A rainy spring day: time to head north to pick up our five-gallon supply of Maine maple syrup for the 2011 season. And, along the way, to enjoy some of the fabulous fresh oysters at the Damariscotta River Grill – about 40 minutes north of Coveside.
During the season, Carolyn makes fruit crisp at least once a week for the breakfast “fruit course.” The recipe came from Tom’s mother, on an index card entitled “Apple dessert.” But in the spirit that every fruit dessert deserves to be served at breakfast, we serve it throughout the summer and fall, featuring a mix of whatever fruit is in season. Of course, it works wonderfully as a dessert, especially with a scoop of ice cream!
Crisp topping (this can be made in larger quantities and stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator). Mix together:
3/4 cup old-fashioned (not instant) rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 – 4 cups fresh (and/or frozen) fruit, sliced: peaches, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums, cherries, etc. (you can also add dried fruit — cranberries, cherries, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350. Gently mix the fruit in a large bowl. Fill 6 baking cups or small souffle dishes or an 8-inch square baking dish about 3/4 full with the fruit mixture. Spread the topping on the fruit, pressing it down gently. Bake 35 – 40 minutes, until bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
An elegant Italian dessert that we serve with fruit at breakfast, panna cotta is light and delicious anytime. It’s also easy to make!
2 3/4 tsp gelatin
1/4 cup cool water
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Soften gelatin in water. Combine cream and sugar in saucepan and heat just to a boil. Off heat, stir in softened gelatin until fully dissolved. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Divide among 8 molds (I use solo plastic cups – see the picture at the side — because of the interesting ridges, but any small mold will do.) Refrigerate at least four hours.
To serve, briefly dip molds in hot water and invert on serving plate. You may have to rap them sharply to get them to unmold. If they remain in the mold, put them back in the hot water for another ten seconds or so.
Serve with seasonal fresh fruit (such as berries, peaches, plums, etc) and/or fruit sauces. 8 servings.
I’m experimenting later this week with a pumpkin panna cotta; I’ll put the recipe on the blog if it works!
Fall is upon us, and it’s time to move from our summer standby in the dining room cookie jar — oatmeal raisin cookies — to ginger spice cookies. (We always have chocolate chip cookies on hand).
2 cups sugar, plus additional for rolling cookies
1/2 cup unsulphured (dark) molasses
1 cup vegetable (preferably canola) oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons cloves
3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In bowl of electric mixer, beat together sugar, molasses, and eggs until blended. Beat in oil. Mix together remaining dry ingredients and gradually beat into wet ingredients. Mixture will be dry; you may need to mix the final amount of the flour mixture by hand if you don’t have a heavy-duty mixer.
Pull off walnet-sized pieces of dough and roll in your hands into a ball; roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Don’t put too close together as they expand in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until cracks form on surface of the cookie. Do not overcook. Makes about 4 dozen cookies
It’s wild blueberry season in Maine, and time for our favorite coffeecake, made with fresh berries, a cream cheese layer, and crunchy streusel top. While it is easier to make this coffee cake with fresh Maine low-bush berries (the small berries that grow wild across much of the north country), this limits the time of year it can be made. With perseverance in patting the batter in the pan, you can make it at other times of the year with frozen berries.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
grated peel of one lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3 cups blueberries (preferably wild fresh berries, though frozen berries, such as Wymans, can be used)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter 9×13 glass baking dish.
2. For streusel: combine ingredients in food processor and blend until the topping almost holds together. Place in another bowl.
3. For filling: in same food processor (you don’t need to clean it), blend all filling ingredients until creamy. Set aside.
4. For batter: cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine gently, then add 1/2 the milk and beat, then 1/3 the flour mixture, the remaining milk and finally the remaining flour mixture.
5. To assemble cake with fresh berries: carefully fold the berries into the batter; put a bit less than half of the batter into the greased pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the cream cheese. Batter will be thick and you may need to use your hands to spread lumps of batter over the cream cheese mixture. Don’t worry if the cream cheese isn’t fully covered or if the top batter is uneven. Crumble streusel on top.
To assemble the cake with frozen berries: spread a bit less than half the batter in the greased pan. Press half the frozen berries into the batter. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the bottom layer. Spread rest of the batter (using your hands, if necessary, as described above). Press remaining berries into batter and crumble streusel on top.
6. Bake for one hour or until golden and tester comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into 24 squares and serving.
Serves 16-20 (you can halve the recipe for an 8″ x 8″ pan, serving 8-10).
We serve these pears at breakfast, but they make a delicious, light dessert, chilled or at room temperature. Serves 6.
2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup (the real stuff)
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 ripe, but firm, pears (we prefer bosc)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
mint sprigs (for garnish)
In large skillet, bring 1 cup maple syrup, cider and spices to a boil; cook 10 minutes and remove from heat. While liquid is cooking, halve pears lengthwise and peel. Using melon baller or paring knife, scoop out core.
After the liquid has cooked ten minutes, place the pears into the poaching liquid. Add enough water to barely cover the pears with liquid. Bring back to boil, lower the heat, and simmer, turning occasionally and spooning liquid over the pears, until they are just tender, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the pear. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid. Raise the heat under the poaching liquid to high, and boil until it is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, when the pear halves are cool enough to handle, place them, cut-side down, on a cutting board and make 1/4″ lengthwise vertical slices from the small end almost to the end of the large end of the pear, leaving enough uncut at the large end to hold the half together (see picture). Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks; gently whisk in the yogurt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and powdered sugar.
To serve, place one pear half on a dessert plate and gently press to spread out the slices. Pour a tablespoon or two of the reduced poaching liquid over the pears, put a dollup of the whipped cream/yogurt mixure on the side, and garnish with a mint leaf.
The poaching of the pears and reduction of the liquid can be done several hours ahead. Cover the pears with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
These are a favorite in the fall.
If you wish, you can sprinkle chopped, candied pecans over the top of the cooked pancakes (as in the photograph), rather than putting toasted pecans in the batter.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinammon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3 large eggs, separated
2 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs unsalted butter
1. Roughly chop pecans and spread over baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly browned.
2. In large bowl mix together sugar, spice, baking powder, soda, and salt.
3. Melt butter and set aside.
4. Whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin, egg yolks and vanilla.
5. Stir melted butter into pumpkin mixture and gently fold into dry ingredients.
6. Beat egg whites with 2 tbs sugar to form soft peaks; fold into pumpkin batter with pecans.
7. Lightly butter griddle and heat to medium (350 degrees). Spoon pancake batter onto griddle as cakes a bit less than 4 inches in diameter (they will spread) and cook until they begin to puff and brown lightly on the bottom. Flip for another miute or two, until bottom is lightly browned and cakes are fully cooked. Serve with maple syrup.
Serves 4; about 16-20 pancakes.
|We’ve probably made close to 10,000 of these muffins over the past 12 years. If you can find them, use the small wild blueberries; the large “high bush” berries pop while cooking and leave goey spots in the muffins. Frozen Maine berries (we use Wyman’s when we can’t get fresh) work just as well as fresh, but don’t thaw them prior to mixing them into the batter.|
|3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
grated rind of one orange
2 cups blueberries
Note: you can get a head start on morning muffins the night before by mixing together the dry ingredients and — separately — the eggs, milk, and orange rind. Refrigerate the wet ingredients. In the morning, melt the butter, add to the wet ingredients and follow the recipe for mixing with the dry ingredients and baking.
Yield: 1 dozen large muffins