Copycat Recipes – Famous Desserts!

So another week done, another theme done! I hope that that you got a kick out of some of the recipes this week, I admit tracking them down and having to put my thinking cap on to try and substitute ingredients without sacrificing flavour was a real challenge. One that I admit that I quite enjoyed. Today’s recipes didn’t have any kosher conflicts, though they are all dairy. The only one that I think you could easy convert to non-dairy, without sacrificing anything would be the lava cake. You could try and make the cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls with non-dairy cream cheese, but I’m not 100% how it would taste. Any brave cooks out there that try it, drop me a note and let me know how it goes!


Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake“Cheesecake Factory” Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 ⅔ cup crushed graham cracker crumbs (about 13 full sheets)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
3 (250g) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
seeds of 2 vanilla bean pods
3 large eggs
¾ cup sour cream
⅓ cup heavy cream

For the mousse:
1 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ (250g) package cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod

For the whipped cream topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
seeds of ½ a vanilla bean pod (optional)
berries and mint, for serving*

* Click here to learn how to clean these ingredients.

Directions:
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with a sheet of 18 x 18 inch heavy duty aluminium foil (make sure the foil has no holes, you don’t want any water to leak in).

In a bowl, mix together the graham crackers crumbs and sugar, stirring to combine. Pour in the melted butter, and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and press it evenly into the bottom. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Have a large roasting pan ready and boil about 4 litres of water (you may not need all of it). In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer blend together the cream cheese, sugar and seeds of 2 vanilla beans just until smooth (scrape down side and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process). Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Add the sour cream and heavy cream and again, mix just until combined. Tap bowl forcefully against counter top about 30 times to release any large air bubbles. Pour over cooled graham cracker crust and smooth into an even layer.

Place the cheesecake in roasting pan then place roasting pan in oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheesecake is set but still jiggly in the centre, about 65 minutes, then leave it in the oven and leave the door closed, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Then remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Tent the cheesecake with foil and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

For the mousse:
Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals, until melted and smooth (or alternately melt in a double boiler). Set the chocolate aside and let it cool until it’s just lukewarm.

In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form, and then add the sugar and whip it again until stiff peaks form (the cream should get to the point where it’s starting to lose that wet sheen and it should become quite thick. Tap any excess cream of beater blades), set the whipped cream aside.

In a separate mixing bowl whip the cream cheese with the seeds of the vanilla bean until smooth. Mix in the white chocolate (it may appear slightly gritty, that’s fine). Add in half of the whipped cream mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until nearly combined, then add the remaining half of the whipped cream mixture and fold until combined and no streaks remain. Pour the mousse over the cold cheesecake and spread into an even layer. Tent the pan with foil then return to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 ½ hours.

For the whipped topping:
In a mixing bowl whip the heavy cream with the seeds of ½ of a vanilla bean until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and whip again until stiff peaks form. Run a knife around edges of cheesecake then spread the whipped cream over mousse layer within 2 hours of serving. To serve remove foil from the pan, pull the latch and remove the springform pan ring. Garnish with raspberries and mint if desired, and cut into slices.


“Cinnabons” Cinnamon RollsCinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup margarine
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
⅓ cup margarine, softened

For the cream cheese icing:
6 tablespoons margarine
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix well. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approximately 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approximately ¼ inch thick. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

To make the filling, combine the margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the margarine first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1½ inch slices. You might find it easier if you use a piece of floss instead of a knife. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.

Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl, and beating together well with an electric mixer until fluffy. When the rolls are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before, spreading generously with icing.


Chili's Molten Lava Chocolate Cake“Chili’s” Molten Lava Cake

Ingredients:
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
½ cup coconut oil
caramel sauce, for drizzling (optional)
vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a microwave-safe bowl combine 2 cups of the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, in 45 second intervals, whisking between each interval until smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar until completely combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks, and whisking again to combine. Add the vanilla and flour, whisking one last time.

Generously spray eight 1-cup oven-safe cups with cooking spray, and evenly fill with batter. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven for 13-15 minutes until the outer edges are set and the centre is still soft. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for 2-3 minutes before inverting onto a plate drizzled with caramel sauce (if using).

While the cakes are baking, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the remaining chocolate chips with the coconut oil and microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between until smooth (should take about 2 minutes total). This will make “magic shell chocolate sauce”. Once you are plating your cakes, top each cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzle a little “magic shell sauce” and let it sit for 30-45 seconds to harden.


“Momofuku” Crack PieMomofuku Crack Pie

Ingredients:
For the oat cookie crust:
non-stick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 ½ tablespoons (packed) brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon (generous) salt

For the filling:
¾ cup sugar
½ cup (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
6 ½ tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Directions:
To make the oat cookie crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch metal baking pan with parchment paper and coat it with non-stick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

Turn the oat mixture out onto the prepared baking pan, and press it out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until it is light golden on top, about 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely. Using your hands, crumble the oat cookie into a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons butter, and 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it is moist enough to stick together. Transfer the cookie crust mixture to a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using your fingers, press the mixture evenly onto bottom and up the sides of the pie dish. Place the pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

To make the filling:
Position the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Add the melted butter and whisk again until blended. Add the cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the pie for 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but centre still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool the pie for 2 hours in the pie dish on a rack. Chill uncovered overnight. Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Make-Ahead Cookie Mixes

Cookies in jars

So as our week winds down, how about a sweet note? Everyone loves cookies, and I don’t care that Sesame Street has converted Cookie Monster into a “cookies in moderation” monster. To me, they are still awesome, and deserve their own day on “Make-Ahead Week”. Just like the soups and dressings from previous dressings, these make excellent gifts, and will be accepted with a bigger smile than salad dressing. Make sure if you are gifting these to layer the ingredients as “prettily” as possible, by alternating colours and textures so that it is attractive to both the eye and the stomach! You can print some cute labels and tags on your home printer, and there you go, next thing you know, you have a little cottage industry in your house making cookies-in-a-jar gifts! I wish you much success and in the words of Cookie Monster “Me want cookie!” “Me eat cookie!” “Om nom nom nom”


Applesauce Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup chopped nuts

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening
1 egg
½ cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and applesauce and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Drop teaspoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes at 350°F.


Black & White Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 ⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup quick oats
⅔ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons M&M’s
⅓ cup rice krispies
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup white chocolate chips

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 egg
½ cup butter or shortening

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Butterscotch Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 ⅛ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup rice krispies or corn flakes
¾ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped pecans

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup of butter or shortening
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup of softened butter or shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Chunky Chocolate Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup jumbo chocolate chip morsels
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 11-13 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Cocoa Peanut Butter Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups packed confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and peanut butter, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes until edges are browned. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Honey Spice Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
¾ cup honey
1 large egg

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and honey, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Cover the dough and chill overnight. Next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into 1”balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a cup dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 5-8 minutes.


Molasses Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoonMo cloves
⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
sugar, for decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into 1”balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly, and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes.


Peanut Butter Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup chopped salted peanuts
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup peanut butter chips
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and peanut butter, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes.


Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 small package raspberry gelatin dessert mix (aka Jewish Jello)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups flour mixed
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are very lightly browned. Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.


White Chocolate Cherry Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vanilla sugar
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup chopped nuts
¾ cup white chocolate chips
½ teaspoon dried lemon peel

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into 1” size balls and place 2″ apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.

Profiteroles

Profiteroles

So we’ve now come to the end of another week of Victorian recipes and a Victorian meal. Are you as full as I am? Amongst the many desserts and vegetable dishes (I’m not quite sure why they were listed under the sweets portion of the menu), the Queen was served “Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse” which translates to “Iced Puff Pastries” or in my mind “Profiteroles”. Now no matter how you slice it, whether with the Victorian version of the recipe:

Les Choux glacés à la Duchesse

Or the modern day recipe that I have below, I will fully admit that this is not one of those “Shake-and-Bake” recipes where you can blink and be done with it. It’s got steps, lots of them, and it’s a wee bit finicky and pain-staking. Having made it sound like oh so much fun, I can say one thing for it… it’s delicious and super-duper impressive! Especially if you make a tower out of them. Have a mother-in-law you want to impress? This will do it! You can try making this dish with non-dairy ingredients, replacing the butter with margarine and the milk with soy/almond/cashew milk, but I’m not 100% sure how well it will come out.

Ingredients:

Choux Pastry:
½ cup water
½ cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Vanilla Pastry Cream:
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Glaze:
60 g (1/3 cup or 2.1 oz.) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons corn syrup

Directions:

Choux Pastry:
In medium sized sauce pan, bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to boil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour until mixture forms ball and film forms on the bottom of the pan.

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue to mix the pastry dough for another minute so that it can cool a bit. One at a time, beat in 3 of the eggs, beating well after each addition until the dough is smooth and shiny.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip or spoon, pipe (or spoon) the dough into twenty-four 1 ½ inch wide mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water; and using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over the mounds, gently flattening any peaks in dough.

Bake in 425°F oven until the mounds are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until golden and crisp, about 10 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and let them stand in oven for another 15 – 25 minutes to dry.

Transfer the pastry mounds to a wire rack, and using the tip of a knife, poke hole in bottom of each profiterole. Let the pastry cool completely. (If you are making these ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours, then re-crisp in 350°F oven for 5 minutes, then cool again before filling.)

Vanilla Pastry Cream:
In bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ½ cup of the milk, the sugar and cornstarch. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge. Gradually whisk the warmed milk into egg yolk mixture. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and cook, whisking, until thick enough to coast the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, and then stir in the vanilla. Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap, laying the wrap directly on the surface of the cream (this way a skin doesn’t form). Refrigerate the cream until chilled, about 3 hours. (If you are making this ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

Chocolate Glaze:
In heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water*, melt together the chocolate, butter and corn syrup, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, leaving the bowl over the saucepan to keep warm.

* Click here to see my tips on using a double boiler.

Assembly:
Using a piping bag fitted with ¼ inch plain tip, pipe pastry cream into each profiterole through the hole in the bottom. Dip the tops of each into the glaze. Let each stand until set, about 20 minutes. (If you are making these ahead: Refrigerate them for up to 4 hours.)

Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

Ginger Rhubarb Crisp

So just in case you weren’t already sold on the whole rhubarb idea yet, did you know how good it was for you? Did you know it can just about do everything for you but your taxes? Here is just a short list of the great wonders that rhubarb has going for it, y’know, besides just tasting awesome!

  • Aids in weight loss – high in flavour, but low in calories, rhubarb is a great alternative with only 21 calories in 100 grams!
  • Stimulates bone growth and repair – the vitamin K promotes osteotrophic activity.
  • Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease  – that’s the vitamin K again, which prevents the oxidation of brain cells and stimulates cognitive activity.
  • Stimulates production of red blood cells – the trace amounts of copper and iron found in rhubarb are enough to stimulate the production of new cells.
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases – the impressive amount of antioxidants in rhubarb help ensure that free radicals don’t cause heart disease.
  • Prevents cancer and macular degeneration – beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are polyphenolics found in rhubarb which delay and ward off cancers and degeneration.
  • Stengthens digestive system and relives constipation – high in fibre, rhubarb has been traditionally used as a cure for constipation.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
zest from 1 orange
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
8 cups chopped rhubarb (8 large stalks/16 small stalks)
½ cup flour
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup salted butter or margarine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats

Directions:

Move an oven rack to the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set it aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the white sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, salt, eggs, orange zest, and ginger until well combined. Add the rhubarb, and mix to coat. Pour the rhubarb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Thoroughly combine ½ cup flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon by pulsing in a food processor or blender. Stir in the oatmeal by hand, and then crumble the whole mixture over the rhubarb. Gently pat the topping down to make a crust.

Bake on the centre rack of the preheated oven until the topping is lightly golden, the rhubarb has fallen apart, and the juices are very thick and bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. Check frequently after 30 minutes to see if bubbles are thick.

Rhubarb Custard Tart

Rhubarb Torte

So I came across this picture more than a year ago, and fell head over heels in love with it. but alas, no recipe to go along with it. So I became a woman on a mission, trying to find something that would more or less match up, and I think I did. I played around with a few different recipes and settled on the one below, taking a bit from this one and a bit from that one. I have given an recipe for making your own pastry dough, but you can easily just use a store bough one instead. Just blind bake until golden brown and follow the rest of the steps for the tart.

Ingredients:

Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (1 stick, minus 1 tablespoon)
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons cold water

Custard:
414ml (14 oz.) condensed milk (this is equal to 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons)
100ml evaporated milk (this is equal to ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs + 2 yolks

Rhubarb:
2-3 large stalks fresh rhubarb, sliced to the width of your tart pan
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water

You will also need a 14 x 5 x 1 inch rectangular tart case (or any other tart shell you would like)

Directions:

For the Pastry Dough:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips (or I’ve even known people to use two knives in a criss-cross motion), blend together the flour mixture and butter until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork and then stir it into the flour/butter mixture with the fork until combined well.

Gently knead the dough in the bowl with floured hands until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times. Form the dough into a ball, and then flatten it into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.  If making the tart right away, preheat oven to 350°F, and line a rectangular pastry case with sweet pastry and blind bake* until golden, about 12-15 minutes.

For the Custard:
To make the custard you are going to need to pans on the stove top at once. One with the evaporated milk/cornstarch mixture and one acting as a double boiler* for the egg base.  For the egg base, take a small to medium pan (make sure your pan is smaller than your mixing bowl that will sit on top) and put a cup or two of water in it and set it to boil on the stove. Once it begins to boil, lower it to a simmer. It is now ready to act as your double boiler.

While you are waiting for your water to come to temperature, mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and condensed milk together in a glass bowl. Once the water is simmering, place the glass bowl over the pan, and heat the contents, whisking until they thicken. To make the custard place the evaporated milk and cornstarch in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Remove both mixtures from the stove top and fold together to fully combine. Pour the combined custard into the cooked pastry case.

For the Rhubarb:

Cut the rhubarb into equal lengths, to fit the pastry case. Pour the sugar and water into a sauce pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Place the rhubarb into the heated sugar and allow to cook for 1 minute then turning gently for another minute. You are just par-cooking the rhubarb, the final product will still have some firmness to it.

Place the rhubarb gently on top of the custard along the length of the pastry case. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the tart and rhubarb with the remaining sugar syrup to glaze. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

* Click here to learn about blind baking and double boilers.

Mini Apple & Honey Upside-Down Cakes

Apple Honey Upside Down Cake

Well, it’s that time of year again, Rosh HaShanah! The Jewish New Year is just 5 sleeps away! Now is definitely the time to get out there and start stocking up on apples and honey, amongst other traditional New Year’s treats, some of which I will be giving out recipes for this week!

For today’s recipe, a co-worker of mine showed me a recipe for mini honey cakes with apples, and I thought that it was so clever to serve up cute little portions instead of a traditional loaf style cake. But then I started thinking, hmm… let’s break out even further from the traditional and make a mini upside-down cake, with apples, honey and a touch of orange zest! So here you go readers: A recipe for mini upside down apple & honey cake that will make 8 portions to serve up this new years! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the caramel:
½ cup toasted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1 ½ large Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, plus more for coating the ramekins
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup orange blossom honey
¼ teaspoon fine salt

For the cake:
1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon packed finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon fine salt
1 ½ cups unsalted margarine (1 ½ sticks), at room temperature
¾ cup orange blossom honey
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup soy milk/non-dairy creamer, at room temperature
non-dairy ice cream for serving, optional

Note: If you wish to make this as one large cake, instead of mini individual ones, follow the directions as outlined below, but then bake the cake in an 8-inch cake pan for 45 minutes or until cooked through when tested.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.

For the caramel:
Coat 8 (6-ounce) ramekins with margarine and evenly space them on a baking sheet. Divide almonds among the ramekins.

Peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Place in a medium, non-reactive bowl, add 1 ½ tablespoons of the lemon juice, and toss to combine; set aside.

Melt margarine in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sugar, honey, and salt and stir to combine. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until mixture just starts to turn a light caramel colour, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon lemon juice and stir to combine.

Remove the pan from heat and carefully place about 2 tablespoons of the caramel in each ramekin. (Work quickly—the caramel will start to set after a few minutes.) Divide the apple pieces among the ramekins, leaving any juice in the bowl; set the ramekins aside.

For the cake:
Place flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Place the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in colour and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add honey, sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Add eggs one at a time, letting the first incorporate before adding the second. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.

Return the mixer to low speed, add the soy milk/non-dairy creamer, and mix until just incorporated. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds; do not overmix. Evenly spoon the batter over the apples and smooth the tops. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Immediately run a knife around the perimeter of each cake. Using a dry kitchen towel to grasp the ramekins, invert the hot cakes onto serving plates. Top with non-dairy ice cream and serve.

Canadian Berry Galette (Saskatchewan)

Berry Galette

So Saskatchewan is known as Prairie Country… and it is flat! By flat, I mean you can see right across the province, no problem. But flat doesn’t mean boring, or unproductive! All that flat land gives us great plains to grow all kinds of wheats, grains, pulses, and more. One of these crops is Canola, otherwise known as rapeseed (gee, I wonder why it doesn’t go by that name more often?). Canola is used to make Canola Oil. EVERYONE has a bottle of that stuff in their kitchen! So, we’re going to be making a pie today, with a Canola Oil crust. Now what to go in the pie? Well, if you can get your hands on them, Saskatoon Berries would be great! They look like blueberries, but have a tarter taste that goes well in baked goods. For those of us that live outside the prairie region, blueberries, or other types of berries will have to suffice!

Ingredients:

Canola Oil Pie Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold milk*
About 2 tablespoons ice water

Mixed Berry Filling:
4 cups mixed berries (Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)**
¼ to ⅓ cup, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest***
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk*

* To make this pie non-dairy, use soy-milk, almond milk or non-dairy creamer in place of the regular milk.
** Click here to learn about cleaning berries.
*** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.

Directions:

Into a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the oil and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the size of peas. Stir in the milk and mix until begins to form a dough. Stir in enough water to form a smooth ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to rest refrigerated for 20 to 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the berries with ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon zest. Let sit 3 minutes, then taste to determine if more sugar is needed, adding more as needed. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large circle, about 10-inches across. Transfer to a baking sheet. Spread the fruit filling into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold the edges over the filling, overlapping the dough into folds. With a pastry brush, brush the cream onto the dough border and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar on top.

Bake until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubby, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before serving.

New York Style Cheesecake

CheesecakeSo the last stop that Phileas Fogg and Passepartout made before returning to London, and completing their circumnavigation of the globe was in New York, New York, in the good ol’ US of A. So what could be a sweeter way to finish than with dessert? New York? Dessert? Hello cheesecake! New York–style cheesecake relies upon heavy cream or sour cream in addition to the cream cheese, and has a dense, smooth, and creamy consistency. Interesting note, the sour cream makes the cheesecake more resilient to freezing and is the method by which most frozen cheesecakes are made. Today’s recipe will give you a very basic cake, but I’ve added two sauces to choose from for toppings! Not in the mood to make a topping from scratch? You can always use your favourite flavour of pie filling! A dollop of any flavour will do ya! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, particularly up the sides of the pan. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

In a large bowl, using an electric beater, mix the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. By hand, blend in the milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Overmixing can affect the texture of the cake, so just mix by hand until combined. Pour filling into prepared crust.

You will be baking the cake in a water bath, to ensure even cooking. Take a large baking dish that will fit your springform pan inside of it, and is at least an inch and a half deep. Place the filled springform pan in your baking dish, and then fill the dish with hot water, so that the water comes up about 1 inch from the base of the springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn the oven off, and let the cake cool in the oven with the door closed for at least 3 hours, but more like 5-6. This will prevent cracking along the surface of the cake. Once the cake has sat, chill it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can enjoy this as is or with one of the toppings below.

Strawberry SauceStrawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

2 pints fresh strawberries*
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest**

* Click here to learn how to clean strawberries.
** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.

Directions:

Combine berries, sugar, water and zest and cook until berries are soft and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve.

Blueberry SauceBlueberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups water
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons orange zest**
1 ½ cups blueberries, picked over and rinsed*
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

* Click here to learn how to clean blueberries.
** Click here for my tips on zesting oranges.

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat stir together the sugar, cornstarch, water, orange juice, and orange zest. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the blueberries and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the berries have burst, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool before pouring over the cheesecake.

Summer Upside Down Peach Cake

Summer Peach CakeSo my dad’s absolute favourite dessert is peach pie, peach cake, peach cobbler… well, anything peach based! We made a peach cobbler for him last year that he just loved, but of course, now I can’t seem to find the recipe! Luckily, I’m never without another peach substitute! This dessert will be a big hit and looks absolutely beautiful. To peel the peaches, you can either do it with a knife or peeler… or the “professional” way by lightly blanching the peaches in boiling water for 30-45 seconds, then dropping them in an ice bath. The high temperature followed by the shock of the ice water will make the peels come off easily. Another tip, it helps if you score them gently first with a sharp knife!

Ingredients:

¾ cup unsalted butter, divided*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk*
6 large, juicy peaches, divided: 3 peeled, pitted and roughly chopped; 3 peeled, pitted and sliced into crescents

* If you want to make this cake non-dairy, simply substitute margarine for the butter, and click here to learn how to make non-dairy buttermilk.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt ¼ cup butter and pour into an un-greased 9-in. round baking pan. Sprinkle with ¼ – ½ cup of the brown sugar. Arrange peach slices in single layer over sugar.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining butter and remaining brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, alternating between the two. Mix until the batter is smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the roughly chopped peaches.

Pour the batter into the pan, on top of your sliced peaches, smoothing it as evenly as possible.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Macarpone Semifreddo with Pistachios and Biscotti

SemifreddoSemifreddo is Italian for half cold, or in other words, what we call a Canadian Spring! (Ba-dum-bah! Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week!) Okay, back to food… So, semifreddos are a class of semi-frozen desserts, typically things like ice-cream cakes, semi-frozen custards, or the frozen chocolate mousse cake that an old kosher Toronto restaurant used to serve. Usually, it is made by combining equal parts of ice cream (or gelato in Italian cuisine) and whipping cream. In today’s recipe, we’re doing things a bit differently, by combining mascarpone cheese, Greek yogourt and whipped egg whites. Your guests will be molto impressionato (very impressed) with this dessert! This dish will serve 8 to 10 people.

Ingredients:

1 orange*
¼ cup sugar
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup plain Greek-style yogourt
1 ½ cups (375 mL) store-bought almond biscotti, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey, plus extra for garnish
¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 egg whites

* Click here for my tips on zesting citrus.

Directions:

Zest an orange with a peeler and cut into thin strips. Squeeze out the juice and put it aside for now. Place the zest in a saucepan, covering it with water and bring it to a boil. Drain the zest and then put back in the saucepan with ⅓ cup water and the sugar. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, as this will candy the zest. After the ten minutes, drain the zest and reserve the syrup.

In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone with the yogourt and the reserved orange juice. Add the candied orange zest, biscotti, honey and pistachios. Mix together to combine.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with the reserved syrup until soft peaks form. It will help if you use an electric mixer to do this, but it can be done by hand (with a little elbow grease). Incorporate the whipped egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Pour into a 9 x 5-inch (23 x 13 cm) silicone loaf pan or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper (see note below).

Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours before unmoulding. Let the semifreddo stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This will help soften it before slicing to serve it “semi-frozen.” Serve slices of the semifreddo with a drizzle of honey if desired.

Note: If using a non-silicone loaf pan, you want to line it completely with parchment paper first, so that it can be removed easily once frozen.

Step 1: Grease your pan with a little butter or non-stick cooking spray, then trim your parchment paper to fit your pan (use the pan as a guide) leaving enough of a border to come up all four sides, leaving at least 1 inch of overhang. Cut in at all four corners, diagonally, toward the corners of your pan.
Step 2: Carefully fit your parchment into your pan — the cuts will allow the corner flaps to overlap and the paper to sit neatly inside.
Step 3: Trim the top, if necessary, so you don’t have too much of an overhang, and use a little butter or non-stick spray to stick down any paper that has come away from the tin.
Step 4: Ta-dah! You have a beautifully lined loaf pan!