Archive for the ‘Fruit Desserts’ Category


Applesauce Baked in the Oven from the Barefoot Contessa

December 12, 2013

I saw this applesauce on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and it went on my “make it soon” list. I did make it soon, and I’m glad I did. This recipe is a keeper!


There’s some peeling and coring to be done, but this is easy to make. Lemon and orange zest and juice add a citrus zip to the apples, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice. Some red apple peel is included to add some color during baking. All the ingredients go into an oven-proof, covered pot and it bakes for 1 1/2 hours. And oh, the aroma while it’s baking – it put me in the holiday mood!

My friend Michele from Veggie Num Nums has been baking some recipes with me; be sure to stop by her blog – she added rum to her applesauce!

Recipe notes:

  • You can find the recipe here on the Food Network website.
  • I made half a batch, and used both Granny Smith and Macintosh apples.
  • I put in long pieces of peel, but after cooking, they broke down and were difficult to remove. Not a big deal, though, it was very soft and I don’t mind a little peel.

Frozen Bananas with Magic Shell

November 18, 2013

Magic Shell, the ice cream topping that hardens when poured onto ice cream, is a blast from my past. When I discovered that you can make it with chocolate chips and coconut oil, I was thrilled. And then, America’s Test Kitchen improved on the recipe by adding vanilla, espresso powder, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla. Perfection! It’s super-chocolatey, hardens beautifully, and isn’t waxy.

Of course it’s great on ice cream. But what happens when you run out of ice cream? Well, you can put it on frozen bananas!

I got on a roll making chocolate-dipped frozen bananas when I saw this post on Sugar Hero. I made her version of the bananas a few times; toasted coconut is my favorite topping. Then one day I ended up with some leftover magic shell and no ice cream and wondered how it would work on a frozen banana. It worked quite well, thank you!

Chocolate-dipped frozen banana

Here’s how:

  • Peel bananas, cut in half horizontally, and insert a stick in each piece (I couldn’t find old-fashioned popsicle sticks, so I used cookie sticks). Wrap in waxed paper, seal in a plastic bag, and freeze a few hours or overnight.
  • Make the magic shell topping ahead of time so that it has time to cool to room temperature. I highly recommend America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe (you’ll need to scroll down a bit to get to the section titled Chocolate Ice Cream Shell.)
  • Remove bananas from the freezer and unwrap. Using a large spoon, spoon the magic shell over the banana. It hardens right away, so work quickly to evenly coat the banana. And, since it does harden so quickly, if you want to sprinkle it with any toppings, you’ll need to work incredibly fast – I recommend having a helper so one set of hands can do the coating and the other set can do the sprinkling.
  • Wait until the chocolate is completely hardened before setting the banana down. Serve immediately.
  • Note: I usually pop several bananas in the freezer at once and then pull out a couple at a time to dip and serve. I’ve left the undipped bananas in the freezer for several days with no problems.

TwD Baking with Julia: French Apple Tart

January 22, 2013

I was all in for the French Apple Tart that the Tuesdays with Dorie group made this week. A few months ago, I saw the episode of Baking with Julia when Leslie Mackie made this tart, and I wrote a note in my book that said “looks really good.” And it was!

French Apple Tart

The apples didn’t get very brown, but they were tender and tasty.

There are a number of components in this recipe, so I split the tasks over two days, starting the crust and making the filling on day one, and finishing it off on day two.

Crust: The crust is a pie dough made with a combination of butter and vegetable shortening. Pie crust makes me nervous! I had no idea if it was any good, so I took the scraps, sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar, and baked them. I took a bite and high-fived myself – the crust was flaky and delicious!

Flaky Pie Crust

Flaky pie crust scrap

Filling: To make the filling, apple slices are tossed with sugar, cinnamon, flour, and lemon juice (the recipe calls for bread crumbs, but I skipped those) and roasted in the oven. After roasting, the apples are mashed into an applesauce.

Topping: Sliced apples are arranged on top of the filling, brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled with sugar.

Put them all together, bake it, and the finished product is delicious!

You can find the recipe on page 379 of Baking with Julia, or click over to Laws of the Kitchen, where Gaye has the recipe posted today. Thank you Gaye for hosting this week!


Baked Apple Sorbet

October 19, 2011

One of the things that sold me on the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook is that it’s arranged by season. Ice cream recipes geared toward fall and winter? Sign me up! It’s fall and it’s apple season, so the recipe for Baked Apple Sorbet looked promising. To make the sorbet, you bake apples with apple cider, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, then puree it and chill it before freezing it in your ice cream maker. It’s all the flavors of fall in a frozen treat!

It’s great plain, but I served it with pie crust cookies and whipped cream with a little rum mixed in. The buttery cookies and spiked whipped cream played nicely with the sweet sorbet. This would be a great Thanksgiving dessert, or something a little different to serve with holiday leftovers.

This was another virtual cook-along with my friend Michele, so if you want to get the recipe and see how hers turned out, take a look at her blog. If you have a copy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, the sorbet recipe is on page 132, and the Pie Crust Cookies are on pages 51 and 188. I haven’t tried any other recipes from this book yet, but I’m looking forward to trying an ice cream recipe using Jeni’s ice cream base. You can read more about Jeni and her techniques in this article that Michele sent me.

Recipe notes:

  • My apples needed more baking time than the recipe called for. I just kept checking them and took them out when they were tender.
  • All of Jeni’s recipes call for putting the mixture into a plastic bag to chill, then snipping the corner off the bag and squeezing the contents into the ice cream canister. This sounded like a great idea…until I tried it. I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but I was happy when no plastic turned up in the sorbet. Maybe it works better for certain ice cream makers (or certain people).
  • I made the pie crust cookies from a recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The crust has whole wheat flour and oatmeal, and it’s tasty! You could also make your favorite pie crust, roll it to 1/8 inch, and cut it into small circles. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 13-15 minutes at 350º.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Tropical Fruit Crumble

August 16, 2011

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Tropical Fruit Crumble, selected by my favorite baker from down under, Gaye (aka Cakelaw) from Laws of the Kitchen.

What makes it tropical? Mango, banana, ginger, lime zest, and nuts (cashews in my case). What makes it a Jill dessert? A big dollop of fat-free whipped topping! Yep, I love it and refuse to be ashamed.

What I did: I made 1/4 of the recipe and baked it in a 5.75″ x 3″ mini loaf pan. I subbed cashews for pecans, because I didn’t have pecans, and aren’t cashews more tropical anyway?

How it went: This was quick to make, though I managed to generate a lot of dishes! One saute pan, two bowls, the mini loaf pan, a baking sheet and Silpat, plus various mixing and measuring devices. The fruit didn’t seem that juicy after cooking, but as the crumble baked, the juices bubbled up on top of the crumble topping. I drained some liquid off when I took it out of the oven, but the topping was pretty moist. Other bakers noted that their topping wasn’t crisp either. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be? Maybe that’s why this is a “crumble” and not a “crisp”?

How it tasted: My husband and I both liked it, but agreed that it was just OK. The combination of flavors was tasty, but the crumble topping was soft, and the mango and banana were pretty soft too; I prefer the texture of an apple crisp, where the apples have a little bit of bite, and the topping is crunchy. I kept thinking about Dorie’s Double Crisp and how delicious that was.

If a topical fruit crumble is up your alley, look on page 481 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or click over to Laws of the Kitchen; she has the recipe published here.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Strawberry – Cranberry Double Crisp

April 12, 2011

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp, but with no rhubarb in sight, I used cranberries instead. Why is it called double crisp? Because half of the crisp mix goes on the bottom of the pan, like a crust, and the rest goes on top, like a traditional crisp. That’s quite a bonus for crust and topping lovers like me!

What I did: I made 1/3 of the recipe, and baked it in a 6″ pie pan. I was fast and loose with the ingredients. I couldn’t find fresh rhubarb, so I used some cranberries from my freezer. I used white whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and I cut down on the butter a little. I didn’t use ginger, which I know changed the whole point of this dessert, because there’s a lot of ginger in the recipe.

How it went: This was pretty quick to put together: mix the crumble ingredients, give the fruit a quick cook on the stove, adding some cornstartch to thicken the filling. The recipe doesn’t call for cooking the rhubarb, but I did cook the cranberries; they softened up a little bit and I was able to smash some of them.

How it tasted: Yummy! This was a delicious fruit crisp with lots of crumble. My husband liked this a lot and kept commenting on the texture – he really enjoyed the crisp crumble topping in contrast with the soft fruit filling. I liked how wonderfully tasty this was! We ate it straight-up, but it would be delicious with ice cream or whipped cream.

This week’s recipe was selected by Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands. She has the recipe posted here, or you can open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 420.


Tuesdays with Dorie: All-American All-Delicious Apple Pie

October 26, 2010

Pie! I love it but hardly ever make it. Thanks to the Tuesdays with Dorie group, I made an All-American All-Delicious Apple Pie this week. Perfect for fall and perfect for a crust lover like me. Plus, I made extra crust when I made the Fold-Over Pear Torte a couple of weeks ago, so it was extra-easy.

Thank you Emily of Sandmuffin for this wonderful selection!

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe in a 6″ cake pan. I really could use a mini pie pan, but this worked in a pinch.
  • I used a combination of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples.
  • I used cornstarch instead of quick-cooking tapioca. An equal amount of cornstarch seemed like a lot, so I used a little less. Not scientific, but even with baking, sometimes you have to wing it.
  • One note about the crust: I’m not sure exactly how much crust I used. I made a two-crust portion of Dorie’s Good for Almost Everything Pie Crust and used part of it for my Fold-Over Pear Torte minis, part of it for this mini pie, and I have a little bit left over (maybe enough for a mini single crust pie, but I’m not sure).

How it went: Since my crust was ready to go, this was pretty quick to put together. I baked it for 15 minutes, then reduced the oven temperature as directed in the recipe, and then baked it another 45 minutes. I added a foil tent during the last 15 minutes or so, and then took it out because I was afraid it would get too dark, even with the foil. My slices of pie weren’t picture-perfect, but it did come out of the cake pan pretty well. The apples were cooked through and the filling was  nicely thickened.

How it tasted: The crust, especially with some sugar baked on top, was delicious. I’ve made a lot of tart crusts but not many pie crusts, so I’m really thrilled that it turned out well. Somehow, though, it didn’t taste very apple-y. There were a lot of apples piled in there!

I don’t know if I didn’t choose the right kinds of apples or if the apples I used just weren’t the tastiest, but this needed more apple flavor, or at least more cinnamon to zip it up. My husband thought that the look of the pie and the taste of the crust were perfect, but that the filling wasn’t sexy. Even though the filling wasn’t that flavorful, it was good and we definitely enjoyed it.

Ready to bake some apple pie? Look on page 300 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or Emily has the recipe published here.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Cran-Apple Crisps

November 17, 2009

This week for Tuesdays with Dorie, I made Cran-Apple Crisps. This fall treat was selected by Em of the Repressed Pastry Chef, and she’s got the recipe posted right here on her blog. The group has some leeway with the November recipes, so I made these later than their “official week.” I don’t know how I waited, though, because I love fruit crisps!


I heard so much about the pumpkin shortage this year, but had no problems finding it when I needed it. But when I went to the store for cranberries, I couldn’t find them. I asked someone in the produce department and he led me to the area where they were…and there was only one bag left. I happily grabbed it, and when I got to the checkout, I saw that there was a hole in the bag. The checker asked me if I wanted to get another bag and I said “There are no more! Please tape it up!” She fixed the hole and I headed home with my precious cranberries.

What I did:

  • I made 1/4 batch of the filling for two individual crisps, which I baked in my handy ramekins.
  • I made 1/2 batch of the topping, used half of it, and stashed the other half in the refrigerator. Another night I made two more crisps!
  • I omitted the dried cranberries one time and included them the next time.
  • I decreased the butter a little bit. My half batch of topping called for 4 Tablespoons, and I used 3.

How it went: So easy! I mixed the topping ingredients (butter, sugar, oats, flour, coconut, spices) in my mini chopper. Does anyone have one of these? It’s an attachment for my immersion blender; the base of the blender attaches to the chopper and it works great. I sometimes forget that I have it, but it comes in handy.


I put the topping in the refrigerator, and after dinner I peeled an apple, tossed it with the cranberries, sugar, and flour, and baked the crisps.

How it tasted: So good! I loved the combination of apples and cranberries, and of course the topping was delicious. I thought that my husband was anti-cranberry, but it turns out that he is just anti-canned cranberry sauce. He declared this a restaurant-quality dessert, and he enjoyed the sweet-tart taste and the crispy topping. We liked both versions: with and without the dried cranberries. I thought the dried cranberries made it sweeter.

Would I make this again?: Yes. I love crisps, but for some unknown reason, I haven’t made one for a long time. This is so easy and delicious!

You can find the recipe on page 422 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or right here.

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