baking Dorie fruit

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart

pear tart 2

Since I’ve been so bad about TWD lately, I was guilted into making this week’s recipe, which would normally have been an easy pass. I don’t like fruit. I don’t like wine. And it has an insane number of steps.

But make it I did. (Guilt is a terrible thing.) I started at 5 p.m. on a Saturday night (well, actually, I started around 4:30 by shelling the pistachios; my thumbnails still hurt). I caramelized the pistachios. I made the pastry cream. I poached the pears. And at a bit after 9, I plopped the pears and their wine into a bain marie and went to bed, exhausted.

And the next day I still had to make the crust. And the sauce (which I cooked too long; it turned into taffy when cool). And slice the pears.

There are some recipes that are worth this much trouble. The Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte was marvelous. (And not that hard, really — just time-consuming.) The Daring Bakers strudel was delicious.

This one? Eh. I didn’t even eat a whole piece. Family liked it it, but not enthusiastically. Husband thought the pears were tremendous, but didn’t think they melded well with the pastry cream. #2 Son liked the pastry cream a lot, but passed on the pears. (#1 Son isn’t here at the moment, and I forgot to ask him what he thought; update to come!)

Looked pretty, though, especially before it was cut.

pear tart 2

pear tart 3

This recipe was chosen for the TWD bloggers this week by Lauren of I’ll Eat You, and she’ll have the recipe for you to try yourself — if you dare. (Or you could buy Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, which is full of recipes that are much simpler than this one.) And check out what all the other TWDers did with it, too.

baking boys bread Dorie fruit recipes

Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Mango Bread


I’m a sucker for quick breads, as long as they’re good; I’ve certainly had more than my share of dry, tasteless banana bread. But this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, chosen from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Kelly of Baking with the Boys, is not dry and tasteless, not by a long shot.

Y’all know I’m not a fan of fruit (nor am I Southern!), so I diced the mango up pretty small. I didn’t want big chunks of fruit messing up my quick bread. (And it took forever, let me tell you.) I got the required 2 cups out of one mango, so either my mango was larger than most or my dice was smaller.

Being so anti-fruit, I tweaked the recipe a bit: Dorie mentions that the original version had nuts in it, and that sounded good to me. I found some dry-roasted macadamias in the fridge, a bit more than a cup, so I chopped those up and threw them in there. I also used nutmeg rather than ginger, in deference to Husband’s lack of love for the latter, and left out the lime, in deference to mine.

Other than that, it was all Dorie.

Oh, except for the King Arthur white whole-wheat flour I used in place of the all-purpose.

So after the forever it took me to cut up the mango, the batter came together quickly. It was, as the recipe cautioned, really thick, not at all like most quick breads. I baked it for about an hour and 20 minutes, and the outside is just a bit overdone — not terribly, and it doesn’t affect the taste.


I was going to save it for breakfast, as per Dorie’s recommendation that it’s better the second day, but we had a friend here helping Husband put up some shelves, and I didn’t cook an actual dinner, so I figured we could at least have the mango bread. It was still a bit warm inside when we cut it.

And it was good.

It was moist and flavorful, although I can’t say that I tasted a whole lot of mango flavor. But from my point of view, of course, that’s a good thing. I ate my slice plain, and it was delicious.

Husband: It was really good — I enjoyed it. There was just enough fruitiness and sweetness to mark it as a quick bread, but the nutmeg really made it almost a piece of a meal. Somewhat strangely, it meshed well with the Can Blau 2007 I was drinking.

#1 Son: I really liked it. The fruit was good, the nuts were perfect, and the crust had this crunchy sweetness I can only compare to the top of a blondie. It would have been better with ginger, though — damn my father’s constrained palate.

#2 Son: I liked it. It was a little crumbly, but the macadamia nuts were very good, the crust was crunchy and good, and the entire thing was good. I don’t think I’ve ever not liked something of Dorie’s [editor’s note: or anything at all, really].


We managed to save more than half the loaf for breakfast the next day, when it was still delicious. It was less crumbly, but the flavor was the same. Good.

Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you that it’s excellent with cream cheese and fruit compote, which #2 Son made by pouring a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen mixed berries into a pot with 2 tablespoons of honey, then cooking on low till the berries were soft. Then he mashed them with a potato masher and cranked up the heat to medium to cook off some moisture.


So really, you should give this one a try. It’s yummy. And if you ignore the sugar and oil, you can persuade yourself that it’s healthy! Kelly will have the recipe at Baking with the Boys (or you could buy the book!), and the hundreds of other TWD bakers will all have their own little tweaks on it. Bon appetit!

baking boys Dorie fruit

Tuesdays With Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

Again with the fruit. I’m beginning to feel that every single blogger whose turn it is to choose a TWD recipe has some sort of vendetta against me. You’re all out to get me, aren’t you? I knew it! My five readers a week are threats to you all!!!

Anyway, I turned this one over to #1 Son. As is his wont, he tarted it up a bit. I do so need a lightbox, don’t I?


I now turn this post over to guest blogger #1 Son:

I’m a tinkerer. No, not with electronics or carpentry. That’d be, y’know, useful. I tinker with recipes.

My usual inclination is to add more meat, but when working with pastry, that often has rather displeasing consequences (except with the bacon-chocolate-chip cookies, good lord).

Therefore, when it came to this week’s banana cream pie (which my mother refused to make, fearing fruit), I had to use a little creativity. What I came up with was the Tropical Cream Pie.

The crust and base custard are identical to Dorie’s, but I added about two tablespoons of rum to the custard, sliced up a quarter of a pineapple along with the bananas, and topped it with toasted coconut and raisins.

The taste, at least in my eyes, was spectacular. I have definite plans to make the custard again on its own, either as a flan or pudding. The things that weren’t taste could have used some work. The crust was too thick, which is wholly my fault, and the custard never really set, which I’d like to share the blame for with vague instructions. The first night, it was more like pudding with a crust.


All in all, I’d happily make it again, maybe with more of a chocolate interpretation. And a longer cooking time for the custard.


Confectiona: It turned out fine, I guess, if you like banana cream pie. The custard was yummy (if a bit runny) and the crust was good, but there were these banana-y things in there, and some pineapple-y things too. Not for me.

Father: I found the addition of fresh pineapple chunks intriguing, but overall was only moderately satisfied with the banana flavor of the whole dish — it was best when I reached the whole banana slices at the rear portion of the slice. The second day I found it nearly inedible, but that might have been a bum piece of pineapple.

Brother: That was really good. The first day the banana was nice and soft but not mushy, and it all blended together really nicely. I didn’t taste any rum. The second day it kind of fell apart, because there wasn’t much cream and there wasn’t any banana, but the bite that I had with the pineapple was good. I still didn’t get any rum, though.

OK, I’m back. The kid can write, can’t he? Go check out what all the other TWD bloggers did with this pie, and if you want the recipe, buy the book or head over to Sing for Your Supper, where Amy will helpfully provide it.


Amazing the different natural light makes, isn’t it?

No fruit next week!

baking Dorie fruit

Tuesdays With Dorie: Blueberry Crumb Cake


I’m back! (Although, sadly, Passover is approaching. I’m hoping the April recipes are posted soon, so I can work ahead.)

I don’t like fruit; you all know that. I have actually skipped TWD recipes because they were fruit-based. But my two weeks of slacking guilted me into making this cake, and I am so glad I did.

This week’s recipe was Blueberry Crumb Cake. I like crumbs. I don’t like blueberries.

I decided this sounded like a breakfast cake, so breakfast it was. In a pathetic attempt to make it a touch more healthful, I used my beloved King Arthur white whole-wheat flour. See? It’s breakfast! It’s whole-grain!



So I used the flour and I used frozen wild blueberries (because they’re smaller) and I used pecans rather than walnuts in the crumbs (because I like them better), but other than that I made this straight, exactly as Dorie prescribes. I even used the lemon zest, which I have left out of every single recipe I’ve ever made that has called for it. (I actually had to look up what zest is, because I was unsure, although #2 Son told me, and he was right.)

We had it for Monday breakfast, to celebrate the fact that Husband didn’t have to go to work for a whole week. Happy vacation! We’re not going anywhere, although he’s going to spend a few days with his father, but vacation is vacation!

Despite my worries about the whole fruit thing, it is delicious. Really delicious. The best fruit cake I’ve every had, and right up there contending for the spot of best cake ever. It’s moist (I never know when to take cakes out, so I generally get it wrong; got this one right) and flavorful (I actually likes the slight lemon flavor from the zest!), and the crumbs on top lend the perfect amount of sweetness. Magnificent. There have been TWD recipes that I haven’t been terribly impressed with, but this is not one of them.


And the gang says:

Husband: Delicious breakfast cake. It was just phenomenal. I wish I’d had some coffee with it. [I tried to pin him down. Didn’t work.] It was just awesome. The whole thing, the sweetness and the … I don’t even know what you’d call it. [He’s a writer.] It almost tasted like toasted whole grains, like a meal.

#1 Son: Really delicious. Moist, great flavor, and the praline on top was simply magnificent.

#2 Son: Please can I have some more? It could have used a bit fewer blueberries in my second slice, because they overwhelmed the praline topping. The praline really makes it much better; it would not work without the praline. Yum. Please?

I guess the takeaway here is that my family is considerably less erudite when they like something than when they don’t. They liked this cake, a lot.


Go check out the hundreds of other versions of this cake, and then get yourself a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and make it. Blueberry Crumb Cake was chosen for us this week by Sihan of Befuddlement (or maybe Walking in the Rain?), so you can also just head over there to get the recipe. But make it you must, no matter how you feel about fruit in your cake.