Dorie Greenspan

“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith

Petite Whole Wheat Plum CakesPetite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … some desserts are so homey and comforting that they hit the right spot. These little cakes fell straight into that category. Simple, earthy, flavourful and above all whole grain. Nothing spectacular to look at, so I didn’t take many photographs. I didn’t have the time too. A few clicks and we all dived in!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes Dorie Greenspans Baking With Julia that sweet Suma gifted me is a book I often leaf through. For inspiration, for entertainment, for sheer reading pleasure, the book works every time. There were some oven roasted plum cakes that have inspired mine.

plumsIt isn’t easy to hide my love for stone fruits every summer. Peaches, plums, mangoes, cherries … they charm, then entice, they leap off the shelves at the bazaar, they beg me to take them home. We chomp a few, then toss plenty into smoothies. Summer also means fro yo to tease our palettes, and fruit salads that play with our senses. All light & refreshing!!

Stone fruit in summerAbundance of fresh seasonal produce makes summer more than worthwhile. So much so that just turning the oven on in this blistering heat to see stone fruit juices bubble over is a delight. A virtual treat. I often wait with bated breath for ‘the moment’. The juices ooze over and run down the sides. Baking nirvana. Small things, immense pleasure!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes These petite whole wheat plum cakes turned out to be hidden gems. Quite unassuming in appearance, yet packed with flavour and texture, the lad immediately asked if he could have another!

Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes A drizzle of low-fat unsweetened cream added to the deliciousness. Alternatively, you could always try some vanilla ice cream or custard on the side. Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes


Recipe: Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes 
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Summary: Petite Whole Wheat Plum Cakes … some desserts are so homey and comforting that they hit the right spot. These little cakes fell straight into that category. Simple, earthy, flavourful and above all whole grain. Nothing spectacular to look at yet very delicious! Adapted from Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

  • 100g butter, room temperature,
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 drops almond extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 50ml buttermilk
  • 5-6 plums, halved
  • Low fat cream or ice cream to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Lightly grease  10-12 individual muffin tins, or ramekins.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar until light and mousse like.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat again.
  4. On low-speed add both flours and baking soda and mix.
  5. Fold in the buttermilk.
  6. Divide batter between prepared tins. Top each with half a pitted plum, cut side up.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 190C for about 35 minutes / until done.
  8. Leave to cool in tins.
  9. Loosen edges with a butter knife and turn out on serving platter. Serve with a drizzle of low at cream or vanilla ice cream.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“Ingredients are not sacred. The art of cuisine is sacred.”
Tanith Tyrr

Savoury Chicken GaletteIt was a savoury chicken galette waiting to happen, or maybe wanting to be baked. It’s a result of blogger interactions, loads of food talk, some food cravings, events missed and repented, flavours virtually thrown into the air and talked about….Savoury Chicken GaletteI missed a picnic a few weeks ago with the Delhi food bloggers bunch. There was so much talk about food, what who was making, baking, getting,  that I had pangs …not hunger pangs but pangs of missing out on something good!  The Great Cookaroo threw in yolks after yolks to make her to go pastry cream from Dorie Greenspans Baking with Julia. I had the book on the shelf. A favourite from a favourite food blogger who gifted it to me from Bangalore. {Thank you again Suma!}

Savoury Chicken Galette Then there was talk of pickled green garlic pesto which immediately threw my tastebuds in overdrive … that sounded drop dead delicious. I wanted some! My chance soon came as a bunch of us met again at the Ty.phoo Tea & Food pairing eventSangeeta  carried a bottle of pickled green garlic pesto for me.

Savoury Chicken Galette with green garlic pestoSmothered on a toast the next morning, it had a comforting homey feel! It had all the hints of the green chutney sandwiches my dad often made … beautiful flavours that teased the palette. As I sat in the kitchen, the laundry machine whirring punishingly in the background, I reached out for Baking with Julia! The book is a winner. Read it, bake from it, drool over it, learn from it. I wanted to bake something savoury that morning, and settled for Cheese & Tomato Galette!

Savoury Chicken Galette The galette dough was done in seconds, a Flo Baker recipe from the book. Don’t you love a dough that comes together in a heartbeat, is fuss free, smooth, pliable and uses pantry staples? I didn’t even need to rest it since it held beautifully, winter ensuring a fridge like cold kitchen. {Feedback from batch #2: An overnight rest in the fridge yields a pliable nice dough too.}

Savoury Chicken Galette I used everything I had on hand! Pickled green garlic pesto, mozzarella, chicken salami, then some roasted onion balsamic jam, cherry tomatoes, smoked sea salt, pepper. Finished it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic greens.

Savoury Chicken GaletteThe green garlic pesto was a bit spicy / chili for the younger fellow, but hit all the right spots with the daughter and husband who love everything chili! You can find the recipe for the Pickled Green Garlic Pesto {or lehsun ka achaar} on Sangeeta’s blog. Use extra virgin olive oil to get a more pesto like feel to it {as she did for my batch}, and reduce the chilies if you don’t like it too hot! BTW, Sangeeta does great personalised  diet plans too, so do stop by if you need one!

Savoury Chicken Galette You can do pretty much anything with a ‘pastry canvas’ like this. To keep the younger one happy, I made a second lot with roasted bell peppers and onions {roasting done in the Philips AirFryer, 10 minutes was all it took}, topped with sliced chicken sausages marinated briefly in a honey-mustard-garlic mix. Keep it vegetarian with roasted veggies, caramelised onion & garlic jam and feta, maybe tomatoes.  It’s smooth, fun to roll out, and even more fun to ruffle over the filling to give it the characteristic galette feel.


Recipe: Savoury Chicken Galette 
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Summary: A simple, crisp and delicious pastry base which can go sweet or savoury. This savoury rustic pie can hold varied combinations of toppings, vegetarian or non vegetarian, and is great for picnics, snack boxes. The savoury chicken galette can be assembled ahead of time, or even baked ahead and rewarmed in the oven briefly. Recipe adapted minimally from Baking with Julia. Makes 4 6″ galettes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

  • Galette dough 
  • 80ml ice cold water
  • 45ml buttermilk
  • 120g plain flour
  • 25g cornmeal [makki ka aata]
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90g butter, chilled cubed
  • Suggested toppings {a combination of any of the following}
  • Green garlic pesto {recipe here}
  • Mozzarella
  • Caramelised onion & garlic jam {recipe here}
  • Chicken salami, sausages etc
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sliced and roasted bell peppers
  • Sliced onions {roasted with the bell peppers}
  • Green garlic stalks
  • Smoked sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Galette Dough
  2. Place the flour, cornmeal and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse briefly to mix, then add chilled butter and pulse briefly until you get an uneven mix from peas to breadcrumb size bits.
  3. With the mchine running, pour in the buttermilk, followed by most of the chilled water and process until a soft, moist dough forms.
  4. Remove, divide into 2, press into flat disks and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Assembling
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. Divide each disk into two and roll out to about 8″ circles. I cut the edges round with a pastry cutter, though you could just leave it uneven.
  8. Line a shallow platter with the rolled out pastry hanging over the edges, fill it up as you like, beginning with mozzarella, then gently fold the edges over the filling around the sides.
  9. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, garlic greens etc over the filling and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack, leave for at least 10 minutes, then slide off with a wide spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scattering of garlic greens, fresh herbs etc.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“If Life is a Bowl of Cherries,
What Am I Doing in the Pits?”
Erma Brombeck

Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake Pie I made this Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake Pie a while ago. It’s too good a cheesecake /pie not to share before cherry season disappears altogether. Cherries are one of my favourit-est summer stone fruit and it’s a shame that the season lasts for such a short time. Maybe that contributes to the fruits charm. This pie was a wonderful end for my last batch… {other than the ones that I’ve frozen!}Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake PieThe summer’s been long and very stretched thanks to oppressive heat and extended power cuts. Add to that ongoing renovation work at home and you get stuck forever! It’s been trying but I shall not bore you with my tales of reno horror. There have to be better things in life – food, friends … and cherries of course! Fresh Cherry Quark Nutella VerrinesAt times like these a parcel in the mail can flood the day with sunshine. I was floored to receive a gift wrapped copy of Baking With Julia from the very sweet food blogger Suma @ Cakes & More. It’s a virtual baking bible authored by the uber talented Dorie Greenspan who I hugely admire. She makes baking techniques feel easy-peasy, makes you want to sail into the kitchen and begin baking ASAP!Baking With JuliaThank you Suma, I am really touched, honoured too with the words you wrote …”You truly inspire! Glad to know you and the spectacular PAB!” {blush}. I’m happily off to ‘sift, knead, flute and flour‘ with Dorie from a hands-on baking book packed with breads, pies, cobblers, cookies, cakes and pastries! Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake PieReaders of PAB will know of my love for homemade quark, the Austrian soft curd cheese. It’s easy to make at home, cheaper than cream cheese and is great in a cheesecake. I learnt about it ages ago and fell in love with it. Couldn’t believe that milk and buttermilk with a day or two to spare would yield this beautiful cheese. Quark combined with my second love, stone fruit, and life is GOOD!Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake PieTheres been no looking back in ‘quark‘ terms. I love it! All you need is 2-3 days of planning. An overnight set, at least 24 hours of whey draining … and you are ready to roll. I’ve used it extensively – Vanilla Quark Cake with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry Sauce, Chocolate Quark Mousse Tartlets in Almond Pastry {eggless}Quark Cheesecake Pie with Fresh Cherries, Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieQuarkauflauf – Quark Cassarole with Balsamic Strawberries,  Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna CottaStrawberry Cake with Quark & Mascarpone, Quark Mousse with Roasted Balsamic StrawberriesVanilla Macarons with Quark Kirsch & Tart Cherry Filling. My favourites? Chicken Quark Crossover Puff Pastry and Quark Mousse cake with Roasted Balsamic Strawberries {see, I told you I love quark!}This cheesecake pie was affirmation yet again of how good quark can be in desserts. The verrines are simply unbaked, eggless, layered desserts in glasses – fresh cherries, slivered pistachios, a dollop of nutella, quark whipped with cream and sweetened mildly … and then repeated.Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake PieFresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake Pie

[print_this]Recipe: Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake Pie your picture

Summary: Adelicious light summer cheesecake with a biscuit base and fresh cherry topping. It’s full of flavour and lighter on calories than the traditional version

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus cooling time

  • Biscuit base
  • 125g digestive biscuits
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 90g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
  • Filling
  • 470g quark cheese {recipe follows}
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 30g plain flour
  • 130g (90g+40g) Castor sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp kirsch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • Balsamic cherries
  • 500g cherries
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kirsch {optional}
  • Full fat quark cheese
  • 1 ltr whole fat milk
  • 250ml cultured buttermilk
  • 200ml low fat cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, and grease lightly. Place an 8″ spring form tin on the foil and wrap the foil up around the sides.
  2. Biscuit Crust
  3. Place the flour and almonds in the bowl of your processor and pulse until the almonds are ground {4-5 times}.
  4. Now add the chilled butter and process until you get a breadcrumb like mix.
  5. Pat filling over the base and bake at 180C for 20 minutes until light brown. Cool completely.
  6. Filling
  7. Place the quark cheese, egg yolks, flour, 90g Castor sugar, scraped vanilla bean, cream, kirsch and vanilla bean powder if using into the bowl of your food processor and run on medium speed till smooth. {Thermomix: Speed 6, 10 seconds}
  8. Beat the whites with the remaining 40g sugar to firm peaks. Gently fold this through the quark cheese mixture.
  9. Smear the Nutella over the base and put half the cherry filling {strained} over the base. Pour the filling over the base and bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely in oven, leaving the door ajar.
  11. Cover well and chill before serving, preferably overnight. Serve topped with balsamic cherry sauce, fresh cherries, chocolate flakes and slivered pistachios.
  12. Balsamic Cherry Sauce
  13. Place ingredients other than kirsch in a non reactive pan and simmer until the cherries release their juices and begin to get soft and hold their shape, about 4-5 minutes. {Don’t overcook or the cherries will break down and lose shape}
  14. Remove the cherries to a bowl. Place pan with the liquid on medium high heat and reduce the juices to about a third, nice and thick. Stir in the kirsch if using. Cool completely and chill until required {Can be made 2-3 days before}.
  15. Quark
  16. Heat milk to room temperature / tepid. Add low fat cream and buttermilk, stir well, and leave to set undisturbed for 12-24 hours. {12 hours in hot weather and 24 in cool weather}
  17. Once set, place in fridge for 5-6 hours / overnight, and then place to drain in fridge for 24 hours. I use a curd cheese maker, but you can use a piece of muslin.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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