Sweet and Tart Easy Plum and Papaya Puff Pastry


This recipe also yields a ruby red syrup that you can be drizzled on gelato, pancakes or waffles, and even incorporated into cream cheese for delectable french toast sandwiches.

A friend gave us a bag of really beautiful plums that grew on the tree in his yard.  I already had some papaya at the house, and mixing the two of them together made a fine dessert that also doubles as a breakfast pastry.

This dessert is not very sweet, so if you want more sugar, simply add more.  It won’t hurt the results at all.

If you want the juices to be more of a sauce consistency, like you would put in an American style pie crust, simply up the amount of cornstarch to 1 T.

Otherwise, follow the recipe as it is.  Enjoy it plain, with ice cream, with powdered sugar, with vanilla sauce, or with whipped cream.  It’s really good with coffee, and it also tastes fabulous with honey drizzled on it.


Sweet and Tart Easy Plum and Papaya Puff Pastry

Preheat oven to package directions for puff pastry

8 fresh plums, sliced about 1/2 inch thick and (obviously) pitted, you don’t have to peel them

2 cups sliced fresh papaya, about 1/2 inch thick

1/4 C + 1 T raw sugar (plus some more for sprinkling on the crust)

1/4 t pink salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1 1/2 t corn starch

1 egg beaten, or some melted butter

Cut the fruit and put in a bowl.  Add the sugar, and the spices, and the salt, and mix.  Let sit for a little bit.  The salt and sugar are breaking down the cell walls, so even a not so juicy fruit will start to release the liquids from the cells.  Once the liquid from the cells is released, and the sugar mixes with it, it will be super tasty.  The longer you let it sit, the tastier it is.

Line a baking sheet with oven paper.

Ponder life if you’re short on time, otherwise, let it sit for a while.  You can actually let it sit overnight with no problems.

Pour the fruit and it’s juices into a pan and cook for over low heat for about 5 – 8 minutes.  If it sat overnight, then 5 minutes is probably ok.

Mix the cornstarch with a bit of water to make a slurry, and whisk into the fruit mixture.  Let it thicken for a couple of minutes.  I like to run my finger along the wooden spoon and see it make a mark.  A thickness like the thickness of maple syrup for pancakes.

Take off heat and let cool for a little bit.

Roll puff pastry onto the paper lined pan.

Strain the liquid out of the fruit mixture (reserve the liquid) and ladle the fruit into the puff pastry.

Fold into an envelope shape, make and make a few slits on the top for heat ventilation.  Brush the beaten egg onto the top and sprinkle with some sugar. Cook according to puff pastry package instructions.

Let cool down before you cut.  Served best at “still warm from the oven”, or room temperature.


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Dang Good Oatmeal Choco Chip Corn Nut Cookies


“Hmmm…” Thought I.  “I bet these corn nuts (maize tostada) would taste good in a dessert.”

“And…”  Thought I, “those chocolate chip cookies with the pumpkin seeds (semi di zucca)  were really good.  I wonder how they made them?”

“Oh look!”  Thought I with an exclamation point! “Oat flour!”

And that is how these dang good cookies came to be.

My husband likes them with a caffè (coffee) for dessert or a snack, and with tea (tè) for breakfast.  I like them Americana style with a glass of cold, raw milk on the side.

This recipe makes 18 cookies as measured out with an ice cream scoop.  Make sure to leave some space between them so each cookie has some room to spread.

*note* I used 1 tsp Lievito Pane Degli Angeli as a substitute for 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 t vanilla extract because I couldn’t find any regular baking powder.  I like the rising power of the Paneangeli, but I don’t really care for the artificial vanilla taste it has.

Dang Good Oatmeal Choco Chip Corn Nut Cookies

1/2 C (113 g) butter, room temp

1/2 C brown raw sugar (can substitute regular light brown sugar, packed)

1/2 C raw sugar (can use regular sugar)

1 large pasture egg, room temp

3/4 C white flour

1/2 C oat flour

1 t lievito pane degli angeli

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 C rolled or quick cooking oats

1/4 C pumpkin seeds

1/4 C chopped corn nuts

1/4 C chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract (if using) and cream again.

In separate bowl whisk the flours, lievito pane degli angeli, and baking soda.

Add about 1/2 the flour mixture, mix well, and then add the remaining dry flour mixture, mixing well, and scraping the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Add the oats, pumpkin seeds, corn nuts and chocolate chips.  Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Put into refrigerator and chill while you preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with oven paper.  Once the oven has reached temperature, take out the cookie dough and measure out each cookie with an ice cream scoop.  Gently flatten the top of each cookie but don’t worry about a perfect shape.  The nooks and crannies help it to cook into crispy edges.

Cook for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool down on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling grate.

IF, and I’m not saying you will, but IF you decide that you absolutely must have just a little taste after it comes out of the oven, you will notice that the cookie is ALMOST completely cooked in the inside, but not all the way.  That is perfectly okay.  The cookies will continue to finish cooking on the pan and as they cool down.


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Greek Orange Pie ( Portokalopita )


‘Tis the season of fresh oranges, and the markets are full of many different varieties.  Each year, I try out my Orange Pie recipe.  I think the picture of this years version looks like a piece of art.  No filter either!  It was right out of the oven, and the honey orange syrup and not yet started to soak in.

Each year I make it, I make it a little bit differently, and each time I make it, I am trying to recreate at some point, the Portokalopita (Orange Pie) I liked most.  I’ve had fluffy, like a cake – custardy, like a pie, and sort of crispy  – like the type of donut called a cruller.  In every case, regardless of the texture, it is made with phyllo dough, and then drenched in a honey orange syrup.

The first time I tried the pie, was on the island of Milos, in Greece.  This island may only be about 60 square miles, but it’s fascinating history and varied terrain begs for hours of exploration.  Each day we would get up early, pack some snacks, and head out on the scooter to discover secluded beaches, ancient ruins, pirate caves, and, of course, food.  Map in hand, with sunhats, sunscreen, and swimsuits, we’d head off the paved road to see what we could see.

This was my favorite version, and it looks like they probably cooked it on a sheet pan.  Those wonderful dark freckles are bits of chocolate.  I’m not much of a chocolate and orange combination fan, but I started to become one after a slice of this sunset on a plate.  It was served warm which means they popped it in the oven and it got a good crisp along the edges. This is the one I call the crispy version.


In this video, you can get an idea of what it is like to hop on a scooter and go motoring along the island. We saw a beach, way down below us, and decided to find out if it was possible to reach it.  Although the video is shaky, you can see the Mediterranean, and the winding road that zig zags back and forth and up and down the hills.  There is no way to get from one hill to the other without spiraling down, and then back up again.  For such a small island, the sheer diversity of it’s natural beauty and ancient history could take weeks to discover.

Some say that it was on this island that Paul was shipwrecked and shook the asp off his hand and into the fire. Other islands claim the same thing, but it is here that the oldest Christian catacombs were discovered, and it is here that the only known Greek Island asp from ancient times still resides.  These catacombs were originally created at the end of the first century to be used as a cemetery.  Later they were used as a safe hiding place when the Romans were persecuting Christians.  FYI – most of the graffiti in this picture is fairly recent.


The recipe today is for a custard version of the portokalopita.  I used 3 different kinds of oranges: Cara Cara, Mandarin, and Blood.  Why?  Because I was lucky enough to find so many different types! Otherwise I just use what I can get. I did not boil the oranges for this recipe, but instead used the juice and zest.  It still had a wonderful orange flavor which complimented the custard texture nicely.

Orange Pie (Portokalopita)

Makes an 8 X 8 pan

About 1/2 package phyllo dough, dried and torn into strips

3 eggs

3/4 C Yogurt

1/4 C honey

1 1/2 t olive oil

1/4 t cinnamon

1/4 t vanilla extract

1/3 C fresh squeezed orange juice

pinch of salt

zest of medium sized orange

Thin slices of orange (make sure they are sliced very thin so they cook and the rind is edible.)

For the Syrup topping:

1/2 C honey

1/4 C water

1/4 C fresh squeezed orange juice

Orange halves (use the ones that you juiced)

wee little pinch of salt

optional: Cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod (beans removed)

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly coat an 8X8 baking pan with olive oil or butter, and place 1/2 of the dried strips of phyllo dough in the pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat or whisk all ingredients except phyllo dough until fully incorporated.  Pour 1/2 the mixture over the layer of phyllo strips.  Place remaining phyllo on top, and pour remaining custard mixture over the top.  Let sit while you make the syrup.

Put all syrup ingredients in a pan, and heat to boiling.  Boil for 6-8 minutes, then allow to cool down while you cook the pie.

Put pie in oven and cook for about 30 minutes.  It should pull away from the edges.  Pour about 1/4 C (or less!) of the syrup over the top right when you pull it out of the oven  Save the rest of the orange syrup for adding to drinks or pouring over french toast or waffles.

Let sit for at least 2 hours so it soaks up as much as the syrup as possible!  This tastes really good the next day, and can be served at room temperature, cold, or warmed up in the oven.  Also good with ice cream!


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