Double-Corn Tea Cake

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This is how Dorie describes her recipe…

“The color of this plain looking cake is sunshine yellow; the crumb tight and fine; the texture almost melt in your mouth, with a surprisingly pleasant roughness on the tongue; and the taste bursting with the true flavor of sweet corn.”  

Sounds like summer in a loaf pan to me.  We are told this recipe uses “corn flour” not corn meal or masa harina and that it is easily found in supermarkets.  Well, last recipe I had no problem finding the lavender which I thought was going to be a problem and this corn flour proved to be a little more elusive that I had thought.  It took me 3 stores to find it…which is a good thing I finally found it because I think that third store was going to be my last haha.

I had high hopes for this one since I do love a good corn bread.  Even though this wasn’t suppose to be corn bread, I figured it would be similar.  The recipe came together easily and baked up golden.

I have to say my initial response was that I didn’t quite care for this cake.  I don’t know what it was about it but I was actually thinking I might not send it off to my tasters….but then I thought, well isn’t that what being a taster is all about??

I sent it off telling them I wasn’t sure what they would think of it…not quite corn bread, but corn bread….

I started getting reviews back and they were ALL very positive….they loved it.   Whoa, who knew?  It seemed like most of them still thought of it as corn bread…maybe a sweet corn bread, even saying it would taste great with chili or soup.  I don’t think that is what Dorie intended for this recipe…more of a tea and jam sort of cake but you know, it was a success nonetheless.

Their enjoyment of it had me go back and try it again.  This time it had cooled and sat for a while.  I don’t know if that changed the flavor and consistency, but surprisingly I liked it much better when I tried it the second time.  I could really taste the sweetness and liked the almost sugar crust.  I could see myself making these again, but I think as mini muffins rather than as a loaf.

Lavender Galettes

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I was excited to make these.  These sounded so usual and I have never tried anything made with lavender…it is one of my favorite scents, but I have never eaten it.  I wasn’t sure where to buy the lavender, but surprisingly it was easy to find at my local produce store.  I love when that happens. 🙂

These cookies are described as so thin and crunchy they are really more like a cracker.  They are not very sweet using very little sugar and flavored with olive oil, lavender, vanilla, and orange zest.

They are also usual in the way you make them.  The dough is difficult to work with so we are told to roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and then between two pieces of parchment roll it out into a pressed cookie.  The result is a rustic, simple cookie which I loved the look of.  You finish it off by brushing whipped egg whites onto the surface and sprinkling sugar over the top.

We thought these were delicious and very different than anything we had ever tried!  Not sure I tasted the lavender..it seemed to be more orange zest dominant but whatever the flavoring was, it was great!!  They are a keeper!

 

Martine’s Gâteau de Savoie

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Our recipe is described as the “simplest of sweets…a classic sponge cake that is light, satisfying and beautiful in it’s plainness”.

I learned in reading the intro to our recipe that the Savoy cake is one of the oldest in the French repertoire, and maybe in the Italian too.  Today we would think of this cake as simple but back in 1358 it was considered a marvel. It was unusual for its lightness which is achieved by beating yolks and sugar until thick and pale and then beating in whipped egg whites to create a cake that rose and had a springy interior.  Think of doing all of that without our electric whisks! 🙂

This cake WAS beautiful and delicious in its simpleness.

We are told it is fine just plain, or that we can add jam, lemon curd, or cherries cooked in wine.  Since it is berry season here in California where I live, I went with simple, cut up strawberries.  We all loved it…we all declared it a keeper!

Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart

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Things have been a little crazy around here…and very hot!  Not the ideal baking weather, that is for sure.  I was debating about making this next recipe…thinking most of my tasters might not be up for rhubarb.  Selfishly I was thinking I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of making this if no one was going to like it anyway….then I had a thought…what am I thinking!!!??

THIS is exactly what this baking group has always been about for me…and my tasters…

Trying something new that we wouldn’t  try otherwise

So, off I went to the store to buy my rhubarb and thought to myself at least now I know what that is compared to the first time we used it!

Everything came together easily…I feel like most of us can make this sweet tart dough in our sleep we have made it so many times. :). I baked mine longer than the recipe called for to get that golden brown on top and also to ensure the filling had set.  I wasn’t sure how everyone was going to enjoy this one but I sent out the texts and figured here goes…

  • “THAT WAS DELICIOUS.  We loved it.  Did you try it?”  Funny that she asked because I wasn’t sure I was going to, but I had tried it and thought the same thing…it was delicious! I actually loved the slight tang you got from the lime and probably also the rhubarb.

 

  • My Dad came over to pick theirs up and confided in me..you know I am not a big fan of rhubarb…and I said I know, but give this one a try.  It was delicious…kind of like an apple pie.“It’s a keeper.  Didn’t think I would like it.  What a surprise!  Made a great dessert!”

 

  • My husband says…as he is trying it…you know I never have liked rhubarb much but this is great!  Not “the typical Grandma’s rhubarb that is for sure”.

 

So…this one is a keeper!…surprising all of us!!

We all learned something today…and I also remembered why I loved getting into this baking group in the first place!

 

Happy Baking 🙂

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Les Whoopies

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I am back…literally.  Missed a blog post while were were on vacation in Europe picking up my son after his semester abroad in Madrid.  What an amazing time we had as a family.  While both of our kids have traveled to 13 countries each on their semester’s abroad, this was both my husband and my first trip to Europe.  We loved everything about it. 🙂

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I quickly baked these Whoopie Pies yesterday to try and get in by the deadline posting today.  I am barely going to make it haha.  These pies are described for us as a grown-up pleasure and childish delight…all in one package.  They certainly did not disappoint.  I knew they would be good with the chocolate and peanut butter combo…I mean perfect pairing right??

I did not have the Whoopie Pie Pan and had to just go the route of dropping spoonfuls onto parchment.  It worked surprisingly well, although next time..and there will be a next time, I would make them smaller and double the filling.  I loved the peanut butter filling but it was a little too subtle for my liking if I am being particular.

These were LOVED by all who tried them.  They were such a nice surprise and not too hard to make.  I was informed…these are a keeper! 🙂

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Pistachio and Berry Gratin

 

 

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I have to admit when I first read the title of the recipe I wasn’t that excited.  I just didn’t know how berries and gratin went together and then throw in some pistachios??  However I learned this really is closer to an inside out fruit tart…although there is no crust and the cream goes on top.  You also have to use the term “almond cream” loosely  because it isn’t cream at all but rather a sweetened blend of butter, ground nuts, flour and egg that is baked into tarts, croissants and other pastries. See how I was confused? 🙂

Well, I was skeptical but let me tell you…this dessert was simple fantastic!  I don’t know if it was that we all didn’t know what to expect or it is the perfect spring/summer dessert or what.

What I do know, is that I will be making this again…for sure!!  I think already for Mother’s Day.

There is so much flexibility in this recipe. I used blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries but you can use what ever berries you would like. I also went with almond cream instead of pistachio as the recipe gave us this as an option.  I had almond flour on hand so that seemed like a logical choice. The only difficult part, if you want to call it that, is you need to make the almond cream at least an hour ahead of time so it can chill. Otherwise, super simple and super good!

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Delicious!!  This one is a keeper for sure!

 

 

 

Lemon Meringue Tart A New Way

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I finally learned…we used the “Sweet Tart Dough” that we have used a few times before…every previous time, I have cooked it according to the directions at 400 degrees…and over cooked it…even with foil tenting.  THIS time I remembered, and set the temp at 375…still tented…and wow, perfectly browned tart crust.  YAY!  I will take this as a personal victory haha!  Sometimes it is the little things. 🙂

I found this recipe easy to work with, and loved by all. The most repeated comment was a version of:

“Wow…this is better than Marie Callendar’s Lemon Meringue Pie and with waaay better crust!”

I do think the crust made it such a hit…tasted more like a sugar cookie with great lemon filling and meringue.  I am sure true pie lovers might have a stronger opinion on the difference with the crust but hey, when I am compared to “Marie Callendars” which is famous for their pies, I will take that as a great day.

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