Tag Archives: Fruit

SMS: Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble

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Hey everyone!  I said it earlier this week, but it’s now officially fall to me.  Yesterday I loaded up on allergy medicine and made the required fall trip to Curtis Orchard (where the apples were kind of awful, but the kittens, goats, and apple cider and donuts made up for it), and then froze my butt off watching the Illini get killed by Penn State.  Then I spent the evening watching more football and “Defiance” while drinking root beer floats and hot chocolate.  Yep, it’s officially fall!

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get my apples for this week’s SMS recipe from an apple orchard.  Oh well…  This week Christine of Christine Cooks chose the Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble for our weekly bake.  I was a little bit disappointed, because I was really looking forward to choosing this recipe my week, but then I realized I get to make it even earlier!  Suddenly, everything was right in the world again.

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This was delicious.  Next time I think I’ll reduce the sugar that gets sprinkled over the apples, like several other people have said.  I also think I’ll reduce the baking time a little bit.  I burned the crumble a little bit because I forgot to check on the crumble about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time, like I usually do.  The other reason I might reduce the baking time, and this is purely personal preference, is because I like my apples still a little bit crunchy when I eat a crisp.  These apples were cooked down so much it was almost like eating applesauce sometimes.  Which, really, isn’t a bad thing.  It’s just not what I usually like best.  That being said, everyone else thought it was great, so I’m pretty sure I’m alone on this one :-D.  But despite these little things, I will most definitely be making this again.  This recipe was much better than the package of apple crisp mix I bought last year at Curtis Orchard.  One of my favorite things about this recipe, as silly as it is, was that it used melted butter rather than cutting in cold butter.  I think that just makes everything so much easier!

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Anyway, drop by the blogroll to see what everyone else thought of this week’s super awesome recipe.  And make sure you come back next week- it’s finally my week to choose a recipe!  EEK!!!

Curtis Orchard with Adam and Laura 009And a gratuitous kitten picture.  I really wanted to pack this little guy in my purse and bring him home, he was so sweet and friendly!  I honestly don’t think anyone there would have noticed.  My roommates and pet fish might have been another story…



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SMS: Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit Preserves

Welcome, new SMS’ers!

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One of these days I’ll actually post an SMS recipe on Sunday, and everyone’s going to die of shock.  Unfortunately, I spent five hours in a car on Sunday, driving back from my grandparents’, and the rest of the day studying for an exam.  Fortunately, Mike liked my grandparents, my grandparents liked Mike, and all was good.  Yeah, after over two years of dating, my grandparents finally met my boyfriend 🙂

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Anyway… This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Margot of Effort to Deliciousness.  Pretty please drop by her site, she has wonderful pictures, a great sense of humor, and a really nifty way of rating recipes based on the effort that went into them and how delicious they were (aka an Effort to Deliciousness Ratio).  She also made some gorgeous breakfast pastries with this week’s preserves.

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This was my first time making preserves, and I have to say, it was so much easier than I thought it would be!  It was just chopping fruit, cooking it down, mashing it a little bit, and putting it into a jar.  I made half of the recipe which yielded just over one pint.  Since it was only one jar, I didn’t bother going through the actual canning process, and just put the preserves in the jar and put them in the fridge.  I took them up to my grandparents’ house, along with the Whole Orange Bread we made last week for SMS and the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, which has become an instant favorite for me, and everything was a big hit.  These preserves actually tasted pretty good with the orange bread.  The preserves were pretty tart, but I still really liked them.  I think what’s left of them will be good with the whole wheat bread I just took out of the oven, too!

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I would recommend these again to anyone, since they’re quick and really yummy.  For the recipe, check out Effort to Deliciousness here, and to see what everyone else thought of this week’s choice, check out the blogroll.

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Finally, on a note completely unrelated to cooking, congratulations to my friends who got engaged this weekend, especially Colleen (who I’ve known since I was six)!  I’m incredibly happy for both of you and wish you the best of luck.  Also, if one more person asks when I’m getting engaged or insinuates that they think it could/should happen within the next year or two, I’m going to run screaming out of the state.  I have too much to do to worry about getting engaged.  😀  Thank you, The Peanut Gallery.


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I’m going to be completely honest, there’s no recipe in this post.  Just a quick thought.  See, this evening after dinner I dropped by the grocery store with Mike.  We were looking to rent a movie (they have one of those movie box rental thingies) and I needed more strawberries for this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe.  We got the two things we need, but we also got…

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A completely unholy amount of raspberries.  Why, you ask?  Because they were on sale, 10 for $10.  I nearly wet myself I was so excited (ok, not really).  A half pint container around here is usually $3-4, even this time of year!  And boy, oh boy, do I have plans for these babies!  A couple of them will go into another Raspberry Buttermilk Cake to take to my grandparents’ this weekend, a few of them will be given to my parents this weekend, maybe a couple to my grandparents, and Mike has very nicely asked for raspberry preserves, so I think I’ll use a few to make a small batch of preserves.

Or I might just eat them all straight out of the containers.  I haven’t really decided.

If you live in the area of one, I got them at Schnucks.  I think they’re only in Central Illinois and the St. Louis area, but I could be wrong.  Also, the raspberry sale wasn’t advertised, so maybe it’s just the store by my apartment?  Still, can’t hurt to check!


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SMS: Whole Orange Poppyseed(less) Cake

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Whew!  After a crazy fun weekend with my friend Dana, who came to visit, it took me a couple days to get caught up on schoolwork, sleep, all those important little details.  And laundry.  Which is why I’m just getting around to posting this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, and why I’ll be quick.  Our recipe this week was chosen by Melissa of Lulu the Baker.  She’s such a sweet person, just celebrated her blog-iversary, and has a super cute site (or maybe that’s just my love of polka dots talking).  Anyway, check her out, and you can also find the recipe for this cake there.

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I was really happy with how easy this recipe was- the hardest part was splitting the batter evenly, as I made three mini loaf pans.  They were 3 inches by 5 3/4 inches, and took 27 minutes to bake.  I chose to omit the poppy seeds, becasue they’re not my favorite thing in the world, and also because I didn’t have any.  The only other little change I made was to use some simple syrup I already had in place of the syrup we were supposed to make with orange juice.  I didn’t think the orange taste in this bread was as strong as I had expected, so next time I think I’ll actually use the orange syrup, or maybe a little bit of orange extract in the batter.  However, the orange I used in the batter didn’t have that super strong orange smell when I cut it, so it might have just been the orange.

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All in all, though, I really enjoyed this.  It was more dense than I expected, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I loved how citrus-y it made my apartment smell, and I was happy with how well it divided into three loaves.  I have one out now, and I think I’m going to take the other two home this weekend, one for my parents and one for my grandparents.  I wonder what could be mixed in mixed in with this besides poppy seeds?

Check out the rest of the SMS’ers at the blogroll and see what everyone else is up to.  And if you’re interested, we’re baking out of the Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy- you should really go pick up a copy!


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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

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When I was pretty young, maybe six or seven, my family’s summer trip was to a small town in Wisconsin where we spent several days at a bed and breakfast.  I don’t remember a whole lot about the trip, aside from our room having a lofted section, which was just the coolest thing ever, and a fishfry that took place late into one night at the building next door.  My strongest memory, however, is of the raspberries.  It was in the middle of berry season, and there were raspberries everywhere.  They were the biggest berries I’d ever seen in my life, and the sweetest, too.  One morning for breakfast, I just had a big bowl of raspberries, blueberries, and whipped cream- because you can do that when you’re six and on vacation.  My family remembers the raspberries well, and my dad claims they’re the best he’s ever had in his life.  And to this day, raspberries are one of my favorite fruits.

So when I saw this recipe for raspberry buttermilk cake on Smitten Kitchen, I was, well, smitten.  In addition to being full of my favorite fruit, which happened to be on sale for a steal, it didn’t have too much butter or sugar, so the berries would really shine through.  After I made it, I’d say it’s pretty heavenly.  It’s not overly sweet, and is very tender.  It was even still good a couple days later, although it was best the first day.  I think it would be perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but want to know a secret?  I ate it on its own for breakfast, and that was fine by me!

The only change I made to the recipe was to bake it in four 4-inch pans, which baked for about 19-25 minutes.  If you want to make the recipe in 4-inch pans, though, I’d say be really careful on the bake times, because my oven’s a little bit crazy so I don’t know how accurate those times are.  My first two were done in 19 minutes, but the second two were still liquid at that point.  If you don’t feel like dealing with that, just bake the cake in the 9-inch pan.  Just go make this cake, now!  Sub in whatever berries or fruit you like best if you’re not a big raspberry person.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

from Gourmet magazine, via Smitten Kitchen with my changes in italics

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 ounces)

1) Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. I used four 4-inch diameter Springform pans.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3) Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer (by hand) at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

4) At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. I missed this step and just added the buttermilk all at once, then the dry ingredients.

5) Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

6) Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes (19-25 minutes). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.


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SMS: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake with Cornmeal Crumble Crust

Whew!  What a name!  This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Eliana of A Chica Bakes.  Run over and visit her and check out her wonderful recipes, including a selection of Latin favorites!  Unfortunately for this recipe, I’ve never been much of a cheesecake person, which is completely sacrilegious (according to my mother, anyway).  In any event, I skipped this week’s recipe, but I pinkie promise I’ll be back next week!  If you want to see what everyone else thought of the cheesecake, check out our blogroll.  I do think I’m going to have to try this cornmeal crust in place of a graham cracker crust sometime soon!  I think it might be a nice contrast in a key lime pie.

Also, hopefully I’ll have a post up later today about what I’ve been up to- it does involve fresh berries, in keeping with this weeks’ SMS theme.  I just have to track down my camera first, it seems to have run off on me…

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Sweet Melissa Sundays: Sour Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumble

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Better late than never, right?  I made this pie over a week ago, while my grandparents were in town for Memorial Day weekend.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot to post it!  I had one of those odd feelings all week, like I was forgetting something, but had no clue what it was until Wednesday afternoon, when it hit me.

Anyway, back to the pie.  Last week, Michelle from Flourchild chose our recipe.  Make sure you check out her blog- she just ran a 5k this past week!  I was really excited for this recipe because, you’ll never believe it, I’ve never made a pie before!  My family likes pie, but sweets around our house are usually cookies or brownies or something like that, with an occasional cheesecake thrown in.  My dad claims that in the 23+ years they’ve been married, my mom has never made a pie (although my mom argues she’s made three, thankyouverymuch).  So, that was the other reason I was excited for the timing of this pie.  My grandparents make pie at least for every big holiday.  My grandpa makes the crust while Grandma makes the filling.  So, since my grandparents were going to be in town for Memorial Day… perfect timing!

I actually don’t have any pictures of the pie while I was making it, because I was trying really hard to pay attention to the process of making the dough.  I thought it was going to need a teaspoon or so more water, but my grandpa explained that the reason you wrap the dough in plastic wrap is to let the water get into every bit of it, so we didn’t need to add any more water.  I thought the dough came together really easily, actually, for as much hype as people have about pie crusts being difficult to make.  The crumble was super easy, too.  I used lightly salted pistachios instead of unsalted, and I think I liked it better that way, because they provided a nice contrast to the sweetness of the filling.  That was especially nice because I used frozen sweet cherries instead of the tart cherries called for in the recipe- my mom and I both looked and couldn’t find sour cherries!  This was actually discussed on the “message board” on the SMS homepage a lot.  I ended up reducing the sugar a bit to make up for the sweetness of the cherries.

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I was really happy with this pie overall.  Everyone said they liked it, and I did too.  Well, ok, I kind of have issues with cherry pies because I feel like cherries get a weird texture when they’re baked.  Something about the skins forcing them to keep their shape, but the insides being mushy.  Pretty much any other baked fruit, no problem, but cherries and grapes and fruits like that… they weird me out.  But I really enjoyed the taste of the filling coupled with the crumble, and I thought the crust came out really flaky, which I was really excited about.  I would definitely make this again, and I would take pictures of it outside next time.  It was overcast and gloomy out, so we ate inside, and my camera wasn’t happy with the lighting.  But the time I tried to use the flash it reflected off the green pistachios and made the pie look like a glowing spaceship!  I think I just need to spend a little bit more time with my camera.

Anyway, you should check out what all of the other bakers thought of this pie at the SMS blogroll, since I heard the overall opinion was FANTASTIC!  Please?


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