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:

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

June 1, 2015 § 3 Comments

 

 

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Rhubarb time again and what haven’t I tried to make with it?

Rhubarb is one of the first things to pop out of the ground in the spring and then I’m on to making scones, muffins and all kinds of desserts and baked things. This year I wanted to do something savory with it again. I’ve made Rhubarb Chutney before, the recipe is here on my blog, and I’ve added it to a pan sauce to spoon over chicken. I’ve got so much rhubarb that it’s time to try something new again.

My rhubarb patch is turning into a monster. I might have to divide and move it this fall as it’s right in the middle of my garden. When I planted it originally the garden was very small and it sat at the edge, but now it’s really in the way. It stares at me every time I visit the garden and calls out “please use me!”

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So I being one who likes homemade as much as possible decided to give Rhubarb BBQ sauce a try. The combination of the tart fruit (although it is technically a vegetable) mixed into the dark and smoky flavors of the sauce just might be delicious enough to eat with a spoon.

Besides eating it out of the jar, slather it on grilled chicken, ribs and vegetables too. Try grilling eggplant and basting with sauce.  Use as a replacement for ketchup on a burger. Try it on sandwiches too, or mixed into baked beans.

So if you’ve got your own patch or even if you don’t, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

6 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and trimmed and chopped

3/4 cup water

2 large shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups ketchup ( organic and without HFCS* if possible)

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 TBL molasses

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 TBLS  mustard

1 TBL Tabasco

1 tsp Liquid Smoke (this is good stuff)

 

First, simmer the chopped rhubarb in the water until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat a small amount of olive oil, add the shallots and garlic and sauté a few minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil slowly. Reduce heat and continue simmering until sauce is thick and dark, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Let cool, then add the cooked rhubarb to it.

This sauce will be a little chunky, so if you like your BBQ sauce smooth just puree in food processor a few seconds.

Makes about 4 cups and will keep for months in the fridge.

 

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* High Fructose Corn Syrup

 

Maple Pumpkin Custard

November 23, 2014 § 4 Comments

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My favorite holiday is almost here. Thanksgiving, the holiday which is all about food! Cranberries and turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and squash, and of course, pumpkin.

I see a lot of pumpkin recipes out there now, and from signature cocktails to bread, there’s pumpkin in everything. For me, pumpkin pie is what Thanksgiving dessert is all about……except for this.

It’s a light dessert perfect to finish off your Turkey Day feasting. There’s no crust like in the traditional pie, just a light and creamy custard sweetened with maple syrup and infused with cinnamon, cardamon, ginger and vanilla bean.

It’s so light you could eat this for breakfast the next day, if you have any left!

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Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp each allspice, cardamon, ginger

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract (try to use the bean, the flavor is sublime)

heavy cream for topping, with extra maple syrup for sweetening

walnuts or pecans for topping

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer.

Remove from the heat, stir in the pumpkin and spices. Set aside.

Beat egg yolks in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, about a minute or two.

Add the maple syrup and combine well. Keep beating another minute or two until it doubles in volume.

Split the vanilla bean down the middle with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds right into the bowl. Whisk until blended.

Very slowly add a little of the warm cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisking constantly, keep adding until it’s all blended.

Now I recommend pouring this into a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring.

Pour into 6 oven proof ramekins. You might need more depending on the size. If you don’t have ramekins, use coffee cups. Pretty much anything will work as long as it’s ovenproof.

Set them into a large baking dish and pour some hot water into it. You want the water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake about 40 minutes, until almost set, but this will depend on the size. It should jiggle a bit in the center and will firm up as it cools.

You can eat right away or put in fridge to chill. Before serving, whip up some heavy cream with a little more maple syrup, top the custards with this and some finely chopped walnuts or pecans.

 

 

Oh, and don’t throw away that vanilla pod! Add it to a small jar of sugar, let it infuse in your pantry, then use it on all sorts of things: sprinkled on cake or muffins right before they go into the oven, over pancakes and french toast, in your morning oatmeal, for sweetening whipped cream, in your coffee or tea…..

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Pear Cobbler

October 12, 2014 § 4 Comments

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As much as I hate to see summer go, part of me is glad. It’s the part that weeds and waters the gardens, deadheads the flowers, cans the fruit and picks the endless supply of blueberries.

I don’t want that to sound like a complaint, but those who have large gardens understand I’m sure. And there is also the part that likes the changes of the seasons, the soups and stews, and the smell of the wood stove.

 

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Today started off a beautiful warm, sunny day. Then the clouds rolled in, and it got a bit chilly! I grabbed a sweater and decided a cobbler would be perfect for the afternoon’s coffee break. I had some pears that I meant to use in a salad and were calling to me, “use us now or else!”

The recipe uses fresh mint, which I love to use in baking. It’s from a recipe I’ve had for many, many years, from Lee Bailey’s cookbook Country Weekends. I usually change things a bit when following a recipe, always cutting down the amount of sugar, or using maple syrup instead, adding a spice or two, and substituting spelt or Einkorn flour for the all purpose flour most recipes use.

You can also make this with apples and add a handful of raisins and some cinnamon. So now that cobbler weather is here, bake yourself one, and serve with sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or just grab a spoon and have it for breakfast.

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Fruit Part:

6 large pears, I used Bartlett

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

2 TBL maple syrup

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

grating of fresh nutmeg

1 tsp chopped fresh mint

Batter:

1 cup all purpose flour, I use organic white spelt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup milk or almond milk

2 TBL unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9″ovenproof pie dish.

Peel and core the pears, then cut into medium size chunks.

Pour lemon juice over the pears, then add the zest. Mix.

Combine spices, maple syrup and mint, add to the pears and put in pie dish.

 

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Make batter by mixing flour, baking powder and salt.

In separate bowl beat egg yolks with milk and maple syrup, then add to flour mixture.

Mix in the butter then drop onto the fruit. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, making sure the middle is done by lifting a piece of pear and checking.

 

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Rhubarb Mania

June 1, 2014 § 4 Comments

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You know spring is on it’s way when you see the gnarly leaves of the rhubarb plant emerge from the dirt. There’s no stopping it once it starts, the leaves getting bigger and bigger until the flower pops up in the middle.

Rhubarb, a perennial, is a very hardy plant that thrives in the cold northern regions. Every old farmstead likely has a rhubarb patch somewhere, having been made into pies and sauces for the family get togethers through the years and still going strong.

It doesn’t require much care, producing ruby red stalks for decades each spring. Every few years you can divide the plant and either start a new patch or pass it on to a gardening friend or family member. There’s only one important point you must know, in case you don’t already, and that is that the leaves are highly poisonous. I just cut the leaves off right in the garden and add them to the compost pile.

Rhubarb will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I find it easiest to just go out and pick some when I need it. You can freeze it, but not very well in my opinion, kind of turns to mush.

Here are  a few recipes using rhubarb. One is for scones, one for chutney, and one for a syrup. And don’t forget the Rhubarb Clafouti!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

3 cups flour, I use white spelt

1/2 cup organic sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup chopped rhubarb

1 cup sliced strawberries

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease lightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the butter pieces and work into the flour mixture with your fingers or a fork until you have pea sized pieces throughout.

Add buttermilk and fruit and stir gently with a fork until combined. don’t overwork or they’ll be tough. The dough will be on the moist side.

Lightly flour the baking sheet and pat out the dough, making a circle about 10 inches wide.

Cut into even pieces, like a pizza. You can sprinkle with a little extra sugar if you like.

Bake about 18 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

 

Rhubarb Raisin Chutney

 

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This chutney is great on sandwiches, like ham or roast pork. It also makes a nice glaze for pork tenderloin, chops or fish.

 

2 1/2 cups roughly chopped rhubarb

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup golden raisins

 

In a medium sized pot combine maple syrup, vinegar, onion, coriander, ginger, mustard and salt. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered.

Add the rhubarb and raisins and continue cooking, simmering actually, another 15 minutes or so, until rhubarb is softened. You don’t want mush here, so keep an eye on it.

Remove from the heat, then taste for sweetness, adding more maple syrup if you’d like.

Makes about 2 cups.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup

This is a delicious syrup you can drizzle over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. Use instead of maple syrup on pancakes or french toast. It’s also great mixed with a little sparking water and a splash of vodka. Ok, maybe more than a splash.

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1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sliced strawberries

3/4 cup sugar, organic preferably organic

1 cup water

 

In saucepan, combine all ingredients.

Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes until rhubarb is soft.

Put through a fine mesh strainer to separate pulp. You can either discard it or mix it with butter or cream cheese and spread on a bagel. Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt with some nuts for breakfast. Yum.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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Gluten Free Nut Muffins

May 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

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Many, many years ago I found a book called “Food and the Gut Reaction” by Elaine Gottschall. I’m sure many of you have heard of this book. It contains diet and nutritional information to help people with serious intestinal issues such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and the like. Back then diet was not even considered for these illnesses, and really most allopathic doctors still think that way today.

Although no one in my family had any of these illnesses, the book supplied valuable information and helped me on my quest to understand the body. It also had many healthy recipes, one of them these delicious nut muffins. When I want to avoid gluten for awhile, which I think is a good idea, I make these.

Here’s the basic recipe and some variations. Just put it all in the food processor, no other bowls needed. You can use almost any nut, walnuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts. I use 3/4 almonds and 1/4 hazelnuts because I love hazelnuts!

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners or grease.

2 1/2 cups ground nuts (2 cups whole nuts equals about 2 1/2 cups ground)

1/4 cup melted butter ( I use half butter and half melted coconut oil) you can use yogurt also

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup more or less as desired ( you might need to heat the honey to liquify it a bit)

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

3 eggs

 

Put nuts in food processor and grind until very fine. Add all other ingredients, adding the melted butter last according to how much liquid you need to get the batter to a muffin consistency.

Batter can look a little runny but it’s ok.

 

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Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling about 1/2 full.

Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until tester comes out clean. They won’t rise like regular gluten muffins just so you know.

 

Here are the variations:

Add 1/4 cup raisins

Juice and rind of one orange

Substitute dried, unsweetened coconut for part of the nut flour

1 mashed banana

And you can make nut bread by adding an extra egg and bake in greased loaf pan.

 

These are great spread with peanut butter!

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Makes 12 muffins, usually

 

 

 

Breakfast Bars

January 26, 2014 § 4 Comments

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We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? After a long night without food, we need to give our bodies some fuel to get us through the day. In winter I usually start my day with a warm cup of tea and either some oatmeal or eggs. But there are times when I have to run out the door without the time to make anything….sounds familiar, right?

So here’s where these healthy breakfast bars come in. No sugar, gluten free and made with healthy coconut oil. They take no time to make or bake. You can vary the ingredients endlessly and keep them wrapped up so you just have to grab and go.

Wish I had one today – drove my daughter to the airport for her trip to Alaska. Sorry Cara! I’ll make a fresh batch. 🙂

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Ingredients:

2 cups oats – I used gluten free oats

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup cream or milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup cashews

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square pan.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Smooth the top evenly.

Put into pan and bake about 30 minutes until slightly browned.

Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

This is the way I made them today, but you can use any combinations of nuts, seeds or spices you like. Next time I’ll use dried cranberries instead of the raisins, sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin and almonds instead of walnuts. You can use dates, dried fruit like apples, mango, or pineapple. Try adding some flaked coconut. You could also add some mashed bananas (cut down the milk a little) to the oats or even chocolate chips. Pretty much anything goes!

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Walnut Date Bars

January 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I woke up today to a gray sky and saw the white branches. Oh-oh…snow. Luckily not too much.

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I know many say why live in Vermont if you don’t like snow? Well I used to like snow, but this year for some reason I want to fast forward to spring. And I know I shouldn’t wish the time away, it was my New Year’s resolution after all. Maybe I just need some extra Vitamin D, or a SAD lamp, or a vacation in the islands. Yes, I think that would do it. Anyone?

Short of that, I decided to bake. Something quick and healthy to eat while looking out at the tundra. So I made these date bars. They’re cooling right now so I’ll put the coffee on while I write this.

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Ingredients:

2 cups chopped and pitted dates, I used Medjool

1/4 cup water

2 TBL maple syrup

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup flour, I use white spelt

1 cup oats

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8″ baking dish.

Combine dates, water and maple syrup in saucepan. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer about 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.

Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt to the butter mixture and stir well to combine. It will be crumbly.

Take 2 cups of the oat mixture and press into the baking dish.

Top with the date mixturecs and spread evenly over all. It will seem thin but its very sweet.

Add the chopped walnuts to the remaining oat mixture, then sprinkle this over the dates.

Bake about 20 to 30 minutes until brown.

Let cool a bit before cutting in if you can help it. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted slightly from Cooking Light.

Baked Lady Apples with Honey, Butter and Walnuts

December 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

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These cute little apples were brought to our Thanksgiving dinner by my sister Sheila, and everyone was asking, what do you do with them? I’ve seen them in the markets and always wondered that myself. They’re a bit too small for regular eating, unless, like Sheila says, you just take a few dainty, lady-like bites!

We didn’t end up using them that day, and I’ve been looking at them sitting on my counter since then. Finally today they went into the oven. No recipe really, no measurements for these, they’re so easy, and I know you have all the ingredients already. Put them into the oven as you’re serving dinner and they’ll be ready when you’re done. Delicious with a roast pork! If you have any left over, have them for breakfast with a little yogurt.

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Take the apples, hollow them out, being careful not to poke through. If you use a melon scooper it works pretty well. Fill with some unsalted butter, a bit of honey, a few chopped walnuts. Bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees, covered with foil, for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes or so.

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You can change the ingredients of course, use maple syrup instead of honey, or even brown sugar. You can fill them with some jam, like apricot or red currant.   Add cinnamon, or nutmeg, or change the nuts. You can top with ice cream, whipped cream or make them extra special with a custard sauce.

You’ll want about 2 or 3 per person.

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!

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