Call it a Riff

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Desserts, Holiday | 0 comments


You may yet be in a food coma; not only from Thursday but, for the wonder of ritual leftover dressing, potatoes, gravy and weird gelled concoctions. If you have pumpkin fatigue, are pastry challenged or simply check pumpkin pie off your sweet holiday list after Thanksgiving and move on—reconsider Food and Wine’s Pumpkin Pie with a Chocolate Crust.  The marriage of the two is not new even Martha Stewart finds the pair blissful.


The most difficult part of the pie is finding those Famous Chocolate Wafers at the supermarket (look near the the ice cream).

Pulse the cookies; add sugar and melted butter.  Press into a pie plate and chill, literally.  If you are the organized type, wrap and freeze the crust.  Remove from the freezer and set on the counter while you make the filling.


Bake the crust for a few minutes.


Plop pumpkin from a can; add remaining ingredients, beat together; then pour the smooth mixture into the prepared crust.

Bake the pie until it quivers in the center 50-60 minutes; begin checking it at 45 minutes.  Cool completely.  The pie may be baked and refrigerated overnight.


Imagine a crisp, pure chocolate cookie crunch mingled with the not-too-sweet silkiness of pumpkin perfumed with warm spices and fresh ginger.

Top the luxurious pie as the author, Melissa Clark suggests, with tangy Crème Fraiche topping or merely old-fashioned whipped cream as I did.


Perhaps save a slice for breakfast…



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Gourdy Goo

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Desserts | 0 comments


Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Click on the link for the BEST Halloween Treat ever!

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La Fontaine de Mars-Paris

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Desserts | 4 comments


La Fontaine de Mars, an old-fashioned bistro in Paris was our propitious pick after a behind-the-scenes tour of the Eiffel Tower in September, and even though described in most guidebooks, we happened upon it on our own.



The staff was ever so pleasant and patient with our language endeavors and the traditional Parisian food was of course, lovely and divine. Oh, the bread!


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MP ordered the special entrée, Coq au vin,

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and I the Courge Butternut avec Gambas


However, the insanely delightful pastry, Framboise Crème de Pistache Tarte was a magnificent marvel with deux café.

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The berry tart was filled with a thin layer of spring green ground pistachio nuts and softly whipped cream with carefully placed raspberries.  Voilà; I was sure it was riffable after a few queries and nods from the super kind waiter.


Last weekend, I set out to prepare the tart; where in the world do you buy green pistachios?  Silly coco…


I shelled fresh nuts (UGH), blanched and dried them which took about forever.  I doubtfully imagined how the pastry chef ever tackled this with efficiency and concluded the reason for the 14 euro price tag.

pisstachio paste

Do you know you can buy the pistachio stuff?

pistachio flour

Yep, duh.

This is the recipe and procedure I used --

In a food processor, pulse ½ cup pistachios (blanched and peeled) with 2 tablespoons sugar to a fine grind (Don’t over process or the oils will turn into a blob). OR use a purchased product.


For the crust, I used my award winning tart recipe and blind baked it until it was 3-4 minutes short of being done.


Spread the nut mixture over the surface of the tart and bake until golden (2-3 minutes).


Cool the tart completely.


Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon instant dry milk powder and 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar (to taste) until peaks form.  Carefully place cream over the nut layer.


Place raspberries in concentric circles over the cream; you’ll need two 6-ounce boxes.


Chill the tart several hours, garnish with lemon or orange zest before serving.


The stunning tart I created was soft, luxurious and o’so fantastically fresh—the Parisian original seemed more structured, uncomplicated, less sweet; both winners.

With pumpkin everything streaming live, this may seem unseasonal.


Springtime in Paris is always fashionable and worthy of a special occasion.

I hope you will bake this and send me photographs!

♥ ♥ ♥

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Seven Hundred

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Desserts | 6 comments

escarpé gâteau au chocolat


Today, on this occasion, after nearly five years, celebrate my 700th blog post with me; and bake this (gluten-free) Craggy Chocolate Cake!


Drawing together good quality butter, bittersweet chocolate, and through the magic of French techniques, the best flourless chocolate cake ever is devilishly simple.


The custard aerated with whipped egg whites and pale yellow egg ribbons dosed with glossy chocolate and butter rises -  and then deflates to a decadent wedge of mocha-hued crinkled parchment.  Consequently, revealing the moist, rich, dark pudding-like, luscious center trapped inside is up to you and your fancy fork.


Close your eyes first; make a wish and then, fall in.

“That evening was the evening of the full moon. The garden was an enchanted place where all the flowers seemed white. The lilies, the daphnes, the orange-blossom, the white stocks, the white pinks, the white roses - you could see these as plainly as in the daytime; but the coloured flowers existed only as fragrance.”

― Elizabeth von ArnimThe Enchanted April

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Clafoutis En Bordes

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Desserts | 0 comments

Coco & Henry 13th

One summer when MP and I were home exchanging in France near Toulouse, he fell in love with the French classic summer fruit dessert, Clafoutis.  That particular summer in southwestern France, he ordered the laid-back rich dense baked custard poured over sweet red cherries. The pudding-like batter bakes around the fruit in golden brown crevices making it a cozy, relaxed dessert freely given over to any peak-of-the-season fresh fruit.

Food and Wine’s Ode to Paris piece grabbed my attention when MP brought home a carton of huge dark cherries to pit and polish off.  “Bucking tradition” the pastry chef included almond flour, adding texture to the homespun beauty.  We certainly enjoyed Belinda Leong’s version, but our memory was a less sweet style.

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Because the batter is eggy and creamy little flour is called for; which in my mind is one of the easiest sweets to make gluten-free. I simply made a few swaps including almond flour or meal and gluten free flour.  My fruit of choice for the thinner, less sweet and gluten-free dessert was—you know it—glorious rich biblical figs.






En Bordes sign

“There are treasures to carry away in this land, which has not found a spokesman worthy of the riches it offers.”

--Paul Cezanne

Clafoutis En Bordes


  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 ounces fresh ripe fruit cleaned and quartered or halved
  • (cherries, figs, nectarines, apricots, plums or peaches, etc.)
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour or meal
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons cup sugar, divided use
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 vanilla bean split, paste scraped with a sharp knife
  • Confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides if a 10-inch shallow baking dish or skillet with butter.
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon sugar over butter.
  4. In a blender or food processor, combine flour, almond flour, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, milk, salt, almond extract and vanilla bean paste.
  5. Let batter sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. Place fruit cut side up evenly in prepared dish. Top the fruit with another tablespoon of sugar.
  7. Pour batter over the fruit and bake 25-30 minutes. The Clafoutis is done when it is puffed, lightly browned and tests done in the center. Cool and refrigerate until serving time.
  8. Dust Clafoutis with Confectioners' sugar before serving.
  9. Serves 6-8
  10. © Copyright 2016 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  11. All Rights Reserved

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That Cake

Posted by on Jul 5, 2016 in Desserts | 0 comments


My sweet contribution to our family’s Sunday dinner—happened one day shy of the Fourth of July—because we gather when it fits.


Something’s up around here; the grown-ups have embraced the Whole30 for July, which means we’ve made some radical mind-boggling shifts when it comes to the food we are eating.

More about that to come.

It didn’t sound out screeching brakes to creating a cake the cool kids love.  I adapted Once Upon a Chef’s Vanilla Birthday Cake (always a winner), opting out of the Vanilla Buttercream on this occasion. Doubling the recipe below, I filled and topped it with a soft-peaked whipped cream icing adding mixed berries for a tribute our Stars and Stripes heritage.

I haven't yet tried it--but by substituting 1 cup gluten-free flour and 1 cup almond flour this cake could become gluten-free.  Remember to use gluten-free baking powder as well*

*Baking powder: This product often contains an ingredient that helps absorb moisture so the baking powder doesn't clump. Some brands use wheat starch as that ingredient. Gluten-free baking powders include Rumford, Clabber Girl, Featherweight, and Bakewell Cream.

As the soft moist cake uses egg whites only; it is o'so delicious and true white.

But then, how would I know…


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