Category Archives: Dessert



For the month of December’s Daring Baker’s Challenge, Kat challenged us to make Gateaux Pithiviers.

Pithiviers are essentially a cake-sized pastry stuffed with an almond filling. A charm, or feve, is sometimes baked into the dessert, and whoever is served that piece is “King for the Day”. The dessert is named for the town of Pithiviers south of Paris. Gateaux Pithiviers, also called Galette des Rois or King’s Cakes, are traditionally eaten at Lent.

The two elements comprising the Pithiviers both benefit from overnight chilling. Therefore, this dessert is excellent for preparing a day or two before serving, and then assembling and baking the day you want to serve it. The puff pastry recipe I’ve included makes three pounds, but only one pound is needed for the Pithiviers.


The dessert is ancient, with many recipes floating around. Kat first came across Gateaux Pithiviers in John Clancy’s Christmas Book. She experimented with techniques and filling recipes from David Lebovitz and Le Cordon Bleu at Home. The recipe here is her own creation based on her experiments and ingredients at hand.


It was mandatory to make the Puff Pastry and Frangipane from scratch and then further assemble into “Gateaux Pithiviers”

Gateaux Pithiviers – Daring Baker’s December 2015 Challenge


  • Puff Pastry
  • Makes three pounds / 1.35kg , only one of which will be used
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 4 1?2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup ice water
  • Frangipane
  • Makes enough for one Gateaux Pithiviers
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 1?2 cups blanched almonds (or 1 cup almond meal from a packet)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on sweetness level you prefer
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1?2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1?4 teaspoon almond extract
  • zest from one lemon or 1?2 an orange or 2 tangerines (tangerine is my favorite)
  • 2 Tablespoons Armangac or Rum (rum is traditional, but I like the Armagnac much better)
  • Gateaux Pithiviers
  • 1 pound puff pastry (1/3rd of a batch if using the accompanying recipe)
  • 1 batch of frangipane
  • 1 large egg
  • granulated, superfine, or powdered sugar (optional)


Put 1?2 cup of flour in a medium bowl or in the work bowl of a food processor. Cut one pound of butter into small cubes and thoroughly combine with the flour without letting the mixture warm up. If it starts to warm up at all, just toss it into the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes until it’s cold again. Dump the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and shape into a rectangle about 4 x 8” / 10 x 20cm wide. Wrap well and place in refrigerator to chill.

Using the same mixing or processor bowl, combine the remaining four cups flour and 1?4 pound of butter until well combined. Again, do not let the mixture warm up. Place your bowl in the fridge anytime the butter starts to feel soft. After combining, add the ice water slowly, and stir until mixed. Dump the mixture onto a clean and lightly floured counter and knead until the dough is smooth, approximately three or four minutes. Wrap well and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into an approximate 10” / 20cm square. Remove butter mixture from refrigerator and place on top of dough. Fold top third of dough down over the butter, and then fold bottom third of dough up to form a packet.

Roll the rectangle back out to the original dimensions, trying to avoid having any of the butter creep out the edges. If the dough is feeling warm, return to the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. Fold the dough into thirds again, and roll in a perpendicular direction to your first fold. That

??????is, your open ends become your new edges, and your old edges become your new open ends. Fold into thirds once more, wrap well, and chill for at least 1?2 hour. You’ve completed your first two turns.

Remove the puff pastry from the fridge, roll out, fold up, roll out, and fold up. Remember, anytime you think things are warming up, you’re butter is seeping out, or you’re getting otherwise frustrated, just throw the whole thing in the fridge and walk away for ten minutes. You’ve now completed four turns. Wrap up well and chill again. Indentations in the dough can help you keep track of the number of turns you have made.

Repeat the previous instructions to complete six turns in total. You now have a gorgeous slab of puff pastry. Wrapped up well, it will store in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for several months.

Frangipane Method:

Toast almonds on a cookie sheet under a broiler (oven grill). Using a grinder or food processor, process the almonds until finely ground. Combine with all the other ingredients until well mixed. Form into a 6” / 15cm disc, wrap well, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Gateaux Pithiviers

Beat the egg well to make an egg-wash. Add up to one teaspoon of water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture up. Divide the pound of puff pastry in half, and return one half to refrigerator. Roll out the remaining half on a lightly floured surface. Using a plate or bowl approximately 8” / 20cm in diameter and a very sharp knife, cut out a circle of puff pastry. Carefully move the pastry to a silicon mat or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush a ring of egg-wash around the outside of the pastry, but do not allow the egg-wash to go over the sides, as that will prevent the edges from rising prettily. Center the disk of frangipane on the pastry and place the baking sheet in the fridge to keep cool.

Roll out the second half of the puff pastry and cut a circle the same size as the bottom. Retrieve the Pithiviers from the refrigerator and place the top layer of puff pastry overtop. Quickly use your fingers to mush the two layers of pastry together without warming the pastry or allowing the filling to squeeze out.

Press two fingers of one hand into the pastry and use the back of a small knife to push an indent in between your fingers. Repeat all the way around the Pithiviers. This will form the scalloped edges Pithiviers are known for.

Brush entire top with egg-wash, again trying your best to not let the egg run over the edges. Starting at the middle of the pastry, draw long sweeping s-curves out to the edges. When you’re satisfied with your work, return to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bake the Pithiviers for 10 minutes at 425°F, and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 20-30 minutes. The top should be a dark bronze color, and the filling (which you won’t be able to see) should be set. At this point, you can sprinkle sugar over the top and return to the oven at 500°F for a few minutes to develop a beautiful glaze. I burned it every time, so I just skip this step now.

Allow the Gateaux Pithiviers to cool completely before serving.

The taste is a little nicer when it’s warm, but the texture is better when it’s a room temperature. This can sit on the counter for a day, but longer storage is attainable using your refrigerator.

Thanks Kat for a great Challenge!



Chutney 1
Strawberry Picking is like a family ritual for us. Its a great time of the year to enjoy the dazzling red berries which are ripened to perfection in the farm fields. We had some relatives home and I decided to take them last week for this fun experience. We picked berries to our hearts content and paid about $1.72 per lb, which I though was reasonable. The whole activity is so addictive that you don’t feel like stopping. We didn’t even realize that we picked over 10 lbs in less than 30 minutes.
Its a great experience and I highly recommend everyone to try especially with kids. Always make sure to call up the farm before heading there. Also pick up only the red berries, the green or pink wont ripe later. Don’t miss out on your camera!
chutney 2
With so many berries I really had to come up with something quick. I was expecting to freeze some but not the entire lot. I made some Low Fat Strawberry Crisp ; strawberry infused water and some Spiced Chutney. My original idea was to actually make some jam but there was already a big bottle of Smuckers starring at me in the refrigerator:(. I wanted some thing Tangy and Sweet so decided to make Chutney, that too a spicy one. I used chili powder which gave the much required heat, jaggery added to the sweetness, nutmeg and cardamom for flavors and lemon juice gave the tartness.
chutney 3
Before starting, taste a berry to determine their sweetness. Wash the berries and cut them into quarters; mix powdered jaggery and lemon juice. Since I wanted the natural sweetness of the berries to set in I decided to keep it covered for about 40 minutes or so. But in between I had to step out so the 40 mins became 90 minutes. The Berries had released all their juices and along with the jaggery water I was left with a lot of liquid. Now the only problem was that it would take more time to cook.Towards the end it might stick to the pan so be careful.

Spiced Strawberry Chutney


  • 6 cups strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder ( increase or decrease as per taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • salt as needed


Take the chopped berries in a large bowl, add powdered Jaggery and lemon juice. Mix well and allow it to rest for about 30-45 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds. When it turns golden add the Berries along with the juice. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until it turns thick. Keep stirring in between.

Once done allow it to come to room temperature before you fill it in a bottle. Keep it refrigerated. I started with six cups of berries but still ended up with just a medium mason jar full of chutney.This tasted great with some crackers and cheese, bread, tortillas/rotis. I liked them even on Pancakes:)



bread 2
For the month of May, Aparna chose an easy bread which is loaded with flavors – An Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread. This bread was originally adapted from 500 Breads by Carol Beckerman.
bread 3
It’s an easy bread to knead,shape and bake.This Bread is a typical American style sweet breakfast bread.
We enjoyed this bread for breakfast as well as evening snack. Apricot, Orange and Cinnamon put together makes a flavorsome bread!

Orange & Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yield: 2 loaves


  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • The juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 5 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Oil for greasing


Grease two 8”x 4” loaf tins with a little oil. Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes till frothy.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and the 3 tablespoon sugar. Add the liquid yeast, the eggs, the juice and the zest of orange and work into a somewhat firm dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, and turn so it is coated all over. Cover and put it in a warm place for about 1 1 /2 hours, until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Knead for a few minutes until the dough feels firm. Roll into to 6 x 13-inch rectangles.

Spread each rectangle with apricot preserves and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll up each triangle like a jelly roll and place in the loaf tins. Put in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until double in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake the loaves for about 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves.

Thanks Aparna for the recipe!



pear 1
This post is long pending. I wrote this a while back but got to post it only today. It’s been four months in Milwaukee. And we have been exploring all the places and restaurants. We moved here during peak winter. Thanks to the snow storm we were just cooped up in the hotel for the first few days.During our stay in Marriott one of the first few restaurants that we visited was Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery located in the heart of Downtown. We dined on a Friday night. Luckily we didn’t have to wait for long to be seated. From the moment of our arrival we had a great positive experience. The location, overall place and ambience impressed me. Their American food menu offers variety of salad, sandwiches, pizzas and burgers.
They had a few vegetarian options which were pretty good. Low fat and Gluten Free food are also featured on their menu. Not to forget their kids menu is perfect. My little one loved their Mac and cheese. They also had Buttered Noodles, Grilled Cheese and more. When we told the waitress that we just moved in to the city she welcomed us to Wisconsin and suggested us to try their “Cheese Curds”. These little balls like popcorn are truly delicious nuggets of battered and fried cheese. The natural flavor is a “mild fresh dairy” taste. You don’t need any dipping sauce to go with it, they taste great as is. We gobbled up one after the other. Mind you they are quite “ADDICTIVE”!
For the entrée, it had to be the Tacos.The minute I laid eyes on their menu I knew what I wanted . They had Mini Street Tacos with either Fish or Steak. But the waitress was happy to make a vegetarian one for us. The plate was beautiful plated with four mini tacos, sprinkled with some veggies, avocados and cheese with a big squeeze of lime which gave the tanginess that I enjoyed the most.
We usually don’t order desserts unless something intrigues me. I can never say no to “Caramel”. This was one of the best desserts I have had – Salted Caramel and Toffee Mason Jar Dessert. As the name suggest it was served in a mason jar. The bottom was filled with toasted graham crumbs, the next layer was caramel sauce, a layer of cheesecake custard, some heath bar toffee bits and whipped cream. If you have never experienced this combination you should give this a try. This was sinful!!!
We enjoyed our dinner and happily walked up to the hotel. Great start to our life here! I have visited their restaurant in MN as well. But that was way long back. The only thing I remember is my husband enjoyed their Beer and I enjoyed my food☺
So if you are planning to dine in somewhere in downtown, Rock Bottom is a great place to be. You will not be disappointed. Great place, great service!

740 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203

Unfortunately I don’t seem to find the pictures I took on my phone. So do hop on to their website for more details.
Note – All views expressed here are my own. I haven’t been paid to write this post.

pear 3
Now coming to the dessert. I don’t have a sweet tooth but would love to indulge on desserts occasionally. And when I do, fruit based dessert tops my favorite list. Fruits provide the natural sweetness along with all the nutrient goodness. This dessert is pretty easy to make and consists of only four simple ingredients – Pear, Figs, Almonds and Dates. Dates are wonderfully delicious and are packed with essential nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Pear 6
They are low on calorie too. Choose fresh, firm fruit with rich flavor. Keep unripe pears in a basket at room temperature or wrap in a paper to ripen as you would do to Papaya/cantaloupe

Healthy Dessert – Baked Pear with Figs,Dates and Almonds


  • 2 pears
  • 24 raw almonds
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 4 figs
  • Coconut oil spray
  • sliced almonds for garnish


Preheat oven at 375F. Coarsely grind the raw almonds,dates and figs. Set aside. Halve the pears, Scoop out and carve the centre creating a hollow. I also cut a silver off the base just to make it sit upright. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spray coconut oil on the cut side of the pears. Place them cut side down and bake for 15- 20 minutes.By now you will see some juice oozing out of the pears and also the pears would have softened and have a golden tinge when you flip.

Remove it from the oven. Flip them over. Divide the dried fruit mixture equally among the pears.

Stuff as much as you want. More is good:) Garnish with sliced almonds. Place them in a freshly lined baking sheet (juice from the pears must have browned the parchment,so its better to use a fresh one). Increase the heat to 400F. Bake the pears for another 15 mins. Serve warm.

Dates+ Figs + Almonds along with milk/almond milk make a fantastic shake. One of my relative passed this recipe to me and ever since then I have been hooked on to it. And that is how I got the idea of making this recipe. Baked Pears with dry fruits – doesn’t get simpler than this. Takes care of all your sweet cravings!


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