Guest Bloggers

Raspberry Fool with Toasted Angel Food Cake

One of my motivations to start a food blog was to share experiences about food and cooking across my diverse community of friends. I would love more friends to share recipes, stories, and memories as guest bloggers, but not everyone is comfortable or has the time to share.

I love sharing recipes and stories, but I want the blog to be more about just me — I want to create community. I want to give people ideas, sure, but I also want to, well, I don’t know… DO stuff.

And then the latest issue of Bon Appetit came, and it was all so clear. Virtual cooking dates! Everybody make the same thing, over relatively the same time period, and then shares about it if they choose.

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Raspberry Fool with Toasted Angel Food Cake looked simple yet elegant, and easily customizable. I shared the recipe with a bunch of friends and asked them to put their own twist on it over the same time period.

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The results were pretty spectacular. I made two versions myself (confession: it was all I could do not to eat an entire cake in one sitting), and a couple friends shared their own variations — including a couple pictures. It’s not quite the same thing as hopping on a plane to see an old friend or meet a virtual one, but it does make me feel a little more connected.

Here is the original recipe, followed by the variations. What other ways might you serve this treat?

Raspberry Fool with Toasted Angel Food Cake

From Bon Appetit

2 1/2 cups raspberries (about 12 oz.)
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus more for serving
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
4 cups 1-inch pieces angel food cake (from about 1/3 of a cake)

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread cake pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast until edges are golden brown but centers are still soft, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; set aside.

Using a fork, coarsely mash raspberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a small bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.

Layer cake, raspberry mixture, and cream mixture in glasses or small bowls; top with lime zest.

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RHRW version #1: omit the lime zest,. Top bowls with grated chocolate, and serve with cordial glasses of raspberry wine (I like Doukenie Winery‘s raspberry merlot dessert wine)

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RHRW version #2: layer cake, berries and whipped cream in 1/2-pint (or smaller) mason jars. Screw on lids and store in the refrigerator. Send them with your dinner guests as to-go desserts, or pack them for tomorrow’s lunch.

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Nina’s version: substitute angel food cake for a gluten-free almond pound cake made with almond flour. Replace sour cream with Marscapone.

Carrie’s version: Add a dash of cardamom to the raspberries. When beating the cream, add a splash of Vermont maple balsamic vinegar. When assembling the dessert, layer in a little toasted coconut.

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100% Whole Wheat English Muffins

RHRW Note: Welcome my first guest blogger, Danielle. She is an English professor and a dear long-distance friend. We agree with her self-assessment about her frugality, but love her anyway.

I am, shall we say, frugal. Some — my husband, good friends, acquaintances forced to dine out with me — would call me cheap. I am, however, willing to pay for good, high-quality food. What will remain an unnamed brand of English muffins, however, does not count as high-quality food. So when my local grocery store raised the price of English muffins to $4.50/package, I decided to make my own, something that I’d never made before.

Even though I’d never made English muffins, I am not a novice baker. Much like our resident blogger (see Knotted Dinner Rolls), I spent many years in 4-H baking. I love to cook. I like to bake. The time requirements often keep me from pursuing it more often than I do. On a rainy Sunday afternoon with some time on my hands while I waited for students’ papers to come in during finals week, I experimented with the English muffin.

Whole Wheat English Muffins

These came out well. They’re approximately the same size as store-bought muffins. They had the requisite “nooks and crannies” I look for, they were 100% whole wheat, and there were no preservatives, a win all around.  Though there is a bit of sugar in here, honey or agave syrup would work well too.

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100% Whole Wheat English Muffins

Adapted from Food Network

Makes 9 muffins

1 cup warm skim milk

1 Tb sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 Tb canola oil

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/8 tsp. sugar

1/3 cup lukewarm water

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

Special equipment: 3-inch metal baking rings. You can purchase specialty baking rings at most stores that sell cooking equipment. I used the rings of quart jars used for canning. Tuna cans with the top and bottom cut out would work too, or even rings made out of aluminum foil.

In a bowl, combine warm milk, sugar, salt, and oil. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.

In a separate small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve yeast. Mix yeast mixture with milk mixture.

Put flours in a medium to large bowl, and add the liquid mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour and milk mixture is thoroughly combined. Let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place. The dough will be batter-like in its consistency and considerably stickier than any bread dough you’ve worked with before. It is not meant to be rolled or kneaded.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat nonstick pan or griddle on stove top on medium-low heat. Dust bottom of the pan with cornmeal. Coat metal rings with non-stick spray, dust with corn meal, and place in the pan.

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter in each ring. Cover pan with a lid or cookie sheet. Cook muffins for 7 minutes on each side. Author’s note:  I recommend cooking one muffin first to check the timing, then cook as many as your non-stick skillet will allow you to. I could cook 4 muffins at a time. If you have a griddle (and rings) that allow you to cook more, do so. It will speed up the process considerably.

Remove muffin from ring and place muffin a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. When all muffins are finished cooking on the stovetop, bake for 7 additional minutes to finish cooking through. Let cool completely.