Loire and Wood Fired Fouee or Classic Gateau Basque, both from Luke Nguyen's France Cookbook

Loire and Wood Fired Fouee with Goat Cheese

Wood fired fouee

Or classic Gateau Basque...

Gateau Basque

Both from Luke Nguyen's France (Hardie Grant, October 2015). 

( *  Reproduced with permission from Luke Nguyen's France by Luke Nguyen -published by Hardie Grant- October 2015....Photography by Alan Benson and Suzanna Boyd)

Christmas Tease, Christmas Rice Pudding with Almonds from 'The Scandinavian Kitchen' Paperback Edition

Way before Black Friday, a Christmas tease, with this recipe from The Scandinavian Kitchen, Paperback Edition (Kyle Books, October 2015) by Camilla Plum.

The paperback edition adds 50 recipes to hardcover edition.

       Christmas rice pudding with almonds

For the creamed rice

1 vanilla bean

Scant 3⁄4 cup round pudding rice or risotto rice

Approx.4 cups milk (maybe 3⁄4–11⁄4 cups more, depending on the rice)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

To finish

1⁄4 cup heavy cream

11⁄3 cups peeled Spanish almonds

1⁄4 cup sugar

3 Spanish almonds, finely ground

Sweet cherry sauce

(page 201)

Serves 8–10

Christmas Pudding

Rice pudding itself is eaten frequently during the winter as a main course, dusted with cinnamon and sugar and with a generous blob of butter melting in the middle. It’s solid winter fare, and filling, but not for very long—we usually have evening tea with some bread and cheese later on.

Eating rice at Christmas is a tradition from a time when everything imported, like rice and spices were luxuries. This almond rice pudding, (riz à l’amande) is relatively new, a bourgeois revival of the peasant hot oatmeal, and in the country it’s still usual to eat ordinary creamed rice for Christmas Eve dinner, either as an appetizer, as in former times, or as a dessert. It’s an ageold custom to make sure the resident Nisse is well fed during Christmas. Lots of people, including my family, put a bowl of hot rice pudding in the attic on Christmas Eve, just to make sure. 

Riz à l’amande is lovely, and very rich, and actually not the kind of dessert I would normally recommend you eat after a heavy Christmas dinner of goose, duck, or roast pork. Tradition must not be tampered with, though, so in my family we usually eat it for breakfast the next day, in order to be able to go through with the traditional dance around the Christmas tree.

We have a tradition, similar to that of hiding money or some other treat in the Christmas pudding, of including one whole almond in the dessert. This takes skill, as there is always someone most in need of winning the “almond gift,” and you have to make sure— very discreetly—that the right person gets it. The thing not to do is make a huge bowl of riz à l’amande and put the whole almond in at random. It always ends up in the last spoonful, even if this is not statistically possible, and everybody gets a stomach ache from eating too much. Instead, serve the pudding in individual glasses, in small portions. The gift can be anything, but often it is a homemade piglet,made from marzipan, with rosy painted ears and snout.

The classic accompaniment is hot cherry sauce, a glass of cherry brandy, or a fine tawny port.

When it comes to making creamed rice, it’s all about the right saucepan. It must be thick-bottomed, or the rice will definitely burn. Slash the vanilla bean lengthwise, then put all the rice ingredients in the pan. Bring to a boil, while stirring, and then turn down the heat to a minimum. From now on, do not stir unless absolutely necessary, as you want whole, chewy rice, covered in creamy milk, not rice sludge. Let it simmer until the rice is only just done, no longer. (You may need to add more milk, depending on the rice you use.) It will finish cooking during cooling.The cooking may take 45 minutes, maybe less. If the rice is taking up much-needed space on the stove, you can make an old-fashioned hay box instead. Fill a wooden box with hay—or crumpled newspapers and towels—and put the pan in after it has first come to the boil. Remember to cover the lid with lots of towels. Let the pan sit until the rice is succulent and swelled.This will make

a better rice pudding, and is also effective with dried beans and peas and meat that otherwise would use a lot of power. If you are familiar with risotto, you can choose to make the rice pudding risotto-style. Use the same ingredients as above, but use risotto rice. Heat the milk in a separate pan, and patiently stir it into the rice a ladleful at a time, adding more as soon as it is absorbed by the rice. Whichever method you use, cool the creamed rice immediately: even if it’s warm, it must go directly in the refrigerator, unless of course you intend to eat it as is.And a warning: the creamed rice must be absolutely cold before you add the cream, or you will end up with a disgusting bowl of inedible, smelly, cheesy rice.

Whip the cream, but only until soft. Chop the Spanish almonds, remembering to reserve one whole almond; and be sure to leave a few deceptively large pieces among the others. Fold half of the cream, all the sugar, and both the chopped and ground almonds into the rice. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps. Fold in the rest of the cream, then cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap—nothing absorbs refrigerator odors like this pudding. Put the rice in the refrigerator immediately.

Serve in individual glass dishes, in one of which you have concealed the whole almond, so that you can present that dish to the appropriate diner. Hand the cherry sauce round separately.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from The Scandinavian Kitchen, Paperback Edition -Kyle Books, October 2015- by Camilla Plum- Photography by Anne-Li Engstrom)

Deep in the Molasses, Dark, Fudgy Muscovado Brownies from 'Real Sweet'

We are deep in the molasses with this second recipe from Real SweetMore Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars (William Morrow, March 2015 ) by Shauna Sever.

Dark, Fudgy Muscovado Brownies

Makes Twenty-Five 1½-Inch Squares

Dark muscovado sugar pulls double duty in this insanely rich, fudgy brownie—the sugar’s deep molasses flavor marries fabulously with bittersweet chocolate, and its moist quality (along with a gooey hit of brown rice syrup) contributes a chocolate truffle-esque chew. If there ever was a mysterious “bad boy” version of a brownie, this would be it.

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/84 grams) unsalted butter

6 ounces (168 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), chopped

3 tablespoons (⅝ ounce/18 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

¾ cup (6 ounces/168 grams) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar

3tablespoons (2¼ ounces/63 grams) brown rice syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 large eggs, cold

½ cup (2⅛ ounces/60 grams) whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled

Real Sweet Brownies

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line an 8 × 8-inch metal baking pan with an 8-inch- wide strip of aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on 2 sides. Lightly grease the pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

2. In a large heatproof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave with 60-second bursts of high power, stirring well after each interval until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Whisk in the sugar, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, and salt until well blended (a few small lumps of sugar may remain—the rough charm of dark muscovado!). Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Switch from a whisk to a spatula and add the flour, stirring gently just until no traces of flour remain. Set the batter aside to rest for 10 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

3. Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with a smudge of chocolate at the end, and the brownie slab has just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the brownies using the foil or parchment “handles” and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

TIP: Using a plastic knife—the humble, disposable kind used for picnics—makes for the cleanest-edged brownies you’ve ever seen.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Real Sweet' by Shauna Sever, published by William Morrow, March 2015, Photographs by Leigh Beisch)

Dynamite with Scoop of Ice Cream, 'Real Sweet' Rummy Roasted Pineapple Pudding Cake

Dynamite with Scoop of Ice Cream, Rummy Roasted Pineapple Pudding Cake, this cake recipe comes from pages of Real SweetMore Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars (William Morrow, March 2015 ) by Shauna Sever.

Rummy Roasted Pineapple Pudding Cake

Makes one 8 × 8-inch cake

From the outset, this appears to be any streusel-topped, brown-sugary crumb cake. But tucked within is a gold mine of caramelized, roasted pineapple chunks. And below that? Well, would you believe me when I tell you that this cake actually makes its own sauce? True story. Now, to be fair, this cake requires a few steps, but I promise you the effort is worth it. And even though you will reach a point where you think to yourself, Am I really pouring hot liquid over a cake batter? Is this cooking the batter on contact? This broad’s lost it! I hope you’ll trust me. This cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is dessert dynamite. Boom.

Roasted Pineapple

1½ cups (10½ ounces/296 grams) pineapple, fresh or canned and drained (juice reserved), cut into

1-inch chunks*

1 tablespoon (½ ounce/14 grams) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar


¼ cup (11/8 ounces/32 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces/42 grams) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional)**

Pinch of fine sea salt


1 cup (4½ ounces/128 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ cup (6 ounces/170 grams) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar

1/3 cup (2⅔ ounces/76 grams) whole milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) canola or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) pineapple juice

¼ cup (2 ounces/57 grams) firmly packed dark muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) dark rum (such as Myers’s)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Rummy Pineapple Real Sweet

* You can cut up fresh fruit and buy the juice separately if you’re the ambitious type. Or you can get yourself a 20-ounce can of good-quality pineapple chunks packed in 100% fruit juice—they’re exactly the right size for this recipe, and when you drain off the juice, you should end up with 1 cup of pineapple juice for the sauce.

** This simply adds sparkle and crunch to the topping. If you have turbinado on hand, add it. If not, the streusel will be perfectly fine without.

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the pineapple: Toss the pineapple chunks on the baking sheet with the muscovado sugar until the fruit bits are evenly coated with an amber glaze. Roast, rotating the pan once, until the pineapple chunks are tender and caramelized at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the pineapple cool on the sheet pan as you move on to the rest of the recipe.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚F. Grease an 8 × 8-inch square glass baking dish with butter or nonstick spray.

4. Make the streusel: In a small bowl, work together the flour, muscovado sugar, butter, turbinado sugar (if using), and salt until crumbly. Refrigerate.

5. Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the muscovado sugar, milk, egg, oil, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Scatter the roasted pineapple chunks evenly over the batter.

7. Make the sauce: Into a medium saucepan, pour the pineapple juice, muscovado sugar, rum, and cinnamon. Place the pan over high heat and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, and lower the heat to medium. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the hot liquid over the cake batter. Ask no questions—it will look crazy. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and the top is mostly set but still appears a bit wobbly and underdone.

8. Holding your fingertips just an inch or two over the pan, gently sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the cake—too much streusel dropped from too great a height will deflate the cake. Return the pan to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 10 minutes more. Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. 

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Real Sweet' by Shauna Sever, published by William Morrow, March 2015, Photographs by Leigh Beisch)

Serve Tradition on Memorial Day with Banana Cream Pie from Megan and Colby Garrelts 'Made in America'

Serve your guests an American tradition with this recipe from Made in America: A Modern Collection of Classic Recipes ( Andrews McMeel. April 2015)  by the chef-owners of  Bluestem (Kansas City, MO) and Rye (Leawood, KS), Colby and Megan Garrelts...

Banana Cream Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

On chilly winter nights, my mom would sometimes whip up a batch of warm vanilla or butterscotch pudding and top it with Nilla Wafers and sliced ripe bananas. She would often serve these perfect puddings in little glass ramekins, which made dinner seem very fancy. Now at home with my little ones, I always make sure we have a box of Nilla Wafers in the pantry, as you never know when pudding, bananas, and Nillas will be needed as a treat! My recipe for banana cream pie is an ode to the creamy banana memories of my childhood. I coat the pie shell with a thin layer of dark chocolate to help the crust stay crispy under the pastry cream. If you prefer, a graham cracker crust can be substituted for the traditional piecrust here. ★M.G.

1 blind-baked Classic Piecrust (page 112)

½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted

2 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch, sifted

4 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 very ripe bananas, sliced about ⅛ inch thick

1½ cups heavy cream

½ cup ground Salted Toffee


Using a pastry brush, evenly coat the bottom and sides of the blind-baked piecrust with the melted chocolate, and set the crust in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk, vanilla bean and seeds, and vanilla extract over medium heat for about 3 minutes to bring the mixture to just below boiling. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture in thirds so as not to curdle the egg yolks. Return the entire mixture to the sauce pan and whisk constantly until the pastry cream is thick, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the softened butter. Remove the pastry cream from the stovetop and discard the vanilla bean pod. Fold in the sliced bananas. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the pastry cream surface. Chill the pastry cream for about 30 minutes so that it is cool enough not to melt the chocolate when it is added to the crust.

Once the pastry cream is cool, fill the prepared piecrust and cover the top with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the pastry cream surface. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

To serve, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Slice the pie into even slices, dollop each slice with whipped cream, and sprinkle the pie slices with ground salted toffee. Alternatively, if taking the pie to an event or for a dramatic presentation, top the entire pie with the whipped cream and ground salted toffee. The pie will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Classic Piecrust

Makes one 9-inch double crust or two 9-inch single crusts

The piecrust: It scares some, but it was my favorite pastry to master. In my early days in the bakeshop, I always had so much fun mixing, kneading, and rolling out the dough—even if the crust did not turn out right! This recipe was developed over time and through many attempts to find the right balance between good butter flavor and the delicate texture that lard creates, plus the perfect mix of sugar and salt. With very few ingredients in a crust, it’s important to use the highest quality ingredients possible. I recommend using a good-quality butter that’s high in butterfat, such as Plugra, to ensure that the crust will form properly, and a delicate salt like kosher or sea salt. Remember: Making pie is not easy, and there is no bakeshop secret to becoming a great pie maker. Patience and practice are the keys.

2⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted

butter, cubed

½ cup cold lard, cubed

½ cup ice water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and set in the freezer for 30 minutes; you want all the components to be very cold in order to get the flakiest crust possible. Place the cubed butter and lard on a baking sheet and set in the freezer to chill until hard.

Attach the bowl with the dry ingredients to the food processor. Add the cold butter and lard to the dry ingredients in two additions, pulsing to combine after each addition. Slowly add the ice water to the mixture, pulsing to combine until a dough forms. As soon as the dough holds together in the food processor, quickly transfer the dough to a cold work surface. Knead the dough just until smooth, working the fat into streaks and being careful not to overwork the pie dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

To form the crust, dust a work surface and the rolling pin with flour. Place one dough disk on the floured work surface and press the dough down in the center with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Then pound the dough flat with the rolling pin. Roll the dough in one full pass, then rotate the dough a few inches and roll again. Continue rotating the dough and rolling, dusting slightly with flour only if needed, until the dough is large enough to fit the pie dish and is about ©ˆ∕8 inch thick. Gently cut the dough to the desired pan size using a pot lid or bowl as a guide. Gently slide both hands under the dough and hold the dough with the bottom side of your hands and forearms. Quickly slide the dough into the pie pan and gently press the dough into the pan.

Crimp the pie dough around the edge and set in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before proceeding. The pie crusts can be kept frozen in the pie pans (or in a disk for the top crust), each double-wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 month.

To blind-bake (bake the crust before adding the pie filling), preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the frozen shell with a coffee filter and fill the liner with pie weights or uncooked pinto beans. Press the beans lightly into the shell to ensure that the edges are weighed down. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time, until the outer edge of the crimp looks dry and golden brown. Remove the shell from the oven and carefully remove the coffee liner and beans. If the liner sticks to the shell, return the shell to the oven to dry out for about 3 minutes and then try to remove the liner. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F. Brush the crimped edge and the bottom of the shell with the beaten egg and then prick the bottom of the shell. Return the shell to the oven and continue to bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Set the baked shell aside until needed for final pie preparation. 

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Made in America: A Modern Collection of Classic Recipes by Colby and Megan Garrelts, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2015...Photo by Bonjwing Lee

Indulgence for Paleos, Upside Down Apple Tartlets, Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry

Indulging for Paleos courtesy of Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2013) by Elana Amsterdam 

Upside-Down Apple Tartlets

Serves 8  Sweetness: Medium  


2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla crème stevia


6 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup apple juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Upside-Down Apple Tartlets

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place eight 1-cup wide-mouth Mason jars on a large baking sheet.

To make the crust, pulse together the almond flour and salt in a food processor. Add the coconut oil and stevia and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, place the apples, apple juice, lemon juice, arrowroot powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Transfer the apples to the Mason jars so that each one is overfull. Divide the remaining juice from the bottom of the bowl between the jars.

Remove the dough from the freezer, place between 2 pieces of parchment paper generously dusted with almond flour, and roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Using the top 
of a wide-mouth Mason jar, cut out 
8 circles of dough and place one on
 top of each apple-filled Mason jar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Serve the tartlets hot out of the oven.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Makes 1 Cup  Sweetness: Low

This dairy-free whipped cream recipe calls for full-fat canned coconut milk. The fat is what makes the recipe creamy and luscious; light coconut milk won’t work and results in a watery mess. Serve over Upside-Down Apple Tartlets (page 101) or Peach Cherry Crisp (page 98). See photo on page 100.

1 (13-ounce) can Thai Kitchen coconut milk

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 drops vanilla crème stevia

Pinch of sea salt

Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before making the whipped cream, so it is well chilled. Chill a metal bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Take the coconut milk out of the refrigerator and remove the lid. Gently scoop out the coconut fat, placing it in the chilled bowl. Pour the remaining liquid into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator, saving it for another use.

Using a handheld blender, whip the coconut milk fat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Whip in the honey, vanilla extract, stevia, and salt.

Use right away or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

 (* Recipe reproduced with permission from Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry, by Elana Amsterdam -Ten Speed Press, 2013- Photo by Leigh Beisch)

Overripe Bananas get Banana Bundt treatment thanks to Let Them Eat Cake

After Lemon Chiffon Strawberry Cake,  we go a simpler road with this second recipe from  Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015) by Gesine Bullock-Prado...

Over ripe bananas get Bundt treatment.


{Makes One 9-Inch (23-cm) Bundt Cake}

We all know that overripe bananas left lingering on the counter mean banana bread (or fruit flies) can’t be far behind. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill banana bread, because that has never tasted this good.

Bake it in a Bundt pan and you’ve got something more extraordinary than you would expect from an
ordinary banana bread.


For the Cake:

2 cups (460 g) food-processor-pureed banana (from about 4 large brown-ripe bananas)
1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, very soft
½ cup (120 ml) canola oil
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup (120 ml) pineapple juice or orange juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks and refrigerated

To Finish

¼ cup (25 g) confectioners’ sugar

Banana Bundt Cake


For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a 9-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the banana, butter, oil, both sugars, the pineapple juice, vinegar, and vanilla. Pulse until smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt for 30 seconds to evenly distribute the leavening. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and pulse until combined.

Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the whipped cream. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the quickbread springs back when gently poked, 45 to 50 minutes. Release from the pan while warm and let cool completely.

To Finish

Sift confectioners’ sugar over the cooled Bundt.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations -Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015- by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Photos by Tina Rupp)

Sweet and Bright, Dazzle Your Valentine with Lemon Chiffon Strawberry Cake' by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Want to dazzle your Valentine? Here's a recipe that will make her/him melt, from Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015) by Gesine Bullock-Prado...


{Makes one 12-inch-long (30.5-cm-long) rectangular cake}

This cake is springtime in your mouth. The combination of strawberries and lemon is sweet and bright, and there’s just enough mint in the pastry cream to refresh without overwhelming the fruit. The almond paste that drapes over this cake adds a richness and balance with every bite. Everything in this cake works in symmetry, so why not build the cake to look symmetrical? I did and it’s gorgeous.


For the Mint and Almond Pastry Cream 

¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
3 large fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup (65 g) sugar
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon almond extract

For the Strawberry Coulis

¼ cup (50 g) finely chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Lemon Chiffon Cake 

4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
½ cup (120 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons organic grapeseed oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup (120 g) pastry flour
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

To Finish

3 cups (720 ml) cold heavy cream
1 pound (455 g) small strawberries, hulled (about 30)
7 ounces (200 g) almond paste
A few fresh mint leaves

Lemon Chiffon Strawberry Cake


Make the mint and almond pastry cream:

Combine the milk, cream, and mint in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk until the mixture ribbons thickly. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the while so that the eggs don’t curdle. Continue whisking until smooth.

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Remove from the heat and add the butter and almond extract, whisking until combined. Pour the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 hours.

Make the Strawberry Coulis:

In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice and simmer over low heat until the strawberries are very soft and all the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the coulis to a blender and process until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until cool, about 30 minutes.

Make the Lemon Chiffon Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, oil, and lemon zest. Sift the flour, ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt over the egg yolk mixture and whisk until
very smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on high until the egg whites turn white and increase slightly in volume.

With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar and continue whisking on high speed until you achieve smooth, stiff peaks (don't whisk so much that they become dry and chunky). Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until a smooth batter forms and no white streaks remain.

Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet pan and gently spread it into an even layer with a large offset spatula. Bake until the cake gently springs back when gently poked and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake to fully release it. Place a piece of parchment on top of the cake and place a second sheet pan on top of that parchment. Flip the cake and turn the cake out onto the second sheet pan. Cut the cake into three long, even strips, 5⅓ by 12 inches (13.5 by 30.5 cm).

To Finish:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Whisk one third of the whipped cream into the pastry cream. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the pastry cream. Transfer the lightened pastry cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.

Place a strip of cake on a cake platter. Place 15 strawberries hulled side down onto the cake. Pipe half of the lightened pastry cream in between and over the strawberries, using a small offset to smooth the cream over the strawberries. Place a second layer of cake atop the cream-laced strawberries and arrange the remaining 15 strawberries atop the second layer. Pipe the remaining pastry cream among the strawberries and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Place the final layer of cake on top and place in the freezer to set, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, roll out the almond paste to measure slightly larger than 5⅓ by 12 inches (13.5 by 30.5 cm) and punch a random pattern of hearts into the almond paste using a 2-inch (5-cm) heart cookie cutter.

Once the cake has set (test the cream to see if it feels very firm; it should not be fully frozen),
remove from the freezer. Place the almond paste sheet on top of the cake. Dip a very sharp
serrated knife into hot water and wipe dry. Trim the sides of the cake, gently sawing to keep the
cream from spurting out the sides of the cake. The firmer the cake is, the cleaner the trimmed
sides will be, but it will be much harder to cut. So take your time in your gentle sawing and keep
the knife hot and clean throughout the process.

Gently spoon the coulis into the holes in the almond paste. Serve immediately or cover the sides of the cake with parchment, cover with plastic wrap to keep the cake moist. Keep refrigerated.

If you want the Vegan or Gluten Free version of this recipe email us.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations -Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015- by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Photos by Tina Rupp)

Spiced and Moist, Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala from 'World Spice at Home'

Add a little je ne sais quoi to dessert with spiced and moist cake from World Spice at Home : New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes (Sasquatch Books, September 2014) by Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne

Amanda Bevill, is also the head spice girl at World Spice in Seattle's Pike Place Market.

Moist Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala

Sometimes change is good—and in this case the flavor is what’s new. Fans have deemed this the best carrot cake they’ve ever had! Serving a favorite dessert that is known and loved, like carrot cake, with a new twist is the joy of exploring with spice. Kashmiri garam masala lends roasted spice flavors of pepper, cardamom, and clove to this classic preparation, and the coconut oil adds wonderful moisture and a velvety texture.

Makes One 9-inch Layer Cake

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground Kashmiri garam masala
4 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1½ cups coconut oil, melted
3 cups grated carrots
1½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans, plus more for garnish

For the frosting:

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Carrot Cake Kashmiri

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with greased parchment paper.

To make the cake, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and garam masala.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars. Add the melted coconut oil and whisk 1 minute more. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Fill the cake pans with equal portions of the batter and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back to a light touch. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with an electric mixer), beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue mixing until the frosting is thick and smooth. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little milk if it is too stiff, or more sugar if it is too runny.

We recommend a rustic presentation for this cake, so frost only between the layers and on top, leaving the beautiful colors and texture visible on the sides.

Garnish with chopped nuts and serve.

(*(c)2014 By Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne. All rights reserved. Excerpted from World Spice at Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes by permission of Sasquatch Books. Photography by Charity Burggraaf)

What's for Dessert, Wonderful Flan with Cinnamon Accents from 'Mexican Flavors'

What's for dessert?

Wonderful flan with cinnamon accents from Mexican FlavorsContemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel (Andrews McMeel, August 2014) by Hugh Carpenter, Teri Sandison.

Flan with Cinnamon Accents

Makes twelve 4-ounce ramekins

This wonderful flan is based on a recipe that San Miguel de Allende pastry chef Paco Cardenas taught our cooking class. You can make the flan 24 hours in advance, and then unmold it before dinner guests arrive. Serve it chilled, by itself or with fresh berries.

1 ½ cups sugar
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces, at room temperature
2 cups whole milk
1 cup condensed milk
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh berries and/or raspberries or strawberries (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir the sugar.

Heat until the sugar turns a caramel color around the edges of the saucepan. Then stir the sugar. Continue stirring until all the sugar melts and turns a caramel color without any grainy texture.

Pour the sauce into the bottoms of twelve 4-ounce ramekins. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
In a blender, place the cream cheese, milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Puree until liquefied. Pour into the ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, and carefully add hot tap water to a depth of 1 inch. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven, and bake the flans for 40 to 45 minutes. They are done when you gently shake a ramekin and the custard does not wobble. Remove the pan from the oven. When cool enough to handle, remove the ramekins from the water bath. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

To serve, run a paring knife around the inside of each ramekin to help loosen the flan. Pour 1 inch of water into a 12-inch frying pan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Dip each ramekin into the water for 15 seconds to loosen the flan. Then invert onto a serving plate. This can be done 24 hours in advance of serving, with the flans kept refrigerated. Just before serving, add fresh berries outside of each ramekin.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Mexican FlavorsContemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel -Andrews McMeel, August 2014- by Hugh Carpenter, Photographs by Teri Sandison)