Category Archives: fruit

An Apple a Week- Week 2

We’re pulling out all the stops for cuteness this week with Lady Apples. I hadn’t seen any for what seemed like years (seasonal eating will do that to you) , and their season is very short, so I had to pick one up. Ladies and gentlemen, these are showstoppers!

Image from The Produce Hunter

Image from The Produce Hunter

Theoretically, these make a good holiday apple– they should be available between Thanksgiving and Christmas– but they’re in season a little early this year in New York, it seems. They’re tiny, rosy, and semi-sweet– and just a little bit winey. I think they’d probably be great either made into caramel apples or cooked with pork, but this one didn’t last long enough; it’s a two-bite apple, and Ihad to eat it to find out what it tasted like. If you’re more patient than I am, these apples dry well and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.e

Rumor (or Produce Pete) has it that “Lady Apples are the oldest variety known, first cultivated by the Romans. The French loved them and thought they were a royal apple; early American colonists thought of them as a symbol of wealth.”

Last week, Hannah of I Heart Kale chimed in to remind me of her recipe for  applesauce with ginger and plums that I’ve been meaning to try all month. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I’m going to be out of town next weekend, but I may have to make some with my haul the week after next if I can find the plums (they were still going strong at the market this week.)

About An Apple a Week: I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

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Filed under An Apple a Week, dessert, fruit, Other Interests, vegetarian, veggies

An Apple a Week- Week 1

Until I went to high school in New England, I hated apples– they tasted like mildly sweetened sawdust: red delicious sawdust, yellow delicious sawdust– and for a treat, occasionally mcintosh wax and granny smith was, which had slightly more flavor but were still predominately waxy and sawdusty. The apples we picked in New Hampshire were different: some sweet, some sour, some flowery; all *actually* delicious… so, when Brooklyn Bachelor asked me what type of apples I had put in my apple pie (Jonagold), I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

This week, rather prosaically, I am going to start with McIntosh apples. McIntoshes are early season apples and don’t store well, so if you’re a fan, now’s the time to get them. The ones I sampled this week came via the local section at FreshDirect from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, NY. They tasted as if they had just barely been waxed, but I’m not sure if they actually were. They were beautiful, deep red skins streaked with bright yellow green in their characteristic fashion which contrasts nicely with their pure pale insides– they’re certainly one of the more beautiful apples. The skin was crispy (in a good way), and the inside was sweet and tangy and floral, all at the same time. They’re great for eating out of hand, but I also like them in applesauce. I’ve had less then great success cooking them in oatmeal– they’re definitely “bright” flavored rather than “rich/ autumnal” flavored in my book, and when they cook, they don’t mellow as much as some other types.

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Butterscotch Buttermilk Banana Cake (Idiotproof)

This cake…. well, it’s fabulous. Really fabulous. Light, fluffy, sweet but not cloying, moist– and *impossible* to screw up. It even acts as a natural air freshener. Y’know how I know that?

Well, to begin with, I had never even heard of banana cake. Banana bread, yes, banana cake, no. But when I ordered extra bananas for banana bread (has anyone else noticed that Safeway delivery never gives you what you ask for? ahem…), the boy requested banana cake. Banana crunch, cake, actually, to mock his favorite banana crunch cake from Entenmann’s. I looked for an “official” mockup recipe, but couldn’t find one… so I figured I’d wing it.

I started out with a basic buttermilk banana cake recipe… and proceeded to destroy it. I ran out of granulated sugar, so I subbed in brown sugar. I accidentally added an extra cup of flour, so I tossed in 2/3 cup more buttermilk. I used up some leftover egg yolks not realizing that I’d need more whites later, and didn’t feel like wasting more eggs… so I threw in some butterscotch schnapps, baking soda, and baking powder. And then we decided to go out to dinner, so I tossed the batter in the fridge for an hour and a half before making the topping and baking it. Yet it came out perfectly. The cake part, that is. The topping melted and caramelized, not turning into a crunch, so if that’s a problem for you, pick another topping recipe (or use cream cheese frosting.) If it’s not, use this one, and optionally put on walnut bits or banana slices as well.

Preheat oven to 350F, and butter/ oil 2 9″ round baking pans.

Cake:
1 stick (1/2 c) butter
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 C buttermilk (can sub in 1 C milk with a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar)
2 T baking soda
1 T baking power
3 c flour
1 t vanilla extract (better to leave it out than to use artificial)
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
3 large bananas, mashed
Optional: 1 cup broken up walnuts or almonds, 1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t cloves and/or nutmeg

Topping:
1 c brown sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 oz butterscotch schnapps
Optional: up to 2 c rolled oats, chocolate chips, nuts, etc
Optional: Banana slices

Instructions:

Beat butter and sugars in the bowl until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time. Dissolve baking soda and baking powder in buttermilk and add to bowl gradually. Add flour one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Mash vanilla and schnapps into bananas, then mix into the cake batter. Add nut pieces and spices if desired and divide the batter equally between the two pans.

In a new bowl, dump in all topping ingredients except for banana slices and mix together until it forms small, discrete chunks. I think that the ideal way to do this is with your hands, but if you’re squeamish, a fork or a mixer will do. It just won’t chunk as nicely. Distribute banana slices evenly on top of the batter in the pans if desired. Then, sprinkle topping chunks on top of batter as evenly as possible.

Bake the cakes at 350 for approximately 40 minutes (took closer to 30 in my oven), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry– this will be approximately 15 minutes after the smell starts to lure your family, neighbors, and stray dogs into your kitchen. Ideally, serve with milk.

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Filed under cake, dessert, fruit, vegetarian

Wicked ARF-5 a Day

I’m feeling a little bit wicked today, so I’m going to submit a luscious, rich dessert– pound cake– to Sweetnick‘s ARF-5 a Day event.

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You see (or maybe you don’t see- I finally got my camera in the mail yesterday, too late! alas for a picture of this), this isn’t just any pound cake. This is orange pound cake with marionberry preserves. And a small mountain of farm-fresh whipped cream. I don’t think whipped cream has any anti-oxidant properties– in fact, maybe the reverse– but don’t let that deter you. This is a fabulously cake, easy to throw together, fancy enough for company, rich enough to satisfy after a light meal, light enough from the citrus not to overwhelm, and a good way to use up the specialty jam you’ve got lying around begging to be showcased. You can also, incidentally, eat it for breakfast the next day and pretend that, since it has orange juice in it, it’s healthy. I promise I won’t tell.

Orange Pound Cake

2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
rind of 1/2 an orange (more if you’d like)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

Mix dry ingredients. Add butter, vanilla, orange juice and rind. Beat 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes. Pour into loaf pan, lined with wax paper. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Serve with jam, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and/ or maple syrup. Or a nice caramel sauce. *drool*

 

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Daring Bakers- Lemon Meringue Pie Jan 2008

Hello, and welcome to this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge! This month we all got together and baked lemon meringue pies… or in my case, tartelets! I made mine in cupcake pans, rather than free-form or in a pie tin, and they were not as aesthetically pleasing as they might have been… but I think they did just fine, don’t you?

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This was not only my first time making meringue pies, it was also my first time eating it! I thought it was interesting, but I admit to being a much bigger fan of whipped creams. My volunteer eaters, however, thought it was great, and that the texture was spot on. A lot of people had difficulty with this recipe, but I didn’t– I rather suspect that part of the reason I didn’t was because I used fresh farm eggs; while in ordinary baking, too-fresh eggs can make everything taste too eggy and feel too stiff, the freshness in these eggs seemed to give it extra structure.

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I modified this recipe to make it 2/5th the size, which still wound up filling 12 cupcake tins. I also made the filling and the crusts the night before, filling and topping the tarts the day of. The meringues lost some texture in the next 24 hours, but still tasted great… and thanks to the lemon, while the tarts were sweet, they weren’t ridiculously so.

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The recipe is from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver, and was picked by Jen from The Canadian Baker.
Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie or 6 small ones– or 30 cupcakes!
Recipe from: Wanda’s Pie in the Sky by Wanda Beaver.
For the Crust:
3/4 cup (170 gram) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) ice waterFor the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup (50 gram) butter
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extractFor the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar (I omitted)
1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes. (Mine was wetter than one might think reasonable at this point)

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of 1/8 inch (0.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature. (I chilled mine overnight.)

To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust (my crust wasn’t soggy even after 36… they didn’t last past that with houseguests around!).

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