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I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Fruit Desserts

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool With Vanilla Cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool 2 IMG_3573_Fotor

You’ve got to love the quirky names the Brits have for some of their older recipes. Fool is one of my favorites though Bubbles and Squeak and Toad-in-a-Hole are up there on my list of “faves.”

This is a little different from traditional Fool recipes, which are made with minced or pureed fruits and whipped cream or custard.  This recipe has cooked rhubarb and strawberries, whipped cream blended with crème fraiche and delicate rose water. You are welcome to substitute other fruits for the strawberries and rhubarb if you choose. Just keep the proportions more or less the same.

Fresh Fruit Tart

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Courtesy of Anne Baldzikowski, Easy Artisan: Simple Elegant Recipes for the Everyday Cook

Anne says, “This is a favorite dessert at summertime parties when we have such an abundance of colorful and tasty fruits. It was also a favorite dessert of mine that I learned how to make in pastry school. After graduation I was so enamored by the pretty fluted edged French tarts that I started a wholesale bakery called The Queen of Tarts! Coffee houses, caterers, restaurants, and hotels soon called with orders for this eye-catching dessert.”

Sicilian Lemon Tart (Torta al Limone)

Updated lemon torte

 This is an amazingly smooth, creamy, over-the-top delicious tart.I had been traveling through Italy and Greece for three weeks then spent two days in London before heading home. Along the way I had eaten more than my share of amazing cakes, tarts, cookies along the way, and had loved the lemon desserts in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. The irony of this is the last morning we went to a coffee shop before heading to the airport and there, in the dessert case, was a Sicilian Lemon Tart that cried out to be purchased and enjoyed. So, of course I obliged. It was hands down one of the best desserts of the trip. In London, for crying out loud!

Apricot Crumble – Tarte Crumble Aux Abricots

apricot crumble

Courtesy of David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen; Ten Speed Press; 2014

I grew up on apricots, both fresh and dried as well as apricot desserts. David had never had fresh apricots until he went to France, at which time he “got it” about how amazing they are when they’re baked. If you haven’t used fresh apricots in desserts, you’re in for a wonderful treat!

Book Review: Flavor Flours

 

3D COVER. Flavor Flours

Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Leigh Beisch

Whenever I need inspiration for a special dessert or a good cookie recipe, I reach for one of Alice Medrich’s books. When Flavor Flours came out I was excited to review it, but I had no idea how much I wanted and needed this book until I recently received a copy.

Alice Medrich is truly a culinary visionary and trend setter. As a young woman she lived in Paris and was given some chocolate truffles. Intrigued by the flavor and uniqueness of the confection, which was essentially unknown in the US at that time, she returned to Berkeley, California and made truffles for sale. The truffles she designed became known as “California Truffles.”

Lemon Trifle with Berries

Lemon Trifle with Berries

If you have teenagers, you’ll probably want to skip this blog as the main ingredient in trifle is stale cake. If you actually do occasionally have stale (or extra) cake — with or without teenagers — read on!

If you’re unfamiliar with trifle, it’s a British invention for using  stale cake. Which does lead one to wonder if stale cake is a common problem for the Brits because their teenagers are sent off to boarding school.

Kick-Ass Applesauce

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 Anyone with a stove, a pot and apples can make applesauce. But, really good applesauce? Use heritage apples and a few special ingredients and you’ve got yourself a kick-ass good dessert!

In 1969 I moved to a ridge along the Mendocino coast.  Through serendipity I ended up in the second oldest farmhouse on the Coast and it came with 29 heritage apple trees! Needless to say, we had apple everything from early autumn until spring.  Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cookies, apple cake, baked apples, candied apples and a whole lot of applesauce.

Amazingly enough, I still look forward to autumn for the apples. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like  the snap of biting into a crisp apple and feeling and tasting the juices flood your palate!

Stuffed Apricots with Pistachios and Pomegranate Molasses

A few months ago I read about a Facebook friend’s dessert at a Mediterranean restaurant – Apricots stuffed with pistachios and drizzled with pomegranate molasses.  My mind could immediately taste this delicacy but I automatically adapted it mentally. It was late autumn, not apricot season, which meant it was made with Turkish apricots.

European Plum Cake

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This delicate, delicious, absolutely-must-make cake recipe comes from Maria Reiz Springer. Now living in Maryland, Maria is from Austria and has an infinite number of amazing European dessert recipes, and usually a wonderful story that goes with the recipe. Maria has a home cooking school and is truly a master baker. The plum cake can be made with other stone fruits as well, but if you are lucky enough to have French plums, they are both the traditional plum used as well as divine in this cake.

Cherries with Vanilla Bean

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 Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

In this book, Alice offers “Fresh Cherries 3 Ways.” I’m providing you with the recipe for one plus her caveat, “Cheating with Frozen Cherries.” For the other two specialties, you’ll need to read the book. (Believe me, it’s worth it.)

Alice says, “These get better and better as they sit in the fridge, drawing flavor from the (Rain’s Choice) vanilla bean.”

The picture for this recipe was made with frozen cherries (it’s February here) so they aren’t as spectacular looking as fresh cherries. That said, they were delicious. Instead of using vodka, rum or brandy, I used raspberry wine to give the cherries a fruity boost. You could also use cherry brandy. I served them over Honey Almond ice cream and they were spot on! (VQ)

Serves 4 as a compote, 6 to 8 as an accompaniment to Vanilla Ice Cream or Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream

Rum Poached Peaches

This is a delicious way to use an abundant supply of peaches (and your vanilla beans, for that matter). You can process the peaches, following instructions found in canning books or the Internet, give the jars of fresh peaches as hostess gifts, or enjoy the peaches with ice cream, crème fraiche or with Greek yogurt. The peaches will keep in the jars for about a month if kept refrigerated.

Caramel Apple Bars

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Served warm, topped with ice-cream after dinner or for breakfast on a crisp fall day, Caramel Apple Bars are a comforting treat any way you slice them. Perfect for an autumn picnic, these are like a bite of fresh apple pie, conveniently packaged as a cookie bar. If you like caramel and apples, you’ll be sure to love these Caramel Apple Bars.

Why do our customers love Rain's Choice vanilla?

  • You get MORE FLAVOR because we use 20% more beans in our extracts than is required by law!
  • 99% of all vanilla products are imitation. Ours are 100% PURE!
  • We carefully choose all products to assure best QUALITY & FLAVOR!
  • Our farmers are paid a FAIR PRICE.
  • Our vanilla beans are SUSTAINABLY grown.
  • Everything we sell is ORGANICALLY grown.
  • Your purchase here supports our HUMANITARIAN efforts.

Thank you for supporting The Vanilla Company and our farmers! BUY HERE now.

For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see "Why is Vanilla so Expensive?"

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