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Entries in Baked Goods (53)


Peach Dutch Baby Pancake

We aren't big brunch people.  Since moving to Colorado, weekend mornings are for tee times, trail runs, bike rides, or hitting the slopes and rarely for a leisurely meal with each other or friends.  However, there are times when taking the time to enjoy the morning is just what you need - coffee, reading materials, and something delicious to eat.

Pancakes and waffles are delicious, but I've never liked that one person slaves away over the griddle while others eat - and if you stick the pancakes or waffles in the oven so you can all eat at the same time, they just aren't quite as good as they are fresh off the griddle.  Enter the Dutch Baby Pancake, which is a giant pancake that you bake - no cooking one or two pancakes at a time, no dripping batter on your stove, no waiting to cook all of the batter before you can eat.  The consistency and pancake itself is also different - it is more soufflé-like and almost has the texture of a bread pudding or a popover.  This can definitely double as a dessert as well as breakfast.

I made the pancake below with whole milk and used a non-stick pan (I don't own a cast-iron skillet).  I think you'd get similarly good results with skim or 2% milk if you want to make this a bit healthier, but I haven't tested it that way.  I suspect any fruit would be delicious.

Peach Dutch Baby Pancake
Serves 4-6 (depending on how hungry everyone is)
Adapted from Bon Appétit*


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/4"-thick wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a small saucepan; scrape into a blender. Add eggs, flour, milk, 1 Tbsp. sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend batter until smooth; set aside in blender.
  2. Heat a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Add peaches to skillet; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Briefly re-blend reserved pancake batter. Pour evenly over peaches and transfer to oven.
  3. Bake pancake until puffed and golden brown all over, 17–20 minutes (it will deflate as soon as it's removed from the oven).  If you’d like, dust the pancake with powdered sugar and serve immediately.  I found the pancake to be plenty sweet without powdered sugar.

* Note - The original recipe called for making a cherry compote to serve along with the pancake.  I found that by adding more peaches, the pancake had enough flavor and sweetness without a compote; in fact, we didn't put anything on top of our pancakes.  I am sure these would be nice dusted with powdered sugar, with maple syrup or butter, or with a fruit compote.  I feel like peaches are easily overwhelmed by other fruit, and I loved that this actually tasted of peaches.


Peach & Pecan Oat Crumble Bars

 Peaches! They are everywhere now and my peach tree isn't even ripe yet so there are more to come. This is an official request for your favorite recipe that includes peaches. It doesn't have to be dessert - in fact, it would be great if it weren't. There has been a lot of dessert at the Levy household recently.

I've been in a bit of a funk in the kitchen these past few weeks. Aside from these bars and the Peach Crostata, everything I've made has been mediocre. I haven't felt inspired by any of the recipes in the recent issues of Bon Appétit, Saveur, or Food & Wine. Maybe my plea should extend beyond recipes that include peaches to include anything you've made recently that was awesome. Please help! We are hosting a barbeque this weekend and I need to get back in my groove before then.

These Peach & Pecan Oat Crumble Bars were a huge step in the right direction. The peach layer perfectly complements the sturdy but moist bottom crust and the crumble topping. The combination of peaches and pecans is southern-inspired perfection. These are ideal for a party because you can make them in advance and they slice nicely into bars for easy serving. I had to stop myself from eating an entire row of these tonight while I was supposed to be making dinner and taking photos. Instead, I had a few more nibbles of a bar and stared out my kitchen window at the peach tree willing the peaches to ripen.

Peach & Pecan Oat Crumble Bars
Yield = 1 9x13" pan
Adapted slightly from The Kitchn (also tested by Dessertification)

Base Dough
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
1/2 packed cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Peach Filling
2 pounds peaches, unpeeled (about 8 peaches - err on the side of more peaches)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pecan Oat Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour, divided
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon, about 3 tablespoons
1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer) cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer and add in the flour, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients in just until the dough is soft and pulled together. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and refrigerate while preparing the filling and topping.

Roughly chop the peaches into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

Wipe out the mixer bowl and mix 1/4 cup softened butter with the oats, flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt until soft and crumbly. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and set aside to cool.

Spread the chopped peaches over the chilled dough base. Evenly crumble the topping over the peaches, and drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

Whisk together the lemon juice with enough powdered sugar to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over the bars.

Cool (or chill) for at least an hour before slicing and serving. If you want the bars to stay together when you slice them, you must chill them.  I also felt that the bars actually improved after a night in the refrigerator.  These will stay fresh (and slice more cleanly) for about 5 days when stored well-covered in the fridge.


Summer Peach Crostata

Moving is exhausting.  Of course you all have moved and don't need me to remind you of this, but since that thought drifts through my head at least once a day (more like one hundred times per day), I needed to put it in writing.

I adore our new house.  I love that it is ours.   Unfortunately, this breeds a certain desire for perfection in organizing and getting settled that is just not immediately attainable.  My clothes are still in garment boxes and we have four potential living room rugs lurking about.  Every day, Rob and I return from work and our post-work activities and spend 3-4 hours working on a project at home.  Let's just say that most "cooking" in the new house actually refers to the "making" of frozen pizza.  

However, I have finally put away everything in our kitchen and rewarded myself with a trip to the farmer's market.  The stone fruit was out in full force... apricots, plums, and ripe Palisades peaches.  I couldn't resist.

It felt great to be back in the kitchen.  That probably sounds silly, but cooking is therapeutic for me and preparing a full meal here for the first time makes it feel more like home.  And whatever chaos is still ongoing elsewhere in the house, there is a home-cooked meal on the patio to be enjoyed with a few minutes of peace and quiet and conversations that don't involve drills and shelving or end with one of us saying "I'll be right back from Home Depot."

Summer Peach Crostata
Adapted from Food & Wine 
Servings = 6 slices 

This could also be called "Simple Peach Crostata" for the ease with which you can make the crust, slice the fruit, and have a gorgeous dessert with very little work.  Feel free to use whatever fruit you have available for the filling.  I've already made it with plums and apricots, both of which were tasty although the peach was the clear favorite.  I got the ultimate compliment from Rob on this dessert - I could see this served in a bakery in San Francisco or Paris!  And today when I cut a slice for his lunch, he asked "Is that all I get?"  Thankfully, I doubled the recipe so that I'd have dough for a second crostata readily available (you can store the dough for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze it).  

If you use a tarter fruit to make this (e.g., apricots or tart plums), be sure to increase the sugar.  My apricot version was a bit too tart, which was a huge disappointment. 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound firm-but-ripe peaches, pitted and cut into eighths (substitute 1 pound of other stone fruit but don't forget to adjust the sugar in the filling accordingly) (approximately 4 peaches)
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water

1.  In a food processor, add the 1 1/4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse until the dough just barely comes together. Gather the dough and pat it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and position an oven rack in the lower third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk of dough to a 12-inch round; transfer to the baking sheet. Chill the dough until firm, 15 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cornstarch and cinnamon. Add the peaches and toss well. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 15 minutes.

4.  Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the peaches. Brush the rim with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5.  Bake the peach crostata for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender and bubbling.  Check your crostata after 30 minutes - if it is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. Let the crostata cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.


Rhubarb Scones

A few weeks ago, I posted about how we were under contract on a house... and I am thrilled to say that Rob and I are now officially homeowners!  We won't move into the house until July 3rd.  I am counting the days (fifteen).  We have a front porch with a swing, a bedroom with big windows and a door (we currently live in a converted loft where the only doors in the whole place are on the bathrooms, which is inconvenient when you have a kitten who likes to play at 3 a.m.), a lovely backyard with huge lilac and rose bushes and a peach tree, a kitchen with a sunny window in which I'll grow herbs all winter (and photograph food)... and, most importantly, we have a place to call home.  
These two iPhone photos are the only shots I have from our house... but they give you an idea!  And those peaches... is it selfish of me to hope that they aren't ripe until we move in?  I'm not sure I can wait until next summer to taste my very own peaches.
Since we won't move into the house until mid-summer, I won't have a garden this year.  Thankfully, my parents have a magnificent garden that we visited last weekend.  It is too early in the summer for most produce, but we harvested lettuce and baby radishes for a salad, marveled at all of the produce that is to come later this summer, and enjoyed the gorgeous flowers.  I can't wait for home grown beets, kale, and tomatoes. 
When I do plant a few things next year, I'll definitely include some rhubarb.  That said, I think this scone recipe would work for any fruit you want to try so don't feel limited by the fact that I made it with rhubarb.  I made them again using fresh cherries and they were delicious!  I think this will be my go-to base recipe for fruit scones going forward because these scones are moist and flavorful without being made with heavy cream (as was the case with the original recipe - delicious but aptly named "Naughty Rhubarb Scones" because they certainly weren't healthy).
What I loved most about these scones were the giant chunks of rhubarb.  You'll probably think as you mix them up that these scones will certainly fall apart with such large pieces of fruit inside, but they defy the odds and stay together nicely.  I was also concerned that there wouldn't be enough sugar in these to offset the somewhat bitter taste of rhubarb.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised as the rhubarb flavor really shines but the scones are neither overly tart nor overly sweet.  Finally, these scones have more of a moist, biscuity texture than other recipes, which I prefer.  And remember... just because rhubarb season may have passed, don't overlook this recipe - just use another fruit (about a pound).
Rhubarb Scones
Yield = 16 scones
Adapted from Naughty Rhubarb Scones via Food 52 

3 stalks rhubarb (roughly 1 lb trimmed)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2/3 to 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice rhubarb stalks 1/4 " thick.  Toss with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a separate bowl.  Set aside.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor.  Cut butter into flour mixture by hand (or pulse in food processor) until butter is the size of small peas.
3. Blend in 1/4 cup of sugar.  Blend in 2/3 cup of lowfat buttermilk just until a soft dough forms.  If your dough is still dry and not cohesive, add additional buttermilk 1-2 tbsp at a time until the dough is soft and moist.  Be careful not to add too much buttermilk!
4. Blend in sliced rhubarb.  If you are using a food processor, just pulse the mixture a few times. If it doesn't combine, use a rubber spatula or your hands to fully combine the rhubarb and the dough (I had to do this as the food processor was not mixing in the rhubarb well enough).  Do NOT over-pulse the mixture - you want the slices of rhubarb mostly left intact.
5. Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half.  To make triangular scones, flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 8 scones.  
6. Arrange scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly brown on top. 
Note - The scones can be made through step 5 and either refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for future baking.  If you freeze the scones, separate them with sheets of parchment paper for easy baking.
That expressions means "Stop taking photos."

Cherry Streusel & A Trip to Berlin

The fall of the Berlin Wall is one of those defining historical moments of our lifetime and Berlin has always been on my list of cities to visit.  There were aspects of Berlin that surprised me (forgive me, some of these observations may be obvious).  The city is, relatively speaking, new.  Because Berlin was largely destroyed in World War II and then divided for thirty plus years, it is still being rebuilt and much of it is fairly modern.  There are cranes cluttering the skyline and old stands next to new throughout.  The Berlin Wall isn't as I imagined - a wall carefully and neatly dividing a city, like the duct tape line you might have drawn in the room you shared with a sibling.  Instead, the wall snaked throughout the city, pressing up against buildings and homes, blocking windows and dividing families.  You can visit part of the wall that was transformed into the East End Gallery and covered in artwork.  I don't know if Berliners perceive this as touristy, but it was one of our favorite parts of the city... not necessarily the artwork, but seeing the wall in person and thinking about living behind it.  

I loved that, like many places in Europe, everyone rides a bike to get around.  We joined right in and it was the best way to see as much of the city as possible in a short period of time.  There is graffiti everywhere, but it was more art than vandalism.  We didn't really eat traditional German food other than currywurst, which is really more of a Berlin thing than a German thing.  We did eat well while there.  The highlights included a phenomenal Thai dinner at Mao Thai, Korean food at YamYam, delicious pastries at Barcomi's, falafel at Dada, and, my personal favorite, Kado - an entire store devoted to black licorice.  Poor Rob waited patiently as I carefully selected a number of different types of licorice and had an in depth conversation with the owner about salty vs. sweet black licorice.  If only I'd bought more...

While we sampled a wide range of foods in Berlin, we didn't actually have streusel.  But... it is German and this month's Food & Wine magazine included a recipe for stone fruit streusel that I couldn't wait to try.  Usually when I make a crumble or streusel topping, I improvise by mixing sugar and butter and a bit of flour and whatever else I think might work at that moment.  It never tastes bad, but I've never quite achieved the perfect ratio of ingredients.  With this, you get a touch of butter, sugar, and almond in each bite, which I think perfectly complements the cherry filling.  I was also just reminded that I do have a favorite crumble recipe (for when I follow a recipe rather than improvise) and that is this Plum Crumble Recipe (a.k.a. "Plum Crack").  

Cherry Pie with Almond Streusel
Adapted from Food & Wine
Active Time = 45 minutes 
Total Time = 3 hours 15 minutes
Serving = 1 9-inch pie 

A few notes... First, I updated this recipe to include my favorite pie dough recipe, which comes from Cook's Illustrated.  If you'd prefer to use the original, you can find it here.  I am devoted to my Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Crust recipe and refuse to stray.  You could also use a store-bought crust, of course.  Please note that I updated the quantities below to only yield enough dough for 1 9-inch crush.  Second, the original recipe called for a mix of stone fruit - essentially, whatever looks best at your farmer's market.  For me, the cherries were it so I didn't mix fruits, but I am sure this would be delicious with any stone fruit you find (e.g., peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots).

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/8 cup cold vodka
1/8 cup cold water

1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons slivered almonds
6 tablespoons rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 1/4 pounds assorted stone fruits cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving 

*Note that Rob felt strongly that cinnamon did not belong in a streusel on top of just cherries.  If you don't think cinnamon compliments cherries, omit the cinnamon.  I can see his point, although I thought the streusel was great... and I definitely think cinnamon is the perfect complement to other stone fruit so if you are mixing fruits, I'd leave it in. 

1.  Make the Dough - Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses.  Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour).  Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.  Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.  Empty mixture into medium bowl.  Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.  Let dough soften at room temperature prior to rolling.

2. Make the Streusel - In a bowl, combine the brown sugar with the flour, almonds, oats, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter or your hands, cut or rub the butter into the mixture evenly.  Refrigerate the streusel.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350°.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick.  Fold the dough in half and transfer it to a 9-inch glass pie plate.  Unfold the dough and gently press it into the plate.  Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch and fold it under itself; crimp decoratively.  Freeze the pie crust for 10 minutes.

4.  Make the Filling - In a large bowl, toss the pitted cherries with the sugar and lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes to let the sugar dissolve.  Stir in the cornstarch.  Scrape the cherries into the pie shell in an even layer.  Scatter the streusel evenly on top of the fruit.

5. Bake the cherry pie in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit starts to bubble around the sides.  Check the pie after 20 minutes to see if the crust is burning or darkening too quickly  - I had to cover my crust with tinfoil after 20 minutes.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

MAKE AHEAD The pie is best served the same day that it’s made, but it can be refrigerated overnight.  Bring to room temperature before serving.