Grapefruit Posset with Campari Gelee (Confectionery Funnel Giveaway)

Grapefruit Posset | Zoebakes 07

This is a Posset. It has been around for a very long time, but chances are you’ve never heard of it. It is like a perfectly executed panna cotta, in texture and taste, but it is made without the gelatin. There is no fear that you will end up with creamy jello because you added too much gelatin. As a result you have to serve it in a cup because it’s so perfectly soft and it can’t hold its shape if inverted onto a plate. I’m smitten with this dessert and believe in my heart of hearts that it will become the next big thing in restaurants. Well, it should be at least.

Grapefruit Posset | Zoebakes 09

The creamy posset really needs no accessories, so you can serve it all by itself. But, I wanted to layer on the grapefruit flavor, so I made a bed of pound cake and then topped it with a grapefruit and Campari gelee. It is very rich, but the grapefruit and slight bitterness of the campari create a sophisticated “creamsicle” that is super refreshing.

Details below for the Rosle Confectionery Funnel giveaway.

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Grapefruit Pound Cake

Grapefruit Pound Cake 02 | ZoeBakes

This is the most awkward time of year for produce. Our expectation in winter is that we have to rely on imported or frozen fruit, if we want anything other than snow to eat. During the summer we have all kinds of local options and even take them for granted by August. Right now, at least in MN, we’re watching the buds come out on the trees, the crocuses are popping up and we’re hopeful that it won’t snow again. But, it will. There is nothing but tasteless berries and wooden imported fruit at the grocery store. But, thankfully there is always citrus to cheer us up. It is not local in MN, although with our new classification of growing zone 5, it may just be a matter of time before I grow my own. But, unlike imported berries and stone fruits, citrus travels well and is juicy and delicious when it gets to us. I adore grapefruit. I think it is often overlooked; giving up the stage to its more popular cousins, oranges, limes and lemons. It is a more subtle, less sweet or tart than any of those. It makes great mamosas too. I digress.

This pound cake is based on a recipe from David Lebovitz’s “Ready for Dessert.” I’ve made his orange or passion fruit pound cake many times, but I like it even better with grapefruit. I also swap out the butter for a light olive oil. It is a wonderful rich flavor, but also creates a soft, moist crumb that lasts well for several days. Unlike butter, which gets a stiff crumb after just a couple days. Having said that, I’ve made it with butter as well and it never, ever lasts long enough to worry about the crumb on the second day. (more…)

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Matzo Crack S’mores

Matzo S'mores 02 | ZoeBakes

Every year I make matzo crack at Passover, because I don’t think I’d be invited back to the Davis family seder if I didn’t. This year I am on a bit of a homemade marshmallow kick, so I thought why not combine two of my favorites into one CRAZY delicious and fun dessert. Bang, it’s a new classic in my house.

Matzo S'mores 01 | ZoeBakes (more…)

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Cake Baker’s Apprentice (Chocolate Pretzel Crunch Cake and Pavlovas)

Chocolate Pretzel Cake (Matt Lien Photography) | ZoeBakes 10

It’s really not that unusual for someone to leave a panicked comment saying they have offered to make the cake for their best friend’s wedding. I salute them and hope their BFF knows exactly what a loving gesture it is. My friend Molly asked me to help her come up with a dessert for her best friend’s big day. Molly is a gifted writer, a brilliant adventurer and has the wit and wisdom to keep Andrew Zimmern in line on their shared podcast, Go Fork Yourself, but she is NOT a baker. So, this request was done in a tone of slight trepidation. Besides working with Andrew she also has a blog called Hey Eleanor, where she chronicles overcoming of her greatest fears. She’s jumped out of a plane, bungeed off a bridge, she did stand up comedy (that’s what my nightmares are made of), quit her job and got married (her husband is awesome, so not much risk there). We’d always talked about baking together for her blog, but why not up the ante by trying to create something extra special for her friend’s most important day. No pressure there. We settled on a rather ambitious menu of individual chocolate pretzel crunch cakes and a rose scented pavlova with lemon curd and berries. She did an absolutely fantastic job, as she does with everything.

Chocolate Pretzel Cake (Matt Lien Photography) | ZoeBakes 09

Our journey in the kitchen was captured by Matt Lien. I spotted his photos on Facebook after he shot Sameh Wadi’s cookbook, The New Mediterranean Table. I immediately contacted Matt to gush over his gorgeous work and figure out a way to work together on something, anything.  That was just weeks ago and he was game to come over and play in the kitchen with Molly and me. These images perfectly capture how much fun we had and how easily Molly conquered her fear of baking. (Matt had to leave before we were finished, so the pictures of the final desserts are mine, which will be painfully obvious.)

Chocolate Pretzel Cake | ZoeBakes (photo Matt Lien) 01

Chocolate Pretzel Cakes

pavlova | ZoeBakes 01

Pavlova

Follow her adventure and maybe you’ll offer to make your friend’s wedding desserts, or a birthday cake.

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Chocolate Marble Cake

marble cake | ZoeBakes 04

My 15-year-old is not one to spend time cooking, so when he does I watch with delight. Turns out he’s been paying attention. He moved with confidence and ease as he made this cake, so there is hope he’ll leave home someday with at least a few skills in the kitchen. Truth be told, on this occasion I’d asked him to bake me a cake, because he owed me one. That, by the way, is a euphemism for the fact that he’d done something I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. He invited his friend over to help and they set out to bake me a cake with all the intensity and focus of real pastry chefs. It was awesome and tasty!

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 02

Henri and Sophie wanted to make a marble cake, so I helped them find a recipe they could do without a lot of input from me. (more…)

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie | ZoeBakes 01

I had to bake this pie twice before I could get these few shots. Not because I was fighting with the winter light, lack there of, or because I just couldn’t work out the recipe, which happens. No, this was because I couldn’t keep my sons from eating it before I had a chance to photograph it. They know the drill…NEVER eat anything before mom takes pictures. They’ve grown up with this and consider it totally normal, even though it’s clearly not. But, this pie inspired a mutiny of the François kitchen etiquette. They said they couldn’t help themselves because Key Lime Pie is their favorite. The first pie came and went without a single picture. The second one I got these few, but when I realized the picture of the slice was out of focus and went to take another picture, the pie was gone. This time my kids had friends over to help them eat it, in case you think they ate two pies in as many days, by themselves. Do I bake a third pie just for another photo? Maybe. Actually, I think I’ll get the boys to make it this time.

I hope you enjoy it as much as they did! (more…)

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