We have cake!
My Christmas dinner dessert:
One sleepless night, I turned on Netflix and watched a couple of episodes of The Barefoot Contessa, a program I used to love back in the days when I had cable. (Whatever you think about Ina Garten, her recipes always work out and I have a couple that I’ve used with great success for years.)
She was making an icebox cake. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a cake you assemble by layering thin, crisp cookies with whipped cream, and then put in the icebox (an earlier incarnation of the refrigerator) overnight. The cookies soften and you end up with a cake-like consistency.
My mom used to make the one they have on the package of Nabisco chocolate wafers, which was really good, but the presentation was never all that fancy.
For hers, Ina Garten, lined a springform pan with chocolate chip cookies, and proceeded to make layers of a whipped cream/mascarpone mixture and more cookies until she came to the top of the pan. She then covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. You can find her recipe here.
I like ginger for Christmas so I decided to adapt this. I found ginger snaps that have crystallized ginger baked into them. And then I adapted the cream mixture.
And this is how it came out!
I think if I made it again, I’d sub out Grand Marnier for the brandy and maybe put some candied orange peels on the top.
But very very yummy just the way I made it.
Reader, tonight I finished the miscellaneous category of my possessions.
No seriously, I made homemade pop tarts.
This is like an actual thing that some people I work with have made in the past. I was intrigued enough to want to try it. The recipe they use comes from Smitten Kitchen.
I am considering the dough to be a major victory, because I have issues with pie crust type doughs. Frankly I had issues with this dough. you can see from the photos that they’re not terribly pretty.
I even made the jam. It’s blueberry – recipe courtesy of Food in Jars. I achieved set in this jam to an extreme extent, but when I heated it up per the pop tart recipe instructions, it came out just fine.
I have no idea where this recipe originated. There are a couple of variations out there. This is the one I made. Upped the amount of lemon juice slightly in the glaze.
If you’re thinking these will come out like lemon squares, you’re in for a disappointment.
They’re very much like a light non-chocolaty lemon flavored brownie. Light and tart and delicious. Easy to do too
We’ve been getting tons of plums from our CSA. I love them, but you reach a point where you have to start baking or canning stuff before they go bad. I had been going with an ersatz plum crisp, but I was getting sick of that, so I opted to make a tart. I ran into a few difficulties. Surprise surprise.
Sadly, it looks nowhere near as pretty as the one in the Epicurious recipe. This would be due to the fact that I was using a bunch of different types of plums. That meant I had different sized slices (first problem). Second problem was that I didn’t halve this the way I was supposed to. That realization came to me as I was dumping in the juice and sugar mixture and had crossed the rubicon as it were. The result was that I had way too much liquid and it was way too sweet. Live and learn!
I don’t do crust. I need to learn to do it though because really, homemade pie crust is so much better than anything store bought. That said, I present to you one of Saturday’s efforts. Yes, it’s quiche. How ’80s can I get? Well, I don’t care. I love quiche. Also I had a fair amount of the ingredients already.
I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. Only thing I did differently was sub out Canadian bacon for the ham. It came out quite well, but in retrospect I wish I’d made the effort to make my own pie crust. Maybe next time. Her recipe called for sour cream and it really did add a nice richness to the custard.
They say you shouldn’t try out new recipes for parties without a test run and normally I am a firm believer in that rule. But every so often I break it usually with lackluster results. Sometimes though, there are wondrous exceptions. Here is one of those exceptions:
Doesn’t it look splendid? This would be the Italian Jam Crostata from Chow. This one has more of a shortbread like dough. Came together quite simply per the directions. There was one ambiguous direction — you halve the dough; take one half and press it to a plate, cover it with plastic; and put it in the freezer, but it doesn’t say for how long. After some frantic internet searching, I went with 7-10 minutes and hoped for the best.
I probably shouldn’t have taken it out of the springform pan as I was taking it somewhere and travel became a bit interesting…
Tasted pretty awesome. I used some Wilton’s seedless raspberry jam. I didn’t use any mods to the recipe. Next time I may change up the proportions of the extracts to give the almond a bit more oomph.