Category Archives: Baking & Desserts

Purim Pie or HamenTARTshen

purim pieI love the holiday of Purim with its exciting stories of heroic princesses, colorful costumes, and jam-filled cookies called Hamentashen.  A few months ago we were invited to an event called Beyond Bubbies Kitchen and asked to make a dish that was a twist on traditional Jewish food. I glanced at the calendar and saw that the event was being held days before Purim and I am a jam maker, so naturally I decided to make Hamentashen (you just knew there had to be jam involved somewhere).  However, we still needed a twist!

We decided to make a savory Hamentashen with our Evil Apple, spicy apple chipotle jam and a mustard, olive oil crust.  (recipe posted here) and also a cheddar cheese crust Hamentashen with our Falling Leaves jam (apple, fig, cranberry). (recipe posted here)

Our little jam team baked about 1000 cookies for the event but we also had one jam ladies purim (250x217)more idea up our flour-covered sleeves. With a nod to my current favorite television program The Great British Baking Show, we made a showstopper which we called Purim Pie (my hubby renamed it The HamenTARTshen).

Taking my favorite simple pie crust recipe for a double crust 9″ pie (a mix of butter and shortening), I filled a 10″ loose bottom tart pan with the crust. I then made a rope of dough into about a 6″ circle and placed in the pan. I made more ropes of dough and cut them into 5″ pieces, bending and pinching them into a triangle shape. I fit the triangles into the space between the edges of the tart and the circle. when all the spaces were filled, I made another smaller circle and fit more dough triangles in between the two circles.

20150301_185722 (300x262)When all the triangles were placed I started to fill them with jams. I only filled the spaces about 2/3 full so the jam would not overflow. Being a jam company, we had lots of flavors to choose from in our pantry but I think the tart would also be lovely with only three or four flavors alternating in the spaces. Finally, we added a Jewish star cut from pie dough to the middle of the tart and baked the tart for about 30 minutes until lightly browned with bubbly jams.

Happy Purim! Boo Hamen! Horray Brave Esther! Vashti-rock your girl power!

 

 

Cheddar Cheese Hamentashen

cheddar hamentashenIf you love Hamentashen and you love cheese, then these Cheddar Cheese Hamentashen are the perfect cookie for your Purim celebration. We filled ours with Doves and Figs Falling Leaves (apple, fig, & dried cranberry) jam but any fig jam or homemade fig filling will work well.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for rolling cookies)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 Tablespoons unsalted buttercheddar cheese cookie dough
1 egg
3 Tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fig jam

Equipment
Cookie sheet
2″ cookie or biscuit cutter or glass with 2″ rim
rolling pin

How To
Heat the oven to 350 degrees
In a mixer or food processor or by hand, cream together butter and sugar
Beat egg and water and add to the butter/sugar mixture
In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt
With the mixer or food processor running, add all of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until a ball of dough begins to form (by hand blend in flour with a wooden spoon and hands until dough forms into a ball)
Kneed in the cheese and a bit more flour if the dough is still sticky
Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick and cut out circles of dough
Spoon a scant teaspoon of jam onto each circle and dampen the edge lightly with water on a pastry brush or fingertips
Fold the dough edges to form a triangle
Bake for about 12 minutes until lightly browned
Cool and enjoy your Purim treats!

 

Sweet Potato Fruit Cake (Low Fat)

yam cake (300x263)After all the indulgences of the holidays, many people turn to lighter and healthier dishes. For me it is too hard a transition from rich, spice-filled baked goods to salad for dinner and an apple for dessert. After the decorations were put away and the New Years toasts were over, I kept thinking about making  a delicious baked treat that carried over the flavors of the holidays in a healthier package. Finding a use for one lonely left-over roasted sweet potato was my inspiration for a dense, moist, low-fat Sweet Potato Fruit Cake that fit the bill. I hope you will get some sweet potatoes at the farmers market soon and roast them for supper and save a few for making a delicious dessert.

Sweet Potato Fruit Cakeyam cake batter (200x185)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup roasted sweet potato (skinned and mashed)
2/3 cup skim milk
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple (drained)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground star anise
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roast two medium sweet potatoes until tender (about 45 minutes)
Peel and mash potatoes
Potatoes can be prepared a day ahead
Set oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 9″x5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices
Beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla
Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
Blend in pineapple, dried cranberries, raisins, candied ginger
Add walnuts if desired
Pour into prepared loaf pan
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jam Kitchen Marmalade Cake

marmalade cakeThe mid Winter jam kitchen crew is juicing, peeling, zesting, and simmering as fast as we can. The season for Seville oranges is a special time that is over in the blink of an eye. Even though we were making a traditional style marmalade, we had to add our own New England twist by blending in dried cranberries.
Once all of those bitter oranges and tart cranberries were cooked into tangy/sweet marmalade and poured into jars, it was time for a reward.  It would seem to some that after weeks of making marmalade, we would be sick of it but instead we were longing to delight in the fruits of our labors. A cup of Earl Grey tea (yes even more citrus) and a slice of sticky marmalade cake was just the thing to enjoy during a break from all that hard work.

Marmalade Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flourmarmalade cake and custard
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
pinch of cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup marmalade (we used our Garnets in the Grove-orange cranberry)
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Topping
1/3 cup marmalade
2 Tablespoons orange juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round 8″ glass pie dish or square pan generously. Toss the dry ingredients (except sugar)
and orange zest together in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar by hand or in a mixer. Add eggs, juice, marmalade and milk and blend well. Stir in the dry ingredients and blend until combined but not over mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes. When the cake is done, stir 2 Tablespoons of orange juice into 1/3 cup marmalade and warm in a small saucepan or in microwave. Pour over cake and enjoy warm or room temp with ice cream, yogurt, or traditional custard.

Carrots All Day

Munching carrots all day longcarrots
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Sunny colored, tasty sweet
That veggie is a winner

The hazard of selling your wares at a farmers market is that you are often too busy serving customers to shop and when you are not selling, a visit to a market is not always the first choice of activity. I miss the days of strolling through the market and laying carefully selected fresh produce into my big red shopping basket.  Now my shopping trips are more of a grab and run affair. At a market recently, I saw my friend from Winter Moon Farm and his rainbow array of root vegetables.  With only a few minutes to spare, I said a quick hello and filled a bag about to the bursting point with yellow, pale orange, bright orange, and red carrots and one ridiculously large daikon radish and rushed back to my booth.  My hubby saw the bag and reminded me that I had just bought several pounds of carrots at the supermarket. Not to worry I assured him; I had a plan that would use a lot of carrots. Now all I had to do was figure out what that plan was…
With a bit of creative thinking, I made a new recipe for low-fat carrot bread, a carrot and daikon salad, and I used the carrots for a “nest” under a roasted chicken. We also ate carrots with homemade white bean dip, carrots in chicken salad, and a few carrots found their way into meatloaf. Suddenly, the worry about what to do with all those carrots was replaced with counting the days until the next market when I can get more!

Low-Fat Carrot and Cranberry Bread carrot bread
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 cup orange juice
zest of one medium orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries
(Loaf pan and cooking spray for pan)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites, orange juice and zest and mix until combined. Add carrots and cranberries and stir until blended together. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes until well browned and cooked in the center.

Carrot and Daikon Salad with Dried Cranberriescarrot salad
3 1/2 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded daikon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine carrots, daikon, and cranberries in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the carrot mixture. Chill in refrigerator in a covered bowl or jar for at least two hours (overnight is better).

 

Happy Thanksgivukkah! Squash Sufganiyot with Cranberry Chocolate Jam

donuts
I adore holidays; gathering with family and friends, the table overflowing with food, the cheerful decorations. This year we have a once in a lifetime chance to take two of my favorite holidays and bring them together in one mashuganah mash up being called Thanksgivukkah. As readers of my blog know, I have cooked up some crazy dishes for holidays so this new holiday hybrid was irresistible.  So I share with you the Squash Sufganiyot filled with Cape Escape Cranberry Chocolate Jam. So much Chanukah and Thanksgiving deliciousness in one little bite!  Happy Holidays x2!

Squash Sufganiyot with Cape Escape Cranberry Chocolate Jam
3 cups flour
8 ounces peeled and cubed butternut squashsufganiyot
3/4 cup apple cider
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
oil for frying
cinnamon & sugar mixture for outside of donuts
Filling: Doves and Figs Cape Escape jam or other cranberry jam

Heat oven to 450 degrees
Roast squash for about 35 minutes in a shallow dish until very tender
Heat several inches of oil in a heavy bottom pan
Process squash with apple cider in a food processor or blender
Beat eggs into squash
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a large bowl
Pour squash mixture into the flour mixture and stir until well combined but do not over mix.
Let rest for a few minutes
Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough into hot oil.
Fry until golden and cooked in the center (test one little donut to make sure you have a good cooking time).
Drain and cool on paper towels
Roll warm sufganiyot in cinnamon sugar
Fill donuts with chocolate cranberry jam
Eat, eat it’s Thanksgivukkah!!

Peach Preview Muffins

peach almond muffinsThe most magical recipes for me are not multi-day production numbers that require precise techniques or special equipment nor are they filled with unusual and expensive ingredients; but they the joyous process of turning a few simple items into something sublime.

A visit to my parents house used to involve long conversations of what we will cook, bake, and drink. Their house was always filled with family and friends and FOOD.  Now the menu includes a lot of take-out meals and simple suppers.  Illness and the exhaustion call for streamlining and shifting priorities but there is still always love at the table. Dad still likes to bake but his energy does not always hold out through the entire project so we decided to work together in the tiny kitchen. I also promised my Mom that there would be no huge mess to clean up nor as she used to call it when we were kids “a production number”.

The hot weather made me think of the Summer days to come and warm ripe peaches so I decided to make some peach muffins.  The new crop of California peaches would have to do until later when the orchards in New England bring forth their sweet stone fruits.

The recipe we used is the muffin recipe I keep in my head which only requires one bowl, a measuring cup, and a few minutes of work.  It is perfect for making a quick batch before work or school or for last-minute brunch guests and fruit can be changed to match the season.  They came out delicious but the real treat was cooking with my Dad who taught me how to bake. Dad points out with sweet peaches the sugar should be cut down a bit which is reflected in recipe below.

Peach Preview Muffins
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1  teaspoons baking powder
5 Tablespoons butter (melted)
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or a few drops of almond extract
dash of cinnamon
2/3 cup peaches peeled, pitted, chopped in small chunks
Sliced almonds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Extra butter or cooking spray for muffin tin

Heat the oven to 350 degrees
Grease a muffin tin with butter or cooking spray
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon in a medium bowl
Melt butter in microwave in a 2 cup measuring cup
Add buttermilk, vanilla, and then eggs to the melted butter and blend with a fork
Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined
Stir in the peaches gently
Scoop into muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden

Makes 10 small muffins or 6 jumbo muffins