Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

Photo credit:  Jim McQuire:  Pumpkins in Snow

I was looking for a new recipe for dessert this Thanksgiving.
I came across this one, which I have tweaked a bit.
It is like those “Dump Cakes” of the 1970’s.  I have the one in the oven right now.   Wish you could smell it baking

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 29 ounce can Libby’s canned pumpkin
1 box yellow cake mix, any brand
1 cup melted butter

Prepare the pumpkin according to label instructions, using only one can of evaporated milk.  I also used only 1 cup sugar as the cake mix is very sweet.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan.  I recommend using Baker’s Joy or similar product.  Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture, then carefully drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix.

You can sprinkle with 1 cup chopped nuts if you wish, but our extended family is crazy enough already.

Bake at 325 for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  When completely cooled top servings with real whipped cream.  Refrigerate any leftovers….what leftovers?

When I serve this, I will warm it up slightly, I think it is better slightly warmed.



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This is one of those recipes that you find on the back of the box of sugar. 
I have a fabulous cook book that I bought 20 years ago called:
Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars.  by Cecil Dyer 1989

Since it is nearly Thanksgiving in the States, I thought it was time for another great recipe with pecans. 
I’m the only one who likes pecans in my family so I’m glad these freeze well. 

1 cup packed C & H Pure Cane Golden Brown Sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish.  In medium bowl, beat sugar and shortening until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Spread batter in baking dish.  Bake 25 minutes.  Cut into 2×1 inch bars. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.  Make a fresh pot of coffee – I’ll be right over!

Thanks to Family Fun Magazine for the photo and C & H Pure cane sugar for the recipe.

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Early this morning, I thought that I would go out and pick berries for breakfast for me and the kids.  My SIL has blackberry bushes around two sides of the property.  A few summers back the berries were abundant.  Last year, the harvest was very late; we were already back in CA by the time they were ripe. 


An hour and a few thorn scratches later, ( I had gloves) I had no berries. 
It’s still too early I guess, but you can’t blame not enough sunny days, it hasn’t rained here in like a month. 
The blue berry bush was decimated last year by one of the dogs.  He literally – Ate. The. Bush. 
So, it’s off to the front of the house where the strawberries are planted. 


No go.  Seems that Mr. & Mrs. Mallard have made a temporary residence in the middle of the strawberry patch.  Judging by the muddy footprints across the flagstones, the raccoons beat me to all the juicy red diamonds anyway.   

Back in the house the children were still asleep.  Lucky for me my SIL had a bag of mixed berries in the deep freeze. 
Try this recipe with berries from the freezer, fresh from the market/ produce stand…or if you’re lucky enough…from your own yard. 

 Berry Clafouti

3 eggs
1 and a  1/4 cups milk or half and half
2/3 cup flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 and a 1/2 cup berries

Beat eggs until foamy.  Add everything else except the berries.  Beat until smooth.  Pour into a buttered 9 inch quiche dish. 
Top batter with the berries.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until knife comes out clean. 
Let stand 15 minutes.  It has a custard consistency, and what’s more the kids eat it.

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Can I make ganache with half & half rather than cream? 

That’s a good question!  Everyone is trying to cut back on the fat and calories these days. 
I would reccomend that you just make 1/2 the recipe (See Chocolate Ganche Cake post) and see if the ganache comes out to the consistency that you are hoping for. 
Be sure that you still use all high quality ingredients. 
Let me know how it comes out! 

What can you make using leftover ganache? 

This is another question that came from the search engine terms. 
I have a container of this very nectar in my refrigerator. 
Here are some ideas: 

1.  Carefully re-heat and use for dipping the best of the season fresh strawberries.  Chill & consume ASAP!  

2.  Place the container of left over ganache in the freezer for a few minutes. 
While it is chillin’, melt some dark or milk chocolate.  Roll spoonfuls of the ganache into balls. (You can use a melon baller.)  Carefully dip in the melted chocolate, then roll chopped nuts, or powdered cocoa, if you desire.  Place on wax paper and chill. Enjoy on the 4th of July- while the kids are having S’mores…the grownups can indulge in these little treats.

3.  If you have enough leftover you can use as the filling in the center of a layer cake. 

4.  And – Finally my personal favorite way of using up chocolate ganache…get a spoon, the ganache and the turn on the latest episode of True Blood and enjoy while watching Bill and Eric. 
I hear the theme song even as we speak.

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Years ago, hubby and I drove up to Monterey and stayed at the Martine Inn in Pacific Grove. 
The inn is a charming bed and breakfast on the coast of California. 
Our room was wonderful, with a sitting room area that overlooked the ocean. 

Finally this was a trip where we could stop frequently, and did.  Unlike when we traveled in “Clustr Maps:  Connect the Dots!” 
We spent several hours in Morro Bay, CA.  
We visited a sea lion rescue center, had lunch, wandered in and out of souvenir shops and antique stores.  But we were anxious to get to the Martine Inn.  We had planned lots of excursions for our three day stay on the coast…

While in Monterey we visited the aquarium, 17 mile drive, walked along the ocean, watched otters eating seafood al fresco at sunset. 
Every afternoon our hosts had wine and cheese for us in the parlour over looking the ocean. 
A few times we were lucky enough to spot a whale.  Well, I thought it was a whale…could have been a guy in a wet suit on a surf board. 
Our dinner we planned for the first evening was at Hammerheads. 
I have looked in vain on line for Hammerheads Restaurant in Monterey.  I am afraid the only hammerheads you will find now are swimming in the ocean.  The eatery must have closed in the last 25 years. 

The restaurant was set in a lovely old fire station, sadly I did not take any photos. 
The food was delicious, we both had steaks with all the extras. 
But what had really drawn us to the restaurant was their famous Chocoholic Dessert Bar
Yes, a dessert bar with all things chocolate.  Anything you can think of that was chocolate they had.  Chocolate pie to candy bars. 
I admit, some of it was rather uninspired.  But they did have a decadent cake covered with chocolate. 
Over the years I have seen recipes for it with different names, Chocolate Suicide Cake, Better Than Sex Cake….(highly unlikely)…or as I call it, simply –

Chocolate Ganache Cake

1 box devils food cake…I like to use Betty Crocker’s Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix
Eggs, water and oil as directed on the box
16 ounces semisweet chocolate – see cook’s notes
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons real butter

Prepare cake as directed on the box.  Bake in a 13×9 according to  package directions.  Cool completely. 
Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with waxed paper. 

To make the ganache:  In a glass mixing bowl, microwave cream and butter just until the mixture begins to boil.  Remove and immediately add the broken up chocolate; let sit 1-2 minutes.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  You might need to rewarm in the microwave for a few seconds.  Cool slightly. 

Cut the cooled cake into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Pour about half of the cooled ganache mixture over the cake and mix well.  While you are mixing , you may have flashbacks to childhood days of mud pies – but this will be WAY better.  Use a spatula to thoroughly mix the cake and chocolate together.  Scape mixture into the prepared spring form pan, smooth the top and place in freezer for about an hour. 
It is okay to leave the bowl of the remaining ganache on the counter until the cake is cooled.  Try not to sample it. 

To unmold the cake:  Carefully run a knife around the edge of the springform pan.  Remove ring. 
Taste any morsels of cake that may remain on the ring, as this is the cook’s privilege. 
Place the serving plate on top of the cake and flip.  Remove the bottom plate and carefully peel off the waxed paper.  Pour the ganache over the top of the cake; spread smooth.  The ganache will drip down the sides of the cake.  Store in the refrigerator until serving time; cover and refrigerate any leftovers.  The cake can be stored up to one week in the refrigerator, but trust me, there will be no leftovers. 

Because it is so rich, I serve thin wedges of the cake.  If you are feeling extra fancy you can drizzle a little chocolate sauce on the dessert plate place the cake on top, adding a few strawberries or raspberries on the side.          STARBUCKS%20Milk%20Chocolate%20Signature%20Bar%20-%203%20ozbars_intense_twilight_lg

Re: the chocolate for the ganache.  You can make this cake very inexpensively, or you can spend more money on quality chocolate.  I have made this just using Semi-Sweet Chocolate morsels, but the consistency was not pleasing.  It also took more ‘zaps’ in the microwave to become smooth. 
When I make this, I like to use a good quality chocolate.  I often use 3 packages of Ghirardelli Intense Dark, Twilight Delight 72% cacao bars, at 3.5 oz a package.  And, 2 packages of Starbucks Milk Chocolate, 3 oz each package. 
The recipe calls for 16 oz of chocolate, these bars will give you 16.5. 
What are you going to do with that extra 1/2 ounce? 
I say, eat it!

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