Friday, November 21, 2014

Swabian Apple Cake


Swabian apple cake or Schwäbischer Apfelkuchen is another German dessert perfect for Thanksgiving. 



Sometimes, just a few simple ingredients are the tastiest. The simply delicious apple, raisin almond filling in this cake is covered with a pie-like crust. Sort of  a deep dish or mile high apple pie. A butter, sugar, almond combination is layered on the top and baked in for added sweetness and crunch. 



This recipe is from the Swabian part of Germany. Simple, hearty, unpretentious food is a trademark of that region.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pink Banana Squash Chocolate Ginger Tart


A while back I Instagramed this picture of a HUGE pink banana squash I bought at the Farmer's Market in Milford PA.



Imagine my disappointment when breaking open this bigger than a baby vegetable to roast it, the flesh was sooo not pink, but pumpkin color.



The seeds, however, surpassed expectations. They were plump and easy to pick out. I sprinkled them with adobo flavored salt and roasted them. Too late, I realized I should have candied them with brown sugar and ginger and sprinkled them on top of the finished tart, instead I cut up some crystalized ginger and sprinkled it on top. But boy were those adobe seasoned seeds good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Macaron Monday: Fuji Apple French Macarons with Cocoa Walnut Butter Filling


Last summer I met the Walnut Butter Man. Anthony Novelle is a sports nutritionist/wellness professional who created a line of all natural walnut butters. Each vegan, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, no GMO, low glycemic jar is packed with healthy, natural flavor.


Of course, I immediately lusted after the product with one goal in mind - to use it as a French macaron filling. Anthony gifted me with two jars, one natural and one cacao flavor. I chose the latter to pair with fuji apple flavored French macaron shells. The shells were flavored by grinding up dehydrated fuji apple slices from Trader Joe's and adding the resulting powder to the shell batter.


For optics, red food coloring was stirred into the shell batter and almost throughly mixed in. I wanted the shells to have a slight marbleized effect by not completely mixing in the color.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pastry Pretzel Cookies


This German treat, often called Olga Brezeln,  is a cross between a pastry and a cookie. The recipe uses both plain cookie dough and puff pastry affixed together, twisted into cords, then arranged on baking sheets into pretzel shapes.

The recipe called for vanilla sugar. Although common in every supermarket in Germany, this ingredient can by hard to come by in the United States, unless of course, you use homemade. Consequently, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in the cookie dough for the vanilla sugar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brandied Plum Pudding


This dessert, called "Cognac Pflaumenpudding" in German is more like a boozy jello mold. However, the flavor is much bolder than a traditional jello dessert.


Pulverized canned plums provide intense flavor. I substituted fresh ones, simmering them in water and sugar first, creating a plum syrup to add to the recipe.


To spike the dessert, I used Sliwowitz brand plum brandy (popular in central and Eastern Europe) which is made from Damson plums. You can also substitute cherry brandy. The spices can be swapped out as well. I added ground cinnamon to this version but you can try allspice or a combination of clove or nutmeg powder.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Butterscotch French Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream


One of my absolutely favorite treats as a child was butterscotch pudding. I also seriously coveted those butterscotch hard candies my grandmother carried around occasionally handing them out to us as treats.


The grownup version of my butterscotch lust involves butterscotch flavored vodka martinis. Discovered those at a favorite watering hole in LA. Back when I lived there in the mid 90's, we used to go there after work on the Paramount Lot and down these unique flavored drinks. Once I discovered how to make them at home (butterscotch schnapps + Vanilla Absolute + crushed butterscotch candies for the rims of the glasses), these were enjoyed on special occasions every place I lived since. 



I even regularly smuggled several bottles of the butterscotch schnapps in my suitcase from the States back to Germany where, for all it's great lifestyle attributes, was sadly lacking in butterscotch schnapps. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rye Bread & Cranberry Meringue Pudding (Bielefelder Schwarzbrotpudding)


One of the best aspect of my gig as the editor of the German Food section of about.com is exploring the country's regional dishes and desserts.


Bielefeld is a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. This dessert is a regional specialty of the cuisine of that area, which has many international influences.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Macarons Monday: English Toffee French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream Filling


These French macarons have such an elegant flavor I was tempted to save them for a special occasion.



We had friends visiting from Vienna this past week. Once they tasted the macarons, they gobbled them up in no time. I had thought maybe a pre birthday party party would be a perfect fit for these but friends visiting from Vienna is a special occasion and I am happy and flattered they went so fast and enjoyed them so much.



I used a few drops of English Toffee oil flavoring for the shells. When you have such a high class flavor, it's hard to outdo it with a filling so I went with plain chocolate buttercream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Girlie Mummy Cookies For Halloween


It's no secret I like to create gross treats for Halloween. My hunks of flesh rice krispie treats and severed tongue truffles are good examples.

This year I leaned more toward the fun. So girly mummies were born, complete with eyelashes and pink bows.


I used some leftover sugar cookie dough and homemade marshmallow fondant to create the cookies. After baking the cookies, I rolled out the white fondant and cut out circles using the same circle cutter. Brushing a thin coat of royal icing (also leftover) on the surface of the cookie perfectly adhered the fondant circles to the cookies. The rest of the white fondant was cut into strips and placed haphazardly on the fondant base. I used different color fondant to form the lips, eyes, eyelashes and bow.



Then I did what I haven't done in a long time. I disco dusted them. And it felt good. I've missed my crazy sparkle binges.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Macaron Monday: Flashback to Pierced Tongue Halloween French Macarons


For Today's Macaron Monday, I'm reaching back to last year's Halloween inspiration with these freaky and fun pierced tongue French macarons.


To create them, I tinted the shells black with paste food coloring and colored the vanilla buttercream filling red. Homemade marshmallow fondant was shaped to create the tongues which were then accented with a silver dragee to simulate a piercing.


For all the recipes and instructions. Click over to the original post. They take some time to create but the reactions are worth it. If I were to do them over again, I would add a dab of licorice flavor to the shells.