Monday, August 16, 2010

August and September bring a bounty of special fruits to the northwest. The crostata - or rustic fruit tarts - as many call them can be made with any mix of seasonal fruits. They are easy, beautiful and showcase the fruit perfectly. We followed the recipes in one of our favorite cookbooks, Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook. Montana is blessed in late July, August and September with Flathead cherries and huckleberries, both worth savoring and sharing in jams, jellies, syrups and pies. The Apple- Bing Cherry Galette in the Macrina Cookbook was perfect for the Montana wedding celebration. Congratulations Heather and Sam!

Jeff''s Butter Pie Crust (makes two 9" tarts)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T sugar
8 T chilled unsalted butter
8 T chilled shortening
8 T ice water

Whisk flours and salt together. Cut shortening and butter into flour using a pastry cutter.
Add ice water, as needed until dough ball begins to form. Knead together lightly. Flatten into a 5" round disk - and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. When ready to use, roll out into a 13" circle. Transfer dough to a sheet plan lined with parchment. Spoon prepared filling into middle of the dough leaving a 2" border all around. Brush the border with egg wash and pleat the edges up over the filling, leaving the center of the galette open. Brush with egg wash as you pleat up, to help keep the pleats together. Sprinkle with course raw sugar. Bake at 400 degree for 12 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for about 35 minutes. Crust should be a deep golden brown and the filling bubbling and thick. Cool for 2-3 hours before serving.

Apple - Cherry Galette (makes 1 9" tart)
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 T unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 T cinnamon
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups Bing cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 T pure vanilla extract

Peel and core apples and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Toss with lemon juice. Sift sugar, flour and cinnamon together and toss over the apples and until they are evenly coated. Spread apples into a single layer baking sheet, dot with butter and roast for 15 minutes @375. Cool.
Combine cooled apples with the cherries.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Keeping the large glass cookie jar stocked on the kitchen counter is an essential part of my culinary life, something the family always looks forward to when they stop over. I love this recipe and searched along time to come up with a combination that was big, chewy, deep with flavor, and used whole wheat pastry flour and canola oil. Fill your cookie jar with this one!
(adapted from More from Magnolia)

Molasses Ginger Cookies

Sift together:
2 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together and then add to dry ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses

Dough will be stiff. Let dough rest about 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. Scoop using a portion scoop - dip the top of the cookie ball in turbinado sugar and place on cookie sheet.
Allow plenty of room for cookie to spread out. Bake @350 for about 10 minutes (small) or 12 minutes for larger cookies. Let cool on pan for a few minutes before moving to rack.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carrot Cake with Honey

I have been on the search for a perfect carrot cake recipe for a long time. I think this is it. This recipe is taken from the Bastyr Kitchen - a small cookbook from Bastry University Press. The cookbook was a gift from my daughter who is studying Nutritional Sciences at Bastyr. I love using honey as a sweetener, fresh ground walnuts and garden fresh carrots. In Montana we also have the luxury of using fresh ground Montana wheat flour. The icing is sweetened with honey or maple syrup which compliments the cake with its light delicate flavor. Happy Birthday Kevin -

Carrot Cake - from the Bastyr Kitchen
2 - 9" round baking pans
35-40 minutes @ 350 F

1 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 T ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 cups grated carrots
1 - 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts

1. Beat honey and oil with whisk or electric mixer until smooth and creamy
2. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
3. In separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
4. Fold sifted dry ingredients into creamed mixture until evenly mixed.
5. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
6. Spray pan with oil and line with a circle of parchment paper for easy removal after baking.
7. Divide batter between the two pans. Bake about 35 minutes - until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.
8. Cool pans rack for about 20 minutes - remove cakes, when completely cool, wrap and freeze. the layers will be easier to ice if they are slightly frozen.

Cream Cheese Icing
This is the real deal - no powdered sugar!

1/2 cup butter @ room temp
1 cup honey or maple syrup
16 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and honey together until smooth with electric mixer - about 5 minutes.
Add cream cheese and vanilla - mix until smooth. May need to chill before using.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Pink Champagne Cupcakes - A recipe I found in Cuisine at Home a year ago finally came to life. They are easy, fun, pretty and delicious. Plus, you get to drink the extra champagne with the cupcakes which makes it a real celebration.

Pink Champagne Cake or Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking pwd
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brut sparkling champagne
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 drops red food coloring
6 egg whites

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brut champagne
5 cups sifted pwd sugar (approx.)
2-3 T cream or milk

Preheat oven 350* F. Line 2 9" cake pans with parchment or line 24-30 cupcake tins.

1. Cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 min.
Combine 3/4 cup champagne, milk and vanilla.
2. Sift together flour, baking pwd and salt.
3. Add flour and liquid mixture to butter alternately until mixed.
4. Add food coloring to desired tint of pink.
5. Beat egg whited in a separate bowl with clean beaters until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into other mixture. Stopping as soon as the egg whites are incorporated.
6. Divide batter evenly among pans.
Bake 20 min for cupcakes, or 30 - 35 min for 9" cake pans. (2)

Mix with mixer; butter, champagne, milk and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar. Mix for 5- 7 minutes until mixture is light and fluffy.
Ice cupcakes or layer cake. Add sprinkles if desired.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Zesty Lemon Curd with Ginger Angel Food Cake

Lemon curd is one of my favorite spring flavors, and I had not made it since I left the bakery.  I needed to make some this spring for a school project and found a recipe that was fool-proof and delicious, so I had to share this recipe and hope that you all try making it soon.  It will keep well in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

To serve, I suggest folding it into whipped cream and spooning it onto angel food cake with fresh berries.  Below, I'm also sharing a great recipe for angel food from Cooking Light Magazine, April 08.  You can also serve it with scones or swirl it into cheesecake batter before you bake. 




Lemon Curd Recipe
from On Cooking 3rd ed.


6 ( 1 cup)  Eggs          
2  Egg yolks  
1 lb  Granulated sugar
1 cup Unsalted butter, cubed
Lemon zest from 4 lemons
6 fl oz   Fresh lemon juice


1.  Whisk everything together in a large bowl.

2.  Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, approximately 20-25 minutes.

3.  Strain, cover and chill completely. Serve with scones or use as a filling for tartlets, scones or layer cakes.

Ginger Angel Food Cake
from Cooking Light Magazine


1  cup sifted cake flour (4 ounces)
1/2  cup cornstarch
12  large egg whites
1 1/2  teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 1/2  cups sugar
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk.

3. Place 12 egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and ginger. Sift 1/4 cup flour mixture over egg white mixture; fold in. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.

4. Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto a plate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had a special birthday cake request this weekend: Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.   My mother has a special banana cake cake recipe, and I had been waiting for the right occasion to ask for it.  The recipe is an old classic from Good Housekeeping magazine.    I chose to make cupcakes because they are festive and easy to transport on the subway, but you can also make the recipe in traditional cake pans.

Banana Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripened bananas (2-3)
2 1/4 cup AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour milk (add 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to milk to sour)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting  (if you're making a layer cake double this recipe)
4 oz cream cheese
2 oz unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Cream butter and sugar with beaters.  Add eggs and beat well.  Beat in mashed bananas.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients and milk/vanilla to the banana mixture, alternating.  Beat until well mixed.

Beat butter and cream cheese until they are fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add powdered sugar, beating at a high speed until it is entirely incorporated and fluffy.

Happy Birthday Devin!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Milk and Honey Bread

This recipe is adapted from an old cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, which after surviving the 70's and the subsequent decades, now has browned pages as many of the best cookbooks do.   The recipes in this cookbook feature ingredients that I like to put in quick breads, including honey and wheat germ.   I didn't have milk in the house, so I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt as a substitute.

It's best when enjoyed fresh out of the oven and in the company of an old friend.

Milk and Honey Bread

1 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup walnut halves

Heat the milk and honey together until the honey is dissolved, then stir in the butter. When the milk and honey mixture is somewhat cooled, beat in the eggs.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Add the wheat germ and gradually stir  the dry mixture into the liquid.  Stir in the walnuts, mix well, and turn into a buttered loaf pan.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

Can be served with farm fresh butter or cream cheese.