve put together ten of my favorite-make-again summer recipes. Below is a mix of salads, desserts and keepin’ kewl iced drinks. Picking berries, shucking corn, drinking bourbon iced tea - oh yeah!

Berry + Cherry Galette

Berry Clafoutis

Margarita Ice Pops

A Summer Salad!

Watermelon with Feta + Basil

Cherry Tomato Galette

Quick Dill Pickles

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Bourbon Iced Tea with Mint

Strawberry, Thyme + Peach Buttermilk Cake

It was Jeff’s birthday last week and I wanted to make him a special cake. I’ve never made a layer cake before and felt it long overdue. So I picked up some cake pans and cake stand and made it happen. I remembered that Eva from Adventures in Cooking has a lot of nice cake recipes and this one caught my eye. Oh boy is this good! The mascarpone whipped cream frosting is just about perfect. It’s creamy, holds up really well and it’s not overly sweet. I have to say that’s one thing I’m not crazy about when it comes to cakes. That insanely sweet frosting that overshadows any other flavor. But with this cake you can appreciate all the flavors together, a bit of ginger and thyme in the cake, layered with fresh peaches, strawberries and the perfectly creamy not-to-sweet frosting. Since this was my first time cutting cakes into layers it was a bit lopsided but not too bad. One thing, I would double the frosting recipe, I only had enough for three layers and this should be a four layer cake. Overall it inspired me to make more cakes. There is something happy and fun about a layered cake, and I find myself dreaming up new ideas which are sure to be posted on this blog. Enjoy!

Strawberry + Peach Buttermilk Cake With Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large peach, pitted and chopped
  • 3 large strawberries, diced
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh thyme leaves

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

(you might want to double this frosting for a 4-layer cake)

  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 2 peaches, cut into eighths
  • fresh fruit or flowers for garnishing on top

For the cake mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Lower the speed and add the buttermilk and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until a batter forms, then stir in the strawberries, peaches, and thyme until just incorporated.

Evenly distribute the batter between the 2 (8-inch) cake pans and bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake coms out relatively clean (unless you poked throughfruit bit), about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes before running a spatula around the edge of the pan and flipping the pan over onto a wire rack, removing the pan and allowing the cakes to cool completely on the racks.

For the mascarpone whipped cream, beat together the mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment at medium high speed until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Trim the top of the cakes so that you have a fairly flat surface. Then cut each of the cake layers in half horizontally using a sharp bread knife, you should now have 4 layers. Divide the mascarpone whipped cream into 4 parts and spread out 3 parts between the layers of cake along with the fresh strawberry and peach slices. Place the remaining fourth of the mascarpone whipped cream on top of the cake in a dollop and arrange fresh fruit or flowers around it, serve immediately. Will last a few days refrigerated.

Adapted from Adventures in Cooking