Posts filed under ‘dessert’

Pear & Raspberry Mini-Cakes

I’m not very good at baking.  I admit it.  I just don’t have the patience to measure everything out exactly to guarantee the results.  I like to experiment and try new things, but in my experience, baking doesn’t lend itself to that very well.  Recently, I discovered I was wrong.  There are so many people out there who do experimental baking really well – among my favorites to follow in the blogosphere are La Tartine Gourmande, Bake & Destroy and Cannelle & Vanille (among others).  These cakes were inspired directly from a recipe for an apple cranberry cake by Béa at La Tartine Gourmande.  I didn’t have apples on hand, nor do I actually own the right sized cake pan to make the tasty-looking cakes.  Nevermind though, I am turning over a new leaf and starting to experiment with my baking!  I made mini-cakes in a muffin pan and used some pears and raspberries that I had on hand.  They turned out great!

Pear & Raspberry Mini-Cakes
1 tsp. baking powder
8 Tbs. flour
3 pears, peeled and cored
1 container of raspberries
3 eggs
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, sift together baking powder and flour.  Set aside.  Dice pears into 1/4 in. pieces.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and salt together until light.  Mix in butter and flour mixture.  Next, stir in pears until just combined.  Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.  Pour in mixture to each muffin cup and top with raspberries.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8 mini-cakes 


April 26, 2008 at 10:45 am 3 comments

Gâteau de Ménage

A specialty of the Haut Doubs (Franche-Comté) region of France, the gâteau de ménage (cake of the home) or galette comtoise is a very simple cake that is prepared throughout the year. It has the similar consistency to shortbread with a buttery taste finishing in subtle sweetness and a hint of orange. It is described as a “cake that tastes of Sundays and celebrations.” Who wouldn’t want to try that? It’s not very sweet so makes a nice light finish to the end of a meal. It would also be wonderful served for brunch or taken on a picnic. This cake freezes well if you can’t eat it all at once!

Gâteau de Ménage (Recipe for Bread Machine)
Adapted from “marabout chef – pain maison, Cathy Ytak”
Cake Ingredients:

1 oz. milk + 1 T. rum
1/2 stick (or 5 T.) butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups cake flour or pastry flour, sifted
1 tsp. instant yeast

Garniture Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1.5 T. heavy whipping cream
2 T. crystallized sugar
1 T. orange peel
1 T. butter, cut into pieces

To Make:
Add all ingredients to bread machine according to directions. Place setting on dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine. Lightly flour a tart mold. Place dough in mold and lightly press to fit. Let rise 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cover the dough with crystallized sugar. Then, in small bowl, whisk together egg, cream, and orange peel. Pour over cake and scatter butter pieces all over surface. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake is golden brown. Remove from mold and leave to cool on a rack.

8 – 10 Servings

February 4, 2008 at 1:17 am Leave a comment

Chocolate French Toast

This is another special breakfast at our house. It’s made with chocolate bread, which is not as sweet as it sounds. Topped with maple syrup and strawberries, it’s a decadent breakfast treat!

Chocolate French Toast
4 slices chocolate bread, each about 1/2 in. thick
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
fruit toppings (optional)

To Make:
Whisk together eggs and milk. Heat 1 T. butter in pan over medium-high heat. Soak chocolate slices in egg mixture until evenly coated on each side. Let extra drain off. Add to pan and cook about 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Serve warm with extra butter, syrup or toppings of your choice.

2-4 Servings

February 3, 2008 at 4:12 am Leave a comment

Chocolate Bread

There is a famous bakery in the Twin Cities called the Turtle Bread Company. They make the best chocolate bread in the world! It’s made with cocoa, so it’s not too sweet and has chunks of chocolate in it that stays just the slightest bit crunchy and melty. It’s perfect. I haven’t been able to find anything quite like it in Brussels, but have recently tried to make my own. It’s not quite the same as we have different flours and chocolate over here, but I thought it turned out pretty good for a first attempt! I make the bread just so I can make French Toast out of it later and then freeze the rest for another time.

Chocolate Bread
(For bread machine)
1 package instant yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, unbeaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

To Make:
Add ingredients according to your bread machine instructions. Chocolate morsels are added half-way through kneading process. Settings: Normal, White, or Sweet. Medium color and size.

1 Loaf

February 2, 2008 at 3:52 am Leave a comment

Good-Morning Crêpes with Berry Sauce

In France and Belgium, crêpes are popular at 3:00 in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea. For us, they will always be a breakfast food. We have them on lazy weekends or when guests visit.
Matt likes to top his with Nutella or just butter and cassonade (a brown sugar made from sugarbeets). I like mine with fruit. Before moving to Europe, I was hesitant to make them. There are hundreds of recipes and gadgets relating to this simple food. I have finally learned the secret to a perfect crêpe. It isn’t about the pan or the paddles, you can use any skillet or flat griddle (non-stick works best) and a knife or spatula to turn them. It’s all about the consistency of the batter (it should be thin and even) and the temperature of the pan (don’t let it get too hot between crêpes.) The rest is up to you – plain, savory, sweet, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

Good-Morning Crêpes
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. butter (melted)

To Make:
Preheat skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. Let it heat for about 5 mins.
In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until batter is smooth and even (no lumps). When pan is hot, pour a small amount (about 1/4 cup) into center of pan and swirl to make a very thin layer on the pan. When tiny bubbles appear on the top side of the batter (after 1-2 mins.), gently slide a spatula or knife under one side and fold back onto itself to turn to the other side. Cook another 1 – 2 mins. and serve.

4 Servings

Berry Sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (I used mixed Summer berries)
1 T. sugar (or more to taste)

To Make:
Heat berries and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to dissolve sugar. Bring to a slow boil and reduce to a syrup consistency. Serve over crêpes, ice cream, cakes, anything!

4 Servings

January 26, 2008 at 3:55 am Leave a comment


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