I am going to take a break from my quick weeknight dinner posts (I have several more) to post a few sweet treats. Back to school treats are very important in our house. 🙂
This cake can be served for dessert or as a very special snack or breakfast. We ate it for breakfast. I recommend eating it as soon as possible 😉 , but, it should keep fresh for several days in an airtight container at room temperature. I made it in a standard loaf pan this time, but I plan to make it in my fluted loaf pan on the next occasion.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I weighed the dry ingredients and reduced the baking time. Just as yummy as a farmstand apple cider doughnut!
Yield: One 9-inch loaf
For the Cake:
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 2 T (172 g) all-purpose flour (can substitute 63 g with whole wheat flour)
2 T (15 g) cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
For the Topping:
- big pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1 T reserved reduced apple cider (from above)
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°, preferably on convection.
- Lightly butter an 8½ x 4½” or 9×5″ loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both long sides. Lightly butter the parchment. (I used cooking oil spray and a metal loaf pan.)
- Bring cider to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cider is reduced to ¾ cup, 8–10 minutes.
- Pour ¼ cup reduced cider into a small measuring glass or bowl and set aside.
- Transfer remaining reduced cider to a small bowl or glass measuring cup and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and vanilla and set aside.
- Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in same saucepan (no need to clean) over low heat. Let cool slightly.
- Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a medium bowl to combine.
- Vigorously whisk eggs and 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar in a large bowl until pale, voluminous, and frothy, about 2 minutes. (I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
- Whisking constantly (with the mixer on low-speed), gradually add melted butter in a steady stream; continue to whisk until fully combined and emulsified (no spots of fat should remain). Reserve saucepan (no need to clean).
- Whisk dry ingredients into egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with reserved sour cream mixture in 2 additions; whisk just until no lumps remain. Batter will be thin.
- Scrape into pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until deep golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–80 minutes. (I baked mine for 55 minutes.)
- Transfer pan to a wire rack and poke top of cake all over with a toothpick.
- Spoon 3 tablespoons of the reserved reduced cider over; let cool 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the topping: Mix a big pinch of salt, remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a small bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in reserved saucepan and mix into remaining 1 tablespoon reduced cider.
- Using parchment paper, lift cake onto rack and set rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Peel away parchment from sides.
- Brush warm butter-cider mixture over top and sides of cake.
- Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture to coat every surface (use parchment to help rotate cake and collect any excess sugar).
- Remove parchment and let cool completely before slicing.
Do ahead: Cake can be made 4 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped or in an airtight container at room temperature.
Posted in Baking, Cake, Coffee Cake, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Muffins, Recipes, The Piggy Pancake (Breakfast)
Tags: apple cider doughnut, autumn, breakfast, buttermilk, cake, cinnamon, coffee cake, dessert, donut, doughnut, fall, loaf, nutmeg, sour cream, whole wheat
My friend has been sharing her beautiful homegrown tomatoes. Lucky me! They are more delicious than my CSA tomatoes. ❤
I try to use them in a special way and I love that this risotto uses fresh tomatoes in two ways- cooked and sliced as a colorful garnish. My homegrown basil and parsley were the icing on the cake.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I attempted to adapt the recipe to cook using my pressure cooker, as I usually do with risotto, but there wasn’t enough liquid for it to cook properly. Cooking this version in the traditional manner is the way to go. 🙂 By using boiling liquid, it was still a quick weeknight dish!
Yield: 4 servings
Posted in Recipes, Sides, Vegetarian
Tags: Arborio, basil, carnaroli, dinner, Italian, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, pecorino romano, rice, risotto, side dish, summer, tomatoes, vegetarian, white wine
Another weeknight pasta dish- another rigatoni dish! 🙂 Adding greens to this classic dish is a healthy upgrade.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used a combination of beet greens and spinach and kept the crispy prosciutto pieces intact instead of crumbling them. Nice.
Yield: Serves 4
- 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 oz prosciutto, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips (I used 7-8 slices)
- 2 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
- 1 oz Pecorino Romano, grated (about 1/4 cup), plus more for serving
- 12 oz rigatoni
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz baby spinach or other tender greens (I incorporated sliced beet greens)
- In a large skillet, heat oil and half of prosciutto over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until prosciutto is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- In a bowl or (2-cup) glass measuring cup, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and grated cheese.
- Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water 1 minute less than package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
- Slowly whisk 1/4 cup pasta water into egg mixture.
- Add pasta and spinach to skillet, then slowly add egg mixture to pasta.
- Stir constantly over low heat until sauce thickens and clings evenly to pasta and greens wilts slightly, 3 to 5 minutes; add more pasta water as needed to create a silky sauce.
- Stir in all prosciutto. Serve with more cheese and pepper, as desired.
Posted in Greens, Pasta, Quick, Recipes
Tags: beet greens, carbonara, dinner, easy, eggs, fast, Italian, pasta, pecorino romano, prosciutto, rigatoni, spinach
Pasta is definitely my go-to for quick weeknight dishes. Maybe too often! Vodka sauce is one of our absolute favorites, so this vegetarian, quick version was irresistible. I’ve already made it twice. 😉
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. On one occasion, I added mushrooms to mimic the amazing version served at Tony’s Di Napoli in NYC. I added more garlic and used mezzi rigatoni as well. Great.
Yield: Serves 4
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 5 oz white mushrooms, sliced, optional
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup, finely grated
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 4.5-oz tube double-concentrated tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 oz vodka
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 lb rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni
- basil leaves, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. (I used a large, shallow, enameled cast iron pan.)
- Add the onion and garlic, stirring constantly, just until the onion is starting to brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. *If incorporating the mushrooms, add after the onions have cooked for 2 minutes.*
- Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes and stir to coat onion. Cook, stirring often, until paste is deep red and starting to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, about 4 to 7 minutes.
- Add vodka to deglaze the pan, scraping up browned bits; reduce the heat to low.
- Using a heatproof measuring glass, scoop out about 1/4 cup boiling pasta water from the pot. Add heavy cream to the water. (This brings up the temperature of the cream so it won’t break when you add it to the pot.)
- Stirring constantly, gradually pour cream mixture into the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat.
- Cook pasta in the pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. About 1 minute before pasta is done, scoop out 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid.
- Return the pot with sauce to low heat.
- Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the pasta to the sauce pot.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add half of the Parmesan, stirring constantly to melt. The pasta should be coated with a smooth, glossy sauce.
- Season with salt; add more pasta cooking liquid if sauce is too thick.
- Top with basil and remaining Parmesan and drizzle with a little oil, as desired.
Posted in Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: basil, cream, dinner, easy, Italian, mushrooms, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, quick, sauce, tomato paste, vegetarian, vodka
More eggplant! This dish is a great vegetarian alternative to a traditional baked ziti. A crowd-pleasing weeknight comfort-food pasta casserole. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in NYC. I used San Marzano tomatoes instead of beefsteak and modified the proportions and method. I loved that it incorporated pesto.
To make the dish more healthy, Waxman replaces the traditional béchamel sauce with eggplant. The original recipe even suggests using whole-wheat pasta, if desired. Don’t worry… it is still an indulgent baked pasta dish with butter and plenty of cheese. 😉
Yield: Serves 8
- Preheat the oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet or sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add half of the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to the pasta. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of olive oil and the remaining eggplant.
- Add the onion, garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have broken down and thickened to a sauce consistency, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the 4 tablespoons of butter.
- Add the tomato sauce to the pasta and eggplant along with the pesto and ricotta; season with salt and pepper and toss well.
- Transfer the rigatoni to the prepared baking dish. Top with the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
- Let the pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baked, baked ziti, casserole, comfort food, eggplant, Italian, Jonathan Waxman, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, pesto, ricotta, rigatoni, tomatoes, vegetarian, weeknight, ziti