Month: November 2015

Tyler Florence’s Flan


Here we have Tyler Florence’s Flan.  Since I have all but given up at the technical aspects of this blog, above you have the link if you wish to see the thing itself.  Apologies, you may have to go through the effort of copying and pasting.  How dare I.

Anyway, it’s sweet, custardy, and slightly lemony.  Altogether, lovely. And it uses some whole eggs, so you don’t have a ton of whites sitting around wondering what you should do with them.  Flan; it’s easier than you’d expect.

Tyler Florence’s Flan

Yield: One Flan


1 1/2 c. Sugar, divided

2 T. Water

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

2 c. Heavy Cream

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

3 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

Pinch Salt


Find a deep, smooth, flat-bottomed pan.  I used a circular casserole dish.  Apparently “flan molds” exist, but…who has room in the cabinet for that?  Also find a “roasting pan”, which for me meant a 13×9″ cake pan.

Stir 1c. sugar in a sautee pan with the water.  Melt over medium-high heat, and swirl as it turns an amber color.  Tyler likes to say you shouldn’t stir it, but that ended in the sugar forming a crust on top that never fully incorporated into the caramel.  I’d probably stir it as it caramelizes next time.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.  Stir or swirl to combine, then pour it into the baking dish.  Quickly swirl it so that it completely covers the bottom and goes about an inch up the sides–before it seizes up!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and bring some water to a boil for the waterbath later.

Bring the cream and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, combine the eggs, yolks, remaining sugar, and salt in a bowl, whisking until lighter in color.

Remove cream from heat, discard cinnamon stick, and add vanilla.  Slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs.  Strain the mixture, then pour it into the baking dish.

Carefully pour the hot (not boiling) water into the pan around the baking dish, coming halfway up the sides.  Bake on the middle rack for a while… Tyler said 30-45 minutes, but as I recall it ended up staying in there over an hour.  A clean knife and jiggly custard will tell you when.

Refrigerate in the baking dish at least 4 hours.  Run a knife along the edges to loosen the custard, place a serving plate over the baking dish, and flip over.  Enjoy your beauty.




More Harry Potter themed drinks.  This is a pretty prominent spirit in the series, only for those witches and wizards who are of-age.  Its only real description is that it burns and leaves you warm.  Well, this certainly does that!  You who have remotely seen the state of the modern spirits business might be saying, “Isn’t that just Fireball?”  No.  No it is not.   Fireball tastes like Red-Hots candies.  This is quite literally whiskey with a cinnamon flavor.  There is no sugar.  This is not for the faint of heart.

I used Seagram’s 7 whiskey and Penzey’s cinnamon sticks (most likely China cinnamon).  They smelled the best together.  However, use whatever you’ve got on hand.


To the left, the whiskey used to create Firewhiskey, before the process.  To the right, the finished product, under the same light.  No artificial colors, that is the work of the cinnamon and chili alone!



Yield: About 4 cups


4 c. Whiskey, divided

3 Cinnamon Sticks

1/2 t. Chili Flakes


Combine 2c. whiskey and cinnamon sticks in a lidded jar.  Shake, and set some where cool and dark.  Let steep for three days, shaking each day.

Add the chili flakes, and let steep for no longer than another day.

Add the last of the whiskey, stir to combine, and pour into your bottle.

Enjoy… with caution ; )

The 2015 Cherry Pie


Door County, Wisconsin is known for cherries.  We went there this past summer just before the tart ones were in season.  There were only sweet ones or sweet-tart ones.  I picked a bucket of the sweet-tart ones–for the life of us, no one remembers the name of them.


And so we made pie!  And jam, of course.  This pie recipe is based off of one I found on the Food Network website.


2015 Cherry Pie

Yield: 1 Pie


1 recipe Favorite Pie Crust (top and bottom crust)

4 c. Semi-Sweet Cherries

3/4 c. Sugar + 1 T. to sprinkle

1/4 c. Cornstarch

1 1/2 T. Butter


Place cherries in a medium pot and heat until juices come out of the cherries.  Mix together the 3/4 c. sugar and cornstarch, then add to the pot.  Stir together, and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool.

Roll out both pie crusts.  Place the bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan, and add cherry filling.  Cut the top crust into strips and form a lattice pattern over the top, and crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts together.  Dot the top with butter, sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 50 minutes.

Favorite Pie Crust

My pie crust opinions change like the wind, but this one has always been good to me, so it is my go-to.  Vodka bakes off faster than water does, leading to a crispier end product.  Good structure, but not too tough.  And, all butter, no shortening.  The only thing it doesn’t do is brown nicely on its own.  An egg wash is necessary for that kind of thing.  This is from the book entitled Pie Pops–in fact, it is the same recipe we used for the Blueberry Pie Pops on here last year.

Favorite Pie Crust (0f the moment)

Yield: 2 crusts (or one top and bottom)


2 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour

2 T. Granulated Sugar

1 t. Salt

1 c. Chilled Butter

1/2 c. Vodka


Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Cut in the butter.  Add vodka until the dough combines to form a ball.  Halve, form two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a half hour before rolling out.

Red Currant Rum


As my roommate and I themed our apartment after the Harry Potter world, we looked through the books for food and drink ideas.  This particular name of a drink is a favorite of the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge.  I made it with my black currant jam from earlier.  I know, not exactly a “red” currant drink, but it turns a pretty color nonetheless.  It would make a very good holiday drink with its flavors!

Red Currant Rum

Yield: One Drink


1 spoonful Black Currant Jam (about 1T.)

1.5 oz. Spiced Rum



Stir together jam and rum in a glass. Add ice and fill to the top with seltzer.  Perhaps garnish with some citrus.

Black Currant Jam

I tried fresh currants for the first time this summer, and bought a pint of black currents at the farmer’s market.  Not knowing what else to do with it, I made it into jam.  I apparently took no photos…hmm. Don’t worry, it’s a lot sweeter than that Rhubarb-Orange Jam!  I used it as a filling for “Pumpkin Macarons”… but that recipe won’t be on here because it didn’t go too well (the jam was wonderful, though!).

Black Currant Jam

Yield: About 2 cups


1 pint Fresh Black Currants

1 c. Water

10.5 oz Granulated Sugar

Juice of 1 Lemon


Put the currants and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Simmer until the currants are tender and some liquid has evaporated (about 20 minutes).  Then add the sugar and lemon juice, bring back to a boil, and cook until it reaches 220 degrees on a sugar thermometer.

Can if preferred, or consume within a month (officials would prefer that said “within a week”, but mine was fine for much longer).

Tart Rhubarb-Orange Jam

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This is certainly a tart jam, and certainly a recipe from almost 6 months ago.  Feel free to play with the amount of sugar–if you use Pomona’s Pectin, that is.  Most pectins use sugar to help them gel.  Pomona’s Pectin, however, uses calcium to gel.  It is provided in the box it in which is comes.  I therefore used Pomona’s usual instructions to make this, which I will outline here.


Tart Rhubarb-Orange Jam

Yield: About 4 Cups


2 lb. Rhubarb

2 t. Calcium Water (use instructions in Pomona’s box)

Zest and Juice of 1 orange

1/2 c. Water

3/4-1 c. Sugar

2 t. Pomona’s Pectin


Chop rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces.  Add rhubarb, calcium water, orange juice and zest, and water to a medium pot.

Mix together sugar and pectin in a bowl.

Bring rhubarb mixture to a boil, then add the pectin-sugar mixture.  Stir while the mixture returns to a boil and pectin dissolves.

Can if preferred, or use within a few weeks.

Sweetapolita’s Chocolate Fudge Frosting

This is the frosting I used for my roomie’s Avenue Q themed birthday cake!  Aside from some simple colored buttercream, that is.  The original (which is pretty much the same as what’s here) can be found at  As you can see from the picture, it is very squish-able when warm.  I’d say let it cool more than I did before frosting with it!

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Sweetapolita’s Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Yield: Enough for a layer cake, plus some!


1 1/2 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar

1/2 c. Cocoa Powder (Sweetapolita says “dark”, but my plain worked fine!)

1/3 c. Hot Water

1/4 c. Sour Cream

1 t. Vanilla Extract

1/8 t. Salt

10 oz. Milk Chocolate

5 oz. Dark Chocolate


Beat butter in stand mixer until light and fluffy (Sweetapolita says about 6 minutes).  Meanwhile, melt milk and dark chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time.  Let cool but not solidify.  Stir the cocoa powder and hot water into a slurry.  When the butter is creamed, turn the mixer to low and add powdered sugar, cocoa slurry, sour cream, vanilla, and salt, beating about a minute until combined.  Increase to medium speed and beat 2 more minutes.  Add the melted chocolates and beat until smooth, about two more minutes.  Let set up in the refrigerator for a while before frosting!

Fluffy Chocolate Cake

This is a take on Ina Garten’s “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake”.  I loved the flavor and the texture–and consistency!–of that recipe, but the structure was a bit weak for layering or travel.  In May, I had messed up on making my Lemon-Lavender Cookies and was left with three cups of flour with some added salt and baking powder.  I saved this dry mix, knowing I’d use it somewhere, and a week later I decided to bake it into Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe–though the amount of flour was double what was called for.  The thing is, that didn’t matter.  The cake came out just as delicious and fluffy, but it held up better than Beatty’s.  So, in October, I repeated this “mistake” and made it into my roommate’s birthday cake.  Avenue Q themed, because we are theatre people.  So if you want a rich-tasting but lightweight chocolate cake that won’t fall apart, look no further!  I used it with Sweetapolita’s Chocolate Fudge Frosting.


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Fluffy Chocolate Cake

Yield: 2 nine-inch rounds


(Butter and Flour for greasing pans)

3 c. All-Purpose Flour

2 c. Granulated Sugar

3/4 c. Cocoa Powder

2 t. Baking Soda

1 t. Baking Powder

1 t. Salt

1 c. Buttermilk

1/2 c. Vegetable/Canola Oil

2 Eggs

1 t. Vanilla Extract

1 c. Fresh Hot Coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch pans with butter, then shake flour around the pans to coat in a thin layer.

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (Ina likes a KitchenAid with the paddle attachment).  Beat together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  If using an electric mixer, put it on low, and slowly add the wet mixture to the dry.  This can also be done by hand.  After they have been combined, stir in the hot coffee.

Divide batter evenly between pans, and bake for about a half hour.  Watch closely to make sure it does not overbake.  Let cool in pans for 30 minutes, then flip out onto cooling racks.