Category Archives: Fruit

Homemade Hanukkah Applesauce

Happy Hanukkah! My husband is Jewish and last night for dinner I made latkes (potato pancakes), along with some some other traditional Jewish food. Admittedly, my husband didn’t grow up with any strong religious traditions, but he really appreciates that I make sure Hanukkah doesn’t get lost amongs my (many) Christmas celebrations.

Confession: since I’m not too familiar with making or eating latkes, mazo ball soup, challah bread and blintzes, I either made these things from a box recipe or I bought them fresh from a bakery. However, I wanted something to be made from scratch, so the applesauce it was! I also was delighted to find out that I already  had all of the ingredients right here at home. This applesauce took a few guesses, but I was familiar with the basics. I thought it came out great and my husband actually asked me to make more just to have as a snack!

Note: you can adjust the amounts of sugar and cinnamon depending on the kind of apples you use and how sweet you want it to be. To make a creamer applesauce rather than a chunky one, which I  like, use a food processor or hand mixer instead of a potato masher.


  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ¾  cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ tsp.  ground cinnamon


In a large pot add all ingredients. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until apples are very soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain water and mash with a potato masher. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Summer Fruit Pocket Pies

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. Between my work schedule and my belated honeymoon to Italy, I don’t think I’ve had very many long and lazy summer evenings this year. Long gone are the days of my teenaged years that I spent in the swimming pool, climbing out only to eat a sandwich or to drip through my mom’s kitchen to go to the bathroom. I miss giggling with my best friend on the front porch, with the crickets and lightening bugs keeping us company. My parents had long since gone to bed and we giggled and talked until we saw the headlights of her mom’s car pull into my driveway. And I can still imagine waking up in the morning to the summer sounds of humming lawnmowers, ticking sprinklers and bouncing basketballs throughout the neighborhood.

To remind myself that it’s summer and that summer is meant for quiet evenings doing nothing but enjoying life, I turn to fruit pie and ice cream. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a steamy August morning, a scorching July afternoon or a muggy Indian summer night, everyone finds the time to slow down the pace for pie and ice cream. This recipe is perfect for making pocket pies. That’s right – everyone gets their own personal pie to bring out to that backyard hammock or front porch swing and watch the world go by and the summer slip away all too soon. Here’s to summer and to savoring every moment of it!

Fruit Pocket Pies (adapted from Williams Sonoma and can be used with their Pocket Pie Mold)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbs. sugar, plus more for sprinkling

16 tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

6 to 8 tbs. ice water

½ – 1 cup frozen or canned fruit pie filling (I use cherry, blueberry or apple)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water

Vanilla ice cream for serving


In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar sugar until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons of ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out one dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch (2-3mm) thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 1 to 2 tbs. of pie filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes about 8 pocket pies.

Fourth of July Patriotic Berry Trifle

This is my kind of birthday cake! And by birthday I mean our country’s birthday as well as mine! I was born sometime between the fourth and fifth of July (I was adopted from South Korea, so time differences considered, it was  probably the fourth of July here in the U.S.), and Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday. Yes, I love all things fireworks, picnics, American flags and red, white and blue.

This is the berry trifle that I made for my crab feast in the beginning of June, but I think it’s the perfect dessert to kick off the holiday weekend. If you’re trying to find a festive dessert to serve at your Fourth of July picnic, this is it! Not only is it light, sweet and delicious, it serves a LOT of people. The recipe calls for store bought angelfood cake, but I think a homemade angelfood cake would definitely up the wow-factor with your guests. This trifle is originally from Food Network Magazine, but I used regular vanilla extract instead of the almond extract that the recipe calls for. I think it was just as good with the vanilla and I saved myself from having to buy yet another ingredient for my party.

Happy Birthday America (and me, too)!


1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 premade angel food cake, cut into 1-inch slices

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups heavy cream at room temperature

2 pints blueberries

2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced


Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

 Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut the slices into 1-inch cubes.

 Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

 Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Dollop half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread. Top with a layer of strawberries.

 Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with more blueberries and top with the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern. Cover and refrigerate one hour.