Posts tagged Dessert
Basbusa piece

Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake made with semolina and a rosewater sugar syrup. It is a lovely sweet treat at the end of a large meal.

My dear friend Azwa and her husband Justin generously made this traditional dessert for our Abu Dhabi dinner!


Adapted from Famous Cuisines Channel

2½ cups semolina
1 cup desiccated (unsweetened) coconut
1 cup sugar
½ cup self-raising flour
¾ cup thick yoghurt
1½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup blanched almonds (see below)
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice                                 
1 tsp rosewater

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Prepare an 11 x 14” baking dish by generously buttering the bottom and sides.
2. In a large bowl mix the semolina, coconut, sugar, flour, yoghurt, melted butter and vanilla.
3. Spread the mixture with your hands into a buttered 11 x 14” baking dish. Let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Cut into diamond shapes, cutting all the way through to the base of the pan.
5. Place an almond in the center of each diamond.
6. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
8. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Stir in the lemon juice and rosewater and remove from the heat. Leave to cool.
9. Once the cake is finished baking, remove from oven and pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot. Cool.

Great served with coffee or hot tea.

Blanched Almonds
¼ cup almonds

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil
2. Add almonds and boil for no more than 1 minute
3. Drain and rinse with cold water
4. Blot dry, let cool for a few moments
5. Using your fingers, simply squeeze almond out from skin, it should fall off very easily.

We ran out of little blanched almonds so finished off the corners with pistachios!

Mexican Chocolate Pot de Creme
Pot de Creme

Pictures will not do this dessert justice. Insanely rich, with just a slight kick of cinnamon and spices to mix up the creamy chocolatey richness. This was a perfect end to a spicy dinner or really any evening. Delicioso.

Mexican Chocolate Pot de Crème

From Food & Wine

 1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
6 ounces Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, finely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus shavings for garnish (optional)
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional) 

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk to temper the eggs, then transfer the mixture to the saucepan.

3. Cook the custard over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately add the finely chopped Mexican and bittersweet chocolate and remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

4. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture into 6 small bowls and refrigerate until the pots de crème are chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve the pots de crème with optional unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Gelato di Crema
Gelato di Crema

Egg Custard Gelato

Gelato di crema

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

6 egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups milk
Peel of ½ orange, no pith
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
Ice Cream Maker

1. Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow with soft ribbons.

2. Combine the milk and orange peel in a pan over medium heat, simmering for just a couple of minutes, do not allow to come to a boil.

3. Add the hot milk to the beaten yolks, through a fine strainer.  Be careful to add the hot milk slowly so as not to cook the eggs and curdle the mixture. If using a stand mixer, you can use the pouring shield to add the milk while the mixer is running and mix it all at once. Otherwise, add a bit at a time and mix between additions.

4. Add the orange liqueur

5. Transfer back to your saucepan, turn heat to medium and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.

Belgian Waffles
Belgian Waffles

Belgian Waffles 

Waffles with strawberries

Mother’s Waffles

Moeder’s Wafels
Les Gaufres de Ma Mere

Adapted from Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook by Ruth Van Waerebeek

2 packages active dry yeast (4 ½ tsp)
3 cups milk, warmed to 100 F
3 large egg yolks fro 3 eggs, separated
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks (from 3 eggs separated)

For serving
Confectioner’s sugar
Sliced fruit

1. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in 1 cup of lukewarm milk

2. In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks with ½ cup of remaining milk and melted cooled butter. Add the yeast mixture, sugar, and salt.

3. Sift flour gradually into batter. Alternate additions of flour with remaining milk. Incorporate fully.

4. Fold in beaten egg whites.

5. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for one hour.  The batter should double or triple. (You can simulate the warm kitchen, raising by the oven environment by heating your oven to 200, turning it off and allowing the batter to sit in the warmed oven for the hour rise.) You can stir down the dough once or twice if it is threatening to raise over the edge of the bowl.

6. Bake the waffles in a hot waffle iron. Use a pitcher or large measuring cup with a pouring spout to easily pour batter into the hot iron.

7. Serve the baked waffles with confectioner’s sugar and butter.

Other options include jam, nutella, chocolate spread, fruit, whatever pleases you!


In case you haven't noticed I am a sucker for nuts in my desserts. Demonstrated by a few favorites from races past: Apricot Almond Cake, Baklava, Linzer Torte, Nanaimo Bars, Almond Croissants, Majorcan Almond Cake... the list goes on. This recipe was no different. scrolling through baked goods, getting lost in sugary delicacies... ooh, walnuts and almond extract? Sold. 

They hit all my dessert buttons too. Not too sweet, flaky and soft, texturally interesting with the filling of ground nuts, and great with coffee. 

Kifli with Coffee


Adapted from RecipeLand

2 ¼  cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks), very cold
2 large egg yolks slightly beaten    
½  cup sour cream

2 ½ cups walnuts shelled, ground
½ cup sugar granulated     
¼ cup milk
½ tablespoon almond extract

1 large egg beaten   

1. Combine flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, pulsing in 8-12 times, each pulse 2-3 seconds each. Add the egg yolks and sour cream; pulse 2-3 times until combined.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter. Knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and can be shaped into a ball. If dough is too sticky, knead in more flour.

3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

4. Meanwhile make filling: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ground walnuts, granulated sugar, milk, and almond extract.

5. Preheat oven to 400℉. Divide the dough into two; wrap half in plastic wrap and set aside.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough to a 15 x 12 inch rectangle that is approximately ⅛ inch thick. Cut the rectangle of dough into 2-inch squares.

7. Place a heaping tablespoon of walnut filling in the center of each square; bring one corner of the dough over the filling to the opposite corner; pinch edges together. Place Kifli on baking sheets; brush with the beaten egg.

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.

9. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat steps with the remaining half of the dough.

Optional: dust with powdered sugar for a little more pizzaz. 

Grapefruit Yogurt Tea Cake
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

This tea cake is perfect for afternoon tea, breakfast, or dessert. Bright and citrusy. Super delicious. Keeps like a dream. I can't recommend enough that you try it for yourself, just make sure to share it!

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (greek yogurt is ok)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (reserved)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

For the glaze: (Optional)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ½  tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, dust sides with flour.

2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla.

3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

4. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. (This will look like a lot of oil, it makes the cake oh so moist.)

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

7. When the cake is finished baking, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove loaf and place on a baking rack over a sheet pan or plate. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely.

8. To make the optional glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice in a measuring cup with a pour spout. Pour over the cake. Let set for at least 5 minutes to let the glaze sink in and firm up. 

Sliced cake

This cake is not the usual fluffy, soft-crumbed, moist, birthday cake I am used to. It has much more complexity, density... and flavor, if we're being honest. 

In researching this cake I came across a fun (if rather dated) series by Epicurious: Around the World in 80 Dishes. Watching some of these videos definitely made me question the fashion sensibilities of the early 90s... but also made me realize that there are so many treasure troves on the internet, in my local library, on my very own bookshelf. I will never have enough time in my lifetime to try all the dishes I have thumbed through and pinned and drooled over, but I am sure going to try! 

Sachertorte slice

Sachertorte is meant to be served with a large dollop of freshly whipped unsweetened heavy cream. It really does wonders for the cake. You may not think of heavy whiping cream as something that "lightens" a dish, but the unsweetened and fluffy deliciousness perfectly pairs with the dense, chocolatey, sweet Sachertorte. 



Adapted from Epicurious

4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour

Apricot Glaze
1 1/4 cups apricot preserves
2 tablespoons golden rum or water

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Whipped Cream , for serving


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In the top part of a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of just-boiling water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat, and let stand, stirring often, until cool.

3. Beat the butter on medium high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until smooth, about 1 minute. Turn off, add confectioner’s sugar and mix to combine on low speed. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla.

4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft peaks. Do not overbeat.

5. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible streaks of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.

6. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. (The cake will dome in the center, but it will flatten when cooled.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.

7. Make the apricot glaze:

-Combine the preserves and rum (or water) in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook, continuing to stir often, 2 to 3 minutes.

-Strain into a small bowl. Set aside.

8. To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. If the dome has not flattened, you can also trim off the dome to make the top flat. Place one cake layer on a cooling rack. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Keep the cake on the wire rack and place over a large piece of parchment or waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.

9. Make the chocolate glaze:

-In a heavy-bottomed small saucepan bring the sugar, water, and chocolate to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234°F., about 5 minutes.

-Remove from the heat and stir to cool and thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Use immediately. Note: when pouring, do not scrape the pan.

Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake, being sure that the glaze completely coats the cake. Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

10. To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side.



Nanaimo Bars

If you're looking for quintessential Canadian desserts you will find: Butter Tarts and Nanaimo Bars. Ubiquitous, sugar powerhouses, and bit sized, both are pretty tasty treats and definitely should be shared with friends! 

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Adapted from

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 cup white sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (optional but completely delicious)

Middle creamy layer
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons custard or vanilla pudding powder
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Top layer
4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate
2 teaspoons butter

1. Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper. One sheet across the bottom and up two sides should be sufficient, no need to line all four sides. This will allow you to lift the bars out once they are set.

2. In a double boiler (you can use a metal bowl over a pot of just-boiling water if you don’t have a double boiler), combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar and cocoa powder. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Whisk egg in a small bowl and temper the egg by add small amount of the chocolate mixture to the egg and stirring until egg is warmed. Then add egg to chocolate mixture in double boiler over low heat and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds (highly recommended). Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate while preparing the middle layer.

3. For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and custard powder until light and fluffy. If using a stand mixer, let it run for a few minutes to get the butter nice and fluffy! Mix in the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Chill to set.

4. While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter in a clean double boiler (or clean metal bowl/ pot combo) until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Spread over the chilled bars, do so as quickly as you can, as it will start to melt the second layer and blend together and the goal is to have distinct layers. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

5. Cut into 1 inch squares as this is a very sweet dessert!

Keep refrigerated to maintain distinct layers and a nice texture.

Nanaimo Bar



Baklava slice

Baklava with a cup of just sweetened, cardomom scented coffee is perfect for breakfast, midday snack, or dessert. Or perhaps all three if we're honest.

I have a Quick Turkish Coffee recipe on the site that would go fabulously well.

Baklava Tray


Adapted from Simply Recipes

For the baklava:
1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios, a combination is great!)
1 lb of phyllo dough (1 package)
1 cup of butter, melted
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

For the syrup:
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
rose water

1 Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.

2 Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer's directions (this may take overnight). When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

3 Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.

4 Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being "painted" with the butter.

5 Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered. Do not worry if the sheets crinkle up a bit, it will just add more texture.

6 Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

7 While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool. One mostly cooled add up to 1 tablespoon rose water.

8 Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours.



Baklava with Coffee
2018 F1 Kickoff Party - Australian treats: Anzac Biscuits

With the start of the F1 Season we are ready to celebrate! This year we invited a few friends over for an F1 Kickoff Party and some Aussie favorites including Aussie burgers with the lot, Anzac biscuits and our lovely friends brought cheesy bread, many beers, and pavlova! 

We put on an F1 Introduction YouTube playlist in the background which prompted a lot of great conversations, and we all had a chance to laugh at Kimi being his usual self and Alonso and Button bantering about what is appropriate behavior when borrowing someone else's F1 car. 

Aussie burgers are always a favorite. Each person made their own version, some more adventurous than others! They were great with beef burgers, turkey burgers, fried eggs, pickled beets, onion, pineapple, pickles, all or none of the above.

And we topped of the savory with some sweet. My lovely friends brought homemade pavlova and we made some Anzac Biscuits. 

ANZAC biscuits

"Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. The biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation."

These biscuits or cookies, whatever you want to call them, are super quick to make and a perfect finish to an Aussie themed meal.

Mine turned out a little more like laceys, crispy, crunchy and caramelized. Which honestly was lovely, so no complaints here. If you try them let me know how yours turn out! 

Anzac Biscuits

From AllRecipes

1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together (if using sweetened coconut, reduce sugar by 1 tablespoon).
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the syrup and butter together.
Mix the baking soda and the boiling water and add to the melted butter and syrup.
Add butter mixture to the dry ingredients.
Drop by teaspoons on greased cookie sheets (or baking paper).
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, checking after 10 to make sure they don't burn. They will be very floppy, let them rest for 5 minutes or so before moving them to a cooling rack to cool for another 10 minutes before enjoying. 


Renault and Ferrari are at it again with creating great posters for 2018! Excited to see what they come up with for the rest of the season.  

Majorcan Almond Cake with Almond Ice Cream
whole majorcan almond cake


All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea

Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for preparing pan (if aiming to make this dairy and glluten free, can use earth balance and gluten free flour for this step)
8 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely ground blanched almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shake off any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake for about 45-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and holding the pan about 6 inches above the counter, drop the pan onto the counter. This simple dropping action “shocks” the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan

5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with Almond Ice Cream, if desired.


cake and ice cream


1/2 pound blanched almonds
4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick

1. In a food processor, very finely grind the almonds. Use the pulse function and watch carefully. You do not want the nuts to release too much oil (otherwise they turn into nut butter). 

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, and half of the almonds. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Decrease high heat to medium and add the rest of the almonds, continuing to stir. As soon as the mixture boils again, remove from the heat and let cool completely. To cool quickly place mixture in a bowl, in a larger bowl add a few cups of ice and some water, place mixture filled bowl inside ice bowl and lightly spin mixture bowl. The ice water in contact with the bowl will quickly cool the mixture down. 

3. Transfer the cooled mixture to an ice-cream maker, process and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. 

4. When ready to serve, remove from freezer about 20 minutes in advance to allow to soften slightly. 

Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie

As Deb at Smitten Kitchen notes, “despite the name, you don’t need key limes to make this. I mean, if you can get them, please do. They’re wonderful. But I made this, as I often do, with regular grocery store Persian limes and it’s no less dreamy with them.” I couldn't agree more, the perfect description for this pie is dreamy. It transports you to beach somewhere and makes you forget it is mid-winter, no matter where you are or what the weather is doing outside.

Key Lime Pie Ingredients

Key Lime Pie

From: Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 12 crackers – processed in a food processor until small crumbs)
3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
3 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce (396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup (155 ml) fresh lime juice (from about 12 key limes or 5 persian/regular limes)

To Finish
3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy whipping cream (or more if you want to cover the full top of the pie)
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste

Heat oven: To 350°F (176°C).

Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.

Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping (okay to do this in the freezer, but don’t leave for more than 30 minutes or so to avoid crystalizing or getting freezer burnt.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled at least another 2 to 3 hours with the cream on top so that it can fully set before you take a slice.

Apricot Almond Cake (Flourless)
Apricot Almond Cake

The 2017 season is over and I am already missing the familiar roar of F1 cars in the background as I make Sunday dinner. I'm starting to plot and plan next year and honestly working on photography lighting solutions for this dark and dreary winter weather. I'm already gathering recipes and reading up on food history, and finding new blogs to follow. I use Pinterest as my gathering place for recipe ideas, F1 artwork, etc., check it out if you want a little inspiration for cooking, traveling, or F1.  

I'm looking forward both to a little break and looking ahead to next year. We've got plenty to keep us busy over winter. We are also, still eating this cake. 

I have renamed this cake from how it appears in the book (actual name below). I think it is primarily a nut flour cake with flavors of tangerine and apricot, it tastes mostly of apricots and almonds, hence my re-naming. However you call it, it is delicious. Just fair warning, this is a monstrous cake. I made it in a 16"  form pan and it has lasted us over a week, with multiple servings a day, and I am not complaining, it is still delicious. 

Flourless Tangerine Apricot Cake

Olives, Lemons, & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking by Rawia Bishara

8 tangerines, peeled, sectioned and seeded
8 apricots, peeled and pitted or ¼ lb dried apricots
1 cup sugar
1 lb raw almonds, ground to texture of farina
1 cup pistachios, ground to texture of farina
1 cup crushed walnuts
2 tablespoons baking powder
8 large eggs
4 tablespoons Frangelico liquer (optional)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1. Place tangerines in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the fruit is soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain, then put the tangerines in a blender and puree until smooth .

2. Place the apricots in the same pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the fruit it soft, 15 minutes – 25 minutes for dried apricots. Transfer to a colander and drain, add to blender and puree until smooth. Add to the tangerine mixture.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 16-inch round baking pan (preferably a springform pan for easy release) with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sugar, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and baking powder. Set aside .

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until pale yellow. Add the pureed tangerines and apricots, the Frangelico (if using), and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Continue mixing and gradually add nut mixture to the egg mixture until all has been incorporated and mixture is smooth.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake until a ckae tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

7. To serve run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen it, if not using a springform pan then invert a platter over the pan and flip it over to release the cake.  Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.


Apricot Almond Cake and Coffee

This is lovely served with a nice hot cup of Turkish coffee. 

Since I do not have a Turkish coffee pot to make it properly, here is my cheater version:

Quick Turkish Coffee

3 tablespoons good quality coffee grounds
½ tablespoon sugar
2 cardomom pods, lightly crushed
3 cups water, boiling

Place first three ingredients in a French press, pour over boiling water and wait 5 minutes.

Serve in the smallest cups you can find!

Apricot Almond Cake slice
Banana Cream Pie

Dessert is always a favorite subject for me. I have many loves. Chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, pumpkin bread pudding, apple pie, cherry pie, chapple pie (I'll tell that story one day), flourless chocolate cake, bacon fat spiced cookies, those peanut butter cookies with the hershey's kisses on top. 

It's too hard to pick a favorite or to even pick one that says: AMERICA. Well, maybe that's a little easier: American as Apple Pie. Ice Cream Sundaes. Sheet cake with over-sugared frosting drawings of minions or superman. But let's not go there. Let's go to that place our 5 year old selves might go. To that place that feels like home, childhood, and goes perfectly at the end of a picnic. Those are a few of my favorite things and this banana cream pie in a jar is too. 

Banana Cream Pie in a Jar!

Banana Cream Pie

From: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook 50 Simple Recipes from HomeRoom by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
With thanks to ChineseGrandma for writing up the recipe

5 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
18 to 24 vanilla wafers
Heavy whipping cream + one teaspoon sugar, whipped (optional)

1.    To make the custard: In a bowl whisk together 1 cup of milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining 4 cups of milk and 1 cup of cream over medium heat.
2.    When the milk mixture begins to simmer, add the milk-yolk-cornstarch mixture and whisk rapidly. Continue stirring over medium heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
3.    Remove pudding from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Let cool at room temperature for an hour or more (it continues to thicken as it cools).
4.    To assemble: In eight-ten 6-ounce mason jars, layer 2 or 3 vanilla wafers, 2 or 3 banana slices, and 1/2 cup of pudding. Repeat to fill.
5.    Cover each jar and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
6.    Before serving, top with whipped cream (optional) and/or fresh banana slices or cookie crumbles if you like.

Jars of Pie
Japanese Fluffy Cheesecake

This cheesecake is honestly like nothing I have had before. It is fluffy and soufflé like, but with all the rich flavors of a just-sweet citrusy cheesecake. My husband deemed it an Angel Cheesecake and I think that is about right. Seriously fluffy and extraordinarily tasty, I highly recommend it!

The recipe is from Serious Eats written by Yvonne Ruperti. Honestly, I think I have a slight addiction to Serious Eats. After receiving The Food Lab for Christmas this last year, Kenji Lopez-Alt and his team have been my trustworthy source for so many cooking questions.

When I make recipes from their site, I can’t even say "adapted from" because there is no adapting... they have figured it out and they make it so clear and easy to follow I can’t mess up, or make it better! For pictures and step by step, definitely check out the link to the site, and if you haven’t checked out the Serious Eats blog yet, You’re Welcome!

Fluffy Cheesecake


Japanese Cheesecake

From: Serious Eats

Makes 8-12 servings depending on how you slice your cake :)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, divided
Pinch of kosher salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 packed teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) cake flour
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 340°F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8- by 3-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom half of the pan with foil to create a waterproof seal. Set into a roasting pan.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt on medium speed until very creamy scraping down sides as necessary with a rubber spatula (about 2 minutes). Beat in egg yolks and lemon zest until smooth, about 30 seconds. Replace paddle attachment with whisk attachment. Whisk in the lemon juice and sour cream on medium speed, scraping down sides as necessary with a rubber spatula, until combined.

3. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the batter and whisk until completely combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, using a rubber spatula. Thoroughly wash and dry stand mixer bowl and whisk (a dirty bowl will prevent whites from aerating properly)

4. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until frothy. Slowly pour in the remaining sugar and continue to whip to medium-peak stage. Don't over-whip.

5. Fold a third of the meringue into the batter with a rubber spatula until almost combined. Gently fold in the remaining meringue in two more batches.

6. Pour the batter into the springform pan and set on the oven rack. Pour about 2 inches hot water into the roasting pan. Bake until the cake is golden and just firm in the center, 40 to 45 minutes.

7. Remove roasting pan from oven and let springform pan remain in water bath for 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool for another 30 minutes, then chill until set, about 3 hours.  

My only addition is that you can serve this with just about any fruit, we had mango and kiwi on hand but sliced strawberries, raspberries, or other fruit would be equally lovely. 

Lemon Ricotta Biscuits

These are Giada Di Laurentis's Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Muffins. Who can resist an Italian Grandmother's recipe? These turned out exactly as I had hoped, moist, just a bit crumbly and intensely lemon-y and almond-y. Almond extract is a magical ingredient that makes so many things better, banana bread, tapioca pudding, vanilla cupcakes, Fridays. 

Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits

From Giada Di Laurentiis

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar or more as needed for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds

1. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to blend.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy).

4. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the muffins.

5. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Olive Oil Gelato

So, this recipe. I am so on the fence about it I am having a hard time figuring out what to say. 

The good: It tastes like something I would find in a tiny gelateria and say "ooh that's different!" It goes surprising well with Lemon Ricotta Muffins. It is creamy as all get out and pairs well with tart fruit and lemon zest. 

The bad: It makes you say "ooh that's different!" You need to pair it with something or your brain explodes going back and forth with, is that olive oil? mmm cream. wait, why is this grassy? mmm cream. is it supposed to taste like this? mmm cream. 

So, I'll let you be the judge. (But if I were to pull out my ice cream maker again, honestly I'd go for Ben and Jerry's Kahlua Amaretto Ice Cream!)

Olive Oil Gelato

From Saveur

1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt
Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, for serving

Using a hand (or stand) mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Add oil in a steady stream, and continue beating until smooth and airy, about 3 minutes. Add milk, cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve with a sprinkling of fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, if you like.

ItalyMaria DawsonDessert
Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie? 

Is anyone else here a fan of Love Actually? As in, the Christmas season is not complete until you've cringed at the curtains opening on the PM and Ms. Would We Call Her Chubby and you've shed that tear when Colin Firth tries to speak Portugese?

Well, that movie is my first and admittedly only introduction to Banoffee Pie. When Kierra Knighlty offers it to the man who is so clearly awkwardly in love with her, and all American audiences go, wait, what kind of pie? I let it slide for years, but now that I know what it is... I have discovered that I have been missing out! And so have you if you haven't had it yet. 

Banoffee Pie

From Saveur 

For the Pie Crust

1 stick butter, melted
1 (10-oz.) package of digestive biscuits, such as McVities brand

For the Filling

1 stick butter
1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk
3-4 bananas
1 pint heavy cream
Grated chocolate (Optional)

1. Make the crumb crust: Crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor until you get a fine crumb texture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in melted butter. Press into a 9"-diameter tart base with a removable bottom. Press the mixture up the sides of the tart form with the back of a spoon. Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour.

2. Make the toffee: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and melt over low heat. Add the condensed milk and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The toffee should darken slightly.

3. Pour the filling into the crust. Cool and chill again for at least one hour until the caramel is firm.

4. To serve, remove the tart from the pan and carefully transfer to a serving plate. Slice the bananas and place them in a single layer on top of the caramel. Whip the cream and spoon it over the toffee and bananas, sealing the filling in. Sprinkle the top of the pie with grated chocolate, if using.

Tea culture in Britain is something I'm a little jealous of. The ingrained afternoon break, a chance to recharge. And of course, you can't have tea without snacks! Cakes, scones, sandwiches. Mmmm. 

I love this kind of thing from Wikipedia:

"British-style tea

Brewing the tea

Even very slightly formal events can be a cause for cups and saucers to be used instead of mugs. A typical semi-formal British tea ritual might run as follows (the host performing all actions unless noted)

1.    The kettle is brought to a rolling boil (with fresh water to ensure good oxygenation which is essential for proper diffusion of the tea leaves).

2.    Enough boiling water is swirled around the teapot to warm it and then poured out.

3.    Add loose tea leaves (usually black tea) or tea bags, always added before the boiled water.

4.    Fresh boiling water is poured over the tea in the pot and allowed to brew for 2 to 5 minutes while a tea cosy may be placed on the pot to keep the tea warm.

5.    A tea strainer is placed over the top of the cup and the tea poured in, unless tea bags are used. Tea bags may be removed, if desired, once desired strength is attained.

6.    Fresh milk and white sugar are added, usually by the guest. Most people have milk with their tea, many without sugar.

7.    The pot will normally hold enough tea so as not to be empty after filling the cups of all the guests. If this is the case, the tea cosy is replaced after everyone has been served. Hot water may be provided in a separate pot, and is used only for topping up the pot, never the cup."

We may not have this as a daily tradition, but when we do pull out the old passed-down-through-the-family tea set, and fill the tea kettle, it feels like a momentary break from whatever other ills of life may be present. A chance to just enjoy a hot cup of tea, and a little treat. 

Linzer Torte

Smitten Kitchen is my primary source when trying a new recipe. If I need something delicious for a dinner party, or need a weeknight dinner option, she is a my go-to. Deb of Smitten Kitchen shared a Linzer Torte recipe a few years ago, and as usual she did not disappoint. 

Linzer Torte

From Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 2 9-inch round tortes

*I halved the recipe to make 1 9-inch round, which was fun to try to put in half an egg… but it turned out great!
In case you only want to make one, I have included the half measurements at the end of each of the ingredients, just so you don’t have to do the math, but the recipe still includes the full measure so make sure to pay attention!

Base and lattice
4 1/2 cups (1 pound or 455 grams) shelled walnuts (3 ¼)
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour (1 ½)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I halved this, using only 1/4 teaspoon) (1/8)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt (Heatter says 1/4, I really prefer this with 1/2) (1/4)
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces or 285 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks (1 ¼)
1 2/3 cup (330 grams) granulated sugar (1/2 + 1/3)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (half an egg white + 1 yolk)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1/2 a lemon)

1/4 cup (about 20 to 25 grams) fine, dry breadcrumbs (1/8)
2 cups (about 575 grams) seedless raspberry jam (1 cup)

To finish
1 egg yolk (1 is fine)
1 teaspoon water (1/2)
2/3 to 1 cup (75 to 115 grams) to slivered almonds (julienne-shaped pieces) (optional)  (I did not use these)

Make base: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round layer cake pans (preferably with removable bottoms if you plan to serve this in wedges, like a cake). Line the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter the paper.

In a food processor, process walnuts and 1/2 cup of the flour (reserve remaining 2 1/2 cups for next step) for 15 seconds, or until the nuts are finely ground but have not formed a paste.

Place remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a large, wide-ish mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and walnut-flour mixture. In a small dish, beat the whole egg, yolk, and lemon rind until combined, and stir into crumb mixture. Stir the mixture in as best as you can with a spoon, then work the rest in with your hands. Knead the dough a few times inside the bowl until a cohesive mass, one that holds together, forms.

Divide dough into quarters if making two tortes, or halves if making one.

Place one portion into the bottom of each pan, and press evenly and firmly over the bottoms and then about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches up the sides with your fingers. Don’t worry about making it smooth or level on the sides; it gets filled in later.

Bake shell(s) for 15 minutes, or until it barely begins to color at the edges.

While the shell(s) bakes, roll remaining piece(s) of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, until 1/4- to 3/8-inch in thickness one inch bigger than your pan size. [I.e., for each 9-inch round torte, you’ll want a 10-inch diameter circle; for each 8-inch square torte, a 9-inch square, etc.] Transfer to freezer until the dough is well-chilled, about 20 minutes.

Remove shell(s) from oven and let cool slightly; reduce baking temperature to 350 degrees.

Make filling: If you’re using panko or another coarse dry breadcrumb, you can pulse it in a food processor until it is fine powder.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons finely ground breadcrumbs over each par-baked shell, or all 1/4 cup over your single large one. If jam is not already soft, stir it until it is, then spread 1 cup over each shell. Cut dough(s) into 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide strips, cutting through the bottom of the waxed paper at the same time. Lift each strip-and-waxed paper over the jam and reverse it onto the jam, then peel off waxed paper. Cut the ends of the dough by pressing them onto the sides of the pan. Arrange strips 1/2- to 3/4-inch apart, crisscrossing them on an angle to make a lattice top with diamond-shaped openings. Use leftover pieces to fill in any gaps between lattice-strips and tall sides of shells. The two doughs will blend together in the oven.

To finish: Mix egg yolk and water. Brush it all over lattice top and border. Sprinkle with almonds, if using. Bake torte(s) for 45 to 60 minutes, until crust and almonds on top are well-browned.

Remove from oven and place on racks.


Serve with coffee or tea, and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. 

Copy of dsc_0079.jpg


Vatrushka are a pastry from Eastern Europe commonly filled with a sweet cream cheese mixture or mixed dried fruit. Generally they are made with a sweet yeasted dough, but can be made savory. Lovely with a cup of black coffee for breakfast or dessert. 

Copy of dsc_0061.jpg

Vatrushka (Ватрушка)

From Russian Recipe Book


1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. unsalted butter


1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. fresh unsalted cheese (cottage cheese or ricotta cheese) note: if using cottage cheese use a cheese cloth and strainer to squeeze out excess water before using in the recipe
1 egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Prepare the dough:
  2. Heat the water to 110°F; add 1 Tbsp. of sugar, yeast, and ½ cup of sifted flour. Stir well, cover, and leave in a warm place for about an hour. The mix should develop a lot of bubbles and rise.
  3. Separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the yolk for later in the recipe.
  4. Heat milk to 110°F and add to the mix. Stir in the egg white, salt, and the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar. Gradually add sifted flour while stirring in one direction (a wooden spatula is preferred). When the dough becomes too dense to stir with the spatula, start kneading it by hand while adding small amounts of flour at a time. You will want to work the dough until you get a ball of dough with a smooth surface that has just enough flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Don’t use more flour than necessary!
  5. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. After that, press it down and let it rise one more time.
  6. Prepare the filling:
  7. Melt the butter without making it hot, and then mix all the ingredients. (Make sure to have strained the cottage cheese, if using.)
  8. Assemble vatrushkas:
  9. Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a sheet about ¼ inch thick. Cut out circles about 5 inches in diameter (you can use a tea saucer for that).
  10. Place 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of filling in the middle of each circle (the exact amount depends on your vatrushka size and your personal preferences). Do not overfill! Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls about 2/3 inches in height. Even make them a bit higher if you are afraid you are overfilling. Carefully smooth the surface of the filling making sure it is even and fills the entire space.
  11. Turn on the oven to preheat it to 425°F – 450°F.
  12. Lightly grease a baking sheet or pan. Arrange vatrushkas on the baking sheet some distance apart so they don’t stick together when they expand. Let your vatrushkas stand for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
  13. Meanwhile, melt the butter without making it hot, and mix it with the saved egg yolk. Stir very well and remove any clumps.
  14. After vatrushkas have been rising for 15 minutes, carefully brush a thin layer of the egg yolk/butter mix on the top and most importantly, the dough portion of each pie.
  15. Let vatrushkas stand for another 10 minutes and carefully puncture the top in 2-3 places with a fork without puncturing all the way to the bottom. Place them in the oven.
  16. Baking time will vary but it usually takes 15-25 minutes to obtain a smooth brown crust.
  17. After the baking is finished, immediately place vatrushkas on a wooden board or wire mesh for cooling.
  18. Let the vatrushkas cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is important for full flavor development.
Copy of dsc_0055.jpg

My dough unfortunately did not rise to the heights I see on most pictures of this recipe, so you may want to consult an expert if you want to make them perfect the first time, I recommend Yelena or The Russian Recipe Book

Copy of dsc_0057.jpg

I had to laugh at re-reading these directions: "Carefully roll up the edges making neat, smooth, and even walls" I think not! Baking did wonders to smooth things out, but I would not say my pastry walls were anywhere near neat, smooth, or even :)


I have been trying my hand at baking bread recently and that has been absolutely magical, maybe I should stick with the savory? Nah. I'm not dissuaded. On to the next challenge!