Cranberry-Raspberry Tartlets

So many of our berries can be used to make excellent dessert sauces as their naturally tart flavor pairs so well with rich sweet desserts. Cranberry-raspberry sauce is one such sauce. It is made with a combination of whole cranberry sauce and fresh or frozen raspberries, along with a bit of sugar and a little lemon or orange zest. Everything is cooked over medium low heat until the sauce thickens with the end result being a glistening red sauce with a sweet and tangy flavor that is especially nice atop these mini cheesecake tarts. It can also be used as a filling for cakes or trifles, or for a quick dessert, it can be poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Tarts are the epitome of elegance in the world of desserts. They showcase a perfect harmony of flavors, with their flaky or crispy crust and luscious fillings. But one key factor in achieving the ultimate tart is having a crisp, clean edge on the tart shell, which not only elevates the appearance but also enhances the texture. A well-defined edge results in a satisfying contrast between the tender, flaky layers, and the smooth filling.

Since the Christmas season is upon us, I thought of using some ‘tart rings’ to give these little tarts more of an upscale look. Using rings instead of tart pans makes for such a clean look. Being perforated allows for the ring to heat up quicker (along with it being very thin), which allows for better baking. This also allows steam to escape from the crust, which keeps your crust nice and crispy.

Baking is a passion for many because of the immersion between art and science. For me, I’m always in pursuit of another way to make an old idea new again or as they say, ‘the same only different’.

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Cranberry-Raspberry Tartlets
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Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Pastry
Cheesecake Filling
Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Pastry
Cheesecake Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  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 8 minutes or until barely set (crust will complete baking with the filling in). Remove from oven.
Filling
  1. Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth then add sugar & blend well. Add eggs & vanilla, beat until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over warm crust.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is firm & BARELY browned. Set aside to cool.
Topping
  1. In a saucepan, combine whole berry sauce & 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, orange zest & sugar.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens & is bubbly. Remove from heat & let cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  3. Place a dollop of sauce over each tartlet. Decorate & serve chilled.
Recipe Notes
  • I made these tartlets in 3 sizes from 2 3/4-inch to 2-inch.
  • If you find the dough is to soft to work with just add a small amount of flour, just enough to make it easier to handle.
  • This is a real nice crispy pastry dough. When its baked it would give the impression of being real hard but instead its crisp and so nice to bite into.

Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes

Persimmon fruit is delicious in their natural state, but they also add wonderful moisture and flavor to baked goods. Fall and winter is the season for persimmons, and with persimmons you can make the most wonderful, sweet or savory things.

A good persimmon (at its peak) has a mild taste that has been described ‘honey-like’. Its texture is similar to that of an apricot and its skin is tougher than an apple.

For Fuyu persimmons, make sure they are very ripe. Peel them, chop them, and remove their seeds. Use a food processor to puree the fruit. If you have ripe persimmons but aren’t ready to make use of them yet, you can freeze the pulp for up to six months. Freeze the puree in 8-ounce containers or ice cube trays. You can add frozen persimmon pulp to smoothies right out of the freezer. If you want to bake with it, bring it to room temperature and use it when thawed.

These little minis are a wonderful mouthful of  light and creamy cheesecake made with fresh persimmon puree and warm holiday spices. Take advantage of this wonderful fruit—in season October through February.

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Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Base
Cheesecake
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Base
Cheesecake
Votes: 2
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Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place inserts into bottom of each of the 12 cavities of a mini cheesecake pan.
  2. In a small bowl combine gingersnap crumbs with melted butter. Divide between the 12 cavities & press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake on middle rack of oven for about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while filling is being prepared.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, persimmon puree, sour cream, egg, spices & vanilla. Beat until smooth & well combined.
  2. Divide filling between the 12 cavities in the cheesecake pan.
  3. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until set. Begin checking for doneness after 10 minutes, as oven temperatures vary considerably.
  4. Cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, then using your finger, push up through the hole in the bottom of each cheesecake & remove each one. Remove metal insert & cool completely in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Garnish with fresh persimmon slices & a bit of whip topping or your choice.

Ube Bread Pudding w/ Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle

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.

When I first tried using it sometime back, it was in some sweet rolls that were filled with ube ‘halaya’ or jam and topped with Edam cheese. We absolutely loved them. My next adventure was some ube cheesecake for Easter (2019). Both of these recipes have been published here on the blog.

Now, I’m taking it another step further and making an Ube Bread Pudding. This dessert is best made over two days due to that fact that you are making the ube bread from scratch. Should be interesting!

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Ube Bread Pudding w/ Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
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Ingredients
Ube Halaya (jam) Filling for Bread
Ube Bread Pudding
Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (jam) Filling for Bread
Ube Bread Pudding
Ube Cream Cheese Drizzle
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Instructions
Ube Halaya
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add coconut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated ube & stir everything together. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. The mixture will be thick & sticky. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking to prevent it from forming a crust. Transfer the ube halaya to a container & set aside.
Ube Bread
  1. In a small dish, heat milk to lukewarm. Add yeast & 1 tsp sugar; let sit for 5 minutes to allow yeast to activate. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, sour cream & egg. Add yeast mixture & stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk flour & salt. Add flour mixture to yeast mixture 1 cup at a time, combining after each addition. Once all the flour has been added, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the large bowl, place dough in it & cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rest for at least one hour, in a draft-free place until dough has doubled in volume. Grate cheese & set aside in refrigerator until needed.
  4. Grease 2 loaf pans. Punch dough down & divide in half. Roll each piece out to about 7x7-inch (18x18 cm) square. Spread ube halaya over each one leaving about 1/2-inch border all the way around. Sprinkle each square with Edam cheese then roll up in jelly-roll style. Pinch to seal seams & place seam side down in loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap & a tea towel. Allow to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake bread for about 50 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool for just a few minutes then pat with butter. Sprinkle with more grated cheese.
Ube Bread Pudding (ON THE FOLLOWING DAY)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Cut thick slices of ube bread into 1-inch cubes & spread out in baking dish. In a saucepan, melt butter into milk on medium-high; do not let it boil. Remove from heat when butter is melted.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk eggs & coconut extract together. Slowly pour egg mixture into butter/milk mixture & begin whisking immediately to avoid scrambling the egg mixture. Pour custard over the ube bread pieces; use a spoon to work liquid between the pieces.
  3. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the top is springy. While the bread pudding is baking, make the ube drizzle.
Ube Drizzle
  1. In a bowl, using a mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes then add cream cheese & beat for another minute. Add powdered sugar slowly then beat thoroughly; add vanilla. Mix in ube halaya until well combined. Add enough milk to make a drizzle consistency. Either drizzle bread pudding before or after cutting into serving pieces.
Recipe Notes
  • You will have extra Ube Bread & Ube Halaya but it will no doubt be eaten before you have a chance to freeze it. Other than just enjoying it by the slice, it makes great French toast as well.

Reuben Stuffed Shells

The Reuben ‘sandwich’ is a North American grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing, or Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread.

The Reuben actually has a couple of origin stories. It just depends on who tells it.  Of course, all the ingredients have roots in places besides North America. You have the cheese which is Swiss. The rye bread comes from eastern Europe. Corned beef is an ancient way of preserving meat in cultures all over the world. Sauerkraut has a very ancient history and most likely originated with the Mongols or in ancient China. 

The combined flavors of a Reuben sandwich are so amazing that its inspired many recipe ideas and ways to incorporate the flavors into other foods.

Reuben Stuffed Shells pack all that flavor into a jumbo pasta shell and the homemade croutons make sure that you won’t miss out on the rye bread that Reubens are known for.

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Reuben Stuffed Shells
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
SERVINGS
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
SERVINGS
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Croutons
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in dried parsley. Add bread cubes & toss to coat. Place directly on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp. Crumble the croutons into small pieces. Set aside.
Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt butter & add flour. Cook until bubbly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously until heated & slightly thickened. While continuing to whisk, add mustard & cheese. Cook until a thin sauce consistency develops; season to taste with salt & pepper. Cover & set aside until ready to use.
Stuffed Shells
  1. Shred corned beef with a fork. In a large bowl, add corned beef (reserve 3-4 Tbsp for topping), 60 gm Swiss cheese, sauerkraut (drained), cream cheese & Thousand Island dressing. Mix well
  2. Spread cheese sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Fill cooked shells with corned beef mixture & place in baking pan. Top with reserved corned beef. Sprinkle croutons & remaining 120 gm Swiss croutons over shells. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes or until slightly bubbling.

French Silk Angel Food Cupcakes

BIRTHDAY WISHES!

Angel food cake has always been one of Brion’s favorite desserts. I’m not sure why but it is and since we are celebrating his birthday today, I’m pulling out all the stops and making a French Silk Angel Food Cupcakes!

With its featherlight crumb, gleaming white hue, and fat-free formula, angel food cakes are a perfect canvas for fresh summer fruit and a little whipped cream. It’s just that, while angel food cake with fruit and cream is a quick dessert, it’s not exactly an impressive one.

If you chose to take the angel food cake in a celebratory (say, birthday) direction, it can be stunning.

Fill It: turn your angel food cake into a faux Boston Cream Cake with some custard and chocolate ganache.

Slice It: in horizontal layers, spread some lemon curd between the pieces and replace the top. 

Layer It: cut the cake in half, making two layers. Slather banana pudding on top of the bottom layer and top the pudding with banana slices. Place the top cake layer over the bananas and drizzle the whole cake with a thick layer of caramel sauce.

Grill It: using balsamic butter, along with fresh strawberries, create a unique dessert. Serve with ice cream for the perfect end to any backyard barbecue.

Frost It: with some ultra-smooth and creamy French silk mousse (the smooth chocolate mousse sort of resembles the softness of silk). Add some fresh strawberries and you have party food!

As we grow older, it comes clearer everyday, what a special privilege it is to simply have each other to share life with. The little everyday things seem to take on a much greater importance. Maybe its the state of our world at this time that has made it very clear not to take anything for granted. Throughout our married life Brion has always gone above and beyond to look after us. I am grateful to have the privilege of such a loving and caring husband.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRION, WITH LOVE!

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French Silk Angel Food Cupcakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
CUPCAKES
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place paper or foil baking cups in 30 -36 regular sized muffin cups.
  2. Beat cake mix, cornstarch, vanilla & water in an extra large glass or metal bowl on low speed for 30 seconds then beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes. Fill cups 2/3-3/4 full of batter.
  3. Bake 12 - 20 minutes or until golden brown & cracks feel dry. Remove from oven & cool completely.
Mousse Topping
  1. Melt chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, then stir, heat for 30 seconds again, then stir well, then heat in 10 second increments, stirring between each, until smooth. Allow to cool 5 minutes.
  2. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Add chocolate & mix to combined, then mix in vanilla. Fold in the cool whip.
  3. Spoon mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Make a generous swirl on top of each cupcake & decorate with some sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until served.

Summer Fruit Tart

PRECIOUS MEMORIES OF LORETTA

Over the years I have shared many experiences on the blog that I had enjoyed with my sister Loretta. She was an avid follower of the blog and always encouraged me to keep writing. In February, Loretta’s time on this earth ended. Her passing has left such an empty place in my heart. There is something very special about having an older sibling. For me, I just wanted to be with her and do everything and anything she could think of. For her, it was probably not quite as much fun having this ‘brat’ tagging along all the time asking questions.

Something Loretta and I always had in common was being adventurous. Whenever we got the chance to explore something mysterious that was right up our alley. One such occasion arose one day when we decided to investigate an old empty farmhouse. This house was 3-4 kilometers from our farm. The land itself was being farmed by a neighboring farmer and was posted ‘No Trespassing’. Nevertheless, this intriguing old  ‘haunted house’  was like a magnet for us. If I remember correctly, it took a little bit of doing to get in, but we managed it. For being such an old house, I recall the inside being quite unique in its design. It had one of those staircases that you see in the movies. We went upstairs and snooped around. Of course, to add to the intrigue, one room was locked. When we listened, we could hear a distinct buzzing or humming sound. After figuring out how to get in, to our surprise wasps had made it their home. The floor was covered with a huge pile of dead wasps but there were still lots of live ones buzzing around. At this point we decided we had best call it a day and leave. Just when we were about to go the farmer came and was working in the fields close to the buildings. Not to be caught ‘trespassing’ we hid by a granary, then high-tailed it out of there as soon as the coast was clear.

Another such memory was that of the ‘clam race’ we invented. About 6 kilometers or so from our farm, the Willow Creek ran through the farmlands. Starting up at the Chain Lakes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it snaked its way through southern Alberta eventually emptying into the Old Man River. On occasion, during summer vacation, Loretta and I would either walk or ride our bike down to the creek. This was fun because we could roll up our pant legs and walk in the water when it was so hot. We came to realize that there were some ‘clam beds’ as we explored different areas of the creek. Just for fun one day we decided to line up some of the clams across the width of the creek. On our next trip we would check to see how far they had gone. There are endless memories that replay over and over in my mind. Life in the fifties had a such a gentle rhythm to it …. what a pleasure it was to be a kid at that time and be a part of it all.

Later in our adult years, Loretta and I had the opportunity to spend a vacation travelling the California coast. It was an amazing experience with memories to last a lifetime. Although our lives took us in many different directions, we always seemed to gravitate back to our sibling bond.

In 2001, Loretta had joined my husband, Brion and I on a French vacation. After we had left Paris, we drove 613 km (380 miles) south to the sleepy village of St. Thibery. This little medieval village, population of 2481, can be traced back more than 4000 years of known history. For this segment of the trip, we had rented an apartment in St Thibery to use as ‘home base’ during our time there. Many of these houses are from the 14th, 15th and 17th century. The apartment was quaint but adequate, even having a roof top patio. We spent about a week in St Thibery and it was there that the three of us made some special memories enjoying our leisure French brunches.

Loretta lived in many places during her life, including California and Vancouver Island, but was particularly drawn to the Peace Country in Northern Alberta. She worked as an LPN for 25 years north of Grand Prairie for Central Peace Hospital in Spirit River and Fairview General Hospital.

Loretta had a love for music, gardening, crafting, and reading. She cared for all animals big and small which included one little precious Dachshund dog named Amigo.

Loretta & Amigo spent a lot of time after she retired with Brion & I. For many years they would come and look after our home while we were away on vacation. Of course, that always included some time after we came home so we could enjoy their company. The three of us loved Amigo so it was great being together.

Today, July 25, would have been Loretta’s 80th birthday. I wanted to make something special on the blog to honor her memory. This fruit tart was what developed.

Loretta was a very kind, gentle soul. She was a sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and professional health care worker as well as many other things she did with such love and compassion.

Wishing you where here today, for even just a while so I could say happy birthday and see your loving smile.

The only gifts today will be the sweet memories you left behind of laughter, joy and happiness that echo in my mind.

I’ll gaze upon your pictures, I’ll think of you with love and hope you’re doing fine in heaven up above.

May our friends and family in heaven hold you closely and sing you a song. I’ll be sending a million hugs and kisses to today and all year long.

As we remember Loretta today, we hold on to those precious memories she left with us that will never fade from our minds.

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Summer Fruit Tart
Apple cream cheese filling with a wonderful blend of 'Dutch' spices, baked in a shortbread cookie crust and topped with fresh fruit!
Votes: 1
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Crust
Filling
Glaze
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Crust
Filling
Glaze
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar & cornstarch. Cover & process until combined; add butter. Pulse with on/off turns until mixture forms fine crumbs. Press mixture onto the bottom & 1 1/2" up the sides of a 9" spring form pan.
Filling
  1. Beat cream cheese & 1/4 cup sugar with mixer until well blended. Add egg & vanilla; mix well. Spread onto bottom of crust. Mix remaining sugar, 2 Tbsp flour & spice blend. Add to apples in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spoon over cream cheese layer.
  2. Bake, cover with foil for about 20 minutes. Uncover & continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from ove & cool completely on a wire rack.
Glaze/Fruit
  1. Place sugar, cornstarch & water into a saucepan and bring a boil while constantly stirring with a hand whisk or a spoon.
  2. Once boiled, remove the glaze from the heat and let it cool a bit. Stir every 3-5 minutes to prevent a film from forming on the surface of the glaze.
  3. Prepare fruit for topping. Place in 12 'wedges' on top of cooled tart. With a silicone brush, gently apply the glaze on top of the fruit to keep the made pattern. Refrigerate the pastry for at least 1 hour before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • SPICE BLEND MIX
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • Grind the spices together in a coffee grinder or blender; place in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator.
  • Any extra spice mix can be used in recipes calling for 'apple or pumpkin pie spice'.

Stuffed Raspberry Cream Pancakes

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Here in Canada, we set aside the second Sunday in May to honor our mother’s with expressions of love and gratitude.

As I grow older, I realize how many ways I unconsciously emulate my mother. I loved everything about her and as a kid I could never imagine life without her. But in the natural sequence of events, that’s not how it works. I guess along with many other things, I’m grateful for the fact that she was there through my childhood. She passed away at the age of sixty and although she is no longer on this earth, her wonderful memory will live on in our hearts forever.

We are fortunate to still have Brion’s mother, Dolores. In January this year, we were able to spend four days visiting with her. It was so wonderful to be able to do that once again.  

This blog is especially to honor: the special memories of my mother for her endless giving of selfless love – my mother-in-law, Dolores, for her kind ways and raising that ‘special’ man I love sharing my life with – to my sisters, who have given so much of themselves to be such great moms.

Pancakes are one of mankind’s oldest prepared foods, which is why you’ll find some iteration of them in virtually every cuisine around the world.

For most North Americans, the word ‘pancake’ conjures a stack of fluffy, hot-off-the-griddle ‘flapjacks’, a pat of butter slowly melting beneath some maple syrup. But pancakes take many forms around the world, from delicate French crepes sprinkled with sugar to spongy, sour Ethiopian injera to chewy-crisp Japanese okonomiyaki, studded with seafood and drizzled with sticky brown sauce and mayo.

Both pancakes and flatbreads embody the idea that the most common and basic ingredients can combine into a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. They’re quick-cooking and don’t require anything more than a pan (or a rock) and a heat source, but they’re also the basis for more involved cooking methods, canvases for countless ingredient combinations. They’re staple foods to be peppered with seafood, poultry, aromatics, or fruit; topped with whipped cream or cheeses, syrups, caviar, chutneys, or jam.

Have you ever made stuffed pancakes? If not, you’re going to love this recipe! Stuffed pancakes do take a bit more time to prepare than regular pancakes, but they are really worth it.

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Stuffed Raspberry Cream Pancakes
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Servings
Ingredients
Raspberry Sauce
Cream Cheese Filling
Sour Cream Pancakes
Servings
Ingredients
Raspberry Sauce
Cream Cheese Filling
Sour Cream Pancakes
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Instructions
Raspberry Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, sugar & salt. Add water & raspberries; cook until 'clear' & bubbling. Remove from heat & add butter, lemon juice. If you wish , press sauce through a sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining filling ingredients beating until smooth. Set aside.
Pancakes
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, milk, sour cream, butter & vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  3. Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture & whisk together until no large lumps remain but don't overmix. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes. You can even refrigerate it overnight & cook the next morning.
  4. Heat a nonstick griddle on medium-low heat. To ensure your pancakes cook all the way through, you'll want the heat a little lower than for other pancakes.
  5. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup & scoop the batter to fill it up & pour an evenly round circle of batter on the griddle. I find using the bottom of the measuring cup helps to create the circle.
  6. Let it cook until little bubbles form, then pop, & the indentations stay on the batter. Pipe a small amount of the filling on half of the pancake, making sure not to get too close to the edges & not to overfill it.
  7. Fold the uncooked pancake over the filling. The edge of raw batter on the top half should touch the raw edge on the bottom when folded. It will continue to cook & seal itself on the griddle.
  8. Put a 'lid' over the pancakes to help them to cook through. Flip as needed to keep the browning even. Allow them to cook until all the batter looks cooked through.
  9. Serve with fresh raspberries & sauce.

Mango Cream Tarts

Mango purée takes very little effort to make and can be used in a variety of ways. Probably the most obvious use for it is in drinks but this bright purée is endlessly versatile. You can use it on pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal, in desserts like parfaits. Or simply use it as an alternative to applesauce, which is very often used in quick breads and muffins.

Mangoes have long been a favorite fruit of mine. The fact that we can readily buy them year-round, make them a nice winter dessert ingredient. This mango cream filling is made very few ingredients. The fresh mango purée adds such a great taste.

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Mango Cream Tarts
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Tart Shells
Mango Cream Filling
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Shortbread Tart Shells
Mango Cream Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Tart Shells
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a bowl, combine butter & sugar, beat until light & fluffy. Mix in flour & baking powder; blend well. Press spoonful's into 12 individual tart pans. Prick shells with a fork. Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven & cool.
Mango Cream Filling
  1. In a small food processor, add mango chunks, ginger & water. Blend on high until smooth; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar & extract until well blended & smooth. Fold in mango puree. Chill about 30 minutes.
  3. Divide mango cream filling evenly among 10 baked pastry shells. Cover the tarts with plastic wrap & keep chilled until ready to serve. Decorate each with mango slices, a blueberry & mint leaves if desired.

Creamy Roasted Red Onions

All onions are not created equal so using the best onion for the job can really add a depth of flavor to your meals.

Onions are the workhorses of the kitchen and the foundation of so many billions of dishes across the globe that we forget how lovely and delicious they are all by themselves.

For most of the year, you’ll find red storage onions at the supermarket, which are pungent and spicy. In the summer months, you’ll often find fresh red onions, which are much milder, and lack a bit of the ‘onion-y’ flavor you’ll find in their yellow and white cousins.

The main difference between red onion and white onion is that red onions are a little spicy in taste while the white are comparatively sweeter and less mild.

It is a well-known fact that almost all dishes feel and taste incomplete without the presence of onion in them. Stuffed onions are an impressive side dish and a perfect complement to any main dish. 

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Creamy Roasted Red Onions
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Onions
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Onions
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Instructions
Onions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel onions, trim the root ends so they will sit upright & cut about 1/2-inch from tops. Rub onions with olive oil & season with salt. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool slightly.
  3. Gently remove the centers leaving a shell of about 2-3 layers. Return a slice of the center to form a bottom. Coarsely chop onion centers.
Filling
  1. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, salt, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, minced garlic & chopped onions. Spoon filling into onion shells.
Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine Panko, butter, cooked bacon & parsley. Spoon carefully over onions.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is heated through & bread crumbs start to brown. Serve immediately.

Benedictine Liqueur Mini Cupcakes

The story of Benedictine dates back to 1510 when a Venetian monk of the Abbey of Fécamp, Dom Bernardo Vincelli, created an elixir intended to support good health. The concoction was so well-received that the Benedictine monks of Fécamp continued the liqueur’s production up until the French Revolution. One of the Benedictine monks had a copy of the recipe for the elixir in a book he gave to a friend for safekeeping during the Revolution. That friend’s grandchild was Alexandre Le Grand.

Over 300 years later in 1863, Alexandre le Grand, a wine trader from Fécamp sought to resurrect it. After a year of attempting to recreate the mysterious brew, le Grand finally succeeded, transforming it into the liqueur it is today. He named it Benedictine, in honor of the monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli, and went on to erect a palace that would house its distillation: the Palais Benedictine in Fécamp.

Its recipe remains a secret, known by a select few and with only three copies in existence, each kept safe in a different locale. It includes a combination of 27 herbs and spices derived from plants from around the globe, including juniper, myrrh, saffron, vanilla, thyme, coriander and more. The ingredients are carefully combined and slowly distilled several times in copper stills that date back to the time of Alexandre le Grand. The liquid is then aged in oak casks for approximately two years and always stored at the Palais Benedictine. With an ABV of 40%, it is classified as a brandy and often served as a digestif after meals or used in cocktail recipes.

During the Middle Ages, about 90% of the population of Europe was the non-landowning laboring class, with the remainder split between the nobility and church. The monks were the keepers of most scientific and medical knowledge, as they were literate and often spent time copying important texts from one monastery to the next. Some monasteries operated hospitals and probably all had medicinal herb gardens and apothecaries (pharmacists) on site to make medicines for themselves and the surrounding community.

The liqueur tastes primarily of honey and baking spices, with citrus peel, herb, and stone fruit notes.

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Benedictine Liqueur Mini Cupcakes
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Cupcakes
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Cupcakes
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Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 mini cupcake pans ( 2-inch diameter) with paper liners.
  2. Place sugar & zest in the mixer bowl & blend until moist & fragrant. Add butter & beat until white. Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after each one.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt & baking powder. With mixer on low speed, add the flour, milk & liqueur alternately, scraping down sides of the bowl. Divide cake batter between the 24 paper lined cups.
  4. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until risen & baked through, testing with a toothpick in the center of the cupcake. Remove from baking pan & allow to cool.
Frosting
  1. Combine butter & cream cheese with a mixer until smooth & creamy. Blend in Benedictine liqueur. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you reach the right consistency. If you are using a pastry bag ensure that you have a medium consistency.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake then garnish as you wish.