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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Just a Trifle

Now that summer is is full swing, fruits and vegetables are appearing aplenty in groceries and farmers’ markets. We visited our local farmers’ market over the weekend to sample some of the beautiful fresh produce. We bought peas, zucchini and summer squash, and were tempted to get some sour cherries for a pie but will put it off until next week.

We are members of a community supported agriculture program and receive a 20 pound box of fresh organic produce each week. Let me say it is a challenge to have a relatively huge supply of vegies and fruit delivered at 6:30 on a Friday night. We have to wash it store it appropriately. Then we have to try to figure out what to do with it all before it spoils. It’s really not that difficult. When you think how long grocery store produce sits in trucks, planes, trains, boats, and finally grocers’ shelves, you really have a longer storage time with local organic produce. It arrives fresher, safer, tastier. Wow! I feel very lucky to have this service provided.

This week we received among other goodies, two heads of purple cabbage. That will be a challenge. It’s a good thing cabbage will keep for a while, although I do hope I don’t get another two heads this week.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh fruits, there are tons of recipes for delicious desserts. One of my favorite summer delights is a fruit trifle. Cake, fruit, soft, sweet cream – what’s not to like?

If you don’t have a trifle dish, haunt garage sales or kitchen supply departments for a clear glass bowl with straight sides. A footed one makes the prettiest presentation, but is not necessary. My bowl doesn’t even have straight sides. My trifles may not look perfect, but they taste perfect.

I don’t remember where I found this recipe, but my eternal thanks go out to the originator whoever and wherever he or she is.

 

SUMMER FRUIT TRIFLE

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 T. sugar

1 c. whipping cream

1 t. vanilla

1 pound cake in 1/2″ slices

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 T. sugar

3 nectarines, sliced thinly (I have used peaches instead)

1/2 pt. raspberries, or more

1/2 pt. blueberries, or more

1/4 c. apricot jam

2 T. dark rum

1. Beat the softened cream cheese until light. Gradually beat in the cream and vanilla until medium stiff peaks form.

2. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together. Carefully fold in the nectarine slices and the berries and set aside

3. Mix the apricot jam and the rum.

4. Arrange half of the cake slices in the bottom of a trifle dish. Brush with half of the jam mixture. Cover with half the fruit. Top with half of the cream. Repeat the layers. Refrigerate 3-8 hours.

5. Garnish with more fruit if desired.

 

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When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, my mom found a recipe for a nummy dessert that our family really liked.  When I had a family of my own, I often fixed this for dessert, especially when we had company. I couldn’t remember what the name was, so my girl friend named it “Strawberry Doo-doo”. I admit it’s not a very appetizing name perhaps, but it stuck, for whatever reason. If you come up with a better, classier name, feel free to rename it with my blessing.

It’s light, very refreshing, and slightly adaptable in that it can easily become “Raspberry Doo-doo” if you prefer. Best of all, it’s one of the dishes you can prepare ahead. In fact, it must be prepared at least 4 hours ahead, so that it can become gelled. Yes, as in “Jello”. It’s one of those 1950 era dishes that makes use of that “miracle in a box” Jello. Don’t thumb your nose at it. It’s a real time saver.

 I prepared a “classy” version of this dish, using fresh berries, home-made yogurt cheese, whipping this, and folding in that, and, you know what? It was no better and much more time consuming that plain old you-could-make-it-blindfolded “Strawberry Doo-doo”. I will present both recipes and you can fix them both if you want to test my conclusion. 

STRAWBERRY DOO-DOO

Serves 6 to 8

1 (3-oz.) box strawberry (or raspberry) Jello

1 cup boiling water

1 (10-oz.)package frozen strawberries (or raspberries), with syrup, (I used Birdseye Deluxe frozen strawberries with syrup)

2 c. vanilla ice cream, softened a little 

1. Mix the cup of boiling water with the Jello powder. Stir until the Jello is dissolved.

2. Add the frozen berries, and the juice, cutting the large berries, if any, into smaller pieces.

3. Stir in the ice cream, continuing to stir until the ice cream becomes incorporated in the Jello mixture.

4. Put into a pretty serving dish or individual parfait glasses or bowls.

5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set. Can be prepared the day ahead, but not more than that or it will separate. 

The second recipe is from Ellie Krieger and I spotted it on her TV show on the Food Network. It is available on the Food Network’s Website.

RASPBERRY FOOL

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups vanilla nonfat yogurt

1 (10-ounce) packge frozen raspberries

1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 c.well-chilled heavy cream

4 ladyfinger cookies 

1. Place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel [or coffee filter] and let it drain over a bowl to thicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and up to 1 day. Discard the liquid and set the thickened yogurt aside.

2. Puree half the raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Strain into a large bowl, pressing the liquid out with a rubber spatula. Discard the seeds. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in the remaining raspberries.

3. In a chilled small bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks are formed. Gently fold in the yogurt. Fold in the raspberry mixture. 

4. Spoon into cocktail glasses and chill, covered, for at least 1 hour. Serve with the ladyfinger cookies.  

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It was good enough, but not worth the extra time, dirty dishes and expense. If you already have vanilla yogurt on hand, as well as heavy cream, it might be worth it. It was fun to make the yogurt cheese which is rather like cream cheese in texture. My recommendation, if you decide to try the second recipe, is to double it. To me, it wasn’t worth the effort for 4 small servings. Doubling it would give you enough for 6 decent size servings. Go ahead – try them both. I bet you will find the
Doo-doo recipe the one you will return to time and time again.

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There is something exquisitely comforting about custard, in all its forms. Puddings, flans, cream pies, creme brulees. Whether warm or cold, the creamy softness feels as good as it tastes. Creme brulee, with its crispy top as a foil for the smooth filling, is an especially pleasant dessert.

Here is another custard dessert with a surprise topping. Unlike creme brulee, that is cooked in two steps, this one requires only one. In fact, it is baked upside down, the topping revealed when the dish is inverted on a dessert plate. By the way, this is an excellent dessert to serve to guests because it must be prepared at least 5 hours in advance.

Here’s the recipe: (from an old Food and Wine magazine or cookbook, the recipe by Lee Bailey.)

Serves 6
1-2 T. butter
1/4 c. plus 2 T. honey
12 gingersnaps (broken into fine crumbs)*
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
4 eggs
1/4 c. sugar, plus 2 T.
2 1/2 c. milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter (6) half-cup custard cups. Spoon 1 T. honey in the bottom of each. Sprinkle the gingersnap crumbs evenly over the honey. Place in 9 x 13 baking pan.

2. Whisk eggs. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in milk to blend thoroughly and dissolve most of the sugar. Strain into cups. Fill almost to the brims. (The gingernsap crumbs will rise to the surface.) Pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

3. Bake 30-45 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the custards comes out clean. Let cool in the pan with water. Then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

4. Run a knife around the edge of the custards and invert onto a dessert plates, coating the custards with the liquid in the bottom of each cup.

* I put the broken gingersnaps into a plastic freezer bag and roll the bag with my rolling pin to make the crumbs. You could use a processor if you want.

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