Tag Archives: cinnamon

Apple-Walnut Gingerbread Cobbler

I know it won’t last, but I’m wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt today, and declaring it fall. I’m combining two fall flavors that I love in this dessert—apples and gingerbread—but not going in the typical direction of muffins or nut bread. Why not put them together in a cobbler, where both the apples and the gingerbread shine on their own, but work even better together?

I’m using Annie Somerville’s “Gingerbread” from her Fields of Greens (1993) cookbook, with two changes. I’m using agave syrup instead of corn syrup and sour cream instead of buttermilk. I like this recipe because the focus is on the fresh ginger. There is only a small 1/4 cup of molasses, a little brown sugar, but no other spices. No cinnamon, no cloves, no nutmeg. Just lots of grated ginger—1/2 cup! With all that ginger and only a little molasses, the batter is much lighter in color than a traditional gingerbread. I did add a half teaspoon of cinnamon to the apple mixture, but that was a small amount for five apples.

Apple-Walnut Gingerbread Cobbler

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 9 inch square or round baking dish with at least a 2 inch depth.

Apple Filling

5 medium-large apples, pared and cut in chunks or slices

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup white sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Optional: 1 tablespoon flour, if your apples are very juicy


Adapted from Annie Somerville’s “Gingerbread,” Fields of Greens (1993).

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup agave syrup

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated fresh ginger

  1. Pare and chop apples. Keep apples in bowl of acidulated water while making batter. Roughly chop walnuts and set aside with the rest of the filling ingredients.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Beat egg, molasses, and agave syrup. Add to creamed butter and brown sugar, beating well.
  4. Beat in sour cream.
  5. Mix dry ingredients and slowly mix into batter.
  6. Lastly, mix in the 1/2 cup of grated ginger.
  7. Strain apples, then mix with melted butter, nuts, cinnamon, salt, and sugar (and flour, if using).
  8. Pour apple mixture into prepared dish.
  9. Pour batter over apples, lightly spreading almost to edges of dish. It will spread out more as it bakes, and will be less likely to burn on the edges if you don’t spread it all the way.
  10. Bake until the gingerbread is browned and cracked and the apples are bubbling around the edges. That took about 45 minutes in my oven. Unlike baking gingerbread in a baking pan where it touches the pan all around, the bottom of the gingerbread cooks with the apples, so it takes a little longer.

Do try some warm with whipped cream.

Peaches and Cream Pie

My old Betty Crocker says that you can make either an apple pie or a blueberry pie “Dutch” by pouring a little heavy cream into the filling, either before you put the top crust on your blueberry pie, or 15 minutes before your apple pie is done through the pie slits. They don’t say and I have no idea what makes this Dutch, but it seems to me a no-brainer to add cream to a peach pie. So, I’m just going to make a regular peach pie with a cutout top, and pour in some cream before it’s completely baked, as suggested for the apple pie. I think a lattice would look nice, but I’m not in a weaving mood, so I’m cutting out some shapes from what would be the top crust to semi-cover the top—and make it easier to pour in the cream. I have a pretty good idea about the mess I would make trying to pour cream through pie slits.

Since I still have buttermilk from the recent pot pie, I’m going to make another buttermilk crust, but this time with the food processor. The only hard part of this pie is peeling the peaches—the boiling water, the ice water, the mess. I better go do that now. Take note that if your peaches are firm, like mine are, the peel may not peel off after dropping in boiling water then ice water, but you should still do that routine, because it makes it easier to peel with a vegetable peeler without taking off too much valuable flesh.

After sitting in the sugar-flour-cinnamon mixture, my peaches created a ton of juice. I think it might be a messy pie. One advantage of making a pie with a lattice or cutouts is that there are a lot of open spaces so juices will not have to bust out of the edge. If such a pie makes way too much juice, use a baster to remove some of it before it boils over.

Buttermilk Pie Crust

  • Servings: makes one double crust
  • Difficulty: easy if you're used to making pie crust
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2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons sugar (better in a dessert pie)

1 cup cold butter (2 sticks) cut in small cubes

1/2-3/4 cup whole buttermilk, depending on your humidity

heavy cream and decorating sugar for top

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar (if using) in a food processor.
  2. Pulse in cold butter until uniformly distributed, but not too finely.
  3. Add in buttermilk through the processor chute until the dough holds together but is not overly sticky. I had to use a little more than the 1/2 cup, but not quite as much as 3/4 cup.
  4. Knead the dough lightly into a fairly smooth ball, cut in half, and shape each half into an 8 inch disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Roll each disc to a circle about 2 inches bigger than your pie dish. My dish is a regular 9 inch dish, not too deep.
  6. Fit one crust into your dish, trimming the overhang. Turn under the edges and crimp. Cover the edges with foil if you think the crust will become too dark. I did not.
  7. Fill the crust, then place crust cutouts in pattern of your choosing.
  8. Brush the cutouts with heavy cream and sprinkle decorators sugar on top.
  9. Bake at 425° for about 45 minutes.  About 30 minutes into the baking, pull the rack out and pour 2-4 tablespoons of heavy cream into the filling, trying not to hit the cutouts. I put a large piece of foil under my dish, because I could see there was going to be a juicy overflow.

Peach Filling from the old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961):

6 large peaches, peeled and sliced

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup flour

My addition: 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

Mix all together and let sit while the dough chills. If you are concerned that all the juice won’t thicken in the pie, you could always cook the filling first in a saucepan, which wouldn’t be much different from using a canned filling, but it would still be your own. I have made many pies in my life that just didn’t work right, when either the fruit didn’t cook enough or the juices didn’t thicken. Oh, well.

It turned out very well, if a little juicy. I might try cornstarch instead of flour next time so more of the juice thickens. The cream adds a little richness to the filling and it looks nice swirling among the thickened juices—I’m not sure that shows in my pics.

Grilled Chicken Paillards

After poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts, my second favorite way to cook them is pounding them into paillards. It’s one of the few ways to cook them evenly without drying out at least part of them. Today, I’m going to spice them up with a quick barbecue rub instead of a wet marinade and then serve them in sandwiches, with or without barbecue sauce. I’m using the same rub I use for pork roasts and letting them marinate in it for about 2 hours. This rub sticks to both sides, even when the paillards overlap—don’t ask me how.

I didn’t use the classic butterfly method for paillards today, as I do when I have very large, thick ones. I posted a video once about using that butterfly method here if you’re interested: https://kitchenportfolio.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/nutty-chicken-paillard/ The package I used today had five breast halves that ranged in size from maybe just above average to small. None of them had the tender attached, which I would have removed and cooked separately, but I have left them on with some luck in the past. I just trimmed them, put them between plastic wrap with the underside of the breast up, and pounded them to about 1/4-1/2 inch. They may not have been uniform in size when I began, but they ended up uniformly thick for cooking evenly and quickly.

Grilled Chicken Paillards

  • Servings: 1/2-1 breast per person
  • Difficulty: easy
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boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tender removed

Dry Rub:

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

olive oil to drizzle on before grilling

  1. Place chicken breast, between sheets of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound the breasts until uniformly thick, maybe 1/4-1/2 inch. Decades ago, I used the bottom of a coffee mug to do this and it worked just fine. Some people use the side of a heavy tall can. Whatever you use, you just want to avoid tearing the chicken by accidentally using a sharp edge.
  2. Mix the dry rub ingredients and lightly rub into both sides of each breast. It made enough to do five for me. Lay the chicken breasts in a large dish, cover, and place in refrigerator for a few hours.
  3. Remove the chicken to come to room temperature while you prepare the grill to 350°-400°
  4. Drizzle some oil over each piece before you place it on the grill. Cook covered for a few minutes, then turn and cook covered for a few more minutes. You can use a thermometer inserted in the side to check for 145°-150° or just press with your finger as you would test the doneness of a steak. These cook really quickly and you don’t want to lose the juiciness of the chicken by overcooking.
  5. I had all my coals piled in the middle of the grill, so I cooked the three small ones and then the two larger ones.
  6. Serve as is with sides or cut to fit rolls and garnish with tomatoes and slaw. The seasoning was enough for us, but you could add barbecue sauce.

Plum Cake Cockaigne

Here’s another often-used recipe from my old Joy of Cooking, that makes use of whatever summer fruit is ripe. It’s sweet and moist, but light enough for a summer dessert. I guess you could add ice cream or whipped cream, but I like the pastry as is. It’s a kind of upside down cobbler with a cakier dough, where you push sliced fruit into the batter, then sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar topping to bake. If your fruit is ripe and juicy, the cake takes on the color of the juice, so today’s is a lovely purple. My husband will be less than thrilled about the cinnamon, but whipped cream will help him get over that.

I could have sworn I took a photo of the sliced plums, but my phone says otherwise.

Plum Cake Cockaigne

  • Servings: makes one 9 inch square dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 425°

4-5 ripe black plums or your favorite stone fruit, sliced—you may want to pare some fruits, like apples or even peaches

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

milk to make 1/2 cup of liquids

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. Cut butter into dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk egg and vanilla in measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid.
  3. Stir into dry ingredients and butter to make a stiff dough.
  4. Spread the dough in a 9″ square baking dish. You do not need to butter the dish.
  5. Press fruit slices into dough in any pattern, covering all the dough.
  6. Sprinkle mixture of 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter over fruit.
  7. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes until fruit juices are bubbling.
  8. Serve warm or cold (but better warm) alone or with whipped cream.

I think this would be good with dark cherries, but I wouldn’t want to do the pitting.