Archives for category: dessert

I’ve made some recent discoveries.

1. Trader Joe’s frozen vegetarian meatballs are delicious. I’m one of those vegetarians that other vegetarians are talking about when they say, it’s a shame that people eat so much fake meat. Obviously I’m on board with real foods. But I also love tofurkey deli slices, and these meatballs. I just ate them in a lunchtime sub, and they’d be great on a platter of plain old spaghetti with jar sauce.

2. Summery cocktails are refreshing in February too. A Campari spritz I made up last night: 1.5 oz. Campari, 1.5 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. sweet vermouth, over ice, topped with soda water. Really mild, both in terms of booze and bitterness, and shockingly red.

I’ve got another quick bread on the docket. The first time I made this it was gone in a day. The next one lasted longer, but that’s just because two people can eat only so much quick bread.

nuts and seeds

mix the dry ingredients

I’m not a sesame-obsessed person, but recently I’ve grown more interested in how it might play on the sweet side of the arena rather than the savory. Especially when combined with other nuts, it brings this rich almost bitter quality to an otherwise mundane bread.

drip glaze

Toasted with butter is the best way to eat it.

sliced bread

Orange Sesame Bread

1/3 C coconut oil, melted
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T flax meal
1/4 C plus 2 T water
1 T orange zest
1 T vanilla extract
1 C soy/almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar

1/2 C golden raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 min. and drained
2/3 C toasted nut pieces (walnut was best, cashews very good)
1/2 C toasted sesame seeds, divided (reserve 1 T)
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C spelt flour
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t ground cardamom

1/3 C powdered sugar
2 t orange juice

Grease and flour a 4×8 loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients, the wet ones. In a separate, large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, the raisins, the walnuts, and all but one tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Using a plastic spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until there are no flour clumps remaining. Go slowly and avoid beating the batter. Spread the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean (45 minutes every time for me). Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the loaf and let it cool entirely on the rack.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and reserved sesame seeds, adding a little more juice if necessary to achieve a drizzly glaze. Once the bread is completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over it. Slice the bread and serve.


Katherine recently mentioned a coconut lime sorbet (served with a friendly helping of tequila on top) and I got a little obsessed. Luckily this is about the easiest thing in the world to make. I have a very responsible, pantry-friendly, delicious pasta recipe on the docket, but I sort of think this needs to happen first.

White stuff is difficult to photograph. But you should know that this comes out better than any dairy- or egg-based ice cream I’ve made (the fattiness of coconut milk is key) and even when it’s frozen solid it has a slightly moussey texture.

Coconut Lime Sorbet
makes about a pint and a half

1 15-oz. can coconut milk (full-fat)
1/2 C brown sugar
zest of 1 lime
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 T vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the coconut milk and sugar until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients and chill overnight. Process in an ice cream maker, move the sorbet to another container, and freeze 20 minutes. Zest a little extra lime on top, especially if you’re trying to photograph this white mess. Serve.

The last produce order at Amber Waves contained a case of fairly ripe avocados, and they’re not selling very well. I brought home two, and when I unloaded my bag in the kitchen, I saw that Jim had brought one home too! We’re already sick of guacamole, avocados with chili powder and lime and a little salt (my daughter’s trick), avocado slices squishing out of sandwiches, avocados stuffed with tuna or egg salad, etc.

So I went online to find the avocado chocolate mousse recipe I’d heard customers raving about, and with a little tweaking created
a cool summertime treat that has lots of great avocado omegas and chocolate flavonoids, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and takes one bowl of the food processor to make!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse
makes 6 1-cup servings

3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut in large chunks
1 C dutch cocoa (use what you have, as I did)
1 1/4 C agave syrup
2 t vanilla
dash of salt

Toss the chunks of avocado in the processor, pulse a few times, and scrape down the sides. Process again until avocado is smooth.

Add cocoa, agave, vanilla, and salt. Pulse, scrape, and process till smooth and creamy. Spoon into dessert dishes, lick the spoon, and chill the mousse.

Serve with berries or whipped cream or chopped nuts or nothing at all!

Straight from the fridge, this mousse is very thick and rich. Letting it temper for 10 – 15 minutes would improve its pudding-like quality. One of the recipes I reviewed mentioned this makes a great frosting, I can imagine it on a chilled cake!

I was looking online for a good apple crumble recipe last week, and found this one–simple, yet perfect. The topping is crunchy, the apples are both crispy and soft, as I used 3 different varieties. I reduced the sugar a bit, and added a shake of salt. I made it last week for me and my cousin, and as it’s suddenly freezing outside I made it tonight for me and my husband.

Simple Apple Crumble

3/4 C quick oats
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1 stick (1/2 C) butter or Earth Balance margarine
1/4 t cinnamon
a few shakes of salt
4-5 apples, some sweet, some tart, peeled and cored and cut in chunks
1/4 C water

Preheat oven to 350. Or 375 if your oven is a bit cool, like mine.

Prepare apples and place in a buttered 9″ square baking dish, or something similar in size. I used an oval one tonight. Sprinkle with
1/4 C water.

Stir together the oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and cut butter in small pieces into this mixture (you can use a pastry cutter for this, or just two knives, one in each hand). Now for the fun part – squish the butter into the oat mix with your fingers until it’s blended and sticking together. Kids like to do this. Sprinkle the crumble over the apples, covering as much territory as you can, but be sure to leave some chunks as these become delightfully cookie-like.

Bake 40 minutes, turning the pan once at 20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

I had a wonderful dinner at The Glass Onion last month, and the dessert I chose was a tender biscuit spread with lemon curd, topped with fresh blueberries, cooked blueberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. Everything was made from scratch. However, it is remarkably simple to make this in a “semi-homemade” fashion, without losing too much quality. I substituted whipped cream for the ice cream, as it was what I had on hand – Cabot’s, in a can, biscuits from Roche Bros., and a small jar of lemon curd off the shelves of Shaw’s.

Blueberry Shortcakes with Lemon Curd
serves 4

2 shortbread biscuits, split in 1/2 and lightly toasted
2 pints fresh blueberries
2 T sugar
4 T lemon curd
whipped cream or ice cream

Pick through 1 pint of blueberries, destemming and discarding any super soft ones. Put them in a small saucepan with the 2 T sugar and a teaspoon of water, and heat over medium low heat until berries pop and sauce thickens a little.

Lightly toast the split biscuits, put them on their serving plates, and spread each with about 1 T lemon curd. Scatter 1/4 of the fresh blueberries over each biscuit, using the entire pint. Spoon 1/4 of the warm sauce over each, and top with whipped cream or ice cream.

At the latest Brewster Ladies’ Library book sale, I scored a wonderful cookbook–The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. For $1! It has a large format, 500+ pages, hundreds of recipes, explanations of indigenous foods, and charming tales. The first night I made tiropita (phyllo cheese pie), sweet and sour eggplant, mashed zucchini with onions, garlic and mint, and this simple, refreshing, and absolutely delicious recipe.

Orange Slices in Orange Syrup
from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
serves 2

4 large navel oranges
1 T sugar
1 t orange blossom water
zest of 1 orange

Reserve 1 orange for juice and zest. If you use commercial oranges, as I did, skip the zest. Cut off the stem and blossom ends of the other 3 oranges, and cut off the peel, top to bottom, leaving no pith. I squeezed the juice out of these pieces of peel into a small saucepan. Cut the now juicy bare orange into slices, and put them into a large flat dish, like a soup plate.

Zest the peel of the remaining orange into the saucepan, cut it in half and squeeze it into the pan as well. Add the tablespoon of sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce it by half, remove from heat. Add the teaspoon of orange blossom water. (Many health food stores and gourmet shops carry this divine extract, it makes a great bath splash too.) Pour over the oranges, chill, and serve.

I used navels from California, but the second time I made this recipe, I unwittingly bought one from South Africa. It was pale orange inside and not very sweet. I juiced it, but obviously, this recipe depends on great oranges. Try one before you buy many.

[please note that we always forget the step of heating the cranberries in the saucepan before putting them in the baking dish–hence this picture of cold cranberries and cream]

Nancy says:

The first time I had this scrumptious dish was last Christmas. Unfortunately, I was the last one to arrive on the scene, and I got maybe one teaspoonful. But that was enough to convince me that I wanted more. What’s better than cream, cranberries and maple syrup?

Kid says:

And that’s the only real emendation I’d make to this recipe: consider making two. This year we had one on Christmas eve (after a repeat of last year’s salmon fennel salad, which we still think demands a sturdier dressing than the recipe suggests, one with shallots and vinegar instead of just olive oil). Then we had another one tonight. We did the same repeat last year; after my mom suffered at the end of the dessert line it was strongly suggested that I make another. Which I happily did.

The maple syrup makes this a bit of a luxury item, unless your parents own a health food store and are committed to keeping you in Grade B maple syrup. Also, if you live in LA, cranberries are not always forthcoming. Since they usually come frozen, maybe just stock up on a few bags whenever you see them?

Cranberry Maple Pudding
stolen wholesale from Bon Appetit
serves 6

The recipe is more like a cobbler than a pudding or a cake–sweetened fruit topped with batter. I do recommend dirtying that extra bowl for the wet ingredients. If you mix them before you add them to the dry you avoid over-mixing the batter (and you get to enjoy whisking eggs into milk, one of my favored simple pleasures).

I’ve subbed 2 T of agave nectar for the sugar in the batter before with no adverse effects.


2 C fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1 C grade B maple syrup
2/3 C heavy cream
3/4 t citrus zest (we’ve tried orange and lime)
Pinch of salt


2/3 C flour
1/3 C cornmeal
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 large egg
3 T sugar
1/2 C milk
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, heavy cream, zest, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil over med-high heat, until you hear the cranberries start to pop. Adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook 1 minute. Pour the cranberries into a baking pan that’s roughly 11x7x2 or 8x8x2–the recipe is very forgiving so don’t fret over this detail.

To make the batter, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Dot the batter over the cranberries and bake 28 minutes. Let the pudding sit 15 minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream.