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Entries in baking (5)


Pina Colada Monkey Bread

Pina Colada Monkey Bread




1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut milk, divided
2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury Grands! refrigerated biscuits
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 can (20 oz) canned crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and 1/4 cup coconut milk until smooth. Remove from heat.


  • Separate both cans of dough into biscuits. Cut each biscuit into fourths.


  • Carefully dip each biscuit piece into butter mixture, then roll in sugar and place in prepared bundt pan. Cover entire bottom of pan with a layer of about 20 biscuit pieces, then sprinkle half of the crushed pineapple over the top. Top pineapple with another layer of dipped and rolled biscuits, then sprinkle the rest of the pineapple on top. Top pineapple with remaining dipped and rolled biscuits.


  • Bake until deep golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; cool 10 minutes in pan. Carefully invert monkey bread onto a plate.


  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and remaining 3 tablespoons coconut milk until smooth glaze.


  • Drizzle glaze over warm monkey bread. Top with chopped dried pineapple; serve warm.


Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake  


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 bananas sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and sour cream on low until combined. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Place banana slices evenly on the bottom of the two cake pans.
  4. In a small saucepan melt butter. Add brown sugar and lemon juice and heat until dissolved. Pour half of the brown sugar mixture into each of the 2 round cake pans over the bananas. Sprinkle coconut over brown sugar sauce.
  5. Pour cake batter on top of the coconut into the two pans, dividing equally.
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Invert onto serving dishes. Slice to serve.




The Famous Heston's Christmas Pudding

I dragged two of Heston's Orange in the Middle Christmas Puddings all the way from Waitrose in Caversham to Chez Dana and John here in sunny Florida.  Last year I bought a small one and everyone loved it.  So this year I got two!  It was worth the effort because the recipe looks like a lot of work.



Bakewell Tart

I've joined an online group called The Daring Cooks.  It's all a part of the Daring Kitchen.  One can join as a Daring Cook, A Daring Baker or both.  Each month a recipe is chosen in each category.  The category members make the recipe, using their own interpretation (within the stated rules) and then post the photo of their results on their own blog.  It's very interesting to see the different photos of results of the same basic recipe. 

I didn't join as a Daring Baker because of my hands.  Messing around with puff pastry and pie crust dough is frustrating for me.  But this month, when the Daring Bakers announced their newest challenge.  I was sucked in.  They were making a Bakewell TartBakewell Tarts are quintessentially English, just like my husband.  A Bakewell Tart has a layer of frangipane.  Say that word...fran-gee-pan-e...isn't it lucious, when you say it and the way it rolls off your tongue and rattles around on the roof of your mouth?  Also, it's comprised of confectioner's sugar, eggs, butter and almond extract.  Manna from heaven, each, in my book.  The tart was simple to make and the results divine.  Husband and I each had a slice warm from the oven.  Below is a slide show of my process and below that, the recipe.


The Challenge

Rough Durations: Please see individual recipe elements to see how much time you’ll need. You may pull it together in more time or less—it all depends upon your kitchen’s pace. You can complete the tart in an afternoon, or break it up into a couple of days by making the pastry one day in advance.

Measurements: These recipes were developed using weight and not volume metrics, so for better results, pull out your scales. We’ve done our best with the Metric to Imperial conversions. A giant tart, medium tarts or little tartlettes: We’ll leave that to you. Mandatory and Optional Elements:

Mandatory element 1: Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Yes, it’s a pie pastry. Don’t look at us like that. It’s sweet and tender and it’s not scary…and we’re encouraging you to do it by hand and put the food processor away (but if you really want to pull out the gadget, go ahead).

Mandatory element 2: Frangipane We love onomatopoeia of frangipane: it’s rich, sweet and feels slightly luxurious, and can be used in several confections.

Optional element: Homemade jam or curd We know several amongst us are rather jammy with making their own jams and preserves. Go ahead get wild and creative or simply showcase whatever’s local and in season. If you haven’t jammed before and want some hints or recipes, take a look at Bernardin’s If you want to just make some jam for this challenge and not go through sterilizing jars and snap lids, you can try a pan jam, similar to Jasmine’s Blackberry Pan Jam. If you do use homemade jam, please include your recipe or the link to the one you used in your post.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding Makes one 23cm (9” tart) Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements) Resting time: 15 minutes Baking time: 30 minutes Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows) Bench flour 250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spread ability One quantity frangipane (recipe follows) One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart

Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatized for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

Frangipane Prep time: 10-15 minutes Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula 125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened 125g (4.5oz) icing sugar 3 (3) eggs 2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract 125g (4.5oz) ground almonds 30g (1oz) all purpose flour Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is light yellow in color and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish. When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.


When Life Gives You Blueberries

When I saw these organic blueberries on sale at 2 boxes for five dollars what could I do but buy them?  I'm not even a huge blueberry fan, but rather a more recent convert to them for their antioxident qualities.  I slather them on top of my Special K in the morning and pat myself on the back for at least trying for a healthy breakfast.  I don't think I even tried tasting a blueberry until I was at least forty.  To me, they ranked down low on the fresh eating scale right above rhubarb.  I'm much more a strawberry or  bing cherry kind of gal.  But today these huge blueberries almost the size of my thumb seductively whispered "Buy Me...I'm gorgeous...You know you want me...Just close your eyes and do it."  So, I did.  Then What?  Well, when life hands you blueberries, make muffins.  Okie Dokie then...away I go.


I decided to take a look at the King Arthur Flour website to see if I could find a recipe that looked like it might do the trick.  I buy a lot of King Arthur flours and other baking products.  The company is located in Vermont and is one hundred percent employee owned.  Some years ago when I was forced to carry malted seven grain flour back from England because I needed it for bread making and couldn't locate it anywhere, I ended up phoning King Arthur company on their 800-number.  Imagine my surprise when I was connected to one of their bakers.  We had a lengthy discussion about European wheats vs North American wheat, flour "heaviness" and milling processes.  Malting is a process not used in North America unless one has flour custom milled and buys in fifty pound bags.  For a Foodie, getting that phone connection to an honest to goodness King Arthur baker was akin to getting a direct line to God.  Another thing King Arthur company does is guarantee certain recipes they publish either in hard print or on the web.  If one of their guaranteed recipes flops, they will send you a check to defray the costs of ingredients.  How cool is that?   Here is a direct link to the recipe I used.  I used vanilla yogurt rather than sour cream and I kicked the vanilla extract up to 2 tsps. 

The muffins were the absolute best I have ever made or eaten.  I love the sparkling sugar on the top (I ordered mine long ago from the K.A. catalog) because not only am I a sweetaholic, but that sparkling sugar makes the muffins look gorgeous.  Husband and I each ate two muffins warm from the oven.  Were they scrumptious!  As soon  as the rest cooled, I took six of them, bagged them and hid them in the freezer before we overdosed on their awesome goodness and left two out for a later treat.  If you love yourself, you'll try these muffins as soon as you can get your hands on some fresh blueberries.  The photos below chronicle my efforts (place your cursor over each square to see the full-sized photo)...