My Chocolate Babka

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate BabkaChocolate Babka is seeing its day in the new world.  Babka is a sweet bread from old world Poland or at least central Europe. While it is traditionally a cinnamon bread with a crumb crust, If you look at this list of the 10 best places to get Chocolate Babka in New York, it is apparent it is much loved without or without the crumb topping.

I decided to go new world with my mothers old world sweet yeast dough. This dough is the perfect vehicle to be filled with any sweet filling I can think of. It is very easy to work with because it doesn’t spring back when you are rolling it very thinly. Continue reading

Orange Almond Teacake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Orange Almond TeacakeThis Orange Almond Teacake is made from the same recipe as the Orange Almond Madeleines. In fact the madeleines. which we used as a petit four we thought of after we did the cake.  They are not only a wonderful addition to a petit four tray but can also be arranged as a flower for presentation.  Orange Almond Madelienes for Orange Almond Teacake

What makes this recipe a bit different from the original is the use of my almond paste in this Orange Almond Teacake.  A teacake is usually a simple, one layer, uniced cake.  While originally eaten with a cup of tea, coffee or nothing is fine in the states.  The almond paste in this cake keeps it moist for days.  The crumb of this cake is very close, not exactly dense but not exactly light either. Continue reading

Bananas Foster Ice Cream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Bananas Foster Ice CreamThis Bananas Foster Ice Cream is a variation of that marvelous no machine ice cream featuring condensed milk and whipped cream. It also features very little work!

An added ingredient, rum, keeps the ice cream from freezing rock hard and insures it stays nice and creamy for up to a couple of weeks (if it lasts that log) in the freezer.

Bananas Foster is made with brown sugar which is simply white sugar coated with molasses. Less for light, more for dark. Since this recipe does not use sugar, I added a bit of molasses to emulate the flavor of the brown sugar. Rum is used, not only to keep the ice cream from freezing, but as one of the flavors of Bananas Foster. Continue reading

How to Make Almond Paste – Or Not!

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Almond PasteLast week I posted a recipe using almond paste. One of my regular readers asked me if I had a recipe to make almond paste since it is so expensive. At the time I remembered seeing such recipes so I hopped on the internet and found quite a few.

Most of them featured blanched almonds, powdered sugar and egg whites as the binder.
Armed with a pound of almonds, plenty of powdered sugar and egg whites, off I went.

The first hint of a problem was getting the almonds fine enough. Processor blades dull after a while and I don’t know if they can be sharpened.  I generally just replace mine.  However, since my processor is on it’s last leg, I haven’t and the blade is not as sharp as i would like it.  So I restorted to placing them in a blender with the powdered sugar and it did a great job after a lot of scraping and blending. After the nuts were finely ground, I transferred the mixture to the processor and added the egg white. It balled up into a gorgeous mass and when shaped into a log it looked spectacular.

I went to bed that night happy with my conquest. Almond Paste – DONE!!! When I woke up the next morning I had a nagging feeling of needing to test my perfect product. Continue reading

Roasted Peaches with Amaretti Crisp

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Roasted Peaches with Amaretti CrispThe original recipe for the Roasted Peaches with Amaretti Crisp came from “Bon Appetit” and, of course, I had to dink with it a bit. This topping is so versatile it can be used over other fruit, ice cream or anywhere you want a bit of sweet crunch.

The cookies are readily available in Italian stores (think The Hill in St. Louis) and are great on there own. Low in calories too!  If you are a purist, see my recipe for Amaretti Cookies.

Peeling the peaches for the Roasted Peaches with Amaretti Crisp can be a chore, but if the peaches are ripe, as they should be, the simple trick of popping them into boiling water for a couple of minutes, makes removing the skins a snap. Cut an X in the bottom of the peach skin before dunking it.  Leave it in until you can feel the skins loose. Run it under cold water as soon as it is done and just slip the skin off. Continue reading