This classic Dutch snack is two thin dough waffles filled with decadent caramel. One is often served on top of a mug of steaming, hot coffee.

For the dough:
1/4 cup (2.25 oz / 65 ml) warm milk (or water)
2 1/4 cups (10.50 oz / 300g) unbleached all-purpose flour 
4 1/2 tablespoons (2.25 oz / 65g) unsalted butter 
7g fast-action dried yeast 
1/2 Scant ½ cup (3 oz /70 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
Clarified butter (for brushing electric cookie iron)

For the caramel:
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (100 g) golden syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat milk to about 105 degrees F. Set aside.

For the dough, rub flour and butter together in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add yeast, cinnamon and sugar; mix together.

Slowly pour in warm milk and stir with a Swedish dough hook, large fork or wooden spoon until the dough starts coming together, add the egg and salt and continue stirring until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 1–2 minutes into a soft ball. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Combine sugar, golden syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan. Stir just enough to get the sugar wet. Cook  swirling the melted sugar carefully and brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if needed until dark amber in color, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and slowly add cream, stirring with a heat-proof spatula until combined. Add vanilla seeds, butter, and salt; stir until is smooth. Keep warm.

Divide the dough into 12 – 14 equal pieces. Roll into small balls and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out. 

Heat a waffle cone machine and brush top and bottom of each side with clarified butter. Press the ball of dough into a disk, brush with clarified butter and place in the middle, press down the top lid and bake for 1–2 minutes until just golden brown.

Remove from the machine and place onto a cutting board.

Working quickly, while the waffle is still hot slice it horizontally in half and if desired, for a perfectly round biscuit, cut with a round cookie cutter just slighly smaller in diameter than the waffle biscuit/cookie.

Place a generous tablespoon of caramel on the bottom waffle half. Top with the other waffle half and gently push down, until the caramel spreads to the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool, then repeat until you have used up all the dough balls. Store any remaining caramel in the refrigerator until you make another batch.

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Roasted Persimmion – Rosemary Ice Cream

Since we are in the throes of persimmon season what better why to use this delicious yet fleeting autumn fruit than in ice cream. If rosemary is not to your liking by all means omit it, then you’ll have roasted persimmon ice cream.

1 1/2 pounds fuju persimmons, about 7 – 8 medium
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch kosher salt or to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
5 large egg yolks (freeze egg whites for another use)
1/2 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean sugar
1/4 cup mild honey

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have an ice bath ready.

Peel, core and slice persimmons into wedges. Toss the wedges with the melted butter and a pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and tender. When persimmons can easily be pierced with a knife allow them to cool and and refrigerate overnight.

Meanwhile, place heavy cream, whole milk, rosemary sprig, bay leaf, if using and peppercorns, in a saucepan. Heat until bubbles form around the parameter of the pan, but do not boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for about ½ hour and allow to cool. Once cool, whisk in the eggs, sugar, and honey.

Return the custard to a saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk constantly until it coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 175° F. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and place in an ice water-bath, stirring frequently until cool. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard surface and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to churn, strain out the aromatics from the custard. Add 2 cups of the custard to a blender along with the persimmon wedges. Purée until very smooth, then stir back into the remaining custard. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

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Halibut with Orzo

Serves 4

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds, lightly crushed
14.5 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups water
1 cup orzo, uncooked
12 medium olives, pitted, halved
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Four 5 -oz Uncooked halibut fillets

Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, celery, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, water, orzo, olives, capers, salt, and pepper to taste; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.

Sprinkle halibut with salt and pepper to taste. Add halibut to skillet, spooning some tomato mixture over fish. Cover and simmer until fish is just opaque in center and orzo is tender, 10–12 minutes. Chop a few reserved celery leaves for garnish.

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Layer Spice Cake

This cake is perfect way to end an autumn or winter meal. It’s flavor is bold with the spices of ginger bread and adding a bit of crème fraîche in the frosting takes the edge of the sweetness. It would easily serve 8, if not 12 or more as it is rich.

David Schmit Photography

Butter for pans
3 cups (13.5 oz / 380 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon double-acting aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz / 45 grams) cocoa powder, Dutch processed
1 cup unsalted butter (8 oz / 225 g) room temperature
1 cup packed (7 oz / 200 g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter thoroughly 3 (8-inch) round cake pans; line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make Cake: Set a sieve over a medium bowl and sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and cocoa powder. Repeat two more times and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in molasses. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture, just until flour is incorporated. Divide batter among prepared pans (each pan will have about 525 g of batter).

Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make Frosting: Beat cream cheese, crème fraîche, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, scraping down bowl as needed, until well blended and smooth.

Frost Cake: Place one layer on a cake plate and frost top with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat two more times. Add a thin layer of frosting to sides.

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Thai Fish and Pumpkin Soup

When one is gifted with a lot of winter squash one gets creative with different ways to enjoyt it. The recipe below is only one of many ways.
Serves 4

1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, optional
2 cups light coconut milk
3 cups chicken or fish stock, preferably home-made
3 – 4  shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 long red chile, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded (optional)
2 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin, cut in about 3/4-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons tamarind purée
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste
20 oz skinless chunky fish fillets (such as blue eye, ling or snapper), cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ginger if using an cook for another 15 seconds.

Add the coconut milk, stock, shallots, garlic, chile and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and stir to combine. Add pumpkin, bell pepepr, tamarind, fish sauce, sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

Add fish and simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish is opaque.

Place half the spinach in 4 warm bowls and top with the fish and veg. Scatter with remaining spinach, then ladle the sauce over the top and serve.

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Persimmon, Pancetta, and Arugula Pasta

I often run across pasta recipes that include the addition of roasted winter squash. Recently, I was gifted with an abundance of Fuyu persimmons. I thought, since they are still firm, why not roast some and toss them into some rigatoni. What you don’t want to do is roast firm Hachiya (acorn shaped) ones. They are too astringent to be edible. What I did end up with though was something delicious.

Serves 4

4 -5 medium persimmons, peeled and cored and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
8 oz pancetta or bacon, 1/2-inch diced
8 oz rigatoni
1 large yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
1 large carrot, 1/4-inch dice
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
3 large handfuls of arugula or spinach (about 3 cups packed)
1 cup (2 oz) Gruyère cheese, shredded
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Optional garnishes
Toasted chopped walnuts or pine nuts
Toasted breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a medium bowl toss cubed persimmons  with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and add thyme. Stir to combine. Transfer to a sheet pan in a single layer and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until persimmons have softened slightly, can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife but still hold their shape. Set aside and let cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook rigatoni, or favorite pasta, to al dente according to package instructions. Before draining water, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and brown off pancetta. Remove with slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper toweling. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat and sauté diced onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Cook until onions are translucent, and bell peppers and carrots are just tender. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (if adding) and sauté for about 30 seconds. The trick is not to let the garlic burn. Add arugula (or spinach) in three additions. Greens will wilt and decrease in volume as they cook.

Reduce heat to low and add Gruyère cheese. Add roasted persimmons and cooked, drained pasta. Toss to combine. The cheese will melt and get sticky. Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to moisten pasta. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Continue adding reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time until pasta is well coated with the cheesy sauce. Divide among individual serving bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese and any of the optional garnishes. Serve immediately.

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Shrimp and Autumn Squash Salad

1 small butternut squash or other winter squash
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. orzo
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 anchovy fillet, mince
Fresh Thyme, minced – optional
Red Pepper Flakes – optional
1 medium shallot, diced
1/2 lb. large shrimp (10/14 count), peeled and deveined
1 Persian cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed, diced, or crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash and cut into ¾-inch dice. Add squash to a bowl, drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, along with some salt and papper and toss to coat. Tip out on sheet pan and roast for 18 – 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven, transfer to another sheet pan and set aside to cool. Can be made a day ahead.

In a medium saucepan cook orzo according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain in a colander. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and stir in to prevent sticking.

While the pasta is cooking in a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, anchovy, thyme, scallions, salt, and pepper. Slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add the drained orzo and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallot and shrimp to the hot pan so that it sizzles upon contact. Allow to cook for about 1 minute and then flip each shrimp and allow to cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Cut the shrimp into thirds and add the orzo including the shallots and any remaining oil.

Add the remaining orzo salad ingredients to the orzo and shrimp. Toss well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.

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Cream of Celery-Apple Soup

For a second year I plopped, well planted really, six celery seedlings in my backyard in the spring. Celery is so easy to grow and the delicous taste is like nothing you will find in a grocery store. If you have a sunny spot in your yard, pick youself up a few seedlings and give it a go. If you plant more than two seedlings though, you’ll have some to share with the neighbors.

Makes about 3 quarts or eight 1 ½ cup servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots or yellow onions, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup calvados, optional
1 1/4 pounds (about 10 large stalks) celery, sliced 1/2 inch thick crosswise
Some of the leaves reserved for garnish
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
2 white (or orange) carrots
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
½ cup heavy cream
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat butter in a large (4-quart) heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper and cook until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté just until tender, about 1 minute. Add calvados (if using) and simmer to burn off any alcohol, about another minute.

Add potato, apple, carrots, and stock. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup until smooth. (To prevent splattering, fill blender only halfway, and allow the heat to escape: Remove cap from hole in lid; cover lid with a dish towel, holding down firmly while blending.) Return soup to pan; stir in lemon juice, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.

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