Lingonberry Cardamom Tart

Cranberry Almond Lingonberry Torte with creme fraiche

From a technique perspective, this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart is closely based on a Martha Stewart recipe. But I have a confession to make, I’ve never actually made it according to the original instructions. The second I saw it, I knew it was destined for Swedish Thanksgiving greatness. In so many ways, the original recipe waltzes around so many Scandinavian ingredients and flavors and that was enough to pique my interest right away. In my Lingonberry Cardamom Tart I swap in lingonberries wherever possible. I add in cardamom in enough quantity to make sure it doesn’t get lost. And I keep up the rich buttery, almond paste that really makes this dessert feel Swedish to me. I have to admit, anything that requires blind baking, like this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart, I consider to be somewhat of a pain and it better be worth the extra steps. This Lingonberry Cardamom Tart definitely is worth any extra effort. It’s as beautiful as it is rich, tart, sweet, spicy, savory and delicious. The cranberries make this Lingonberry Cardamom Tart wonderful as a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even Valentine’s Day dessert and everything else about it will soon make it a family favorite. … Continue reading

Lavender Rosemary Goat Cheesecakes

Lavender Rosemary Goat Cheesecakes honey drizzle

I perfected these Lavender Rosemary Goat Cheesecakes some time ago (read: a really long time ago) for a fabulous dinner party but for some reason, I’ve been holding out on you. My friend was serving some very special wines, including a dessert wine that had been bottled in the 1920’s. It was an amazing, Spanish Sherry, caramel-y and rich with a hint of orange. It turned out that these little cakes were a perfect pairing, because they are not too sweet and they are full of rich goat cheese. All in all, great for pairing with dessert wine, since they’re almost like a little cheese course in a crust. So if you’re thinking of trying something new this Valentine’s Day, then forgo the champagne (or who am I kidding- just commit to an extra indulgent meal) and buy a dessert wine to serve with these Lavender Rosemary Goat Cheesecakes. They’re creamy and smooth with herbaceous and floral notes. And the honey. Oh man, the honey. I try hard not to send you on wild goose chases for specific ingredients, but this honey is serious business and absolutely makes the cheesecakes all that extra special. If you’re not going to track … Continue reading

Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes

As many Summer stories do, at least for me, this one, the story of the Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes begins with a large bowl of cherries. I pitted the cherries and then what to do? It turns out, wait for your birthday, which isn’t in the summer at all. I first made these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes last summer and then never quite got them up and posted. But this year on December 10th, for my birthday, I was inspired to make a special breakfast for one. I love baked German pancakes of all flavors. I like the apple ones in the fall, blueberry is a particular favorite, but this cherry almond one is fit for nizoral. And since it can be made with fresh cherries when they’re abundant in the summer, or with the special flown in from Chile cherries in the winter, or even from frozen cherries if you’re far from the fancy flown in from Chile sort of markets, it’s something you can make special to celebrate all year long. No matter when you make it, or what cherries you’re using, you’ll love these Baked German Cherry Almond Pancakes. … Continue reading

Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer

rhubarb aquavit lillet rose spritz

While I absolutely love savory cocktails, not everyone does; some people prefer something a little sweet, like this Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer. So when you’re serving a drink like my Celery Aquavit Spritzer for your big, fancy schmancy Scandinavian Thanksgiving menu, it’s best to make two cocktails for a large group. After all, two cocktails is better than one anyway, right? When I was making aquavit, I wanted to make some Northern, Scandinavian flavors and rhubarb was at the top of my list for pairing with holiday flavors. I also finally procured a bottle of lillet rose, which can be surprisingly tricky to track down and wanted to feature it and it’s lovely pink color. The rhubarb aquavit fit this Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer in that dimension as well since it is also a beautiful pink shade. I have to admit, this isn’t a particularly complex cocktail; it’s light, smooth, and easy to drink. But that’s perfect when you have a huge menu with many courses and lots and lots of awesome wine pairings. In fact, this simple and easy Rhubarb Lillet Rose Spritzer it perfect when it needs to pair with three very different appetizers, like a gjetost fondue, … Continue reading

Swedish Almond Loaf Cake

Swedish Almond Loaf Cake

This very simple Swedish Almond Loaf Cake is one of my special pan exception recipes. I don’t really have another use for the wacky little pan (other than making half batch Bundt recipes I suppose). But I’m fine with it because it’s so good, so fast, and so beloved. In fact, this recipe (which is so old and reprinted on any Swedish pan you buy that I don’t know how to attribute it to a source) really makes two special pan exceptions, because the cake tray is pretty specific, too. But what’s the point of having rules if you don’t have good reason to break them? Swedish Almond Loaf Cake is lovely for brunch/coffee cake needs as well as for dessert. It’s great with a coffee or tea warm from the oven and without garnish, and it’s perfect with berries, crème fraîche, or ice cream. It’s also the cake I use as the base for my Saffron Poached Apricot Almond Trifle, and it was absolutely perfect. So what I’m trying to say, is that this cake may cause you to break a “no special pan” rule of your own. Or, you’ll just double it and make it in a Bundt … Continue reading

Happy Birthday Dempsey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday Dempsey Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake served

I’m really excited to share with you this Happy Birthday Dempsey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake. Today, my nephew Dempsey was born very early in the morning, just about 23 minutes too late to share his birthday with his father, my brother Ivan. Because we don’t know what Dempsey likes yet, and since he can’t eat cake, I made this Happy Birthday Dempsey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake with his father’s birthday in mind. My brother loves the Peanut Butter and Chocolate combo, so I decided to make one of my favorite old standby recipes from Ina Garten in honor of both Dempsey and Ivan. Truth told, Dempsey came before I had a chance to go grocery shopping so I wanted a recipe I could make with things I had on hand. You will notice that I’ve varied the original recipe to accommodate some leftover Snowstorm Hot Chocolate. I thought it would be fun to share how I substitute and alternate to use up leftovers, but if you don’t have Snowstorm Hot Chocolate on hand or don’t want to make it, it’s really easy to make the cake without it. I do recommend using melted chocolate, rather than cocoa powder because it’s … Continue reading

Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad

Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad

This Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad is one of those super simple, but “best thing ever” recipes, especially if you have some pistachio brittle on hand, which you should, since I’m sure I convinced you to make it for my Citrus Flowers with Spicy Pistachio Brittle. It’s really easy to throw together with a very simple lime vinaigrette. But of course, it’s wonderful with any citrus dressing really. We’ve had it with grapefruit, blood orange and Meyer lemon depending on what I have on hand. This salad was served recently for Valentine’s Day Brunch, but of course, it isn’t really season specific unless you live in California. Otherwise, you may as well eat it in the winter, since the avocados have to be shipped in year ’round. I love the combination of blueberries, avocados and pistachios, and the hint of spice from the pistachio brittle is perfect for this rather sweet salad. I serve this Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad over spinach leaves most often, but of course it’s great with any green. Another favorite is wilted or roasted kale. This Crunchy Blueberry Avocado Salad is also a great weeknight dinner salad; between the avocados and the nuts, it’s plenty filling- just … Continue reading

Baked Lime Ricotta with Blackberries

Baked Lime Ricotta with Blackberries

Specialty cheese shops commonly sell an amazing sweet Lemon Ricotta I’ve riffed on with this Baked Lime Ricotta with Blackberries. The original Lemon Ricotta is fun to put on a cheese board, especially a dessert cheese board, because it’s such a great bridge between traditional dessert and cheese for dessert. If it’s easy to buy in cheese shops, and it’s oh-so-wonderful, then why did I need to make it you ask? Fair point. But I never said it was easy to find, and even in a big city with good cheese shops, every now and then I can’t find it, which makes me really sad, especially if I traipsed all the way down to the Italian Market. I didn’t set out to write this recipe at all because I figured it would be easy to find an official recipe on the subject. When things are mass-produced, usually there’s a sort of consensus on how to make them, but as I searched it became apparent that there weren’t really recipes for the lemon ricotta. The recipes I saw were basically just variations on cheesecake, and that’s really not what this is (you’ll note I’m definitely not calling it a cake). The … Continue reading

Chestnut Sticky Buns

Chestnut Sticky Buns

Chestnut Sticky Buns, Barrett? Why are you messing with perfection? It’s a reasonable question, I agree. I have a reasonable answer though. I really love a good sticky bun, I mean, really, who doesn’t? Despite that, I seldom order them out, because, so often they’re disappointing. And once you know how much butter and sugar goes into the darn things, well, one can’t afford to be disappointed. The sticky bun needs to be really fresh, as in made that day, because they dry out so quickly and the dough loses its tenderness and then you have to microwave it to eat it and then you have to wolf it down really quickly or it hardens back up because microwaving is terrible for heating things. True tragedy, I know. So of course, like so many things in life, I decided that if I wanted it done right, I had to do it myself. So I decided I’d learn to make the perfect sticky bun for Christmas Brunch. And then of course, since I was making it myself, I began tweaking the recipes, because if I have to make it myself, then it may as well be exactly how I want it. … Continue reading

Dulce de Leche Tiramisù

Dulce de Leche Tiramisu

All over both Brazil and Argentina, dulce de leche was all the rage. Pastry chefs filled croissants, cream puffs, and crepes with the delicious caramel. Creameries flavored gelato with it. Hotels served it with bread at breakfast time. And it was everywhere; they sold it in grocery stores, wine stores and cheese shops. Of course I hauled some back to Philly, along with plenty of Argentinian wine, and lucky for you, this Dulce de Leche Tiramisù is the result. Why Tiramisù you might ask? Because of all the different ways we had it in Brazil and Argentina, in Tiramisù was not one of them. Well, believe it or not, Argentina has a strong Italian presence and the cuisine is very influenced by the Italian immigrants. So believe it or not, it makes a lot of sense, despite the fact that we didn’t see it anywhere. And the combination of a South American ingredient like dulce de leche utilized to enhance a traditional Italian dessert fits a lot of what we saw while dining in South America. But mostly, I love a good Tiramisù and it was the first thing that came to mind as something I thought would be fun … Continue reading

Saffron Poached Pear Cakes

saffron poached pear cakes with pomegranates

These gorgeous little Saffron Poached Pear Cakes are the culmination of a lot of different ideas and inspirations. They started as a little inkling in the back of my mind when I was perusing cookbooks at Terrain last Christmas and came across Homemade Winter, by Yvette van Boven. The gorgeous photo of a pear cake on the cover stuck with me, even after I’d read the recipe and decided not to make it (white chocolate just isn’t my thing). Then, months later when paging through Jerusalem, I loved the recipe for Saffron Cardamom Poached Pears and was reminded of the image from Homemade. While the pears are absolutely a lovely dessert on their own, they also seemed perfect for sinking inside a moist, flavorful cake. I played around with different versions of cake that would work with but not overpower the strong yet subtle flavor of saffron and I think this cake strikes the perfect balance. The slightly floral aromatic qualities of the almond flour, orange zest and marmalade work well with the saffron and cardamom. There’s a lot going on, but it’s well balanced and the result is beautiful Saffron Poached Pear Cakes that are full of a golden … Continue reading

Leftover Gingerbread Berry Sundae

Leftover Gingerbread Berry Sundae

There are some leftovers that require a lot of creativity to use up, and then there are desserts, like the gingerbread in this Leftover Gingerbread Berry Sundae, which hardly require anything other than a fork. But maybe you wouldn’t have guessed that fresh berries are really good with fresh gingerbread? Or you want to turn a regular old delicious snack into an elegant guest-worthy dessert? Regardless of whether you saw this coming or not, I have to admit that I like the fresh gingerbread recipe that’s used to make gingerbread croutons for my Gingerbread Crouton Fall Panazanella so much, that sometimes I make the gingerbread on its own and never get to the croutons. It’s soft and spongelike, perfect for reheating and serving with vanilla ice cream or lemon sorbet. The spiciness of the cake is amazing against the sweet, bold flavors of fresh berries (a definite treat this time of year) make the fact that this Leftover Gingerbread Berry Sundae extra special. When you serve the Leftover Gingerbread Berry Sundae, you can leave off the “leftover” because there definitely won’t be any leftover gingerbread after you’ve made these, and it’s so good, that any negative associations with the word “leftover” will all but … Continue reading