Category Archives: Baking

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping: πr ² =Delicious!

The number π ( /paɪ/) is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Not to be confused with Pie, defined as a baked food composed of a pastry shell filled with fruit, meat, cheese, or other ingredients, and usually covered with a pastry crust, which consumed in great portions, can indeed add to the circumference of your belly and increase its diameter.

Growing up as a kid in rural Ohio, we somehow seemed to take for granted the fact our parents always raised such staples as strawberries and rhubarb in a garden that most would envy.  We always seemed to have an abundance of “the good stuff” and seldom did we venture to the grocery store for such staple items when they where in season.

Our days and evenings where filled with playing in the yards and fields near and around our house nestled quietly in the countryside. Having little time to break from the play, we often fortified ourselves with what ever we could peck from the garden. Incidentally, strawberries where always a go-to, so much so, it was little wonder we ever had anything left for our mom to bake a special treat.

Now, as an adult, I have an even greater appreciation for the fresh stuff that grew in our garden- especially when it comes time for Strawberry season. Strawberries eventually lead to such things as pies, shortcakes and the likes. The sweetness of Strawberries, when married to Rhubarb in a pie, is sheer summer heaven to this born and raised in the country boy. This week I had a hankering. So a Strawberry Rhubarb pie I did make. Here is the recipe:

Start with the PERFECT PIE CRUST here.

For Filling-


* 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
* 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
* 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
* 1 teaspoon orange zest
* 1/4 teaspoon salt


* 3/4 c. flour
* 1/2 c. brown sugar
* 1/2 c. butter
* ¼ cup chopped walnuts


In small bowl combine all ingredients for streusel topping until crumbly. Mix all of the filling ingredients until evenly coated and all of the dry components are absorbed. Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Crimp the edges of the pastry between two fingers or with a fork. Fill the pie with filling then top with streusel mixture. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until filling thickens. Allow the pie to cool for about 20 minutes before serving so it will set up.


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Filed under Baking, crust, dessert, pastry, pie, Rhubarb, Strawberry, Toppings

Mapled Pecans

Mapled Pecans


These tasty pecans make a tasty addition to many recipes. You can add them for a little extra kick. They also make a great topping for ice cream, especially home made butter pecan or vanilla!


1 cup whole pecans

1 tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons maple syrup




Preheat over to 375º F.


In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add whole pecans, maple syrup and brown sugar then toss until well coated. Continue stirring over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place skillet in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn pecans out onto a baking sheet and allow to fully cool. Can be frozen and stored for future use.

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Filed under Baking, Candy, garnish, Nuts, Toppings

P.S. I Love You


Food is love! It is somewhat of a mantra…at least around our household. The care we place upon gathering up a meal in our home borders on the absurd to most. Yes, we sweat the details. From where, how and by whom our locally grown food is produced to the way we season and even how we plate the food. Food blogging peculiarities aside, we lavish our food with love!

Feeding those you love is one of the ultimate signs of caring. Not only are you nurturing your loved ones nutritionally,  you are also feeding their soul and showing them you are willing to take the time for their well being. This sentiment extends out beyond your immediate household. We often entertain guests in our home and one of the first thoughts on our minds in menu selection. Painstaking care is shown to those who sit at our tables, whether be it a holiday gathering, special event, or just a simple meal shared over great conversations.

Nothing says “I Love you” like a full belly and a glad heart!

Here is a great little recipe to share with your loved ones this Valentines Day. The love of my life just happens to be out of town on business this week and I can’t wait to cook her up some loving!

P.S. I Love you Baby!

Apple Pie Griddle Cakes with Caramelized Apples, Walnuts and Caramel Cinnamon Cappuccino Mascarpone


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 baking apples, sliced

3 large organic, free range eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon of salt


Preheat oven to 400º F. In a large ovenproof skillet (see Note) over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apples and sauté until slightly tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Add milk, flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over apples. Bake until puffed and golden, about 18 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve topped with caramel cinnamon cappuccino mascarpone and a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

*NOTE: A Black cast-iron skillet works well.

Caramel Cinnamon Cappuccino Mascarpone


8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese, at room temp

2 tablespoons instant caramel cappuccino powder

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon roasted Saigon cinnamon


In a medium blending bowl, place mascarpone, cappuccino powder, sugar and cinnamon. Whip with a wire whisk in the mixer for about 3 minutes until all ingredients are well mixed, mascarpone should be peaking. Chill and serve.



Filed under Apples, Baking, Breakfast, Brunch, Holiday Recipes, Uncategorized

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

Brioche Pain Perdu

On a cold snowy day, nothing beats baking to warm the house and heart. Not to mention it can be an enjoyable way to pass an otherwise dreary day. I did just that yesterday, baking up a decadent loaf of hot, buttery brioche with the intent of experimenting with a few pain perdu recipes I have been toying around with.

Pain Perdu, to the layman, is the proper French name for what us Americans typically call French toast, in honor of its origin. Broken down to its French essence, pain perdu translates to lost (stale) bread. The stale bread is brought back to life by bathing it in a fabulously rich concoction of egg and milk. (Or cream if you really want to take it over the top!)

When it comes to breads, nothing can be more French than Brioche. Many a French chef has coveted their own personal formula for this buttery treat. When on can master the balance of butter to air and not over work the dough, an airy bread that is both light to the feel but heavy on taste is the optimum result.

Having achieved a decent facsimile, my next goal was to produce a pain perdu with an orange liqueur sauce that would taste like a bite of sunshine. Using freshly squeezed orange juice and a few splashes of both rum and triple sec, I managed to transport us directly to the grove stands and orchards of Florida. Leslie gave me the thumbs up with her approval, so I think we have a winner.

This recipe takes some juggling to get it just right and have everything arrive at the plate in the appropriate time frame, but here it goes…

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

-Serves 4


1 inch thick slices of stale brioche

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil


1 cup crushed graham crackers (about 6 squares)

2 teaspoons roasted cinnamon

2 teaspoons raw sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place graham crackers in a bowl or food processor, crushing the contents being careful not to turn the cracker into dust. Add the cinnamon and sugar, gently blend with a fork and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat heavy whipping cream with vanilla. Bring to a slow simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar until it turns a pale, yellow color. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Take one slice of bread and dip it into the mixture, about 7 seconds on each side. Transfer to a cookie sheet and repeat the process until you have no remaining slices. TIP: This works best if your bread is really hard and stale. If your bread is fresh, you can recreate the same texture by placing your brioche slices in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dredge each soaked slice of brioche in the crust mixture, making sure all sides are evenly coated. Transfer back onto baking sheet.

Place skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and oil together. Dip a ball of paper towel into the oil mixture and coat the skillet. One by one, grill each soaked slice of brioche until it is slightly brown (approximately 1-2 minutes per side). Transfer back to cookie sheet. Bake the french toast in the oven for 10 minutes. TIP: Between grilling each slice, use the paper towel to swipe the skillet clean and reapply another thin layer of oil mixture each time.

Serve by glazing the plate with Orange Liqueur Sauce. Place Pain Perdu over top and glaze with another light layer of Orange Liqueur Sauce and a drizzle of Grade A Maple Syrup. Dust with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of honey vanilla whipped cream. Garnish with fresh orange slices and a sprinkle of grated orange zest.

Orange Liqueur Sauce

-Makes 1 cup


1 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice

1 oz. Spiced Rum (Sailor Jerry’s is our rum of choice!)

2 teaspoons Triple Sec Orange Liqueur

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon orange zest

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together orange juice, rum, triple sec, cornstarch and sugar until thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and zest. Serve warm.

Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream


1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp honey

½ teaspoon vanilla


In a chilled bowl, using chilled beaters, beat all ingredients until well thickened and peaks begin for form. Place immediately in refrigerator until ready to use. Whipped cream can be spooned into peaks onto chilled plate and flash frozen for 15-20 minutes to keep them from running upon serving with hot foods such as French toast, pancakes or waffles.

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Filed under Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, dessert, Flavored Whipped creams, Rum, sauces

Brioche-Too Good To Resist!

Soo close, but not quite!

When it comes to food, some things are just too good to resist- The crunch of a perfectly crusted Crème Brûlée. A scoop, or two, of homemade vanilla ice cream over fresh apple pie. The gooey ooze of cheddar on a steamy, hot cheeseburger…and apparently, the steamy aroma of fresh Brioche hot out of the oven. As is evidenced by my one year old lab puppy, Buckeye.

You see, I had been having a hankering to lay down some serious French toast as of late, and, as everyone knows, such a venture necessitates the use of a freshly made Brioche. My sights are set on putting together a Brioche Pain Perdu with Figs and Vanilla/Cinnamon Whipped Ricotta, a plan which was nearly thwarted by Buckeye, Brioche fresh out of the oven, as I shot the photo’s for this entry.

And who could blame the pup…THE SMELL WAS HEAVENLY! I gobbled down a couple Brioche Rolls myself right after I snapped away these shots. A trip to the gym will definitely be in order today!


*Recipe courtesy of Jean-Louis Palladin

Start dough a day before you want to bake it, as the dough has to rest overnight.

  • 1/3 cup very warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (not quick-rising)
  • 10 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) cake flour
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 20 tablespoons (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature, plus butter for the pans

Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Sift together the flours, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute at low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Slowly add the dissolved yeast and continue beating at low speed for 5 minutes. Stop the machine, scrape any dough off the hook, and beat for another 5 minutes.

Add about one-quarter of the butter cubes at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, beat for 10 minutes more.

Place the dough in a large floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and gently work the air bubbles out by folding the dough over several times while lightly pressing down on it.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The dough is now ready to shape or use in another recipe. Generously butter two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, divide the dough in half and shape it into two rectangles that fit in the loaf pans. Place the dough in the pans.

Let the dough rise uncovered in a warm place until it is about 1/2-inch above the top of the pans, about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the brioche in the center of the oven until it is well browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the brioche from the oven and immediately turn out onto a wire rack.

If serving immediately, let the breads cool for 10 minutes, then slice. If serving within a few hours, wrap the hot bread in aluminum foil and set aside at room temperature until ready to use. To freeze, wrap the hot bread in foil and promptly freeze. The bread can be kept frozen for up to 1 month; when ready to use, reheat (without thawing and still wrapped in the foil) in a 250 degree F oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

If using the brioche for croutons, let sit at room temperature uncovered to dry for a day.

Yield: 2 loaves

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Filed under Baking, Bread

Ham and Cheddar Scones

The cheese gets nice and brown and bubbly on the outside, the ham adding a nice bit of flavor inside. The green onions bring a nice counterpoint to the party. I have adapted this recipe to replace the 2 cups of heavy cream traditionally used in favor of a half and half mixture of whole milk and sour cream which imparts a nice bit of tanginess to the batter an boosts the moisture an extra notch!


3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup medium-diced ham

½ cup Grand Reserve Sharp Cheddar

½ cup scallions

1 cup sour cream

1 cup whole milk


Cut two 10-inch circles of parchment paper. Use one to line a 10-inch round cake pan and reserve the other piece


Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add the ham, cheese, and scallions and toss together with the dry ingredients until evenly distributed. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the cream to the mixture and stir by hand jut until the batter is evenly moistened. Place the dough in the lined cake pan and press into an even layer. Cover the dough with the second parchment paper circle. Freeze the dough until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it lightly with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper. Thaw the dough for 5 minutes at room temperature; turn it out of the cake pan onto a cutting board. Cut the dough into equal pieces and place the individual pieces on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake the scones until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Cool the scones on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Serve scones warm or at room temperature. They are awesome the same day they are made but of course, you may freeze them for up to 4 weeks.


Please visit at the following link for additional Cheese Scones Recipes!


Filed under Baking, Breakfast, Brunch, Ham, snacks