Archived entries for desserts

Bavarian Apple Kuchen

If you multiply the deliciousness of this cake times the easiness of its preparation your calculator will explode (or your head if you’re really good at math.)  Just try it and see.  I DARE YOU.

Bavarian Apple Kuchen
serves 12

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. veg oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 c. apples peeled and sliced.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil until creamy.  Add sugar, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, soda and salt. Mix well.  Batter will be stiff.  Fold in apples.  Pour in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes until center tests done with a toothpick.

 

Acorn Squash Custard In A Half Shell

Nothing hits the spot on a crisp autumnal day like pumpkin pie. However, sometimes you don’t have a pumpkin, you’ve got a squash. And sometimes, you’re lazy and don’t feel like making pie. So, here’s a way to skip the pastry and get right down to business. Squash custard in a half shell.

Acorn Squash Custard in Half Shell

  • 2 c. roasted squash (about 3 large acorn squash)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 c. milk

Cut squash in half and scoop out as much squash from shell as possible.  Place in roasting pan and roast at 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes.

Using a food processor or mixer, process squash until smooth.  Add sugar, eggs, spices, and milk and process until smooth.

Pour custard mixture into squash shells. If you have extra, you can just pour into baking ramekins. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn temperature down to 350.  Bake for additional 30 minutes or so until the centers test clean with a toothpick.

Eat up!

Peach Melba Cobbler

This is my absolute favorite quick dessert recipe.

Its so easy and there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t love cobbler.  I know I have posted about this recipe in the past, but I will always come back to it.  Again and again, like how I watch Dirty Dancing at least once a year if not twice or six times in a row.  Anyway.  I’ve added a slight twist to warrant reposting. And, this is a recipe anyone with any amount of cooking skill can master on the first time.  Guaranteed. Here it is.

Peach Cobbler
serves 8-10

  • 1/4-1/2 c. butter (depending on your preference for fat)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 can (16 oz) sliced peaches
  • 1/2 c. raspberries

Melt butter in 8″x8″ square glass dish or other small casserole

Add milk and mix batter.

Spoon batter into dish with melted butter.  Spoon peach slices into batter.  Sprinkle top with raspberries and extra sugar.

Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes, until golden.

Check out our video blog for a play by play.

 

The. Best. Cheesecake. Ever.

It is my pet peeve when periods are placed after each word to enforce the meaning. However, there is no other way for me to seriously communicate the deliciousness of this recipe then stooping to this grammatical device. The decadence of this lusciously fluffy cheesecake is making me do things I don’t normally do!


Image courtesy of Flickr User katewing

My sister’s mother-in-law, Trish (does that make her my mother-in-law once removed?) made this for a baby shower, and we all agreed it was the best cheesecake we ever had. And we’re pretty well versed in cheesecake. So I begged the recipe off her and here it is.

This cheesecake is the most fluffy, decadent and flavorful of any cheesecake I have ever had. Ever. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

Trish’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
Serves 12 Prep time: 20 min  Inactive Time: 5 hours

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/3 c. lime juice
    Optional:
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream, at room temperature
  • Chilled fruit topping

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in small bowl.  Press firmly into bottom and up the sides of ungreased 9-inch spring form pan.  Optional: Line bottom of pan with parchment paper before putting in crust.

Beat/whip cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and lime juice; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE 60-70 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven; top with sour cream. Bake an additional 5 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Chill at least 4 hours. Garnish with pie filling, if desired.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

Every year I try to make a few new kinds of Christmas cookies to add to my tried and true. Sometimes I find amazing new cookies to add to my repertoire, and sometimes they’re a stink out. This year, I decided to try my hand at Martha Stewart’s Apricot Windows recipe. I put my own twist on them by using my homemade Pomegranate jelly.

While I wouldn’t describe these as a stink-out, as they are easy and very tasty, I learned through trial and error that if you don’t cut them while hot (not listed in the directions) you end up with a broken mess.  So here’s the recipe with a few of my own additions.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

  • 4 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c. jam or jelly of your choice, I used Pomegranate
  • pastry bag with large round or star shaped tip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment and generously grease sides; set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Add eggs one at a time to creamed butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.

Remove 1 3/4 cups of the dough; use it to fill a prepared pastry bag. Fold the end over to keep dough from drying out; set aside.

Spread the remaining dough into the prepared pan as evenly and smoothly as possible. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and transfer to a heat-proof surface. In a small bowl, whisk jam until smooth.  Spread jam on top of baked crust in an even layer. Using the prepared pastry bag, pipe parallel lines of dough spaced approx. 1 inch apart over the jam. Pipe perpendicular lines of dough at 1-inch intervals over first lines. Place in oven, and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, but while still warm, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container for two weeks or so.

Enjoy!

St. Pattie’s Day Treat: Bailey’s Banana Bread

If I’ve learned one thing from the Irish, its to never go without alcohol if you don’t have to.  So, lets celebrate St. Pattie’s day by mixing some delicious Baileys Irish Creme Liqueur with our breakfast banana bread, to create a drunkenly moist treat!

 

Baileys Banana Bread

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c. Baileys Irish Creme Liqueur
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the Baileys and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Grease a loaf pan.  We’ll be using a shamrock pan!  Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your pan.  This will help the baked bread to slip out of the pan easier.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes – 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool.

Decorate how you choose.  We’re using a delicious cream cheese frosting dyed green for the occasion.

Eat up!  Its so alcoholically delicious.

Cherry Crumble

Yesterday, I was in the mood for a sweet treat.  I thought this would be a great time to finally use up these cherries which have been lounging in the freezer for the past (two) years.  Ahh!  Yes, I admit it, I forget about things for two years.  But I finally righted my wrongs and made them into a delicious dessert.  Here’s the quick recipe!

Cherry Crumble

  • 6 c. frozen cherries
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick), cold
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Frozen cherries.

Make your cherry filling: in a sauce pan, add cherries, sugar, almond extract and corn starch.  For my recipe, I use frozen cherries.  You can obviously use fresh as well, but you’ll want to add 1/4 c. of water to the mixture as well.  Frozen berries tend to be more watery so you don’t need this step if using frozen.  Bring ingredients to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until a nice cherry syrup forms.  You can tell by the bubbles appearing more viscus.

*Note on the almond extract: You can skip it if you don’t have any.  Almond extract just helps bring out the cherry flavor a bit.  You can also use a bit of cherry liqueur if you have any, or you can go all purist and just stick with the cherries.

Assemble your crumble: using a food processor or a bowl with a pastry cutter or fork, pulse (f.p.) or mash up (hand tools) the cold butter into chunks. I suggest using cold because you want it chunky.  Warm butter just smears all over the place and doesn’t give as good a result.  Add the rest of your ingredients and mix until mixed and chunky.  (I think that sounds stupid but, its the directions: Mix until mixed.  OK???)

Bake your crumble: Mix your filling and half your crumble mixture into the baking dish of your choice.  Will you take a moment to appreciate my beautiful dish my sister gave me for Christmas?  Its just the lovely Green Gingham Brioche Pan from Mepra Cookware!  (They really should be paying me for shameless plugs like that!)  ANYWAY:  Top with remaining crumble and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

And yum!  Serve with ice cream.  Its delicious!  Garaunteeeeed!  (I wish I could find a soundbite of Justin Smith, the Cajun cook saying that word so I could link it at the end of every post.  Tarnation!)

Escape Winter Blues With Three Lemon Cheesecake

I don’t know if its because I’ve got cabin fever in a major way, but for the past week or two, I’ve been in a cranky mood.  I’m craving a bit of sunshine.  Unfortunately I don’t have a magic weather wand to whisk this winter far away.  Instead I’m going to settle for substituting some natural light for a delicious disk of citrus sunshine in cheesecake form!  This 3 Lemon Cheesecake my sister Emily turned me onto is one of my favorite light (in texture, not fat!!) desserts.  A slice of this is a great remedy to chase away the winter blues!

3 Lemon Cheesecake
Recipe Courtesy of Group Recipes

Cheesecake

  • 1 pound regular cream cheese
  • 3 medium lemons, washed and dried
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • Piecrust
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (7 or 8 whole crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (from the 3 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  1. First, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator so that it can soften. It will be about the right temperature by the time it’s needed.
  2. Remove the zest from the lemons with a zester or grater. Reserve the lemons for later, leaving them out at room temperature, and put the zest in a small saucepan.
  3. Add the cream to the zest and heat just until the cream starts to bubble. Watch the pan carefully, since cream goes from bubbling to overflowing in a split second. Remove the pan from the heat,cover it, and let the zest steep for 45 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the cheesecake’s crust.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Stir in the butter until the mixture is uniformly moistened. With the bottom of a glass, press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 4 to 8 minutes, until it is barely browned at the edges. Let it cool.
  6. When the zest/cream mixture has steeped for 45 minutes pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F.
  7. Using a stand mixer or a powerful hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese at low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth, scraping down the bowl regularly.
  8. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the flour. Finally, strain the lemon zest cream and add the cream, beating until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Place the pan in a cake pan.  Fill the pan around the cake with an inch or so of water to act as a water bath to help keep your cheesecake moist.  Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees F and bake the cheesecake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until it is light brown on top, cracked, and just barely set in the center.
  10. Cool the cheesecake on a rack until it is slightly warm to the touch, then prepare the glaze.
  11. Juice the reserved 3 lemons and strain the juice to remove any pulp and seeds. Measure out 1/2 cup of the juice (if you don’t have 1/2 cup, add enough water to make 1/2 cup).
  12. Put the cornstarch in a saucepan and whisk in the lemon juice. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to the consistency of pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. While the glaze is till hot, spread it evenly over the cooled cheesecake.

Cover the cheesecake and chill it thoroughly before serving.

“Healthy” Camp Cobbler With Double Acting Alka Seltzer

Imagine this: While vacationing with a bunch of friends, you’ve snagged a bunch of cherries from a ripe cherry tree. You really want to show-off by whipping up an awesome cherry cobbler on the fly. You’ve got just the recipe in mind, but you soon realize your friend’s cabin does not stock baking powder? Is this the end of your grandstanding dreams?

If you say yes, turn to page 5, where you will die a gruesome death.

If you say no, continue to read on.
_______________________________________

Congratulations, you said “no”, this isn’t the end to your grandstanding dreams. You will live on to be the obnoxious braggart that you are. But first, you need to put your money where your mouth is and figure out a way of this no-baking-powder-pickle. Think about what you can use instead. What does baking powder do for the recipe and what else might create the same effect.

Okay, you know baking powder reacts while baking, creating bubbles which lighten baked goods and make then fluffy. Baking soda can be mixed with vinegar (similar to the volcano science fair project) for the same results.

Sorry, you don’t have baking soda either, but thinking on this reminded you of the packets of alka seltzer you always carry in your bag to counteract your nightly binge drinking.

Cobbler with alka seltzer? This is brilliant you think! What a way to cure all your aches and pains. What a tasty treatment. Practice your swagger; its time to self medicate while baking!


crushed alka seltzer to substitute for baking powder.

Here’s the recipe I came up with when faced with the exact same situation last weekend at my friend’s cabin. We all ate it, and many people burped to show their appreciation and gratitude!

Cherry Camp Cobbler
in a 9″ x 12″ pan, 16 – 20 servings

  • 2-3 c. bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 c. butter, melted
  • 2 c. flour
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 2 c. milk
  • 3 packets of alka selter (6 tablets)
  • 9″ x 12″ baking dish


pitting the cherries by pulling the stems.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Rinse cherries and pit them. To pit these, fresh from the orchard, I was able to extract the pit by pulling the stem while squeezing the cherry. The pit stayed attached to the stem and I could basically pull the cherry off the pit.
  3. In a sauce pan, place the cherrys with 1 cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes and then remove from heat. Drain cherries and reserve Bing cherries are very tart so we need to precook them with a bit of sugar to infuse some sweetness into the fruit. This will also help cook some of the juice out of the fruit so the cobbler won’t be too soupy.
  4. Drain cherries, reserving 1/4 c. of juice. Set aside cherries and 1/4 c. juice. Use the rest of the juice to make a kick-ass old fashioned. (although it may appear to be, this drink is not optional.)
  5. Melt the butter on the stove top or in a microwave if you have one. Pour melted butter into the bottom of your 9″x12″ baking dish or pan.
  6. Crush alka seltzer tablets in a bowl or cup until they are a fine powder, set aside.

  7. Measure all your dry ingredients: Mix dry ingredients together including the crushed alka seltzer. Mix your milk and reserved 1/4 c. cherry juice. Have your cherries in a bowl along with all your other mixed ingredients ready to go along with your baking dish with the melted butter. Because we’re using alka seltzer instead of baking powder, its going to react immediately so we want to mix it at the last possible minute and pop it into the stove as soon as possible.
  8. Quickly assemble your cobbler: Mix the dry and wet ingredients and pour them into the pan with the butter. Spoon the cherries into the batter. Try to distrubute evenly.
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpic/knife can be poked into cobbler and come out clean.


A delicioulsy fluffy cobbler ready to eat.

This cobbler recipe is always delicious but the addition of the alka seltzer only makes it better! I would say this qualifies as a healthy snack. Though its definitely not low-fat, it does make you feel way better after eating (it has aspirin in it)!

**Sorry the pictures are not as good as usual, they were taken by Ira’s iPhone while we were on vacation.

How To Construct A Sorbet: Mango Salsa Sorbet

The antidote to too spicy food is diary. If you’re mouth is burning off after biting into a pickled jalapeno, follow it with a chug of milk and you’ll feel better. I love Tres Leche, a sweet moist cake soaked over night in a creamy milk sauce, to follow spicy dishes. We felt this would be a perfect dessert for Chili night, but needed something exiting to go with it to spice it up. I suggested garnishing it with a mango salsa and my sister immediately said make it a sorbet! The tart and spicy flavor of the sorbet would go wonderfully with the sweet creamy delicate cake.

For the cake, we used my sister’s favorite Tres Leche Cake recipe from the Cooks Country magazine. As for the mango salsa recipe, I had to just wing it. I’ve never used an ice cream maker before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing. It seemed simple enough. We just looked up a mango sorbet recipe. From this recipe, we extrapolated a general sorbet recipe consists of:

General Sorbet Recipe

The simple syrup needed to be chilled before making the sorbet, so I did this first and allowed it to chill for about 2 hours.

From the ratio above, I prepared my fruit puree but simply making a mango salsa and processing it in the food processor. The ingredients I used were

  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • 8 small kiwis (they were very small. I would suggest 4-6 regular sized ones)
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 green onions, green tops only, chopped
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro (leaves only, no stems)
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

I processed them all in the food processor to form a nice smooth puree. Then, in a ratio of 1:1 I mixed the fruit puree and the simple syrup and poured into the ice cream maker. My sister’s ice cream maker says to mix for 90 minutes.

After the 90 minutes, the sorbet was not completely frozen yet. We had four hours before our guests arrived, so we just removed the motor from the ice cream maker and placed the sorbet and machine core into the freezer. We removed it every hour and mixed it with the paddle for a couple of minutes, and by the time of the event, the sorbet was ready to be served with the cake.

We served the sorbet with the Tres Leche cake and garnished each dish with a shaving of lime zest.

**Notes: My sister and I felt the sorbet had too strong of a cilantro taste, so in the ingredients given above, I have cut the suggested amount in half and suggested only using the leaves, as the stems can have a stronger flavor.

Also I linked to a simple syrup recipe which uses a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar which I think might work better. We made our simple syrup with a 2:1 ratio water to sugar and this might have lead to the sorbet not wanting to solidify.



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