November 30, 2010

Juicy Roast Chicken

Sometimes you see a recipe that's hardly a recipe; just a few basic ingredients and you think, ""who would even go to the effort to even share that?" This was just one of those instances, but here I am -- sharing this delicious and easy recipe for a whole roasted chicken and telling you that you need to make this immediately. 

I don't know what it is about this combination of ingredients, but it made a juicy and moist chicken underneath a layer of perfectly crispy skin. I think we might need to break up with Swiss Chalet. 

And what's great about roast chicken is that it is extremely economical. I bought this one on sale for a mere $6 and not only did I get an amazing full dinner out of it, I also made four cups of stock, saving myself an additional $5 for my weekly soup. Something that tastes great and is inexpensive? This one is a no-brainer.

Juicy Roast Chicken
Serves 4

  • 1 3 pound whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1 stalk celery, leaves removed
  • salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place chicken in a roasting pan and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper and onion powder.
  • Place 3 tbsp butter inside chicken cavity and arrange dollops of remaining butter on the chicken skin.
  • Cut the celery into three or four pieces and place in chicken cavity.
  • Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in preheated oven to a minimum temperature of 180 degrees. 
  • Remove from heat and baste with melted butter and drippings. 
  • Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Shrimp and Mushroom Linguini in an Herbed Cheese Sauce

Another rich and decadent pasta dish, fitting for a Sunday night meal but easy enough for a weeknight. The main ingredients are of course the shrimp and mushrooms, but once they were tossed with the cheese sauce, I felt the need to add some colour back in, so I added some cooked broccoli in. Just another example of how adaptable these dishes are to your personal taste. 

Shrimp and Mushroom Linguini in an Herbed Cheese Sauce
Serves 4

Printable Recipe


  • 1 (8 oz) package linguini pasta (or fresh pasta)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, cooked (preferably in white wine and garlic)


  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini and cook until tender. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan, melt 1/4 cup butter with minced garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts. Stir in the parsley and basil. Simmer for five minutes. Mix in milk until sauce is smooth. 
  • Stir in cooked shrimp and mushrooms and heat through.
  • Toss linguini with sauce and serve.

November 28, 2010

Pecan Pie Bars

A dessert has never disappeared so quickly in my house -- and there's just two of us. After the success of the pecan pie, which I left at our host's house, I wanted to make something T and I could enjoy. And boy, did we enjoy it.

The shortbread crust on these bars is light and crumbly. The centre is dense enough not ooze out yet is still gooey. And the pecans add the perfect amount of crunch and by mixing them in with the filling, they are fully coated with sweetness.

These lasted a full four days in our house, and I believe they got better each day. Try them and see how long they last in your house!

Pecan Pie Bars
Printable Recipe


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in one cup of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over a 10x15 pan and press in firmly.
  • Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 tbsp butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. 
  • Spread the filling over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  • Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until set. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into bars.
** I made these in a 9x13 pan and easily divided each ingredient into 2/3 (with the exception of the eggs where I still used 3)

Recipe from

November 26, 2010

Salmon Poached in White Wine

We recently got a massive piece of salmon from Costco that I cut into fillets. I was looking for an easy way to cook some of this so we could enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal. Poaching immediately stood out as a simple technique that made the salmon moist and delicious. And the best part is that it took about 20 minutes to make from start to finish so we could enjoy a healthy and delicious meal in the same time it would have taken to make a frozen pizza. 

  • 4 fillets salmon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat wine and water over medium-high heat until simmering.
  • Place salmon in poaching liquid and dot with butter. Sprinkle with parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes, until salmon is easily flaked with a fork.
Recipe adapted from

November 24, 2010

Savoury Stuffed Acorn Squash

As soon as I saw this featured in a holiday spread in House and Home magazine, I knew I wanted to make it. I had never cooked with acorn squash before but I do love squash, and the "stuffing" sounded delicious with the apple and pecans. But mostly, I loved the presentation. Imagine serving this as a first course to your dinner guests? So unexpected.

Another great thing is that this is a make ahead -- always a must for me when entertaining. There is some last minute assembly and broiling of the cheese, but overall an easy and impressive dish that will certainly grace the table of my next get together.

Savoury Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 12

  • 6 small acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup butter, plus two tbsp 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 3 McIntosh apples, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp crumbled dried sage
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with foil. Cut squash in half lengthwise, from stem to tip, and scoop out seeds. Pat with 1/4 cup of butter and sprinkle brown sugar over the inside of each. Roast, flat side up, for 40-50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Saute shallots, apple, celery, pecans and sage until apples and celery are soft. Stir in bread crumbs and salt and pepper.
  • Remove cooked squash from oven. Stuff with apple mixture. Top with mozzarella and put back in oven and broil until cheese browns. (these can be made ahead, but top with cheese prior to serving)
Recipe adapted from November 2010 issues of House and Home magazine

November 22, 2010

Roasted Eggplant Soup

I recently enjoyed the most delicious roasted eggplant in a restaurant, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was going to be on my Sunday rotation. 

Roasting the vegetables adds a whole new level of flavour. It's deep and rich and gave the eggplant -- usually a fairly bland flavour -- seem like a decadent treat. A lot of the commenters on also suggested adding roasted red peppers to this recipe. I didn't have any on hand, but am confident it would be good. The flavours are really balanced out with the goat cheese, too.

The only thing about this soup is that it's thin. Because there are no potatoes in it, which are the thickening agent of many of my pureed soups, but on the other hand, it makes it a great carb free meal.

  • 3 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • goat cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on baking sheet and brush with oil. Roast in oven until very tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes.
  • Scoop out eggplant pulp and discard skin. Place eggplant pulp, tomatoes, onion and garlic in large pot with thyme and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce and simmer until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes.
  • Puree with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender in batches. Return to low heat and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with goat cheese.
Recipe adapted from

November 21, 2010

Chef Gordon Ramsay vs. Aunt Lisa

{me, Chef Gordon Ramsay, Aunt Lisa}

Last night, I had the hottest ticket in town. 

I was invited to the Chef's Challenge: The Ultimate Battle for a Cure, featuring Gordon Ramsay and in support of women's cancers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

More than $1 million was raised, in part by more than 100 self-proclaimed foodies, all vying to be one of the top 50 fundraisers and earning the right to cook with Chef Ramsay himself.

My Aunt Lisa was one of those lucky individuals by raising a whopping $9,316! 

These 50 fundraiser chefs were divided into five groups of 10 each led by a celebrity Canadian chef, including Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, Massimo Capra, David Rocco and Jamie Kennedy. They spent the day with the chefs, learning, preparing and cooking. 

{Go Team Crawford!}

Under the pressure -- or maybe just the stage lights -- Lisa ran into some trouble when the olive oil she was heating ignited causing a huge fire in her pan. Chef Ramsay stepped in, grabbed the pan and heroically threw it in a plastic garbage can (which of course, melted). She immediately earned the nickname Smokey and made it into the highlight reel that was played for guests like me once they arrived.

Later, Lisa was being interviewed by Toronto Star Food Editor Jennifer Bain and she proudly told her about her fire, Jennifer incredulously replied, "you were the one?!" Word travels fast in the cooking community!

{Lisa smartly beside the fire hose}

November 18, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

Looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth the other day, I turned to the internet and typed in chocolate chips -- the base ingredient I was hoping to use. Of course, thousands of responses came back, and with them, a recipe for Cake Mix cookies. 

I had never heard of these before, but the basis is that it uses a boxed cake mix as the main ingredient. I whipped these up in about five minutes and 20 minutes later, I was enjoying them while watching What Not to Wear. 

You'd be right in thinking that their consistency is not quite cookie like, and definitely not cake like. But they were easy and the possibilities of flavour combinations are endless -- white cake mix with chocolate chips, chocolate mix with white chocolate chips, chocolate mix with mint/butterscotch/peanut butter chocolate chips! Not bad for a five minute mix.


  • 1 package of dry chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, butter, eggs, oil and vanilla and mix until smooth and well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Be sure to put them far apart as they get really big.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. 
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

November 16, 2010

Spinach Parmesan Balls

We saw these made on a new Food Network show and T was immediately drawn to them, going out to buy two packages of spinach right away. I hope our kids inherit his love of dark, leafy greens, but even if they don't, I'm sure they would jump at these little treats. 

Full of spinach, these can be served as appetizers or even a side. For T, they turned into an anytime snack and were gone within two days. I had to hide three just to take a picture!

They're healthy, easy and pretty delicious. You can take them up a notch with the mustard you serve. We used regular mustard, but they would be lovely with dijon or even  honey dijon.


  • 2 packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 cups italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 small green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a medium bowl, mix the spinach, bread crumbs, cheese, green onion, eggs, salt and pepper
  • Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls -- about the size of a Timbit
  • Arrange the balls in a single layer on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned
  • Serve with mustard for dipping

November 15, 2010

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and cheddar soup is one of my favourites, so I'm not sure why it took so long to finally make it! A lot of recipes I found required "processed cheese food," which probably melts better, but I used real cheddar and found this soup to be a thick, creamy, cheesy treat. 

The thing to watch with this soup is the addition of the cornstarch. If you add it too quickly without letting it dissolve properly, it will seize up and create blobs of gel in your soup (trust me; I speak from experience!). So be patient, and let it dissolve slowly into the hot soup. Your guests will be thankful you did!


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch


  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for about three minutes.
  • Stir in broccoli and cover with chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the milk and the cornstarch until dissolved. 
  • Reduce heat and slowly stir in milk and cornstarch mixture, stirring well. Add in cream, stirring frequently until thick.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and stir slowly until melted. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe adapted from 

November 11, 2010

Mushroom Ravioli in Butter-Sage Sauce

Recently a friend of ours received boxes of locally-grown, organic mushrooms. One man can only eat so many mushrooms, so T and I were very fortunate recipients of a huge bag of them. They looked unlike anything I had ever seen before. They were huge, with massive caps and lots of little sprouts at the bottom. They smelled like the forrest floor. Following some online exploration, I deemed these mushrooms to be simply "wild mushrooms," that one website suggested only eating them at the discretion of a mycologist, a mushroom expert.

I figured they came from a local farmer, so I threw caution to the wind and threw the mushrooms in some butter and cheese and made musrhoom ravioli!

Now, I'll be honest here. The mushrooms not only smelled like the forest floor, they tasted like it too. But do not be deterred! If you love wild mushrooms, go ahead and use what you can find. Or, play it safe and use mushrooms from the grocery store that are not so strong and full of flavour. (The types recommended below are the store-bought kind, not the wild kind).

Overall, ravioli was simple enough to make (go ahead and check out some YouTube videos for good technique) and tasted good. Next time though, I'll use mushrooms from Loblaws!

  • 2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms (such as button, cremini and shiitake), brushed clean, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 8 sheets fresh pasta
  • all purpose flour for dusting
For butter-sage sauce:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Stir in parsley and cook one minute more. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms first release their liquid and then liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cook stirring until liquid evaporates. Transfer to a bowl and cool briefly before stirring in parmesan and ricotta. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Dust baking sheet with flour; set aside. Place pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface. Place eight heaping measuring teaspoons of mushroom filling along the top third of the sheets, about two inches apart. Moisten pasta around each mount of filling using a pastry brush dipped in water. Fold the dough up and over the filling to enclose, press around filling to seal. Cut between the mounds with a pastry wheel to cut into square ravioli. Transfer to prepared baking sheet a chill until ready to cook. Repeat with the remaining pasta and filling.
  • In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until the garlic has softened. Stir in the sage and salt for a few seconds.
  • At the same time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook until ravioli float to the top, or about five minutes. Drain. Toss with butter-sage sauce and toss gently with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

November 9, 2010

Pecan Pie

We were recently invited to a friends' house for dinner and I jumped at the chance to bring a pecan pie for dessert. 

This is one of those classic desserts that my mom has been making for years. It is a super sweet dessert and best served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream to help cut the sweetness. It's pretty easy to make, but if you spend a couple of extra minutes putting your pecans in a simple design on the top (yes, you need to comb through your bag of pecans for whole ones!), then it takes the pie to a whole new level and looks like you put a tonne of effort into it.

Pecan Pie
Serves 8-10


  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly before adding sugar, salt, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in flour.
  • Roll out pastry and drape into tart pan (I used a quiche pan). Press down to fill out the pan.
  • Pour liquid mixture into pastry shell.
  • Arrange pecan halves into a pattern on the top. I did multiple circles, starting on the outside.
  • Using a paring knife, slowly "dunk" each pecan into the liquid mixture to coat; they will pop back up.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Filling will set as it cools.
  • Cool on wire rack and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

November 7, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

Another Sunday, another delicious soup. This time, a deep, rich roasted tomato. The colour was wonderful, the flavour blew Campbell's tomato out of the water. It was just full of a richness and thickness that I hadn't experienced in a regular tomato, but now I don't think I can go back. Imagine this on a cold, snowy day with a hot grilled cheese and a good book. Perfection.

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 large shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • pepper and cayenne pepper to taste


  • Place oven rack in the upper-middle position and 450 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. With fingers, carefully open whole tomatoes over strainer set in bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall through strainer into bowl. Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with brown sugar and bake until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to colour, about 30 minutes.
  • Heat butter over medium heat. Add shallots and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until shallots are softened; about 7-10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until combined; about 30 seconds.
  • Gradually add chicken stock, tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat the low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Use an immersion blender (or if you don't have one, blend in batches using a regular blender) to puree soup to desired consistency. Add cream and pepper and cayenne. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapated from Smitten Kitchen

November 6, 2010

Recipe Inspiration

In my Real Simple magazine this month, they ask the question, "What is your favourite cookbook?"

This got me thinking about my cookbook collection that has grown exponentially over the past year. I have always loved books, but I have really grown to love so many cookbooks -- especially ones with beautiful photographs, as I eat with my eyes first. 

My recipes often come from the web, whether it's other blogs or the tried and true as I really love reading other cooks' feedback. But there is still nothing like having a book in your hand to flip through, and salivate over. My collection now includes a whopping 24 books which covers a wide range from cooking with booze to using your slow cooker. Among them, my favourites include:
What is your favourite cookbook? Where does your inspiration come from?

November 5, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto has quickly become one of my go-to dishes. I usually have all the basics on hand -- arborio rice, chicken stock, wine, cream and onions -- and by simply adding one or two other ingredients, you can completely change the flavour.

This week, I made it with a butternut squash I had on hand. I questioned the recipe that told me to puree the squash, but once I mixed it with the risotto, it was creamy and delicious and satisfying like a cheesy macaroni. This was perfect for a cold winter night and was so easy that I made it for myself one night when T. was out at a hockey game. All you need in 30 minutes and you're on your way to a hearty meal.

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 4 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add squash for 12-15 minutes, or until tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and mash with a fork.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until onion begins to soften. Stir in rice and let toast -- about three minutes.
  • Pour in the white wine, stirring constantly until evaporated. Stir in the squash and 1/2 a cup of the hot stock. Stir until stock has been absorbed by the rice. Slowly add the stock 1/2 a cup at a time, only adding more once the previous amount has evaporated. 
  • Continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Add cream and parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from

November 3, 2010

Black Forest Cupcakes

My sweetie celebrated his birthday the other day, so I decided to celebrate with something sweet. His favourite cake is black forest, but with just two of us at home, I didn't want to make a whole cake -- especially as it's not my fave -- so I opted to make cupcakes instead (because even though it's the same amount of cake, I believe it is less overwhelming).

My girlfriend Lindsey came over to help and we made an assembly line to put these together because there are a couple of more steps than just making the cupcakes and icing them. Not only did we have fun doing it, the cupcakes were delicious! You really can't go wrong with a whip cream icing and chocolate cake. And the cherries? Really good! 

The only thing about these cupcakes, is because of the whip cream, they need to stay near a fridge. As a result, I wasn't able to take them to work because the icing would have just melted on the subway. But straight out of the fridge? Delicious!


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling 
  • Maraschino cherry juice or Kirsch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 tbsp sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh or maraschino cherries
  • chocolate shavings

  • To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 cupcake wells with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition until just incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes, then let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • To fill the cupcakes, use the cone method to remove a portion of the centre of each cupcake (feel free to choose your own way to dispose of these!). Spoon in about 2-3 cherries (not too much of the jelly). Drizzle some maraschino juice or Kirsch over the fruit. 
  • To make the frosting, add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on medium-low speed, slowly increasing as the cream begins to thicken up to medium-high speed. While the cream is being whipped, gradually add the confectioners sugar, a spoonful at a time. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla extract.
  • Frost the filled cupcakes with whipped cream. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Adapted from the Cupcake Project

November 1, 2010

Individual Fruit Pies in Cream Cheese Pastry

I'm a fan of foods that come in individual sizes: Timbits, Halloween-sized chocolate bars, Altoids Smalls. It just seems less overwhelming to see a box of Timbits than an entire box of donuts, or if someone offered me a small chocolate bar, I'd be much more inclined to take it over a full-sized one. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no illusions that I'm not going to eat the same amount as a full-sized anything -- in fact, I'm likely to eat more -- but when something comes in a small package, it just seems less overwhelming. Mind over matter, my friends.

Using that theory, I jumped at the chance to make these individual fruit pies instead of making a whole one. With just two of us at home, it seems a little gluttonous to make a whole pie, but four individual ones? A perfect way to satisfy a craving without eating half a pie (though, it's totally possible that by eating two of these individual ones, I did anyway).

This recipe, like any pie recipe, is totally adaptable, and can be filled with whatever you have on hand. I just happened to have the items it called for, but next time, I might omit the Craisins and put in more apple or pear.


Cream Cheese Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • milk and granulated sugar (for glaze)


Cream Cheese Pastry
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, cream cheese and salt until smooth
  • Add icing sugar and 1/2 cup of flour at a time until just combined
  • When the dough starts to ball up around the paddle, stop the mixer and scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface
  • Gently knead the dough. Divide into four balls, flatten each into a 1/2 inch disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll -- about an hour. 
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice, apple, pear, cranberries and 2 tbsp sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover and cook for three minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp sugar, cornstarch and spices. Stir the mixture into the fruit and cook, stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
  • Let the fruit cool.
  • Use a floured rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into an 8 inch circle.
  • Spoon about 1/4 of the filling over half the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border along the edge.
  • Moisten the edge of the pastry with a finger dipped in a little water, then fold the empty half of the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal.
  • Place on baking sheet. Brush each turnover with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Poke a few holes in the top to let steam out while they bake.
  • Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown. For even browning, rotate baking sheet halfway through baking.
  • Transfer the turnovers to a wire rack and let cool.
** Freezing: You can freeze the unbaked turnovers on a baking sheet until they're firm, then wrap in wax paper and put in resealable freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to one month. To bake from frozen, just add a few minutes to baking time.

Recipe from Ezra Pound Cake


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