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This recipe is based upon one found in The Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook by Lois Levine (Macmillan Co, 1968). I had this cookbook from my teenage years, but didn’t really use it A LOT until I had kids. The gender role assumptions are hilarious to read now, but the recipes are very good. We have made this dessert regularly since 1998. It is super simple to make. (More better photos next time!)

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (Gluten-Free Graham Crackers work well, if needed)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pie filling

Mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until set. Cool. Top each with 1 Tbsp. of your favorite pie filling.

You can remove the paper liners before adding the pie filling or have your guests remove them after serving. These are very easy to transport while in the paper liners.

For such a fancy dessert, this is incredibly easy to make. Yes, you should use a kitchen blowtorch. Raiza Costa has a way to get that sugary, crackly topping by using a hot spoon, but I don’t know about that. Alternatively, you could broil them. I was gifted a kitchen blowtorch long ago, thank you very much. This recipe is based upon one found at foodnetwork. It’s an Ina Garten recipe from Barefoot in Paris, 2004. I first made it in 2010.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more to sprinkle on each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

You will need 6 6-oz custard cups (or equivalent); a baking pan to place the custard cups in (mine is 10×15″); a tea towel; boiling water for the bain-marie; a kitchen blowtorch.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix egg yolks, egg, and sugar together until just combined. Scald cream in a saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch, but not boiling. Slowly add the cream to the egg mixture, stirring well. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier. Pour into the custard cups.

Prepare a bain marie by placing a tea towel on the bottom of your baking pan and setting the custard cups on top of the towel. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the custard cups. Carefully move the baking pan into the oven.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, until the custard is set when gently shaken. Remove the cups from the water, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

Prior to serving, sprinkle sugar across the top of each custard and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. Serves 6.

Notes: I use vanilla paste instead of extract and that’s why you see tiny black specks. I have eaten this warm, without the sugar topping, and it’s wonderful. I’ve used a combination of 4-oz custard cups and soup mugs and other assorted sizes of dishes — just remove the smaller ones from the bain marie first, then remove the others as they set.

This is our all-time favorite pie. The recipe ingredients are found in 1961’s Out of Alaska’s Kitchens. I marked my copy with the notation that I first made this on March 19, 1989. The secret ingredient is the orange juice. It’s amazing how well rhubarb pairs with oranges.

  • Ingredients
  • 4-5 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Minute (quick) tapioca
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 9″ double-crust pie shell

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Yes, very hot!

In a large bowl, stir together rhubarb and sugar. Stir in nutmeg and tapioca. Stir in orange juice. Stir in strawberries. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour mixture into 9″ pie shell. Dot with butter. Cut slits into the top crust and then place it atop the filling. Seal the edges.

Place into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. You will know it is finished when the bubbles, seen through the slits, burst slowly.

Remove from oven and cool. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

This recipe originates at Taste of Home. It satisfies both your sweet tooth and your chocolate craving in three layers. There is no baking involved, so it makes a great summertime treat.

  • First Layer
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I crushed one packet)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste

Prepare a 9×13″ pan by spraying with non-stick spray or greasing.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in baking cocoa. Stir over heat until mixture is smooth. Temper the egg yolk by whisking a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolk, continue whisking and add a bit more hot mixture. Then stir the egg yolk mix into the butter/cocoa in the saucepan. Continue stirring constantly over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Press into the prepared pan and refrigerate until the next layer is ready.

  • Second Layer
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Stir Kahlua into melted butter until well mixed. Stir in powdered sugar. Spread over First Layer (it’s okay if it’s still warm). Refrigerate until set.

  • Third Layer
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt together until smooth. Spread over top of the chilled and set Second Layer. Refrigerate until set.

Cut into serving pieces and serve!

Store in refrigerator.

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.