Apple & Pear Galette with Walnut Streusel

Nothing is better than having a Happy Birthday Galette after Happy Birthday Mushroom Soup! :) I made this delicious free-form galette for my mom’s early birthday dinner celebration. Today is my mom’s actual birthday, so I felt like it was about time I posted it! Happy Birthday, Mom! <3

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, contributed by Justin Chapel. I loved that the fruit was left unpeeled. It would also be absolutely fabulous for Thanksgiving.

I haven’t joined a link party for some time, so I’m sharing this deliciousness at Throwback Thursday and Fiesta Friday this week! Woo hoo! Enjoy. :)

Yield: Serves 12

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the Streusel:

  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the Filling:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 firm Bartlett pears—halved, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick (I used Red Bartlett pears)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling the crust
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
  • freshly whipped cream, for serving, optional


Make the Crust:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the 2 cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces are 
the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle the water on top and pulse until the dough just comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. (I turn it out onto a large piece of plastic wrap to decrease the mess.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 hour or up to overnight.

Make the Streusel:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°, on convection. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, then chop.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, pinch it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the walnuts and pinch the streusel into clumps. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.

Make the Filling:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the pears, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the salt and lemon juice.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 19-by-13-inch oval. (I roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper fitted to the baking sheet.) Ease the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Mound the filling in the center of the oval, leaving a 2-inch border. IMG_1019
  5. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the fruit and fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. IMG_1020
  6. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the galette for 37 to 40 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 45 to 50 minutes in a standard oven, until the fruit is tender and the streusel and crust are golden brown.
  8. Let the galette cool. 
Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using, before serving. Serve with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

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Throwback Thursday #15 is hosted by Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Quinn @ Dad Whats 4 Dinner.

Fiesta Friday #94 is hosted by Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju and Stef @The Kiwi Fruit.

Soft Baked Snickerdoodles

I am drawn to recipes promising soft-baked and perfectly puffy cookies because I love the texture. BUT… I think it’s me… My soft-baked cookies are soft and delicious, but never as puffy. It’s weird! (and disappointing…) I’m blaming every oven I’ve ever had. :) It just can’t be me! ;)

Snickerdoodles just seem like the perfect autumn cookie. The cinnamon sugar topping is really season-less, but it just speaks to me this time of year. Most recipes seem to include shortening which is an ingredient that I completely avoid. This wonderful shortening-free recipe is from Buttercup Baking. Her cookies were SO puffy!! Mine were a little flatter (as you now know!) but super tasty.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix.
  4. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  5. Add the salt after sifting and add the flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. To Make the Topping: In a small shallow bowl, mix 2 T of sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, make equally portioned balls of dough, about 3 dozen.
  8. Roll the balls of dough into the cinnamon sugar topping and place on baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.
  9. Bake in oven for 8 minutes on convection or up to 10 minutes in a standard oven (do not overbake). Let sit on baking sheet for 3 minutes before moving to cooling rack. The cookies will continue to cook on the baking sheet (so do not be tempted to put them back in the oven).

Note: These cookies are best eaten within a few days. For best taste, store in an air-tight container with a slice of white bread to absorb excess moisture.

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Whole Wheat Gooseberry & Almond Squares

Gooseberries were completely new to me this summer. When I received my second batch of gooseberries in my CSA share, I was stumped. I thought I had peaked with my Gooseberry & Blueberry Galette. ;) I searched far and wide for a special way to use them. This crumbly, shortbread-like bar was a perfect choice! We ate them for dessert with ice cream, and then ate leftovers for breakfast. They were great with a cup of coffee. :)

This recipe was adapted from Good Food Magazine, via BBC’s Good I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white self-rising, light brown sugar instead of muscovado, and granulated sugar instead of caster. Earthy and nice.

  • 250 g (2 sticks, 1 cup) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 125 g ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 125 g light brown sugar
  • 350 g fresh gooseberries
  • 85 g granulated sugar, plus 1-2 T extra for sprinkling
  • 50 g slivered almonds
  1. Heat oven to 325 F (convection) / 170 C fan. Line a 9 x 13-inch (27 x 18-cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, ground almonds, and light brown sugar to make crumbs, then firmly press two-thirds into the base and sides of the prepared pan.
  4. Toss the gooseberries with the granulated sugar, then scatter over the top.
  5. Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining crumbs, then scatter over the gooseberries.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or up to 1 hour, until golden and the fruit is bubbling a little around the edges.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar, then cool in the pan.
  8. Cut into squares and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea or serve as a dessert with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

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Whole Wheat-Bartlett Pear Crumb Cake

This cake was nutty, earthy, and really really moist. The entire house smelled absolutely incredible while it baked- much of the credit should be given to the orange zest in the batter. Even more wonderful orange flavor was added after the cake was removed from the oven when fresh orange juice was drizzled all over the top. Fabulous!

This recipe was adapted from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda. I weighed whole roasted almonds and then finely ground them in a mini food processor instead of using store-bought almond flour. I used fat-free Greek yogurt instead of whole plain yogurt. I also substituted oat bran for the toasted wheat germ in the original recipe. Wheat bran or ground flaxseed would also work as substitutes. I also baked the cake in a 9-inch springform pan instead of a 10-inch cake pan.

The authors offer seasonal adaptations to this recipe by substituting blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, apricots, peaches, or figs for the pears. Yummy!

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 55 g (1/2 cup plus 2 T) almond flour
  • 20 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) rolled oats
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 T oat bran, toasted wheat germ, wheat bran, or ground flaxseed
  • 2 T light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) sliced almonds

For the Cake:

  • 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 T light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 160 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 55 g (3/4 cup) oat bran, toasted wheat germ, wheat bran, or ground flaxseed
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) almond flour
  • 3 T rye flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • zest of 1 orange, *fruit reserved*
  • 3 pears, peeled and thickly sliced into 6 pieces each (I used Bartlett pears)


To Make the Topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, almond flour, oats, granulated sugar, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ, brown sugar, and salt. Blend with a pastry blender until homogenous.
  2. Add sliced almonds and blend with your fingers. Refrigerate until needed.

To Make the Cake:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line and grease a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and cooking spray.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Incorporate the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  4. Pause mixing and all the all-purpose flour, wheat germ, almond flour, rye flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and orange zest. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and cover evenly with the pears.
  6. Top with the crumble, allowing a little fruit to poke through.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes or up to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake!
  8. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan; then squeeze the orange over the entire cake.
  9. Remove the side of the pan and gently pull the parchment paper from every nook and cranny of the cake.

Note: This cake is best served the day it is made, but it will keep, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days at room temperature.

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Two Years Ago:

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

There is still time! Fresh blueberries are still available!! I regret not posting this wonderful cake sooner- my apologies…. I first read about this blueberry cornmeal cake on Sue’s blog, Birgerbird. She described it as one of the best desserts she had ever tasted, and I know that she has tasted some delicious desserts! ;) I have had it on my “to make” list ever since. It lived up to my expectations. My family and I devoured it. Mmmmm…. We ate this delicious rustic cake for dessert but it would also be wonderful for a special breakfast. It’s not overly sweet and has a fabulous crumb from the cornmeal. Berries and corn are a wonderful match.

This recipe was adapted from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeband and Laurel Almerinda. I weighed the ingredients when possible which I have found not only ensures a better result but also decreases the preparation time. I modified the recipe to use a 9-inch springform pan, and substituted sour cream for the plain yogurt in the batter.

The authors recommend making this cake with gooseberries- I have to remember that when I receive my CSA gooseberries next season! Strawberries can be used as well. This cake can also be modified for the holidays by adding the zest of one orange, cranberries, and both brown and white sugar. Nice!!

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

  • 195 g (3/4 cup plus 1 1 /2 T) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 190 g (3/4 cup plus 3 T) granulated sugar, plus 2 T for sprinkling the top of the cake
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 T canola oil
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 200 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 T (270 ml) whole plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 130 g (1/2 cup plus 1 T) whole milk ricotta
  • 150 g (1 cup) fresh blueberries

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line and grease (I used cooking oil spray) a 9-inch round springform pan of a 10-inch round cake pan.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 190 g granulated sugar, and salt on medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  5. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  6. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the blueberries and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T granulated sugar.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 1 hour 10 minutes in a standard oven, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake! (I am obsessed with not over baking…)
  9. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pan.
  10. If using a springform pan, release the sides of the pan and remove. (safer & easier!!) If using a cake pan, place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate.

Note: This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

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I wanted to make these as soon as I read Linda’s post about this Spanish version of French Madeleines on La Petite Paniere. I also had to post them as soon as I made them! I loved her description-  they seemed like a dessert but are eaten as a special bakery breakfast in Algeria. They are very light, only slightly sweet, and were absolutely delicious with raspberry jam.


I substituted some potato starch for the corn starch (I didn’t have enough…). I also substituted large for medium eggs, canola oil for safflower oil, and vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar in the original recipe. I also reduced the baking time for a convection oven. Tasty and pretty! :)

Yield: 12 Magdalenas (I only made 11!)

  • 125 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g corn starch (I substituted some potato starch as well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 100 ml sunflower oil or canola oil
  • 200 g granulated or caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C  or 350 F degrees on convection.
  2. Using cooking oil spray, grease small individuals mini magdalenas mold or muffins tray. (I used standard-size brioche tins.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, the corn starch and the baking powder with a whisk.
  4. Separate egg yolks from whites (in two different large bowls).
  5. In the bowl with the 5 egg yolks, add the sugar, the vanilla extract, and the lemon zest. Whisk together all the ingredients until they become creamy.
  6. Add the oil and continue to mix.
  7. Add the flour, the corn (or potato!) starch and the baking powder mixture. Mix all of the ingredients together. (The batter is quite thick.)
  8. In the second bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin forming. (I used a hand mixer.)
  9. Incorporate the whisked egg whites to the egg yolk-flour mixture and fold in until combined.
  10. Spoon into molds and sprinkle with a little of turbinado sugar over the top. (I used a large ice cream scoop.)
  11. Bake for 17 or 18 minutes on convection (more or less depending the oven) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes. Transfer into a serving plate or basket. Serve with jam or orange marmalade on the side.

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Peach-Pie Crumble Bars

It is going to be really difficult not to make these cookie-like pie bars with my next batch of CSA share peaches. They were really good. The thick bottom crust has a nice crumb but is also a little bit brown and crisp on the bottom. A great combination of textures. The center is a fruity, jammy, and chunky pie filling… Mmmmm…. I also love that the peaches don’t have to be peeled! The only downfall is how long it takes to cool before being sliced. :)

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used a blend of my CSA share yellow peaches and white donut peaches. I also reduced the baking time for a convection oven and covered the pan halfway through baking to prevent over-browning. (I may reduce the temperature to 350 degrees next time and increase the baking time? This would allow the top to brown more evenly without over-crisping the bottom of the crust.) The original recipe suggests replacing the peaches with other seasonal fruit such as nectarines or apricots, and, in the fall, apples. I’m looking forward to trying it with apples. Great!

I’m bringing this summer treat to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #83 hosted by Elaine @FoodBod and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook. Enjoy! :)

For the Crust:

  • 1 stick plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted and cut into a 1/2-inch dice (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch cake pan. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides; butter parchment. (I used cooking oil spray.) (Consider baking at 350 degrees and increasing the baking time.)
  2. Make the Crust: Beat butter with sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Add flour and salt; beat until dough forms clumps but does not completely hold together. Press 2 1/2 cups flour mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. (I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup.)
  3. Make the Filling: Stir together peaches, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust.
  5. Crumble remaining flour mixture evenly over top, squeezing to create clumps. Bake until bubbling in center and crust is golden, about 1 hour on convection or up to 1 hour, 10 minutes in a standard oven. (If browning too quickly, tent top with foil- I covered mine after 35 minutes in the oven.)
  6. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Forget banana bread, this ice cream is the perfect use for super ripe bananas on the counter! ;)

I know that the trend is to make healthy banana ice cream, but this one is the real deal. It has puréed bananas in the custard base instead of milk. I added vanilla extract and chocolate chips to make it even more special. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. SO so SO creamy!!

Yield: About 1 1/2 pints

For the Fruit:

  • 4 very ripe medium bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

For the Base:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Prepare the Fruit:

  1. In a blender, purée bananas, sugar, lemon juice and salt until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)

To Make the Base:

  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  3. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  5. Stir buttermilk and the fruit purée into base. Add the vanilla extract. Cool mixture to room temperature. (I place the bowl into an ice bath.)
  6. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. (I place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the base before placing in it into the refrigerator.)
  7. Churn the base in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of processing, add the chocolate chips; continue processing until evenly incorporated.
  8. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed. If storing in the freezer, directly cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap before covering with the lid in order to prevent icing.

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Two Years Ago:

Gooseberry & Blueberry Galette

Gooseberries!?!? This galette was my first experience with gooseberries. When I received a pint of these colorful and tart berries in my CSA share, I really searched for the perfect use for them. Happy I found this one!

This dessert had an amazing crust that worked really well with the sweet and tart filling. Jammy and delicious filling oozed all over my pan as well- a little messy but SO good! This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Lindsey Shere. I added my CSA blueberries to the gooseberries- it was a great fruit share week. :) We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream on the side. Delicious!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Pastry:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  • About 3 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint gooseberries (about 2 cups), stems and tails removed
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • vanilla ice cream, for serving

To Make the Pastry:

  1. On a large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough into a round about 14 inches in diameter; it doesn’t have to be perfect around the edges—its roughness is part of its charm. Lay it on a large baking sheet or pizza pan and refrigerate.
  2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Stir in the ice water with a fork. The dough should hold together when pressed; if it doesn’t, add a few more drops of ice water.
  4. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with particles the size of peas. Then cut in the remaining butter until it forms chunks the size of peas.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar.

To Finish the Galette:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° (convection).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar with the flour and sprinkle this mixture over a 9-inch area of the pastry.
  4. Spread all of the berries on top. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle the remainder over the berries.
  5. Fold the edges of the pastry up over the berries to form a 9-inch free-form tart, making pleats and pressing them together lightly.
  6. Brush the pastry with water and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon-sugar.
  7. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet (mine oozed delicious juices everywhere!) in the center of the oven for 35 minutes (convection) to 50 minutes (standard), or until the berries are bubbling and lightly browned and the pastry has caramelized in spots and is well browned on the bottom.
  8. Cut the tart into wedges with a sharp knife and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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Two Years Ago:

Selma’s Plum & Cinnamon Cake

When I first met Selma through Fiesta Friday, I let her know that the “About” page on her blog was truly one of the best and the most interesting I’d ever read. I even had my husband read it! She was a wonderful writer and described her life and culinary journey so beautifully. Her blog was no different- such great recipes with stories to go with them.

I particularly loved this post on Selma’s Table. (I’ve had it bookmarked to make ever since I read it the first time!) Not only did the cake look and sound wonderful, Selma told a great story about it that I could really relate to… She describes how her son Jake was always cooperative but frustrated waiting for his meals to be photographed. (My entire family may have the same complaint!) After making this delicious cake, Selma set it aside to rest overnight only to find a large slice messily cut out of it in the morning! I suppose her son’s patience had run out. ;) Maybe this cake was just that irresistible.

I am bringing this cake as a tribute to Selma at this special Fiesta Friday in her honor. I was shocked and saddened by her passing. She touched and influenced so many and will be truly missed. This recipe was adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte, via Selma’s Table. According to Selma, this recipe was printed every autumn in the New York Times from 1983 until 1995! You know it’s good. Thank you, Selma. <3

Yield: Serves 8

  • 140 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 115 g (8 T/ one stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 large ripe, tart plums (I used red)
  • 4 small ripe, tart plums (I used black) (Selma used 8 medium plums)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T turbinado sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees on convection. Prepare a 9-inch springfrom pan by lining it with parchment paper and then buttering the base and sides. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. Halve the plums and twist to remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters; set aside. (Selma quartered the plums, and the original recipe halves them.)
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; whisk to incorporate the 3 ingredients throughly.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl or stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated – scrape down the sides after each addition. It may look curdled but if you add a spoonful of the flour mixture all will be well again.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla paste/extract and beat only just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape under to make sure that there is no raw flour and mix in if there is.
  7. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth it out to cover the base. It will seem very scant but don’t worry – it will be enough!
  8. Arrange the plums from the outside into the middle, keeping it quite tight. (I placed mine skin side down- like Selma- but the original recipe places them skin side up.)
  9. Scatter the cinnamon and turbinado sugar over the top.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cakey part – if no batter is left clinging to it then it’s done. If there is batter clinging to it then pop it back in for 5 mins increments and keep checking.
    Try and make this the night before to let it mellow, covered and at room temperature, when it will be at it’s best.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Old-Fashioned Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I had to make this wonderful dessert when I received rhubarb in my CSA share… even if I did have to go buy strawberries. ;) The two together always make a delicious and tangy filling.

The topping on this crisp is out of this world- very generous, delightfully clumpy, and perfectly sweet. My non-dessert-appreciating friend had a SECOND helping! Yay! This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Rollie Wesen.

Yield: Serves 8

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pound strawberries, preferably organic, hulled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

To Serve:

  • vanilla ice cream, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° on convection.
  2. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 3/4 cup of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the strawberries; discard any rhubarb juice. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla to the fruit and stir well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the ingredients together until large crumbs form.
  6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer (or up to 30 minutes longer in a standard oven), until the fruit filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.
  8. Let the crisp rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Note: The topping can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.


One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Fourth of July S’mores Bars with Marshmallow Meringue


I love the 4th of July. Love fireworks. Love celebrating with friends. Love all-American desserts and an excuse to make them too! :)

This morning we ate breakfast outside listening to Pandora’s Patriotic station courtesy of my son. The music inspired my kids to come in and play patriotic music- my son on the cello and my daughter on the piano. Great! The celebration begins…

But now we may have a new July 4th tradition in my house… this dessert! A graham cracker crust topped with a rich Valrhona chocolate layer and then fluffy (and pretty!) marshmallow meringue- a genius upgrade of all-American s’mores! This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Cheryl and Griffith Day.

I’m sharing this deliciousness at Fiesta Friday #75‘s J & J show this week which I am co-hosting with Julie of Hostess at Heart. Happy Independence Day!!

Yield: 30 bars (or up to 60 bites!)

For the Crust:

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (12 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Brownie Filling:

  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona 71% Cacao Dark Bittersweet Chocolate)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I put in a bowl of warm water)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the Meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

To Make the Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° (on convection, if possible).
  2. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of overhang on two sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix all of the ingredients until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into 
the bottom of the prepared pan. (I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup.)
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Let cool completely. Leave the oven on.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In a heatproof medium bowl set over 
a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the flour until just incorporated. Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust. Bake for about 22 minutes on convection or up to 25 minutes in a standard oven, until the edge is set but the center is still slightly jiggly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

To Make the Meringue:

  1. Preheat the broiler, if using (I used a kitchen torch.).
  2. In a heatproof medium bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl) set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until the whites are warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until firm.
  4. Increase the speed to high and beat the meringue until stiff and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Mound the meringue on top of the filling, swirling it decoratively. Broil the meringue 8 inches from the heat until lightly browned at the tips, about 1 minute. (or use a mini kitchen torch instead.)
  6. Cut into bars and serve.

Note: The bars can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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