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Jun 30, 2008 10:06 PM

July COTM: (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) DESSERTS

Please indicate the page number of each recipe discussed here.

Que rico!

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  1. A Little Nut Cookie, p. 714

    I have made this simple, not-too-sweet, satisfying cookie many, many times. Just made it tonight w/ almonds, and for a change of pace added cardamom (my new favorite spice) and some nutmeg. (For the first time, I recommend making the recipe straight up w/ 1/4 c. sugar & 1/2 c. brown sugar.)
    It's simple and delicious. Highly recommended. You can make it with just about any kinda nut (not peanuts!). Have for dessert w/ fruit. Have w/ afternoon tea. Breakfast is not a bad time either! Can't go wrong.

    3 Replies
    1. re: NYchowcook

      Totally agree. The LNC is a great, flexible recipe and tasty cookie!

      1. re: NYchowcook

        While inside during yesterday's blizzard, I just dusted off my copy of this book, and a few others. Upon reading the reviews from NYc and Smokey, tonight I made my first round of little nut cookies. I tasted them warm, and they seemed fantastic, not overly sweet per your description, NYc. That's my favorite kind of cookie to enjoy overall, and especially with cocoa or coffee. So I will be bringing these along on a *date* tomorrow night.... then we'll get the real review! Wait - my roommate (a cook in one of this city's top restaurants) just came in, and I convinced him to sample. He raved! and raved!

        1. re: NYchowcook

          A Little Nut Cookie, p. 714

          I just made these cookies for the first time and really enjoyed them. I used all brown sugar and a mix of walnuts, pistachios and almonds (mostly walnut and very little almond), as that is what I had on hand. The pistachios were roasted and salted and that turned out great! I thought the cookie dough was a bit undersalted, but the contrast between the sweet cookie and salty nuts was really fantastic. I made the cookies the old-fashioned way, in a single bowl with a wooden spoon, and they were quick and easy and very good.

        2. Since there's no "previous picks and pans" section for VCFE, I want to rave about the dessert section, especially the focus on fruit (besides my favorite cookie, previously noted)
          Perfect, easy applesauce (p. 681) I still get storage apples from my CSA, and applesauce and apple cake are great for less than optimal fresh eating apples.

          Don't miss Deborah Madison's fruits -- compotes, crisps, galettes (perfect for those who are intimated by pies) and poached pears are excellent (though pears are for the fall. Fruit compotes are excellent with a plainish cake (I think: almond cake; DM thinks yeasted sugar cake, p. 702

          1 Reply
          1. re: NYchowcook

            I agree completely about the little nut cookie - it's great. And I use her galette dough as my go-to recipe.

          2. Apple Rhubarb Crisp

            Straightforward classic recipe, with great results. Buttery, sweet, tart and delicious.

            1. Yeasted Sugar Cake
              Pg. 702

              This is absolutely a new favorite in my house. Top 5 at least. As soon as I saw the recipe I knew I wanted to try it as I'd never made a yeasted cake before. I was a tad hesitant at first just because it required the two rises which take time, but the active prep. time was pretty minimal.

              I followed the recipe to a T. Everything went very smoothly with one exception. The recipe says after the first rise to turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a disc. My dough was much too wet and sticky to do this so I just dumped it into the cake pan and proceeded. The super sticky dough made smearing the butter on top a tad tricky, but it was to no ill effect and the cake turned out to be so much more than I expected.

              The smell of this cake while baking is divine. You can really smell the yeast, but it has a nice sweet edge to it. After it was done I let it cool for about 15 minutes before turning it out onto a plate. I lined my pan with parchment paper and I'd suggest doing this as it prevented it from sticking at all. I served it with whipped cream and strawberries as suggested. It literally was the best incarnation of strawberry shortcake I've ever had.

              Now having said that, I think I actually preferred the cake plain. It reminded me flavorwise of the yeast rolls my Mammaw serves at Thanksgiving except this has a divine crunchy sugar crust. It wasn't overly sweet or heavy at all. Also, the texture is much closer to bread than cake. So simple yet so good. Just perfect! I see this one being made in my home again and again and again and we're already looking forward to having it for breakfast.

              I took pictures as I put it together. They're pretty self-explanatory. They are of the batter/dough before the first rise, after the first rise, after the second rise, all puffed up in the oven, plated, and then i included a picture of the top of the cake. Mine loks very brown around the edges, but that's just where the sugar caramelized against the pan and it tasted wonderful.

              I'm looking forward to making one including lemon zest/juice and will probably make one with a cinnamon/sugar crust for the next brunch I'm a part of.

              10 Replies
                1. re: ArikaDawn

                  ArikaD: What a great report. You certainly piqued my interest. Is it something like brioche?

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    It's similar to brioche in its lightness, but the texture of the exterior differs greatly. I also don't think the buttery taste is as pronounced in the cake as it is in brioche, but I am sure if you enjoy one you'll probably enjoy the other.

                  2. re: ArikaDawn

                    Wow, that looks great. I'm tempted to go out and buy the book just for that!

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Mine exploded in the oven, but even sorta malformed and burnt, it was delicious. I served it with some roasted peaches with caradom and was a huge hit at a dinner. With the sugar crust, it tastes like a giant, magical donut. My husband is German and he said it very much reminds him of kuchen back home.

                      1. re: relizabeth

                        a giant magical donut? that sounds amazing!

                        1. re: relizabeth

                          And because of you I had to make this AGAIN today. =)

                          I made the cake a little differently this time around. I used 1/4c milk and 1/4c yogurt instead of 1/2c. milk. This was out of necessity, I only had 1/4c milk, but it made the cake very moist. I followed Deborah Madisons suggestion of adding 1/2 tsp. vanilla and I also added the zest of a small orange. Also, rather than topping with white sugar, I topped it with brown sugar and a bit of cinnamon.

                          The smell of this cake while baking was again divine. Orangey, cinnamony, yeasty. The taste was there as well with the orange really coming through and pairing nicely with the brown sugar and cinnamon. The texture was a little different I think because of the addition of yogurt and it was more moist. The cake was also a little darker on top because of the brown sugar.

                          It was really enjoyed by both my husband and myself. I personally think I prefer the comparatively plain original recipe, but my husband is a big fan of flavor on flavor on flavor and preferred this version. Next time I intend to include cinnamon in the dough itself, omit the orange, up the ratio of cinnamon to brown sugar on top, and probably drizzle with a basic powdered sugar icing. Basically a giant cinnamon roll cake, but it'll be totally reasonable to have it first thing in the morning this way. Can't wait to make it for a brunch. The smell alone would drive guests mad.

                          Relizabeth, were you able to turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a disc between rises? My dough was too wet and sticky both times.

                          1. re: ArikaDawn

                            I don't remember my dough being too sticky to shape into a disk. Generally, I'm lazy about the let dough rise on counter step, and formed it into the disk in the pan. I have since bought a springform pan and will use that this time.

                            Yogurt is my ingredient of choice. (We make a litre every day).

                            I will definitely make this again soon. I am addicted to molasses sugar (like eating a spoonful here and there out of the box several times a day) and will try it with that on top.

                            I'm having a dinner party tomorrow. I was thinking of having a lovely meze spread- spanakopita, dolamades, some kinds beet dip, hummous, etc- and maybe can shake things up by serving this cake with molasses sugar and rosewater and some roasted figs (maybe with pomegranate molasses?) on the side. Does that sound like the sore thumb in my menu?

                            1. re: relizabeth

                              I don't think it seems like a sore thumb at all. A lot of the desserts I encounter are overly sweet, fussy, and complicated. It can get old wanting dessert, but only having mini chocolate towers adorned with spun sugar and accompanied by an oolong tea foam or whatever available. I know I would be quite pleased to be served something relatively simplistic and almost rustic, but still delicious for a change of pace. And you said you wanted to shake things up =)

                    2. re: ArikaDawn

                      Thank you! I've been meaning to try this recipe for eons, and now I know I have to!

                      Cobbler (p. 691) currently in the oven. Report soon....

                    3. Cobbler, p. 691

                      This is a simple recipe (there's not a whole lot of variation in cobblers), and I made several substitutions, so I'm not sure how representative this is of the recipe. On the other hand, the recipe/discussion more or less consists of a few guidelines and an invitation to run with it, which is more or less what I did.

                      With the cobbler topping, I made one substitution: I used half a cup of cornmeal and 1 cup flour instead of 1.5 cups flour. I did this partly because I like the taste of corn in a cobbler, and partly because I wanted to compare it to the Joy of Cooking recipe and when I make that cobbler topping, I always substitute some cornmeal for part of the flour.

                      With the fruit, well, I had blackberries (4 cups) and strawberries (2 cups). But the cookbook doesn't have a blackberry cobbler recipe, so I used her blueberry variation with the berries I had. I left out the molasses, since I'm not crazy about it. I also misread the recipe and used white instead of brown sugar. Oops.

                      One other note: I made the cobbler topping and the fruit mixture and refrigerated them for a couple of hours before putting them together and baking them. We went out for the afternoon, and I wanted to get the cobbler into the oven as soon as possible when we got home, so my husband could cook dinner. Also, of course, most pastry is easier to work when it has rested for a while. Anyway, when we got home I buttered the baking dish, poured in the berries, put on the topping, and popped it in the oven.

                      So anyway, how did it come out? Very well. I think I like the cobbler topping better than the recipe I usually use. It turned out nice and firm, slightly crunchy on top, and the underside was well-soaked with the fruit juices. And the fruit mixture wasn't too sweet -- I haven't looked, but I think the recipe calls for somewhat less sugar than is typical. These were very sweet berries to begin with, so the sugar was needed mainly to help the juices express themselves.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jlafler

                        That sounds really great. I also love the taste of cornmeal and am planning to make this recipe over the weekend with your modification. Do you think you could sub in more cornmeal, or would you keep it as is?

                        1. re: ArikaDawn

                          I think half a cup was about right. It had plenty of corn taste and a slight crunch, but more than that might make it too dry or crumbly. I hope it turns out well for you!

                        2. re: jlafler

                          "so my husband could cook dinner"

                          A phrase I have envied for 11 years.

                          1. re: jlafler

                            I made this cobbler for dessert last night using about 1 1/2 quarts blueberries straight from the farm. I used all AP flour, 1/2 & 1/2 instead of milk, 1/4 c brown sugar, lemon zest & a bit of juice and used the molasses...which I didn't think I'd like but it seemed to give a little boost of flavor to the finished dessert. Used a unbuttered 8 X 10 Pyrex baking dish and the topping covered very well. Spooned some Greek yogurt on the side when served. We loved it! There's tons left so it will reappear as dessert again tonight.