Rum Pie with Coconut Crust and Shaved Chocolate
Serves 8-12

2 cups shredded coconut (the sweetened kind)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cold water
2 eggs
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark rum (such as Myers)
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine butter and coconut, mixing well. Press evenly into a 9-inch pie plate to form a crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown, covering edges of the crust with foil if they brown more quickly than the bottom (they most likely will). Let crust cool completely on a wire rack while you make the filling.

In a medium, heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water to soften. Place bowl over pan of simmering water and heat gently, stirring, until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until very thick and creamy — when the beaters are lifted, the mixture should fold back onto itself like a ribbon.

Add rum and gelatin to egg mixture, stirring well. Set bowl in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, until mixture is thickened (if it has separated, don’t worry, just stir to combine it again).

Whip cream until soft peaks form and fold into egg/rum mixture. Pour into coconut crust and chill for at least 3 hours, until set.

Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate curls; scatter evenly over the top of the pie. Place pie over a warm burner on the stove for a few seconds to loosen the crust slightly before cutting with a sharp knife.


Beach Pea Bakery’s Cowgirl Cookies

2 1/2 tablespoons crushed pineapple (I used apricot jam)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 cups evaporated cane sugar (I used light brown sugar, loosely packed)

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded coconut

Combine all dry ingredients except the sugar in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine the chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut.

In a mixer, cream the butter until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the pineapple puree and mix on medium speed until combined.

Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the sugar. Mix together on speed one, stop and scrape down the bowl again, then continue mixing on medium.

Add the eggs and vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl, and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Pulse the mixer on low until the dough begins to come together. Stop and scrape down the bowl, add the chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut, and mix again to incorporate (Because there was a lot of dough,I had to take the bowl off the mixer stand and do this by hand.)

With a large spoon or ice cream scoop, portion the cookie dough onto a sheet pan, leaving enough space for the cookies to double in size.  Gently flatten the dough with the heel of your hand for consistent baking.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are light brown. Cool on a cooling rack.

Makes about three dozen.

From “Artisan Breads, Pastries, Cookies and Desserts” – the Beach Pea Bakery cookbook – by Thomas and Mariah Roberts


Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

First, make the Pate Sucree (French for sweet tart pastry):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse several times just to blend. Add the bits of cold butter and pulse until the largest pieces of the mixture are about the size of the fat peas. Add the egg yolks and pulse two or three times, just until the mixture looks moist and crumbly and comes together in a clump when you squeeze it. Don’t overwork it.

Flour your fingers and press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 10 to 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are just coloring and the bottom is beginning to cook. Remove the liner and weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Let the shell cool while you make the filling.

4 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

5 or 6 medium-sized pears (Anjou or Bartlett), ripe but still firm

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400. Scatter the chopped chocolate evenly over the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Peel and halve the pears, the core them using a melon baller to scoop out just the round seed area. Place one pear half, cut-side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice the pear into very thin slices horizontally, keeping the shape intact. Gently press hour hand down upon the curve, fanning the slices back towards the wide end of the pear, like dominos. Slide a butter knife under the sliced pear half and transfer it to the tart shell, with the narrow end facing the center. Repeat this process with the other pear halves until the tart shell is full, but don’t crowd it; any space between the fanned pear halves will be filled with the custard.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, 3/4 cup sugar and the vanilla seeds or extract. Add the cream and whisk to combine. Pour this custard over the pears, being careful not to overfill it (you may have some custard left over). Sprinkle the tart with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and put the tart on a baking sheet.

Bake the tart for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and continue baking until the custard is just set in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes more. Allow tart to cool completely before slicing.

From “In The Sweet Kitchen” by Regan Daley


Chocolate Angel Pie

Chocolate Angel Pie

2 egg whites

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I much prefer pecans)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 4-oz package sweet baking chocolate (my mom always uses Bakers brand)

3 tbsp. water

1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy throughout. Add sugar, 2 tbsp. at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Then continue beating until mixture will stand in very stiff peaks. Fold in nuts and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Spoon mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass or ceramic pie pan and make a nest-like shell, building up the sides about 1/2 inch above the rim of the dish.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm but not browned. Cool.

For filling: Place chocolate and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cool until thickened, then add 1 tsp. vanilla. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold in chocolate mixture. Pile into the cooled shell and chill about 2 hours before serving.


Pecan Snowballs

Makes 48 cookies

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and  1/4 cup of the sugar. Using an electric beater at medium speed, beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

3. Put the pecans and 1 tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Chop until nuts are very fine, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt and pulse to combine.

4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Using electric beaters at low speed, beat until combined. The dough will be crumbly.

5. To form cookies, press the dough into the bowl of a teaspoon, packing it firmly. To get the dough out of the spoon, tap the spoon on the baking sheet. Place the shaped dough on the prepared sheets, flat side down, at 1-inch intervals. Bake until golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

6. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Toss the warm cookies with the sugar, no more than 5 cookies at a time. Remove the coated cookies to a plate and let cool.

From “You Can Trust A Skinny Cook” by Allison Fishman


Pear Pandowdy

Serves 6

4 Bartlett pears (our market didn’t have them so I used a combination of Anjou and Bosc)

2 Golden Delicious apples (I used Granny Smiths)

3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

7 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (Nigella’s recipe calls for 5 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, but I don’t keep Crisco in the house so used all butter.)

1/2 cup cold whole milk

Preheat the oven to 400.

Peel the pears and apples, then quarter them, slice out the cores, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, dropping them into a bowl as you go.

Using a cast-iron skillet or other frying pan that can go into the oven later, melt the 3 tablespoons soft butter over medium heat, then add the fruit, sugar and lemon zest and cook over a lowish heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, by which time some of the fruit will have begun to caramelize gently. Take off the heat while you get on with the pastry.

Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the flat paddle; add the very cold cubed butter and slowly mix to cut the flat into the flour. Still with the motor running and the paddle running slowly, add the milk a little at a time, just so that the dough binds, then remove from the bowl, squish it together with your hands, and drop it into a lightly floured surface ready to roll out.

Bring the pan of cooked fruit nearby (but not so near as to warm the dough), and roll out the dough until you have a rough circle about the diameter of the skillet. Drape the dough circle on top of the fruit, tucking in the edges a bit, and remember that the ramshackle look of this is the whole point. Make 3 slashes with the tip of a sharp knife, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and bake for 25 minutes – until the crust turns a pale golden color.

Remember that the handle will be searingly hot when you take it out of the oven. This can be reheated nicely – we put it in the warm but turned-off  oven after the lasagna came out.

Adapted from Nigella Kitchen.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake (Photo by Susan)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

Makes a 9X13-inch cake

1 1/

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

½ teaspoon bourbon, Scotch or favorite liquor (I used bourbon; you could substitute vanilla extract)

1 ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats (use the old-fashioned kind for best texture)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¾ cups granulated sugar

1 ¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light; dark will give you a more molasses-y flavor)

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 and position a rack in the center. Butter (I use Baker’s Joy) the sides and bottom  of a 9X13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Heat 1 ¼ cups water to boiling.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss them with the bourbon until covered. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons flour over the chips and toss again until covered. This will keep them from settling at the bottom of the cake during baking. Set aside.

Place the oats and cubed butter in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oat mixture, wait 30 seconds, and stir to moisten all the oats and melt the butter. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon until well combined. Fold in the cooled oatmeal and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the remaining flour and then the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting. (I waited about 10!)

The Baked boys’ recipe includes an optional cream cheese frosting. I don’t want to cheat you, so if you want more sweetness (and calories!) here it is:

Beat 5 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter with a mixer until creamy. Add 5 ½ ounces softened cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted and ¾ teaspoon vanilla, beat until well combined. Spread over the top of cooled cake.

Recipe from “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010)


King Cake

Makes 2 cakes

1-16 oz. container sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 teas. salt

2 envelopes dry yeast (I use rapid-rise because I am usually impatient!)

1/2 cup warm water

1 tbsp. sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 teas. cinnamon

Glaze (recipe follows)

purple, green and gold sugar for sprinkling

Place first four ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside and cool until mixture is 100-110 degrees.

In a glass measuring cup, combine warm water, 1 tbsp. sugar and yeast. Let stand for five minutes – it should puff up as the yeast is activated.

Scrape the sour cream mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture, eggs and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic – adding more flour if necessary (This will take 5-10 mins., depending on your kneading skill). Grease a bowl generously with butter, place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat it, cover the bowl with a dishtowel and place in a warm spot for 45 mins. to an hour or until it has doubled in bulk. (Tip: I use my oven for this, I turn it on to 200 for a few minutes while I’m kneading the dough, then turn it off before I put the dough in.)

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll one piece into a rectangle, 22 x 12; spread with half the softened butter and sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, jelly-roll style and form into an oval shape, pinching to seal the ends. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and cover with a clean dishtowel while you repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

Let the cakes rise again in a warm place for 20 mins., or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 375 and bake the cakes, switching shelf positions if necessary, for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown (be careful not to over-bake them).

Let the cakes cool on the pans for 10 minutes before removing them carefully to a wire rack. Ice immediately with the glaze and sprinkle with the sugars in alternating, wide bands of the three colors. Let cool before slicing (always the hard part!)

Glaze: (make this while the cakes are baking)

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 teas. vanilla

2-4 tbsp. milk

Combine first 4 ingredients and 2 tbsp. milk, mix until smooth. Add additional milk a little at a time until the glaze is a spreading consistency.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living magazine.


Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Snowdrops

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup each toasted coconut, toasted sliced almonds and semisweet chocolate mini chips ( I had larger, bittersweet Ghirardelli chips, so just chopped those up a bit.

Preheat oven to 275 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Place the first three ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until foamy.  With the mixer still on high speed, add sugar one tablespoon at at time and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Do not underbeat.

Fold almonds, coconut and chocolate into meringue mixture, combining well.

Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto prepared sheets or, as I did, scoop it into a pastry bag without a tip and pipe it out for more of a meringue “kiss” look.

Place one pan on bottom shelf and one pan on middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for another 30 minutes or until meringues are dry. Cool on wire racks.

Makes 4 dozen.

Recipe from Cooking Light magazine.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin (I use 1-15 0z. can – make sure it is just pumpkin, not “pie filling,” which has other stuff in it)

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

2/3 tsp. salt

1 bag chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugar until completely blended. Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla, mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, mixing thoroughly. Mix in chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet (I use Silpats). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges just begin to brown and cookies are just firm. These have a cake-like texture; if you over-bake them they will turn into hockey pucks!


Frosted Banana Bars

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine and add the flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Spread in the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Frost when completely cool.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 stick butter

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup peanut butter

3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar and mix well. Beat in the vanilla. Frost and cut into squares or bars. Now, here’s an important tip: the bars are soft and can squish easily as you frost them, so don’t dump all the frosting down in the middle of the pan and try to spread it out. Instead, place it on in 8-12 dollops, then spread those gently and evenly to cover the whole pan.

Recipe from Cook & Tell


Blueberry Gingerbread

1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

7 tbsp. butter, melted

3 tbsp. molasses

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk or regular milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 x 11 pan (9 x13 will work too if you want a thinner cake). Combine blueberries and 2 tbsp. flour, tossing gently to coat. Combine remaining flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place sugar, butter, molasses and egg; beat at medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk or milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in blueberries. Spread evenly in pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (less for larger pan) until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Italian plum torte

LBK’s Fruit Torte

Note from Spoon & Shutter: this is one of those recipes that assumes a basic baking knowledge. If you need assistance with it, please email us!

Cream 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter

Add: 1 cup flour, sifted; 1

tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt and 2 eggs

Place in 9-inch springform pan.

Add to top and cover entire surface with one of the following or a combination of: 1 pint blueberries; 24 halves pitted Italian plums (skin-side up); sliced apples; sliced peaches

Sprinkle top with: sugar; lemon juice; flour (if fruit is very juicy); cinnamon (use a heavy hand)

Bake at 350 for one hour. Delicious when served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best served slightly warm. Refresh in oven if desired.

Orange Yogurt Cake

Orange Yogurt Cake

Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used non-fat)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8″ round cake pan. Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure the batter is mixed well. Pour into the pan and bake about 25 mins., until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a rack. When thoroughly cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe from Cook & Tell


Peach and Plum Crisp

Peach and Plum Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel


1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

3 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

3 ripe plums, cut into 1/2-inch wedges


1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. cold butter (F&W’s recipe specified butter-oil blend, but I’m not going there.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the filling ingredients – sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juices. Fold in the fruit. Scrape into an 8″ square glass baking pan (0r deep-dish pie plate, which is what I used). Cover with foil and baking for 15 minutes.

For the streusel: combine the oats, flours, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Work in the butter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake the crisp for 30 minutes, until fruit is tender and the topping golden. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you wish!

Adapted from a recipe published in Bon Appetit


The finished cake

June Elderkin’s Blueberry Cake

1/2 cup butter, melted (June’s recipe says “oleo” but I think you have to use butter!)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. lemon extract (I never have lemon extract, so I use the zest and juice of half a lemon)

Cream the above ingredients together.

Add 1/3 cup milk

Sift together (or just mix, as I do) and add:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch salt.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (preferably the tiny wild Maine kind)

Scrape batter into a greased 8″ square pan and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

If you double the recipe – I nearly always do – it fills a 9 x 13 inch pan nicely.


Simple Summer Fruit Cake – made with plums

Simple Summer Cake with Fruit

1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

1 stick butter (8 tbsp.)

10 tbsp. sugar

1 large egg

½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract

3 ripe, black plums, pitted and quartered, each quarter cut into three slices (or use peaches or apples)

1 tsp. lemon juice

Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium saucepan, melt 6 tbsp. of the butter. Stir in 6 tbsp. sugar and let cool 10 mins. Add egg and vanilla or almond extract and stir well. Stir in flour mixture. Spread dough evenly in pan. Arrange fruit in a circle pattern on top, skin side up, pressing lightly into the dough. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Bake 25-30 mins. Or until cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from a recipe published in O Magazine


Chocolate Creme

1 package vanilla custard dessert mix (I used Jello custard-flavor pudding)

2 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff

4 tbsp. light rum

Combine custard mix, milk and chocolate chips. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator until set. Whisk until smooth, then fold in whipped cream and rum. Spoon into demitasse cups and chill thoroughly. Top with shaved chocolate before serving.


Lee Bailey’s Blondies (a la Susan)

Lee Bailey’s Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and beat until well mixed. Fold in the pecans and then the chocolate pieces. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan before cutting.


The cherry clafouti


3 cups pitted black cherries, any juice drained

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (not a misprint!)

1/8 tsp. salt

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 7-8 cup fireproof baking dish or Pyrex pie plate about 1 1/2 inches deep.

Place the ingredients in a blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour a 1/4 inch layer of batter on the bottom of the baking dish and set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has formed. Remove from heat and spread the cherries evenly over the batter and sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over them. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about an hour, until clafouti has puffed and browned and a knife stuck into its center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving warm or at room temperature; sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck.


Sour / Bing cherry pie

Sour Cherry Pie

Pie dough for a double crust in a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate  (I confess I used Pillsbury unroll-and-bake, which to my mind, is perfectly fine in a pinch, good, even!)

6 cups pitted sour cherries

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water

Combine the cherries, sugar, flour and almond extract in a large saucepan. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to keep mixture from sticking. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. (I hurried this process along by pouring the filling into a Pyrex bowl and putting in the fridge for about 15 mins.)

Preheat the oven to 400. Line the pie plate with the bottom crust. Brush with some of the egg white mixture to prevent sogginess, then spoon the filling into the shell. Cover with top crust, fold edges under and pinch to seal. Cut decorative designs or simple slits into the top to let steam escape. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown – about 45 minutes. Let cool before serving warm or at room temperature.


Italian Hazelnut Cake with Whipped Cream and Nutella

Alexandra Berlingeri’s Hazelnut Cake

1 1/3 cup hazelnuts

1 1/3 cup of flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 1/3  cup of sugar

3 eggs

7 tbsp. butter, softened

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. cocoa powder

2-3 tsp. rum

1 sachet of vanilla sugar (available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets)

Spread out the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and turn the oven to 400. Put the nuts in the oven until slightly toasted. When cool, chop finely in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, mix the eggs and sugar at high speed until very thick and light. Add the butter a bit at a time and mix well until completely incorporated. On a slower speed, add the flour a little at a time, then mix in the milk, rum, vanilla sugar, cocoa powder and hazelnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top of the batter and bake the cake at 350 for a little less than an hour. Let cool before removing from pan and serving.


Rhubarb, Apple and Pomegranate Crumble

4 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (if fresh rhubarb is not available, thawed, frozen rhubarb works just fine)

4 cups tart apples, thinly sliced

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached white flour)

3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers (my preferred method). Add the pecans and egg and mixed until well-combined.

Combine the rhubarb and apple slices, granulated sugar and orange zest in a 3-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, stir the pomegranate juice into the cornstarch, blending well, then add to the fruit mixture, tossing thoroughly to coat.

Distribute the crumb topping evenly over the fruit. Bake in the center of the oven until golden and bubbling, approx. 1 hour. Allow to cool slightly before serving –  with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream, or just plain is delicious too! I scooped up a spoonful as I was running out the door to work, and it was exactly what I had in mind: sweet and tart, a good blend of all three fruit flavors, with a crunchy, buttery crumb.


Killer Coconut Cake


3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

5 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp. each almond and vanilla extracts

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for filling and covering finished cake (I used an entire bag).

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour 2, 9-inch cake pans.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 45-55 minutes until the tops are browned and a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home.

7-Minute Frosting:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients except for vanilla in the top of a double boiler (or a makeshift one, like I used, with a Pyrex bowl over a pot with about an inch of boiling water in it) Beat with an electric hand mixer for one minute. Place over boiling water and beat constantly on high speed for 7 minutes, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Remove top pan from over the hot water and beat in vanilla. (This frosting, while a little bit of an effort to make – my arm got tired holding the mixer for 7 minutes – really does work beautifully!)

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with about a cup of frosting and a layer of coconut. Top with second layer; cover sides and top of cake with frosting. Press a generous amount of coconut on to sides and top of cake.

Frosting recipe from Paula Deen.


Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake

3 cups chilled heavy cream

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 9 oz.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 box chocolate wafers (Nabisco’s Famous)

1 tbsp. instant-espresso powder

Beat 2 cups of cream with 6 tbsp. sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Reduce heat to low; add mascarpone and vanilla and mix until combined. Spread 1 1/4 cups of the mixture evenly over the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Top with a layer of chocolate wafers (about 14). Spread with another 1 1/4 cups of cream mixture; top with another layer of cookies. Spread the remaining cream on top, smoothing the surface. Cover the pan with foil and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Transfer from freezer to the refrigerator and chill until a sharp knife inserted into the center cuts easily through the softened wafers, about 8 hours.

Beat remaining cup of cream with remaining 3 tbsp. sugar and espresso powder until it hold stiff peaks. Pulse remaining chocolate wafers in a food processor until crumbled. (I did this the old-fashioned way – put the cookies between sheets of waxed paper and crushed them with a rolling pin!) Run a sharp knife around edge of the pan remove sides. Frost the top and sides of cake with espresso cream and sprinkle crushed cookies around the top edge. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the late, great Gourmet.


Divine Lime Pie

Divine Lime Pie

Butter to grease pie plate

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 1/2 cup sugar

2-3 large, juicy limes

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup cold heavy cream

Preheat oven to 275. Butter deep, 9-inch pie plate generously. Separate eggs, placing egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add cream of tartar and beat at high speed until foamy. Add 1 cup sugar a little at a time, continuing to beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form when beaters are lifted. Pile meringue mixture into pie plate and using a rubber spatula, create a pie shell shape by smoothing meringue evenly over bottom and up sides. Bake 50-60 minutes until meringue is firm and creamy white. Turn off oven and let meringue stay in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Remove and cool completely on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the lime curd. Grate one lime and set zest aside. Squeeze limes to make 1/3 cup juice. In a heavy medium saucepan, place egg yolks and whisk until light and lemon-colored. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, salt and lime juice, cook over medium heat until mixture thickens – do not allow to boil. Stir in lime zest and let cool completely.

Two hours before serving, whip cream until stiff yet billowy peaks form. Stir a spoonful of cream into lime curd, then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Pile filling into meringue shell and spread evenly to fill. Chill at least two hours. If you wish, garnish with more whipped cream and  lime slices. I like to serve this pie with sliced strawberries.


Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

1 stick plus 1 tbsp. very soft butter

4 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

zest of 1 lemon

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. milk

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. lemon curd

Preheat the oven to 400. Line two 8-inch cake pans (I used 9-inch) with parchment paper and butter the paper.

In a food processor, mix the butter, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Process until smooth, then add lemon juice and milk and process again to blend. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pans.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until peaks form, then slowly add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture stands in peaks when beaters are lifted. Spread meringue evenly on top of batter in pans – smooth one flat and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to create little peaks on the other one. Sprinkle the peaked meringue with the 1 tsp. sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely in pans.

Up to an hour before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Place layer with the flat top meringue-side down on serving plate. Spread with lemon curd, then cream. Top with second layer, cake-side down. Keep in a cool place, but do not refrigerate, before serving.

Adapted from “Feast”, by Nigella Lawson


Grasshopper Pie

1 pkg. chocolate wafter cookies

6 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup hot milk

25 large marshmallows

1/4 cup creme de menthe

2 tbsp. white creme de cacao

1 cup whipping cream

green food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 425. Put cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process for a minute or two until combined. Press the crumb mixture evenly into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the milk (do not allow to boil) and stir in the marshmallows until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Cool until room temperature. Whip cream until stiff and fold into marshmallow mixture. If filling is not green enough, add some food coloring. Spread filling in crust and freeze for 3-4 hours before serving.


Happy Birthday Ted!

Birthday Cake ala Ted (Yellow Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting)


3 cups all-purpose flour (or cake flour, if you want a finer crumb)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups superfine sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale yellow, add sugar gradually until it is well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla.  With the beater on medium-low, add flour mixture alternately with the milk – the flour 4 times and the milk 3 times, mixing just until combined each time. Scrape sides of the bowl and make sure batter is completely smooth. Divide batter evenly among the two pans and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

4 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup sour cream

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat until completely melted and smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and half of sour cream. Stir until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and enough sour cream to make the frosting spreadable and glossy.


Chocolate pudding cake

Chocolate pudding cake, or cake pudding!

Serves 4-6

Preheat the oven to 350

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Once mixture is well-combined, spread in a greased, 8 x 8 baking pan – preferably glass or ceramic. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.

Pour 1 3/4 cup boiling water over the whole thing – this is where it starts to look like a mistake, but don’t worry – and bake for 30 mins. or until top is firm (it may crack slightly).

Cool for a few minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.