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.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Chocolate Pantry Cake

This cake is based on Deb-from-Smitten-Kitchen's chocolate olive oil cake, which I decided to make when I ran out of baking powder and didn't want to go to the store! We all have those days. This recipe also doesn't need butter, eggs, or chocolate that has to be melted (if you use her version with a glaze, you'll need chocolate chips at least, but since we buy the $7.50/bag stevia sweetened chocolate chips I wasn't going to use them for this! I decided it would be just fine with whipped cream.)

I didn't make this cake perfectly. I underbaked it, meaning I had a bit of a tiny lava cake situation in the middle. I didn't grease the pan high enough, so it stuck around the rim. I don't think I mixed it enough, in fear of overmixing, so one bite tasted like baking soda, whoops. It's a bit droopy in the middle. But you know what, it tastes good, the whipped cream is a nice pairing, and sometimes you just want something you can pull together quickly without special ingredients. Oh yeah, also this is a vegan recipe! It reminds me quite a bit of the flavor of the Morning Loaf recipe I've made a bunch since it originally showed up in JennyBakes, but it relies on coconut oil and espresso powder.

Chocolate Pantry Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (Deb likes olive, I used vegetable and olive half and half)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold coffee
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non stick spray (you can butter it but this will render it unvegan!)
2. Stir dry ingredients together with a whisk, knocking out any lumps in the brown sugar and cocoa powder.
3. Whisk in oil, then add in coffee and vinegar until smooth.
4.  Scrape into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
5. Go to Deb's recipe for the glaze or just serve with whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. (Oh yeah and if you use real whipped cream, again, that renders it unvegan.)