Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake

For years, rhubarb has long been one of my favorite fruits. Always a bit of a wild child in the fruit family (since most people don’t have any idea what to do with it), I’ve loved it since I was a kid and always looked forward to my mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie – which I deemed ‘the best!’ When we moved to New England back in 1981, my great grandmother (who embodied Tasha Tudor) gave us her heirloom rhubarb plant to take with us. After 37 years, it’s still thriving in my mother’s garden!

This Mother’s Day, I decided to ‘pay it forward’ with a pie for mom and then my creative juices got going when, after delivering the pie, I left with a huge bag of freshly picked rhubarb from Grandma’s plant! So, next came this old fashioned pudding cake. Eaten warm, straight out of the dish, or with a squirt of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, it is melt-in-your-mouth goodness that will keep you going back for more. Super simple and quick to make, it’s the perfect go-to dessert for company or to make for your family after a long day. It can be made gluten free as well. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
40-45mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
55-60mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cover the bottom of a buttered glass 8 or 9 inch square pan with rhubarb and strawberries.
  2. Mix 3/4 cup sugar, butter, baking powder, salt, extracts, milk and flour together and pour over fruit. Mix remaining sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle over mixture in pan. Pour boiling water over the top- this will create a wonderful pudding around the fruit in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 40 to 45 minutes or bubbly and golden.
  4. You can see that the sugar topping creates a glaze on the top of the cake, something like a creme brulee, as well as creating the pudding at the bottom. Serve warm in a bowl with ice cream or whipped cream, or let it cool a bit, slice and invert on your plate to show off the pudding. You may also substitute a gluten free flour blend for the flour - you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Cape Cod Cranberry Torte

“Old Cape Cod”…home of the Cod, home of the Oyster, the Quohog and the Clam. Home of the Beach Plum and Rose Hip, and also of the Cranberry, now at the very peak of its season! 

I am fortunate to have lived here for many years, and one of my most favorite sights in  the late fall is that of the bright afternoon sun shining on the cranberry bogs, catching their sparkle….like beautiful gems or jewels reflecting the light as they wait to be harvested. Over my years here I have accumulated quite a collection of typical Cape Cod recipes. One of my favorites  is this beautiful Cape Cod Cranberry Torte, lovely looking, luscious tasting — at any time of the year, but particularly at this snowy, winter season.

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Cape Cod Cranberry Torte
SERVINGS
6-8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
20mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
40mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Beat egg yolks until thick, and gradually beat in 1.2 cup of the sugar. Keep beating until very light.
  3. Beat in extracts and mix in crumbs.
  4. Beat whites of eggs until foamy. Add remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until shiny and stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold whites mixture into beaten egg mixture and blend in the nuts.
  6. Spread the beaten egg mixture into two 9-inch buttered pie plates. Bake 20-25 minutes until set. Remove from oven and cool.
  7. In a saucepan, mix cranberry sauce and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved and cool until partially set.
  8. Whip the heavy cream and set aside.
  9. Spread a thin layer of cranberry mixture in the torte shells, followed by a layer of whipped cream. Continue to layer until the shell is filled, ending with whipped cream.
  10. Let stand until cranberry portion is completely set.

Summer Double Berry Cobbler

In the coming months, you will from time to time be treated to new recipes from “guest bloggers”. These are old and new friends — dedicated chefs and passionate voices who share our love of cooking. Our lives are enlarged as we welcome them and listen to their unique voices, share in their story and try our hand at their creativity. This week’s recipe is from a dear friend, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a wife, mother, grandmother and EWTN TV host. She is an award-winning author of more than two dozen books, including Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality. She is the founder of the “Feeding the Body and Soul Movement.” More at DonnaCooperOBoyle.com.

From Donna-Marie “Ahh, summertime! A time of well-deserved rest comes with a welcome change of scenery and in-season fruits. While making our plans, let’s not forget about our prayer lives. A change in schedule and eagerness to “get away from it all” might cause us to lose touch with our spiritual needs. We mustn’t let our prayer life go on vacation.


So that family prayer continues to happen throughout summertime, we have to carve out time for it. Many inconveniences pop up in the heart of the family, and God knows we can’t drop to our knees to pray while taking care of pressing family needs. He also knows we are a work in progress, too. When our planned prayer time gets sabotaged or rearranged, we should try again to make it work. If we have done our best, He will surely reward us for persevering, and for training our children and grandchildren to develop committed relationships with Him.

Don’t miss family time in the kitchen, too. Why not make my Summer Double Berry Cobbler together? Make an extra pan and gift it to someone who might need a lift. God bless you! ”

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Summer Double Berry Cobbler
SERVINGS
4servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
30 mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
50 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash berries (if using frozen berries, no need to wash! and mix with sugar (or honey), lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, cornstarch, vanilla and cinnamon (if using). Place in a buttered pie dish or 4 quart baking dish.
  3. Next, make biscuit dough topping. Whisk together flour, 3 Tbsp. sugar (or honey), baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center and stir in the milk (or yogurt) and beaten egg.
  5. Mix just until combined. Drop by spoonfuls on top of the berries. Bake for 30 min. or until well browned and berry mixture is bubbling and dough is cooked.

Amazingly delicious when served warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even a spoonful of greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Thank you, Donna Marie, for such a delightful summer recipe!
The Gourmet Nuns

Raspberry and Apricot Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Traditionally, in true Benedictine style, we offer our guests a time of fellowship after a concert in our church. It’s a wonderful time to greet people, listen to how the music moved them, and find out what brought them to our Community at this time.  This past weekend, prior to the first great Cape Cod blizzard of 2016, our choir Gloriae Dei Cantores sang a deeply spiritual and beautiful program at the Church of the Transfiguration – a concert made up of music recently sung on a concert tour in Italy. We ended with a reception, and the menu featured a combination of savory and sweet. Unbeknownst to us, a pastry chef from Falmouth was there, and he delighted in these cookies. He asked for the recipe and then told us that he had worked for Martha Stewart for ten years and that these were the best cookies he had ever had. What a compliment!

Since Lent is just a mere few weeks away, make these quickly before you decide to give up sugar!

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Raspberry and Apricot Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
SERVINGS
26cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cookies
COOK TIME
12-14minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
45 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold. If you don't have a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first), don’t over mix or your dough will be tough
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, or use a small ice cream scoop to form, and place 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment. Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp jam. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  4. Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool (at this point you can add a little more jam if you'd like to, it just won't be set like the other is). Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Glaze
  1. Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency (thicker is better). Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies. *To measure flour scoop with measuring cup and level with a butter knife. Don't whisk or sift first and don't spoon into the measuring cup. Recipe source: adapted from www.cookingclassy.com

Christmas Cookies

I think most people will agree that an essential ingredient to the
recipe for an “old fashioned Merry Christmas” (or even a contemporary
one) is the baking of homemade cookies.  Old favorites are always a
must and adding new ones is also fun, as are cookie swaps where each
person brings their favorites and samples everyone else’s.  If you
haven’t done this in a while, you might want to consider it for this
holiday season.

This buttery almond cherry cookie recipe is one I came by in such
manner,  and it has remained as a “keeper” ever since.  These “cheery”
little creations are great to have on hand for unexpected holiday
guests, or scheduled ones. They can make an attractive gift as well.
However you use them, you will never have too many, so make plenty of
them when you do.

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Christmas Cookies
SERVINGS
60
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
7-9minutes
PREP TIME
1hour
READY IN
3.15 hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle almonds in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until nuts begin to brown, then stirring constantly until nuts are light brown. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. In food processor, process almonds until finely chopped; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add egg and almond extract. On medium speed, beat until smooth.
  5. On low speed, beat in flour, baking powder, and salt until dough forms. Stir in cherries and chopped almonds.
  6. Form dough into 2 (8-inch) logs. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  7. Heat oven to 375°F. Cut dough into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices. On ungreased cookie sheets, place slices 2 inches apart. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Saint Lucia Bread

Our Monastic Bake Shop opens for Advent, just in time for people to select delicious home-baked goods for their Christmas table.  One of the favorite sweet breads that people return for is the lovely St. Lucia Bread.  A rich, dense dough filled with citron, saffron and almonds, and decorated like a wreath, has been a long-standing tradition for our Bakeshop, started by one of our own Sisters, Sr. Lucia.

Traditionally, when we make our first profession as Sisters, we also take on a new name – symbolizing our new life wedded to Christ.  Sr. Lucia became a novice in early December.  When she was preparing to take her vows, she prayed about what her new name should be.  One of the Sisters told her that she had an idea of a name for her. The Sister next to her said, “Now don’t overwhelm our new novice with another big decision!” But she couldn’t bear the suspense, and she told her the name: Lucia.  A bit later, a different Sister mentioned that she had received a name for her, and it was the same one!  She decided to learn more about who St Lucia was, only to discover that her feast day was celebrated on December 13th — the exact day that the name had been suggested to her!  She couldn’t deny that God was speaking.  It turns out that her middle name had been Lucille after her maternal grandmother, and years later it was discovered that her actual given name had been Lucia!

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Saint Lucia Bread
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
20-25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
2-3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large mixer, soften the yeast in the warm water
  2. Heat the milk until warm. Add the oil and sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture in the mixer
  4. Add salt and saffron
  5. Add the 3 slightly beaten eggs and mix with dough hook.
  6. Add the lemon zest, citron and almonds and continue mixing
  7. One cup at a time, add the flour and mix well after each addition. Stop adding the flour when the dough starts pulling away from the side of the bowl. Adding more flour if necessary.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 min, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic; adding flour as necessary.
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hr. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough, if you want to work with it later).
  10. Divide the dough into six equal balls and roll into large ropes and then braid three together, making two braids.
  11. Pinch the two ends together and tuck under, forming two circular loaves.
  12. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two sheet pans with baking paper, or grease, and put a braided loaf on each pan.
  13. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled.
  14. Combine the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush on the braids.
  15. Bake for about 20-25 min or until the loaf feels firm to the touch. If you would like to use a thermometer, the internal temperature should read about 190 degrees.
  16. While the bread is baking, prepare your frosting, mixing all ingredients until smooth and on the thicker side. Cut your cherries in half.
  17. Remove bread from the oven and cool slightly, then decorate, using the green cherries as leaves, and the red as berries.

A blessed Advent to all!