Peach Mango Pie

Summer is a great time to make pies with all kinds of fruit being in season. Although, if you prefer to enjoy your fruit as a snack and want to ensure that you are using the ripest fruit possible there’s nothing wrong with using frozen. That’s just what I did for this Peach Mango Pie. I happened to have frozen peaches (leftover from another recipe) and mangoes (I was planning on making smoothies) in my freezer so I decided to put them to good use.

While you can bake with frozen fruit, I opted to thaw out the peaches and mangoes beforehand. Once they were defrosted, I stirred together flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and then added in the peaches and mangoes. I gently folded everything together. I always opt to use refrigerated pie crust, it’s a great short-cut and foolproof. After rolling out 1 of the pie crust and extra inch or two I pressed it into a 9-inch pie plate and filled it with the peach mango filled and then drizzled it with fresh lime juice.

I then decided to get a little fancy and cut the other pie crusts into strips to make a lattice design. I used to be a bit intimated by making a lattice pie but after making a few of them I have the pattern down pat.  Finally, I brushed the top of the pie with an egg white wash, sprinkled turbinado sugar over it and placed it on a baking sheet to bake in a 375 F preheated oven. 

Once it cooled a bit it was time to slice into it. The peached and mangoes were a wonderful complement to each other and that squeeze of lime juice over the filling really brightened the flavors of the fruit.

Peach Mango Pie

Ingredients:

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 count)*

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches, fresh or frozen**

3 cups, peeled & sliced mangoes, fresh or frozen**

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

Coarse sugar

*You can also make your crust from scratch

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F. Whether you are using a store bought or homemade pie crust roll out one of the crusts into a 12-inch circle and then place in a 9-inch pie dish. Set aside.

If using frozen fruit, thaw the fruit and then drain. You can thaw the fruit in a colander in the sink to make it easier to drain.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Add in the frost and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Transfer the mixture to the pie dish and drizzle with the lime juice.

Roll the other pie crust into a 12-inch circle as well and place on top of the filling. Cut slits into the top crust and then trim and crimp edges of the pie. Whisk together the egg white and water and then brush over pie. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

Place the pie on a baking and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly cover with foil for the last 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

S’mores Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a versatile dessert. It tastes delicious with its simplest ingredients but can be easily transformed into something more with different variations. Have you seen the cheesecake menu at The Cheesecake Factory? To celebrate National S’mores Day today I am sharing with you a S’mores Cheesecake. A cheesecake with all the flavors and components of your favorite campfire treat. A graham cracker crust, a filling made with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows and finally a topping of toasted marshmallows with a drizzle of melted chocolate… Yum!

Up first, I made the crust. In my food processor I processed 2 sleeves of graham crackers into fine crumbs and then added in sugar and melted butter. Once everything was well combined, I transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I used a 1 cup measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom in an even layer. While some recipes call for you to pre-bake your crust, I opted not to do that. I sometimes find that the crust gets a little too hard to slice then.

Next, I made the filling. After beating together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract with a hand mixer I folded in mini marshmallows and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. I then poured the filling into the prepared crust. I find that springform pans always seem to leak a little when baking so I placed it on a baking sheet before baking the cheesecake in a 325 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

I removed the cheesecake from the oven and sprinkled mini marshmallows on top and placed it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. At this point my marshmallows had puffed, but I wanted them to be toasted on top, so I switched my oven to broil for about 30 seconds. Even that was pushing it, marshmallows can go from toasted to burnt very quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them if you opt to broil them.

Finally, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled it on top of the marshmallows. I don’t know if it was because of the humidity in the air, or the chocolate chips themselves, but the melted chocolate was on the thicker side. In other words, it was going to be hard to drizzle it. So, I stirred in a little vegetable oil to thin it out. If you do this, you may notice that it will take longer for your chocolate to harden when left at room temperature. No need to fear, once you place the cheesecake in the refrigerator to cool the chocolate will harden.  

I let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then I carefully removed the ring (only to put it back on again.) I basically didn’t want the melted marshmallows to get too stuck to the pan. So, before removing the ring I ran a small knife under hot water and carefully ran it along the sides of the pan to separate the crust and marshmallows from it. I wiped the knife and ran it under the hot water as necessary to repeat. Once I was able to easily remove the ring, I put it back on and allowed the cheesecake to cool for another hour before covering and refrigerating it overnight.

And to serve, since I removed the ring the day before it was a cinch to remove it prior to serving. Also, since I didn’t prebake my crust, it wasn’t a struggle to cut thru it. The cheesecake came out delicious and all the flavors of a S’more were there. And you might think that the cheesecake would be rich or overly sweet due to all the components, but it will satisfy your sweet tooth just perfectly! And you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers or mouth on a hot S’more!

Looking for some other ideas for Cheesecake or S’mores. Check out one of the recipes below.

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Mini Pumpkin Spice Latter Cheesecakes

S’mores Cupcakes

S’mores Icebox Cake

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

S’mores Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (2 sleeves of graham crackers)

1/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup mini marshmallows

Topping:

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*

*If you find the chocolate is too thick to drizzle add in a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil until you reach your desired consistency

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat on low until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Until the center is almost set.

Remove from the oven and top with the mini marshmallows. Return to the oven and bake an additional 4-6 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffed. To get the marshmallows toasted on top switch your oven to broil for about a minute. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and allow to cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Pie

I came across the recipe for this no-bake pie at the perfect time. I was randomly watching an episode of Michael Symon’s Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out on the Food Network and it looked and sounded delicious and the following weekend it was one of those scorchers where turning on the oven was out of the question, so I decided to make this for Sunday dessert. If you have read some of my recent posts, you will see that this has been a theme as of late… me avoiding the oven!

While the recipe called for making the blueberry puree on a grill, I opted to make it on my stovetop. I combined fresh blueberries, sugar, fresh lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan and heated it over medium heat to bring it to a boil. I then lowered the heat to low so the mixture could simmer. Ultimately the blueberries began to burst, and the mixture began to thicken. I then transferred the mixture to my food processor and processed it until it was smooth. Finally, I transferred it to a container and let it cool to room temperature before covering it and refrigerating it. Since the puree needs to be completely chilled before using it, I opted to make the puree early in the day so it could be ready by the time I made the pie.

Next, I made the crust. While you can buy graham cracker crumbs, I opted to crush graham crackers into crumbs. I placed them in a resealable bag and used a rolling pin to crush them. I used two full sleeves of crackers. After combining the crumbs with melted butter, sugar and salt I pressed them on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

And finally, I made the filling. I started by whipping heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. Next, I whisk together warm milk and unflavored gelatin and let it sit for a few minutes so it could bloom. With a hand mixer I beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until it was smooth. I then added in the milk mixture and half of the whipped cream and continued beating until it was smooth. I then folded in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Next, I poured it into the prepared crust and smoothed the top. I spooned the chilled blueberry puree in thin lines on top of the cake and then used a toothpick to drag the puree in the opposite direction of the lines.

I let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day when it came time to slice it it held together perfectly.  And the flavor was refreshing for these hot summer days! The lemon flavor was spot on and it wasn’t overly sweet. And thanks to the whipped cream the pie has a much lighter texture than cheesecake even though cream cheese was used to make it. If you have some of the blueberry puree leftover it would be perfect to drizzle on each plate before serving.

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Pie

 

Ingredients:

Blueberry Puree:

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of salt

Graham Cracker Crust:

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*

1/4 cup sugar

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of salt

Filling:
2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk, warmed

1 .25oz. packet unflavored powdered gelatin

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

* Approximately 2 sleeves of graham crackers.

Directions:

Blueberry Puree: In a small saucepan combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Stir together and then heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture until the blueberries begin to burst and the mixture thickens. Transfer to a food processor (or blend) and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating until completely cold.

Graham Cracker Crust: In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and pinch of salt. Stir together to combines and then pour into a 9-inch springform pan and press the mixture in the bottom and up the sides of the pan evenly to make the crust. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to smooth the bottom.

Filling: In a large bowl beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream into another bowl.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and unflavored gelatin. Let stand for 3-5 minutes so the mixture can bloom.

In the large bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar and zest and juice of lemons. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Add in half of the whipped cream and the milk mixture and continue mixing until smooth. Fold in the remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula until both are incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared crust and smooth the surface. Spoon the chilled blueberry puree in the lines across the surface of the filling. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer drag the puree in the opposite direction of the lines to create a swirled pattern. Chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe from Food Network

Rosemary & Tomato Focaccia Bread

I decided to plant some veggies and herbs again this year. I passed on planting zucchini again, which I used to make these delicious zucchini fries last year, and went with cucumbers and eggplant instead. I haven’t picked any eggplant yet, but, I have picked quite a few cucumbers. Some of which I turned into some yummy pickles. That’s another post though. I also planted tomatoes again this year, but instead of beefsteak one’s I went with cherry tomatoes. And for the herbs, I went with rosemary, basil, sage and lemon thyme. I mainly planted the herbs in hopes of repelling mosquitoes. While they have been around I will say that it hasn’t been as bad as past years. Initially I wasn’t planning on picking any of the herbs, but, they grew so well that I decided it would be a shame not to use them. So, I decided to use the rosemary and some of the tomatoes to make homemade focaccia bread.

Now, I am always leery of working with yeast. I am apprehensive that it won’t proof well enough, that my final product will be tough and not flaky and whatever else can go wrong. Believe it or not, the weather also plays a factor. While you may think that a humid day will help your bread rise quicker, that’s not always the case and a very cool day can make your bread take even longer to rise. I baked this focaccia on a rainy unseasonably cool summer day that had very low humidity and it came out perfect.

I completely relied on my stand mixer to knead the dough using the dough attachment. And for the first rise I preheated my oven to 200 F, turned it off and then put my dough, that I had placed in a greased bowl, in there for about an hour so it could rise. It’s a good trick I learned and have done it every time I need dough to rise. When I removed it from the oven it had doubled in size. And for the second rise I rolled the dough out on my counter that I dusted with flour and let it rise for a few more minutes.

Once the dough was ready, I transferred it to a 9 x 13 – inch baking pan that I lined with parchment paper. I stretched the dough to fill the pan and then poked deep holes into the dough. Next, I sprinkled the dough with minced fresh rosemary and sliced cherry tomatoes. I drizzled a few tablespoons of olive oil over everything and then sprinkled it with salt.

I then baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until it was lightly golden on top and the bread had cooked through.

I let it rest for a few minutes before removing it from the pan using the parchment paper and slicing off a piece to enjoy! The texture was spot on. It was firm with just enough chew. You can definitely customize this focaccia to your liking by using different herbs, vegetables and so forth. One thing I would avoid using though is sun-dried tomatoes. That’s what I was initially thinking of using instead of the fresh ones, but, I thought that the sun-dried tomatoes would burn while they were in the oven. The fresh tomatoes do get a nice sweetness to them while baking.

Rosemary & Tomato Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup warm water (about 110F)

1 teaspoons sugar

1 package of active-dry yeast (0.25 ounces)

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment add the water and sugar and stir combine. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and give it a quick stir to mix it into the water. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy.

With the mixer on low speed gradually add in the flour, olive oil and salt. Once everything has been added increase the speed to medium-low and continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it isn’t, this means that the dough is too sticky and you should add in additional flour, about 1/4 cup. Add it gradually until the dough is the right consistency.

Remove the dough from the bowl and use your hands to shape it into ball. Grease the mixing bowl, or another bowl, with olive oil and place the dough inside of it and coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and place in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes so it can rise. It should just about double in size. To ensure a warm spot, preheat your oven to 200 F and then turn it off and place the bowl inside of the oven with the door closed for the allotted time.

Once the dough has risen turn it out on a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that’s about a 1/2 inch thick. Cover the dough again with a damp paper towel (you will probably need two) and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F and prep a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper leaving a slight overhang. Transfer the dough to the pan and use your hands to stretch the dough to fit into the pan. Use your fingers to poke holes all over the dough. The holes should be deep enough that you reach the bottom of the baking pan. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil all over the dough and then sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, sliced tomatoes and additional sea salt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is slightly golden on top and is fully cooked through. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the bread using the parchment paper and let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. If you are not planning on serving all of the bread at once, slice what you are going to eat and wrap the leftovers in wax paper and store in an airtight container or resealable bag.

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

Stars and Stripes Cake

The unofficial kick-off to the summer is upon us… Memorial Day. And thankfully it’s shaping up to be a great weekend where I am. Lately every weekend seems to have at least one day of rain or unseasonably low temperatures. Not good for the yard work I have to get done. My lawn is so high that my dog seems to be avoiding walking on the grass when I let him out. Not that I can blame him, certain parts of the lawn seem to be taller than him, he’s a Chihuahua. And he’s a not teacup sized one, he’s pretty average so that should give you an idea of just how high my lawn is. But, my goal this weekend is to get out there and clean things up. Wish me luck! After I am done with the front yard I have to then tackle the backyard. So, are you planning on firing up your grill this weekend and having a BBQ or are you just going to be taking it easy and enjoy that extra day to the weekend? If it’s the former have you thought about dessert? Today I am sharing with you a fun twist on a stars and stripes themed cake that would be perfect. I will say that this cake takes some patience and the ability to forge on when (and if) it doesn’t seem like it’s going to come together. See, the stipes on this cake are vertical as opposed to horizontal. Huh? Yes, the cake layers are rolled together to form the stripes. Are you still scratching your head?

I began by preheating my oven to 350 F. I sprayed a half sheet pan (13 x 18 inches) with baking spray and then placed a piece of parchment paper in the pan and sprayed it with baking spray as well. Now, I do have a cookie sheet this size that I was tempted to use, but, opted not to because sometimes the sheet twists while it’s in the oven and I was concerned that my cake would then spill over or I would end up with a twisted cake. I ended up using this pan. Which I did purchase at my local Target.

After making the batter for the cake I poured it into my prepared pan and baked it for about 18 minutes. A couple of notes on making the batter. Make sure you use a whisk attachment when making the meringue with. I have made meringue before and I have always used my whisk attachment on my stand mixer, but, I was absentmindedly following the recipe and I used my beater attachment and my eggs whites never became meringue no matter the speed or time my mixer was going. Also, while the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of red food coloring, I ended up using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of McCormick’s Red Food Coloring. I started with the tablespoon, but, the cake was looking a little pink and while I knew that the color would gets darker as it sits and as the cake baked I wanted to be sure I ended up with a vibrant red in the end.

Immediately after taking the cake out of the oven I sprinkled it with confectioners’ sugar and placed a cotton towel over the cake. I placed a baking sheet over the towel, bottom side to the towel, and then flipped the cake onto the towel. I carefully removed the pan and parchment paper from the cake. Starting on one of the short ends of the cake I began rolling the cake and towel together into a log.

I then placed it on a wire rack to let the cake cool completely.

While the cake was cooling I made the frosting. I would liken the frosting to a whipped cream cheese frosting. I began by beating three 8oz. bars of cream cheese with confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until it was smooth. With the mixer on low, I then added in vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Once the whipping cream was incorporated I increased the speed to high until the frosting was smooth.

Once the cake was cooled I placed it in an extra-large baking sheet to unroll it so I would have room to work. I unrolled it and this is where my patience and perseverance were tested. As is common with rolled cakes, my cake cracked in certain spots. I cut the cake into three long strips, about 4 inches wide each, and then spread frosting on each of the strips. I should have spread more, but since my cake had cracked I was concerned that if I used too much frosting I would have ended up with a big mess.

And now, the fun part. Rolling the cake together. I started by rolling one of the strips together, from short end to short end. I placed that piece on another strip, making sure to line up where the first strip ended with the start of the next strip. I repeated this for the final strip and then turned the cake flat side down on a cardboard cake round to frost.

I frosted the cake with a thin layer of frosting and then refrigerated it for 30 minutes. Unfortunately my cake wasn’t perfectly round due to the seam on the cake. I did my best to fill that seam with extra frosting to make the cake round, ultimately I decided that would be the back of the cake.

After the half hour I finished frosting the cake and used a small offset spatula to give the cake a slightly striped design. Next, I placed three different sized star cookie cutters on top of cake and sprinkled blue sanding sugar into them and I used a straw to spread the sprinkles into the corners of the cookie cutter. I carefully removed the cookie cutters and my stars and stripes cake was done.

And here’s a look inside the cake once sliced.

Overall this cake was delicious. Even though it’s red, it’s not quite a red velvet cake. This cake is much lighter and has a stronger chocolate flavor.

 

Stars and Stripes Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

8 large eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup canola oil

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 

For the Frosting:

3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

Blue sanding sugar, for decorating

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet with baking spray, line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment paper with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and set aside.

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly beat in 1/2 cup of sugar. Increase the speed to high and continues whisking until stiff shiny peak form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a bowl and set aside.

Using the beater attachment on your stand mixer, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the same bowl you used for the meringue (no need to clean) on high speed until double in volume. Beat in the water and canola oil.

Sift the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then stir together until just combined.

Add in the food coloring and beat on high speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Stir a dollop of the meringue mixture into the batter and fold in using a rubber spatula. Add the remaining meringue and continue folding together the two until no white streaks remain.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and using an offset spatula spread the batter evenly in the pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, loosed the edges of the cake with a knife and dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Place a cotton kitchen towel over the cake and then place another baking sheet on top of the towel.

Flip the cake onto the towel and remove the pan and parchment paper. Starting on the short end roll the cake and the towel together into a log. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools make the frosting. In a bowl beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. With the mixer on low add in the vanilla extract and whipping cream. Once incorporated, slowly increase the speed to high and continue beating until smooth.

Once the cake is cool, unroll the cake on a large baking sheet. Divide the cake into three long strips, about 4 inches each. Spread an even layer of frosting on each of the strips, use about 1/3 of the frosting. Be sure to frost under the curled ends as well.

Roll one of the strips into a tight spiral. Move the spiral over to the next strip. Make sure to line up the ends, and then roll the cake into a fatter spiral. Move this piece over to the last strip, once again lining up the ends, and roll the cake into a large spiral.

Turn the cake flat side down onto a cake cardboard or a cake platter. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake. You will need to use more frosting to cover up the seams. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting.

Place different sized star shaped cookie cutters on top of the cake and sprinkle blue sanding sugar inside the cookie cutter. Use a small brush (or straw as I did) to spread the sugar into the cookie cutter. Carefully remove the cookie cutters and refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Recipe from Food Network

Blueberry Peach Buckle

Labor Day… Today marks the unofficial end to the summer for most, calendar-wise though we have until the 22nd. And with temps planning to hit the high 80’s in New York this week, it doesn’t seem like summer is letting go that easy! So, if you’re craving a dessert that’s reminiscent of summer flavors and you’re still able to get fresh peaches in your neck of the woods (although frozen would work, or you could sub the peaches for apples) this Blueberry Peach Buckle is for you!

Now, you may be wondering what exactly a buckle is. I know I was when I saw this recipe. Well, it’s a fruit cake, usually made with blueberries, that has a streusel topping. When the cake bakes the batter will rise whereas the blueberries and streusel topping will weigh it down, the surface of the cake will then buckle. Truth be told, I didn’t really see this happen with the one I made.

Overall this cake was good, but, there are two things I would do different next time. I found the streusel topping to be a bit sweet so I think I would cut back on the granulated sugar and have an even amount of both sugars. Also, add in another chopped peach. I could barely taste the peach pieces in the cake. Oh, and there is a third, either omit the orange zest or add in another 1/4 teaspoon. I really didn’t get the orange essence.

A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side did make this cake extra yummy though regardless!

 

Blueberry Peach Buckle

For The Cake:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk*

2 cups blueberries

1 large peach, chopped

 

*I used whole milk

 

For the Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with butter or spray with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and orange zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and then gradually beat in the milk with the mixer on low. Your batter may look curdled due to the milk and zest interacting. Add the flour mixture and continue to meat until well incorporated. Your batter will be thick. Fold in the blueberries and chopped peach and spread in the prepared dish.

To make the streusel, in a medium bowl combine the sugars, flour, nutmeg and salt. Work the butter in with your fingers until clumpy. Scatter it over the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then serve with the ice cream.

Recipe from Food Network

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Crumbles are great for the warmer months. They can be made with pretty much any fruit, are super simple and pair well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Summer is an ideal time for cherry pie, blueberry pie and strawberry rhubarb pie… How about making one of those into a crumble? Today, I am bringing you just that… A Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble.

A little backstory on Rhubarb… You may think that rhubarb is related to celery because it pretty much just looks like red celery and that it is a fruit because it’s primarily used in dessert, but, both accounts are wrong. Rhubarb and celery while they may look alike are not part of the same family, and based on the theory that fruits have seeds, rhubarb is not a fruit. Rhubarb is used in baking because its tart flavor will not become overly sweet when added with sugar and other sweeteners. To me rhubarb tastes like an unripen apple. If you’re keen on tart flavors then raw rhubarb may be perfect for you, but, avoid eating its leaves as they contain high levels of oxalic acid which can cause kidney damage, granted, you would have to eat a pretty hefty amount, but even a small amount can make you sick so why take the chance. Anyhoo, back to the crumble.

I began by making the topping… I mixed flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred all of the ingredients together until it formed into clumps and then refrigerated it for 10 minutes.

In another bowl I made the filling by tossing together chopped rhubarb, quartered strawberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, salt and to thicken the filling, cornstarch. I transferred this to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Once everything had sat for its designated time I covered the fruit with the crumb topping…

And baked it in a 375 preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Until the filling was bubbly.

I let the crumble rest for a bit and then enjoyed some with what else, a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you’re looking for some more easy summer cakes to make check out the Dump Cakes I posted about a few years ago or the Apple Streusel Dump Cake I made for Thanksgiving last year.

And, if you happen to buy too much rhubarb and need another recipe to try out, check out these Rhubarb Cupcakes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

For the Topping:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 cups 1-inch pieced chopped rhubarb (about 3 stalks)

1 quart strawberries hulled and quartered (about 4 cups)

Juice of lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Make the topping: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, both sugars and the lemon zest. Add the melted butter and stir the mixture until it forms small and large clumps. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Let rest for 10 minutes and then transfer to a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or a 9-inch square baking dish.

Top the filling evenly with the topping mixture and place the dish on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Let the crumble rest for at least 15 minutes before enjoying.

Serve warm and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Food Network

Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Blueberry Compote

I recently signed up for Food & Wine Magazine’s Daily email where I get one sensational (their words not mine) recipe emailed to me every day. I usually glance at the recipe and then delete the email, not because the dish sounds bad, but because I know I will never make it. A week or two ago I got one recipe that I knew I wanted to try… A Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberry Compote. I had panna cotta for dessert at a restaurant a few years ago and instantly loved it; granted that one was a Mango Panna Cotta with a Passion Fruit Sauce. I never attempted to make it myself because I thought that it would be difficult – the one recipe I came across was a bit intimidating but once I saw this one I knew I could handle it.

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I began my shucking two ears of corn and then used a corn zipper to remove the kernels and boiled them for about 15 minutes until they were tender.

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Following that I rinsed the kernels in cold water and then transferred them into the bowl of my food processor.

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Meanwhile I sprinkled 1 1/2 teaspoons of unflavored gelatin powder over 1/4 cup of whole milk, which I let stand for 5 minutes.

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In a small saucepan I combined whole milk, heavy cream, salt, granulated sugar, and dark brown sugar and brought it to a simmer over medium heat whisking it to dissolve the sugars.

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I then poured the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the gelatin mixture and stirred it until the gelatin dissolved.

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I then poured the mixture over the corn in the food processor.

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I pureed the corn and milk mixture until it was smooth and then strained it through a sieve pressing on the solids to get all of the liquid out and then discarded the solids.

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I strained the mixture once again through the sieve and then placed the bowl in an ice bath until it was cool, stirring it occasionally.

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And finally I divided the mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins, covered them and placed them in the refrigerator overnight so they could set. In all honesty, I had my doubts that I made the panna cotta correctly because it was so watery when I poured it into the ramekins. I checked one of them an hour or so after refrigerating it to make sure it was solidifying and I am happy to say I had made them correctly!

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While the panna cotta was “baking” in the fridge I made the Blueberry Compote which couldn’t have been simpler. I combined blueberries with sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and kosher salt and mixed it until the sugar was dissolved and then let it stand for a bit (at least 30 minutes), stirring it occasionally.

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The set panna cotta…

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And topped with the Blueberry Compote.

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This was absolutely delicious! The panna cotta was the perfect texture, silky and smooth, and the corn flavor was just perfect without being too sweet or having too much of a “vegetable” taste, for those of you who aren’t keen on eating your veggies.

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Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberry Compote

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Panna Cotta

2 ears of corn, husked

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Blueberry Compote

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Directions: 

1. Make the Panna Cotta: In a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket, steam the corn until tender, 15 minutes. Let cool, then cut the kernels from the cobs (you should have 1 1/2 cups); discard the cobs. Transfer the kernels to a blender.*

2. Meanwhile, in a heatproof medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In a small skillet, combine the remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk with the cream, salt and both sugars and bring to a bare simmer, whisking to dissolve the sugars. Scrape the hot milk into the gelatin and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the mixture into the blender over the corn and puree until smooth.

4. Strain the puree through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Strain again without pressing; discard any solids in the sieve. Set the panna cotta in an ice bath until cool, stirring occasionally. Scrape the panna cotta into four 8-ounce ramekins. Cover and refrigerate overnight until firm.

5. Make the Blueberry Compote: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the panna cotta in the ramekins with the compote.

*I opted to remove the kernels from the cobs beforehand and boiled the corn for about 15 minutes and then drained it while running them under cold water to cool them. And instead of using a blender, I used a food processor.

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake

Key limes weren’t the only citrus fruits I picked up on a recent grocery trip; I also came across some Meyer lemons. I’m always on the lookout for fruits or vegetables that are not your typical everyday kind. So, what exactly is a Meyer Lemon? Well, it’s a cross between your basic lemon and either a mandarin or a common orange. They also have a sweeter and less acidic taste than your typical lemon. One other characteristic that sets them apart is their thin skin. I wasn’t all that sure what I was going to make with them. I began by searching for specific Meyer lemon recipes but I wasn’t all that thrilled with what I came up. I also searched through some of my cookbooks but to no avail of something that really stood out. So, I made my search simpler and just went with a basic lemon search and came across Ina Garten’s (aka The Barefoot Contessa) Lemon Yogurt Cake. The reviews for the cake were good so I just went ahead and swapped out the regular lemons for the Meyer lemons.

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As you can see from the picture below the Meyer lemons are also a bit rounder and the yellow-orange coloring of their skin lets you know they are perfectly ripe

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I began by zesting two of the lemons…

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And then squeezing the juice of three of the lemons to get a little more than a 1/3 of cup of juice. Their skins are so thin that a few of the halves ripped a bit while I was squeezing.

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In one bowl I sifted together flour, baking powder and salt.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I whisked together whole milk yogurt, sugar, eggs, the lemon zest, and vanilla extract.

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I then slowly whisked in the dry ingredients.

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And finally I used a rubber spatula to fold in vegetable oil.

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Then it was time to pour the batter into my prepared loaf pan. I sprayed it with baking spray and then lined the bottom with parchment paper which I then sprayed with some more baking spray.

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I then placed the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes. While the cake was in the oven I cooked an equal part of lemon juice and sugar (1/3 cup each) until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was clear and set it aside.

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After the letting the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack which I had placed over a baking sheet. After poking the cake a few times I poured the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allowed it to soak in while the cake cooled.

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Once the cake was completely cooled I moved it to a platter in preparation to drizzle it with a lemon glaze, which I made by mixing confectioners’ sugar and a few tablespoons of lemon juice.

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The final product. I should note that the recipe called for an 8.5 x 4.25 x 2.5 inch pan, which I don’t have, so I used my 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inch pan which resulted in a cake that was a bit wider and shorter but not lacking in deliciousness.

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This cake was absolutely divine. I thought it was going to be on the sweeter side because of the glaze and lemon and sugar juice poured over it but it only enhanced the flavor. I was extremely happy with it and can’t wait to make it again.

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Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake – adapted from here

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease the pan again.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil in the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolved and the mixture is clean. Set aside.

4. When the cake is done, allow it cool in the pain for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the cake.

 

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