May – Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

May – Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

Get ready for the perfect Mother’s Day brunch dish. Why do I say perfect?

Easy – check,

No fussy ingredients – check,

Make the night before – check,

Absolutely delicious and decadent – double check!!

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Have a relaxing morning as this dish bakes to a delectable double layer, crisp on top and creamy below. You will be a hero to whom ever you serve it to. This is also the perfect dish to contribute to a brunch pot luck, or serve overnight guests. You only need some fresh fruit, coffee or tea round out the meal.

It’s good the next day, reheated (or cold right out to the baking dish).

My taste testers thought it would make a perfect dessert with some dried fruit added to the base.

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

This recipe will generously serve 6 and 8 to 10 if it is part of a larger menu.

I will include the recipe for the coffee rum sauce (easy, easy, easy). A simple custard sauce would be a wonderful accompaniment as well, especially at breakfast time.

Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 8 croissants (stale is perfectly ok)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (354 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (117 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Coffee Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup (235 ml) coffee ice cream, melted
  • 2 oz (59 ml) dark rum

Method:

  1. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  2. Tear the croissants into 2 inch pieces and set into the baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the croissants and gently toss to make sure they are coated with the custard mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes until golden and the custard has set but is still soft.
  7. Combine the melted ice cream with the dark rum and serve over the warm French Toast Bake.

I think melted vanilla ice cream would also be good, with our without the rum.

Note: This can also be prepared several hours in advance, it need not be overnight.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #431, hosted by Angie. It’s just in time for Mother’s Day.

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

The recipe comes from the ‘effortless entertaining cookbook’ by Meredith Steele.

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will notice something, there are not many recipes for desserts. In fact I could probably count the number on less than one hand.

Looking backward in time…

In June of 2015 there was Lavender Nut Cake.

Lavender Nut Cake

Lavender Nut Cake

In February of 2015 there was a Panettone Bread Pudding. It was a wonderful way to use up the leftover holiday Panettone.

Panettone Bread Pudding

Panettone Bread Pudding

In December of 2014 there was Raspberry Streusel Bars. They were delicious if I do say so myself, very ‘more-ish’.

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Raspberry Streusel Bars

And lastly (my first blogged dessert recipe) in November of 2014,  a recipe for Pot of Chocolate. This one is special for a couple of reasons. First, it was my mother’s secret recipe and second, it was the first recipe of mine to be featured on Fiesta Friday. I was a very new blogger at the time and it was Fiesta Friday #41. It’s now Fiesta Friday #382 and here I am, still part of the party . You can find the link to Fiesta Friday here. It’s a virtual (aren’t most things now) party, a collection of posts hosted by Angie. Come on over to read a collection of blogs about cooking, gardening, decorating and crafts.

Pot of Chocolate

Pot of Chocolate

I am shocked to realize that I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in six years!

Here is number 5, now I have a full handful.

This recipe is by Alison Roman and comes from her cookbook Nothing Fancy. It appealed to me because it’s not too sweet and has a salty component. Salty things are my weakness. Although it is essentially a variation of cheesecake, it’s not cloyingly sweet or rich. That’s especially true if you use labne instead of cream cheese as I did.

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 5 ounces Ritz crackers or Nilla wafers (the Ritz crackers add the salty part). See notes below.
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 pound full fat cream cheese at room temperature, or 2 cups labne
  • 1 cup sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange juice
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Fresh fruit for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Make the crust. Pulse the crackers in a food processor until they are a fine crumb but not powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the brown sugar and butter, then the salt. Use your hands and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated and texture is like that of wet sand.
  3. Press the crust into an unlined 9-inch tart or springform pan, or cake pan lined with parchment. Using the bottom of a glass or small bowl, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake until golden brown on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Make the filling. Combine the cream cheese (or labne), sour cream (or yogurt) and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until very smooth and well blended, scrape down the sides as needed to combine everything. Add the eggs, fruit juice and a pinch of salt. Keep processing until even smoother and creamier.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked crust and bake until set and it no longer jiggles when tapped, about 25 to 35 minutes. It won’t brown, that’s ok.
  7. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let the tart sit in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack on the counter to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This process should prevent cracks but did not in my case. Simply disguise it with fruit, it doesn’t make any difference to the flavor.
  8. To serve, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and put some fresh fruit on top or the side.

Note: She says she has not tested off brand crackers or vanilla wafers, she has only used Nabisco brands.

I used labne (sometimes also spelled labneh) which is often (though not always) more strained than Greek yogurt, so it’s ultra-thick and spreadable, almost like cream cheese. It can replace cream cheese in some recipes although it is much more tart. I also used grapefruit juice, another tart flavor although often more sweet as well.

If you use cream cheese I might recommend using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream if you would like to retain some of the tartness.

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

You can make this up to 3 days ahead but wrap it tightly so it doesn’t pick up any off flavors from the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

June in the Kitchen – Lavender Nut Cake

June in the Kitchen – Lavender Nut Cake

My blog has been going for almost a year, yet this is only the second dessert recipe I have posted. My tastes don’t usually run to sweet, more to salty. And in the interests of keeping the “middle-aged spread” to a minimum, I carefully dole out my carbs. Enter this wonderful vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, Paleo friendly, low carbohydrate cake made from cashews. I served it in thin slices for dessert with fresh fruit, but you could cut it into larger slices for breakfast scones.  It would be wonderful anytime with a cup of Earl Grey. It’s dense and flavorful with honey and lavender. And best of all, this is an easy and delicious recipe.

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Lavender season is in full bloom in Northern California so it seemed appropriate to season it with fresh lavender. Make sure you purchase food grade lavender (I purchased dried lavender at Williams Sonoma) or use blooms that have not been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides.

Lavender

  • 1 1/2 cups of Cashews (or 1 1/3 cups ground). I used unsalted but roast Cashews.
  • 1/4 cup of Arrowroot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of lavender
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of honey (or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

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  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch metal pie plate with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the cashews in a food processor until powdered.
  3. Whisk all the dry ingredients (powdered cashews, arrowroot, salt, baking powder and lavender) together in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients together, stir into the dry ones.
  5. Pour into the lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

    Cashew and Lavender Cake

    Cashew and Lavender Cake

  6. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday for the guests at Angie’s to enjoy.

Fiesta Friday

February in the Kitchen – Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding Tart

February in the Kitchen – Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding Tart

I love panettone. I eagerly look forward to seeing the first boxes at my local market. For me it signals the beginning of the real Christmas season, I don’t see it in October (unlike many other things of which I can easily rant). Lightly toasted with a smear of lemon curd, a cup of dark strong tea beside it…heaven…it’s hard to beat. However, I am the only one in my family who feels that way. All the rest turn up their noses. This year, in a burst of early Christmas season enthusiasm, I purchased two. And now, in February, I find one box still on my kitchen counter. It was time to do something (although it would probably keep till next Christmas).

I saw a recipe from Jamie Oliver for a “Bonkers bread & butter panettone pudding tart”. Although the measurements were in milliliters and grams, I decided to take the plunge. The following recipe is almost as written on his website, converted to oz., cups and tablespoons. I had to make a substitution as, at the last minute, I discovered there was no milk in the house (no one drinks it). I substituted unsweetened almond milk.

Panettone tart

Panettone Pudding Tart

Save the recipe, pin it, until Christmas comes around again, or make your own panettone as the talented bakers featured on “In Your Kitchen” monthly blog party have done.

This bread and butter pudding, layered with panettone, chocolate, orange marmalade and custard is a winner.

Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding Tart (serves 8 generously)

  • 1 box (750 g) plain panettone
  • 9 tablespoons of unsalted butter plus extra for greasing the tart pan (125 g)
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 ¼ cup of heavy cream (300 ml)
  • 1 ¼ cup of whole milk (I used almond milk) (300 ml)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons of light brown sugar (100 g)
  • 60 grams (about ¾ of a regular chocolate bar) of 70% or more dark chocolate
  • 5 tablespoons of bitter orange marmalade (60 g)

You will need an 11-inch (28 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C)
  2. Lightly grease an 11-inch (28 cm) tart pan with removable bottom with softened butter.
  3. Crush 2 tablespoons of sugar in a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Mix in the additional 2 tablespoons.
  4. Add the sugar to the tart pan and shake around to coat. Add any extra back into the bowl of your mortar.
  5. Cut the crust off the panettone and line the sides and bottom of the tart pan. Press the bread firmly into the pan to make a shell.
  6. Halve the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds, put both the seeds and pod into a saucepan. Add the cream, milk and butter. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes or until the butter is completely melted.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the light brown sugar for about 2 minutes or until smooth.
  8. Whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk and cream to the eggs. Discard the vanilla pod.
  9. Pour 1/3 of the custard into the shell of the tart and spread it to cover the bottom.
  10. Tear the remaining panettone into chunks and add to the custard in the bowl. Let it soak up the wonderful eggy mess.
  11. After a few minutes you can start layering bits of chocolate and small spoons of orange marmalade between layers of panettone soaked in custard.
  12. Pour over any leftover custard. And sprinkle with any remaining sugar.
  13. Bake about 25 minutes, until set. Allow to cool and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Panettone pudding

Ready to bake

Bread and Butter Pudding with Ice crean

Bread and Butter Pudding with Ice crean

Serve with ice cream, custard, or whipped cream. My family didn’t turn up their noses this time.

It was also delicious cold the next morning with a dollop of lemon curd and hot tea.

Panettone pudding with lemon curd

Panettone pudding with lemon curd

December in the kitchen – Raspberry streusel bars

December in the kitchen – Raspberry streusel bars

These bars are a wonderfully easy dessert for a large party, cookie exchange, or other holiday gathering. I dare you to eat only one! It is impossible to resist nibbling at the crumbled cookie pieces left in the pan after they are cut.

Cookie crumbs

Cookie crumbs

The recipe is called raspberry streusel and calls for raspberry jam and fresh raspberries. However, when I was ready to make them not a single jar of raspberry jam was to be found anywhere in the house (I was sure there was one in the pantry somewhere); a jar of mixed berry jam was successfully substituted. The bars turned out delicious. Feel free to substitute any kind of berry jam for the raspberry jam in the recipe, and any fresh (or frozen berry). I even think the bars would be wonderful with apricots if there is a glut in your house. Unfortunately we will have to wait a few months before fresh apricots are in season (dried ones could work if reconsititued…let me know if you try it).

This recipe is adapted from one in Cook’s Illustrated, October 2005.

bar cookies

Raspberry streusel bars

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Crust:

  • 3 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter (12 oz.) at room temperature, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking spray or butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, process flour, sugar, and salt until combined, about 5 seconds.
  3. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour and pulse until mixture looks like damp sand, about 20 1-second pulses.
  4. Remove 1/3 of the crust mixture into a medium bowl and set side.
  5. Line a sheet pan or jellyroll pan with parchment paper and apply baking spray, or coat with butter.
  6. Using your hands or a flat-bottomed measuring cup, firmly press the remaining 2/3 of the mixture in an even layer to form the bottom crust.
  7. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Streusel and filling:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup pecan pieces, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 1 ¼ cups raspberry or other berry preserves
  • 2 cups of fresh raspberries or 1 ½ cups of strained thawed frozen fruit (can use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. While crust is baking, make the streusel topping. Add brown sugar, oats, and nuts to the reserved crust mixture; toss to combine.
  2. Work in the butter by rubbing mixture between your fingers until the butter is fully incorporated. Pinch mixture with your fingers to create pea-sized clumps. Set aside.
  3. Make the filling: In a small bowl combine the preserves, berries, lemon juice, and salt. Mash with a fork until combined but some small berry pieces remain.
  4. Spread the filling evenly over the hot crust.
  5. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the filling (do not press).
  6. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling., about 18 minutes.
  7. Cool slightly in the refrigerator before cutting into squares or rectangles with a sharp chef’s knife.
streusel cookies

Raspberry streusel bars

 

streusel bars

Streusel bars

I’m taking these to share with the gang at Fiesta Friday, you’ll find the party at Angie’s Novice Gardener blog. Please join us!

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