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The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

This cake is unlike any other I’ve made. Well, except for the apple cake that it’s based on.

But, here, in this rebooted version, pears replace the apples and pecans replace the walnuts. The pears are peeled and thinly sliced and then mixed into a very light batter. During a second trip into the oven, the brown sugar and pecan topping firms up and turns golden brown, with an almost custardy cake beneath. It’s really pretty amazing.

There may seem to be a number of steps, but don’t fear, it all comes together very easily and the only special gadgets you need are a cake pan and a couple of spatulas. So give this fall dessert a try!

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake
About 8 servings; Adapted from the Apple Lady Apple Cake in the Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Cake
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk
3 large pears, cored, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges — I used 2 Anjou and 1 Starkrimson

Topping
1/3 packed . . . → Read More: The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

Kerrin’s Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Really, what is better than a fresh gooey chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven? Air conditioning? Well, yes. But…it’s not the chocolate chip cookie’s fault that August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Do not blame the cookie if the weather is too hot to even think about turning on the oven.

That said, and as I write this on the 3rd, we’re about to break records for the hottest day ever on Earth in the Pacific Northwest (108 degrees F in Portland), so let’s think back to a cooler time–gentler time when I opened up my copy of Dorie’s Cookies and found this amazing and alt chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Buckwheat flour! Whole wheat flour! A sprinkle of fleur de sel on top! They are healthy! Kind of…for cookies. In this version, I also added vanilla and I upped the nuts, as one tends to do if the occasion calls for it.

So, if you can safely turn on your oven, you might want to celebrate August 3rd by baking a batch of these wonderful and interesting chocolate chip cookies.

Spoiler: The cookie dough needs to chill in the refrigerator for at . . . → Read More: Kerrin’s Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Late Spring Dessert: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Lattice Crust

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Getting out of my changing-of-the-seasons slump with a strawberry rhubarb pie! So, delicious. The brown sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon all get together here (with the fresh fruit) to work a kind of pie magic. Every year, this is one of my most favorite pies to make! And not just because I like the challenge of a lattice crust (just kidding, it’s really easy)!

So yeah, take advantage of the remaining rhubarb season and make this pie now. Or, you could even decrease the sugar** just a little bit and try this with strawberries and peaches. Or strawberries and apricots. Or strawberries and strawberries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Lattice Crust
Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine; 8 servings
1 recipe of your favorite pie dough (double crust), two discs chilled – mine is Dorie Greenspan’s Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough*
3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
1 16-ounce container strawberries, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup (packed) brown . . . → Read More: Late Spring Dessert: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with a Lattice Crust

Valentine’s Day Baking: Heart-Glazed Cornmeal Almond Cookies

Heart-Glazed Cornmeal Almond Cookies

So here’s the thing about these cookies. I actually made them last year, fully intending to post them at that time and then this happened and I kind of lost interest in getting a Valentine’s Day post together. But this year, I decided that since I had liked the cookies and I had some nice photos, I would go ahead and post it. Early. And then I forgot.

So now, completely in character (procrastination, yay!), the day before valentine’s day is when I’m going to post about heart-centric cookies. But it’s okay. This cookie could really work for any holiday, even a non-holiday. First of all, the hearts don’t need to be pink or red. How about purple hearts? Black hearts? White hearts for an anniversary celebration.

And also, who says you have to use a heart shaped cookie cutter at all? The technique will work with any small cookie cutter – four leaf clovers, a fleur de lis, a pumpkin. Really, any not too complicated shape that you could easily fill in with glaze would be perfect.

When I made mine, I liked a cleaner look so I used a slightly smaller round cookie cutter . . . → Read More: Valentine’s Day Baking: Heart-Glazed Cornmeal Almond Cookies

FFwD: Paris-Brest

FfwD: Paris-Brest pastry

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie is Paris-Brest, which is a particular Parisan pastry that was created in the olden days (the 1890s) to commemorate the Paris–Brest bicycle race. It’s pâte à choux dough (like for cream puffs or gougères) piped out in circles, baked, sliced in half, and filled with an almond praline vanilla pastry cream. I opted to make a half recipe and instead of one big eight-inch pastry, I made four small ones.

Notes:
1. I think my pastry tip was on the small side, so I got more pastries than I was expecting.
2. I used English muffins rings to pipe my rings inside of, but I think I could have skipped this. Next time, I’ll try it without and see what happens.
3. I added coffee liqueur to my vanilla pastry cream.
4. Almost all of my sliced almonds fell off the tops of my pastries after baking.
5. I had enough pâte à choux leftover to make two cream puffs.
6. I decided to cover my puffs with melted chocolate and since my almonds mostly fell of the Paris-Brests, I covered two of those with chocolate too. The other two got the powdered sugar.

Check . . . → Read More: FFwD: Paris-Brest