Warm Pears and oranges

Tender pears and Mandarin oranges prove to be a delightful dessert when warmed in a slow cooker.  As I have shared in previous posts, fruit desserts are some of my favorites. Of course, they can also be served with a slice of pound cake, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, or even vanilla Greek yogurt.  This recipe is one to try before the warmer weather sneaks up on us this Spring.  The comforting flavors of this recipe can be enjoyed throughout the Fall and Winter months.

Here is how I make this recipe–gather these ingredients:  1 can sliced pears with juice, 1 can mandarin  oranges without juice, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 fresh Bosc pears peeled and sliced.  Additional fresh pears or canned pears could be substituted for each ingredient.

In a small bowl, combine these ingredients:  1/2 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 Tablespoons melted margarine.

Place the first set of ingredients in the slow cooker, and then cover with the ingredients from the bowl.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve warm. I topped each serving with whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Yummy.

Breakfast fruit crepes

So this is the best crepe recipe ever which I use with my Cuisinart International Chef Crepe maker.  It works every time and has become a classic in my home.  Each person can choose what they would like to enjoy with their crepes.  Options include: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, flavored syrups, chopped sliced almonds or other nuts, Nutella, whipped cream or anything else desired.

Here is how I prepare the batter:  I use 3/4 cup fat free milk and 1/4 cup fat free half and half in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons margarine or unsalted butter.  I melt those together and allow them to come to room temperature.

When ready to prepare, I mix 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 3 large eggs together in a bowl and whisk in the butter and milk mixture until the batter is smooth and thin.  Chill this batter for at least 30 minutes and up to two days in the refrigerator, covered.

Preheat the crepe maker and prepare each crepe. I keep them warm in the oven until all of them are cooked.  This recipes makes 8 crepes.

Note: For years I prepared these crepes in a crepe pan on the stove top. Either technique will result in a delicious breakfast for the family.

Oven Baked Stone Fruit

We have had a Winter warm-up of temperatures in Michigan, which makes me feel like Spring might be on the way. Stone fruit is in the market, with peaches, plums and apricots being my favorites. I decided to bake some peaches and top with some vanilla sugar a few days ago, and they were delicious.

Baked stone fruit is delicious as a warm dessert with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I sprinkled the sugar, and then added a shave of margarine to the tops of the sliced open fruit.

     

The fruit baked in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. So simple but so tasty. Other options would include adding ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg to taste.

Bavarian Apple Torte

Just like others, I have recipes that I have made for my family for years. This one, in particular, I have made dozens of times over the past 30 years.  It is a classic.  I obtained the recipe from a friend of mine from the very first garden club I had ever joined, back in 1979.  To say that the recipe is delicious is an understatement.  It has always been well received from anyone I have ever served.  Two keys to success to this recipe are: using a 9 inch non-stick springform pan, along with slicing the apples quite thin.

Here is how I made this recipe–gather these ingredients for the different steps:  1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 8 ounces light cream cheese/softened, 1 egg, 4 cups very thinly sliced apples, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup sugar.

Preheat the oven to very hot–450 degrees.  In a stand mixer, cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Stir in flour until a soft dough is formed.  Press this dough in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan–about 1 inch high on the sides of the pan.

Next, beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla and pour onto the crust in the pan.

Then, combine the apples, cinnamon and remaining sugar in a large bowl.  Layer over the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the almonds on the top.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, LOWER the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes until done.  Cool before removing from the pan.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Makes 6-8 servings. Other options for serving include–add whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Baked pears

Throughout the winter months, I enjoy baked fruit.  First of all, I really enjoy a nice breakfast during the coldest of winter weather.  Also, I think warmed fruit is a nice option and great alternative to a cold fruit platter.  I like to serve cold fruit during the warmer months instead.

So, here is another basic recipe for baked fruit. This year, I made this recipe for baked pears on Christmas day for a breakfast side dish.  It was very tasty. The recipe can be increased based on the number of guests expected at your meal.

Gather these ingredients:  2-4 pears-peeled and cored, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the pear halves and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a small bowl, mix the margarine and brown sugar together.Spread the mixture over the pears.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Just before serving, add blackberries if desired.  Serve warm.

 

 

French crepes

Over the years I have experimented with crepes and found that using a crepe pan had the best results for me.  I have used one crepe recipe for years and found it to work perfectly.  I do chill the batter in the refrigerator and allow it to rest some before preparing each crepe. Crepes do store well, so they can be made in advance and just assembled with fruit or other ingredients just prior to serving.  I keep them covered in a warming oven until ready to use for a breakfast.

Here is my crepe recipe and a couple of photos from a crepe restaurant I visited recently where I totally enjoyed my crepe.  I loved the ideas for other savory and sweet crepes on their menu.

Assemble these ingredients— 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar.

Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl. Heat a lightly greased crepe pan. Use about 5 tablespoons batter per crepe.  Tilt to cover the pan.  Heat one side, then flip to the other side.  Add ingredients and serve. Finish with powdered sugar or syrup if a sweet crepe, or finish with parsley if a savory crepe.  This recipe will make 7 crepes.

 

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Farm fresh strawberries

Summer strawberries fresh from the farm were gifted to me a couple of weeks ago, and were they ever delicious. There is something special about fresh strawberries that have not gone through a market of handling, packaging and processing for shipment.

These berries were sweet, tender and delicious. Many of them were petite and perfect for strawberry tarts.  I have an amazing recipe that I have used for years that makes any type of fruit tart bakery quality.  This time, I did not add the glaze, which even makes their presentation more spectacular, but opted to just enjoy the sweetness of these special berries instead.

Using your favorite pie crust, determine the size and shape of the tarts.  I have a variety of pans, and often choose to use my heart tart pan. This time, I used one large rectangle and three smaller circle pans for the recipe quantity.  Prepare the crust and cool.

Make the tart filling. Whip together one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, and 1/2 cup whipping cream.  Spread into the tart shells.  And, then top with fruit. I dusted these tarts with white sanding sugar.

An additional glaze can be added of 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate and brushed over the fruit.  Refrigerate until serving.

Yummy for summer.

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