So simple, but so lovely and delicious. These tarts are perfect as a little something to take to a potluck, or to share with the office, or to give as a thank you gift.
Make as many or as few as you need; taking into account their nibble-bility factor!
Choose your favorite, most flavorful preserves and prebaked, ready-to-use tart shells.
Combine two parts preserves to one part confectioner’s sugar, adjust as needed until thickened. Add two teaspoons almond extract. mix well.
Spoon into prepared tart shells.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add a touch of whipped cream or frosting.
In honor of this incredible planet, this post celebrates gardens and gardeners.
Salads are actually quite a lot of fun to create – the components are limited only by the season, one’s preferences, and the size of the bowl. Any memory of salad as iceberg lettuce with pale tomato quarters drenched in heavy dressing is nothing more than a fading gastronomic nightmare.
Fresh greens are just the beginning.
Add some fruit, a splash of fresh lemon juice …
Homemade dressing, beans, shredded veggies and cheese …
Hard boiled eggs, raw cauliflower, a sprinkle of seaweed …
With sun and rain and fish emulsion (yuck), bright and happy gardens will flourish and soon fill farmers’ markets and our kitchens with dew-fresh veggies and fragrant fruits. Splurge, indulge and delight in the bounty that is spring and summer!
Prior to an open house, realtors often suggest homeowners bake bread so the house smells ‘homey’ and encourages sales. Mr. Selfridge, the marketing genius, was the first to place perfume counters near his store’s front entrance to create a scent barrier between the muck and stink of the city outside and a lovely shopping experience inside. Even today, major retailers strategically position baking ovens, or purposefully scent the air, knowing how important fragrance is to a sense of well-being.
With the convenience of bread making machines, that same contented, bakery-fresh feeling can pervade your home with the push of a button.
The recipe below is slightly more labor-intensive than a regular loaf of white or wheat breads, but having just devoured a piece of the stuff – oh it is so worth it!
Basic Sweet Dough
As with any bread machine recipe, please refer to your particular machine’s manufacturer’s directions first.
(For 2 pound loaf)
3 eggs, large at room temperature
1/4 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine
After fitting with paddle, place all ingredients in order given above in bread pan. Place pan in machine, choose the dough setting.
Allow to complete cycle, approximately 1 1/2 hours, then remove from pan and place in large, lightly greased bowl. Punch dough down and let rest 10 minutes before continuing.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 – 2 tablespoons cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, etc. to taste
Combine all three ingredients in small bowl, set aside.
Shape dough into rectangle, then cover with butter spice mixture, spreading evenly. beginning with widest edge, roll dough into log shape, pinching the seam edge with fingers.
Spray tube pan with non-stick baking spray.
Place dough seam side down in prepared pan.
Allow to rise in warm, draft free location until double, or until finger pressed into dough leaves an indention – approximately 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375*
Bake for 17 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes before removing from pan. While still warm, but before serving, drizzle (or slather?) bread with icing.
In small bowl combine powdered sugar with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, etc. and small amounts of milk and/or grade B maple syrup. Mix until smooth, adding milk or sugar as needed to reach desired consistency, noting that the icing will thicken as it sits.
Use as icing for breakfast breads, waffles, or to frost chocolate cake, etc.
When planning a picnic or casual meal with friends, it can be fun to rethink those more familiar desserts. Apple pie is as American as … well, apple pie. But that is not to say that it is the most convenient dessert for eating sans plates and forks.
So, after having made personal cherry pies to celebrate Washington’s birthday, I thought I’d switch fillings for today’s post, and toss in some apples.
Lesson learned – fresh cherries have a beautifully robust flavor that is naturally enhanced with a splash of almond extract. Apples are quieter in flavor, even when combining varieties, and especially when they are out of season and not brought straight home from the orchard. Lacking that flavor presence, the ratio of dough to apple can be disappointing.
So, I have tweaked this recipe to allow for the above mentioned variables, but suggest you wait to make these pies until you’ve stopped by a local orchard on a crisp crimson autumn day, gathered up bushels of fragrant, crisp, glowing apples, and arrived home to a cup of hot tea and a waiting kitchen.
And now for the recipe:
Apple Picnic Pies
2 boxes Pillsbury pie crusts (I will share my two favorite homemade pie crust recipes in another post, but the Pillsbury brand is actually the closest to real pie crust that I have found.)
12-17 fresh, flavorful apples, various (Granny Smith, Rome, Honey Crisp, etc)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cloves, ginger
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract
1 egg and 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
Wash, peel and core the apples, then cut into chunks. In large pot, combine apples, butter, spices, sugar and extracts. Stir until apples are softened, but not mushy, and spices, etc. are evenly distributed. Add more butter (or cider, water or juice) if necessary, as apples cook.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350*
Remove crusts from packaging. Roll out each crust until eight 2 1/2″ to 3″ circles can be cut from each crust, for a total of 24 discs.
Place 12 dough-discs on parchment lined baking pans. Spoon generous 1/3 cup apple mixture into the center of each disc. Bear in mind that this amount will vary depending upon the amount of liquid and the size of the apple chunks.
Cover each mound of apple mixture with the top dough-disc. Press and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using the tines of the fork again, poke holes in the top crust to allow steam to vent from each pie.
Brush the tops of each pie with egg wash.
Bake in a 350* oven for 25+ minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool on racks.
If desired, cover with a glaze made from powdered sugar and water.
Makes 12 three-inch Apple Picnic Pies
The title isn’t very clear – it sounds like nut butter – which this is not.
It is a recipe for mashed potatoes, without any potatoes.
Clean, cut and cook until soft the florets from one head of cauliflower.
Add a heaping tablespoon or two of partially ground cashews for creaminess.
Add butter, plain yogurt, herbs and spices to taste.
Oh! And my husband just told me that he uses a little nutritional yeast in this dish, too!
Serve a healthier dinner – and a delicious one, too!