Posts tagged with dessert:

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.

Blueberry Pie

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These days I have been spending most of my time packing.  The movers come Saturday, ready or not, and I would much rather be ready when that truck pulls up.

Our dining room has turned into the staging area for packing. 

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I can go at it for some time, but eventually I need a break.  When that happens I find myself in the kitchen rooting through the fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what I can create. 

I haven’t been to the market since before Father’s Day, and so far I haven’t had much trouble coming up with something to make with what I find hanging out in my kitchen.

The other day I made chopped chicken liver (my husband’s favorite snack on a cracker). 

In looking through the freezer I discovered a small amount of chicken livers.  With lots of onions sauteed in a little rendered chicken fat hiding out also in the freezer, and some hard boiled eggs, lots of kosher salt and pepper I made a pretty fantastic spur of the moment chopped liver.

Along with a big fat pickle what more can you ask for?

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The truth is I really liked the ratio of more eggs and onion to less chicken livers.  It was really yummy!

Next up was the Blueberry Pie you see in the photo above.  While retrieving the chicken livers from the freezer I noticed 2 discs of pie dough in plastic wrap hidden under some other items.

Here’s the story…Last Thanksgiving I had seen a recipe for an apple and pear pie with a walnut crust that looked great.  I immediately decided to make it as one of our Thanksgiving desserts, so without hesitation I made the dough. 

While the rounds of dough were chilling I looked over the rest of the recipe a little more closely only to realize that it was pretty time consuming…precooking the apples and pears, refreezing the pastry filled dough before baking,  and on and on…

While this might be fine at any other time, this was the day before Thanksgiving and with all that I had to do I decided to scratch that and freeze the dough for another day when I would have time to make that pie. 

Well, that day never came, and honestly I forgot the pastry was still in there until I just discovered it.  So I pulled it out and thought what do I have that I could fill it with….and there was a container of fresh blueberries, not enough for a whole pie. 

  However, I’ve had a huge bag of frozen wild blueberries in my freezer in the garage which I have been trying to work my way through so I combined the fresh berries with the frozen and tossed them with some cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and a little salt for a blueberry filling.

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When it came to rolling out the pie crust I realized two things.  First, I had used up all of my flour recently  and didn’t replenish it since we are moving. And second, I had packed all 3 of my rolling pins!

I searched the pantry and came up with a small bag of rice flour which worked fine for dusting the buttery pastry to roll it out. And an unopened bottle of wine stood in for the rolling pin.

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I cut the other disc of dough into strips for a lattice crust… kind of rustic, right?  I was in a hurry!

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and about 45 minutes later…image

After a piece of pie and a glass of milk I was relaxed, full, and ready to continue packing!

The next day for my break I found myself making Barbeque out of some extra ground chuck left over from making burgers the  night before. 

I simply sauteed it with onions and peppers and added my special home made Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce, and served it on a potato roll.

And tonight we dined on a vegetable soup I threw together with some chicken stock, roasted tomatoes, veggies, barley, and farfalle pasta.

After dinner I packed most of my cookware, leaving out just a few pieces so cooking the next couple of days should be even more challenging!

Strawberries and Cream Spectacular

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Strawberries and Cream Spectacular!  This recipe comes from the Time Life Series of Books called The Good Cook/Techniques and Recipes published in 1981.  I had the entire collection in those days,  and through the years I have donated many and  sold some at yard sales, but this particular one simply called Cakes remains on my shelf.  

It is a great resource for anyone who loves baking cakes as I do.  This particular cake is one that I love and continue to make today. I have made it for many special occasions, including a bridal shower for my best friend’s daughter a few years after we had moved here.

It is a great springtime cake and I served it at the brunch we had a week ago. 

Now I’ll confess I use a pastry bag and tip to decorate occasionally, but my skills are from from that of a professional. 

Somehow with this cake even if you stray as I do from using 3 different tips as the recipe suggests, this cake always ends up looking yummy and tasting yummier.

And, if you don’t run out of whipped cream as I did this time, you can also pipe rosettes around the bottom edge of the cake for a more finished look.

But you know what,  nobody said, “Hey, where are the rosettes?”

The cake itself is light as a feather with just enough lemon flavoring that complements the ripe strawberries and vanilla flavored whipped cream.

May is around the corner and with it strawberry season, so find an occasion and do make this delicious spectacular cake.

Strawberries and Cream Spectacular

(The Good Cook, Cakes from the Time Life series, Elise W. Manning, Farm Journal’s complete home Baking Book)

 To make one 9-inch cake

2 and 1/2 cups cake flour

1 and 2/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 and 1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 egg yolks

4 cups strawberries

2 cups heavy cream, whipped with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup red currant jelly

Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add the shortening and half of the milk.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for two minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Add the remaining milk, the lemon extract, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks.  Beat with the electric mixer for another two minutes.

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Pour the batter into two buttered layer-cake pans that have been lined with parchment paper.

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Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centers of the layers comes out clean.

Cool the layers in their pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks.

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While the cake is cooling, wash and hull the strawberries.  Chop enough strawberries to make one cup; reserve the remaining berries.  Fold the chopped strawberries into one cup of the whipped cream. 

Place one cake layer, top side down, on a serving plate.  Spread it with the strawberry-cream filling.

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Top with the second cake layer, top side up.

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Slice the reserved strawberries lengthwise.  Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cake, starting at the outer edge and placing the slices with their pointed ends toward the edge of the cake.

After the first circle of berries is completed, continue placing the strawberries in this manner until the top is covered.

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Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes.

Melt the red currant jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Carefully spoon or brush the hot jelly over the strawberries

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Spread some of the remaining whipped cream around the sides of the cake.

Spoon the rest of the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 190 drop flower tube.  Pipe rosettes between the strawberry points around the rim of the cake.  then change to a No.24 star tube and fill in the spaces.  Finally, change to a No. 71 leaf tube, and piupe a border around the bottom edge of the cake.

If you do not wish to decorate the cake with  decorating tips, spoon the remaining cream in small puffs on the top of the cake between the strawberries. 

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Refrigerate the cake until time to serve it.

Passover Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll with Raspberries and Cream

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In addition to the Passover Lemon Cheesecake which I made this year I also took this Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll with Raspberries and Cream to the seder at our aunt’s home.

I am not a chocoholic by any means ( I usually prefer desserts without chocolate with a few exceptions), but i know that for many people it is not dessert if it’s not chocolate. So I always like to include something with chocolate when there are several desserts at a holiday meal.

This recipe is an adaptation of a lemon sponge cake roll I have made numerous times at Passover. (See the post from April 2011) .  

Instead of the lemon juice and zest I added cocoa powder and vanilla extract, filled it with some fresh raspberries and whipped cream, and covered it in with a chocolate frosting.

Passover Chocolate Sponge Cake Roll with Raspberries and Cream

(serves 8 to 10)

For the cake roll

1/2 cup sifted Passover cake meal

1/2 cup potato starch

6 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 10”x 15” rimmed baking sheet with buttered parchment paper.

Sift together cake meal, potato starch, and cocoa powder and set aside.

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 Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and lemon colored. 

Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring to make a thick batter.

Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff but not dry.  Fold very gently into the batter.

Turn into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Test with cake tester, or press gently with finger to see if cake bounces back.

Remove from then oven and turn onto a lightly sugared towel.  Gently remove parchment paper. image

Roll up with the towel while warm and let cool completely on a rack.

When cool, carefully unroll and spread the whipped cream, dot with the raspberries.  Reroll and place onto serving plate.

Cover with the chocolate frosting.  Garnish with extra raspberries.

Whipped cream filling

1/2 cup heavy cream for whipping

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

Whip cream and sugar with whisk attachment in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. 

3/4 cup fresh raspberries, (sweetened with 1 tablespoon sugar, optional)

Chocolate frosting

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 to 4 Tablespoons hot water

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Blend sugar with melted butter, vanilla, and chocolate.  Stir in hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until proper consistency.

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Passover Lemon Cheesecake

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This luscious lemon cheesecake is one of the desserts I took to the Seder at our aunt’s home last night.

The crust is made from ground almonds and matzo cake meal making it  perfect for Passover when flour is prohibited.  Its  sweet crunchiness complements the smooth lemony light filling.

Passover Lemon Cheesecake (Epicurious, Gourmet/ April 2008)

(8 to 10 servings)

Crust

3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup matzo cake meal

14 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Filling

3 (8 -ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment

a 9-inch springform pan


To Make Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well. 

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Press onto bottom and 1 inch up the side of springform pan.  Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

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To Make Filling and Bake Cheesecake

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated.  Mix in zest and vanilla.

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Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust.  Bake until filling is set 1 and 1/2 inches from the edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will set as it cools).

Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan.  Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish with blackberries and lemon slices (optional)

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Note:  Cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, loosely covered.

Bourbon-Butterscotch Pudding

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I love pudding!   Just a spoonful of sugar pudding helps the medicine go down, or anything else that ails you!  It is the epitome of comfort food.

This past week I had an unexpected visit from my terrific niece from New York who will be graduating this spring from college. 

It seems like yesterday that we got the call that she was born. My sister and I filled the car with all the food we had been cooking and baking while we were nervously awaiting the news of my sister-in-law’s long labor.

With the food and our father in tow we headed for NYC to greet our new niece named for our beloved mother, Lily.

I was so excited to have Lily at our home one last time before we head out to the west coast the end of June.

Lily made her first appearance here at 10 months old when we celebrated my younger son’s Bar-Mitzvah with a party in our backyard under tents on a beautiful spring afternoon/evening in May.

From then on she was with us for every Thanksgiving, and for many summers when she was younger she would come and spend a week with us.

I got to experience the joys of having a little girl around…fixing her hair, picking out outfits with her for her to wear, and allowing her to have her fingernails painted blue which was her favorite color one summer.

Trips to the bookstore for storytelling time, hours at the community pool nearby, playing with the neighborhood kids, fixing her favorite foods, and trips to Jimmie Cone ice cream for a vanilla cone with all the rainbow sprinkles it could hold, are just a few of my memories of her visits.

And now here she is all grown up, beautiful and bright and on her way to find her place in the world.

She stayed with us for a couple of days while she attended some meetings in DC. 

My sister came in for the occasion and for dessert the first evening I made this Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding which appears in the March issue of Bon Appetit.

According to Bon Appetit… this complexly flavored pudding owes its smooth texture to a quick spin in the blender. 

I found this to be a great time to use my immersion blender, and it worked beautifully, saving me some extra cleanup time.

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Here is the recipe…

Bourbon-Butterscotch Pudding ( 8 servings)

(Bon Appetit, March, 2013)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 and 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon bourbon or Scotch

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large egg yolks

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 tablespoons sugar

Creme fraiche and crushed gingersnap cookies (for serving: optional)

(Note:  I used just a dollop of freshly whipped cream)

eight  6-oz ramekins or bowls

For a video demonstration of this recipe click here to see this from Bon Appetite.

A Gluten Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

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Our good friends from our “Chicago Days” who now live in Rhode Island spent the night with us on their way down to Florida yesterday.  It was so wonderful to spend some time with them. 

They were a  part of a close knit group of friends we had who, like us, were all transplanted to the Windy City from the east coast in the 70’s. We were all beginning our own families at this time, and before long we became family to each other filling the void that living far from one’s roots can create.

So we celebrated holidays and birthdays together, formed a gourmet club, had play dates for our kids, went apple picking, pumpkin picking, and strawberry picking, and the dads even took the kids on camping trips (without the moms).

As is life, eventually we all found ourselves relocating, many of us back to the east coast, but all to different cities.

But those were days we cherish, and no doubt the memories of those good times for our children (now adults, and some with their own children), have impacted their lives.

As luck would have it,  it was also my husband’s birthday yesterday, and what better way to spend it than with good friends!

I made a birthday dinner of Greek Chicken and Potatoes, Greek Style Green Beans and Tomatoes, and a Greek Salad, all of which was gluten free as our friend must adhere to this diet. 

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While dinner was not challenging at all, I was not so confident about making my husband’s favorite chocolate birthday cake with a gluten free twist. 

I confess I have never made a gluten free cake other than the sponge cakes I make at Passover which are gluten free by nature since I only use potato starch in them, and an occasional flourless chocolate cake.

But I wanted this to be a real birthday cake, 2 layers with a special filling between the layers, and a decadently rich chocolate glaze. 

When I found a bag of gluten free flour at Trader Joe’s I thought I just might be able to pull off a gluten free birthday cake worth celebrating.

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  I decided to follow the recipe for my chocolate cake, substituting the gluten free flour for the cake flour called for. 

A Chocolate Cake That’s Got It All

Butter, for coating cake pans

2 cups sugar

1 and 3/4 cups cake flour      1 and 3/4 cups gluten free flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch process

1 teaspoon instant coffee ( I used instant espresso powder)

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

14 tablespoons (13/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, but not hot

2 (8-inch) cake pans

Directions

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease the cake pans with butter and dust with flour.  (I prefer to line the bottom of the pans with buttered parchment as well to prevent any sticking).

Whisk sugar, flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

Place cocoa and coffee in a medium bowl.  Whisk in 3/4 cup boiling water to form a smooth paste.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla and set aside.

With a hand  or electric mixer in  medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks.  Without cleaning the beaters, mix melted butter into dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.  Immediately add cocoa mixture, and beat until batter is smooth, 2-3 minutes.  Carefully fold egg whites into batter until just incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between pans and bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out with wet crumbs, 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven, and let cakes sit in pans to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Invert each cake onto a plate, then onto a cooling rack. 

For the filling I whipped up some heavy cream into which  I folded some frozen (partially thawed) raspberries, making it a pretty shade of pink, and then covered the whole cake with a rich chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Fudge Glaze

1/4 cup (60ml) water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces (170g) sweet cooking chocolate, broken into pieces

1/2 cup confectioners, sugar (2 ounces, 55g)

1 and 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (or Chambord Liqueur)

Pinch of salt

Bring water and butter to boil in a small saucepan.  Keep at simmer until needed.

Metal Blade:  Pulse the chocolate with confectioners’ sugar 5 times, then process continuously until chocolate is as fine as sugar.  With machine running, pour water and butter through the feed tube and process until chocolate is melted, stopping once to scrape the work bowl.  Add the rum or Chambord and salt and process for 5 seconds.

With the remaining glaze (I made 1 and 1/2 x the recipe) I decorated the top of the cake with a pastry tip.  Allow the glaze to chill a bit to thicken it enough to do this.

Some raspberries for the finishing touch, and I would say it was a delicious success!

And by what was left I think you might agree.

I’m now a believer that gluten free doesn’t have to be taste free!

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