Makes 12 servings

Who doesn't like muffins?

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • two apples, peeled, cored and grated (about 2 cups)
  • zest from 2 lemons, minced (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup plain yoghourt
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    2. Butter or grease 12 medium sized muffin cups, or better yet, insert muffin papers.

    3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and add to the creamed mixture, alternately with the grated apple.

    4. Add the lemon zest and mix until well blended.

    4. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

    6. Serve warm or at room temperature.


    Makes 8 servings

    Here's a sweet recipe for what to do with the extra panettone you have lying on your shelf...

  • * 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup brandy, heated
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pound panettone, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: whipped cream
  • 1. Soak raisins in hot brandy 15 minutes, then drain (discard brandy or reserve for other uses).

    2. Meanwhile, butter panettone on both sides and cook in batches in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

    3. Whisk together remaining ingredients.

    4. Break up panettone into bite-size pieces and spread evenly in a buttered 13-by 9-inch baking dish. Scatter raisins over top; then pour in egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes.

    5. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

    6. Bake until pudding is golden and just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream.



  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream or yoghourt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
    2. Line a 9x13 inch pan with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
    3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
    4. In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture by hand, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
    5. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
    6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and remove foil.


    One 9-inch square or Bundt cake

    Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, raisins, or chocolate chips
  • Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar or 1/2 cup each
  • 4 large egg yolks, or 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Glaze (optional):

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F if using a glass pan). Grease one 9-inch square pan,9-inch Bundt or tube pan, or 9-inch spring-form pan. Line with parchment or waxed paper, grease again, and dust with flour.

    2. To make the streusel: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg if using. Cut in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. If desired, stir in the nuts.

    3. To make the batter: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and zest if using. Stir in the flour mixture.

    4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Carefully cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

    5. Bake until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap the cake in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    6. To make the glaze if using: Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until set.

    When baking and storing a cake containing acidic ingredients such as sour cream in an aluminum pan, line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent the juices from reacting with the aluminum and creating a metallic flavor.


    Single-Layer Coffee Cake:
    Spread all the batter in a 13-by-9-inch pan, sprinkle with all the topping, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


    There are fresh peaches from the garden, so I pop them in boiling water for a few seconds to easily peel off their skins, slice them and put them in a bowl.

    Then I take three eggs, separate them and put the yolks in a double boiler with 3Tbsp. sugar and whisk them until they're frothy. I add 3Tbsp. Amaretto and whisk the mixture while it's cooking until it thickens. I take the pot off the heat and as it cools stir it now and then.

    When it is cool, I add it to the peaches and refrigerate the mixture until it's time for dessert.

    I whip about a cup of cream, add a few Tbsp. of sugar and when the peaks are formed, gently fold in the peach mixture.

    Serve it in tall glasses or in bowls, and it's dreamy.

    PANNA COTTA al CAFFÉ (Coffee Flavored Cooked Cream)


  • 1 sm. cup (about 4 oz/120ml) very strong espresso coffee, brewed
  • 1 cup (8oz/240ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (2oz/60g) sugar
  • 1 envelope (1 tsp./1/4oz/7g) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • coffee beans for decoration
  • Pour half the cream into a saucepan, add the sugar and espresso, and heat almost to boil. Remove from the heat and sprinkle gelatin on top. Stir until the gelatin dissolves and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

    Using a hand blender, whip the remaining cream into soft peaks. Remove 6 TBSP of the whipped cream and place in a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip and refrigerate. Using a spatula, gently fold the remaining soft whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

    Pour the cream mixture into 2 individual ring or round molds and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

    To serve, immerse the base of each mold into boiling water for 5 seconds and invert onto serving plates. Using the pastry bag, pipe cream rosettes onto the molds, then decorate with coffee beans."

    This simple desert can be flavored many ways, with chocolate, cinnamon, lemon or orange zest, or strained fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Once unmolded, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours undecorated or for up to 6 hours decorated. You can even make a large quantity, pour into molds, and freeze them for up to 3 months. Let the cream come to room temperature before unmolding and serving.

    Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh ricotta
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. dark Rum
  • 1/2 cup plus extra very strong espresso coffee
  • Put the ricotta, sugar, rum and coffee into a food processor and mix until smooth and creamy.

    Pour the mixture into 6 individual dessert ramekins and place in the refrigerator over night.

    It's also possible to freeze it, although the consistency is very different.

    Makes 12 servings.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Heat oven 300°F.

    Grease 9" springform pan. Set aside.

    Combine water and cornmeal in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil (3 to 4 minutes). Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until mixture is thickened (5 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat; let stand 2 minutes.

    Add butter, chocolate and vanilla; stir until melted. Cool completely.

    Combine 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks in small mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed until mixture is thick and lemon-colored (3 to 4 minutes). Stir in chocolate mixture.

    Beat egg whites in large mixer bowl at high speed until soft peaks form (3 to 4 minutes). Continue beating, gradually adding 2 tablespoons sugar, until glossy and stiff peaks form (2 to 3 minutes). (DO NOT OVER BEAT). Gently stir in chocolate mixture.

    Pour mixture into prepared springform pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake is set in center. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or chocolate shavings.

    Serves 4

  • 8 ripe figs
  • 8 tsp. cane sugar
  • 300g (2/3 lb.) marscapone cheese (optionally, soft cream cheese)
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • 8 Tbsp. vinsanto (a sweet white dessert wine)
  • Select 8 ripe, blemish-free figs. Wash them, pat them dry, and make two perpendicular cuts half way into each fig from the stem end, as if you were going to quarter them. Put them on a cookie sheet covered with oiled paper. Sprinkle a teaspoon of cane sugar over each fig and run them under a broiler for 2-3 minutes, to lightly caramelize the sugar.

    Arrange the figs on 4 plates, and continue the cuts almost all the way down to the base, so the figs open like so many flowers. Beat the mascarpone cheese with about 1/2 cup (50 g) powdered sugar and 8 tablespoons vinsanto . Divide the cheese among the figs, and enjoy!

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups seeded and chopped watermelon (about a 3 1/4 pound wedge)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 3/4 cup water, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Then let the syrup cool.

    In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon. In a bowl combine the puree, the syrup and the lemon juice and chill the mixture, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it is cold. The mixture may be made up to this point 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.

    Stir the mixture , transfer it to 2 metal ice cube trays without the dividers or a shallow metal bowl, and freeze it, stirring it with a fork every 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the freezer and crushing the large frozen clumps, for 2 to 3 hours, or until it is firm but not frozen hard.

    Scrape the granita with a fork to lighten the texture and serve it in chilled bowls.

    The origin of this concept dates back to at least the mid-eighteenth century when fruits were brandied in order to preserve them. This dessert is easy to make and can be served alone, with ice cream or your favorite cake.
    Serves 8

  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 pounds seedless red and green grapes, washed and dried
  • In a glass bowl, combine the honey, Cognac and lemon juice and blend well. Add the grapes, cover, refrigerate overnight, stirring several times.

  • 1 cup pureed persimmons (about two with their skins removed)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 pound (125 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. rum
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup broken walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Heavy cream, whipped, or hard sauce, for garnish
  • Fill a pot that is large enough to hold a 2-quart pudding mold with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Let the water come to a boil over medium heat while you are mixing the pudding batter.

    The mold must have a lid or be snugly covered with foil while steaming (a two-quart coffee can with a plastic lid also works). Be sure there is a rack under the mold in the pot or a Mason jar ring, to keep the mold off the bottom of the kettle. This allows the water to circulate freely while the pudding is steaming.

    Grease the mold. Put the persimmon puree in a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Set aside while mixing the other ingredients. (The persimmon mixture will become quite stiff.)

    Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and rum; beat well. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt; stir until blended Add the persimmon mixture and beat until well-mixed. Stir in the nuts and raisins.

    Spoon the batter into the mold, cover, and steam for 2 hours. Remove from the pot, and let rest for 5 minutes. While you're waiting, loosen the pudding from the sides of the mold. Turn onto a rack to cool, or cool just a little if serving soon.

    The pudding is best when served slightly warm. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream or your favorite hard sauce, or cherries marinated in brandy.

    Note: This pudding freezes well and will keep in the freezer for several months. Always wrap and warm thoroughly before serving.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dried lavender, divided into two parts
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided into two parts
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, strained
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, dust with flour and shake excess flour from pan.

    Melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the lavender in a heavy, small saucepan. Steep the mixture for ten minutes then strain. Discard the lavender. Set aside to cool.

    Beat the eggs and one cup of the sugar in the bowl of a mixer until thick and pale yellow in color. This should take about five minutes.

    Sift flour and salt together into a bowl. Using a whisk, fold the lemon zest and 1/3 of the flour mixture into the eggs until completely combined. Fold in the rest of the flour in two batches.

    In a separate bowl, whisk one cup of the batter with the melted butter and the vanilla. Add this to the remaining batter. Fold to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

    Bake the cake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake seems to be browning too rapidly before the center is set, cover with foil and continue baking.

    Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of water and the remaining three tablespoons of lavender in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook only until the sugar dissolves, stirring the entire time.

    Remove from heat and let cool until the cake is done. Strain and discard the lavender.

    Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Using a cake tester or skewer, poke holes over the entire cake. Brush the loaf with half of the syrup over the top of the cake. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the pan and brush the syrup over the bottom and sides of the cake. Turn the cake back over and brush with the remaining syrup. Let cool completely.

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