Archive | Desserts

Market Hall Bakery Fruitcake

market-hall-bakery-fruitcakeMarket Hall is known for exquisite foods, so when staff there swear that this fruitcake is the best they’ve ever tasted, you have to take note. Chef Sandy Sonnenfelt brought the recipe to Market Hall when she joined the company more than 19 years ago. Sonnenfelt, who grew up in South Africa, says the cake was a tradition in her family: “My mother made the fruitcake for my father’s patients. She would start making the cakes in October for Christmas. They would be given to families when he did house calls and it was also served in his waiting room. The cakes were covered in muslin and doused with brandy a few times while they sat. They were covered in marzipan and then iced.”

This may look like a long recipe, but it’s worth the effort, since it’s as chock-full of wonderful flavor as it is with ingredients. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with enough cake to enjoy some at home and give a few as gifts. The cake is a showcase for high-quality candied fruits, such as the dried Blenheim apricots and candied orange and citron peel from Agrimontana, available at the Market Hall shops in Rockridge and on Fourth Street.Read More

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Benchmark Pizzeria Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil cake, served here with strawberries and cream rather than citrus. It's delicious either way.   Photo courtesy of Benchmark Pizzeria.

Olive oil cake, served here with strawberries and cream rather than citrus. It’s delicious either way.
Photo courtesy of Benchmark Pizzeria.

Makes 8 servings
Need: 1 9-inch round springform pan
Kitchen scale

100 grams citrus juice
Zest of 6–7 lemons/oranges
8 grams baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
200 grams sugar
219 grams cake flour
3 eggs
150 grams Séka Hills EVOO
110 grams whole milk yogurt (plain)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray springform with nonstick baking spray. Mix together wet and dry ingredients separately. Combine until smooth, then pour into sprayed springform pan. Bake 25 minutes, then rotate cake 180˚and bake another 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 hour. Serve with segmented citrus and whipped cream.

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Budín de Zanahoria (Mexican Carrot Custard)

This rich vegetable pudding combines sweet, savory, and tangy with a creamy texture that kids love. (My 3½-year-old gobbles it up!) And it works with many different harvest-season vegetables. You might want to make budín de camote (sweet potato), budín de maíz (fresh corn), or budín de calabaza (squash or pumpkin), depending on what you have handy.

  • 2 pounds or 2 bunches fresh carrots
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar) or substitute brown sugar, Sucanat, rapadura, granulated palm sugar, or maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¾ cup rice flour (can substitute white flour)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cut carrots into big chunks and steam until completely tender, almost falling apart. Transfer into another pot or bowl and mash with a potato masher, fork, or whisk.

Combine melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until sugar is dissolved or incorporated (I recommend using an electric hand mixer if you have one. You could also use a food processor or a whisk). Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly incorporated. … Read More

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Iced summer berry pudding

Courtesy of Bernice Tzong, pastry chef at Café Rouge. Stop by the café this summer to try her berry ice creams and sorbets.

For the glaze:
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons strawberry jam
4 tablespoons crème de cassis (optional)
2 cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced

Line a 2½–3 quart pudding mold or a glass bowl with plastic wrap. Heat the water with sugar over stove until all the sugar is dissolved. Mix 1 tablespoon of this sugar syrup with

2 tablespoons strawberry jam in a bowl. Brush the mixture over the plastic wrap and then line with sliced strawberries.

Mix remaining sugar syrup with the remaining strawberry jam and all the crème de cassis. Set aside.

For the sponge cake
(can be made in advance):
4 eggs
4½ ounces sugar
4½ ounces cake flour

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a half-sheet cake pan (11 x 18 inches) with parchment paper. (If you don’t have a half-sheet cake pan, you could try two layer cake pans.)

Whip the eggs with sugar until light and fluffy (about triple in volume). Sift cake flour over the eggs and sugar and then fold it in. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly
in a thin layer.… Read More

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6-7 gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons melted butter

Crush cookies in a food processor until fine. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into bottom and sides of 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.


4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Zest of Meyer lemons

Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Add lemon juice and sugar, stirring until smooth. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat and immediately submerge the bowl in an ice water bath just enough to cool the outside of the bowl-about 10 seconds. Remove from the ice bath. Add butter piece by piece. Add lemon zest and stir lightly to combine. Pour the lemon filling into prepared tart pan. Bake about 10 minutes until filling has set. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.


½ cup egg whites (about 4), warm
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Place egg whites in mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a warm water bath to heat the bowl.Read More

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Siew-Chinn’s Chocolate Candied Orange Biscotti

Siew-Chinn’s Chocolate Candied Orange Biscotti

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

¼ cup candied orange peel, coarsely chopped

1 cup pecans, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped

6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped


Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°. Then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then Grand Marnier and candied orange. Add flour mixture and beat until blended. Stir in pecans and chocolate.

Gather dough together and divide in half. Making sure hands and work surface are well floured, form each dough piece into a log 2 ½ inches wide by 14 inches long. Transfer logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer parchment with logs to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Place 1 log on a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices.… Read More

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Shaker Lemon Tart

Shaker Lemon Tart

It’s no surprise that Siew-Chinn Chin appreciates this tart, which originates from the 19th-century Ohio Shaker community, where cooks were well known and respected for their baking skills. Shaker beliefs dictated that nothing be wasted, and indeed, every part of the lemon is used in the pie. This West Coast version uses Meyer lemons.

4 Meyer lemons

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling

One recipe for Chez Panisse Crunch Tart Dough (below)


Wash and slice lemons paper thin. Place them in a bowl and mix with the 2 cups sugar. Cover and let macerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Beat eggs thoroughly with a pinch of salt and set aside.

Prepare dough and line tart pan as described in the dough recipe below. Spread macerated lemon slices evenly with the syrupy juice on top of the dough. Pour beaten eggs onto the lemon filling and stir gently so that the eggs are mixed in with the syrup, but without disturbing the lemon slices on the bottom.

Wet the edges of the dough in the pan and top with the second circle of dough, trimming to leave some overhang, which you can fold under the edge of the lower shell, sealing and fluting the edges together.… Read More

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Candied Citrus Peel

Siew-Chinn’s Candied Citrus Peels

Siew-Chinn would never let a fruit peel go to waste. Fortunately, most citrus peels can be candied and kept in the fridge for a long time for future use.

To prepare, first cut the citrus in half crosswise and juice the fruit with a reamer or juicer, reserving the juice for another use. The peels (or cups) are then blanched by placing in a saucepan with cold water to cover, bringing to a boil, and then simmering 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water and repeat the blanching as needed until the peels are tender but not mushy. Meyer lemons need to be blanched 2 times. Most oranges (any type, including Mandarins or tangerines) need to be blanched 3 or 4 times until tender. Grapefruit peels are the most bitter of all the citrus peels, hence they must be blanched 5 or 6 times.

When the peels are tender, drain completely and let cool. Then scoop out most of the white inner pith with a spoon, leaving a thin layer of pith to absorb the sugar in the syrup. This is what makes the resulting candied peels soft and delicious!

At this point the peels can be refrigerated or candied whole or cut into long strips (⅛-inch to ¼-inch in width).… Read More

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