Steamed Persimmon Pudding (for Halloween)


“If you’ve been searching for a great persimmon pudding, search no more- this one is the best” – The Fanny Farmer Cookbook

  • 1 cup pureed persimmons (about 3, with skins removed)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP rum
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup raisins

Butter a 2-quart pudding mold thoroughly. Fill a stock pot with water, to reach halfway up the sides of the pudding mold and put a layer of Mason jar rings on the bottom. Let the water come to a simmer while assembling the pudding.

Combine the persimmon puree and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside. It will get quite stiff.

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, lemon juice, and rum and beat well. Add flour, cinnamon and salt and stir to blend. Beat in the persimmon mixture until well-mixed. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Spoon batter into the mold, cover with lid, and steam for 2 hours in simmering water.

Remove from pot, let rest for 5 minutes, turn onto serving plate. Serve warm with practically unsweetened whipped cream. (Tentacles optional)

Coffee Birthday Cake

Food Hoarding Confessions, Fussy

I make my birthday cake every year – it’s my favorite cake to make because no one gives me any guff for putting coffee or nuts or raisins in it. I went with coffee this year and used some freezer cake layers and bits of leftover chocolate as decoration. After decorating it, I immediately cut myself a piece and ate it with no fanfare. So there.

  • 2 layers white cake from freezer, cut in half (see passionfruit cheesecake recipe)
  • Coffee Diplomat:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 TBSP instant espresso powder
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 TBSP butter, room temperature, cut into TBSPs
  • 115g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 272g heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Bring milk to a simmer in medium saucepan. Add espresso powder and dissolve. Whisk yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in small bowl. Add milk, a little at a time to temper the egg yolks, them pour yolk mixture into saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until very thick, letting a few large bubbles pop before removing from heat. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, then whisk in butter until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface, and cool.

Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour in heavy cream, and beat until very stiff.

Whisk coffee cream until very smooth, then fold in whipped cream until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Chocolate Crumb:
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBS melted butter

Combine all ingredients except butter in the mixer and stir to blend. Add butter and stir until there are no dry spots left. Spread out crumbs on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring twice. Let cool.

  • Milk Chocolate Ganache:
  • 240g milk chocolate, chopped fine
  • 120g heavy cream
  • 1 TBSP instant espresso powder

Heat cream, add espresso powder to dissolve. Pour over milk chocolate and let sit 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let sit to room temperature. Whip with whisk attachment of mixer until light and fluffy.

Build cake: Put base layer in a 8″ cake pan. Spread 1/3 of the coffee diplomat and top with a layer of chocolate crumb on each of the layers, using acetate to build up past the top of the cake pan. Top with last cake layer. Frost with a crumb coat of ganache and refrigerate to set the ganache. Frost with remaining ganache and decorate as desired.

Note: This cake would be just as good as a naked cake – omit the ganache and serve with the layers showing.

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Chip Bars

Cookies, Unfussy

These little tasties are somewhere between a snack cake and a brownie. I make these every year and use some of that pesky whole wheat flour that is always sitting around. From King Arthur’s whole grain baking.

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 9x13i-inch pan with non-stick foil.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and stir over heat until sugar has melted and starting to bubble. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.

Beat in vanilla, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Stir in pumpkin, flour, cinnamon chips and raisins/nuts (if using). Mix thoroughly. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting.



I make popovers like they’re going out of style. Or maybe they DID go out of style, but I still make popovers? In any event, I make them in a standard muffin tin and they are an outstanding addition to any soup dinner. They must be enjoyed straight from the oven, so plan your meal accordingly. The fact that you don’t own a popover tin shouldn’t stop you – that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Makes 8 popovers

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • additional 1 TBSP butter for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin heavily with room temperature butter – you only need to grease 8.
Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until foamy. Blend in milk, butter and salt. Gradually sift flour into bowl, whisking constantly, until smooth. This can also be done in a blender, or with an immersion blender if your whisking skills aren’t top notch.
Fill 8 muffin tin slots with batter, 3/4 of the way full.
Bake for 40 minutes. Open oven, prick centers of popovers with sharp knife to let air escape, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Alert your family that dinner is ready.
Bring piping hot popovers to the table and be the star of your own very special story.

Overnight Waffles

Breakfast, Unfussy

I kept hearing about overnight waffles but I ignored them because I couldn’t be bothered to start breakfast on a Friday or Saturday night. But, I also couldn’t be bothered to whip egg whites (which most waffle recipes require) on a Saturday or Sunday morning, so we just never ate waffles. But, my curiosity got the best of me last weekend, so I said, “FINE, I’ll make overnight waffles”. And it really wasn’t bad at all.

To enter flavor country: Sprinkle chopped pecans on the batter before cooking. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 TBSP melted butter

Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in milk until blended. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Beat egg and melted butter into the batter.
Heat the waffle iron, spray with nonstick spray. Add enough batter to just fill the waffle iron and cook until crisp and brown.

Makes 8 waffles

This recipe is from Mollie Katzen

Real-Deal Apple Pie

A little bit fussy, Pie

I feel like posting this recipe is giving away a family secret and I feel guilty about it.

  • Crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 100g cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 100g cold or frozen lard -(real lard, from a butcher)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • Apple pie filling:
  • 6+ cups peeled and diced apples, (Jonathan is best)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 rounded TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Cinnamon sugar for top

Pulse flour, salt, butter, and lard in food processor until butter and lard are the size of peas. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add ice water and stir with a fork until incorporated.
Divide dough in half. One half at a time, roll out between sheets of wax paper. Fold the outsides of the dough in, to incorporate the dry edges and to help make a circle. Flip over and peel wax off several times during the rolling. Refrigerate until ready to use, stored in between the wax paper.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with one half of the dough. Reserve second half for the lid.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Mix all filling ingredients except butter together. Pour into pie shell. Cut butter into small chunks and dot all over top.

Place second pie crust on top. Seal and flute edges. Make your signature pie cuts on top, prick with fork all over, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, or until you see bubbles popping in the MIDDLE of the pie, through the slits. It may take longer.

Bakery-Style Pumpkin Muffins

Breakfast, Muffins, Unfussy

My mom always puts chopped dates in these muffins. When I was a child I thought the dates were gross. Now that I’m older and my palate has changed, I find that chopped dates in these muffins are still gross. So I leave them out.

This recipe makes SO many muffins – they not only have that bakery-quality taste, but you could actually fill an entire bakery case with them. You know how in some recipes there’s that issue of only using part of a can of pumpkin? Well, buckle up- this uses 2 whole cans of pumpkin. That’s right. Let’s just say you won’t be needing to get out that tiny tupperware (smug laughter).

You could probably halve this recipe, but I’ve never tried. Makes 12 GIANT muffins. Or 3 pumpkin loaves. Or so many regular size muffins you lost count.

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped dates (optional)
  • Streusel topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 giant muffin tins or 3 loaf pans or as many regular muffin tins as you have. Combine sugar, pumpkin and eggs in large bowl. Add oil and beat. Blend in flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Stir in dates if using. Fill prepared pans 3/4 full with batter.

Make streusel: In small bowl, combine all ingredients together, using fingertips to incorporate butter, pinching together streusel into small clumps. Top batter with streusel, pressing in slightly.

Bake until firm to touch.
Regular muffins: 20 minutes
Giant muffins: 30-35 minutes
Loaves: 45-60 minutes

Cornbread Skillet Cake

Food Hoarding Confessions

I have this problem throwing food away. My freezer can attest to this. I particularly like this recipe – it uses leftover cornbread, which is pretty much inedible after day one. It works for any meal- breakfast, dessert, or from first hand knowledge I know it makes a fine dinner accompanied by country ham and collard greens.

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups crumbled leftover cornbread
  • 1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to broil on low. Adjust oven rack to the second highest level. Whisk cream, eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar together in medium bowl. Crumble cornbread into mixture. Stir to combine well – it’s okay to have some clumps of cornbread still in tact.

Heat a non-stick, oven-proof 6″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 TBSP butter and swirl. Pour cornbread mixture into the skillet, cook for a minute or two. Using a heat-proof rubber spatula, push the sides toward the middle, to let the wet run underneath. Cook for another few minutes, until the edges have firmed.

Transfer skillet to the oven and broil on low for 5-10 minutes, until the center of the cake is set and golden brown.

Invert cake onto serving platter. Top with maple syrup and butter.

Recipe adapted from Hell’s Backbone Grill cookbook With a Measure of Grace

Passion Fruit (Cheese)Cake

Cakes, Fussy

I really thought I had moved on to fall baking, but then I came into some passion fruit puree, as one does (I saw it at the store, and I bought it). Luckily, one of the 43 cookbooks I have checked out from the library right now was a Sherry Yard cookbook that had a delicious looking passion fruit cheesecake. It uses a thin layer of white cake as a base, which I thought was interesting. Normally, I like my cheesecakes to be heavy on the cream cheese and baked until the cheesecake is on the dry side. This cheesecake is extremely creamy, not dry at all. But with the cake base (that comes out unscathed after being baked twice) it works beautifully. There were clean plates all around.

I suppose it’s a little crazy (safe space) to bake an entire cake just to stick most of it in the freezer for another time. But, if you’re like me, you don’t mind having cake layers in the freezer. You could make this with a graham cracker or cookie crust if you’re not as party as me.

  • Buttermilk White Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3 oz white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease, flour, and line with parchment two 8″ round cake pans and one 9″ round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50-percent power, or in a bowl over simmering water.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Whisk a little of the butter/sugar into the white chocolate to blend. Add back to bowl and beat on low speed. Add egg yolks in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
On low speed, add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating, in 4 additions.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually and beat until stiff and glossy. Fold egg whites into batter in 2 additions.
Scrape batter into prepared pans – a thinner layer of batter into the 9″ pan (about 1/2 inch deep). Divide remaining batter between the two 8″ pans.
Bake the 9″ cake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Bake 8″ cakes for 30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Cool cakes in pans.
Wrap the two 8″ rounds in wax paper and foil and freeze for another happy day.

  • Passion Fruit Cheesecake:
  • 1 1/2 cups passion fruit puree
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 8″ round springform pan. Using the 8″ base, cut the 9″ cake round to fit and place inside. Wrap pan tightly in foil.

Place 1 cup passion fruit puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to 1/2 cup, stirring regularly and remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup puree.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, scraping the bowl as necessary, blend cream cheese and sugar on low speed, do not beat. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, blending well. Add sour cream and blend. Add the passion fruit puree in a slow stream with mixer still on low speed.

Pour into prepared pan. Place cheesecake pan into a larger cake pan or roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour, until the cheesecake is set. Remove from water bath, cool, and chill.

  • For the Passion Fruit Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup water (plus 2 TBSP for gelatin)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fruit puree
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 pkg gelatin

Soften gelatin in 2 TBS water. Combine 1/4 water and sugar over low heat, stir to dissolve. Stir in puree and lemon juice. Remove from heat. Add softened gelatin and stir until completely melted. Cool until thickened slightly, but still pourable.

Top cheesecake with passion fruit glaze. Chill to set. Unmold and top with fresh passion fruit to serve.

Apple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

A little bit fussy, Cakes

I just found this recipe in my recipe box. I made it for my grandmother about 15 years ago and she claimed it “a keeper”. It was an excellent use of the saddest apples you’ve ever seen – from one of the apple trees on my parent’s farm that I stuck in the fridge and forgot about for a little too long. The frosting is a classic American buttercream, but with the addition of a butterscotch you whip up ahead of time, which deepens the flavor. Pay no attention to the brittle on the top – that was just leftover in my freezer and needed a home.

  • For the cake:
  • 1 pound peeled and diced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 TBSP brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs

Combine apples and water in a saucepan, simmer until tender – about 20 minutes. Process until smooth. Measure 1 1/4 cup apple puree. Reserve any extra for another use. Cool.

Butter and flour three 8″ cake pans.

Sift together flour, soda, and spices.

Beat sugar, butter, brandy, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the apple puree, then remaining flour mixture.

Divide among pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


  • Brown Sugar Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter

Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat, boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream. Cool.

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until well-blended. Beat in cooled brown sugar mixture, adding more powdered sugar or more cream to reach desired consistency.

Fill and frost cake. Dust with cinnamon sugar.