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Tarte Tatin: A Perfect Treat for Valentine’s Day

Tart TatinWay back in the beginning when I started this blog I wrote about how the apple is a more fitting fruit for Valentine’s Day and I’m still of that mindset.  If you’re going to cook a special dinner at home for your Valentine, a tarte tatin is an impressive dessert, as well as firmly outside the heart-shaped box of standard Valentine’s Day chocolate desserts.  (more…)

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Panettone Bread Pudding: Using the Custard Ratio

Panettone bread pudding with creme anglaise

Panettone bread pudding with creme anglaise

One last post for 2013.  Here’s a dessert which has become kind of a tradition for our Christmas Eve dinner: panettone bread pudding.  This Italian Christmas loaf makes a superb bread pudding since it’s already sweetened and is chock full of raisins and other fruit.  It’s usually the last bit of holiday baking I do and the custard ratio makes this quick dessert a snap. (more…)

A Twist on Fruit Cake: Pan del Marinaio (Sailor’s bread)

Pan del marinaio1 Fruit cakes are synonymous with Christmas and ever since my mom sent me Carol Field’s ‘The Italian Baker’ I’ve had my eye on the ‘festive’ breads section.  There are a number of recipes for holiday sweet breads in it, including…fruit breads.  While thumbing through it the other day I came across a fruit filled bread recipe from Genoa: pan del marinaio, or sailor’s bread.  I don’t think it is particularly a Christmas bread but it looked to be a nice twist on the traditional fruit cake. (more…)

Christmas Cookie: Lemon Squares

Lemon SquaresThere is not much time left to get your Christmas baking in.  I’ve been churning out my regulars this week but I wanted to add a new one to the rotation: lemon squares.  They are pretty popular any time of the year but I think they’re great around Christmas since they are a bit lighter than my normal Christmas cookies.  Lemon squares also provide a nice citrusy contrast to all of the chocolate and gingerbread cookies you’ll find on most cookie platters.  I brought some to the office the other day and received a lot of nice compliments on them! (more…)

Happy Thanksgiving! One Last Bite, Homemade Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie for ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!  Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite Thanksgiving dessert, ever since I was a little kid.  As I was making this the other day I was reminded how quickly pumpkin pie can be put together.  The dough takes about 2 minutes to make and 20 to chill.  In that amount of time you can have the filling all prepared and still have time for a cup of coffee.  I know a lot of people buy pies but there’s nothing like baking your own. (more…)

Guancialini – Homemade Cured Pork Cheeks

Homemade Guanciale - GuancialiniThings have slowed down a bit work-wise and as you may have noticed I’ve been doing some adventurous stuff lately.  One experiment I was eager to try was curing some pork cheeks into guanciale.  It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list but I always kept forgetting to ask about pork cheeks when in a butcher shop.  Well, I remembered, but instead of whole cheeks I ended up with a package of pork cheek meat.  So instead of gunaciale, I ended up with guancialini!  That’s improv Italian for mini-gunaciale. (more…)

Since it’s Apple Season – Homemade Apple Pie

Homemade apple pie from scratchI looked back among all of my posts and discovered I’ve never posted about making an apple pie.  I’m not surprised as there are probably a million apple pie recipes out there, so why add another one?  I’ll tell you why.  Firstly, because I made one for Sunday Dinner this week; secondly and more importantly there’s a really good story to go with the apple pie and how it helped me woo Cheryl. (more…)