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Blueberry Gateau

A Blueberry Gateau (or gâteau if you choose to write it as the French would with a circumflex accent, not unlike the one over the second “e” in my name) is simply a blueberry cake. In this instance, it’s a light sponge cake decorated with fresh blueberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. I’ve been making this delightful sweet treat, which doubles nicely as a breakfast item, for years. Unfortunately, though, I don’t know where my recipe came from. If I had to guess, I’d say I copied it many years ago from either the old food section of the [ ... ]

Finger Food Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about how I’m not a baker and don’t really enjoy the process. On the rare occasions when I do bake, however, I expect those items to be the best they can be. When it comes to chocolate chip cookies (the number one sweet finger food in this house), the best of the best in my book are ones with crispy exteriors and chewy, borderline cakey, interiors. I’ve been working on this recipe for years and I think I’ve finally got it exactly where I want it–just in time for [ ... ]

Carrot Cake

Of all the family recipes that have been handed down to me through the years, there are two I cherish most.  One is The Turtle Soup, which I wrote about last February, and the other is this Carrot Cake.  Both are nostalgic nods to my childhood.  Both flood my thoughts with warm memories of Sunday suppers, birthday dinners and holiday gatherings (especially Easter) shared with my mom’s large and loving family.  Both remind me of Grandma Kirn, my great-grandmother, who started these wonderful food traditions and of Papa, my maternal grandfather, as well as my mom, who have carried them [ ... ]

Italian Seed Cookies and St. Joseph Altars

New Orleans is celebrating yet again.  Today, the City comes together to honor St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and the patron saint of many including Sicilians, laborers, travelers, house hunters, the persecuted, the poor, the aged and the dying.  Locals express their devotion through the centuries-old Sicilian tradition of building elaborate food altars to commemorate the relief St. Joseph provided them during the famine back in the Middle Ages, to give thanks for answering a special prayer and to express gratitude for his constant guidance and intercession.  These altars are erected in private homes, parish halls, churches, schools, Italian [ ... ]
Category: Desserts  10 Comments

Bourbon Balls

New Orleans is predominately a Catholic city. As such, many of us who were raised there attended Catholic school from kindergarten through twelfth. Most of the elementary schools were coed, but the majority of high schools were same sex. The boys had their schools and the girls others. Several coed Catholic high schools exist today, but they’re few and far between. My sister Giselle and I attended the same Catholic high school. It was one established by the Sisters of Mount Carmel. By the time Giselle and I were both there, only a few [ ... ]
Category: Beverages, Desserts  Tags:  2 Comments

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Praline Glaze

Every year around this time, I get the urge to experiment with canned pumpkin. I like working it into both savory and sweet dishes. This year, I took the dessert route and ended up cranking out this Pumpkin Pound Cake. In true pound cake fashion, this version is dense and subtlety sweet. Those are the two things I love most about pound cakes. I did, however, drain the pumpkin first because I was afraid the cake might otherwise end up too firm. The texture turned out perfect as did the seasonally spiced flavor. [ ... ]

Halloween: Cafe au Lait Meringue Ghosts

My neighborhood rocks on Halloween.  How can it not?  On my street alone, which is exactly a half mile long, we have at least 30 children under 13 and a rock-band-leader teenager who lives at the top.  Parents stroll along with “well-stocked” wagons in tow while live music pours onto the road.  The kids, decked out in the latest costume trends, run freely from house to house racking up on what ultimately ends up being pillowcases full of treats. When my kids were younger, I used to host a Halloween open house complete with a spooktacular spread of heavy picking food [ ... ]

Lemon Pistachio Tart

Are you all in the mood for something sweet? Good. Me too. I haven’t made any sugary treats in a while. But now that the kids are out of school, I find myself planning one dessert after another. I don’t let my kids eat sweets all the time, but when I do I prefer they have the good, homemade stuff. Besides, baking anything is a surefire way to get them cooking. As I mentioned many times before, making pastry dough from scratch is not my thing. However, back when I was a teenager I [ ... ]

King Cake Bread Pudding With Whiskey Sauce

Let’s talk desserts. As in classic New Orleans desserts. Two in particular: Creole Bread Pudding and King Cake. Both have storied histories, are deeply rooted in New Orleans tradition and are equally delicious. Creole Bread Pudding is what I consider an everyday, homey dessert prepared by thrifty New Orleans cooks and restaurant chefs who have plenty of day-old French bread on hand. The stale bread is given new life when soaked in a creamy, cinnamon-infused custardy bath. The pudding is then baked plain or embellished with raisins, nuts, canned fruit salad or even [ ... ]

Canned Biscuit Donuts

Have you ever made canned biscuit donuts?  It’s a fun, semi-homemade way to make donuts.  We’re planning on making them tomorrow morning for Christmas breakfast.  I’ll probably set up the fryer and make the icings sometime today.  So tomorrow, when the grumbling of the kids’ hungry bellies finally overcomes the excitement of Santa’s arrival, I’ll be ready to roll. These donuts can be eaten plain or decorated any which way.  I’ve included quick recipes for vanilla and chocolate icings.  The donuts are also good coated in cinnamon sugar.  But my youngest, Blair, and the hubby insist they’re best dusted with powdered [ ... ]
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