Posts Tagged 'school'

When It Comes To Bananas, You Can’t Slime Me – Banoffee Pie

banoffee pie 1

Simple, quick and a total crowd-pleaser, this dessert is nouveau-British classic. I had it once during my time there, and it was enough to convert me from “I-never-eat-raw-bananas” to “I-always-eat-raw-bananas-when-they-are-covered-in-whipped-cream-and-caramel.”

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banoffee pie 2

Even though the technique is easy, the pie takes a little time to prepare, as you have to let the caramel chill to set before it can be served. I thought that maybe I didn’t cook my caramel long enough (it didn’t get as brown as I thought it should), but it tasted right enough.

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Make sure your layer the bananas and whipped cream just prior to serving (or I did mine an hour before). If you cover the bananas completely with the cream, you shouldn’t have any issues with them turning brown, but I am really sensitive to slime, so I wasn’t taking any chances.

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The amount of rave that these received was enough to shut down the review forum. Guys, these got rave reviews. Try it, you’ll like it.

On this Random Tuesday, I have conquered bananas. YOU CAN’T SLIME ME. Celebration is in order.


Banoffee Pie

Adapted from Carnation and Saveur

1 box graham crackers, finely ground

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, divided

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

3-4 bananas

2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, cold

chocolate (optional)

Place graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Melt one stick of butter, then add to the crumbs, stirring until incorporated. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Chill.

Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and melt over low heat. Add the condensed milk, and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The toffee should darken slightly. Pour the filling into the crust. Chill again for at least one hour until the caramel is firm.

Before serving, slice up the bananas and place in a single layer over the toffee. Whip the heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Spread this over the banana layer. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Best served the day it is made.

Inimitable Heather & Polaroids

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This is my friend, Heather, and she came to visit me once, and it was the best weekend of my life, probably. We took a couple pics on my camera, as you can see, but the coolest pictures were on her little mini Polaroid camera. It is a freakin’ sweet little camera, and makes everything look sweet.

I’ve tried to imitate its effects below, but to no avail. No one could imitate Heather, either. She’s too sweet awesome and beauteous and far more chill than your average American. Obviously.


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heath visit 7

heath visit 3

Pipe Dream #163: To Not Squeeze Ya Too Tight – Pumpkin Tiramisu & Pumpkin Spice Fudge

pump tiramisu 1

All right.This is it. This is the new year. We are all supposed to be turning over new leaves. And here I am trying to squeeze in more pumpkin posts. I just apologize. And by way of apology, I present you with two recipes that are probably a bit too holiday to handle. So, a bad apology on all counts. Just don’t call me lazy, ok? Because these are actually pretty swell.

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At least, the fudge is. The tiramisu, meh. It was an experiment on my part, and I would have preferred that the pumpkin-mascarpone be a little smoother. The method wasn’t exactly like traditional tiramisu cream. Plus, instant coffee that I soaked the ladyfingers in was cheap and too strong and awful. At least the cookies were homemade. If anyone can tell me how to remove a tiramisu from the bottom of a springform pan without wrecking it, I would be most grateful.


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Like a good wine, this dish does get better with age, so try it, and if you don’t like it, stick it in the fridge for a month. Maybe it’ll come out amazing. Oh! And you can tots make this in advance. It’s a great party dessert.

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My only suggestion on the fudge is to cook it for a little less time than I did. I followed the recipe, but I think my candy thermometer may be off because it took ages for the fudge to reach the correct temp.

pump fudge 2

Still it was a total winner. Nuts or no. I’ve literally had this recipe in my “To Try ” folder for a year. Finally!

Don’t go nuts, now. No more pumpkin. Except if I decide to post a pumpkin pull apart bread that I made. It’s in the works. If you have strong objections, you can let me know.

Recovering still,


Pumpkin Tiramisu

Adapted from Italian Food Forever

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
a bunch of ladyfinger cookies, maybe 30
1/3 cup light rum + a shot of strong espresso, cooled + 1/3 cup maple syrup
Mix together the espresso, rum and maple syrup in a shallow bowl.
Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then add in the powdered sugar gradually near-stiff peaks form. Remove to a bowl. Beat the mascarpone on medium-low speed until creamy, then stir in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Take one quarter of the whipped cream and fold it into the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture, then fold in the mascarpone mix to the whipped cream.
Dip each ladyfinger in the rum-espresso mixture, coating both sides, then lining the bottom of a 9 inch or 10 inch springform pan, cutting to fit as needed. Top the first layer of cookies with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture. Repeat twice more, ending with a final layer of the pumpkin mixture. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu at least 8 hours or overnight.
To unmold, first run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the side. If you want, you can sift some dark cocoa powder over the top for effect. I did.

Pumpkin Spice Fudge

You can find the recipe here. Thanks, C.

Cookie Exchange: Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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Why do I decorate sugar cookies?

I almost loathe it because it requires perfection, a trait of which I am in short supply. It also requires back-bending concentration for hours on end. And it requires whipping eggs whites.

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I think I do it because I feel like it is the “thing” at Christmas-time. Like, everyone’s family decorates those thin sugar cookies together. It’s weird that I think this because my family never did it. We do our Christmas cookies more like this.

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Perhaps I do it because they end up usually pretty much as cuteness.

There are several different ways you can frost these. I tried out a bunch of ways this year based on my mood/event:

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Way #1: Straight Up Royal Icing

No flooding on these babies, just classy piped royal icing and dragees.

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Way #2: Royal Icing + Flood Icing

This is probably the most finnicky way. Plan out a whole day, so that you don’t stress out about being at fun things on time and then get impatient about your piping.

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Way #3: Milk & Powdered Sugar

This is the quick ‘n dirty way of frosting cookies. For this batch, I made the glaze thick enough that I could spread it with the back of a spoon, which was the perfect method for the cookie-decorating party I was going to. However, if you are doing a seriously large batch, like the 500 cookies I made at school in England last year, you can go so far as to dunk the entire cookie in a thinned out glaze. Beware, your counters might look a bit like this when you’re through.

You could also try just dusting them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I love the contrast of the dark cookie with white frosting.

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dark choc sugar cookies b

The cookie recipe made over 100 cookies for me, providing ample supply for approximately 1 church event, 1 work event, 1 card club hosting and our family’s various cookie exchanges. They freeze well, so I just made a big batch of cookies one night, and then took them out in small batches to decorate and serve.

Go crazy, friends! You know, if you want to literally go crazy trying to decorate that many cookies. Might wanna halve this one, as it is only, oh, 5 days before Christmas.


Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

You can find Sweetapolita’s recipe here.

You can find a royal icing recipe on my blog here.

If you want to go the milk/p sugar route, just mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar with milk or water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Pipe Dream #159: To Plan Extravagance – Tangerine, Fresh Cranberry & Dark Chocolate Scones



cran scones 2

Having “company” really brings out my productive side. First off, it is a chance to treat someone to some delicious hospitality.  I love seeing people’s faces in response to delicious hospitality. It is a massive delight to my heart. Secondly, it is a chance to treat me to some delicious hospitality. So I guess I am really getting the better end of the deal, two treats in one, but no matter.

cran scones 1

The problem with any hospitable host (*ahem, Martha), is that he or she is often unable to partake in the general festivities because they are pulling souffles out of the oven, perfecting the flaming strawberries and wiping the unnoticeable dust off the sideboards. I strive not to be this person, kind of like I strive not to be the chick with the camera, so I try and do advance planning as much as possible. Enter, these scones. Extravagantly delectable, and perfectly easy to whip up. Freezer to table in 30 minutes, people. Does it get any better than this?

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The answer, dear Reader, is no. Especially as there is chocolate involved, and my best friend ever coming for a visit.

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Now, to business. Please be proud of me. I chose to forego the high fructose dried berries route in favor of fresh cranberries. This is an essentially good choice. Please make it. The combination of citrus and dark chocolate (never a bad thing) is further complexified by the cranberries.

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And the beautiful part is that the fun parts are housed by the lightest scone dough ever. It was soft and crispy on the outside and not too dense on the inside, unlike some of those day-old scones you can find in coffee shops. These are best fresh.

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I also whipped together a mock Devonshire cream, which is very similar to the trifle filling I used here. So much good. Not that these chock-full lovelies need anything more than a pat of butter.

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Oh, and a cup of tea, obv. That’s easy too.

I rhyme,


Meyer Lemon Fresh Cranberry Scones
Adapted from Gourmet, Inspired by smittenkitchen

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated tangerine zest (from about two tangerines)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4 ounces quality dark chocolate (or chips, whatever)
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped in half
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Zest two tangerines for all they’re worth. I found the scones were a little light on that flavor, which wasn’t an awful thing, but more zest might be great.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface, pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, re-patting the scraps to get more rounds out of it. Try not to handle the dough too much, though. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

Let cool until almost completely cool, then serve scones warm with mock Devonshire cream (recipe follows). If you have any left over the next day, pop them in the micro for 7 seconds or so before serving. Makes around 12 scones.

Note: I froze half of this batch, and saved them for another weekend. After the scones are cut out, lay them out on a tray and stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the par-frozen scones to a freezer bag, and stick ’em in the freezer until you need ’em. And no need to defrost either! Just add a few minutes onto the baking time if you are making them straight from frozen, maybe five.

Mock Devonshire Cream, Scone Accompaniment
Adapted from Sweet Jeanette

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Add the whipping cream and beat on medium speed until combined, then beat on high until peaks form. Try to beat it until the peaks are just under the “stiff” label. Refrigerate until serving.

Tegan and Matt’s Wedding, Lessons Learned

I managed the dessert portion of my friend Tegan’s wedding this past October. I wish you could know what a cool gal she is. Besides being a super actually fun dance party wedding, Tegan’s wedding was notable for its relaxed atmosphere. It was one of the smoothest events I’ve done, cake-wise, mostly because I followed these rules of thumb generated from past experience:

-Spring for decent carriers.

-Drive really slow.

-Don’t try and bake for 8 hours barefoot.

-Don’t drive two hours with a frosted, tiered cake.

Enjoy the pics! I didn’t get one of the cake-cutting this time–do forgive me.


Pipe Dream #148: To Not Nitpick My Baking So Much – Coffee & Walnut Traybake

She’s at it again. The Great British Bakeoff cookbook was calling. This cake jumped out at me when I first paged through, partly because walnuts are delish and partly because I thought it would be feasible to attempt making this for 200 people. My other option with walnuts was the Coffee & Walnut Battenburg, but if you’ve ever seen a battenburg, you can imagine my disinterest in the idea of making that for a crowd.
Even after I left school, though, I still thought it sounded good. And besides, what is a “traybake” even? I assume it is what we in the States call a “sheet cake.”
Overall, it was a pretty ok cake. I thought it was a little lacking in the moisture department, but everyone at work raved it, so it’s possible that, as with cookies, I have pretty specific tastes when it comes to moist-ocity/underbaking. Another aspect of its okay-ness: I made the icing a bit too thin. It worked out all right, but I would have preferred a more swirly type icing.
Thank you for listening to me about how I could have done things right. It is therapeutic for me.
Coffee and Walnut Traybake
225 grams butter, softened
225 grams light brown sugar
275 grams self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water, cooled
75 grams chopped walnuts
For the icing
75 grams butter, softened
225 grams sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk or cream
2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water, cooled
Walnut halves, broken roughly

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)/ 160 degrees/gas mark 4. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan, and line the base with parchment. Grease the parchment.

Beat the butter in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the sugar and beat well until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Fold in the flour and coffee liquid. When combined, fold in the walnuts.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack before turning the cake out. Let cool completely.

To make the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the warm melted butter, coffee and milk. Stir until smooth. My frosting was a bit too thin, so you may want to reduce the amount of milk you add. Let sit until it is a bit more firm, then swirl over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the walnut pieces, and leave until firm.

Keeps in an airtight container for 4 days.

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