Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Desserts

 

TORTA DI MELE (TUSCAN APPLE CAKE)

Ingredients

2 x large apples, peeled, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup honey
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment cut to fit the bottom of the pan.

Toss the chopped apples into a bowl with the lemon juice and zest.

Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, extra virgin olive oil, and eggs together to combine.

Mix the extra virgin olive oil mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth thick batter.

Fold the apples into the batter. then pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar before slicing. You can serve it with honey yogurt. {Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of Greek plain yougurt}


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Makes 2 dozen

Remove the eggs and butter from the refrigerator the night before baking.

Ingredients

2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), very soft
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F, and line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, butter, sugars, vanilla, and mix with a spoon until smooth.

Add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and stir to combine.
Add the walnuts and stir to combine.

Using a muffin {¼ cup} scoop, form mounds and place on a prepared baking sheet spaced about 2 inches apart (6 cookies on each sheet)

Bake 2 pans for about 20 minutes, switching pans halfway through baking.
Repeat with the second two pans. Cool the cookies on the parchment on the kitchen counter.

Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Using a few products from the market can create these easy bars for dessert.

Ingredients

Bottom Layer
1 box of yellow cake mix
½ cup salted butter, melted
1 egg
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Top Layer
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
Combine cake mix, butter, lemon juice, and egg in a large bowl; mix until thoroughly combined. (Batter will be crumbly) Spread the mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking pan with your fingers, patting it down firmly.
Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and, lemon juice in a medium bowl. Pour over the top of the cake mixture.
Bake for 28-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar for an attractive presentation.


For the topping:
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into small pieces

For the filling:
4 cups of peaches, peeled, sliced and each slice cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. With your fingertips, blend the butter pieces into the dry ingredients until large clumps form and the flour and butter are completely incorporated about 3 minutes.

For the filling:
Combine the peaches with lemon juice and cinnamon. Spread the peaches in a medium baking dish, greased with butter. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the peaches.
Bake until the topping is browned and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Place the dish on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.


As you can probably tell from recipes this past week, eggplant is in season in the south. The varieties are extensive and I am coming up with lots of recipes. Stay tuned for more.

Ratatouille Pot Pie

Ingredients

Filling

2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper and 1 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
2 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese
3 tablespoon olive oil olive oil

Pastry

1 pkg. Pastry dough for a 9-inch pie
11 egg, beaten

Directions:

Can be prepared a day ahead.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a greased 9×13″ pan, combine garlic, onion, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Place the diced vegetables on top of the onion mixture, but do not combine. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour, or until veggies are softened and beginning to brown slightly. Drain the vegetables in a colander and set them aside.

When ready to bake – heat the oven to 425ºF.
Stir the cheese into the eggplant mixture.

Unroll the dough and arrange one crust in a 9=inch pie pan. Pour the eggplant mixture into the casserole. Place the top crust on and flute the edge. Brush with beaten egg.

Bake 45minutes until crust is golden brown and vegetables are bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Greek Salad

Creamy Greek Feta Dressing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup feta plus extra for the salad
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon mint
Salt and pepper

Salad
8 large leaves of leaf lettuce, sliced crosswise
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into large dice
1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 Kalamata olives
6 Peperoncini peppers

Directions

For the dressing

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

For the salad
Combine the lettuce, onion, bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss until all of the ingredients are well coated. Add extra feta cheese if you would like more. Serve immediately/

 


Tuaca is an Italian naturally flavored brandy liqueur. Tuaca is a sweet golden brown blend of brandy, citrus essences, vanilla, and other secret spices. It is bottled at 70 proof. Tuaca’s mild, sweet flavor makes it popular as a cordial, mixed by some with coffee.

Ingredients

Two Crust pastry dough, enough for a 9-inch cake pan
4 large peaches, thinly sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Tuaca
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Fit one pastry into a 9-inch cake pan.

In a bowl, gently mix peaches, sugar, cinnamon, Tuaca, and flour together. Arrange the fruit mixture in circles until the crust is covered. Cut the butter into small pieces and distribute it over the peaches.

Cut the second pastry dough into ½-inch wide strips. Weave the strips on top of the peaches.

Fold up the pastry dough’s edge over the strips’ edge.
Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Cool the crostata on a rack, and serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite ice cream.

Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur 750 ML


This recipe can accommodate any type of fresh fruit. Baking times will adjust. See below.

Pear Galette

ingredients

1 crust from 1 box (14.1 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts (2 Count), softened as directed on the box
2 large, firm Bartlett or Anjou pears, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper.

Remove pie crust from pouch; place in the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Unroll.

In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Add the sliced pears. Mix well.
Mound the pears, about 3 cups, onto the center of the pie crust leaving a one-inch border all around\d. Crimp the edges of the pastry up around the pear mound.

 

For pears or apples

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. +
For softer fruit such as peaches or berries, bake for 30 minutes only at 400 degrees F.

Remove the galette from the pan to a serving dish and allow it to cool to room temperature.


16 servings

Ingredients

For the crust:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheese filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, at room temperature
¼ cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (12 ounces)
1/2 cup Italian limoncello, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 9 x13 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl and mix until moistened. Press the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan/ Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.

For the filling, place the cream cheese mascarpone, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta and beat for another minute, scraping down the bowl.

With the mixer on low, add the limoncello, vanilla, and milk and beat for one minute. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour over the crust.

Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, until almost set in the center and lightly brown in spots on the top of the cake.

Cool to room temperature. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 pieces to serve.


Lamb Cake

Ingredients

1 pkg store-bought pound cake mix
3/4 to1 cup water (use 1/4 cup less than the package directions-my cake mix calls for 1 1/4 cups of water)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Whipped Cream Frosting, recipe below
1 lamb mold

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the lamb mold by coating it with vegetable oil. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel.

Then grease (use a solid shortening) and flour the lamb mold, making sure to get all the creases.

Place the front of the mold on a baking sheet.

Prepare the cake batter according to the cake mix directions.

Fill the mold to the top for the front of the cake, do not fill the backside of the mold.

Place the back of the mold on the front and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake tests are done. (Test with a toothpick through a vent hole in the mold.)

Remove the mold from the oven, wait 10 minutes and remove the back of the body mold.

Stand the cake up and gently remove the front of the mold. Have clean towels rolled up and ready to support the head of the cake, while placing a rolled-up towel in the back of the cake to support that part also.

Place a dab of icing on a plate and stand the cake in an upright position. Frost and decorate with jelly beans, raisins, cherries, or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.

(Best results cool cake in the refrigerator before frosting, this makes a firmer surface for the icing.) Place green-tinted coconut around the base of the lamb; add jelly beans and a colorful bow at the neck, if desired.

Whipped Cream Frosting

This is a great whipped cream recipe because it does not weep after it sits on the cake.

Ingredients

1 (8 ounces) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

Decorations: jelly beans, coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, food coloring

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.

While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

12 buns

Ingredients

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons.wheat gluten
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
Powdered sugar icing, recipe below

Directions

Combine the flour, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

Add the sourdough starter, milk, butter, and vanilla. Mix together until a dough forms. Add the raisins, and mix them into the dough.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double — about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until double — about 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20 minutes or cooked in the center and golden brown in color.

Cool on wire rack. Be sure the buns are completely cool before adding the frosting or the frosting will melt over the buns.

Powdered Sugar Icing

Combine the following ingredients to make a thick frosting.

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

With a spoon, drizzle icing in a cross pattern over each bun.


Ingredients

For the cake:

1 box (15.25 oz) red velvet cake mix
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 box (3.4 oz) chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
4 large eggs

For the topping

1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into thin slices
¼ cup strawberry jelly
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a fluted tube cake pan with non-stick baking spray with flour.

Stir the cake mix, flour, and pudding mix together in a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, oil, water, and eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cooling in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serve the cake sliced with strawberries and whipped cream.

 

The toppings can be prepared ahead of serving time. Refrigerate until needed.
Heat the jelly in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is melted. Stin in the sliced strawberries. Set aside to cool.
Whip the v\cream with powdered sugar.



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