Baked Apple Bread Custard

Another one of the family recipes that my mom shared with me while I was home last week. It is originally a recipe from my grandmother, then my mom added a few things like walnuts. It’s such a comforting dessert, and tastes amazing right out of the oven with a bit of whipped cream on top. We ended up doubling the recipe to make a larger batch, but the recipe below is for the smaller amount, which serves about 4-5 people.

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
1 1/2 cups (day old) challah bread, crumbled
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. You can crumble the bread in a food processor or by hand. You want it to be crumbled but not too broken down that you have tiny breadcrumbs. In a large bowl mix together the bread, apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, walnuts, and milk. Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish (alternatively, you can use coconut oil) then place the dish on a baking sheet, and fill the baking sheet with water to create a water bath. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm. Let cool slightly, then serve warm with whipped cream!


Mom’s Homemade Cream Puffs

Good news everyone! My mom has shared another one of her recipes. This time it is her delicious cream puffs that she has been making us for a long time. Sometimes she’ll just make the puffs and stuff them with ice cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce, but this time she made the custard filling version… which I would drink if I could. The puffs themselves are very airy and light, and the filling is sweet but not overly so. She also said if you don’t have time to make the custard, you can simply mix together vanilla pudding and whipped cream and that will do the trick in a pinch.

Puff Dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, slowly bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil. Remove from the heat and add all of the flour at one time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Return to the stove and continue to beat the mixture over low heat, about 4-5 mins. Remove from the heat again and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth – continue beating until the mixture is shiny and breaks into strands.

On an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drop large heaping tablespoons of the mixture 2 inches apart (you can make smaller or larger, whichever you prefer). Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 45 mins. Don’t peek when they’re cooking or they’ll collapse! After approximately 40 mins you can check on them – if you lightly flick them with your finger, they should sound hollow. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Custard Filling:
1 1/2 cups whole milk (if don’t have, add 1/2 or light cream to low fat milk to thicken)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus more as needed)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pink heavy whipping cream

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix together. In a small saucepan, slowly heat the milk until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Add all of the sugar/cornstarch mixture at once to the hot milk, and stir over medium heat until it boils, then add the lemon zest, turn down the heat, and let simmer for one minute. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks with a tiny bit of the hot milk mixture – this will temper the eggs so that they warm without cooking when you add them to the hot mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Add additional cornstarch if necessary to thicken. Stir in the vanilla at the end. If the mixture is chunky at all you can pour through a fine sieve to smooth it out. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, having the wrap actually touch the surface of the custard so that a film doesn’t form. Place in fridge to completely cool and set up. In the meantime, whisk the heavy cream vigorously in a cooled metal bowl until you have yourself some whipped cream – you can also do this with a standing mixer. When the custard is cooled, gently fold the whipped cream into the custard.

When ready to serve, slice the puffs in half and scoops a big dollop of the custard in the center. Be prepared to eat about 700 of these!



Strawberry Rhubarb Cakes With Homemade Whipped Cream

A very good friend was having his going away party at our office this week, so I made mini strawberry rhubarb cakes to have alongside the many bottles of wine and beer. I would have liked to have made sweet cream biscuits as the “cake” layer, but knowing I had to travel on the train in rush hour, I didn’t want to bring anything that had the potential to be squished and broken in my bag. So, I went the semi-homemade route and bought the little shortcakes, then made the compote and whipped cream myself.

2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into small chunks
1 pound fresh strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 medium orange
Juice of 1/2 medium orange
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 individual shortbread cakes (angel food cake works too!)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange juice and zest in a pot over medium heat. Cook, mixing constantly, until everything has melted down together, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Next make the whipped cream! Place the mixing bowl in the fridge for about 20 minutes so that it is cold. Pour in the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium until the cream gets thick and has stiff peaks when you take out the whisk.

Plate the mini cakes, then top with the strawberry rhubarb compote, and top with whipped cream!

Mini Lemon & Rhubarb Upside Down Cakes

Rhubarb is finally in season! I absolutely love it. It’s tart and sweet at the same time, which is my favorite. There are so many things you can do with it as well. This week I thought it would be nice to make some mini cakes to bring into the office for my friends. This recipe was very easy to make, and super delicious. I made a little extra rhubarb topping so I could pour it over the cakes before serving. Overall a successful cake party at work. Happy summer!


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

3 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Start by beating the butter, vanilla, and sugar until light and fluffy. Next add the eggs one at a time, making sure to full incorporate each. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mix, followed by the lemon zest, folding it all in evenly.

To make the topping, melt the butter in a pan followed by the mint and brown sugar. Add the rhubarb and cook for about 6-8 minutes until soft. Make sure not to overcook or it will break down too much! Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups- using about one heaping tablespoon worth for each. Next, pour the batter over the rhubarb, filling the cups about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled, use a knife to loosen the sides of the cakes, then place a baking sheet over top of the muffin tins, and flip it over onto a flat surface. I ended up slicing a sliver of the bottoms off so that they would sit flat on the plate. Serve with a little extra rhubarb sauce. Enjoy!



Brown Butter Lemon Bars

What to do with a bunch of lemons? Make lemon bars! Everything you need to make these, you likely have in your kitchen already. They take a little time but are totally worth it. I’ve wanted to try making Smitten Kitchen’s lemon bars for a while, so when I got a handful of lemons in my CSA I knew exactly what I was going to make. They came out delicious! In an attempt to be fancy, I browned the butter before making the crust, which I thought gave it a nice nutty flavor. If you prefer not to brown the butter, just simply use room temp butter without cooking it at all. I think next time I might add a little shredded ginger into the batter as well and see what happens.

Ingredients: (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 sticks unsalted butter (browned in pan)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 by 2 inch baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place butter in a pan and cook until slightly browned and fragrant. Be sure not to burn the butter, once it begins to smell nutty, it’s about ready to be taken off the heat. Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge until set. Remove and let get to room temperature.

With an electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, and with the mixer on low, add the flour to the butter until just mixed. On a well floured surface, form the dough into a ball. Place inside the baking sheet and flatten with your hands, going up the sides as well. Chill the crust in the fridge for about 20 minutes, then cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Next, make the lemon filling by placing the eggs, flour, sugar, lemon, and zest in a large bowl. Whisk well and pour into the crust mold. Cook for 25 minutes, or until just set. You can tell when it has set by simply shaking the pan a little to see if the center jiggles. If not, it is ready to be removed. Let cool to room temperature, then serve with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread & Muffins

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs- everything looks incredible. When I got some zucchini this week I decided to make her zucchini bread. It was absolutely delicious and extremely easy to make! I added the chocolate chips, but this would be great without them as well, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have. Even with the chocolate chips added, I didn’t think it was too sweet at all. The recipe was enough to make 2 loaves or 24 muffins, but when I filled the one loaf pan it didn’t look like I would have enough for another full loaf, so I threw the leftovers in the muffin tin. Both came out great- I ate mine warm with butter, of course.

Ingredients: (from Smitten Kitchen)
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or walnuts if you want a less sweet with a little crunch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your loaf pans or muffin tins. In a large bowl whisk the eggs then add the oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a few cups at a time and mix well. Divide the batter into your pans and cook for 50-60 minutes (test with a toothpick until it comes out clean.) If you go the muffin route instead, these will cook much faster in about 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then immediately hide in your room and eat the whole thing.

Blueberry Lemon Hand Pies

Who doesn’t love a perfectly sized pie that fits right in your hand? I got some beautiful blueberries in my CSA last week and decided to make some mini hand pies to bring into the office, and to my lovely sister who just had her first baby! She deserves a million pies. It’s been in the 90s here all week so I was lazy and used frozen pie dough that I thawed to cut my kitchen time down a little. They are very easy to make and absolutely delicious! I found that they keep for about 2 days, but not much longer as the crust gets soft from the moisture. Best to store in an airtight container, but make sure they are completely cool before putting them away.

Ingredients: From Bon Appetit magazine (makes 12)
2 boxes 9 inch pie crusts, defrosted
4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (I thought this was a bit much and would use a little less next time)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
Raw sugar for dusting
All-purpose flour, for dusting

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the blueberries, sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Flour your surface as well as the rolling pin. Take your thawed dough and shape it into a ball, sprinkle well with flour. Roll dough into (2) 15×12 inch rectangles (I could only get mine into a square!) and cut 6 inch smaller rectangles either with a knife or pastry cutter. Brush edges of each rectangle with water and scoop about a tablespoon of the blueberry mixture into the center. Fold in a diagonal and seal edges with a fork. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar, and slit a hole in the top. Transfer the pies to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. The blueberry juice will leak as it cooks. Once finished, transfer to a wire rack.