Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tarts

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
Persimmon and Apple Puff Pastry Tarts

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
I used Trader Joe's All-Butter Puff Pastry (two sheets for only $5!). I posted a photo of the box here. Puff Pastry is simply one of the best butter delivery devices.

Still going strong on my fuyu persimmon kick, I used my mandolin to cut thin slices.

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
I also cored a granny smith apple (seriously, I love my newly purchased apple corer - only a few bucks at the local restaurant supply store and it is sooo great). I placed a few apple slices into the center of the perfectly cored apple to make a little apple rose.

I put a touch of lemon juice on the apples, and brushed the fruit with a little melted butter and sugar.

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
The bottoms got a little burned so I peeled one off, and scrapped the others off (like burnt toast). I probably caused this because I was very liberal and haphazard in my "sprinkling sugar on top" technique and the poor sugar crystals caramelized in the 400 degree oven.

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
I baked them for about 30 minutes...I think. Oh my, I seriously can't remember now. It was early morning...(and doesn't that explain it?)

Persimmon & Apple Puff Pastry Tart
Cut into little pieces, these are delightful little butter snack, I mean, FRUIT snacks.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Happy Birthday Brian P and Dave A!
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Martha Stewart's Pine Nut Cookies

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
Martha Stewart's Pine Nut Cookies

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
Recently, the nice folks at Oh! Nuts offered me some of their fruits and nuts. They sent me some really big bags of macadamia nuts, dried blueberries, and pine nuts or pignolias. I used the dried blueberries in the Kugelholf, and couldn't wait to try the pine nuts.

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
The recipe has very few incredients: pine nuts, almond paste, powdered sugar, vanilla, egg, flour, baking powder and salt. Easy peasy. Here is the recipe on Martha's website.

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
You need a food processor to grind up some of the nuts for the dough. You roll the balls o' dough in the rest of the nuts. Be sure to make the balls small, or you'll never get the 3 dozen yield. I made several large ones until I realized this.

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
I think I got my best review ever from one of my co-workers...she said these cookies brought her back to Italy!

Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
By the way, if you are here looking for a Tuesdays with Dorie pie, I'll have that up by the end of the T-Day weekend. Our TWD group got an extension due to the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you get to spend time with your friends and family!

Thanks Oh! Nuts for the delicious nuts! I'm going to make an Italian pignoli and honey tart next! So, if you want to bring yourself to Italy, try these cookies - find Martha's recipe here!
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Sunset Magazine's Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Persimmon Bundt Cake
Sunset Magazine's Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake

Persimmon Bundt Cake
Containing fuyu persimmons, walnuts, golden raisins and lots of spices, my co-worker called it "Fall on a plate"

This is a Sunset Magazine recipe classic. (For those outside the Western U.S. states, Sunset Magazine is a gardening, lifestyle, cooking, home, and travel mag for those "living in the west." It's not pretentious and has some really good tips for West Coast gardeners who get all confused when looking at a pack of seeds and read "plant after first frost." What frost?) You can find a bunch of yummy recipes on their website!

And one of the perks of working in the library? I have a backlog and index to Sunset! I found a bunch more persimmon recipes from the 1970's and 80's! This recipe is from the Oct 1978 issue of Sunset. The article "Spicy cake flecked with persimmon" says the crisp (fuyu) persimmon is gaining in popularity! The Crisp Persimmon Cake recipe was submitted by E.F. of Palo Alto, CA.

The recipe for the Fuyu Bundt Cake is on the California Fuyu Grower's Association (CaliFuyu) website (I want to become their spokesperson and promote the delicious fuyu!) Get this super easy recipe here!

Persimmon Bundt Cake
3 cups chopped fuyu persimmons (see this post for the difference between the fuyu and hachiya persimmons). The recipe says to add 2 teaspoons baking soda to the fruit and set aside. I've never seen this method before...does it help the baking soda dissolve? Anyone know?

Persimmon Bundt Cake Persimmon Bundt Cake
Mega spices: 1 t ground cloves (this is very powerful and you could cut this a bit if you want), 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg...with 2 cups flour, 1 t baking powder, 1 t salt. I used 1 c walnuts and 3/4 c golden raisins.

Persimmon Bundt Cake Persimmon Bundt Cake
The batter also include 1 stick butter, 1 2/3 c sugar, 2 eggs, 2 t lemon juice and 2 t vanilla.

Persimmon Bundt Cake
I thought the finished cake looked a little, well, plague-y. I thought about dusting it with powdered sugar but then I saw my bottle of maple syrup and made a glaze of powdered sugar (about 1 cup) and maple syrup.

Persimmon Bundt Cake
Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake
Get this super easy recipe here!
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Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffins

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
Cranberry-Orange Muffins (Whole Foods Market Store Recipe)

Recently, I was in Whole Foods looking for my favorite fall treat: Chocolate Peppermint Soy Milk. Seriously, if you are lactose intolerant and sick of popping those damn lactaid pills, this drink is divine. When heated, it is soooooo good!

While there, the gravitational forces pulled me to the beautiful Whole Foods bakery ...where they had a few recipes card on the counter. And, because I'm so short, I couldn't reach one of them so I had to ask the person behind the counter to help me...and, well, since she was up...also grab me a couple mini tarts from their gorgeous display! :) By the way, their banana cream mini tart is sooo yummy!

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
Okay, so I immediately went home, checked for ingredients, and made the Whole Foods Cranberry-Orange Muffin recipe the next morning!

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
I love orange zest! Here is 1 T zest and 1 1/4 c fresh cranberries (frozen is okay too).

Dry stuff: 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/4 c whole wheat flour (this is total health food!!), 1/2 c sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
Add the wet: 1 egg (beaten), 2/3 c milk, 1/4 c canola oil and fruit. As with all muffin batter, mix gently until just combined. Don't overmix. (I omitted the 6 T chopped walnuts).

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
Yummy topping: 1 c all purpose flour, 3/4 c rolled oats (not instant), 2/3 c light brown sugar, 1 t cinnamon, pinch of salt and 1 cold stick of butter...cut all this together until it's clumpy. I ended up with extra topping so you can make a little less if you want or save it for later. The instructions say to bake the 12 muffins at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Since I've had bad luck with muffins at 400, I baked them at 375 and they were fine.

Whole Foods Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Muffin
You never know what you'll find at the grocery store! I found a muffin!
Note: This muffin isn't very sweet or like those "muffins" you find at coffeeshops that are actually cupcakes with a few bran bits thrown in. This is an old-fashioned muffin with tart cranberries!
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Sky High Cakes: Halloween Sweet Potato Cake (Cake Slice Bakers)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sweet Potato Cake

I've joined a new baking group! The Cake Slice Bakers make one recipe every month from a single book. This year, it's one of my absolutely favorites: Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.

So far, I've made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, and Chai Tea Cake before joining the group. This is a great book with beautiful cakes!

This month, we made the Halloween Sweet Potato Cake in the Holidays and Special Occasion section of the book (pages 178).

Sweet Potato Cake
The cake is made with sweet potato (me love the sweet potato - I baked a bunch extra and ate them during the week) and yummy spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Sweet Potato Cake Sweet Potato Cake
Sweet Potato Cake Sweet Potato Cake
The filling is cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar with orange juice concentrate. The only problem was the filling made it a bit too loose so I think that caused my cake to tilt; I also should have leveled out my layers. Next time, I might use only orange extract and zest so there is less liquid in the filling.

The frosting is the cream cheese mixture with the addition of unsweetened chocolate. It is very sweet.

Sweet Potato Cake
The cake, like her other cakes, is incredibly moist but very weighty. You get a workout carrying this around!

Sweet Potato Cake
The cake was a hit at work! And since it had fresh sweet potato inside, we put it in the "vegetable" food group!

Sweet Potato Cake
This photo looks straight but the layers were sliding and caused a leaning tower of sweet potato cake!

Sweet Potato Cake
Grab a slice!
Join in on the fun and visit the other Cake Slice Bakers!
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Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (Martha Stewart)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Martha Stewart's Chewy Gingerbread Cookies includes fall spices and freshly grated ginger. They are, like the name implies, chewy! :)

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
These cookies contain the yummy ingredients of gingerbread: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, dark brown sugar and molasses.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
The flavors are very fall and gingery. I love ginger so they weren't strong to me, but some people thought they were a bit too gingery (as if that could ever happen! :) It has both ground ginger and fresh ginger.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
I rolled them in a combo of granulated sugar and sanding sugar. I just purchased Sugar in the Raw so I want to try that next time.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Find the recipe for these fall and intense cookies here on Martha Stewart's website!
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Rice Pudding (Tuesdays with Dorie)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rice Pudding
Vanilla Rice Pudding *

* No, I don't have gigantic spoons! This glass is super small (picked it up at the local Goodwill recently)

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa picked Arborio Rice Pudding on pages 412 and 413 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Super simple recipe too! Parboil rice, add milk and sugar and stir and stir. Just be sure to take a sharpie and change the directions! Dorie Greenspan herself wrote to our group and said there is a typo in the recipe - cook for 55 minutes, not 35 minutes until it is a bit thick.

Rice Pudding
I got my arborio rice in the Whole Food bulk bins. You parboil it for 10 minutes before cooking it in the milk and sugar.

Rice Pudding
Yeah, I liked! Who needs to buy Kozy Shack when you can make your own!

I made the vanilla version per the recipe, using vanilla paste for those cute little flecks and rich vanilla flavor. Next time, I might add some orange blossom water and orange zest for a fruity dessert.

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!

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