Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Who Can Resist A Sunny Slice of Tahitian Pineapple Pie?

A taste of Hawaii in a pie.
A taste of Hawaii in a pie.

What do two Centers for Disease Control scientists know about making pies?

Apparently, a whole heck of a lot.

Married couple, Chris Taylor, an epidemiologist specializing in Alzheimer’s and aging, and Paul Arguin, retired head of the CDC’s domestic malaria unit, are avid home bakers. After meeting, they began entering amateur baking contests together — and winning them like crazy. To date, they’ve won more than 600 awards, trophies, ribbons and certificates for their glorious pies.

Now, they’re showcasing their fanciful creations in their first cookbook,

“The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert: A Baking Book” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

There are pies for every occasion and for every baking level, from the “Mocha Mystery” and “Guavaberry Apple” to “Strawberry Margarita with Salted Rim” and the one that garnered them “Best of Show Winner” at the National Pie Championships, the jaw-dropping “Peanut Butter Checkerboard.”

As befitting two scientists, this is a very technical book, which means the recipes are quite long because they are extremely detailed. So, don’t freak out when you scroll down at the one below.

Their “Tahitian Pineapple” pie is the one I tackled. While I’ve made my share of pineapple upside-down cakes, I’d never made a pie with fresh pineapple at its heart.

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Sponsored Post: Cheesecake Pastries With Figs, Almonds and New Snofrisk Cheese

Flaky, golden pastries with a center of cheesecake, figs and almonds -- to enjoy for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.
Flaky, golden pastries with a center of cheesecake, figs and almonds — to enjoy for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.

As much as I adore cheesecake, an entire slice is just too rich and too much of a gut-buster. At least, to indulge in with regularity.

But a cheesecake pastry? Now, that’s something I can get down with morning, noon or night.

With the same luscious creaminess, a cheesecake pastry satisfies beautifully but with just a fraction of the filling, guaranteeing no food-coma afterward.

So when I was asked by Snofrisk, a Norwegian cheese company, to create a recipe using its product, I knew cheesecake pastry was where it was at.

The Snofrisk three-pack are debuting at Bay Area Costco stores this month.
The Snofrisk three-pack are debuting at Bay Area Costco stores this month.

Snofrisk is made with 80 percent goat’s milk and 20 percent cream from cows — all from small herds on Norwegian farms.

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Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies with A Touch of Cardamom

The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.
The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.

My appetite always perks up whenever I spot a recipe with cardamom. Especially if it involves baked goods.

The fragrant spice with a warm, sweet, resiny character adds such a beguiling presence to anything it touches.

So when I received a review copy of the new cookbook, “Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India” (Page Street), how could I resist?

The new cookbook is by San Franciscan Hetal Vasavada, creator of the namesake Milk & Cardamom blog. You may also recognize her from her stint as a contestant on “MasterChef” Season 6.

A first-generation Indian-American, Vasavada melds American-style desserts with cherished Indian flavors reminiscent of the childhood sweets she grew up loving.

The result is clever recipes such as “Ginger-Chai Chocolate Pot de Creme,” “Peanut Laddoo Buckeye Balls,” “Green Mango Marmalade,” and “Cinnamon and Jaggery Monkey Bread.”

Her “Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies” is a play on Jacques Torres’ fabled chocolate chip cookies — only with cardamom and the unusual mix of melted white chocolate and milk powder.

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Churn a Batch of Salt & Straw’s Imperial Stout Milk Sorbet with Blackberry-Fig Jam

This sorbet is made with stout, as well as jam loaded with dried Mission figs and fresh blackberries.
This sorbet is made with stout, as well as jam loaded with dried Mission figs and fresh blackberries.

It’s not that I set out to confound my husband.

But when it comes to ice cream, I often can’t help it.

You see, I am married to someone who wants to eat vanilla ice cream — and only vanilla ice cream.

But who wants to live in a world of only vanilla?

Not I, for one.

So when a review copy of the new “Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter) arrived in the mail, I couldn’t wait to tear into to make something especially fun and inventive.

After all, the ice cream company founded in 2011 in Portland, OR by cousins Tyler and Malek with locations in the Bay Area now, is famed for its zany flavors. Salt & Straw unabashedly does its best to “Keep Portland Weird.”

But that’s not to say that this ice cream maker gives precedence to wacky over excellence. Not at all. Its innovative flavors may have you scratching your head at first, but once you try them, you will marvel at their execution. Don’t just take my word for it. All it takes is to stop by a Salt & Straw ice cream shop to see the lines at all hours of legions of fans who can’t get enough of ice cream flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Best of all, Salt & Straw often incorporates specialty ingredients local to each of its stores.

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Olson’s Cherry Pie

Cherry pie time.

Cherry pie time.

 

A little piece of me dies when businesses like the Milk Pail in Mountain View and C.J. Olson Cherries in Sunnyvale shutter.

I know, I know, it’s all in the name of progress in the Valley of Heart’s Delight, where tech companies have long ago supplanted farms and orchards.

Tech may (or may not) make my life easier. But quaint family-owned farm stands and gourmet open-air markets make my spirit soar.

In too short of a time, C.J. Olson Cherries went from being an expansive cherry orchard to a small fruit stand in a spanking new retail mall to merely a mail-order company now whose products are also stocked at a couple of local stores.

A heap of filling inside.

A heap of filling inside.

When it still existed as a fruit stand, I would buy not only fresh cherries but other stellar locally grown fruit. And at least once a year, I would splurge on one of their famous cherry pies. They were not inexpensive. But once you tasted one, you realized they were worth every penny. While other pies may be filled with a lot of sugary jam or nondescript pureed fruit, Olson’s featured nothing but whole, pitted Bing cherries — and a ton of them at that. As a result, it was a pie that celebrated cherries exuberantly.

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