savories

Classic Focaccia

If you’re even slightly a food person like myself, you’ve probably seen or heard about the new Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat. I admit that since its premiere, I have watched it through at least 3 times, crying, laughing, and planning food for the future. The premise behind the show comes from a cookbook of the same name, written by Samin Nosrat. Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat, the four elements of good cooking. Master the balance of these, master good cooking. The special is broken into 4, each in a different location and each tackling a different element. Unsurprisingly, the episode that I felt myself watching over and over again centered around Italy. Titled “Fat”, it tackled just what makes Italian food so good, from the olive oil, to the pork fat, to the cows milk cheese.

The recipe that caught my eye for sure was this focaccia, and even though I have a deep-seated fear of bread making, nothing was going to stop me from this. It is SO good, so crisp on the outside and light and airy on the inside, rich and salty and perfect for dipping in coffee (the Ligurian way) or eating straight from the oven. It reminds me so much of the Schiacchiata bread that makes the best sandwiches in Florence, which I’d get on my way home from school and finish eating before even getting to the steps of my apartment. I would give literally anything to be back there right now, but until then, this is pretty close to perfect. By the way, the original recipe can be found here, but I tried to keep this as close to the original as possible!

Before you go become your best bread-making self, here are 5 things to be happy about today:

ONE. Puffy winter coats.
TWO. Keeping your room cold so that you can sleep with two cozy blankets.
THREE. “Flannel Fridays”.
FOUR. Apple cider cocktails.
FIVE. Impromptu photoshoots.

Makes: About 24 pieces of focaccia
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 12-14 hours
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

2½ cups warm water
½ tsp active dry yeast
2½ tsp honey
5 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp large crystal kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt, for sprinkling
1½ tsp kosher salt (for brine)
1/3 cup warm water (for brine)

Steps

ONE. In a medium sized bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey and stir until dissolved. In another large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add in the dissolved yeast mixture and the olive oil and stir until everything is just combined. At this point, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to ferment overnight or for at least 12-14 hours.

TWO. When the dough has finished fermenting and is more than doubled in size, spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil on an 18″ x 13″ baking sheet (a baker’s half sheet) so that the whole sheet is covered. Gently release the dough from the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula, and carefully add to the baking sheet. Add another tablespoon of oil and gently stretch the dough so that it covers the entire bottom of the sheet evenly. Because the dough will shrink at first, over the course of 30 minutes gently push the dough back to the corners until it stays.

THREE. Press your index, middle and ring fingers into the dough at an angle to make the signature focaccia dimples. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the warm water and salt until the salt has been totally dissolved. Pour this brine over the whole sheet evenly, and then proof for a final 45 minutes.

FOUR. About 30 minutes into this final proof, position your oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 450ºF. To bake, either place a baking stone on the oven rack with the baking sheet on top of it, or flip another baking sheet upside down and place the baking sheet with the dough on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is crisp and golden brown.

FIVE. To finish, generously drizzle olive oil over the top (it will sink into the bread), and sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve thick slices warm and try not to eat the entire sheet yourself, but if you do, I won’t judge.

YUM!! xoxoxoxox

sweets

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Yes hello and welcome, I know I bring you another pumpkin recipe this week, but this one is a real showstopper so you won’t be mad for long. I’ll start with a question: what’s better that a creme brûlée? The answer? A PUMPKIN creme brûlée!! There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking your spoon and cracking that top shell before digging in to one of these, but the combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, and caramel waiting for you inside is a close second. I have adapted today’s recipe from this one here, changing around some proportions and things to make eight bigger pots, because who wouldn’t want more?


Creme Brûlée may sound daunting, but it’s actually one of the easiest things to make, the hardest part honestly being separating 12 eggs for the custard. I know, it feels like such a waste of egg whites, but save them for macarons like these or these how about?? You’ll be glad you did. But anyway, I promise you’ll be surprised how well these turn out, and how easily you’ll be able to trick people into thinking you’re a master of french desserts or something.

Before we get started as always, here are 5 things for you to be happy about at this very moment:

ONE. The fact that otters hold hands when they sleep so they don’t float away from each other.
TWO. A hearty stew on a cold night, complete with buttered noodles.
THREE. Finally thinking of a really great Halloween costume.
FOUR. Buying Halloween candy but ending up eating it yourself.
FIVE. Pumpkin beer with the cinnamon sugar on the rim.

Let’s go!!

Makes: 8 (9oz.) creme brûlées (4 oz. pots will yield about double)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

12 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
9 tablespoons brown sugar (a little over ½ cup)
½ tsp kosher salt
3 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1½ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground allspice
1 cup pumpkin puree
White sugar, for brûléeing

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Since my ramekins are large, I used a 9×13″ baking dish plus another 8×8″ baking dish to fit all 8 pots, but whatever you can fit is fine, as long as the dish is deep enough that the top of the ramekin is about flush with the top of the baking dish. Line your dishes with a folded dish towel and place the ramekins inside. They can be touching, but just make sure they all fit straight, otherwise some custards will bake up lopsided.

TWO. Add all your egg yolks to a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the heavy cream, brown sugar, and salt until just simmering. Remove from the heat and add in your spices and vanilla, then allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.

THREE. Whisking constantly, add a little of the warm cream to your egg yolks to temper them (this will prevent the heat of the cream from cooking the eggs). After this is done, continue to add the cream in a slow drizzle until it has all been added to the yolks and everything is combined.

FOUR. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth, then pour the whole mixture into a large measuring cup or something with a spout to easily pour. Evenly pour the custard into each pot, making sure to leave some room on the top.

FIVE. Place the dishes side by side in the oven and, while they’re on the racks, create a bain-marie by pouring boiling water into the large baking dishes so that they’re filled 2/3 of the way up the side of the ramekins, avoiding spilling any water into the custards themselves. This makes sure the custards steam and cook properly, and putting them in the oven before you do this means you don’t have to carry a heavy dish filled with hot water across your kitchen!

SIX. Bake the custards for 40-45 minutes, until set but still slightly jiggly. Cool the ramekins in the fridge for at least 2 hours before brûléeing.

SEVEN. To brûlée, sprinkle about a teaspoon of white sugar onto the top of each custard and gently shake so that the entire top is evenly covered. Using a kitchen torch, heat the sugar so that it caramelizes and spreads, until the top is one unified sheet of solid, caramel colored sugar. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler in your oven, but watch very carefully because it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

ENJOY!! xoxoxoxD

savories

Pumpkin Biscuits with Bacon and Hot Honey Butter

Well well well, another Tuesday is here, and boy do I have another fall recipe for you. This week, Pumpkin biscuits, but not JUST pumpkin biscuits. These babies are studded with crisp, salty bacon, AND just when you thought it couldn’t be better, I give you two words. Hot. Honey. Yes, honey infused with chiles, aka the best combination of sweet and spicy and an excellent addition to the softened butter you’ll be slathering on these guys as soon as they leave the oven. That’s right, hot honey butter is also included in this deal, and it is a MUST. Borrowed from a similar recipe in Southern Living and tweaked until just right, prepare for these biscuits to be your multi-purpose treat for soups, breakfast sandwiches, or anything else you can think of!

Don’t we look cute!!

This weekend, we tried to jam all the fall activities into three days and it was just lovely. With my sisters home for the long weekend, we did an Apple Festival on Saturday, where I stocked up on apples for some life-changing apple fritters (recipe coming soon!). Then on Sunday, we drove out to the South Fork of Long Island to the Hamptons and Montauk to window shop, eat food, and just all around enjoy the fall atmosphere. Columbus Day was saved for the decorating of our house, breaking out the bins of Halloween knick knacks and venturing to the garden center for mums, corn stalks, and pumpkins. A pot of Bolognese and the aforementioned fritters were also on the menu, so all ingredients for a good day.

But now with all this talk of good days, here are 5 things to be happy about to make your today a little better:

ONE. Finding that perfect pumpkin.
TWO. Long weekends, making Sunday night less terrible.
THREE. Hand pies.
FOUR. Dogs with food names.
FIVE. Bed and breakfasts.

Anyway, enough from me, let’s bake!

Makes: Approximately 12-16 biscuits
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes

Pumpkin Biscuit Ingredients
adapted from Southern Living magazine

6 oz. bacon, finely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp salted butter, grated
¾ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup buttermilk
1½ extra Tbsp salted butter (divided into 1 and ½ Tbsp.)

Hot Honey Butter Ingredients

1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
4 Tbsp. hot honey (or regular honey if spicy isn’t your thing)

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cook bacon in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat until the bacon is crispy. Drain the bacon on a paper towel lined plate and save the rendered bacon fat in a heat-safe cup or small bowl, we’ll need it in a bit! Wipe down your skillet with a paper towel and then place in the oven to heat.

TWO. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture using your hands or a pastry blender. I like to grate my butter for this because I find that a) it’s way easier to break up quickly with my hands without overheating it (warm butter = no flaky biscuits!), and b) the smaller bits are easier to distribute evenly throughout the whole dough. When coarse crumbs of dough begin to form, pop the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.

THREE. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and buttermilk, then add the crisped bacon. Add this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl and stir until just combined, it’s very important that you don’t over-mix this or the biscuits will be too tough.

FOUR. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your biscuit dough to about an inch thickness. Using a 2½ inch round cutter, cut the dough into 8 biscuits. Remove your skillet from the oven and melt a ½ Tbsp. of butter with a ½ Tbsp. of the bacon fat from before and swirl to coat the entire pan. Arrange the biscuits in the skillet so that they’re all cozy and the sides are all touching. Brush the tops with another tablespoon of melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are puffed and golden brown.

FIVE. While the biscuits are baking, combine the stick of butter with the 4 tablespoons of honey. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so if the mixture seems too soft. These biscuits are best eaten fresh out of the oven, halved, and generously buttered.

YUM! xoxoxoxoxD

sweets

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My MY we’ve had some fall weather recently! At least, I have in New York, if you haven’t I am terribly sorry, I really am. In honor of this cozy weather however, here is quite possibly the only fall baking recipe that matters. CINNAMON ROLLS. Cinnamon rolls are the poster child for cozy fall food, but to me, they used to be so daunting. If you’ve been around since the beginning of Sweet D, you’ll know that I’ve said time and time again that making bread scares me. Something always goes wrong and I just could never tell why. That is, until I came across this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, and my life was changed forever. When I used to make cinnamon rolls, it would mean waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday (my least favorite thing to do), and still not getting to eat until noon because, you know, bread takes time to rise. NOT ANYMORE. I give to you, Over. Night. Cinnamon Rolls! The heavy lifting is done the night before, so that the next morning you can pull them out of the fridge and they bake in 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES!! Sorry for all the caps, I’m just so excited about this.

The best way that I’ve found to do this is to make the dough in the evening after dinner, since it still has to rise once before you fill it. Also, don’t forget to take out a stick of butter for the filling NOW, so that by the time the dough is finished rising, it’s perfectly soft. While its rising, watch a movie, catch up on some TV, do a face mask, idk. Then, roll it out and fill it, slice it, and put it in the pan, wrap it in tin foil, and go the heck to bed!!! Wake up the next morning feelin fresh, take it out of the fridge to thaw while you brush your teeth and make some coffee, then bake for twenty minutes and before you know it, your house will smell like HEAVEN!!

If this were a live photo, you’d STILL be able to see the filling bubbling omg

I haven’t changed much from the original recipe that I was following since it’s just so solid, but one thing I have done is tweak the frosting since I can’t ever leave things alone. Besides cinnamon, what would you say is the most classically fall flavor? If you said maple, then we are very much alike. So, what’s one way to make cream cheese frosting even more cozy? You got it, add maple syrup! This frosting recipe will make quite a lot, because we all know it’s better to have too much frosting than not enough. Plus, you have to factor in the amount you’ll be eating with a spoon before the rolls are even out of the oven, it’s THAT good.

Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today, and then we’ll get to it!

ONE. Finishing a book you’ve been reading for ages and feeling so accomplished.
TWO. Fall scented candles like apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice.
THREE. Seeing a really good dog on the street.
FOUR. Being the only group in a movie theater, so you can react as loudly as you want.
FIVE. Waking up early enough to see the sun rise for once.

Makes: 9 Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours + Overnight rise
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

¾ cup warm milk (around 110ºF)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast (a single standard package)
¼ cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temp
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, melted (for the dough)
3 cups bread flour
¾ tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened (for the filling)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

8oz. cream cheese (2 blocks), at room temperature
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Roll Steps

ONE. Add warm milk to the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to get foamy. If this doesn’t happen, the milk was either too hot or too cold, or the yeast is no good, so start over here. Once it’s foamy, add in your sugar, egg, egg yolk, and melted butter, then mix to combine. Stir in the flour and salt, then knead the dough with a dough hook attachment of your stand mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. My stand mixer is old and grumpy now, and I’m pretty sure that if I tried to have it knead for 10 minutes straight it would give up on me completely, so I did this by hand. You’ll know it’s ready when you push down in the center of the dough and the indent bounces back into a smooth surface. Put this dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1½-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

TWO. Transfer your risen dough to a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle that is at least 9″ x 14″. I like to roll out on my Silpat since the measurements are printed on both sides for me anyway! Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the rolled out rectangle, leaving a small border around all sides that isn’t buttered.

THREE. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture generously over the top of your cinnamon rolls, then gently pat down so that the sugar mostly stays put while you roll up the dough. At this point, tightly roll up your dough longways, making sure no filling is spilling out the sides as you go. Using a ruler, measure out 9 even cinnamon rolls not including the very ends of your roll- they never turn out even and always have less filling than the middle ones! I like to trim mine off into little baby cinnamon rolls to bake later. Anyway, once you measure and mark out 9 evenly sized rolls, cut with a serrated bread knife and carefully transfer each roll to a parchment paper-lined 9″ x 9″ square baking dish. At this point, wrap your cinnamon rolls in tin foil and store in the fridge overnight. *If you can’t wait a whole night, allow them to rise again for 30 minutes at room temperature, then bake from there.*

Even these babies got some beauty rest!

FOUR. The next morning, when you wake up refreshed and hungry, remove the rolls from the fridge and allow them to warm up for about 20 minutes. Make your coffee, preheat your oven to 350ºF, or get a head start on the frosting (see below) while you wait! Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the tops are just starting to turn golden- you want these to be a little under-baked so that they’re still soft and squashy! Allow the rolls to cool for 5 minutes (if you can stand it) before frosting. Then, promptly eat all 9 by yourself, who needs to share??


Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Steps

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the softened cream cheese and butter. Once incorporated, add (carefully!) the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat this frosting on medium speed until smooth. If you find that yours is too thin, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick, add a little more maple syrup or whole milk to think it out.

TWO. To serve, spread the frosting generously over all the rolls in the pan, plus maybe some more when you serve yourself a cinnamon roll. The more frosting the better!!

Are you weeping yet because I am

Now get cozy and enjoy your cinnamon roll while wrapped in a blanket, while wearing your PJs, and with a cup of tea. YAY! xoxoxoxD

 

 

 

sweets

Classic Apple Pie

Welcome to another week! Today’s recipe holds a very special place in my heart, it’s my family’s apple pie! As you can probably gather from many of my previous posts (see here, here, HERE, and here lmao), I LOVE pie, but no pie will ever compare to this one. I have such strong memories of eating this pie at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and words can’t even describe how comforting it is to have a house smelling like apples and cinnamon while this is baking.

Some notes about this recipe: it comes from my Great Aunt Anna, who I don’t remember meeting (I was a wee baby), but I trust her with my life because I will never use another apple pie recipe. This pie uses equal parts Macintosh and Granny Smith apples, a perfect combination of sweet and tart. Also, I don’t know where you all stand on the soft apple vs. hard apple debate, but these apples will bake soft which, in my opinion, is the best way. Hard apples in pie make me feel like the pie isn’t finished baking, right?

When it comes to apple pie, I think the simpler the better, which is why the filling of this pie has 5 ingredients, including the apples. Because apples are high in pectin, a natural thickener, you only need a tablespoon of flour to keep the filling together, this pie practically makes itself!

Before we start, I haven’t forgotten our 5 things to be happy about today, so let’s see:

ONE. Learning how to knit.
TWO. Houses that go above and beyond with their Halloween decorations.
THREE. Adding pumpkin into everything: like coffee, cakes, and pasta.
FOUR. Finally getting to break out your fall sweaters
FIVE. Fuzzy socks.

Okay let’s go!!

Makes: 1 9-inch pie (serves 8-10)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour

Pie Crust Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, very cold
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
½ cup ice water

Filling Ingredients

8 apples, 4 Macintosh + 4 Granny Smith, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbs flour
2 tbs butter, cut into pieces, to top the filling before the top crust

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. To make the pie crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Add in the butter and shortening in uniform cubes so that they get dispersed throughout the dough. Pulse the food processor 10 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.

TWO. With the processor on low, continuously drizzle in the ice cold water, and run until a single ball of dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. *You can also do this without a food processor and just work the butter and shortening into the flour by hand, but this way is faster and I find it yields a crisper crust.*

THREE. To roll out your crusts, divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out the first half (your bottom crust) so that it is at least 2 inches larger that your pie plate. Fold the dough in half carefully, then in half again (this makes it much easier to transfer to the pie plate without ripping or tearing), then unfold into the plate. Roll out your top crust now as well, so that it’s ready when the filling is. If need be, put the rolled out crusts back in the fridge while you chop apples to keep everything cold.

FOUR. In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until evenly mixed. Transfer this filling immediately to your pie plate with the bottom crust in it, if it sits too long with the sugar, the fruit will get too juicy and could produce a soggy pie!

FIVE. Dot the filling with butter and then place the top crust over everything. Crimp the edges and cut 4 vents in the center of the pie to release steam, and then put the whole pie on a rimmed baking sheet, in case there are any drips.

SIX. Bake the pie on the lower rack of your oven at 400ºF for the first 20 minutes. This will give you a nice golden top. Then, lower your oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye out on the color of your top crust, it shouldn’t get too much darker in the 40 minutes, but if your crimped edges seem to be getting too dark, you can always cover them with tin foil or pie crust protectors to finish the bake.

SEVEN. As tempting as it might be to dig right in (your house will smell heavenly by now), allow the pie to cool completely to allow the filling to set. To serve, reheat for 10 to 15 minutes at 300ºF, and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!!! XoxoxoxoxoD

 

sweets

Raspberry Opera Cake

HELLO! This may be one of the most ambitious projects I have ever attempted, but the results were well worth it I promise you! I mean, just LOOK at it. I have never felt more like a contestant on the Great British Bakeoff and it was so fun. The other day I was scrolling through Instagram as one does, and came across this masterpiece by Zoë François of the blog Zoë Bakes and I immediately began plotting. The recipe below was adapted from that very recipe, with a few minor flavor changes including raspberry jam instead of blackberry, and dark chocolate for the ganache. Be warned, this is not a quick recipe, and there are a lot of different pieces and parts, so prepare to have a whole day set aside for this. Put on your comfiest clothes, put on a movie (I watched Solo while I baked this and simply had a blast) or your favorite cooking music, and have lots of iced coffee at the ready, you GOT this.

This weekend was completely free of obligations and plans, which are my favorite kinds of weekends. I get to tackle so many baking and cooking projects in two days it feels like I might as well move into the kitchen. Saturday’s projects were this cake and some shrimp scampi for dinner, and Sunday brought this fall’s first of many apple pies (recipe for that coming soon, it’s my pride and joy)! Now if only the weather outside matched my fall mood. All in good time I guess!

Before we start, here are your 5 things to be happy about today!

ONE. Hot apple cider with mulling spices.
TWO. Marathoning a movie series on a rainy day.
THREE. Switching out your summer wardrobe for your thickest sweaters.
FOUR. Running through a corn maze as an adult and having just as much (if not more) fun.
FIVE. Homemade breakfast sandwiches with the crispiest bacon.

Serves: 6 to 8 people
Prep/Assembly Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Inactive Time: ~2 to 3 hours

Almond Joconde

3 eggs, room temperature
90 grams sugar
3 egg whites
30 grams sugar
115 grams almond meal
28 grams flour

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

½ cup egg whites (from 3 to 4 eggs)
1 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt (a pinch!)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
¾ cup raspberry jam

Dark Chocolate Ganache

12oz. dark bakers chocolate
12oz. heavy cream

Meringue Topping

½ cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

*Fresh Raspberries for topping

 

Almond Joconde Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line an 11″ x 16″ baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush with butter to prevent the cake from sticking. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal and flour, then set aside.

TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the whole room temperature eggs and the 90 grams of sugar until the mixture has tripled in size and, when drizzled, forms ribbons that hold their shape momentarily before disappearing back into the rest of the egg. It should take about 7 to 8 minutes. Gently fold this mixture into the almond meal mixture.

THREE. In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, whip the three egg whites and the 30 grams of sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold this mixture into the rest of the cake batter. Pour into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely.


Raspberry Buttercream Steps

ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the ½ cup egg whites and the 1 cup of sugar until thick and combined. It will be very grainy. Set this bowl over a pot of boiling water (a double boiler situation!), and heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

TWO. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form and the egg whites are back down to room temperature.

THREE. Once the egg whites are the right texture and temperature, add the butter in, two tablespoons at a time, until completely incorporated. Some notes about this: if the egg is still too hot and the butter starts to melt, put the whole thing in the fridge for a while to cool it down. If, while you’re adding the butter, the mixture begins to look like it’s curdling, don’t panic!! This happens, but if you keep mixing, it will fix itself.

FOUR. Once all the butter is added, continue to mix for another minute, until the frosting is thick and glossy again. Add in the vanilla, salt, and raspberry jam and mix with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated.

FIVE. Dollop the frosting over the completely cooled cake and spread with an offset spatula. It’s important that the frosting is as even and flat on top of the cake as possible, as it will make stacking much easier later. Chill the cake until the frosting is set.


Chocolate Ganache Steps

ONE. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the heavy cream until simmering, then remove from heat. Add in the chopped chocolate and swirl to ensure that all the chocolate is covered by the hot cream. Allow to sit for 3 minutes.

TWO. After 3 minutes, whisk the mixture together, as the heat from the cream will have melted the chocolate by now. Let the ganache cool before spreading on the cake so as not to melt the frosting.

THREE. When the ganache is cool and the cake is set, spread the ganache evenly over the buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula. Chill until the chocolate is solid.


Cake Assembly Steps

ONE. Once the cake is chilled and completely set, run a hot knife around the edges to loosen the cake and the chocolate from the tray. Wrap the top of the cake with plastic cling wrap, and place another (same size) baking sheet on top of this, with the bottom of the baking sheet touching the plastic wrapped top of the cake. Flip the whole thing upside down so that the ganache side of the cake is now on the bottom. Remove the original baking sheet and peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake.

TWO. Flip the cake back to right side up by placing the bottom of the original baking sheet on top of the cake and turn upside down again, then peel the plastic wrap off the ganache side of the cake. At this point, you should have your cake sitting on an inverted baking sheet (to make it easier to slice) with the ganache on top and the cake on the bottom.

THREE. Using a heated knife (keep a large glass of boiled water nearby to dip your knife in as you slice), trim off any uneven edges of your sheet cake so that all the sides are perfectly straight.

Shot from my snapstory, gotta get those angles you know??

FOUR. Using a ruler to keep measurements exact, turn your tray so that the long side is vertical. Cut the cake into thirds on the long side (the 16″ side), so that you have three long strips of cake. Then, turn the tray so that the long side is horizontal, and slice in half so that you have 6 even rectangles of cake. *If at any point the ganache starts to get soft, place  the cake back in the fridge until everything is set again.

FIVE. To assemble, take a long spatula and place one cut rectangle onto your desired serving tray. Repeat with each rectangle, making sure that the sides all match up and the cake doesn’t end up lopsided. Top the finished cake with even rows of raspberries.


Meringue Topping Steps

ONE. This step is optional, but it looks so pretty so 10/10 would recommend. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the egg whites and sugar until stiff and glossy. Mix in the vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste. Dollop or pipe the stiffened meringue over the raspberries, making spikes and swirls with the back of a spoon. Using a kitchen torch, toast the meringue until golden.

You DID IT!!! I’m so proud of you, it’s been quite a journey!! xoxoxoxoxoxD

sweets

Applesauce Cake

Hello hello! Here we are at another Tuesday, and here I am with another dessert recipe, ready for fall! This weekend, my sisters and I (all 5 of us!) met up in NYC for dinner, and I had some of the best pho of my LIFE from a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Pho Bar. A ginormous bowl of beef pho and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee (espresso with sweetened condensed milk), are really all I need to be happy. Here in New York, the past few days have been cold and rainy, which quite honestly, is my FAVORITE kind of weather. What better excuse to cook all day and watch a lot of Netflix?? This Sunday, pretending that we were further into Fall than we were, I made Beef Bourguignon, which you can find here, and this applesauce cake.

This place was so yummy and fancy!

A story about this cake- this recipe comes from my amazing Grandma Marcella, who used to make this all the time when we came over for dinner. My grandparents have lived three doors down from us my entire life, so walking down to their house for dinner and a slice of this impossibly moist cake was a DREAM. As the years went on, my mom and then I started to take over some of the dinner and baking responsibilities, but somehow, this recipe fell by the wayside.

You can see that this copy of the recipe is well loved!

Cut to many years later, I was in my senior year of college and doing everything in my power to procrastinate during finals week (as one does in college, you know), and SUDDENLY I thought about this recipe and could think of nothing else. I called my mom immediately and begged her to look through her recipe books to see if we had a copy written down, and, sure enough, 5 minutes later I had a picture of the recipe and was en route to the grocery store at 9pm. Honestly, god bless my roommates, I didn’t have a car in college, and somehow someone was always willing to drive me to the store. Probably because it meant they would get baked goods, but still. It was just as delicious as I remembered when I made it that night in college, and words can’t describe how important it felt to make this cake and serve it to my grandma at family dinner the other night and make her proud.

This is the most expensive Le Creuset item that I own and I’m not kidding when I say it’s my prized possession (it’s LAVENDER) and I just wanted to show it off okay THANKS

Some notes about this recipe: the applesauce makes this cake SUPER moist without any extra oil, which is a win if you ask me. It’s best to start with unsweetened applesauce, that way you can control how sweet the cake turns out, but if all you have is sweetened, lower the brown sugar amount maybe to ½ cup. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of raisins, so if I were to make this on my own, I would lower the amount to ½ cup, but the original recipe as made by my grandma specified 1 whole cup.

Before we start, I’m getting into these 5 things to be happy about bits, so here are 5 more for today:

ONE. When the temperature drops below the 70ºs for the first time in AGES.
TWO. Beginning a binge of fall movies and TV, just to get you in the mood for what’s to come.
THREE. Having a favorite mug and refusing to use anything else to drink tea and coffee out of.
FOUR. When you’re so sleepy that, upon getting into bed, you fall asleep immediately.
FIVE. Family board game nights.

Anywho, let’s goooooooooooo!

 

Ingredients

1 cup applesauce, preferably unsweetened
¾ cup brown sugar, less if you’re using sweetened applesauce
1 stick butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
½-1 cup raisins, depending on preference
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
5-6 tbs confectioners sugar

Steps

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and generously butter a 9″ x 9″ pan. Set up a double boiler on the stove*, and in the top bowl, add the applesauce, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is almost bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before proceeding. (My grandma would place the bowl in the sink with a little cool water in it to speed up the cooling process!)

TWO. Once cooled, stir in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda until everything is combined, then mix in the egg and incorporate.

THREE. In a small bowl, toss the raisins with about a tablespoon of flour, this will keep them from all sinking to the bottom while baking. Stir the raisins into the batter until evenly distributed, then pour the whole thing into the prepared pan.

FOUR. Bake for 15 minutes at 350º, then after the 15 minutes are up, turn the heat down to 325º and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Before removing from the oven, test with a cake tester or knife to ensure doneness, the cake should be moist but not wet and the tester should come out clean. Cool completely before glazing.

FIVE. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice and confectioners sugar into a thick, pourable glaze, adjusting the amounts as necessary until you have a thickness that you’re happy with. I like mine on the thin side, I find that it seeps into the cake more this way, but it’s totally up to you! To glaze, slice the cake into 9 slices, then pour the glaze over it so that it completely covers the top and starts to sink down the cut sides.

Best enjoyed with as much glaze as you can get on top of each piece!! xoxoxoxoxoD

* To make a double boiler, fill a saucepan up half way with water and turn the heat up on the stove to bring the water to a boil. Place a large heat-safe bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water in the saucepan. As the water boils and releases steam, it heats the contents of the bowl without direct heat, so nothing in the bowl can be burned or overcooked!