Fig and Almond Cake

August 11th, 2016

 

Fig and Almond Cake 1

To continue with the fig bounty, I made this almond and fig cake.  I always keep some almond flour in the freezer for Financiers, those dainty French cakes in the shape of  gold bars.  I love almond flour and this cake has both the flour and almond extract.  I went easy with the extract because I find it very strong.

Fig and Almond Cake 2V

The cake was moist and studded with the halved figs.  It was perfect for an afternoon tea or with coffee for breakfast.  You could sprinkle it with powdered sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fig and Almond Cake 3

Now that all of my figs are gone, I am wishing for more.  I have heard from a local acquaintance who has a fig tree in her yard.  Hopefully she will share!  Talking about you Donna.

FIG AND ALMOND CAKE (Adapted from The New York Times)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
12 to 14 rip figs

Heat oven to 375 degrees F/  Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside.  Put almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey and almond and vanilla extracts.  Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed.  Pour batter into pan.

Remove stem from each fig and cut in half.  Arrange fig halves cut-side up over the batter.  Sprinkle figs with Demerara sugar and bake for 30 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.  Cool before serving.

Printable Recipe

Summer Berry Buckle

June 13th, 2016

Summer Berry Buckle 1

Our hearts are hurting right now with the senseless loss of life in Orlando, Florida.  I try to keep my blog free of political comments so you will hear none of that from me, but the tragedy that took so many lives has nothing to do with politics.  It is just a sad commentary on the hate that seems to permeate our otherwise great country.  The hate needs to stop.

When the world seems too much to bear, baking cookies for your neighbors or making a breakfast cake to share can be a small token of friendship that can tell people that you care.  Please do not lambast me for such a silly response to what has happened. I fully understand the complexity of our problems and the great loss.  We are trying to deal with it by being actively involved in finding solutions.  But no act of kindness is too small. Besides, baking is good for the soul.

Summer Berry Buckle 2v

This summer berry buckle is a fruit studded coffee cake.  It is more fruit than cake, but the combination is a wonderful summer treat.  Add whipped cream or ice cream and you have the perfect dessert to enjoy on the porch or deck.  Or serve it for breakfast with juice and coffee.  You may think that 4 1/2 cups of fruit is too much but it is not.  I used a pint of washed and dried blueberries, 1/2 pint of washed and dried raspberries and 1/2 pint of washed and dried blackberries.

Katie Praying

My nephew and his family live in Orlando and Paul’s daughter Katie made this sign to honor the fallen victims of the horrible tragedy.  Katie has a big heart.  It is not right that our young children should have to endure such horrors.  We all need to unite, without animosity, to find a solution.

Summer Berry Buckle close

Bake this Summer Berry Buckle to share with friends.  It is a small gesture of good will.

SUMMER BERRY BUCKLE ( The New York Times )

  • ½ cup/114 grams (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon/5 grams finely gratedlemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups/156 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ½ cups summer berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or use any one kind)
  • Cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold berries into the batter, then spread batter in pan and sprinkle lightly with more granulated sugar. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden and cake is cooked through.
  5. Allow cake to cool, then sprinkle with cinnamon, if using, and confectioners’ sugar.

Easy Chocolate Mousse with Chambord

February 8th, 2016

Easy Choc. Mousse 1

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was looking for an easy dessert featuring chocolate.  It occurred to me that a simple mixture of whipped cream, melted good quality chocolate and raspberry liqueur would be just about as simple and elegant as it could get.  It was easy.  I had it whipped up and in the refrigerator in 30 minutes.

Easy Choc. Mouse 3V

Flecks of chocolate permeate the smooth gently whipped cream.  I used just a teaspoon of Chambord liqueur but next time I will splash a little more into the mix because the flavor was not noticeable.

Easy Choc. Mousse 2

We had this Valentine’s Day treat a little early because we are traveling for the holiday as we do every year.  Our Grandson’s birthday is February 14th.  We will travel to NC with a side trip to Washington DC.  It will be a busy week.  I hope everyone does something special for Valentine’s Day.  We will be stopping in Charleston on our way home for a special dinner at Husk.

husk-exterior-body

EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CHAMBORD

2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate such as Callebaut, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon or more of raspberry liqueur such as Chambord
Raspberries for garnish

Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water in a saucepan.  Remove and set aside to cool slightly.  Whip the cream in a stand mixer until starting to thicken.  It helps to have chilled the bowl in the freezer before you begin.  Add the sugar and liqueur to the cream.  Beat briefly.  Add the chocolate and whip the cream until it thickens.  Pour mixture into 4 ramekins and chill for at least 2 hours.  Garnish with raspberries.

Printable Recipe

Onion and Bacon Tart

January 26th, 2016

Onion and Bacon Tart 5

I dare anyone to tell me that they wouldn’t love to eat a combination of buttery flaky pastry with caramelized onions and crispy bacon.  The current contest on the FOOD52 website is to present your favorite appetizer to share with friends.  This is not my recipe.  It belongs to Cathy of the blog Bread-and-Milk.   I didn’t enter the contest, but I did decide to be a recipe tester.  I guess you can figure out why I chose the Onion and Bacon Tart to test. My middle name should be “Tart”, but not in the pejorative sense.  Whether sweet or savory, some of my favorite eats have been tarts.

Onion and Bacon Tart 1When I first read the recipe for this tart, I thought there was way too much filling for the size of the tart pan.  But after the onions were caramelized to a deep golden brown, they had melted to just the right amount.  There is a small amount of egg and cream to bind everything together so that the filling is lusciously rich.  I do need to mention the pastry also.  It has more butter in it than what I would normally use.  But the finished pastry is very sturdy.  That is just the results that work for this appetizer.  You can pick up a small slice and eat it out of hand.

Onion and Bacon Tart 3The slice shown on the plate could easily be divided into two pieces and served on a platter to be passed around.  It would be a neat two bite appetizer.  But I was not hosting a cocktail party, so David and I enjoyed this savory tart with a green salad for dinner.  I love testing other people’s recipes.  It forces me to follow a recipe as written and suspend judgement.  In this case, Cathy knew exactly what she was preparing and I was happy to follow her lead.  Go on over to Food52 to see all of the wonderful appetizer recipes.

ONION AND BACON TART

Dough

  • cups All purpose flour
  • teaspoon Salt
  • cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Ice water

Onion Filling

  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • tablespoons Butter infused olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Thick cut Bacon, diced
  • 1/2cup Heavy cream
  • Egg
  • tablespoon Thyme
  • teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1. Prepare dough, combine flour salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until small balls form then add water until dough comes together. Roll into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Prepare Filling, heat olive oil in a nonstick and gently sauté onions until translucent and caramelized. Next sauté bacon, until crisp. Combine onions, bacon, cream, egg and thyme rosemary and garlic powder.
    3. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Roll out dough, 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4 X 13 rectangular tart tin. Dock the dough with a fork. Spoon in the onion mixture and top with salt and pepper bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Printable Recipe

Moon and Stars Cookies

December 13th, 2015

Moon and Star Cookies 4

The holidays are moving quickly in our house.  We were late arriving in Florida this year because of all of the follow-up Doctor’s appointments that I had.  The leg is healing well and we finally moved back last week.  The tree and wreaths went up quickly, but the Christmas baking has taken some time.  We are also preparing to put the house on the market in January.  Therefore I am trying to simplify the baking tasks.

Moon and Stars Cookies 1

No frosted and decorated cookies are in my arsenal this year.  But I had to make my Swedish crescent cookies.  It is the one tradition that can’t be altered.  These buttery melt in your mouth cookies are the best.  To pair with these crescent moon cookies I made Dorie Greenspan’s speculoos.  These crisp spicy Belgium cookies celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas and are served everywhere in the country at Christmas time.  The cinnamon aroma scents your kitchen while they are baking.

Moom and Stars Cookies 5V

The speculoos are easy, but be aware that the rolled out dough requires a three hour rest in the refrigerator before being cut and baked. Now I am off to wrap presents.  Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner.  If only I had some snow!  Enjoy the Season.

SWEDISH CRESCENT COOKIES

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped or ground almonds or pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup powdered sugar, the butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour, almonds and salt until dough forms.

With floured hands, shape heaping tablespoons of dough into crescent shapes and place on ungreased baking sheet 1-inch apart.

Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Place 3/4 cup powdered sugar in small bowl. Roll cookies in powdered sugar. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again. Cookies can be placed in an airtight container and freeze up to 3 weeks. Before serving, thaw the cookies and reroll them in powdered sugar.

SPECULOOS (Dorie Greenspan)

Be prepared:  The rolled-out dough needs to be chilled for at least 3 hours.

Makes about 70 cookies – I used a 2″ star cutter and got around 35 cookies

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 (packed) cup light brown sugar
1 LARGE EGG, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices together in a bowl.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.  Add the sugars and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.  ADD THE EGG AND CONTINUE TO BEAT UNTIL IT, TOO, IS BLENDED INTO THE BUTTER AND SUGARS.  With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until the flour disappears into the soft dough.  You may have some flour at the bottom of the bowl, or the dough may not be entirely smooth, but that’s normal.  Using your hands (always my first choice) or a spatula, reach into the bowl and knead or stir the dough 2 or 3 times, just enough to eliminate any dry spots.

Divide the dough in half.  (The dough is very soft, even after you refrigerate it for several hours, so if your kitchen is hot, you might want to divide the dough into thirds – that way it won’t take you as long to cut out the cookies and the dough won’t soften as much.)  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap until you have a circle that’s a scant ¼ inch thick.  As you’re rolling, turn the dough over a couple of times and pull away the paper or plastic, so you don’t end up rolling creases into the dough.  Put the rolled-out rounds of dough on a tray or cutting board and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.)

When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Have a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Choose a cookie cutter – I like to use a scalloped cutter that’s 1 1/4-inches in diameter – and remove 1 circle of dough from the refrigerator.  Peel off the top piece of wax paper or plastic and cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough,carefully lifting the cutouts onto the lined baking sheet.  Collect the scraps and set them aside to combine with the scraps from the second piece of dough.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are lightly golden and just slightly brown around the edges.  Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool.

Repeat with the second round of dough, making certain the baking sheet is cool before you put the cutouts on it.  To use the scraps, press them together, roll them into a circle, and chill them before cutting and baking.

Serving:  The cookies are just right with coffee, made for espresso and tea and really good nibbled as a snack.

Storing:  The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Kept in an airtight container, the cookies will be fine for a week or more.

Printable Recipe Swedish Crescent Cookies 

Printable Recipe Speculoos

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.