HEY! Hey, you. Yes, you. I have a quick thing to share with you before you continue reading. First of all, this post is in collaboration with Anisa of The Macadames. With her living Australia and me here in the states, my fall is just beginning while hers is ending. We decided to bridge the gap and make some delicious recipes using the seasons favorite; apples. After you’re done reading this post, head over to her site for a delicious baked apple recipe, which wink, wink looks to die to for! But firsts, this post. This post is a bit different from the traditional blog posts I write. To be frank, I hate writing blog posts and I need a change of pace. A few weeks ago, I had the idea to combine my love of fiction writing and food writing, and this is what came about. My thought for this is to write short little scenes involving the recipes I’m posting about. I hope to capture the art of culinary storytelling even further by creating my own stories. Disclaimer: these are far from Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces or anything, so take it for what it is, a young man’s fictitious anthology of food.
Note: I’m feeling incredibly lazy (and I have two exams to study for), so I’m going to make this blog post short and sweet (much like these cakes!) These mini rose water cakes are wonderfully aromatic with subtle floral notes. The slowly roasted strawberries are perfectly folded into the cloud-like buttercream making for the ideal (end of) summer dessert. A few months backs Laura from Café, Cacau e Canela and I were messaging back and forth about how we have never collaborated before and how we NEEDED TO. We started brainstorming ideas for how we were going to go about this. We decided to use the same core ingredients and see where our creativity took us. Once you’re done checking out my recipe, click on over to Laura’s site for her recipe (spoiler alert: it’s going to be a delicious one. Just sayin’)
The citrus fruit season is almost behind us. Before it leaves and the flavors of autumn begin to drown us in their apple spiced goodness, you need to get your hands on some oranges and a bottle (or two!) of this Spiced Grapefruit Tonic mixer from Powell & Mahoney and make this sponge cake. The cake is warm with hints of autumn from the honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The spiced grapefruit tonic mixer adds a hint of allspice and a subtle tartness to this simply sweet cake. The cake is light and almost cloud-like. Couldn’t you image it? Instead of clouds we had little flying sponge cakes in the air. Actually, scratch that idea, that sounds terrifying. Clouds belong in the sky and cake belongs on my plate. You should put that saying on a t-shirt.
Whenever I’m feeling homesick (or more specifically, when I’m missing Momma’s cooking), I bake. The smell of warm cinnamon rolls brings me back to those early Saturday mornings growing up. Mom pulling them out of the oven and generously drowning each roll in a sweet icing glaze. Sweet bliss, my friends. These orange blossom & honey cinnamon buns are the perfect end of summer goodbye and hello to autumn brunch or afternoon dessert. I first attempted this recipe back in July (hence some of the rolls in the iron skillet), but I wasn't happy with the recipe so I kept adapting. Now I have a recipe I'm proud of. The sweet and fruity notes of the orange and honey play beautifully with the floral undertones of the orange blossom water. I am a huge love of rose water. I’ve even featured it in a few recipes (and, hint-hint, it’s a featured ingredient in an upcoming blog post).
Peaches are in season, which means, of course, I just had to make some peach financers. These aren’t your Momma’s financers, though. These are made with pistachio meal, brown butter, and spiced with ground cardamom to make for the perfect late summer afternoon snack. I was inspired by both Chef John’s and Eva’s recipes, so I knew I needed to make some for myself. Financers are just a fancy name for an spongecake/muffin hybrid. A few years back, I tried this recipe for Peach & Pistachio Lassis and I fell in love with the combination of the cardamom, pistachios, and peaches working so well together. I decided to marry those three flavors into these financiers. For this recipe, I wanted to experiment and bit and work with different types of nut flours. I, for one, had no idea of the vast array and types of nut flours (and frankly, the different types of flours in general). There are so freaking many! Who knew!? Here I am in the landlocked Midwest, where all I’ve ever grown up knowing was all-purpose flour, learning and exposing myself to new types of flours, meals, and grains. It’s really cool! Oh no, you better watch out. My inner food nerd is coming out.
A bowl of Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey, and a handful of granola is what a perfect morning looks like to me. Add in a cup of coffee and any song by Branches playing in the background and I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Recently, I’ve been getting into the vegan & gluten free food movements. I’m neither vegan nor gluten intolerant, but I am still intrigued by the art and science that goes into constructing and reconstructing recipes that are vegan and/or gluten-free. There is something powerful about the art of repurposing and substituting one ingredient for another that I just love about developing any recipe. It’s the thrill of discovery. It’s trying new recipes and daring to relearn old ones. It’s the constant search of that ‘eureka’ moment. It’s the process of starting from nothing to ending with something beautiful and memorable.
This recipe for deep dish lemon meringue cream pie is everything. The crust is warm, buttery, and flaky while the filling is chilled with the perfect balance of creaminess and lemony flavor. With a lightly toasted Italian meringue on top, it makes for a delectable summertime dessert. Truth be told, I made this pie a while back (ie. around the end of June) and have finally gotten around to posting it. Lemon meringue pie is one of my Grandma Cooley’s favorite desserts ever. Her lemon meringue pies are to die for. When she made hers, the crust is warm and flaky while the curd filling is silky smooth and finished off with a dollop of meringue that seems to float on top of the pie like little edible clouds. I knew I wanted to develop a version of my own. I had aspirations of making mine deep dish because…why not?
Is it too early in the season to share a recipe for apple pie? I don’t think so! When you taste this spiced-buttery goodness that is this pie you’ll understand why I’m sharing it now. My version puts a boozy twist on the classic recipe by using whiskey in the filling. A flaky, buttery crust creates the perfect contaminant for the sweet and tart cinnamon apple filling. The filling is made the night before allowing time for the apples to release their juices. These juices are then reduced in a pan over medium heat before being added back to the filling. Then it is lattice topped before being brushed over with an egg wash and sprinkling with sugar and baked until golden brown perfection. A warm salted caramel sauce is drizzled over the top for one of the BEST pies ever.