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Rhubarb Raspberry crostata: a combination of recipes

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment
Rhubarb Raspberry Crostata

Apologies for the crappy photo. Normally I get my husband to snap the shots, but I was in a hurry. It looked much better IRL 🙂

I tend to record any Ina Garten shows that come up on the Food Network and occasionally Martha Stewart on PBS. It’s a habit. I love their recipes, but sometimes I like to change things up even as I try them out.

For this Crostata, I used a combination of two recipes: Ina’s Rhubarb Raspberry compote and Martha’s pate sucree recipe for the dough base. I have my reasons:

Storytime!

The day before Mother’s day I’d made a batch of pate sucree originally for a tart that I was going to bring to my mother. The day of, however, I was very upset about my cat being sick and didn’t get to make it home (cat is doing much better now after 3 weeks of nonstop antibiotics). So, I ended up freezing the dough. When it came time to make the crostata, I thought, let’s test drive the pate sucree for this.

Here it is about a month later sitting the freezer and the dough was still amazing. Martha knows her stuff. It’s not dense like a shortbread crust, and has a little more sweetness.

In contrast, what I liked about Ina’s compote was that it wasn’t overly sweet, and the rhubarb and raspberry flavors really stood out, helped along with the orange zest and juice. It would make a great base for a pie or crumble also.

So there you have it, a crostata made from two recipes. I invited my family over to taste test, and they loved it. My mother took some home for their morning coffee. Too funny.

 

 

Pistachio pudding cake + recipe

April 4, 2013 Leave a comment
Pistachio Pudding Cake

Pistachio Pudding Cake

I made this cake over the Easter holiday. It seemed perfect for the occasion, and it was. Let me tell you why:

So you see in the photo it was made as a bundt cake. Now, in speaking with my mother, I was told that only immediate family was going to be doing Easter festivities. Let’s say, about 8 folks. This could easily have served that many with a few slices left over. I planned on taking a slice home with a sugar cookie from a basic recipe I found to enjoy while watching Game of Thrones.

As I was teaching my niece and nephew how to play the board game Sorry! (always a crowd favorite), evidently my father and brother were sneaking into the kitchen when no one was watching and slicing off hunks of cake with every clandestine trip. So much so that when it was time for me to prepare my to-go plate for departure, the plate was scraped clean of any trace of cake. That happened so fast I didn’t even see it… but my husband did, evidently. He told me the whole sordid tale as we were driving home of my family’s misdeeds against this delicious cake.

Remember… if you make this cake for a gathering, plan on making two if you’re wanting to take any home with you. A little insurance policy, let’s call it.

Original recipe link here, but I’m going to repost it for your convenience:

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Icing:

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Cake:

  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, soda and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in walnuts.
  • Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Icing:

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream, milk, pudding mix and confectioners’ sugar on high until stiff peaks form.

For the finish:

  • Frost cake. Sprinkle the top with walnuts, and then refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.

The Neiman Marcus Cookie: perfect for holiday baking

December 23, 2012 1 comment
So tasty!

So tasty!

It is an urban legend, passed from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, and anybody in between who loves cookies and good ole Texas gossip:

FWD: Free Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe

This is a true story… Please forward it to everyone that you can…. You will have to read it to believe it….

My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the “Neiman-Marcus Cookie”. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown “I’m afraid not.” Well” I said, “would you let me buy the recipe?”

With a cute smile, she said YES”. I asked how much and she responded, “Only two fifty, it’s a great deal!” I said with approval, “just add it to my tab”.. Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, “Cookie Recipe – $250.00”. That’s outrageous!!!

I called Neiman’s Accounting Dept. and told them that the waitress said it was “two-fifty,” which clearly does not mean “two hundred and fifty dollars” by any POSSIBLE interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge.. They would not refund my money, because according to them, “What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe – we absolutely will not refund your money at this point.” I explained to her the criminal statutes which govern fraud in Texas. I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the State’s Attorney General for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, “Do what you want, we dont give a damn, and we’re not refunding your money.” I waited a moment, thinking of how I could get even,or even try to get any of my money back. I just said, “Okay, you folks got my $250.00, and now I’m going to have $250.00 worth of fun.”

I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus… for free..She replied, “I wish you wouldn’t do this” I said, “Well you should have thought of that before you ripped me off”, and slammed down the phone on her.. So, here it is!!! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250.00 dollars for this… I don’t want Neiman-Marcus to ever get another penny off of this recipe….

This recipe can be found all over the internet, so I’m not exactly sure who to credit for this. All I know is I didn’t come up with it 🙂

  • 2 cups butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
  • 24 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

This recipe makes an insane amount of cookies. This is great for holiday baking because you can get multiple batches out of the way with one recipe. It’s bad for the baker because having all those cookies in the fridge is a HUGE temptation since they’re so tasty.

A lot of folks use pecans, but I like walnuts in my version. Protip: Only add a cup of oatmeal at a time into the blender to blast it to a fine powder. If you try to blend all 5 cups at once, you may burn out the blender motor.

Updates/ an awesome cake recipe

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Normally I don’t have much issue getting my posts uploaded. However, the last few weeks it’s been tough because the host wasn’t working right. So, I’ve been a bit behind.

Updates: Well, I started running again. I feel like I should start entering some races here and there in a couple months once I get my time back up to speed. Winter’s the nicest time to run down here because it can get a wee bit chilly, but not for long. Plus, it is part of the black belt test at my school, so I need to get my stamina, endurance and speed ready in preparation.

Second update: Back in school again. This time around, I’m taking a cryptography class. It’s pretty interesting, but involves a lot of linear algebra. I haven’t seen that stuff for years, so here I am relearning what I had already unlearned, so to speak.

I haven’t been cooking much lately, although I did make this wonderful chocolate turtle cake recipe from Betty Crocker. I highly recommend it. A couple of recommendations: Go easy on the caramel sauce, and I don’t really think you need the extra chopped turtles in the middle. Here’s why:

See how the caramel sauce pools at the bottom in my version (above photo)? Not cool, compared to the picture on the Betty Crocker website:

The right way to do caramel. Isn’t that pretty?

I’m trying to be a good little warrior, so I made the cake for my nephew’s birthday party and left the remains at my mother’s house. It was hard not thinking about the goodness later with a glass of milk, but it had to be done. I recommend it for holiday gatherings, or any time you feel like having some awesome chocolate cake. It’s not overly sweet, and you can even use sugar free turtles for the topping without anyone really noticing. That is, unless you know folks sensitive to Splenda.

Interesting that a rich chocolate cake and words about fitness make it onto the same post somehow, but that’s how I do things sometimes 😉

I like how the dulce de leche blends well with the frosting and doesn’t overpower the overall flavor of the cake. Plus, using semisweet chocolate chips and a wee teaspoon of coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor without too much sweetness.

Puerco Pibil in the crockpot is a great thing

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Tasty stuff.

It took about 7 hours on low, but the pork came out so tender. I was in a cooking mood so it was an epic event combined with Charro beans, rice, and a nice Mandarin Orange cake for dessert.

Delicious. And the best part is, the oven didn’t have to be used for the Puerco Pibil. The house stayed cool, and cleanup was a breeze.

Cooking is one of my ways of decompressing after a hard work week these days. The other is working up a sweat at the dojo. Good times.

So I made this last night (cake recipe included)

May 25, 2012 1 comment

Pic courtesy of my husband. By the way, he gives this recipe two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Mandarin Orange bundt cake with pineapple frosting. Deliciously decadent.

I found the recipe for this cake at various sites all over the interwebs so it definitely doesn’t originate with me. However, I feel I must pass it along so others can enjoy 🙂

Cake Recipe:

  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
  • 11 oz can Mandarin Oranges, drained and chopped (reserve juice)
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 4 Eggs

Instructions:

Blend cake mix, mandarin oranges, oil, and eggs. Beat 3 minutes. Add reserved juice. Beat 2 additional minutes at medium speed (this will thicken up the batter). Pour into your favorite type of prepared pan (I like Bundt cakes myself so that’s the type of pan I used). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  • 1 tub Cool Whip
  • 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (3 oz)

Instructions:

Mix together the frosting ingredients and let sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes before application on the cake.

Cake needs to stay chilled prior to serving. For best results, let sit in fridge overnight.

Another tip: If you have a lot of frosting leftover and have graham crackers available, you can make pineapple cooler sandwiches. It’s very easy. Get one graham cracker, cut in half, and fill with some of the frosting. Top with the other half of graham cracker. Wrap sandwich in Saran wrap and place in the freezer. Great warm weather treat!

Special shout out to the TF2-ers who stopped by to view the cake of destiny 🙂

On the merits of homemade pie crust vs. store bought (fruit and pudding pie recipe)

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

In short, the homemade one rules. Here’s an easy one:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups cinnamon graham crackers, crushed up finely
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions: Combine all ingredients and press into a 9-inch pie pan (protip: spray with Pam first). Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

I used this recipe for a fruit and pudding pie I made for my mother yesterday. Unfortunately, because I was using a longer rectangular cake pan, I felt like the crust was a wee bit on the thin side. For a job like that I’d probably double the recipe for more cinnamon goodness on the next attempt. My husband disagrees; he thinks it was the perfect amount. Agree to disagree.

For the pudding aspect, you have to make sure that the crust is fully cooled. Then, combine a family sized vanilla instant pudding mix with 2.5 cups of  milk and whisk until blended. Again, if you’re using the 9 inch round pie pan, this is just the right amount. If it’s larger (like mine was) consider adding an extra small box of pudding mix with 1.5 cups of milk. Once the pudding powder is whisked well with the milk, pour into pan and let set in the fridge for about an hour.

I had a fresh, very sweet pineapple and strawberries, so I sliced those bad boys up, layered them on the pudding, and topped with whipped topping (try folding in a small vanilla pudding packet into the whipped topping for a little extra flavor). Maraschino cherries added a nice color contrast also to the finished product. And if possible, store in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours for maximum flavor. Try other fruit combinations like drained sliced canned peaches (bananas, heck even kiwi could possibly work). If it’s in season, why not, right?

I didn’t get a picture of the final product, but it was very tasty, and perfect for a warm weather treat. The overall consensus was the crust made the difference.

Categories: Desserts recipes
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