Frozen Cherry-Strawberry Cheesecake

Frozen Cherry Strawberry Cheesecake

This frozen cheesecake was so easy to make. The ingredients were combined, then frozen. No ice cream maker required. It took me about 10 minutes to put together.

I wasn’t sure what to call it at first. It looks like an ice cream, but it isn’t. The secret ingredient-cottage cheese. The cottage cheese was combined with sugar, fruits and flavorings in a food processor until very smooth. Then crumbled graham crackers were added so it is more like a cheesecake, so that is what I called it. I could see making this with other fruits. I made it because I had a big carton of cottage cheese that I wanted to use up. The cherries and strawberries were in my freezer already.

If you want it to be a little creamier, you can add some whipping cream.

Frozen Cherry-Strawberry Cheesecake

1 (28 oz.) carton of cottage cheese

Sugar to taste, I used about 1 cup – you could sweeten with honey or maple syrup, too

1 c. pitted sour cherries- or more if you like

1 c. sliced strawberries- or more if you like

2 T. lemon juice

1 T. vanilla extract

9 graham crackers, crumbled

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Taste to see if you want to add more sugar. Pour into a 2 quart bowl and stir in the crushed crackers. Place mixture in a freezer safe container that has a lid. Affix the lid and freeze. Makes 5-6 cups.

Note: I could see a lot of possible variations for this recipe.  I used cinnamon graham crackers, but it might be fun to use chocolate graham crackers. You could use other fruit. I used what I had on hand. Peaches or other berries might be fun. I think the next one I make I will try adding lemon curd and lemon zest for a lemon cheesecake.      

Violet Jelly

Violet Jelly

I am always interested in new and different ways to use my edible flowers. A few years ago, I started making jelly with my violets. I started by making violet-infused vinegar from some of the violets. I like the vinegar for dressing salads.

I decided to use some of the violet vinegar as a base for the jelly. It worked out great. The end product had a sweet taste of violets, but the vinegar added a tartness I really liked. It also came out a stunning pink color.

Since the violets are steeped in vinegar- you can harvest over several weeks- just keep adding blossoms to the vinegar. If you don’t have a lot of blossoms at once, you can harvest a few at a time over a longer period of time. The violets in vinegar will keep, so you don’t have to make the jelly right away.

I like to have equal parts flowers and vinegar for a nice strong floral flavor, but you can get by with fewer blossoms if you need.

Start with a clean jar, and put your violets in it. Pour vinegar over to cover. White vinegar or white wine vinegar can be used. Heck you could probably use red wine vinegar, too. Cider vinegar might affect the color. You can continue to add flowers to the jar as you pick them. I picked 4 cups of violets and put them in a quart mason jar. I added vinegar to fill the jar, closed it up and let the flavors blend for a week. I could have let it sit longer if I was too busy to get to it. If you are in a hurry and want to make the jelly right away just heat up the vinegar and steep the flowers.

After a week, I strained it out then poured the mixture through a coffee filter to get it really clear. I ended up with 3 1/2 cups of violet “vinegar” to use for my violet jelly. I had a basic idea of how much sugar I would need so I went from there. It worked out great and jelled perfectly.

Violet Jelly

3 1/2 cups violet vinegar*

1/2 c. lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin (1 3/4 oz.)

5 c. sugar

Wash and prep jars and get water bath heating up. Place violet vinegar in pan and add lemon juice and pectin. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over high heat. Add sugar and return to the boil. Stir often. Once mixture gets to a full rolling boil, boil 1 minute. Remove jelly from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle hot liquid into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for 4 oz. and 8 oz. jars. Remove jars to cooling rack and check seals once they have cooled down. Yield: about 7 half pint jars or  13-14  (4 oz.) jars.

*For 3 1/2 cups of violet vinegar you will need 3-4 cups of blossoms and 3 1/2 cups of vinegar.

Homemade Rye Bread

Rye Bread Slices

I have been playing around with baking rye bread for awhile now. Tried a few different recipes recently. I found this recipe online, but I did change it a little. I ended up with a rye bread with lovely flavor and texture.

Rye bread can be tricky. Rye flour needs to be paired with wheat flour to have the necessary type of gluten to rise. Rye flour does contain gluten, but not the type of gluten that gets stretchy. Rye flour also rises better when some acid is added to the dough. Molasses adds some acid. In this dough, sour pickle juice is added. Vinegar also works.

Rye flour is higher in the enzymes that break down starch into sugars. Starch is needed to form the structure of the crumb, and if too much starch is split up, the texture of the bread suffers and becomes gummy. Traditionally, this is prevented by acidifying the rye dough. This is why breads with a high percentage of rye flour are made with rye sour (rye-based sourdough starter), even if commercial yeast is added, to preserve the structure of the bread.

Rye bread cooling down

So here is the most recent rye bread I made.

Deli Rye Bread

2 c. bread flour

1 c. rye flour

3 T. potato flakes

2 T. caraway seeds

2 T. brown sugar

1 packet active dry yeast- scant tablespoon

2 t. salt

1 c. warm water

¼ c. olive or avocado oil

¼ c. sour pickle juice

2 T. molasses  

Place bread flour, rye flour, potato flakes, caraway seeds, brown sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Stir dry ingredients to combine.  Add warm water, oil, pickle juice and molasses into dry ingredients. Fit dough hook onto mixer and beat until dough is just coming together. It will look rough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and knead dough in stand mixer with dough hook until smooth, firm, and only slightly sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 more minutes. Form dough into a ball, place dough into an oiled bowl, and turn dough around several times in bowl to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set into a warm place, and let rise until nearly double, about 1 hour. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface, shape into a log, and place into prepared loaf pan. Cover with a linen kitchen towel and let rise until top of dough has risen slightly over top of pan, 60 to 90 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake loaf until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes. If loaf browns too quickly, cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil with shiny side out. Bread should sound hollow when tapped lightly. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.

online, but I did change it a little. I ended up with a rye bread with lovely flavor and texture.

Rye bread can be tricky. Rye flour needs to be paired with wheat flour to have the necessary type of gluten to rise. Rye flour does contain gluten, but not the type of gluten that gets stretchy. Rye flour also rises better when some acid is added to the dough. Molasses adds some acid. In this dough, sour pickle juice is added. Vinegar also works.

Rye flour is higher in the enzymes that break down starch into sugars. Starch is needed to form the structure of the crumb, and if too much starch is split up, the texture of the bread suffers and becomes gummy. Traditionally, this is prevented by acidifying the rye dough. This is why breads with a high percentage of rye flour are made with rye sour (rye-based sourdough starter), even if commercial yeast is added, to preserve the structure of the bread.

Rye bread cooling down

So here is the most recent rye bread I made. More variations are coming.

Deli Rye Bread

2 c. bread flour

1 c. rye flour

3 T. potato flakes

2 T. caraway seeds

2 T. brown sugar

1 packet active dry yeast- scant tablespoon

2 t. salt

1 c. warm water

¼ c. olive or avocado oil

¼ c. sour pickle juice

2 T. molasses  

Place bread flour, rye flour, potato flakes, caraway seeds, brown sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Stir dry ingredients to combine.  Add warm water, oil, pickle juice and molasses into dry ingredients. Fit dough hook onto mixer and beat until dough is just coming together. It will look rough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and knead dough in stand mixer with dough hook until smooth, firm, and only slightly sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 more minutes. Form dough into a ball, place dough into an oiled bowl, and turn dough around several times in bowl to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set into a warm place, and let rise until nearly double, about 1 hour. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface, shape into a log, and place into prepared loaf pan. Cover with a linen kitchen towel and let rise until top of dough has risen slightly over top of pan, 60 to 90 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake loaf until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes. If loaf browns too quickly, cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil with shiny side out. Bread should sound hollow when tapped lightly. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.

Cooking with Ramps

Ramps, bulbs intact

If you haven’t tried ramps, you really don’t know what you are missing. Ramps are a member of the onion/allium family. They grow wild in wooded areas and are only around for about a month, during the Spring. They are sometimes called wild leeks or wild onions. Their flavor might best be described as a garlicky leek.

Ramps: leaves-only harvest

People have been foraging ramps forever. A recent increase in their popularity has put them at risk in some areas. Only pick ramps where it is legal to harvest them. Only purchase ramps from someone who you trust to harvest responsibly. While I love the bulbs, I often harvest just the leaves from them. That way the plants are not killed. I have also planted some of the harvested ramps and have had friends do the same, to start stands of them in new places.

I first had ramps when I was in college. We were on a weekend scavenger hunt for a biology class. One of my classmates came upon a stand of ramps. She explained to me what they were. We harvested a few and made soup out of them for dinner that night. Our professor, Dr. Peter Gail,  was a forager and he showed us other wild edibles. This is where my love for foraging started.

So here are some of the ways I use my ramps.

Ramp Butter

Ramp Butter

Ramp butter is a wonderful way to preserve the ramps and a great way to prep them for use in all sorts of recipes. The recipe is pretty simple- ramps, mixed with softened butter, perhaps a little lemon zest and some salt, if desired. The butter is then put in small containers, or shaped into little logs and frozen. Whenever you want some ramp flavor in your cooking, you just spoon out or slice off a bit of ramp butter.

I don’t know that I have a hard and fast “recipe” for ramp butter. I can tell you how I make mine, though.

I like my ramp butter with lots of ramps in it. Ramp forward, if you will.

I mix equal parts of butter and ramps.  You can add some salt to the mix, too. Use a food processor to get the mixture well mixed and to chop the ramps up. I divided the mixture into 6 or seven containers and threw all but one in my freezer. The last container is in my fridge, being used in all sorts of dishes.

Ramp Oil

Ramp Oil

The process is similar to making ramp butter, but you use oil instead of butter. I used a lemon infused olive oil and some avocado oil.  I use those oils because I like the flavors, but also because they will freeze solid. For long term storage- ramp oil should be frozen. Any stored in the fridge should be used up in a week or two.

The uses are somewhat similar to ramp butter. You can use some of the ramp oil to make ramp pesto or ramp pasta. You can use it as a base for salad dressing. It is really good added to potato salads.

Prepare the ramps the same way you would for ramp butter.  I placed the cleaned ramps in a food processor and added about a cup of oil to two cups of ramps. I ran the machine until the mixture was pretty smooth. Add a little more oil, if needed. The mixture should be thick, but pour-able. The flavor is  intensely ramp. That is what I like. I can cut it down with other ingredients later on.

Salmon with Ramp Butter 

2 salmon sides

salt

pepper

1 c. ramp butter

2 lemons, sliced thin

Place the salmon on parchment paper and season with salt and pepper. Spread ramp butter down the center of each salmon side. Use about 1/2 cup on each one. Place lemon slices on top of the ramp butter.  Bake the salmon in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 16.

Salmon with Ramp Butter
Salmon with Ramp Butter: right out of the oven

Pickled Ramps

Pickled Ramps

4-5 c. ramp bulbs, some stem attached, if you like

2 c. cider vinegar

1½ c. water

1 c. sugar

2 T. salt

1 T. Tuscan seasoning*

Wash ramp bulbs well and remove any roots. In pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into a heat-proof jar. Cool a little, cover and place in fridge. You can eat the ramp pickles right away, but they taste even better if you wait a few days. Will keep in the fridge for a few months.

*Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper

Combine all. Store in a cool, dry place. Use for any number of recipes, from marinara sauce, to salad dressings.

Creamy Ramp Soup

1 lb. ramps

1/2 large sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Garnish:extra-virgin olive oil

Trim roots from ramps and slip off outer skins if loose. Cut green tops from ramps and coarsely chop enough greens to measure 3 cups (reserve remainder for another use). Thinly slice ramp bulbs, including pink stems. Cook ramp bulbs, onion, white pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add wine, then boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until evaporated completely. Add broth and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until onions and ramps are very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in ramp greens and boil 1 minute.Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute per batch (use caution when blending hot liquids), then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids. Return soup to cleaned pot and bring just to a boil. Whisk in cheese and butter until smooth. Season with salt. Serves 4.

How to Candy Violets – and Other Edible Flowers

Candied Violets

This time of year, I always get requests about how to make candied violets. I thought I would share the recipe again.

Since my yard is full of violets right now, I decided to candy some today. It’s an easy way to enjoy these delicate flowers throughout the year.

I use them to decorate baked goods. Lovely on a cake, they also add a sweet touch to cupcakes. You can also candy just single petals of larger flowers, like roses. Just be sure to use flowers that have not been treated with pesticides. I use rose petals from my yard, never roses from a florist.

Candied Violets

Powdered egg whites (see note)
Water
Superfine sugar (see note)
Fresh violet flowers, rinsed and drained on paper toweling- Not African violets

Following package directions reconstitute egg whites to the equivalent of one or two egg whites. You can dilute them a little to make them easier to brush on. Place sugar in a shallow bowl. With a food-grade fine brush coat a violet with the egg white and press into the sugar. Place on wax paper and repeat with remaining flowers. Allow to dry for about a week. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid in a cool place. I like to store them in the freezer.

Note: By using powdered egg whites, you remove the risk of salmonella from using raw eggs whites. Powdered egg whites can be found in some grocery stores and in cake decorating and candy making shops. Meringue powder can also be used.

Superfine sugar, egg whites and violets
Freshly dipped violet
Let violets dry about a week before storing
Lemon cake with candied violets

Praline Biscuits

Praline Biscuits

When you are craving a sticky bun, but don’t want to wait hours for a yeast dough to rise, these Praline Biscuits might be just what you are looking for. They share a lot of the ingredients of sticky buns: pecans, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon. The flavors are a lot alike. The difference is that these tasty biscuits can be ready in 30 minutes or less.

The biscuits use biscuit mix, like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix for the dough. I actually like to make my own baking mix- recipe follows- but store bought is fine, too.

The texture will be different from a traditional sticky bun. Like the name implies, these are biscuits. I don’t think you will mind at all. They would make a great addition to any brunch or breakfast menu.

So here is the recipe, simple and sweet. Enjoy!!

Praline Biscuits

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

36 pecan or walnut halves

cinnamon

2-c. biscuit mix

1/3 c. applesauce

1/3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In each of 12 muffins cups place 2 t. butter, 2 t. sugar and 3 nut halves. Sprinkle cinnamon in each. Heat in oven until melted. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over nut mixture. Bake 10 minutes, invert on heatproof serving platter. Makes 12.

Biscuit Mix

8 c. flour

1 c. powdered milk

1 c. powdered buttermilk

¼ c. baking powder

1 T. salt

1½ c. shortening- I like to use coconut oil- you can also use butter, but mixture needs to be kept in the fridge if you use butter.

In large bowl combine dry ingredients and mix well. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store in a tightly closed container and use in 1-2 months. Makes 10 cups.

Violet Liqueur

Violets in Vodka

I have received requests for directions on how to make violet liqueur. Violet liqueur is, in its most basic sense, a combination of violets and vodka, steeped together for several weeks, then strained and filtered. Once strained, the mixture is sweetened to taste with simple syrup. You can use other alcohols, if you like. Brandy perhaps.

Violet liqueur can just be sipped and enjoyed as is, but it is often used as an ingredient in cocktails.

I have made violet liqueur with the violets that grow in my yard. They are mostly white, with a small amount of purple color. The liqueur tastes great, but doesn’t have a lot of color. It comes out a light golden color. That is fine with me.

For this batch, I am using purple violets I got from a friend’s garden. The color will end up a light purple color. To make the color of your liqueur more purple, you can add a few raspberries or blackberries to the mix.

We need to talk about sweetening, too. A simple syrup is added to suit your taste. The recipe for simple syrup is at the end of this post. How sweet you make your liqueur determines whether it is a liqueur, or creme de violette. Lightly sweetened and it is violet liqueur. Double the amount of simple syrup and it is creme de violette. Strictly your choice and preference.

If you prefer to leave your violet mixture unsweetened, it is a violet eau du vie, which translates to violet water of life.

I use 1/2 cup of simple syrup for each cup of liqueur. Equal amounts of liqueur and syrup creates the creme de violette.

Violet Liqueur

1- 1 1/2 c. violet flowers, rinsed and drained

1 c. vodka

1″ piece vanilla bean, optional

a few fresh raspberries or blackberries, optional

1/2 c. simple syrup recipe follows

Combine violet flowers and vodka in a jar with vanilla bean and berries, if using. Screw on the lid and place the jar in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks for the flavors to combine. You can add more violets as you harvest them, if you don’t have enough at first. After a few weeks, strain out the flowers and other ingredients and discard them. Filter vodka mixture through coffee filters or several layers of cheesecloth to get it really clear. Sweeten to taste. Return to jar, seal and allow flavors to mellow another week. Enjoy!!

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made from 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cool. You will have 1 cup of syrup. You can sweeten with honey, if you prefer. Watch when you substitute honey for sugar, as it is sweeter and stronger flavored. Add a small amount, let it sit for a day or so- and give it a taste. You can always add more sweetener later.

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion jelly is one of those nice surprises in life. When people ask me what it tastes like, I tell them honey. It doesn’t have the thick texture of honey. It is jelly, but the flavor is similar to honey. A pleasant flavor that goes well with everything. Dandelion jelly is not hard to make, either. You make a “tea” out of the flowers and use the tea to flavor the jelly. The better you are at removing any green the sweeter your jelly will be. I get the vast majority of green parts out by cutting off the green base of the flowers.

To be safe, be sure to only harvest blossoms where you know that weed killers have not been used.

Dandelion Jelly

3 cups dandelion blossoms, yellow only, green base removed

4 c. water

3 T. lemon juice

1 box (1.75 oz.) powdered pectin

4 c. sugar

After gathering the dandelion flowers, trim off stems and as much green as you can. You will need 3 cups of cleaned blossoms. You are going to start by making a sort of tea from the dandelion blossoms. Boil the water and pour over the cleaned blossoms. Allow to steep until it has cooled down. Strain out the petals and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. I then strained the liquid through a coffee filter to get it clearer. You can make the jelly right away or put the dandelion infused liquid in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the jelly, get a water bath canner ready. Add enough water to cover the jars and start to heat the water up to a simmer. Wash 5-6 jelly jars and lids. In a pot, add the dandelion liquid- if it is less than 4 cups add enough water to get to 4 cups. In the same pot add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil hard 1 minute. Add the sugar and bring back to the boil. Once the jelly is boiling, boil 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle hot jelly into jars within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe rim and attach lid. Place jars in water bath and bring water to the boil. Process 10 minutes once the water starts to boil. Turn off heat. Let jars sit in the water bath 5-10 minutes before removing to a towel or cooling rack. Allow jelly to cool down. Check seals the next day. I got 5½ (8 oz) jars.   

Fresh Picked Dandelion Blossoms

Dandelion Recipes

It’s funny when you think about it. People spend tons of money to eradicate dandelions from their lawns, but will go to an upscale restaurant and pay good money for a salad with mixed greens including dandelions. Dandelions were not always considered a weed. In fact, immigrants brought the seeds to America as a vegetable.

While the greens can be bitter, they can also be tamed when paired with certain ingredients. Combining dandelions with tomatoes, vinegar, cheese or other dairy products, and bread or cereal products will make them less bitter when eaten.

Dandelions are packed with nutrients, and if you don’t spray your yard with herbicides, you can likely find them under your own feet. Free, tasty and nutritious. Sounds like a win all around.

The plant is pretty much edible from top to bottom. The leaves for salads, soups and other dishes. The flowers are used for wine, jelly and the “burger” recipe at the bottom of this page. I recently baked dandelion flowers into muffins.  The roots are roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. If you haven’t eaten dandelions before my only question is, what are you waiting for?

A classic dish using dandelions is dandelion gravy. Some versions use bacon, others not. This one uses bacon, sour cream and is served with boiled potatoes.

Dandelion Gravy

Dandelion Gravy

4 strips bacon
3 T. flour
1 c. water
1 lb. dandelion greens, washed and chopped
½ c. sour cream
1 T. sugar
1 T. vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot boiled or baked potatoes
Fresh chopped parsley, optional

Chop bacon and cook in skillet until crisp. Leave bacon in the pan. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and stir in the flour until smooth. Add water and dandelion greens and cook over medium heat until greens are tender- about 5- 10 minutes. Add more water if mixture is too thick. Turn off heat. Combine sour cream with sugar and vinegar and stir into dandelion mixture. Adjust seasonings. Spoon gravy over potatoes.
Serves 4.

Note: If you want leave out the bacon instead add 3 tablespoons of oil to skillet along with the flour.

The next 2 recipes come from Dr. Peter Gail, my mentor and dearly loved  friend. I will always remember Peter when I cook with dandelions.

Dandelion Pita Pizza

Pita bread, toasted English muffin, or toasted bread
Spaghetti or pizza sauce
Fresh dandelion greens of any age, chopped fine
Grated cheese (any kind)
Cover bread with sauce, add chopped greens, top with cheese, and toast in oven until cheese
melts. For a more sophisticated treat, chopped dandelion greens may be sauteed in olive oil with
onions, mushrooms and several cloves of crushed garlic, and then spread on the pizza and topped
with cheese.

Dandy Burgers

1 cup dandelion flowers, green removed
½ cup flour, any kind
1/4 cup onions, chopped fine

½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp pepper
enough milk to make thick batter.
Peel dandelion flowers and put in 4 quart mixing bowl. Add onions and mix together. Blend
flour and seasonings together, add to the flowers and onions, and blend thoroughly. Add milk
slowly, blending it in until you have a thick batter.
Heat olive oil in frying pan to cover bottom. Form batter into golf-ball-sized balls. Place in
oil, and squash down flat to make a 2″ diameter patty. Fry till brown on both sides. Remove and
serve on small rolls as you would hamburger sliders.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of Dr. Peter Gail

Pineapple Cake Roll

Pineapple Cake Roll

This cake roll makes a great dessert for almost any occasion. The tender sponge cake is filled with a mixture of sweetened pineapple, chopped nuts and coconut. Then it is topped with more pineapple and toasted coconut.

It looks difficult, but it is really easy to make. Most cake rolls are baked, then rolled,  cooled and filled. In this recipe, the filling is baked in the roll. The pineapple mixture is placed in the baking pan, then the batter is  spread on top, before baking. Once baked, the cake is rolled up and cooled. Once cooled, it is topped with the pineapple sauce and toasted coconut. You can make the cake a day or two ahead, wrap and pop in the fridge, then just add the toppings before serving. It also freezes well.

Here is the recipe. Hope you will give this one a try. I think you will love it as much as I do.

Pineapple Cake Roll

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, unsweetened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar

Topping, see below

Drain pineapple well; reserve 3/4 cup juice and 1/2 cup crushed pineapple for topping. Combine in a large mixing bowl the drained pineapple, brown sugar, coconut, nuts (your choice), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well and spread over the bottom of an ungreased 15 × 10 × 1-inch jelly-roll pan. Set aside. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and pale yellow; gradually beat in remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gently fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly over pineapple mixture in pan. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 20-25 minutes. Carefully loosen cake around edges. Invert cake onto kitchen towel which has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Let stand 3-4 minutes then roll up, jelly-roll fashion. Cool cake then garnish with pineapple topping.

Topping: Combine 3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in saucepan; blend well. Cook until thick and clear. Stir in reserved pineapple; cool. Spoon on cake roll and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

To toast coconut- place about a cup of coconut on a baking sheet . Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until coconut turns a nice golden color. Watch carefully, so you don’t burn it. I like to use large flake coconut.

Fresh out of the oven
Inverted onto powdered sugar coated towel
Roll up gently
Ready for the topping

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