Archive of ‘Sweet Recipes’ category

The Best Apple Pie

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Pie. It’s on my mind. As the air gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color, my mind turns to pie. Pie and the holidays just go together. Warm smells of spices, buttery flaky crusts – it evokes comfort and cozines. So let’s talk pie. Apple pie to be more specific. This is the BEST apple pie there is, are you ready for it?

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I recently had the pleasure of attending an incredible Pie Making Class at the New School of Cooking in Los Angeles. Teaching the class were Sherry Yard and Evan Kleinman. I mean pause and think about just how awesome that is and how amazing pie made by their hands would be. I did and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this class. The pie – it was life changing. While you may not bake quite as well as Sherry Yard, you can certainly give her recipe a go. Here it is (below) and if you need some pointers the New School of Cooking offers fun classes for all levels. They’re gearing up for the next session of their 6-month advanced professional culinary and pastry programs kicking off January 6th (hmm sounds like a good Christmas present eh!).

Sherry Yard’s Quintessential Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. Braeburn Apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 2 Tbsp Calvados
  • the zest of one lemon, chopped fine
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt, Maldon
  • ¾ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 recipe 3-2-1 Pie Crust, well chilled
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Cut the apple quarters in thirds crosswise. Combine in a bowl with the Calvados, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Roll out half the cold dough and drape it over a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Let the dough hang over the rim by about ½ inch. Don’t pull or stretch the dough. Doing so will make the crust uneven.
  4. Fill the pie shell, mounding with the apple mixture.
  5. Brush only the edge of the bottom pie crust, along the rim, with the egg wash. Water works well here, too. This step will help the top crust adhere firmly to the bottom crust.
  6. Roll out the remaining dough. Top apples with this second round of dough. Trim the edges so that they hang over the rim by 1 inch.
  7. Gently tuck edge of top crust under the bottom crust and crimp the two together with your fingers.
  8. Brush entire top crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut air slits.
  9. Place the pie on a sheet pan and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes at 425, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 1 hour to 1¼ hours, until crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm.

Sherry Yard’s Master 3-2-1 Flaky Pie Dough

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Ice Water, plus extra if needed, up to ⅔ cup
  • ½ tsp White Wine Vinegar or Champagne Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, sift together the flour and sugar.
  3. Fit with paddle attachment. Add butter and salt. On low speed, mix for about 2 minutes. Stop mixing and by hand pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.
  4. Combine the ice water and vinegar in a small bowl.
  5. Turn the mixer on low and add the liquid all at once. Pulse mixing just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  7. After properly chilled, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.

Sherry: Always, always…ALWAYS pre-bake your pie crust for a custard filled pie, like pumpkin for example. I use a clean daisy-shaped coffee filter sprayed with oil out of an aerosol can to line the shell. Then another one on top, also sprayed lightly with oil. Then I put the beans or pie weights in the filter. Bake the shell at 375-400 degrees till it’s almost done. The pie weights lift out easily with both filters. Then pour in your custard and finish baking at a lower temperature. 300 degrees.

Evan and Sherry: We agree that a slice of pie has the perfect filling to crust ratio. Miniature pies often have just too much crust. In this case, bigger really is better! We both love Pyrex to bake our pies in.

Sherry: People like to crimp the edges of their pie, but I like to cut mine with scissors. That straight edge shows off all the hard work you did to create a beautifully layered, flaky masterpiece.

This mini master class in perfect pie making drew to a close and I’d completely forgotten that I needed to go home. Fortunately I did not get pulled over for driving under the influence of too much pie! Evan and Sherry were delightful. Their blend of craftsmanship, technique, wisdom, encouragement and fun (the lol kind) was as balanced as any one of their delicious creations. Remember to go to KCRW.com/goodfood  and enter your pie in this year’s cookoff. Evan’s final tip…make sure the bottom crust of the pie is cooked! The End.

 

—  p.s. if you didn’t hear I got a little piece of the pie (so to speak too) and I was featured on Good Morning America talking about instagram and food…

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Muffin Mondays | Blood Orange Corn Muffins

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Sunshine in the form of muffins, that is what these are. The inspiration for these comes from amazing sunshine corn cakes from Clementine. They are delicate, crumbly and have a bit of a crunch from the gritty corn. They have a sweet zesty touch from thick bits of orange throughout the muffin and a lovely thin slice of orange baked on top. Those are sunshine corn cakes.

Inspired by these delicious beauties I picked up some super sweet blood oranges from the farmers market this weekend. Blood orange plus corn meal and flour make a perfect muffin. My muffins use blood oranges rather than regular oranges. Let pulp, more juice and zest. They are bright, sweet and bring a little sunshine to your morning!

recipe below…

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Muffin Mondays | Meyer Lemon Blueberry Basil Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Basil Muffins

It has been beautiful and sunny lately here in LA, well minus those rainy days. And all this sunshine and warmth really had me wanting lemonade. In the summers I love making blueberry basil lemonade. Tart and sweet with a wonderfully herbacious nuance from the basil. Since it isn’t quite summer yet, I decided to hold off on the lemonade and instead make muffins. Can we talk about lemon muffins, specifically meyer lemon muffins or cakes or quick breads, I mean there is just something so wonderful about meyer lemon muffins. Are you with me? I love making these meyer lemon muffins and these too! But this new one with blueberries and basil really kicked it up a notch. Juicy and sweet from the blueberrys, and the basil softly wraps around the muffin. Lemony, tender and sweet, I’m just in love with these muffins!

recipe below

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Mulled Apple Cider Muffins | Muffin Mondays

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Happy Monday! Are you ready to tackle the week? I know I would rather stay in my warm bed than face the cold, but the thought of warm apple cider is enough to get me out of bed. And warm apple cider paired with hot out of the oven mulled apple cider muffins, yes please! Wait mulled means I’m boozing first thing in the morning, a little won’t hurt right. May just be the little boost I need to face the cold day.

They mufins can be as boozy as you like. I tried them brushed with bourbon for a more mulled taste and without the extra bourbon, both were wonderful especially when enjoyed warm. The apples are juicy and soft and wonderfully seasoned with cloves and all-spice. The muffin is crumbly and only faintly sweet. Warm winter spices wrap around the muffin. The cinnamon is most prominent and delicately rounded out by the nutmeg and cardmom. If you love warm mulled apple cider you will love these!

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Muffin Mondays | Gingerbread Muffins

I love gingerbread. The warm smell. The sticky molasses. The spicy ginger. To me gingerbread screams winter time. It makes me want to snuggle up at home with a hot cup of tea. And bite of gingerbread reminds me of childhood in the winter. I remember eagerly devouring gingerbread while shivering from the cold. And I love how powdered sugar dusted over the gingerbread looks like snow. For me nothing signals holiday time more than gingerbread. So thing morning we’re baking gingerbread muffins. They are fragrant, fluffy perfection. The fresh ginger bits sprinkled throughout give it a little kick and really brings out the molasses. Go bake some muffins and fill your home with warmth and beautiful gingerbread aromas.

Gingerbread Muffins

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

pinch ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup light molasses

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup firmly packed minced fresh ginger

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lower third of oven. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper, then spray the paper. Dust the entire pan with flour and shake out the excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, eggs, oil, and buttermilk.

Dissolve baking soda in the cup of boiling water. Fold the baking soda and molasses mixtures into dry ingredients until combined. (Do not overmix.) Fold in the minced ginger.

Scrape batter into the prepared baking pan; bake until cake is set around edges and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Muffin Mondays | Banana Almond Muffins

I hate to admit this, but I may have overdone it with the sweets lately. Between Thanksgiving and a recent donut binge I think I need to ease up just a bit. So for today’s muffins I cut back the sugar and I added nuts for protein. I’m still going to enjoy muffins, but just a touch healthier than normal. Almond meal and flour go into these nutty banana muffins along with tangy yogurt and a splash of Macallan 12 for good measure! The ripe bananas make up most of the sweetness with just a bit of brown sugar to round everything out. I topped them with almond slivers to add a little crunch. It’s a one bowl muffin that whips up in no time. Pair it with a rich cold brew coffee and you’re in heaven. Hopefully this will be my only treat for the day if I can be good.

Happy Monday!

Banana Almond Muffins

ingredients:

4 very ripe bananas

1 egg, beaten

1 ½  tablespoons of greek yogurt

¼ cup melted butter

1 tablespoon whisky (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup all purpose flour

¾ cup almond meal

¼ cup almond slivers (optional)

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan. In a large bowl mash the ripe bananas, leaving it chunky. Add the egg and yogurt and whisk to blend. Next add the melted butter, whisky and vanilla extract and whisk to blend. Then add the sugar, baking soda and salt and whisk until incorporated. Sift in the flour and add the almond meal. Gently fold batter together. Do not over mix. Fill muffin pan with batter ¾ full. Top with almond slivers. Bake on middle rack for 18-20 minutes or until muffins spring back when gently pressed. Rotate pan half way through baking. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Morning Buns

I don’t know if you noticed, but I kinda missed Muffin Monday. I just couldn’t find time to bake muffins, gasp! But even though it is Tuesday we should still celebrate with something sweet and baked in a muffin pan. So happy Tuesday I baked you some super easy morning buns. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa on my flight over to Denver.  In the episode Ina Garten make these incredibly simple sticky buns using store bought puff pastry. I had two thoughts when watching this 1) this is awesome now I can have yummy sticky buns in the morning withouth all the work and time and 2) is this actually going to be good that looked a little too easy. So here it is and it was good. Really good!

I just love that you can wake up just a little earlier than usual, throw these together and enjoy hot and fresh sticky buns in the morning. It doesn’t have to be a production and it is still just as satisfying. Fifteen minutes of prep time and thiry minutes in the oven. You can get dressed while they’re baking and when you’re ready to head out the door they’re ready too.  I threw in some orange zest to brighten the flavors and omitted the usual nuts. More of a morning bun than sticky bun.  Go make some easy morning buns you deserve a mid week treat!

Morning Buns (recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Easy Sticky Buns)

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (you can leave this on the counter the night before)

1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (you can leave this in the fridge the night before to thaw)

For the filling:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon orange zest

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine the 12 tablespoons softened butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 tablespoon of orange zest. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful – they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper.

Muffin Mondays | Apple Pie Muffins

It tastes like a pie! And a muffin! But serioulsy, it tastes like apple pie. Warm apple pie if you eat them hot out of the oven like it did. Two wonderful buttery worlds collide and the resulting muffin is everything you need this Thanksgiving. Thick juicy apples rolled in a sweet spicy mix of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. It all comes together to form a delicate muffin. The brown sugar oat crumble on top is the perfect pie (muffin) crust. Make sure to leave your apples in fairly large chuncks so they do not disappear into the muffin. This is afterall all about the apples. I used some beautiful tart honey crisp apples in this muffin.

If the thought of baking a pie for Thanksgiving is a little daunting, then why not bake apple pie muffins instead? I mean who doesn’t love muffins? I do!

Apple Pie Muffins

recipe adapted from My Baking Addition

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
2 cups peeled, chopped apples

for the topping:
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In another bowl whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk, butter, vanilla and brown sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Pour wet batter into dry ingredients and stir until just combined, do not over mix. Gently fold in apples. Fill muffins cups to the top.

In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, flour, rolled oats and cinnamon. Drizzle melted butter over the top and mix until blended. Sprinkle crumble over top of the muffins. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature.


 

Orange Sour Cream Cake

Sometimes you just need cake. But sometimes you are too sick to go out for a slice so you have to make it yourself. This happens to you right? Or is it just me? Well sick at home and craving cake I decided to put my fresh orange juice and some Satsuma mandarin oranges to good work.

Hot out of the oven, I drizzled an orange glaze over the top of the cake and topped it with some zest. The cake is buttery soft with delicate hints of the orange. I love how it isn’t too sweet. The wonderful smell of winter citrus is intoxicating.

Now this is my kind of cold remedy!

p.s. if you aren’t too sick to go out for a slice of cake check out my guide below to some of the best slices of cake in L.A.

http://my.citysearch.com/guides/364/have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too.html

 

Orange Sour Cream Cake (recipe from http://www.eatingoutloud.com)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange zest

Orange Glaze

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tsp. fresh orange zest

Cake Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease pans with butter and lightly dust with flour. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Slowly add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients, mix until smooth. Add orange juice and zest, mix to combine. Place into prepared pans. If baking in 1 pan, bake for about 1 hour or until cake tests done. If baking in 2 pans, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until cakes test done.

Glaze Instructions

Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and zest until a think glaze forms. Drizzle over the cake once cooled.

Muffin Mondays | Pear Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins

The recent crisp cool air makes me crave warm comforting spices and desserts of stewed apples or pears. This time of year I just love the smells of nutmeg and cinnamon and  cardamom that seem to come with the holidays. This morning still warm and snuggly in my pjs I baked up some pear cardamom coffee cake muffins. They were perfect for a cold morning with a hot cup of tea. I think I may bake them again for family in a few weeks for Thanksgiving, they were so good.

The coffee cake strussel is sweet and crumbly and gives great textural balance to the fluffy muffins. The pears come out buttery soft and practically melt into the muffin. And can we talk about the cardamom? Pear and cardamom, I think they really like each other and it shows. This pairing is nuanced and wonderful. Turn that heater on and enjoy some warm muffins this morning!

Pear and Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins  

(recipe adapted from Food & Wine apple crumb coffee cake muffins)

STREUSEL

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

CRUMB CAKES

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg, beaten

2 large pears peeled and finely diced

MAKE THE STREUSEL Preheat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

MAKE THE CRUMB CAKES Line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable oil cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced pear and beat just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.


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