Monday, November 19, 2018

Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread

There is this cake I have wanted to make, the "Black is the New Jam Cake with Sorghum Sea Foam Icing" from Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy. First it was that I had to track down sorghum, and I did, from a guy standing by the side of the road on a drive through the North Carolina mountains. It's legit, it's Appalachian, check. But then I used some of that sorghum in another recipe. The other rare ingredient is the black walnuts which are only available a certain time of year. When I saw them this year, I proudly purchased them, knowing I had sorghum at home, and I was going to make! that! cake! Except I needed a jar of jam and didn't have any in the pantry.

I went looking for alternate black walnut recipes. One day I will conquer that cake, but I didn't want to go back to the store just to make it. I also have quite a bit of canned pumpkin on hand, so I decided it would be great to find something that combined both. I ran across this Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread recipe from the Never Enough Thyme when Lana's Cooking blog. I went for it and mixed the batter while I boiled water for dinner too. Opening the black walnuts, which I'd never had, was quite an experience. They almost smell like perfume, it is really a strange experience.

The fragrance of the bread with the walnuts filled the house, and I couldn't wait to try it. We do have a slight walnut allergy in my family, and I found my throat felt a little scratchy, so I will have to give most of this away. But I did enjoy this distinct flavor of a regional nut!

Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread
(recipe from Lana, the directions are mine as per her request, but please visit her blog to see her longer post, her directions, and her photos)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped black walnuts
1.  Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a 9x5 (6 cup) loaf pan.
2. Stir dry ingredients together.
3. Mix in wet ingredients.
4. Stir in walnuts.
5. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean (I needed almost 75 minutes for my loaf.)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Apple and Cheddar Scones

These are slightly more involved than most scone recipes I make, due to the roasting of the apples and the shredding of the cheese, but I would like to say: WORTH IT. I've had my eye on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for several years and finally had a chance to make them on a late morning. I had two wrinkly Mutsu apples leftover from fall apple trips and used those for this recipe. Their paleness and the paleness of the white cheddar (from Canada) makes for a deceptively monochromatic scone. But the flavor is anything but.

I will point you to Deb's recipe for step-by-step photos and a different method for the recipe, and merely copy and paste the ingredients here. I made them my normal scone method which I will put below, but that is not her original instructions.

Apple and Cheddar Scones
(from Smitten Kitchen!) 

Makes 6 generous scones

2 firm tart apples
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces or 195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling (total of 2.2 ounces or 63 grams)
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams) plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams)unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, I assume for aesthetics)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
2 large eggs (NOTE: only one go INTO the scones - JennyBakes)

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core apples, then cut them into one-sixteenths. (I assumed this meant chunks, not slivers.) Placed them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely. Leave oven on.

Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut chilled butter into chunks and rub into dry ingredients with fingertips. Stir in cheese and apples. Beat together ONE egg and cream, and pour over the mix, stirring the most minimum required to bring the dough together and not one bit more.

Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll (or use your hands to pat) the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has either been buttered or lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Notes from JennyBakes:

-Well I misread the recipe originally and had to dump out the TWO eggs plus cream I'd mixed together.
-I only baked for 20 minutes and they could have gone longer but I'm skeptical about the 30 in my oven, anyway.
-I added more than 1/2 cup cheese. I just shredded what I had on hand and used it. So they were a bit cheesy (this was not a bad thing.)
-I did not add salt to my egg wash. I was worried about getting too salty.....

Monday, November 05, 2018

Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds and Apricots from Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven

The first time I heard about hot water crust was whilst watching The Great British Bake Off. I had great plans to try a version, although many of the recipes called for lard, I'd encountered a few with butter or shortening. I knew that the important things were to make sure the filling was not too liquidy so as not to end up with a soggy bottom.

As I was perusing this cookbook, the pasty really stood out for several reasons - it is vegetarian (so many aren't!), it had centerpiece potential, and the flavors were interesting. And it looked like it started with a hot water crust of some kind, a technique I'd never used.

Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds and Apricots

Serves 6-8 people

For the filling:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced*
4 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp paprika
4 heaping tbsp (70 g) tomato paste
1 head cauliflower, ground into crumbs in the food processor*
1/2 cup (100 g) red lentils
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
3/4 cup (100 g) almonds, finely chopped
3/4 cup (100 g) dried apricots, halved*
1 1/2 cups (150 g) grated aged cheese*
4 eggs, beaten
A generous bunch of fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dough:

 3 1/2 cups (450 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (200 ml) milk
7 tbsp (100 g) butter
1 egg, beaten

On the side:

1 2/3 cups (400 ml) sour cream
Some scallion rings
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: fresh garden herbs


Make the filling: in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions and celery until soft. Add the garlic. Cook everything for a while. Add the curry powder, paprika, and tomato paste. While stirring, cook for several minutes, until it starts to smell sweet and spicy. Then, stir in the cauliflower crumbs and the lentils. Douse with the stock. Cover and let simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while reducing it into a thick paste that is no longer wet but does not burn and stick to the pan either. Remove from the heat and let cool somewhat.

Make the dough:

Grease a 9-inch (22-cm) springform pan (or a pie pan) and dust it with flour. Mix the flour and salt. Put the milk and the butter in a saucepan, and add 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150 ml) water, and heat until the butter has melted.

Add the flour in one batch and thoroughly stir everything into one ball. Remove it from the pan and quickly knead it on a floured countertop into a coherent dough. Let the dough rest for a while. Divide the dough into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger part and use it to line the springform pan, allowing some overhang over the edges.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C.)

Stir the almonds, apricots, and cheese into the cauliflower filling, followed by the beaten eggs and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the filling into the dough-lined springform pan. Roll out the remaining dough and use it to cover the pasty filling.

Use an apple corer to cut three holes in the top crust. Trim the edges and roll out the trimmings. Cut Christmas decorations from the dough and stick them onto the pasty with a beaten egg. Glaze the entire top of the pasty with the remaining egg.

Bake for 1 hour. Use a skewer to check whether the filling is done: every oven is different. Sometimes it takes a little longer, sometimes it doesn't. Loosely cover the pasty with aluminum foil if the top is browning too fast.

Serve immediately while still warm, or let cool and serve cold. You can always reheat the pasty later.


You can heat up the pasty covered with aluminum foil. It will take about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F (180 C.) Serve with sour cream (seasoned with some scallion rings, salt and pepper, and some fresh garden herbs if you want.)

* Notes from JennyBakes

I only used one onion because I didn't want it to overpower. I also lightly chunked the cauliflower rather than grind it to have more texture. If you really only half the apricots but grind everything else, the only chunks you will encounter are apricots and I think that's a bit unbalanced. (Especially since if you have leftovers, the apricots get more and more savory and it starts tasting like curry grapes or something.) I wasn't sure what kind of cheese to buy (it just says aged!) so I used a nice hard cheese like Parmesan. I only had a six inch springform so I made that size and cooked for a shorter time, then put the rest of the filling into ramekins with crust toppers, and they were tasty too!

Home Made Christmas
by Yvette van Boven
Abrams Books
Publication Date: 16 October 2018

Recipes are divided into the type of dish, with fun menu ideas in the back. Others I've marked to try include Ginger Hot Chocolate, Squash, Feta & Sage Pull-Apart Bread, Carrot Tatin with Goat Cheese, Trifle with Salty Caramel, Cheesecake Cream & Chewy Brownies, Hazelnut Meringue Log with Frangelico Cream & Caramel. Last week I posted the Vegetable Spiral Tart.

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vegetable Spiral Tart from Home Made Christmas

As a part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party again for 2018-19, I will be sent most of the cookbooks for their season. This is how I ended up thumbing through Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven several months before Christmas! I marked a few sweet recipes to try, as I tend to do, but I kept coming back to a few savory dishes. One that topped the list is the vegetable spiral tart. In the cookbook, Yvette has made a beautiful tart with all one spiral. As I attempted to force my vegetables into submission, I decided it was going to be easier to make rosettes surrounding a central spiral. It isn't quite as perfect as the picture but it was tasty, and will do just nicely for lunch later this week as well!

Vegetable Spiral Tart with Avocado-Curry Cream

For the crust:

About 1 pound (450 g) sweet potatoes, peeled*
1 egg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:

3 large carrots (about 11 oz/300 g, peeled)
2 parsnips, peeled
1 eggplant
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150 ml) heavy cream
1 small clove garlic, pressed or grated
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp caraway seeds

On the side: 

1 avocado
1 tsp curry powder
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup (125 ml) crème fraîche

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

Cut a piece of parchment paper to size so it fits a 9-inch [tart] pan. Grease everything, including the parchment paper.**

Grate the sweet potatoes in a food processor using a coarse grater.*** Beat the egg with some salt and pepper and combine it with the sweet potato. Press the sweet potato mixture into the [tart] pan, forming an even layer on the bottom and up the edges. Prebake the crust on the lower rack in the oven until half done and the edges begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool somewhat on a rack.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 F (200 C).

Meanwhile, make the filling. Shave the vegetables as thinly as you dare into strips. I use a vegetable peeler for the carrots and the parsnips. That works better than you might think. For the eggplant I use a chef's knife to cut very thin slivers.

Whisk the eggs and cream together with the garlic, curry powder, and caraway. Season with salt and pepper.

Fit the vegetables in the pan in circles, artfully alternating among different colors so it will look beautiful. Continue until all have been used up. After filling the whole pan I always stick the final slivers left on the counter in between the vegetable spirals. You can really use everything!

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, carefully spreading it out. Bake the tart for at least 45 minutes, until done. Let rest for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. If you are planning to serve the tart later you should bake it for only 35 minutes. In that case it will go back into the oven just before serving. Let cool, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Make the avocado cream. Puree the avocado together with the curry powder and the lemon zest and juice in a food processor until completely smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Allow the tart to reach room temperature (if it's been in the fridge.) Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Bake the tart for about 15 minutes, until nicely done and warm throughout. Serve with the cold avocado cream.

Notes from JennyBakes:

Overall, this was tasty if a bit fiddly. The crust was simple but delicious, so I'm already thinking of other ways I can use it... maybe as a crust for a savory cheesecake! I would like to know if I could do a simpler version of this without having to shave and arrange the vegetables. Also for my tastes, eggplant is not really working here, but I know I'm not a huge fan the way other people are.

* This was just one average sweet potato

** Really listen to this step. I skipped it and will have a messy oven floor to clean sometime soon.

*** I didn't pull out the food processor, just used a handheld grater and it was fine.

I keep saying [tart] when she says pie pan, because the ingredients fit perfectly in a tart pan, the recipe title is tart, the picture looks like a tart, and I think there wouldn't be enough to fill a pie pan. The cookbook author is Dutch so I wondered if tart and pie are the same English word. No big deal, but you might want more of at least the egg mixture if you're going pie plate.

I didn't make the avocado-curry cream but it would have been good, adding some acid it probably needed. The curry flavor in the egg mixture comes across pretty strongly already, so you may want to reduce it in one of the two places if you're making both the tart and the cream.

Home Made Christmas
by Yvette van Boven
Abrams Books
Publication Date: 16 October 2018

Recipes are divided into the type of dish, with fun menu ideas in the back. Others I've marked to try include Ginger Hot Chocolate, Squash, Feta & Sage Pull-Apart Bread, Curry Cauliflower Christmas Pasty with Almonds & Apricots, Carrot Tatin with Goat Cheese, Trifle with Salty Caramel, Cheesecake Cream & Chewy Brownies, Hazelnut Meringue Log with Frangelico Cream & Caramel. (I actually bought everything for the Curry Cauliflower Pasty except... the cauliflower. Doh! So I need to make another trip to the store.)

This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Apple Cider Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

On our first orchard trip of the autumn, I bought a gallon of apple cider. I had about half a gallon left and it started to expire, so I went looking for a recipe that used a lot of it. Between cake and glaze, this recipe uses 2 cups. Instead of going full apple cider doughnut with Martha's cake recipe, I didn't cover the cake in the cinnamon sugar mixture and opted for the apple cider glaze instead, for a slightly more sophisticated look.

Apple Cider Cake

For the cake:
(recipe adapted slightly from Martha Stewart's Apple Cider Doughnut Cake)

(recipe from Buns In My Oven)

1 cup apple cider
1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt

Bring the cider to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in the butter, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until well combined. Add remaining powdered sugar to thicken the glaze, if desired. 

Drizzle over cooled cake. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 2 days.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

Well, you know how it is. One recipe flops (a batter that never is a dough, long story) and you run out of non-stick spray that you need before you can bake that cake - well, you did buy that bag of pumpkin spice marshmallows.

So here's some real-life, this is all I baked this weekend, completely processed food product "baked good." Sometimes that will have to do!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treat
(recipe from


3 Tbsp. butter
1 pkg (8 oz.) jet-puffed pumpkin spice mallows
5 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup candy corn

1. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray.
2. Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 sec. or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1 1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds. Add cereal; mix well.
3. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Decorate with candy corn; cool.
4. Use foil handles to lift cereal mixture from pan; cut into shapes with pumpkin shaped cookie cutters or use knife to cut into bars.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I saw many variations of this online, including several that incorporated coffee/espresso in some way in order to make pumpkin spice latte rice krispie treats. This might be tasty! I also saw some combined with marshmallow cream in the middle, others dipped in dark or white chocolate, others making pumpkin spice from plain marshmallows. You do you.

The contained that goes in the microwave needs to be larger than 4 cups, I learned through experience and a very sticky mess.

I found I needed less space than 9x13 so I put my empty nonstick spray can down in the 9x13 pan and pushed all the marshmallow mixture into the smaller space for more even, thick squares.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Lassie Tart

I read a lot of fiction, as most of you know. Recently I read Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper, about a dying fishing village in Newfoundland and the people who live there. Most of the residents are moving away for work. In one scene, the Mom from the central family sends her children, Cora and Jack, to buy something from the bakery to celebrate their last day as a family before the parents start trading off traveling "up north" for work.
"They got the only pie, dark berries and dark molasses crust, and continued on home..."
Their mother Martha approves of their selection.
"Lassie tart, she said. Good choice."
So this of course set me off on an internet research rabbit hole. There aren't many places online to find the recipe for a lassie tart, although if you just look for Newfoundland tart or Newfoundland molasses tart, a few more come up. They all agree the traditional berry (which is made into a jam before filling the tart) is the Partridge Berry, but that was not a berry I could get my hands on, not in frozen form or in jam. Several bakers who had made the tart used lingonberries, so I did that as well.

The tart has a lattice top so I was refreshing my skills by looking at tutorials for them, and encountered a "plaid" pattern with varying widths of lattice that I really liked. Unfortunately I didn't really pull it off; my tart just looks like I didn't cut my lattice evenly, not like I did so intentionally. This molasses dough is pretty soft and not as easy to work with as typical pie dough.

Ultimately I made the recipe from the Globe and Mail, and will include it in its entirety below, but should say that I used a 12 oz jar of lingonberry jam instead of making any (and that was just about right for one 8-inch tart. I can't see this recipe making enough pastry for 2 complete tarts as it says it will. In the end this is a fairly simple recipe, perfect for a place with a lot of molasses and jam on hand like Newfoundland. I wonder if this could be adapted slightly for Thanksgiving - I wouldn't use all cranberries, I don't think, but maybe half (or, you know, cranberry sauce) and maybe add some orange zest to bring out the orange pekoe tea in the crust. It's a keeper.

Murray McDonald's Lassie Tart
(from The Globe and Mail)
Servings: Two 8-inch tarts



1 cup butter
3/4 cup molasses
4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brewed orange-pekoe tea
6 cups partridgeberries, also known as lingonberries (or substitute cranberries)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup brown sugar



To make the pastry dough, cream the butter and molasses. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. In a small bowl or cup, stir the baking soda into the hot brewed tea, then add immediately to the butter-and-molasses mixture and stir well. Add dry ingredients to the same bowl and mix until just combined. Pat the dough into a ball and flatten, wrap in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.

To make the partridgeberry jam, place the berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Set aside and let cool.
To assemble the tarts, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and 10 inches round. Transfer to an 8-inch tart pan and trim the overhanging edges. Form a ball with the scraps, roll out the dough and cut out strips for the lattice top.

Fill tart with 1/2 inch of partridgeberry jam. Place the lattice overtop and use a fork to crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake at 325 F for 35 minutes or until the top is dark brown.