Streusel-Topped Rhubarb Lime Tart

tart 1

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 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 🙂

tart 3tart 2



Les Whoopies


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. 🙂



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! 🙂

pie 2


pie 1

Pistachio and Berry Gratin



Berry 3

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!


tart 4


Berry 2

Delicious!!  This one is a keeper for sure!




Lemon Meringue Tart A New Way

tart 2


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.





pithiviers 1

Pithiviers…how is that pronounced you ask?  No idea.  I made up my own way when describing it to my tasters…one of them said, that just doesn’t roll off the tongue very well haha!

It didn’t seem to matter that none of us could pronounce the name, it was loved by all!  We are told in our recipe that it is a forgotten French Pastry.  This dessert is basically a double crusted puff pastry with an almond cream and jam filling.  We are given instructions to make a prune jam, but I opted to use a blackberry jam…which my tasters thanked me for…we are not the prune eating bunch so much.

I thought this recipe came together quite nicely…there are some waiting periods for chilling and resting but nothing to overly involved. I actually liked the precision of creating the cream disc that would fit precisely into the calculated circles of the puff pastry…had my ruler out and everything.  I used Dorie’s suggestion of gently wrapping the pastry around the interior disc as we were completing the dessert.  I scored my top, chilled, and then baked.

Having not too much experience with puff pastry, I was thinking it was a good thing mine “puffed” so much.  I am not sure that was so great.  It was so strange, once I cut into it to hand off to some of my tasters, I saw that inside the cream/jam disc had somewhat shifted and there was a giant air bubble of puff pastry.  Ugh.  I am not even sure how that happened and thankfully this was for my tasters and we just managed and spread the jam out a bit, BUT this would have been very embarrassing if I had taken it somewhere.

I guess next time I would just press harder on the pastry surrounding the cream disc but honestly I don’t even know if that was the problem.  I do think I will be making this again though as it seemed to be such a hit and I couldn’t freeze a piece for my husband and I for after Easter.

p #4

P #2

Embarrassing is what this is…but I can’t show only the pretty pictures haha…this is the reality of what I cut into.  Ugh!  So weird.  I will be curious to see if any other bakers had this happen to them. 🙂

Happy Baking!

Black and White Madeleines


These were fun, easy, and delicious…or so I’ve heard.  My husband and I gave us sweets for Lent again this year so we have two in the freezer waiting for us. :). The only issue I would have with this recipe, is that you can only make 12 at time…unless you have multiple Madeleine pans.   It would be hard to manage all the chilling if you were making multiple batches, but if you only needed a dozen of something, these were terrific.  Everyone loved them and were really excited about the chocolate center.  I didn’t have any milk chocolate I could melt, so I used the dark I had on hand.  I don’t know if it made a difference, but everyone said how they loved that they weren’t overly sweet….that they were the perfect combination.  I thought they looked plain, so I added the powdered sugar…made it look more festive. 🙂




I have a fun story to share!  I am out on my morning hike and I get a text from my mom.  It has a picture and she says, “you made the Register this morning.  This could be at your house!”  Now where I live the Register is the Orange County Register…our newspaper.  I look at the picture she sent and I am like, WHAT?!!  You see it was very confusing because we had JUST made beignets and my last name is Ramos.  I just couldn’t figure it out at first…I mean what are the chances haha!…I thought someone was using my blog info.   I sent the picture around to family and my tasters and everyone had the same initial reaction.  It was worth quite a few laughs.  We decided we will be making a trip down to San Juan Capistrano to give this place a try. 🙂



Nun’s Beignets


If I am being honest, I wasn’t too excited about baking this recipe.  I mean if I was in New Orleans I would try their famous beignets but for the most part, I don’t eat or make fried food.  I will have the occasional French fries, but a funnel cake, onion rings, or these beignets…doesn’t happen.  But then after some thinking, I came back around and reminded myself why I got in this group in the first place…to learn, to step out of my comfort zone, to experience new things…got myself back on track and here you go. 🙂

The recipe is surprisingly easy…I only came across one problem with not having a deep-fat thermometer.  I do have my candy thermometer from other recipes we have made so I figured maybe that would work…and it did!!

I didn’t want to use so much oil in a big dutch oven…and picturing oil splattering as I tried to contain it all, I used my 5 quart saucepan with my candy thermometer attached to the side…just like I was making caramel. ;). I was able to make 5 beignets at a time with no problem.  I was surprised at how much oil that took even in such a small pan…almost my whole bottle!

I have to say, it was pretty fun watching the ping pong sized dough puff up and get their trademark “fissure” that we were looking for to know they were done.  I had no problem with them cooking properly or with the oil getting too hot or splattering.  All in all a very easy project and one I am glad to say I accomplished!!

I tried one of the beignets after it was rolled in the cinnamon sugar and although they didn’t seem too greasy at all, it just isn’t my type of dessert.  My family and tasters on the other hand all LOVED them…like LOVED them.  They even ate them later heated up…which I actually preferred strangely.  My tasters were saying things like:

“This is a three thumbs up recipe”

“When can I put in a request for a dozen?”

“I say this is “strongly” a keeper”

“The beignets were so delicious…so fluffy and airy!!”

I am once again reminded that we all have our ways that we do things, experience things, and like to take on new tasks…and we are usually really good at accomplishing those things because they probably “fit” into some sort of comfort zone we have for ourselves.  I have to make a conscious effort sometimes to get out of my routine, get out of my way…shake things up a bit for life is full of new and exciting experiences the we might miss if we didn’t veer off of our own path once in a while.  My daughter always says she notices I become someone else when we travel..that I take it all in because it is all new and different and I don’t want to look back and feel I have missed out…I need to bring some of that out in my daily life haha!

Cheers to beignets…who knew?!  haha 🙂