Faux Tarte Tatin with Creme Anglaise


Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a sweet shortcut when you’re pressed for time. My favorite cheats are sweet cheats. We all lead busy lives and the idea of baking a pie after a long day’s work can seem like a step too far. Years ago, one of my best friends whipped up this “faux” tarte tatin in minutes, and had I not seen her do it I would never have believed it was so easy. It’s now my go-to recipe for a dinner party dessert, and one that I rarely have to leave the house to make; it has just four ingredients, all of which I usually have on hand. So when you find yourself stuck with a last-minute guest coming to dinner, or you have been asked to bring a dessert to a potluck dinner, I’d highly recommend giving this a try.


The “faux” creme anglaise sauce that I serve alongside is the best cheat of all. It is melted vanilla ice cream! Could anything be simpler than that? I pour it over everything from brownies to mixed berries but it’s absolutely perfect with apple pie.


Faux Tarte Tatin
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 Granny Smith apples
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar until you have a smooth liquid.
3. Peel and slice the apples (I cheated and used an apple corer and divider) and mix with the butter and sugar.
4. Butter a round cake pan (I used a 9-inch) and arrange the apple slices in a fan. Scatter what’s left over on top.
5. Place the sheet of pastry over the apples; you may need to roll it a little to get it to be big enough.
6. Trim the pastry to the edges of the tin.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry looks perfectly browned.
8. Invert onto a plate and serve with melted vanilla ice cream or, as I like to call it, creme anglaise!

Raspberry Madeleines


There’s no two ways about it, for this recipe you need a Madeleine pan, but the fact that within 20 minutes you can always whip up a batch of these soft, buttery French classics should be enough to convince you to get one. You can make them without raspberries but I loved the touch of tartness and juiciness that they added.


Raspberry Madeleines 

Published in Recipes from Many Kitchens

Makes approximately 20 Madeleines


4.5 ounces (127g) unsalted butter

3 large eggs

4.5 ounces (130g) sugar

6 ounces (170g) flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

15 raspberries (cut in half)



1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture becomes pale.

4. Sift the flour into the bowl, then add the baking soda and butter to the mixture. Stir well until smooth.

5. Butter up the madeleine molds well and add mixture to mold until each is 3/4 full. Nestle a raspberry half in the middle of each one.

6. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the color is just beginning to turn. They pop right out of their molds and can be served immediately.

Beef and Guinness Chili


I keep being asked for a good chili recipe; a classic that I have bizarrely never tried my hand at. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to give it an Irish twist by adding Guinness.


Researching a recipe is one of my favorite pastimes, made all the more pleasurable since the discovery of EatYourBooks.com. The site allows you to create a virtual bookshelf of all your cookbooks with one comprehensive index. A quick search told me which of my hundreds of cookbooks contained chili recipes and then the fun began. The result of all my testing was a hugely satisfying and richly flavorful one-pot meal. Thank you to my friends who inspired this post – keep the requests coming!


Beef and Guinness Chili 

Serves 8


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove the seeds to reduce the heat)

4 lbs coursely ground beef chuck

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon ground cumin

5 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons chipotle chili in adobo sauce

1 1/2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 cup Guinness

2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained

For toppings: sour cream, green onions, mature Irish cheddar



1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven, add the onions and peppers and cook on medium for approximately 5 minutes.

2. Raise the heat and add the beef, mixing with the vegetables and cooking until the meat has fully browned.

3. Add the remaining ingredients except the beans and bring to low boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for as long as you can – at least 3 hours (this recipe is like a bolognese, the longer you cook it, the better it gets. You could definitely do in a crock pot but need to sauté the vegetables and brown the meat first). Skim the fat and discard as you go, stirring occasionally through the cooking process.

4. Add beans 5 minutes before you’re finished and heat through.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings – I like the classic sour cream, green onions and Irish cheddar.



This week Aurora takes over the blog to share a classic hamantaschen recipe for Purim as well as a little lesson on the holiday.


It’s almost Purim, a Jewish holiday celebrating the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from the Prime Minister Haman’s plot to eradicate them. Queen Esther turned the tables on Haman thus saving her people.


Today the holiday is celebrated with costumes (many little girls dress as Queen Esther), noisemakers (to drown out the sound of Haman’s name), drinking and these delicious hamantaschen cookies. Hamantaschen in Yiddish means “Haman’s Pockets” and they have three sides much like Haman’s three-cornered hat. The cookies are often filled with poppy seeds but here we took the liberty of filling with Friend in Cheese’s delectable jams. We hope you enjoy them and have a joyous and fun Purim whether you dress up and celebrate or simply want to try a taste of another culture!



Makes 18 cookies


2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon brandy

Lavender Plum Jelly

Forbidden Fruit Marmalade

1 egg, beaten



1. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.

2. In a large bowl beat eggs with yolk then add oil, zest, juices and brandy. Mix until smooth with a wire whisk.

3. Slowly stir the flour mix into the egg mixture until a sticky batter is formed. Cover the batter in plastic wrap and refrigerate from 1 hour to overnight.

4. When ready to bake cookies, preheat the oven to 375F.

5. Divide the dough in two and roll one ball out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter or a cup that is 4 inches in diameter.

6. Spoon a teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie. Then fold up the sides of the circle to create the triangular shape of the hamantaschen. Pinch along the seams as you go to make sure they are secure. Repeat with remaining dough, alternating between jams.

7. Transfer finished hamantaschen onto 2 baking sheets. Brush all the sides with the beaten egg and then bake in the center of the oven for 10-15 minutes until browned on all sides.

8. Allow to cool and then eat immediately or store for up to 4 days in an airtight container.