Farmhouse Apple Pie Cake

May 4, 2016 § 2 Comments

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Although I’ve tried, I just can’t garden when it’s been raining for 5 days. Even with rain gear on I turn into a cold, muddy mess. You gardeners out there know how hard it is to stay out of the garden once spring has arrived!

So it’s to the kitchen I go. There’s a big bag of apples in my fridge that need to be used so I decided on this great recipe that a friend had sent me. It’s become one of my favorites now. As usual I substituted some of the ingredients for healthier ones and cut down the sugar by half. That’s something I do automatically now, things are way too sweet these days don’t you think?

The original recipe calls for vegetable oil and I never use that now. Instead I used healthy coconut oil and butter and added some lemon zest too.

Farmhouse Apple Pie Cake

6 to 8 Granny Smith apples ( I used half Empire)

1 TBL sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon for topping

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

zest from a large organic lemon

1 1/2 cup flour (I used Einkorn. White spelt or regular all purpose flour is fine too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10 in. springform pan.

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Layer apples neatly in pan until almost to the top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and lemon zest.

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Mix batter by beating eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Add the melted oil, butter and vanilla. Mix well then add flour and beat all together.

Pour over the apples, then tap the pan on the counter so the batter gets to the bottom.

Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, checking as you get to the end of the baking time by testing with skewer, it should be dry.

Cool completely in the pan. This is important as the cake will fall apart if you try to remove it while it’s warm.

Serve with really good vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. And it’s even better the next day after everything settles and melds together.

Happy spring!

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Here’s the original recipe:

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Carrot Parsnip Fritters and Outsmarting the Chipmunks

May 25, 2015 § 3 Comments

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So sorry that I’ve been absent for awhile. The weather has been absolutely beautiful these past weeks and I’ve spent every waking moment outside….getting the veggie garden prepped, pulling up a weed here and there, edging and mulching, and just walking around, breathing in Lily of the Valley, Lilac and Viburnum.

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I’ve done some major garden renovations this spring. I finally have some raised beds, and one of them has become my strawberry bed. The chipmunk population around here will be in for a surprise. I’m sure they’ve had their beady little eyes on the flowering strawberry plants, just waiting for the first red, ripe and juicy organic strawberry…. sorry critters.

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As you can see this is chipmunk proof!  I’m very excited, I think I have them beat!  There is nothing like growing your own strawberries, picking and popping them straight into your mouth….just like the chipmunks!

Now if I could do the same for my blueberry bushes.

On to the recipe….

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Fritters. Yes, so simple and easy, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. They can be a side dish, a part of a salad, breakfast or even dinner.

Fritters:

6 medium carrots 

3 medium size parsnips

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

3 eggs, beaten

3 TBL flour

1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper

olive oli for sautéing

Peel and grate the carrots and parsnips. You could do this in a food processor, but it’s so easy to do by hand. You won’t have to clean all that equipment. And it’s good for the biceps.

Add the shallot, garlic, flour, eggs, salt and pepper.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add a scoop of the carrot parsnip mixture and flatten.

Cook a few minutes over medium heat, turn and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove to a warm place, like your oven.

Serve with applesauce, or mix plain yogurt or sour cream with a little cumin, paprika or za’atar. Try adding some chopped parsley or cilantro, sprinkle with sesame seeds….

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Edible Christmas Gifts

December 16, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Here it is Christmas time already, and if you’re thinking of giving edible gifts now would be a good time to start. Here are a few delicious and simple suggestions that will hold up until Christmas. Find yourself some pretty jars, boxes or tins, some ribbon and something to write your recipe’s name and ingredients on, put on some music, maybe have a glass of wine and start cooking!

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One of the things I like to make (and eat) are Biscotti. They keep really well and you can make a lot of variations. Homemade Granola, made with healthy coconut oil, is another favorite that you can improvise with endlessly. These Pistachio Date Bites don’t even require baking. For chocolate lovers, I make my flourless and gluten free Chocolate Torte and just bake it in a square or oblong pan, cut into squares then dust with confectioner’s sugar.

If you thought ahead and even if you didn’t,  Fruit Infused Vodka makes quite an impressive gift. If you’re starting it now, just jot down a reminder to let it sit for awhile on the gift tag.

I like to decorate my containers with greenery too, just cut a few sprigs off a pine tree, maybe some berries if you can find them, wrap it all up in ribbon and there you go!

Cranberry Nut Biscotti

1/2 cup dried cranberries

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

4 TBL soft unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

zest from 1 orange

1/2 cup nuts of your choice, pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or pistachios

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat butter and sugar about 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy and creamy.

Add eggs, vanilla and zest. Mix well.

Add flour mixture, then stir in cranberries and nuts.

 

Form into a ball then divide in half. Shape into 2 logs, 16″ x 2″ then move to the cookie sheet. Space about 3″ apart. Flatten slightly.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to rack to cool for 30 minutes. Turn down oven to 300 degrees.

On a cutting board, carefully cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick pieces.

Place on a rack on a cookie sheet (so heat can get to the underside) cut side down.

Bake another 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown.

Remove and let cool completely.

 

Granola

4 cups rolled oats (gluten free preferably)

2 cups shredded coconut

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup chopped apricots

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pepitas

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup unsalted cashews

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix oats, coconut, almonds, pecans or walnuts. Whisk the melted coconut oil with the maple syrup, then pour over the oat mixture. Mix until everything is well coated.

Put this mixture onto a large baking sheet, about 13 x 18 in. You don’t want to crowd things.

Bake about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until nice and brown. Keep an eye on it towards the end, it can over-brown quickly. I hate over-browned granola!

Remove from oven, let cool, then stir in apricots, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cranberries and cashews.

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Pistachio Date Bites

2 cups pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsalted pistachios

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

cocoa powder and extra coconut for rolling

 

In your food processor, finely grind pistachios.

Remove 1/4 cup and set aside.

Add the dates and shredded coconut and blend until it sticks together.

Remove into a bowl, and with your hands form into 1 inch balls.

Roll in the reserved pistachios or cocoa powder.

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Best of stored in fridge and then take out a half hour before eating (or giving).

 

Some other ideas for you: ultra-rich walnut brownies, jars of homemade applesaucepoundcake and of course cookies of all kinds make delicious and thoughtful gifts. Happy baking!

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Biscotti recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

November 21, 2013 § 4 Comments

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I know Thanksgiving is only a week away and that pumpkin recipes are everywhere, but what the heck. We all love pumpkin something on that day. So here’s one more, an easy recipe for a cake made with healthy ingredients like coconut oil, yogurt and maple syrup. I baked it in a Bundt pan but you could easily make it in a square pan or even make cupcakes if you wanted. I also used spelt flour instead of all purpose so if you want your cake to rise a little more you might want to use the all purpose.

Ingredients for Cake:

1 cup white spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (try to use freshly grated, makes a big difference)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted unrefined coconut oil

3/4 cup yogurt or pure cream

2 eggs

1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan or 8 in. square pan.

Melt the coconut oil, put in large bowl and add sugar. Whisk until well combined. Add eggs, whisk again.

Mix in the pumpkin puree and yogurt until well blended.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a separate bowl then add to pumpkin mixture. Mix well.

Stir in pecans, then pour into your pan. Bake about 45 to 55 minutes for Bundt pan, about 25 to 30 minutes for square pan. Always check for doneness a little before as oven temps vary. Test with knife or toothpick until it comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Beat all together with hand mixer until nice and creamy, then sprinkle with chopped pecans.

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Happy Thanksgiving in case I don’t get to my next post before then!

Baby Plumcakes

September 29, 2013 § 4 Comments

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The wonderful world of fall baking is here! Apples and pears, pies and cobblers, and my favorite, a rustic plum tart are the delicious things I love about autumn.  The cool weather, a steaming cup of coffee and a homemade pie right out of the oven are one of life’s simple pleasures, wouldn’t you agree?

I had a few plums left over from my last Pflaumenkuchen so I baked them into these scrumptious mini cakes. I also grated the butter which, as it melts in the oven, made the cakes extra moist. You could easily make these with almost any fruit. Chopped up apples, or slices of peach or pear would taste and look wonderful. Change the spices a bit too, add some ground ginger with the pears or even some finely chopped walnuts with the apples. Many possibilities here so have fun with it!

For the batter:

1 cup flour, I use organic white spelt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 TBL cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup milk

6 prune plums, halved and pitted

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top (mix equal parts sugar and cinnamon)

confectioner’s sugar or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with a little butter or you could use muffin liners. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt.

Into another larger bowl, grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater. Add the sugar and beat with mixer for about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add egg, lemon zest and beat some more until well combined.

Now  add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, scraping down sides of bowl.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups then place the halved plum pieces on top of each one.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the plums, then bake about 20, 25 minutes. Test with toothpick.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioner’s sugar or even better, some fresh whipped cream!

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Double Strawberry Farmhouse Cake

July 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

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So it’s a hot, humid July day and the power goes out. No wind, no rain, just all of a sudden. Can’t go online, can’t garden it’s so hot. So what do I decide to do? Bake a cake of course. All you food lovers understand this I’m sure.

I have what I call my summer oven, a second small gas oven which I use when it’s really hot or the power goes out. Usually that’s in the middle of a snowstorm. But occasionally we lose power in the middle of the summer, and usually during a heat wave (of course). My regular oven has an electric ignition so it’s useless in times like these.

I had planned on baking something with the quart of beautiful organic strawberries I bought from Walker Farm, my favorite place for organic fruit and vegetables. Right now is strawberry season, and it doesn’t last long either, so I’ll make special trips to pick some up. They are so good that I decided to make a double strawberry cake, berries in the batter and on top.

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No electric mixer this time, I just used a whisk. A little harder but good for the biceps.

.Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour, I used white spelt

2 tsp baking powder

1.2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar, organic if possible

1/2 cup buttermilk ( see below)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

6 TBL unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries for batter

lemon zest

heavy cream for whipping

extra strawberries for top

First off, slice up some strawberries and sprinkle with sugar. You can make enough for just a slice or more for the whole cake. Let it sit while you do everything else. This brings out the juices in the berries which you will then pour over the cake. I’m not a big sugar fan as you may know, but sometimes you just have to use the stuff. Honey won’t do.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 in cake pan.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

With a large whisk, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and frothy.

Add the flour mixture to this, give it a stir, then add the buttermilk, vanilla, and melted butter. Whisk all together until blended.

Fold in the 1 1/2 cups strawberries and zest, pour into the pan and bake about 30 to 45 minutes. Check this as my oven is a small one and the baking time may be shorter than yours.

Test with toothpick, let cool.

Whip up the heavy cream, sweetened with maple syrup, then spread over the cooled cake. Top with the macerated strawberries and their juices. I split the cake in half then layered it with the cream and berries, but you can skip that part and just make it a one layer cake. Not as many berries this way though!

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If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, just add about 1/2 TBL lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk and let it stand at least 5 minutes at room temperature.

Omi’s German Cheesecake

April 14, 2013 § 6 Comments

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I was either very young or a teenager when my grandmother would visit from her native Germany. Things like cooking and baking didn’t interest me then but eating the delicious meals she would prepare did. It seems like Omi was always in the kitchen mixing and stirring something. Every night was a feast, not just on Sundays. And cakes, kuchen, even homemade jelly doughnuts were always on the kitchen counter.  All made from scratch of course and never a recipe, written down at least.

One dessert that stuck in my mind as I grew up was this cheesecake. In Germany it is made with quark, a type of soft, fresh cheese with a mild, slightly tangy flavor. Back then (I’m talking way back) you couldn’t find it in the supermarkets so my grandmother would substitute cottage cheese. Now it’s available everywhere but I still use cottage cheese, I wouldn’t dream of changing it.

The recipe I have is written on an old card, yellowed and stained. It’s in my writing so I must have written it while watching my mother make this years later. It brings back nice memories of Omi in the kitchen with her apron on, wooden spoon in hand. How I wish she were still here so I could sit on the kitchen counter  again and watch her cook.

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Ingredients for crust:

1 1/2 cup flour, I use white spelt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten with fork

Mix together flour, sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and add this and egg to flour mixture. Mix together with your hands until combined, knead a few minutes then form into a ball. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Wrap in plastic and chill about an hour.

Roll out dough 1/8 ” thick and put into a 9″ pie dish. Chill another hour while you make the filling.

Ingredients for filling:

2 eggs, beaten with fork

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 TBL flour

grated peel from 1 organic lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 pound cottage cheese

1 cup sour cream

slivered almonds

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Puree the cottage cheese in a blender until smooth. Put into a large bowl and add the sour cream, eggs, sugar, raisins, melted butter, flour, lemon peel and vanilla. Whisk all together until smooth.

Pour into the chilled crust, sprinkle with some slivered almonds and bake about 1 hour until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

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