Scandinavian Cardamom Apple Pie

February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

This recipe is inspired by Scandinavian baking.  Cardamom is a popular ingredient in the Scandinavian baking style and it also happens to be one of my most favorite spices.  Apples highlight cardamom perfectly and I just love the rustic look and elegant flavor balance of this pie.  Best of all, this pie has three ingredients in addition to the dough (which I usually have prepared ahead of time anyway) — it is so easy to make that you are sure to have a stress-free baking session.  I love this pie for entertaining!


  • 2 – 10″ pre-prepared pie crusts (you can use your favorite recipe or buy frozen crust)
  • 6 cups apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) — I used 2 lbs of organic Granny Smith apples and it was the perfect amount
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn cardamom
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp flour (for dusting pie pan)
  • Butter (for buttering pie pan)
  • Small amount of sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine apples, cardamom, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix to make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Place bottom crust into a buttered and floured pie pan and pour spiced apple mixture into the pie crust.
  4. Place top crust on top and seal edges (make sure you seal them well otherwise, apple juices will bubble out).
  5. Cut 4-5 slits away from the center of the pie (this allows the apple juices to evaporate out) and sprinkle cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar on top of the crust.
  6. Cover pie with foil loosely and bake on middle rack for 20 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the pie is brown and crusty.  Sprinkle some more sugar on top.

Holiday Breakfast: Panettone French Toast

December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am a huge French Toast fan and am always looking for ways to spruce up the classic.  I am always pondering ways to give the classic a twist – whether it be by using a new kind of bread or croissants.  Given that we are in the middle of the winter holiday season, Italian Panettone seems to be the natural choice to stand in for the trusty French bread.

Panettone are a traditional Italian sweet bread that is made for Christmas and New Year (Italians out there, correct me if I get any of this wrong).  It traditionally takes on a round cake or cupola shape and weighs about one and a half pounds.  I dream of the day I find myself in Milan around Christmas time so I could enjoy a fresh baked Panettone in its natural habitat.

But even here in the states, Panettone are easily acquired if you know where to look.  You can seek out an Italian family member or friend to ship you the original (I am still working on this option myself), pick one up at your local Italian deli (I am fortunate to have this option) or grocery store (some have them handy in time for the holidays), or you can order them online.

I used my usual classic French toast recipe for the egg mixture — whenever trying new recipes I like to switch up one major ingredient at a time so that I know which substitution yields which result.  My husband was the guinea pig this time and I he was certainly not complaining.  The Panettone is so fluffy and soft that it absorbs the egg mixture perfectly.

The final result is one of the fluffiest French toast textures I have ever tasted – the delicate texture is a perfect accompaniment to the raisins in the Panettone and the fruit topping gives it that little something extra.  There is almost a bread pudding type of quality to the middle sections of each slice.  In fact, I might try this as a bread pudding next time.  Will share when I do…

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did — let me know how yours turns out!


French Toast

  • 1/2 of a Pannetone cake, sliced into evenly cut slices
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter


  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
  • powdered sugar


French Toast


To serve

Quick Spiced Pecan Waffles with Peaches and Cinnamon Whip Cream

August 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Who says making breakfast in the morning takes too much time?   Sometimes we forget how quick making breakfast can be when you do a few time-saving adjustments.  If you only have 15 or 20 minutes to make breakfast, try making waffles.  Waffles take no time at all to make when you make them with Bisquick.  Don’t believe me?  Give this recipe a try.



1.   Plug your waffle iron in.  Combine the Bisquick, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Whisk to make sure all of the dry ingredients are combined and that there are no lumps.

2.  Chop the 1/2 cup of pecans.

3.  Mix the egg, milk, and oil into the dry ingredients.  Make sure there are no lumps.  Add in the chopped pecans and mix to combine.  When the waffle iron is heated and the waffle mix is combined, spray the waffle iron with vegetable oil spray and put ALMOST 1/2 cup of the waffle batter into the waffle iron.  Close the waffle iron and allow the waffle to cook.

4.  While the waffle is cooking, cut up the peaches and put them into a bowl.  Add 1 tbsp. of sugar to the peaches and stir to combine.  This helps bring out the peaches’ juices.

5.  With an immersion blender, add 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a cup or bowl.  Add 3 tbsp. of powdered sugar to the cream, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and blend.  When the whip cream is about half way done, taste the cream for sweetness.  If you want a sweeter whip cream, and more powdered sugar 1 tbsp. at a time until you reach your desired sweetness.

6.  When the waffle is done cooking, top it with the fresh peaches and the cinnamon whip cream.

Yelena’s Banana Bread Thursday!

March 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

This recipe comes from my sister, Yelena, who makes the most amazing banana bread! Its nutty and sweet and just heavenly! This makes a great tea-time accompaniment and is sinfully yummy for breakfast with coffee.

Yelena’s Banana Bread:

As a sweet mid-week treat, I have found banana bread to be quite delectable. It lasts throughout the weekend, and is great to snack on or as dessert. This recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser!

To begin, you will need three bowls – small, medium, and large. For the baking part, you’ll need a small (8”x4”) bread pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the dry ingredients in the large bowl and set aside:

1 ½ cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

You will also need:

4-5 semi-brown bananas

2 eggs

1/3 melted (and slightly cooled) butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ – 1 cup chocolate chips

½ – 1 cup chopped walnuts

In the medium bowl, mash up the bananas until they are a thick, soupy consistency; set aside.

In the small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the butter and vanilla.

Once well mixed, add these contents of the small bowl to the bananas in the medium bowl. Mix well.

If desired, add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts – both create great texture in the final product! Mix well.

Finally, combine the wet ingredients (banana and egg mixture) with the dry ingredients in the large bowl.

Pour the final mixture into the greased bread pan. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, testing with a fork in the final minutes for readiness.

Once ready, let cool, and enjoy!

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