Tag Archives: recipe

Puff, the magic…pastry

My go-to dessert for holiday parties this season has been a simple pear tart. Fresh sliced pears on a bed of puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar before a little turn in the oven. (Please excuse the kitchen lighting; it was dark out. As usual.)

pear tart

Paired (peared? hah!) with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce, this is a heavenly dish. My favorite aunt sends me pears at Christmas, and many of them have gone the way of the tart. I”m saving some for cranberry pear bourbon jam, though.

I was reading blogs today, and saw Tango Mango’s decadent chocolate swirl buns, yeasty buns full of chopped chocolate. I was tempted, but feeling much too lazy to make a yeast dough and wait for it to rise. Luckily, I had one last puff pastry sheet in the freezer, so I did a mashup of her chocolate swirl buns and her pain au chocolat. (If you like to play with food, you really need to follow her blog.)

Here’s the result.

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Chocolate pinwheel puffs
Yield: 9 pretty puffs, and two not so pretty ones

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 egg
sprinkle of sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a little non-stick spray in the bottom of a standard muffin tin to keep melted chocolate from sticking. (I didn’t, and only had a little sticking.)

Thaw puff pastry, and then use a rolling pin to roll out dough to about 12″ by 12″, not a lot thinner, mostly just to roll out the creases. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the surface. I’m guessing on the amount, you could go way heavier if you want. Let your conscience be your guide. Mine looked like this. (sorry, more kitchen lighting)

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Roll the dough up into a tube. Scramble the egg to make an egg wash, and brush some on the edge to seal the roll. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces into the muffin pan. They look like they’re too small for the pan, but they’ll puff up. The two end pieces won’t be pretty; you can add additional chocolate chips to make up for it. Brush the pinwheels lightly with the egg wash, and sprinkle them with sugar if you’d like. I didn’t, but the sparkle and crunch would be a nice addition.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Eat the not quite so pretty end pieces first to hide the evidence.

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Enjoy your pinwheels while paging through Doomsday Knits. Oh, I think I forgot to tell you: Doomsday Knits is live!

Doomsday Knits

You can order your ebook for immediate delivery, or ebook and hard copy. Hard copies will ship in January. I’m looking forward to sniffing the ink in my printed version, but I’m enjoying my ebook NOW. My Thrumviator is in this book, and now that I’m back in Portland, I could really use one!

Thrumviator 2

Happy knitting, and happy munching!

Desserts, tried and true

I hosted a going away party for our outgoing pastor last Monday. Who knew you could get 40 people in my house? There were six of us on the committee; we were each charged to supply a dessert and two bottles of wine. Being an overachiever, I made two desserts. The recipes have been here on the blog before, but I’m posting them again as things that are simple and that can go on a picnic or sit out on a buffet for a while and still look good! (This is not the time for homemade ice cream.) I like to experiment and try new things, but sometimes you need to go for the reliable old standards.

I baked a blueberry cobbler, which actually works well for a picnic dessert, too. Although I like it best with vanilla ice cream, a can of aerosol whipped cream will do in a pinch.

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These are not blueberries from my garden. Mine are close, but they’ll be ripe in the next week or two. Store bought was the next best thing.

This is my favorite cobbler recipe. It’s fabulous with fresh berries, but I also make it with frozen berries from my garden throughout the year. If you use frozen berries, it will take an extra 10 minutes or so to bake. (Shout out to my friend Vickie, who sent me this recipe in 1986, when we still wrote letters via snail mail. I had just moved away to New York. I showed her the letter last month, and it really startled her that I still have it. It’s on my fridge.):

Berry Cobbler

For the batter:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter (I admit that I misread her 4 as a 9, and have been using 8 TBSP, or 1/2 cup, of butter. Yum. 6 is a good compromise.)
3/4 cup sugar (I reduce to 2/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3 cups berries

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla; beat in egg until blended. Add flour mixure and milk–beat only until smooth. Spread in buttered 8 inch square baking dish; scatter berries on top.

TOPPING:
1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

Combine topping ingredients and beat until smooth. Drop teaspoonsful of topping over berries. Bake @ 350 degrees for one hour–toothpick should come out without batter, and top is golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or both. Yields 9 servings, because I cut things in grid patterns. I can’t help myself.

I also made chocolate chip shortbread and cut it into 36 bite sized pieces. This is an old picture, so these are not the 36 squares!

shortbread

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (I used mini chocolate, but I’ve also used butterscotch)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt, and then beat these with the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in chips. Press into an ungreased 9 inch square pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool 20-30 minutes in pan on wire rack.

Score shortbread with sharp knife into desired size servings, but do not cut all the way through. Invert onto rack and cool completely. Break into pieces.

What are your go-to dessert recipes?

Obligatory knit content: Still knitting away on my Garland shawl. Repeat 12!

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perfect bourbon vanilla ice cream

My (adult) kids gave me an Cuisinart ice cream maker for Christmas. Perhaps it was a self-serving gift, but I thought it was inspired. I’ve used it several times since then, in an effort to perfect a bourbon vanilla ice cream recipe. Here’s my version of perfect.

Perfect Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

6 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/3 cup bourbon (taste it and see how boozy you want it)

Directions:
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat cream, milk, half and half, and sugar just to a boil.
Separate egg yolks to a large heat-proof bowl. Slowly add 2 cups of the hot cream mixture in a thin stream to the yolks while constantly whisking. (This tempering keeps the yolks from curdling when they meet up with the hot cream.) Whisk the tempered egg yolks back into the pan of remaining hot cream mixture, and simmer for two more minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.

Add vanilla, then bourbon, stirring constantly. Start with 1/4 cup bourbon, and add a little more until it tastes just the way you want it. I used just over 1/4 cup.

Cool over an ice bath, or in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to chill it further in the freezer after processing, as it can be quite soft, even after processing. Servings: 6 to 8 servings, or more, depending on how you use it.

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I used my first ice cream attempt for profiteroles, using this recipe for shells. I’d halve the recipe next time, and make them smaller/cuter and serve them in a trio, drizzled with chocolate truffle sauce.

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My second ice cream attempt had a firmer texture, but wasn’t sweet enough, and too bourbon-y. It’s still in the freezer. Third time’s a charm! I used it for ice cream sandwiches using those ubiquitous thin ginger cookies you see during the holiday season, and drizzled them with chocolate truffle sauce. They need to go back in the freezer to firm up after making them, so leave yourself a couple hours before serving.

snaps


Oh, that chocolate truffle sauce? You’ll find the recipe here.

Back to my knitting!

Blog party!

Happy birthday to Marie! She’s having a birthday party over at PermissionToUnwind, and I’m helping her celebrate. Go on over there and wish her a happy birthday!

I’m fashionably late. I was up late last night baking for the party. We’re having Butterscotch Shortbread (recipe here).

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And we’re also having Butterscotch Brownies. This is completely Carrie’s fault, because I saw these on her blog the other day, and I knew I had to make them.

blondie2

And what’s a party without a present? I’m giving away this Wrap and Roll dpn needle case from Lantern Moon. It’s gorgeous silk.

case

It has silk taffeta pockets inside for your skinny dpns. You could also put bigger ones in there, but you’d have to spread them out over 2 pockets.

in case

If you’d like to be in the drawing for the needle case, please say so in your comment. If you just want to comment, do that, too! I’ll close the drawing at midnight between Saturday and Sunday (Valentine’s Day!). I’m a big believer in birthday *week*, not just a day.

Happy birthday, Marie!

Lazy Saturday

I woke up at 9 this morning; the Husband was leaving to work at an event. I rolled over and went back to sleep, and when I woke up again, it was noon! I haven’t slept that late in years. I must have needed it.

I asked the Teenager (also just waking) what he’d like for breakfast/lunch. Blueberry muffins! I still have a freezer full of blueberries from this summer’s bumper crop, so that was a definite possibility. Remember these?

blueberryforest

Some of them ended up here.

muffin

muffin2

They were just Bisquick muffins, with some applesauce added since there was a bit left in the fridge. They were delicious!

And so were the omelettes I made to go with them.

Teenager and I spent the afternoon on a CSI:NY marathon, courtesy of netflix. I knit all afternoon. Perfect on a rainy day. I’m almost finished with the project using the leftover hoodie yarn and rejected buttons. I’m hoping to post tomorrow; there’s no daylight left to take a picture tonight! I also put another log on the log cabin. This blanket will be done soon. It’s so nice to snuggle under while it’s in progress, but I’ll still snuggle under it when I’m knitting something else later!

Dinner tonight is leftover pork stew from last night. Perfect lazy Saturday.

Pork & Acorn Squash Stew

2 lbs pork loin, cut in to inch cubes
2 T olive oil
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin seed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup white wine
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 acorn squash
1 1/2 T cornstarch

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Brown the pork and then transfer to a large oven safe dish. (I use a 4 liter covered casserole) Add a little more olive oil to the pan, and saute onion and garlic until translucent but firm. Add cumin and saute 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, oregano, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then add to the pork. Cover and bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

While pork is cooking, cut the acorn squash lengthwise and remove seeds. (I used my ancient cleaver for this. Thanks, Dad! I was afraid I would break the point on my chef’s knife if I used that.) Microwave on high for four minutes, cut side up. Let cool. Remove peel and cut squash into cubes.

When stew has baked for 45 minutes, add diced squash. Stir, and return to oven for another 20 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into stew. Adjust seasonings. Serve over brown rice or whole wheat egg noodles.

Enjoy! We did.

My Cheating Heart

That French blue Riverstone? Beautiful yarn. Lovely to work with. But when knitting yards and yards and yards of garter stitch? Just a tad bit…boring.

The gals at Twisted sent out a twitter (do you know about Twitter?) that they received new Dream in Color Classy. Lots of it. That was enough to make me go look. Only looking, you understand. Just to make sure I had made the right choice for my February Lady.

Somehow this followed me home.

classy1

classy2

The pictures don’t do it justice. Sure, it’s blue yarn. But it has green, purple, brown…everything. It’s amazing. The colorway is called Night Watch. It will be fun to watch the color changes as I’m knitting all that garter yoke.

You’ll note that I’m a cautious knitter. I only had one skein of the Riverstone wound up into a ball. It will make a lovely something, later. The rest of it was exchanged for this Classy. And you’ll note that there’s only one ball so far, too. But I don’t think there will be any more exchanges. It’s too lovely.

And it still fits my blueberry theme!

Here’s the cobbler recipe we’ve been using (shout out to my friend Vickie, who sent me this recipe in 1987 or so, when we still wrote letters via snailmail):

For the batter:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter (I admit that I misread her 4 as a 9, and have been using 8 TBSP, or 1/2 cup, of butter. Yum. 6 is a good compromise.)
3/4 cup sugar (I reduce to 2/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3 cups berries

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla; beat in egg until blended. Add flour mixure and milk–beat only until smooth. Spread in buttered 8 inch square baking dish; scatter berries on top.

TOPPING:
1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

Combine topping ingredients and beat until smooth. Drop teaspoonsful of topping over berries. Bake @ 350 degrees for one hour–toothpick should come out without batter, and top is golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or both. 6-8 servings.

Enjoy!