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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Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookie 05

As you may know, my son (The Fabulous Baker Boy, as I call him on Instagram) baked his way to the bank this summer. You can read all about his baking adventures here. One of his customers requested peanut butter cookies and they turned out to be one of the most popular treats of the summer. The recipe he chose came from David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert. They are magnificent and easy, easy, easy to make. David has you refrigerate the cookie dough, which really does improve the texture and they don’t spread out or lose the crosshatch pattern. The Fabulous Baker Boy used Skippy peanut butter, per David’s request not to use a natural, freshly ground version. I couldn’t agree more, even though I prefer to eat the all natural kind. Peanut butter made with hydrogenated vegetable oils will hold their shape better and won’t be as greasy or dense. One thing we found is that the texture changed considerably with the amount of baking. If you want a softer cookie, as David describes, you want to err on the side of underbaking slightly. Our cookies were more like peanut butter shortbread, because we made the cookies way bigger and baked them several minutes more, but we LOVED them like this. Maybe try a tray each way and decide which style you like better. (more…)

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Blueberry Cobbler with White Peach Ice Cream!

Last weekend my family and I went to Avon, Minnesota to see a special 4th of July live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. For those of you who have never been to Minnesota, you will get a quick and thorough understanding of the place if you tune in to listen to Garrison Keiller’s show on NPR. He ends every broadcast with the phrase “…where the women are strong, the men are good looking and the kids are above average,” which pretty much sums up the place.

We brought enough food to share with the thousands of other patriotic NPR listeners sitting all around us. We arrived 4 hours early (we were far from the first ones there) and didn’t want to risk getting hungry. You know how that goes.  For dessert I made blueberry cobbler, the biscuits were made with tarragon from my garden. It was hot from the oven and required its own basket and carrying case. This is significant only because of the distance between our car and the field we set up in. But, my family never said a complaining word and I marched on blissfully with my cobbler. In the end they, carrying everything else, were happy that I did.

It was such a hit that I made another batch and baked them as individuals in dainty ramekins my friend Jen bought me during her trip to Maine. This time I served the cobbler with White Peach Ice Cream. (more…)

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Butterscotch Pudding with Coffee-Caramel Bananas, and a Trifle!

Butterscotch is one of those flavors that can make you travel through time. I remember eating it, still warm off the stove, when I was just a kid. It was straight from the box of Jell-o instant pudding and it was fabulous to my 7 year old taste buds. Today I’d probably have a very different reaction to that product and my poor kids have never even tried it. I’d be horrified by its overly sweet and gelatinous taste and they would probably love it! Instead I made them some from scratch, so they would have the same romantic memory, but this one they can take into adulthood.

I got David Lebovitz’s Ripe for Dessert book this year from my aunt Kris, the same one I sent the cake to FL for. It is a lovely book about all kinds of tasty desserts made with fresh fruit. As I was flipping through it  fell to the page with butterscotch pudding. He paired it with bananas, which at first seemed like a match that would be far too sweet.  But the banana’s are caramelized in coffee, which perfectly balances the sugar with the bite of coffee.  Sweet enough to satisfy my sons and yet not at all cloying like the Jell-o of my childhood. (more…)

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