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.

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.

 

 

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Almond apple crisp

 

SAM_5294.JPG

One of the best gifts I have ever received was a cookbook from a friend who knows how much I enjoy my own kitchen garden.  She gifted me with The Complete Kitchen Garden, by Ellen Ecker Ogden, who is the co-founder of The Cook’s Garden, which is a seed catalog filled with Heirloom varieties and other hard-to-find seeds for gardeners in America.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This autographed book has become an instant treasure in my home as I look through it and enjoy not only the various garden designs and tips, but the amazing recipes.  One recipe that I tried and will certainly make again is found in the section on patio gardens.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For cooks who like to garden, here is the recipe:  Gather these ingredients.  Six large apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/3 cup Frangelico, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.   And for the topping, gather these together:  1 cup flour, 3/4 sliced almonds, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 stick margarine, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter a deep 10 inch pie dish. Toss together the peeled and sliced apples, cinnamon, ginger, liqueur, and vanilla.  Spread into the dish.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Next, mix flour, almonds, sugars and salt in another bowl.  Add the butter and almond extract and chop until the size of crumbs, using a fork, pastry blender or food processor. Sprinkle this topping over the apples in the pie dish.  Bake for about one hour until done.

I simply love the almond flavoring in this traditional apple crisp.  Super delicious.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Hasselback Apples

Fruit desserts are some of my all-time favorites.  One of the easiest fruit desserts has to be this apple recipe.  Be sure to choose a Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, as some of the other softer flesh apples will not hold up during the cooking process.  I found this recipe last year in Cooking Light magazine and have moved it up in my list of tasty simple desserts.

Decide how many people will be served, and make the according number of apples, with one per guest as the standard serving size.  In less than one hour, everyone will have a heated dessert served with either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream that they will forever remember.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, core and halve each apple, and then place cut side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Make even slices throughout the apple, making certain not to go all the way down to the baking dish.

Next combine an equal number of tablespoons of sugar and butter, along with 1/2 the amount of cinnamon.  Brush this mixture over the apples.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the apples are tender.

Finally, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 teaspoon flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.   Fan open the apple halves and spoon this mixture on top of the apples.  Bake again for another 10 minutes.  To finish the cooking process, broil for 2 minutes and serve warm.

This is a cozy dessert.  Serve when you have lots of time to savor the flavor and the warmth of the fruit. Yum.