One of my earliest childhood memories was baking apple pie with my Nanny. But it wasn’t just about learning her baking secrets (like a splash of OJ in the crust), it was the passing-down of a family recipe without anything written down, just the experience of baking together, grandmother to granddaughter. Today, every time I bake a pie, I think of her. I’m an experimenter in the kitchen, so my latest creation involves adding homemade caramel to my apple pie. And if you’re wondering, my Nanny would not approve! But, she’d applaud the effort and I know after one bite, she’d agree it’s delicious.
Tag Archive dessert
Back-to-school has taken on a whole new meaning in the Currie house. With all the kids away at college, the days of after school snacks and bake sales are a thing of the past. But, the joy of baking is still alive and well in my kitchen (thank goodness for care packages). So, I decided to give my favorite back-to-school recipe a makeover and what I discovered was a game changer. All those years I made strawberry jam bars with the store bought stuff. But, little did I know, making strawberry jam from scratch is a 2-ingredient, 5-minute commitment. You can make it while the crust is baking or in advance for homemade strawberry jam bars through and through.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of judging the blueberry pie contest at my local farmers market in Summit, New Jersey. It’s not easy tasting 10 blueberry pies in 10 minutes (poor me!). They ranged from gluten free to tricked out with whipped cream and even one with canned blueberries (I noticed). But the winner kept it simple with a buttery crust loaded with blueberries bursting through the sugar dusted lattice, almost identical to my own version. If pie baking seems daunting to you, take note home cooks; the winner was just 12-years old. Congratulations Jozi! That’s an honest blueberry pie.
July 4th is just a little more special in my little town of Summit, New Jersey. That’s because Summit is all-American all the time. Our neighborhood, with 30-plus kids, means instant play dates, pick up ball games, sleepovers and potlucks without ever leaving the street. But, on July 4th, Summit hosts a fireworks display that rivals anything in a larger city. Families all over town host open houses and cookouts and not much has changed in the last fifty or so years. So, if you’re bringing potluck to someone’s house this July 4th, here’s an all-American recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They couldn’t be easier to whip up and they just happen to be gluten free too!
It’s been a perfect storm in the Secrets of a Home Cook kitchen. First, baker extraordinaire, Dorie Greenspan’s been talking up her strawberry shortcake recipes and with strawberry season in full swing, it’s all I want to eat right now. Second, my mom (mom extraordinaire) brought me gorgeous vanilla beans from her recent trip to India. The result is my own version of strawberry vanilla shortcake. It really is a very easy recipe with vanilla beans throughout. They’re a bit pricy but worth the few extra dollars and you can find them right next to the extract in the baking aisle.
There’s a certain fascination with a blood orange. Ordinary on the outside, the inside is like Andy Warhol pop art, bloody red and otherworldly. They thrive in cooler weather so they’re in season right now and it’s worth seeking them out. It’s a sweet and less acidic orange, great for snacking or the main ingredient in these showstopper blood orange oatmeal cookies.
If you think matzo is nothing but a flat cracker that pops up this time of year during Passover, think again. Matzo is so much more. You’d be hard pressed to find a tastier cracker to slather butter all over and the best part is the 8-inch crispy square means you only need to eat one to be extremely satisfied. But, it’s also the key ingredient in salted toffee matzo crunch and once you try it, you’ll wish matzo were sold year ‘round. So seize the day and make a batch until the matzos gone until next year.
When comfort food and a traditional recipe collide it can only mean one thing: pineapple upside-down cake. This moist and dense cake with a sticky caramel topping was a dessert staple in the good old days but it’s so much better today with fresh pineapple and raspberries (for that bright red touch). Fresh fruit vs. canned takes an old-fashioned dessert to a new sophisticated level and this easy-to-follow recipe means you can make it any time.
Ahhh…Valentine’s Day. If you’re madly in love, it’s magic. If you’ve been married 20 years (with three teenagers), it’s about food, the more decadent, the better. Honey crème brûlée is truly a special occasion dessert that couldn’t be easier to make. The secret to its success lies in the technique, which is a little out of the baking ordinary, but worth the culinary stretch. Luscious custard with honey’s floral notes and topped with caramelized sugar formed directly on top. Really…who needs chocolate?
White chocolate peppermint bark screams Christmas. In fact it’s hard to imagine eating the stuff any other time of year and besides you can’t buy candy canes in summertime. So, go raid the white chocolate in the baking aisle and scoop up the last of the candy canes because this winter wonder is just the treat for right now.