Showing posts with label berries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label berries. Show all posts

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us! Strawberry & Blueberry Sponge Cake

by Peg Cochran

Celebrate!  Celebrate! Dance to the music...oops, you've caught me dancing, I'm so excited about our anniversary celebration.  We are having two contests (more below) and lots of lucky winners!

I am celebrating with strawberry & blueberry sponge cake.  This recipe comes from Teta Ann, my late husband's aunt.  (Teta means aunt.)  She was an amazing baker (and cook).  She could take a lump of strudel dough and stretch it until it covered her entire dining room table!

We always called this "strawberry shortcake" but in reality, it's a sponge cake and very easy to make.  You can top it with any kind of fruit you like.  The cake itself is very light and airy.

It's easy to remember, too!  8 eggs, 8 tablespoons flour, 8 tablespoons sugar!

My sister-in-law and I are the third generation to use this recipe, and I'll be passing it along to my daughters, too!  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Teta’s Sponge Cake

8 eggs, separated
8 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until thick and lemon colored.  Beat egg whites until stiff.

Stir baking powder into flour and add mixture to egg yolk mixture one tablespoon at a time. 

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Bake in a greased and floured 8 x 12 inch pan (I used a 9 x 13 and it worked fine) for 20 to 30 minutes at 325 degrees. (My oven runs hot so I check it early.)  I also just sprayed the pan with cooking spray which wasn't around when this recipe was created.

Let cake sit 5 to 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack covered with a brown paper bag (or brown paper!).  The brown paper will absorb some of the grease from the eggs in the cake.

Beat one pint of whipping cream with powdered sugar (as desired for level of sweetness)

Cover cake with whipped cream.  Dip strawberries or other fruit in sugar and arrange on cake.  (Or, you can cheat like I did, and put the berries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar.)  

Separate yolks and whites

Beat egg whites until stiff

Beat yolks and sugar until lemon colored

Fold egg whites into yolks

Ready to go into the oven

Nicely browned on top

Invert onto rack covered with brown paper

Prepare your choice of fruit

Cover cake with prepared whipped cream

Ready to decorate

Happy 5th anniversary Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

We want to share our excitement and celebrate with you with some fabulous prizes.  To enter our daily book giveaway for today, just leave a comment below telling us with whom you shared information about our contest—your sister, friend, neighbor, book club—it’s up to you!  I am giving away TWO books--an e-book from my Lucille Series--CONFESSION IS MURDER and a copy of the third book in my Gourmet De-Lite series, ICED TO DEATH.  Remember to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

And now for the BIG contest news:  we are also giving away a darling mystery-themed tote bag STUFFED with seven of our books!  To be entered in that contest, send us a picture of one of the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen bloggers’ books with:

a)      A cat

b)      A dog

c)       At the library

d)      At the bookstore

e)      Having summer fun

Five lucky people will win the tote and all the great summer reads.  To enter the photo contest go HERE for directions and the entry form.


For more about my books, visit my web site or Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Fruit Tart

Happy almost Fourth of July! If you're anything like me, you like to have something sweet and festive around for the holiday. This tart recipe looks like it's intensive, with lots of steps, but it's not hard at all. I've given options for both regular and gluten-free crust. That's the only thing that matters when it comes to dietary issues.
After that, it's time to enjoy the flavors of summer! And your independence. 

Did you know (fourth of July fun facts):

...that John Adams wrote home to Abigail on the 3rd of July that this day, July 2nd, will go down in history...but it wasn't until July 4th that congress accepted Jefferson's proposal. a bizarre twist of fate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th.

...the fourth of July was being celebrated as early as 1777, but it wasn't an official holiday until 1870.

...the fourth of July is the biggest hot dog consuming day, with over 155 million being eaten for celebrations.

...this one for Sheila...which I'm sure she knows, history buff that she is...the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846, for fear of cracking it further. Therefore, on July 4th, it is tapped 13 times to signify it is time to ring the bells of freedom across the country.



For the crust (***regular or gluten-free option):
1 stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
1/4 cup sugar (*I used raw sugar)
1 1/4 cup regular or gluten-free flour, plus extra for rolling dough (depending on your dietary needs!)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water (I used 4)

For the tart:
1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar (*I used raw sugar)
4 tablespoons cornstarch 

Jam Glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup apricot jam or strawberry jam
1 tablespoon water


3 cups fruit including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more…raspberries kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc., depending on your preference

Special equipment needed:
1 pound dried beans or rice
Parchment paper
10-inch tart pan


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the dough:
Put the butter, sugar, flour OR gluten-free flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy consistency. Add half of the water and pulse the food processor 2 to 3 times. The dough should start to come together. If desired, add the remaining water. (I did!) Check the consistency by clenching a small handful in your fist. If the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. If not, pulse the dough with a little more water. When the dough has reached the right consistency, set it on parchment paper that has been dusted with flour (or gluten-free flour, depending on your needs!) Dust with more flour (or GF flour). Top with another piece of parchment paper. Flatten slightly using the heel of your hand. Put the entire thing into a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready:  Set the dough, including parchment paper, on a clean work surface. Roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness between the paper. Peel off the parchment paper and roll the dough gently into a tube. Then lay the dough in the tart pan, unrolling as you go. Push the dough into the sides of the tart pan. Roll dough over the top edge of the tart pan, then cut the extra dough from the pan. (You need this extra bit because the dough will shrink when it bakes.) Cover the dough with parchment paper and gently poke holes in the paper. Fill the tart shell with the dried beans or rice and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the parchment and beans/rice and bake for 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. The dough should be golden and crisp.

For the custard:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together.

Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Next, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla to a boil, just until the edges bubble. Remove from heat and add slowly to the egg mixture. Now pour the egg-milk mixture into a FRESH medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. Whisk for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl and VERY IMPORTANT cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature.

To construct the tart:
Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds on medium-high. Brush half of the jam over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes). 

Remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan by placing your hand under the pan and gently pushing the tart straight up. Neat trick: the fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. Set the tart pan on a flat surface and the tart ring in the sink.
If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter. But this isn’t necessary.
Next, spread the cooled to room temperature pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit on top of cream or in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Using the remaining jam, brush the fruit with a glaze.

Refrigerate the tart, but bring to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves about 6-8 people.


On Killer Characters blog, which a number of us participate on, we are having the Cozy Days of Summer Giveaway, where each day you can enter to win a book or more. Check it out and leave a comment with your email! Click the picture to follow the link:


For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!


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