pork tenderloin with rhubarb sauce


For years, before I had a food blog, I primarily cooked Cooks Illustrated recipes. I did worry about whether I was relying on them too much and if I was creative enough, but because I was making great food and learning useful tricks, I didn’t think too much of it. The main problem I had was that CI’s schtick is to perfect common recipes, so while I was making very good versions of familiar foods, I rarely tried unfamiliar flavor combinations.


To solve this problem, I bought their Restaurant Favorites at Home cookbook. And then I started a food blog, found other fun recipes to try, and this cookbook mostly got ignored. Feeling uninspired recently, I did a quick flip through it and lucked into something perfect – an opportunity to use rhubarb while it’s in season, plus a type of meat that I underutilitize.


Pork tenderloin seems underappreciated, considering that it’s the pig version of filet mignon. Plus one tenderloin is such a perfect serving size for two people, and it’s easy to cook. Season, set in a hot pan, flip. Then maximize flavor by using the fond in a sauce – a sauce with reduced port and rhubarb.


As much as I do like sweet sauces with pork, the ratio of rhubarb to meat was too much for me. I’d prefer about half of the amount of sauce because it overpowered the meat. The other, less important, change I needed to make was to cook the rhubarb for a lot less time, previous to adding it to the rest of the sauce ingredients. Reaching the recommended “softened but still retains its shape” texture took about half the time as the recipe implies.


With those very easy adjustments, this was a simple and elegant seasonal main dish. I love rhubarb, so I’m happy with any chance I get to eat it, and especially with one of my favorite cuts of meat.


One year ago: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart

Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Sauce (from Cooks Illustrated’s Restaurant Favorites at Home)

6 servings

This is the original recipe. Next time I make it, I’ll halve the rhubarb and the sugar (using 3 stalks of rhubarb and 6 tablespoons of sugar) and keep a close eye on the rhubarb while it cooks in Step 1, counting on it being tender after about 15 minutes of cooking. Also, I found it unnecessary to pound the meat – I just squashed it down a bit.

6 large rhubarb stalks, cut into ½ inch dice (about 4 cups)
¾ cup sugar
3 small pork tenderloins (12-16 ounces each, for a total of 2.5-3 pounds), trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup ruby port
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Cook the rhubarb and sugar together in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat until the rhubarb has softened but still retains its shape, 25-35 minutes.

2. Cut each pork tenderloin crosswise into six 2-inch-thick slices. With a cut side facing up, lightly pound each slice into a round ¾-inch-thick medallion. Season the medallions generously with salt and pepper.

3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay 9 medallions in the pan and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the medallions and cook on the second side until lightly browned and nearly cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a clean plate and keep warm in the oven. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining 9 medallions. Transfer to the plate in the oven.

4. Add the port and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the port is thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and any accumulated rhubarb juices and return to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture is thick and has reduced to about ½ cup, about 12 minutes. Stir in the rhubarb mixture and any accumulated juices from the pork medallions and heat through, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange 3 pork medallions on each of 6 individual plates and spoon about ¼ cup of the rhubarb sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

parisian strawberry tartlets


Once I started making an effort to eat seasonally, I realized that apples were my best bet for a large part of the year. By the end of winter, I’m impatient for strawberries to kick off the farmer’s market season. I try to avoid apples in the spring and summer, because it’s nice to take a break when I can, and then I get to look forward to them in the fall.


So I didn’t want to make the apple version of this dessert. Most of the other fruits that Dorie recommends are stone fruits that won’t be in season for a month or so. I thought that strawberry mini-tarts would work though.


This recipe is very easy. Quartered fruit is positioned in the middle of a round of puff pastry, sprinkled with sugar, dotted with butter, and baked. I skipped the butter and added a pinch of salt.


I made even miniaturer tarts too, each topped with a single raspberry, but those didn’t work quite as well. The pastry puffed the berries right off. I sort of balanced the berries back on the pastry after baking, and all was good.

The tarts were great. The flaky, buttery pastry was a great base for the sweet berries.


Jessica has posted the recipe for this easy, tasty, impressive dessert that she chose for Tuesdays with Dorie.

One year ago: Pita Bread


strawberry cake


I do not like oddball mixing methods. In fact, unless they’re explained, my habit is to ignore them completely. I know that muffins are sometimes mixed like cakes and that there are different types of cookies, but in general, I’m familiar with the normal mixing methods, and if something strays too far from what I recognize, it annoys me and I adapt the recipe to what seems more sensible.


The first strawberry cake I made has a weird mixing method. You mix the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, then add strawberry puree and softened butter and beat the mixture until it’s fluffy. Only then do you add milk and the egg whites in a few additions, mixing just until they’re mixed in.


The egg whites are added at the end? Bizarro.

*Disclaimer: I accidentally added the milk with the strawberry puree. I don’t think this would have a significant effect on the outcome, but I can’t be sure.


The cake was good, but, to me, not perfect. My mini cupcakes were a little sticky, or maybe gummy is a better word. What’s stranger is that all of the cupcake wrappers detached themselves from the cupcake within a few hours of baking. The flavor was great though, and every time I opened the lid to the container, I got a nice whiff of strawberries.


The other recipe I tried, from Good Things Catered, is similar to Cooks Illustrated’s white cake recipe, which I have previously enjoyed, with strawberry puree substituted for a portion of the milk. This recipe also has an unusual method – dry ingredients, then butter, most of the eggs + liquid, and then the rest of the eggs and liquid, followed by about a minute of beating the batter.


This cake, I have to admit, seemed a little dry. On the other hand, I did refrigerate it almost immediately after cooling, and then it was in and out of the freezer as I tried to neatly frost it, so perhaps I was a little too rough with it.


Both cakes were good. The strawberry flavor is definitely noticeable, which is nice. If I had to choose between the two, I’d choose the first one, from the Sky High cookbook, because it seemed more tender. However, what I really want to do is try the ingredients of the first one with a different mixing method. I have a feeling you can’t combine those ingredients and end up with anything that isn’t good, but I love to experiment.


One year ago: Baba Ghanoush and Fafafel

Pink Lady Cake (from Sky High via Smitten Kitchen)

Keep in mind that Sky High designs recipes for big cakes. If you’re not feeding a crowd, don’t be afraid to cut the recipe in half, which will yield the same amount of cake as most other cake recipes. Divide the batter between two 8- or 9-inch round pans and bake for 23-25 minutes.

All of the cupcake pictures are of this cake.

4½ cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups pureed frozen strawberries (from about 12 ounces of strawberries)
8 egg whites
⅔ cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, optional (to make the pink color more intense)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.


Strawberry Cake (adapted from Good Things Catered and Cooks Illustrated’s Classic White Layer Cake)

All of the layer cake pictures are from this cake.

Serves 12

Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
¼ cup whole milk, at room temperature
¾ cup strawberry puree (from about 6 ounces strawberries)
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups granulated sugar (12¼ ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool

1. Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.

2. Pour milk, strawberry puree, egg whites, and extract into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

4. Add all but ½ cup of strawberry mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of strawberry mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

5. Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.

6. Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1½ hours.


rhubarb scones


Scones get a seriously bad rap. People think they’re bland, dense, and/or crumbly. People think you can only enjoy them if you have a mug of coffee or tea with them. Branny told me that her husband thinks they taste like chalk. And these people aren’t completely wrong – some scones are pretty terrible. As for the whether they need to be accompanied by a hot drink, I happen to think that everything even a little sweet is better with coffee or tea.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a cookie without coffee.


Like a lot of foods, you might have to make scones yourself to get good ones. I can’t personally attest to the scones at coffee shops, but if they’re on par with every other baked treat I’ve ordered from a national coffee shop chain, they’ll be stale and bland. Don’t judge scones based on this example.


Scones are similar to biscuits, although many scone recipes have eggs included, which is rare in biscuits. In both, the dry ingredients are mixed first, and cold butter is cut in, then cold liquid is gently stirred in. Compared to the last scone recipe I made, this one has less butter, but richer dairy (cream as opposed to yogurt + milk).


The cream changes the texture from flaky to melt-in-your-mouth tender. They’re sweet, but only slightly so, and studded by juicy, tart bits of rhubarb. There’s nothing bland, dense, crumbly, or chalky about these scones, and while I enjoyed mine with my Saturday cup of coffee, a hot drink is not required to appreciate these. If you think you don’t like scones, try these.


One year ago: Kaiser Rolls – I have to admit that I’ve made these twice and have decided that they’re just not worth the effort.  I like using this much easier dough instead.

Printer Friendly Recipe
Rhubarb Cream Scones
(adapted from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen)

I only used 1½ cups (2 stalks) of rhubarb, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I would even err on the high side of 2 cups.

Update 5/8/2012 – While many people have had good results with this recipe, a few commenters have complained that their dough was too wet. This might have to do with imprecise volume measurements of flour, variability in rhubarb juiciness, or perhaps the size of the eggs used. Regardless, start with ½ cup of cream, then add more until the dough comes together but holds its shape. It might be sticky, but you should be able to pat it out with floured hands.

2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (3.5 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 cups diced rhubarb (¼-inch cubes), about 3 stalks
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream (see update)

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust a baking rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, mix the rhubarb with 3 tablespoons sugar.

2. In a food processor, pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt a few times, just to mix. Distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Stir the rhubarb into the flour mixture. Lightly beat the egg, yolk, and cream together in a bowl (use the same one you used for the rhubarb), then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

4. On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). Using a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.  Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool slightly before serving.


strawberry lemon sorbet


I think I’ve developed a warped sense of nutrition. For the most part, I maximize fruits and vegetables, minimize carbs, focus on lean, usually vegetarian proteins, and avoid alcohol. But this all gets thrown out the window on the weekends, when all I do is try not to overeat and hopefully get some fiber at some point. Oh, and then there’s dessert, which I eat every day.


I do not skip dessert. I try to control portion sizes of course, but I recognize that this is an indulgence that’s important to me and I’m willing to make other sacrifices (i.e., alcohol on weekdays) to account for it. But somewhere along the way I’ve tricked myself into thinking that as long as something doesn’t have loads of butter in it, it must be healthy.


That means that I’m under the impression that this sorbet isn’t just “not so bad”, but it’s downright good for me! Pureed strawberries! A whole lemon! …2 cups of sugar? Oh well.


This is another whole lemon dessert, which makes it that much easier to make. All you do is puree everything and churn it in your ice cream maker. This smooth, bright pink sorbet tastes not just of strawberries, but almost equally of lemon, pleasantly tinged by bitterness from the lemon peel. It actually tastes a lot like a strawberry daiquiri. All that and it isn’t even an indulgence! Kinda.


One year ago: Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Cannellini Beans and Balsamic Vinegar

Strawberry Sorbet (from Smitten Kitchen, who reports the original source as the London River Cafe Cook Book)

Makes 1½ quarts

I added a bit of vodka, maybe a couple of teaspoons, just to keep it from freezing too solid. It was the perfect consistency. I’m wondering if rum would be even better, to keep with the daiquiri flavor?

1 lemon, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons

1. Place the chopped lemon and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor, and add to the lemon mixture, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Taste and add more juice as desired. The lemon flavor should be intense but should not overpower the strawberries. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until frozen.


fresh strawberry scones


What’s fun about going through phases with certain foods, like my recent scone phase, is that it gives you a chance to really explore that category. I’ve made all sorts of scones in the past few months – cream scones, scones made with lighter dairy but more butter, scones filled with fresh fruit and with nuts. So far I’ve avoided scones with dried fruit, even though it’s traditional.

Instead, I tried scones with one of the juiciest fruits. Katie’s recipe for strawberry scones closely resembles most other scone recipes, with butter cut into the dry ingredients before dairy is gently stirred in. The recipe includes yogurt and milk instead of the richer cream often called for in scones.


The recipe was a little tricky for me. Because strawberries vary so much in water content, Katie recommends a range of flour. I knew my early season berries weren’t at their juicy peak, so I kept to the lower end of the range. However, I still needed far more liquid than the original recipe requires before the dough would come together. Kelsey indicated that she had a similar problem. Fortunately, it was easy enough to increase the milk until all of the flour was evenly moistened.


I’ve found that I generally prefer cream scones for their rich tender crumb that has no trace of dryness. These scones were a little different, and my first instinct was to prefer the cream scones that I’m used to, but then I realized that these were every bit as good. Because of the higher amount of butter compared to flour, the scones had crisper edges, especially the bottom, but it was good, almost like a flaky pie crust. And you know how scones are so good topped with jam? Putting strawberries right in the scone is ten times better.

One year ago: Peanut Butter Torte


Strawberry Scones (adapted from Good Things Catered)

When I make scones, I almost always prepare them up to just before baking (through step 5 in this recipe), then freeze the shaped dough. The scones can be baked straight from the freezer, with just a few minutes added to the baking time.

2¼ cups (10.8 ounces) all purpose flour
¼ cups (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
1 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup diced fresh strawberries

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. In a small bowl, combine the egg, yogurt, milk and zest and whisk to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine (or mix with a whisk in a large bowl). Add the cubes of butter and pulse several times, until the butter pieces are all smaller than pea-sized (or cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

4. Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients and fold them into the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together and all of the flour is hydrated.

5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and pat it into a large ball. Cut the ball in half, and shape each half into a flat disk about ½-inch thick. Cut the discs into 8 wedges.

6. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake until slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the scones cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. The scones are best served when still slightly warm.


brandied berry crepes


When I scoped out the fresh blueberry selection while shopping for the blueberry crumb cake a few weeks ago, I caught a strong scent of strawberries. Yay! I hadn’t seen them there, hadn’t even though to look for them yet, but I definitely wasn’t passing them up. After months of apples and pumpkin, I am so ready for some different fruit. Since then, I’ve been using strawberries in everything possible.


I made crepes a few months ago, and while I was perfectly happy with the recipe I used, I decided to try a new one anyway. I didn’t use any whole wheat flour this time, but this recipe uses a quarter of the butter as the other one, which is even better. I just mixed everything in a blender and let it set while I waited a few hours for Dave to wake up.


The filling was more of an adventure. Berries and sugar are heated to dissolve the sugar, then a mixture of cornstarch and kirsch is added. The filling is finished off with lemon juice and more fresh berries. For one pound of berries, the filling has ¼ cup kirsch, which seemed on the high side, especially considering the very low quality of my kirsch (and that this is breakfast). Then I accidentally added twice as much alcohol as I was supposed to. Blech, it was disgusting – it tasted like a college party. Fortunately, I had more of everything else, so I just doubled the rest of the ingredients. It still has a pretty strong alcohol flavor, but in a good way.

Topping with whipped cream, it’s a pretty decadent breakfast, one that could easily pass as dessert. But who wants to wait all day for something this good?


One year ago: Almond Biscotti – still the best biscotti I’ve made

Brandied Berry Crepes (adapted from Williams-Sonoma Desserts via Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings)

For the crepe batter:
1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for cooking the crepes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
8 ounces mixed berries or berry puree
¼ cup (1.75 ounces) sugar
pinch salt
1½ tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup brandy, preferably kirsch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces mixed berries

1. For the crepe batter: Add all of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Let stand for at least 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

2. For filling: Combine cornstarch and brandy in a small bowl. Combine the mixed berries or berry puree, the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan, then cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, then stir in the brandy mixture and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and add the remaining berries. Set aside.

3. Preheat a crepe pan or medium nonstick skillet of medium heat. When hot, grease with a dollop of butter (using a stick of butter to smear some directly on the skillet works nicely), and add enough batter to coat the skillet in a thin, even layer when you swivel the skillet around in your hand. Cook just until batter is set and golden on bottom, then flip and cook on second side for another minute or two. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the cooked crepes on a plate.

4. Spoon filling onto crepes, fold into quarters and serve.


pan-roasted asparagus


Asparagus was part of one of my worst eating experiences. I was spending a few weeks traveling, working with one of the top researchers in my field. She’s an intimidating woman, known for her arrogance and her temper. Fortunately, what little contact I had with her was generally pleasant. She even invited me to her house for dinner a couple times.


The first time, she served chicken, asparagus and rustic bread she’d bought at a bakery. The asparagus was horrendous. It was grossly overcooked, plus too little of the woody barely chewable ends had been trimmed. It was all I could do to eat it without gagging, but I had to be polite, especially since I was sort of scared of my host.


This is not that asparagus. This is lightly browned, tender but still crisp at the center. It’s also easy – just put the asparagus and some salt in a lightly oiled, hot, not nonstick pan, and cook it for a few minutes, giving the pan an occasional shake. Squeeze on some lemon juice, grind a bit of black pepper over the top, and try to erase all of your bad vegetable memories.


One year ago: Sichuan Green Beans

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

Serves 2

Note: Choose thin (less than ½-inch in diameter) asparagus for this recipe, as the thicker stalks won’t cook through evenly. Trim the asparagus by bending each stalk until it snaps. To double the recipe, use a 12-inch skillet.

1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces asparagus, washed and trimmed (see Note)
generous pinch salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium not nonstick skillet over medium heat until it’s hot. (I judge based on the viscosity of the oil – the thinner, the hotter.) Add the asparagus in a single layer and stir or shake to coat with oil. Continue to cook the asparagus until it’s crisp-tender, 5-8 minutes.


berry surprise cake


I’ve been a member of Tuesdays with Dorie for ten months, and I haven’t missed even one week. I’ve posted through holidays, vacations, and…I’m trying to come up with a third thing to round out this sentence, but honestly, I have no life. Hence it’s been easy to stay on track with TWD. But this week really tested me – my dishwasher is broken. That’s been rough.


It’s a good thing I persisted though, because I forgot to take into account Dave’s love of fruit + cream desserts. He goes nuts for them. I made a fourth of this recipe, and we ate the whole thing on Saturday night. Dave was talking about it all day Sunday, and it wasn’t until the end of the day that he realized there was none left. He wasn’t happy.


I guess I’ll have to make it again sometime then! Which is no problem, because there were things I really liked about this as well as things I’d like to experiment with.


Like most of the group this week, my cake fell in the middle. I’d read through the reviews of people who made it before me and knew this was a possibility, so I was so careful when mixing up the batter. I certainly didn’t overmix, because there were still clumps of hard, dry flour in the baked cake. On the other hand, I could see the structure of the beaten eggs breaking down as I tried to fold in the flour, so I knew I had to stop.


It was no matter though, since we were hollowing out the cake anyway. Dorie’s instructions are to slice off the top of the cake, make a nest in the middle, fill the nest with berries and cream, then put the top of the cake back on. Because the sides of my cake were nice and high, I was able to do all of that except I didn’t have a “lid” to cover the filling with. I just spread the whipped cream topping right over the filling.


The other issue people had with the recipe was the filling, which is a combination of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cream. So basically cheesecake batter, which I absolutely love. Dorie then whips up more heavy cream and mixes that with the cream cheese ingredients, but a lot of people were saying that the filling ended up bland, so I skipped the extra whipped cream.


There were things I loved about this recipe – the cream cheese filling, raspberries of course (I lucked out and found good ones for a reasonable price), the whipped cream topping…so basically everything except the sunken cake. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a genoise I loved. When I make this again, which will be soon if Dave has any say in the matter, I’ll just use a different vanilla cake recipe.

Mary Ann has posted the recipe.

One year ago: Maple Walnut Cupcakes


cherry rhubarb cobbler (twd)

Amanda chose possibly the healthiest recipe in the TWD cookbook. A portion of the flour in the biscuits is whole wheat and there’s <gasp> less than a tablespoon of butter per serving.

Combining rhubarb and cherries is a little unusual – Dorie does it because they have contrasting and complimentary flavors. Fair enough, but they also both have notoriously short seasons that only slightly overlap. I was lucky to find fresh rhubarb still available.

I love rhubarb in uses like this – it cooks down so soft as to be unnoticeable except for the sweet-tart flavor it lends. Sweet cherries, it turns out, I’m not so fond of in cooked fruit desserts. It sounds weird, but I’m annoyed at how well they hold their shape. I guess I want them to cook down and blend in with the other filling ingredients.

The biscuits were fine. Not as light and tender as the ones from Dorie’s other cobbler; these were more dense and bready. (I swear I didn’t overmix them.) They weren’t bad by any means, but maybe a little more wholesome than I prefer for dessert.

Dave, of course, loved the whole thing. He generally prefers healthier food than I do. When we eat out, I order steak and potatoes while he gets fish and vegetables. This cobbler was right up his alley.

Amanda will post the recipe on her blog.