Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve already posted the Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake Michelle and I made using a John Besh recipe as our template. Besides wanting to make it truly our own, the big problem was that it just wasn’t blackberry enough. Michelle had the idea of making it more of a structured filling and we figured that double the blackberries meant double the flavor.

We were right! Intense fruit flavor balanced with creamy cheesecake. Major yum!

Michell made these in three 8×8 pans for easy freezing and transportation. To do so, she had to triple the graham cracker crust but the rest of the recipe is plenty of batter to fill them up.

Marbled Blackberry Lemon Cheesecake

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 pounds cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon limoncello

3 cups blackberries, pureed
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
Juice from one lemon (zest lemon and put the zest in the cheesecake batter)
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Grease a 9 inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Press onto the bottom and part way up the sides of the pan. Bake it for 10 or 15 minutes before putting in the filling.


In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in the sour cream, flour, lemon zest and limoncello until smooth. Divide the mixture between two bowls.


In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries with the lemon juice. Mix in sugar and flour. Pulse a few times before adding in egg and vanilla extract.


Pour half the cheesecake mixture into prepared pans. Then add the blackberry filling in dollops on top. Pour on remaining cheesecake batter.


Place in oven and bake for 2 hours, until the topping is set. Remove from the oven. Raise temperature to 350 and return pan to oven to bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.


Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Bus 57 Apple Cake

Here is a very easy cake recipe from the kitchen of Miryam Levy. Seems she had listened in on a conversation in French between two women sitting behind her on the 57 line from Haifa to Kiryat Bialik. And, voila, bus cake!

My only addition was to toss the apples with a little cinnamon (1.5 teaspoons) for a little more flavor. However, the cake should be just fine without that step. I experimented with both red (Honey crisp) and green (Granny Smith). The sugar was a little much with the red ones but perfect with the tarter, green ones. The green apple cake, because the apples aren’t as juicy, had a lovely crunch along the edges as well. The red apple cake was more moist and dense, so it is really up to personal taste as to which apples you choose to use. Heck, I may try it again with a mix of apples!

Red (Honey Crisp) Apple Cake

I also still had the grater out when doing the second cake and so I grated the butter for more even distribution on the top of the cake. The top picture is the red apple cake with sliced butter. The bottom picture is the Granny Smith cake with grated butter.

Green (Granny Smith) Apple Cake

Bus 57 Apple Cake

1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 stick cold butter, divided
3-5 apples, depending on size to make 3 cups grated (I recommend Granny Smith)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Generously butter a round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter it as well. I used one tablespoon of butter on this step.

Mix semolina, sugar, salt and flour together and pour half the amount into pan. Peel, core and grate apples. If desired, toss the grated apples with a little cinnamon. Evenly spread the apples over the first layer of dry cake mix. Pour the rest of the dry mix over grated apples. Slice or grate the butter and layer  it over the top of the cake.

Bake until golden, about 60 minutes.

Serve hot, topped with ice cream or whipped cream. I also had it cold the next morning with my tea and it was wonderful, too!

As this recipe doesn’t use eggs, substitute margarine for butter and you’ve got a terrific vegan dessert!

Honey Glazed Ham Plus Applesauce and Brussel Sprouts

We found big, bone in butt portion hams on sale after Thanksgiving. So, we bought a 10 pounder and put it in the slow cooker for the day while we went about our business (Michelle spent the morning visiting with her 96 year old Grandpa, who isn’t feeling well and I did laundry, vacuuming and took a nap).

Sliced ham, Brussel sprouts and applesauce

Honey Glazed Ham

10 lb ham
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup apple juice (can use water)

Cut diamond patterns on the ham. Mix together the honey, brown sugar and cinnamon and spread over the ham. Pour the 1 cup apple juice into the bottom of the slow cooker and slide in the glazed ham.

Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook about 45 minutes per pound, basting occasionally with the juices in the cooker. Internal temperature of the cooked ham should be 140-145 degrees F.

Slice thin to serve.

We served the ham with homemade apple sauce and some Brussel sprouts.

Homemade Applesauce

4 Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash salt

Peel, core and dice the apples. Place in a mixing bowl with water and a splash of lemon juice until ready to cook.

Heat water and butter in a large skillet, I prefer cast iron. Once the water comes to a boil and butter is melted, add the apples.

Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the apples start to break down. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and salt. Continue to stir, pressing down to further break down apples. Taste and adjust sugar and seasonings once the applesauce is of your desired consistency.

I hated Brussel sprouts as a kid. They smelled bad and tasted horrible. There wasn’t enough butter in the world to make them palatable.

I then discovered a great way to make them. They are almost but, not entirely, unlike French fries with this method. Instead of olive oil in the pan, consider using bacon fat for added richness.

Skillet Fried Brussel Sprouts

about 10 Brussel sprouts per person
a couple glugs of olive oil
generous pinch of kosher salt

Peel off the loose external leaves and slice off the root end before cutting Brussel sprouts in half. Toss in olive oil to coat. Heat skillet over high heat. Toss Brussel sprouts with salt.

Pour a little oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once it begins to shimmer, place Brussel sprouts cut side down in skillet and let cook until that side is brown. Turn over and continue to cook for 2 -4 minutes more.

Serve immediately.

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Here is another recipe to help use up any leftover cranberry sauce after your Thanksgiving feasting. My other version is here. I primarily did these because mom had less flour than I anticipated (and Dad was still expected me to make a batch of oatmeal cookies) because they include oats in them.

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups of leftover cranberry sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

optional: cinnamon sugar (combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups or butter the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine regular flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, oil, cranberry sauce and egg; blend well. Fold wet ingredients into dry. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full. If desired, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Miryam’s Amazing Strudel

I have to say I was a little intimidated when Victoria gave me this recipe. I once saw strudel being made and they had stretched this piece of dough until it was as big as a dining room table and thin enough to read the newspaper through. However, her mom’s method had the dough being divided into four pieces, so it didn’t have to be stretched so much. I found stretching it 18 by 12 inches was sufficient to make thin layers. And, because, I was dividing it into fourths, I decided to add a classic apple filling to half of them (leaving the others with her mom’s classic cinnamon raisin nut version).

Most recipes I read recommended using a high gluten bread flour, so I did that, as the original recipe only specified flour. I also soaked the raisins to soften them for about 5 minutes in hot water before draining them and patting them dry. As I’m allergic to walnuts, I used pecans instead but left walnuts in the recipe.

I used a food processor to make the dough, although you can mix everything together in a bowl and knead until a smooth dough forms. I also divided my dough in half before resting – I did half the dough after the four hour rest and the rest for brunch the next morning.

Sesame coated cinnamon raisin nut strudel

Miryam’s Amazing Strudel

Strudel Dough

4 cups bread flour
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons white vinegar


Cinnamon Raisin Nut Filling (makes two)

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup plumped, well drained raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter (half a stick), melted


Apple Nut Filling (makes two)

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup plumped, well-drained raisins (optional)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick), melted


Strudel base

1 stick butter, melted



1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1 egg


Place butter, water and vinegar in a bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the flour and and process until the dough is smooth. Remove to a well buttered bowl and cover. Let rest in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. If you let it rest overnight, let it warm on the counter for an hour or two before attempting to roll out.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

For Cinnamon Raisin Nut Filling: Combine all the filling ingredients together.  

For Apple Filling: Toss the prepared apples with the lemon juice. Stir together with the rest of the ingredients. If it is super liquidy, add 1 tablespoon corn starch and stir well.

Divide each filling into two portions and set aside while you prepare the dough.

Divide dough into 4 parts. Take off any rings, bracelets and watches and have your arms bare to the elbow. Pat the dough into the shape of a rectangle. Set the piece of dough on the center of your work surface and roll out in each direction with a rolling pin. Let the dough rest for a few minutes. Lifting up a section, gently stretch the dough out on the sides, using the back of your hands and working your way around the entire rectangle. It should be semi-translucent in some places, but be careful not to tear it. Don’t worry too much if you do, though, as the many layers will hide the rips.  

Drip butter onto the dough – it is too delicate to brush with butter. Place dollops of one portion of filling on the buttered dough and gently spread out, being careful not to tear the dough. Brush exposed ends with melted butter, fold in sides of dough, then gently roll dough into a cylinder. Seam should be on the bottom.

Score the top of the strudel in portion-sized sections before you put it in the oven. The knife marks will make a clean slice easier after the strudel is baked.

Brush an egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water on top of the cylinders. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on the cinnamon raisin nut filled ones and with cinnamon sugar for the apple filling.

Bake on a greased baking pan for 30 minutes, rotating once midway through baking. Begin rolling out the dough for the next strudel while one is cooking. Follow above directions for filling and rolling and baking.

Slice when hot. Serve with ice cream or with coffee/tea and it is even better served cold the next day.


Cinnamon sugar coated apple strudel

Baked Apples

I had my friend Julie over for dinner and made her and Michelle baked apples to go with the pork chops. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of the dish. So, I fixed pork loin and baked apples for Michelle tonight so I could post the recipe. We only had Gala apples on hand but they still made a lovely side dish. I’ve written up the recipe for four apples but it easily can be cut in half for a dinner for two, as you can see from the picture.

Baked Apples

4 Gala or Fuji apples
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash the apples. Peel the top of the apples and core them, leaving a bit on the bottom and the rest of the skin, so they will retain their shape during baking.

In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and pecans. Stuff each apple core with the sugar mix. Top with a single whole pecan. Place in a baking dish and pour in 1/4 cup water – you want the bottom of the dish covered in water. Bake for one hour or until the apples are brown and soft.


Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake

I cleaned out the gutters at Michelle’s house and my reward was a special cheesecake. The recipe is from John Besh and instead of making a two layer cake, we combined it all to make a very pretty lavender colored cheesecake that tastes even better than it looks. We replaced the vanilla with limoncello as well as using Michelle’s low and slow method of baking. His batter makes enough for a 10 inch cheesecake – glad we didn’t go with the 9 inch the original recipe listed.

Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 packages cream cheese
1½ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon limoncello (or vanilla extract)
1½ pints blackberries, divided
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Butter a 10-inch springform pan. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in a medium bowl. Press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in the sour cream, flour and limoncello (or vanilla) until smooth.

In a food processor or blender, purée 1 pint of the blackberries with the lemon zest and juice. Pour the purée into the cheese mixture along with the remaining 1⁄2 pint of whole blackberries and mix well.

Pour the filling on top of the prepared crust. Bake for 3 hours at 200 degrees F. Raise the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for about 20 minutes or until the top is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on the counter. About 10 minutes into the cooling, run a knife along the inside edge, so that it doesn’t crack as it pulls from the side. Once cooled, move it to the refrigerator to finish chilling until ready to serve.