Tag Archives: desserts

Olive Oil Cake, from All About Olives Workshop in Italy

As you might remember our November workshop All About Olives” was literally all about olives. Since then, I have been searching for the perfect olive oil cake recipe. At the olive press, we all tasted fresh press and they also served us the most delicious olive oil cake which they informed us is something that Italians serve their children,since it’s a mild and sweet soft cake. Children and adults alike will love this cake. I tested a few versions, but this one was the winner.

Olive Oil Cake
Serves 12

You will need:
2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1  cup sugar
– 1 cup whole milk
– 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 tablespoon lemon zest
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon fine salt
*1/2 teaspoon flour and 1 teaspoon butter, to butter then flour the pan
*1 teaspoon powdered sugar for dusting

To Prepare: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10” spring-form ring pan.

Lightly beat eggs with a paddle attachment in standing mixer on high for 1 minute until frothy. Add sugar beat until fluffy, and add milk, add olive oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute until well blended. Mix in the flour, baking soda and baking powder and salt until well blended and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Place on a rack to cool upside down. Remove spring pan. About 5 minutes into cooling the cake will drop, let cool. Invert on to a cake plate and dust with powdered sugar.

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Gluten Free Apple Crisp

gluten free apple crisp

I love anything apple, and baked apples are the my favorite in the fall. Apples in the fall are at their best, so why not use them as much as possible? Full disclosure: I love this dish for breakfast with a frothy cappuccino. It’s simply YUMMY! Or serve it as an easy, quick, and great last minute dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream. Here’s my gluten free apple crisp recipe. Enjoy fall and enjoy the harvest!

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

You will need:
– 8 organic apples, cut into 2 “cubes
– 1 tablespoon gluten free flour like Cup 4 Cup
– 1 cup gluten free oatmeal
– 1 cup Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
– 3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for apples
– 1 stick chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut apples into cubes and place them into a bowl. Toss with the 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons sugar, set aside.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, butter, and salt with your fingers or a fork.  Combine the until it becomes a mixture of large crumbs.

Place the apples in a ceramic,10½” x 7″, baking dish and cover with oat crumb mixture. Place dish in the oven on the middle rack for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until top is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

To serve:
Serve warm with ice cream or whip cream topping if desired.

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Cinnamon Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce :: as seen on The Today Show

Did you see this recipe today on The Today Show? Well here it is! If you don’t own a copy of Picture Perfect Parties yet, you will be happy to see this dessert just in time for Cinco De Mayo! I will be posting a couple of Mexican-themed recipes to celebrate. As you saw today these desserts are served in paper cups, perfect to scoop ahead! Just pop them in the freezer and pull them out about 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve and drizzle with caramel sauce. High quality store bought sauce is just fine.



I love serving these with sweet tortilla chips on the side. Gather it all up in a tray and raise your game, simple and special just the way I like it.

Have a great weekend, and let me hear about your Cinco Celebrations.

All Photos from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli, NY

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espresso caramel sauce


The other day I was looking at my instagram feed and saw my pals at Sling Shot Coffee posted a pic of espresso caramel sauce over ice cream. I was instantly reminded of the time I made something similar for friends in Italy last summer. That photo totally made me want to make it again!  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for all you coffee lovers out there. I like mine on gelato, but this caramel topping is great on almost everything, especially chocolate desserts.

Espresso Caramel Sauce:
serves 6 to 8 on ice cream or pound cake

You will need:

– 1 cup sugar
– 1 shot of espresso
– 1 cup of heavy cream


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Place sugar in a small sauce pan on medium heat.

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Watch the sugar carefully, with a silicone spatula brush down the sides of the pan until combined and the sugar turns a deep amber color.

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Pull the caramel off the heat and add the espresso while stirring until combined, it will bubble and spit this is normal. Next add cream very gradually while stirring the entire time until combined. If there are any lumps don’t worry they will melt once you put it back on the heat.

To Finish: Place the pan of caramel back on low heat, stirring continually until the caramel starts to slowly bubble not boil. This takes about 3 minutes.

Pull from the heat and place into a glass or ceramic container with a spout, place in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

Warning: With all hot sugar be extremely careful so as not to burn yourself. If you’ve ever burned yourself with hot sugar you know it’s very dangerous. This is not an activity for children.

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Cookbook 2: rustic fruit desserts

Before Gourmet Magazine tanked, I would wait for the list of “Gourmet’s cookbook club selections” this cookbook was on that list. Rustic fruit desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson is one of my absolute favorites.

I bought it straight away and it has been my go dessert cookbook ever since. This book is a tiny little gem of a cookbook. I have almost tried every recipe and I can tell you the recipes always turn out deliciously. It’s a really the perfect addition to your cookbook collection. Make a note and add it.

Pear and Raspberry Pandowdy


  • 1 T unsalted butter at room temp for pan

    For Fruit Filling:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T + 1t cornstarch
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 large pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 T cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes

    For biscuit:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 T + 1 T granulated sugar
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t fine sea salt
  • 10 T cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cups chopped candied ginger
  • 2/3 cup + 1 T cold buttermilk


  • Position rack on lower third of the oven and preheat to 400. Butter a 9″ cast iron skillet or deep dish pie pan.
  • To make the fruit filling, rub the sugar, salt, and cornstarch together in a large bowl, then add the pears and lemon juice. Toss until covered.
  • Gently fold in the raspberries and transfer the fruit to the prepared pan. Distribute the butter on top of the fruit.
  • To make the biscuit, whisk the flour, 3 T sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your finger tips or pastry blender, cut in the butter until it’s the size of large peas. (Alternatively, you can put the dry ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas, then transfer to a bowl.).
  • Stir in the candied ginger, then pour in the 2/3 cup buttermilk and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be crumbly with large chunks of butter visible.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured workspace and gently press the dough together, then press into a 9″ circle.
  • Carefully place the dough atop the fruit. Brush the dough with a 1T buttermilk, then sprinkle with 1 T sugar.
  • Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 2 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the juices are thick and bubbly.

    Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

    Let me know if you have this book and I want to hear what some of your favorite dessert books are. Let’s discuss.

    to buy rustic fruit desserts

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