The plan was to make ice cream with many of the 100+ peaches I picked in Iowa. But after bookmarking several recipes found online, I realized I had no heavy cream in my refrigerator -- a rare occurrence at my house and an essential ingredient in ice cream. I opted instead for a healthier version of what I had envisioned -- Peach Sherbet made with milk.
I also wanted a simple, little cookie to serve alongside the Peach Sherbet. There's nothing easier than making Lionel Poilåne's 4 ingredient Punitions, and with Dorie Greenspan's book, Paris Sweets, we are able to make this cookie at home. They can be purchased when in Paris at Poilåne's, 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th Arrondissement. A basketful of sample Punitions is great strategy on Poilåne's part. After eating one of the French butter cookies, you most likely will purchase one bag for yourself and additional bags as gifts for friends back home (or maybe just more bags for yourself ;-)
• The sherbet is still delicious after several days in the freezer, but scoops up easiest the day it is made. • I used salted butter in the Punition cookies. You really won't notice much of a difference whether salted or unsalted is used. I do, however, recommend using European butter. The fat content is higher and any cookie benefits from that!
Peaches at the Velleron evening market | Provence
+ PEACH SHERBET
adapted recipe from Four-Star Desserts by Emily Luchetti
• 4 pounds very ripe peaches
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 cups water
• 1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole)
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• Pinch of salt
1. Halve the peaches. Leave skins on but remove the pits.
2. Place the peaches in a large pot with the sugar and water. Cook the peaches over medium heat until they are soft when pierced. Purée the peaches in a blender or food processor, along with the liquid. This will need to be done in several batches. When finished, cool to room temperature. Stir in the milk, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Place the mixture in the refrigerator until cold.
3. Freeze sherbet mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.
• This recipe makes 2 quarts. It was necessary for me to freeze 2 separate quarts since I have a small machine. The mixture will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
recipe from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan
• 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces; 140 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• Slightly rounded 1/2 cup (125 grams) sugar
• 1 large egg, at room temperature
• 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1. Put the butter in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and process and scrape until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the egg and continue to process, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10 to 15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic. If you have the time, chill the disks until they are firm, about 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll the dough out immediately; it will be a little stickier, but fine. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
3. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (4 and 7 mm) thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on the lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) space between them. (You can gather the scraps into a disk and chill them, then roll, cut, and bake them later.)
5. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are set but pale. (If some of the cookies are thinner than the others, the thin ones may brown around the edges. M. Poilâne would approve. He’d tell you the spots of color here and there show they are made by hand.) Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.
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I had big plans for the peaches we picked in Iowa last weekend. But they were ripe -- very ripe -- and the eight hour drive back home did nothing to help that situation. So after picking about 100+ peaches, many of them are now residing in my freezer. But before I did that, I was able to get some fresh peach scones baked for the next morning.
O • O • O • O • O • O
O • O • O • O • O • O
Peach Sandwich Scones
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
• heavy cream (or additional crème fraîche) for brushing
• coarse sugar, for sprinkling
PREHEAT OVEN to 400˚F
1. Combine flour, brown sugar, salt, soda and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor; pulse briefly. Add the cold butter and pulse until the size of small peas.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the créme fraîche and eggs to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir together until the flour is moistened and the mixture just comes together. Transfer the dough to a work surface lightly dusted with flour and knead the dough 2 or 3 times. (Use as little flour as possible when handling the dough.) Divide dough in half and using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten each piece of dough into a 6-inch-by-9-inch rectangle.
3. Scatter the sliced peaches evenly over one of the rectangles. Take the second rectangle of dough and carefully place it over the peaches. Gently press together the edges.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut the peach-filled rectangle of dough into 12 pieces.
5. Transfer the scones to a parchment-lined baking sheet leaving at least an inch or more between each scone. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
6. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake the scones for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer scones to a baking rack to cool. SCONES ARE BEST EATEN THE DAY THEY ARE MADE.
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Now wouldn't you think, when planning an outdoor meal during what is typically the hottest week of the summer, the only thing you'd need to worry about is... the possibility of storms... uncomfortably high humidity... mosquitoes? Nope... it instead happened to be unseasonably cool temperatures and an extremely, brisk breeze that gave us a windchill... in July!... that we had to contend with while dining al fresco on the patio yesterday evening.
We braved strong winds and temps in the 50's; some of us wrapping up in blankets. We could have easily migrated indoors. But those of us from Minnesota, a state that in its weather history has reported snow every month but July, are just stubborn. It's summer, gosh darn-it! And we're going to experience it outdoors no matter what! I'm sure the distant relatives we were entertaining from farther south, and weren't dressed for October-like weather, wondered what the heck was wrong with us.
I served Banana-Bean Dip with blue corn chips before our meal, and it warmed us up a bit with the kick of Chorizo sausage and green chiles. I've made this dip for many years; a recipe from a long-ago New York Times Magazine article. It's also a great accompaniment to grilled Iowa pork chops!
• 2 Chorizo sausages,chopped or about 1/2 lb. bulk Chorizo sausage
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
• half of a 4-ounce can of chopped green chili peppers
• 1/2 cup tomato sauce
• 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 4 ripe bananas
1. Saute' sausage for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chilies and tomato sauce and cook another 5 minutes. Add mashed beans and mashed bananas.
2. Add water to thin the mix, if desired. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes and serve warm with tortilla chips. Dip is also excellent served along with grilled Iowa pork chops.
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There haven't been many desserts in my house this summer. I'm not sure why that's the case. I love berry season, but the berries I've purchased have mostly been used in salads. Lately after every meal my husband asks, "is there dessert?" and sadly, I've been telling him no.
Ironically, today I made this Blueberry (and Raspberry) Cake with Lemon Icing and my husband isn't around to partake.
He's in Iowa again for RAGBRAI -- the bike ride across Iowa; his summer ritual. I'll have to save him a piece (or two)!
Blueberry (and Raspberry) Cake with Lemon Icing
• 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 1/2 cups blueberries (or part blueberries, part raspberries)
• 1 tablespoon flour
• Lemon icing (recipe follows)
PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F
1. Butter the bottom and sides of a bread pan and line bottom of pan with waxed paper. *
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
4. Beat half of the flour mixture into the butter and eggs. Add all of the milk and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour, mixing just until combined.
5. In a small bowl, gently fold the berries with the tablespoon flour. Add the berries to the flour/egg mixture and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula. Transfer the batter to the bread pan.
6. Place bread pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When the cake is cool, remove from pan and drizzle with Lemon Icing.
* This cake can also be baked in a 9-inch square pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• Grated zest of 1 large lemon
• 2 tablespoons milk
1. Combine the ingredients and stir until smooth.
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Could there be anything better than a phone call from a friend, announcing she has too many freshly-picked, locally-grown strawberries -- then asking if I'd like to have some? We'd barely finished talking before I was knocking at her front door (with my hands out). And after a week of using the strawberries in this and that, I ended the week using the last of those sweet berries in a Berry Yogurt Cake.
This past week has been a whirlwind. One daughter closed on a house (and I have been helping in the move and painting of rooms), my best friend from my hometown of Amana, Iowa, visited for several days, and later today my other daughter returns from a two month study abroad program in Paris. (She doesn't want to come home... I understand.) I didn't sleep at all last night. I kept looking at the clock, figuring the time in France, and wondering where she was in her trek to Charles de Gaulle and her flight home.
Needless to say, I am not thinking very clearly today... but I wanted to share this nice, little, berry-filled cake with you. I found the recipe online at Stacey Snacks and have now made it twice. If you like my recipes, you'll also like what Stacey makes in her kitchen! We think alike.
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• Zest of one lemon
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1/4 cup plain (or honey) Greek Yogurt
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 cup fresh berries
• 1 1/2 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
4. Place the sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the moist lemon zest into the sugar (it will smell like lemon candy ;-) Add the butter, and using an electric mixer (or a strong arm), beat at medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
5. Beat in the vanilla and egg, then add the yogurt and mix well. Beat in half of the flour mixture until just combined. Add the milk and mix, then add the last of the flour mixture; stir until just combined.
6. Spread the batter evenly into the cake pan or skillet. Scatter the berries over the top and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
7. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Serve the cake either warm from the oven or at room temperature.
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I bought ten beautiful, large, and fragrant peaches this past week. In the span of two days, we ate a lot of peaches in our house. The night I made this salad, we also had peach and blueberry crisp. Both the salad and the crisp disappeared quickly. I love peaches!
The proportions for this salad are up to you. I drizzled three chicken breasts with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, then roasted for about 20 minutes (or until done) in a 375˚F oven; allow to cool, then slice. Toss lettuce with some of the poppy seed dressing (recipe below); plate. Top lettuce with chicken, slices of ripe peaches, raspberries, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with a little more poppy seed dressing. ENJOY!
• HONEY POPPY SEED DRESSING •
recipe from Taste of Home
• 1/3 cups canola oil
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the oil and honey. Whisk in the vinegar, poppy seeds, and salt. Keep dressing in a jar or covered dish in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.
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Silly you! You probably think Rum & Rosemary are the ingredients for an exotic tropical cocktail that I'm sipping while relaxing outdoors on the patio. Haha. No... silly you! (again). It's not that at all. Rum & Rosemary are the smells of my kitchen.
You see... the other day my husband purchased a bottle of rum for a French sweet cherry and rum cake, called Tartouillat, that I've been meaning to bake. And since the newly planted mint is going crazy in my backyard garden, my husband decided to get a big bottle of rum for the mojitos that lie ahead. This morning I started on the cake. I had pitted the cherries, beaten the eggs into the sugar, and was about to measure the rum, which was open and setting atop the large butcher block in my workspace. Now you must understand that I will, on occasion, move extremely fast while working in my kitchen. Many times knives go flying. Today, however, it was the rum that went flying -- off the butcher block and onto the floor. The big, newly purchased bottle fell onto the floor and broke into many pieces -- large shards to infinitesimal specks. I stared at the floor for a long, long time. Where do I start? Do I try to soak up the rum first with towels and sponges, or do I start by picking up the broken glass? I think I started by cursing.
So what's up with the rosemary? After the floor was wiped dry and vacuumed twice to remove as much of the glass as possible, I washed it down, twice, with rosemary scented Mrs. MEYER'S All-Purpose Cleaner. The combination of rum and rosemary in my house was nothing short of overwhelming. (Fortunately, ten hours later, the smell has dissipated). I continued on and baked the Tartouillat,
which wasn't problem- free for me either. I ended up baking one cake twice. The original temperature of 400˚F was too hot for my cake that I baked in an 8-inch springform pan instead of the recommended 9-inch (it took forever to get the inside of the cake done). After baking my cake for 35 minutes at 400˚, and letting it cool, I rebaked the cake at 350˚ for an additional 40-45 minutes (if not more) after I discovered the soupy interior which wasn't noticeable what-so-ever on the inserted skewer. This is a delicious cake and I will make it again, using my 8-inch springform and baking the entire time at 350˚ -- for at least an hour, I'm sure; maybe more. Intuition tells me that if you follow the recipe's instructions and use a 9-inch pan, you'll be o.k., or at least close to o.k.
This is the Serious Eats link (click HERE) where I got the recipe. I will let you decide how to approach this cake. After baking it twice, allowing it to cool, and sprinkling with confectioners' sugar, I had 2 slices with a glass of cold milk. Like I said, it really is delicious.
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My daughter turned 20 this week. We celebrated by going out to dinner, then returned home for "cake". Growing up, my birthday cakes were always angel food with seven minute frosting. That was what I wanted... Always! But I have learned every year to ask my daughters what birthday cake, or birthday celebration dessert they fancy... Tradition has been thrown out-the-window by my girls.
Very rarely, any longer, is it a cake. When they were young I consistently made a chocolate-cherry cake with whipped cream frosting for each and every birthday. No more. Many times a tart is requested -- lemon meringue mostly; key lime sometimes.
When I asked my daughter last week what dessert she would like for her birthday she said, "I don't need anything". And I responded with something like...
Not having a birthday cake/dessert in this house -- unheard of!
It was all up to me... the decision rested on my shoulders! What would I bake for the celebratory dessert? I'd never served my family a pavlova, but who doesn't like a baked meringue? And an assortment of fresh berries and lemon curd whipped cream seemed liked the perfect filling for the meringue layers. I assembled it right before leaving for dinner, then placed it in the refrigerator until we returned. This just might be our new tradition. Most of us (me included) were sneaking a second piece.
* I'll be taking a short break to tackle my painting project, host a few guests, and help my daughter prepare for her trip abroad next month. See you again soon!
Pavlova with Berries and Lemon Curd Cream
Meringue Layers (recipe Yvonne Ruperti):
• 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 6 large eggs whites
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) ground almonds
Lemon Curd Whipped Cream:
• 2 eggs yolks
• 1 whole, large egg
• 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
• 5 tablespoons cold butter
• 1 cup cold, heavy cream
• Powdered sugar, to taste
• fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
• • •
To make the meringues:
Follow Yvonne Ruperti's recipe for the meringue layers on Serious Eats.
To make the lemon curd cream: 1. Whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, 6 tablespoons sugar, fresh lemon juice, and finely grated lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Set bowl over a medium pot of simmering water over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, 8-10 minutes. Whisk in 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, a few pieces at a time, until completely incorporated. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover surface with plastic to prevent a skin from forming, and set aside to let cool.
2. In a medium bowl, whip the cold, heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, adding powdered sugar to taste if desired. Fold into the lemon curd and chill in refrigerator.Assembly:
1. Place one meringue disk on a large plate. Spread half of the lemon curd whipped cream evenly overall. Scatter assortment of berries over lemon cream. Place second layer on top and repeat with remaining lemon curd whipped cream and berries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
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A rainy weekend was spent in the kitchen baking Sour Cherry Focaccia. The same master dough recipe that was used for making Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, was the foundation of this delicious focaccia with tart cherries and almonds.
Again, as with the Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, the only change I made to the original recipe was to add additional flour (about 3-4 tablespoons) to the dough while mixing. Both times the dough was wet. I slowly added spoonfuls of flour to the dough until it was still soft, but did not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.
I have a busy day ahead of me in the kitchen, making a Pavlova birthday cake for my daughter's 20th! Find the recipe for Bon Appétit's Sour Cherry Focaccia HERE.
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