Apple Cake with Pecan Caramel Top

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished 4While apple pies get most of the attention  an Apple Cake with all of its spices, lots of apples and raisins is no slouch. We made many of these for catered events where there was no refrigeration as the plated deserts could sit for hours at room temperature.

This is a dense cake filled with fruit. The pecan caramel top compliments the cake and adds a luxuriousness that a buttercream would not.

Any apple that bakes well can be used. Many prefer Granny Smith apples,but  Pink Ladies or Gala apples are also good choices. Continue reading

Coconut Cream Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoThis is the Coconut Cream Cake that was so very popular at the bakery. Fairly early in the life of the shop, I got a mailer from General Mills touting their flours. It was a beautiful color brochure with cakes and sweet breads. I tried the cakes and the one that just amazed me is the one we used  with minor changes. This very almond flavored cake is the most moist white cake I have ever eaten.  We used the white chiffon cake for our wedding cakes and it never ceased to get raves.

Because this is a very loose batter, it is important when folding in the whites to make sure you go to the bottom of the bowl each time. When making one cake this isn’t a big deal, when making a batch in a 60 quart bowl, it is very important so that all of the layers have all of the ingredients. If making this in a large batch, it is also important to scale out quickly as the batter can thin out if it sits too long. Continue reading

Snickers Brownies

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Snickers BrowniesAlthough really easy, these fudgy Snickers Brownies, are sure to become a favorite. They are great for getting kids into the kitchen. When my grandson was five he made these and still does. After all a whisk, a bowl, a few measuring utensils yields a bonanza of brownies. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t freeze the candy, just chop the snicker bars by hand.  Make these Snickers Brownies once and see if they don’t become an instant favorite.

(This recipe appeared on KMOV’s Great Day St. Louis and as such has no how-to photos)

Brownies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 114 grams or 4 ounces)
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (114 grams)
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour (70 grams or 2 1/3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees or if the pan is dark or glass, reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and spray the paper and the pan.

Melt butter and chocolate over hot water or microwave about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine the butter and chocolate. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add eggs and whisk in. Add flour and stir to mix completely. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set and a few crumbs cling to a tester.

Glaze
10 to 12 fun size snicker bars
1/2 cup 40% cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Cut each snickers into 6 to 8 pieces and freeze until hard. Place in a food processor and process until chopped. You want big and little pieces. Set aside.

Heat the cream until it steams, but does not boil. Remove from the heat. Add the semisweet chocolate and submerge it under the cream. Let sit for several minutes; then whisk gently until smooth.

Pour the glaze over the brownies and spread to the edges. Sprinkle with snickers pieces. Refrigerate to set chocolate. Cut into desired size squares. The brownies can be stored at room temperature after the glaze has set.

Baking Equipment and Utensils

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished Shot 3The baking equipment and utensils featured here are from a chapter in my book “European Tarts, Divinely Doable Desserts with Little or No Baking”. At the end I have added additional baking equipment not included in the book as it was strictly tarts not all baking. I am often asked about equipment I use and I thought it might be interesting for you to see it. So when you see references to the book, it is this book I am talking about.

I am in no way suggesting that to be a good baker you have to go out and purchase all of this baking equipment at once. My equipment was built up over the years as I needed it. Some of it came from the bakery when I closed it.

The baking equipment shown here is my personal equipment. Some of the equipment is new, some has been with me for many years. The important thing is not that you use what I do, but what works for you in each of the categories. Buy the best you can and the equipment will last a lifetime, as you will see in some of these pictures. Continue reading

S’Mores Revisited

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoReinterpreting S’Mores is one of the fun things about being a pastry chef.  This version of S’mores is a perfect example as it keeps the classic components but changes them up a bit.

Homemade graham crackers are topped with homemade marshmallow crème then topped off with hot fudge. Like I said, all the components of a really good S’more.

When my boys were little I made graham crackers for them. They are quite simple. The dough is a bit sticky but rolling it between sheets of waxed paper solves that problem. Both honey and brown sugar sweeten the whole wheat flour. Equal parts of whole wheat and all purpose flour are used in this recipe. Using a pizza cutter facilitates the cutting and the traditional holes are made with the back end of a wooden skewer for best results. It makes the perfect size hole when baked. Continue reading