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I am supposed to be onboard Celebrity Reflection in the middle of the Atlantic headed to Madeira and Ireland right now, but instead I’m at home under quarantine. Sigh. One of the highlights of cruising with Celebrity is the free scoops of gelato associated with our loyalty program. My favorite flavor is pistachio. In memory of this, I found an easy no-churn recipe for pistachio ice cream at Simply Scratch. The flavor is deeply rich and luxurious.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup lightly-salted shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Chopped pistachio nuts (optional)

Using a food processor (I used my Cuisinart mini-prep), process pistachios into smooth butter. This takes time, be patient. I had to scrape my bowl many times. I stopped once I saw liquid (oil). It did not turn out as smooth as I would like, but it worked fine.

In a large bowl, mix pistachio butter with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

In a separate large bowl, whip heavy whipping cream into stiff peaks. I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pistachio mixture until well blended. Remember to fold, not stir. Patience!

If you want pieces of pistachio in your ice cream, or on top of your ice cream, do that now. I like my ice cream smooth, so I didn’t add any extra nuts. Place into a container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours. When you’re ready to serve, you may have to let it set out for a bit. Mine was easy to scoop out, I didn’t have to let it sit.

This is SO yummy!

This is a riff on the traditional British dessert, the Banoffee Pie, which I’ve never seen or eaten. The recipe comes from Food52. I was casting about for something to do with the 2 bananas I had on-hand before they got too soft and were only good for bread. This dessert has a strong banana flavor and is super yummy.

  • Crust Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare a 9″ square pan by fitting with parchment paper that hangs over the edges so that you can pull the dessert out of the pan when it’s time to serve it. Spray the paper with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together in large chunks. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the crust with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes or until it’s a golden brown color. Let cool while you make the filling.

  • Filling and Topping Ingredients
  • 10 Tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (160 grams)
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter and brown sugar. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens (about five minutes).

Spread the banana slices evenly over the cooled crust. Pour the warm caramel mixture over the bananas and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate chips (I used a microwave a few seconds at a time, stirring after each few seconds) and spread over the chilled caramel layer.

Chill until ready to serve. Remove from pan and cut into pieces. Serve.

This is a hodgepodge of several different recipes. The cream pat recipe I found at confessionsofabakingqueen.com and I halved the recipe. The crust is based upon one found at Taste of Home. FYI, they say this makes a 9″ tart crust, so if you want to make one big one instead of four little ones, go for it. The stewed mandarins I just made up. This is written in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I sent a picture of the finished product to my daughter and she said I get bonus points for making canned fruit looked good. I’m offended. It’s not canned fruit. I stewed those fresh mandarin oranges this afternoon! So there!

  • Ingredient List
  • Cream Patisserie
  • Crust
  • Jelly or Jam
  • Fruit, any kind (stewed Mandarin recipe found below)
  • Cream Patisserie Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • Dash salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste

Heat milk in small pan over low heat, do not allow to boil. While that’s happening, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Whisk for a couple minutes. This will turn a pale yellow color. When the milk has warmed, pour a little bit into the egg yolk mixture and whisk. Whisk in a little more milk. Whisk in a little more. Whisk in all the remaining milk. Pour the mixture back into the pan and whisk over medium heat until it thickens and the large bubbles break slowly. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cold butter and vanilla. Whisk until butter melts. Let stand for a little while to cool and then cover with cling wrap (set the cling wrap right on top of the cream pat so that a skin does not form) and refrigerate until ready to use. This will yield about 1-1/2 cups of cream patisserie.

  • Orange Crust Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 cup flour

Cream together butter and sugar until well incorporated. Stir in zest and vanilla. Stir in flour until the dough forms a ball. Divide into 4 portions. Prepare 4 mini tart pans by spraying with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Preheat sheet pan at the same time. Press each portion of dough into tart pan. I start by pressing in the sides and then finish with the center. Prick the dough with a fork. Place the tarts onto the preheated sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Keep checking the tart color every minute or so thereafter until they are a golden brown. This is meant to be a crispy cookie-like texture.

  • Stewed Mandarin Ingredients
  • 3 Mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented, with as much pith removed as possible
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer 10 minutes. This should result in softened mandarins.

Assembly:

Spread the bottom of the crust with a layer of jam. Dollop cream pat onto the jam. Try to be artistic and spread fruit over the top of the cream patisserie. There are only two of us eating here, so I’m going to assemble one tart every day. I may do it differently every time. I have a lot of homemade jam on-hand.

It’s that zucchini time of year. So far, I’ve been able to keep up. A few weeks ago I read that it was National Leave A Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Doorstep Day. It made me laugh because that actually happened to us one time. We still don’t know who left it, but it was the biggest zucchini I’ve ever seen. I tried a couple different zucchini breads last week. One was a Parmesan Gluten-Free Zucchini Loaf and I did not like the texture . . . at all. The other loaf was this delicious lemon raspberry one. It is not gluten-free. I went out and picked fresh golden raspberries for this. If I had used red raspberries it would have looked much more raspberryish. The taste was great. The recipe is based upon the one found at Eat Cake for Dinner.

  • BREAD INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Grated zest on one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, wring it out in a dish-towel to remove excess water
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries (I used golden raspberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl stir together eggs, sugar, and oil. Stir in buttermilk, zest, and juice of lemon. Stir in zucchini. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in raspberries, gently, gently. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Smooth out the top to ensure even distribution. Bake for at least 55 minutes, until toothpick poked into center comes out clean. Mine took about an hour and ten minutes. The moisture content of the zucchini and the raspberries will determine the time for doneness. Cool in pan. I left mine overnight and then poured the glaze over the top. Then we ate several slices for breakfast. Yay!

  • THE GLAZE
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Lemon juice

I just eyeballed this part. Can you really have too much lemon zest? I think not. So, I zested lemon peel into the powdered sugar and squeezed lemon juice into it until it had a glaze-like consistency. Then I removed the loaf from the pan and poured the glaze over. The parchment paper caught the spills and it was really quite heavenly tasting. Repeat!!!

This turned out to be super simple and a quick preparation. The recipe comes from Taste of Home and they have a nice video of the preparation. It was SO good that I made it again the next day using gluten-free flour (Namaste Perfect Flour Blend) and it turned out great, too. I used fresh raspberries, but I’m going out on a limb to say frozen would work, too. The most delicious part of this dish is the lemon goodness inside the pinwheels. Genius!

  • RASPBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS
  • 3-4 cups raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • PINWHEELS INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. shortening
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. half-and-half cream
  • Flour (regular or gluten-free) for the rolling surface
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the raspberries in an ungreased 8×8″ or 11×7″ baking dish.

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the cold water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Pour this syrup over the raspberries. Bake at 400 degrees F for ten minutes. Remove from heat.

While the raspberries are baking, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or knives until the mixture is crumbly. Combine the egg with the half-and-half cream and stir it into the crumb mixture to form a stiff dough.

Shape the dough into a log and then, on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 12×6″ rectangle. Combine the butter, zest, and sugar. Spread it on top of the dough to within a half inch of the edges. Roll the dough starting on the long side, jelly-roll style. Cut the roll into ten slices. Pat each slice slightly to flatten, then place them atop the raspberry sauce.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until pinwheels are golden. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold. Tastes great with ice cream or cream.

GLUTEN-FREE NOTES . . . the three pictures above are of my gluten-free product. My dough was far too stiff, so I should have added more half-and-half cream, but I didn’t add enough. The dough was on the verge of crumbling apart, but I was able to get it to roll. Whew! When I patted the slices to flatten them a bit, they didn’t hold their shape very well because the dough was too dry. Ah, well. IT WAS DELICIOUS! The third picture in this series is so you can see what it looked like from the side after it was baked. The raspberries were so beautiful through the glass baking dish. A good photographer could have a great time with this recipe.

This is a small portion of my raspberry patch. I ran out to pick enough raspberries for this dessert each day that I made it. That was in addition to the 12 pounds in my freezer for this winter. I LOVE raspberries!

More notes about this recipe . . . it was super, super simple to prepare, but it did make a lot of dirty dishes. This is always a concern for me. Anyway, you will need a baking dish, saucepan, mixing bowl, and vessel to melt butter and make the pinwheel filling. That is in addition to the measuring cups and pastry cutter. Just be prepared. I had never treated raspberries this way and that’s why I thought it was genius to pour the syrup over the berries. So often a raspberry recipe ends up mushing the raspberries because they are an incredibly fragile fruit. But this recipe does not require one to stir the raspberries . . . ever. It’s so beautiful!

These Rhubarb Custard Bars were my backup after an epic fail on a custard “magic” cake with rhubarb topping that I was planning to take to a gathering. It’s good to have a backup. These bars were the hit of the gathering, all of them were eaten, and many people asked for the recipe. I hadn’t intended to post this, but I did snap a few pictures along the way, so I’m going to do it. I used the recipe found at Taste of Home. It was simple and made a ton.

  • Crust Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 7 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 5 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • Topping Ingredients
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13″ baking pan.

Combine flour and sugar, then cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat into the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from heat.

While the crust is baking, stir together sugar and flour. Mix in whipping cream and eggs. Stir in rhubarb.

Pour over crust. Return to oven and bake 40-45 minutes until custard is set. Cool.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly over the top and chill. Cover if you’re storing for awhile. Keep refrigerated until served. Cut into squares and serve.

This is such a simple and delicious recipe from Scarlett at madeitateitlovedit.com. What you see pictured here is a Blueberry Cream Pie, but I have tried this recipe using golden raspberries with great success.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked 9″ pie crust
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups berries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9″ pie pan with the unbaked crust.

Filling: Stir together 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Stir in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Set aside.

Topping: Stir together brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in melted butter. Stir in 1/2 cup flour until well incorporated. Set aside.

Assembly: Place berries into the pie crust. Pour filling over the berries. With your fingers, sprinkle chunks of the topping over the pie.

Bake at 375 degrees for 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Later in the day that I made this pie, I put it into a 350 degree oven with the heat turned OFF while we ate dinner, etc. for about an hour. It was the perfect temperature served with ice cream.

My mother had finished the pie crust before she fell and went to the hospital in an ambulance. When I arrived at their house, lemons were falling off the tree and my dad said to use them. I made lemon curd, mixed it with whipped cream to make a mousse, and filled Mom’s pie crust. Delicious!

Two days later I made more lemon curd to fill these tarts. Delicious again! I used the lemon curd recipe found at pastrypal.com. The tart recipe is based upon one found at Home Cooking in Montana. I didn’t have mini-muffin tins and so adjusted Montana’s recipe to use regular muffin tins. The leftover lemon curd is in the freezer for whenever Mom comes back home. She can use it as cake filling or to make another mousse pie. Lemon curd has many uses.

  • Lemon Curd Ingredients
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Dash salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) butter, cubed

I created a double boiler by setting a mixing bowl on the edge of a saucepan with a couple inches of water in the saucepan. I brought the water in the saucepan to a boil while I squeezed lemons and prepared the ingredients. In the mixing bowl I whisked together the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Then I set the bowl onto the saucepan and whisked constantly.

The mixture gets frothy as you whisk and then it becomes nearly all froth and then the froth gets thick. Once the mixture is thick enough that it stands up on its own, remove it from the saucepan of water. A handful at a time, whisk in the butter cubes until all the butter cubes are melted. The recipe says you can return it over the water in order to get all the butter melted, but neither I nor the recipe author had to do that. Just sayin’.

Let the curd cool for a few minutes and then place a piece of cling wrap directly on top of the curd so that a skin does not form. Let it cool and then set it into the refrigerator to chill. My guess as to yield is about 3 cups of curd.

In case you’re interested in making Lemon Mousse, whip one cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in 1-1/2 cups lemon curd. Voila! Mousse! It firms up quite nicely in a pie crust or in decorative glasses, a very mild flavor.

  • Mini Tart Crust Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups flour

Mix ingredients together with your hands. Make sure it is well incorporated. Set in the refrigerator to chill for a little while so that it’s easy to handle for the next step.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into ten even pieces. One-by-one place a dough ball into a muffin cup and spread into the bottom and all the way up the sides.

Set the muffin tin into the refrigerator until the dough is firm, fifteen minutes or so should do it. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove from refrigeration and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Start checking them around 13 minutes. The edges should be brown and the centers should be slightly brown. These will look greasy in the middle as there is a lot of butter, but just ignore it and go with it. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While they are still quite warm, use the back of a spoon to press a well into the center of each cup. Let them sit in the muffin tins until they are completely cool. Very carefully remove them from the tins. I ran a knife around the edge of each muffin cup to release them gently, gently.

  • Assembling the Mini Lemon Tarts
  • Using a teaspoon dollop lemon curd into each tart crust.
  • Decorate with berries and mint leaves.
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Serves ten.

My husband LOVES cheesecake. We were in New York City in October (my first time) and every day he ordered cheesecake at a bakery in the subway terminal to take back to the hotel room. When we’re eating out, he always orders cheesecake for dessert. I have made varying kinds of cheesecake; chocolate, baked, unbaked, etc. and this recipe is the most authentic and best, in my opinion. It’s also a super simple recipe. I should make it more often, but it’s so, so rich! This recipe comes from The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith (1990, William Morrow and Company, Inc.).

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for crust)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for crust)
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla (I used vanilla paste, thus the specks of brown in the cheesecake)
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, broken into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter (for filling)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. I use an 8.5″ pan (since my 9″ broke about fifteen years ago and I haven’t replaced it). [A side note: I cut a round of parchment paper and placed it in the bottom of my springform pan, then pressed in the crumbs mixture. At the end, I was able, using a very large spatula, to slide the entire cheesecake onto a plate while at the same time peeling off the parchment paper. This was really an unnecessary step, but I just wanted to get it out and off the springform bottom. It worked splendidly, but could have so easily gone awry.]

In a food processor, blend the sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and vanilla until it is very smooth and well blended. Add the cream cheese and process until it is smooth, scraping down the bowl a time or two. While blending, pour the 2 Tbsp. melted butter through the top of the machine. Pour mixture over the top of the graham crust.

The flecks of brown are from using vanilla paste, which I really like to use better than vanilla extract.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. I give mine a little shake to see if the center is overly soft. It’s hard to tell, just do your best. Turn your broiler on and broil the cheesecake just until the top begins to have attractive spots of brown. I think I left mine a few seconds too long for “attractive.” Oh, well.

  • Optional Raspberry Sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups raspberry juice/pulp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Boil together for about 5-10 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened, but not to jelly stage.

The cheesecake stands very well alone, but because I have a lot of frozen raspberries, I made a raspberry sauce to go with this deliciousness. I’m not a fan of raspberry seeds so I pressed my home-frozen package of thawed raspberries through a sieve and came up with 1-1/2 cups of juice/pulp. These type of sauces are not fussy so you can do your own thing regarding amounts. I was looking for something that would remain a semi-thick liquid when brought down to room temperature. I didn’t want a hot sauce to melt my cheesecake slices. At the same time I wanted the sauce to pour when I was ready for it. This worked very well. I gave the sauce a stir right before serving. I used a gravy boat to store and pour.

I made this last week and there was none left after the meeting. Yummy! Since it is March now, I used previously frozen rhubarb. Last summer I picked rhubarb and froze only small, tender stalks. The bigger stalks I used while fresh and did not freeze. It seems to have made a difference for the frozen rhubarb. It baked well and was not stringy.

The recipe was based upon one from LizTheChef. My cake batter did not spill out of the cake pan, but it did puff up to the extent that the edges were not inside the pan. This made it a little tricky to get out. Also, I felt it could have stayed in the oven another five minutes for the center to be completely done. Not everyone who ate it agreed with that assessment. And like I said, it was gone . . . fast!

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups ricotta, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen and thawed (if using thawed, let it drain completely — do not press it)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9″ cake pan by spraying or greasing, then laying a circle of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Spray lightly again.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, and orange peel. Fold into the dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the melted butter. Stir in 1 cup of the rhubarb.

Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup rhubarb, try to lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the top with 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes and then turn out onto rack, remove parchment, and invert so sugary crust is topside. Let cool completely then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve. Prepare to be wowed.