Tag Archives: Desserts

Lemon Verbena Sorbet

Lemon Verbena Sorbet
Fresh lemon verbena is in the wings waiting to be discovered and become a star. It has a wonderful herbal lemon bouquet. The difficult part of this recipe is hunting down fresh lemon verbena. Fresh lemon verbena is hard to find, even at premium farmers’ markets. But it easy to grow a few plants in your backyard. Dried lemon verbena makes for a lovely hot tea, but I would not substitute dried for fresh in this recipe. You can steep fresh lemon verbena into a memorable summer iced tea, but the precious leaves go lots further turned into a sorbet.

This simple procedure bypasses the usual sorbet process of making simple syrup and steeping the lemon verbena in the warm syrup. Avoiding heating the lemon verbena preserves its effervescent freshness. Instead, the lemon verbena is simply made into a paste with sugar in a food processor, combined with lemon juice and water, steeped and strained. It is then ready to freeze. This is a basic  procedure for making herb-based sorbets.

Note: Lemon verbena is often available at the Z Farm stand in the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Do Ahead Sorbet may be made up to a month in advance and held in freezer. Make sure you cover the of sorbet with plastic wrap to protect from freezer burn. Remove sorbet from freezer at least 20 minutes before serving to temper or soften.

2 cups lightly packed lemon verbena leaves removed from woody stem
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, seeds removed – about 3 lemons
5 cups water

1. In work bowl of food processor, combine lemon verbena and sugar. Process until leaves and sugar are fully incorporated and turns into damp paste. Add lemon juice and process an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Add 5 cups water and stir well. Steep in refrigerator at least three to four hours or overnight.
3. Pass through fine strainer to remove leaf fragments.
4. Freeze according to manufacturers instructions.

Yield A generous 6 cups

Lemon verbena sorbet is very easy to make. Just lemon verbena, fresh lemon juice, sugar and water. Some recipes call for superfine sugar, but I find it unnecessary. You do need a food processor and an ice cream freezer. Here I used somewhat more than two cups lemon verbena, but it all depends on how hard you press the leaves into the measure. A bit more or less is not a big deal. More is usually better than less.

In work bowl of food processor, combine lemon verbena leaves and sugar.

Process until verbena is well ground and forms a paste with sugar.

Juice lemons. Here I am using a reamer — a very handy tool when you need a little fresh lemon or lime juice. You extract much more juice than by squeezing by hand. You will need more than the recipe calls for because you will be straining out the seeds and pulp.

Strain out seeds and pulp from juice.

Re-measure.

Add lemon juice to lemon verbena-sugar mixture and process until incorporated.

Transfer from food processor to bowl.

Add water and chill in refrigerator overnight or for at four hours until cold. Freeze according to directions of your ice cream maker. I use an electric Cuisinart ice cream maker with which you can make continuous batches. If you are using an ice cream maker that pre-freezes a bowl, you may reduce the recipe proportionately or make two batches, refreezing your bowl if required.

Inexpensive ice cream makers that requiring pre-freezing of bowl work very well and provide an excellent “entry level” frozen dessert making. They cost about $50 and make up to 6 cups at a time. The Cuisinart that I use costs about $300 new, though Home Depot sells reconditioned models at $159.

When serving any ice cream or sorbet, be sure to remove it from the freezer at least 20 minutes before serving to temper it, meaning to allow it to soften so you can scoop it and the texture is better for eating. Here  it is from On the Table: Farm Stands of Lancaster Co.. I served it with lightly macerated nectarines and golden raspberries along with a Market Day canale. Canele are molded desserts that fall somewhere between a caramelized custard and cake.

Market Day canale are available in Philadelphia at the Clark Park, Rittenhouse Square and Headhouse Farmers’ Markets as well as other retail locations. Click here for details.  Metropolitan Bakery also makes wonderful canale.

There are nearly 100 recipes on the At Home by Steve Poses blog. Recipe Index.

There are more than 400 recipes plus tips, fun stories and wonderful Pascal Lemaitre illustrations in At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining. Learn more.

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The Commissary’s Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake—The Commissary’s legendary dessert. Though years ago it was deemed too mundane to serve at old Frog and dropped from the menu, the recipe was resurrected and refined when The Commissary opened.

Customers immediately latched on to this special version, which boasts one of the richest fillings imaginable. It sandwiches layers of moist, spicy cake laden with raisins and pecans, which are then covered with a tangy cream cheese frosting and finished with the gilded crunch of toasted coconut.

Com­missary Carrot Cake, in fact, has become so synonymous with the restaurant that when we went to change our logo, a sprightly bunch of carrots seemed a natural motif. A mixed greens salad (which leaves plenty of room) and Carrot Cake were an often-seen Commissary luncheon choice, and the bakery long ago lost count of all the “Carrot” wedding cakes it has sent out. (And then there was the Carrot Cake Ice Cream!)

Many of us, too, will never forget the trays and trays and trays of giant Carrot Cake sheet cakes produced for the various Phila­delphia outdoor restaurant festivals, and how, at one festival, after selling out of 2,500 pieces, we were begged by the crowd still mobbing our booth to sell them the crumbs.

Do Ahead This cake is most easily made if you start it at least a day ahead, since the filling, for one thing, is best left to chill overnight. In fact, the different components can all be made even several days in advance and stored separately until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Pecan Cream Filling

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Carrot Cake

1 1/4 cups corn oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 cups grated carrots (about a 1-pound bag)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces soft unsalted butter
8 ounces soft cream cheese
1-pound box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly

4 ounces shredded, sweetened coconut (1 1/2 cups)
1 Make the filling: In a heavy saucepan, blend well the sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually stir in the cream. Add the butter. Cook and stir the mixture over low heat until the butter has melted, then let simmer 20-30 minutes until golden brown in color, stirring occasionally. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in the nuts and vanilla. Let cool completely and then refrigerate, preferably overnight. If too thick to spread, bring to room temperature before using.
2 Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Have ready a greased and floured 10″ tube cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the corn oil and sugar. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift half the dry ingredients into the sugar-oil mixture and blend. Alternately sift in the rest of the dry ingredients while adding the eggs, one by one. Combine well. Add the carrots, raisins, and pecans. Pour into the prepared tube pan and bake for 70 minutes. Cool upright in the pan on a cooling rack. If you are not using the cake that day, it can be removed from the pan, wrapped well in plastic wrap and stored at room temper­ature.
3 Make the frosting: Cream the butter well. Add the cream cheese and beat until blended. Sift in the sugar and add the vanilla. If too soft to spread, chill a bit. Refrigerate if not using imme­diately, but bring to a spreadable temperature before using.
4 Assemble the cake. Preheat the oven to 300°. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until it colors lightly. Toss the coconut occasionally while it is baking so that it browns evenly. Cool completely. Have the filling and frosting at a spreadable consistency. Loosen the cake in its pan and invert onto a serving plate. With a long serrated knife, carefully split the cake into 3 horizontal layers. Spread the filling between the layers. Spread the frosting over the top and sides. Pat the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake. If desired, reserve 1/2 cup of the frosting and color half with green food coloring and half with orange. Then decorate the top of the cake with green and orange icing piped through a 1/16” wide, plain pastry tube to resemble little carrots. Serve the cake at room temperature.

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Meyer Lemon Sorbet Recipe

Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and Mandarin orange. They are more round than a lemon and more oval than an orange. Correspondingly, their flavor is a cross between the two – sweeter and a lemon, more sour than an orange. Same thing with color – pale orange to deep yellow.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Meyer lemon produces a sorbet with a distinctive flavor that results in the crossing of a lemon and mandarin orange. Remember to remove sorbet and other frozen desserts from freezer ahead of time to allow to temper and soften a bit.

Do ahead Must be made at least one day ahead and as much as two weeks ahead stored tightly covered in freezer. You may pre-scoop portions and hold in freezer to speed the process of serving.

3 cups Meyer lemon juice (about a dozen Meyer lemons)
3 cups simple syrup
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon rind

Combine Meyer lemon juice, simple syrup and Meyer lemon rind. Chill. Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacture’s directions.

Yield About 5 1/2 cups serving 6-8

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Company’s Coming Part 4: Shopping

Note: This is the fourth post in a series. If you missed Part 1: A Conversation with Myself, click here. For Part 2: Party Parameters and Menu Planning, click here. For Part 3: Organizing Tasks & Time, click here.

So far, so good. But it’s still early in the game. I feel confident in my game plan, but the game is really just starting. What’s important is that I feel focused on making this fun…for me.

Plan to Entertain’s Step 4 is Shopping. On Sunday I filled out the At Home Shopping List based upon my menu plan. I had my “what” shopping plan. With At Home’s Organizing Tasks & Time Schedule, I had my “where and when” shopping plan.

Last Saturday I did a little “pre-shopping” — and picked up bread for crostini on Tuesday.
Thursday I will do a little light neighborhood shopping for a few things I want to do on Thursday evening. My preference would to have done this on Wednesday, but I had the opportunity to have dinner with a friend I only see rarely so I changed my plan. A sub-principle of planning  is to be flexible.
Friday My day for fun shopping at Reading Terminal Market.
Saturday More fun at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market for cheese, flowers and maybe a little last minute inspiration.

There are several ways to look at food shopping.

Shopping can be purely functional. You’ve got your list…milk, check…eggs, check…coffee, check.  You’re on a tight schedule, you’re in, you’re out…done. Task completed, check. I concede that with good reason, in our busy and over-committed lives, this is how we do most of our food shopping. In fact, for much of what we shop for, this works just fine.

However, not all food shopping need be the same. I invite you to look at some food shopping differently..shopping with more foreplay! It has to do with enjoying the journey and not rushing to the destination. Enjoy exploring what’s seasonally new in the produce aisles.  Rhubarb and local asparagus are as sure a sign of spring as the daffodil and robin. Shad roe has just appeared in markets — the annual evidence of shad’s life force. Shopping slowly extends beyond fresh food. Buying dried pasta? Explore its origin. Honey? There are now honeys available with all manner of natural flavor accents — the result of where the honey is from and where and on what bees fed.

I remember, as a teacher many years ago at the Green Tree School (See At Home Page 69: The Green Tree Cafe), using food shopping to teach learning-challenged inner-city children that bacon does not simply come from the supermarket, but from pigs and some is smoked and some is not and pigs are raised on farms. Food is the result of farm and farmer, ranch and rancher, fish and fisherman. Food is not just “there.” Food goes through a journey to get there and that journey is “contained” in the food itself…if you just stop to think about it.

Do your functional shopping wherever, but occasionally seek out better markets and farm stands and shop slowly and for fun.

Reading Terminal Market
Which brings me to The Reading Terminal Market. The Reading Terminal Market is my favorite place in Philadelphia. This extends from the wonderful prepared foods your can buy — no better lunch options in the city — to the fresh fish, meat and produce. Strolling the aisles for me is akin to wandering the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

My principal objectives on Friday will be seasonal local vegetables. There are two stands in particular that I will visit. One is the Fair Food Farmstand. Fair Food is formerly a program of White Dog Community Enterprises — a program to focus community support of and access to local farm products. See www.fairfoodphilly.org. It is centrally located along the 12th Street perimeter of the market. The other produce stand specializing in local produce is Livengood’s Produce, located in the center of the market.

Here are some notes about some interesting ingredients I am using for our dinner.

Wild Italian fennel pollen
Wild Italian fennel pollen is a distinctly Tuscan product harvested from wild fennel plants in full bloom, dried and screened. It has the texture of a coarse powder with sweet notes of anise plus musty and floral aroma. I bought mine from chefshop.com. It’s actually from Umbria and costs $19.99 plus shipping. It is pricey but a little goes a long way and keeps well.  While cooking with wild Italian fennel pollen might not make you swoon, it tastes wonderful and just saying those words are somewhat transformative! You may substitute toasted fennel seed coarsely ground in a spice grinder. Not quite fennel pollen — but a perfectly reasonable substitute.  (See At Home’s Fennel-scented Striped Bass on P.260.) But if you do make the substitute you won’t get to say “wild Italian fennel pollen.”

I will use the fennel pollen to coat my striped bass before searing and maybe sprinkle a little fennel pollen “dust” on the entrée plate as a garnish.

Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and Mandarin orange. They are more round than a lemon and more oval than an orange. Correspondingly, their flavor is a cross between the two – sweeter and a lemon, more sour than an orange. Same thing with color – pale orange to deep yellow.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Meyer lemon produces a sorbet with a distinctive flavor that results in the crossing of a lemon and mandarin orange. Remember to remove sorbet and other frozen desserts from freezer ahead of time to allow to temper and soften a bit.

Do ahead Must be made at least one day ahead and as much as two weeks ahead stored tightly covered in freezer. You may pre-scoop portions and hold in freezer to speed the process of serving.

3 cups Meyer lemon juice (about a dozen Meyer lemons)
3 cups simple syrup
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon rind

Combine Meyer lemon juice, simple syrup and Meyer lemon rind. Chill. Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacture’s directions.

Yield About 5 1/2 cups serving 6-8

Wine Shopping
Start by getting a sense of what style/type of wine you would like to serve based on your menu. (At Home includes two terrific wine charts on Pages 32 and 33 than can help you.) If you are planning for a single wine for your dinner it should be paired with your entrée with some consideration given to what comes before. More interesting than doing one wine with a three course dinner would be to do one wine with your first course and another with your entrée. You will probably spend about the same — for example, two of the same bottles or one each of two different wines — two bottles. Rely on the store personnel to the degree that you can. Some Pennsylvania State Stores are better than others and they have all made great strides since the State Store dark ages. New Jersey is blessed with numbers of excellent wine sources including Canal’s and Moore Brothers. Moore Brothers is especially good for high value uncommon wines. Unless you are dealing with a wine store with extensive variety, it makes no sense going into the store with a specific winery and/or year in mind. The chances the store will have that particular wine are slim. They know their wines best. Give them a per bottle budget, let them know what you are serving, what you think you came in for, and trust them. You really have little choice other than making your own best guess. And they want you to be happy so you will return.

In our case, knowing that our guests are wine enthusiasts, we decided that having several wines is a way to add interest to our dinner. As a result, we planned our wines corresponding to each course. With cocktails we will serve At Home’s Spring Champagne Cocktail — champagne with a little honeydew puree and mint syrup. (Page 43)

Here’s our wine line-up
Spring Vegetable Antipasti — Gruner Leltliner, a medium dry Austrian white wine.
Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms —  New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Striped Bass with wild Italian fennel pollen – Viognier
Cheese – a red from our little “cellar” – actually a rack and two small Cuisinart wine refrigerators, TBD
Dessert – also from our little wine cellar, TBD

We bought two bottles each of the Gruner, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, but it is unlikely we will need two. A bottle of wine typically yields five glasses, but with all this wine six per bottle seems fine – one slightly small glass for each guest. In fact, as host I have the responsibility to control the amount of wine guests drink. Alcohol is an area where the generous host is not the caring host. I am not concerned that this will be an issue with our guests, but as moderation in portion size is a goal of my dinner, that extends to wine.

Next — Step 5: Organizing Space and an Update on Thursday’s prep work

Reminder about At Home’s Mother’s Day Special
On Monday At Home blog readers received an email from me about At Home’s Mother’s Day Special. The special includes an inscribed book by me to your mother, a Pascal Lemaitre Mother’s Day Card, a recipe card with my mother’s Stuffed Cabbage Recipe, and an At Home book plate for you to inscribe your own message. Check your Monday email. Note: At Home’s Mother’s Day Special is not available from our online store. You have to use the order form that comes with the email. You can also access the At Home Mother’s Day Special and download the order form by going to the blog site. If you read the blog via email or on Facebook, just click on the blog title to get to the blog site.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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You Don’t Have to Be Jewish…

… to love Matzo Toffee Crunch. This recipe comes to At Home courtesy of  blog reader Annette Fine. When my Frog Commissary kitchen tested the recipe everyone raved about it and fought over the crumbs. Annette says that you can substitute two packs of graham crackers for the matzo and transform this to an easy non-Passover treat. Thank you Annette.

Matzo Toffee Crunch
Serve as part of your dessert or make little ribbon-tied clear bags and give to guests as a good-bye gift with wishes for a sweet journey home – and a sweet memory of Passover 2010.

Do Ahead May be made up to five days ahead and stored in cool location in airtight container.

About 5 sheets plain matzo or two packages of graham crackers – enough to cover cookie sheet
1 cup  unsalted butter
1 cup  brown sugar packed firm
11 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 Line 17.5-inch by 13-inch cookie sheet with foil and cover with baking parchment. Cover sheet evenly in a single layer with matzo sheets or graham crackers using what you need and cutting pieces to fit spaces as evenly as possible.
3 In heavy saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over matzo.
4 Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes, checking every few minutes to be sure mixture does not burn. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes and then smear melted chocolate evenly. Chill in refrigerator until set. Break into peanut brittle-sized pieces.

Best wishes for a sweet Passover.

Thank you for visiting.

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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St. Partick’s Day At Home

St. Patrick’s Day is this Wednesday, March 17th. In keeping with At Home’s principles of one full weekend before your party to plan ahead and spread out your tasks, I am getting this post in just under the planning wire. (My Frog Commissary day job has been pretty consuming lately. We are planning lots of great things at The Franklin Institute.) Having said that, I don’t think you would get in trouble with St. Patrick if you planned your St. Patrick’s Day celebration for next weekend when you and your guests are likely to be more relaxed. In fact, I am sure St. Patrick would prefer his day be celebrated at home a few days late than not celebrated at all.

St. Patrick’s Day At Home
At Home’s entire St. Patrick’s Day menu is a do-days-ahead paradise for home entertainers — with the exception of the Horseradish Roast Potatoes which can be roast a few hours in advance and re-heated. In fact, this food is best made several days ahead and sitting happily for the flavors to mellow. The cornerstones of a St. Patrick’s Day Meal are corned beef, cabbage and potatoes – traditional Irish foods.

The cured salmon is a part of At Home’s Mastering Cured Salmon recipe. If you have never cured your own salmon, it’s easy and once you’ve done it and gotten great guest comments, I promise it will become a part of your entertaining hors d’oeuvres repertoire. If you decide to add the suggested salad as a first course, it needs to be tossed just before serving. Remember that book owners can go to At Home Online and print out recipes for easy planning and cooking.

Make sure to shop for some genuine Irish beer like Harp and include a few bottles of Guinness Stout. Stout’s are very strong and bitter compared to lagers and are not to everyone’s tastes. But they do belong on your St. Patrick’s Day bar.

St. Patrick’s Day Menu from At Home
Traditional dill-cured salmon with dill honey mustard P.153
Beer-braised corned beef with mustard and brown sugar glaze P. 278
Melted Cabbage & Leeks with Mint P.321
Horseradish Roast Potatoes P.345
Shortbread Cookies P.466
Irish Whiskey Cake (Recipe follows) The recipe will also be added to At Home Online in the next few days.

Think about adding a Shaved Fennel & Asparagus Salad P.132. The Irish Whiskey Cake recipe follows.

What’s a Corned Beef?
A corned beef is a beef brisket that has been brined in a mixture or salt, brown sugar and spices. Brining typically takes about a week. The rule of thumb is five days for each inch thickness. It’s a very simple process, but, of course, we typically buy pre-brined or corned briskets. You might think about brining your own next year so you can decide on your aromatic spice accents. Typical aromatics include black peppercorns, cloves, allspice, coriander seed, mustard seed and bay leaf. I bought my corned beef from Whole Foods “uncured” without nitrates. If I were you, I would not worry about a little nitrates in a “cured” corned beef. Note: Pastrami is corned beef that has been smoked.

Irish Whiskey Cake with Walnuts and Raisins
We used to sell this hearty cake chock full of raisins and nuts at the Commissary restaurant. It will cut better if you make it a day or two before you plan to serve it. Since it’s glazed instead of frosted, a whole cake wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with a ribbon makes a grand present. You will need an Angel Food tube pan.

make ahead Cake can be made up to three days ahead and stored, well-wrapped, at room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to a month.

Cake
1 pound walnuts, coarsely broken
1 pound golden raisins
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup Irish whiskey

Glaze
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 cup Irish whiskey, divided

1 Grease and flour a 10-inch angel food tube pan. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 275°.
2 In a large bowl, combine walnuts, raisins and flour and toss them together. Using a mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, baking soda and whiskey until fluffy. Pour this mixture into the nut mixture and mix to combine. Wash the mixer and the beaters in hot soapy water before the next step because the egg whites won’t expand well if there is grease on the bowl or beaters.
3 Put egg whites into the clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add a third of the egg whites into the cake batter and stir to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour and then cover the top with foil so it won’t brown too much while it continues baking for another hour or so. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but it shouldn’t be wet. This time may vary some, depending on your oven. Let the cake cool completely before glazing and unmolding it.
4 To make the glaze, combine sugar, water and ½ cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cool to the temperature of bath water and add the remaining whiskey.
5 Leaving the cake in its pan, use a pastry brush to brush the top of the cake with the glaze. Let it soak in for a few minutes and brush on another layer.
6 Loosen the sides of the cake by running a long spatula or knife around the edges, including the center hole. Invert cake onto a serving dish and apply the remaining glaze to the top and sides of the cake. This may take 10 minutes or so because the cake won’t absorb the glaze all at once. Wrap the cake securely in plastic and let it stand in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a day or two before serving.

Variations For a chocolate variation, substitute ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa for ¾ cup flour. You can also make a rum cake with pecans and apricots, for example, by substituting pecans for walnuts, dried apricots for all or part of the raisins, and dark rum for the whiskey.

Serves 16-20

Upcoming Event
I will be speaking and selling and signing books At Design Within Reach on Thursday, March 25 at 5:30.  My theme will be Entertaining Within Reach: Planning for Passover & Easter. Design Within Reach is a wonderful home furnishing store that offers designer furniture to the public typically only available to the interior design trade. I hope to see you there.
Design Within Reach is located at 1710 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

At Home in THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE
The PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE is the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine. As you may know, I am a University of Pennsylvania alumni. (I consider myself Class of ’68 but Penn officially considers me Class of ’69. More about that at another time.) The current issue is The Food Issue. In an article called Quakers in the Kitchen by Samuel Hughes, At Home and I are featured. Thank you Sam. Here’s the link to the article. Once at the site, use the navigation to advance pages.

Own Your Own At Home or Buy a Gift for the Upcoming Holidays
Reminder that if you do not yet own At Home with At Home Online, ordering is easy. At Home is also the perfect house gift for the upcoming Passover or Easter Holidays. So plan ahead and order your gifts now. Click here to order.

Passover and Easter Planners Coming Soon
I am working on planners for Passover and Easter. Look for news about the free planner very soon.

Thank You for Visiting,

Steve
Your Home Entertaining Coach

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Irish Whiskey Cake with Walnuts and Raisins Recipe

Irish Whiskey Cake with Walnuts and Raisins
We used to sell this hearty cake chock full of raisins and nuts at the Commissary restaurant. It will cut better if you make it a day or two before you plan to serve it. Since it’s glazed instead of frosted, a whole cake wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with a ribbon makes a grand present. You will need an Angel Food tube pan.

make ahead Cake can be made up to three days ahead and stored, well-wrapped, at room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to a month.

Cake
1 pound walnuts, coarsely broken
1 pound golden raisins
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup Irish whiskey

Glaze
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 cup Irish whiskey, divided

1 Grease and flour a 10-inch angel food tube pan. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 275°.
2 In a large bowl, combine walnuts, raisins and flour and toss them together. Using a mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, baking soda and whiskey until fluffy. Pour this mixture into the nut mixture and mix to combine. Wash the mixer and the beaters in hot soapy water before the next step because the egg whites won’t expand well if there is grease on the bowl or beaters.
3 Put egg whites into the clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add a third of the egg whites into the cake batter and stir to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour and then cover the top with foil so it won’t brown too much while it continues baking for another hour or so. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but it shouldn’t be wet. This time may vary some, depending on your oven. Let the cake cool completely before glazing and unmolding it.
4 To make the glaze, combine sugar, water and ½ cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cool to the temperature of bath water and add the remaining whiskey.
5 Leaving the cake in its pan, use a pastry brush to brush the top of the cake with the glaze. Let it soak in for a few minutes and brush on another layer.
6 Loosen the sides of the cake by running a long spatula or knife around the edges, including the center hole. Invert cake onto a serving dish and apply the remaining glaze to the top and sides of the cake. This may take 10 minutes or so because the cake won’t absorb the glaze all at once. Wrap the cake securely in plastic and let it stand in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a day or two before serving.

Variations For a chocolate variation, substitute ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa for ¾ cup flour. You can also make a rum cake with pecans and apricots, for example, by substituting pecans for walnuts, dried apricots for all or part of the raisins, and dark rum for the whiskey.

Serves 16-20

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