At the MIA.
life as an aspiring amateur
A recent conversation went down like this:
“This clafoutis is so easy and so delicious that I’m going to teach you how to make this so if you’re ever taking other girls on dates, you can make this for them. You will win them over in a second.”
“Lauren, that is ridiculous. I don’t want to take other girls on dates.”
“You’re missing the point.
I just think this is such a great recipe I just care about your life, so I want you to know how to make this just for your general life benefit. Like, even if you didn’t like me at all, I would still want you to know this. So you can be a well-rounded person.”
“This is the best thing I’ve made in the last month.”
Clafoutis (pronounced “claff-oo-TEE”) is a French way of saying barely sweet baked pancake batter stuffed full of lovely additions. I’ve made a few of them before, like this quick cherry clafoutis, and these individual breakfast clafoutis. Cherry is classic, but but chocolate is chocolate.
30 minutes total time and you’ve got yourself a dessert. Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream, playse.
White Chocolate, Raspberry & Pistachio Clafoutis
Adapted from Serious Eats
Butter and sugar for prepping baking dish
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 pint fresh raspberries (3 ounces)
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter and sugar inside of a 9-inch cast iron skillet or equivalent baking dish.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and salt until lightened. Whisk in milk, half and half, and vanilla. Whisk in flour, then butter until combined and smooth.
Scatter raspberries into pan. Pour mixture into pan. Scatter the pistachios and most of the chocolate into the pan.
Bake until puffed and just set, about 18-20 minutes. Scatter the remaining chocolate over the top of the clafoutis. Best served warm or room temperature.
I was hanging with some friends a few Mondays ago, and one of them said, “So we made these cheesy potato finger things. They were deep-fried, but they were delicious.”
And I was immediately thinking, “You can’t mean that. You don’t know what you are saying right now. May the fever pass.”
But they were delicious? I think you are using the wrong conjunction my friend. “Therefore” might be a wiser choice. In fact, I might go so far as to say that the sentence should be completely revised to read: “Because they were deep-fried, they were delicious.”
“A cake will be unnecessary” is another sentence that is not structurally sound. It leaves me feeling like something is off, and I immediately want to take it back. Guys, I didn’t mean that.
I wasn’t going to make a birthday cake this year. And I was going to be fine with it. After all, I went out for pastries the morning of, and when asked if I wanted a cake, I assured my adorably concerned friends and family that, “No no no, I don’t need a cake. I have had so many treats today that a cake will be unnecessary.”
And then, standing in a Target aisle full of pastel Easter candies, I realized that all my protests were in vain, and I was going to have a cake at 7 pm day of my birthday. So this sugar monstrosity happened.
And despite it’s sugar bombedness, you can rest assured that the layers work architecturally. They all meld together in one sweet textural experience. It is the closest thing I have made to a Momofoku recipe. You know those experimental cereal milk-flavored terrines of cookie crumbs that turn into cakes? It’s a restaurant and a book. Or a noodle bar and a gastro-bakery. I have no idea.
Cookies ‘n Cream Faux Cake
An LH Original
1 box Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream Cookie Mix + butter, as directed
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 bag mini marshmallows
3 cups Rice Chex
1 cup Birthday Cake Oreos, chunked up
More Birthday Cake Oreos
Desired frosting, for decoration + sprinkles
Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare the cookie mix according to package directions (you’ll need butter and water). Press the dough into the cake pan and back for around 10 minutes, until the dough turns slightly tan. Put the pan in the fridge to cool.
Melt the butter over low heat in a large saucepan, then add the marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the Chex and chunked Oreos. Place more Oreos over the cooled cookie base, then press the marshmallow mixture evenly over the Oreos, pressing firmly. The cake should have three layers at this point: cookie, Oreos, marshmallow mix. Let cool.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan, then carefully turn out the cooled cake onto a serving plate. Flip it over so the cookie is on the bottom. Whip up a frosting of your choice (I used a really simple buttercream of butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla) and decorate as desired.
Once, I ate a cinnamon roll, warm from the oven and as large as a human face. I included my hand in the picture for context, but I don’t think this shot even does it justice, even with the hand. Notice the lady-sized portions that are not in front of me.
Not pictured: Vat of unlimited cream cheese frosting available for slathering. I did not regret this even for one second. Isles Bun, you are it. Midafternoon sugar comas for all. Goodnight.
These pictures are not good, so I’m going to say as few words as possible so you can skip to the recipe at the end without looking too closely at the pictures.
I just have to say:
INSANE FLAKE RIGHT NOW.
Irish Honey Butter Biscuits
Adapted from Donna Currie
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, or other kinds work too
1/4 cup honey, something nice
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, preferably Kerrygold or another high-fat European butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the milk and honey. Stir until it is completely combined.
Grate the cold butter into the flour, then cut the butter into the flour until it’s the size of small peas. Add the milk and honey mixture to the flour and mix gently just until there are no dry spots.
Flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Pat it into a rough rectangle, then roll it until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Fold it in thirds, like a letter, and roll it again. Fold in thirds again. This time, roll it again to about an inch thick. With a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut as many biscuits as you can. Re-roll the scraps and cut more biscuits. You can re-roll a third time, but I usually use the final scraps for a free-form biscuit.
Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, If you like soft sides, place the biscuits so they touch. If you want the sides more crisp, keep them separated. If you like, brush the top of the biscuits with milk, butter, or cream. Bake at 400 degrees until the tops are nicely browned, 12-14 minutes.
Serve with Devonshire cream, mock Devonshire cream, honey and more butter. Duh.
I have a heritage, and it is partly Canadian.
Nanaimo bars are a classic classic Canadian dessert. In fact, it is one of the only food items that I actually consider Canadian. (This is probably a gross error on my part, and I may have just offended much of my family, but this blog is nothing if not my honest thoughts, come what may.) However, the coconut/coffee/liqueur additions I made are definitely not classic classic. They’re like the other side of my heritage, an veritable cornucopia of European cultures that is not fully described by my Dutch surname.
I’ll spare you the details. (As you may know, discussing your cultural heritage is a classic Minnesota small talk pastime, almost as popular as discussing the snow. I, however, find it even more boring than discussing snow.)
Anyway, the point of the story is that my cultural heritage is not strictly German or Italian or Canadian. And these bars are not strictly Canadian either. They are basically my family history in dessert form. The best form.
Unlike my heritage, Nanaimo bars are quite possibly one of the most delicious bars you can consume. Equal ratio of nuts to chocolate to frosting all smothered in gananche? Why ever not?
Also unlike my heritage, this particular version of Nanaimo bars is actually interesting. The flavor mash ups are nontraditional and wonderful. An altogether smashing mouth-party of flavor.
Behold the 1:1 ratio of frosting to base. My most favorite ratio.
Be prepared to spend a good amount of time prepping the ingredients and chilling each layer. You will not be disappointed.
In good form,
Coffee Coconut Nanaimo Bars
An LH Original, adapted heavily from Cooking Classy
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add in brown sugar, coffee and cocoa powder and whisk until well combined. Whisking vigorously, slowly pour in beaten egg. Return mixture to heat and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Add in graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans and toss until evenly coated. Press mixture into a buttered 8 by 8-inch or 9 by 9-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer while you make the next layer.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip together butter, liqueur, milk and pudding mix until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread mixture into an even layer over chilled graham cracker base. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while you make the top layer.
Melt the chocolate along with butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Spread the mixture into an even layer over the filling layer, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until chocolate has set. Cut into squares, and store in an airtight container.