Jammy Almond Crumb Bars

We live in the country. Not the county of estates and tag sales; but the country of pastures and dairy sheep. So when someone stops by; we wave them in, take their coat and sit them down with a hot cup of coffee and a sweet.These bars are a twist on the common crumble bar. I use whatever jam i have on hand. {usually something not too sweet loaded with bits of fruit}
The twist comes in the form of almond paste. It finds its way into these cookies, at every bite.

Jammy Almond Crumb Bars
2 sticks unsalted butter–room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
7 oz almond paste (divided)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup high quality-not too sweet jam (ollalaberry, raspberry, blackberry, fruits of the forest, etc)
1/4 cup toasted pistachio nuts

Place sugar, flour and 1/3 of the almond paste in a bowl. By hand, work in the almond paste so that it is in small bits throughout the flour. Add the butter and work by hand until you get a crumble that will stick when pressed together.
Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″x9″ fluted tart pan*. Take remaining almond paste and lightly press a thin layer on top of the crust. You may not use all of the paste. spread evenly with jam.
Mix the pistachio nuts in with remaining dough. Evenly distribute remaining dough by crumbling on top of jam. (i like a thick layer of topping)
Bake at 350 for approximately 40-45 minutes. You want the crust and crumble to be slightly colored, but not over-browned.

*if you do not have a fluted tart pan, this works fine in a standard 9×9 cake pan, just be sure to bring the crust 1/4-1/2″ up the sides.

Cherry Marzipan Ice Cream

Recently, in an early morning whim, I dragged Mike to a far-off orchard to pick a bushel of cherries. As we stood in the shade of a tree, him reaching to higher branches, and I for the low hanging fruit; I, cherry stained and gleeful, half whispered “isn’t this just so much fun”. To which Mike responded, as he bent a branch to my reach; “No. This is torture, but i am happy you are enjoying it”. This ice cream is a love letter filled with sweetness of ripe fruit, rich-depth of ground almonds, & deep warmth of a stiff drink, from me
to him.

I must tell you this is not a difficult recipe, but it is complicated taking many steps and some time but if you are an ice cream person with a special occasion on the horizon, you should make this. It is seriously good

Cherry Marzipan Ice Cream
step 1
3/4 cup milk
2 cups pitted cherries (reserve pits)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
step 2
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs cherry herring liquor (optional)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
step 3
1 cup chopped cherries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 oz marzipan–cut into bits the size of a small almond

step 1
blend together the pitted cherries and milk to break up, but not puree the cherries. place in a heavy saucepan. add back the cherry pits and stir in 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. bring to a simmer then turn off heat. allow to steep a minimum of 2 hours or until cool. *if you allow to sit more than 2 hours, place in the refrigerator to steep after 2 hours have passed.

step 2
strain the mixture and place into a clean saucepan. meanwhile, whisk together, in a bowl, egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, cherry herring (optional), and almond extract . whisk until the egg becomes pale and all ingredients are fully incorporated. heat the cherry-cream mixture to a simmer, then pour about 1/2 of cup into the egg mixture whisking the egg mixture while doing so. this is called tempering the eggs. slowly pour the remaining warm cream mixture into the egg, and whisk until fully incorporated. pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over very low heat. using a rubber spatula, continually stir the egg mixture until it begins to thicken to a nappe (you should be able to wipe your finger across the back of the spatula and have the “trail” remain. do not let the mixture simmer or boil. once you have obtained the desired consistency, pour mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. allow to cool for 1 hour, then add 1 cup heavy cream and stir to incorporate. refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to meld the flavors.

step 3
at least 1 hour before churning, place 1 cup pitted and chopped cherries, lemon juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and macerate for 1-2 hours.

step 4
prior to churning the ice cream, drain the macerating cherries and stir the juice into the ice cream base. churn your ice cream according to the manufacturers instructions. in the final minutes of freezing and churning, add in the cherries and marizipan and allow them to mix in fully. the ice cream will be quite soft. eat immediately, or freeze until ready to enjoy.

Carrot Cake

I really like carrots. I like them raw dipped in a bit of sea salt, honey roasted with onion dip, and deep fat fried loaded into a feedbag. All good. But, best of all? Baked in cake

Carrot Cake
this recipe comes from my culinary school notebook, it is not my own–except the decor..that is all me

4 large eggs–room temperature
6 oz vegetable oil
14 oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
9 oz flour
1 Tbs cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 lb carrots–peeled and grated
2 1/2 oz walnuts-toasted and roughly chopped
Whisk together sugar, salt, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk together the eggs and oil until the eggs are thick and pale yellow (about 10 minutes). Mix in the dry ingredients, just to fully incorporate. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Split evenly into 2 prepared* 9″ cake pans. Bake at 325 for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Preparing cake pans includes spraying with pan spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper
allow to cool and split each cake round into 2 layers. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting** Decorate with marzipan carrots.

Cream Cheese Frosting
i’m not opposed to sharing my cream cheese frosting recipe, but truth be told…i don’t measure
1 part unsalted butter to 2 parts cream cheese, a pinch of salt a bit of vanilla and enough powdered sugar to reach your desired sweetness. Use the paddle attachment of a mixer and beat until creamy.