Ravani

Cakes, Food Hoarding Confessions, Unfussy

This tasty and simple cake is based on a recipe by husband’s late aunt. It is an excellent use of that Cream of Wheat sitting in the pantry.

Syrup:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Cake:

  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups farina (Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Make Syrup Ahead: Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and reduce for 10 minutes. Cool.

For Cake: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs and melted butter together with a whisk until well-mixed – about 5 minutes. Add farina, flour, sugar, baking powder and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until firm in the center.

Slowly pour the cool syrup over the hot Ravani. Let cool completely before cutting.

Blueberry Buckle

Cakes, Unfussy

It’s never a bad time to make blueberry buckle. My mother-in-law makes this in the summer with freshly picked wild blueberries from New Hampshire, which is hard to beat.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×9″ square pan.

Cream butter and sugar together until light. Add egg and beat to mix well.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk. Fold in blueberries.

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over cake.

Bake for 35-40 minutes if using fresh blueberries, and up to 60 minutes if using frozen blueberries – until lightly browned and done in the middle.

Homebakers Collective March Challenge:

A little bit fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge, Pie

Pie Challenge: Raspberry Lemon Chess Pie

This is an optimistic pie. Dedicated to my preggo sister.

Check out the other baker’s pies on: https://homebakerscollective.com/2020/03/31/march-challenge-a-pie-to-say-goodbye-to-winter/

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 60g lard, cut into tablespoons
  • 5 TBSP ice water

Raspberry Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Chess Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Fancy Pants Pie Decoration:

  • powdered sugar
  • freeze dried raspberries

Make crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 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. Turn out onto work surface and work dough together until it forms a ball.
Roll out between sheets of wax paper.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with dough, prick with a fork and freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Partially Bake Pie Crust: Line the frozen pie dough with foil, fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and remove foil.

Make Raspberry Filling: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes, breaking down raspberries with a spoon if necessary. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and press through to remove raspberry seeds. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of strained filling (no seeds) for decorating on top if desired. Then, if desired, add back in about 2 tablespoons of seeds to the rest of the raspberry filling for texture. Chill until ready to use.

Make Chess Filling: Combine sugar, cream, butter, eggs, egg yolks, cornmeal, lemon zest and lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 7 minutes. Whisk in vanilla.

Spread chilled raspberry filling in the prepared pie shell. Pour thickened chess pie filling over raspberry. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the filling has set in the center and is just starting to brown.

Let pie cool completely.

For Plaid Design: Cut several 2″ strips of paper. Place paper on chilled pie, leaving 2″ between strips. Dust with powdered sugar. Remove strips. Place paper strips across the pie perpendicular to the white stripes. Combine equal weights of powdered sugar and powdered freeze dried raspberries (pulverized in blender or food processor). Sift over pie to create the pink stripes. Dust the sugar off of the exposed pie crust with a pastry brush. Place reserved raspberry filling in a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe one raspberry stripe along the side of every pink stripe and two raspberry stripes along the side of every white stripes. Chill until ready to serve.

Oat Scones

Breakfast, Unfussy

I keep making these scones. They seem to be what everyone in my house needs for breakfast right now. They are not too sweet.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicon mat.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl or food processor. Add butter and work by hand or pulse in the food processor until the butter pieces are the size of peas or a little smaller. If using food processor, transfer mixture to a medium bowl at this point. Add brown sugar and oats and stir to combine. Pour in buttermilk and fold until the dough is moistened well but do not over-mix. Dump dough onto prepared baking sheet.

Gently pat the dough together, fold in half, pat together again and fold in half again. Pat the dough into a 10 inch circle, about 3/4″ tall, in the center of the baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle liberally with sugar, and a few oats. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges apart to separate them by about an inch or so.

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Green Olive & Preserved Lemon Breadsticks

Bread, Unfussy

I love the combination of green olives and preserved lemons. If you can get your hands on some Goya brand canned anchovy stuffed green olives you should do so- they are little flavor bombs without being super salty like many green olives. Preserved lemons are easy to make if you have the time and they last forever.

Preserved Lemon Recipe: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_preserved_lemons/

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 325 ml lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup preserved lemon, diced (about half of a lemon)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir. Add water and mix for 5 minutes.

Combine olives, lemon and remaining 1/2 cup flour and add to mixer. Stir until incorporated, another 5 minutes.

Rub olive oil in a clean bowl. Turn dough into greased bowl and flip over to coat the top with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly flour counter. Grease or line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Turn dough onto counter and pat gently into a 7×7” square, or thereabouts. With a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 12 strips, twisting slightly and laying on prepared baking sheets about 2″ apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Chocolate Black Sesame Rugelach

A little bit fussy, Cookies, Food Hoarding Confessions

A little leftover hand pie dough, black sesame paste from my freezer, and a bar of chocolate with almonds all found each other today.

Dough

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator
  • 1 stick butter, straight from the refrigerator
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Black Sesame and Chocolate Filling

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (with or without almonds), chopped

1 beaten egg and coarse sugar for topping

For the dough: Cut the cream cheese and butter into cubes. Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor and blend. Toss in cream cheese and butter. Pulse until the dough comes together – check it by taking the lid of and pinching some dough – if it sticks together it is ready.

Divide dough into two pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

For the filling: Toast sesame seeds in a small skillet. Let cool completely. In a food processor or blender, combine cooled sesame seeds, butter and sugar. Process into a paste.

Chop chocolate into small pieces and set aside.

When ready to assemble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil (these will leak a bit).

Divide the dough into two. One at a time, roll out on lightly floured surface to about a 10-inch circle. Spread 1/2 of black sesame paste onto one circle and sprinkle half the chopped chocolate on top.

Cut the circle into 16 pieces, like a pizza, first in half, then quarters, then into eighths, etc… Roll up each triangle starting with the fat end of the triangle. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

If desired, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Cookies, Unfussy

These are chewy, rich and delicious. The brown butter is key.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with a foil sling (leave foil overhanging out of the pan to make removing the bars easier). Lightly grease the foil.

Combine flour, oats, soda and salt in a medium bowl. Place butterscotch chips in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until the butter is brown and nutty – this could take up to 15 minutes or so. Pour browned butter over the butterscotch chips, scraping all the brown bits at the bottom of the saucepan and including them too. Whisk until butterscotch chips are melted. Whisk in brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth evenly.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the edges are brown and the center is just firm.

Let cook completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares.

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

Pots De Creme

Unfussy

It’s hard to beat Pots de Creme, and this recipe is quite simple to whip up using your blender. The flavor really depends on the chocolate you use, so choose your own adventure in terms of bittersweet or semisweet.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 11 oz good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Place egg yolks in the blender and mix well.

Combine heavy cream, half and half, salt and chocolate in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts and the mixture becomes uniform and thick.

Remove from heat and stir in the espresso powder and vanilla.

With blender running, pour in the chocolate mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream. Blend until well mixed.

Pour into ramekins and chill at least 4 hours.

Top with sweetened whipped cream.

Homebakers Collective February Challenge:

Cookies, Fussy, Homebakers Collective Challenge

What Kind of Macaron Are You?

Blackberry Mint Macarons

Tangy, sweet and fresh – just like yours truly.

Fresh ‘n Tart Blackberry Mint Jam:

  • 1 pint fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh mint

Fresh Mint Macarons:

  • 200g almond flour
  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 150ml egg whites, room temperature, divided
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 60 ml water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, crushing blackberries with a fork or spoon as they start releasing their juices. Cook for 15 minutes, until thick. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Strain using a mesh strainer to remove most of the seeds. I like to add 1 TBSP of the seeds back into the smooth mixture and discard the rest. Refrigerate.

Line 3 baking sheets with silicon mats (preferred) or parchment. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip.

Whisk the almond flour and powdered sugar to combine. Press through a fine mesh strainer, into a large bowl, using your fingers or a rubber spatula to work it through.

Place 75 ml of egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer. Put the other 75 ml into the bowl of almond flour and stir with a rubber spatula until it is a smooth, thick paste. Let sit.

In a small saucepan, combine water and granulated sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Swirl pan gently to dissolve the sugar. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until syrup reaches 245 degrees. Meanwhile, whip egg whites in stand mixer on medium speed until they reach medium peaks. When the syrup has reached temperature, pour it slowly down the side of the stand mixer bowl while mixer is running. Once all syrup has been incorporated, increase mixer to high and beat until the meringue is stiff and has cooled to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Add the cooled meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and flows off the spatula easily. Mix in the fresh mint until well combined.

Fill pastry bag with half the mixture and pipe onto prepared baking sheets in 2″ rounds, leaving space between them as they will spread. Once the cookie sheet is full, drop it onto the counter from about 12″ high to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter. Continue piping rounds until all the mixture is used.

Set the cookie sheets aside until the macaron batter dries and forms a skin – when pressed lightly with a fingertip the batter will be dry, not tacky.

When the macarons are dry, bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes, rotating pan at 6 minutes, until they are firm but are still pale.

Let cool completely before peeling off and matching.

Place all cream cheese filling ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping bowl if necessary. Do not over-whip.

Fit pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip and fill with frosting.

Match macaron shells

Stir 1 TBSP fresh mint into cooled blackberry jam.

Pipe a ring of cream cheese filling around the base of one macaron shell. Fill the center generously with blackberry mint jam. Top with second macaron shell, pressing down gently to seal. Repeat.

Place sandwiched macarons in an airtight container, or wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Blueberry Muffins

Breakfast, Muffins, Unfussy

I made these for an after school snack this week and then immediately made them again. The addition of coconut oil keeps the muffins nice and moist for a couple days, if they last that long. I like to add the blueberries with the flour to the mixer which helps them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin, and so some of the blueberries break down and get jammy up in there.

  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup triple-filtered coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Cream butter, coconut oil and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl in between. Add vanilla and mix.

Whisk nutmeg, flour, salt and baking powder together. Add blueberries to flour and toss to combine.

Add half of the flour/blueberry mixture to the mixer and mix briefly. Add the sour cream and mix. Add the remaining flour/blueberries and mix well. Give it a good stir with the spatula to make sure it is evenly mixed.

Divide batter among the 12-cups – each about 3/4 full.

Sprinkle a generous 1/2 tsp Turbinado sugar over each muffin.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, until the center of the muffins are just firm.