Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brown Sugar - Cinnamon Peach Pie

I'm still trying to make the most of the last of this summer's produce. And with a mission in my mind I set out to make something nice with what will probably be my last fresh peaches for this year. I had already made peach ice cream and peach jam, but had not really baked with peaches. Given my success with the blackberry rhubarb pie I decided to try a Peach Pie.

I found a wonderful recipe which to me feels like summer crossing over into fall. The perfect tribute to summer and a warm welcome to fall. A combo of two great flavors: peach and cinnamon. I never knew they worked so well together. But oh boy, do they work well together.

I'm really starting to get the hang of pies, so I can't wait to try out other flavors, but for now I'm just going to give you this recipe and hope you try it sometime, because it is well worth your time and energy.


Brown Sugar - Cinnamon Peach Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie


For the pie crust:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the peach filling:
6-8 large fresh peaches
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into little pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten


Start by making the pie crust.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a foodprocessor fitted with a metal blade.

Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the water with 2 tablespoons a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together.

Divide the dough in two discs, making one larger than the other, and wrap them in plastic wrap.

Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the biggest disc of dough and put it into a greased 9-inch pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F).

Make the filling when you are ready to use it. You can't let it stand to long because then the peaches will give off too much liquid.

Peel the peaches, cut in half and take out the pit. Cut the halves into 1/2-inch thick slices and cut those slices in half.

Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Add the peaches and the lemon juice and stir until everything is well coated.

Pour the filling into the pie pan.

Put the pieces of butter on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into long strips.

Place the strips of dough onto the filling and weave them together.

Press the ends of the strips together with the edge of the pie crust. Fold back the overhanging dough and crimp the edges.

Brush the top with the egg, then sprinkle with the leftover 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Put the pie into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes on 220˚C (425˚F), then reduce the temperature to 190˚C (375˚F) and bake for another 40 minutes.

Transfer the pie pan to a cooling rack and let cool.

Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Sources: pie crust adapted from Southern Pies, filling adapted from Pink Parsley

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Death by Chocolate Mousse

In case you hadn't noticed....I have a soft spot for chocolate. I love it! Doesn't really matter in what kind of form or shape it comes. And so it goes without saying that I love chocolate mousse. But there are a lot of different recipes for chocolate mousse and a lot of differences in taste. A while ago I posted a recipe for a simple and very nice chocolate mousse, but this is my absolute favorite recipe.

It takes more time to make and is a little more complicated, but once you get the hang of it that won't be a problem anymore. And after you taste this chocolate mousse you'll know it was totally worth the effort. Because it tastes divine. It is chocolate at it's best. It is so good you can't stop eating it, even when you know you really shouldn't eat any more. It's that good!

I usually make one big bowl, but this is also very nice in smaller bowls, so you get individual portions. It is a perfect dessert for a fancy dinner party. You have to prepare it ahead and it is so good your guests will love it. All you have to do is add a bit of whipped cream and your done!

For this chocolate mousse it is important to use a good quality chocolate. And it is made with raw eggs so keep in mind it is not suitable for everybody.


Chocolate Mousse

Yield: enough for 8 persons


4 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, use a good quality
4 tablespoons strong coffee
1 1/2 stick softened butter
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon caster sugar


In a heatproof bowl beat together the egg yolks and sugar until it is thick, pale yellow and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon.

Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat for 3-4 minutes until it is foamy and hot.

Put the bowl over cold water and beat again for 3-4 minutes until the mixture has cooled off and forms again a slowly dissolving ribbon. It should have the consistency of mayonaise.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate with the coffee until completely smooth.

Remove from the heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time.

Mix together the egg yolk mixture and chocolate mixture until smooth. Make sure the chocolate mixture is still slightly warm, this will help with making the mixture smooth.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar on the egg whites and continue to beat until stiff.

Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into a bowl or several small bowls and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Serve with whipped cream.

Source: slightly adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Friday, August 26, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

The end of summer is drawing near and I find myself unwilling to let it go. These past few weeks the weather has already been rainy and to perk myself up I try to make the most of the summers produce. Knowing it is already a bit late for strawberries, I couldn't help myself and bought a bunch.

The next thing I did was look for a way to turn these strawberries into something yummy. And I found something alright. Strawberry Cupcakes! A lovely cake with the taste of strawberries topped with a strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. It is strawberry-bliss!

The cake is moist and fluffy and the buttercream tastes like strawberry ice cream. If I'm completely honest I think I'd ditch the cake altogether and just eat the frosting, it is so good!


Strawberry Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen


1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher or coarse salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2/3 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Fill a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a foodprocessor or blender and blend the strawberries to a puree until completely smooth.

In a small bowl mix together the vanilla, strawberry puree and milk and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

Slowly add egg and egg whites and mix on medium speed until well blended.

Put the mixer on a low speed and add half the flour mixture until just blended.

Add the milk mixture and mix until just blended.

Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just blended. Scrape down the bowl to make sure the entire mixture is smooth.

Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are just dry to the touch.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before taking them out of the tin.

To make the frosting blend the strawberries in a food processor or blender until you have a completely smooth puree.

Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and combine the egg whites and suger. Whisking frequently, heat the mixture until it reaches 71°C (160°F) and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Put the speed on medium and start adding the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time. After each addition has been completely incorporated, add more.

It might take a while before the frosting looks good. If it looks soupy or curdled just continue to beat for about 3-5 minutes (or longer). It can be that the butter was to soft, so it sometimes helps to put the mixture briefly in the refrigerator.

Add the strawberry puree and blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice with the frosting and frost away!

Source: cupcakes slightly adapted from Sprinkles on Martha Stewart, frosting from Annies Eats

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fun with Royal Icing

This weekend we had a birthday party and there were going to be several kids. So I offered to make some cookies. I had already made sugar cookies with royal icing ones and my fingers were itching to give it another try. The first time I kept it really simple, but now I upped the stakes a bit.
And I have to say... I was very pleased with the results. I made a lot more cookies then these pictures show, but didn't get a chance to really photograph them until after the party... hence there are only a few left. I made several kind of hearts, different butterflies, small cars and dinosaurs. I also made daisies, but all I could think about were eggs, sunnyside up... So daisies.... not so great. I'm gonna keep working on those!
I opted to make my life as easy as possible and made most cookies while still wet. I only gave the cars some details after the royal icing had set.
So I had a lot of fun this weekend and can't wait to try it again! I am definitely hooked!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Caramel Corn

I'm feeling more and more confident with making caramel lately, so I decided to try a simple recipe I've been ogling for a while now: Caramel Corn. I love sweet popcorn, but had never been able to make a good version... enter this recipe. I found the recipe on Amateur Gourmet and after reading all the comments felt confident enough to try it.

And I have to say.... it really is an easy recipe. It worked perfectly and I didn't even have to start over again, because nothing went wrong. That is the kind of recipe I like!

So, if your in the mood for a sweet popcorn, try this one! I made half the recipe and I snacked on it for about a week. I don't know if it can be kept longer, but after a week this popcorn still tasted good!


Caramel Corn


1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 quarts of popped corn


Preheat the oven to 100˚C (200˚F). Put parchment paper on one or two large baking sheets.

In a thick bottomed saucepan melt the butter.

Stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt.

While stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture boils, let boil for 5 minutes without stirring.

Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Take care of your hands as the mixture will foam!

Pour the mixture over the popped corn and mix well.

Spread the corn onto the baking sheets and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Wait till it has cooled down before you start eating!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

I know... it's a crappy picture. A crappy picture of a messy slice of pie. But that shouldn't matter when it comes to food. Because lets face it.... not everything you cook or bake turns out spectacular.... Most of the times it is the exact opposite. Well, at least in my case.

I've said it before and I will say it again, because I'm not ashamed of it (well, most of the time not...) I am not a great cook. I tend to rush things. Especially towards the end of a complicated recipe. Most of the time I don't even know what I'm doing and just try to wing it. Which brings me back to the messy slice of pie. I had never made a latice top for a pie before, so it turned out a bit.... how shall I put this delicately.... clumsily. But all that changed when I started eating that pie. All my dissatisfaction dissapeared, because let me tell you... that is one heck of a pie. It is one of the best fruit pies I ever had. Honestly! It was tart and sweet at the same time. The crust was sturdy enough to hold the filling, yet crumbly at the same time. We ate it slightly warm with whipped cream and it was like a little piece of heaven!

It was merely chance that had me make it in the first place. I bought some of the last rhubarb of the season at a farmers market and the next day we went picking blackberries again. So what do you do when you have to use them as soon as possible? Combine! And I am so glad I did. If you happen to stumble upon some rhubarb and blackberries....please make this pie. You will not regret it!


Blackberry Rhubarb Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch pie


For the pie crust:

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup, cold butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:

350 gram blackberries
200 gram rhubarb
250 gram sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter


Start by making the pie dough.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a foodprocessor fitted with a metal blade.

Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the water with 2 tablespoons a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together.

Divide the dough in two discs, making one larger than the other, and wrap them in plastic wrap.

Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the biggest disc of dough and put it into a greased 9-inch pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F).

To prepare the filling cut the rhubarb in pieces.

In a big bowl gently mix together the blackberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour.

Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Cut the tablespoon of butter in small pieces and place these on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into long strips.

Place the strips of dough onto the filling and weave them together.

Press the ends of the strips together with the edge of the pie crust. Fold back the overhanging dough and crimp the edges.

Bake for the pie for 15 minutes on 200˚C (400˚F) then turn the temperature down to 180˚C (350˚F) and bake until the pie is done, about 30-35 minutes.

Let the pie cool to roomtemperature. Serve with whipped cream.

Sources: pie crust adapted from Southern Pies, filling adapted from

Monday, August 15, 2011

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I recently discovered a new blog that I think I'm going to like very much! It is the blog of The Pastry Affair. So far I've tried only one recipe, but I think that is going to change very soon....

It all started out with a delicious looking Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze. The great thing about this cake is that is looks fantastic because of the chocolate glaze, but is extremely easy to make. Now I know that the picture isn't great, but I really didn't stand a chance... I put the glaze on right after dinner because I had been to busy earlier and then when the cake was finished two girls demanded to eat it. RIGHT NOW!

Please don't let that put you off of this cake. It is moist, flavorful and the chocolate glaze makes it sinfully delicious! And because it is so easy to make, it makes for a great weekday dessert! It'll also work great if you want to impress someone...


Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze


Banana Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Chocolate Glaze
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter


Preheat the oven to 170˚C (325˚F).

Grease two 20 cm (8-inch) baking pans.

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a different bowl, mix the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffly.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the bananas and vanilla and mix together.

Beat in the flour and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the two baking pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking pans.

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter until smooth.

You might need to let it cool slightly until it is thick enough to spread. But don't let it cool too long or it will be difficult to spread.

Start with glazing the top of the bottom cake. Put the second cake on top of the first cake. Now glaze the rest of the cakes.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I made Jam!

When we came home from France we brought with us a truckload of peaches. Very ripe peaches. It was way too much. We ate quite a few, made Peach Ice Cream, but were still left with a bunch of peaches. So I decided to do something I have been wanting to do, but was always to afraid to try.... make Jam.

And I have to say that is was easy. Okay, I first had to google and call both my mother and mother-in-law for tips and tricks, but the actual proces was really easy. So I first made a Peach Vanilla Bean Jam

And a week later we picked a lot of blackberries and so I turned those into a Blackberry Vanilla Bean Jam.

I'm not going to give you an actual recipe or describe everything in full detail. For both the jams I used old jam jars, which I completely sterilized.

I used two different kind of sugars to see the differences between the jams. For the Peach Vanilla Jam I used a sugar with a higher pectine level, so the ratio fruit-sugar was 1250 gram fruit - 500 gram sugar. For the Blackberry Vanilla Bean Jam I used a sugar that needed a higher ratio: 50%-50%. To both jams I added the seeds of a vanilla bean and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Lemon juice contains a lot of pectine which thickens the jams.

The blackberry jam ended up a little too thick, but it still tastes great! I'll definitely make jam more often!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Frittata with Artichoke, Leek and Goatcheese

I'm sorry for being negligent for the past couple of days. The girls were on a 4-day sleep-over with their grandparents, so we just spent those days enjoying each other and doing things without the kids. Although of course I missed them a lot, it is always so much fun to just be together. We dinned out a lot, went shopping, stayed up way too late. In short, acted like we were 10 years younger.

Okay, back to business: Frittatas...

One of the reasons I love frittatas is because it is so versatile and easy. It is basically a large omelet. You can start out with all kinds of ingredients. I usually add thinly sliced potatoes to turn it into a full dinner. It is also a great way to make a meatless meal!

In this version I used artichokes, leek and goatcheese, but you can adjust it however you like. You can also make half a recipe. You can add different vegetables, different cheeses, add some bacon or ham, use fresh herbs or change nothing at all. Do whatever feels right to you!


Frittata with Artichoke, Leek and Goatcheese

Yield: a dinner for 4 people


10 eggs
2 - 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped seperately
8 ounces of artichokes (can or frozen), quartered
2 leeks, sliced in rings
5 ounces soft goatcheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


Parboil the thinly sliced potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium bowl beat loose the eggs with salt, pepper and 1 chopped clove of garlic.

Crumble the goatcheese and add this to the egg mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 clove of garlic. Bake for a few minutes.

Add the leek and artichokes and bake again for a few minutes. Add the potato slices and mix carefully to rearrange all the ingredients.

Turn the heat low and add the egg/cheese mixture.

Let everything bake for 15-20 minutes, then put the pan under the broiler to bake until the frittata is done.

Cut the frittata in pieces. You can serve this dish warm, but it is cold also very good. It is great to take along to a picknick!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Caramel Frappucino

I know I'm not alone when I say I have a weak spot for a caramel frappucino. But whereas many of you are actually able to go to a Starbucks and order a yummy frappucino, for me that is not so easy. The nearest Starbucks is quite a long ride from here and so I'm forced to go without them for long periods of time.

This has always bothered me, but after making the Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce I was inspired. I figured that this caramel sauce might very well be the key ingredient to making my own Caramel Frappucino. So I did what most reasonable people would do... I turned to Google. I found an article on Ezine with a recipe they claimed was the original Starbucks recipe.

Now I'm a very sceptical person, so I thought....yeah right, but figured it couldn't hurt to try it out. And you know what.... It was great! And you know what else? It was easy! So now I'm probably going to have to start watching my intake.... because it does not look good for my waistline....

So, if you love Caramel Frappucino's... go make this... you won't regret it!


Caramel Frappucino

Yield: 1 large or 2 small frappucino's


1/2 cup cold coffee
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups ice
3 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Whipped cream
Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce


In a bowl mix the coffee, milk, sugar and caramel sauce. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the coffee/milk mixture into a blender or foodprocessor. Add the ice.

Blend until the ice is crushed.

Pour everything into a tall glass.

Top with whipped cream and a swirl of the caramel sauce.

Drink and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

This summer I'm really enjoying making my own ice cream. This is mostly caused by a book I got: The Perfect Scoop. I absolutely love this book. When I first got it I read it front to back and noticed a recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Sauce. As much as I love caramel sauce, this title just didn't appeal to me. So I completely forgot about it. Then I suddenly spotted a recipe for Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce on Annie's Eats and for some bizarre reason this sauce did appeal to me. When I read through the recipe I was surprised that it originated from The Perfect Scoop.

Annie turned this sauce for me into something heavenly! And it was so simple I'm ashamed I didn't think of it myself... She left out the butter and added.....wait for it.... vanilla bean. Simple right? But by doing this she instantly made this so much more appealing. Well, for me anyway....

I was a bit scared of making the caramel, because it is not one of my fortes. And indeed, I overstirred the first batch, causing great lumps to form in my melting sugar that I couldn't get out before burning the sugar.... Okay, no problem, I cleaned the pan (not an easy thing to do if your impatient) and started again. Thankfully this time it worked out!

The sauce is great. So far we've put it on top of vanilla ice cream (of course), pancakes (as a syrup) and I used it to make a caramel frappucino. Don't worry I'll post that recipe asap.

So go ahead and make this divine caramel sauce, you won't regret it!


Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 1/2 cups


1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the cream in a bowl. With a knife scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the cream. Stir and let sit while you prepare the caramel.

Spread the sugar in an large thick-bottomed saucepan. Try to make the layer as evenly and thinly as possible.

When the sugar is starting to liquify, gently stir it towards the center.

Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar has melted. Make sure you don't overstir.

Once the caramel becomes a dark amber color, take the pan from the heat immediately.

Carefully whisk in half of the cream with vanilla seeds. The mixture will start to bubble violently, so be careful of your  hands.

Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then add the rest of the cream, stirring again until well incorporated.

Stir in the salt and vanilla.

If lumps have formed during this, put the pan on very low heat and stir until all the lumps have dissolved.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.