Apple Pear Pie with Oat Streusel + 5 Unique Fall Pie Links


My mother was prettiest in the fall: her milky white skin, blue-gray eyes, auburn hair, easy smile and perfect profile more beautiful in the diminishing autumn light competing (unbeknownst to her) with the glory of the burgundy, yellow and copper leaves, both awe-inspiring and short-lived.  Like the leaves, the best part of her shown brightest before the dreary winter settled in.  She understood this cycle of her life, allowed it, succumbed to it.

And so, as a child, I breathed her in, filled my lungs with her happiness and carried it with me through the long, intense winters, wet springs and steamy summers.

I love fall, she said with her hands wrapped loosely around the steering wheel of our blue Ford Taurus station wagon, her long fingers and perfectly manicured nails dancing to a song on the radio.  The car window cracked a few inches allowing the crisp air to rush in and mix with her perfume.  (Mama’s best smell.)

Me too, Mama!  Her three ducklings cheered almost in unison, eagerly anticipating caramel apples covered in peanuts, bulbous pumpkins and warm cider.

She smiled, briefly checking herself in the rear-view mirror.  

What are you looking at Mama?  You haven’t disappeared…not yet.

The mother I clung to like a barnacle adhered to the hull of a ship, returned year after year, fall after fall, until she didn’t.  It wasn’t sad.  She made a choice.  Maybe we had outgrown her or she us.  The weight of a divorce, three children growing away from her too fast, a life she wasn’t sure how to repair.  And if I were to ponder why, why, why, the answer would still baffle me.  It is easy to choose happiness when you are not unhappy.

Occasionally, I see glimpses of the mama I remember in the mother I have now: an easy smile when we celebrate my older son’s October birthday as he delights in her perfect birthday gift (Air War Battle Drones! Cool, Mimi!); decorating paper bag Halloween lanterns for our front porch with our girl, happily accepting a sticky kiss from our chubby pumpkin costumed toddler.  I store these memories of her, hold on to the glimpses of happiness I see today, if only to retrieve them when winter comes again.

Apple Pear Pie with Oat Streusel            

Apple and pears, lightly sweetened and baked to perfection topped with a buttery, crunchy oat streusel 

recipe adapted from Epicurious

Pie Crust recipe adapted from Nothing In The House

Serves 8

Ingredients for filling:

3 pounds Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces

2 lbs pears (I used Bartlett)

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

good pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for pie crust:

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 + 1/2 sticks very cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 large egg, cold, lightly beaten

1/4 cup ice-water

1/2 tablespoon cold apple cider vinegar

Oat Topping:

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

1/2 cup old fashion oats

Directions for crust:

*Pre-heat your oven to 400F*

Grab a large mixing bowl and whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Add the butter chunks and mix with your fingertips making sure pea-size chunks of butter remain.   Using a small bowl, whisk together the cold egg, water and vinegar.  Add the liquid to the flour/butter mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.  It should be a bit shaggy.  Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before rolling out.  The longer you let it chill, the better.

When ready to bake, lightly flour a piece of parchment and place dough on paper.  Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll to a 12 inch round.  Remove parchment paper and press crust gently into pie dish.  Turn dough overhang under and crimp the edges.  Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Directions for the filling:

Toss all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside and prepare the topping.

For the topping:

Blend the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, allspice in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until a dough forms that resembles wet sand.  Add oats and pulse briefly.

Stir the filling and add it to the prepared pie crust.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pie.  Place pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch spills.)  Bake until top is golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for another 50-60 minutes.  *If the top is browning too quickly, cover pie loosely with foil.*  Cool pie on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature as is or with scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

*Pie will last loosely covered in foil at room temperature for a few days.*

5 Unique Fall Pie Links

Apples and fall go hand in hand, but why not switch things up and focus on pears for a bit? Head to Joy the Baker for her bourbon pear crumble pie.  I can’t wait to try this!

Looking for a twist on pumpkin pie?  Head to Love and Olive Oil for a s’mores pumpkin pie recipe that sure to make everyone smile.  Also, check out my pumpkin pie bars.  Pie in bar form = easy serving to guests.  Insert fist pump here.

Bruleed butternut squash pie.  Are you curious?  Me too.  Head to Lemon Fire Brigade for the recipe.  And while you are there check out caramel apple blackberry pie.


Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies + 5 Bake Sale Hits For the School Year


My sister took refuge in baking long before I joined her.  While I retreated from our volatile family life with a book in hand, she baked.  Chocolate chip cookies, dozens at a time, made in our grandmother’s no frills kitchen.  And when my grandmother chirped “chocolate chip cookies again?!”, both a question and a criticism, she remained intent on producing another dozen of warm, gooey, crisp chocolate chip cookies.  Unwavering and focused at just 10 years of age.

Flour, baking soda, salt set aside in a small, banged up metal bowl.  Butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla mixed in a large, partially chipped glass bowl until fluffy, while a timeworn  hand-held mixer rested on a white and gold-speckled Formica countertop.  Ten year old hands eager to the add the chocolate chips and sample the raw dough.

She immersed herself in a simple formula, soothed by nearly the same, pleasing results every time.  Her quiet, almost mechanical process allowed for an escape from our uncertain reality.  Just three years her senior, I admired her peaceful focus from a distance, unable (or unwilling) to fully understand it.  And though I enjoyed every sweet bite, dozens after dozens, I never asked “chocolate chip cookies again?”  Unspoken air and a smile were enough.

Twenty-five years later and I bake for the same reasons she began baking: a refuge from that which we cannot control.  I should thank her.  And yet, once again, unspoken air and a smile seem to be enough.

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

A crisp and light chocolate chip cookie with the addition of a nut-free granola makes for a fun twist on a classic combo!

recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen


3 cups of bread flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup or 2 sticks, unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 sugar

2 eggs, cold

1 tablespoon of milk (any kind)

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 + 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup of granola (Your favorite recipe, store-bought or the recipe listed below)


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it comes together as one.  Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after each addition.  Add the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and 1 tablespoon of milk.  Do not over mix!  Stir in granola and chocolate chips.  Place dough in an air-tight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Scoop out a 1/4 cup of cookie dough with your hands and roughly shape it into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie.  Continue with remaining dough.  Bake until a light golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies stored in an air-tight container will last up to 2 days.  I think these cookies are best the day they are made.  Serve with a cold glass of milk.  Enjoy!

Nut-free Granola

recipe adapted from Cookie + Kate’s Healthy Granola

makes about 6 cups


4 cups old fashion oats

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup millet, rinsed

1/2 wheat germ

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl combine, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, millet and wheat germ.  Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir until every oat is covered in the oil and maple syrup.

Spread granola evenly across prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Allow the granola to cool completely, undisturbed,  on the sheet pan.  Break into chunks and store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

5 Bake Sale Hits You Should Check Out!

Looking for a gluten-free cookie option for your next bake-sale?  Head to My Gluten-Free Kitchen for a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe that will win the hearts of all kids.

Brownies are always a hit.  Head to Alexandra’s Kitchen for Fine Cooking’s rich, fudgy brownies recipe.

Cupcakes make people smile.  Head to Sweetest Kitchen for a chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting recipe that is sure to pull in some fast cash!

Sugar cookie bars with lemon cream cheese frosting.  Just make them.  Head to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe.

Check out Baked By Rachel’s snickerdoodle blondie bars.  They are on my must make list!




Peach Ricotta Pudding Cream Pie + 5 Delicious Cream Pie Links



“How will you nurture your soul?”

I stare blankly, not fulling understanding my friend’s question.  Nurture? My soul?

[nurture: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing]

“I don’t know.”  

She smiles.  “You should think about that.”

I have nurtured three babies, my marriage, more or less, my parents, friends.  But to nurture my soul would take thought, reflection, care; the last thing on my to do list now becoming the first.  A real acknowledgement that unlike a stagnant body of water, I’m fluid, changing from one form to another.  A hard change for someone who prefers to anesthetize feelings and wants with an alcoholic beverage. And yet it is time, something [my soul?!] annoyingly tugs at me, repeating over and over like a mantra, a broken record, day following day, mile after mile: this is not working for you.

You thought you could hide from yourself.  

I did a pretty good job.  

And where did it get you?  He smiles, takes a long sip from his martini.

I wish you had been this insightful when you were alive.  

Me too.  He devilishly laughs.

I will address this deficiency, finally, and see where it takes me.  For now, I’ll share this peach ricotta pudding cream pie recipe because sharing part of me feels good.  And that is a start…I hope.

Peach Ricotta Pudding Pie

A cracker crust filled with a lightly sweetened ricotta pudding topped with fresh peaches and whipped cream

Serves 6-8

recipe inspired by Food 52 How To Make Any Cream Pie Without A Recipe

ricotta pudding recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Ingredients for cracker crust:

1 + 1/2 cups (heaping) of crushed Ritz crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar


Crush crackers in a food processor or place in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling-pin.  Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or the on the stove top.  Using a medium size bowl, mix together the crushed crackers, butter and sugar.  The mixture should just hold together when squeezed.  Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie tin and freeze for at least 1 hour.  When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350F and bake until dark golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  (The crust can be made a day ahead.  Cover loosely with foil until ready to use.)

Ingredients for ricotta pudding:

1 pound fresh ricotta, drained if super moist

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (add more to taste if you prefer a sweeter pudding)

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt


Using a food processor with a blade attachment, mix together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla and salt until very smooth.  Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  (The pudding can be made a day ahead.)

Ingredients for peach mixture:

1 large peach, medium dice

large spoonful of raw sugar


Slice and dice the peach and place in a bowl.  Gently stir in a heaping spoonful of raw sugar.  Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.  Drain off any excess juices.

Ingredients for whipped cream:

1 cup very cold heavy cream

splash of rum


Using a stand mixture fitted with a whip attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream until medium peaks form or a spoon swirled through the cream leaves a soft mark.  Do not over-beat!  Just before you are done whipping the cream, add a splash of rum.  Chill until ready to use.  Whipped cream should be made just before you are ready to use it.

Assembly Time!

Spread a bit of ricotta pudding across the bottom of pie crust.  Top with drained peaches.  Add remaining ricotta pudding, spreading out evenly.  Top with whipped cream.  Make swirls in the cream with the back of your spoon.  Top with additional diced peaches and/or white chocolate shavings, if desired.  Enjoy!

(Pie will last up to a day in the refrigerator.)

5 Cream Pie Links

My roommate from college and the only person I laugh with to the point of tears, loves all things lemon.  If you love lemon just as much as she does check out Willow Bird Baking’s lemon cream pie bars and All Day I Dream About Food’s low carb lemon sour cream pie.

If you love old fashion coconut cream pie, check out Willow Bird Baking’s chocolate & coconut cream pie bars.  The addition of a rich chocolate ganache is brilliant!

Fall is almost here and that means all things pumpkin popping up everywhere.  Celebrate fall and make Lauren’s Latest pumpkin cream pie recipe.  This is sure to be a hit with all of your pumpkin loving friends and family!

My favorite type of cream pie is a banana cream pie.  Check out my recipe here!


Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie + 5 Unique Frozen Sweets Links



Choices.  Difficult for many, yet easy for him.  At least when it came to leaving the old mill town where he grew up.  A town where, once, a prosperous middle class and the diligent working class lived simultaneously, both believing life was simpler for the other.  [The two, now, converged forming a single body struggling to maintain middle ground.]

An American utopia of sorts, for some, where the local fishing hole was the most popular place to take a swim on a sweltering August night; a place where first loves made love behind the high school, pledging their loyalty to each other for the remainder of time. One doctor healed whatever ailed the locals, and the packie cured what medicine could not touch.  Boys went to war or college, returning to open arms, picking up the life they briefly left behind.  Others lost. Some by choice.  A place where whatever visible was all one needed.

And yet, not for him.

He needed more than what that small town could offer.  So, he headed west as soon as he could and found himself in California, gazing at a different ocean.  [Love, marriage and children under the sunshine and palm trees would follow.]

His choice: a different life than what he knew.

Decades later [and many miles here and there] he found himself in a rented car, crossing a covered bridge, his childhood home still visible in the rear view mirror, window rolled down, a joint resting in between his thumb and finger, now burning quickly in wind.  His father freshly buried in a colorless cemetery, his elderly mother inconsolable.  And his brother.  Drinking to numbness, left solely to manage their heart-sore mother.  He inhaled, blew an opaque stream of smoke into the oppressive humid air and wept.  Wept for his father, mother, brother.  Their small town.  Wept because he could leave.

Later, alone, at the airport bar, he would order a bourbon with 3 cubes of ice, no more, and smile when he heard “flight 11, now boarding.”

Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie

Ice Cream Base Recipe Adapted from NYT Cooking

Cookie Crust adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 8

Ingredients for Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

chocolate sauce, homemade or store-bought, for drizzling optional, but yummy


Pour cream, milk, brown sugar and salt into a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until combined.  Next, slowly whisk one-third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks and pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream.  Gently cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from heat.  Strain using a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in bourbon and vanilla.  Cover and chill overnight.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in air-tight container until ready to use.  It will last for up to a week.  This recipe will yield about 1+1/2 pints.

Ingredients for triple chocolate cookie crust:

**Makes one 9 inch pie crust with plenty of dough leftover for about a dozen or so individual cookies, or another 9-inch cookie crust.**

8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces white chocolate chips

1 + 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 +1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cups or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips


Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

 Melt chocolate and white chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove.  Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high-speed until pale in color and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl each time.  Beat until very light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add melted chocolate mixture.  Next, add the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.

Grab your metal pie pan and butter and flour it, tapping out an excess flour.  Spread about 1/3 of the cookie dough into the pie pan, spreading evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the dough is just set.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Press down the dough with a spatula if it has puffed up.

Store remaining dough in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.  Bring dough to room temperature before baking.  If making cookies, use a two-inch scoop and bake for about 15 minutes.

Assembly Time!

Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften a bit.  Scoop out ice cream and spread evenly over the cookie crust using a spatula.  Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, 24-48 hours.  When ready to serve, allow to soften a bit, as this will make cutting into the pie easier.  Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired or serve with whip cream and a cherry.  The pie will last a couple of days, covered, in the freezer.  Enjoy!

5 Unique Frozen Treat Links

Looking for a vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened frozen treat? Head to the BoJon Gourmet for a raspberry brownie ice cream sandwich recipe that is sure to satisfy you!

Chocolate and pretzels are a well-loved, classic combo so why not make this pair into an ice cream cake?  Oh Lady Cakes has the recipe for  you.  My mouth is watering!

Vanilla caramel gelato– yes please!  Head to Diethood for the recipe.

A simple classic ice cream cake is sometimes all you need to make someone smile.  Check out my recipe!

Minimalist Baker’s boozy, root beer float with coconut ice cream is on my must make list this summer!


Lemon Ricotta Zucchini & Tomato Galette + 5 Summer Savory Galette Links



The blue sky  was splattered with gauzy clouds.  Our kite soared many feet above and danced in the mean ocean breeze while the kids chased its shadow down the long empty beach.  A perfect kinda day, really.  I felt you there, wrote your name in the sand and watched the tide selfishly whisk it away.  I smiled at the pointless gesture.  As if the sea were that kind.

Later, I bounced my youngest on my hip in the cool salt water pond and kissed his wet, chubby cheeks, all while he giggled at fun mommy.  The older kids swam around us like a school of trout, approaching and darting quickly away.  I passed our youngest off to J and returned to my sand covered beach chair.  I watched, fully present, something I hardly ever do.

Is there much more?  

You laughed.  The dead are so wise.  No, no there is nothing else.

I smiled, easy for you to say.



Lemon Ricotta Zucchini Tomato Tart

A savory summer galette starring garden ripe zucchini and heirloom tomatoes paired with a bright lemon ricotta filling

serves 6

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens and Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Ingredients for filling:

1/2 of a 15 ounce package of your favorite refrigerated pie crust or use the recipe listed below

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 2 + 1/2 cups)

3 heirloom tomatoes, 1/4 inch slices

3/4 ricotta cheese

1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 goat cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper + more to taste

kosher salt to taste

basil leaves, torn

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Sea Salt

Optional: Balsamic glaze like this


Sprinkle sliced zucchini lightly with salt.  Place in colander and drain for about 15 minutes.  Pat dry.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and roll out your pie dough to a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to a large baking sheet and set aside.

Using a medium bowl whisk together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, kosher salt and pepper.  Grab a spatula and spread the filling evenly over the dough leaving about 1 and 1/2 inch border.  Top with zucchini, followed by tomato slices and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Gently fold over pastry edge, pleating and pressing down as needed.

In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water.  Using a pastry brush lightly brush the edges with the egg mixture.  Place in oven and bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with torn basil leaves and sea salt.  Drizzle all over with balsamic glaze, if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Galette is best the day it is made, but it does make a nice breakfast the next day.  If you have leftovers, store in an air-tight container at room temperature.  Bring to room temperature before eating.  Enjoy!

Pate Brisee or Short Pastry

recipe from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Makes 1-9 inch pie crust


1 1/2 cups flour

1/8 tsp. salt

8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

3-4 tablespoons ice water


Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.   Next add cold butter, cut into 1 inch pieces. Rub butter and flour between your fingertips until the butter is pea-sized. Dump dough onto clean counter. Form a “trough” lengthwise (vertically) through flour mixture. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and fluff it with your fingers until large lumps form and the pastry is blended. The dough should be a bit dry, not too wet.

Gather the dough together and flatten the dough with the heel of your hand so that the butter will layer between the flour (fraisage). Rotate dough and repeat once again.  Repeat a few more times.  Form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

5 Summer Savory Galette Links

Can’t get enough of heirloom tomatoes?  Head to Joy the Baker for her heirloom tomato tart recipe with sun-dried tomato pesto.  Yum!

Not sure what to do with all of your garden’s summer squash?  Try A Cozy Kitchen’s summer squash lattice ricotta tart.

Gluten-free?  Head to Tartelette  and try a gluten-free tart with savory greens, tomatoes and goat cheese.  While you are there be sure to check out Helene’s recipe for a Swiss chard, goat cheese and prosciutto tart.

If your CSA contains more Swiss chard than you can handle, try making Smitten Kitchen’s leek and Swiss chard tart!

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart + 5 Summer Tart Links



Tomorrow marks the start of  a much needed vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, so I will keep it short.  More stories to come, but for now enjoy this recipe: a sweet press-in, no-fail tart shell filled with white chocolate, cream cheese and Greek yogurt; topped with a sweet and gelatinous strawberry/rhubarb bite of summer.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading and happy 4th!

Strawberry Rhubarb White Chocolate Cheese Tart

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Tart recipe by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for (1) 9-inch tart shell:

1 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick + 1 tablespoon super cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions for tart shell:

Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the flour, sugar and salt together.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the egg and combine in long pulses- about 10 seconds each time, until the dough forms clumps.  Remove the dough and kneed once or twice to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

Dump the dough into your tart pan (with a removable bottom) and press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.*See note.*  Pierce crust all over with a fork.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better, before baking.

*If you find the dough sticks to your fingers too much, spray the bottom of a measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use the bottom of the cup instead of your fingers.*

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Place the frozen tart on a baking sheet and place it on the middle rack of your pre-heated oven.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

If the crust puffs up, press it down gently.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Set aside.

Ingredients for fruit topping:

2 cups of rhubarb, sliced

2 cups of strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 ounces of water

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water to make a paste

1 teaspoon lemon zest


Combine sugar, water and vanilla in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Add strawberries and rhubarb.  Add cornstarch paste to mixture and bring to a boil, again.  Stir in the lemon zest and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Set aside and cool completely.

Ingredients for white chocolate cheese filling:

12 ounces of white chocolate, cut into small pieces

12 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (2% or full fat)

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

white chocolate shavings- optional


Melt white chocolate either using a double boiler or in the microwave until completely melted and smooth.  Allow to cool.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the white chocolate and beat for another minute.  Next, add the Greek yogurt, salt and lemon zest.  Beat until well combined.


Pour the white chocolate cheese filling into the cool tart shell and smooth with a spatula.  Spread the strawberry/rhubarb evenly over the filling.  Optional: garnish with white chocolate shavings or melted white chocolate drizzles.  Serve at room temperature.  Store the remaining tart in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  This tart looks best the day it is made, but tastes great for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

5 Summer Tart Links You Can’t Miss!

Savory Sweet Life’s granola crusted yogurt fruit tarts are on my must make list, three of my favorite things to eat in one delicious bite.

Fan of panna cotta?  Head to Hummingbird High for a rhubarb panna cotta tart recipe that looks divine.

Do not let plum season pass without making Not Without Salt’s plum tart.

Summer = campfires=s’mores, right?  How about individual s’mores tarts?  Pastry Affair has the recipe for you.

Looking for a savory summer tart topped with zucchini and cherry tomatoes?  Proud Italian Cook has the recipe.  My mouth is watering!


Cold Oven Strawberry Pound Cake + 5 Can’t Miss Pound Cake Links


This cake tastes like love Mama!  I think I know what you mean sweet girl, although its been awhile since I tasted love.  Lucky you.  Your first taste, something you will chase and I’m pretty sure find again.

I remember the first time I tasted love.  A hot dog encased in a buttery, toasted bun.  Papa made it for me.  [Do you remember him?  It’s OK.  You were so small, months from your fourth birthday.  You sat next to him on his hospital bed, old westerns playing on TV, though no one was watching. So brave of you!  He didn’t look like himself: pale, listless. Blue, really.  His hands looked like wax; incoherent with morphine.  I’m glad you don’t remember.]

Just shy of 8, on a humid summer day I spent the morning swimming in my grandparent’s pool, like most summer mornings many decades ago; only slightly tired after hours of play, but always famished.

[Can you picture me love?  Full of energy?  Playful?  Try. We are, we will be, more similar than you hope.]

I walked into the kitchen, a towel clumsily wrapped around me, a puddle of water forming around my feet.  Papa stood at the counter, khaki pants, navy t-shirt, sweat puddling above his giant, caterpillar eyebrows.  Eating, barely chewing a hot dog and taking long swigs of a cold Budweiser in between each colossal bite.  He smelled like gas and grass clippings.  [Some days I smell both.  Inhale deeply.  Think of him and feel nothing but gratitude.  A familiar smell may do the same to you someday.  Enjoy it, be thankful for it.]

Hungry? How about a hot dog Kel-bel?” [I wore hunger in my eyes just like you.]  I settled at their small, wooden kitchen table, still in my bathing suit and watched as he got to work. He placed a large dollop of butter into an old, greasy Teflon frying pan.  While the butter melted, he made 3 small slices in the hot dog and grabbed a bun.  Carefully he placed both in the pan while the butter crackled and danced around them.

[The smell of butter still comforting to me.  What will comfort you, goose?]

Minutes later the hot dog was ready, plated and decorated with a long, squiggly strip of ketchup.  I devoured it.  As I drank a glass of cold milk, I heard the the sizzle and sputter of butter in the frying pan, the smell of another hot dog frying to golden perfection.  Smart man.

[That’s the thing with love my one and only girl; once you taste it, you have a hankering for it.  Feast on it. Chase it. And, if you are very lucky, you will find love many times over.]

Cold-Oven Strawberry Pound Cake

A moist pound cake baked with fresh strawberry puree and topped with a slightly sweet strawberry icing

recipe adapted from Food 52 Baking

Serves 10-12


1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened and cubed

1/2 solid shortening

3 cups of sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup  low-fat milk

3 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 cup fresh, pureed strawberries

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


Butter (really butter) and flour your Bundt pan and set aside.

Measure out your flour and add a teaspoon of salt.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

Hull and slice strawberries and puree in a blender.  You will need about 1 cup of pureed strawberries.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter, shortening and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until well combined.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then continue beating for another minute.

Add the vanilla to the cup of milk and then pour about 1/3 of the milk into the sugar mix.  Next, add a cup of flour and beat until just incorporated.  Repeat the process two more times: milk then the flour, beating until just combined each time.  Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan.  Pour 2/3 cup of pureed strawberries over the batter and swirl gently with a butter knife.  Add the remaining batter and smooth the top with a spatula.  Place Bundt pan in cold oven.  Turn the oven on to 300F and bake for 45 minutes.  Increase the temperature to 325F and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes.  The cake is ready when it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a serving plate.

Using a small bowl add 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons of the remaining strawberry puree.  Stir until smooth.  If the icing is too thick, add a little more of the puree until you achieve the consistency you desire.  Drizzle over the cake.  Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

**The cake will last stored in an air-tight container, at room temperature, for several days.**

 5 Can’t Miss Pound Cake Links!

Cherry season is here so why not throw some into a buttery marzipan covered pound cake? Check out 1 Big Bite’s cherry and marzipan pound cake recipe.

Looking for a low-fat pound cake recipe? Bakers Royale has a recipe for you.

Summer berries are abundant now and perfect in a pound cake.  Head to Orangette for a raspberry-blueberry pound cake that sounds divine!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Coconut Key Lime Pound Cake.  Yes it exists.  Head to Baker by Nature for the recipe.

Lottie + Doof’s  salted caramel pound cake is on my must make list.  I’m drooling.