Dessert Recipes

Clafoutis, An Easy Fruit Dessert

by Anne Maxfield on September 11, 2017

Accidental Locavore ClafoutisThink of clafoutis as being French equivalent to a cobbler, but being French, a little more elegant.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s one of those desserts you have to fuss over. It’s actually easier than a cobbler—all you do is pop a few ingredients in a blender and pour them over some fruit.

Traditionally the fruit is cherries, but any fruit that can be baked can be used.

I had some cherries, peaches and blueberries, on their own, not enough to make a pie or anything and a few too many to eat before they went bad, so clafoutis seemed like the way to go.

Accidental Locavore Cherries for ClafoutisClafoutis

  • 1 ¼ pounds (570 grams) sweet cherries
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar (mixed use)
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Softened butter for greasing the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Liberally grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish with butter.

Stem and pit the cherries. Place them in a single layer in the baking dish.

In a blender, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake about 45 minutes until it is just set. A knife or toothpick poked in the center should come out relatively clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Clafoutis BatterMy verdict: It’s super easy and delicious. We served it warm, but you can serve it warm, room temperature or cold—all good.

I used a mix of cherries, blueberries and a peach that I cut into small chunks (but didn’t peel).

Since I’ve had nut allergies in the past, I didn’t use any almond extract, which probably made it really non-traditional, but it didn’t take away from the taste.

Another added bonus is that it’s really good for breakfast the next day, whether you bother to warm it up or not.

It’s a versatile recipe to know about, you can switch up the fruit or take the sugar out, substitute some cheese, add veggies and make it a savory dish.

 

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Apple Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 4, 2017

accidental-locavore-slice-of-apple-cakeNow that we’re moving into apple season, it seemed like a good time to revisit this great apple cake.

Originally the idea of a fruit CSA had its appeal.

Apples and other fresh fruit, weekly when we picked up our regular CSA share at Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Shared with friends since the Accidental Locavore knew 8 pounds of fruit was going to be too much.

Even 4 pounds is a lot of fruit, but this delicious apple cake will take six of them off your hands.

I’d seen this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and then my cousin called raving about this great apple cake she’d made. She was right!

accidental locavore apple cakeApple Cake Recipe

For the apples:

  • 6 apples, McIntosh or whatever looks good
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons white or light brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup vegetable oil (or mix of butter, olive oil etc.)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

accidental-locavore apples-for apple cakeHeat oven to 350°. Butter a tube pan (angel food, bundt).

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

accidental-locavore apple cake-assemblyPour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Great apple cake! After we devoured a couple of slices of it, I cut it in quarters and stuck most of it in the freezer. Two days later, most of it has already been pulled from the freezer (not to worry, got more apples from the CSA). Slightly warmed up, it makes a great breakfast too! Now I’ve made it twice and it still hasn’t lasted a week.

I used a combo of McIntosh and Macons which worked well, you probably want to avoid the mushier apples like Delicious. Since we’re not an orange juice drinking household, I just bought an orange and juiced half of it.

The recipe calls for a cup of vegetable oil and suggests that you can use olive or coconut oil and/or butter. Because butter makes everything better, I used one stick of butter, melted and topped it off with vegetable oil. Might try an olive oil-butter mix the next time.

Update: Because of the plethora of apples, I ended up making this about five times. Olive oil was the least successful batch so I went back to butter and vegetable oil. Everyone who has made this or tasted it loves it. Give it a shot.

 

 

 

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Christmas Pudding Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on December 8, 2016

accidental-locavore-christmas-puddingChristmas pudding is like fruitcake—same candied fruit, (more) booze, and a limited number of fans (mainly U.K. residents and expats).

And, like fruitcake, someone must be eating it or it wouldn’t show up on store shelves.

However, that’s been changing and not only has the audience diminished, so have the places where you can buy it.

Since the Accidental Locavore’s mother and twin sister are both huge fans, I decided to give it a go.

It’s pretty easy, but you need plenty of time for it to age.

The longer the better and remember, the fruit mix needs to marinate for four days.

This makes about 4 medium bowls.

Christmas Pudding Recipe 

Fruit Mixture (To be made 4 days ahead)

  • 1 pound seedless raisins
  • 1 pound sultana (golden) raisins
  • 1/2 pound currants
  • 1 cup citron (thinly sliced or chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped candied peel
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound finely ground beef suet
  • 1 1/4 cups cognac

Pudding

  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh bread crumbs (about 1 loaf of Wonderbread)
  • 1 cup very hot milk
  • 1 cup sherry or port
  • 12 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cognac
  • Butter for greasing the bowls

accidental-locavore-christmas-pudding-beginningIn a very large bowl, add the raisins, sultanas, currants, citron, peel, spices and suet. Toss to combine.

Add 1/4 cup cognac, cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 days.

Sprinkle the mix with 1/4 cup cognac each day.

In a medium bowl, soak the bread crumbs in milk and sherry (or port).

Add the beaten eggs, sugar and salt.

Pour into the fruit and mix thoroughly.

accidental-locavore-christmas-pudding-bowlsPut the pudding in buttered bowls or tins and fill them about 2/3 full. Cover with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bowl, then top with aluminum foil and tie it firmly.

Steam for 6-7 hours. A large roasting pan works well for this. If you want to do it in the oven, cover the roasting pan and bowls with aluminum foil and steam in a 275° oven.

Check occasionally and add more water as needed.

Uncover and bake in a 250°F. oven for 30 minutes.

Add a dash of cognac to each pudding, cover with parchment paper and foil and keep in a cool place. They will store for up to a year.

To use, steam again for 2-3 hours and unmold. If you’d like, add some gently heated cognac, ignite and bring to the table. Serve with hard sauce (softened, unsalted butter and confectioner’s sugar beaten together with a lot of brandy or cognac) and enjoy!

My verdict: Never a big fan, this could change my mind about Christmas pudding (which by the way has no resemblance to pudding, it’s just the British term for desserts). Even my husband who can’t stand the stuff actually liked it!

I would buy some deep inexpensive bowls to use for this. This time I used a set of three I bought (2.5 quarts and smaller) and an old large soup bowl, If you’re going to be aging the “pud,” just remember that the bowls will be out of service for a while. You’re also going to need some very large mixing bowls to hold the fruit mixture, breadcrumbs and eggs.

Because the fruit is acidic, it’s best to always have a piece of parchment (not waxed) paper covering the surface of the pudding. Then top with aluminum foil.

Generally, instead of trying to fit a giant bowl in my fridge for four days (no way that’s going to happen), if it’s cold enough, I put in on my screen porch.

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Ultimate Chocolate Cookies

by Anne Maxfield on November 10, 2016

Accidental Locavore a Plate of Ultimate Chocolate CookiesSometimes you need to cook to take your mind off current events.

These ultimate chocolate cookies might distract you from things like election results.

And they taste amazing!

Might even put a smile on your face.

Pull out a cookie sheet and give it a try.

This makes about 12 cookies.

Ultimate Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 ounces unsweetened (baking) chocolate
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sifted flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee (optional)
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Accidental Locavore Baking Ultimate Chocolate CookiesPreheat oven to 350°. Melt unsweetened, semi-sweet chocolate and butter together in a double boiler until melted (or see update below). Remove and let cool.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and coffee on high speed. Reduce to low speed and add chocolate/butter mixture. Add sifted ingredients and mix just until smooth. By hand, stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop tablespoon-sized cookies on sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until top of cookies get a cracked look. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Ultimate Chocolate CookiesMy verdict: This recipe came from an old friend and I had forgotten how good these cookies were! Frank tried them and loved them! They’re like a cookie version of a really good brownie, or molten chocolate cake. . I left the nuts out as I’ve had allergies, but they would be a great addition. I also left the coffee out as I like my chocolate unadulterated, but if you feel differently…While cookies aren’t a part of my normal repertoire, these are classics.

Update: I’ve made these at least four times recently, and they continue to be great! Recently, a friend said that he had melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave, so I tried it. About 90 seconds, but do it in 30 second increments.

The Accidental Locavore’s friend’s recipe has this at the bottom: DISCLAIMER: Not responsible for anyone’s actions after cookies have been consumed!!!

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