Desserts


APPLE-CALVADOS FRUITCAKE

This is a dense, moist fruitcake that is beautiful even straight out of the pan . You should start on this at least one month in advance.

2 cups dried apples, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups dried apricots
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, cut in half
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup Calvados or Apple Jack (or all apple juice)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 15 oz jar applesauce
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz) chopped walnuts
1/3 C Calvados or Apple Jack (plus more for soaking)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube pan or bundt pan or two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans.

Mix the fruit, apple juice and Calvados in a medium bowl; let stand for 1 hour. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and applesauce beginning and ending with the flour mixture, blending until incorporated. Stir in the fruit and nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 2 hours or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Go around the sides with a knife and invert onto a cooling rack. Turn right side up and cool completely. Soak a large piece of cheese cloth in Calvados. Wrap the cake in the cloth and then in foil. Store in the refrigerator and remoisten the cloth with Calvados every couple of weeks or as necessary.

Makes one large round or two 8x4 inch cakes.

BAQ'LAWA

1 package phyllo dough (you can make it homemade, but the frozen kind, thawed, is fine)
1 pound slivered almonds, toasted in butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 tablespoons rose water, depending on how much you like it
2 cardamom pods

In a saucepan combine sugar, water, rosewater and cardamom. Boil and cook to a slightly thick consistency, you don't want candy, but when it starts to thicken turn the heat off and continue to stir while letting it cool. You want this to be cold, so refrigerating overnight is fine.

Toast the almonds in a heavy skillet on medium to medium-high heat, you only need a couple of teaspoons of the butter, but more is good too. As soon as they start turning brown, take them off the heat and stir to keep them from burning.

In a 9x13 inch pan, put a couple of layers of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter, sprinkle the almonds over, then more dough, more butter, more almonds ending with a layer of dough and more butter.

Bake pastry at 425 F for about 15 minutes, just until dough is brown and crisp. Remove from oven and pour cold syrup over pastry, cut diagonally to make diamond shapes and serve.

The only hard and fast rule is: cold pastry, hot syrup, hot pastry, cold syrup.

CRANBERRY CHERRY PIE and ALMOND CRUST

1 bag cranberries, washed and picked over (about 12 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling

Combine ingredients and pour into unbaked almond crust. Top with crust or lattice and bake at 425 F for 35-40 minutes, until top is brown and filling is bubbly.

Almond Crust:

Especially good for cherry/berry pies.

1/2 cup finely ground almonds, about 2 oz
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup frozen butter, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine almonds, flour and sugar in a medium bowl or food processor. Scatter butter over top, mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and mix until dough gathers into a ball. Divide dough into two pieces, shape into flattened discs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll out for pie/tart crusts.

GINGERBREAD

note: For vanilla brandy, cut up one or two vanilla beans and put in a bottle of brandy. After a week or so, you will have vanilla brandy.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each cloves and allspice
2 teaspoon vanilla brandy (substitute vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla brandy)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Cream butter and sugar, beat in molasses. Add eggs and beat slightly.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into 9" cake pan and bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes.

Fail safe and everyone loves it (well, if they like gingerbread). It's even better the next day and is good with powdered sugar on top or whipped cream flavored with the vanilla brandy.

Modified from Laurie Colwin's recipe.

GINGER-PEACH FRUITCAKE

A cake this rich should convert even the most ardent fruitcake hater. Like most fruitcakes, this is best when started at least a month in advance.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla brandy (may substitute vanilla extract with good results)
2 1/2 cups golden raisins
1 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
2 2/3 cups dried peaches, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
brandy or dark rum, as needed

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Cut 2 sheets of waxed paper each 9 inches wide and about 12 inches long. Fit each sheet of paper into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, with the ends overhanging the long side of the pan. Butter the waxed paper and the short ends of the pans; set aside. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add vanilla brandy and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Lower the speed to slow, and gradually beat in the sifted mixture, being careful not to over mix. Toss the raisins, ginger and peaches with the remaining 1/2 cup flour; fold into the batter along with the walnuts. Divide the batter between the prepared pans; smooth the tops.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves emerges clean, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Unmold the cakes; peel away the waxed paper and turn right side up. Cool completely on the racks.

Lay 2 large sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to wrap each cake; place each on top of a sheet of foil. Place 1 cake on each piece of cheesecloth. Baste the top and sides of the cake with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of your choice of brandy or rum, brushing it on and letting it soak in for a few minutes. Brush again twice. Wrap the cakes in the cheesecloth then in the foil. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 months to age and ripen, brushing them with more liquor through their cheesecloth about once a week.

Makes two 9 x 5 inch loaves.

GRANDMA SAPP'S PUMPKIN PIE

(Rich's version, slightly modified)

1 1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin, fresh or canned
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Combine ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pastry lined pie pan.

Bake at about 425 F for 25 minutes, turn off oven and leave pie in for 5-10 minutes more, until center is set. Serve with whipped cream.

Menu