Category Archives: dessert

pumpkin pie & whiskey carmel in a shortbread crust

welcome back – it’s been too long. what i mean is i moved – from seattle to san francisco to boston – since my last post. a whirlwind! but now that i’m here – let’s talk about pie. jeti and prepared for thanksgiving in boston – brrrr.

we were only in charge of one dish – pie. the day before thanksgiving i rushed home from work to get started on my pie. what would i make?? then, i remembered that Jeti’s Master raving each year about his favorite pumpkin pie – from birdbath bakery – in a rich shortbread crust.

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so we got started. first – the crust. i thought i would get the crust ready before heading down to the store to pickup [ahem] the pumpkin… thirty minutes later, the crust was done but the snow was just picking up.

i tried to drive the car out of the small hill in the driveway, but i failed. i knew the snow wouldn’t last long. a few hours past and the plowers came by. 9pm rolled around quickly and i finally made it down the hill, but all the stores were shut. gah – my only responsibility was pie! how could i show up without one? the next morning, i made an emergency trip to every store i could imagine, until finally concluding that Walgreens was my only option. amazingly, canned pumpkin was in stock.

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in no time at all, we had pie. very, very delicious pie. since we were only having one pie, i decided to please both pumpkin and pecan parties and whipped up a caramel pecan topping infused with a dash of whiskey.

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the shortbread began to brown, but the result was unmatched. maybe my best pie – ever.

crust

1 c. unsalted butter [softened]

2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

filling

1 2/3 c. 100% pumpkin

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

2/3 c. sugar

touch of salt

1 1/3 c half and half

3 eggs

topping

1/2 c. butter

1 c. brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 shot whiskey

1 c. toasted pecans

1 tsp. heavy whipping cream

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

prepare the crust by mixing together all ingredients. press into a 9″ pie pan. make sure to press the dough up high enough on the sides to prevent sliding.

bake for 10 minutes. remove and let stand while you prepare the pie filling.

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

make the pie filling – heat the pumpkin and the sugar over medium heat in a saucepan until the pumpkin becomes fragrant (5 minutes) stirring occasionally. remove from heat and let cool. add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. add to pie crust and move back to the oven.

bake for 12 – 14 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees. continue baking for 35 minutes, or until the top of the pie moves like jello when you move it. if you test it with a toothpick, make sure that the center is solid (but still moist).

while the pie is cooling, make the topping on the stovetop. melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat until the butter starts to boil. stir constantly with a whisk. allow the caramel to thicken. add the salt and the vanilla. continue stirring but remove from heat. add the whiskey and the whipping cream. allow to cool slightly, then pour over the top of the pie evenly. spread the pecans over the top, and let the pie set for 1 – 2 hours before serving. you can warm it back up at 250 degrees for 10 minutes before serving if you prefer it warm.

happy baking!

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tiramisu cheesecake

happy birthday [to me]! i celebrated yet another birthday last night and am rather embarrassed to admit i slaved away on my own birthday cake. honestly i’m not a big birthday fan, so why did i need to make myself a cake? we had already celebrated with friends on Saturday, indulging in italian pizzas and coconut cream pies.

but Nick thoughtfully prepared an earth-shattering dinner menu for Monday that we planned to consume until incapacitation, after which i would probably have been better off falling asleep. instead i topped it off with a slice of irresistible. so i felt it would only be appropriate to make my contributions to the meal via a celebratory dessert finale.

the menu? short rib bone marrow homemade ravioli sprinkled with garlic chips courtesy of the chef [seen below], followed by tiramisu cheesecake from ricotta and marscarpone courtesy of the apprentice.

i actually intended to make a traditional tiramisu, but it turns out lady fingers are far more difficult to find that one would think [high demand, mother’s day weekend?]… three markets later, i decided to go for a chocolate cookie crumb cheesecake with an espresso twist.

the end result was surprisingly so much better than tiramisu. it was moist and creamy, but not too heavy. since my cheesecake cracked [womp, womp] i covered the top with a plain marscarpone whipped cream frosting, filling in all of the crevices. i then added the chocolate marscarpone whipped cream rim and ground dark chocolate, the perfect amount of bittersweet.

i may just have to make this birthday cake business a tradition.

tiramisu cheesecake [espresso cheesecake]

16 oz cream cheese

4 oz marscarpone

1/2 c ricotta

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1 shot espresso

2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream or Kahlua

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c chocolate graham crackers

3 tbsp butter

4 tbsp flour

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

in your food processor, blend melted butter and lightly smashed graham crackers. pour mixture into the bottom of your 9″ springform pan and press into the bottom in an even layer. set aside. mix cream cheese, marscarpone, and ricotta on high until light and fluffy. add sugar slowly until combined. reduce blender speed and add eggs one at a time until just mixed. add espresso, vanilla, irish cream until combined. gently fold in flour slowly to avoid clumping. pour mixture through a food mill into the prepared pan. wrap pan with foil tightly and place into a water bath in the oven. bake for 60 minutes.

marscarpone frosting

1 c heavy whipping cream

8 oz marscarpone

1 c confectioners sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder [optional for chocolate frosting].

whip in your stand mixture until thoroughly combined. spread evenly over cooled cheesecake.

cover cheesecake with your choice of chocolate shavings, fine chocolate, cocoa powder, or chocolate covered espresso beans. allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving. enjoy!

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chocolate black raspberry cupcakes; champagne frosting

easter weekend and book club tonight. my first book club ever. i’ve never considered going in the past, because i figure if i don’t have time to read the book – why go? as if reading the book was a mandatory requirement of attendance or something. i’ve since been informed ‘book club’ is more a rendition of Sex In the City – a total excuse for a room full of ladies to drink wine and indulge in delicious treats while ranting and raving about everything under the sun. thus, my cupcakes and i will be there.

as much as i am craving chocolate peanut butter cake – i needed to make something a bit more ‘girly’. in lieu of Easter pastels, and managing to include my daily dose of chocolate, raspberry and champagne fit the bill.

why chocolate stout? well to be honest, the stout (such as Guinness) complements dark chocolate so well that the end result is simply a richer moister chocolate cupcake.

critic approved!

chocolate cupcake

1 c stout (such as Guinness)

1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 c pressed cocoa powder

1/2 c canola or grapeseed oil

1/3 c sour cream

1/3 c milk

2 eggs

2 c flour

2 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

chocolate raspberry ganache

6 oz dark chocolate (high quality)

1 c heavy cream

1/2 c seedless black raspberry preserve

raspberry whipped cream frosting (optional)

1 c heavy whip cream

1/3 c seedless black raspberry preserves

6 tbsp powdered sugar

champagne frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 tbsp champagne

3 c powdered sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. line 24 muffin cups with your favorite cupcake liners.

melt butter in a sauce pan. add oil, cocoa powder, and stout. whisk until thoroughly combined. let cool.

sift flour, sugar, soda, and salt together. in a separate bowl, beat sour cream, milk and eggs. add stout sauce. slowly fold in flour mixture until just combined. pour batter into your cupcake liners, filling each 3/4 way to top. bake for 15-17 minutes, until the centers are clean on a toothpick. let cool.

while the cupcakes are baking, chop dark chocolate chunks and put in a heat proof bowl or double boiler. heat heavy cream for ganache in a sauce pan until just bubbling at the edges. pour over heavy cream over the chocolate chunks and stir until chocolate is melted (may need to heat over double broiler. add raspberry preserves until smooth.  allow to cool for a few minutes, but not too long that the chocolate begins to settle.

using an apple corer, gently remove the centers of the cupcakes. push the corer down until it feels like you are about 1/2 way to the bottom.  fill with ganache. allow to cool completely.

now, you do not need to make both frosting recipe’s, so take your pick.

raspberry whipped cream frosting:

whip on high heavy cream, preserves, and powdered sugar for 5 minutes or until peaks are forming. fill plastic sandwich bag or a piping bag. frost cupcakes in the design of your choice!

champagne frosting:

whip butter and heavy cream until light and fluffy. begin adding powdered sugar 1 tsbp at a time. whip on high until powdered sugar is fully incorporated. alternate between powdered sugar and champagne. using a piping bag to frost your cupcakes – enjoy!

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pots de creme

traditionally, pots de creme (pronounced ‘poh duh crem’) would be baked and served in individual ramekins. in lieu of attempting to simplify the prep, the ‘no bake’ version sounded like the way to go. since we’re skipping the baking, i’m piggy backing off of Ree Drummond’s fab idea to class these little treats up in martini glasses.

i have to say, we indulged in an incredibly delicious home cooked meal last night. My boyfriend treated us to duck ‘farrotto’ cooked with parmesan brodo – simply amazing, which was followed by rich pots de creme [and a long walk rest on the couch].

there was one glitch to the recipe. six individual pots de creme’s, two people… maybe next time i will half the recipe? nahh.

chocolate espresso pots de creme

12 oz mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (high quality chocolate is best)

5 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 c heavy cream

8 oz Americano or hot coffee [keep heated until ready to incorporate]

pinch of salt

place chocolate chips in the blender. crack raw eggs over the chocolate chips. add vanilla and heavy cream. begin blending. slowly add hot coffee (which will melt the chocolate and help set the eggs), and continue blending for 1-2 minutes. The mixture will grow as the eggs expand. chocolate will be bubbly on top when you are done blending. pour mixture into the serving glasses of your choice. chill for 3 hours.

vanilla bean whipped cream

one vanilla bean

1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

5 tbsp powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

slice open the bean pod lengthwise. remove beans from the vanilla bean pod with a spoon or a knife. add to heavy whipping cream and let stand (refrigerated overnight for best results). add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until peaks begin to form. dollop a healthy spoonful atop each pots de creme just before serving.

cheers!

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blueberry coffee cake

i had never cared much for traditional coffee cake. until, after a dozen trips to the local bakery [essential baking company] and Nick raving each time that their coffee cake was nothing but delicious, i finally gave it a second shot.

oh my. i shouldn’t have. it was so moist, melting away in my mouth. i’ve since been committed to depicting what they knew that i didn’t.

the final product? a crumb light, butter heavy perfect balance between cake and breakfast. something that doesn’t say ‘I am 50% crumb topping’, and holds shape when sliced into individual wedges.

a must try for anyone looking for that perfect easy breakfast. whether you’re making it for one to accompany you at the office M-F [me], or you’re making the family breakfast on Saturday morning, this cake stands a chance against local competition.

coffee cake

3/4 c unsalted butter

2 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 c sour cream [or plain yogurt + 1 tsp baking soda]

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 1/2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 c blueberries

streusel topping

1/4 c brown sugar

1/2 c flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp unsalted butter [cold]

beat butter & sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs and continue to beat with an electric mixer. once combined add vanilla, sour cream, and lemon juice. in a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda. combine flour mixture into egg mixture 1 cup at a time.

spread half of the mixture into a 9″ springform pan. sprinkle blueberries evenly over dough. add remaining mixture and spread evenly.

add all ingredients for streusel into a food processor and pulse 5-10 times until combined. sprinkle crumb topping evenly over dough and press gently into the mixture.

bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. test center with a toothpick. once the toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let stand on a wire rack in pan for 15 minutes.  remove springform, slice, and enjoy!

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chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

last night, my roommate returned home with a box of twelve Trophy cupcakes, strictly reserved for her trip to the east coast to visit her ‘friend’. ugh – how unfair. i needed to have one. unfortunately, making one measly cupcake isn’t very practical now, is it? certainly a hefty downside to all of this baking is the urge to consume it all [hefty, hefty downside…]. the excuse: life is short.

so i thought, ‘i should probably go for a quick jaunt’ with the fat mildly overweight pooch tonight [and feeling slightly guilty about the three cupcakes i’d managed to consume in a 24hr period]. preparing for a run is somehow a very chaotic event in my house. the ultimate wiggle-whine out of Jeti begins about 10 minutes before I’m even thinking about slipping my running shoes on, and thankfully ends as soon as the door opens.

the run started out solid – some Girl Talk on the iPod, good weather… until about a mile in when i realized my foot was damp. that’s weird, i didn’t think my feet were this sweaty. lucky me. they aren’t. Jeti apparently confused my leg with his beloved fire hydrant. well that was it, tonight’s run wasn’t meant to be – cupcakes or no cupcakes. 

chocolate paired with peanut butter is a staple in this house. you really cannot go wrong with this happily married couple. unless you plan to give it away [sin]. or perhaps if you’re allergic to peanuts [pity]. peanut butter brownies, peanut butter & chocolate ice cream, peanut butter & chocolate crepes… endless possibilities.

this is only the beginning.

chocolate ganache cupcakes; peanut butter frosting

cake batter

2 c flour

2 sticks butter

¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder

2 c sugar

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 eggs

2/3 c sour cream

1 c milk

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

warm milk & butter on stove, stirring constantly [ do not boil ]. add cocoa powder and whisk until fully blended. turn off heat and set aside. sift flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate bowl, beat eggs, sour cream and sugar together for 1 minute. slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture. lastly, once cooled, fold in chocolate mixture.

fill 24 cupcake liners ¾ of the way full. bake for 15-17 minutes.

ganache filling

¾ c heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp unsalted butter

8 ounces of chocolate

melt 2 tbsp butter in a sauce pan. add 3/4 c heavy whipping cream until warm. add 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. warm and stir until ganache is smooth and creamy. remove from heat and allow to cool.

remove cupcakes from the oven. allow to cool for one minute. transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let sit for 15 minutes. once cooled, remove the centers of the cupcake using an insert, or if you have an apple corer, i find that very handy! try to remove 3/4 of the way through the cupcake. taste centers for deliciousness.

fill centers of cupcakes with ganache.

peanut butter frosting

1 c peanut butter

10 tbsp unsalted butter

2 c confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3-4 tbsp of milk [as needed]

whip peanut butter and butter together. add vanilla. add confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. alternate between sugar and milk as needed to keep the frosting moist. beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. once ganache has set, frost cupcakes as you please! i used a pastry tip to make little blossoms. refrigerate cupcakes for up to 2 days. enjoy!

warning: dangerously delicious.

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