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Schwartzwalder Kirshtorte (Black Forest Cake)


This is no easy recipe... but the look on Ryan's face, makes it all soooooo worth it!

Cake Base

5 eggs

1/2 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon Sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon REAL Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour

1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

(Don't use Olive Oil, it's way too heavy.)


Simple Syrup

2 cups Sugar

1 1/3 cup water

4 Teaspoons Kirsch (Cherry Brandy)

1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar


Cherry Filling

1 quart Fresh Cherries, pitted and halved.

(Use BING cherries) If you use pie cherries, 

you will need to add sugar, to taste.

1 cup Kirsch (Cherry Brandy)


Pastry Cream

1 1/3 cup milk (divided - remove 2 Tablespoons and set it aside)

1/3 cup Sugar (Divided in half)

4 Tablespoons Corn Starch)

2 Eggs

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/2 teaspoon PURE Vanilla Extract


Whipped Cream Frosting

1 Pint Heavy Cream

3 Tablespoons Sugar



1 Large Milk Chocolate Hershey Bar (Shaved and curled)  Tip: The chocolate will get softer in your hand as you work with it.  Use a vegetable peeler to make the curls and shavings.  If the chocolate gets too soft, refrigerate for a few minutes and begin again.



Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F



Heat a skillet full of water to a soft simmer.  In a large bowl, whip eggs on high for 5 minutes. (They will be light yellow and frothy).  Add the sugar to the eggs, blend.  Add the salt and vanilla and blend well.  Set the bowl into the hot water bath to heat the mixture to between 110-120 degrees F (use a candy thermometer).  Stabilize the mixture by whipping on medium speed with a hand mixer for 15 more minutes. (This is a Zabaglione Sauce)


Sift together the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, and the cake flour, set aside.  



Prepare two 9 inch round ( 6 inches deep)  baking pans by greasing and lightly dusting with flour.


Gradually fold the sifted dry ingredients into the egg mixture by hand.  (Do not over fold as it will lose some of the fullness.) This cake does not have leavening so relies on the eggs.  Slowly pour in the oil while folding.


Fill the pans approximately 2/3 full with the batter and place in the hot oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  (The surface of the cake should spring back when touched).


Cool in pans 10-15 minutes, then remove to wire racks until completely cooled.



Combine sugar, water, Kirsch and the cream of tartar in a small sauce pan.  Cook over low heat, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is hot.  Cover and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let cool.


Cherry Filling

Place cherries in sauce pan and add the Kirsch, stirring to coat cherries well.  Heat over medium/low until most of the liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat and let cool.


Pastry Cream

After separating milk, set 2 Tbsp aside and combine the remaining milk with half of the sugar and bring to a gentle boil.  In a small bowl, whisk the 2 Tbsp milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry.  Add the other half of the sugar and the eggs to the slurry and whisk to combine well.  Temper the egg mixture with the boiling milk. (This is accomplished by spooning some of the hot milk into the egg mixture to equalize temperature without cooking the eggs.)  Return all liquids to the pot and bring to boil, whisking constantly. (This is a workout).  Cook, whisking, for one minute. Remove the mixture from the  heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.  Pour into a large pan, cover with plastic wrap (put the wrap directly down to surface of cream as this prevents a film from forming.)  Allow to cool completely.


Slice each of the cake rounds in half horizontally into 3 1/2" thick layers using a long thin knife or taut wire.  Place the FOUR layers onto rimmed baking sheets.  Pour the syrup over the layers, allowing them to soak. (You can use a pastry brush to brush it on.  Julia does it that way; it takes longer, but the syrup is distributed more evenly.) 


Whipped Cream Frosting


Whip the heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixture to a medium stiff peak.


Assemble the Cake

Assemble the cakes by spreading a layer of the pastry cream on the bottom layer and placing a layer of brandied cherries on the top.  Place a second layer on top of cherries and repeat two more times, top with final layer of cake and finish with final layer of pastry cream and cherries.


Cover the sides of cake with whipped cream topping, using pastry bag to decorate around the top of the cake with rosettes.  Carefully place chocolate shavings to completely cover the sides of the cake.  






Thanksgiving with Ryan & Julia

Use salted butter unless it says "unsalted". The cheesecake recipe is the last TG recipe in this post. :-)

The secret to these recipes is fresh ingredients and real cream, real butter, good quality vermouth, and REAL FRESH HERBS.  This is fattening on an uber level, but don't skimp.  No one said this was going to be easy, but it's oh, so... worth it.  Ready?   Okay, then... GO!


Homemade Candied Sweet Potatoes

These sweet potatoes will convert most stringent sweet potato haters into cravers!  Ryan's father never liked sweet potatoes until Julia's.  Now, he's in love~! :-)


6 large sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed.  (About 3 pounds).

(Don't even think about using canned yams/potatoes!  

Ryan will turn into moody ass!)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1 stick REAL butter

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract

Optional: 1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup miniature marshmallows


Sweet potatoes have a better consistency than yams, but yams will work also.

Place unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut in quarters in a stock pot filled with cold water and seasoned with 1 tsp. of salt.  Bring to a boil for 20 minutes.  The potatoes will not be cooked through. Cool to room temperature in the pot and then peel.  The par-boiling is to make peeling easier. Cut the quarters into smaller pieces and load  (one layer deep) into a large glass or metal baking dish.  (Don't bother greasing the pan.)


In a large 2 quart saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrups and heat on medium until the butter and sugar melt, stirring constantly.  Bring to a low boil. The heat may need to be adjusted to bring it up, and then lowered to keep the boil constant.  Tip:  If you place a wooden spoon in the pan to rest and leave it there, it is less likely to boil over.  Every five or so minutes test the liquid to see if it's "soft ball" stage.  Do this by dropping a couple of drops into a saucer of ice water.  If it forms a soft ball, it's finished.  (If you'd rather, lift the spoon from the hot mixture and see if it forms a long string. Either works, but you're looking to candy your potatoes, so we need the glaze to that point.)  Remove from the heat and add the nutmeg and the vanilla. Stir and then pour the hot mixture over the yams.  You can make it to this point ahead and let it rest until one hour prior to serving.


If you like nuts (Ryan prefers it this way), add the chopped pecans over the top, just before baking.

Bake at 325 F for one hour. (Add it to the oven the last hour the turkey is roasting - recipe follows)

If you like marshmallows, (Ryan says they're sweet enough without them), add them the last 5 minutes of baking, until the tops are golden.


Roasted Turkey

A 12-13 pound turkey, thawed or fresh.

1 stick salted (unsalted) butter, softened.

4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stalk.

Discard stalk.

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stalk.

Discard stalk.

Hazelnut Sausage Stuffing - Recipe Follows

1 cup dry white vermouth

5 cups good quality chicken stock.

(You can buy this, if it's good quality.  

If you want to make it, the recipe follows.)

1/3 cup all purpose flour.

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

One slice of bread


Remove giblets from turkey and set aside for stuffing and gravy.

Wash the turkey, inside and out and pat dry with a linen dishcloth.  Rub a good amount of salt on the inside of the turkey.  (You have to wing it.  I use about 2 teaspoons, but getting it on the inside of the bird is imperative for flavor quality.)


Use your hands to lift the skin from the breast, creating a pocket between the meat and the skin.  The skin remains attached.  Just separate the membrane.


Stuff the body cavity with the stuffing, (recipe follows).  Use the slice of bread to cover the opening.  This keeps the stuffing moist (and avoid the crunchy edges), but will be discarded after baking.  Tuck the wings under the body and truss the the turkey securely with kitchen string.


Set the bird on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan.

Mix the softened butter with the fresh rosemary and thyme and the shove the mixture under the lifted skin on the bird.  It will melt and ooze into the basting liquid and moisten the meat as the bird bakes.  Salt and pepper the outside of the bird.


Carefully add the vermouth and the stock to the roasting pan.


Tent the top of the bird with tin foil (or the roaster top) and bake in a preheated 425 F oven for thirty minutes.  Reduce oven to 325F.  Baste the bird every twenty minutes for 2 hours and thirty minutes.  The last thirty minutes, remove the foil or lid and use only the BUTTER floating on top of the pan juices to baste. This will brown the surface of the bird beautifully.  The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of the thigh registers 180 F.


When the turkey is done, remove from the pan and let it rest for 25 minutes while you make the mashed potatoes, gravy and assemble the rest of the meal.


Skim the butter layer off of the pan juice and set aside.  (It will be used to make the rue for the gravy.)

The pan juice will be the body of the gravy.


Vermouth Cream Gravy

You will have reserved the skillet used to saute' vegetables and giblets for stuffing, and set it aside, so get it back on the stove top and heat it up on medium heat.


Deglaze the pan with another 1/4 cup of white vermouth.


Add the butter, skimmed from the pan juice into the pan.  When it heats, any pan juice remnants will evaporate, leaving only the butter.  Be careful not to scorch it and add the 1/3 cup flour, stirring constantly until the butter absorbs the flour and it begins to bubble.  To fail to let it bubble for about a minute will mean gritty or grainy gravy.


Ladle the pan juices into the skillet, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed.  This will keep out the lumps.  The gravy will have a smooth consistency and be a golden brown.  Remove from heat and add the heavy cream.  This will lighten the color and give it a rich, creaminess that's to die for.


It is now ready to serve.  It's so good, you really must make mashed white potatoes, also.  Whip them with butter and whipping cream for a velvety consistency.  Don't be surprised if you don't have any gravy left over.  Ryan would drink it if I let him. LOL


Hazelnut Sausage Stuffing

1 pound fresh pork sausage (not Italian).

1 turkey breast fillet (purchased in addition to your whole turkey).

1 pound of onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

2 cups of chopped celery

2 Tablespoons chopped FRESH sage

3 cups cubed, dried bread.

1 granny smith apple, chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

1 pear, chopped

1 cup hazelnuts, roasted and skinned, chopped (procedure to follow)

1 cup, chopped/minced FRESH parsley.  It seems like a lot, but don't skimp.

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Giblets from the turkey - optional.


In a large skillet, cook the sausage to a crumble over moderate heat until it is no longer pink. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Reserve the fat in the skillet.


Remove the tendons from the turkey fillet and chop finely.  Add the turkey to the skillet and saute' until done.

Remove the turkey fillet to the same bowl as the sausage.


Saute' the giblets in the same pan if you like them.  You can add them to the dressing.  Ryan hates them so I leave them out.   RESERVE THIS SKILLET with the drippings to make the gravy. Set it aside, covered until it is needed.


In another skillet, melt the butter and cook the onions and celery, with the fresh sage, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.  Add them to the bowl with the sausage mixture.


Crush 2 cups of the bread crumbs in a large plastic bag and add then to the bowl.  Add the remaining 1 cup of bread cubes, the chopped apple and pear, cranberries, chopped parsley, hazelnuts, salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients together and then add the 3 eggs, beaten along with the salt and pepper and mix well.


Chicken Stock

(Make this a day in advance, then refrigerate until needed.)

1/2 chicken, cut into pieces, bone in.

chicken or turkey giblets

2 onions, halved

1 carrot

1 stalk celery, halved

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon salt


Roast the chicken, onions, in 425 F oven for 30 minutes, until browned.  Remove meat and pour off fat and de-glaze pan with 2 cups of water on stove top, getting all the meat parts loose.  Add the liquid to a large kettle, along with the rest of the vegetables and the chicken pieces, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add more water, enough to cover.  Bring to a boil, skimming the froth.  Simmer for about 2 hours and then strain all of the stuff out of the liquid, so you only have a clear stock remaining.


To toast and skin hazelnuts:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toast nuts in one layer on a baking pan for 10-15 minutes until browned lightly and the skins blister. Wrap the nuts in a dishtowel and let them steam for 1 minute.  Rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins and let them cool.


Cranberry Orange Sauce

One 10 ounce bag of fresh cranberries

Slice one large orange.

Add 1 cup water and 1 cup fresh orange juice to a pan with 2 cups sugar.

Add the cranberries and orange and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes at a soft boil, until cranberries "pop".

Fish out the orange rings of peel and discard.

Pour into a serving dish.

Refrigerate for several hours. Sauce will thicken.

(Julia makes this first thing in the morning.)


Julia's To Die For Cheesecake

(Yeah, it's that good!)


You need a 10 inch spring form pan, parchment paper, tin foil,

and a large baking pan larger in diameter than the spring form pan,

so it will fit inside it.  Julia uses a kitchenaide mixer with the

wire whisk attachment to whip up the filling, but a hand mixer works.


Trace a circle on the parchment paper, using the bottom of the

spring form pan as guide. Cut it out.  You need it to fit on the

inside diameter of the pan.


Lightly butter the bottom of the pan and then place the paper in the

pan, pressing out the air and sealing the paper to the pan.

(This is the secret to getting the cake out of the pan and onto a serving

platter without a mess or broken cake.) Please be careful to fully seal

the aluminum foil. If the water leaks in, it will ruin the crust.



2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground.

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 stick melted butter


Mix together and press firmly into the bottom and half way up the side of the pan.  Put the pan in the freezer while making the filling. (Leave the oven on.)



4, 8 oz packages of cream cheese (Don't use light cream cheese.  It won't bake correctly.)

1 1/2 cup sugar 

3 eggs

The juice of one FRESH lemon (about 3 Tablespoons).  Roll the lemon around on the counter under your palm to release the juice before cutting in half to juice.

1 teaspoon REAL vanilla extract

1 cups dairy sour cream (Reserve 1/2 cup for the topping.)

3 TBS. heavy whipping cream

3 TBS sugar (for topping)


Cream together the cream cheese and  sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate fully between each one.

Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and blend, then the heavy cream and blend.

Add the fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract, and blend well.


The filling should be light and creamy.  Pour onto the cold crust.

Place two sheets of tin foil in the larger pan in an X pattern.  Place the

filled spring form pan on top of the foil and bring it up and around it.  

Make sure there is no place where it will leak, if it does it will be

a disaster.


Place the large pan on the oven rack and then fill two inches up with boiling water.  (This will create a steam bath in the oven and prevent that rubbery crust on the top of the cake.)  Also, it aids in keeping it creamy, creamy, creamy. Julia puts the water in the over while she makes the cake... so it's already steamy when it goes in to bake).


Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR at anytime during baking.  The top of the cake will be very light brown and puffed up.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.  The top should still jiggle when the pan is moved. 


Remove to wire rack and cool to room tempurature.  The cake will deflate as it cools. No worries.

Mix remaining 1 cup sour cream with 3 TBS sugar.  Pread over top of cheesecake and then to chill in the refrigerator overnight.


Run a knife around the inside edge of the spring form pan to loosen the cake from the pan.  Release the spring and remove the sides.  Place a sheet of clear plastic wrap over the top of the cake and flip it upside down on a plate.  Use a knife to lift the edge of the bottom of the pan.  The parchment paper will allow easy removal.  Place waxed paper over the top of the cake and flip upside down to remove the parchment paper.   Then flip right side up on another clean cake plate. Wah-lah!  (Warning... if you are transporting this cake, reserve  1 TBS of the cream cheest to spread as  "glue" between the bottom of the cake and the plate.  It will slide, otherwise)


This cake is divine alone, but Ryan loves it with sweetened strawberries.  Blueberries or cherries also work.  Julia makes a lot of variations!  Amaretto, Baily's Irish Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry, Cookies and Cream. Try these variations: Use oreos, vanilla wafers or chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers.  Replace Lemon Juice with 1/2 cup liquors of choice.  For White Chocolate Raspberry, leave in the lemon juice, but add 1 cup MELTED white chocolate to teh cream cheese mixture and after pouring in the pan, add 1 cup Raspberry purée in "globs" then swirl it through with a knife.  Make it pretty, but do not blend completely. (Use the oreo crust with this one.).   GET CREATIVE! YUM!


For Thanksgiving you might want to try Pumpkin Cheesecake.  There are a few simple substitutions.

Substitute ginger snap cookie crumbs for the graham crackers and add 1 cup solid pack pumpkin to the filling batter.  Delete the lemon juice and add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.


ENJOY! :-)



Julia's Peanut Butter Pad Thai

2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch chunks

4 tablespoons peanut oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1/4 cup tamarind paste, reconstituted in 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

1 pound Thai rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes

and drained

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/4 cup chopped FRESH cilantro leaves

4 ounces bean sprouts

1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 limes, halved



In Wok or large skillet, heat oil until hot (careful not to burn).  Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Sear  about 7 minutes, tossing until browned on all sides. The center doesn't need to be finished at this point....more cooking to come.


Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft.  Push to mixture to one side and add the beaten egg and scramble until the egg is cooked through. Mix together and add the ancho powder and cook for 10 seconds. Add the tamarind mixture, vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, and peanut butter and bring to a simmer.  Place the cooked (softened) noodles in a large bowl.  Pour chicken mixture over the noodles and toss gently until combined. Toss in the green onion, cilantro, and bean sprouts and top with the chopped nuts.


Arrange on 4 plates and squeeze the1/2  lime over the top of each.


If you enjoy shrimp or beef, you can substitute the chicken or combine with it.




Ryan's Favorite Lemon Poppyseed

Muffins with Crumb Topping


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milf.  (If you have half and half, this makes them extra delicious).
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon lemon zest



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard 12-well muffin pan or a

jumbo 6-well muffin pan.


Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a

large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and lemon juice.


Make a well in center of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well.

Add the melted butter and use a rubber spatula to blend with quick strokes, being careful not overmix the batter; it should still be slightly lumpy. Gently stir in the poppy seeds and lemon zest.


Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each well 3/4 full, top with crumb topping if desired. 


Ryan's Crumb Topping

/2 cup flour

1 stick cold butter

1/2 cup white sugar

Pinch salt


Blend together with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle on the top of unbaked muffins.


Bake until slightly puffed and golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Cooking time may be a little longer if you are baking jumbo-sized muffins.  A tooth pick comes out clean and the topping will be slightly golden brown when done. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve the muffins warm.


This recipe will not be bright yellow like box muffins. If you desire this, add one or two drops of yellow food coloring.


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