Blueberry Peach Sonker



Really?
I didn’t know what a “sonker” was either until I looked up what was closest to what I’d made.
Just think of it as a cobbler on it’s head, I did. So, when I looked up an inverted cobbler, I found Pandowdys, grunts and a sonker, which seemed closest to what was baking in my oven.
But please, if you have any suggestions, I’m open.

This time of year I seem to have ample berries on hand that I don’t have to ration when it comes to snacks. I’ll typically set out a big bowl of each of what I have on for breakfast and see where we’re at by mid-day
After lunch, I looked across a messy table to a bowl of blueberries and half a plate of freshly sliced peaches.

It’s already known that blueberries and peaches are a match made in heaven – or in August around these parts, but still, I couldn’t help imagine what I would do with them next.

I was thinking cobbler, but wanted something a little more plateable for an afternoon tea with our neighbour and so, the “Sonker” is where we evolved. A crumbly biscuit like cake, perfect for soaking up those juices, that’s sweet, but not too much and topped with a good layer of fruit, zest of lemon and sprinkling of sugar.

Pretty simple, but impressive and delicious, especially with a dollop of “cream”, iced or not.

BLUEBERRY PEACH SONKER

1/2 Cup Earth Balance (Butter)
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Cups Peaches, pitted & sliced, about 4
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, packed
Zest of 1/2 Lemon, optional

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease and flour an 8″ round cake pan.
Cream the butter with the granulated sugar until well combined and fluffy.
Add the vanilla to incorporate.
Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 cup of flour.
Add 1/2 cup of soy milk and mix well.
Add another cup of the flour and once incorporated, the remainder of the milk followed by the last of the flour to form a thick batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula, which has been dipped in water, to spread evenly to the edges.
Top with the sliced peaches and blueberries. Sprinkle over the zest and evenly distribute the brown sugar.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester can be cleanly removed from the center.

Cherry Struesel Muffins


I’ve been thankfully blessed with an ever seemingly flowing deposit of cherries at market this season.
My fingertips are stained and I’ve finally invested in a cherry pitter it’s been such a bumper year.

The other day, with another bowlful of cherries, I was called by a neighbour to do some reno snooping and a visit. Since I didn’t want to show up empty handed, she was letting me look at the inside of her closets after all, I grabbed for my cherry pitter and a bowl.

We were a little late but the muffins were still steamy when we arrived. After peeking at her newest addition, we had coffee and the muffins. She had two and I got the name of her contractor. Pretty good trade.

CHERRY STRUESEL MUFFINS
350ºF 18-20 Minutes

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Bing Cherries, pitted & roughly chopped
1/3 Cup Safflower Oil
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Soy Milk
1/3 Cup Orange Juice

Struesel Topping

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Walnuts, chopped
3 Tablespoons Earth’s Balance Butter

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray a regular sized muffin tin.
In a small bowl combine the milk, oil and orange juice.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
Add the sugar and stir in the wet ingredients.
Pit the cherries and roughly chop. Fold in the cherries, and spoon into prepared muffin tin.

Combine struesel topping together and mash butter with a fork until evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly.
Generously top each of the muffins with the struesel mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester can be cleanly removed.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nice Socca


Eons since I’ve visited the south of France, I was whisked to my memories of the Mediterranean first, by a post by David Lebovitz and again by this book.

The books recipe missed elements, like being tested apparently, but it reinforced this Nice institution.
Chick pea flour, at least within my reach, tends to be bitter but seasoned and sweetened -whoa, this is good stuff.

Go with tradition and eat it while it’s hot, it won’t be hard. Pour a glass of chilly rosé to wash it down and find yourself too, whisked away with an authentic Mediterranean street treat.

SOCCA

1/3 Cup Dried Apricots
1 Cup Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
Pinch Salt
4 Tablespoons Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
1 scant Cup of Cold Water

Thinly slice and soak the apricots in warm water.
Preheat the oven to it’s maximum setting (525ºF in my case).
In a bowl, combine the flour, 2 Tablespoons of the sugar, and salt.
Mixing well, add the water, followed by the olive oil.
Let the batter rest for about 20 minutes.
Add enough oil to lightly coat a cast iron pan and heat in the oven as it comes to it’s full temperature.
Shell and roughly chop the pistachios and drain the apricots.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Pour in the batter in a thin, even stream.
Evenly sprinkle over the apricots and pistachios. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over top and return the pan to the hot oven.
Bake for about 5 minutes or until it is dry, golden and coming away at the edges.
Remove from the oven, sprinkling it evenly with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar.
Serve warm.

July Daring Bakers — How Could I Resist?


Sometimes I just look over those great recipes and think; no way, no how.
This was one of those months. A cake where the only leavener is a bowlful of pouffy egg whites? How am I going to veganize that? Buttercream? Whipped cream? C’mon – my guests are more than happy with a fruit bowl, right?

But then, when I made the original recipe – and tasted it… It would be just plain cruel if I didn’t, at the very least, attempt something for everyone to eat.

Continue reading July Daring Bakers — How Could I Resist?

Homemade Nutella


The way this homemade stuff pops up and ends up in various pastries and the like, you’d think that  absolutely almost everyone loves Nutella. Almost.

I had hazelnuts on hand and I’ve been itching to use my cocoa nibs in everything, I just had to, I couldn’t resist. Combine the two and what do you get? You guessed it! Plus I figured, I was bound to get my self proclaimed vegetarian kid who won’t eat peanut butter to eat a nut, especially if it’s intertwined with chocolate and it tastes like Nutella.

Warm, buns, still steamy from the oven, homemade Nutella and some thinly sliced banana heaven…

Nope. “This taste-iss like peanut butter is in it. Are there nuts in this?”

Yes friends, I have the only known person who dislikes Nutella living under my roof and she’s a chocolate loving child.

At least they say that little tastebuds change. More for me, I guess.

COCOA NIB HAZELNUT SPREAD

1 cups Hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup Cocoa Nibs
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 250ºF.
Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Give the pan a good shake about half way through to toss.
Remove the nuts from the oven and cool slightly.
Tightly wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Twist and rub until most of the skins have come off.
Place the nuts and the cocoa nibs in a food processor, and pulse on high until they have broken down.
Add the coconut oil and continue to blend until they become smooth and buttery; about 5 minutes.
When the nuts are liquified, add in the sugar and cocoa powder, continuing to blend.
Transfer the spread to a jar and store in the refrigerator, leaving it to come closer to room temperature just before using.

Rose Infused Strawberry Sorbet


Surrounded by strawberry season, I over thoughtfully tired my search for something outstanding and creative to present for more than just shortcake post of yesteryear.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, strawberry shortcake is such a classic it’s even got a scented doll named after it — I just wanted more. Unconventional combinations like balsamic, basil and black pepper have been surfacing for some time. and recently, I was confronted with a pastry chef’s attempt at combining all three. Not something I wanted to re-create, unfortunately.

I could have almost come full circle with homage to most people’s Nanas’ Summer Strawberry Pie but let me tell you, it’s been so hot and muggy these past couple of days, just the idea of boiling water made me want to sweat.

Naturally in this heat, only Yours Truly would hit the strawberry patch at high noon. There’s something pretty spectacular about sneaking a warm, so perfectly ripe summer strawberry. Even tasting like the homemade jam it will soon become, I couldn’t help imagining a slip n’ slide ride to get my overheated self back to the stifling car.

I’ve guessed that my designated, appropriately red, strawberry picking bucket can hold about 10 or so pounds of berries. We like the berries, but whatever can’t get consumed by the masses within a couple of days by the periodical snack or stuffed crêpes for breakfast, will end up hulled and frozen on parchment for bagging and later enjoyment.

To my delight, I found that a medium Ziploc bag holds about 1 Lb of frozen berries. Perfect for making one of the tastiest and simplest strawberry treats concocted to sooth the heat. Really. Don’t let the rose syrup be your deal breaker, it’s really quite easy as long as you can get your hand on a rose. It’s a wonderful combination that’s tips this sorbet over the edge of great and frozen berries are everywhere, so you don’t even have to pick and hull them yourself.

ROSE INFUSED STRAWBERRY SORBET

1 Lb Frozen Strawberries
3/4 Cup Rose Syrup

Add strawberries to food processor, pulsing at first to chop. Scrape sides with a spatula.
With the motor running, add the rose syrup through the feed tube, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary, blending until smooth.

If not serving immediately,  transfer sorbet into a low sided container, cover tightly and freeze.