Tag Archives: cream

A Pavlova for Tartelette

White Tulips


Some of you may know that I was asked to do a guest post for Tartelette.    You know, The Tartelette?

Yes.  I know.

Of course I had a few moments of the puffy ego syndrome after an initial self-indulgent happy dance before I snapped out of it and began to fret about what to make.  Ohhhhhh, the sweet agony of making this particular decision.  I’m a meat and veggie type of person, comfortable with trying a bit of this and a bit of that.  I have a fondness for salad and greens, and a little addiction for the perfect muffin.  But making something special that would look like it belonged up front and center on Tartelette’s site?

Well.  You have no idea the fuss I made over this.  You’d have thought the Queen of England was coming to dinner.  Seriously.  But I had so much fun.  Far more fun than I’d have had if I’d needed to choose a little black dress for an event as swanky as that.

I don’t do little black dresses.  Ever.

But I learned quite a bit making A Pavola for Tartelette — or Helen, who is quite the amazing person if you’re fortunate enough to know her.

I hope you take some time to visit her, read my post,  and decide what you think of my Pavlova — definitely more of a tutu than a little black dress if you ask me.

And no, I don’t do tutus, either.  It just might conjure images of dancing hippos instead of ballerinas.

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Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Filling

Dear Nick Malgieri,

I saw your Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with lemon cream in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine and decided I’d give them a try.  Although gingersnaps have never been and will never be a cookie I find myself craving, the lemon filling did catch my attention and I thought that with the ginger, the flavor could be exceptional.

Although that did not disappoint, the molasses, on the other hand, gave me pause because the last time I made cookies that had molasses in them, the results were less than appealing until I bent them into submission after much trial and error.

Now I know I’m far from perfect on most days, but I have had a modest amount of experience cooking and baking with great success — thankfully more times than not.  I also use excellent equipment and so cannot blame poor result on either of those factors.

What I’m left with is a question, and I’m asking it of you since this is your recipe and the photograph chosen to illustrate the intended results looks far different than mine — especially my first batch.Ginglemoncook

  • When baking cookies with molasses, is there something I just don’t understand?  What causes them to spread so?  I know sugar in general causes that, and when using molasses, a smaller quantity is needed, as in this recipe which calls for only 1/4 cup.  Could it be the brand of molasses?  I use Grandma’s which is just about the only kind I’ve ever used, and the jar I used for this batch was opened recently.
  • Although keeping a very close eye on the Ginger Sandwich cookies during the required bake time, I realized I needed to remove them from the oven only half way through the expected 20-minute baking time, and even then, the cookies were far too done.  Actually, burnt.
  • I prefer to use convection settings for everything except for recipes with a high quantity of egg, so am used to reducing the heat and cooking time to compensate for that choice. However, because of the previous results, I chose not to use convection heat for this recipe.  On the second batch, again, with only 7 minutes of the baking time elapsed, I had to remove the cookies.

Mr. Malgieri, I know that often, baking is an adventure, and I accept that most of the time.  Because I’m used to reading recipes, I can usually spot one that I think could be problematic, and with this recipe, the cooking time did get my attention.  Cookies rarely bake that long.  Nevertheless, I proceeded like the trusting home cook I am.

I will say your ginger cookies are lovely tasting with a nice bite — chewy, with a pleasant tartness from the lemon cream which blends well with the overall sweetness.  Very, very nice.  I just wish I’d done them justice.  So I’m curious and would enjoy trying these again, but detest wasting food so need some direction.

Did Food & Wine misprint the recipe?  Or am I just someone who should step away from the molasses?

With the utmost respect,

p.s.  They stack very well, though!

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Cheesecake Two Ways: Easy and Delicious

Yesterday was my birthday which means quite a bit to most people, but for me, most of my life, it’s just been a day.  Last night before we called it a night, my husband asked if I’d had a good one, and of course I said yes, because it was a pleasant and relaxing.  The sun was out early, and a strong breeze had the trees rustling early in the morning, which is unusual.  It was beautiful outside.

My youngest son is back in school, so the house was more quiet than it normally is. I was able to settle in and pay bills (w00000000000000t!), give myself a facial (not as big a deal as one might think and something I do about once every other week), and treat myself to some time with my alter ego in reflection of what I think is important in life.  Sounds like a good day to me.

My husband and I are the oldest in our families, and although we’re very different people, we both agree that we aren’t the hooplah type of people when it comes to birthdays — our own, that is.  Mine obviously falls at the start of school, so most of my life, I was so preoccupied with that, it overshadowed becoming another year older and the day just came and went.  And really, I’ve never cared.  Sure I’ve had birthday cakes, and yes, candles.  I didn’t say people didn’t celebrate for me!  But I’ve never enjoyed the attention, having to learn to not be embarrassed about it all.

My mother made a cheesecake for my birthday for many years.  She knew it was a favorite, and still is.  So it seemed a good thing to share a couple of new recipes with you just in case you need another one — or two!  Both are very easy, and travel well.  Actually, they were chosen for that reason since I recently was asked by a good friend if I’d mind making dessert for a large barbeque she was hosting.

Cheesecake for 50?  Sure.  No problem…

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Chicken and Mushrooms with Mustardy Cream Sauce

Img_1440_2I’m sitting with my first cup of coffee noticing that after yesterday’s heavy grey gloom, the sun is actually brightening up my kitchen this morning, the patterns of light and shadows I love to watch definitely posing a distraction.  Today would not be the best day for that.  I promised myself I’d sit down, slam out this post lovingly wax over all things food,  and then get on with the last part of the birthday cake I started last night for my middle son who is older than I’d like to say this early in the morning before I’ve put my eyebrows on.  Happy Birthday, Ryan!

He’s coming over for dinner tonight, and when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said, “Chocolate with chocolate.  You know, chocolate.”  Yes, I know.  Trust me.  He’s wanted chocolate cake for his birthday for as long as I can remember, and in all these years, he’s probably not had the same chocolate cake twice.  Not once has he complained or said, “Mom.  Can’t you just make the cake you made last year?”  He’d never do that.  Neither would his brothers.

I’ve been lucky like that.

Not only have I been able to try whatever I’ve wanted, my boys have developed a open mind about food.  Well, open most of the time.  My middle son still jokes about his older brother’s questions about dinner.  His plate would be set in front of him and he’d ask,  “Does it have mushrooms?  Are there bones in it?”  It got to the point where, even when pasta was on the plate, he’d still as those questions.

The answer to those questions today is, “Yes, it has mushrooms.  Lots of them.  And no, it doesn’t have bones.”

I’m on a quest to remake many of the recipes that are buried in my early archives.  It’s not because they aren’t good recipes, it’s more because the photos are just horrible.  The only problem is, each time I begin to redo one, I change things, so can’t exactly redo the photos, right?  The nice surprise is, sometimes, an already great recipe is even better.

Jamie Oliver’s “My Old Man’s Superb Chicken” is one of those recipes.  The tender chicken wrapped around sauteed mushrooms and herbs, all wrapped in pastry, and enhanced by a creamy mustard sauce is heavenly.  But I didn’t feel like messing around with pounding the chicken when it came right down to it, nor was I in the mood to wrap the puff pastry around the stuffed chicken this time.  I went for a deconstructed version, almost deciding to bake the pastry squares and place the chicken on them, but have been avoiding bread at dinner if there is another starch on the plate (my husband is on a diet…).  But who’s keeping track that there’s heavy cream in that sauce, hmmmm?  I used half-n-half instead and it was perfect.

Add some roasted potatoes, and peas and dinner is served, plates are licked, smiles all ’round.  Mushrooms, no bones, and many, many lovely memories.

Oh, and if you know anyone who’s interested in a  young man who likes to talk, let me know.  He’s available.

I’m just sayin’.

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I Heart this Apple Cream Streusel Pie

When I was growing up, I rarely hesitated if someone asked me what my favorite flavor was because it was simple.  Chocolate.  In fact, I loved chocolate so much, in my late teens I wouldn’t hesitate to eat a brownie topped by a scoop of chocolate ice cream and drizzled with fudge sauce.  If those little piece of chocolate shot were to be had, they would be perfect sprinkled over the top of it all.

And then everything changed.  I love that part about life.  I really do.  Can you imagine always doing the same thing day in and day out?  Wait.  I guess most of us can imagine that quite easily, right?  Maybe that’s why food is such an adventure.  I know.  Rocket science.

So back to the chocolate…It wasn’t because I had a bad experience.  And I know it wasn’t sensory overload — although I was in a position to qualify for that eating chocolate on chocolate with chocolate.  Somehow, another “flavor” began to creep into my thoughts when I had a sweet tooth.  Actually, it was a combination of flavors…the tartness of a great apple (definitely none of that mushy golden delicious stuff), the hint of cinnamon, rich brown sugar, the crunch of nuts, and, oh my…cream.

It didn’t matter if it was a pastry and ice cream, apple cobbler, apple crisp, or apple pie.  But somehow, there was just no contest.  I’m still a chocolate lover, but the affair has been over for a long, long time.

And what does one do with lovely apples when the menfolk in the house conveniently forget that one a day keeps the doctor away?  I make apple pie.  And this one combines all my favorite flavors into one warm and comforting pie.

Totally delicious and very, very easy to make.  It comes together very quickly, so make sure everything is ready to go.

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