27 June, 2015

Cherry Cake

The book Salamandastron was a big one for food, with all of the feasts with the hares. One of the many desserts mentioned was a cherry cake. For a while I was toying with the idea of making a vanilla cake with chunks of cherries mixed in, but I was worried about how the fresh fruit would handle the heat of baking. Then I saw a recipe for cherry cupcakes on a blog I follow and decided to use that idea. I used very little sugar in these because my fresh cherries were ripe and sweet. You may need to add a little more if yours are underripe.

Cherry Cake



Prep time: 20 minutes (less if you're a faster cherry pitter than I am)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 cake (I recommend 8 slices)

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose white flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 30 fresh cherries
  • 2 tbsp milk 
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Stem, halve, and pit the cherries. You should end up with about two cups of cherry halves
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Place cherries, milk, vinegar, oil, and vanilla into a blender and puree until smooth. It's ok if you have some bits of cherry skin still floating around.
  5. Pour the cherry mixture into the flour mixture and mix very gently. The baking soda and vinegar will react and you don't want to push out the air. 
  6. Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is dry and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan on a rack until ready to slice and serve.

20 June, 2015

Cherry and Meadowcream Pie

Cherries are in season! This makes me so happy; cherries are one of my favorite fruits. When I read about this pie in The Outcast of Redwall, I thought immediately that it would work beautifully with a thickly set, meadowcream pudding. It turns out I was right. I kept my cherries in large halves and lined the bottom of the pie crust, but feel free to chop them and mix them into the meadowcream; just stir occasionally during the chilling process to re-suspend them. I also used a pre-made crust because I was in a rush making this for a birthday. If you have the time, I highly recommend making your own crust, either out of shortbread or a simple pastry dough.

Cherry and Meadowcream Pie



Cook time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: One pie (eight slices recommended)

Ingredients


  • Pie crust, baked if necessary
  • One batch of meadowcream (cooked but not yet set)
  • Halved, pitted cherries (I used about 14)
Directions

  1. Line the bottom of the pie crust with cherry halves, cut side down.

  2. Cook the meadowcream. While still hot and liquidy, slowly pour over the cherries until the crust is filled.
  3. Cover the pie with plastic wrap so that the plastic is completely touching the cream. (No air should be touching the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming.
  4. Chill the pie for about 4 hours or until set.
  5. Slice and serve.
If you have extra meadowcream, just pour it into ramekins or mason jars and let set on its own. 

15 June, 2015

Meadowcream Pudding

Meadowcream is one of few foods that was found in nearly every Redwall book, but there was almost no description of it. In most books it seemed to be similar to whipped cream. In The Bellmaker, however, it was described as "meadowcream pudding." While English and American definitions of the word "pudding" differ greatly, I thought this one seemed like it should be a thick custard, following the usual American definition. It can be eaten alone or with fresh berries mixed in.

Meadowcream Pudding

Cook time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 ½ cups milk (I recommend using a milk which has at least some fat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
Directions
  1. Whisk together cornstarch and sugar in a small saucepan.


  2. Pour in milk, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until thick and bubbling. It should thickly coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Pour into ramekins or mason jars and refrigerate four hours or until set.

06 June, 2015

Hazelnut Cakes

These mini cakes were made with the leftover hazelnuts from the Dandelion, Hazelnut, and Fennel Salad. These nutty, buttery little cakes are great on their own, or you can top them with berry jam -- raspberries or blueberries would both go quite well. (It's not particularly "Redwally," but I made a thin chocolate ganache by melting together a quarter cup of chocolate and a a quarter cup of milk and pouring it over the cakes. It was great.)

Hazelnut Cakes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 two-inch cakes

Ingredients


  • 6 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used homemade hazelnut milk, but any milk should work)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until they become a fine meal. (Be careful not to pulse too long or the oils will release and you can end up with hazelnut butter).
  2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the hazelnut powder and flour to the sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. You should have a dry, crumbly dough at this point.
  4. Add the milk, baking powder, and baking soda and mix to combine. The dough should be thick and quite sticky.
  5. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
  6. With wet hands, shape the dough into eight circular cakes. My circles were about 2 inches in diameter.
  7. Preheat oven to 325F. While the oven is heating, place the baking sheet in the fridge. This will cool the cakes so they retain their shape better. 
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of a cake comes out clean. (I should note that I turned off my oven after five minutes because it has an exposed coil which likes to burn things. The internal thermometer still read 325 at the ten minute mark, though.)
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on cooling racks. Cool about ten minutes, or until the cakes stiffen, then enjoy. These will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

30 May, 2015

Dandelion, Fennel, and Hazelnut Salad

This particular recipe struck me as odd when I first read it in Salamadastron, since fennel and dandelion greens don't quite overlap in season. They get close enough, however, that around this time of year you should be able to find both nice and fresh in your grocery store's produce section.

Dandelion, Fennel, and Hazelnut Salad Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 salads

Ingredients
  • 4 cups dandelion greens
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 12 radishes
  • 1 can reduced-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Directions

  1. Clean and chop the dandelion greens, fennel, and radishes. (To chop fennel, cut off the green stalks and dispose, then chop the white bulb.)
  2. Mix together with the beans and hazelnuts.
  3. If you have a shaker, shake together the oil and vinegar, mix into the salad, and separate into 6 bowls for serving.
  4. If you don’t have a shaker, separate the salad first, then drizzle each serving with ½ tbsp. oil and 1/3 tbsp vinegar.



23 May, 2015

Dandelion Cordial

When I moved for grad school, I saw dandelions for the first time and my mind immediately went to this drink. When reading Redwall, I always though that dandelion cordial always sounded like iced tea, something a little less sweet than the berry cordials to pair with the unusual flavor of the flowers. That being said, this recipe is very similar to the strawberry cordial, but it requires a little more prep work. This recipe only requires the heads of the dandelion flowers, which can be plucked off easily without any special tools, such as a dandelion weeder. However, if you are plucking flowers PLEASE be careful not to pick any that may have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. If you aren't sure, don't use them!

PLEASE NOTE: Yet again, this is a recipe which needs to be started the day before you want it. Be prepared.

Dandelion Cordial

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cool time: 24 hours
Total time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 24 ounces (Three glasses)

Ingredients


  • 24 ounces water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • About three dozen dandelion heads
Directions
  1. After collecting your dandelion heads, separate the yellow petals from the green stems.
  2. Place the yellow petals into a large, heatproof bowl. (You'll want to have about a cup or a cup and a half of loose petals)
  3. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan.
  4. Heat water to a low boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  5. Pour hot water over petals and allow to sit until cooled to room temperature (about 90 minutes).
  6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for the rest of the 24 hour cool time.
  7. Remove bowl from refrigerator and pour liquid through a fine sieve into another bowl to remove the petals
  8. Use a ladle to pour liquid into glasses or funnel into bottles for later.

15 May, 2015

I'm Back!

Hello, internet! I'm sorry I was quiet for so long. The first year of graduate school was brutal and I barely had time to think, let alone create and test recipes. I survived, though! Well...hopefully... Anyway, I hope to start posting new recipes soon, so stay tuned!