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Other Desserts

Pears in Red Wine

Pears
Pears in Red Wine

These pears poached in red wine are delicious and a light dessert with a lot of flavor. Maybe they are more suited to a fall or winter meal but we had a lot of pears so… I would suggest using honey AND sugar to sweeten. Serving with whipped cream or ice cream would also be a good idea. The hardest part about this recipe is the peeling, which takes me forever but after that it goes really quickly and makes the house smell really really good.

2 1/4 pounds pears {I used about 6 big pears}

10 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks (about 4 inches of cinnamon stick)

3/4 cup sugar {I used light brown sugar}

1 quart (6 cups) Barbaresco or other tannic, full bodied dry red wine, e.g. Nebbiolo di Langa or Roero

Wash and peel the pears. Bring the wine to a boil, with 2/3 cup sugar, the cloves and the cinnamon. Add the pears and cook covered for about 45 minutes, at a steady boil, taking the lid off every now and again to check the level of the wine, which should cover the pears {my 1 quart or 6 cups of wine didn’t fully cover the pears so I just turned them a lot}. When the pears are cooked transfer them to a platter with a slotted spoon. Strain the sauce, and, if it is too runny, cook it down until it thickens somewhat. Then pour it over the pears and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar as well. Serve cold {I serve warm and if you have vanilla ice cream I’m sure it would taste very good…}.

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Classic Scones (reinterpreted as strawberry shortcake!)

Joy of Cooking

Strawberry Shortcakes
Strawberry Shortcakes

A great looking summer or spring party food and a nice way to use strawberries with tons of whipped cream which everyone loves! Add some brandy to the whipped cream for some extra flavor… Also, the Joy of Cooking is the most brilliant cookbook ever. It has everything you would ever want to make in it!

8-12 Scones

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 /4 cup sugar {for less sweet scones use 1 tablespoon}

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter

2 large eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender {what is this?} or two knives, until the size of small peas.

2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and reserve two tablespoons of the egg in a separate small bowl. Beat the heavy cream in to the remaining eggs.

3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid {see photo above}. Combine with a few swift strokes. Handle the dough as little as possible. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Pat to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into wedge shapes {or use a glass to cut them into circles for the strawberry shortcake, see photo above}. Place onto ungreased baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg and sprinkle with sugar.

4. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Whipped Cream and Strawberries

This is my own “recipe”: use the remaining heavy cream from the scones recipe above, add some sugar to taste and some brandy. Using a beater, whip the cream until it is thick and fluffy. Cut some strawberries into small wedges. Stack the whipped cream and strawberries onto the scones and make strawberry shortcake!

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Blueberry Flaxseed Muffins

Joy of Cooking (modified recipe)

Blueberry Flaxseed Meal Muffins
Blueberry Flaxseed Meal Muffins

I’ve been reading a lot of good things about flaxseed which has high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as prevent certain types of cancers (not sure how proven this claim is). I wanted to find a way to integrate flaxseed into some everyday recipes so I could reap the benefits without having to drastically change my diet. As it turns out, the flaxseed meal had a delicious nutty smell and added subtle texture to these muffins making them even more delicious and healthier too!

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups flaxseed meal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup milk or cream

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup butter (melted)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. Whisk together eggs, milk/cream, sugar, butter and vanilla in another bowl.

3. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix together with a few light strokes until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix- batter should not be smooth. Carefully fold in the blueberries and mix lightly {if you mix too hard/fast the batter will turn blue like mine did!}.

4. Pour into muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean {around 12-17 minutes, depending on muffin size; it is better to under bake by a little bit or else they come out too dry}.

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