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Jul 31, 2012 04:02 PM

What are you baking these days? August 2012 [old]

It's 8/1 in most of the world by now so what the hey, here we go. This is August, that most wonderful of months in my opinion, since it features the Birthday of Me (the 20th). I'm casting about for a cake, toying with the pistachio one in Rose's Heavenly Cakes...are Sicilian pistachios that good, that they cost almost $50 a lb??? Other than that, will be doing the usual larder-stocking with bread, and madeleines and whatnot for Monsieur. How bout choo? What are you baking these days?

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  1. gir'frien', I just happened by and here you were asking about dessert just now.
    After pitting and freezing 4 pounds of sweet cherries today, I made a few ramekins of cherry crisp for DH and me.
    I had about a cup and a half of the simple syrup left over that I canned my maraschino cherries in last week, so I mixed that up in a pan with a couple cups of fresh cherries and a couple tablespoons of Minute Tapioca. Let that cook for awhile til the tapioca was soft, topped with the last cup of Kashi Mountain Medley granola mixed with the last 1/4 cup of AP flour left in the bag and a few tablespoons of butter. There was enough to take care of 3 ramekins. I baked them at 350' for about 15 minutes. Hubster and I had them for a pre-dinner snack at 4:00, before watching "Pay it Forward" and crying our eyes out (it was a day off work to can tomatoes today, so we had some movie watching time left over after the kitchen was cleaned up)
    We'll be keeping an eye out to see what your birthday cake will be. I know it will be something wonderful.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jmcarthur8

      Sounds like a perfect snack. Or dessert, or whatever!

      1. re: jmcarthur8

        I've been buying up cherries on sale and pitting/freezing the ones that I don't manage to polish off. Nothing better than finding a freezer bag full in the dead of winter!

        1. re: rstuart

          These were sweet, flavorful ones, too! Some of the cherries were the size of crabapples - huge!

      2. buttertart buttertart

        Now itt is Augustt

        So hott is the climatte

        My sttove is on sttrike.

        I waitt for Septtember

        The heatt will abate--

        From Torontto to Houstton

        Fresh tartts on a plate.

        Here is a wonderful and easy recipe for a pistachio cake that makes almost blond-brownie-like bars.

        1 Reply
            1. re: kattyeyes

              You should see the photo in the book. More gorgeouser.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Inspired by this gorgeous cake, you see, we started contemplating where to get (or make) pistachio paste...and in the meantime, was tempted by a pistachio paste brownie recipe BabsW shared. I couldn't help but wonder how they'd taste with ALMOND PASTE, which I have in the cupboard.

                My rule is if you want sweets in the house, bake them yourself, so late last night, I did: almond swirl brownies--the Ghirardelli brownie recipe with 1/4 cup less sugar, then the swirl: almond paste, Neufchatel, 1 large egg and just a bit (maybe 1/8 teaspoon) of bitter almond. What can I say but NOM and thank you for the inspiration. I will report back if/when I make that lovely Sicilian cake!

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  That look wonderful. Don't want it in my house. Uh-uh! No way!

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Me neither! I'd be powerless before them.
                    The same people who make your almond paste make pistachio paste, I'm the proud owner of a tin.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Thank you both--trust me--they have already made their way to two other houses and one more tomorrow. :) Ah, the Love 'n Bake people make pistachio paste, too, do they? If my bakery connection doesn't come through, I will keep that in mind. Good to know!

                      See, now don't you wish we lived near each other so we could split a 3-pack? :)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        There ya go! Good idea. By the way, the grocery stores in the Quad Cities area (Iowa/Illinois border) have tons of baking stuff you have to order here. AND FROZEN SOUR CHERRIES!!!

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Arrrrgh! Frozen sour cherries!!! What's wrong with us? Why don't we rate?

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I have no freaking clue. They come from Washington state, so it's not as if they're just distributed locally.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I can sometimes buy fresh sour cherries from Washington here in Northern California, but I certainly never see them frozen. Just the canned in water, or imported jarred.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I'm tellin' ya, these are the best thing since sliced bread. I wish someone would carry them here!!!
                                I don't think I ever saw fresh ones in Berkeley (we left in 1987, unbelievable it's so long ago now), just the canned.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Frozen sour cherries are THE BOMB. My parents live in Michigan and they can get 5lb bags for around $12 from their local Gordon Food Service, YEAR ROUND. I'd be making a pie every week if I still lived there!

                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    Yes, we can get the Michigan sour cherries year-round here in Minnesota. They are great.

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      Jealous! A good cherry pie is my favorite food ever. I have to move back to a greener part of this country.

                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  If you are in (or passing through) San Francisco I have seen them (frozen) in our local Russian market.

                                  1. re: klynne

                                    Has anyone seen them in the greater NY Metro area?

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      No, never. I vaguely remember asking once at Fairway or something and them saying they could order them for me, but it was cheaper to order directly from a Michigan retailer.

                  2. re: buttertart

                    I can't answer for actual Sicilian pistachios, but Sicilian pistachio paste is amazing, well worth the splurge.

                    1. re: zitronenmadchen

                      Where do you get it? I saw a 5 lb. container for about $450!

                        1. re: roxlet

                          There's an Italian bakery near me that has a small rack of assorted foods imported from Italy. I don't have the jar in front of me here, but it's probably a little smaller than a nutella jar, and that costs $11 dollars. If I'm in New York city, I some times pick up a jar at Eataly, but that's $18 for the same sized jar.

                          1. re: zitronenmadchen

                            I'll hafta look at my local Italian sources because that cake is VERY tempting; however, when I checked Amazon, I found this--at $320, I will NOT be adding it to my cart:

                            Zitron, for fun, what town near you as I know we're not far from one another? I'll be checking Public Market in Middletown and Lino's in Durham.

                              1. re: BabsW

                                Too funny--I was just googling the same before I popped back on here!

                                  1. re: BabsW

                                    Indeed, they do look fab! Glad you're back in carb country!

                                    And, as a great example of "we eat first with our eyes," I will be going GREEN if I do decide to go this route. Those brownies are soooooooo pretty...and, of course, I'm already thinking about almond paste as I have that here already. Mmmmm. :) Thank you for the ideas!

                                1. re: BabsW

                                  i don't use Sicilian pistachios because... well, the dog has to eat. but i always make my own pistachio and almond pastes. always have it on hand, as you never know... but i love making it...

                                  1. re: Emme

                                    You feed your dog pistachios (the ordinary ones)?

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      i was teasing that if i spent the money on the Sicilian pistachios, it might create financial hardship ;) joke. no pistachios for the boy though.

                                      1. re: Emme

                                        Unless, of course, you drop one!

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          I had a former boyfriend with a very sweet airedale. The boyfriend didn't like me feeding him treats. I think he didn't want his dog going into begging mode. But when I was cooking I would sometimes "accidentally" drop things onto the floor. And then he would casually offhandedly amble over and pick up whatever hit the floor. It was kind of a bargain. I pretended I wasn't dropping things. He pretended he was just accidentally finding things.

                                          Not sure if the boyfriend ever figured it out.

                                          Happy memories. (Your post reminded me.)

                                          1. re: karykat

                                            Human-dog collusion, the best kind.

                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                  It's Mozzicato's in Plainville, I've never been to their original bakery in Hartford.
                                  Holy cow! Well, I suppose that's a lot bigger than my 212ml jar, but still that price nearly gave me a heart attack!

                                  1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                    Ah, cool. I thought you were east of the river, don't ask me why. The nice guy in our little Italian store, downtown Middletown, has a connection to Mozzicato's Hartford store and is working on getting some for me as I type! :) Right there with you on the sticker shock factor!

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      I used to be, and I'm planning on moving back later this year :-)

                                      1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                        Ah, OK--well, you know, as is written on the wall, "COME ON OVER!" :)

                                3. re: zitronenmadchen

                                  Where is the Italian bakery? I will be having dinner at Manzo later this month, so I definitely have to check it out when I'm in Eataly!

                                  From what I understand, the Italian pistachio trees, of which there is a declining number, only produce every other year, hence the nosebleed prices.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    No, the Italian bakery (Mozzicato's, both locations) is here in CT--not NY. ;)

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Wow -- what an excellent use of beautiful green pistachios! Have you ever used that pistachio essence listed as optional for the frosting?
                              This is a find, not even close to ordinary, thanks for this.

                              1. Where are you finding Italian pistachios, may I ask???

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: roxlet

                                  The Italian store in Chelsea Market allegedly has them. I may have a look.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      If you do a search on amazon for Sicilian pistachios, you come up with a bunch of things - raw pistachios ($45.10 /lb), flour, paste, cream. I once bought a small jar of pistachio cream from a store, and found it to be nothing special; I don't know if it was Sicilian.

                                  1. I made an apple & dulce de leche cake with dulce de leche frosting and sprinkled chopped walnuts on it. It's incredibly moist and delicious. My two unbiased taste-testers (older daughter and niece) both said that it scored high marks with them.

                                    Got to keep everyone happy. :)

                                    7 Replies
                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        You're in luck - there's still a little left. :)

                                      2. re: BabsW

                                        Doesn't that look FABULOUS! Recipe, please?

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Sure thing! Here you go:

                                          Apple and Dulce de Leche Cake with Dulce de Leche Icing

                                          1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                          3/4 teaspoon baking powder
                                          3/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                          1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                          ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
                                          ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
                                          1/2 teaspoon salt
                                          1/2 cup butter, softened
                                          1 cup dark brown sugar
                                          2 eggs
                                          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                          2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples, chopped very fine
                                          1/2 cup dulce de leche - I just used Nestle's La Lechera canned dulce de leche
                                          Dulce de leche icing – recipe below
                                          ¼ cup chopped walnuts

                                          1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

                                          2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

                                          3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture into sugar mixture, stirring until everything is combined, then fold in the chopped apples.

                                          4. Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Dot the dulce de leche over the batter and then spoon in the remaning batter and snooth the top with a spatula. .Take a butter knife and drag it through the batter to swirl the dulce de leche, and make sure to smooth the top of the batter when you’re finished.

                                          5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

                                          Dulce de leche Icing

                                          2 tablespoons butter
                                          2 tablespoons dulce de leche
                                          Approximately 4 tablespoons heavy cream
                                          3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

                                          1. In a small saucepan, heat butter and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream over medium until the butter starts to melt Add the dulce de leche and stir for about 30 seconds, then remove from heat and scrape into a small bowl. Continue to whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

                                          2. Add the vanilla and another tablespoon of heavy cream, mix until smooth, then add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat vigorously with a whisk or a hand mixer until smooth, adding more cream until you have the consistency you like. Drizzle and spread over bars, top with chopped walnuts and serve.

                                          Obviously, you can add more confectioner's sugar and really beat the hell out of it with a stand mixer if you want a fluffier frosting. I liked the drizzling looser icing for this cake.

                                            1. re: BabsW

                                              I am bookmarking this for sometime in September. Sounds wonderful!

                                              1. re: BabsW

                                                Yumm.. this looks great! THanks for sharing!