food amongst family and friends

Chocolate Silk Pie July 5, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:58 am
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Pie and coffeeLooking for a rich, chocolate dessert that somehow feels light, cold and summery? This is it. It’s easy, quick to prepare (although it needs a 6 hour rest in the fridge) and amazing with a good cup of coffee. Oh, and it comes from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Are you shocked? Go make it immediately.


serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
2 T sugar
Pinch of salt
5 T butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a 9 inch pie pan, stir together cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt.  Stir in melted butter.
2. Press crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides of your pie dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cool completely.

12 T butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract

1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. While mixer is running, drizzle in melted chocolate.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating mixture at medium speed for 5 minutes after each addition, scraping down bowl (so this will whip for 15 minutes total).
4. Add vanilla and blend well.
5. Spread chocolate filling in prepared crust, and smooth top.  Refrigerate until fully chilled, at least 6 hours, or overnight.


1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 T sugar
Chocolate curls shaved from a bar of good quality, dark chocolate (optional)

1. Just before serving, beat cream with sugar until it just holds soft peaks.
2. Smooth evenly over pie and garnish with chocolate shavings.


Dark Chocolate and Brandy Pots de Creme April 7, 2013

pot de creme This is your fast track to a rich, silky dessert tonight. It took me all of about 5 minutes to whip these up.

Pots de creme are a custard of sorts, traditionally composed of eggs and cream, then baked in a water bath.  This recipe ditches the cream and opts for hot coffee, which you blend with the chocolate and eggs. The heat from the coffee thickens the eggs, giving you the same result you would get whisking the eggs and cream over heat. Did that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that this is even less work than a traditional pot de creme and the result is still silky smooth deliciousness.

I grabbed the recipe from Pioneer Woman, where you can find step by step photos of the process. I adapted the recipe to suit my preferences – more booze, brandy instead of Grand Marnier, a little more salt and a smaller batch (because it’s dangerous for me to have 12 of these sitting in the fridge). I hope you love them!


makes 6 reasonable sized servings or 4 indulgent ones

6 oz good dark chocolate (I used Lindt), chopped
2 whole eggs
1 T Brandy (or Grand Marnier or whatever you feel like), possibly more to taste
generous pinch salt
1/2 cup HOT strong coffee
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
optional: candied orange peel or thinly sliced fresh orange peel, for serving

Place the chocolate in your blender. Crack in the eggs, then pour in the Brandy and salt. Blend for a few seconds until the chocolate is busted up and everything is thoroughly mixed.

With the blender running, slowly pour your super hot coffee in a thin stream through the blender lid until it’s all added. Blend another few seconds until smooth. Taste and add more Brandy or salt if desired.

Pour mixture into small cups or jars. Throw them in the fridge until set – it will take about 2 hours. You can easily make these ahead and keep them in the fridge for a day or two.

Top with a big dollop of whipped cream and garnish with sliced orange peel. Dig in!

Tip: I like making these in jars so that I can easily screw on a lid and store them for a few days. Even the whipping cream will stay fresh stored like this for 2 days.



Best Cake Ever – Browned Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake October 12, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Cakes,Desserts,Make Ahead,Uncategorized,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:08 pm
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I have a whole list of healthy, easy weeknight dinners to post, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Some of them are from the Fine Cooking Cooking Fresh magazine I bought, where they snuck this cake in along with all of the other healthy ways to eat your vegetables. I’ve made this twice now (in the last 2 weeks; I think I might have a problem) and every adult who has tasted it, has taken one bite, stopped, looked at me and said “What is this!?!” around a mouthful of deliciousness (the kids have approached it with their usual “Sugar? White flour? I’m in!” attitude. I think the subtleties may be wasted on them). It’s stop you in your tracks good. Browned butter takes a classic pumpkin/spice/cream cheese combo and makes it something extraordinary. It’s Friday, make a cake, you won’t regret it.

P.S. Don’t skip the topping; it’s amazing. In fact, be like me and make extra so you can keep a little bag of it in the car for grown up snacking emergencies!

Pumpkin Puree

2 tsp canola oil

1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half and seeded

Preheat oven to 350, brush a 9×13 glass dish with oil and place pumpkin in cut side down. Roast about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel the pumpkin and puree the flesh in a food processor.

Alternatively, go to the store and buy a can of pumpkin puree. Open with a can opener. Proceed. Seriously though, I made the puree, it was easy and it made a difference in the cake, but I wouldn’t say it’s a make or break thing. Do what you will.

The Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups/9 oz unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 9 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment and flour the pans. (I skipped the parchment the first time and regretted it. This is a VERY moist cake)

2. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook until the foaming and sizzling stop and butter turns a deep brown, but not until the bits on the bottom are black. Once the sizzling stops, watch it closely as it goes from perfect to burnt pretty quickly. Pour butter into a small bowl and let stand until cool, but not set.

3.  In a medium bowl mix together flour thru cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar thru buttermilk plus 1 1/2 cups of your pumpkin puree (leftover puree can be portioned and frozen) until well blended. Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined, then gently whisk in the browned butter until completely incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly between pans (a kitchen scale helps with this). Bake the cakes until set in the middle and a toothpick comes out clean, about 28 minutes (the temperature outside dropped drastically the day before I made this the second time and I had to cook a few minutes longer, so use your discretion).

5.  Let cakes cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out and removing the parchment. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.

The Topping

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pepitas

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped candied ginger

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the pecans and pepitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepitas start to pop. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves completely and a glaze is formed. Stir in the ginger and remove from the heat. Let cool in the skillet.

The Icing

1/2 cup unsalted butter

8 oz cream cheese at room temp

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups icing sugar

1. Brown the butter as you did for the cake. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until settled, 3-4 minutes, then place in the freezer until set, about 20 minutes (it may take a little more or a little less depending on your freezer, but make sure you don’t let it get too hard)

2. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter out of the bowl, leaving behind the browned solids on the bottom. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (the stand mixer didn’t work as well, I ended up with chunks of browned butter that wouldn’t incorporate into the icing) beat the butter until smooth, then add in the cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

3. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until fluffy.
Assembling Your Cake

Place one cake on a platter (this is what you are serving it on). Spread about 1/2 cup of icing evenly on top, then sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping. Place the second cake on top and ice the top and sides with remaining icing. Decorate with remaining topping. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days – this stayed beautifully in the fridge.





A Little Piece of Pie Heaven – Roasted Plum Mascarpone and Saskatoon Pie September 17, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:56 pm
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It’s been so long since I have managed to post that I now have two pie recipes that desperately need to be shared. These are two very different pies, but both are in my top three pies ever tasted (the third is peach pie). About the Plum Mascarpone pie, let me first say, this picture is terrible and does not do justice to this pie, but it was late and dark and I just wanted to eat it. Secondly, if you have never tasted a plum post-roasting, you are missing out on something truly amazing. Seriously, go roast a plum, right now, then thank me for elevating your taste buds to a new level. Add to that plum a vanilla bean and whipped mascarpone and creme fraiche and you might tear up a little. This, my friends, is pie taken to new heights.

And about the saskatoon pie, it’s nothing special, plain old ordinary pie as it should be; a showcase for the fruit at the peak of the season, with a berry that actually holds up to an hour of baking. In other words, nothing short of fantastic. But do yourself a favour and have it with some sort of cream; heavy clotted cream poured over, ice cream, whipped cream, or this Vanilla Mascarpone cream. The point is, cream will always take a berry pie to the next level.

Saskatoon Pie – recipe from my Mom’s best friend Janice, the best cook I know

On batch of Sour Cream Pastry, or pastry for a double crust pie of your choice

5 cups Saskatoons, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 Tbsp corn starch

1 Tbsp lemon juice

dash of nutmeg

1. Mix together water through nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cooking and stirring regularly until clear and thick. Add saskatoons and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the pastry.

2. Preheat oven to 450. Roll out half the pastry to fit your 9″ deep dish pie plate. Place in bottom. Fill with berries, then cover with second half of pastry. Trim and tuck in the edges, then pinch to seal. Cut 3 or 4 vents into the top crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 40 – 45 minutes, covering the edges with tinfoil or an edge protector if they start to get overly brown.

3. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

Plum Mascarpone pie – barely adapted from Bon Apetit

1/2 batch Sour cream Pastry or single pie crust of your choice, fully cooked and cooled (I cooked the sour cream crust, liberally fork holed, for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown all over)

4 – 5 lbs plums, pitted and halved, skins on (I used a combination of Italian prune plums and red plums)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, divided (or a whole vanilla bean, divided)

8 oz mascarpone

1/3 cup creme fraiche (sour cream works if you can’t find it)

2 Tbsp honey

whipped cream for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir together plums, 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice and half the vanilla bean paste (or scrape in half the bean). Toss to coat, then divide the plums between two 9×13 glass baking dishes, cut side down. Suggested roasting time was 40-60 minutes, I roasted mine for 40 minutes, and thought it was a little too long, so I would recommend checking in a few times during the roasting. You want the juices bubbling and the plums soft but not yet falling apart.

2. Let plums cool slightly, then remove to a cookie sheet with a slotted spoon, reserving juices. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (I did mine the day before. In fact, I did everything the day before and then just assembled the pie a few hours before serving).

3. Pour juices into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to an approx half cup. Set aside (or refrigerate until assembly, microwaving slightly with a Tbsp of water to loosen back up before use)

4. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, remaining 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, mascarpone, creme fraiche, and honey in a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat as mascarpone can curdle.

5. Assemble your pie: take your crust, spread mascarpone mixture on bottom, then add plums in spiraling layers so it peaks in the middle, then liberally brush the whole thing with the glaze, reserving some to put on top of the whipped cream for serving. Hello Masterpiece!



PS Shout out to Katie for having a pie, cheese and sangria party for her 30th birthday party; it was foodie heaven! Plus she’s the one who introduced the plum pie to my life.




Spring Treats: Cranberry Lemon Squares April 13, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Bars,Desserts,Make Ahead,Uncategorized,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:36 pm
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This is the third time I have started this post; twice now my computer has failed me, so I’m hoping this one is the charm, because I used all mine up on the first two posts. So, let me be blunt; these squares rock, easily my baking find of the year; perfect blend of tart and sweet, and if spring had a taste, this is what is would be (yes, I know, cranberries and lemons are more of a Christmas thing, but trust me). Also, they froze beautifully, so they are easy to make ahead. So just make them already. Shout out to ELS for the awesome recipe!


3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Zest of one big lemon

1 cup butter, cold and cubed

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 – 4 Tbsp cold water


2 1/2 – 3 cups frozen cranberries (depending on how tart you like it)

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar

Juice from your zested lemon

2 Tbsp corn starch

1. Preheat oven to 400  and spray a 9×13 glass baking dish.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in your food processor or a large bowl. Pulse or whisk to blend. Add butter and pulse (in processor) or use a pastry cutter until crumbly, with no visible hunks of butter.

3. Transfer to a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric) and add egg and vanilla. Once mixed, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. Mix very well between each addition, as it will take a while for the dough to form even after you add the water. I used about 2 1/2 Tbsp.

4. Press a little more than half (I always seem to have a big half, so use that one) the dough into the bottom of the pan.

5. Combine lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth. Add the cranberries and mix thoroughly. Pour over the bottom layer, then crumble remaining dough on top.

6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 25 minutes or until edges and topping are golden brown. Let cool completely (and I mean completely) before cutting.




Classic Coffee Cake January 20, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Cakes,Desserts,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:56 pm
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This is what my work-from-home day looked like this week: hiding from the freezing outdoors (-32C!) with my laptop, a cappuccino and a slice of coffee cake. Winter has its perks.

The coffee cake comes from Meagan. It’s quick to throw together and you likely have all of these things in your house right now. Be sure to try this one – it’s a keeper.


2 T sugar
1 t cinnamon

3/4 c cold butter
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat or spelt flour
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar, packed
1 t baking soda
1 egg
1 c sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Using a pastry cutter, combine the butter, flours and brown sugar until crumbly and well combined. Transfer half of this mixture into a greased or sprayed 9×13 baking dish, pressing it into the bottom of the pan to form a crust of sorts.
  2. Give the egg a quick beat with a fork, then add it to the flour mixture along with the sour cream and baking soda. Stir it all together with a wooden spoon until it resembles a muffin batter. Add it to the pan on top of your crust and level it as best you can.
  3. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the cake.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes (mine took 27), until it springs back to a light touch.

Buttercrunch Toffee with Roasted Almonds and chocolate January 5, 2012

Filed under: Candy,Desserts,Make Ahead — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:40 pm
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Yum. Really; buttery, sweet, salty, crunchy, chocolately goodness all wrapped up in a jar and given to my friends and family (not to mention the amount that we consumed here). And while I know that I am way too late for you to give this to your friends and family this (now past) holiday season, it would still make a lovely Valentine’s Day treat for that someone special. Plus, I wanted to get this one down for my own sake because I royally failed the first two times out on this one and I want to remember what to do (and not to do) the next time I make this. What not to do: DON’T use unsalted butter. I don’t know why, but when I used unsalted butter (two different times, two different pounds of it) the oil separated out of the toffee half way through cooking it. When I switched to salted butter, it worked like a dream. That said, I did a little research and there was some suggestion that if the butter was previously frozen (mine was, as I have had unsalted butter go bad on me more than once), it can change the properties of the butter and cause wacky reactions. However, I do not plan on risking unsalted butter again, as I got excellent results with the salted. What to do: use a candy thermometer. I think it’s just easier with one; this recipe is pretty simple and you probably could just gauge it by colour, but you can buy a candy thermometer for $5 at Superstore now, so why not just do it; if you wreck this you will have lost at least $5 worth of ingredients (twice, if you are me. Are you sensing my bitterness yet?). If you are a candy novice, this is one of the simpler ones I’ve made, so as long as your butter is salted and not previously frozen, you should be good to practice on this one.

3 cups (1 1/2 lbs) salted butter

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 – 2 cups chocolate chips (I bought good Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate, which I thought was worth it for this one, but chips are definitely better than chunks here because they melt more evenly, so go with what you can find)

1 1/2 – 2 cups almonds (obviously any other nut will do, I just like almonds)

Coarse sea salt to taste

1. Roast your almonds. I did this on a baking sheet at about 400 for 10 -15 minutes, pulling the sheet out once in a while to shake it. They should be lightly browned and smell delicious. Let cool a little and then either pulse a few times in the food processor or chop by hand. I used the food processor and went with all different sizes of chunks.

2. Line two rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, start to melt the butter. Once is has begun to melt, add the sugar. Stir almost constantly until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved into it.

3. At this point, grab your candy thermometer and hook it on the pot, making sure it is not touching the bottom (that will mess with your reading). Keep stirring. As the toffee gets hotter, it will darken and thicken. Keep it at a light boil until you get to 294 degrees F.

4. Remove from heat and immediately pour into cookie sheets. Mine actually fit perfectly into one cookie sheet and one round pizza pan, so it may not entirely fill the second sheet, but it doesn’t matter, you just don’t want it over flowing anywhere. Sprinkle liberally with the chocolate chips, then wait a few minutes.

5. Once you can see that the chocolate has started to melt, use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the top. Finally, top with the almonds and salt to taste (I found I liked mine better with lots of salt; it offsets the sweet very nicely). Use your finger tips to lightly press the almonds and salt into the chocolate. Let cool until chocolate is solid again, then break into pieces and serve or package as you will.



PS If you wanted to start with a smaller batch, the butter and sugar is a one to one ratio, so you could easily reduce the recipe without wrecking anything.