Monthly Archives: November 2009

Marzipan Pumpkins

Marzipan Pumpkins

Sculpting with marzipan is really child’s play so do not be daunted.  Yes, people do create unimaginably lovely creations using marzipan and a fine artist’s sculpting skill.  But mere mortals and their guests can have fun with it.

These delicious treats can be made up to a week ahead and stored in an airtight container before serving.

Marzipan Pumpkins

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OUR THANKS – O Magazine’s Chocolate Pistachio Pie

Chocolate Pistachio Pie photo by Anna Williams

Recently, we received a flurry of emails and calls looking for Pistachio Paste.  Why now we wondered.  Because of Oprah of course.  A yummy-sounding chocolate pie recipe in the November issue contains a secret ingredient, a few tablespoons of pistachio paste.  It looks sinfully good and a great use of a smaller amount of the paste. 

O Magazine’s Chocolate Pistachio Pie

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

At this time of the year, we try to give thanks in any way we can.  A donation, a phone call or the surprise gift of something from the oven. 

Here are a few recipes that might help you with the latter. A pumpkin raisin loaf with cinnamon topping, a flaky pear and almond tart and a golden almond polenta cake saturated with lemon syrup.  And two bonus recipes, a French pear frangipane tarte and a decadent chocolate pistachio pie. We hope these recipes will take you into the holiday season. And help you give thanks.

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Pumpkin Raisin Apple Loaf with Cinnamon Streusel

Pumpkin Raisin Apple Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkin.  This moist loaf is studded with fruits. The pumpkin puree makes the crumb especially tender and gives it an orange hue.  Cinnamon Schmear in the streusel topping adds a burst of taste and texture.

We’ve added a few marzipan pumpkins to set the scene for our photo.  Send us an email and we’ll share our tips for how to make these pumpkins at home.  It is an easy project to do with the kids.

Pumpkin Raisin Apple Loaf with Cinnamon Streusel

Pear Frangipane Tart

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Pear Almond Frangipane Tart

 Serendipity made us try our favorite rustic tart recipe using ripe Bosc pears and a generous layer of Almond Schmear. (See Our Thanks below.) The crust dough is mixed in the food processor.  It stays flaky because the fat is left in good sized chunks. Slices of ripe pears are cushioned on a generous layer of Almond Schmear, a sweet contrast to the savory crust.

The trick is baking the tart long enough so that the crust browns thoroughly.  The pear slices should also develop nice browned edges.  We normally bake this tart on a paper-lined baking sheet.  It bakes even better when the baking sheet is placed on a pre-heated baking stone.  (When testing this recipe, we discovered that Emile Henry has a flat ceramic platter, part of a Tarte Tatin set, which acts as both a baking stone and serving plate. It produced the excellent results shown in this photo.)

 Pear Almond Frangipane Tart

Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

OUR THANKS –  French Pear Frangipane Tarte from David Lebovitz

 Cookbook author and food blogger extraordinaire, David Lebovitz created a lovely seasonal pear tart recipe, which he posted on his web site earlier this month.  The step-by-step photos are instructive but it is the finished dish that tempts.  We appreciate his kind words and the enthusiastic response we’ve received from readers of his blog and the recipe in question. [Hint: Its secret ingredient is Almond Paste.]

 French Pear Frangipane Tarte

FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Almond Polenta Pound Cake

Almond Polenta Pound Cake

There seem to be as many recipes for almond poundcake as there are weekends to test them. We like this one because it combines the crunchiness of corn meal with mellow almond flavors. (We used stone ground yellow cornmeal for color, flavor and texture.) The cake develops a pleasingly browned crust, a nice contract to the cake’s tender crumb.

Brush the loaf with lemon syrup as soon as it comes out of the oven.  The loaf will absorb the tart juice and form an irresistible crystal glaze on top.  Serve this cake sliced thinly with coffee or a glass of dessert wine.  Omit the lemon and drizzle it with melted bittersweet chocolate for a more festive dessert.

Almond Polenta Pound Cake