Category Archives: Dessert

Guava and Manchego Phyllo Pouches with Passion Fruit Syrup

Yield: Makes 6

Phyllo Pouches

  • • 1 cup 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes guava paste* (about 7 ounces)
  • • 1 cup 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes Manchego cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • • 9 tablespoons sugar
  • • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • • 9 12×8-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
  • • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


Toss first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to combine. Cover filling and chill until ready to use, up to 1 day.

Stir sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in small bowl. Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface; keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying. Brush phyllo with butter and sprinkle with 11/2 teaspoons sugar mixture. Repeat 2 more times to make 3 layers. Cut rectangle in half crosswise, making two 6×8-inch stacks. Place scant 1/3 cup guava filling in center of each stack.

Gather sheets around filling to form pouch. Brush pouches with butter. Transfer to small baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 6 pouches total.

Sprinkle with some of remaining sugar mixture. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake phyllo pouches uncovered until golden brown and filling is heated through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates. Spoon syrup alongside; serve phyllo pouches warm.

*A firm block of concentrated fruit available at some supermarkets, at Latin markets, and at

Passion Fruit Syrup

  • • 1 cup water
  • • 1 cup sugar
  • • 1/2 cup passion fruit pulp (from about 7 ripe passion fruits)


Combine all ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low; simmer until syrup is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover, and chill. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)


note: This was made by our dessert queen Laurie and between the recipe and her arose perhaps the finest dessert I have ever tasted. – Paul


Tomato Tartine (Pie)

8 or 9 roma tomatos
3T Butter
3T dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 puff pastry sheet

Parboil the tomatos to remove skins, seed and cut in half. In a cast iron frying pan melt the butter and sugar and add the tomato halves in a nice concentric circle.

Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until nice & syrupy.

Splash the vanilla over.

Carefully place the puff pastry around and under the tomato mixture and cut a hole in it. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then turn onto a plate. Serve with whipped cream

(Note from Laurie: I don’t use the cast iron – I found it stuck and was hard to turn out. After I sauté the mixture I turn it into a pie plate sprayed with Pam (or well greased) and then continue. This seems to work much better).

(Note from Paul: This was great. Tasted a little like peach pie).

Toasted Coconut Cake with Coconut Filling and Coconut Buttercream

(Note: this will be modified the next time I make this cake as I found the buttercream too overpowering. Also diverting from the recipe I used unsweetened coconut for the cover when sweetened was called for, and did not brush the cakes with a simple syrup. That did take the sugar content down slightly, and on that note, the alternate cake in the book with which he was competing had roughly 10 C of sugar so that one piece would have had more than a cup of sugar….I like dessert but that is absurd. Bobby’s cake on the other hand has about 2 cups altogether and is sweet enough. Also Bobby’s directions used a standalone mixer and not having one, I did it with my old trusty mixmaster.)

1 C milk (asked for whole but 1% worked just fine)
6 egg whites
1 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 C cake flour (used all purpose and it worked just fine)
1 3/4 C sugar
1 T and 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C unsalted butter slightly cold cut into about 12 pieces

To make the cake.
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Flour and butter two 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
3. Whisk together milk, egg whites, vanilla seeds and extract.
4. Mix together in another bowl, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
5. In that bowl with mixer at low speed add the butter one piece at a time beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
6. Add all but 1/2 C of milk mixture and beat at low for about about 2 minutes, add the last of the milk and beat at medium for another minute.
7. Divide evenly between the pans.
8. Bake for around 25 minutes until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Cool on rack for about 10 minutes then remove from parchment paper and let cool completely (around 45 minutes).

Coconut Custard (for use in filling and icing):
3/4 C milk (again used 1% instead of whole)
3/4 C coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved.
4 egg yolks
1/3 c sugar
3 T corn starch
2 tsp rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the Coconut Custard:
1. Combine the milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean and seeds and bring to simmer over low heat.
2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in large bowl.
3. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture.
4. Return mixture to pan and over medium heat bring to a boil. Cook whisking constantly until thickened.
5. Scrape mixture into bowl, remove vanilla bean, and whisk in rum and vanilla extract.
6. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Coconut Filling:
3/4 C Coconut Custard
3/4 C heavy or whipping cream

To make Coconut Filling:
1. Combine custard and cream and whip until soft peaks form.

Coconut Buttercream:
1 1/2 C unsalted butter at room temp
1/3 confectioners sugar
3/4 c Coconut Custard
pinch of salt

To make Coconut Buttercream:
1. Beat butter and sugar til light and fluffy.
2. Add Custard and salt and beat until smooth.

To assemble the cake:
1. Cut each of the cakes horizontally into equally sized cakes.
2. Spoon 1/3 of the filling between each layer.
3. Frost the top and sides with the buttercream.
4. Toast about 2 C of unsweetened coconut and apply to top and sides.
5. Serve and receive compliments.

Best Banana Bread Ever

8 bananas
3 C flour (originally called for 4 C)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound of unsalted butter
1 C sugar (original recipe called for 2C)
1/4 white or rice vinegar
3 T dark rum
1.5 C shredded coconut (originally 1 C)
2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F and butter 2 9 by 5 inch bread pans

Puree bananas in a blender. (Called like all these recipes for over ripe bananas but found that is not necessary….just ripe is fine)
Measure out 3 C and set aside.

In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda and nutmeg.

Beat the butter and sugar til light and fluffy.
Add the vinegar and rum and beat briefly.
Add the banana puree and flour mixture alternately, beginning with the bananas and beating smoothly each time.
Stir in the coconut.

Spoon the batter into the pans.
Sprinkle the top of the loaves with the brown sugar.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Let cool for 20 minutes, then turn the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely.

And then attempt not to eat it all at once.

Derived from HomeBaking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

Brandied Apricot Beignets with Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Sauce

Bring just to a boil:

¾ C heavy cream
1T honey
1 T brandy

Remove from heat and add 10 ounces of chocolate (semi or bitter sweet). Wait 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Cover and chill.


Bring to a boil:

½ C dried apricots, chopped
3 T water
3T brandy
3 T sugar

Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve both apricots and syrup.

Bring to a boil:

½ C water
½ C whole milk
6 T butter, diced
½ tsp salt.

Remove from heat and add 1 cup of flour and stir until ball forms. Return to medium heat and cook until a film forms on the bottom,about 2 minutes. Remove from heat again and using electric mixer add 4 eggs, one at a time and then add apricots.

Bring 1 ½ inches of oil to 350 degrees and drop batter by teaspoonfuls into oil. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Rewarm chocolate sauce by adding apricot syrup and heating over low. Either pour sauce over or use as a dip.

From Bon Appetit March 2008

Worst dinner, old dinner, OMG have to eat that pronto!, and also a really big weiner.

Couple of interesting foodie items today:

From Chez Pim, a great new food blog discovery for me, a tale of possibly the worst dinner ever, though still a feast for the eyes. Make sure to scroll through the full gallery of pictures.


The chef, a brain surgeon by day, and obviously an anal retentive by night, has developed an edible microfilm that looks somewhat like saran wrap and apparently does not taste too much better, and has contrived to wrap absolutely everything in it.


And from I was referred to this page of foods that were not available in Europe in the Middle Ages. Like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, vanilla and more. Its was meant to be a guide for those trying for a historically authentic meal but just to think about it is amusing enough.

And then there is SmittenMitten:


It is a Caramel Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake, and there is now purpose to my life.

Olive Oil Cake

1 C orange juice
1 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs, room temp
1 ¼ C whole milk
2 C sugar
¼ C Dark Rum
1 ½ C extra virgin Olive Oil
1 T lemon zest
2 tsp Anise seed
2 tsp finely chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
2 C all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
6 T orange marmalade
3 T Dark Rum
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, oil 2 (9 inch) round cake pans

In a nonreactive saucepan, reduce orange juice over medium heat to ¼ cup. Add salt and let cool.

Lightly beat eggs until frothy.

Add milk, sugar, rum, olive oil, reduced orange juice, lemon zest, anise seed and 1 tsp rosemary. Mix for 1 minute until well blended.
Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder until well blended and smooth.

Pour half the mixture into each oiled (I oiled and put down parchment paper) cake pan.

Bake for 1 hour.

Place on rack to cool. Turn cake out onto plate, remove paper.

Mix the 3 tbsp Rum with the Marmalade.

While the cake is still warm, smooth half the marmalade mixture onto the top of each cake. Sprinkle remaining 1 tsp rosemary evenly over both cakes. Garnish with Rosemary sprig.

I served this with Rum flavoured, whipped cream. Make your whipped cream as usual and add 2tbsp dark rum.

Printed from the “Food Network” website