Apple Kuchen

Apple Kuchen

Base and apple chunks ready for topping

It’s an old saying that pretty much everyone loves motherhood and apple pie, and I’d include myself in that list – particularly since there have been two back to back crop failures for the blueberry crop around our camp up north – otherwise as a good northern canadian lad I’d be endorsing motherhood and blueberry pie but definitely not turning down apple pie.

More realistically, in our home apple pie usually takes a back seat to apple crisp – which is so easy to throw together and is truly a great desert.  But, Apple Kuchen also figures prominently among our favorite deserts because it’s a great desert in its own right and is almost as quick to prepare as apple crisp.

Whole grain apple kuchen

Partly devoured pan of whole barley base apple kuchen

For those who haven’t had it before it is an cake base topped with apples and a sugar and cinnamon topping.  Since home ground whole grain flours are the principal ones that get used in our kitchen the base is usually whole barley or whole wheat – both of which work great and give more substance and flavour compared to white flours.

So next time you are looking for a great desert give Apple Kuchen a try.

Click on the post title to expand and see the recipe.


Blueberry Corn Cake

With a sister in law and friends who are celiac I tend to keep my eyes open for recipes that are both gluten free and great and easy (the latter meaning in part no crazy exotic gums and pastes and binders);  That combination is fairly rare – certainly more rare than when one is not constrained to exclude gluten.

Blueberry Corn Cake – A great desert

There are winners though, and this is one of the nicest ones around – so much so that it graces our meals even when the table is filled with wheat eaters.  Frankly the latter simply allows me to do the grinding of the cornmeal on the homemade grain mill from the couple of big sacks of feed corn we always have on hand.  The mill does a great job and fresh meal can’t be beat, but since the mill often processes gluten containing grains I keep a bag of commercial meal for those occasions.

This corn cake makes a desert – moist (even if some lasts a couple of days), rich, flavorful and just the right amount of sweet to cap off a nice meal or accompany tea or coffee.


Lemon Pavlova – A Straight A Desert

Lemon Pavlova - so good, so simple

Lemon Pavlova – so good, so simple

This is a desert that is guaranteed to WOW those to whom it is served.  I know,  it oft been the desert I’ve been requested to bring, and it was the desert I would request in return for straight A’s when I was in school – it may explain why I was honor role.  For all of that awesomeness it is an incredibly easy desert to prepare.  IF you are one of those folks who can’t seem to make a piecrust – then this is definitely a desert for you.  Click on the post title for the full recipe and for a detailed step by step walk through the steps watch the video.  You won’t regret it!


Spiced Peach Jam

A bowl full of peaches - try to resist snacking.

A bowl full of peaches – try to resist snacking.

There is just something special about this jam – capturing that rich summer flavor with the hint of spice that melds so nicely with the sweet peach.  It is the next best thing to biting into a perfectly ripe summer peach – with the advantage you can enjoy it year round.

I often find peaches come on sale for a crazy low price towards the end of the season.  They arrive in store as hard as baseballs but in a day or two they will have all softened up with some even skipped juicy and gone straight to rotting.  Toss those ones into the compost pile and get ready to work like crazy to process the remainder.

Homemade Pectin for jam

Homemade Pectin for jam making

As jam is able to be processed in a boiling water bath you aren’t going to need expensive kit to put this bounty away, a rack that can fit in the bottom of a pot deep enough to submerge your resealable jars and a canning jar gripper will suffice – but you won’t regret spending a few extra dollars to pick up a canning funnel at the same time.  The latter will cut down on mess and by helping to keep the rim of the jar clean will reduce the incidences of failure to seal.

Mason Jars of Peach Jam

Mason Jars of Peach Jam

The first step is to remove the skins of the peaches – I like to put the peach in a pot of boiling water, then using a slotted spoon remove it and put it in cold water for a few seconds to cool.  Get the timing right and with a slit from a paring knife the skin will be quickly removed, and you can cut the now skinless peach into slices.

Since I usually have a lot of peaches to peel, I tend to peel them into a diluted lemon juice solution before removing them to either start processing right away or if time is limiting for refrigeration to process the next day.




Rhubarb Custard Pie

My rhubarb patch

My rhubarb patch

Rhubarb is a great plant to have in your garden and deserts made from it serve as an awesome culinary awakening for deserts to be offered up fresh from the new season. It’s such an easy perennial crop to have that you should be growing it.

There are so many great options for deserts and preserves using rhubarb but this has to be my favorite.  In fact it’s what I made with today’s first harvest of rhubarb.  The sweet richness of the custard combines so wonderfully with the bite from the rhubarb it’s an absolute delight.

Rhubarb custard pie components ready for assembly

Rhubarb custard pie components ready for assembly

I used whole wheat pie shells, but you could use shells made with white flour or purchased if necessary (but really, if you can bake something like this, and certainly if you grow some of your own food you should consider building a grain mill for yourself – it’s well within your capacity)

Even better this recipe can be whipped together in only a minute or two.  Click on the post title for the full recipe.