Tag Archives: dessert

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Apples from Heaven

One of the joys of fall cooking is the abundance of apples. Local apples abound in Missoula for the next month or two:  Macintosh, Transparents, Ruby Reds, Sweet Sixteens, Pink Ladys, and Honey Crisp to name a few. Apples, of course, are well suited for sauce, cider, and pie. One of my favorite apple dishes is the tart recipe below. Simple and tasty, the tart makes a wonderful finish to any autumn dinner or the perfect breakfast treat.

Apple Tart

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients for crust:

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup butter

1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for apple filling:

2 lbs (4-5 larges) apples – any variety will do and a mix of varieties works well

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons sugar

½ cup raisins, dried cherries, or dried cranberries

2 tablespoons corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter, chilled and diced

Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Once the flour and butter resembles fine crumbs, add the beaten egg. Mix only until the dough begins to stick together. If the dough is too dry, add drops of water until it holds together. Place in a sheet of wax paper, press together lightly, and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Once the dough has chilled, remove from the wax paper and use your hands to press into a 9-inch tart or pie pan.crust

While the tart crust dough is chilling, make the apple filling. Quarter and core the apples. You may leave the peel on the apples. Coarsely grate the apples then mix with the cinnamon, sugar, and dried fruit.ingredients-1

Place in the tart shell and smooth out.fill

pitter-patterSpoon the corn syrup over the filling, and then dot the filling with the diced butter.prebake

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and eat warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 6 – 8.done-tartplated-1

Celebrating the seasons in your recipe rolodex

Try as I might, I have not yet mastered the art of food preserving to the point that I can eat much of my garden-fresh or local produce all winter long. But I’m ok with that, because it gives me all the more reason to celebrate when certain types of produce come into season.

For example, asparagus-season comes in late spring/early summer and it’s the only time I’ll make some asparagus soup – one of my favorites (I haven’t landed on my favorite version of asparagus soup yet, but I usually make some sort of variation of these Epicurious and Food Network recipes).

Proof of my moussaka leftovers!
Proof of my moussaka leftovers!

When eggplants start rolling in I love baking batches of moussaka, which is a sort of Greek casserole starring eggplant, ground meat, and a bechamel sauce. I don’t know what a traditional moussaka recipe looks like, but I found I enjoy this one from All Recipes. (In fact, I’m actually eating leftover moussaka for lunch as I write this blog post).

 

And now is the time of year that a barrage of plums are ready for eating – which signals it’s time for plum cake (in addition to many batches of plum butter, plum jam, and an experiment for this year – Asian plum sauce). If you don’t have plum trees in your yard, look for gleaning opportunities around Missoula so you can get your hands on some. Local plums are also available at the farmers’ market and in some grocery stores.

Apparently the recipe I use is a famous plum cake recipe, but I only found it last year on the Smitten Kitchen blog when I was for new ideas for my backyard plums. Maybe you already know this recipe, but I’m sure glad I found it because the cake is quite delicious. Lots of butter, sugar, egg, and, of course, plums. I also like to swirl the batter with plum butter that I always have left over from last year’s canning escapades.

mmmmm plum cake
mmmmm plum cake

Season-celebrating recipes are a newer thing for me, so asparagus soup, moussaka, plum cake, and pumpkin pie are the only recipes in my repertoire so far. Please share some of your favorite seasonal recipes in the comments below!

And for more advice than I can give on preserving your garden’s bounty, be sure to check out these recent blog posts:

Falling for Autumn

Rachel Mockler 2015This week we have a treat (both literally and figuratively) in store. Rachel Mockler is a home chef who creates masterpieces to feast your eyes on (she takes a lot of photos of her food) and those lucky enough to share her table get to feast with their mouths, too. While getting her Masters’ from U of M’s Environmental Studies Program, she worked at the Buttercup Market and Cafe, creating seasonal fare for Missoula. She also interned a summer at the PEAS Farm, and wrote many a blog post for the Real Dirt in her grad days as well. Plus, she is punny. Really really punny. Enjoy, friends.  I’ll be back next week with more on the upcoming fall vegetables. . . A weighty and wonderful time of year.

There is a little dusting of snow on the mountains surrounding Missoula and there is a crispness in the air heralding the approach of fall…But, there is also a warmth in the breeze reminding us that summer is still here at least until September 20th…

There is also a mix of produce at the farmers market, in your CSA, or (and?) in your garden, marking the final days of hot weather crops such as peppers, cucumbers, melons, and basil.  Yes, apples, winter squash, potatoes, are creeping into the mix, and making us think of the days ahead — I’m trying to get into the idea of of making a hearty soup and bundling up indoors. However,  I myself am a true summer lover — my friends will tell you, I crave warmth and sun.  So I’m paying tribute to this summer bounty with this easy recipe. It’s been an incredibly productive summer.  This recipe makes use of the remaining Dixon melons, heirloom tomatoes, and basil, before we have to wait an entire year for this taste of summer.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon Gazpacho

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 small sugar baby watermelon (or 5 c. watermelon puree)
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes (or 4 c. tomato puree)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 c. loosely packed basil
  • 1 c. lime juice
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

How to:

1. Roughly chop the watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil and add to blender.

2. Add lime juice to fruits and vegetables in blender and whir to desired consistency.

3. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper, to taste.

4. Enjoy the last taste of summer!

Even though I am not looking forward to winter, I am quite excited about the excellent fruit year we are having in this cool weather — all of it that is available right now.  One of my favorite cakes to bake is this not-so-terrible sweet lemon almond cake. What takes it to the next level is a garnishing of juicy pears baked atop of it.  Although almonds are perhaps not the best nut to be eating right now because of California’s drought crisis, this recipe only uses a few almonds.  This cake is best served warm, perhaps with a scoop of ice cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, or a lemony glaze, if you so desire.

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Lemon Almond Cake with Pears

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ c soy milk or other milk alternative
  • 2 Tbsp flax meal
  • ¾ c oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1-2 pears, sliced
  • Sliced almonds (optional)

How to:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

3) In another large bowl, mix together soy milk, apple cider vinegar, and flax meal.  Mix well.  Add oil, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest.

4) Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

5) Pour batter into a greased and floured 9” round cake pan.

6) Garnish with sliced pears and almonds.

7) Bake cake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

8) Enjoy!