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

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No bake cheesecakes can either be a hit or a total miss. It all depends on whether the filling firms up enough while refrigerated. Unfortunately, they don’t sometimes and instead turn into a total mess when slicing into them. It’s happened to me! But since I am not one to give up, I am always willing try something again, just not the same recipe if it failed the first time, I decided to try my hands at a no bake cheesecake again. And I’m happy to say this recipe I tried for a No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake was a winner in all regards. The strawberry flavor was spot on, the texture was perfect and the crust was a combination of pretzels and graham crackers.

First up, I made the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed mini pretzels and graham crackers into crumbs. I then transferred the mixture to a medium bowl and stirred in sugar and melted butter. Once it was well incorporated I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could opt to use a 9-inch baking dish instead. I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes. And then placed it on a wire rack to cool completely.  

While the crust was in the oven and then cooling I prepped the strawberry puree. In the bowl of my food processor I added in 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries that I rinsed, hulled and sliced in half. Quick tip, I processed the pretzels and graham crackers first so I could give my bowl a quick rinse before using it for the strawberries.

I processed them for about a minute or so to turn the strawberries into a puree.

Next, I transferred the puree to a medium saucepan and simmered it on medium-low heat until it was reduced to about a 1/2 cup. I initially started this in a small saucepan, but, once it started to simmer I was scared that it was going to turn into a complete mess on my stovetop so I transferred it to a larger saucepan. This step took the longest, about a half hour. At one point, I thought I had reduced the mixture enough but when I transferred it to a measuring cup I had about 3/4 of a cup so I returned it to the saucepan for a few more minutes and it was finally reduced to a 1/2 cup. I then let it cool to room temperature.

Once the crust and puree was cooled it was time to make the filling. In a medium bowl I beat heavy cream using a hand mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks formed. In a large bowl I beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until it was smooth and creamy. I then added in the strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat it on medium-high speed until everything was well incorporated and the mixture was once again smooth and creamy.

Using a rubber spatula, I folded the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. I was careful to do this slowly as I didn’t want to deflate the air in the whipped cream. Once the two were mixed together I then spread the filling into the crust and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula. I then covered it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day I sliced up strawberries and tossed them with sugar and whipped up another batch of whipped cream, this time sweetened with confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and topped the cheesecake. Since I opted to make mine in a springform pan I carefully removed the ring from it before spreading the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then piped dollops of whipped cream around the edge using a Wilton 1M tip. Since I was taking this cheesecake over to a friends’ house for dessert I carefully placed the ring back on the cake before covering again.

Final verdict… It was delicious. The strawberry flavor was spot on without being overly sweet. Also, the texture was perfect. Sometimes with cheesecakes they can be a bit dense, but the texture of this cheesecake was more smooth and fluffy. This was definitely attributed to gently folding the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 cup salted mini pretzels crumbs (from 1/2 cup whole mini pretzels)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (6 full sheets of graham crackers)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioner’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup heavy whupping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the Crust:

Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix together until well combined. Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch pie dish. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan/dish you use. Make sure it’s in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before filling.

For the Filling:

Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. You should have between 1 1/2 – 2 cups of puree. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until you are left with a 1/2 cup (or slightly more) of puree. This can take between 25-35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a hand mixer beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese using a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the cooled strawberry puree, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Make sure the mixture is creamy and smooth, if there are any lumps in the mixture continue to beat until they incorporate into the mixture.

Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly as you don’t want to deflate the air from the whipped cream.

Spread the filling into the cooled crust and use a small offset spatula to smooth the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. The longer it stays in the refrigerator the better it will firm up.

For the Topping:

Before serving, prep the toppings and decorate. In a medium bowl stir the sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside. In another medium bowl combine the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used Wilton 1M). Remove the cheesecake from the fridge. If you made it in a springform pan, carefully remove the ring. Spread the strawberries in the center of the cheesecake and then pipe dollops of the whipped cream around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

A Quick, Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Happy Memorial Day! The unofficial kickoff to the summer. Albeit, this summer will definitely look and feel different than summer’s past. One thing remains certain though, the days will be getting warmer. And with warmer days you’ll be wanting to spend less time in the kitchen but will probably still want something sweet that’s quick and easy to make, and this cheesecake is just that. Topped with some fresh berries that are soon to be in season it’s the perfect treat for the warmer days ahead.

Instead of using a springform pan and graham crackers crumbs for the crust you simple use a store-bought graham cracker crust. For the cheesecake filling beat room temperature cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and sour cream until well blended. Then add two room temperature eggs to the mixture and continue beating until all the ingredients are well combined and then pour the batter into the crust and bake for 40 – 45 minutes in a 325 F preheated oven.

After removing it from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for an hour before refrigerating it overnight. I then topped it with sliced strawberries and blueberries. And to add a little extra sweetness and to ensure that the berries wouldn’t slide off the cheesecake I brushed them with an apricot glaze. To make the glaze I warmed apricot preserves with water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the preserves had melted. I then strained the mixture through a strainer.

And after letting the glaze cool for a few minutes I gently brushed it over the berries.

An as the title says, the cheesecake was super creamy and delicious!

 

Quick Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For The Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

9-inch graham cracker crust

For The Topping:

1 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon water

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the center is almost set.

Let cool on a wire rack for an hour and then refrigerate for at least three hours.

To make the glaze combine the apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan and whisk together over medium heat until the preserves have melted. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and let cool for a few minutes.

Arrange the sliced strawberries and blueberries on the chilled cheesecake and then brush the warm apricot glaze over them.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Lime Pudding Cups

The best desserts in the summer are of course no-bakes ones. No one wants to turn on their oven when it’s 90+ degrees outside, but, sometimes you can make a slight exception and light up your stove for a quick delicious treat like these Lime Pudding Cups. These came up on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and I knew instantly that I wanted to make them – partially because it meant using up the last of some heavy whipping cream I had in my refrigerator that was expiring soon and more importantly because they reminded me of one of my favorite desserts… Key Lime Pie.

The prep and cooking time for these is less than an hour. That includes juicing and zesting the limes, cooking the pudding on the stove and then letting it cool before straining and dividing it. (Okay, maybe it’s more like less than 45 minutes). Once all that is done you place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so the pudding can set. While they are in the refrigerator you whip up some homemade whipped cream to top them and refrigerate it until they are ready.

Once the pudding has set top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, crushed graham crackers (to crush, I placed 1 graham cracker in a Ziploc bag and then rolled with a rolling pin) and lime zest.

And as simple as that you have a refreshing summer dessert that’s sweet and citrusy!

Lime Pudding Cups

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime zest, plus more for topping

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 4 medium-sized limes)

Crushed graham crackers, for topping

Sweetened whipped cream, for topping (use store-bought or follow recipe below to make your own)

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine the heavy cream, sugar, lime zest and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir the mixture often until it is reduced to 2 cups. About 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Let cool for 20 minutes and then strain the mixture through a sieve into a measuring cup, discarding the solids. Divide evenly (about 1/3 cup in each) among 6 ramekins. Place in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours.

To make the whipped cream: Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a chilled bowl. Beat on low speed until the mixture thickens and then beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Once the pudding is set, top each one with a dollop of whipped cream, some of the crushed graham cracker and lime zest.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Bourbon Bread Pudding

With the summer in full swing you might have enjoyed a hamburger or hot dog by now. And with those summer BBQ staples comes one dilemma I’m sure most have you have faced… left-over hamburger and hot dog buns. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. I was facing this very dilemma after my July 4th BBQ. I bought extra buns just in case, and while most of it went I still had some left that I just wouldn’t be able to finish on my own. So, I started thinking what I could make with them. A Bourbon Bread Pudding sounded like a good option.

To start, I soaked a cup of raisins in a quarter cup of Jim Beam Bourbon. I let them sit for about 2 hours until most of the bourbon had been soaked up by the raisins. You can actually do this step a day or two before you plan on making your bread pudding.

Since the hot dog buns were still fresh, I had to make them “stale” so that they wouldn’t fall apart too much when I added the liquid. To do so I toasted the bread. I began by slicing 8 hot dogs buns into cubes. Without splitting the buns in half, I sliced them in half lengthwise and then sliced them again into cubes. I placed them on a baking sheet and toasted them a 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Until the cubes were toasted, but not burnt.

Once the bread had cooled I transferred it to a large bowl and added in a quart of whole milk. Using my hands I pressed the bread into the milk until all of it was absorbed.

In a medium bowl I whisked together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon.

Once the egg mixture was well combined I poured it over the bread mixture and then gently folded everything together. Finally I folded in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that hadn’t been soaked up by the raisins as well.

I poured the mixture into 9×13 baking dish that I brushed with melted butter and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes.

When done, the edges of the bread pudding were brown and pulling away from the baking dish. And while the center was still a little wet, I knew that it would firm up as it cooled.

And while it cooled I made a bourbon sauce to drizzle over the bread pudding. In a medium saucepan I melted a stick of unsalted butter over low heat. I then added in sugar and an egg and whisked everything to combine. As the mixture continued to cook over low heat I constantly stirred it until it began to thicken. At this point I removed it from the heat and whisked in bourbon.

The sauce was the perfect topping to a slice of the bread pudding, all that was missing was a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

 

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

Bread Pudding:

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup whiskey bourbon

8 hot dog buns, cut into cubes

1 quart whole milk

3 large eggs

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Bourbon Sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup bourbon whiskey

 

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the raisins and 1/4 cup of bourbon whiskey, cover and let sit until the raisins soak up most of the liquid. At least one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crispy, about 12 – 15 minutes. If you find the bread still soft on the bottom, flip and bake for a few more minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a large bowl. Add the milk and using your hands press the bread into the milk until it’s absorbed.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs together and then whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract, allspice and cinnamon. Pour this over the bread mixture.

Fold the two mixtures together until well incorporated and then gently stir in the bourbon soaked raisins, adding in any bourbon that wasn’t soaked up by the raisins.

Pour the melted butter into the bottom of 9×13 baking dish and using a pastry brush (or napkin) coat the bottom and sides of the dish with the butter. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish and bake in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

The bread pudding is ready when the edges begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the baking dish.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

While the bread pudding is cooling you can make the bourbon sauce.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and egg and whisk to blend it. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the bourbon.

Serve the bread pudding with the bourbon sauce drizzled over it.

Recipe modified from Simply Recipies

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th! Unfortunately the holiday weekend is now over and it’s back to the daily grind of work, but, on the bright side there is still more summer to enjoy. I had my annual BBQ on the 4th and it was a great time… You can never go wrong with great friends, delicious food and yummy desserts.

This year, one of my friends and his mother-in-law decided to have a rib throw-down. Everyone was a winner in this throw-down. One of them was declared as having the best ribs and the rest of us got to enjoy them. In all honesty both were equally delicious in my book… One had a bit of a kick and the other one had a nice amount of homemade BBQ sauce on it.

I made a few salads (macaroni, potato, black and a Greek chickpea salad), macaroni and cheese, slow cooker baked beans and of course dessert.

I made this very patriotic funfetti cake…

A Strawberry Blueberry Icebox Cake (this is actually a dessert I make every year for the 4th)…

And for the first time ever I made a trifle. It had layers of Angel Food Cake, Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Mint Macerated Strawberries. I took a major time-saving shortcut and used a store-bought Angel Food Cake as opposed to baking one from scratch. If you’re not keen on Angel Food Cake, a Pound Cake would be a nice substitute. And, if you don’t have a trifle bowl you could use a large flat-bottomed glass bowl.

 

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

Store-bought or Homemade Angel Food Cake or Pound Cake, cut into cubes

For the macerated strawberries:

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For the mascarpone whipped cream:

1 1/3 cups mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Mascarpone Whipped Cream:

Using a handheld mixer on medium speed beat the mascarpone cheese and sugar until combined. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

For the strawberries:

In a large bowl stir together the strawberries, sugar and mint. Let stand at room temperature until the strawberries begin to release their juices, about 15 minutes.

To assemble the trifle:

Place a single layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon a third of the macerated strawberries over the cake and then spread a third of the mascarpone whipped cream over the strawberries. Repeat these layers two more times ending with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream. Place a few strawberries in the center of the whipped cream for decoration. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Recipe slightly modified from Williams-Sonoma

No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! Happy 1st (official) day of summer. I say official, because I am sure there are plenty of people who feel that Memorial Day is the kick-off to summer. Which, I don’t completely disagree with, but, the weather in my neck of the woods has been saying otherwise. There have been some warm days, but, quite a few days have felt like we are back in April with the rain, wind and chill in the air. As you know, April showers bring May flowers, well, we are well into June now Mother Nature so we don’t need so much of the rain. Hopefully she’ll listen. So, what better way to kick off summer than with some homemade ice cream. Last year I shared with you a No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream to kick off the summer and this year I am sharing with you a No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream. YUM! Passion Fruit happens to be my favorite Chobani Yogurt flavor. That’s where the idea for this ice cream flavor came about. I figured if it tasted good as a yogurt it ought to taste just as good as ice cream (and I was right.)

While I came across quite a few different recipes for this ice cream, I opted to go with one that required only 3 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep time. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp from my local supermarket. To defrost it, I placed it in my refrigerator for about a day. Once it was defrosted I combined it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, whisking the two together until they were well combined. In another bowl, using my hand mixer, I whipped extra cold (I placed it in the freezer for 10 minutes) heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. I then added in the passion fruit mixture and beat everything together until just combined. I transferred the mixture to a loaf pan and placed a piece of wax paper directly on the surface before covering the pan with aluminum foil and then placing it in the freezer. And of course, I snuck a taste of it beforehand and it tasted just like my favorite Chobani yogurt, without the pesky little black seeds

After letting the ice cream set in the freezer for a few days (I am sure it was ready after a few hours, but, I happen to make this in the middle of week and was busy some doing baking and other things and totally forgot it was in freezer) I scooped myself a scoop or two and enjoyed it.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. package of Passion Fruit Pulp, defrosted

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Place the heavy cream in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the defrosted passion fruit pulp and sweetened condensed milk.

In another medium bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add the passion fruit mixture and continue beating until the two mixtures are combined.

Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan and place a piece of wax paper directly on the surface and the cover with a piece of aluminum foil before placing in the freezer. Free for at least 2 hours and up to two weeks.

Recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine

Mini Fruit Tarts

I recently made a bunch of bite-sized treats (and cookies) for a party some friends of mine were having. A lot of brainstorming went into what I should make. I was all over the place with ideas. At one point I was actually thinking of making petit fours, but, I quickly nixed that idea when I couldn’t find or come up with a recipe that would be completely foolproof. I knew I was going to make cheesecake brownie bites (which are always a hit, you can find the recipe here), Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes, Rugelach (another hit), Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies, but, I wanted something new to make. So, after some random Google searches I settled on Mini Fruit Tarts. They seemed simple enough, and, I made things even easier for myself when at the last minute I decided to buy frozen phyllo shells instead of making the dough myself.

I found these phyllo shells at my local supermarket in the frozen food section. To prep the shells I simply placed them on a baking sheet and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for four minutes to make them crispy.

While they were cooling I made the filling. I combined mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and used a handheld mixer to beat the ingredients until stiff peaks formed. I transferred the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round piping tip and piped the filling into each of the shells, but, you could use a small spoon to spoon the mixture into them as well. I then placed the filled tarts in the refrigerator while I chopped up strawberries and kiwis to top them. Once the fruit was ready I topped each of the tarts with a piece of strawberry and kiwi and a blueberry. I honestly think that I had 45 tarts done in less than an hour. You can’t beat that!

Here are some pics of all the desserts I made. Oh yeah, at the last minute (the night before) I decided to make mini carrot cupcakes as well. I ended up using my go-to Carrot Cake recipe and since I didn’t halve it I ended up with about 100 mini cupcakes. I only ended up frosting half of them and the rest ended up being the perfect little snack to munch on.

 

Mini Fruit Tarts

  • Servings: 22 (2 each)
  • Print

Ingredients:

3 boxes of phyllo shells*

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy whipping cream

5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Fruit for topping**

 

*I used Athens Phyllo Shells, each box contains 15 shells

**I used chopped strawberries and kiwis and blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place phyllo shells on a large baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, heaving whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar and using a handheld mixer beat the ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe the mascarpone cream into the cooled shells. You could also use a spoon to spoon the mixture into the shells.

Top with your desired fruit and chill until ready to serve.

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

I’ve been wanting to make this Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake for over a year now. Somehow it just got away from me last summer and it almost did the same this summer. I truly feel the flavors of this cake are ideal for the summer months. This isn’t my first crepe cake though, last fall I made a Chocolate-Pumpkin Crepe Cake which was quite delish.

Unfortunately this crepe cake wasn’t a hit amongst my friends who tried it. Not because of the taste but because they weren’t keen on the crepes. They agreed that the lemon curd cream filling between the crepes was good but the crepes themselves not so great. Not so much the flavor, but, the texture. Which I can completely understand. Eating a cake of crepes is nothing like eating a fluffy moist cake. I myself enjoyed it, but, I’m a texture person. In other words, I like sprinkles on my ice cream, nuts in brownies and cookies and so forth. Oh well… You can’t always bake something that everyone will rave about.

One thing I have to point out… This very apropos cake stand I used for this cake. It has a glass lemon as the stem between the base and the plate. I got it from a dear friend’s mom a few days before I made this cake and it made making this cake a little more fun!

 

Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

Lemon Curd*:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 5 to 6 lemons

 

Crepes:

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup flour

6 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

An additional 3 tablespoons of butter to cook the Crepes

 

Assembly:

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crushed amaretti cookies, for garnish (optional)**

 

*If you opt to use store bought lemon curd, you will need 1 cup.

**I used Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats

 

Directions:

Lemon Curd: Beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the whole egg. Once well combined, gradually add in the egg yolks, then the lemon juice. The mixture may appear curdles. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cool. You can keep the lemon curd in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Crepes: Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Once the batter is cold, stir it the batter until smooth again. Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1 ounce of batter on the skillet and tilt it to even distribute the batter. Cook until the edges on the crepe turn golden and then carefully flip and cook until just set. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Melt another 1/2 teaspoon of butter and continue cooking the crepes in the same manner. Mix the batter between each crepe. Stack the crepes on top of one another and let cool for 30 minutes. You will have between 16-20 crepes.

Assembly: Beat 1 1/4 cups heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whipped cream into the lemon curd with a rubber spatula until combined. Then fold the cream-curd mixture into the remaining whipped cream until completely combined.

Place 1 crepe on the center of a cake stand and spread 3 tablespoons of the curd mixture evenly over the crepe. Repeat layering with remaining crepes and curd mixture, ending with a crepe.

Whisk together the remaining cream and confectioners’ sugar with the mascarpone and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Spread the mascarpone cream on the top and the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and garnish with crushed cookies before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Lemon Blueberry Snack Cakes

I don’t have enough space in my kitchen to store all of my baking supplies so I keep them nicely organized on a shelving until in my basement. Not long ago while grabbing my Bundt pan to make a pound cake I thought it was about time I use my snack cake pans again. I’ve only used them once to make these Chocolate Snack Cakes. So, the wheels started turning to come up with a flavor. Initially I was thinking of making a Raspberry Cake with a Lime Curd Filling, then, it became a Raspberry Cake with a Lemon Curd Filling, next, a Lemon Raspberry Cake with a Pastry Cream filling, but, since blueberries were on sale the week I decided to make them it ended up being a Lemon Blueberry Snack Cake. Maybe another day will try out one of those other flavors. Oh, and in case you are wondering what a snack cake pan is, it’s essentially a pan that will make cakes that look like Twinkies. I have this one from Fat Daddio, which I believe isn’t available anymore, but, Wilton makes a similar one.

I tweaked the recipe that I used to make this Lemon Cake a few years back and then gently folded in blueberries that I dredged in flour (a little trick to ensure the blueberries won’t sink to the bottom of the batter while baking). I then divvied the batter among my snack cake pans and baked them in the oven. If you don’t have snack cake pans, you can use the batter to make cupcakes. They are delicious on their own, but, it you opt to make the cupcakes top them with cream cheese frosting and decorate with lemon zest and a few more blueberries for a little extra wow.

 

Lemon Blueberry Snack Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

5 oz. buttermilk*

3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup blueberries, dredged in flour

 

*I made my own buttermilk by stirring together 4 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 cup whole milk and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it curdled. You can refrigerate the leftovers.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a snack cake pan with baking spray. If making cupcakes, line a cupcake tin with liners.

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light & fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beat until just combined. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Fold in the blueberries and pour batter into the pan. For the snack cake pan use about 3 tablespoons of batter per cavity, for cupcakes 1/4 cup of batter.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.