Monday, July 29, 2019

Tennessee Peach Pudding

I ended up with an abundance of peaches, so I knew I had to try making another regional dish that looked like cobbler to me - peach pudding! Specifically - "Tennessee Peach Pudding," a recipe I got from Teresa at "Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen," although she also adapted it from several other sources. If you need step-by-step photo instructions, definitely visit her blog.

In the end it comes out like a peach cobbler with a thick crust and a sauce built in. I would pay attention to her pan size direction - I used a 9x13 and ended up with charred sugar on the bottom of my oven. But this was more substantial than several of the crisp and cobbler recipes I've made, so I think it's worth slightly downsizing to make it another time. (I also feel I slightly overbaked as my edges are pretty dark!)

Tennessee Peach Pudding

Peach filling:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
5 cups peeled and diced peaches


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups water
1/2 tsp nutmeg

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Add milk and peaches and stir just until combined.
  3. Pour into a greased 10x15" glass baking dish.
  4. Prepare the topping: combine topping ingredients over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour topping over peach layer.
  6. Bake at 400 F for 50-60 minutes or until done.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Peach Rosemary Biscuit Cobbler

Here in the South, we mean a lot of things when we say the word "cobbler." Here in the Upstate of South Carolina, "cobbler" often means a batter where you pour a thin, almost pancake or cake batter in the bottom of the pan, toss the fruit (mixed with spices and sugar) on top, and the batter bakes up around the fruit. I think the French call that clafouti! But where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, "cobbler" always meant Bisquick topping, aka biscuit topping, with the fruit and spices mixed in and layered first.

It all started with a smoothie I had at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe - I'm a sucker for drinks with savory elements so when they started advertising the peach rosemary smoothie I had to try it. It was great, the rosemary didn't overpower the peach, but it just tasted like the fresh ingredients, not a lot of extra sugar or syrupy sweetness. After just a few sips, I knew I had to recreate the flavor in a cobbler. At that point we had just hit peach season, which is always cling first, and freestone soon after. I poked around for recipes and decided to adapt one from Sally's Baking Addiction. I liked that her biscuit batter was homemade and included buttermilk, as I had some in the fridge I needed to use up. I also liked that her biscuit batter was not actually full biscuits, which would dwarf the peaches after baking, but just enough to give a clear sense of biscuitness. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in an oval dish but could have used a 9" square pan. I will include the recipe below as I made it, but if you want the full-size recipe, please go visit Sally. She also has recommendations for storage, etc.

Peach Rosemary Biscuit Cobbler

  • 4-5 medium peaches, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tbsp packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuit Topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, broken into pieces or roughly chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or buttermilk
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x9 inch pan.
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the peach chunks, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Spoon filling into prepared pan, tuck in sprigs of rosemary, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside as you prepare the topping. Keep oven on.
  3. Make the topping: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the rosemary and butter. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits). While slowly stirring, slowly drizzle in the buttermilk. Mix until evenly combined. Take handfuls of dough and gently flatten out. Place dough all over the top of the peach filling. It doesn’t need to be perfect or look pretty– some peach filling can be showing.
  4. Brush the top of the biscuit dough with egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if using.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned and biscuit topping is cooked through. (Stick a toothpick into the biscuit topping, if it comes out clean– it is cooked through and the cobbler is done.) Set the pan on a wire rack, then cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  6. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

It's almost the end of blueberry season where I live, so I wanted to squeeze this recipe in despite the fact that I posted about pancakes last week. Sorry. Pancakes are delicious. This recipe comes from The Bacon Bible, from which I formerly made a delicious sweet-savory bread pudding. But this recipe is the only one without any bacon, thrown in because they make it at their restaurant for people who aren't feeling the bacon. But my husband and I have a funny memory about $16 lemon ricotta pancakes so I always feel drawn to recipes for them.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
(from The Bacon Bible)

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup blueberries
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups ricotta
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat. Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep while you make the pancakes.*

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, ricotta, butter, and lemon zest and whisk until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and granulated sugar.

In a separate large bowl, with a clean whisk, whip the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.

Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not overmix.) Fold in the egg whites until just incorporated.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron pan over medium heat and brush with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4-cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, brushing the griddle with more of hte melted adidtional butter as necessary.

Serve 2-3 pancakes per person, ladled with the blueberry syrup and dusted with confectioners' sugar. 

Makes 10-12; Serves 4.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I made a different kind of blueberry syrup since I had blueberries that were close to the brink. I used 2 cups, added a little water and sweetener and lemon zest. I sometimes make a sauce like this for ice cream, where I usually add a cinnamon stick, but I didn't want it to overpower the lemon. I let it boil and simmer away while I made the pancakes.

I was trying to make the recipe lower carb, so went with brown sugar splenda and half almond flour, but really there is so little flour I wish I hadn't bothered. This made them harder to turn, although that's also partly because I'm trying to make pancakes in a skillet pan on the stove and really just need a griddle.

Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, Austrian kaiserschmarm, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American, but Rosa Parks might be giving Michael a run for his money with her "featherlite" pancakes.

Monday, July 08, 2019

"Featherlite" Pancakes from Rosa Parks

Christy, my work colleague, was recently at the Library of Congress during the American Library Association Conference. She picked up a postcard for me that had a recipe from Rosa Parks for "Featherlite" Pancakes. You know I had to try them! We've been collecting blueberries every day from our two bushes in the yard so I added some of them. And keep reading to find out how a mistake I made in reading the recipe may have created even more deliciousness.

"Featherlite" Pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup peanut butter*
1 tablespoon shortening, melted, or any neutral oil, like canola

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, whole milk, and peanut butter. Whisk together the wet ingredients until combined.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Add the shortening or oil to a skillet and bring to 275° F. Spoon roughly one-fifth of the batter into the pan, into a roughly 4-inch pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles form around the edges and the pancakes look dry and airy. Use a thin spatula to gently lift it and flip over to the other side. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until cooked through and golden-brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter and serve warm.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I made a half recipe, but just went with 1/2 cup milk and used the whole egg. I added the oil to the batter and cooked the pancakes in butter but when Food52 played with this recipe and made up instructions, they assumed the oil was for cooking. Rosa doesn't actually say that though.

I mixed the dry ingredients and just dumped the wet ingredients in on top, but you can see the word combine goes after the shortening/oil rather than before. To me this means it's part of the wet ingredients. 

I don't have a griddle so I cooked mine one by one in a pan, which is why they are rather imperfect in shape. 

I also misread the recipe and melted the peanut butter in the microwave, ha! But interestingly the Food52 recipe said it was okay if the peanut butter still showed in the recipe; melting it took care of that.

There is a lot of baking powder in this recipe (capital T = tablespoon; lower t = teaspoon), 2 Tbsp per cup of flour. So the batter is very frotty and stretchy and that is what makes them "featherlite."

Recipe image courtesy of the Library of Congree:
Parks, Rosa. Rosa Parks Papers: Miscellany, -2005; Recipe for featherlite pancakes, undated. - 2005, 1934. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

Speaking of pancakes...

Like pancakes? I seem to make them from around the world! Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, the Hungarian palacsintas, Austrian kaiserschmarm, the Swedish pancakes from Alaska, and what we call the German oven apple pancake. I also made ratio pancakes from Michael Ruhlman's book, which we can call American, but Rosa might be giving Michael a run for his money.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

London Fog Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream

Earlier this year I made a cake from Tessa Huff in her Icing on the Cake cookbook. Loved it! And I found myself making another cake from an earlier cookbook of Tessa's, a recipe that had lingered on my Birthday Cake Pinterest board for a few years, since I love a good London Fog (the drink, but yeah, also the fog in London.) But since my birthday was on a Monday this year, I knew I'd have to make my own cake (most bakeries being closed Sundays and Mondays!) I was very wishwashy about it and had Instagram decide in a poll. This cake beat out the paradise chiffon cake 76% to 24%. The only change I made in the recipe was to use buttermilk instead of cream because I didn't want to go to the store. Scroll past the pictures and recipe to see what I thought!

London Fog Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream
from Layered by Tessa Huff


Classic Chocolate Cake:
  • butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the pans
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup (95 grams) unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 ml) grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot, strong-brewed coffee
Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup  (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons diced unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Earl Grey Buttercream:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks/450 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (12 grams) loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 ml) large egg whites
  • 1 and 1/4 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 


For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease and flour three 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans and set aside (*see the note section for tips if you do not own three pans).
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside .
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee. Mix on medium-low for no more than 3o seconds, or until combined.
  5. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the Salted Caramel:
  1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy-bottomed small or medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
  2. Heat over high heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until it turns a medium golden amber color, 8 to 10 minutes. The sugar mixture will begin to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the correct color is reached and the bubbles start to subside.
  3. Slowly and very carefully whisk in the room temperature cream. The mixture will foam up and sputter, so stand clear and keep stirring.
  4. Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour the caramel into a heat-safe container and let it cool until it reaches the desired consistency or refrigerate it until ready to use. It will thicken as it cools.
  5. The caramel should be room temperature for cake assembly, but any leftover caramel can be stored in an air-tight glass jar in the refrigerator for up t0 10 days.
Earl Grey Buttercream:
  1. Place 1 cup (2 sticks/225 grams) of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 5 minutes more. Strain the butter through a fine-meshed sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate it until it reaches the same consistency as softened butter, 20 to 30 minutes. Small bits of tea may remain in the butter.
  2. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160 F (70 C) on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.
  3. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping from the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, tea infused butter, and remaining 1 cup (225 grams) butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to medium high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Assemble the Cake:
  1. Once the cakes have completely cooled, level them and choose which layer will be the bottom (tip: pick the sturdiest layer). Place it on a cake plate, turning table, or serving dish. Spread on 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat, ending with the third layer (tip: pick a level, attractive layer for the top). Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream and refrigerate it until set, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Pour the caramel onto the top of the cake, letting it drip over the edges. Begin by adding 1/2 cup (120 ml) of caramel to the center of the cake and then smooth it out with an offset spatula. Add more caramel as necessary until desired look is achieved.
  3. The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days; it may also be frozen. Store any remaining caramel sauce separately in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Notes from JennyBakes:

I used Earl Grey Bella Luna Tea from Adagio, and it was very strong and flavorful. I had never steeped tea in butter before, so that was a new experience. I wish I'd let the tea infused butter soften a bit more before making the icing because I ended up with a few chunks (just don't chill it longer than you need to, I'd say.)

I did not like the texture of the cake and I'm willing to assume user error. I substituted the oil type and buttermilk for the cream, and I could tell when dividing the batter that it hadn't really fully combined, so it was uneven. But in the end it was ragged-fluffy instead of moist and dense like I like. And not nearly chocolately enough.

But that didn't really matter in the end because we did not like this cake! I couldn't even finish my one birthday slice and we threw the rest away. I never throw away baking fails unless they are inedible, and I'm sorry to say that this flavor combination just 100% did not work for me. Typically a London Fog drink is a vanilla steamer with an earl grey tea bag steeped in it. I can see the caramel going okay with that, just adding a sweet dessert element. But chocolate is really not a component of that drink and doesn't work here. All three of the strong flavor elements were at huge odds with each other.

I do like the idea of earl grey in a dessert. I know I have another recipe marked to make that is an earl grey tea cake with a rhubarb glaze and I still want to try that one. I also think earl grey would do nicely pre-steeped in the milk/cream for pannacotta, cheesecake, or some other creamy dairy concoction where it could be the primary flavor.

Happy birthday to me!