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pineapplepico4_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week! I had a few welcome days off to spend with family and one of the things I like best is shopping and cooking together. My son, in severe taco withdrawal after three months of college, helped me come up with this pico for chicken tacos but it would be equally good on fish – or just dipped straight up.

Find a nice fresh pineapple and you’ll have a batch of pico in just a few minutes. It is a little better the second day, and of course you can adjust the heat to your own preferences. Since it’s super-healthy, fresh, and gluten-free, it would be a great addition to a holiday potluck, and a way to wake up palates jaded from rich holiday foods.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Makes about 3 cups

  • One medium fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 t. fresh ground ginger
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 T. sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste) (or to taste)

Put the pineapple chunks in the food processor. Pulse five-six times until you start to approach crushed pineapple.

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Add the rest of the ingredients.

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Pulse three-four times until everything is roughly chopped. Give a stir to make sure there aren’t any large pieces left.

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Spoon into a serving dish and chill. Serve on tacos, grilled fish or chicken, or as-is with a bag of lime chips!

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Now that we’ve been all virtuous it’s time to get out the butter and start on our holiday cookies – in our next post!


Four years ago: Swedish Visiting Cake
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Pumpkin Gingerbread
One year ago: Orange Bites


pearcheesetart10_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

With a couple ripe pears and a nice bottle of Chardonnay on hand, I threw this together one night when I got home from work. It has an olive oil crust, adapted from a recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini.

I like to use Bartlett pears because they’re so flavorful but d’Anjou work too and they’re not as juicy. Right when the tart came out of the oven I drizzled it with some local honey and a few sage leaves from my garden. It a nice versatile tart, and it would make a pretty little starter as minis too.

Pear Goat Cheese Savory Tart, Makes one 9″ freeform tart

Olive Oil Crust

  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. semolina pastry flour
  • 1/4 c. light whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cold water

Three ripe pears, cleaned and sliced

4 oz. soft goat cheese

Honey for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the first six crust ingredients in a bowl.

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Work in the oil to crumbles.

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Stir in the water and gently knead a few times a soft dough. Don’t overwork it.

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Dust the counter and roll out the dough like you mean it, with a few broad strokes.

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Lift the dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Pile the pears in the middle, leaving a few inches of clearance all around. Then add dollops of goat cheese on top. Bring the sides of the crust up over, and arrange them to show the filling.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges are a deep golden brown. Right when the tart comes out of the oven drizzle it with honey and some fresh herbs for color.

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Serve hot or warm. Cut into fourths for a generous appetizer.

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Four years ago: Apple Crisp
Three years ago: Malakoff Torte
Two years ago: Cinnamon Bread
One year ago: Brownie Cookies


gingergoldcake8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris-Brady

Local apples are starting to come in and I made this cake as a way to use up some of the beautiful Gingergolds I picked up.  Gingergolds are a cross between Golden Delicious and Newton Pippins. They are a lovely golden green:

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with a gorgeous sweet-tart flavor and crisp bite. These apples are not built for long-term storage, so you have to enjoy them early in the season. I decided to pair them with a mix of spices, sugar and local honey. The recipe below is based on Eliza Acton’s classic gingerbread recipe from the 1800s, with a few tweaks of my own.

Gingergold Cake, Makes one 9″ cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. molasses
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 2 T. ground ginger (Not powdered, actual ground gingerroot)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • Zest of one lemon (important!)
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. light wholewheat flour
  • 6 T. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • Four Gingergold apples, cleaned and chopped in a fine dice, set aside in acidulated water
  • Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 and put the eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat them until light and frothy.

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Beat in the sugars.

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Then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and butter. Beat until well-combined, then beat in the buttermilk. Lastly, beat in the wholewheat flour.

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You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Fold in the apples and pour the batter into a greased 9″ cake pan.

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Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. The center should spring back when touched lightly.

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Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or dressed up. This cake is a good keeper, and I think it’s actually better on the second day. Store any leftovers wrapped, freeze for storage longer than a few days.

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Three years ago: Berry Crumb Cake
Two years ago: Icelandic Almond Rolls
One year ago: Fried Rice


rhuberry11_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Guess who! I know, right? It’s been crazy, but I’ve come out on the other side of two graduation parties for my son and lots of other parties for graduating friends and family. I made most of the boy’s party food myself (with help from the aunts!), and I may get around to posting come menus and quantities. But not today my friends. Because today, while it’s still rhubarb season, you have to try this pie.

It is, in real life, the crazy red of the photo. It’s also crazy-good, and I’m not even that much of a pie person. There’s strawberries, raspberries and then a rhubarb filling holding it all together. It’s also no-bake, so if it’s hot where you are and you don’t have air conditioning either – you’re welcome!

I made this one with sugarfree raspberry gelatin, but you could sub in unflavored gelatin if you like. The redder your rhubarb the prettier the filling. If you have a dad in your life that loves pie, this would be a good choice (hint, hint).

Rhuberry Pie, Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 3 c. diced rhubarb (1″ dice)
  • 1-1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin, or one packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh raspberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (9″ deep dish) (or sub in a GF crumb crust)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Combine the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan.

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Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the rhubarb is just barely tender. Take out some of the liquid (about 1/2 c.) and stir the gelatin into it.

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Remove it from the heat.

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Fold the dissolved gelatin, strawberries and raspberries back in. Let it sit for a few minutes so the fresh berries can poach a tiny bit. Reserve 1/2 c. of the liquid. Put the rest of the filling in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, until it just starts to thicken.

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Pile the cooled filling into the pie shell. Cover the pie lightly and return it to the refrigerator to set completely. You can cut it in a couple hours, but if you can let it sit overnight you’ll get the cleanest slices.

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Beat the cream to soft peaks, then beat in the reserved liquid. It will stabilize the cream and turn it a lovely pink.

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Refrigerate the cream (covered) until you’re ready to serve the pie.

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Serve each slice cold with a dollop of cream. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Three years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
Two years ago: Michigan Fruit Pie
One year ago: English Muffins


applecoffeecake_little-house-dunes14

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a great recipe from The Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. I made a small change, adding a cinnamon swirl batter under the apples. It’s quick and easy to make but it looks very finished, it would be great to take to a brunch or tea. It also keeps well, if you like to bake things ahead for company.

You can use a deep-dish pie pan or a deep springform pan. Look for well-flavored baking apples to use in this recipe. I used Jonamacs.

Danish Apple Cake, Makes one 9″ cake – eight generous servings

  • 1/2 c. softened butter
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 3 baking apples, peeled, split in half and cored (let stand in acidulated water)
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then alternately add the milk and the flour in two parts, beating well between each addition.

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Spread 3/4 of the batter in a greased, 9″ deep dish pie dish.

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Stir the cinnamon in the remaining batter and spread it across the top. Slice each apple half not quite through in 1/4″ slices (Hasselbeck-style).

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Press the apples cut side down on top of the batter.

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Brush them with the entire surface with the melted butter, then evenly sprinkle it with the sugar.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through.

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This has a great flavor and a texture that is somewhere between a dessert cake and a coffeecake.

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It keeps well at room temperature and slices nicely for serving.

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Three years ago: Chocolate Pudding
Two years ago: Austrian Carnival Doughnuts
One year ago: Bran Muffins


spinachpie12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I was in Greektown recently and it reminded me that’s it’s been a long time since I made a spinach pie, so when I saw the large boxes of spinach on sale I pounced on them. This is a great meatless entree in larger portions, and a lovely appetizer in smaller slices.

Spanakopita – Greek Spinach Pie, Makes one 8″ pie (about eight servings)

  • 11 oz.  baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. minced onion
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t. dill weed
  • 6 oz. feta cheese (I used the tomato/basil flavor)
  • 10 oz. cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 20 sheets of filo dough
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash the spinach.

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Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the fresh spinach. Saute for two-three minutes, tossing, until it’s wilted and bright green.

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Transfer the spinach to a bowl and add the seasonings.

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Then the cheeses. If you prefer a drier filling you can drain the cottage cheese ahead of time.

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Beat the eggs, pour them over the top and mix it all together.

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Lightly grease your pie dish and drape four filo sheets over the top. Brush them with butter and drape four more sheets over that layer, in the opposite direction. Brush those with butter and lay two more sheets over the middle of the dish.

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Pour in the filling.

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Fold the filo edges over the filling and lay two more sheets over the top. Tuck in all the edges and brush it all with butter.

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Continue layering two sheets at a top, brushing each set with butter, until you’ve used them all.

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Put the pie in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the center is set.

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If the outside is browning too much for your liking you can finish it off in the microwave.

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Cut into wedges and serve hot or warm.

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Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Rewarm them in the oven if you want to preserve maximum crispness.


Three years ago: Gougeres
Two years ago: Brown Butter & Sea Salt Rice Krispie Treats
One year ago: Burmese Chicken Soup


applebutter6_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

My Aunt Blanche (actually my grandmother’s cousin but that’s neither here nor there) was in her mid-90’s when she passed away earlier this year. She was a small bubbly woman who married a tall quiet man from North Carolina. Whenever they would come for summer visits she was like the Energizer bunny, no matter how hot it was, she would still make her banana pudding and other delicious and strange (to us) things.

So in memory of Aunt Blanche I decided to attempt this apple butter, something I have always loved but never got around to trying. She made it in the slow-cooker, which is genius because it can cook down slowly while you go about your business. If you start it at breakfast it should be done by dinner.

I knew we would be eating this up right away, so I made it sugarfree, sweetened with nothing but the apple cider. You can run it through a foodmill or processor at the very end if you want it super-smooth like the kind you can buy in jars. I’m sure this same method would work for other soft fruits as well, like plums, pears and peaches.

Apple Butter, Makes about four cups

  • 16 cups chopped apples, a mix of varieties is best
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon

Put the chopped apples into the slow cooker and pour in the apple cider. Turn the slow cooker to high and put the lid on.

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After two hours the house will smell amazing and you will have a lovely applesauce.

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After four hours it will keep cooking down and getting darker. You can see how mine has reduced by over half, but that will depend on your slow cooker, they all seem to cook a little differently.

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Stir in the cinnamon at six hours. After eight hours it should be really thick and dark. You should see very little liquid when you stir. I spooned it into a metal pan to cool it down quickly.

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Store the apple butter in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within a week. A magical thing happens when apple butter meets homemade bread and butter, toasted or untoasted.

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Three years ago: Basic Bread
Two years ago: Malakoff Torte
One year ago: Chocolate Oatmeal Caramel Bars

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appledumpling13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

There may be times in life when you want something fancier than pie, when you want to give your inner Martha Stewart free rein in all its place-card-and-individual-dessert glory. Apple dumplings are for those times – humble enough to seem homey yet, if you seek out antique apples and make your own caramel sauce, there is plenty of opportunity for pretension. I kid, I love Martha, without her lots of people probably would never have discovered their love of hand-rolled beeswax.

Regardless, apple dumplings are basically self-contained apple pies, and very cute to boot. They would make a great fall brunch/dinner party dessert or something to wow people with at Thanksgiving. You can serve them with a caramel sauce like I did, or a scoop of ice cream. Even with small apples they are rather large, so if you aren’t feeding a table of pie-lovers and teenage boys, you might want to slice them in half and serve them that way.

Apple Dumplings, Makes five large servings

  • 1/2 recipe pie crust (under Basics, above)
  • 1 c. 1-2-3-4 streusel (under Basics, above)
  • Five well-shaped baking apples
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • One egg
  • 2 T. water

Fill a mixing bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel your apples and cut them in half, remove the cores with a melon baller or metal measuring spoon.

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Drop them into the acidulated water, core down. When they are all prepared set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 375. Divide your crust into five equal portions. Roll out the first portion.

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Pick two matching apple halves out of the bowl and pack a tablespoon of streusel into one center, then fit the other apple half over it so the apple is back together again.

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Set it on the pastry and fold the sides up over it.

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You’ll have a little gob in the center of extra dough you need to trim off. You can roll it back out and cut out a couple leaves for decoration if you like.

When the apples are all wrapped up place them on a baking sheet.

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Whip the egg and the water together to make an egg wash. Paint it over all the dumplings. It will help seal any cracks in the pastry as they bake.

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. My oven went psycho and switched itself to broil in the middle of baking, so I apologize for the scorching.

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Serve the dumplings warm or at room temperature.

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Three years ago: Weeknight Lasagne
Two years ago: Chocolate Almond Torte
One year ago: Brioche Coffeecake

friedrice12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

We headed into this week coming off a grueling 18-hour roadtrip so easy comfort food has been the order of the day all week. This fried rice is amazing, adaptable and it makes the house smell great. I used brown rice, but you could also use jasmine or basmati. I chose vegetables that are nice with the ground pork, but change it up for whatever you have lying around – that’s the beauty of it!

The crumbled potato chips are a tip I picked up from Bon Appetit, a standin for the wonton crisps I suppose, but they will surprise you on how well they blend in to the whole. I like to cut the vegetables into different shapes for pretty. I used zucchini in place of bamboo shoots.  This all goes quick, so make sure you have everything ready to go before you turn on the heat.

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Fried Rice, Four servings

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. ground gingerroot
  • 3 c. cooked rice
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 c. celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, cut in thin slices
  • 2 baby zucchini, cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 c. crushed potato chips
  • Ponzu and chili paste to taste

Brown the pork with the garlic and ginger. When it’s cooked through, set it aside.

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Heat the sesame and olive oil in a cast-iron (or other non-stick) pan. Add the onion.

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When the onion is fragrant, add the eggs.

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Scramble softly.

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Add the rice, cook for a minute or so, stirring occasionally.

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Then add all the vegetables except the zucchini. Toss until the rice starts to dry out, 3-5 minutes.

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Add the seasoned pork. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, tossing every so often. More tossing means softer rice, less tossing means some crunchy crust mixed in – however you like it done.

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Stir in half the potato chips, the ponzu and chili paste.

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Top each serving with some zucchini and a sprinkle of potato chips. Serve warm, hot or cold if that’s how you roll.

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Three years ago: Sweet Corn & Green Chili Tamales
Two years ago: Berry Crumb Cake
One year ago: Icelandic Almond Rolls

 

 

streuselcheesecake15_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe is based on a cookie from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. I’ve tweaked it into more of a cheesecake, and added a poached raspberry topping.

The streusel is both topping and crust, with a citrusy cheesecake filling in between. This is a great choice for a make-ahead dessert, as it’s actually better the second day. If you time it right you can have a nice cold creamy cheesecake contrasted with the warm topping and the crunchy streusel.

Streusel Cheesecake, Makes one 8″ cheesecake (about eight servings)

  • 1 c. white whole-wheat flour or GF flour blend
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 T. lemon juice + fine zest of one lemon OR 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Poached Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 c. cherry or rose wine
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and cleaned

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

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Cream well, then add the flour, cinnamon and oatmeal. Mix to coarse crumbs.

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Set 3/4 c. of crumbs aside.

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Press the rest into the bottom of a non-stick springform pan. Slide it into the oven and bake 15 minutes.

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While the crust is pre-baking, combine the remaining ingredients and blend well.

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Take the crust out of the oven and pour the cheesecake filling over it.

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Sprinkle the top evenly with the reserved crumbs. Return it to the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes.

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The edges should be lightly browned and the center should be just set.

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At this point it needs to cool thoroughly. You can even freeze it to speed things up if you have to, but when it’s cool enough wrap it and let it get nice and cold all the way through.

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About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve start the sauce. Your wine options are open, but a fruit wine gives you a lovely color. I used this one, a lovely gift from friends who grow the cherries on their farm locally.

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Combine the wine and water in a pan, then whisk in the sugar mixture. Cool until clear and thick.

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Gently stir in the raspberries and turn off the heat.

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The sauce will warm the berries through and bring out their flavor.

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Top each slice of cheesecake with a spoonful of sauce and serve.

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Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.


Three years ago: Peach Cobbler
Two years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
One year ago: Semolina Cake with Fresh Peaches & Goat Cheese

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