In the fall, I love making spice cakes. Fragrant and warming, they taste as good as they make a kitchen smell. During the warmer months they of course become a whole lot less seasonably appropriate. This dessert transitions a traditionally wintery recipe to a summery one perfectly. With its pineapple, coconut, banana, macadamia nuts, and rum (!!!), the tropics banish the cinnamon and nutmeg to supporting roles. It's a perfect way to end a barbeque if you're ever looking to think beyond a slice of pie.
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1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup mashed bananas, from about 1 medium very-ripe banana
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/4 cup dried flaked coconut
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried flaked coconut
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and brown sugar in a small bowl.
2. Combine the mashed banana, pineapple, oil, rum, coconut, yogurt, vanilla and egg in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the flour mixture and stir.
3. Fill pan. Sprinkle top with nuts, sugar, and coconut. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, reheating as necessary.
This Memorial Day, I wanted to pair a good old-fashioned American dessert with our annual barbeque and luckily for me fresh peaches were readily available in stores. Though I've made lots of desserts with apples, I'd never attempted anything with peaches. I've been missing out–the ripe sweet fruit were incredibly delicious even after almost an hour of baking. The filling is practically unadorned (you can scrimp on the sugar and hardly notice depending on the quality of the fruit) and yet it tastes perfect–almost like a slice of summer
2 2/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
6-8 tablespoons milk
1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Put the oil in a measuring cup. Add the milk without stirring. Quickly pour mixture into the flour and mix briefly. Do not refrigerate.
3. Flatten dough by rolling on floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper (the crust is easily repairable). Place in pan.
4. Repeat, using a second batch of above ingredients, to make a top crust. Roll to desired diameter. Cut resulting circle into even 1/2-inch wide strips. Set aside.
For the filling:
3 1/2 pounds peaches (about 10-12 small, to make about 6 cups of cut fruit)
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch starch
2-4 tablespoons milk
2-4 tablespoon coarse sugar
1. To peel the peaches, bring a saucepan of water to boil and prepare an ice bath. Make an 'X' at the bottom of each peach. Place peaches in boiling water for about two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice bath to quickly cool. Peel the skins, using a knife or vegetable peeler only if needed. Halve and pit the peaches, then cut into slices.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add peaches to a large bowl, draining of excess liquid. Toss with lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch until evenly mixed.
3. Pour filling into prepared crust. To make a lattice-top, arrange strips of dough across your pie filling in one direction, spacing evenly. Carefully fold back alternating strips and add the longest remaining strip in the other direction. Repeat until the entire pie is covered. Trim any overhang.
4. Brush crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins o brown, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake for another 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling and begins to set. If the crust burns, cover with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning. Cool completely before serving.
The first time I tasted this dessert I was on vacation, so it's no wonder that it evokes memories of things warm and sunny for me. With its pudding-like texture, mango pie is a cross between a custard tart and a cheesecake. It's hard to recreate the magic of a tropical trip back at home, but this recipe comes pretty close. Not unsurprisingly, the key to the whole thing is the quality of the fruit: use only the sweetest, most ripe mangos you can find–even if that means sneaking a taste first.
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
5 TB canola oil
2 cups of mango pulp (from peeled and seeded ripe mangos)
2 packages unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1. Mix graham cracker crumbs and oil until well-blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes. Cool.
2. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. Place in the microwave for 40 seconds, stirring once completely dissolved. Set aside.
3. Place the mango and condensed milk in a blender. Puree until smooth. Add gelatin mixture. Beat until creamy, about 30 seconds.
4. Immediately pour mixture into pie crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Garnish with fresh mangos slices, lime zest, and/or whipped cream to serve.
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Lately I've all but cut processed foods from my diet. It may be a sign of control issues, but generally speaking I like to know as much as possible what exactly goes into my food. These crisped rice treats fall a bit out of line from this habit: the cereal and marshmallows come from a box and bag, respectively. Still, they're so much more special–and tasty–than the prepackaged 'Rice Krispie Treats' that were often found in my childhood lunch box. Plus by using canola oil instead of butter they're better for your heart and there isn't that strange aftertaste present in most other recipes. The process is so easy from start to finish that you may find yourself having to find reasons not to make a batch more often.
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups marshmallows
6 cups crisped rice cereal
Dash of vanilla
1. In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium low heat.
2. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted.
3. Add a dash of vanilla. Stir until smooth.
4. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Mix thoroughly.
5. Grease a 13 x 9 (or similarly sized) baking dish. Spread the mixture evenly until flat. Cut into squares after hardening (about 10 minutes). Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.
I love baking with fresh fruit in the summer. The colors, the tastes–it all seems so wonderfully appropriate for the sunshine and heat. These blueberry crumb bars are deceptively rich in flavor and sweetness. And even though the crust is made without butter, they feel so decadent you'll only want to to grab one–okay maybe two–at a time.
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1 cup white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups blueberries
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt, cinnamon and lemon zest. Use a fork to blend in the oil and egg (dough will be crumbly). Pat half of dough into prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Lemon bars seem like such a good old-fashioned dessert. Although their essence is simple–a shortbread crust and a curd filling–apparently an official recipe for the treat wasn't published until 1963. While the taste combination is divine, I love them most for their soft, silky texture. This crust can easily support some extra filling, so if you're a fan of lemon's tangy flavor, feel free to double the ingredients for the curd.
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1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Stir flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in oil and lemon zest until blended and crumbly. Press the dough in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
3. To prepare filling: Whisk sugar, lemon zest and juice, egg, egg yolk and flour in a medium bowl until very smooth. Pour evenly over the hot crust. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into squares with a lightly oiled knife. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.