Monday, August 30, 2010

Jumping on the Cobbler Bandwagon

I’ve seen a lot of good looking and yummy sounding cobblers go around the blogosphere this summer but had yet to make one. That changed after I found some good looking IMG_0343peaches at the grocery store the other day and then saw Keeley’s apple cobbler post. 

I took Keeley at her word when she said her recipe could be  adapted to suit any fruit and used my peaches. The recipe below reflects my changes to her recipe.   I’d like to mention one thing about the cobbler,  during the course of baking the butter floated to the top.  I got a little freaked out thinking I goofed but after the cobbler baked for the full 45 minutes the butter had settled back.

Thanks, Keeley!  Your cobbler got a thumbs up from my gang! :)


Peach Cobbler, adapted from My Life on a Plate

3/4 stick of butter, melted (6 tablespoons, please use real butter)
3/4 cup self-rising flour (if you don't have any, make your own)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
3/4 cup milk
3 to 4, peaches peeled, cored, and sliced*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour melted butter into the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. 
Whisk together the flour, sugars, and spices.  Whisk in the milk.  Pour this batter over the melted butter.
Spread peaches evenly over the batter.  Do not stir.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

*Note:  Next time I would cut my fruit into thicker pieces.  I’d like my fruit to have more bite to them.  After baking for 45 minutes they were mushy, tasty but mushy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Puff Pastry

It’s that time of the month when Michelle, Monica, and I share with you what our baking challenge was for the prior month.  If you hadn’t picked up on it.  We’ve been taking a little longer than a month to bake and blog about our experiences.  Last month’s challenge was chosen by yours truly and I’m certain you’ve figured out by my post’s title that it was puff pastry, homemade puff pastry:)

banana tart

This is another example of how awesome our little CB group has been for me!  On my own I probably would have never given puff pastry a try but with the pushing encouragement of Monica & Michelle I can scratch if off my list .   I’m hoping through our post we are encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and give these recipes a chance.  None of them have actually been difficult but for some reason they seem like it thus putting off a lot of bakers.  If I haven’t said it before or made it clear I’d be happy to answer any questions you have and I’d be willing to bet that Monica and Michelle would as well! 

banana tart3

I’m not sure I was 100% successful.  My puff pastry didn’t seem to puff as much as I thought it should or would.  Still, it tasted pretty good. 


The puff pastry recipe makes two 11x15 inch rectangles; with mine I made two mini-ish  banana tarts with salted caramel and palmiers.  Unfortunately, I goofed with the tarts.  The recipe called for bananas that were not overly ripe.  I guess mine weren’t ripe at all because they got harder after they were baked, not warm and gooey.  The salted caramel and some vanilla ice cream saved the tarts from being inedible but they were still a huge disappointment.   The second recipe I tried was, Ina’s palmiers.  These turned out more like I had hoped and were very good.  Before I forget, I want to make it clear that I messed up the banana tart.  It wasn’t the recipe and I will be making it again. I’ve given you the links to the recipes I used but please note I used Smitten Kitchen’s salted caramel recipe for the banana tart and I added a tablespoon of cinnamon to 1 cup of sugar for the palmiers.


Homemade Puff Pastry
from The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
4 1/2 sticks (18 oz) cold unsalted butter
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 oz) very cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes.  Transfer the cubes to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the flour and salt to the bowl also and use your hands to mix briefly, until the butter is coated with flour.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.  Combine the water and vinegar in a measuring cup and chill this mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes as well.

After 20 minutes, remove the mixer bowl from the fridge and attach to a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  You want the butter to break into smaller pieces of varying sizes (the largest about 1/2-inch square); be careful, however, not to over-mix - if the butter is too small, it will be unable to form flaky layers in your puff pastry.
With the mixer still on low speed, slowly add the water/vinegar mixture to the bowl, drizzling in different points around the bowl.  When the dough begins to come together in large chunks (within about 10 seconds), stop the mixer.  The dough will be slightly moist but it will not look smooth.  Turn the contents of the bowl onto a floured work surface.

Use your hands to shape the dough into a rough rectangle about 6 x 8 inches and 1 1/2 inches thick.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 14 x 16-inch rectangle.  You can flour the dough a bit if necessary, but brush the excess flour away once you've finished rolling the dough out.  Fold the dough into thirds like a letter.   Start with a narrower side facing you and begin by folding the bottom third up.  Next, fold the top third down to complete the "turn."

After you complete the first turn, roll your rolling pin across the top of the dough gently 1 or 2 times, just to fuse the dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  You'll want to repeat this process 2 more times - to create three turns total.  Continue to chill the dough for 30 minutes between turns.  Once you've completed all 3 turns, chill the dough (wrapped in plastic wrap) for at least 1 hour before using.

The dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen (double-wrapped in plastic wrap) for 4-6 weeks.  Thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator. 
Makes 2 1/4 pounds of dough

Don’t forget to check out Monica and Michelle’s puff pastries!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Razzleberry Lemon Custard Tart


How about a recipe?  It’s been awhile.  :)  I found this gem at Lick the Bowl Good. I’m certain most of you have taken a gander at Monica’s blog but if you haven’t yet you are missing out on a delicious blog! 


I pretty much followed the recipe as written. I did have to use a 10 springform pan instead of the 9 inch as I didn’t have one. Or it could just be that my baking pan situation is out of control and I can’t remember that I have one.  My other change was swapping out the blueberries for raspberries and blackberries. If you’ll notice from my photo I probably should have gone with a smaller pan.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it until after I had already pre-baked my crust and poured in the custard.  It also didn’t help that my blackberries were HUGE!


Razzleberry Lemon Custard Tart, adapted from Lick the Bowl Good (printable recipe)

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen berries (1 pound, I used a combination of raspberry & blackberry)
Shortbread Crust:
  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Lemon Custard:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Drain the blueberries in a strainer set over a bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°.

For the shortbread crust:  Using your fingers, combine the butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1 & 1/2 cups of the flour and blend together until coarse crumbs form (You can use a pastry blender to incorporate the ingredients or a food processor works well too). Pour the mixture into an ungreased nonstick 9-inch springform or cake pan (If you do not have a 9 inch I suggest going with a slightly smaller pan and baking for a little longer.) and press down evenly to form a crust. Bake the shortbread crust until lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
Remove the shortbread from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°. Scatter the drained berries evenly over the baked shortbread.

For the lemon custard:  Beat the eggs with the 3/4 cup of sugar until thick and pale yellow. (Here’s where I always stray from the recipe.  I mix the zest with the sugar, giving it a stronger lemon flavor.) Whisk in the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the 1/4 cup of flour. Pour the lemon cream over the berries.
Bake the tart until the custard is set, about 30 minutes. (See note below) Let cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar. (I forgot to.)

NOTE:  It may take longer than 30 minutes to bake.  The top of the custard doesn't brown much so it's hard to tell if it's done, but it shouldn't be wet and liquidy. The custard is done when it firms up in the center. I gave my pan a gentle shake to check.


Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the four of us might have polished this off in one day. Maybe……  :)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Can you feel the love?

Okay, so the other day I stopped by Kitchen with Kids and saw Elle Bee’s post on dry erase boards.  She uses hers to motivate, inspire, and or just leave sweet messages to her family.  She inspired me to buy one for my house.  I bought a smaller one to hang on our fridge.  It wasn’t up an hour before the kids got to it.


Tomorrow is their first day back to school.  Not only is it their first day back but it’s the Twins very first day of high school and Babygirl’s first day of middle school. 

jalen & mckenna vaca

devon vacation

Mamarazzi MondayI’m submitting this post to Mamarazzi at Household 6 Diva.

Hope everyone has a marvelous Monday & a wonderful week!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I’m back!

Hiya!  I’m back! Sorta.  :)  I’m trying to get the kids ready for school so I haven’t done any baking.  (I am working on a challenge with Monica and Michelle but more on that at a later date.) Along withback to school shopping we’re also finishing up our summer reading and projects.  Any thoughts on required summer reading?  Mine will not only be taking a test on their book the first day of school, but the twins also have a massive project! Why, oh why does the school district think that summer projects need to be turned in on the first day of school?  Can you imagine?  Your first day of school, you’re struggling to find classes, and you have to carry around a huge tri-fold project board?  Yeah, I don’t think that was well thought out.  LOL, thanks for letting me vent!

Here are some photos of our visit to North Carolina.  The town my parents live in is so small it doesn’t have a post office or police station!  There are only 302 people that live there. Btw, there is also no cellular service.

bears in the woods

Bears in the woods.

blue sunset

The view on the way up to my parents’ cabin on Yellowtop Mountain.


Butterfly in the butterfly plant.  There are probably a 100 butterflies and bees in it.

daisy 2


My dad, Papa!


I love these guys!  Jalen, Joe, McKenna, & Devon!

papa's cabin

My parents’ cabin on Yellowtop Mountain.

Parrett sign

The sign leading up my parents’ very steep driveway.

mom & daisies

My raspberry recipe lovin’  Mom, Linda!


A farm we pass driving into town.

family plus

McKenna, Joe, Jalen, Mom, Dad, Joe’s brother Butch, his Dad Sonny, and Devon.  I’m behind the camera.

fave tree

I LOVE this tree!  The whole scene is kinda surreal looking. This was at the cabin Joe’s dad, Sonny rented while we were there. 

fire pit

The fire pit where lots of s’mores would have been made had it gotten the slightest bit cool.

fave tree close up

IMG_0082-1 - Copy

This photo was taken with the camera on Joe’s phone the rest of the photos were taken with my new camera.  

my three

See these guys?  They are what keep me from baking, blogging, and reading as much as I want! :)

I’m submitting this post to Household 6 Diva’s Mamarazzi Monday!

Mamarazzi Monday

Thanks for sticking around! I know this was a little long.  I’ll be back soon with a yummy recipe. Oh, and before I forget MANY, MANY thanks to my guest bloggers Michelle and Monica! Both of whom shared some delish recipes with you. Ones that you wouldn’t normally get here; cookies and chocolate!