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Canadian Clanger by The Messy Baker
Canadian Clanger

Ignore the standard dictionary. It will tell you a clanger is a blunder, a mistake, and a conspicuous one at that. This pastry is anything but a dud. It’s a riff on an old-fashioned Bedfordshire Clanger, a long hand pie stuffed with spiced meat on...

Apple Layered Pound Cake by The Messy Baker
Layered Apple Pound Cake

These are Mutsus, also known as Crispins. They’re firm and semi-tart, and have white flesh. They’re also Ontario’s only truly green apple. I learned this last weekend while I traipsed about the orchard at Nature’s Bounty  on a tour. In the drizzle. On the other side of...

Zucchini & Carrot Breakfast Muffins in pan - The Messy Baker
Zucchini & Carrot Breakfast Muffins

People are always asking for foolproof recipes. Well, I played the fool while testing this, and the muffins turned out just fine. As part of today’s Homegrown blog hop (see below for links to other recipes), I test drove Joan Ttooulias’s Zucchini & Carrot Breakfast Muffins. In...

Caramel Apple Icebox Trifle
Caramel Apple Icebox Trifle

The holidays are rushing in and the panicked questions have begun. With crazed eyes and shaking voices, friends ask me for easy holiday recipes to take to a party or serve their own guests. They always say "easy" with extra emphasis, pausing before and after...

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Apple Roasted Cornish Hens | Improv Recipe

This improv recipe is a testament to my impulse shopping, poor sense of timing and the power of the common cold. Impulse shopping:  A few months ago, I found fresh Cornish hens at the butcher shop. As I stood at the meat counter waiting to be...

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Another Breakfast Soup
Sweet Potato Apple Ginger Soup - The Messy Baker Soup for breakfast is working. Sort of. But after a couple of weeks of savory Asian Chicken and Quinoa Soup, and a gentle Lentil & Lemon Soup, I'm wanting to start my day with something sweet. While I crave a raspberry danish or waffles dripping in maple syrup, I am saving these desserts-in-disguise for special occasions (and no, getting out of bed in the morning is not a special occasion, even for this late-rishing Night Hawk). So I poked about a bit and found a soup that's sweet, healthy, and very warming. Sweet Potato, Apple and Ginger Soup. They had me at ginger. Add a side of multi-grain toast and a grating of sharp cheddar, and I'm one happy eater. The soup recipe comes from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Company, @2011). If you think apples are boring, this book will make you think again. The Braised Brisket with Apples and Hard Cider was a hit with my carnivore husband and my in-laws enjoyed a brunch including the apple-laced Dutch Baby (a German pancake that thinks it's a popover). My favourite part of the book is the 30 pages dedicated to 59 different varieties of apple. At last, I have an in-depth look at the apples I often read about but can't always get at my local Farmers' Market. But it's not all Mutsu, Granny Smith and Gala. Ever heard of Black Oxford, Ashmead's Kernel or Jazz? They're new to me. I'm now aching to bite into a Hidden Rose to taste what Traverso describes as a "red-fleshed novelty." The fleeting Pink Pearl ("when it's gone, it's gone") sounds deliciously whimsical, and who can resist anything called Westfield Seek-No-Further? Not me. If you're feeling stifled by the same-old, same-old grocery store apples, don't be.
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Recipe: Apple and Ginger Truffles
As a child, whenever my table manners were less than stellar, my mother would fix me with a gaze that could freeze time. With a mixture of horror and regret, she would inform me that I was not yet ready to have tea with the Queen. Her tone implied an invitation had been winging its way to our humble home, but had been yanked from the queue the instant my elbows hit the table. Four decades later, while my table manners have improved vastly, Tea with The Queen eludes me. I have also failed to receive an invitation to the upcoming Royal nuptials. I'm sure they mailed it, but like the invitations of my childhood, it vaporized en route due to my behaviour. I blame the truffles.
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Recipe: Cranberry and Apple Cake
Listen to Ina. She is wise. When the Barefoot Contessa says use a 10-inch glass pie pate, use a glass pie plate. When she says use fresh cranberries, use fresh cranberries. But you know me. I never listen. Or more precisely, I don't always think ahead. I dive into recipes head first, often to find the culinary waters muddy, turbulent or shallow. With company arriving and frozen cranberries going begging, I made the best choices I could under less than perfect circumstances. So, when faced with using a 9-inch glass pie plate or a 10-inch ceramic pie plate, I pulled out the larger dish. When forced to choose between using frozen cranberries or producing no dessert at all,  I opted for frozen fruit. And while I stand by my decisions, I paid a price.

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