Posts tagged with dessert:

Honey Chiffon Cake

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We welcomed the Jewish New Year in a few days ago. This was a special year for us since we could share it with our children for the first time in many years.

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At the holiday table you will find many sweet dishes symbolizing our wish for a sweet year ahead.

Among the most traditional of desserts at this time is the honey cake.  This year I made a different version than my other favorite ones which are already posted on the blog.

This year I made a Honey Chiffon Cake. The October issue of Food & Wine magazine featured  this recipe from a new cookbook called The Feast Goes On.

This book is the work of The Monday Morning Cooking Club, a group of six women from Sydney, Australia who have a calling:  to save traditional Jewish cooking, one recipe at a time.

For founding member Lisa Goldberg, the catalyst was the death of her Auntie Myrna, a platinum blonde from Poland who made phenomenal cabbage rolls. 

Ms. Goldberg states, “Our mission is to find all the Auntie Myrna’s in the world and save their recipes before it’s too late.”

For The Feast Goes On, they asked Jewish home cooks from all over  Australia to send in their family heirloom recipes.  They tested and tasted hundreds of recipes, and only unanimous favorites went into the book.

Honey Chiffon Cake (makes one 10-inch cake)

This recipe is an especially light and moist take on the honey cake that Eastern European Jews traditionally eat for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The cake must be cooled upside down to maintain its distinctive fluffy texture.

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup strong black tea, warm

1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar

6 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the honey and tea; let cool.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda.  In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer at medium-high speed, beat half of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks until thick and pale, about 2 minutes.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating until thickened, then beat in the honey-tea mixture and the dry ingredients in alternating batches.

2.  In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  While beating, gradually add the remaining granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks of white remain.  Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan.  Smooth the top and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Immediately invert the cake pan onto a wire rack and let the cake cool completely.

3.  Meanwhile, stir the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice, adding 1 teaspoon at a time, to form a thick glaze.  Once the cake has cooled, run a thin knife around the edge to release it from the pan.  Lift out the cake by the central tube.  run a knife between the bottom of the cake and the pan, then transfer the cake to a serving plate.  Drizzle with the lemon glaze.

Make Ahead The cake can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for 1 day before glazing and serving.

Note:  I used a local honey which I purchase at one of the many farmer’s markets here.  It is called Native Wild Sage Honey, (raw and unfiltered) and is amazing!

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Peach Tart

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With peaches at their peak a couple of weeks ago this fresh Peach Tart from the Food 52 website was the perfect ending to the meal I prepared for our friends from Maryland on the first evening of their arrival.

Not only is it delicious it is so simple to prepare.  Here is what Amanda Hesser has to say about her recipe…

"Every cook needs a good dessert recipe that can be whipped up anywhere-especially when you’re away from your kitchen and its mixer and rolling pin and comforting gadgets.  this peach tart is that recipe for me.  To make it all you need is a knife, a bowl, and some kind of a pan.  A tart pan ideally, but I’ve even made it on a baking sheet with one sideshored up with aluminum foil.  And when I’ve been without a bowl, I’ve even mixed the dough right in the pan.

The dough is made with oil, milk and almond extract, and is pressed into the pan.  there is no blind baking nonsense.  you just top the dough with the peaches, and then shower it with a sugary, salty crumble and send it on its merry way to the oven.

I got the original recipe from my mother, who uses all vegetable oil in the crust.  I use half vegetable oil and half olive oil.  she neatly peels her peaches.  Lazy kin, I do not.  Hers is probably better, but you are stuck with me.  I can promise you, however, that whoever you serve this to will not mind.”

I made it just as she suggests, and it is definitely a keeper.  Here is the recipe…

Peach Tart ( recipe from Amanda Hesser, Food 52)

Makes one 11-inch tart; serves 8

1and1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/4 cup mild olive oil

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

3 to 5 small ripe peaches, pitted and thickly sliced (about1/2-inch wide)

1.  Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.  Stirring enables the salt and sugar to sift the flour, so you don’t need to sift it in advance.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk, and almond extract. 

Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen; do not over work it.

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Then, transfer the dough to and 11-inch tart pan ( you can use a smaller one if needed), and use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up to the sides to meet the edges. 

This will work if you pat firmly and confidently, but not if you curl your fingertips into the dough.  It should be about 1/8-inch thick all the way around; trim and discard excess dough.

2.  In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter.  (If your peaches are especially juicy, add 1 tablespoon additional flour.)  Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine gramules and tiny pebbles.

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3.  Starting on the outside, arrange the peaches overlapping in a concentric circle over the pastry; fill in the center in whatever pattern makes sense.  the peaches should fit snugly.

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Sprinkle the pebbly butter mixture over top. (it will seem like a lot).

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Bake for 35-45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles begin enveloping the fruit and the crust is slightly brown.

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Cool on a rack.

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Serve warm or room temperature, preferably with generous dollops of whipped cream, (or, in my case, vanilla ice cream).

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French Pear Tart

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This French Pear Tart which I served at my recent brunch is simply an adaptation of Ina Garten,The Barefoot Contessa’s French Apple Tart which I have made numerous times.

I had bought a large bag of Forelle Pears when I spotted them at Costco on a recent visit.  I first tasted them several years ago, and was hooked. 

Forelle pears are not as well known as your Bartlett, Bosc, or Anjou, but they are more beautiful, every bit as delicious, and when ripe, they are as sweet as they come and yet still crunchy and juicy at the same time.

Their small size makes them perfect for snacking, adding to a salad, or serving with an assortment of cheeses.

They are actually perfect for a tart because their firmness keeps them from getting too mushy when baked.

I had enough left after snacking on them all week to use them in place of the apples in Ina’s recipe for the French Apple Tart.

This is the dessert to try whether using apples or pears, because even the most baking phobic among us will find success.

By using store bought puff pastry which you will find in the freezer section of most good grocery stores, and a few other simple ingredients you can create  this fantastic tart that your guests will think you purchased at a French bakery.

French Pear Tart (adapted from Ina Garten’s French Apple Tart, Back to Basics)

-one sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted according to manufacturer’s directions 
(I prefer Dufour’s, which can be found in better grocery stores, but Pepperidge Farm or Trader Joe’s will also do)
Note: Dufour’s is larger so you can roll it out to a 10” by 14 “rectangle.  If using the others they are usually packaged 2 smaller ones to a package so you will just use one and roll it out to a 10 and1/2” by 10 and 1/2” square.

8 -10 Forelle pears
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges if necessary. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the pears.

Peel the pears and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler.
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Slice the pears crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of pears diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with pear slices. (I tend not to use the end slices in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

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Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the pears start to brown.

Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly or jam together with the  water and brush the pears and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture.
Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
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And pat yourself on the back!

Sunday Brunch

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We have been fortunate to have made so many new friends in the short time we have been calling San Luis Obispo “home”.  

A couple we had met shortly after arriving here last July ( it is really hard to believe we will soon be here one year) joined us for brunch this past Sunday.

We had met them  at a social gathering and she and I immediately realized we shared a passion for all things food related…cooking, baking (her specialty), finding great restaurants, blogging, etc.  She even hosted a food related radio show for many years here in SLO.

Sunday Brunch is one of my favorite ways to entertain because it is undeniably more relaxing for the guests as well as the host.

Many dishes and baked goods are easily prepared ahead, and lend themselves to being served buffet style, eliminating any last minute stoveside cooking frenzy.

The house was filled with sunlight,  a gentle breeze entered through the open windows and doors leading to the deck where my flowers were providing a colorful display.   (All that garden work does pay off)!

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The best part is everyone is content to just linger at the table with more coffee and cake telling stories since the whole day lies ahead.  A beautiful start to the week!

Here are the cast of characters for my Sunday Brunch

Mimosas!

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Chilled Gazpacho  (a beautiful bouquet of roses from our guest’s garden)

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Bagels

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and Lox

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Roasted Honey Smoked Salmon…(Costco!)

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Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, and Olives

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And something sweet…The Best Coffee Cake. Ever.

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French Pear Tart

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Nancy Silverton’s Bran Muffins

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Sour Cherry Pie

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If you have been following my blog you will remember that before our home was completed we had lived in a hotel for one month, then a lovely rental with a small kitchen (finally I could cook again), where we stayed for 6 weeks.

Due to a previous booking at that time, and our home still not ready, we found ourselves looking for yet another rental. 

Every cloud has a silver lining and ours came in the form of an amazing studio apartment above a garage that I found in the rental listings I had been scouring for availability.

I immediately emailed the owner who immediately called me back.  He responded to our plight of needing a place to live for an indeterminate amount of time by saying he would love to help us out, and we should come by and take a look at the apartment.

It was a really great space with a state of the art kitchen you would rarely find in a studio above a garage! 

The owner generously offered to allow us to stay there for as long as we needed to which freed us from the burden of possibly having to find a 3rd rental at some point. 

So he agreed to not accept any other renters until we let him know our actual moving date!  I know I mentioned it before, but the nicest people  really do live here in San Luis Obispo!

He and his two children came for dinner last night.

After showing them our home we sat down to a dinner of Caesar salad,  grilled pork loin with herbs and garlic, sauteed apples, roasted carrots with onions and twice baked potatoes.

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His son who will be going into sixth grade, and his daughter, who will be going into fifth, were a pleasure to have at our table. 

Their social skills, and sophisticated palates surprised both my husband and me.  They can dine with us any day.  I would be happy to cook for them!

Dessert was this Sour Cherry Pie. 

The cover of the June issue of Bon Appetit magazine featured a fresh sour cherry pie. 

I had hoped to try that recipe, but was unable to find fresh sour cherries.  I know there is a small window for finding them and I had apparently just missed it.

But the photo of the pastry crust was calling my name. I decided to make that crust and fill it with a delicious tart cherry filling I’ve made before that  uses canned sour cherries. 

These canned tart cherries sometimes known as “pie cherries” are  not to be mistaken for that awful bright red artificial goopy pie filling you see on the grocery shelves!

The consensus at dessert last night was they make a really delicious cherry pie with just the right amount of tartness!  And the buttery crust was the perfect vehicle for them. And a scoop of good vanilla ice cream will put it over the top.   Here’s how to make it…

Sour Cherry Pie

Crust (Sour Cherry Pie,Bon Appetit, June 2014)

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 and1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 large egg yolks

Crust

Pulse almond flour, granulated sugar, salt and 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour in a food processor.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over the flour mixture.  Pulse, drizzling in more ice water as needed, until dough just comes together(a few dry spots are okay).

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Gently knead dough on a lightly floured surface until no dry spots remain, about 1 minute.

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Divide dough in half, and pat each piece into a disk; wrap in plastic.  Chill at least 2 hours.  (Dough can be made 3 days ahead.  Keep chilled).

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Filling and Assembly

Filling (adapted from a source unknown)

Note: the following is for 1 and 1/2 x the original recipe because I like lots of cherries

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

4 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

generous pinch of kosher salt

3 - 14.5 ounce cans pitted tart red cherries in water, and 1/4 juice reserved

1 and 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

In a large bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt and stir til well blended.  Add the drained cherries, reserved juice and lemon juice and stir til thoroughly combined.  Set aside at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Let dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly, about 5 minutes.

Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch round.  Transfer to a parchment- lined baking sheet and chill.  Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

Carefully transfer 1 crust to a 9 inch pie dish.  Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish.  Trim edges to even out crust if needed.  Scrape in cherry filling.

Using a 3/4” diameter pastry tip or cookie cutter, punch out holes in remaining crust, covering an area just smaller than the diameter of the pie dish. 

Place over filling.  Fold edge of top crust underneath edge of bottom crust and press together to seal.  Crimp as desired.  (Alternatively, assemble pie, then cut X’s or slits into crust.)

Brush crust with egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Chill pie until crust is firm, 20-30 minutes.

Place pie on a parchment-or foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake, tenting with foil if crust is browning too quickly, until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, 50-60 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 4 hours before slicing.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…

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Do Ahead:  Pie can be baked 1 day ahead.  Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Angel Food Cake (Gluten-Free)

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We are starting to feel “at home” in our new home. 

One of the things we love doing is entertaining friends at home,  and for me that means food is going to be involved via brunch, lunch or dinner.

This afternoon we had friends for lunch. 

We had met this great couple when we were still living in the hotel.  When we moved here last July we had thought we would be in the hotel for a month or 2 at the most.  When we realized it was going to be much longer I began looking for a rental with extended availability, (not to mention I REALLY needed a kitchen…I can only tolerate so many breakfast buffets…need I say more?)

We were fortunate to find a lovely one bedroom rental walking distance to downtown, with a cute little kitchen that had all the basics one might need. And there was a six week availability! 

The owners were our guests for lunch this afternoon, and we were thrilled to be able to show them the house, but more importantly, share lunch and conversation with them at the table.

They had been so welcoming and accommodating during our time there that it made the stress of moving and construction delays somewhat tolerable.  They filled us in on where to go and what to do in our new “hometown”, and for the first time we began to feel what it would be like to live downtown.

Because one of them has recently gone on a gluten and dairy free diet I prepared a gluten and dairy free lunch.  With a little forethought and planning it really isn’t hard to do.

We started out with tortilla chips and salsa and home made guacamole.

For lunch we had grilled chicken teriyaki, my favorite potato salad, and a beautiful green salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

But when it came to dessert I had to give it a bit more thought, and this is what I came up with. 

Angel Food Cake (Gluten-Free) with assorted berries and raspberry sorbet

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(For a gluten-free and dairy-free dessert substitute sorbet for the whipped cream!)

Here is the recipe for the cake from the King Arthur’s Flour website.

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

  • 3/4 cup King Arthur’s all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup Baker’s Special Sugar** or superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (10 to 11 large eggs, separated, yolks discarded or reserved for another use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia, optional
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Baker’s Special Sugar** or superfine sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the oven rack in its lowest position.

2) Whisk together and then sift the flour, cornstarch, and 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside.

3) In a large, clean (grease-free) mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until foamy.

4) Add the flavorings. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer and continue beating until the egg whites have increased in volume, and thickened.

5) Gradually beat in the 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, a bit at a time, until the meringue holds soft peaks.

6) Gently fold in the sifted flour/sugar blend ¼ cup at a time, just until incorporated.

7) Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10” round angel food pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter and remove any large air bubbles.

8) Bake the cake until it’s a deep golden brown, and the top springs back when pressed lightly, about 45 minutes.

9) Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan onto the neck of a heatproof bottle or funnel, to suspend the cake upside down as it sets and cools, about 2 hours.

10) Remove the cake from the pan by running a thin spatula or knife around the edges of the pan, and turning the cake out onto a plate.

11) Cut the cake with a serrated knife or angel food cake comb. If it’s difficult to cut, wet the knife and wipe it clean between slices.

12) Serve with whipped cream and fruit. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature.

Yield: one 10” cake, about 12 to 16 servings.

Pavlova for Passover

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This year for Passover I decided to make Pavlova for dessert in addition to the traditional Passover Lemon Sponge Cake…

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The Pavlova, which will easily serve eight, is composed of a crunchy meringue base with a soft center of whipped cream and fresh fruit.  The meringue base can be made up to 2 days ahead if stored in an airtight container.  Assemble it within a few hours of serving it so the meringue retains its light crunch.

To assure success,  try to choose a day that’s not humid for meringue making.  Not a problem for me now that we are living in California!

Note: If you observe the rules of kashruth (keeping kosher)  you will have to reserve this delicious dessert for after a dairy meal since it contains whipped cream.

Here we go…

Pavlova (Food and Wine, Diana Sturgis)

6 extra large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 and 1/3 cups superfine sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 and 1/2 cups raspberries (or strawberries)

4 ripe kiwis, peeled and sliced

Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Draw a 9-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and place on a large cookie sheet.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on low speed until foamy.  Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.

3.  Gradually beat in the superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for about 10 seconds after each addition to be sure the sugar dissolves.  Beat in the lemon juice.  The whites will be stiff, dense and glossy at this point.

4.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar over the beaten egg whites.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the sugar into the whites until thoroughly blended.

5.  Scoop the meringue onto the parchment paper and spread to form a 9-inch round.  Hollow the center slightly to make a nest, leaving the meringue at least 1 inch thick at the base, and 1 and 1/2 inches high around the sides.

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6.  Bake the meringue in the middle of the oven for 1 hour.  Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour longer.  Turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the warm oven with the door closed for 1 and 1/2 hours or overnight, until crisp and dry throughout.

(Purists prefer an absolutely white meringue, but I like the flavor and color of a pale beige one, so don’t worry if the heat colors the meringue slightly.)

When the meringue is completely cool, peel off the paper.  Place the meringue on a flat serving platter

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7.  In a large bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Spread half the cream in the meringue shell and sprinkle with half of the pineapple and raspberries.

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Mound the rest of the cream on top and cover with the remaining pineapple and raspberries.  Overlap the kiwi slices around the inner rim of the Pavlova and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

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From Meyer Lemon Curd to Lemon Meringue Pie

Recently I made a batch of my favorite Meyer Lemon Curd. http://dinneratsheilas.com/post/14642659492/meyer-lemon-curd

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Besides slathering it on toast, scones, or muffins, it is also delicious sandwiched between gingersnaps or other cookies of your choice.

  For an elegant dessert set out bowls of assorted fresh berries along with a bowl of lemon curd for dipping, or fill mini or small tart shells with a spoonfull or two of the lemon curd and top with a little whipped cream or meringue.

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But, if my husband has a vote those last couple of jars will be used to make a Lemon Meringue Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust. 

Fill a graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade), with the Meyer Lemon Curd.  It is already cold cause it’s been in your fridge, so no waiting for it to cool before you whip up a mile high meringue. Slather it on, making little peaks which will brown nicely when you place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

The hardest part of this whole recipe is waiting for it to chill thoroughly for a few hours before digging in !

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Yom Kippur Eve Dinner for Two

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A couple nights ago was Yom Kippur Eve on the Jewish calendar.

Yom Kippur literally means “Day of Atonement.”  It is traditionally a day devoted to repenting and reflecting on one’s sins committed in the past year.

Yom Kippur marks the end of the 10 day period that begins with the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah. It is a time of introspection and a day of fasting.

As a result the dinner the evening before has special significance and the meal usually consists of traditional holiday foods.

We were on the east coast this year during Rosh Hashanah so we were fortunate to have a holiday dinner with our aunt whose home we stayed at that evening before leaving for the wedding a few days later.

It was a lovely dinner and while we were happy and grateful to be among family, the holiday seems very different to us this year.

Having moved to the west coast, but still not settled in our home, and having been back on the east coast again, but not in the home we celebrated the holidays in for the past 25 years, was especially bittersweet.

For me, shopping and cooking for the Jewish holidays has always been an important part of the New Year.

The smells, sights and sounds that occur within those hallowed walls of the kitchen are part of me…from growing up watching my dear mother in her kitchen (my mom is always so close to my heart, but even more so at this time of the year), and then from a lifetime of preparing meals for the holidays in my own kitchen in our various homes.

So now that we were back in SLO for Yom Kippur, and challenging as my current kitchen is for preparing  a holiday meal, I couldn’t wait to begin.

It was just a Yom Kippur Eve Dinner for Two, but as I was cooking that afternoon, all the holiday smells, sights and sounds that I remember were in full force, and as I prepared recipes from my mother, and my husband’s grandmother I felt the warmth and love that is tradition.

With the limited kitchen equipment in mind I chose the following menu:

Bottle of Chardonnay (complements of the owner of our rental, which we found in our fridge upon our return from our trip)

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Freshly baked challah (not by me, and thanks to my husband for finding one) drizzled with honey symbolic of our wish for a sweet year ahead

Store-bought gefilte fish with crudités
(Memories of my grandmother’s homemade gefilte fish… watching her chop the fish in her wooden bowl)

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Roast turkey breast for me (leftovers for sandwiches for the week) and 2 turkey drumsticks for my husband

Turkey Gravy

Mom’s Apple Noodle Kugel (instead of the regular egg noodles I substituted a package of TJ’s pappardelle egg noodles that I already had, and they worked perfectly)

Baby Carrots  in a Buttery Brown Sugar Glaze

Mom Min’s Farfel with Mushrooms and Onions (recipe below)

Jelled Cranberry Sauce

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And for dessert…

A variation of my Mom’s Passover Lemon Sponge Cake served with nectarine slices

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Mom Min’s Farfel with Mushrooms and Onions (my version of what we remember)

One 12 ounce package of Manischewitz Barley Shaped Egg Noodles

8 ounces fresh white button mushrooms, chopped

Half of a large sweet onion, diced

2- 3 tablespoons salted butter

About 2 cups chicken broth

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Cook Farfel according to package directions, not more than 8 minutes.

In a medium skillet sauté diced onions in the butter till translucent.

Add the chopped  mushrooms, and cook til browned a bit.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add chicken broth and stir well.

Add the mushroom and onion mixture to the drained Farfel.

Cover and keep warm on top of the stove or put in a buttered covered casserole in a 325 degree oven to keep warm.

When ready to serve add some gravy and stir to combine.

A few notes about the Lemon Sponge Cake…

Since  I didn’t have a tube pan here, but did have a layer cake pan that is what I used.

I also used flour instead of the potato starch I prefer.

Both of those changes produced a more dense cake than the lighter version baked in a 10 inch tube pan, but truly delicious nonetheless.

Without an electric mixer here I had to whip the egg whites, which are the only leavening agent in this batter,with a wire whisk.

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When I first came home from shopping I had to look around to see if there even was a whisk here.  There was, but far from a professional one so I knew I would have to be careful not to break it.

With all the desserts I have made over the years I had never whisked egg whites by hand… with the Kitchen Aid within easy reach, why would I?

All I can say is I have a new respect for chefs who seemingly can easily whip that gelatinous mixture into stiff peaks before your very eyes.

Those who know me know I will persevere when the going gets tough, and though my arms were telling me to stop I refused to quit until those snow white peaks surfaced.

And finally they did!  And I was never so proud!  And I did it with the handicap of a flimsy whisk and a plastic bowl!

So I pulled together a wonderful holiday meal for us, and at the same time was able to master a new culinary skill!

Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

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I was especially excited this past Father’s Day to have my brother and his family from New York with us.  For dessert I made one of his favorites…

our Mom’s Banana Sour Cream  Cake with this Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting which I discovered online searching for a better peanut butter frosting than what I usually make.

 And this was it…here’s the link to the  video on how to make it…

http://allrecipes.com/video/1141/fluffy-peanut-butter-frosting/detail.aspx?prop24=RD_VideoTipsTricks

It’s a keeper!

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting (allrecipes.com)

Original recipe makes 2 cups

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons milk, or as needed

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.  Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.  Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

If you double the recipe any leftover frosting freezes well.