Desserts Using Herbs!
From Laura Grimmer of The Perfect Pear in Chester
The Perfect Pear's Lemon Rosemary Cookies
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c./2 sticks unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided
3 t. lemon zest, divided
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, soda, salt, 2 t. lemon zest and rosemary in a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a mixer (if butter is at room temperature) or food processor (if butter is cold), blend butter and 1 c. sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add egg yolks and blend thoroughly. Add flour and mix thoroughly to blend (in a stand mixer) or pulse to blend (in the food processor).
4. Combine remaining 1/4 c. sugar and 1 t. lemon zest in a small bowl.
5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll to coat in the lemon-sugar mixture, place on ungreasing baking sheet and press down lightly with the bottom of a glass, to about a 1/4-inch disc. The cookies spread somewhat, but can be placed about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges and bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.
VARIATION: Substitute orange zest and dried thyme in place of the lemon and rosemary.
YIELD: About 3-4 dozen, depending on size.
Roasted Peaches with Almonds and Tarragon
Adapted from The Herbal Kitchen, by Jerry Traunfeld, serves 8
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
¼ c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
1 T. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
¾ c. sliced almonds
4 large ripe freestone peaches
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer until there are no lumps. Beat in the egg, and then the flour. Stir in almonds and tarragon.
Split the peaches in half and remove the pits. Arrange them cut side up in a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them. Divide the almond filling into 8 equal portions and mound into each cavity of the peach halves.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until the filling spreads over the top of the peaches and is browned and crisp.
Cool the peaches slightly, but serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Herbes de Provence Olive Oil Cake
1¼ c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 t. lemon or orange zest
¾ c. whole milk
¾ c. extra-virgin olive oil
2½ c. cake flour
2½ t. baking powder
1 T. Herbes de Provence (or blend of thyme, oregano, rosemary, lavender, savory and/or marjoram)
¼ t. salt
About 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 T. lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 10-inch springform or non-stick cake pan (for a thinner cake) or a 9-inch pan (for a thicker cake). Oil bottom of the pan, clamp parchment paper over bottom if using springform, then oil and flour the parchment and sides of the pan.
With an electric hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and zest until pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes. Mix in the milk and oil.
In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients and then fold into the wet until thoroughly combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes (in 10-inch pan) or 40-50 minutes (in 9-inch pan) or until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge of the pan, remove the ring of the springform and cool completely.
To make glaze: Stir together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice to make a smooth glaze, adding more sugar if needed for the desired consistency. Drizzle over cake and allow to set before serving.
Lavender Latin Flan
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, serves 8-10
½ c. whole milk
2 T. lavender buds
? c. (4? oz.) sugar
2 large eggs plus 5 yolks
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
1½ T. vanilla
½ t. salt
Stir together milk and lavender, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain, discarding the lavender.
Stir together sugar and ¼ c. water in medium heavy saucepan until sugar is completely moistened. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, 3 to 5 minutes, and cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to turn golden, another 1 to 2 minutes. Gently swirling pan, continue to cook until sugar is color of peanut butter, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl pan until sugar is reddish-amber and fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Carefully swirl in 2 tablespoons warm tap water until incorporated; mixture will bubble and steam. Pour caramel into an 8½- by 4½-inch or 5- by 9-inch loaf pan; do not scrape out saucepan. Set loaf pan aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Line bottom of 9- by 13-inch baking pan with a dish towel, folding towel to fit smoothly, and set aside. Bring 2 quarts water to boil.
Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl until combined. Add sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, lavender-infused milk, vanilla, and salt and whisk until incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into prepared loaf pan.
Cover loaf pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in prepared baking pan. Place baking pan in oven and carefully pour all of boiling water into pan. Bake until center of custard jiggles slightly when shaken and custard registers 180 degrees, 1¼ to 1½ hours. Remove foil and leave custard in water bath until loaf pan has cooled completely. Remove loaf pan from water bath, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill overnight or up to 4 days.
To unmold, slide paring knife around edges of pan. Invert serving platter on top of pan and turn pan and platter over. When flan is released, remove loaf pan. Using rubber spatula, scrape residual caramel onto flan. Slice and serve. (Leftover flan may be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.)