Sunday, February 25, 2024

Muffins clémentines, fleur d'oranger et miel


Juste après le temps des fêtes, j’ai fait ces muffins clémentine, fleur d’oranger et miel de Julie DesGroseilliers, parce que ce n’est pas très souvent que j’ai des clémentines à la maison! Ils sont relativement santé, avec les graines de chanvre et de lin, en plus du yogourt grec, et ils ne sont pas trop sucrés. Et c’est bien dur de résister au parfum de la fleur d’oranger et des clémentines! Quand ils étaient encore un peu tièdes, leur texture était parfaite, mais ils étaient un peu plus denses le lendemain. À ce moment-là, je les ai trouvés peut-être un peu fades, mais je vous dis que toastés puis beurrés, ou alors servis avec de la confiture orange-canneberges, c’est un vrai délice!

2 clémentines
2 œufs
1/3 tasse d’huile d’olive
1/3 tasse de miel
1/3 tasse de yogourt grec nature sans lactose
¼ tasse d’eau de fleur d’oranger
1 ½ tasse de farine blanche non blanchie
½ tasse de flocons d’avoine à cuisson rapide
¼ tasse de graines de chanvre
¼ tasse de graines de lin moulu
½ c. à soupe de poudre à pâte
¼ c. à thé de sel

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Graisser un moule à muffins en silicone. (J’ai obtenu 14 muffins en tout, alors j’ai essayé aussi des caissettes en papier dans un moule en métal, et je confirme que le moule en silicone est de mise!)

Prélever le zeste des clémentines et déposer dans un mélangeur (ou dans un petit robot culinaire).

Peler les clémentines et déposer les morceaux (sans la pelure) dans le mélangeur.

Ajouter les œufs, l’huile d’olive, le miel, le yogourt et l’eau de fleur d’oranger. Bien mélanger jusqu’à l’obtention d’une texture lisse. Réserver.

Mélanger ensemble le reste des ingrédients. Incorporer les ingrédients liquides et mélanger.

Verser la préparation dans 12 moules à muffins recouverts de caissettes en silicone.

Cuire 23 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les muffins soient cuits et légèrement dorés.

Carbonara Pizza


When my family saw this carbonara pizza in Real Simple, they asked me to make it. I followed the instructions the first night, then, based on my experience and feedback from my family, improved on them for the second night. Here is my version, though honestly it’s very similar to my bacon and egg pizza already.

4 oz. diced pancetta or chopped thick-cut bacon
1 lb. fresh pizza dough, at room temperature
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 cup shredded lactose-free whole-milk mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, plus more for topping
¼ tsp. ground black pepper, plus more for topping
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. chopped chives, for topping

Preheat oven to 450 °F with a rack in lower third position. Do NOT use a pizza stone.

Place pancetta in a large skillet. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until golden and starting to crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Gently stretch dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella and Pecorino Romano, leaving a ¾-inch border around edges. Top with cooked pancetta and sprinkle with pepper.

Bake until crust is puffed but still pale and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place eggs in a small bowl or measuring cup (do not whisk).

Carefully pull rack with pizza out from oven and tip eggs onto center of pizza. Using a fork, carefully spread egg whites over a larger area to help eggs cook evenly. Return to oven and bake until whites are set and yolks are jammy, about 8 minutes.

Break yolks with a spoon and drizzle all over pizza, if desired (I prefer mine a bit more set, so no thank you). Top with chives, Pecorino Romano, and several grinds of pepper.

Apple, Cheddar, and Chicken Melts


I made this recipe after the holidays – it’s adapted from The Kitchn. I didn’t feel like making coleslaw, so I used thinly sliced apples; you can also use leftover turkey instead of chicken. And since I don’t think my teeth could handle toasted country bread (did I mention I cracked a crown on Boxing Day?), I used Martin’s potato bread. This is basically a glorified grilled cheese, baked in the oven, and it’s great.

8 (½-inch-thick) slices sourdough bread (from a 9-inch round boule; see note above)
4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, softened
4 tsp. honey mustard
2 ½ cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 ½ cups grated lactose-free sharp cheddar cheese
1 small Gala apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
4 oz. Brussels sprouts (about 5), finely shredded with a knife or food processor attachment
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, place a baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 450 °F.

Spread the butter evenly on one side of each of the 8 slices of bread. Spread the honey mustard on the opposite side of 4 slices of the bread.

Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Place all the bread slices, butter-side down, on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute the shredded chicken among the mustard-spread bread slices, then distribute the cheese on the remaining 4 bread slices.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the slaw.

Combine the apple, Brussels sprouts, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the bread slices with the chicken to a cutting board. Evenly distribute the apple and Brussel sprouts slaw over the chicken. Place the remaining bread slices cheese-side down on top of the slaw to close each sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Miscellaneous product reviews

 Hebel & Co’s peanut butter chocolate crisp halva, which they made in collaboration with Molly Yeh, is fantastic. 10/10, no notes, go buy some and thank me later.

I really like these new protein granolas: Nature Valley Protein Granola (I tried Oats & Honey as well as Oats & Dark Chocolate) and Sola granola (I tried the Maple Pecan Chocolate and the Double Chocolate). They are very good, and one serving of granola plus one serving of Greek yogurt gets me to about 30 grams of protein, which my nutritionist told me is what I should aim for at breakfast. It does help me get to lunch without hunger pangs!

I tried some ramen noodles from immi – the black garlic “chicken” flavor, which I found in a brick-and-mortar store. They are vegan and made from pumpkin seeds, so they are high in protein and low in carbs. As you can see, I did not “get creative” with toppings, but I should have! It was a bit plain on its own (I was expecting something more like a Cup-a-Noodles, which doesn’t need add-ins). That being said, the noodles were good, and this would be a great substitute if I planned it out better!

I also tried IQ Bars, after getting a discount code on a podcast. I originally got a sampler of all their protein bars, and while the Little Prince liked them, I wasn’t crazy about some of the flavors. I’ve since reordered a chocolate lovers variety box, which has peanut butter chip, almond butter chip, and chocolate sea salt. They now have new packaging, too! So, the ingredients overall are good for someone with a metabolic disorder like mine, even though I don’t really enjoy pea protein. Obviously, they contain nuts, so I never put them in the Little Prince’s lunch box, but he has them at home on occasion. It’s probably my favorite protein bar, to be honest, and I like them much more than No Cow.

Trader Joe’s chocolate passport was absolutely delightful! It’s essentially a flight of single-origin dark chocolate bars, and what’s not to love? 10/10, would buy again.

I finally got around to trying Egg Life Wraps, which are made with egg whites and are gluten-free. They are a really great substitute for tortillas! I enjoyed the plain ones with chicken breakfast sausage and sharp cheddar cheese, while the cinnamon ones were good with chocolate hummus. I’ll buy them more often!

Cacao & Cardamom’s Lunar New Year chocolate selection was superb! I just love this company’s confections. The flavors in that box included strawberry Szechuan and black sesame ginger – I unfortunately don’t have a record of the others, because the company stopped printing out the flavors and just sends a QR code now, and since that box was seasonal, there’s no way to access that info anymore. I believe there was a sesame brittle and a green matcha in there. On the bright side, they changed the glue they use for their stickers to make them more easily removable, so the boxes are now reusable! Also, the chocolates were as delicious as ever.

Finally, and this is more of a public service announcement than a recommendation: Cornerstone Wellness has whey protein shakes that are lactose-free, because the whey is micronized! I didn’t really believe it at first, but it turns out I can have them without discomfort. (It is actually normal to have some discomfort the first time you try a new type of protein, but everything should be fine the second time.) This is very convenient for me, since I don’t like the taste of most vegan protein shakes! I tried the Dutch cocoa and the vanilla, and have since bought a small canister of the latter.

[Updated later the same day to add: I forgot to mention Bokksu! My sister gave me the Kawaii Gift Box for my birthday, and it was glorious! What a great way to eat delicious snacks I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise!]

Corn Soup


This post has been a long time in the making, because I lost some pictures for it in the great iPhone snafu last year. To sum up, I tried a few different recipes of corn soup: a summery corn soup with miso, which was fine but would have been better puréed like this one; a corn chowder with bacon and potatoes, also fine; and a Chinese corn and chicken soup that… really had potential.

I made that one twice so far; I scaled down to use less corn (3 cups or 16 oz., then 3 cups of broth), and puréed the whole soup without straining (as opposed to puréeing and straining part of it) because it was just easier. Note that recently I used frozen corn instead of fresh, and while it’s different in taste, it’s also very good! I made it with the ham and chicken the first time, then only with the chicken the second time (this is what I’m writing below). I think I would just make it vegetarian next time, and maybe reduce the amount of cornstarch a bit. The egg ribbons are great. This was definitely the best soup of the bunch!

1 (3- to 4-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thigh, trimmed and cut into ¼” pieces
5 tsp. + ½ cup water, divided
1 tsp. + 3 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
4 cups chicken broth, divided (see note above)
5-7 ears of corn, kernels cut from cobs (5 cups), divided (see note above)
¾ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Combine chicken, 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, soy sauce, and baking soda in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.

In a liquid measuring cup, beat eggs and 2 teaspoons water with fork until whites and yolks are thoroughly combined and color is pure yellow; set aside.

Mix ½ cup chicken broth and remaining 3 Tbsp. cornstarch in a small bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

Process 2 ½ cups corn and remaining ½ cup water in blender on low speed until a thick purée forms, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute longer. Strain purée through fine-mesh strainer set over large saucepan. Using the back of a ladle or rubber spatula, push purée through strainer, extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

Add salt, white pepper, remaining 3 ½ cups broth, and remaining 2 ½ cups corn to corn purée. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and add chicken, stirring to break up any clumps. Partially cover and simmer for 5 minutes (broth may look curdled as it comes to simmer). Stir broth-cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

Holding a fork in one hand and the measuring cup with the egg mixture in the other hand, pour the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the tines of the fork in concentric circles over the saucepan until ribbons of coagulated egg form, about 1 minute. Season soup with salt and white pepper to taste. Gently ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with scallion, and serve.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Christmas round-up with a Bûche

Since we spent Christmas at home and were not hosting anyone, I was free to try new-to-me recipes. Cashew nut nog was bad enough that we threw it away, but white hot chocolate is great! (The recipe was printed from Oprah dot com in 2009; it is originally from Martha Stewart, but is not the same as the one on her website currently.) As for Advent calendars, I treated myself to the Mirzam Chocolate Spice Route Advent Calendar – it was great, and I hope they sell it again next year!

White Hot Chocolate
2 cups lactose-free cream
6 cups lactose-free whole milk
12 oz. lactose-free white chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
1 block of dark chocolate, shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler (for garnish)

Place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside. Place cream and milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan (about 4 minutes); do not boil.

Remove mixture from the flame. Immediately pour over white chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, gently stir to combine.

Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until light foam forms. Serve immediately, garnished with chocolate shavings.

For dinner, I decided to make a turkey, and since I was intimidated by brining a whole bird and didn’t want to use up too much maple syrup, I skipped the maple-brined turkey in favor of a maple-glazed turkey with onion-cider gravy from the now-defunct All You magazine. I had to buy a rack for my roasting pan at the last minute, and for the life of me I could not find the baster that I know I didn’t declutter, but it all worked out.

Since I had Brussels sprouts left over from one-pan rosemary chicken, I made up my mind to try one last recipe meant to showcase them. I never got around to posting about Brussels sprouts with bacon and raisins (that I apparently made all the way back in 2016), and you’d think that if I don’t like sprouts that way I’m never going to like them, but then… There was this cream-braised Brussels sprouts recipe on Orangette that, the Engineer and I think, is just the way to go with these. It’s still not my favorite vegetable, but if I have to eat Brussels sprouts, this is definitely the best way to make them! They get caramelized, and the cream helps tame some of the bitterness.

Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1 ¼ lb. small Brussels sprouts
3 Tbsp. lactose-free butter
¼ tsp. coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup lactose-free cream
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

First, prep the Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem end of each sprout and pull off any ragged or nasty outer leaves. Cut the sprouts in half from stem end to tip, and then cut each half in half again. Ultimately, you want little wedges.

In a large (12-inch) skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so. Get some good color here, so that they have a sweetly caramelized flavor.

Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and then cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low or medium low: you want to keep the pan at a slow simmer. Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and will have taken on a creamy tan color.

Remove the lid and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts. Serve immediately.

For dessert, I finally got to try a recipe I’d been eyeing in Ashley Rodriguez’s Let’s Stay In: her chocolate peanut butter bûche de Noël with salted peanut caramel. We’ve decided that, as good as it was, we would prefer it with a caramel more like this one and topped with salted peanuts, or no caramel at all. Note that I used Green Valley Organics lactose-free cream cheese, which I had finally found in stock again at Whole Foods, and Silk vegan whipping cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bûche de Noël with Salted Peanut Caramel

For the cake
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the peanut butter mousse
1 lb. 4 oz. (from 2½ 8-oz. packages) lactose-free cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups (500 g) creamy peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ cup lactose-free cream
¼ tsp. sea

For the chocolate ganache
8 oz. lactose-free cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 pinch pf salt
For the salted peanut caramel (see note above)
1 cup sugar
½ cup (6 oz.) Lyle’s Golden Syrup or corn syrup
¼ cup water
1 cup lactose-free cream
4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, at room temperature
½ vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
6 oz. roasted and salted peanuts

For the cake
Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Grease and line a 12x17-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl, then whisk to combine. Set aside.

Add the egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy and just starting to shift from lemon yellow to butter yellow. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar in a slow and steady stream. Continue to beat until thick and pale yellow, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the whipped egg yolks to a large bowl, then clean the stand mixer bowl and whisk. Wipe dry, then add the egg whites.

Beat starting on low, then gradually build up the speed so as not to shock the eggs. Once frothy add the salt. Continue to beat until soft peaks form then steadily stream in the remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the whipped yolks. Gingerly fold the dry ingredients into the whipped eggs. Continue to fold until no streaks remain.

Use an offset spatula to spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cake slowly springs back when pressed.

Lay a piece of parchment paper, as large as the cake, on a clean flat surface. Dust it generously with cocoa powder. In one swift action invert the cake onto the parchment. Peel off the still warm cake’s parchment layer, then dust the cake itself with another generous flurry of cocoa powder.

While the cake is warm and pliable, gingerly roll it up with the parchment. Let the cake cool in this position. While the cake cools, make the mousse (or once cooled, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap then save the next steps for tomorrow).

For the mousse
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and peanut butter. Beat until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar, heavy cream and salt and mix until well combined. (This can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate then bring to room temperature when ready to use.)

For the ganache
Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Watch the pot carefully as cream tends to bubble up and over rather quickly. Add the chocolate to a large bowl then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let this sit for one minute then whisk to combine. Stir in the salt.

Let the ganache cool until it’s firm enough to easily spread on the cake, about 1 hour. (Ganache can be made up to 1 week in advance; rewarm gently in the microwave or in a saucepan on low heat.)

For the caramel
Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a large saucepan. Stir gently to combine, then wash off the sides of the pan, using water and your clean hands to feel if any sugar remains on the side. If stray bits of sugar fall into the caramel, it can cause the caramel to crystallize, so it’s important to make sure all the sugar is in the bottom of the pan mixed with the water.

Set the pan over high heat to bring the sugars to a rolling boil. Continue to cook until the caramel turns copper in color, about 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully add the cream, butter, and vanilla bean, if using. The caramel will immediately seize, but let it come back to a boil. Once the sugar is all melted, stir in the peanuts. Let the caramel cool before serving. (This can be made up to three days in advance. If the caramel is too stiff, you can rewarm in a microwave or in a saucepan to serve. Store caramel in a sealable container.)

To assemble the cake
Carefully unroll the cake from the parchment paper. Add the mousse in an even layer, then roll the cake again. Don’t worry about any cracking or tearing in the cake, as the ganache is there to cover all that up.

Cover the entire cake with plastic wrap tightly, like a giant piece of candy, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Place the cake on your serving platter.

Spread the ganache all over the cake. Cut off the ends at an angle (I forgot to do that) and arrange in a way that resembles a log. Use a fork to create bark-like striping in the ganache.

Serve straight away or cover and refrigerate if you’ve made the cake in advance. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. Serve with the salted peanut caramel.

Easy Overnight Breakfast Casserole

I came across an Instagram account called Brunch with Babs, and when I saw the easy overnight breakfast casserole she makes every Christmas morning, I decided to try it too. It was fantastic! I mean, the Engineer and I were all over it; the Little Prince has an aversion to melted cheese, so he wasn’t too fond of it, but it grew on him the next day; the Fox is just picky, but at least he tasted it.

I took a bit of a shortcut and wanted to use breakfast sausage crumbles; I couldn’t find any, so I got cooked breakfast sausage patties and chut them up into little pieces. I find that easier than having to break up the sausage into crumbles and cook it ahead of time, so that’s what I’m writing below.

1 lb. breakfast sausage crumbles
¾ loaf of challah bread or 9 slices of leftover bread, cut into ½” cubes
8 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups grated lactose-free cheddar cheese
2 ½ cups lactose-free whole milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried mustard

The day before serving, grease a 9 x 13” casserole dish.

To a large bowl, add the meat, bread cubes and cheese. In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs and then whisk in the milk, dry mustard, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 °F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and uncover. Bake the casserole for 45-55 minutes, or until set and bubbly. Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Egg and Black Bean Quesadillas


I made these egg and black bean quesadillas from Weelicious for lunch when the kids were home from school. I used sharp cheddar and I served the quesadillas with guacamole. These were delicious!

4 large eggs
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. oil
¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup grated lactose-free cheese (mexican cheese blend, mozzarella or cheddar)
4 flour tortillas

Whisk the eggs and salt in a bowl. Stir in the cilantro.

Place 1 teaspoon of oil in a 9-inch pan over medium heat, coating the bottom of the pan (make sure to use a pan that is at least slightly larger than your tortilla).

Pour in ½ of the whisked eggs, tilting the pan to spread them across evenly. Let the omelet cook for 20 seconds, sprinkle the beans on top then let it cook for another 20 seconds. Using your spatula gently to go along the edges of the omelet, lifting them away from the pan to loosen.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the omelet, place one tortilla on top of the egg and cheese and flip it onto a plate, tortilla side down.

Slide the omelet, tortilla side-down, back into the pan. Sprinkle another 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the egg and place another tortilla on top to cover.

Continue to cook the quesadilla for 1 minute, pressing down lightly with a spatula to help melt the cheese, then flip the quesadilla to cook the other side for an additional 30 seconds or until cheese melts and tortilla is golden.

Cut into wedges and serve with salsa.

Coconut Cream Party Cake

 I believe I bought Jessica Battilana’s Repertoire: All the Recipes You Need because it was recommended by Molly Wizenberg, but it also looks like a cookbook that would be right up my alley. In the end, though, I only bookmarked two recipes from it. The first was this greenest green salad, which was fine.

The other was the coconut cream party cake, which I asked the Engineer to make for my birthday. And it was good! That being said, I think I’ll refer to this post if we ever want to make it again, and I’ll donate the cookbook.

The cake itself has a tender and delicate crumb, there’s coconut pastry cream between the layers, and it’s covered in a chocolate ganache that uses water instead of cream. We didn’t use the coconut flakes on the outside of the cake because while I could have gone either way, neither of the kids likes it, and the Engineer knew he would be happier without it.

For the coconut pastry cream
2 cups lactose-free whole milk
2 cups finely shredded sweetened flaked coconut
1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, at room temperature

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk and coconut. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the tip of a knife to scrape out the seeds; add both seeds and pod to the milk mixture. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour. While whisking, drizzle about a third of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then slowly whisk the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until the pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in butter, and remove and discard the vanilla bean pod. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly, then cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours. The pastry cream can be made ahead and kept, refrigerated, for 2 days.

For the cake
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup lactose-free milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup lactose-free sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup lactose-free butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 °F and arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper, and grease and flour the parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. In a second bowl, stir together the milk and sour cream.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition, then add the egg yolks and mix just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add half the milk-sour cream mixture and mix. Add half the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Add the remaining milk-sour cream mixture and beat until just combined, then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Remove from the mixer and, with a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the bater one final stir.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, transfer them to the oven, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden around the edges and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently turn the layers out, peel the parchment off, and let cool completely. The cakes can be made up to 1 day in advance. When the layers are cool, tightly wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. The cooled layers can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to a month.

For the ganache
4 oz. good-quality milk chocolate, chopped (we used semisweet)
4 oz. good-quality semisweet chocolate (64%), chopped
1/3 cup water
10 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, cubed

¼ cup large-flake coconut, lightly toasted, for garnish (optional)

While the cake cools, make the ganache. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and water. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill, stirring occasionally, until the ganache has the texture of peanut butter, about 20 minutes (alternatively, you can let the ganache cool at room temperature until it reaches the desired consistency, about 1 hour; the refrigerator just speeds up the process). The ganache can be made ahead and refrigerated; let come to room temperature before using.

To assemble the cake, use a large serrated knife to cut each cake layer in half lengthwise to create 2 thin layers. (Note: It can be easier to cut a chilled, or even frozen, cake.) Set a cake layer on a cake stand or large plate. Spoon a third of the chilled pastry cream onto the layer of cake and, with an offset spatula, spread into a thin, even layer, stopping just short of the edges. Top with a second layer of cake, top the cake with half the remaining pastry cream, and spread it into an even layer. Repeat this layering until you’ve used all the pastry cream and all 4 cake layers, leaving the final layer of cake plain.

Spoon half the ganache frosting on top of the cake and, with an offset spatula, spread over the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer. Spon the remaining frosting on the top of the cake and spread it evenly over the cake. Press the toasted coconut, if using, onto the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake at least 15 minutes before serving; if you’re refrigerating the cake longer, allow some time for the frosting to come to room temperature before serving. With a sharp knife, cut the cake into thick wedges. Celebrate!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Sweet Potato and Black Sesame Marble Bundt Cake


This sweet potato and black sesame marble bundt cake is from Hetti McKinnon’s Tenderheart. I believe I heard about it through Spilled Milk, and since I had black sesame paste (after making black tahini and poppy seed swirls), I knew I had to make this cake. The original recipe says you could swap pumpkin purée for the sweet potato; if you need it vegan, use flax eggs and vegan butter; for a gluten-free version, substitute an equal amount of all-purpose gluten-free flour. And if you are unable to find black tahini, you could try mixing a tablespoon or two of cocoa into white tahini.

I absolutely loved this cake! The sweet potato part was moist, the black sesame part was denser but nutty and delicious; the cake wasn’t too sweet, even with a dusting of powdered sugar. Really, a perfect cake; no notes.

450 g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-cm pieces
225 g (1 ½ cups) plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
220 g (1 cup) white sugar, plus extra for dusting
125 g (8 Tbsp.) lactose-free butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
150 g (½ cup) black sesame paste (black tahini)
3 Tbsp. lactose-free milk, oat milk or soy milk
icing sugar, for dusting

Pour 2-3 cm of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potato to a steaming basket, then place the steamer in the pan, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer. Cover and steam for 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is completely soft. Remove the sweet potato from the steamer and transfer to a bowl. Mash until completely puréed.

Preheat the oven to 340 °F.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk together to combine well.

In another bowl, combine the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Divide the mixture in half, separating it into two bowls (I just eyeball this, though you can weigh it if you like). To one bowl of batter, add the mashed sweet potato and fold until combined. To the other bowl of batter, add the black sesame paste and milk and fold until combined.

Prepare your bundt pan right before you are ready to fill it – this prevents the oil from running to the bottom of the tin. Grease a 10–12 cup capacity bundt pan with non-stick oil spray, making sure to pay extra attention to any details and crevices in your pan, then scatter with sugar. Shake the pan to evenly distribute the sugar, then remove any excess sugar by tipping the pan upside-down over the sink (you can also use a 22cm/9in springform pan or large 25cm x13cm/10inx5in loaf pan lined with baking paper).

Add spoonfuls of the two batters alternately to the bundt tin, distributing it evenly. Run a single chopstick or knife through the mixture to create a marbled effect. (I didn’t run my knife deep enough – the top looked fine, but the bottom wasn’t marbled. I was too afraid of muddying the batter!)

Bake in the middle of the oven for 1–1 ¼ hours (It was 1 hour for me). Start checking the cake for doneness at the 1-hour mark. Insert a toothpick or bamboo skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean, it is ready.

Leave the cake in the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, before turning out to cool completely. Once cooled, dust the cake with a little icing sugar.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Gruau de quinoa au chocolat


Voici une recette tirée de Coup de Pouce. Il s’agissait au départ d’un gruau de quinoa du genre à être laissé au frigo pendant la nuit pour être mangé le matin, mais moi, j’aime les gruaux servis chauds! Je suis donc partie de ½ tasse de quinoa cru, je l’ai fait cuire le matin-même, et voilà. Bon, ça a davantage de protéines que le gruau d’avoine, mais quand même, la faim revient bien avant midi. Au moins, c’est bon! 

1 tasse de quinoa cuit (voir note plus haut) 
¾ tasse de lait sans lactose ou de boisson végétale non sucrée 
3 c. à table de sirop d'érable 
2 c. à table de poudre de cacao 
½ c. à thé d'essence de vanille 
½ banane en tranches, pour garnir (facultatif) 
¼ tasse d'amandes tranchées, pour garnir (facultatif) 
2 c. à table de mini-brisures de chocolat, pour garnir (facultatif) 

Dans une petite casserole, à feu moyen, combiner le quinoa, le lait, le sirop d’érable, le cacao et la vanille. Remuer jusqu’à ce que le quinoa ait absorbé les saveurs et une partie du liquide (environ 5 minutes). Fermer le feu et laisser tempérer pendant quelques minutes. 

Pour manger le gruau froid, transférer dans un bocal en verre. Ajouter les garnitures désirées, fermer le couvercle et déposer au réfrigérateur jusqu’au moment de déguster (ou jusqu’au lendemain). Sinon, servir immédiatement.

Coconut Cranberry Chews


I made these coconut cranberry chews around the holidays; I’d heard about them on Spilled Milk, because the wife of one of the hosts has made every cookie in this Sunset holiday collection from December 2001, and the coconut cranberry chews had been the grand prize winner. I made a half recipe and got 18 cookies out of it. Maybe the ratio of butter to flour was a bit off, because I found these cookies a bit too crumbly. And they actually made me feel like they should have pecans as well, which is not something I say often! They were really good, though, and the orange zest was a great touch.

about 1 ½ cups (¾ lb.) lactose-free butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
2 tsp. vanilla
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked dried coconut

In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 ½ cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes. Mix in cranberries and coconut.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets (I lined mine with a silpat). I would recommend flattening the cookies a bit before baking.

Bake in a 350 °F regular or convection oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 8 to 11 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.