the Pence family cookbook

Recipes in Category “Dessert”

Apricot Upside Down Cake

dessert apricot cake untested


For the Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons / 55 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • Flour, for dusting
  • ½ cup / 110 grams light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 medium apricots, rinsed and dried (about 1 pound)

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup / 130 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup / 55 grams almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons / 85 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup / 135 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup / 120 milliliters whole milk


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the topping: Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan or an 8-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread the brown sugary mix in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits. Arrange the apricots, flesh-side down, evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Prepare the cake batter: Add the flour to a medium bowl. Sift in the almond flour, then use your fingertips to break up any clumps that don’t fit through the sieve. Add the baking powder and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attached, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium until combined and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  5. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture, then ½ of the milk, mixing to combine. Continue alternating the additions of flour and milk and mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl, just until all is combined. (Make sure not to overmix during this step.)
  6. Spread the batter in an even layer over the apricot halves. Bake until the cake is set and doesn’t jiggle when shaken, is golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from the oven, and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. With the cake still in the pan, turn the pan over onto a serving platter. Wait 1 minute, then remove the pan. This cake is excellent warm, but it’s also delicious at room temperature.


Olive Oil Cake

dessert cake untested


  • ¾ cup/177 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup/118 milliliters Earl Grey tea, or use coffee, dry red wine, orange juice or water
  • ½ cup/50 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/135 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda


  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring tea or other liquid to a simmer, then turn off heat. Whisk in cocoa, cinnamon and salt until smooth, then set aside to cool.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat for about 3 minutes. Reduce speed and pour in cocoa mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Gradually beat in flour and baking soda until just incorporated.

  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until the sides are set but it’s still slightly damp in the center, 35 to 45 minutes. A cake tester should come up clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan.


Cranberry Tart

dessert cranberry untested


For the cranberry curd:

  • 1 pound (455 grams/4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1/2 cup juice)
  • One (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch fine sea salt or table salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and at room temperature

For the gingersnap cookie crust:

  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams/1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed (55 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt


  1. Make the cranberry curd: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice, ginger and salt and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer, cover and cook until all the cranberries have burst and started to shrivel, about 10 minutes.

  2. While the cranberries cook, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth. Transfer the hot cranberry mixture to a heatproof blender. Immediately add the yolk mixture, cover loosely, gradually increase the speed to high and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Let the mixture cool, uncovered, in the blender until a skin forms and it registers 120 to 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

  3. Make the gingersnap cookie crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown and granulated sugars on medium-low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium, add the egg yolk and molasses and mix to combine. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl thoroughly. Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt and mix on low speed until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like crumbly cookie dough, about 1 minute.

  5. Turn out the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  6. When the crust is ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Dock the crust across the bottom with a fork and blind-bake (without pie weights), until evenly golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before adding the filling.

  7. When the cranberry puree has cooled, add the softened butter and blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the puree into the cooled crust and smooth with an offset spatula into an even layer. Let the tart sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.


Twice Baked Honey Cakes

dessert honey cake untested


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey + 1/4 cup honey for drizzling on top
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the inside of the muffin wells extremely well. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Cut in the room temperature butter to the flour mixture until it looks like a sandy/gravely mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, and vanilla. Pour the liquids over the dry mixture and combine until just combined - do not over-mix.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin wells - it will be between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup of batter each.

Bake for 16 minutes, or until mostly done but not quite golden enough.

Remove from the muffin pan and place the muffins on a silpat lined rimmed baking sheet.

Warm the remaining 1/4 cup honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Using a silicone pastry brush, coat the tops of the cakes with the honey. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to let the honey soak into the cakes.

Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown.

The Gingered Whisk

Orval Creme Brulee

dessert beer


  • 1 bottle of Orval
  • 150 g fine sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 500 mL cream
  • 25 g brown sugar (for top)


(Serves four; original recipe was doubled.)

Reduce the beer by half and let it cool. Mix the fine sugar with the egg yolks until the mixture turns white. Add the cream and the beer. Mix well with a whisk. Divide the mixture into the appropriate ramekins. Cook for one hour in an oven at 100C (212F) in a water bath. Let cool in the fridge. Before serving, cover with brown sugar and caramelize it with a small torch.

À l’Ange Gardien, Villers-devant-Orval

Toffee Almond Bars

dessert almond


  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 c. (8-10 oz.) toffee bits (Skor, Heath, etc.)
  • 3/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 c. sliced almonds
  • 3/4 c. coconut flakes


Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9" baking pan.

Beat butter and suar until fluffy. Gradually add flour, beating until well blended. Press evenly into pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until edges lightly browned. Meanwhile, combine toffee bits and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until toffee is melted (10-12 minutes). Stir in 1/2 c. almonds and 1/2 c. coconut. Spread mixture to within 1/4" of edges of crust. Sprinkle remaining almonds and coconut over top.

Bake an additional 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Cool completely, and cut into bars.


dessert french


  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 c. (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. (80 g) rye flour
  • 1 tbsp. pain d’épices spice blend
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 egg yolk
  • black currant jam (or orange marmalade)
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter, oil, water, honey, and brown sugar, and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and spice blend. Stir. Pour the honey mixture into the flour and stir to combine. Add the rum, vanilla, orange zest, and egg yolk, and stir.

Butter the bottoms of a muffin tin. Fill each with batter 1/2 to 2/3 full. Make an indentation and put a teaspoon of jam inside. (Alternatively, half-fill the molds, add the jam, and then add more batter.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the dough springs back when pressed.

While baking, prepare the glaze by combining powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. While the nonnettes are still warm and in the molds, spoon the glaze over them, letting the glaze drip down into the molds. Remove when cool.

Daring Gourmet

Tiramisu aux fraises, aux pistaches et à l’orange

dessert strawberry pistachio orange


  • 2 œufs
  • 300g de fraises
  • 2 oranges
  • 250 g de mascarpone
  • 25 cl de crème fraîche à 35%
  • 200 g de biscuits « Cuillers »
  • 80 g de sucre ultrafin


  • 200 g de fraises
  • 1 orange
  • 50 g de pistaches décortiquées
  • 2 brins de menthe


Lavez et équeutez les fraises, puis coupez-les en morceaux. Pressez le jus des oranges.

Séparez les blancs des jaunes d’oeufs. Fouettez ces derniers avec le sucre, jusqu’à ce que le mélange blanchisse et devienne mousseux. Ajoutez le mascarpone, en mélangeant délicatement au fouet, à la main. Joignez ensuite la crème fraîche fouettée en chantilly; mélangez bien. Montez les blancs neige bien ferme et incorporez-les délicatement à la préparation.

Trempez la moitié des biscuits, un par un, dans le jus d’orange. Rangez-les au fur et à mesure dans le fond d’un plat rectangulaire. Recouvrez-les avec la moitié de la crème et disposez les fraises coupées par-dessus. Surmontez-les d’un deuxième couche de biscuits imbibés de jus d’orange. Nappez avec le restant de la crème, égalisez la surface et couvrez de film fraicheur. Laissez reposer 24h au frigo.

Hachez grossièrement les pistaches au couteau. Pelez l’orange à vif et taillez-la en fines tranches. Lavez, équeutez et coupez les fraises en morceaux. Décorez le dessus du tiramisu avec ces éléments, ajoutez quelques feuilles de menthe et servez frais.


Tarte aux framboises

dessert pie raspberry untested


  • 1 rouleau de pâte brisée
  • 500 g de framboises
  • le jus de 2 citrons
  • 1 blanc d’œuf
  • 1 càs de semoule de maïs
  • 1 jaune d’œuf
  • 50 g de sucre
  • 150 ml d’eau


Déroulez la pâte et déposez-la avec le papier de cuisson dans un moule à tarte. Découpez le papier de cuisson superflu.

Piquez le fond, recouvrez de papier de cuisson et parsemez de haricots secs. Faites cuire pendant 15 min au four préchauffé à 200 C. Enlevez les haricots et laissez le moule à tarte refroidir.

Entre-temps, portez l’eau, le jus de citron et le sucre à ébullition. Battez le jaune d’œuf avec 2 càs d’eau et la semoule de maïs. Sans cesser de mélanger, ajoutez ce mélange à l’eau citronnée bouillante. Faites bouillir le tout. Retirez du feu.

Battez le blanc d’œuf en neige et incorporez-le délicatement à la crème de citron encore chaude. Laissez refroidir, versez la crème dans le moule à tarte et recouvrez de framboises. Saupoudrez de sucre glace.

Pâte brisée Delhaize

Raspberry Bars

dessert raspberry untested


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons almond or vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of each
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries divided
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 3-6 tablespoons milk, as needed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine melted butter, sugar, and extract. Stir together. Add salt and flour and stir. Press dough into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Stir and gently mash half of the fresh raspberries into the raspberry preserves. Spread filling onto prepared crust. Top with remaining fresh raspberries.

Dice the chilled butter into small cubes. In a medium bowl stir together brown sugar, oats, flour, and salt. Add butter and mash with a fork (or pulse in a food processor!) until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting into bars. While cooling, prepare the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to make the glaze easily pourable. Drizzle over bars and serve.

Creme de la Crumb