Monday, November 30, 2015

Stepping back in time to The Donut Dip

Photo Credit: Jon Wiley
What good are road trips without spontaneous stops at quirky places? Sometimes it seems as if road trips were invented for this reason. A reason such as to explore places like the Donut Dip, a fantastic fourth generation Western Massachusetts family operation in business since 1957.

A few weeks ago My brother and I were on a drive from the Berkshires to Hartford, CT. At his urging, a stop at the West Springfield location of this doughnut shop turned out to be a trip back in time.  The place and the doughnuts made my day. 

My brother, an expert on and lover of all things mid century modern, insisted we make this short destination detour. As usual, he was right on the money. 

Once I stepped in the door I was in love with the place. The decor, the signage, the friendly staff and we hadn't even gotten to the doughnuts yet, which my brother swore were out of this world.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Quince Chocolate Streusel Cake

We're still on the quince train people, so stay seated. This is the last stop.

A little secret about German streusel cakes... some of the best ones have no cake in the recipe at all, only streusel.

A few months ago, I discovered this when I was doing research to create this delicious elderberry marzipan streusel cake

This quince chocolate streusel version is a beautiful German style addition for your holiday table uses fresh quince, a fragrant winter fruit.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quince Obatzda (Cheese Spread)

This spread goes perfectly with the quince almond bread. from my previous post. 

As I said then, I've been experiencing some quince recipe mania these past weeks. As a result there will be several posts with the recipe results.

This is a sweet and seasonal flavor riff on traditional Bavarian obatzda, a soft beer and cheese dip. The traditional version of this popular German spread contains a savory mixture of ripe camembert cheese and butter, sometimes beer and different spices are mixed in as well. 

Obatzda is traditionally served with a variety of German bread slices or a large soft pretzel. Often it is also presented on a large platter of meats and sausages as well as thinly cut large slices of daikon radish.

This quince version is a more elegant, sweet, savory interpretation also contains toasted walnuts and is the perfect appetizer for your winter holiday guests. The quince and camembert cheese flavor work so well together,  the only seasoning needed is salt and freshly ground pepper. The fresh quince are caramelized in brown sugar for maximum flavor. Walnut pieces are toasted to release their deeper flavor and when added to the cheese mixture, provide additional crunch.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Quince Almond Bread

When I finally fresh quince at a local farmer's market in the East Village, I bought 6 pounds of quince this season  In the weeks prior, I had looked everywhere. When I finally found them, I guess in my excitement,  I overbought. In retrospect, I am glad I did as so many good recipes were created as a result, like my last post showcasing poached quince in cranberry vanilla syrup

Quince flavor is sour when fresh but cooked it has a lovely floral and fragrant quality that makes it flexible for sweet or savory dishes. 

This sweet, dense quince and almond-studded loaf pan bread is a perfect choice for holiday breakfasts or brunches.

To make the bread, grated fresh quince and chopped slivered blanched almonds are kneaded into the bread dough and provide a unique flavor and crunch to this beautiful loaf pan bread.

If you would like to fancy the recipe up a bit, cover the bread with a simple sugar glaze. Whisk together one cup of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of water and pour it over the top of the bread after it has cooled completely. If the glaze is too thick, add more water, a few drops at a time until it has thinned out enough to pour easily over the bread. Add flavor to the glaze by incorporating a few drops of pure vanilla, rum or almond extract. Lemon and orange flavors would also work well.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Poached Quince in Cranberry Vanilla Syrup

If you are in a panic over what to serve for dessert tonight, I present this recipe to your rescue.

Don't let the word "quince" scare you away. You can easily substitute more accessible fresh pears. This is a great make ahead recipe and it keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

Served in dessert glasses, or poured over ice cream, this easy, make-ahead seasonal holiday dessert is not only delicious, its ruby red color looks beautiful on any festive table.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fruit Patchwork Sheet Cake

This Fall or holiday sheet cake sports a lovely patchwork pattern for the autumn season or for a last minute Thanksgiving dessert. 

I made this version with fresh blackberries, fresh cranberries and canned apricot halves. To save time, I used canned apricot halves instead of peeling fresh ones. However, use any type of fruit or berry you wish.

That's the best part of this cake. It can adapt the flavors of any season. Feel free to substitute fresh blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, small pears, apples, cherries. Whatever you prefer, is in season in the markets or what you have on hand. 

This dessert provides something for everyone. Guests can pick their favorite flavor to eat and the cake itself looks beautiful on any table.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Red Cabbage Pumpkin Torte

This savory torte not only tastes great but adds a dramatic pop of color on any Fall or holiday table.

Red cabbage is simmered in red wine, then perfectly paired with beautiful braised pumpkin and loaded into a gorgeous homemade torte crust. 

While this could be a lovely pumpkin side dish for Thanksgiving, you can also get creative and substitute different varieties of squash, like butternut for the pumpkin.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Cinnamon Kipferl Cookies

The last time I made these delicious Austrian cookies, I put a lavender flavor spin on them. That was several years ago and I can't believe it took me this long to continue experimenting with the flavors.

For those of you not familiar with Kipferl, they are traditional Austrian vanilla Christmas crescent-shaped cookies (Vanillekipferl).

The best part about these little gems is they are very simple to make. The most time-consuming part is hand shaping the crescents. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Whole Wheat Red Beet Bread

To make this stunner, deep flavorful bread, just add shredded fresh beets to a rustic whole wheat bread recipe.

Whether served on Thanksgiving or christmas, or in the dead of winter,  the vibrant color will certainly liven up your table. 

This rustic, hearty, crunchy bread uses shredded fresh beets for deep earthy flavor and dramatic bright red color.