Thawing the Tropics & Whipping Up Something for Spring

Some people choose to head to warmer climates for Spring Break. We don’t get a week off from the office where I work, but we have gotten several snow days this year. With the technical “first day of spring” came another snowstorm. From my second-story kitchen window, I could enjoy the view of the falling snow while baking and whipping up a spring treat.

While grocery shopping on a different day, I had visited the frozen foods section. Bagged fruit mix can comes in handy when seasonal produce isn’t at peak. Puff pastry sheets were on sale, so I put a box in my basket beside the bags of frozen fruit.

Since I didn’t have to go into the office, I decided to use the free time standing rather than sitting in front of the computer. A search for puff pastry in the index of a few cookbooks didn’t yield anything tempting; most of the recipes were savory and we had just gotten back from eating fish & chips at a neighborhood restaurant. Instead, a picture of a Tropical Napoleon caught my eye. The puff pastry sheets would last a while in the freezer, so it didn’t matter if I chose a different base for my treat. The frozen fruit would thaw while I baked the coconut-sesame seed meringue disks.

As is common practice with many home bakers, I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, but it still turned out nicely. My husband suggested that they would be better NOT as a sandwich, so my “Napoleon” was open-faced.

Meringue Disks: egg white, salt, sugar, sweetened flaked coconut, sesame seeds

Filling: heavy whipping cream, confectioner’s sugar, rum flavoring, vanilla extract

Fruit Assortment: peach, strawberry, mango, pineapple

You can find detailed instructions in the book, Baking With Julia.

Categories: Cookies and Candy, Dessert, Desserts, Food and drink, Fruit | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Right Combination

Giant Grocery Store Magazine, Savory’s

Apple and Honey Tart Recipe


Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake Mix

= Big Success


With an in-house retirement luncheon, visitors coming in for two different multi-day meetings, then two days spent getting a large mailing ready, we’ve been busy at the office these past two weeks.

One of my job responsibilities is to plan the meals for meetings. Now that I’ve had the job for two years,  I’ve learned that playing the part of caterer rather than cook is necessary if one is to keep one’s sanity. However, there are times when I look at the price of goods from a bakery and decide that it is worth the effort to make dessert myself.

Aldi did have an apple-walnut dessert in their freezer case the weekend I went shopping. However, one of the customers was debating the price of an item with the only cashier on duty, so I put my items back and drove home. The frozen pies had started to thaw in my hands, and it wasn’t worth waiting more than ten minutes at the back of the long line of disgruntled customers.

A recipe in another local grocery store’s seasonal magazine inspired me to bake an apple tart. It didn’t hurt that I had a few apples at home. Since I wanted to serve a fresh and warm dessert, I measured the dry ingredients into a plastic baggie to take with me to the office. I packed my untested 12″ IKEA tart pan, too.

At the office on Monday, I looked at the large baking pan and the dimensions of the pan in the recipe.  Hmmm. Putting that batter into this pan would literally be stretching things. There was time to make a run to the store for the fresh ingredients I needed for that evening’s salad and the wrap tray I had ordered for lunch, so I decided to look for a solution to my baking dilemma while there.

Jiffy baking mix? Maybe. I carried the box further down the aisle where I spotted different Krusteaz mixes for bars, cakes, and muffins. Cinnamon Swirl Crumbcake sounded easier, and it was cheaper than the Jiffy mix. So, I took the risk and combined my “scratch” recipe with the box mix.

Our committee members aren’t hard to please, but it was nice to hear them comment about the aromas as it baked and to see them have a second slice at coffee break the next morning. One man even said, “Whoever made this cake ought to start their own bakery”. I consider that success.

Magazine Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup 1/2 c whole wheat flour + 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz oatmeal
  • ⅓ cup coconut canola oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Krusteaz Ingredients

  • Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake Mix
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Egg


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12″ large, round IKEA tart pan with removable bottom.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl (except cinnamon crumb packet).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, eggs, oil, and honey.
  4. Add dry ingredients and cake mix, stirring until moistened. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.) Spoon half of batter into pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon topping over batter.
  5. Drop remaining batter in small spoonfuls over topping layer and spread to pan edge.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with the remaining cinnamon topping.
  7. Arrange the seasoned apple slices in an attractive design over the cake batter in the tart pan.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5-10 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings. I cut mine into 20, but it wasn’t easy to get such narrow slivers even.
Categories: Breakfast, Dessert, Desserts, employment, Food and drink, Fruit, German food, Shopping, work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week

Categories: bacon, beef, Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Chicken, Dessert, Food and drink, German food, Potato, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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