Apple Week: Cast-Iron Skillet Apple Crisp

I bought some mediocre apples the other day, and beyond feeding them to the dogs as treats, I needed something to do with the other two pounds. Apple crisp came to mind – add enough butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, and even mediocre apples can shine.  I wish I had a bit of apple cider because the wasn’t a lot of juice in these, so the crisp was a little dry, despite a stick of butter.

I toyed with going to the local open space apple orchard to grab some (free) apples, but I think I might be too late this year, and they’ve been cleaned out.  It’s become a very popular place for apple picking.

Since I discovered using a cast-iron skillet for making apple crisp, that’s been my go-to. Sometimes I bake it in the skillet, but most of the time, I move it to a glass baking dish because mine has a great cover for the leftovers. Continue reading

That Spring Feeling: Lemon-Raspberry Tarts

Spring has finally made an appearance and blueberries and lemons are calling to me.  First up, Lemon Tarts

When I was in Paris I was on the hunt for tarts – specifically lemon tarts and strawberry tarts. Strawberries were out of season, so I had to settle for raspberry. The lemon tarts were by far my favorite. They had a shortbread tart (the raspberry ones were pastry) that worked well with the tart lemon filling.  I’ve upped the game this week by adding a dollop of raspberry fruit spread (just fruit and sugar).

Lemon Tarts With Raspberry Topping

Lemon cream filling

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Toppings:

  • Raspberry fruit spread

or

  • whipped cream and fresh raspberries

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Cool thoroughly before putting tarts together. Continue reading

Happy Easter! How About Some Coconut Lemon Cake?

Easter and spring just call out for this cake:

I can’t seem to make this without using every bowl and utensil in the kitchen. But it’s worth it.

Here’s the original recipe.

I made a few changes.

For the cake, I substituted coconut oil for both the oil and butter. When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple. This upped the coconut flavor in the cake itself.

For the lemon curd, I flipped the water/lemon juice amounts. Using 1 cup of lemon juice and only 1/2 cup water. This upped the tartness substantially, so be prepared!

For the layers – this time I cut down from 4 to 3, using pie pans for the cake pans. This made for a much sturdier cake without losing any of the flavor – especially with the super tart curd.

Nom-nom. I really could have eaten the entire cake myself.

Life Is Short…Eat Ice Cream!

Ice Cream or Gelato? Why not both?!

Yummy Vanilla Nut Crunch can be found here.

And two Strawberry Ice Cream recipes here.

I have also made plenty of gelatos. It is definitely one of my favorite styles of ice cream. Smooth, creamy and not as heavy as many full cream styles.

Pictured above, Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato – one of my favorites. Recipe here.

Gelato starts with a good base that you can then add any number of flavors to: Continue reading

Put The Lime In The Coconut…Bars

So I had another birthday not too long ago and there was much celebrating.  I prefer a Key Lime Pie (recipe here) to cake on my birthday. But this year, I decided to go with Key Lime Bars instead. Easier to transport and package up as ‘thank-yous’ to various folks.

This time, I had just a few extra coconut shreds, so instead of storing them, I decided to toast them and add them to the top after I removed the bars from the oven. Continue reading

A Little Bit of Everything Cookie

I made my standard Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (here) and then went scrounging around the kitchen to see how I could take them up a couple of notches.

First I added 3/4 cups of rolled oats (not quick oats), then two good handfuls of unsweetened coconut flakes.  This made perfectly crisp and chewy cookies with some great flavor.

Add the oats to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and let sit for a minute or two before adding the remaining ingredients, to soften them a bit.

Bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes.


 

Holiday Gifts: Gluten-Free Chocolate Walnut Cookies

What to do when you’ve made a big batch of Spritz Cookies and now you have leftover egg whites? How about some Chocolate Walnut Cookies?

I get requests for these cookies all the time and bonus, they are gluten-free and taste like little brownie bites.

Notes: To separate eggs, the easiest way I’ve found is the Nigella Lawson method of using your hand. It is quick and easy.

The original recipe for these called for regular cocoa and 3 cups of powdered sugar, that sounded much too sweet, so I reduced that first thing and since I love dark chocolate I used 1/2 dark and 1/2 regular cocoa. Continue reading

Birthday Gelato: Vanilla and Hazelnuts

I decided a few days ago that gelato would be a fun birthday treat. I decided on vanilla with hazelnut chocolate spread and chopped hazelnuts.

I have made Hazelnut Gelato before (recipe here) and it’s yummy. But I wanted guests to have the option of plain gelato, a variety of chopped nuts, chocolate sauce and the hazelnut spread.

The key to a great vanilla ice cream or gelato is using the best vanilla extract you can find, or really splurge and use vanilla beans. Continue reading