Mandarin Jelly w/ Chocolate Mousse

The term ‘mandarin’, sometimes called ‘kid-glove oranges’, is characterized by deep orange skin with easy peeling and separation of sections. This popular widely known fruit goes by a variety of names, creating some possible confusion at times as to which plant one is dealing with. Commonly known as mandarin in much of the world, the fruit is most often called tangerine in North America.

The tangerine has a long history. Its name comes from Tangiers in Morocco, the port where the fruit was first shipped to Europe and Florida in the United States in the 1800s. But prior to that, tangerines had been cultivated in China and Japan for over 3,000 years.

This light, summery dessert combines the ever-popular flavor pairing of orange and chocolate. Elegant and easy at the same time. Perfect for a summer dessert!

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Mandarin Jelly w/ Chocolate Mousse
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Instructions
Jelly
  1. Soak gelatin in juice for 10 minutes. Heat until gelatin & sugar dissolve. It is important not to bring to a boil, otherwise everything will deteriorate. Strain & pour into serving molds to 2/3 of the height. Cover jellies & place in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Mousse
  1. IMPORTANT NOTE: This shortcut mousse sets quickly so wait to prepare it when your jelly is set.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder & instant pudding powder. Add the heavy whipping cream & mix with an electric mixer on medium-high for 1 minute.
  3. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip & make a large swirl on top of jelly. Garnish with zest if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I just used some simple syrup to candy the tangerine zest but they are fine just left plain.

Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies

While I’ll never grow tired of the classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb, I love rhubarb too much to let it simply be a sidekick to those sweet berries. Not only can it hold its own, but it also begs to be matched up with many other flavors that give it new life.

Eating seasonally doesn’t have to be difficult when it tastes so delicious. Finding inventive ways to incorporate locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables into breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes is actually a very easy task.

When making desserts, chocolate and rhubarb bring very different flavors to the table. The result makes a perfect balance. High-cacao chocolate is rich, subtly sweet, and creamy. Fresh rhubarb, meanwhile, is tart and comes into its own when offset by a dash of sweetness.

Celebrate rhubarb season with a stellar dessert like fudgy rhubarb brownies.

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Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk sugar, butter, eggs & vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & sea salt.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & mix until they are just incorporated. Add the rhubarb, chocolate chips & nuts. Mix only until they are combined. The batter will be quite thick. Pour batter into baking pan & spread it out so that it is even.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE.
  6. Remove brownies from the oven & allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice into squares.

Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations

July is such a wonderful month. The weather’s warm, there’s still plenty of summer left, and the produce is literally amazing.

Midsummer means the farmer’s markets are brimming with great fruit & veggies. With such a colorful bounty of goods, we can settle into our summer cooking routines with tasty meals hot or cold.

But, even in summer, we sometimes crave ‘comfort food’ such as a ‘hand pie’. The humble hand pie goes by many different names: call it a pasty, a turnover, an empanada, or a ‘Bedfordshire clanger’….

A Bedfordshire Clanger dates back to at least the 19th century. It was typically made for agricultural workers to take with them to work as their lunch. The original pastry was made from suet and cooked by a boiling method. There is a theory that the pastry crust was not originally intended for consumption but as a vessel in which to protect the filling from the soiled hands of the workers.

The clanger originated from the county of Bedfordshire, a small, low-lying and predominantly agricultural county nestled in the east of England and adjacent counties, including Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 

The name is as intriguing as the food itself. The word clanger, it had been suggested, referred to the mistake of mixing sweet and savory fillings. But a more likely explanation was that in nearby Northamptonshire dialect, ‘clang’ means to eat voraciously.

Knowing their husbands would need lots of protein and carbohydrate sustenance, homemakers came up with the brilliant idea of a doubled, loaf-shaped pie. One end contained a savory filling that used the famed pork of the area while the other end was filled with stewed apples (made from local apples) as dessert. So, the two fillings didn’t combine, there was a ‘pastry wall’ in between blocking any flavors from mixing. A ‘secret code’ denoted which end was meat, and which was dessert: two knife slits on one end of the pastry top means meat, three small holes on the other shows the sweet. This was brilliant, an entire meal for the field workers – handheld, portable and delicious.

The version we have today is not its beginnings but its evolution. Once you’ve nailed this basic Bedfordshire clanger recipe you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combos, there’s really no limit to what you can combine in this savory/sweet pastry.

Since Brion takes lunch to work, I became intrigued with the idea and decided to get creative with the fillings. That way I could make a variety and freeze them and use as needed. These tasty little ‘clangers’ can be served as the main course for a warm-weather picnic or for a hand-held, backyard meal with the addition of a nice fresh salad at home.

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Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations
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Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sage & salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture & use your fingers to work them in. Alternately you could use a pastry cutter to do this.
  2. When the mixture resembles cornmeal with pea-sized bits of butter remaining, stir in cheese with a fork until evenly distributed. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp ice water over mixture & stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add an additional Tbsp or two of ice water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & knead for about three times. Gather the dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pork Filling
  1. Bake potato in microwave, peel & cut into small cubes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet & sauté celery, onion, garlic & bacon together on medium heat until veggies are soft & bacon is cooked. Add ground pork, breaking it up well. Stir in dried herbs & spices. Cover & simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in cooked potato & cheese. Set aside to cool.
Spiced Meat Combo
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion & garlic. Add ground meat, basil, thyme, cardamom & salt & pepper. Scramble fry until cooked, remove from heat & add parmesan & potato. Place in a dish.
  2. In the saucepan, melt butter; add flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add beef broth, stirring until sauce thickens. Season to taste. Add to ground meat mixture & combine to form filling. Set aside until ready to use.
Turkey Filling
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until just crisp, then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; chop when cooled. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon drippings from skillet.
  2. Add butter to the skillet, sauté onions, garlic & mushrooms with herbs & spices, scraping up any brown bits, until the onions have softened & mushrooms have lost most of their size & moisture. Stir in the bacon & shredded cooked turkey, taste for seasoning. Cook for another minute or two, then remove from heat & set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine Boursin, milk & spices (if using). Stir until Boursin has melted. Remove from heat. Add to turkey/veg mixture.
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
  1. Heat butter over medium low heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet. Add the onions cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When the onions are a deep golden color, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, chili powder, thyme, allspice, & black pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In the same pan as the onions, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add each piece of chicken & fry for a few minutes until golden brown; flip & cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned – it will finish cooking in the oven).
  4. Turn the heat down & let the oil cool off a little bit. Make a roux with excess oil in skillet & dredging flour. Add chicken broth & cook until a sauce forms. Add the onions & chicken to the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes longer. When chicken/onion mixture is cooked, remove from oven. Allow to cool until ready to use.
Raspberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cardamom & salt. Add water & stir then add chopped nectarines. Simmer until nectarine is slightly soft & liquid is thickened. Remove from heat & carefully fold in raspberries. Set aside to cool.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except blueberries. Cook until sauce starts to thicken then gently fold in blueberries & cook a couple of minutes more. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Apple/Apricot Filling
  1. Peel & dice apples. Drain canned apricot juice into a small saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & salt & combine. Add apples & cook until apples are tender. Cut canned apricot halves into quarters. When apples are cooked & sauce has thickened, remove from heat & add apricots. Gently combine & set aside to cool.
Plum/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt & lemon zest. Add rhubarb & plums. Gently stir over a low heat. When enough juice has formed, allow to simmer until rhubarb is soft & juice has thickened. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Sour Cherry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, place sugar, cornstarch & salt. Add juice/water mixture & stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. Gradually fold in cherries. Set aside to cool.
Rhubarb/Apple Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, add the rhubarb, apples, salt & sugar. Add a drizzle of water if necessary & heat on medium. The rhubarb will begin to release liquid & break down as the apples soften. Heat the mixture until the moisture has evaporated & begins to thicken. Once the mixture is thickened, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. Place it in a bowl & allow to cool.
Apple/Pear Filling
  1. Heat butter in a small skillet until melted, add apples & pears & cook until fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over mixture & continue to cook stirring often until fruit begins to lose its juices. Mix together cornstarch & lemon juice & add to pan. Simmer until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Divide pastry into 5 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface (or dry wax paper) roll out each piece of pastry into 14 x 7 1/2-inches. The excess trimmed from the sides will be used for little pastry ‘walls’ dividing the sweet & savory fillings. Roll excess pastry into a 3-inch length.
  2. Cut each piece of pastry in half horizontally so you have (2) 7-inch long pieces from each piece of pastry. From the top of each piece, LIGHTLY make a line across your pastry 4-inches from the outside edge. This will help to place your fillings properly.
  3. On the 3-inch wide section, place savory filling to cover 2/3 of the area. Place one of the rolled strips after that then place sweet filling on the remaining 1/3 to complete the 'clanger'. The little rolled piece of pastry divides the savory & sweet filling.
  4. On the sweet side make 3 holes for vents & on the savory side make 2 slashes. This is the 'code' to let the person eating the clanger which was savory or sweet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Brush the edges of each pastry with egg wash. Lift the pastry from the opposite side over the fillings & seal the edges with a fork.
  7. Brush clangers with remaining egg wash & bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • Due to the length of this recipe, I found making the savory & fruit fillings on one day & the pastry, assembling & baking the next, worked out well for me. Although these pastries are VERY time consuming, believe me, the are well worth it in the end, especially if your freezing some to use later. I baked them all & then wrapped them well before freezing.
  • You will probably find there will be enough savory & sweet fillings left over to make about 10 more clangers.
  • All of them will freeze well which will be a time saver for your next batch. Just make a recipe of pastry & your ready to assemble & bake.
  • If your not interested in freezing the 'leftovers', the fruit combined will make a wonderful crisp & the savory fillings can be used in quiche or casseroles.

Roasted Fruit Tart w/ Cinnamon Crust

Since stone fruit is so gorgeous when in season, why not make a fruit tart? Not just an ordinary fruit tart, but one bursting with an array of colorful fruit and roasted to bring out all the natural sweetness.

I like this tart in the fall made with apples, but since we can enjoy the seasons stone fruit bounty right now, let’s take advantage of it. When we were shopping for fruit, we came across some apricots called raspberry apricots. Their flavor is absolutely incredible. Of course the plum/apricot cross (pluots) is pretty special as well. I decided on a nice cinnamon-y pastry to highlight all these wonderful fruit flavors!

 Roasting stone fruits concentrates their sweetness and flavor, creating a depth of taste unrivaled by a regular fruit salad.
The cornstarch in the filling acts as a thickener to prevent the fruit juices from making the base soggy while it bakes. And the open-faced top exposes the fruit to the oven’s heat, allowing it to caramelize and concentrate its flavor. What’s not to love!

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Roasted Fruit Tart w/ Cinnamon Crust
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Cinnamon Crust
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Cinnamon Crust
Filling
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Instructions
Crust
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon & salt. Cut in butter with a fork or finger tips to form a crumbly mixture. Drizzle in beaten egg & combine until mixture just begins to come together. Lightly press mixture into the bottom & up the sides of a 14 x 4 x 1-inch tart pan. Chill until firm while you prepare the filling.
Filling
  1. Toss prepared fruit with sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest & juice, vanilla & salt.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Arrange fruit mixture over pastry in pan. Press down slightly into pan.
  3. Bake until the fruit is soft & cooked through, the fruit juices are bubbling & the crust is a golden brown about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes.

Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping

Ube (pronounced OO-bay), is a purple yam native to the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its special taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Ube has been used for decades in Filipino cuisine and has now caught on in North America, especially in the form of desserts. In fact, one of the world’s top 10 food and beverage flavor manufacturers has identified the official 2024 Flavor of the Year as Ube. The 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report is an annual summary by California-based T. Hasegawa USA.

Globally recognized for its innovation and expertise in flavor development and proprietary flavor enhancing technologies, T. Hasegawa remains at the forefront of consumer trends and shares these developments and research findings throughout the food and beverage industry.

Today, I’m making some ube cream puffs with a craquelin topping. Cream puffs start with choux pastry, a heady mixture of butter, milk, water, eggs & flour. When you combine these ingredients, they become so dense and sticky that it seems impossible they’ll come together as soft, puffy, light, tender. Heat is what initiates the expansion of the dense paste. Steam from the milk and water expands the pastry’s edges, puffing up its capacity until the oven heat provides just enough crispness and structure to hold the puffs’ boundaries. A cream puff expands so dramatically in the oven that it creates a cavern inside to hold any number of things—whipped cream, pastry cream, ice cream or savory fillings.

Cream puff pastry (or choux pastry) is the base for profiteroles (smaller puffs filled with ice cream), éclairs (elongated puffs filled with pastry cream and glazed), croquembouche (a tower of cream puffs held together and drizzled with caramel) and savory appetizer puffs called gougeres with cheese and herbs.

Craquelin (pronounced kra-ke-lan) is a thin biscuit layer that can be added over choux pastries before baking them. It is used to create a crackly appearance, crunchy texture and a buttery sweet taste as well as helping the choux pastry bake evenly to form hollow rounds. It certainly dresses up ordinary cream puffs and the taste is so unique.

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Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping
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CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
Servings
CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
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Instructions
Ube Pastry Cream
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch & salt. Pour the milk & egg yolks into a bowl & whisk until combined then add liquid mixture to the saucepan slowly & whisk together.
  2. Add butter, bring mixture to a boil whisking constantly for one minute before removing from heat then mix in the ube extract.
  3. Transfer the pastry cream to a separate container (optional: first strain it through a mesh sieve to ensure the cream has a really smooth consistency) Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic wrap touches the top of the pastry cream to discourage the formation of a skin on top of it.
  4. Place in refrigerator & chill for at least 2 hours before using.
Ube Craquelin
  1. Soften the butter then mix the ube extract into it. Add in the flour, brown sugar & salt. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper & flatten until the dough reaches about 1/4 inch thickness. Freeze the dough until ready to use.
Choux Pastry
  1. Pour the water, sugar, salt & butter into a saucepan & heat over medium heat. Stir the mixture together until the water is boiling & the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat & add the flour.
  2. Vigorously mix the flour into the butter/water mixture so that all the water is absorbed. Once the dough is formed, return the saucepan to the heat. Continue to mix & cook down the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2-5 minutes. You should be able to place a spoon into it & have it stand straight up.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl & allow it cool down for a couple minutes. Crack in the eggs one at a time, ensuring the previous egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding in the next egg.
  4. Transfer the dough into a piping bag.
Assembly
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the craqueline topping from the freezer & cut out disks of a desired size to put on top of the choux pastry.
  3. Pipe out mounds of choux pastry onto the prepared baking tray & top each mound with a craqueline disk.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the choux mounds. DO NOT open the oven for the first 25 minutes of the baking process of the steam will release & the choux won't puff up properly.
  5. After about 25 minutes, open the oven & prick each choux with a toothpick, then return to the oven to cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on the choux size (this helps to dry out the insides to maintain a firm choux).
  6. Remove from oven once the choux is nice & golden brown. Prick each choux again with a toothpick to allow them to dry out even further while they cool.
  7. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge & fill a piping bag with it. Slice each choux pastry in half keeping them connected slightly on one side. Divide ube pastry cream between the 'cream puffs'.

Spiced Chicken Skewers on Avocado Puree

If you’re a meat lover, chances are that you are partial to the taste of good skewers every now and then.  Of course, people enjoy numerous types of food served on sticks due to the convenience and ease of eating. However, meat skewers are the type of skewered food that started this trend and continue to be a popular way of enjoying a delicious cut of meat in a unique way. After all, they’re economical, versatile, infinitely customizable, and quick cooking, making them ideal for not only summer BBQ but frugal winter grillers who want to limit their exposure to frigid weather and high prices.

In modern times, skewers are used in variety of ways: for candies and other sweet products, to garnish cocktails, and many other types of street-food that are sold ‘on a stick’.

Materials from which modern skewers are made, range from the traditional wood and bamboo to the glass, metal and other decorative materials.

These chicken skewers are not too spicy and have a variety of vibrant flavors going on like coriander, ginger and mustard. If you like avocado as much as we do then you’ll love the puree that goes alongside the chicken. Yum!

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Spiced Chicken Skewers on Avocado Puree
Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a skillet, gently heat the spices for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients & stir to combine.
Skewers
  1. Add the chicken to the marinade & coat well. Thread the chicken onto 12 skewers & place in a dish. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the grill, setting the burners on high. Oil the grate.
Avocado Puree
  1. In a small food processor, purée the avocado with the sour cream & lime juice until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside in a bowl & cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  2. Grill the skewers for 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is no longer pink.
Serving
  1. In the center of each serving plate, spread a dollop of the avocado purée. Top with some caramelized red onions & roasted tomatoes. Finish with 2 chicken skewers.

Breakfast Cereal Mini Cakes

Since they were introduced in 1941, Cheerios have been a staple in households across North America. They remain one of the most popular breakfast cereals on the market and are now available worldwide.

Cheerios are primarily made from whole grain oats and come in an assortment of flavors. In fact, there are at least 15 varieties — with seasonal ones appearing on occasion.

A bowl of cereal is perfect for a quick breakfast. Or lunch. Or, let’s be honest, dinner. And while these are perfectly acceptable uses of cereal, there is so much more you can do with them from snacks and desserts to buttery casserole coatings that take the morning mainstay to new heights.

To enhance these cupcakes, the regular milk is switched out for ‘cereal milk’ (milk that’s been soaked in sweet cereal).

Cereal milk tastes like that dense, slightly sweet, starchy, oaty milk from the bottom of the cereal bowl, that everybody loves to enjoy at the end.

The nostalgic and comforting combination of milk and cereal combined in this cupcake recipe is really quite special. These seem like kind of a ‘kid’ thing but I’m sure it won’t take long for them to disappear.

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Breakfast Cereal Cupcakes
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MINI CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Mini Cakes
Servings
MINI CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Mini Cakes
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Instructions
Mini Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 24 cup mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the milk & 1/4 cup Very Berry Cheerios. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, & set aside while you prepare the batter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter & sugar on medium speed until light & fluffy. Add in the eggs on at the time, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, & salt. Using a fork, remove the cereal from the milk. Discard the cereal. Make sure you still have 1/2 cup milk, add more if necessary. Add the honey & vanilla extract to the milk. Whisk together.
  5. Gradually add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix to combine. Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients, mix. Repeat, ending with dry ingredients.
  6. Divide the batter between 24 muffin cups. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting
  1. In a bowl, whip cream cheese & butter. Beat on medium-low speed until smooth & combined, 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Sift powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture & add the vanilla, lemon juice & salt. Beat the frosting on a low speed to combine, then increase the speed to medium-high & beat until light & fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  3. Add slightly crushed cheerios & FOLD into mixture gently. Top each COOLED mini cake with a dollop of frosting then sprinkle with extra cheerios.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer, bake in 12 regular size muffin cups.

Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish

CELEBRATING FATHER’S DAY!

Honoring your father on Father’s Day doesn’t require his physical presence. I feel what is more important is just the act of doing it. I am very grateful to have had a father who was such a strong role model in my life. Everything he did was driven by his commitment to provide and care for the family he loved.

My father passed away in 2005 and Brion’s in 2011. Both our dads loved to talk and tell stories from their lives. We often wish we could retrace that time and hear their voices again. It seems you never fully appreciate your parents until they are no longer on this earth. It is so important to appreciate every hour they are in your life.

Brion & I eat a lot of chicken, so I’m always interested in another way of serving it. This recipe gives you not only crispy chicken but a flavorful tomato bacon relish to compliment it.

If you’re a bacon lover, it probably goes without saying, but bacon goes well with everything. Tomato bacon relish sounds like it would be savory, but it’s actually pretty sweet, just like other fruit jams! However, it does have a lot more complexity thanks to the bacon and spices.

The concept may sound strange, but it tastes like caramelized tomatoes–richer, sweeter, and more mellow than their fresh counterparts, balanced by the savory and smoky flavors of the bacon and smoked paprika. A little vinegar and mustard add a subtle tang, and you’ll get a hint of heat at the end from red pepper flakes.

It’s perfect spread on toast, in an omelet or a grilled cheese sandwich, on roasted veggies, next to cheese and crackers on a charcuterie board, or spread over cream cheese or brie for a party appetizer, etc. etc.

My special meal in honor of our dad’s on this Father’s Day is baked chicken tenders with bacon tomato relish.

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Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp thyme & 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper. Place flour & egg in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in crumb mixture, patting to help coating adhere. Place chicken on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until no pink remains.
Bacon Tomato Relish
  1. In a skillet, over medium high heat, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to plate. Drain all but 1 Tbsp bacon drippings.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté onions in reserved bacon drippings until onion starts to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of sautéing.
  3. Add bacon & all remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Increase heat & bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Decrease heat & simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are tender.
  5. Serve over baked chicken tenders.

Mixed Berry Summer Pudding

Summer pudding is an unbaked bread pudding. The summer part refers to the abundance of fresh berries this time of year, but if you don’t have access to fresh fruit, frozen berries will work fine. For the bread, a cinnamon loaf makes this bread pudding so special.

If you’ve never had summer pudding, now’s the time. It couldn’t be easier to make—start with making a simple fruit compote, then cube your bread and alternate the two in layers. Weight it down overnight and refrigerate. The result is the essence of summer: The bread absorbs the juices from the berries, giving it a vibrant, unforgettable hue.

This is a classic go-to British pudding for a reason; it’s perfect to use up any leftover berries and stale bread for a colorful summertime treat. This recipe calls for blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, but there are many other choices that will work as well, such as strawberries, loganberries, cherries, or black currants. To make sure that the pudding gets the best texture, seek out a better-quality bread; anything less could result in a grainier, far less appealing texture. It’s perfectly fine, and encouraged, to use stale bread as well.

This is an easy recipe for chilled berry bread pudding that you can prep and cook the day before and refrigerate until it’s time to serve. Summer pudding makes the perfect refreshing summer dessert topped with fresh whipped cream.

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Mixed Berry Summer Pudding
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Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar & cornstarch; blend well. Add berries; stir. Cook over low heat until mixture boils & thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
  2. Line a 6-cup mold with plastic wrap. Place a small bit of the fruit on the bottom then add a layer of bread cubes.
  3. Pour a small amount of fruit compote over bread. Repeat, alternating layers of bread & compote.
  4. Place plastic wrap over pudding. Cover with a plate that fits tightly inside mold; place a heavy object on top of the plate to mold pudding. Refrigerate overnight. Unmold onto a serving plate & serve with whipped cream. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Manchester Tarts

The Manchester tart is an English baked treat with its roots tracing back to none other than the vibrant city of Manchester, England. This retro tart has a shortcrust pastry base that’s layered with raspberry preserves, custard, desiccated coconut and sometimes glace cherries. The combination of sweet preserves, creamy custard, and coconut creates a wonderful balance of flavors and textures.

The Manchester tart was a staple on school dinner menus until the mid-1980s and is now a staple in bakeries and home kitchens, cherished for its simplicity and delicious taste.

Over the years, the Manchester Tart has undergone numerous adaptations and variations, with some recipes incorporating different fruits, toppings, or pastry bases. However, its essence remains rooted in the tradition of British baking, symbolizing comfort and nostalgia for many who have enjoyed it throughout generations.

For my adaptation of these tarts I made a pastry cream to give a lightness and added some fresh raspberries to give some tang to balance the sweetness of the preserves. Instead of using the traditional glace cherry on top, I went with a few more fresh raspberries.


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Manchester Tarts
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course dessert
Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Tart Base
Pastry Cream
Raspberry Preserves/Fruit
Topping
Course dessert
Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Tart Base
Pastry Cream
Raspberry Preserves/Fruit
Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Tart Base
  1. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, & vanilla in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your hands until the butter is broken down into pieces the size of peas and the ingredients are well combined. Add the egg and mix with a spatula until the dough is smooth and the egg is fully incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently shape it into a ball. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, until cold but still pliable. It should have the texture of clay.
  3. When the dough has chilled, unwrap the dough and place it on a silicone baking mat on your work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 1⁄8 inch thick, using a second silicone sheet on top. The silicone mat makes it easier to lift the rolled-out dough onto the sheet pan later. Make sure to work quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm.
  4. Place the silicone mat with the dough on a baking sheet.
  5. Using the tart rings, cut out 18 circles of dough. Remove the rest of the dough from around the rings.
  6. Reroll remaining dough between 2 sheets of parchment. Using a sharp knife, slice strips about 10 inches long & 1- inch thick. These strips will make the sides of each tartlet.
  7. Working with one at a time, transfer a strip of dough to one of the tart rings and press it to the sides. Use your fingers to slightly push the bottom of the sides to the dough circle (to seal it). Repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Use a small knife to cut the edge to the rim of the rings.
  8. Transfer the baking sheet containing the tartlet shells to the freezer & freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  10. Bake tart rings for about 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven & take off rings to allow them to cool.
Pastry Cream
  1. Heat the milk over medium high heat & bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.
  2. While heating the milk, place the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla & salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix then set aside until the milk comes almost to a boil.
  3. As soon as the milk starts to steam or simmer, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mix, WHILE WHISKING CONSTANTLY to temper the egg mix. When the eggs have been tempered, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
  4. Heat the custard base, over medium heat, while whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken – this should take about 1 – 2 minutes. Make sure to reach the corners of the saucepan so that the custard does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. While whisking, let the custard come to a boil (the custard will release bubbles). You may need to stop whisking from time to time for a few seconds to see if the custard is ‘bubbling’. Look for big bubbles breaking the surface of the custard.
  6. Lower the heat and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes after you see the first bubbles break the surface, and make sure to whisk constantly.
  7. Remove from the heat & add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.
  8. Pour the custard into a bowl & immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard ‘skin’ from forming on top. You can also choose to pass the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  9. Let the custard cool down to room temperature & then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours, until it’s completely chilled.
  10. The custard will have ‘set’ after chilling. So, it is important to whisk the pastry cream to make it smooth before using.
Assembly
  1. Once the base & custard have cooled, spread raspberry preserve over the bottom of pastry cases. Spoon in the custard, then sprinkle with the coconut & chill. Decorate with raspberries and a final sprinkle of powdered sugar on the berries. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • I used two sizes of tart rings - 2 1/4 + 2 1/2" for these.