Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes

My mother has always been a phenomenal cook and aside from a handful of family recipes, she has honed her skills putting hours of love and dedication in in the kitchen.  This recipe was taught to her in a cooking course at an Italian restaurant in Chicago that has been long since forgotten by our family aside from these.  They are not your everyday spongecake strawberry shortcakes, but rather are marzipan filled sweet biscuits which are more traditional, photogenic, and delicious than their modern bakery aisle counterpart.

This recipe, depending on the size of each shortcake you choose, makes approximately 8-10 shortcakes.DSC_0033

Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons baking powder

4 ounces butter, cold

4 ounces almond paste broken into small chunks

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 whole eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

sliced almonds

To serve:

Fresh berries

Whipping cream

Heat the oven to 350 F. A convection oven is preferred but not necessary.

Stir together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. When this is incorporated, slowly work in the almond paste and the cold butter that has been cut into pieces. Work this together until the mixture appears to be like a coarse meal.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and the almond extract. When this is incorporated, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix only until the dough starts to form. You will probably not need all of the liquid ingredients.

Knead the dough slightly. Pat the dough out to a one inch thickness using as little flour as needed so that the dough does not stick to the work surface.

Using a round cutter, cut the dough into individual servings. It is helpful to dip the cutting edge of the cutter in flour prior to making each cut. Place the round disks onto a lightly greased flat baking pan or a pan lined with parchment or a silpat. Brush the tops with the left over liquid and sprinkle with the sliced almonds and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool. Slice horizontally and fill with berries and whipping cream as desired.

Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes - A Pat & A Pinch Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes - A Pat & A Pinch

Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Puddings

Cranberry Sticky Toffee Pudding - A Pat & A Pinch


This recipe is from Best of Bridge and is the perfect sized treat for anyone with a sweet-tooth.  Because it is made with dried cranberries as opposed to the traditionally used dates, I like it all the better.   This dessert can be prepared ahead of time, and even frozen, but it is best served warm all of the way through.  Also please note that you will need ramekins in order to make them portion sized.  This recipe serves approximately 8 (unless you enjoy it as much as our family in which case it serves 4 with seconds).

A current trend in cooking is to add a little salt to sweet, so I thought to myself while soaking up the toffee sauce last night that these would likely be marvellous with the addition of bacon as well.  I am sure to most that will sound odd, and to some it will sound brilliant, so if you decide to be the guinea pig and put in some bacon (it will need to be pre-cooked and cooled, chopped finely, blotted with paper towel to remove as much grease as possible) then please let me know how it is.  If this idea sounds sacrilegious to you as it did to my own mother, please forget I mentioned it!

Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Puddings

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

Toffee Sauce:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup whipping cream

Butter and flour 8, 1/2 cup ramekins. Place in the fridge until needed.

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the vanilla and baking soda, then add the dried cranberries and set aside to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Lightly beat the eggs and gradually add to butter mixture. 
Lightly mix the flour and baking powder together and gently fold into the batter. Fold in the cranberry mixture.

Place the ramekins onto a baking sheet for easy handling. Portion the batter into the ramekins and bake at 350 F for 25 – 30 minutes.

To prepare the Toffee Sauce, combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
 To serve, remove puddings from ramekins by running a knife around edge. Invert on plate and drizzle with warm Toffee Sauce.

The puddings can be made ahead, but are, again, best served warm.  They are easily reheated in a 300 F oven.  The sauce can also be made ahead and reheated.

Cranberry Sticky Toffee Pudding - A Pat & A Pinch

Doreen’s Lemon Loaf

Doreen's Lemon Loaf - A Pat & A Pinch

It has been some time since I posted – law school is definitely time consuming.  Today, however, I needed a break from trying to understand the rule against perpetuities and wanted to make something simple and with good memories.  My grandmother’s lemon loaf was the perfect solution.  My grandmother, Doreen, wasn’t a great cook, but she made a few things that have definitely stuck around as favourites for me.  Two of them involved lemons, this cake and a lemon meringue pie that was to die for.  This is easy. The lemon meringue pie is more complicated.

Any type of lemons will work, but I had a bag of meyer lemons that I decided to use. The recipe calls for one lemon, I used 3 but they were small and not the juiciest.  As my dad says, you can’t have too much lemon.

Usually I spend a great deal of time on the photographs, but right now I don’t have the luxury of time, so I have gone to my point and shoot. I hope that the photo still entices you to give this simple and yummy recipe a try!

Doreen's Lemon Loaf - A Pat & A Pinch

Doreen’s Lemon Loaf

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 lemon, zested and juiced

½ cup milk

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar (for glaze)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans with parchment paper.  I prefer to use two small pans and reduce the baking time.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.  Add the beaten eggs, lemon zest, and milk to the creamed mixture.  Sift together the dry ingredients (excluding the sugar for the glaze).  Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I sometime find that it helps to lay a piece of parchment over the pan after the loaf begins to brown, to prevent over-browning. Remove the loaf from the oven.

Mix together the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar.  Carefully loosen and remove the still-warm loaf from the pan discarding the parchment paper. Return the loaf to the pan, pouring the lemon sugar glaze over it.  Allow the loaf to cool and absorb the liquid.  Remove the loaf from the pan when the liquid is absorbed. Cut, serve and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Suzanne’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’ve been bad.  I know I haven’t posted in ages and I sincerely apologize.  The fact is, my life has been a whirlwind and will continue to be through early december.  So because I’ve had this post waiting since Canadian Thanksgiving for you and I will be in a conference for the majority of next weekend, I’m making time to share.

A Pat & A Pinch - Suzanne's Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake is rich.  Chocolate lovers, pre-heat your ovens.  This recipe ended up in my family, forgotten by all (except me) until about three years ago.  I’m not sure where it came from, most likely my brilliant mother, but nevertheless, I am naming it for our chocolate-loving, beloved family friend, Suzanne, because she is always in my heart when I make it.

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (the good kind – 90% cacao bars and NOT baker’s chocolate)

14 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks if you’re lucky enough to have portioned butter)

5 large eggs, separated

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

¾ c. granulated sugar

1 pinch salt

2 tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder


¼ c. chopped pecans

2 tbsp. booze (I recommend triple sec or cointreau but jack daniels worked well last time so this is flexible)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and sugar a 10 inch springform pan.

In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter.  Heat until melted and smooth.  Transfer to a medium sized bowl and whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.  Sift in sugar, salt and cacao while continuing to whisk. Lastly, mix in the booze and pecans.

With a mixer, whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold one third into the chocolate batter.  Repeat with the remaining whites.  Pour this mixture into the springform and bake on for 25 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately loosen the springform collar.  Allow the cake to cool before serving.

If you’d like to festively decorate your cake as I enjoy doing, just use a sieve to sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar.  By simply placing a leaf or cut out paper first, you can get nearly any desired design.

Bon appétit!

Lemon Chèvre Cheesecake

Having failed one attempt at doubling a recipe for a lemon chèvre cheesecake (it literally flooded my stovetop when I popped open the springform and tasted like a delicious disaster which took me well over an hour to clean up), my brilliant mother suggested we try a different one.  Mario Batali’s recipe which is posted on Pithy and Cleaver did the trick.  I should mention that the original recipe included a glaze…we chose to omit this step as it seemed superfluous.  This cake was delicious and fresh and I foresee many future indulgences!

1 c. sugar, plus more for the pan
6 eggs, separated
1 1/2 lbs chèvre
2 tbsp. light rum
3 tbsp. flour
zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease 8-inch springform pan  sprinkle the bottom and sides with sugar, shaking out the excess (don’t skip this as it is crustless and you don’t want it to stick…non-stick pans won’t be sufficient)

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg yoks and 1 cup sugar until the yolks are very pale. Slowly beat in the goat cheese, one cup at a time. Add the rum, flour, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until creamy.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue whisking until you have a soft-peaked meringue. Working in two batches, gently fold the whites into the cheese mixture. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, wrap the pan in foil so that the water bath doesn’t seep through. Place the pan in a baking dish(or roasting pan) large enough to contain it comfortably. Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to reach approximately 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Cover the entire baking dish with aluminum foil and carefully place it on the middle rack of the oven.

Bake for 35 or 40 minutes, or until the cake begins to rise slightly and is somewhat set. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cake looks set. Remove the cake/baking dish from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the baking dish for several minutes.

When the cake has cooled sligtly, remove the pan from the baking dish. Refrigerate the cake until completely chilled. Remove the sides of the springform pan.  Refrigerate overnight. Cut into wedges and serve with fresh thyme leaves.

Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake

This cake is a tasty balance of sweet streusel and sour fruit.  It makes quite a large treat and so is typically only served around here when company is expected.  My 4-year-old was severely disappointed (read: threw a not-so-charming tantrum) upon discovering that there were no chocolate chips involved, but I think this recipe is perfect nevertheless.


¾ c. lightly packed brown sugar

            ½ c. unbleached flour

            1 tsp. cinnamon

            ¼ c. butter


½ c. soft butter

            1 c. granulated sugar

            2 eggs

            1 tsp. vanilla

            2 c. flour

            1 tsp. baking powder

            1 tsp. baking soda

            ½ tsp. salt

            1 c. sour cream

            4 c. fresh cranberries (allow to thaw if using frozen)

Cream soft butter and granulated sugar.  Beat in eggs followed by vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.

Make streusel by cutting the ingredients together (or using fingers to blend the ingredients).

Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 10” springform pan by dropping dessert spoons of batter evenly across the bottom and joining them with a spoon or spatula to make a continuous surface.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture, then half of the cranberries.  Spread the remaining batter, using the spoon drop technique, then finish with remaining cranberries and then streusel.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour.