Displaying items by tag: pastries and cakes


Smoking is a hot trend in restaurants. It's not just smoked meat: Vegetables, fish, cheese and fruit are all under the smoking gun. Here, I've used smoked cheese, but if you prefer not to use the smoked variety, substitute with grated fontina or cheddar. Serve with sprouts.

Servings: 8 to 10


Ready In: 55 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup red pepper, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, chopped

2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white part only

1 cup zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup fennel, thinly sliced

6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

1½ cups smoked mozzarella, grated

½ pound (250 g) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Add red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, leeks, zucchini, fennel and mushrooms. Sauté until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat. Let cool 5 minutes. Stir in mint and cheese. Let cool completely.

Roll out pastry to a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Pile vegetables along upper third of pastry lengthwise leaving a 1-inch wide border on short sides. Brush all sides with beaten egg. Fold short ends up over filling then roll from the long edge into cylinder cutting off pastry excess. Place seam side down on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg. Use a sharp knife to cut four slashes along top of strudel.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Cool to room temperature before slicing.

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A deeply satisfying chocolate cake without butter, eggs or milk. Use the best bittersweet chocolate you can find and read the ingredient list carefully to make sure it doesn't contain any milk solids.


3/4 cup water

4 ounces (125 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


4 ounces (125 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line the base of a 9-inch round spring form pan with parchment paper.

Place water and chocolate in a small heavy pot over medium-low heat and stir until chocolate is almost fully melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is well combined. Stir in oil and vanilla and set aside.

Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and stir with a fork until uniform. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Pour vinegar on top of batter and use a fork to incorporate it into the batter as quickly as possible. There will be pale swirls in the batter from the baking soda and vinegar reacting. Stir just until vinegar is evenly distributed. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cake cool fully in pan, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the sides. Remove sides of pan, carefully invert cake onto a plate, remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment paper. Use another plate to turn cake right side up.

Place cake on serving plate and make glaze. Place chocolate, water and maple syrup in a small heavy pot over medium-low heat and stir until chocolate is almost fully melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is shiny. Allow to cool for 5 minutes or until it has thickened slightly, and then spread glaze evenly over top of cake. Serves 8 to 10.

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This tasty tart tastes similar to cheese cake, but the texture is more pudding-like. Serve with caramelized apples. Corn flour is available at health-food stores.


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ready time: 3 hours including cooling time



1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons corn flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

250 grams (8 ounces) good-quality cream cheese

6 eggs

2 teaspoons anisette liqueur

1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a nine-inch cake pan and line bottom with parchment.

Stir cornstarch with corn flour and all-purpose flour. Set aside.

Beat butter with sugar and cream cheese until smooth, about one minute. Beat in eggs one at a time, and then add anisette liqueur and orange blossom water. Beat in flour mixture. The mixture will be thin.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cake and cool fully. Serve sliced with caramelized apples or fresh fruit.

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The fifth taste, umami, has much to do with glutamate, an amino acid found in such foods as prosciutto, soy sauce and a number of cheeses. Umami can show up in your glass, too (fermentation is glutamate’s old friend).


Preparation time: 1 hour (including chilling time for pastry)

Ready time: 2 hours

Servings: 6 to 8



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut in cubes

1 cup white cheddar, shredded

6 to 8 tablespoons cold water

10 cups sliced cored, peeled mixed apples (about 6 to 7 large apples such as Honeycrisp, Gala, McIntosh and Pink Lady)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

3 tablespoons tapioca flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk



To make the pastry, combine flour, salt, butter and cheese in a food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with cold water and toss with your fingertips or a rubber spatula, adding more water if needed until pastry holds its shape when squeezed between the fingers. Gather pastry together and divide it into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Roll out the larger portion of the pastry on a lightly floured surface, making the piece wide enough to fit an 8-inch pie plate and leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill until needed. Roll out the second piece to be used for the top of the pie. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and chill.

For the filling, combine apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently for 5 minutes or until apples just begin to soften. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes to absorb more of the syrup that will have formed in the pan. Stir in tapioca flour.

Remove pie plate from fridge and heap the contents of the skillet into the pie shell, mounding apples in the middle. Dot with butter. Cover with top layer of pastry, seal edges and crimp. Brush with egg wash. Cut small steam vents in the top of the pastry. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden, apples are tender and juice is bubbling. If pastry begins to brown too quickly, cover with a sheet of parchment paper.



Coteaux du Layon: How about honey, apricot and lemon to go with your pie? The sweet wines of Coteaux du Layon in the Loire Valley, based on chenin blanc, add a splash of magic to baked apple desserts.


(Photo by Ryan Szulc)

Excerpted from The Flavour Principle © 2013 by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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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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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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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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 You can substitute store-bought puff pastry if necessary. I used hothouse rhubarb, which is sweeter than rhubarb grown outdoors, so adjust sugar level accordingly.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ready in: 4 hours, including chilling

Serves: 8




250 g (8 oz) rhubarb

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water


1 1/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons ice-cold water

1 teaspoon vinegar


2 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup 35-per-cent cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour



Preheat oven to 300F. Cut rhubarb to fit into an eight-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and add water. Cover with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender. Cool completely. Cut rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve. Reduce liquid in a pot on high heat until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 400 F.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter in food processor. Pulse until butter is pea-sized. Remove mixture from food processor into a bowl. Stir in water and vinegar, mixing until dough holds together in a ball. You may need a little less or more water.

Flatten ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes. Roll out pastry on a well-floured surface to fit a nine-inch tart ring. Chill for 1 hour.

Place parchment paper over pastry and cover with dried beans. Bake 20 minutes, remove weights and bake another 10 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Mix all custard ingredients in a bowl with an immersion blender, or whisk together eggs, butter, cream and vanilla, then whisk into brown sugar and flour.

Lay rhubarb on tart base and pour custard over. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, or until tart is no longer runny in the centre. Allow to cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Drizzle with reduced rhubarb syrup before serving.

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This stunning cheese pie is presented like a galette or country pie. You can make this free-form or in a baking dish. Although one is enough for eight people, I found I needed another one for seconds. Vary the cheeses for different tastes and fold in cooked baby spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes or chopped green olives for layers of flavour.

Prep time: 1 hour, including chilling pastry

Ready in: 2 hours

Serves: 8




2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup cold water



1 tablespoon olive oil

16 thin slices pancetta

2 cups mascarpone

2 egg yolks

2 eggs

1 cup grated provolone

1 cup grated Asiago

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water



Combine flour, Parmesan cheese and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in enough water so that pastry starts to come together. Dump into a bowl and, using your fingertips, combine gently into a smooth ball. (This prevents overprocessing the pastry). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry pancetta slices until crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Mix together mascarpone, egg yolks and whole eggs in a bowl. Stir in provolone, Asiago, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out chilled pastry to fit a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or tart pan with a removable bottom, leaving about 2 inches of overhang.

Layer fried pancetta on top of crust. Spread egg and cheese mixture over top. Fold overhanging pastry over filling – it will not cover the entire top – and brush with egg wash. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is firm and crust is golden.



This torta combines some of the same ingredients, but it’s baked and filled with melted cheese, a wine-friendly profile. Specifically, it will be good with an aromatic white, such as gewurztraminer and pinot gris, especially from Alsace. -Beppi Crosariol

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The spice in the rich pastry highlights the filling, giving it a richer flavour. Comté cheese is a sweet, nutty French cheese that’s popular in cooking right now. If unavailable, gruyère is the best substitute. I make these as galettes for an individual serving for each person. Add a small side salad if you wish.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 1 hour 25 minutes

Makes: 4 tartlets




1 cup flour

1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup mascarpone

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice



1/4 cup chopped pancetta or bacon

2 leeks, dark-green leaves discarded

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup grated comté or gruyère cheese



For the pastry:

Combine flour, butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, salt and allspice in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles small peas. Remove and knead to bring dough together into a ball. Divide into four pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out pieces of pastry on floured surface into six-inch circles. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill pastry while making filling. Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the filling:

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté for two to four minutes or until slightly crispy. Add leeks and cook for eight to 10 minutes or until softened and slightly golden. Add cream and thyme. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cool. Season well with salt and pepper and stir in 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Divide and mound mixture over pastry circles, leaving a one-inch overhang. Fold the edge over the filling, overlapping as you fold. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the filling. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is pale gold and mixture is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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