Tag Archives: easy to make

Exceptional Mother’s Day Cakes

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake for Exceptional Mother's Day CakesPresident Woodrow Wilson certainly knew what he was doing in 1914 when he finally got congress to designate the second Sunday every May as Mother’s Day.  A special day set aside to honor mothers certainly calls for desserts worthy of that honor.

I have selected six cakes that can be made in part or completely ahead.  As I am not a proponent of naked cakes, each is easy to finish so you won’t be tied up fussing with frosting it.

A quick note about freezing the cake layers.   Freeze them first, then wrap them completely in foil.  This will keep from smooshing the sides or tops of the tender cakes.

I am posting this early to give you a chance to get one of these special Mother’s Days cakes underway to honor your mother, grandmother or yourself. Continue reading

Granola

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

granola.jpegGranola!  What could be better first thing in the morning than oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins, dates and sesame seed all bound together in a honey glaze? It’s ridiculously simple and, as an added bonus, it’s good for you!! Easy and good for you, what more could you want? Any dried fruit can be substituted for the apricots and cherries. Raisins and dates work well or any of your favorites.  Don’t like almonds?  Use another nut. Macadamias come to mind.

You can see this on Thursday, April 7 on Great Day St. Louis, Channel 4 in St. Louis at 9:00. Continue reading

Puff Pastry Crackers

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Puff Pastry CrackersI don’t know about you, but last minute everything seems to happen at my house. With little time to plan or think ahead, it makes it difficult sometimes when your guests expect something a bit out of the ordinary.

These Puff Pastry Crackers are the solution for 2015….or the first of 2016! Take one box of purchased puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm is fine), a beaten egg and various toppings and you have the makings of instant crackers.

These Puff Pastry crackers will keep a few days in an airtight container. However, they are so easy to make ahead there is no need. Just top the, cut and freeze. Bake from the frozen state in a matter of minutes and you’ll have everyone thinking you are a genie in the kitchen!

Puff Pastry Crackers
1 box frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1 egg, well beaten
Assorted toppings, such as
sesame seed
finely grated parmesan cheese with a hint of cayenne pepper
parmesan cheese, dried basil, oregano, a dash of garlic powder and a hint of      cayenne,
cheddar, cayenne and cumin
anything favorite flavor combination

Remove one piece of puff pastry from the box. Roll it out to about 14×12 inches. Brush it with the egg and top it as you please. Place in the freezer until frozen – this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it and cut it into the desired size of cracker. Keep in mind they will shrink somewhat when baked. Freeze again before going into the oven. Or keep them frozen for later.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line the tray with parchment paper and place the crackers on the tray about 1/4 inch apart. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until browned and risen.

That’s it! Now act like it was just a pain to make these crackers but your guests were sooooo worth it!!!

Yield:  It depends upon the size of the cracker.  But a lot!

Apple Pie ala Mode with Salted Caramel

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Apple Pie Ala ModeApple Pie ala Mode is one of my favorite desserts but once the boys were out on their own one of my biggest challenges was what to do with full size desserts. Even more so today since Mike has diabetes and the last thing I need is a whole pie! The neighbors can only eat so much!

So I came up with an Apple Pie ala Mode ala minute. A way to have apple pie, with or without the ice cream, at a moment’s notice. And what an apple pie –spiced apples, pate brisee crust and vanilla ice cream all topped off with a salted caramel sauce.

The salt can be omitted from the sauce if desired or more can be added. But this is, hands down the best caramel sauce to be found. It’s also one of the easiest. You don’t even need a thermometer. Think of everything you can do with it. World class turtle sundaes, apple slices dipped in the sauce, or just drizzled (heavily!) on vanilla ice cream. It tastes just like my favorite ice cream, Hagan Das Caramel Cone ice cream. How much better can this sauce get. Oh, did I mention it only takes about 15 minutes to make. Easy enough to always have on hand.

This sauce is from Averie Cooks who has a great blog.  She is correct in that is is a really easy recipe to make. Just make sure you take the sugar syrup dark enough.

Continue reading

Pecan Bars

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoThese Pecan Bars are one of the most used recipes from the Culinary Institute of America. I have seen various versions of these Pecan Bars but this one is the one we used in the bakery. The key is to boil the filling to 240 degrees or the filling will sag when it is cut.   Otherwise this is the easiest of recipes to make.

While the CIA cuts these Pecan Bars into diamonds, we cut them into bars or into squares to avoid any loss of product.  We used the squares for petit fours and they never failed to please.  The baked bars or squares may be frozen.

For these Pean Bars, I don’t toast the nuts before using them as they bake in the oven.  Make these once and I’m sure you will be adding them to your favorites  list. Continue reading