Archive of ‘Desserts’ category

4,000 miles of festivities

 

On long passages the days can blur together in the routine (okay, this is a good passage we’re talking about here).  Sounds boring, but it isn’t xdorayaki 300x224 4,000 miles of festivities bad.  There is always something to do and days slide by almost without notice.  Still, it’s nice to shake a little spice of celebration in there.  Umineko was lucky; of the 4 crew, 2 of us had March birthdays, so we had sea celebrations to plan to break the passage up.

I don’t usually do much for my birthday.  Traveling so much it usually gets forgotten or I’m just not with close friends and it doesn’t matter.  I figured this one would be the same.  Sure, I make cakes for other people on their birthdays but I didn’t really want to make one for myself.  That just seemed gratuitous.

 

 

 

When my birthday came, I wasn’t expecting anything… and almost cried at Sato San’s kindness.  Somehow, on the 45 foot boat he managed to bake me a special Japanese cake called Dorayaki without my knowing!    I could hardly believe it when he brought it out… there was even a candle for me to blow out!

xdorayaki1 300x224 4,000 miles of festivitiesDorayaki is a sweet layer cake filled with anko, brown sugary adzuki bean paste.  No one had baked me a birthday cake since I was a little girl.  I was so touched at Sato San’s delicious creation.

I’m not sure he had ever baked a cake before in his life, but it was scrumptious.  Japanese desserts are not nearly as sweet as Western ones, and dorayaki is no exception.  The layer “cakes” are more like a slightly sweeter version of Western pancakes.  The filling though, anko, is sweet.  My friend’s son calls it “Chinese chocolate,” and I have heard other Americans say it’s too sweet for them.  To me it is sweet and delicious but not too sweet.  I know, I know, we don’t usually think of beans in desserts but believe me.  Anko is yummy.

This isn’t my recipe, but I found a wonderful Dorayaki Recipe on Japanese cooking 101.  Even better (when you have enough bandwidth), they have cooking videos of how to make each recipe.  I highly recommend trying this tasty recipe when you have a chance.

A few weeks later it was Toshi San’s birthday… the Umineko boys had thrown me a fantastic birthday.  I had to make sure Toshi got a fun one too.  Or at least a tasty treat on his birthday.

I did my best to keep it a surprise and bake and decorate while Toshi San slept.  Decorating pies, by the way, is not the easiest thing.  I’m not quite sure I did as good a job as Sato San had with clandestine baking, but I did my best.

Apple pie was one of Toshi San’s favorites, so I had made a point of buying some in Panama and reserving a few for his birthday pie, secreting them in my cabin.

xtoshi birthday 300x225 4,000 miles of festivitiesMost people think of apple pie with milk, and *sigh* ice cream, at least I do.  Alas the nearest ice cream parlor was still well over a thousand nautical miles away and ice cream is one of those things almost impossible to keep on a boat.  The boys poo pooed the idea of apple pie and milk.  Ordinarily we didn’t drink on passage, but today was a birthday celebration.  Beer was in order.  And so it was… we served apple pie and beer for Toshi San’s birthday crossing the Pacific.

Apples are a wonderful fruit to keep at sea.  They last for literally months.  Just keep them wrapped up in a dark, dry, and cool (ish) place there’s one on board.  Since apples grow in cold climates they’re hard to find in the tropics, but they definitely last.  There are people who use canned apples in pie, and admittedly cooking on a yacht I have cut corners that I never thought I would, but I draw the line at canned apples.  To me making apple pie out of a can is nothing short of sacrilegious.

 

Admirals Apple Pie

Crust:

Ingredients:

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c cold butter
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T rum
  • 2 T cold water

Directions:

  • Put flour and salt in bowl.
  • Cut your (cold) butter into table-spoon-sized chunks and stir into flour
  • Use hands to mix butter and flour until butter forms pea-sized lumps
  • Mix in rum 1 T at a time
  • Mix in water squeezing, until dough forms a cohesive ball
  • Divide ball in half, roll into circle and line pie tin
  • Roll other half of dough into thin circle

 

Filling:xapple pie 300x225 4,000 miles of festivities

  • 5 apples, cored and sliced (I prefer granny smith)
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 2 T lemon juice

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to  175 C (350 F)
  • In large bowl place apple slices
  • Mix in remaining ingredients except butter
  • Spoon filling into crust-lined tin
  • Lay remaining dough over pie tin
  • Pinch edges closed
  • Poke vent slits into pie crust with knife
  • Cover edges of pie with tin foil to prevent them from getting too brown
  • Place in oven for 45 minutes
  • Remove tin foil
  • Bake an additional 15 minutes until pie juices just start oozing out of vent slits and crust is a golden brown
  • Allow to cool for at least ½ an hour… if you can wait that long

 

Cutter Cuban French Toast

Wandering the streets of Havana Vieja is like a photographer’s wet dream.  I walked from the historic Hotel Nacional with its crystal chandeliers, ornate furnishings, and pictures of stars who had visited from the 1920s to today.  I walked through the crumbling sections, with the locals playing football, baseball, or dominoes in the street, and finally to the touristic “Havana vieja,” refurbished, reconstructed, and fit for outside eyes.x havana corner Cutter Cuban French Toast

xconstruction2 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastLike a post-apocalyptic Cartagena, vines and decay are well on their way to reclaiming parts of the city .  Stunning art deco buildings are crumbling in disrepair.  Bullet holes in buildings stand as ghostly reminders to the class war that ended Batista’s era of opulence.  It would be tragic, but for the vibrant Cubans living in the ruins.  The juxtaposition of the glorious architecture and the inhabitants, each one a story in him or herself is incredible.  It is like walking back in time.

xclassiccars4 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastCars from the ‘40s, and ‘50s line the streets.  I had heard of this phenomena, but I thought it would be one or two, but no.  Every second car is a beautiful vintage automobile.  The engines have been replaced by Russian diesel motors, but the shape that they are in is fabulous.

 

 

 

xcomputer 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastOne of my favorite corners had a building that said it all.  The skeletal remains of a building with the street sign “Havana” still hanging on the corner.  A Canadian cruiser I know lamented the art deco buildings falling into ruin.  No amount of reconstruction could help these buildings.  Not when the rebar skeletons of the buildings had rusted and collapsed.

 

 

xconstruction 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastAccording to him what they needed to do was just to tear the buildings down and rebuild them from the inside out.  Brushing up the exteriors wouldn’t prevent the building from collapsing in a year or two.  When I peered inside some of the buildings I was shocked.  Many of the buildings with passable exteriors were destroyed inside.  But with Havana a UNESCO world heritage site it was illegal to tear the buildings down.

 

xfruitseller 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastIn the potholed streets surrounded by dilapidated grandeur, fruit sellers pedal their wares, children play games, and day to day life continues.  But one story up, buildings appear in better repair.  The people leaning out over their balconies and interacting with one another from on high fascinated me.  The colorful clothes hung out to dry and their residents washing windows, chatting, or gazing out at their surroundings piques the curiosity.

 

xbalconylife 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastI am overjoyed that I got to see Havana when I did.  Before it was flooded with American tourists.  Before it was remodeled into something else entirely.

 

 

 

 

 

xunloadingboxes 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastThis French toast is a delightful twist on the normal style.  More than that you can just throw it in the oven and then everyone’s breakfast is ready at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

To me rum always gives French toast a little something extra and, of course, some of the best rum in the world comes from Cuba.

xlegendario 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastMy absolute favorite rum is a Cuban brand called Legendario.  The sweet nectar is certainly meant to be sipped in small quantities than mixed or (god forbid) used for cooking. Okay, it’s more of a liqueur than a rum.  Even though I didn’t actually use this delicious drink in cooking I thought a picture of the bottle was necessary when writing about Cuba.

 

Cutter Cuban French Toast

Makes 6 portions

xxbakedfrenchtoastpan 300x225 Cutter Cuban French Toastxxbakedfrenchtoast 300x225 Cutter Cuban French ToastIngredients

  • 1 ½ c butter
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • 2 T molasses
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 French baguette, sliced in about ½”  slices
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ c milk
  • ½ c rum
  • 2 T sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F 170° C
  • Combine butter, 1 ½ c sugar, molasses, 1 t cinnamon, and nutmeg in saucepan
  • Cook over med-low heat stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and mixture is uniform
  • In a small bowl whisk together vanilla, eggs, milk, rum, and remaining t cinnamon
  • Arrange bread in greased baking pan in two layers (a lasagna pan is ideal)
  • Pour egg mixture over bread
  • Bake ½ hour or until center has risen slightly
  • Enjoy!

Remember to take all of it out of the pan immediately.  When the sugars cool they will harden and stick!

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Gaff Guava Feta Pastries

guava feta pastries2 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries

Salud! Education! Seguridad!

Cuba’s motto and Castro’s battle cry. Health, education, and security.  Well, Cuba certainly has all of those things, but at what cost?  Cuba has an excellent health care system.  In fact the Cuban government is encouraging foreigners to come for medical tourism.  Unfortunately, especially in smaller towns, it is difficult to even get soap.

ration card 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries
Even in Havana women come up to tourists begging for soap.  They have a wonderful education system, completely free.  Though many Cubans informed me that much of it is indoctrination rather than freedom – education, but only if you pledge your loyalty and life to the Party.  Numerous Cubans I met were self-educated to avoid this system.  The other problem with this education system is that people with doctorates end up working as garbage men, surgeons as bartenders.  An education is a wonderful thing, but it only means something if you are able to utilize it.

As far as security goes, Cuba has very little crime which is wonderful.  The flip side is that the government rules with an iron fist.  One of the expats told me that there was a robbery at the marina a few years earlier.  When the yacht owner complained four employees were fired.

ration card 2 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries
On my way to Havana University I met a 40-something Cuban man.  Jorge was tall, slim, and delighted to talk about life in Cuba, he sat with me on one of the benches and chatted for over an hour.  Since Raul had come to power people were able to privately own certain things and have businesses.  There were also more religious freedoms which extremely important to Jorge.
I strolled around the beautiful grounds of Havana University.  Its stately architecture and wooded park reminded me a little bit of Columbia.  Not 15 minutes later two Cubans approached me.  Going to Cuba you are told never to talk politics in Cuba but it seemed like every Cuban wanted to tell you about their life.

Havana University2 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries
I won’t say a word about politics, but listening to Cubans is another story and it is fascinating hearing the different viewpoints.  When these two, a man with skin the color of a café ole and startling blue eyes, and a short plump woman, approached me I was extremely curious to see what they had to say.  I listened, fascinated as they recounted the glorious history of their beloved government.  Batista’s government was racist, sexist, and above all classist.  Then the revolution changed everything.  Now Cuba was egalitarian, truly a utopia to hear them talk.  “Salud! Education! Seguidad!” seemed to be every third sentence. Their fervor was impressive.

Havana University 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries

They offered to take me to a student bar that foreigners couldn’t go to alone.  There we could continue our conversation.  I should have declined, but I was curious. Besides, I had another hour to kill before I met the French Canadian expat from the marina at the University.  We went to the student bar, just a few blocks away the Cubans spouting propaganda the entire time.

The bar itself was all-but empty.  We ordered drinks and talked.  After a few minutes they started talking about the monthly allowance for food and the woman pulled out her ration card.  She didn’t have enough to eat and she had a son, could I please help?  Cubans were only allotted a certain amount to eat every month.  They could buy more but because the monthly salary was so low it was hard to get by.

There it was.  The pitch, the begging.  Unfortunately often Cubans, especially younger Cubans, are effusively friendly to tourists because they want something.  In my experience it has always been money.  Sadly, quite a few Cubans try and romance lonely tourists, aging men or women, and get them to marry them.

If your government is so wonderful then why do you need to beg for food?  I thought, but bit my tongue.  They clearly didn’t see it that way.

I didn’t have much money so as badly as I felt I couldn’t give her anything.  No, I didn’t want to buy cigars from them either.  Then they came with the check for the drinks.  This was another scam, they had arranged it with the restaurant to “invite” a tourist and have her pay for their drinks and they would get a portion of the profits.

I didn’t like it, but I did pay 10 CUC for the drinks. I was paying for the lesson. It was an eye-opening afternoon.  When I met the French Canadian, he told me that as an ex-pat living in Cuba on and off for 3 years he only had one Cuban who he would call a friend.  Tourists were walking ATMs.  They would never steal.

Cuba is an extremely safe country, but begging, sob stories, and scamming tourists into handing over their money was standard. As friendly as they seemed, Cubans didn’t really want to be friends… they were looking for an “in” so they could find a way out.

I’m not entirely sure if I believe everything that he told me, but I was certainly more on guard after that.  We took the circuitous (and extremely cheap) bus system back to Marina Hemmingway.  As soon as we were back I went to the galley to do some baking.  After the bitter experience, however interesting, I needed something sweet.

Guavas are ubiquitous in Cuba and Central America so guava paste is common in deserts.  In Colombia one of my favorite snacks is called bocadillo con queso, which is basically guava paste with salty cheese. The combination of sweet and salty is delectable. Many shops also sell buns filled with a bit of guava paste and salty local cheese.

Not surprisingly these guava and salty cheese buns are popular in Cuba as well, but are more for special occasions.  In honor of being in Cuba I decided to make guava feta buns. The Cuban kitchen cookbook says that traditional Cuban bread is a delicious sweet bread with eggs.

Unfortunately those days are long gone.  With 5 eggs allotted per person per month Cubans have to use their eggs wisely.  The other problem is that flour in short supply (I couldn’t find it in any local shops in Havana or Jaimanitas and no one could tell me where to get some).  Generally Cubans just buy their bread from a local bakery that bakes two or three ways of baking the same bread dough (buns, longer baguette loaves, and maybe hard bread sticks).

I took it old school. Instead of old-fashioned Cuban bread I substituted Heave Ho Challah.  The resulting guava feta pastries were delicious. For something a little different these pastries are a lot of fun.  You can buy cans of guava paste in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores in the States and most places in the Caribbean and Central America.
Gaff Guava Feta Pastries
Ingredients:
1⁄2 recipe Heave Ho Challah bread dough
1⁄2 c feta cheese crumbles
Guava paste
1 egg beaten (optional)

guava feta pastries11 300x225  Gaff Guava Feta Pastries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F 170 ° C
Divide dough into plum-sized balls
Flatten each ball either with palm or a rolling pin into circle
Spoon 1 T guava paste and 2 T feta in the middle of each circle
Fold edges around paste and cheese forming either little purse pockets or crescent rolls
Brush with egg wash for a beautiful golden brown color
Bake for 20 minutes

Ballast Blueberry Muffins

DSCN8761 1024x768 Ballast Blueberry MuffinsSpeeding our way to Annapolis through grey days full of rain, mist, countercurrents, and a headwind was anything but warm.  And what do you do on unheated boat when it’s cold?  Bake.  
I found a container of blueberries that had fallen through the cracks so to speak.  By through the cracks I mean somehow it had fallen down into the depths of the back of our refrigerator/freezer.  The place you can only get to by lying on the counter and leaning halfway into the refrigerator/freezer balancing and hoping you don’t fall in.
Somehow the berries had been kept just on the edge of freezing and the low temperatures had extended their life for almost 6-weeks.  I recovered the berries from the frozen part of the refrigerator/freezer plump, juicy, and beautiful as the day they were plucked.  Still, they needed to be used.  What better an end then blueberry muffins?
Muffins and really all quick breads are great for sailing.  They take almost no preparation time.  I really recommend having a muffin tin aboard because muffins take significantly less baking time (and thus propane) than tea cakes.  Another reason that muffins are better sailing food than tea cake is that each one is a single serving and you do not have to bother with cutting off a slice.  Just grab and go.  The 6 muffins I made (we only have a small muffin tin) were devoured in less than an hour.  The blueberry teacake lasted 3-days before I cut it into slices and made French toast out of it.
And unlike banana bread, blueberry muffins are best hot and fluffy right out of the oven.  Tasty, tender, and scrumptious you’ll want to eat so many you’ll make a good ballast for your boat.
   Ballast Blueberry Muffins
Ballast: Weights to help counter-balance the effect of wind on the masts and give the boat stability.

Ingredients:
  • 3 c Flour
  • 1 c   Sugar
  • 1 ½ t Baking powder
  • ½ t Salt
  • ¾ c Vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ c Milk
  • 3 Eggs (or 1 ½ T egg replacer)
  • 1 T Vanilla
  • 1 ½ c Blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F (175◦ Celsius or medium)
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla
  • When mixed well add blueberries
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Enjoy!
  • DSCN8776 300x225 Ballast Blueberry Muffins

Cruisers’ Ice Cream

DSCN9226 300x225 Cruisers Ice CreamI scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream.

And you’ll be screaming for quite a while at sea.  The one thing that I miss more than any other when sailing is ice cream.  Sure there are yachts with fabulous freezers, but generally they are filled with fish, meats, and other “necessary” frozen things

 

One of the first things I do when I hit land is scout out the nearest ice cream parlor.  Alas on small islands the ice cream isn’t usually the best but I’m an addict, what can I say?

Between ports though, on long passages, what’s a girl to do?  Make a substitute for ice cream.  That’s what.  I’ve been making versions of this Indian rice pudding for years.  Rich, creamy, and decadent, it is the best substitute for ice cream I’ve found.  I like to make a big batch before a long passage and pull it out of the bottom of the fridge on those hot days I’m dreaming of ice cream.

DSCN9188 300x225 Cruisers Ice CreamCruisers Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c rice
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 c coconut milk
  • 2 c water
  • 1 ½ t ground cardamom
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ c pistachios, chopped
  • 1 T rose water

Directions:

  • DSCN9192 300x225 Cruisers Ice Cream
  • Wash rice well and soak in water to cover generously for 15 minutes.
  • Drain
  • Put rice and water in pan and bring to boil for 5 minutes
  • Turn off heat and allow to steam 5 minutes
  • Stir in milk, water, coconut milk, cinnamon, and cardamom
  • Bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
  • Cook 45 minutes
  • Remove cinnamon stick
  • Stir in pistachiosDSCN9325 1024x768 Cruisers Ice Cream
  • Cool to room temperature. Mix in rosewater

 

Chill 24 hours

Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

DSCN8899 1024x768 Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

Yachting puts things in perspective.  All along the Erie Canal people marveled on Umineko, a 43’ catamaran’s size.  She was enormous.   In places it was difficult to find places to moor, we couldn’t take the Chamblee canal because we were too wide!  A big fish in a small pond.

As we sailed into Charleston, Charleston City Marina informed us over the VHF radio that we would have to stay on their megadock.  Another boat was staying in slip they had Umineko scheduled to moor in.  Docking at the megadock was a reality check.  We were dwarfed; by far the smallest boat on the pier.

But even the goliath power boats lining the pier looked tiny next to Rising Sun, the world’s 3rd largest private vessel.  Why anyone would need a private yacht the size of a city block that employed a 45-person crew is beyond me but apparently David Geffin likes his toys.

Still, even a yacht that size, even the largest tanker, the most massive ocean liner is minuscule in the middle of the ocean.  Perhaps that’s why they stay at the dock so much of the time.

But more than simply the home of “the megadock,” Charleston is a culinary epicenter, or at least that’s what every resident and visitor told me.  And being in a food-loving city I felt like I needed to step up to the challenge and bake some unique cookies.

I adore rosewater and have since I first tasted baklava.  I feel like it isn’t used nearly enough in cooking and I wanted to incorporate it into more of mine.  The last time I was in an Indian grocery I picked up a bottle and had been waiting to use it.  This was the perfect opportunity.

These shortbread-like cookies melt in your mouth.  The delicate rose taste gives them an almost an angelic flavor.  The meaty texture and flavor of the whole almond in the center of the cookie rounds the dessert out nicely.

DSCN8894 1024x768 Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

Rosewater Almond Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 ½ c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T rose water
  • Whole almonds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F (170◦ C)
  • Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract
  • Mix in flour and salt
  • Form into walnut-sized balls
  • Press gently to flatten the ball slightly
  • Push almond into center
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until just a touch of golden-brown appears around the sides of the cookies
  • Allow to cool 20 minutes

Enjoy!

 

Following Seas Rum Cake

DSCN8770 1024x768 Following Seas Rum CakeWe made it to the Annapolis boat show just one day behind the original schedule and lucky we were a day late.  Torrential rains had been battering Annapolis for most of the week.  Our first full day I hid at the marina trying my best to stay dry and baking. That night on the other hand, was a party hosted by the World Cruising Club who had organized the World ARC round-the-world rally where I had met Umineko.

If there’s one thing that brings cruisers out, it’s the promise of free alcohol. Four other boats from the WARC were there.  This kicked off a weekend of joyful reunion and festivities.

Nothing builds camaraderie and strengthens relationships like struggle and fighting through difficult situations.  Though sailing around the world is fun and a wonderful adventure, there is also a good measure of danger.  It was wonderful to see our old friends from the WARC, and this weekend especially because it was one of the most dynamic WARC member’s birthday.

The year before we had celebrated Andrea’s birthday in Mauritius at an unforgettable party so this year’s reunion was perfect.  The scientist and successful artist and her husband had decided that the UK was a bit cold and damp for them so had sold the business and decided to sail around with their family.  After a year in the tropics they had decided that warm weather was much nicer than the chilly climate of England and were selling their house and living on their boat in warmer longitudes.

The Mauritius party was impossible to recreate, but Corinne, another fabulous WARC cruiser, booked the Annapolis Yacht Club for cocktails and a wonderful dinner.

I had been thinking about what kind of cake would be the best for Andrea’s birthday for months.  Then it hit me: rum cake.  Made with rum from Mauritius.

Years ago a friend gave me the recipe for Meyer’s Rum Cake.  It was delicious and an easy recipe using a cake mix.  I made the cake (the bottom layer of the pictured cake is the Meyers recipe), but while I was mixing I sampled the batter.  It tasted slightly stale, chemical; like something that had come out of a box. What was I thinking? I could do better than cake mix!

The cake came out wonderfully; the ideal cake for a reunion of mariners. (we won’t talk about the decoration… I never claimed to be a cake decorator).  This is my loose (and more alcoholic) version of that recipe.

DSCN8780 300x225 Following Seas Rum Cake

Following Seas Rum Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ c water
  • ½ c dark rum

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 (175 c or Medium heat)
  • Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar
  • Cut butter into dry ingredients until pea-sized lumps
  • Make a well and pour in eggs, vanilla, cream, water and rum
  • Mix thoroughly
  • Grease and flour a pan
  • Pour mixture into pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn pan and bake another 20 minutes or until toothpick (or sharp knife) comes out batter-free

Glaze

Ingredients:

  • ½ c butter
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ c rum

Directions:

  • Melt butter over very low heat
  • Stir in water and sugar and simmer stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved
  • Remove from heat
  • Stir in rum gradually until mixture is uniform
  • Prick cake with fork and drizzle glaze on top and sides, allowing cake to absorb glaze. The process may take a while.  Drizzle a few coats on, leave the cake, and then come back to it in 10 minutes giving the time for the syrup to fully absorb.  Repeat until syrup is gone.
DSCN8772 300x225 Following Seas Rum Cake

I never claimed to be a cake decorator

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 1 c bittersweet chocolate (I like chips but you can also use baking chocolate or a bar)
  • ½ c cream
  • ¼ c rum

Directions:

  • Melt chocolate over very low heat (or in double boiler)
  • Stir in cream slowly
  • Remove from heat and stir in rum
  • birthday 1024x768 Following Seas Rum Cake

Bosun’s Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

DSCN8749 300x225 Bosuns Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

Umineko was made for sailing in tropical climates.  I am perfectly okay with that, that’s where I want to sail too.  I’m okay with that as long as we’re actually sailing in the tropics.  When summer turns to autumn, leaves are panted brilliant rainbow and the temperatures start to dip and you are on a boat with no heating system.  Then it’s a problem.

What’s a girl to do on a boat without heating?  That’s easy… bake!

So many sailors value their pressure cookers because they don’t waste heat (or propane).  I have flipped this around and use my oven to help keep me warm as well.  When we get to warmer climates the pressure cooker will come out to play but until then I am relying on the oven to keep warm.

We ran out of butter.  I know, I know, I should have provisioned better (especially doing coastal sailing) but such is life on the water.  I really wanted something sweet for tea time and clearly cookies were out of the question.  What sweet treat could I make that didn’t require butter?

I didn’t want to make a tea cake and Sato San had bought biscotti several times.  So I decided to dust off one of my old recipes and tailor it to what we had on the boat.

I am overjoyed I did.  Biscotti are simple to make and fabulous cruising food.  You may not be able to get butter everywhere, or want to use your precious stores, but eggs are universal.  (I haven’t tried with egg replacer just yet).  Better still they are filling, and packed with protein and vitamins.  Depending what nuts and dried fruits you put in them, of course.

Biscotti are a new favorite of mine to bake, and of everyone on Umineko.  The one problem with making rather than buying biscotti is that they never seem to last more than a few hours.

Bosun’s Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients:

  • ¾ c walnuts chopped
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ c dried cranberries
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 t vanilla

 Directions:

  • Butter pan & line with wax paper (you can use 2 loaf pans or form into loaf-like shape on baking sheet which is what I did.  The batter is thick enough it will stay)
  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F (170◦ C or medium)
  • Press dough into pan or form into rectangular, loaf-like shape
  • Bake 35 minutes
  • Cool 5 minutes
  • Cut 1/8 in slices
  • Lay flat on cookie sheet
  • Bake additional 15 minutes until outside slightly crispy

DSCN8799 1024x768 Bosuns Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

Anchor Out Anpan

DSCN8717 1024x768 Anchor Out Anpan

We moseyed our way down the Erie Canal.  We had 3-weeks to kill going through 9-locks.  Sailing is always game of hurrying up and waiting, but this was even more frustrating than normal.  We weren’t waiting for the right weather; we were waiting for work to get done.  To take a little more time and show Marion, our guest star crew, something a different side to boating, we anchored out on Oneida Lake for the night.

Clear skies, not a breath of wind, it was perfect weather for it.  In the crisp cool late-September air I decided to bake a little sweet treat to keep our spirits up.

My friend Helen’s son calls red bean paste “Chinese Chocolate,” and I think that’s the most accurate description I’ve heard.  I have loved the sweet paste since the first time I tried it.  Whenever I go to Chinatown I never fail to pick up one or two bean paste buns for the road.

It wasn’t until crewing on a Japanese boat that I discovered how easy anpan, the bean paste buns, were to make.  Well, especially if you have a can of red bean paste.  Net step, making it from scratch…

Anchor out Anpan

Ingredients:

  • ½ recipe heave ho challah dough
  • ½ can red bean paste

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F
  • Beat egg and water together to make egg wash
  • Form golf ball-sized balls of dough
  • Flatten into circle in palm – circle should be about 1/8 in thick
  • Spoon 2 T re bean paste into center of circle
  • Pull opposite ends of dough up, pinching together in the middle like a drawstring purse
  • Place on greased baking sheet pinched side down
  • Brush tops with egg wash
  • Bake 20 min or until tops are golden brown
  • Enjoy!
  • DSCN8719 1024x768 Anchor Out Anpan

Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

cooking up a storm Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

Cooking up a storm

We’re stuck.  We got the news this morning when Sato San went to pay the marina bill.  Brewerton Boatyard had just gotten the fax.  The Erie Canal was closed for repairs.  Locks 12-14 were drained.   For 3-weeks.

Marion, our French crew-member, had taken her 2-weeks of holiday to spend sailing up the Erie Canal with us.  She’d only been with us 2-days and now we were stuck!  Even worse, we had plans to meet friends at Annapolis Boat show on October 10.  If the canal was closed for 3-weeks there wasn’t any chance we could make it to the boat show on time.

I called, hoping to find out it was all a big joke, a mistake, some kind of misprint anything!  But no. Flooding had washed out reinforcements and a dam was on the verge of bursting at lock 13.  It just wasn’t safe to keep it open.

The canal’s navigation manager tried to help us figure out an alternate route.  Going North and up to Montreal might work… Umineko only had a 3’ ½ draft… But when he asked our beam he groaned.   The narrowest lock on the Chamblee Canal was only 21’ wide.  There wasn’t any way we would fit through.  We were stuck until they opened the canal.

In the face of disaster we did the one thing we could: turned to sweets.  I grabbed the sugar and started in on my twist on a traditional  French dish.

DSCN8657 1024x768 Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

 

Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Cardinal Crepes
  • 1 recipe Cumulus Carmel Sauce
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Sugar Apple filling

Directions:

  • Spoon cinnamon sugar apples onto crepe in line
  • Spoon a bit of caramel sauce over
  • Fold edges over until tube-shape
  • Drizzle caramel sauce over top
  • Enjoy!

 

Cumulus clouds indicate fair weather and caramel sauce always lifts the mood and thus cumulus caramel sauce earned its name

Caramel is basically burnt sugar, well singed a bit,  but it always tastes delicious, and the more cream and butter you add the better.  I almost always have sugar around but don’t often carry cream on board.  No worries though because caramel sauce, caramel candy’s thinned-down cousin doesn’t need cream to taste delicious.

Cumulus Caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • ½ c water

Directions:

  • Spread sugar in thick-bottomed pan and melt over low heat stirring constantly until liquid and turning golden brown
  • Remove from heat and add 1 T butter stirring furiously as sugar boils up and butter melts into the mixture.  When mixed add second tablespoon of butter.
  • Return to heat until mixture liquid
  • Add thin stream of water stirring constantly until a thin consistency
  • Remove from heat and enjoy
  • You may want to add a few tablespoons more water if the sauce starts to thicken.

 

Cinnamon-sugar Apple Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 granny smith apples peeled and diced
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon

Directions:

  • Place apples and lemon juice in saucepan over medium-low heat
  • Mix in cinnamon and sugar
  • Cook for 3 minutes, or slightly longer depending how well-done you like your apples

 

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