Blueberry Clafoutis

Don’t limit yourself to blueberries – any berry or summer stone fruit is delicious, such as cherries or plums. In the fall try this with apples or pears.

5 heaping T flour

4 T sugar

3 T milk, whole or lowfat

2 T safflower oil

1 egg

1 T baking powder

1/4 t salt

2-3 cups berries, washed and sliced as necessary, tossed in 2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (add if it’s needed, a little milk); the batter should be very thick. Pour the batter into a buttered 9″ cake pan or quiche dish. Spread the fruit on top of the batter; it should fill the pan & spill over a bit.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake in the oven about 15 minutes or until the cake begins to set. Spread the following mixture on top of the batter:

4 teaspoons sugar

         1 egg

         1 tablespoon of melted butter

Bake again about 15- 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve with fresh whipped cream if desired. Serves 6.


Mini Strawberry Tarts in Pretzel Crust

Makes 6 mini tarts

Crust

2 ½ C mini pretzels, finely crushed (yield 1 ¼ cups)

¼ C light brown sugar, packed

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling

4oz. cream cheese, softened

2 T light brown sugar, packed

1 t vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ C strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided

½ C light brown sugar, packed

4 t cornstarch

¼ C water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat 6 wells of a large muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Prepare the crust: process the pretzels in a food processor until very finely crushed, add the sugar and pulse to mix, then add the melted butter and pulse until well mixed and resembling wet sand. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells and press very firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each well. (Make sure the crust is well packed on all sides as this will keep the shells from breaking once baked). Bake the crusts until the cups are set and browned, 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool in the muffin pan.

Prepare the Filling: cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing well with a rubber spatula. Set aside (but do not refrigerate yet).

Prepare the Topping: put ¾ cup of strawberries in a bowl and mash them with a fork (or crush with a potato masher), enough to yield ½ cup. In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar and cornstarch then add the water and crushed strawberries. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ¾ cup sliced strawberries. If the remaining strawberries are large, cut them into smaller pieces.

Assemble the tarts: carefully wedge the tip of a paring knife between the top of each crust and the inside of the well, gently sliding each crust out of the well of the muffin pan; transfer to a platter. Spoon and spread some of the cream cheese filling in the bottom, then carefully spoon the strawberry topping on top. Refrigerate uncovered until thoroughly chilled and set, at least 3 hours. Garnish with mint if desired.


Savory Crustless Popovers

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3 eggs
2/3 C half and half
½ C plain lowfat yogurt
1 T unsalted butter, melted
1/3 C flour
½ t salt
4 oz. mild cheddar, shredded
2 T each fresh parsley and chives, finely chopped (or other herbs of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, half and half, yogurt and butter. Add the flour and salt, stir in the cheddar and herbs. Fill greased ramekins or mini-muffin tins until 3/4 full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set, puffy and lightly brown on top. Let popovers cool at least 10 minutes before unmolding (they will fall slightly, this is normal!). Gently invert to unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 standard muffins.


Pear Gorgonzola Triangles

gorgonzola-pear-turnovers-inside

 

You can assemble these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer or refrigerator until you need them. Bake a few to serve with our Hungarian Mushroom Soup for a hearty and delicious pick-up lunch – make the soup ahead of time too. We baked them up for our holiday buffet at Brookside in December 2015. Adapted from the blog out of Vancouver called Baking Obsession.

1 # homemade puff pastry or good quality store-bought
2 large pears, peeled, cored, finely chopped
2 t lemon juice
1/3 C raw sugar
1/3 C dry cranberries
1/3 C finely chopped hazelnuts
3 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 t finely chopped fresh thyme
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
Coarse raw sugar for sprinkling

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or non-stick aluminum. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the puff pastry (keep another half refrigerated) into a square about 11×11-inches. Trim the edges to get a perfect 10×10-inches square. Using a pizza wheel, make two vertical and two horizontal cuts through the equal intervals to get 9 smaller squares. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square, brush two edges with a little bit of egg wash and fold the pastry over to make a triangle. Press the edges well to seal. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Chill for about 20 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, work on the other half of puff pastry. Once chilled, brush the triangles with the egg wash being careful not to drip any excess onto the baking sheet (it will prevent proper rising), sprinkle with some coarse sugar, make small holes on the top of each turnover for steam to escape, and bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a rack until warm and serve.


Herb and Cheese Crackers

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Delightful on their own or served with soup or a cheese platters, these are go-to, easy gift for the holidays.  To make a spicy version, add tabasco to the mix.  You can also flavor them with cumin seed, celery seed or fennel seed instead of, or in addition to, the herbs. We demoed these at our December 6, 2013 event at Brookside Gardens. Makes four dozen small crackers.  Recipe from Cuisine at Home.

1½ C shredded parmesan
1½ C flour
1 stick butter
1/4 C finely chopped parsley, dill, fresh chives, fresh chervil, or a combination of these herbs
1/4 t salt
3 T heavy cream
coarse salt for garnish (optional)

In food processor, pulse first five ingredients until clumps form; add heavy cream and process until dough forms a ball around the blade.  Remove from food processor and roll on a lightly floured surface into an oval shape. Cut the oval into quarters lengthwise and roll each quarter until it is about 1½ inches in diameter.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them. They will keep in the refrigerator up to a week.  They can be frozen for several weeks.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil.  Remove the sticks of cracker dough and slice them into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Place on cookie sheet. Pierce lightly with a fork and sprinkle with optional salt garnish. Bake 10 minutes on one side. For crisper crackers, flip and bake another five minutes.  Remove and cool.  They will keep baked for a week, though they probably won’t last that long.