Cherry Pie

Happy First Day of Summer! You may recall back in March I posted a Blueberry Pie in honor of Pi Day and that it was the first time I ever had Blueberry Pie, well, another confession. I’ve never had Cherry Pie. So, what better way to celebrate the start of the summer and cherry season than with a Cherry Pie!

First things first… Since I was using fresh cherries I had to pit them. I don’t own a cherry pitter so I pitted the cherries by using a reusable plastic straw. I literally just pushed the straw through the cherry to remove the pit. Check out this link for a few more ideas on how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter.

You may recall I’m not a fan of making pie crust from scratch – one of these days I will attempt to make it again – so I used my usual Pillsbury Pie crust. I rolled out one of the crusts an extra inch or two and then placed it in the bottom of my pie dish.

To prep the filling, I mixed flour, sugar and cinnamon in a Ziploc bag and then added in the cherries and tossed them around in the mixture to make sure they were completely covered.

I then poured the mixture, along with the excess flour mixture, into the pie plate.

Next, I used the second pie crust to top the pie and brushed it with milk and sprinkled sugar on it.

I then baked it in a 425 F preheated oven for 25 minutes and then lowered the oven temperature to 350 F and baked it for an additional 30 minutes. Until the filling was bubbling.

While my crust did come out a little wonky looking, it didn’t take away from how delicious the pie was. There’s something to be said about using fresh fruit… YUM!

 

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

4 cups sweet cherries, pitted

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish with one of the pie crusts

In a Ziploc bag combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the cherries and toss to coat. Add to the pie crust lined-dish

Place the second crust on top and trim the ends. Cut vent slits in the middle of the pie and crimp the edges.

Bake for 25 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, tent the pie.

Recipe from Food.com

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

IMG_0234

Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

IMG_0235

IMG_0240

The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

IMG_0264

Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

IMG_0266

 

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Dump Cakes

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us- the unofficial start of the summer – and with the official start right around the corner and the inevitable warmer temperatures, you may be looking for desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth but won’t take too long to put together and don’t require a slew of ingredients. If so, today I have the recipe for you… A Dump Cake! And trust me, it tastes a whole lot better than the images the name may conjure up for you.

I wish I could say that I came up with this genius idea of a dessert myself, but the credit goes to Pioneer Woman: Ree Drummond. Warning… If you are adverse to box cake mix, can pie filling / canned fruit and butter stop reading now and deprive yourself of the opportunity to make something super simple and delicious. Hey, you have standards to keep. And yes, it only takes those three ingredients to make this cake.

To begin, in a 9×13-inch baking dish pour out a can of cherry pie filling and a can of crushed pineapple (okay, this version of the cake requires four ingredients, but, you could easily omit the pineapple.) Mix the two together well.

IMG_0107

Next, evenly pour the cake mix over the fruit… Make sure you get the corners.

IMG_0108

And finally, top it with a stick and a half of unsalted butter sliced into tablespoons, making sure to space the butter evenly over the cake.

IMG_0111

Bake it in a preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour; until the top is browned and the fruit filling is bubbling.

IMG_0114

Let it cool for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy slightly warmed with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream or a dollop or two of whipped cream.

This cake was so delicious that I soon made another one along with a peach version.

IMG_0132

 

Dump Cake

Ingredients:

Cherry and Pineapple

1 21oz. can cherry pie filling

1 20oz. can crushed pineapple

1 box white cake mix

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced

 

Peach

1 29oz. can sliced peaches in syrup

1 box yellow cake mix

12 tablespoon unsalted butter, sliced

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pour fruit into a 9×13-inch baking dish. For the cherry and pineapple version mix both fruits together well.

Top evenly with the cake mix, making sure to get the corners.

Space the butter evenly over the cake and bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling.

Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing so the cake can “set.”

Enjoy with ice cream, whipped cream or on its own.

Recipe from Food Network

 

Mixed Berry Galette

The unofficial end of summer is upon us… Labor Day. While the day temps feel like summer the drop in the evening temps definitely signal the arrival of Fall is imminent, kids are heading back to school and everywhere you look there is something flavored pumpkin. I am not complaining though… Fall is by far my favorite of the four seasons. I love the crispness in the air, apple picking, the leaves changing colors and the return of scarf season. If you didn’t know, I love scarves!!! But before all that fun begins I have one last summer themed dessert… A Mixed Berry Galette. While you can get berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. – anytime of the year, summer is when they are at their peak.

Just look at how vibrant and delicious these berries look…

IMG_9105

While you could make your dough from scratch, I opted to go the easier and quicker route by using a puff pastry sheet. After thawing the sheet out I rolled it on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. I then transferred it to a parchment lined cookie sheet and placed it the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

IMG_9107

Following that I put my berries – which I tossed with corn starch, sugar and salt – in a small mound in the center of the sheet and folded the edges around it. I brushed the edges with an egg wash – an egg beaten with a teaspoon of water – and sprinkled granulated sugar on it.

IMG_9110

After refrigerating it for 15 minutes I the baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for 30 minutes – until the puff pastry was golden brown and the berries were bubbling. Unfortunately my galette opened up a bit while baking.

IMG_9115

That didn’t affect the taste though; once it cooled I cut myself a piece and was quite pleased with how something so quick and simple could turn into something so delicious!

Mixed Berry Galette

Ingredients:

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 large egg, for brushing the pastry

3 cups mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar*, plus more for sprinkling the puff pastry

1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you would like your galette on the sweeter side add a tablespoon or two more sugar.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the sheet to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Make the filling by tossing the berries with the cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Place the fruit in the center of the puff pastry in a small mound and fold the edges of the sheet over the fruit, overlapping the sheet as you fold.

Brush the pastry with an egg wash – the egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water – and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 – 35 minutes.

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.

IMG_4879

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.

IMG_4830

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

IMG_4834

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.

IMG_4831

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.

IMG_4833

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

IMG_4835

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

IMG_4837

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.

IMG_4839

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.

IMG_4841

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!

IMG_4843

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.

IMG_4846

The set panna cotta…

IMG_4875

And topped with the Blueberry Compote.

IMG_4876

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.

IMG_4882

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.

IMG_4783

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

IMG_4733

I began by zesting two of the lemons…

IMG_4737

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.

IMG_4739

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

IMG_4741

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

IMG_4742

I then slowly whisked in the dry ingredients.

IMG_4743

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

IMG_4744

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.

IMG_4745

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.

IMG_4756

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.

IMG_4757

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.

IMG_4774

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.

IMG_4786

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.

IMG_4785

 

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.

 

A Delicious Short-Cut Peach Pie

Short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. When you are driving they can get you where you have to go quicker and hopefully help you avoid some traffic along the way. In our day-to-day lives they can make us a bit more efficient to get daily tasks completed. And in baking they can guarantee us a flakier crust and fruit that’s perfectly ripe for a pie!

A few weeks ago I got it in my head that I wanted to make a peach pie. I’m actually not a big fruit pie fan – I’m not that keen on fruit pie filling, especially when it’s on the runny side – but, I think the Pillsbury Pie Crust sitting in my refrigerator got me thinking. I’ve made pie crusts from scratch once or twice before but, like I said there’s nothing wrong with taking a short-cut every now and then. I went one step further with my short-cut and opted to use frozen peaches. I just wasn’t in the mood to peel and slice a few pounds of peaches.

IMG_4587

I combined 2 pounds of frozen sliced peaches with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice and almond extract. I decided on the almond extract after reading that many bakers used to add the nut – sometimes called a “bitter almond” –  that’s inside the pit of the peach to the pie while baking to give it an almond flavor. That practice has since diminished as it was discovered that the nut contains trace amounts of cyanide, granted you would have to eat a large quantity of them for anything to happen, but, who wants to bite down on something hard when they are enjoying a piece of pie.

IMG_4588

Next I unrolled one of the pie crusts and pressed it into the bottom of the pie dish.

IMG_4590

I then added the filling and mounded it slightly in the middle and dotted it with small pieces of unsalted butter.

IMG_4593

Instead of just unrolling the other pie crust on top of the pie I decided to give it a little pizazz with a lattice pattern that wouldn’t require weaving. First I sliced the top pie crust into 6 1-inch strips…

IMG_4595

And then divided those strips in half to end up with a total of 12 1/2-inch strips.

IMG_4596

I laid five strips across the pie, doing my best to equally space them

IMG_4597

Then I laid four strips across the previous strips diagonally.

IMG_4598

And after some trimming and crimping, voila, a simple lattice pattern.

IMG_4600

I then placed the pie on a baking sheet in a 400 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes. I then lowered the oven to 375 F and baked the pie for about another hour. Prior to lowering the temperature I brushed the top of the pie with an egg wash to ensure a nice golden brown color. I kept a close eye on the pie and when I noticed the rims of it were browning a tad bit too much I covered it with aluminum foil. I knew it was time to take the pie out of the oven when the filling was bubbling.

IMG_4617

After letting it cool it was time to slice into it…

IMG_4639

And I happy to say that the pie was a perfect consistency… Not too watery and not too dry! It was a definite winner!

IMG_4645

 

Peach Pie – Adapted from here

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

Filling:

2 pounds of sliced and peeled frozen peaches (Use frozen, do not thaw)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour (I doubled the amount the original recipe called for to allot for the water the frozen fruit would release while baking)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Make the filling by mixing the peaches in a large bowl with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, all spice and almond extract.

3. Unroll one pie crust and place in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Add the filling, mounding it slightly in the center and dot with the butter.

4. Unroll the second crust and dust it lightly with flour and cut it into 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay half of the strips on the pie in one direction, leaving about a 1-inch space between each strip. Lay the remaining strips on top, crossing them diagonally to make a faux lattice pattern. Trim the edges of the strips leaving a small overhang and crimp the edges into the bottom crust with your fingers.

5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and brush the pie with an egg wash (beat the egg with a tablespoon of water). Bake for another hour until the filling it bubbly. If you notice the out crusts of the pie is browning too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Once baked, transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing. Store remaining pie in the refrigerator.