There is just something about Mark BIttman’s recipes/dishes that keeps calling me back. I know you know the feeling. You find a chef/cook/baker you really like and then you just want to keep making their goodies. I am that way with Madjur Jaffrey, Donna Hay, and Mark Bittman, among others..

So when it came time to do another potluck for I heart Cooking Clubs I went with Bittman – again.


    8 ripe pears peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into smallish pieces
    1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    8 – 10 sheets whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the pears, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Set the phyllo on your work surface and cover with a piece of plastic and a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Remove one sheet and put it in front of you, brush it with some butter and fold in 1/2 length wise.

Put about 1/8 of the pear mixture at one end of the phyllo strip and begin folding the filled section of the phyllo to form triangles back and forth along the length of the strip, like folding a flag. Keep folding the triangle back and forth until you reach the end of the sheet.
Transfer the turnover to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and brush it with a little more butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and apple mixture. You should have 8 turnovers.

Bake the turnovers until deeply golden and crisp (it’s okay if they ooze a little juice), 25 to 35 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or


    cinnamon sugar.

These were quick, crispy, flaky, tasty and the perfect light dessert. They are on page 565 of Bittman’s The Food Matters Cook book

For the other Pot Luck picks visit us over at IHCC


Making strudel, danish, Challah is, to me, a fun way to spend time in the kitchen. This tasty treat from KAF is not exception. Full of apples and cinnamon it is perfect for breakfast or snack or dessert or…anything!


The recipe starts out like cinnamon rolls. Roll out the dough, cover with the filling and then roll up and slice. But after rolling the dough, which was wonderfully soft with the added potato flakes and butter, and filling it with the apple and cinnamon, which I doubled, you slice it in half and then slice it in half horizontally and twist the two pieces together. While messy to work with it looks beautiful and tastes fantastic.

I basically adhered to the recipe except I doubled the cinnamon and and then 1/2 again as much apple mix on each roll. They seemed rather empty with just what was called for. I think I would add some pecans next time.

Hint: if you are using flour I would suggest draining the mix in a sieve before using – it is very wet.

One is already gone the other is in the freezer waiting for company and breakfast.


The other Twists can be found on the ABC page after October 3. Visit with them and see their beautiful twists.

And the recipe is on the King Arthur Flour page.

    Vitam vas!
    Nazdar! a vítat až k Únor Má KuchynŘ Má Svět. My ar být na návštěvě Czechosolovia

And in case you don’t speak Czech:

The Czech Republic was my choice for this month. I live in Kolin, a community that was originally settled by Czechs in the early 1900s. Our home is one of the original homesteads in the area and is actually listed as a Louisiana Cultural Heritage Property.


The original owners – Francis and Christine Welchech – built a good sized chicken house first. This is where they lived while they built the small barn,


and the large barn in 1917. {For many years when the community was young dances and gatherings were held on the top floor of this barn.


and finally the house in 1926 (top picture).

If you notice the high sloping roof on the barn it is because where the people originally lived and migrated to (Kansas) had lots of snow and the snow would easily slide off the tall gabled roof. {Just a wee bit of history}.

Every year there are two festivals in Kolin. In the fall there is the Kolache Festival. In March there is the Czech Festival. The fall festival is simple and is mainly based on the sale of kolaches. The larger festival in March is filled with dancing, history, pictorals, tours of the area, and lots of hearty food. Pork. Cabbage – usually in the form of sauerkraut – and, of course, KOLACHES (Koláče). It was these bakery treats that pushed me to choose Czechoslovakia for this months MKMW visit.

KOLACHES (Koláče). is not really just a single sweet treat, it is a generic term for baked pastries. But in the US it refers to a yeast bread with a pocket of sweet filling – Poppy Seed, Cream Cheese, Apple. There is a nice definition HERE!

I have a good basic sweet dough recipe I used for King Cake so I adapted it for the bread machine and used it to make the Kolache.

    1 cup milk (at room temperature)
    1 tsp. flavor (lemon, orange, vanilla, or butter)
    4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup all-purpose shortening
    2 large eggs, beaten
    4 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the milk, flavoring, and yeast in the bread machine container. Let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.
Mix the eggs, sugar, and shortening in a small bowl. Then add to yeast/milk mix.
Add flour.
Use the dough cycle to mix/raise/punch the dough. When done remove dough to a lightly floured surface.
Divide the dough into 12 – 15 equal sized pieces and roll into balls. Press each ball into a fairly flat disc. Let rise until about doubled in size.
Make deep indentations in each disc using your fingers. The indentation must be deep and strong or the dough will pop back up when baking.


Fill with whatever filling you are using. I prefer the apple, cream cheese, or cinnamon crumble.} Gently brush the dough with melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filling:

    8 oz cream cheese, softened (230 grams)
    1 egg yolk
    1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Use a heaping tablespoon for each kolache
Popsika: (Crumble Topping)

    1/2 Cup Sugar
    1/4 Cup flour
    1 Teaspoon cinnamon
    2 Tablespoons of melted butter

Mix together with fingers or a fork until well mixed and crumbly. Use a heaping tablespoon for each kolache.

With lots of practice my Kolaches looked like they were supposed to.


We are honorary Czechs because our barns have been used for tours and we participated in the festivals for many years. Sadly there are only a few of the original community members left, but with the festivals successive generations learn about and keep the culture going.

Check the My Kitchen My World blog for a round-up of the Czech recipes in early March.

WAY back at the first of the year Kayte asked me to pick a recipe for the Bake! members to make. I chose danish cheese pockets. Unfortunately I didn’t get to make them because of… well most of you know why. So, finally, this weekend I got to make the danish.

    Danish Cheese Pockets

These were soo good. I used Nick’s Quick Danish Pastry Dough. It is very easy to work with and puffs beautifully when baked. Before baking they are brushed with an egg wash and topped with sliced almonds. After, they are drizzled with a sugar/water icing. And they are sooooo good. I have always liked danish and have been wanting to make them. Now I have. I will again…and again…and again…and…well you get the picture.

This danish is from Malgieri’s Bake! It’s on page 113.

I like a challenge. Always have. Marriage. Children. Work. PUFF PASTRY!! Working with puff pastry is a challenge. But becoming less of one as I work my way through Malgieri’s BAKE! and the section on Puff Pastry. I made a whole recipe of pastry so I could use small amounts to make the 13 or so forms in the section. The puff pastry was easy to make. Baking the sheet of puff pastry was easy. Even making the Napoleons was easy. And then we came to …

    Strawberry Mille-Feuille

Well, it was supposed to be Raspberry, but I am not a fan and I had just enough strawberries to make two mini desserts. Now, I didn’t have any trouble with the pastry, it was the pastry cream that was my downfall. Oh, and the filling made of whipped cream. The pastry cream would NOT set. I asked around and the general conclusion was to cook it some more and add some gelatin. I did and then the cream was so THICK it would not spread. Still tasted good, tho.

Good thing because this was my Murphey Dessert.

Didn’t know I was an artist {Secret Pollack groupie!}, did you!! Well, this is what happens when you accidentally let go of the container in which you are making whipped cream using an emersion blender. Don’t try this at home I AM a professional!! I did just have enough to finish the dessert.

To make the mille-feuille (a thousand leaves) you layer a sheet of pastry, pastry cream, fruit (strawberries), whipped cream, and repeat.

And then you ‘roll’ the whole thing in crushed puff pastry pieces. Pretty!! Well, maybe…

If you want to see a really pretty one, check out Abby’s of Mix It Bake it. That’s how it is supposed to look. And check out the Modern Baker Challenge members as we work our way through Malgieri’s Modern Baker.

There were a few months at the first of the year that I was not in the kitchen. Four months actually. During that time I missed several ‘assignments’ from Bake!. Now it’s time to play catch-up.

    danish apricot apple pinwheels

Using Malgieri’s Quick Danish Pastry Dough I had made a batch of earlier in the week I took 1/4 of the 1/2 recipe and made 4 pinwheels. The recipe had several variations including plums, pineapple, and apples in addition to the apricot. I used the apple filling from the strudel

Pinwheels are fun to make. Cut 4″ squares of dough. Cut them from the corner toward the center leaving a small platform of dough, fill, turn one corner of the dough square into the filling (from each corner) and bake. Easy Peasy. YES!!!! Easy!! ANd VERY good!

You can find the recipe on page 114 of Nick Malgieri’s Bake!

NOW!! Go pick up Malgieri’s Bake! and join in the fun. And vist the FB page for Bake!

Ich liebe Strudel!!
Yes I do, I love Strudel!!
It is so good filled with apples slowly cooked down with sugar and cinnamon and butter. Then mixed with Golden Raisins. What’s not to like? Oh, did I mention it is made with home made danish pastry dough?

The recipe called for a full recipe of pastry which then makes eight 4″ mini strudels. I only made 1/2 of the quick danish pastry dough recipe. And only 1/4 of that to make two 4″ strudels. That gives me enough to catch up on the other danish pastries I have missed making with the BAKE! group since January!

One of the things I love about making pastry dough is rolling out the dough and seeing those hunks of butter just waiting to melt in the pastry and give out all that yummy goodness!

And then you add in the apple/raisin mix {to which I added some chopped walnuts}to the middle of the dough

Roll up the pastry around the filling, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with LOTS of sugar and bake. 20 Minutes {mine only took 14} later you have a beautiful, tasty, elegant dessert. Now I know I will have to keep some of thids dough in the freezer just so I can make one of these up when I really want something different.

This was Abby’s (of Stir It! Scrape It! Mix It! Bake It!) pick. Hers came out beautifully.

You can find the dough recipe and the strudel in Malgieri’s Bake! on page 110 and 116. I also found the pastry dough recipe on

Apples!! Butter!! Puff Pastry!!

How can you possibly go wrong with such a great ingredient list??

    I’ll let you in on a little secret – You Can’t!! EVER!!

    Tarte Fine

….aka Apple Pizza! But like Dorie suggests, (and Juliet said)

      O, be some other name!
      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;

And this was sweet no matter what it is called.

Using Martha Stewart’s Rough Puff Pastry I made the recipe as listed except, yes that is what I said –EXCEPT, I sprinkled the crust with Cinnamon Sugar before carefully placing the apple slices over the pastry. I just couldn’t leave the apples lonely like that. And then I sprinkled more cinnamon sugar OVER the apples just to give them a nice comfy blanket. That’s just the way I roll!!!

The pastry didn’t puff as much as I would have liked but I think it was because I had thawed/chilled/warmed/chilled it too much trying to find time to actually make the tarte. I can’t believe it took me so long considering how totally easy it was to put together.

Warm from the oven, topped with a little whipped cream it was delicious.

Thanks for this one, Leslie (of Lethally Delicious). There was no way I was going to skip this one.

And I bet not many of the other TWD Bakers skipped this one either. Go see!!

And stay tuned in October when the new Dorie Group starts cooking from her new book – Around My French Table – fantastic French food made simple and comfortable. It is going to be AMAZING!!!

Yes, Please! Light. Flakey. Sweet. Easy.

This week’s TWD – Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben – is actually not baked (altho’ some members did) at all, but fried. And unusual for a Dorie recipe. Chosen by Teanna of Spork or Foon, this weeks delight is a simple fried pastry sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar (and cocoa) and then with powdered sugar – similar to a French Market Doughnut. Even though it took about 3 hours to put them together they are quick and easy to make. Fried in a small amount of oil (even tho’ Dorie says about 4 inches) they are crisp and light.

Make them! Enjoy them! But don’t breathe in (or out for that matter) while you eat them or you and your company will be covered in powdered sugar. Which can be A Good Thing.

Now – go visit the other TWD bakers and see who baked and who fried.

    The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I love being a member of the Daring Kitchen!! I either do the Baker’s challenge or the Cooks’s Challenge each month, but rarely have time to do both. This month, I chose to do the Baker’s Challenge, even though we were told we weren’t baking this month – well, technically. We doughed. We rolled. We cut. We FRIED!!! Holy Moley!! We made


I have a couple of confessions to make:

    1. I don’t like the taste of Red Wine. I like to cook with it but don’t like it alone. When I saw the addition of red wine to the dough I was a little skeptical. Wouldn’t the dough taste like wine? I checked several other recipes and they ALL called for red wine. Well, FINE!!!

    2. I don’t have cannoli tubes. Could I use dowl rods to shape the cannoli? How about PVC pipe? Then I realized you have to fry the tubes IN the cannoli!! DUH!! There is NO WAY I would find cannoli tubes in Podunk, USA!!. But TH came to the rescue. He made me one tube out of brushed aluminum. PERFECT!!!

It was big, but it worked great.

One of the fillings suggested was pumpkin/ricotta. I followed that but used Sweet Potato instead. And dipped the ends in candied pecans (left over from MSC’s Candied Sweet Potato Cup Cakes.

I didn’t have marscapone cheese so I used this substitute from My Recipe Collection. Using that recipe I will fill the two empty tubes I have with the regular cannoli filling – eventually.

This was a fun challenge. The Daring Kitchen has opened up a lot of baking/cooking avenues for me – soups, desserts, sides. Some of the challenges I won’t repeat, but this isn’t one of them. But I think I will find some ‘real’ cannoli tubes first.

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