Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
4 large eggs
1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk or buttermilk to equal 1 1/2 cups
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus bit more for top before baking
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar

Place diced jalapenos in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack.

Preheat oven to 400and leave skillet with jalapenos in oven as it preheats. in pre-heating oven. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs in a medium to blend. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. ?Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in the cooled jalapenos. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.

Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray.

Spoon batter in to hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese.

Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller).

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Skillet Pear Custard Cake

2-4 ripe Bartlett Pears (red are nice if you can find some)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp salted butter, diced
1 Tbsp icing/confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut pears in half and core with a spoon, also removing the woody spine leading up to the stem. (You can cook pears in halves or cut each half in to slices and arrange them in a fan pattern). Toss in lemon juice and set aside.

Grease a skillet (or several smaller skillets), an 11×7-inch baking dish, or several wider/shallow ramekins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla.

Whisk egg milk mixture in to flour mixture until combined.

Arrange pears in prepared baking dishes (I like to put a cored half pear in the centre, if space permits, with sliced pears around the outside OR cut cored half pears in to slices and arrange in fan patterns). Pour batter over-top, filling your shallow baking dish to about 2/3 full or to cover a half pear by about 2/Dot the top with diced butter. Place baking dish on to a baking sheet (just in case!).

Bake in preheated 375 oven until pears are tender and custard is puffed, set and golden, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with some icing sugar and place under oven broiler until bubbly and glazed, about 1 minute. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Lovely served slightly warmed with a dollop of whipped or ice cream.

Invisible Apple Cake

6 average-sized Golden Delicious apples, peeled
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
6 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Melt the butter in saucepan or microwave bowl. Add the milk and stir well to combine. Allow to cool slightly, then add to the egg/sugar mixture. Mix to combine.

Sift together the flour and baking powder, the sprinkle over the egg/sugar mixture. Mix just until combined.

Quarter the peeled apples and remove the core. Use a mandolin to slice each quarter into thin slices. Add the apple sliced to the batter regularly (don’t wait until you’ve done them aland push them below batter, so they don’t brown. Reserve the last handful of apple slices to scatter on top of batter.

Gently stir the apples in the batter to ensure all apples are coated. Pour in to prepared springform pan and scatter the reserved apple slices randomly over-top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until set. If desired, you can turn on the broiler for a minute to brown up the top of the cake.

Leave in pan to cool, then run knife around edges and remove outer springform pan ring.

Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or cold dusted with icing sugar.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz dry macaroni (1 2/3 cups measured in a 2 cup glass liquid measure. Note that this measure will only work for macaroni and probably not a larger pasta shape. Weighing is recommended.)

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
7 oz Good aged white crumbly cheddar crumbled
3 oz Another variety orange sharp cheddar or cold-packed cheddar grated or crumbled
1/2 tsp kosher salt little less if using table salt
1/4 tsp regular chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Topping:
1/2 oz aged cheddar grated
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

Add water and a bit of salt to a large pot and place over high heat for the pasta. While it’s heating, prepare the cheese sauce.

For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk and cook for about 2 minutes.

Very slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. (Don’t rush this step. The mixture will not be thick, but will noticeably thicken after 8-10 minutes of cooking).

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melted completely after about 3 minutes, you can put the pan back on low heat and stir until it is melted). Set aside for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) with rack in the centre of the oven. Oil or butter an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.

When the pasta water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. (The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce in the oven). When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse well with cold water. Make sure your pasta is well drained.

Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly. (It might look like too much sauce or too little pasta, but trust me, it will all be good in the end).

Spoon or ladle the mixture into a prepared baking dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the top of each with a bit of additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (you don’t need a lot here, as there is plenty in the sauce), then sprinkle with the chipotle chili powder.

Bake in the preheated 350F (175C) oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce has bubbled up around the edges and the top has a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Pork and Ricotta Meatball Noodle Soup

Meatballs:
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
1 tsp Kosher salt less if using fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground pork

Soup:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 3-by-1-by-1 inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups baby spinach
For serving
Warm cooked egg noodles
Shaved, crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Start water boiling in a large pot for egg noodles.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Add the egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. Add the pork and stir to combine well. Form into 15-18 approx. two-inch diameter meatballs.

In a large pot (preferably non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook the bottom until well browned.

Using a spoon, gently flip the meatballs over and brown that side well. Again, using a spoon, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown all sides to seal the meatball well.

Pour in the broth and add the the piece of cheese. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the broth very gently, stirring once or twice (so the Parmesan doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan), until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thawed peas and spinach. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in boiling water per the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place some warm cooked egg noodles in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the egg noodles. Garnish with additional grated Parmigiano and serve.

Recipe Notes
As the meatballs are quite moist and soft, cooking them in a non-stick pan will make life easier. If you don’t have a larger non-stick pot, you can cook them off in a non-stick skillet, then move them to a larger pot to finish cooking the soup. A non-stick skillet will give you extra room for flipping, as well.

Apple Pandowdy

1 roll puff pastry thawed

Filling:
5-6 large apples cooking/pie apples, peeled and cored
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp white sugar
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
2 Tbsp white or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low to keep warm.

Grease an 8-inch round skillet, pan, pie plate (or equivalent sized) pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel and core apples, then thinly slice. Add to prepared baking pan, filling the pan about 2/3-3/4 full.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut thawed puff pastry into irregular, 1-inch-ish shapes. Scatter about 1/3 of the pastry pieces randomly over top of apples. Slowly pour the sugar mixture over-top, pouring all around the pan to make sure the filling reaches all parts of the pan. Pour slowly so it drips down into the apples and not over the side.

Place the remaining pastry pieces on top, overlapping, as necessary and leaving a few small open spots (to allow steam to escape). Sprinkle a bit of sugar on to the top of pastry.

Place into preheated oven (on baking sheet to catch overflowing juices!) and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking for an addition 35-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Lovely served with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoop of ice cream.

Orange Chili Pork

1 pork tenderloin,trimmed and sliced into thin slices
6-8 baby bok choy or shanghai choy
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek or siracha (1 tsp. for moderate spice or 2 tsp. for spicy-lovers. Can omit if you don’t want heat)
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Garnish:
Toasted sesame seeds
1-2 green onions, sliced
Small red pepper, thinly sliced

Remove silverskin and trim any fat from pork tenderloin and cut into thin slices. Set aside. (*Tip: to easily remove silver-skin, make a slice into it with a sharp knife and them use a paper towel to pull it off. Repeat until it’s all removed). Remove ends from bok choy and wash. Chop, if desired or leave in whole stalks. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until no pink remains. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Scatter bok choy over top and continue cooking, tossing, until bok choy is tender, but still a nice, bright green. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, red pepper slices (if usinand sliced green onions.

Serve as is, or over rice.

Red Curry Chicken with Pineapple

1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces (or start with about 2 cups of leftover cooked and cubed chicken )
1 medium carrot cut into matchsticks
1 medium red pepper cored and cut into matchsticks
1/2 small onion cut into thin slices
1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 heaping Tbsp red curry paste
14 oz can full fat coconut milk – about 1 3/4 cups
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce, for vegetarian
1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots cut into matchsticks
1/3 cup canned pineapple chunks each chunk cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 cups baby spinach or other greens such as chopped baby bok choy leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: Chopped basil or cilantro leaves and lime quarters, for juicing over finished dish

Start your rice cooking.

(Skip if you are starting with pre-cooked chicken) Heat 1/2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add uncooked chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and bamboo shoots, cutting all into matchsticks of equal length (about 2-inches long). Assemble your other ingredients.

When the chicken is cooked, remove to a bowl and set aside.

Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in skillet and raise heat to medium high. Add carrots first, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.

Add red peppers and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, but carrots and red peppers are just tender crisp.

Add the ginger, red curry paste and a tablespoon of the cream from the top of the coconut milk to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the rest of the can of coconut milk, the lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce.

Return the cooked chicken to the pan (or add cooked chicken, if you are starting with pre-cooked chicken).

Add the bamboo shoots and pineapple. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium-low heat, until chicken is heated through and carrots are softened a bit more, about 3-5 minutes.

*Note: Thai curries have a sauce that’s very soup-like, so the sauce won’t be thick. The curry is typically served in bowls, to be spooned over hot rice.

Taste sauce and season with a bit of salt and pepper, as needed. You can also add a bit more curry paste at this point, if you feel it needs more.

Remove skillet from heat. Scatter spinach (or other chopped greens) overtop. Let stand 30 seconds, then stir in to curry until greens have wilted.

Serve with jasmine or basmati rice, garnished with chopped basil or cilantro and lime wedges for drizzling.

Orange Chicken

1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast cut into small chunks (about 3 large breasts)
2 tsp oil

Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice (or use 1/4 cup more orange juice, if you don’t have lemons on hand)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp finely diced orange peel DIVIDED (*see note below)
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
1 tsp minced fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger)
1 Tbsp Asian Chili Garlic Sauce (or more, to taste)

To thicken sauce: (mix the add in increments at end, as needed)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp water

Start rice cooking.

* Using a vegetable peeler, peel a couple of thin strips from the side of the orange. (Using a vegetable peeler allows you to just take the peel and none of the bitter pith). Finely dice peel (about 1/8-inch squareuntil you have about 1 1/2 Tbsp. Add 1 Tbsp. of the diced orange peel to your sauce. Reserve the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. to stir fry with your chicken.

Prepare sauce by combining sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.

Heat oil in skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and reserved diced orange peel and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. If using additional vegetables, add them after chicken is partially cooked. Add sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer while your rice/veg cooks (5-10 minutes).

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Add about half of it to simmering sauce and cook, stirring regularly, until sauce thickens. If not thick enough, add more, as needed, until sauce is as thick as you’d like. Serve over rice.

If you’d like to try velveting your chicken, combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour over cut, raw chicken chunks. Stir, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. veg oil
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. salt

After 30 minutes, drain. Heat 4 inches of water to boiling in a medium/large saucepan. Once boiling, add drained chicken chunks and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate, then proceed with recipe.

Kung Pao Chicken (or Pork or Shrimp)

Marinade:
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 medium)

Sauce:
3 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch

For Stir fry:
2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
6-8 fresh small, thin red chili peppers, whole (Thai)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried crushed chili flakes
3 green onions white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
Black or yellow sesame seeds for garnish

In a medium bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients. Add chicken cubes and toss to coat. Let sit on the counter while you prepare the sauce.

In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and stir well until smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh red peppers and cook, stirring, until they start to brown in spots. Add red pepper flakes, white part of green onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 45-60 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring regularly, until chicken is just cooked through and no longer pink. Stir sauce and then add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Add peanuts and 1/2 of the green part of the green onion. Stir to combine.

The red peppers aren’t intended to be eaten, as they are extremely hot, even after cooking. Their role is to infuse the heat in to the dish only. You can eat around them or simply discard before serving.

Serve over noodles or rice, if you like, with vegetables on the side. Garnish with remaining green onion and sesame seeds.

Chicken Coconut Curry

2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/2 red or yellow onion thinly sliced
1 Tbsp ginger paste or 2 tsp minced fresh
1 tsp minced garlic
1 large tomato diced or small can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tomato paste optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup stirred coconut milk *see notes
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Start rice cooking, if using.

In a small bowl, stir together the turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a large pot (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for one minute. Add your spice mix and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds more. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the cut up chicken to the pot, along with a sprinkling of salt. Mix well. Let cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, cover with a lid (or a sheet of aluminum foil), reduce heat slightly and let cook 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and tender.

Remove lid. Add coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more. Taste and add salt as needed. You can also add more of spices if you feel it needs it.

Recipe Notes
A small 5.5oz/160ml can of coconut milk is perfect for this curry, but if you are starting with a larger can, be sure to stir after opening the can, to stir the cream into the milk, then measure out the amount you need. Leftover coconut milk can be frozen.

Flatbread with Apple, Cheddar, and Arugula

Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5×14-inch flatbreads)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings: (for one 5×14-inch flatbread – increase as necessary)
1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
1/4 – 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel) or pear
Handful of fresh baby arugula

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt.

In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough.

Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren’t longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well.

Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes to rest.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back.

*If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots.

*Don’t over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.

Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)

Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here.

Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop.

Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.

Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cored peeled apple
2 Tbsp chopped fresh green onion or parsley (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stir in Cheddar, apple and green onions. Using a fork, stir in milk to form a ragged dough.

Drop by 1/4 cup mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Bake in 425° oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

Caramel Apple Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar packed
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup thinly sliced apples

Sauce:
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups boiling waterh
1 Tbsp butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Make the pudding batter: In a medium bowl, mix together the the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix together the milk, melted butter and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Spread batter in to the bottom of an 8-cup baking dish or divide between 4-6 individual baking dishes. (*If using individual dishes, you may want to place dishes on a baking sheet, for easy transport to the oven, and to catch any splatters.)

Arrange a layer of apple slices on top of batter.

Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the brown sugar and flour. Add the boiling water, the butter,vanilla and salt. Stir to combine and until butter melts. Gently pour over batter, being sure to leave 3/4-1 inch of room at the top of the baking dish.

Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in centre comes out clean when inserted in the top cake part. Pudding will have formed a cake-like top with lots of sauce underneath. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy warm. Lovely as is, or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble Cake

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (200g)
3/4 cup white sugar (150g)
1 tsp baking powder
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6-8 pieces (100g)
3 medium apples peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%), 35% (200g)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (120g)
1/2 cup brown sugar (100g)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
2/3 cup white sugar (140g)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
5 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (80g)

Preheat oven to 355° F. / 180° C. and grease an 8-inch /2 0 cm springform pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside. *Note: if you are using a dark springform pan, reduce temperature to 340F / 170C.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.
Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared apple slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 20 – 25 minutes or until the edges are starting to become golden and pull away from the edge and the center is set. As long as it’s not too jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 60-65 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

Apple Almond Cake

Dough:
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1 tsp rum optional
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup + 6 Tbsp all purpose flour

For the topping:
3 medium apples
1/3 cup sliced almonds

For garnish:
Icing/confectioners’ sugar

Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt and a few drops of rum, if using. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the baking powder, ground almonds and flour and mix until well combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared springform pan and spread level.
Peel apples and cut into quarters. Cut out the core from each quarter and discard. Delete the core. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 deep slices into each quarter, cutting almost, but not all the way through. Press sliced apple quarters into the top of the batter, placing about 8 around the outside and 3 in the middle. Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top.
Bake for about 60 – 70 minutes, or until the center cake tests clean with a cake tester min.

Cool the cake, the sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

French Pear Cake with Creme Fraiche

For cake batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup sour cream

For filling:
3 pears ripe but still firm, peeled or unpeeled, halved and cored

For topping:
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup flaked almonds optional

For serving:
Crème Fraîche, whipped cream, or ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in centre of oven. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with baking spray and lining the bottom ring with parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Prepare the pears: You can peel the pears if you like, or simply leave the peel on. Cut in half down from the stem end to the bottom. Scoop out the core with a spoon and remove the stem spine and bottom blossom end. Place cut side down on a cutting board and cut each half in to 1/4-inch-ish slices. Transfer the sliced halves to the prepared baking pan, cut side down, fanning out the slices slightly. Arrange the sliced halves in a ring around the outside of the pan. The sliced halves should just touch each other in the centre and fan out slightly towards the outside edges. The centre couple of inches should be empty. You may or may not need all your pears. Simply fill until it’s filled around. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Spoon the batter in to the centre of the prepared pan. Using a knife, gently spread the batter in to a thin layer out to the outside edges of the pan. It will seem very thin and barely cover the pears. Scatter the flaked almonds over the centre area of the batter. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with the 1/4 cup white sugar.

Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.

Let the cake cool 5-10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Allow to cool a bit more, then slice and enjoy warm with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

Peach Bread Pudding with Warm Brown Sugar Sauce

Bread Pudding:
1/2 a loaf of day-old unsliced bakery bread
3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
4 tsp white sugar, for topping

Brown Sugar Sauce:
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease 4 individual dishes or an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set on to a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel peaches and cut in to slices. Set aside.

Slice bread in to thin 3/4-inch slices or cube. If using slices, you’ll want your bread pieces to be about an inch higher than the height of your baking dish, so figure out how tall they should be and cut off the bottom of the slices to that height. (*You won’t need the part you cut off the bottom, but you can use them by cutting them in to cubes and making some croutons with them!). Then cut each of the trimmed slices in half from top to bottom to make two pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, cream, milk and vanilla.

Place your bread slices in to your baking dishes (or disby slightly overlapping them (crust side facing the side of the disand allowing them to tilt back a bit. If using cubes, place in your dish or dishes.

Place some peach slices in the gaps between the bread. Pour some of the egg mixture over the bread and in to the dishes, just until it reaches the top edge of the dish or until it nears but doesn’t cover the top of the bread.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then top up with remaining egg mixture, just until it reaches the edge of the dish again or near the top of the bread. You may not need it all.

Lightly brush the top of the bread with a bit of the egg mixture, then sprinkle a heaped 1 tsp. of white sugar over the top of each dish, especially on the top crust edge.

Place dishes on baking sheet (to catch any overflow!) in to preheated 350° oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. (*You may want to check at 25-30 minutes in case it’s browning too quickly, in which case, just lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top while it finishes baking.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. If not eating right away, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

While puddings are baking, make the brown sugar sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Allow to come to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it comes to a boil, cook another few minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and pour in to a bowl or pitcher.

Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Can be re-warmed in the microwave/saucepan to serve.

Serve puddings at warm, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed in the microwave, topped with warm brown sugar sauce (*You’ll want to place your small dishes on a plate, as the brown sugar sauce will most likely spill over the sides when poured on top).

Peaches and Cream Cake

2/3 cup white sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp whole milk at room temperature
6-7 fresh peaches

Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform, use a regular round 8 or 9-inch cake pan, but note that you will not be able to remove in one piece from this type of pan). If you’d like to later remove the cake from the base, be sure to line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside of the greased pan with a bit of brown sugar. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a piece of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 355° F.

Peel peaches and cut flesh off sides, then cut in to chunks (don’t have to be too small). Set aside.

Melt the butter and let it cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the vanilla and (coolemelted butter until combined. Add the milk and then the flour sifted with baking powder. Gently fold peaches into the batter.

Pour in to the prepared pan. (*You’ll know you have enough peaches if they poke above the batter when you pour it in the pan. If not, maybe add another). If you like, you can sprinkle the top with white sugar before baking for a sweet top crust.

Bake in preheated 355° oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, refrigerate in the pan if you are making ahead. To eat right away, run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Slice and serve cool, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed, garnished with a dusting of icing sugar or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Peaches and Cream Crumble Cake

For the cake:
2 cups cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into 6-8 pieces
3 medium peaches peeled and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream 35%, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Icing/Confectioner’s Sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 360° F. and grease an 8-inch springform pan. If you want to easily remove the cake from the base to a serving platter easily, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, as well. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.

Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared peach slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for a further 25 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 25-30 minutes. Note that the cake will be sunken in the middle, even when it’s “done”. As long as it’s not jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 70-75 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.