Desserts

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

Hibiscus Poached Pears

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

I wish I had something cooler to say about why I haven’t written a blog post in so long, but the truth is life has been nonstop with different good, challenging, and exciting things…and even some travel. (We spent an awesome week in Georgia, the country, and if anyone wants tips we definitely have them!)  I’m happy to be back at the computer putting together blog posts and dreaming up new recipes.

I’ve been in the kitchen a ton over the last few weeks cooking for clients, guests, and even for us. Yesterday, I bought myself a Hanukkah present of a whole rack of lamb and had a lovely afternoon breaking it down and preparing it for dinner.

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes If you’re also in the holiday spirit (whatever holiday that might be) then you’ve probably begun the crazy eating. It’s a six-week meal that starts at Thanksgiving and goes until New Years…at least. If you are anything like me then you’ll be eating until the weather is warmer and it’s time to come out of hibernation.

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

In honor of my first post in awhile, and in honor of the season of stretchy pants, I wanted to share one of my favorite desserts in the whole wide world. I don’t know if we’ve had this conversation before, but I’ll always opt for the cheese plate or the savory desserts before I choose something with chocolate or icing. Not to say I don’t like the idea of dessert but my sweet tooth doesn’t kick in after a meal.

This dish has a sweetness which most people want in dessert but also so many savory elements. It’s an amazing blend of flavors and perfectly balanced. Keep in mind, I hate hyperbole.

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

What’s also really neat about this dessert is that it looks and tastes so much more complicated than it actually is. I didn’t know until recently how gosh darn easy it is to poach a pear. Poaching always came across like a technique reserved for master chefs and people with incredible amounts of patience and savvy. It’s truly really so easy to nail it.

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I love hibiscus in this recipe not only for its color but also for its tartness. It plays so well with the natural sweetness in the pears. The addition of honey to the poaching liquid as well as over the final dish ties it all together with the warm spices, nuts, and creamy labne (strained yogurt).

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

It’s also such a nice dessert to have during this season because A. it’s festive and B. it’s a nice break from all the heavy meal-enders we tend to get this time of year.

Look below for the recipe to this knock-your-socks-off dessert. Which is good timing because I bet someone in your circle is getting you a new pair of socks this year anyway.

Hibiscus Poached Pears by Herring and Potatoes

Hibiscus Poached Pears
Ingredients
  • 4 Bosc Pears, ripe but firm
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers*
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp orange peel granules
  • ¼ cup or ½ cup honey, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp labne* (per serving: 1-2 pear halves)
  • Pistachios, toasted and rough chopped
Instructions
  1. Place all the spices*, hibiscus flowers, and honey (use ¼ cup here if you plan to make a syrup, see below- or ½ cup honey if you aren't making the syrup) into a pot with the water. Boil, then lower to a simmer while you prepare the pears.
  2. Peel the pears and either core and leave whole with the stem intact or slice and scoop out the center with a melon baller or measuring spoon. Some people take out the soft stem that runs through the whole pear but I found that if the pear is cooked enough it isn't a problem. You might cut it out for aesthetic reasons more than anything else. After making these many times, I vote for halving them in advance for 2 reasons: 1.It cuts down on the poach time and 2. It is really difficult to take out the core (and make it look pretty) after you cook them if you decide that you want them in halves. The color will not seep all the way through the pear so you'll still have a nice contrast either way.
  3. Place the pears in the simmering poaching liquid. Cooking time will depend on the ripeness of your pears. I turn them over in the liquid every 4 minutes and begin checking to see if they're done 12 minutes in. I check with a toothpick; if the toothpick slides in fairly easily I know it's done. If there's resistance I turn them and let them cook another 4 minutes before checking again. When you serve them, you want a spoon to cut into it easily.
  4. Remove the pears to a shallow dish to cool.
  5. Strain the poaching liquid and pour a ½ cup of the strained liquid over the pears.
  6. Optional: If you used ¼ cup honey in the poaching: Take two cups of the liquid*, ½ cup of sugar and reduce together on the stove to make a syrup. It won't get too thick but thicker with the perfect sweetness to tart ratio. Reduce about 15 min over medium-high heat.
  7. Serve the pears at room temperature. To assemble the dessert: spread the labne on the plate and place a pear half (or 2!) on top. Drizzle the hibiscus syrup if you made it, sprinkle some pistachios, and finish with honey over the whole dish.
Notes
*You can buy dried hibiscus flowers from most health stores, gourmet grocers, online, or if in NYC: Kalustyan's. If you can't get them you can use 2-3 hibiscus tea bags instead.

*Feel free to edit and play with the spices to match what's sitting on your spice rack!

*Labne is a thick, strained yogurt that you'll find at Mediterranean and/or Middle Eastern markets. If you can't find it, you can substitute Greek yogurt for Labne.

*The leftover poaching liquid and syrup (if you have any left) are great in different cocktails and drinks. Mix it with gin and something bubble for a holiday cocktail or with mint and lemonade for a delicious drink.

Honey Cake with Coffee Glaze

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes  Every year for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), my mom makes an amazing honey cake. It’s bursting with warm spices mixed with honey and dark coffee and whiskey flavors. We eat as much as we can after the big holiday meal (which is never so much) and then save the rest for breakfasts and desserts the following week. We eat it slowly so it will last and we enjoy every bite.

HoneyCake2

This year while rationing/eating my take-home honey cake care package, I thought about how this lekach (Yiddish for sweet cake) deserves a place in your fall (and winter) baking rotation.

When I asked my mom for the recipe she sent me a document and I could hear her voice in what she had written. I can hear her dislike for the raisins that she shares instructions for. They’re complete with “optional” and “I don’t usually use them”. She also shares her favorite instruction which is “prepare cake a day or two before eating”. This is the best instruction because it’s true. The cake is good when it first comes out of the oven, but it’s best 24-48 hours after baking.

HoneyCake3

HoneyCake4

I thought for sure this recipe was something handed down through generations of women, brought from the old country and surviving in the new. In truth, this recipe has only been in play less than a decade (it’s not even the original honey cake of my youth!). Many honey cakes share the same bones and I’m not sure what drew my mom to it in the first place, (mental note made to ask her) but I’m glad she picked it and made it her own. It’s awesome.

I will say the second most important step is in greasing your pan. I’ve looked at a dozen recipes for honey cakes that cook in bundt pans and the directions ranges from “generously grease” to “lightly grease” to “use greased parchment paper”. I greased something between generous and light and still had my cake break on me…mountains of sadness. Next time I’ll be inserting a piece of greased parchment paper on the bottom.

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Oh, kitchen mistakes.

Thankfully the rest pulled out pretty easily and I was able to have an almost level cake (at least for photos!) but many delicious crumbs to munch on.

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Also, because it was in pieces I couldn’t pour the coffee glaze over the cake on top of a wire rack (which is what I would normally do to keep it neat), so instead there are glaze puddles. Definitely, not the worst thing.

Here’s to sweet beginnings!

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

This is a very slight variation on my mother’s recipe which is a variation on Marcy Goldman’s Epicurious Recipe

Honey Cake with Coffee Glaze
Ingredients
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¾ cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light is fine, I used a dark)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm, strong brewed coffee
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup whiskey (I used a bourbon)**
For the top
  • ¼ cup slivered and toasted almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brewed coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease your pan of choosing. I used a 10-inch tube pan, but you can use a bundt pan or loaf pans. Line the bottom with greased parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Once combined, make a well in the dry ingredients add in all the wet ingredients. Using a strong whisk or an electric or stand mixer, bring the ingredients together into a thick batter. Make sure there aren't lumps of flour or dry ingredients stuck to the bottom.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes for a 10-inch tube pan and maybe 10-15 minutes less for loaf pans. You can test for doneness with a toothpick.
  6. Let the cake sit in its pan for 15 minutes after it comes out. After 15 minutes, invert it on a wire rack to cool completely. When it's almost fully cooled, make the glaze if you plan to serve it right away. Otherwise, wait to make the glaze until the cake is ready to be eaten. (Mom says: 24-48 hours after it's first baked is when it's best!)
  7. Combine the confectioners sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of coffee in a small bowl. Mix well. If you need to, add a little more coffee to thin the glaze.
  8. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Put the cake on the wire rack. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting any excess drip on the sheet pan.
  9. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve!
Notes
**If you don’t want to use alcohol, increase the coffee or orange juice by ¼ cup

 

 

Key Lime and Strawberry Icebox Cake

The boycott against my stove is still going strong. It’s actually resulted in some pretty tasty and fun meals, and has even got me planning dishes to do on the grill out back. And that’s a bigdeal because our grill is down two flights of stairs, around the building, and down another flight of stairs to a mosquito filled backyard. More on that later.

Last week I found some key limes for sale and couldn’t resist buying them. I’ve always wanted to use them for a pie but couldn’t bring myself to actually bake (aka: turn the oven on). This came to me through some intense Instagram photo hopping one afternoon when I saw a photo of a gorgeous icebox cake. I understood the fundamentals – that you layer crackers or cookies and they will absorb the moisture of whatever filling you choose and transform into a cake-like consistency in the icebox (refrigerator) overnight – but hadn’t actually made one yet.

Graham crackers (a popular icebox cake ingredient) and key lime are meant to be.

I really love the simplicity and lack of bells and whistles for this cake. It’s too hot for bells and whistles. And sometimes, you just really want to make something that doesn’t take half a day to create.
It was actually a ton of fun to be a little sloppy and I’ve been trying to let my self-critic side take some time off. When I started layering the crackers with the filling oozing out everywhere there was a lot of cringing. It wasn’t until I realized that A. it could easily be fixed with an offset spatula and B. IT STILL LOOKED DELICIOUS that I stopped all the worrying and just went with the ooze.
I would normally use the stove top to make the strawberry sauce (or coulis)  but I felt it would be fun to make a cake that required no added heat whatsoever. So that’s what I did. And that’s what you should do. For everything, seriously. All breakfast carbs (pancakes, waffles, french toast), fruit salads, ice cream sundaes, yogurts…they all need fresh fruit sauces that you can make in five minutes.
So you remember the stairs to get to the grill in the backyard that I mentioned earlier? I’m feeling particularly bitter about those stairs because over the weekend as Ari, Jax, and I were carrying out leftover Key Lime and Strawberry Icebox Cake and some other goodies to the backyard to share with friends, I missed a step. Totally thought I had reached a landing but wasn’t quite there and my foot kept going and resulted in a sprain. The good news though is that I didn’t drop anything. A small but important win because while I’ve been recovering there’s been a lot of really awesome snacks to munch on. 

My careful not dropping the cake as I was in the process of hurling myself off stairs should serve as a pretty powerful testimonial to how awesome this recipe is. And if you don’t believe everything you read you’ll just have to try it out for yourself. Mmk?
Key Lime and Strawberry Icebox Cake
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 21 sheets of honey graham crackers
  • 12 oz (1.5 bars) of neufchâtel cheese (like cream cheese but with a lower fat content, it can be found in most grocery stores next to the cream cheese)
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2.5 tsp lime zest (key limes if you can get them or regular ol' limes will do the trick)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (same note as above but if you're using regular limes taste the mixture after 2 Tbsp of juice)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
Strawberry Coulis
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2-4 tsp sugar (I added two tsp because my berries were sweet and I wanted to keep the sauce a little more tart)
  • 1 Tbsp (scant) fresh lime juice
Options For Topping the Cake:
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Lime zest
  • White chocolate shavings (easy to do with a baking bar of chocolate and a vegetable peeler)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, whip the neufchâtel  cheese till it's creamy (about 1-2 minutes). Pour in the condensed milk and whip until smooth and blended. Add the lime juice and lime zest and whip together once more.
  2. In a separate bowl whip the heavy cream and confectioners sugar until you have whipped cream. (Tip: Using cold bowls and whisks/attachments will make this go much faster).
  3. Using a silicone spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.
  4. Using a baking dish or a sheet pan begin to build your cake. Spread a little of the filling on the bottom to help hold the first layer of graham crackers in place. I built it as 7 layers, 3 sheets across. Feel free to do it any configuration! Spread generous amounts of the filling between layers as a lot of it will get absorbed overnight. Reserve a little of the filling for touch-ups the next day. Using an offset spatula or a knife, even out the edges and the top.
  5. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the cake. Don't worry if it pulls a little of the top off the next day, you have extra filling to make it look great before you serve it!
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Plan to serve it within 24 hours of making. It's still delicious over the next few days, but for the best texture serve it as soon as possible after making it and letting it sit in the refrigerator.
  7. Before serving make your strawberry sauce by blending together the strawberries, lime juice and sugar. You can strain it to remove most of the seeds (I did), or leave it as is.
  8. Remove the cake from the fridge and transfer it to your serving dish. Pour your strawberry sauce over the cake and garnish with fresh strawberries, lime zest, and white chocolate shavings.

Rice Pudding with Roasted Vanilla Bourbon Strawberries

A few weeks back, Ari did some quick grocery shopping. One of the items on his list was almond milk. We’re both lactose intolerant and even though with the help of pills I can eat pretty much everything dairy, drinking real milk in cereal or coffee leads to truly terrible things. We’ve gone the almond milk route for awhile now. On this trip, accidentally, Ari grabbed a box of  coconut milk instead. It’s like the almond or soy but made from coconuts and heavily processed to be a milk alternative.

We both bravely tried it the next morning, him in his cereal, and me in my coffee. It was pretty horrible. Coconut coffee is not my thing.

Instead of throwing it away I resolved to come up with a use for it and went about making a rice pudding because, why not? I might have mentioned this before but I’m not a big sweets person but when I was a kid Kozy Shack rice pudding was a favorite treat for me. I almost always prefer a cheese plate over chocolate cake to end a meal, and rice pudding blends sweet and savory so nicely.

The coconut milk rice pudding was really delicious but A. it wasn’t very pretty (the “fake milk” got sort of grayish after cooking) and B. I kept thinking how much better it would be with “real milk”. Thankfully…Lactaid.

Everyone makes rice pudding differently and the biggest difference is in the type of rice used. Some people take using basmati rice as a personal insult and swear by short grain only. In my pantry, I always keeps wild rice and basmati rice because they are delicious. Thinking that wild rice pudding might be a bit of a stretch (or maybe not?) I went with the basmati. What’s so cool is that the taste of the rice came through without being overwhelming and made the dessert all the more tasty and awesome-smelling.

After making the coconut milk batch I learned just how cinnamon-y the rice pudding gets during cooking. The cinnamon  sticks, after being dropped in, open up and infuse the pudding with a rich cinnamon flavor and aroma. While it was cooking I started to think about other toppings that wouldn’t include more cinnamon.

Recently I had bought a large container of strawberries hoping for a juicy and sweet summery snack. Unfortunately, it’s still too early for that perfect bite of summer. Roasting them, I thought, might help bring out the sweetness, and soften their pre-ripeness. And it did! The bourbon and vanilla infused a little more flavor, and with the help of some sugar, they softened and melted in pools of sweet delicious syrup.

Cooking from my fridge is always fun and often leads to delicious results. Sometimes having limited ingredients to work with leads to great things and loads of my meals start with going on a treasure hunt through the pantry and refrigerator.

Whip up the rice pudding, make the strawberries – eat them together or separately. Now that I have a jar of roasted bourbon vanilla strawberries, I’m working out plans about how to put them to good use. Suggestions?

Rice Pudding with Roasted Vanilla Bourbon Strawberries

 

 

Rice Pudding with Roasted Vanilla Bourbon Strawberries
Ingredients
Rice Pudding
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (or use all milk if you don't have cream)
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Roasted Bourbon Vanilla Strawberries
  • 1lb fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and sliced
  • 1.5 tsp Bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped (I tested both and while the bean contributes a much deeper flavor the extract works just as well!)
Instructions
Rice Pudding:
  1. Bring rice, salt, and water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered until the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add the milk, cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks to the rice. Stir well and bring to a boil. After it reaches boiling, lower to a simmer and let it cook, stirring often (I stood by the stove for most of it, stirring, but you can let it go a couple minutes here and there without stirring)  for 20-25 min until the mixture is thickened and not too liquid.
  3. Add the lightly beaten egg yolk and stir it in well. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Let it cool a little off to the side before diving in. Warm rice pudding is delicious but if that's not your thing, once it's cooled pop it in the fridge for cold dessert optimization.
Roasted Bourbon Vanilla Strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. If using the fresh vanilla bean, just add the scraped out insides. Let sit for 8-10 min, until juice begins to gather in the bowl.
  3. Spread out the berries (in their juices!)  on a baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure to use a baking mat or parchments paper - this would be zero fun to clean off the sheet!
  4. Roast for 18-20 minutes and if your oven is anything like mine, rotate the sheet halfway through.
  5. Let cool. Add them to your rice pudding or keep them in your fridge for the week.

Miso Caramel Sauce

The past couple weeks have been all over the place for me, in good ways, but it’s left me with less time than ideal to work on recipes and blogging. Things that have taken precedence – paying short-term work in the food industry, running around meeting potential pups to adopt, and some much-needed reflection time for myself.

When I started this blog six months ago, my goal was to post at least once a week and I’ve kept up that promise nearly 100%. I’m going to have to keep this one short and sweet to stick to that plan.

Although it’s really easy this week because this recipe is both super short and super sweet! Ha, unintentional parallel but it totally works! With only four ingredients, this caramel is easy to throw together and keeps in the fridge for a long while.

You might be wondering why use miso in a caramel sauce? Think of it as the salt component. We all like salted caramel right? Well, this is just that with a different version of salt, and it adds a deeper umami flavor as well.

Caramel isn’t hard to put together, but you need to keep an eye on it. I don’t have dairy (I use separate pots and pans for meat and dairy in our Kosher kitchen) heavy-bottomed pans so I had to keep the heat lower and watch it intently because it can go from being ok to being burnt in an instant.
You can see my two versions above. The one on the right was my second try, and exactly what I wanted. The one on the left is just on the edge of tasting burnt. It has a bit of a smoke taste to is but it isn’t bad and I’m going to save it for something else.

Caramel sauce is a great ingredient to have in the fridge. I put it on ice cream and popcorn, but you can also mix it into a pie, spread it on apple slices, and use it in cookies with chocolate. It’s an ingredient that is so many times better for you to make than to buy and try to decipher all the chemicals that are in it.

It’s definitely worth it,  and also one of those things that you can whip out of your refrigerator when you want to impress, well, everyone. Tell your hips I’m sorry. 

Very slightly adapted from this FOOD52 Recipe

Miso Caramel Sauce
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ½ cup heavy cream, warmed very slightly (just to take the chill off) or room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp white miso paste
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed high-saucepan (if you have one - if not use what you got!), mix together the water and sugar and turn the heat to medium-high (or medium if you aren't using a heavy pan). Do not mix again! Let it boil and bubble. Use a wet pastry brush if you see sugar creeping up the sides and wipe it back down.
  2. You'll begin to see the color change and take on a golden color. When it's edging towards a deep golden brown get it off the heat and stir in the cream. This will cause the caramel to bubble up but if you keep stirring it will settle down. If it seizes, put it back on the heat at a low temp and stir till it loosens.
  3. Once smooth, whisk in the miso paste. Let it cool before putting it in the fridge. Keep sticking a spoon into taste-check the temperature. It's not the only way to check (using your hands on the container is also a good way to see if it's cool enough), but it's definitely the tastiest.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Just about now, when the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables dwindle or feel uninspiring, and I start craving warmer-weather flavors, big boxes of these perfect little oranges start showing up.

Very quickly there’s a crate of clementines sitting in our fridge. We eat them for days and the pile somehow doesn’t grow smaller. It’s not a bad thing, but after a while I start to wonder what else I can do with all this citrus goodness. This year there were about 1/3 left when I committed to baking a cake. After days of brainstorming I came up with a way to say “I love you” to clementines, and used them in three ways in one cake: candied, juiced, and as zest.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

The cake itself is bold but simple, and as a bonus, it’s dairy-free! Putting the cake together isn’t a long project but it does take some time to candy the clementine slices. Yes, you could skip them but they are a beautiful addition both visually and texturally to the final product. You can also make them ahead of time and have them ready to go for last minute decorating.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

To candy the slices, it takes about 4.5 hours of cooking- first on the stove, then in the oven. Transforming this fruit is a low and slow process.

It is so worth it. I candied three clementines and carried them with me throughout the week sharing slices with friends who were so surprised at how good they were. Truthfully, I was really surprised at how good they were! I am not a fan of candied oranges and the only reason I convinced myself to make this was because I’ve never tried them homemade, and my curiosity won out. They don’t compare to store bought. The sweetness is deep but not cloying. Isn’t it great when things taste real?!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Next, I needed to decide on the cake itself. I waffled between pound cakes, white cakes with chocolate frosting, and Sephardic almond and orange cakes (Ottolenghi has an incredible recipe I’ve made before) but ultimately decided on one of my favorite citrus cake recipes to edit.

The cake is an olive oil lemon cake and I make it a few times a year. It’s a perfect end to a big meal. It’s not a heavy dessert, but still has all the qualities I love in an after-dinner sweet. It also pairs so well with homemade whipped cream. Mmmwhippedcream.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

If you’re looking for something to brighten your winter this might just be it.
Also, if you’re slowly making your way through boxes of clementines consider this recipe to shake things up!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Clementine Olive Oil Cake with Candied Clementines
Ingredients
Candied Clementines
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 clementines sliced very thinly with the rind still on
Olive Oil Clementine Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp clementine zest
  • 4.5 Tbsp clementine juice
  • Powdered sugar for serving
Instructions
Candied Clementines
  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the clementines and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  2. To help keep the clementines submerged place a piece of parchment paper over the clementines and liquid. Let it simmer for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, remove them from the heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 250°F
  5. Remove the clementines from the syrup and reserve the syrup for other uses (mixing drinks, baking, etc..). Place the orange slices, in a single layer, on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or other mat) or parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the orange slices and, on top of that, place a second baking sheet. The pressure from the second baking sheet on top of the clementines will help with the candy process.
  6. Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and when cool enough peel the slices off the sheet. Store in airtight container - I found lining whatever they were in with parchment paper helped reduce the sticking to things part.
Olive Oil Clementine Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease and flour a 9" cake round and set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar together on a high setting. Keep going until the mixture is pale, fluffed up, and thick - about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Slowly pour in the olive oil and clementine juice and mix it in with a rubber spatula.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and zest. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it is all well incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into the greased and floured cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges aren't too browned. My oven cooks it quickly and I start checking around 35 minutes.
Assembly
  1. Let cake cool in pan slightly before inverting onto a plate or serving dish. Dust with powdered sugar and top with the candied clementine slices. I served it with a homemade almond whipped cream which was pretty amazing but this cake is also wonderful all on its own!
Candied Clementine Recipe from the NYTimes 

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

This past week I wanted to make a dessert for a client but she didn’t want something too sweet because her kids had probably just eaten their weight in candy over Halloween weekend. So I went with a cookie that was half dessert and half sorta healthy (well, maybe just half “not total junk food”).When I baked them the first time it was without icing and walnuts. Then later in the week, when I was sitting having my morning life-fuel (coffee), and desperately wanting something to dip into it, I thought about these cookies and how to jazz them up with a little more sweetness.
I never know how to answer the question “what do you love most to cook or bake?”. Honestly, I love preparing almost anything that comes out delicious regardless of time or effort spent. But I will say that pie, cookies, and certain other baked goods are up near the top of my (nonexistent) list.It’s easy to find a recipe that’s quick to put together, yields delicious results, and produces enough product that you can share with friends and family thereby making you the most popular person in town. Which is always the goal, right?
Aside from this being a fast cookie to make, it could also help you use up a couple of the apples from the 20-40 pounds that you got from the pick-your-own farm a few weeks back.  Technically, you only need one apple for these, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you could make your own applesauce (which the recipe calls for).
I recommend throwing these together this weekend and then passing them out at all group gatherings. If there’s anything left, I bet the office would love to have something to dunk in their coffee come Monday morning.

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

Serves: Makes about 2½ dozen

Ingredients
Cookie
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (a 4oz snack cup is the perfect size)
  • 1 apple, medium sized, chopped into small ⅛ sized pieces (I used a Macoun but any good baking apple will work)
  • ½ cup walnuts - toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
Icing
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In one bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the melted butter together with the sugars until incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth and then add the applesauce and incorporate.
  3. Switch whisk for spoon or spatula and slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Add in the apples and walnuts and give it one last stir.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour. The oats will absorb some of the liquid in the batter making it firmer and ready for baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mat. Drop the batter by the tablespoon. Bake until cookies are golden brown on the edges, about 15-17 minutes. (In one oven it took 15 minutes and in another in took 17-19 minutes.)
  7. While cookies are cooling and baking, make icing in a separate bowl using a spatula or spoon to stir. Mix the confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla together first and then begin adding the water until your desired consistency. I wanted a thicker icing and only used 1 tbsp of water. Once you have the icing where you want it, stir in a pinch of cinnamon.
  8. Drizzle the icing over the cookies and let set.
  9. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers. These cookies were best on day 1 but still delicious (more chewy less crunch) on day 2 and beyond.

Slightly adapted from this Serious Eats Recipe

Apple, Fig Jam, and Goat Cheese Galette

I’m really glad that you don’t get to hear me try to pronounce ‘galette‘ with my “French” accent. To date I have at least three ways of saying it and none of them are correct.You know that “new kitchen appliance” I mentioned last week? It was a new food processor! The first thing I wanted to whip up in it was dough since I couldn’t do that in our old one. I’ve made loads of pies crusts by hand over the years using shortening and following this recipe. But a pie crust made with butter and cut into the flour by hand? Completely unsuccessful…until now.

For the past two years I’ve had a recipe for a breakfast galette pinned to my food board on Pinterest but because of a few completely failed pie crusts I never attempted a butter crust by hand again. Does that happen to anyone else? You mess up a recipe a few times and then just throw in the towel. Maybe stomp your foot angrily in the process? After a few gluey crusts and a couple crumbled messes I gave up. But the second I had this food processor in went the flour, sugar, salt, and butter without fear. The result was magical beautiful dough.Making a galette got stuck in my head after I saw figs beginning to crop up and I couldn’t get the idea of making a breakfast galette out of my head. In the interest of being honest, the original recipe I pulled together was for a fig/pear/brie galette. The result while not terrible was way less than perfect. The brie wasn’t melting right, the pears had too much liquid in them, and the figs dried out very quickly in the oven. After days of racking my head and reading everything I could about galette’s I edited slightly and started again.

The biggest change were the figs needed to be used differently than just in slices. Many recipes for galette’s talked about a layer of preserves underneath the main components so I took those beautiful figs, apologized for what I was about to do to them, and turned them into jam.
In the time that had gone by since I started playing around with this, real local apples started cropping up so I snagged a few gala apples to replace the pears. And because the brie wasn’t right I swapped it out for some goat cheese. A new combination was born.
Making the galette was awesome because it’s so rustic and homey. To me rustic is another word for: doesn’t haven’t to be perfectly put into place. It wasn’t a perfect circle, but who cares! It’s rustic.Even though this wasn’t straight up breakfast (maybe more dessert?), I still couldn’t help myself and I put an egg on it. Putting an egg on foods is my culinary equivalent to “put a bird on it”. Eggs make everything even more fantastic.

This made the perfect crossover dish for summer to fall and such a delicious breakfast to boot! Sometimes It’s nice being an adult and not having your mom point out that your eating what’s basically pie, first thing in the morning. Sorry mom, just can’t help myself!

Apple, Fig Jam, and Goat Cheese Galette
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold but just softened, cut in ½-inch pieces
  • 3½ Tbsp ice water
Fig Jam
  • 1 pint of figs, stems removed and halved
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
Apples
  • 2 medium apples (your favorite ones for baking - I used Gala and Granny Smith would have been good too) sliced, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
Assembly
  • Goat cheese, softened at room temperature and  crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, or by hand, pulse together the dry ingredients. Once combined, add the butter in and process till it's pea sized and coarse. While the processor is on, add the water in slowly by the tablespoon until the dough comes together. Take it out and flatten it to a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place dough in the fridge for at least 45 minutes- 1 hour.
  2. For the jam you can definitely use store-bought preserves or make your own - it's really very easy! Toss the figs, lemon juice and honey together in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes until the figs begin to break down a bit. Over medium heat in a small saucepan, empty the contents of the bowl and add the thyme and a ½ cup of water. Allow the liquid to come to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the figs are broken down. If the liquid fully boils off, add a little water to keep the figs from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The figs I used, black mission figs, never fully broke down so I blended them up (after removed the thyme stems) at the very end and it was perfect.
  3. Prepare the apples by tossing the slices with lemon juice and sugar.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (let it soften a little if it's been in over an hour) and, on a well floured surface, roll it out to about an ⅛ inch thickness and 12-14 inches in diameter.
  6. Gently transfer the rolled out dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  7. Assemble the galette by spreading the jam first leaving about 2 inches from the edge empty (for the crust). Sprinkle goat cheese on next. Finally add the apples. You can layer them in a pattern or not but make sure not to pile them high or they won't cook through.
  8. Pull up the crust. My favorite way is to work my way around gently pinching together and then layering pieces of dough on top of each other. I recommend going for a flat design  because if it's sticking up, it will most likely open up in the oven and everything will spill out.
  9. Next beat the egg and milk together and lightly brush the whole crust. Sprinkle a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon over the top focusing on the crust but on top of the apples is great too!
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes (or until very golden brown but not burnt!) on a center rack in the oven, and every 15 minutes rotate the tray to get an even bake.
  11. Slice it up and enjoy while it's warm. Egg yolks are optional but highly encouraged! To egg-ify your slice take a yolk and super gently (you can see in my photo above that I was only half gentle) place it on top and slide it back in the oven for about 2 minutes or until the yolk is set but still runny.

Dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen