Displaying items by tag: desserts

Some time ago, my testers and I came across a decades-old New York Times recipe for a simple fruit-based torte. We made it and then created a version that we all preferred using a slightly different technique: folding melted butter into the base (rather than beating it together with the sugar) to create a type of French sponge called a genoise. (In her book At My French Table, Dorie Greenspan offers a similar recipe for an apple cake.)

This version has, in our opinion, a moister texture and more flavour. We used peaches, but many kinds of fruit – plums, apples, apricots – can be substituted. I sometimes find that peaches aren’t as tasty cooked as they are raw, so we have taken care of that by marinating them before cooking. It is also very important to make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.


Preparation time: 25 minutes

Ready time: 3 hours

Servings: 6 to 8



4 large peaches (about 2 cups), peeled, pitted and chopped into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ cup butter

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract



2 small peaches,

skin-on, sliced

2 tbsp peach jam



Marinate chopped peaches with lemon juice and zest. Melt butter with ginger in a small pot over medium heat. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter an 8-inch spring-form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a medium bowl with electric beaters until frothy. Gradually add sugar to eggs and beat for 5 minutes or until the batter is thick and pale and it forms a ribbon when beater is lifted. Beat in vanilla. Fold ¹/³ of the flour mixture into the eggs. Mix in half of the melted butter. Add another ¹/³ flour and remaining butter, finishing with remaining flour. The batter should be smooth and not very thick.

Fold in drained, chopped peaches. Spoon into prepared pan. Arrange peach slices atop the cake about extra slices.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. If cake begins to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil and continue cooking.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and release. Place a plate on top of the cake and flip over. Remove metal pan bottom and peel off parchment. Flip back over onto wire rack and cool completely.

Heat jam in a small pot over medium heat until liquid. Brush cake with jam. Serve with vanilla ice cream and sliced fresh peaches, if desired.

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Serve these brownies for dessert with chocolate sauce and a scoop of maple ice cream, and later as a snack with sifted icing sugar. They are the moist type, not cakey ones, and best slightly under baked.


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ready time: 2 hours including cooling time



1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced

1 1/8 cup chopped dark (70 per cent) chocolate (130 grams)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup toasted pistachios (optional)



Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an eight-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving enough to hang over the edges. Butter the parchment.

Combine 1/2 cup of butter with dark chocolate in a medium pot over medium heat. Melt, stirring until mixture is smooth. Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Stir flour with eggs, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Pour in melted chocolate and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few wet crumbs and the top is slightly soft.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Lift brownies from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut in squares.

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  • Preparation time: 25 minutes, including softening time
  • Ready time: 4 hours, including chilling time
  • Servings: 4


500 ml best quality vanilla ice cream

11/2 cups pitted, halved cherries (or diced peaches or apricots)

1 tbsp brandy

1 cup crumbled pizzelle Italian wafer cookies (If pizzelle wafers are hard to find, use any wafer cookie)



Remove ice cream from the freezer and let soften in the fridge for 20 minutes. Line a 41/2-inch by 21/2-inch mini loaf pan or a bowl that will fit the mixture, with plastic wrap.

Reserve 3/4 cup cherries in a small bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cherries and combine in a small bowl with brandy.

Stir softened ice cream in a large bowl to loosen. Fold in marinated cherries and cookie pieces (don’t over work it or the ice cream will melt too much).

Turn into prepared pan. Top with reserved cherry halves, cut-side down so that cherries cover the top of the dessert.

Freeze for 3 to 4 hours, or until firm enough to slice or spoon out. Serve with extra cherries on the side.


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If you’d like, you can substitute cherries for gooseberries, which reach their peak ripeness in July. For the best results, top and tail them and increase the granulated sugar to 1/2 cup if they are very sour.


Prep time: 25 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour

Serves: 4



1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch ground ginger

Pinch ground cinnamon

3/4 cup packed Demerara sugar

1/3 cup butter



Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toss cherries with granulated sugar and lemon zest and place in an 8-inch-by-8-inch ovenproof dish. Alternatively, use four individual baking dishes and place 1 cup of cherry mixture into each dish.

Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon and Demerara sugar. Using your fingertips or a food processor, rub butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. If using individual baking dishes, place 1/3 cup topping on each.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and liquid is bubbling. Serve hot or cold with ice cream or custard.

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Use whatever fresh berries are available and assemble in a glass bowl to make the presentation the star.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 to 6



Goat cheese cream:

2/3 cup goat cheese

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chopped lemon balm

4 teaspoons maple syrup


1/2 cup redcurrant jelly

1/2 cup port

2 teaspoons grated orange rind


8 ounces cherries, pitted

2 cups blueberries

2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved

2 cups raspberries

2 cups blackberries


6 lemon balm leaves



Stir together goat cheese, cream, lemon balm and maple syrup until smooth. Reserve.

Combine jelly, port and orange rind in a small pot. Bring to a boil, stirring. Boil 2 minutes longer. Cool.

Place a layer of cherries in a bowl and spoon a little sauce over top. Add a layer of blueberries and drizzle with more sauce. Continue, repeating layers, until all the fruit is used. Pour any extra syrup over the top.

Top each serving with 2 tablespoons sweetened goat cheese. Garnish with a lemon balm leaf
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Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 3 hours, including cooling  

Serves: 4 with leftovers



11/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 cups strawberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces


11/4 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.

Add flour, sugar, butter, yogurt, eggs, cardamom, baking soda, vanilla, salt and lemon zest to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, or until mixture is well combined. Fold in strawberries, saving a few for the top.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, pushing the remaining strawberries onto the top of the batter for a prettier presentation. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest on a rack until fully cooled.

Combine icing sugar with lemon juice and zest. Spread or drizzle icing over the cake.

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Crème fraîche will keep in the refrigerator for three weeks.



2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup whipping cream



Combine 2 tablespoons buttermilk with 1 cup whipping cream. Let sit on the counter, covered, for 24 hours. The mixture will thicken. Dollop on desserts.

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If you use garden rhubarb, add 1/4 cup of sugar, as it is less sweet than hothouse.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour

Serves: 6




4 cups sliced rhubarb

3/4 cup brown sugar



1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoon grated ginger

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cream or milk



1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup slivered pistachios



Preheat oven to 375 F.

Slice rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Combine with brown sugar and place in an 8-inch-by-8-inch ovenproof dish.

Beat butter with sugar and ginger until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Stir half into butter mixture along with cream. Stir in remaining flour mixture. If the batter is too stiff, beat in a little more cream. Spoon over the rhubarb, leaving space between the mounds.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the fruit is soft and bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Beat whipping cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Drop large spoonfuls over warm cobbler and sprinkle with pistachios.

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If you like, yogurt can be substituted for the whipping cream. To contrast with the richness of the cream, I have added peppery apricots to the mix. Use plump dried apricots for the best flavour.

Prep time: 1 hour, including cooling time 

Ready in: 65 minutes 

Serves: 4



2 teaspoons peppercorns

3/4 cup ice wine or other sweet wine
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
16 dried apricots
1 cup mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup whipping cream
Place peppercorns in a tea ball or wrap in cheesecloth.
Combine ice wine, orange juice and ginger in a pot over medium heat. Add tea ball or wrapped peppercorns, then add dried apricots and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apricots plump up and liquid has reduced, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool in liquid and reserve.
Chop apricots, reserving 4 for garnish. Strain liquid, reserving the peppercorns for garnish and the liquid for a glaze. Whip cream until it holds soft peaks. Blend together mascarpone, whipped cream and vanilla in a bowl.
Place a couple of tablespoons of mascarpone mixture in a wine or parfait glass. Add a spoonful of apricots and some reserved liquid, top with more mascarpone and liquid, garnish with a whole apricot. Repeat with remaining 3 glasses. Sprinkle a few peppercorns over for garnish.
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This dessert refreezes quite well. Make it several days before you need it, and serve leftovers on another occasion.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 12 hours, including freezing

Serves: 8 to 10



1/3 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted, optional

1 cup whipping cream

3 egg whites

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pinch of salt

3 cups fresh raspberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

3 eggs



Spray a standard loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Allow ends of parchment to hang over sides of pan by about 4 inches on all sides. Sprinkle bottom of pan with pistachios.

Whip cream in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until it holds firm peaks and refrigerate. Beat egg whites, lemon juice and salt in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form and reserve on the counter.

Purée 2 cups raspberries with 1 tbsp sugar in a blender until liquid. Strain to remove seeds.

Beat eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water until thickened and a thermometer reads 150F, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from the pot and continue beating until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes longer. Gently fold in raspberry mixture to combine evenly.

Carefully fold beaten egg whites and whipped cream into the raspberry-egg mixture using a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour half the semifreddo into prepared loaf pan. Arrange remaining 1 cup fresh raspberries on top, narrow ends up, and cover with rest of semifreddo. Run an offset spatula flush across the edges of the loaf pan to create a flat bottom. Cover loosely with the overhanging parchment, wrap the loaf pan tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 6 hours or overnight.

Remove pan from freezer and run a paring knife along the sides. Unmould onto a serving dish. Lift pan and gently remove parchment paper. Serve immediately.



One is hard-pressed to find much in the way of good kosher dessert wines in Canada, which is a shame. This recipes deserve something more regal than the old Passover standby, Manischewitz, unless you harbour a nostalgic affection for the grapey elixir in the square bottle. Let me offer a few hard-to-find selections, some only moderately sweet, that could work. From Italy: Bartenura Malvasia; Bartenura Asti; Borgo Reale Malvasia Frizzante; Les Floreales Moscato; Sara Bee Moscato; and Sentieri Ebraici. From Austria: Hafner Gewurztraminer Icewine and Hafner Neusiedler. -Beppi Crosariol

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