Posts Tagged ‘sweet tooth’


As I’ve mentioned many times I love what used to be called “nursery desserts” – that is those sweets that were, once upon a time, served only to children because they were simple to make and easy to digest.  In that category were bread and butter puddings, rice pudding, custards (both quaking and sauce-like), floating island and so forth.  When a child my two favorites were junket (a rather strange, mildly-flavored gelatinous pudding) and baked custard.  The other day I decided to try to make a custard for a friend who has a great many intolerances – among them gluten, dairy, and sugars which makes it difficult to prepare most desserts.  Custard doesn’t require flours, but it certainly needs heavy cream and quite a bit of sugar.  I substituted almond milk for the cream and used a sugar replacement and my sweet friend said it was very satisfying, but I have to say if you want to try your hand at old-fashioned custard stick to a recipe using cream and sugar.  I know that I will next time.

2 cups heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste (that’s traditional, but I don’t much like it so never use it)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
½ cup sugar or more if you have a sweet tooth such as mine

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
Generously butter the interior of a 1 quart baking dish or 6 small ramekins.  Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar together until well-blended by not too light and fluffy as that will leave bubbles in the baking custard.  Set aside.
Heat the cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to steam.  Do not let it even come to a bare simmer – again, those bubbles.
Stirring constantly, slowly add the hot cream to the eggs.  When perfectly blended, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the prepared baking dish.
Place the baking dish in a larger baking pan.  Add very hot water to come up about half way the side of the baking dish.  Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes (less if you are using individual ramekins) or until the center is still shaky when the bowl is moved.  It continues to cook for a bit once removed from the oven and you don’t want it to over-cook as it will toughen.
Remove from the heat and serve warm, at room temperature, or, if you like, refrigerate and serve cold.

Read Full Post »



I grew up eating gooseberry fool and when a child, thought my mom had made up the name ‘cause it would fool me into thinking it was ice cream.  But, I later learned that it is the olde English name for a fruit dessert – classically gooseberry – that combined mashed fresh fruit with a custard sauce.  My mom just used whipped cream and fruit and I now use a combination of whipped cream and yogurt rather than the richer custard.  We have had such beautiful berries this summer that I’ve tried to use them in lots of different ways although they have all been sweet and delicious on their own.  Last night I took the last of the blackberries, mashed them with a bit of sugar and then folded them into vanilla nonfat yogurt.  A perfect summer dessert.

Read Full Post »

©Stephen Kolyer_strawberry

You can’t tell from looking at this photo, but here we have the most old-fashioned pie I can think to make in the spring – strawberry-rhubarb.  I only make it when rhubarb is fresh from the yard of my best buddy, Bee.  Her one gigantic plant yields enough rhubarb for quite a few pies and lots of jars of jam.  Steve took the photo of the pie just as it came out of the oven and then we forgot to take another photo once we cut a slice.  It was just so good we ate before we thought!  Will try to do better next time.


Read Full Post »



This was my mom’s go-to Sunday coffee cake and, as my wonderful husband just said “it is addictive.  Easy to make and even easier to eat.  It is so much better than a commercial out-of-the-box cake and really doesn’t take anytime at all to make.  I make a big batch of the Crumb Topping and keep it in the freezer so the entire process takes only a few minutes to put the cake together.  It can bake while you make the beds and throw a morning’s load of wash in.  And, oh! the aroma that will wake everyone up to sweet thoughts. You can add dried fruit or berries to the batter, but it is totally unnecessary.

Makes one 9-inch cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1½ teaspoons baking powder
 ¼ teaspoon salt
 1 cup milk
 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, or fresh blueberries, optional
 Crumb Topping (recipe follows)
 Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
 Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake cake (or use nonstick vegetable spray such as Baker’s Joy).  Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Begin beating on low to soften; then, add the sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and add to the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, beating just until well-blended.  If using the fruit or berries, fold them into the batter now.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula (or whatever implement you have handy).  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

    Crumb Topping

    1 cup walnut pieces
    1 cup brown sugar
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Combine the nuts, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Process to just combine.  Add the butter and process, using quick on and off turns, to just crumbly.  Use as directed or place in a resealable plastic bag, seal, label, and freeze for later use.

Read Full Post »


I’m here to tell you that once you take the time to make chocolate pudding, you will never, ever buy a box of instant.  And, since it doesn’t take long to make, it will quickly become your go-to easy dessert.  My mom used it to make a chocolate cream pie – easy to do also as all you need is a pre-baked pie shell (a graham cracker one is terrific), chocolate pudding, and a cup of heavy cream which you will whip to cover the pudding.  Garnish with some chocolate sprinkles or curls and you will have made a “company’s coming” treat.

This recipe makes enough for 6 generous servings or to fill one pie shell.
    ½ cup sugar
    ¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
    ⅓ cup cornstarch
    2 cups milk
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan.  Whisk in the milk and vanilla and place over medium heat.  Cook, whisking constantly, for about 6 minutes or until smooth and thick.
Add the chocolate and lower the heat.  Cook, beating constantly with a wooden spoon, until the pudding is smooth and creamy.  Beat in the butter and remove from the heat.
Spoon the pudding into individual dishes or one larger bowl.  Cover with plastic film (do not allow the film to touch the pudding) and set aside to cool.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: