Tag Archives: dessert

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.

For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.

For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”

And so it does.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cold shortening
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Cranberry Creme Fraiche Cake with Almond

Who knew cranberries and almonds taste so yummy together? I used my leftover Thanksgiving cranberry compote to make this festively pink Bundt cake. I saw the recipe at The Kitchn and knew I had to make it – anything with creme fraiche!

The cake is pretty dense – not your airy, light cake, but more substantial and with nice texture combinations from the sliced almonds that bake into the cranberries and cake batter.

My favorite part, by far, was the glaze. Served at a recent dinner party, everybody agreed it was lovely!

Adapted from The Kitchn…

Cranberry Creme Fraiche Cake


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crème fraîche (usually one small tub)
  • 1 1/2 c. whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • Cranberry Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the inside of a 10-cup Bundt pan with the melted butter and dust it lightly with flour (note: using melted butter is so much easier than trying to get softened butter in those Bundt crevices!).

Whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the crème fraîche (in two increments), beginning and ending with the flour and beating after each addition until just combined.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Swirl half the cranberry sauce over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce, and then swirl the remaining cranberry sauce over the batter. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Cranberry Glaze


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry juice (reserved from making the cranberry sauce)

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, and cranberry juice in a small bowl until smooth (I added some orange juice to loosen it up a bit).

Pretty in pink!

A tasty way to use my last Thanksgiving leftovers, eh? Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Crack pie

Crack pie was made famous by the likes of Kelly Ripa, Anderson Cooper and The Los Angeles Times, which wrote about the Momofuku Milk Bar confection that retails for $44 in New York City. Ever since I read the story, I became obsessed. Then, Bon Appetit printed the recipe and I fainted.

From what I can tell, crack pie is basically a chess pie with a cookie crust. Chess pie was another confection new to me when I moved to The South. The super-sweet pie is a basic custard sweetened with sugar, vanilla and often includes cornmeal. Crack pie has a similar custard that includes cream and powdered milk (?), but the crust is the key: made out of a giant oatmeal cookie that you crumble and press with butter and more sugar, it gives the pie a salty crumb to mingle with the gooey insides.

I think what makes it addictive is that saltiness. Something about salt, especially when matched with sugar, makes people lose all control.

Before I post the recipe, let’s get something very straight. This pie is rather unattractive. It’s one of those pies that you have to serve with the disclaimer, “But it tastes really good!” or “It cost me $45!”

My most foodiest friend Jeb made this pie recently in his Portland, Ore. home. When I texted him to say the custard had a rather blah, brownish color, he replied, “I dare you to name a more ugly dessert.” Luckily, a dusting of powdered sugar helps disguise that.

And then I had problems with how ooey-gooey it was, making it nearly impossible to cut out a clean slice. Jeb, who is no novice in the kitchen, made me feel better, saying his turned out the same. Perhaps creator Christina Tosi left something out of the recipe so no one could quite copy it? I’ll have to investigate next time I’m in NYC (December!).

From Bon Appetit, I give you…

Crack Pie


Oat cookie crust –

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 9 T unsalted butter at room temp
  • 5 1/2 T golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c. plus 2 T old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling –

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 1 T nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 6 1/2 T heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar

(Note: crust can easily be made the day before, which I recommend. Also note that the pie must cool overnight in the fridge before serving.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan (mine was spotty and uneven, but it cooks great). Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes (it will still be soft in the middle). Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using your hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish as evenly as possible. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

Now, for the filling.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

A face only a mother could love

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.
If you’ve made this, please let me know how you liked it. I enjoyed it, although it is sweet enough to give you tooth decay on the spot.
Don’t get addicted, friends! xoxo

Double rainbow (OMG) cake!

Sometimes, it’s as if everything happened just as it should. As if I were meant to find this rainbow cake recipe more than a year ago and never make it until… As if my friend Ben had never sent me the most awesome video ever, Double Rainbow (a.k.a. Naturegasm), which makes me cry with laughter every single time… As if I hadn’t seen this even awesomer Double Rainbow remix, which I could watch on repeat…

To quote the video, “What does it mean?!?

Now, you don’t have to cry like the guy in the video, but this is pretty neat. I also like to call this my Psychedelic Cake, Anna’s Technicolor Dream Cake and the Tie-Dye Cake.

All rainbowness aside, the cake is very tasty, albeit completely Semi-Homemade. That makes it perfect for kids, if you have them. The Sprite keeps it nice and slightly tangy and the whipped topping makes a pillowy frosting. I took the leftovers to work and all that remained were a few rainbow crumbs.

Double Rainbow (all the way across the sky) Cake!


  • 2 boxes white cake mix (buy the appropriate number of eggs and oil)
  • 2 cans Sprite
  • gel food coloring
  • 16 oz fat-free whipped topping
  • 2 oz instant fat-free sugar-free pudding mix (2 boxes)

Preheat oven to whatever the box says. Mix the cake mix with the soda according to regular instructions on box. It will be lumpy afterward. Separate into six bowls, a little over 1 c. in each. Mix in the colors of the rainbow…ROY G. BIV. You will be impressed with the gel food coloring. It’s less messy and the colors are so vivid!

Now, butter and flour two cake pans. In the first pan, pour half the red, then orange, then yellow, etc. ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. So the blobs of color will spread out but not mix. In the other pan, do the same, but with the colors in reverse over: purple, blue, green, etc. It will look like this:

Bake the cake for however long the box tells you to bake it. Let cool completely before moving to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make your frosting by mixing the pudding and whipped topping until smooth. Add frosting in between the cake layers and all over the top, of course!

Enjoy, friends! I know you will … xoxo