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.

 

Advertisements

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
eggs
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.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

This is a quick recipe for buttermilk pancakes that is as easy as using a box mix and it includes Michelle’s favorite add in – blueberries. This recipe makes 6 to 8 pancakes, perfect for a meal for two. I started by using the powdered, dry buttermilk to make a cup of buttermilk for the recipe. To make sure it had that tang you get from real buttermilk, I added a little sour cream.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup blueberries (use fresh or thawed frozen berries)
2 additional tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Warm a pancake griddle over medium low heat while preparing the batter. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F, to have a place to stash cooked pancakes while cooking the next batch.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sour cream and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and gently stir until all the streaks of flour are incorporated. The batter will still be lumpy.

Brush a little bit of the additional melted butter on pancake griddle in the area where you will put batter. Using a ladle, pour out about 1/4 cup of batter over the butter. Sprinkle on a small handful of blueberries. Cook until the edges of the pancake are set, the top bubbles begin to break and the underside is golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side until it is golden brown.

Serve pancakes immediately or place them in the prepared oven. Using more melted butter, prepare the griddle for the next set of pancakes. Continue until all the batter is used up.

Limoncello Cheesecake For My Birthday

Michelle made me an awesome cheesecake for my birthday. With lemon juice and limoncello liquor, it was amazingly creamy and lemony and off the hook delicious.

This makes a lot of cheesecake – it almost overfilled a 10″ springform pan. You could use two store bought graham cracker pie shells, instead. If you’re making your own crust, it will take 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs mixed with 5 tablespoons of melted butter to coat the bottom of the well buttered pan.

Because this is a low and slow method of cheesecake cookery, do not use a water bath in the oven.

 

Limoncello Cheesecake

4 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt (we used Fage)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup limoncello liquor
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whip the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix to combine. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flour and yogurt. Slowly mix in the lemon juice and limoncello. Add in the vanilla extract and lemon peel.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and bake for 3 hours.

Remove from oven and crank the heat to 500 degrees F. Place the cheesecake back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to brown the top. Turn off the oven and crack the door and let the cheese cake cool down for 30 minutes. Then run a knife along the edge to release from the pan and cool on the counter for another 30 minutes before putting it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before releasing the sides of the pan.

Corn Starch Lemon Meringue Pie for Pi Day

I suffer from innumeracy (and numerophobia and arithmophobia) but I appreciate the work that mathematicians and scientists do/have done/are doing. I am especially grateful for those who teach math and science, even in the face of attacks from legislators and religious extremists. Here in Louisiana, we just had BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) vote to add a provision to the standards laid out in a poorly named state law (the Louisiana Science Education Act) to encourage teachers to challenge evolution and climate change in their science classrooms.

Is it a surprise that Louisiana ranks poorly in national comparisons of science testing results?

Anyhoo, I also celebrate March 14th because I like pie. This one is a recipe my mom took off the back of the cornstarch box many years ago.

Corn Starch Lemon Meringue Pie

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups cold water
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Grated peel of 1 lemon, chopped fine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 baked (9-inch) pie crust (I prefer graham cracker)
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine 1 cup sugar and corn starch in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in egg yolks. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and boil one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and butter.

Spoon hot filling into pie crust.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy. Mix 1/3 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon corn starch and gradually beat into egg whites. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing to edge of crust.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack at room temperature for 30 minutes; refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Oh, and before you make your own pie crust using a pie plate you inherited, make sure it is 9 inches. As you can see from the picture, mine is actually closer to 10 inches!

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix together graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir to combine. Press into a pie plate, being sure to press down well on the bottom and sides. Bake for 8 minutes in a 375 degree F oven. Allow to cool before using.

Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been looking for inventive ways to use my sourdough starter. After scanning the King Arthur Flour website on sourdough, I found these blueberry muffins. I made a few adjustments which I’ve put in below. Being a southerner, maple syrup was a non-starter, so I switched to cane syrup, available in many grocery stores or online. I also coated the top with cinnamon sugar (mix half cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon). I was using big blueberries from a you-pick farm, so I dropped that amount slightly (do use the full two cups if using grocery sized blueberries).

The resulting muffins are hearty without being heavy. They are lightly sweet with a burst of blueberry in every bite. I’m posting them with some of the beads from the Krewe of Nyx parade last night.

blueberry-muffins

Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cane sugar or honey
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Cinnamon sugar for dusting tops of muffins

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers and lightly spray the inside of the papers with oil.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

In a second bowl, beat together the sourdough starter, milk, egg, melted butter and sweetener. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry until the batter just comes together. Gently stir in the blueberries until blended.

Fill the cups of the prepared pan with the batter; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon sugar.

Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.

Upside Down Apple Pie for Thanksgiving

We decided on good ole Apple Pie for Thanksgiving but, you know me and typical. Instead of the usual fussing with pie crust, I’m doing a version of Apple Tart Tatin using puff pastry. And, because I can’t leave well enough alone- I added pecans.

apple-slice

Upside Down Apple Pie

3-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters (you want enough apples to fill your skillet)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
pinch of salt
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (store bought is just fine)

1 pint vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss cut apples with lemon juice.

In a large ovenproof skillet melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and stir for 3-5 minutes until the sugar mixture is a golden caramel brown color, but still somewhat grainy in texture. Add the apple slices and cinnamon, stirring well to coat each slice. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring often. Add in the pecans and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Remove pan from the heat and let cool slightly.

Roll the sheet of puff pastry out until it’s large enough to cover the 10-inch skillet. Arrange the apple slices in a decorative circular pattern in the bottom of the sauté pan. Place the circle of puff pastry over the apples and tuck the excess dough down inside the pan.

Bake for 12 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown, puffed and crispy. Within 5 minutes of removing from the oven and using oven mitts, carefully invert the pie onto a large serving plate. The caramel sauce is very hot, so be careful not to get it on yourself. Serve the pie hot with vanilla ice cream.

full-apple-tart