Tag Archives: quick

Quick Easy Versatile Rugelach Bars

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Rugelach BarsThese Rugelach Bars came about as a result of the cookie for the book.  This is just an easier, quicker version of this special cookie. Continue reading

Apple or Crumb Cake Doughnuts – A Quick & Easy Treat

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Cake DoughnutsCake doughnuts can be as good and interesting as deep-fried doughnuts.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love fried doughnuts and wrote a blog about them.  However, cake doughnuts are so much faster and, as I found out, ten times easier. Continue reading

Greek Tomato Salad

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Greek Tomato Salad

Greek Tomato Salad was featured on my original blog, “The Ardent Cook” which posted more food recipes than baking and pastry.  It was also a TV segment during my TV days.  This is super easy to put together and while, best the first day, I have been known to eat leftovers a couple of days later. The feta cheese and calamata olives give it a distinct Greek influence and the simple dressing doesn’t overtake the other ingredients.

As you can see I can’t get enough tomatoes and basil, especially in the summer when they are fresh and plentiful.  Just looking at the colors when the Greek Tomato Salad is finished picks up my day. Continue reading

Chocolate Orange Pudding Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate Orange Pudding CakeChocolate Orange Pudding Cake is perfect for a summer chocolate fix.  No matter what time of the year I love chocolate.  This cake goes together in minutes after the ingredients are assembled. It uses a bowl and a whisk as well as a few measuring tools.

This, like every pudding cake, is made in two layers.  The cakey part of this Chocolate Orange Pudding Cake is on the bottom.  The second layer consists of dry ingredients sprinkled over the cake portion.  Very hot or boiling water, mixed with a few more ingredients is poured over the dry ingredients and when baked, forms the sauce. It’s almost like magic. Continue reading

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Granita

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Strawberry GranitaUmmm, frozen strawberries on a hot summers day. What could be more comforting? How about an easy strawberry granita with a bit of black pepper and balsamic vinegar to add a bit of zip to it.

The use of white balsamic vinegar as opposed to the normal dark is to keep the strawberries a vibrant red. The main difference between the white and dark balsamic vinegars is the grapes used and the amount of aging. Italians have been making balsamic vinegar for a thousand years. Balsamic vinegar is sweeter than the more robust vinegars. Some dark balsamic vinegars are aged up to 100 years in different barrels for a complexity of taste. However,  these balsamics are very expensive, just like a fine wine and are used as a finishing vinegar and not as an ingredient. All dark balsamics are thicker and sweeter than the white balsamic which can be aged in barrels or stainless steel tanks for a shorter amount of time. The white is usually used when you don’t want to discolor the food with which it is being used as would dark balsamic vinegar.

Granita is an Italian specialty and is simply an ice that is scraped with a fork to fluff it up and make it melt in your mouth. Any fruit such as nectarines, pineapple or peaches can be substituted for the strawberries. Just make sure the fruit is good and ripe for the best taste.

The use of black pepper with strawberries has become a classic and enhances the taste of the strawberry.

This recipe was originally posted from my TV series in 2015.  It is the perfect finish for the last summer holiday dinner.

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Granita
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar (130 grams or 4 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
4 cups sliced strawberries

Combine the water and sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and black pepper. Cool.

Place the sugar syrup and strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a 9×9 inch square pan, preferably glass. Freeze for several hours until it’s about 3/4 frozen. Scrape with a fork to fluff it up.

Store in the freezer.

Yield: 1 quart

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