Poached Pear Mummy Pies

Awhile ago I was watching The Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood challenged the contestants to recreate his mini pear pies, which are poached pears wrapped in pastry. My husband and I immediately commented on how we wanted to make them, but then as I watched the bakers wrap the pears in strips of dough like little pear mummies a light bulb went off in my head…PEAR MUMMIES!

poached-pear-mummy-pies-5This adorable dessert will take your Halloween shindig to the next level. Here’s how you make them.

Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Mini Pear Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

Store bought puff pastry
6 large, firm pears (preferably ones that are straight and tall)
10½ oz caster sugar
18 oz white wine
14 oz water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zest only
12 whole cloves

Directions

Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. In a large saucepan combine the water, white wine, cinnamon and orange zest and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for three minutes.

Poached Pear Mummy Pies Add the pears to the pan. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reserving the syrup, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool on kitchen paper. Use a melon baller or small teaspoon remove the core from the pears.

Return the syrup to the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half and the syrup is thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

When the fruit and syrup are cool, roll out the chilled puff pastry to a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. Then use a knife to cut into thin, long strips, about 1/3 inch wide.

Poached Pear Mummy PiesBrush the pears with the cooled sugar syrup and starting from the bottom, wrap the pastry strips around the pears. When you come to the end of the pastry strip, brush the end lightly with syrup and press to adhere to the next pastry strip. Leave an opening near the center of the pear for the eyes. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pear. Place two cloves into the pear where you want the eyes to be.

poached-pear-mummy-pies-3Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the pastry covered pears on a baking tray. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes then serve with a drizzle of the reduced sugar syrup.

poached-pear-mummy-pies-4

Mixed Berry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

First of all, Happy Fourth of July weekend! I’m literally sitting on the beach right now as I type this but I just HAD to share the amazing strawberry and blueberry cornmeal skillet cake my husband made for breakfast this morning.

It was so good I forced him to write down the recipe for you guys because you need this in your life. It has crispy buttery edges and a nice tender middle with lots of tart berry flavor. It’s so easy to make, too! Ok blah blah blah enough talk. Here’s the recipe.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 Stick of unsalted butter, melted, set aside 1 tablespoon for skillet
6 oz fresh blueberries
8 oz fresh strawberries, halved lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a 10-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and the melted butter, reserving 1 tablespoon for the skillet. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the skillet; scatter the blueberries on top, and place the strawberry halves evenly over the blueberries. Sprinkle with as much sugar as you’d like, we used about 3 tablespoons.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is evenly browned. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

 

Prosciutto, Fig Jam, Fontina, Provolone Grilled Cheese

Did you guys know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? And today is National Grilled Cheese Day?! To celebrate I teamed up with my pals at La Brea Bakery (who just so happen to hold a special grilled cheese night every Thursday night in LA during the month of April) to create my own perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

What’s not to love about a grilled cheese sandwich? It’s buttery, grilled slices of bread filled with gooey, delicious, melted cheese! There are a lot of ways you can make a grilled cheese, from the classic American and white bread combo to a more artisan variety.

For this version I was inspired by a cheese and charcuterie board I sampled from once. I can’t remember where I had it, but I do remember it had prosciutto, Italian cheeses, figs, and crostini. The combo is out of this world and I figured it would make a great sandwich. Plus it goes well with wine so that’s a major bonus!

What you need:
Prosciutto
Provolone Cheese
Fontina Cheese
Fig Jam
A good hearty bread (like La Brea Bakery’s French Loaf)
Butter

Prosciutto Fig Jam Fontina Provolone Grilled Cheese
What you do:

Slice your bread into even slices and spread a layer of fig jam onto one side of each slice.

Prosciutto Fig Jam Fontina Provolone Grilled Cheese

Next, layer 2-3 slices (depends on how gooey you want it) of each meat and cheese on the jam side of the bread and close it up.

Prosciutto Fig Jam Fontina Provolone Grilled Cheese

Heat butter in a pan on medium heat until it’s sizzling. Put the sandwich in the pan and grill until each side is golden brown. Stay low and slow so the cheese has time to melt before the sandwich gets burned. If you need more melting time, go ahead and pop the pan into a 300 degree oven for a few minutes.

Prosciutto Fig Jam Fontina Provolone Grilled Cheese

Serve with an extra little dollop of fig jam (and wine) and enjoy!

Prosciutto Fig Jam Fontina Provolone Grilled Cheese

Chocolate Pots de Creme with Campari Whipped Cream

Alright, you guys, I’m not going to waste your time with a cute little intro to this recipe. It’s too good for words so I’m just going to say it’s delicious, easy to make, and totally perfect for any occasion. The creamy chocolate custard and the fluffy whipped cream are like a beautiful food love story.

Chocolate Pot de Creme with Campari Whipped CreamHere’s what you do.

Chocolate Pots de Creme
Ingredients
10 ounces good semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the chocolate in a blender (Or in a large bowl if using an immersion blender). Whisk milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Be careful not to over-whisk, you don’t want a lot of bubbles to form. Stir constantly with a spatula for 6 to 7 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula.

Immediately pour the milk mixture through a sieve over the chocolate in the blender (or in the bowl if using an immersion blender). Blend until combined and smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture amongst the vessels of your choice.

I like to use cocktail glasses because I think it looks very elegant and romantic, but you can use tea cups, ramekins, or small bowls.

Refrigerate for several hours until the chocolate is set and firm.

Lastly you need to finish it off with a dollop of whipped topping, chocolate shavings, and a chocolate truffle. You can make regular whipped cream but I threw some Campari in mine. It is me after all, and I think the bitterness of the Campari plays well with the sweetness of the dessert.

Campari Whipped Cream
Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Campari

Whip with a whisk until fluffy.

Chocolate Pot de Creme with Campari Whipped Cream

Voila. Enjoy!

 

Autumnal Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf Recipe

You guys, today is my wedding anniversary and I woke up to the most delectable baked treat from my hobby baker husband. I’m a big fan of pumpkin loaf and bread, but honestly this is the best squash variety of loaf I’ve ever had. Any loaf for that matter. He’d been playing around with the idea for this recipe for awhile and I think he nailed it. It’s perfectly dense and moist with a nice crust and the right amount of sweetness. So naturally I will share it with you and take all of the credit.

But without further ado here’s the recipe.

Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf (No I didn’t stutter)

Butternut Squash Brown Butter Loaf Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 medium sized butternut squash, oven roasted, peeled (should yield about 2 cups)
2 sticks of butter, plus more for greasing pan

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

In a different bowl beat the eggs with the butternut squash. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.

In a small sauce pan, brown the butter and stir it into the mixture until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 70 to 80 minutes and cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from pan.

Brown Butter Butternut Squash Loaf Recipe

Enjoy!

Devil’s Booze Cake Recipe

If you’re in the mood for something super rich, chocolate-y, and boozy for your Halloween shindig, I’ve got the perfect cake for you. It’s a chocolate cake soaked in coffee flavored vodka, with gooey dulce de leche in between the layers and on top, and finished with black sea salt. It basically tastes like a boozy candy bar. In the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?”. It’s perfect for Halloween! Or for when you’re generally feeling dark and want to eat your feelings, have PMS, etc. This cake has no limits, but it really is most perfect for Halloween.

Let’s bake.
Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama
This recipe was adapted from Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coffee or espresso flavored vodka
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and dust the pans with cocoa powder. (I like to flour chocolate cake pans with cocoa powder. I think this gives it a nicer finish.)

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make your dulce de leche. Place two cans of sweetened condensed milk to a pot of simmering water. Make sure the cans are completely submerged in water or they will explode. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from water and let cool to the touch. Be cautious of opening cans. If they are still too hot they may splatter.

Once cakes are cooled, use a tooth pick to poke small holes around the layer. Brush the coffee flavored vodka onto each layer (about 1/2 cup each layer). Let the cake soak up the vodka.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. Pour a good amount of dulce de leche on and spread around. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and pour remaining dulce de leche on top and let it run down the sides.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Top with a sprinkle of black sea salt. SO. GOOD.

Devil's Booze Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe

We all know that one of the most popular (and basic) autumn activities is to go apple picking. You’ve probably already noticed all the posts on Instagram with boots, scarves, cider, and apples galore. This is mostly known as a North Eastern tradition, but believe it or not we have orchards for apple picking in Southern California, too!

Last weekend the weather cooled down for a whole day and we finally got some rain, so my husband and I took the trip out to our favorite apple picking spot, Oak Glen, to take advantage of the cool, rainy, fall-like weather.

Oak Glen, CA Apple pickingOak Glen is a quaint little town about 2 hours outside of LA. There are lovely orchards where you’ll find all of the traditional autumn favorites, from apples to hayrides to hot cider donuts.

Oak Glen ApplesThe reason I like going to pick my own apples is because I can usually find varieties that aren’t found in our local markets. This time we came home with Pink Pearl apples. These apples are sweet and tart with a gorgeous pink color.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

We had some left over pate brisee dough hanging out in the freezer, so I decided to make a galette with the apples and apple jelly we got from our trip. These apples are amazing for baking. They’re super juicy and I think the flavor gets even better when they’re cooked.

Plus, they’re really pretty.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

Here’s a recipe to make your own apple galette. You can use any apples you want, but if you can get your hands on some Pink Pearl apples, I highly recommend you do.

Galette Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Apple Filling
1 lb apples, cored
1/4 cup apple jelly
3 tbsp sugar
whole milk

In a bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a dough cutter or food processor to mix the butter in until the mixture until it reaches a course meal texture. Add ice water slowly (1 tbsp at a time) until the dough just holds together without being wet. Divide the dough in half and into balls. Flatten dough balls into discs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour.

Roll out chilled dough on parchment paper or a lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick circle. Chill again for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile core and slice the apples. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

Remove chilled dough round from refrigerator and spoon two tablespoons of jelly on to the dough, leaving at least a 1.5 inch boarder.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaPlace apple slices over the jelly in slightly overlapping concentric circles. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaFold the plain dough boarder over the apples. Brush with milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaTransfer galette and parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees for another 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Heat remaining apple jelly and brush on top of cooked apples for a nice shiny finish. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama