Monthly Archives: April 2011

Courage Tart

This recipe from Francine Segan’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen includes ingredients that were considered aphrodisiacs in Elizabethan times…

“Courage” Tart (for lovers)

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups white dessert wine (such as Muscat)
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 3 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pie dough
Simmer sweet potato with wine for 10 minutes; add apples and dates and simmer 25 minutes more, or until apples are tender; puree until smooth. Add brown sugar, spices, and butter. Beat egg yolks with rose water and add. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks and fold gently into the mixture. Pour the filling into a crust-lined pie tin and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until center springs back lightly when pressed.


Carrot Oatmeal Muffins from Devil’s Food Cake Murder

     Joanne Fluke’s sleuth, Hannah Swenson, whips up a batch of these muffins as an alibi for her grandmother, who is snooping around a suspect who becomes the victim in her latest murder with recipes – Devil’s Food Cake Murder (see review at

I’ve simplified Fluke’s three page instructions, substituted chopped pecans for raisins, and added nutmeg.  The batter was so good, I had a hard time making it to 12 for the muffin tin.

Carrot Oatmeal Muffins

Combine dry ingredients: 1 1/3 cup flour. 1 cup dry oatmeal, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar.

Add 3/4 cup shredded carrots and 1/2 cup pecans.

Combine with wet ingredients: 1/2 cup milk, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until top springs back.  Cool on wire rack, or eat warm with a pat of butter.

Herbal Cheesecake

In Charles Smith’s The Beginner’s Guide to Edible Herbs, he substitutes the bright color of Calendula for the more expensive saffron. In this recipe, the petals are more than a garnish.

Lemon Cheesecake with Calendula Blossoms

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 12 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon balm leaves or 2 tsp dried
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground Calendula petals

Preheat over to 325 F; grease a 10-inch angel food tube pan.  Beat egg white until they stand in soft peaks.  In another bowl, cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, and cream cheese.  Add lemon balm, lemon zest, and petals.  Fold in egg whites.  Bake 55 minutes and cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Garnish top with more Calendula petals.

Julia Child’s Queen of Sheba Cake

This rich chocolate and almond cake reminds me of a volcano cake – soft and gooey in the center.  I usually skip the icing and sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top.  It never lasts very long when I make it.

Queen of Sheba Cake

from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, plus 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond (pulverized in blender or food processor with 2  tablespoons granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour

Melt the chocolate in microwave; add rum to warm chocolate.  Cream butter with ½ cup sugar; beat in egg yolks. Blend melted chocolate and rum into yolk mixture, then add crushed almonds and almond extract.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until soft peaks are formed. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until you see stiff, shiny peaks. Gently mix a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a rubber spatula. Scoop the rest of the whites over  the chocolate and, alternating with sprinkles of flour, rapidly and gently fold in the rest of egg whites.

Turn batter into buttered and floured 8 inch round cake pan, tilting it in all directions up to the rim all around. Set in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 25 minutes.  Cake is done when puffed to the top and a toothpick inserted 2 to 3 inches from edge comes out clean. The center should move slightly when the pan is gently shaken.  Do not overcook. Remove pan to a rack and let cool 15 minutes. Wait another half hour before trying to remove from the pan, or serve it in the pan (easier).

Add a little ice cream on the side of the dish, if you like, but it’s really great all by itself. You can eat it with a spoon.