Browsing: Desserts

Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake


Sister #3 is a member of GLEE (Girls Laughing, Entertaining and Eating) and last year they decided to dress up for Halloween and enjoy some scary and delicious treats.  The tastiest was this Martha Stewart pumpkin chocolate cheese cake made by the talented Kathy T.

Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Tart
Makes 1 10-inch tart

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin puree

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup sour cream

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. Add butter. With an electric mixer on low speed beat until butter is the size of small peas, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mix until ingredients form a dough. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just more than 1/8-inch. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with rim. Pierce bottom of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry, about 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the 4 ounces chocolate evenly over crust; let it begin to melt, then smooth with an offset spatula.

In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, discard the solids. Pour filling into prepared crust, just to top edge.

Bake at 350 degrees until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes.

Place the 2 ounces chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Transfer chocolate to a resealable bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner. Pipe about 15 evenly spaced lines radiating out from the center of the tart. Pipe curved lines around the perimeter of the tart, connecting each spoke. Continue piping curved lines, spacing them closer together as you near the center. Refrigerate until set, 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Kath’s quote:  “Pumpkin pie, if rightly made, is a thing of beauty and a joy – while it lasts…..Pies that cut a little less firm than a pine board, and those that run round your plate are alike to be avoided. Two inches deep is better than the thin plasters one sometimes sees, that look for all he world like pumpkin flap-jacks. The expressive phrase, ‘too thin’, must have come from these lean parodies on pumpkin pie. With pastry light, tender, and not too rich, and a generous filling of smooth spiced sweetness – a little ‘trembly’ as to consistency, and delicately brown on top – a perfect pumpkin pie, eaten before the life has gone out of it, is one of the real additions made by American cookery to the good things of the world. For the first pumpkin pie of the season, flanked by a liberal cut of creamy cheeses, we prefer to sit down, as the French gourmand said about his turkey: ‘with just two of us; myself and the turkey.'”-The House Mother


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Mom-We’re Having a Bake Sale at School


There was a time when these words would strike terror into my heart.  This was the “super”-mom time in my life when I worked outside the home and had three very busy kids that needed my lunch making, teaching assistance and chauffeur skills.  I was also overly concerned about what other people would “think” about my contribution and would work hard to find the perfect treat-nutritous yet practical and delicious. 

I have mellowed as I have matured and was flattered when Daughter #2 asked for my contribution to help raise funds to get her to a university conference on social justice and humanitarian assistance.  I peered in the pantry, saw that we had coconut, raisins, pecans and lots of brown sugar and made a bold decision-butter tart slice it is! 

I am fond of mixing ingredients up but not of rolling, shaping, pressing, etc. etc.  I love recipes where you get out your biggest mixing bowl-stir it all up and pour it in a pan.  Such is the case with these (recipe is very easy to double):


1 c butter

2 c flour

1/4 c sugar

pinch salt


1/4 c butter

3 beaten eggs

2 c brown sugar

1 T baking powder

pinch salt

3/4 c coconut

1 t vanilla

1 c raisins (I always soak mine first)

1 T flour

1 c coarsely chopped pecans


Cut butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender until crumbly,  Press into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.


Melt butter, add eggs and remaining ingredients.  Mix and pour over crust,  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Cut when cool.

I left them uncut for Daughter #2 to decide if she wanted to package them up by the half dozen or cut and wrap big individual pieces.  Turns out that the way to go now a days is the latter-you sell a large wedge to have with coffee and ask for a donation.  They made close to $300 this way!  That’s my girl.

Kath’s quote:“Eat butter first, and eat it last, and live till a hundred years be past.”- Old Dutch proverb

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Platz-an unappetizing name for a yummy dessert


As we drove down Henderson Hwy. recently, we read a sign that went “Mennonite Girls Can Cook-262 sold”.  A cryptic message, but I understood it perfectly.  “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” is the title of a blog that I enjoy very much and the “girls” have now produced a cookbook by the same title.  Sales have started off modestly… 262 to be exact.

My favourite Mennonite recipe is Platz.  When I say the name out loud, I giggle because it sounds like something that has been deposited in a field by a range animal.  In fact, it is the German name for Coffee Cake.  I like the German take on coffee cake because it is not filled with carbs and sugar.  The cake is flat and the emphasis is on seasonal fruit and berries.  I made one recently and the Daughter #2’s Frenchman (who is half German) was very impressed.

Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x13″ pan.

In the food processor, combine 1 c flour, 1/2 c sugar, 1 t baking powder, 1/4 c butter untill crumbly.  Or the cut the butter into the above ingredients with a plenty blender.  Add 1/2 c milk, 1 egg, 1 t vanilla.  Spread into the prepared pan.  Top with finely diced fresh or frozen fruit of your choice.  The “girls” prefere rhubarb or halved Italian plams.  On this day I combined rubarb, frozen strawberries, blueberries and a over ripe banana.

Combine the following for the crumb topping: 1 1/2 c of flour, 1/2 c melted butter and 1 1/2 c sugar (white or brown for a different taste).  Sprinkle over the fruit.  Bake in the top 1/3 of your oven until golden brown (about 30 minutes).  If you have overloaded the fruit (as I have a tendency to do), you may want to put a second baking sheet near the bottom of the oven to catch the drips.

A couple of weeks ago, Mom#2 picked a bucket of fresh local strawberries for me.  I froze them individually on cookie sheets before I bagged them.  Instead of turning into one frozen hunk, they come out individually frozen and are so easy to use.

 I may have posted this recipe before-who cares, it is so good that it deserves an encore. 

Kath’s quote: “You can tell when you have crossed the frontier into Germany because of the badness of the coffee.”-Edward VII



U Pick Strawberries-By Guest Blogger Shirley


Shirley was one of the students in my blog writing class this spring.  She has written this beautiful piece.  Looks like one of those cases where the student could teach the teacher a thing or two…..

“Anyone who loves strawberries knows the sweet, juicy flavour of fresh-picked strawberries is second to none.  Not only are these delights of nature beautiful to look at with their crisp red appeal, they absolutely tantalize the taste buds.  Maybe part of the intense flavour explosion stems from picking them ourselves.

Just a few minutes outside Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba, there are various U-Pick Strawberry farms.  Many are operated as family businesses providing reliable quality and service.  I remember going strawberry picking with my Mom and Dad when I was a little girl.  It was so much fun to hear my Dad tell stories of how I would focus on the task at hand and pick strawberries right along with my parents.

I was taught how to respect the tender plants and pick cleanly, not eat while picking, and simply select the beautiful red berries.  Okay, don’t tell:  my Dad would let me try a berry or two near the end, and oh, the sweetest taste filled my mouth!  I still remember how wonderful those delightful excursions to the strawberry fields were.  Somehow it never seemed like work.

Today I still find the whole process from picking to eating the strawberries, in whatever form they end up, to be enjoyable.  Food is love.  Strawberries are love.

I froze these on cookie sheets before bagging them so that they do not go mushy.

After hulling and washing these delectable jewels bursting with flavour and nutritional goodness, they can be eaten fresh out of hand, added to cereal, and made into various delicious desserts such as strawberry trifle or strawberry shortcake.  They can also be frozen for use out of season when we yearn for the sweet taste of summer berries.

What memories do the smell of strawberries bring to you?”

Grandma Jean’s Strawberry Pie-Just picked, made and delivered to the cottage

Kath’s quote:   “The strawberry: “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”-Dr William Butler

Thank you Shirley!

A Memorable Chocolate Cake


“Auntie’s chocolate cake (was) a moist, sour-milk, two-layer concoction spread thickly with Jennie’s soft, white frosting and covered in grated coconut.  As a child I loved to watch the vinegar -Heinz’s white, not my grandfather’s red-start to sour the warm milk.  If I stared long enough I could see the milk begin to thicken and coagulate from the chemical reaction of the vinegar.  When the cake was pulled from the oven, leaving moist, dark crumbs on the toothpick tester, I loved the sight of it sitting on a cake plate in the center of any of the tables from my childhood, whether it was my birthday’s or someone else’s.”

“A single bite of that cake still conjures up the days when all the characters of my childhood used to sit around Jennie’s kitchen table on Whitney Avenue celebrating the joy of birth, when I was little, when my parents were young, when my grandparents were still only in their sixties.  It keeps those Sunday dinners alive in my memory,”from Paula Buttuini’s “Keeping the Feast”

Well here it is the weekend of Daughter #1’s birthday and what has she requested for her birthday dessert?  A recipe for the chocolate zucchini cake from her childhood-one that I haven’t made in years.  But not surprisingly, I find it in one of my many “Best of Bridge” recipe books and as I scan the ingredients to ensure that I will have everything I see that it calls for sour milk…

Daughters #1 and 2

I’ve run out of time and space this morning but I will post the beloved recipe soon and also dig up one for the requested chocolate cream cheese icing.  Have a wonderful Canada Day weekend.  Find a food treat to celebrate this great country that we live in and the memories of the day will live on.

Kath’s quote:  “We have never been a melting pot. The fact is we are more like a tossed salad. We are green, some of us are oily, and there’s a little vinegar injected when you get up to Ottawa.”-Arnold Edinborough

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