Recipes: Baked Goods & Desserts

In this section on Baked Goods & Desserts, you can find the following recipes:

Cornmeal Biscuits with Sage Butter

Makes 12 to 14 biscuits

Most traditional biscuit recipes don’t contain eggs, but when using wholegrain flour, an egg improves the texture significantly. These pale yellow biscuits are absolutely delicious when split open and slathered with sage butter.


For the biscuits
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle or chili powder
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
1 large egg
1/3- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For the sage butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 generous tablespoon minced sage

Photo by David Prince


Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter.

In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and chipotle.

Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles unevenly coarse pebbles.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the buttermilk. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine, until most of the flour is incorporated. If necessary, add more buttermilk to create a soft but not sticky dough.

Sprinkle a work surface lightly with cornmeal. Gently knead the dough until smooth, usually 25 to 35 turns. Shape the dough into a disc.

Sprinkle more cornmeal onto the work surface and more on top of the disc. Roll the dough out to a generous 1/4-inch thickness. Fold the dough in half and gently roll to about 1/2-inch thick.

Use a two-inch-round biscuit cutter or a 1/4-cup metal measuring cup to cut out the biscuits. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Roll out scraps to create additional biscuits. (The raw biscuits freeze well, and can be popped into the oven straight from the freezer.)

Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking until the bottoms are golden and the tops spring back to a gentle touch, 5 to 7 more minutes, or slightly longer if they were frozen.

While the biscuits are baking, make the sage butter: mash the sage into the butter in a small bowl. Set aside, or cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.

When the biscuits are done, serve them immediately with the sage butter on the side.

Refrigerate leftover biscuits in a zipper-top bag for up to 3 days and reheat in a 350° F. oven. Baked biscuits do not freeze well.


Sesame Corn Biscuits: Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds to the dry ingredients.

Cheese Biscuits: When the biscuits are about a minute short of done, lightly sprinkle each coarsely grated cheddar cheese and return to the oven until done.

Stuffed Cornmeal Biscuits: Just before serving, split the biscuits open and fill them with thinly sliced scallions (green part only), sliced prosciutto, country-smoked ham, or herbed goat cheese.

Drop Biscuits: Do not knead the dough. Instead, drop the batter by heaping tablespoonsful, about 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake as directed above.

Copyright © 2006 Lorna Sass

Rustic Apple Tart

Serves 6

This impressive pastry takes very little effort to assemble and is beautiful to behold. You create a rectangular tart without a tin by layering sheets of phyllo directly on parchment lined baking sheet. Then you mound maple-glazed apple slices on top and fold over a bit of phyllo to create a flaky frame.

Phyllo easy to assemble? It’s true that those paper-thin sheets of dough have a way of drying out and tearing. But even if you are phyllo-phobic (as I was until recently), this recipe offers guaranteed success. There’s no fancy folding, and a few rips won’t affect the result. Just patch them up as you go.

You’ll find phyllo in the frozen foods case in most supermarkets. Defrost is according to the package directions (usually overnight in the refrigerator).

The tart is nice for brunch as well as dessert.


3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup hot water
2 to 2 1/2 pounds tart, firm apples (Granny Smiths or Staymans)
1/3 cup maple syrup
4 sheets phyllo (also spelled filo)
3 to 4 tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Other Ideas

Cook the apple slices with a light dusting of cinnamon.

Make apple turnovers by following the folding instructions for preparing phyllo triangles (page 76).

Substitute Bosco or other firm pears for the apples. Cut them into 1/2–inch slices and cook only until the edges are slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season lightly with cardamom, if you wish.


Put the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425° F. Line a large baking or cookie sheet (about 11 by 17 inches) with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the cranberries in a small bowl. Pour the water over them and set aside.

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into slices 1/2-inch thick. Scatter half of the apples in a large, nonstick skillet, and drizzle half of the maple syrup on top. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until the apples have softened but still hold their shapes, about 5 minutes. (The apples will release liquid as they cook; most of it will evaporate.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the batch to a larger platter to cool. Repeat with the remaining apples and maple syrup.

To assemble the tart: Wet a kitchen towel and wring it well to remove as much water as possible. Unwrap the phyllo and set the stack on a flat surface. Gently remove 1 sheet of phyllo from the pile and set it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Immediately cover the remaining phyllo with the moist towel to prevent it from drying out. Brush the sheet of phyllo with oil. Sprinkle with about a third of the walnuts, leaving about a 2-inch border around the edges. Set another sheet of phyllo on top, brush with oil, and sprinkle with walnuts. Repeat the third sheet of phyllo. Set the fourth sheet in place and brush with oil.

Mound the apples haphazardly on top of the stacked phyllo in a rectangular shape, leaving about 2 inches uncovered around the edges. Gently lift the edges of the phyllo, one side at a time, and fold them over to create a frame about 1 1/2-inches wide around the apples. (Some of the slices will end up beneath the phyllo, but most will remain exposed). Brush the phyllo “frame” with oil. Drain the cranberries and scatter them among the apples.

Bake until the phyllo is golden and crisp, 9 to 16 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To present the tart on a platter, transfer it with the parchment in place, and then gently pull out the parchment. To serve, slice into squares.

Carefree Any-Fruit Granita

Serves 4

Fruit juices freeze beautifully and make very refreshing and healthful ices. Making the granita us almost as easy as making ice cubes!

There is such array of berry and exotic fruit juice blends available nowadays that you can enjoy a different type of frozen fruit just about every week. Pomegranate and mango are two of my favorite.

For a richer, more sorbetlike consistency, substitute coconut milk for half a cup of your chosen tropical fruit juices and blend thoroughly before freezing.


2 cups bottled fruit juice (one fruit or a blend)


Pour the juice into a standard ice cube tray. Freeze until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Transfer the frozen cubes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and pulse until slushy. Serve immediately in chilled small bowls or parfait glasses.

Copyright © 2006 Lorna Sass.

Granola Strawberry “Parfait”

Serves 6

I developed this simpe but dramatic dessert for Natures’ Path Foods, using their delicious Flax Plus Granola.


1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta
1/4 cup low-fat, plain yogurt
4 to 5 tablespoons strawberry jam (depending on desired sweetness)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 to 1 1/4 pounds strawberries, trimmed
1 1/2 cups Nature’s Path FLAX PLUS GRANOLA
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Photo by Jennifer Iserloh

Parfait is the French word for perfect. That’s about the best way to describe the taste of this luscious low-fat, whole grain dessert – edible proof that granola is not just breakfast fare!If you don’t have 6 tall parfait glasses, use wine goblets or drinking glasses.


Puree ricotta, yogurt, and jam in a food processor. Stir in orange zest.

Reserve 6 small strawberries for garnish; cut remaining strawberries into thick slices.

Spoon 2 tablespoons FLAX PLUS GRANOLA into each glass. Top with 2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture and a thick layer of strawberry slices. Repeat with a second layer of granola, ricotta, and strawberries. Top with a whole strawberry, and garnish with a few mint leaves.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed, up to 6 hours.

Copyright Nature’s Path. Used with permission.

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