Posts Tagged ‘easy desserts’


If you are a past reader you know that I love “nursery” desserts like custard, puddings, floating island – almost anything that would have been served in an English nursery.  The only ones I don’t like are those with gelatin bases or what I used to call wiggle desserts.  A grunt is almost one of those nursery desserts but it is a little more grown-up.  But how I love the names of old-fashioned fruit desserts like this one.  Buckles, slumps, pandowdies, fools, betties, sonkers, crumbles – all silly names for delicious fruit desserts probably most of them from early English cookbooks.  I particularly love a grunt (also called slump) in the summer as it can be cooked on the stove top rather than in the oven so you don’t have to heat up the kitchen on those hot days.  This is one of my favorite recipes —- summer or winter.  You can use almost any fruit that is in season.  If using harder fruits, such as apples or pears, pre-cook them a bit longer to soften.


1¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ cup half and half

¼ cup cooled, melted unsalted butter

½ cup water

½ cup orange juice

¾ cup granulated sugar

8 cups blueberries

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch ground nutmeg

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Heavy cream or whipped cream for serving, optional


Combine the flour, light brown sugar and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together to blend completely.  Add the half and half and melted butter and, using a wooden spoon, beat until a soft batter forms and no lumps remain.

Combine the water, orange juice and sugar in a heavy bottomed 12-inch frying pan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved into the liquid.

Add the blueberries, lemon zest, and nutmeg, cover and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover and drop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful into the bubbling fruit. Continue dropping until all of the batter has been used and the entire top is almost covered in dumplings.  Lower the heat to barely simmer, cover and cook for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a couple of the dumplings comes out clean.

Remove from the heat and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar or with heavy cream poured over each serving or whipped cream dolloped on top.  You could also serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt – do whatever your diet points you toward.



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Makes About 3½ dozen

3 large egg whites
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup superfine sugar
One 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
Place the eggs whites in the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until foamy.   Add the vanilla, and cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
With the motor running, slowly add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form.  Add the coconut and beat on low to just combine.  Do not over-beat or the coconut will begin to disintegrate.
Using a medium melon baller or small ice cream scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1-inch between each cookie.  When all of the cookies have been formed, transfer to the preheated oven and bake, rotating the cookie sheets about halfway through the baking time, for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheets.
Serve or store, airtight, in single layers separated by waxed paper for up to 1 week.

NOTE:  If desired, you can dip one side of each macaroon into melted bittersweet chocolate and garnish with a toasted coconut chip.

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pumpkin cheescake


Rather than pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (which nobody in my family likes except me) I try to come up with a new pumpkin or squash dessert each year.  And, sometimes I just go back to an old favorite, pumpkin cheesecake, which I would make many years ago at MOM, our bakery, to offset the tedium of making the 100s of pies that were ordered.  Sometimes I make a graham cracker crust, sometimes a chocolate cookie crust, and sometimes and gingersnap crust.  Sometimes I marble it with chocolate and sometimes I just make it plain with no crust at all.  I hope this recipe will become a long-standing holiday favorite in your house, too.


For the crust:

1½ cups gingersnap (or other cracker or cookie) crumbs

¼ cup melted unsalted butter

For the cake:

2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup well-drained pumpkin puree

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325°F.


Combine the crumbs with the butter and, using your fingertips, press the mixture together.  When well-blended, pour into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9-inch round springform pan and gently pat the crumbs into the pan to make an even layer.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until just set.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Beat on low to blend.  Add the 2 sugars and beat until very well incorporated.  Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and ginger juice and continue to beat to blend completely.  Add the spices and beat until blended.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate completely.  Do not over-beat or you will incorporate too much air which allows bubbles to form in the batter.  The batter should be smooth and creamy so that you cake will be also.

Pour the batter into the springform pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth the top.

Transfer to the preheated oven, turn the oven to 300°F, and bake for about 1 hour or until set.  The center may be a little wobbly, but it will continue to cook as the cake cools.  Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit, undisturbed for another hour.

Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for at least 2 hours before removing the rim of the pan.


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