Plum-Almond Buckle

20180730_112740In Florida, it pretty much feels like summer year round. With the exception of a few weeks in the winter, the temperature doesn’t give much indication to the season we’re currently in. One way we stay in touch with the seasons, like the rest of the country, is via the produce that’s being harvested.

20180730_112610I don’t know about you but there’s something about a juicy stone fruit that screams summer. Peaches are my favorite variety, but with plums only 0.99¢ a pound, I could’t pass up the opportunity to snatch a bunch to bake with. Available from May to October, plums hit their peak harvest in July. There are over 2,000 varieties worldwide, with more than 100 types in the U.S. alone, making for plenty of options at your local farmstand throughout the summer and into early fall.

20180730_112124Although lusciously juicy and sweet to eat out of hand, plums provide a complex flavor and texture to any dish they’re added to. The sweet flesh and tart skin of plums are particularly fantastic in desserts, with this plum buckle being a perfect representation of that fact. In case you aren’t familiar, a buckle is a dessert where fruit is placed on top of a layer of cake batter, which rises to the top while baking and then buckles when cool. Buckles are quick and easy to prepare, which means you can whip this dessert up fast for that unexpected BBQ or have it on the table for dinner in no time!

 

Plum-Almond Buckle

 

Ingredients:

  • 7.6 oz. (about 1 & 1/3 cup) White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ Salt
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ cup lowfat Buttermilk
  • 3 Plums; halved, pitted, & sliced ½ in. thick
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat mixture at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and beat until combined. Alternatively add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, blending just until combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Arrange sliced plums on top of batter. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cake in the pan on a wire cooling rack before serving.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Summer Fruit Galette

20180717_110614Summer is in full swing, which means more sun, fun, and a bounty of fresh, colorful produce to choose from. If you head over to your local farmer’s market or chain grocer, you’re sure to find an abundance of in season fruits and vegetables right now. Not only is there a larger variety of produce, but prices are likely to be significantly lower thanks to plentiful harvests.

20180717_111219The past several weeks have been cherries galore on sale, which is why my last post, Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake, happened to feature them. This week it was BOGO raspberries and peaches. When I see great deals like these I can’t pass them up. I usually have no idea what to do with the ingredients at the time but I figure it out later. That was the case with this recipe. I had a bunch of peaches and raspberries with little time to myself to make anything. I needed something quick, easy, and would leave the fruit as the star of the show. This summer fruit galette was the answer.

20180717_110927What I love about this rustic dessert is the peaches and raspberries get to stand center stage. Usually in a pie it’s all crust and the fruit gets lost in between. With a galette, the fruit is showcased beautifully and the preparation couldn’t be easier. My 5 year old and one year old daughters even had a blast helping prepare this so if there is a rainy day or your kids love to bake, spend time together as a family making this galette. Oh and did I mention clean up is a breeze. I can count the amount of dishes I had on one hand which makes for an even happier baking experience. So the next time you see a bunch of summer fruit on sale, don’t hesitate to grab it and whip up this easy fruit galette for a quick dessert to accompany dinner or your next summer cookout!

Summer Fruit Galette

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll Refrigerated Pie Crust (2 rolls per box)
  • 1 pound Peaches; pitted, halved, & sliced into ½ in. wedges
  • 6 oz. Raspberries
  • 1/3 cup Sugar plus 1 tsp.; divided
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Fat-Free Milk

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine peaches, raspberries, 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
  4. Mound filling in center of prepared crust, leaving a 3 inch border. Fold edge of dough up and over filling, pleating as necessary. Brush edge of dough with milk and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar.
  5. Bake galette until filling is tender and crust is browned, approximately 35-40 minutes. Slide galette (with parchment paper) onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

20180707_105854Summer means school’s out, barbeques light up, and ample time is spent outdoors enjoying the fantastic weather. With longer days and warmer temps, entertaining becomes easier and sometimes unexpected if people decide to drop over. If you’re ever looking for a dessert that’s quick to prepare for last minute summer get togethers or easy enough to make and take for a picnic, look no further than this delicious cake.

20180707_110006Featuring in season cherries, you’ll get a taste of summer bursting through every bite. I make this with my favorite organic cake mix, Miss Jones, for convenience, however you can also make it with your own homemade cake recipe if you have more time. Dark, sweet cherries taste best, however you can use any variety of cherry available to you or even mix and match. The juices released from the cherries make for a moist, flavorful, and easy cake!

20180707_105802NOTE: Fresh or frozen cherries can be used in this recipe. If using frozen cherries, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain the cherries before proceeding with the recipe as directed.

Easy Cherry Upside-Down Cake

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1/3 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 cups pitted fresh Bing Cherries
  • 1 box Vanilla Cake Mix

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place butter in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Place pan in oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven and swirl melted butter around pan to evenly coat.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange cherries in a single layer over brown sugar. Set pan aside.
  3. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour prepared batter into pan. Spread batter evenly over cherries.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Loosen cake from edges of pan with a knife and then invert cake onto a serving platter or sheet pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

Rhubarb Apple Pie

20180525_184415The arrival of spring is a time much welcomed by those hit with the winter blues. It’s a time when warmer days allow you to pack away the jackets and begin purchasing a new bounty of fresh produce. Strawberries are probably the most popular spring pick, which is why I’m here to tell you about rhubarb.

20180525_184941Beginning in April and continuing through the summer, rhubarb is at its peak. It looks a lot like a stalk of celery, and even has the same stringy texture, but one bite of this plant and you will never forget how tart it is. To this day I still remember my first bite of raw rhubarb, and my decision to hate it for a long while after. I was very young, probably around 5 years old, when my dad picked a stalk from the plant in our backyard and offered I try it. I remember him stressing for me not to ever eat the leaves as they are poisonous, but his words would not be necessary. Merely taking one bite of that freshly picked stalk would keep me from wanting to go near the plant. Later that summer, however, I did ultimately give rhubarb a second chance, but in the form of a pie.

20180525_184822As tart as rhubarb is fresh, once it’s cooked the flavor gets drastically toned back to a delightful balance of sweet and tart. Once I realized this, I was in love, and every year thereafter I would look forward to the time the rhubarb would make its seasonal debut. My dad usually let rhubarb stand alone as the star of the pie, but I prefer it to share the title with other fruits. Two of the most popular pairings for rhubarb are strawberries and apples. Since strawberries are in season at the same time as rhubarb and their sweet flavor profile helps balance rhubarb’s tartness, it’s only natural they would be a favorite combination option. For me, however, there is just something delicious about the combination of cinnamon, sugar, fresh sliced rhubarb, and equally tart, sliced Granny Smith apples. But no matter which fresh fruit combination you choose, I guarantee you’ll have the makings of a perfect pie.

*NOTE: If you elect to give this pie a try, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes of time preparing it. From start to finish the pie should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and will yield 12 servings. If you have trouble finding fresh rhubarb or would like to make the pie when it’s not in season, you can substitute frozen rhubarb for the fresh. If you do opt for frozen rhubarb instead of fresh, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain it before using as directed in the recipe, otherwise you will end up with a loose filling and soggy crust. If you’re considering serving this pie to guests, I recommend pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Rhubarb Apple Pie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated or frozen 9 inch Pie Shell
  • 3 ½ cups (about 1 ¼ pounds) Sliced Rhubarb
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, & sliced
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • ½ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour; plus 3 tbsp.
  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Cold Unsalted Butter; cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place pie shell on a baking sheet & set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. flour. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, place the remaining flour (½ cup), remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, oats, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the rhubarb filling.
  4. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove pie) and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If crust begins to get too brown, shield it with foil. Once baked, place pie on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing & serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANNA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

20170726_155542In the south, banana pudding is a quintessential summer dessert. It is a valued traditional fare like cheesecake is to New Yorkers. Despite all of its southern charm, traditional banana pudding harbors an enormous amount of calories and saturated fat. As much as I love traditional recipes they don’t quite fit into a healthy lifestyle I try to lead. I needed to find balance, a way to slim down traditional recipes without losing their classic flavors.

20170726_155602I usually have bananas on hand because both of my daughter’s love them. Problem is both of my daughter’s love them and the second I use them for a recipe they will request them all day and refuse to eat anything else. Thankfully, my preschooler has been particularly picky lately and has not been requesting bananas while my youngest has had tummy troubles from the formula to milk transition and definitely does not need anymore binding foods. This caused my bunch of bananas to hit the overly ripe stage and make them free to use for baking.

20170726_151850Now that I had bananas I had to figure out how to shave down the average traditional recipe’s 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, and 19 grams saturated fat without losing the taste everyone falls in love with upon first bite. My first idea was to enhance the banana flavor in order to compensate for the loss of richness sacrificed along with the heavy cream. I know from my culinary school days that when you roast a banana the naturally occurring sugars concentrate and take on a caramelized flavor. This would allow me to boost the flavor of the custard and reduce the amount of added sugar as well. The only problem with this approach is the texture of the roasted bananas becomes too soft to slice for the banana layers that adorn the custard base. My solution was to roast only the bananas needed for the custard as they would be mashed anyway and keep the sliced bananas fresh so they would retain their shape and texture.

20170726_152128To finish up my recipe makeover I swapped 2% milk for the heavy cream or half & half found in traditional recipes. The added richness from the roasted bananas more than made up for the taste lost along with the fat. For the topping I used light whipping cream over heavy cream to save even more calories and fat. Even though the whipped topping doesn’t hold a stiff peak like it would have if made with heavy cream, it is not necessary for this recipe. After all the tweaking, this recipe saves over 500 calories, 44 grams of fat, and almost 17 grams saturated fat per serving without losing a bit of good ole’ southern charm!

20170726_155634Note: If you are not serving the entire pudding right away you will want to prepare just enough whipped cream for what you are serving rather than spreading the full amount across the entire pudding as the final layer. This whipped cream is not stabilized in order to save calories and fat so it will lose its hold over time (approximately 2 hours of holding time). Rather than ruining the entire pudding due to weeping, simply whip up some fresh whipped cream with each serving.

 

Skinny Roasted Banana Pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe Bananas; unpeeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat Milk
  • 2/3 cup Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 45 Vanilla Wafers; divided

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Carefully peel and place roasted bananas in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth or use an immersion blender. Peel and cut remaining bananas into ½-inch thick slices.
  2. Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer but do not boil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine milk, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the newly combined mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the cooled pudding mixture. Spread 1 cup of custard evenly into the bottom of an 11-x-7 inch baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of the remaining custard over the banana slices. Repeat procedure by placing 20 vanilla wafers, remaining banana slices, and remaining custard. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the pudding layers. Crush the remaining 5 vanilla wafers and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: SIDNEY FRY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Plum Kuchen

20170710_152921Summer is typically a slow time of year for me. School is out. The back-to-back flow of major holidays is absent. I no longer have to be someplace all the time and there are a less incentives given to require constant recipe creation. I rely on this time to relax, plan out the craziness of the fall and winter months ahead, and sneak a few trips to the park for my oldest to exert some of her excess energy.

This year, however, has not been typical. It seems like I have been going nonstop since last August when I am usually settled down around early June. The reason for the change? Well, in June I was approached by a local magazine, Edible Orlando, to have a recipe of mine featured in their Summer issue. Almost immediately after that exposure, I was approached by two different authors who are assembling cookbooks and would like to feature some of my recipes in their books. I gladly obliged but it also means a bit more involvement than I’m used to regarding this website. Meanwhile, I celebrated my fiance’s 33rd birthday, the Baptism of our second daughter, followed by Independence Day festivities, and in a little over two weeks it will be our second daughter’s 1st birthday. If I am lucky I will get a week or two off before the crazy school year starts all over again with registration for my daughter in school and a bunch of extracurricular activities along with the constant recipe development needed for the fall/winter holidays.

20170710_153132Since I have been busy I haven’t planned much in advance regarding future posts and I haven’t involved myself in other incentive-based projects. This post came about after I was out doing regular shopping and got a deal on some organic plums for $1.99/pound. I figured I could find something to make with them. Sure enough, after having a brief conversation with my mom about how my great-grandmother used to make plum jelly I decided to do a bit of research on traditional German recipes using plums. I quickly discovered that plum cake (Pflaumenkuchen) is a staple in many German homes, especially when having guests for coffee or tea. It’s so popular that every year between the months of July & September, in the southwestern city of Buhl, Germany there is a festival (Zwetschgenfest) to celebrate the annual plum harvest. During my brief studies on the subject I have found that there are two ways to prepare a plum kuchen, one being with a yeast base and the other with a cake batter. Due to my time constraints I chose the quicker cake batter option.

20170710_152959After preparing this simple coffee cake I know why it is so beloved in Germany. What is not to love about a dense yet tender spice cake adorned with tart plums and finished with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping! I prefer using a mixture of black, red, and yellow plums for contrasting flavor and color but any plum variety will work in this scrumptious cake. Serve it as a quick breakfast with coffee, as an afternoon snack with tea, or a satisfying dessert following dinner!

 

Plum Kuchen

 

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 7 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; divided
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 pound Plums; quartered & pitted
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9 inch round springform or metal cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, allspice, and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 tbsp. butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Combine milk, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Arrange plums in a circular pattern over the batter.
  4. Combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring well. Place remaining 3 tbsp. butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir melted butter into sugar mixture. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: PAUL GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

20170629_102444If you haven’t already noticed, this summer I am all about the no-bake desserts. With limited time available and no desire to make the A/C work any harder than it already is, no-bake desserts are a perfect option. Not only are these cherry cheesecake bars an easy summertime treat but they are also a great addition to your 4th of July picnic or party.

As with every dessert I make I try to make it as healthy as possible without the taste being noticeably off. These bars are no different. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust made with fattening butter, this crust is made with olive oil containing heart healthy fats and omega-3 rich walnuts. The walnuts add a touch of extra flavor to the crust to make up for the loss of richness when butter is cut from the equation. To keep saturated fat in check in the filling, regular cream cheese is swapped out for a blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. You can even make these bars gluten-free if you make the simple exchange of gluten-free graham crackers for regular.

20170629_102431Whether you want to pass a delicious dessert at an Independence Day themed picnic/party or simply desire an easy, no bake summer dessert for your family, these no-bake cherry cheesecake bars are sure to never disappoint!

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Bars

 

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 14 oz. box of Graham Crackers; preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup light Olive Oil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cans Cherry Pie Filling (you may not need all of the 2nd can)

 

Preparation:

  1. Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Drizzle with the oil and stir to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13-x-9 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over the crust. Spoon the cherry topping over the filling until no filling shows through the topping. Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: CAROLYN MALCOUN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017