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Jamie Oliver’s Quick Portuguese Custard Tarts for the Lunar New Year

Friday, 8. February 2013 5:25

Eggy, warm custard tar.ts are perfect for the Lunar New Year or any other occasion.

There are many symbolic dishes that will grace the table when folks celebrate Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.

A whole fish and whole chicken for family togetherness. Candied melon seeds as a wish for a sweet new year. And long-life noodles to foster many more years to come of such celebrations.

For me, though, it’s all about the custard tarts.

OK, custard tarts may be more associated with dim sum outings, rather than necessarily any Chinese New Year festivities.

But can you blame me for hankering for them? Who doesn’t love a warm, eggy custard tart with a crust so flaky that shards of pastry cascade all over your clothes when you bite into one?

Leave it to an Englishman to come up with a brilliant version, too.

That would be Jamie Oliver, whose cookbook, “Meals in Minutes” (Hyperion), I received a review copy of last year. The book is set up in a unique style: Recipes are grouped into complete menus that are designed to be cooked and on the table in about 30 minutes. As such, the ingredients are listed all together for all four dishes that make up each menu. And cooking directions have you moving back and forth from one dish to another, just like you would in your own kitchen when preparing a holiday meal made up of many dishes.

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Category:Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (14) | Author:

Pretty in Pink for Valentine’s Day: Cranberry-Creme Fraiche Bundt Cake

Tuesday, 5. February 2013 5:25

Who wouldn't want to enjoy this beauty on Valentine's Day?

Just gaze at this vision in pink.

If ever there was a cake made for Valentine’s Day, “Cranberry-Creme Fraiche Bundt Cake” is it.

If you’re like me, you know to hoard a few extra bags of cranberries in your freezer even after the winter holidays. If not, you can easily buy them in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

They’re the key to making this girly frosting. And they provide a hidden filling of bright, sweet-tangy berries in the middle of this cake.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (12) | Author:

Brown Butter Apple Tart with An Emphasis on BUTTER

Wednesday, 30. January 2013 5:25

The apples are a supporting player in this tart. It's the butter that's the star.

Pretty rounds of apples arrayed all over the top of this tart catch your eye first.

So much so, you’d think they’d be the star of this dessert.

But that’s not the case.

The real hero of this tart is butter.

Browned until it’s nutty and oh-so fragrant.

I’m almost afraid to tell you how much butter there is. I know my family members almost fell over when I told them as I served them slices.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (8) | Author:

Get Your Mixing Bowls Ready: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Wednesday, 23. January 2013 5:25

Moist apple pumpkin muffins crowned with a walnut half.

There are muffins these days that could double as dessert.

You know the ones I mean — the ones we all fall for because they’re covered in irresistible streusel or sugary glaze that we con ourselves into thinking are still perfect breakfast food.

These are not those kinds of muffins.

“Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins” are not overly sweet, especially because I was forced to cut the light brown sugar amount in half when I realized my box was nearly depleted and I was too lazy to run to the store. (Hey, what can I say?) But you can use the full 1/2 cup measure of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup granulated and they’d still be far from sugar bombs.

Pinata apples from Washington State.

The recipe is from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso. The book, of which I received a review copy, has become my go-to source for apple recipes, what with its range from savory apple uses (“Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” to sweet ones (“Rustic Apple Brown Betty”).

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A Load of Lemons, Part I: Meyer Lemon Cake

Monday, 14. January 2013 5:25

More than a pound of lemons goes into this cake, along with almonds and candied ginger.

That’s what my backyard tree gifted me this winter: a load of Meyer lemons.

After last season’s dismal crop that netted me barely enough lemons to make a couple quarts of lemonade, I was overjoyed to see the bumper harvest this year from my one little dwarf tree.

When life gives you a load of lemons, you just have to use them, of course. In everything you can think of — and then some.

So, I couldn’t have been happier to spy this recipe for “Meyer Lemon Cake” in the new “The Sunset Essential Western Cookbook” (Oxmoor House), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook, by the editors of Sunset magazine, features more than 150 recipes that are so very Californian in spirit — everything from “Hangtown Fry” to “Char Siu-Glazed Pork and Pineapple Buns” to “Tagliatelle with Nettle and Pine Nut Sauce” to homemade fortune cookies.

This quite citrusy cake uses more than a pound of lemons. Most of them are pulverized — rind, pulp and all — to go into the cake batter, which contains no butter. Instead, ground almonds give it richness, along with five large eggs.

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Category:Fruit, General, Ginger, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (20) | Author: