Strawberry Dreams

April 30, 2010

This is a picture of the dessert I made last weekend.  I had some chocolate waffles in the freezer that were left over from a dinner party several months ago that I popped in the toaster oven (Leggo my chocolate Eggo!).  I had bought 8 quarts of strawberries on Saturday  to make jam, and with the extras I made some strawberry ice cream.  Some chopped strawberries with a touch of Cointreau added a nice touch, finished with whipped cream.   It was a fantastic dish, very appealing to the eye, and totally captured the essence of the strawberries.

It might make a comeback tomorrow.

Apples, Apples, and More Apples

November 10, 2008


In the last few weeks, I’ve made apple crisp, a traditional apple pie, a sour cream streusel apple pie, and apple sauce.  I’ve tried two different kinds of apple cake and tasted apple and brie crepes.  Needless to say, my kids (and particularly my oldest, the 14 year old boy) love apple desserts.  So I’m going to be looking to you, my faithful readers, to help me with some new apple desserts, as I’m looking at doing something different.  I’ve made apple turnovers and puffy french apple pancakes.  I’ve not made apple dumplings or a classic tart tatin.

So, what do you got for me???

Ice Cream, Uncooked

July 1, 2008

The only ice cream cookbook I have ever owned is the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.  I think I got it as a Christmas present along with a Donvier ice cream maker, back in the late 80s, when Ben & Jerry’s was all that and more.  And so I made ice cream — a buttload of it.  Combined with my suddenly sedentary lifestyle, I’m blaming Ben and Jerry for much of my weight gain over the years.  The bastards. Read the rest of this entry »

World’s Simplest Cobbler

June 26, 2008

(This is a big old cobbler with lots of peaches before baking.  Photo courtesy of Jason Perlow.  I don’t have a shot of the finished product, so you’ll just have to make it to see how good it looks!)

People love them some cobbler.  I knew I made a lot of people happy when I recently posted my recipe for Bill Neal’s Four Berry Cobbler, which certainly wasn’t a secret (I don’t believe in secret recipes, quite honestly — especially for home cooks).  But that’s not the only type of cobbler I make: one of my favorite desserts is a simple peach cobbler where the crust makes itself.  Yup, you don’t have to make a biscuit dough and cobble it on top — you  start with a simple cake-like batter that creates its own crust as you bake.  It’s extraordinarily simple, and you really can use any kind of fruit you want, but I prefer peaches.

This recipe came from the wonderful cookbook, Coastal Carolina Cooking, which is very near and dear to me because the first chapter focuses on my wife’s late grandparents, Emest and Katherine Taylor, from the Currituck County town of Maple (population 50, including livestock).  This cookbook is a treasure trove of wonderful stories and great recipes, but the one I use more than anything else is the one for Cherry Cobbler.  And I rarely make it with cherries. Read the rest of this entry »

Four Berry Cobbler

June 9, 2008

Many gastronomes have a food “epiphany,” and I’m no exception. It was either 1985 or 1986, and my roommate and I went to Crook’s Corner for the first time. Crook’s was still run by Bill Neal, the “godfather” of Southern cooking, and I remember that meal like it was yesterday. She crab soup. Pimento cheese. Shrimp and grits. And a dessert that has become my primary summer staple — a four berry cobbler featuring sweet butter biscuits.

I talked to Bill Neal a fair amount back then, when I’d sit at the bar, being completely clueless about food and slowly soaking things in. I was a major science geek — working on my Ph.D. in molecular pathology of all things — but I had a love for history. And Bill Neal was certainly a food historian. Read the rest of this entry »

Cherry Chocolate Cake

May 15, 2008

My wife likes chocolate, but she loves cherries. Seeing it was her birthday recently, I thought I’d combine the two and make a special chocolate cherry cake. Sounds simple enough — just search the internet for cherry chocolate cake, and something yummy will pop up, right? Wrong. Well, there are a lot of recipes for a chocolate cake that had cherry pie filling in the middle. I wanted there to be bits of cherries in the chocolate cake batter. And cherry flavor in the icing and in the filling, too. So I started to improvise. The results were pretty damn good — not perfect — but that’s where you come in! Read the rest of this entry »

Buttermilk Pie

April 22, 2008

When strawberry season hits, I first think of strawberry shortcake, then Belgian waffles. But right after that, buttermilk pie comes to mind. Buttermilk pie with fresh strawberries. OH MY GOD!!!!

Most Southerners understand the glory of buttermilk pie, but others would choose any other dessert in the world before this classic dish. It’s really nothing more than a simple custard pie, with a touch of lemon and nutmeg to round out the flavor profile. It’s also very light and is very good with fresh berries or a berry coulis. I last wrote about buttermilk pie several years ago on eGullet, and I’m resurrecting the pictures from that time to show you how simple this dish is. Even if you don’t know how to make pie crust (and you MUST learn), you can always use a store-bought version.

I use Bill Neal’s recipe, which is lighter than a typical version because egg whites are beaten and folded into the custard. The tanginess of the buttermilk and lemon offsets some of the egginess and cuts through the richness, so this is really perfect. I also use really fresh, local buttermilk from Maple View Farm. This stuff is a bit richer than what you typically find in the grocery store.

When you take your first bite of this luscious custard treat, be sure you thank me. Yes, it’s that good. Photos and recipe are after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


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