Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nanaimo Bars

If you're familiar with Canadian desserts then you must certainly have heard of the Nanaimo bar. It is a bar cookie that consists of three layers- a chcocolate-nut-coconut base, creamy filling and chocolate top.

According to Wickipedia, the Nanaimo bar is a "type of chocolate no-bake square, it receives its name from the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, where it first became known in the 1930s. It consists of a crumb-based layer, topped by a light custard which is covered in soft chocolate. " Wickipedia

Some versions, like my own, require that the crust be baked for 10 minutes. I also made one adjustment to the filling and added some custard powder. I find that this gives it a better flavour instead of just tasting like creamed icing sugar. You can also find many variations out there too - mint, orange, peanut butter and even reverse Nanaimo bars.

The recipe makes a lot and is perfect for sharing or taking to your next potluck. If, you're allergic to nuts just omit them - I think they'll still taste divine!

Recipe: Nanaimo Bars

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie. I love the custardy texture and the spicy flavour. It reminds me of Thanksgiving and cozy autumn evenings. It is also a relatively easy pie to make even if you do steam your own pumpkin. (I didn't this time but have in the past.)

The first thing you have to remember is to buy pumpkin puree - not pumpkin pie filling. (This stuff is already spiced.) I used a Wanda's recipe for this pie which fits a 10-inch pie plate right to the top. If you use a 9-inch plate, you may have some filling left over. The pumpkin is perfectly cinnamony and nutmegy. Not too overpowering and definitely not bland. Of course, you can play with the spicing to suit your tastes. This pie was also huge - almost like a deep-dish pie. It was delicious and lasted only two days. It tastes nice room temperature but tastes fantastic chilled with some whipped cream dolloped in top. Yum!

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pear Cranberry Crisp

Ok, here's another pear recipe for your reading pleasure. The bag I have seems to bottomless so I made some pear cranberry crumble to try and use them up.

This is a super simple recipe to prepare. Peeling and slicing the pears takes the most work in this classic fall dessert. Topping off the fruity filling is a oat crumble made with melted butter. Pop the dish in the oven and you'll have dessert on the table in about an hour.

Words cannot describe how yummy it is to eat hot crisp with cold vanilla ice cream. It is divine. The tart-sweet and crunchy crisp marries well with the smoothness of ice cream. If you'd prefer, try frozen yogurt or vanilla yogurt, however, I cannot vouch for the yumminess factor. I think I'm going to make this again soon!

Recipe: Pear Cranberry Crisp
(Note: Just replace raspberries in recipe with cranberries.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pear Cream Cheese Squares

The other day my aunt gave me a big bag of pears from the tree in her backyard. I don't know what kind they are but they were a little smaller than grocery store pears and very green. I knew they would go to good use.

As luck would have it, I was invited to dinner and knew there would be a large number of people there. I thought the pears were perfect for an autumn dessert so I replaced them for apples in a Wanda's recipe - Pear Cream Cheese Squares.

These squares have a few steps but the end result is worth it. Soft cooked pears sit atop a sweetened cream cheese layer and is surrounded by a wonderful buttery crust. It's the perfect dessert when you want something cheesecakey or pie-like but don't want to make a whole one. The cream cheese layer is soft and almost custard-like. All the flavours and textures combine well to make a wonderful square. They're tasty warm, room temperature or cold and the longer you let them stand, the cleaner the cuts you'll get. I have made both pear and apple and like them equally. They're great!

Recipe: Pear Cream Cheese Squares

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

Last week we were invited over for dinner at a friend's house and I wanted to bring something different. I didn't want it to be over-the-top difficult but it had to have familiar flavours so that it would be eaten. As I looked through Robin Hood's Home Baking I found that the Chocolate Raspberry Torte fit all my criteria.

I made the cake the night before and assembled it right before we went out. The cake was lovely, chocolatey and moist. Cutting was easy to do, though I think that cutting evenly is a bit trickier! (At least it was this time.) The raspberry jam was very subtle which I like but I was told that it would have been fine without it. One big change I made was to the icing. I followed the directions exactly but found that the end product was thick and very tangy. I didn't like it very much so I added icing sugar and cream until I got a flavour and consistency I liked. Unfortunately I didn't measure it out so I can't be specific about amounts.

Overall, I would make this cake again but maybe with a different icing. It was considered 'heavy' by some but, cutting smaller wedges can solve that problem. It is truly a dessert cake and one that would suit almost any occasion.

Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Torte