Desserts

fruity nutty honey nougat

Google what to do with egg whites, dried fruit and nuts, and you get nougat. What they don’t tell you is what an unholy mess it makes. Still, it’s worth it. Nougat is a sweet, chewy delicacy I first encountered in Italy, but have seen in France and Spain, and I’ve received gifts of nougat from friends after visits to Northern African countries, Turkey, Iran and Israel. Every country has their own version of this honey sweetened marshmallowy treat stuffed with nuts, always, and fruit, sometimes. Since the holidays ended, I’ve been working through the half bags of this and that, the frozen bits and bobs, all the little leftover whatevers from my holiday cooking and baking. There were macademias and pistachios, dried cranberries and cherries, almonds, pecans, walnuts. […]

berry cobbler

I can’t stop eating warm berry desserts.  I know I should post a main dish, or a preserving recipe, but all I seem to do is make the simplest dinners of steamed corn, sliced tomatoes and zucchini pancakes  and then I luxuriate in dessert because – well – BERRIES. I just love berries. Let’s talk about blackberry cobbler. Swap one berry for another or stir them all together and make jams and cobblers and pie with the sure to be delicious combination. You people in the Northwest U.S. have the BEST assortment of berry names. Ollaliberries and huckleberries and marionberries (as a DC resident, this one cracks me up.) I came home last weekend with two raspberry half-pints, half a flat of blackberries, two containers of blueberries and […]

lemon meringue pie

My mother told a pie story frequently. She was a young bride. She decided to make a lemon meringue pie. With her Sunbeam mixer on high, she whipped egg whites in the milky glass bowl. A pinch of cream of tartar and showers of sugar. She piled the meringue in the center of the pie and popped it in the oven. It emerged beautiful with bronzed tips on tall peaks. She set the pie on a rack to cool. When she returned to the kitchen, the meringue had shrunk to the size of a hockey puck, and the same distinctive consistency. She whipped more whites and baked it again. Again, it shrank to nothing. The third time, she began to understand. Make sure the meringue touches the […]

The Bake Off: Canelé, Caramel Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Star and a Giveaway

It’s been icy, snowy, cold and not at all hospitable. I baked all weekend, because nothing says happy like the smell of baked goods in the oven. I wobbled through my first experience with canelé. I made a sensational and surprisingly simple caramel chocolate tart. And then I baked for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. Two days of baking. Thousands of calories. Highs and lows. It was a dramatic three days in the kitchen. I’ve long been a canelé fan but once I tasted an official canelé in their Bordeaux birthplace, I was a goner.  [I thank Kate Hill for this education, in addition to all my porky-knowledge.]   This little sweet packs a punch. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted in a pastry.There’s that crackly crunchy caramel crust, rich […]

chocolate pimente d’espelette caramels and dreaming of Basquelandia

For the last several years, I have made Laura ‘s caramels (she writes the glorious Glutton For Life blog.) It’s a terrific recipe, just a little spicy, a little salty and perfectly chewy. The most challenging  part of the whole endeavor is cutting and wrapping  250 caramels. This year, I’ve adapted Laura’s recipe (and added a few hints to the instructions) for a chewy caramel that reminds me so much of being in Basqulandia with Kate Hill and sipping hot chocolate at Laia, I got misty eyed. The same pan you use to make jam will probably work perfectly for caramels. At least 5 quart, heavy duty (like Le Creuset). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, don’t attempt these candies. Seriously. But if ever there were a perfect stocking stuffer, […]

it’s time to make the donuts

Hanukkah, the eight day holiday that began last night, is also called the Festival of Light. For me, it’s the festival of delicious foods. Latkes, fried potato pancakes, are probably  the most well known of all the holiday treats. But donuts should get some love, too. Zufganyot, or jelly donuts, have a place on every holiday table. They are surprisingly easy to make and a show stopping sweet for your celebratory meal. I’m planning a cross-cultural Christmas brunch that will include these delicious donuts filled with my homemade raspberry jam. Zufganiyot (Lemon and Brandy Scented Donuts) with Raspberry Jam, with Chocolate Glaze , and with Lemon Glaze Makes 36 two-inch donuts 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons) 1 tablespoon and 3-½ cups all purpose flour 1 tablespoon and ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 […]