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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Recipes

FOOD FUN: PieCaken & Its Recipe

Piecaken recipe from Zac Young @ Fabrick.

Piecaken from Zac Young @ Fabrick

Zac Young’s Thanksgiving PieCaken. Photos
courtesy The David Burke Group.


Fans of the Lifetime series, Drop Dead Diva, will remember when April invented the Pake—pie plus cake—and opened her Pakery.

Executive Pastry Chef Zac Young of the David Burke Group now makes the PieCaken for Thanksgiving, the dessert version of turducken. The three-layer confection consists of a layer of pecan pie, pumpkin pie and apple upside down cake, along with cinnamon buttercream.

It’s sold at Burke’s New York City restaurant, Fabrick for $49—and following an appearance on “Live With Kelly And Michael,” it’s pretty much sold out.

You can try your hand at it with his recipe, below.

A bit of PieCaken history:

According to an article on, Charles Phoenix, whose Wikepedia bio calls “an author and chef whose work explores and celebrates 1950s and 1960s kitsch and Americana,” credits himself with creating the combo cake in 2007. He called it the Cherpumple or “The Monster” Pie-Cake: a three-layer cake stuffed with cherry, apple and pumpkin pies.

The inspiration was the number of dessert plates used for Thanksgiving dinner, to accommodate his family’s traditional four desserts: three pies—cherry, pumpkin and apple—and a spice cake.

Phoenix doesn’t claim to be the first person to bake a pie in a cake, but more the first person to have gone Internet-viral with it.

And viral it is. Just do a search for PieCaken and you’ll turn up recipes galore.


Ingredients For 8-12 Servings

  • 1 (9 inch) pumpkin pie (store bought or your favorite recipe—Zac uses the one from the back of the Libby’s can
  • 1 (9 inch) pecan pie (store bought or your favorite recipe)
    For the Apple Upside-Down Cake

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    *Buttermilk substitute: For 1/2 cup buttermilk, substitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1/2 cup.
    For the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites (totally clean, no bits of yolk)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • Whipped cream or ice cream for serving


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8” cake pan with nonstick spray and line with a round of parchment paper.

    2. MAKE the apple topping: Peel, core and cut the apple into quarters. Slice each quarter into very thin (1/16”) slices. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a bowl, toss the butter, brown sugar and apples together. Spread the apple mixture into a thin layer in the bottom of the prepared cake pan and bake for 10 minutes. The sugar and butter should be melted and the apples should start to soften. There may be a little liquid that has seeped out of the apples, which is fine. Let the pan cool while you make the cake.

    3. MAKE the spice cake: Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk until blended together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil and sugar together. It’s actually easier to do this with a whisk than with an electric mixer; but if you really like the mixer, use it. Add both of the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in two installments, whisking until blended.

    4. CAREFULLY POUR the batter over the apple layer. If you simply dump it on top, you run the risk of displacing the apples and ruining the pretty apple design, but it will still taste good.

    5. RETURN the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the center of the cake is fully cooked. Once the cake has cooled for 20 minutes, flip it out of the cake pan and onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment. Let cool fully while you make the frosting.


    PieCaken Slice - Zac Young

    Plain Pumpkin Pie

    TOP PHOTO: A slice of PieCaken up close. Photo courtesy David Burke Group. BOTTOM PHOTO: A pumpkin pie becomes the center layer. Photo by Mike Johnson | SXC.

    6. MAKE the cinnamon buttercream frosting: Find a pot that will fit the bottom of the bowl of the stand mixer, fill it with three inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the egg whites and the sugar in the mixer bowl and place over the simmering pot of water. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm, about 4 minutes.

    7. PLACE the bowl on the mixer stand, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium high until cool (about 8 to 10 minutes). Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes and gradually add to the mixer. Mix until the butter has incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the salt, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk until combined.

    8. ASSEMBLE the PieCaken. It is easier to assemble if the pies are chilled. With a small knife, cut the outer crust off the pies, leaving only the filling and the bottom crust. With a serrated knife, cut off what was the top of the cake, which is now on the bottom. Do this by cutting straight through the cake horizontally about a half inch up the side of the cake. Reserve the scraps for snacking.

    9. PLACE the pecan pie on an 8-inch cake board or serving plate. Spread a ½ inch layer of frosting over the top of the pie. Place the pumpkin pie on top and spread a ½ inch of frosting on top. Place the cake, apple side up, on top of the frosting. With a serrated knife, trim the sides of the cake to be flush with the pies. Add the scraps to the snack pile.

    10. USING an offset spatula, spread a ½ inch layer of frosting around the cake, covering the sides. Using a piping bag with whatever tip you want, pipe a pretty border around the top of the cake. Zac likee to leave the top of the cake unfrosted so you can see the apples.

    11. REFRIGERATE the PieCaken for at least an hour, or tightly wrapped for up to 5 days. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving so the buttercream softens. Cut the PieCaken into 8 to 12 slices using a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Rum Raisin Ice Cream

    Haagen-Dazs Rum Raisin Ice Cream

    Haagen-Dazs Rum Raisin Pint

    Look for it in stores or make your own Rum Raisin ice cream. Photos courtesy Häagen-Dazs.


    Our favorite Thanksgiving ice cream flavor is not Pumpkin, but Rum Raisin. It’s an old-fashioned flavor that seems very American (as rum was produced close to home, in the Caribbean). Actually, its roots are in Sicily; the history is below.

    It’s easy to make Rum Raisin from basic Vanilla ice cream:

    Marinate the raisins overnight in rum and sugar. Drain and stir the raisins into softened vanilla ice cream. Return the ice cream to the freezer to harden.

    Even easier: Use the rum-soaked raisins as a topping on vanilla ice cream, or interspersed in a parfait.

    TIP: We usually have a jar of rum-soaked raisins in the fridge, and give jars of it as gifts. It’s better visually to mix purple and golden raisins (sultanas). For Christmas, we add some dried cranberries; and also make a separate concoction of dried cranberries in a mix of rum and cranberry liqueur. All versions are delicious in a cup of hot tea.

    If you want to make Rum Raisin Ice Cream from scratch, here’s a recipe from Saveur.

    It’s so much more special than vanilla ice cream, with:

  • Apple pies and tarts
  • Sundaes and waffle sundaes with caramel or hot fudge
    Use the marinated raisins themselves as a topping on:

  • Bread puddings
  • Poached pears, compotes and other cooked fruit dishes
  • Rice pudding and other puddings


    In Sicily, where it originated, what we call Rum Raisin is known as Málaga. The Sicilians were the first to create Rum Raisin gelato, which was originally made with the local Marsala wine instead of rum.

    The raisins were soaked overnight in the wine and then mixed into vanilla gelato*. The sweet Málaga raisins with a burst of alcohol were a hit, and led to Rum Raisin/Málaga flavors in other desserts. Bread puddings, cakes (especially fruit cakes and pound cakes), cookies, custards, pastries, pies and puddings were all enhanced with rum-soaked raisins.

    A grass originally from the the Pacific islands of Melanesia and Polynesia, sugar cane was introduced to the Caribbean in 1493 by Christopher Columbus [sugar history and source].

    By the 17th century, the Caribbean had become the major source of sugar for the West. Molasses is a by-product of refining the cane juice into sugar. Rum was first made from fermented and distilled molasses, most likely on the island of Barbados, where plantation slaves discovered that molasses could be fermented into an alcoholic beverage and then distilled to remove its impurities.

    Fast forward to ice cream: As flavors proliferated in the U.S., rum-soaked raisins were as much a hit as they had been in Italy (the history of ice cream).

    According to, alcohol and ice cream were “pondered in the 18th century; commercially achieved in the USA during the 1930s.” A 1932 newspaper display ad in the Ardmore [Oklahoma] Daily Admoreite of January 14, 1932 declared, “Extra Special. Rum Raisin Ice Cream. Entirely New.” In 1970, President and Mrs. Richard Nixon gave a dinner in honor of President and Madame Georges Pompidou of France, which included pistachio and rum raisin ice creams in the shape of a melon.”

    In the early 1980s, Häagen-Dazs made sure almost all Americans could taste Rum Raisin, by launching the flavor—its fifth, after chocolate, coffee, strawberry and vanilla. It became a hit, but the company now has 24 basic ice cream flavors plus 9 gelato flavors, 7 artisan flavors and 4 sorbets. As a result, Rum Raisin has become a fall season flavor.

    But, just keep that jar of rum-soaked raisins in the fridge and vanilla ice cream in the freezer, and you can have it whenever you want.
    *The difference between gelato and ice cream.



    RECIPES: Alternative Holiday Potato Recipes

    If you don’t have sacrosanct holiday potato recipes, here are two outside-the-box ideas, one for mashed potatoes, one for sweet potatoes. Of course, they work on non-holidays, too. Both are from, one of our go-to sites for delicious recipes.


    Butter, buttermilk and blue cheese give these mashed potatoes a rich, tangy flavor. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2-1/12 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chives, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper

    Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

    For lovers of blue cheese, this is potato heaven. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

    *Buttermilk substitute: For 1 cup buttermilk, substitute 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

    1. PEEL the potatoes and rinse under cold water. Cut each potato into quarters and place in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then reduce heat to a low boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with fork, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. HEAT the buttermilk and butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling.

    3. DRAIN the potatoes, return to the pot and warm over low heat for 1-2 minutes so the moisture evaporates. Use a ricer, potato masher or food mill to mash the potatoes.

    4. STIR in the buttermilk mixture 1/3 cup at time, until the potatoes are the consistency you prefer. Stir in the crumbled blue cheese and chives, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

    5. TRANSFER to a a bowl and garnish with additional blue cheese and chives and serve hot.


    Thai Sweet Potato Recipe

    Sweet potatoes with Thai accents. Photo
    courtesy Foodie Crush | Go Bold With Butter



    These sweet potatoes are served in au gratin fashion, but baked in a butter sauce that’s infused with bright Thai flavors: chili sauce, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Beyond the turkey, it goes well with everything: chicken, pork, beef and even fish.

    The recipe, developed by Foodie Crush, couldn’t be simpler. The biggest challenge is to thinly cut the sweet potatoes at an even thickness, to ensure even cooking time.

    If you’re hesitating about buying the Thai ingredients, they’re basic to most Thai recipes. They’ll inspire you to do more Thai cooking when the holidays are over.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Layer the slices of sweet potatoes in a 9″x9″ or 8″x11″ baking dish.

    2. MELT the butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Whisk in the honey. Add the fish sauce, chili sauce and soy sauce and pour over the potatoes.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with fork. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chicken Or Turkey Stock

    Thanksgiving Turkey

    Enjoy your feast, but don’t toss the carcass.
    Use it to make stock! Photo courtesy Sur La


    Plan ahead: Don’t throw away that turkey carcass. Or the roast chicken* carcass. Or those tops, root ends and stems from trimming vegetables. Save the vegetable trimmings from the week’s meals: carrot tops, celery ends, fennel fronds, herb stems, kale stalks, leek tops, scallion ends, etc.

    Check the freezer for herbs and vegetable scraps you may have tucked away.

    Use all of it to make a delicious batch of chicken or turkey stock, which you can then turn into cooked grains, sauces, soups, stews and other preparations.



  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut in half
  • Chicken or turkey carcass
  • Vegetable trimmings† or 1-2 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery
  • Parsley and thyme (leftover stems are fine)
    *Or duck, game hen, quail or any poultry carcass. You can blend them together into one stock as needed.
    †Check the freezer for herbs and anything else you might have tucked away to prevent spoiling.


    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a stock pot (6-8 quarts for a turkey, 4-6 quarts for a chicken) and cover them with water plus one inch. If the carcass doesn’t fit in the pot, use poultry shears to cut it into pieces that do. Don’t salt the water; stock should be unsalted to accommodate any recipe. Place the top on the pot.

    2. BRING to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for minimum of 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Once or twice during the simmering, remove the cover and skim off the frothy scum that’s formed on the top of the broth. Add more water if it boils away; the bones should always be covered. When the broth has turned a golden brown color and is rich in flavor…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat. As soon as it’s comfortable enough to handle, strain the broth and discard the solids. If it isn’t clear enough for you, strain it again through cheesecloth.

    4. FREEZE the chicken broth in portion-sized containers. We like ice cube trays (once frozen, store the cubes in a freezer bag); or in half pint or pint storage containers. If you have a short-term use for it, you can refrigerate the stock for up to a week.

  • A stock pot with a pasta strainer insert is ideal for this purpose.
  • If you don’t want to “watch the pot,” you can use a slow cooker on a low setting.


    Instead Of Water

  • Grains: rice (plain or in risotto), quinoa, couscous and other dishes
  • Soups: use as much stock as you have, then fill in with water
  • Vegetables: steaming and boiling
    Instead Of Butter And/Or Cream

  • Gravy
  • French sauces, such as bercy and velouté
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Polenta
  • Purées: use stock to smooth out a bean or vegetable purée
  • Sautés: add some stock and use less butter or oil
  • Soups, from wintry butternut squash soup to summer gazpacho
  • Stuffing, dressing and other savory bread pudding recipes
    Instead Of Wine

  • Deglazing the pan for sauce
  • Marinades
  • Any recipe that requires wine

    Chicken Stock

    Take pride in your homemade stock. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.


  • Broth is a finished soup; stock is an ingredient.
  • Broth has a higher proportion of meat.
  • Because stock is made largely from the bones, it contains more gelatin, which gives it a richer mouthfeel.
  • Stock is not salted. Since it is an ingredient, it combines with whatever seasonings the recipes call for.
    What about bouillon?

    The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably, though not correctly.

    Bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantial with the addition of a grain (barley, rice, etc.) and vegetables.



    RECIPE: Make & Bring Sweet & Savory Nut Clusters

    Homemade Nut Clusters

    Sweet and savory nut clusters, with pumpkin
    seeds added for the holidays. Photo courtesy


    If you’ve been invited to Thanksgiving but not asked to contribute, you may still want to bring a gift that isn’t a bottle of wine.

    Something like these Sweet & Savory Nut Clusters from QVC’s chef David Venable can be a gift to the hosts be enjoyed later. Package them in a decorative tin or jar.

    Or, they can be served with after-dinner coffee by those who are too stuffed for pie.

    For any occasion, they can be served with a slice of Gorgonzola as the cheese course, or as a garnish for a green salad along with crumbled Gorgonzola.

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1-1/2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Optional: Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • Optional: green salad with vinaigrette
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. TOSS the pecans, almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds with the beaten egg white in a large bowl, until coated.

    3. COMBINE the brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and rosemary in another bowl and toss with the nuts until evenly coated. Pour in the honey and fold until coated.

    4. SPREAD the mixture out on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toasted. Serve as desired.



    RECIPE: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies From Quaker Oats

    Original Quaker Canister

    Quaker Old Fashioned Oats Canister

    TOP PHOTO: What Great-Great Grandmother
    would have purchased. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    Today’s canister reminds us that oatmeal is a
    heart-healthy food. Photos courtesy Quaker


    One hundred years ago, Quaker introduced the now-iconic cylinder package for Old Fashioned Quaker Oats. The cylindrical package was a first in the industry. While the packaging design has been updated, the round canister can still be found on store shelves today.

    The Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio, was founded in 1877 by Henry Parsons Crowell, who purchased the bankrupt Quaker Oat Mill Company there.

    Canned foods were a hot new trend in 1915, and Crowell noticed the public’s growing appetite for colorful, conveniently sized packaging. He began to sell his oats in distinctive round cardboard cartons. At the time, many groceries, including cereal grains, were sold in bulk from barrels.

    Today the The Quaker Oats Company sells more than 350 million pounds of oatmeal annually, and some 120 million canisters are produced at its Cedar Rapids plant.

    Quaker also lays claim as the first to feature a recipe on packaging: Oatmeal Bread, in 1891. In 1908, the brand introduced the first cookie recipe on a package: Oat Cakes.

    In 1922, the company introduced Quaker Quick Oats, one of America’s first convenience products. It can be swapped for Quaker Old Fashioned Oats in baking recipes.

    In 1966, Quaker Instant Oatmeal pouches debuted to help people keep pace with a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Cup packaging debuted in 2000, to portable eating even easier. Earlier this year, Quaker launched Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats.

    Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe remains a consumer favorite. As of 2015, it’s been on the Old Fashioned Oats canister for 20 years. The recipe is below.

    A food conglomerate headquartered in Chicago, it has been owned by PepsiCo since 2001.


    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 8 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Dozen Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats, uncooked)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Raisins substitute: 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries or diced mixed fruit
  • Raisins substitute: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips; omit the cinnamon


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add the combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add the oats and raisins; mix well.

    2. DROP the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to a wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

    3. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase the flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.
    For Bar Cookies

    1. PRESS the dough onto bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.


    Quaker Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    For 20 years, the recipe for these Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies has been on the box of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Photo courtesy Quaker.

    2. CUT into bars. Store tightly covered. Yield: 24 bars.

  • Use an empty Quaker Oats canister as the “gift box” for cookie gifting.
  • For the holidays, consider Oatmeal Gingerbread Cookies.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Meyer Lemons

    Meyer Lemons

    A profusion of Meyer lemons at Good Eggs |
    San Francisco.


    You should start seeing Meyer lemons in stores now. The no-pucker lemon’s season is November through March.

    A cross between a true lemon and either a sweet orange or a mandarin, Citrus × meyeri was named for Frank Nicholas Meyer, who brought it back from China in 1908. Meyer worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an “agricultural explorer,” traveling the world to find new foods that might be desirable in America.

    The Chinese had long been growing the lemon variety in pots, as ornamental trees. Meyer lemon trees thus were planted in California yards, and the fruit was enjoyed by the home owners.

    Meyer lemons became a hot food item when they were “rediscovered” by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in the 1990s. Other chefs and personalities like Martha Stewart began featuring them in recipes; groves were planted and the fruits began to arrive in markets.

    The benefit is yours.


    Meyer lemons are much sweeter and more flavorful than the Bearss and Lisbon varieties commonly found in American grocery stores (here are the different types of lemons). They have much less acid, which is why the juice is sweeter and brighter.

    While they are smaller than the Bearss and Lisbon lemons, they are much juicier with a very thin (and edible) peel, and can even deliver more juice per lemon.

    And their fragrance is beguiling.



    You can buy ornamental dwarf Meyer lemon trees to keep in pots indoors or on the patio. Planted in the ground, they can grow to heights of eight feet. Check out the options at:

    The trees produce lovely white blossoms before they fruit, and have glossy leaves year-round. Consider one for your own home or for gifting.

  • Lemonade without the pucker (and just a bit of sugar required)
  • Cocktails, spritzers and lemon water
  • Cakes, pies and other baked goods
  • Ice cream, sorbet, pudding
  • Marmalade, lemon curd

    Meyer Lemon Tree

    This fragrant tree can grace any home. We’d love to receive one as a gift. Photo courtesy

  • In any recipe that calls for lemon juice and/or peel: chicken, ham, fish and seafood, vegetables, salads, etc.
    Here are 30+ ways we use Meyer lemons, plus a recipe for Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc. You can also peruse these recipes from

    Perhaps our favorite Meyer lemon recipe:



  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice

    1. ZEST all the lemons and save the extra (it freezes well). You can add it to salad dressings, baked goods, anything.

    2. BRING the sugar and the water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and zest; stir to combine.

    3. POUR the mixture into the canister of a 1-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 25-30 minutes). Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for 4 hours or longer.

    4. SET the container on the counter to stand for 5 minutes before serving.



    RECIPE: Pumpkin Coconut Mousse

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin coconut mousse ingridhoffmannFB 230

    You don’t need special dessert bowls. Use juice glasses, rocks glasses or stemware. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.


    We made this mousse for the adults on Halloween, but the pumpkin theme works throughout the holidays. This is an easy recipe. Here’s a more elaborate pumpin mousse recipe.

    This recipe is from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann, who has many more on her website.

    You can serve it in meringues or puff pastry shells, in glass dessert dishes, in wine glasses or rocks glasses, or in scooped out mini pumpkins.


    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¾ cup fine sugar*
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice†
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • Toasted coconut (instructions below)
  • Optional garnish: mint sprigs for garnish
    *You can use superfine sugar, or can pulse table sugar in a food processor or spice mill to make it more fine.

    † You can buy it or make it, combining 3tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1½ teaspoons ground allspice and 1½ teaspoons ground cloves.

    1. HEAT the pumpkin purée, coconut milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a small sauce pan and and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

    2. BEAT the whipping cream and rum with an electric hand mixer, until peaks form. Gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream, until well mixed.

    3. CHILL for at least 2 hours. Garnish with toasted coconut and a mint sprig.

    You can buy toasted coconut, but it’s very easy to toast your own in the oven or microwave.

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Spread shredded coconut evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally.

    2. WATCH closely to avoid over-browning.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Sangria

    For the holidays, we like Cranberry Sangria. In addition to making pitchers of it to serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we keep a pitcher of Sangria in the fridge for daily apéritifs and impromptu visitors.

    In the first recipe, tart cranberry juice is pared with a sweet wine and orange liqueur. It takes only 10 minutes to make this recipe, from McCormick. The result: a flavorful, well-balanced holiday refreshment.

    Plan ahead: November 20th is National Sangria Day. Here’s the history of sangria.


    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 1 orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) sweet white wine, such as Moscato or Riesling
  • 3 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur*, such as Grand Marnier
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    Cranberry Sangria

    Steep orange slices studded with cloves, plus cranberries and cinnamon sticks, in sweet white wine and tart cranberry juice. Photo courtesy McCormick.

    *Here are the different types of  orange liqueur.


    1. CUT the orange into 8 wedges. Press 2 cloves into each wedge. Set aside.

    2. MIX the wine, cranberry juice, cranberries, liqueur, cinnamon sticks and vanilla in large pitcher until well blended. Add the orange wedges.

    3. REFRIGERATE for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve straight up or on the rocks.

    This recipe also celebrates the flavors and colors of the season—with cinnamon, clementines and cranberries. They compliment the rich red-fruit flavors of Ruby Port (there’s more about Port below). The recipe was developed by Sandeman, using their Founders Reserve Ruby Port.
    Don’t worry about buying a bottle just for this recipe. Port is delicious served alone at the end of any dinner, with the cheese course (especially blue cheeses and washed-rind cheeses). or accompanying a rich chocolate or caramel dessert or candy.

    Serve Ruby Port with a side of salted or smoked nuts, and with smoked meats. The next time you make barbecue, serve Ruby Port on the rocks with a twist of lime!


    Sangria With Ruby Port

    Keep a pitcher in the fridge. Photo courtesy Sandeman.



  • 1 bottle of Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto or other Ruby Port
  • 4 ounces cinnamon schnapps† (Goldschläger is relatively easy to find)
  • 3 clementines, quartered or sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 18 ounces sparkling clementine juice or clementine soda‡
  • 6 ounces cranberry juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Ground allspice to taste
    †Cinnamon schnapps is also delicious in coffee, after dinner drinks, atop vanilla ice cream, and so on. You can also make cinnamon simple syrup.

    ‡San Pellegrino and Izze make clementine sparkling drinks. Otherwise, substitute orange soda.


    1. COMBINE the Port, cinnamon schnapps, clementine pieces, cranberries, cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

    2. TO SERVE: Add the sparkling clementine juice/soda and sprinkle allspice on top, to taste.

    Porto (sometimes written as Oporto, “the Porto”) is the second largest city in Portugal. Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Port wine is produced in the region.

    Port is made in several expressions: Crusted, Colheita, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), Ruby, Single Quinta, Tawny, Vintage, Vintage Character and White. Here’s an explanation of each type of Port.



    RECIPE: Mojito Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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    Mashed sweet potatoes with a “Mojito” touch. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann | Facebook.


    Chef Ingrid Hoffmann calls these “Mojito” mashed sweet potatoes because they have fresh mint and lime juice. Find more dellicious recipes on her website,

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed but unpeeled (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

    1. PLACE the whole sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

    2. DRAIN and rinse the potatoes under cold water until they are easy to handle. Meanwhile…

    3. WARM the oil in a small saucepan over high heat, about 1 minute. Alternatively, microwave the oil in a microwavable bowl on high until the oil is warm, about 30 seconds. Add the mint leaves and crush with a pestle or the handle of a wooden spoon. Set aside.

    4. PEEL the sweet potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Add the mint mixture, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the mint sprigs, and serve hot.



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