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by Heather Harris Brady

This idea was a happy coincidence that came out of a need to use up a large batch of bananas – or maybe it was an excuse to use a can of dulce de leche, tomato, tomahto 😉

I used a basic cream puff dough (pate de choux), topped with cinnamon sugar and a bit of streusel for crunch. Then I put a dollop of dulce in the bottom of each puff, and topped it with a large scoop of banana soft-serve. The flavors work together really well, and if you have a very cold deep freeze you can have it on the table in less than two hours (most of which time is just allowing the bananas to freeze).

Churro Puffs, Makes eight servings

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 T. 1-2-3-4 streusel
  • 2 T. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 c. dulce de leche
  • 6 large ripe bananas for banana soft serve
  • Chocolate syrup, for garnish

Slice your bananas and put them in a single layer on a piece of waxed paper. Slide them into the deep freeze.

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the water, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

When the butter is melted and the mixture is steaming hot, add the flour all at once.

Whisk quickly until the mixture comes together in a ball.

Take the dough off the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. (Note – these are farm fresh eggs from a friend so the yolks are a beautiful deep yellow orange.)

When both eggs are incorporated you should have a lovely paste.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, and top each one with cinnamon sugar and streusel.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. When you take them out of the oven split the tops to let the steam out.

When you’re to serve prep your serving plates with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, top it with a puff and add a spoon of dulce into the bottom of each puff.

Put the frozen banana slices in the food processor and process for two minutes on high, until smooth.

Add a large scoop of banana soft serve into each puff and serve!

Baked puffs may be stored at room temperature for a few hours, and they freeze well. You can recrisp frozen puffs at 350 for 5-10 minutes.


Four years ago: Stuffed Zucchini
Three years ago: Butternut Squash BBQ Sauce
Two years ago: Double Berry Cookies
One year ago: Coney Sauce, Michigan Style


by Heather Harris Brady

I have a feeling this is a pretty old recipe, I found it in one of my vintage Farm Journal Pie cookbooks and tweaked it. They call it Rhubarb Popover, which is kind of true, but I like the name clafouti because that sounds more like a dessert.

Either way, it goes together really quickly and comes out of the oven as a lovely crusty amalgamation of fruit and a custard-like center.I think you could successfully sub in blackberries, raspberries, black cherries or pineapple for the rhubarb. I served it warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries on top, but you could also just give it a quick shake of powdered sugar and call it a day.

This is so easy you can slide it in the oven when you sit down to dinner and it will ready by dessert!

Rhubarb Clafouti, Makes six generous servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1-1/2 c. diced fresh rhubarb
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 425. Put the butter in a 9″ pie dish and put it in the oven to melt.

Combine the eggs and milk in a bowl, add the flour and beat it until smooth.

When the butter is bubbling, pull the pie dish back out of the oven and pour the batter into the hot dish.

Put the fruit in the center and return it to the oven. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

Cut into wedges and serve. This is best eaten straight away, any leftovers should be covered and refrigerated, then rewarmed.


Four years ago: Fallen Chocolate Cakes
Three years ago: Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries
Two years ago: Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce
One year ago: County Fair Lemon Pound Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

I came up with this recipe when I was trying to get around using a pie glaze with artificial red dye. I try to avoid the artificial dyes whenever I can, and I was thinking of all the naturally red things I’d made when I hit upon hibiscus punch. The dried flowers give off a beautiful red color and a nice faint floral note that accents the strawberries.

If you have trouble finding the dried flowers in your grocery store any Mexican/latino market should have them. I included a rhubarb cream layer at the bottom of this pie, but if you want to make it entirely with strawberries you can. This is a refrigerator pie, so it’s great for the hot days when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

Strawberry-Hibiscus Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

One crumb pie crust (storebought or made with vanilla wafers)

  • For the bottom layer:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c. diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin, soaked in 1/4 c. cold water
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 c. dried hibiscus flowers (also called Jamaica flowers)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 quarts fresh local strawberries, cleaned and sliced in half

Make the hibiscus water: Combine the flowers and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then set aside to steep for an hour.

Strain the flowers out with a fine strainer. Reserve 1/3 c. of the water and set it all aside.

Combine the 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar in a saucepan. Poach your rhubarb pieces over medium heat.

When they are just tender (about 8-10 minutes), take them off the heat.

Add the hibiscus water you reserved earlier, for color, and the soaked gelatin. Let cool to room temperature.

Beat the cream to soft peaks, then beat in the cream cheese.

Fold in the rhubarb mixture…

…and turn it all into the pie shell. Refrigerate until the bottom layer is set (at least an hour).

When you’re ready to finish the pie stir one package of unflavored gelatin into 1/2 c. of the hibiscus water. Heat just until it’s dissolved and stir it back into the rest.

Put your hibiscus glaze into the refrigerator until it’s barely started to set.

Arrange your sliced strawberries over the bottom. I start with one layer and then start tucking them in from there.

Spoon the hibiscus glaze over the top. I did one layer of glaze, let it set in the refrigerator, and then touched it up with a second layer.

Refrigerate until the glaze is set and serve.

This pie keeps nicely in the refrigerator for up to four days.


Four years ago: Seeded Crackers
Three years ago: Strawberry Sorbet
Two years ago: Sopapillas
One year ago:  Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding


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


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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


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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


peachcrepes9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

You might think that you need a special pan or one of those spectacular large griddles to make crepes – you don’t. You just need a really good non-stick pan with rounded sides and flat bottom – and some patience. Because no matter what, the first few crepes are going to be something less than perfect.

But keep going! A couple crepes in, things will get better. By the end you’ll feel like a pro. In my experience it’s the same story, every time. The good news is, even the ones that aren’t as pretty are still delicious. Just roll them up, cover them in fruit and add a dollop of cream if you feel fancy.

This recipe (my stand-by from The Joy of Cooking 1975 Ed.) doubles easily, and while I used peaches because they are in-season and gorgeous, any fruit will work. If you can start this batter three hours ahead and let it sit in the fridge, so much the better – but in the pics below I only let it side for 30 minutes.

Peach Crepes, Makes four servings

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. double acting baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/2 t. vanilla or 1/2 t. grated lemon rind
  • 4 c. chopped sugared fruit
  • Cream topping
    • 1 pint heavy cream
    • 1 T. sugar
    • 2 T. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
    • 1 t. vanilla

Break the eggs in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the milk, water, and vanilla.

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Add the dry ingredients and beat. If there are lumps just leave them be. Set the batter aside. (Refrigerate if you’re going to let it sit for longer than 30 minutes.)

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While you’re waiting you can prep the cream topping. (I forgot to take pictures of this part.) Beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, beat in the sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese until smooth and whipped. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to plate.

When you’re ready to cook the crepes put your pan on to medium heat and lightly grease it with olive oil. Measure out 1/4 c. of batter.

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Pour it in the pan and quickly swirl it around to cover the bottom in a very thin layer.

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When the edges start too look dry flip it over.

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Stack the cooked crepes on a plate as you go.

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To plate, roll two crepes up on each plate.

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Top each set with a cup of fruit and a nice dollop of the cream.

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These are nice for brunch or dessert. If you make the crepes ahead of time it would only take a few minutes to plate it all up.

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Three years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
Two years ago: Apricot Crostata
One year ago: No-Bake Chocolate Torte


chocolatecherrycake17_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The sweet cherries were just in season here. I was thinking about making a black forest cake, but often those can be disappointing with dry cake and not a good ratio of cake to filling. What I was going for was a moister cake, more of a brownie texture. I found what I was looking for in Baking with Jim Dodge. His recipe, which I’ve tinkered with slightly below, uses brandied cherries (which would be delicious) but I was under a time crunch so I used fresh cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cake, Makes one 8″ cake

For the cake:

  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk (or 1/2 c. strong coffee)
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt

For the filling:

  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 T. softened butter

2 c. stabilized whipped cream

1 lb. Bing cherries (or another sweet black cherry)

Preheat the oven to 375. To make the cake: combine the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted.

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Set it aside to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

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Beat in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Then add the milk. You should have a thick creamy batter.

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Spread the batter in a well-greased 8″ pan. I also dusted mine with cocoa powder before adding the batter, just to be sure it would come out.

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While the cake is baking make the chocolate filling. Combine the chips and cream over medium heat, stir to melted. Then stir in the butter and set it aside to cool (you can speed it up by putting it in the freezer).

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Whip the ganache until it’s light and fluffy.

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Let the cake cool thoroughly. If you have some Kirsch now would be a good time for a sprinkle.

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Wash the cherries, pit and halve them. It’s a messy job, there’s no getting around it.

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Split the cooled cake in two and put it on your serving dish. Arrange the halved cherries on the bottom layer.

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Top the cherries with the ganache and then add the second layer of cake.

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Top that with the stabilized whipped cream. Chill thoroughly before serving.

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Even fresh the cake will cut neatly.

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Store leftovers lightly covered in the refrigerator.

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Three years ago: Cheesecake Ice Cream
Two years ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie
One year ago: Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce


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


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