Raspberry-Lemon Pie, aka “The Man Pleaser”

• 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup shortening
• 6 to 7 tablespoons water 
• 3/4 cup sugar 
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
• 5 cups fresh raspberries
• 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel Milk 
• Raw sugar or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. In mixing bowl combine 2 1/4 cups flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water over part of mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all dough is moistened. Divide in half. Form each half into ball. 

On lightly floured surface flatten one dough ball. Roll from center to edges into 12-inch circle.

To transfer pastry, wrap it around rolling pin; unroll into 9-inch deep-dish pie dish. Ease pastry into pie dish, being careful not to stretch it.

In large mixing bowl combine sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Gently stir in berries and lemon peel until combined. Transfer berry mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. 

On lightly floured surface roll remaining dough into 12-inch circle. For lattice crust, trim bottom pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Cut rolled pastry into 1/2-inch strips and weave strips over filling in lattice pattern. Press strip ends into bottom pastry rim. Fold bottom pastry over strip ends; seal and crimp edge. 

OR for 2-crust pie, trim bottom pastry to edge of pie plate. Cut slits in top crust for steam vents; place on filling and fold edge under bottom pastry. Flute edge as desired. Brush pastry top with a little milk and sprinkle with raw sugar. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until top is golden. 

Cool on wire rack. Makes 8 servings.

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Spice Cakes with Apricot Caramel Sauce

• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Pinch kosher salt
• 1/2 cup hot water
• 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1 egg
• 2-1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
• Apricot Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
• Slivered dried apricots, toasted walnuts or pecans or chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 9 round panettone baking cups* (2 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter) with nonstick cooking spray. Cut nine 3-inch diameter circles from parchment paper; place one in each panettone baking cup.

In medium bowl combine flour, ginger, baking soda, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. In 1cup measure combine water and instant espresso coffee powder; set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until combined. Beat in molasses and egg. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with espresso mixture in 2 additions. Mixture may appear slightly curdled.

Divide batter among prepared baking cups (about 1/3 cup each). Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Place cups in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Remove panettone cups and parchment to serve. Drizzle with Apricot Caramel Sauce (see below). If desired, top each cake with slivered dried apricots, toasted pecans or walnuts, and/or crystallized ginger. Makes 9 cakes.

Apricot Caramel Sauce
• 2/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
• 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped1/4 cup warm water, divided
• 1-1/4 cups sugar
• 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
• 6 tablespoons whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In food processor combine apricots and ginger; pulse mixture gradually adding 2 tablespoons water. Mixture should resemble pieces the size of grains of rice. Set aside.

In heavy medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, and remaining 2 tablespoons water. Cook and stir over low heat until combination is liquid. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup is deep amber color (360° on a candy thermometer), about 7 to 8 minutes, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling mixture occasionally.

Remove from heat; carefully add whipping cream and vanilla (mixture will steam). Return to low heat; add butter and apricot mixture. Cook and stir until butter is melted. Remove from heat; transfer to serving bowl. Serve warm. Makes 2 cups.

Check out more recipes from this casual carriage house dinner.

 

Lemon Poppy-Seed Layer Cake

Prepare Lemon Curd filling the day before you bake the cake. Chill overnight.

• Lemon Curd (see recipe below)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1-3/4 cups sugar
• 3 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel (from 3 large lemons)
• 4 large eggs
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons lemon extract
• 3 cups cake flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
• Coconut Butter Cream Frosting (see recipe below)
• 4 cups natural raw chip coconut (about 5 to 6 ounces), toasted*
• Fresh strawberries

Prepare Lemon Curd. Cover; chill at least 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two (9x1-1/2 inch) round baking pans. Set aside. 

In very large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and lemon peel on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon juice and lemon extract. (Mixture may look curdled.)

In another large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in poppy seeds.

Divide cake batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool completely. When cakes are cool, trim tops of cakes if necessary to make them flat. Split cakes in half horizontally to create four cake rounds.

To assemble, place one cake round on cake plate. Spread with 1 scant cup Lemon Curd. Top curd with another cake round and another scant cup of curd. Repeat with third cake round and the remaining curd. Top curd with last cake round.

Frost top and sides of cake with Coconut Butter Cream Frosting (see recipe below). Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of cake and press into sides of cake. Serve immediately with fresh strawberries, or store cake in refrigerator. Let chilled cake stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Lemon Curd: 
In large saucepan stir together 1-1/3 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel, 3/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

In large bowl lightly beat 7 egg yolks. Slowly stir about half of hot lemon juice mixture into eggs. Return lemon-egg mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring continuously over medium heat until mixture comes to gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until melted and well combined. Cover surface of curd with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill curd at least 8 hours or until firm. Makes a scant 3 cups lemon curd.

Coconut Butter Cream Frosting: 
In large mixing bowl beat 1 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon coconut extract. Gradually beat in 4 cups additional powdered sugar until smooth, with spreading consistency. If necessary, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make spreading possible. Makes about 3-1/4 cups frosting.

*To toast coconut: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut in shallow baking pan. Heat about 5 minutes or until coconut is fragrant and just barely toasted, stirring once. Cool completely.

See more of this rooftop soirée and recipes from the gathering.

 

Ricotta Cheesecake with Blackberry Balsamic Rosemary Sauce

Plan ahead: You'll need to chill the baked cheesecakes overnight. This recipe was photographed in a 3x2-inch pan; any of the sizes listed below will work, but the cheesecake will look slightly different.

• 2 (15-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
• 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
• 2 eggs
• 6 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
• 3 tablespoons butter, softened
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
• 1 tablespoon orange juice
• 2 teaspoons orange extract (or orange liqueur)
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• Blackberry Balsamic Rosemary Sauce (see recipe below)
• 1 pint fresh blackberries and fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish

Let ricotta, cream cheese, and eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. In food processor, process bread crumbs until very fine. Set baking rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap outside of six 4-1/2x1-1/2 inch or 4x2 inch or 3x2 inch individual springform pans with heavy duty aluminum foil to create watertight seal. Grease bottoms and insides of pans with butter. In small bowl combine 3 tablespoons processed breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons sugar. Place mixture in pans; coat as if dusting pans with flour. Tap out any excess.

To remaining crumbs in processor add ricotta, cream cheese, and 3/4 cup sugar; process just until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, processing just until combined. Scrape down sides; add peel, juice, extract, and salt. Cover; process just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

Place prepared cheesecake pans in roasting pan. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into pan to reach halfway up sides of individual cheesecake pans, being careful not to get water into batter or above foil lining. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until lightly browned and just set. Remove pans from water bath to cooling rack; let cool 30 minutes. Chill, uncovered, 2 hours. Cover; chill overnight.

To assemble, wrap pans with warm towel several seconds to release cheesecake from sides of pan. Carefully remove cheesecake from pan. Using thin metal spatula, remove cheesecake from the pan bottom; transfer to plate. Top with Blackberry Balsamic Rosemary Sauce. Garnish with fresh blackberries and rosemary sprigs. Makes 6 individual cheesecakes.

Blackberry Balsamic Rosemary Sauce:
In medium saucepan combine 1 (16- to 18-ounce) jar seedless blackberry preserves or jam, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar. Bring to simmer over medium heat; add 1 sprig fresh rosemary. Simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes (simmer longer for thick glaze-sauce). Remove from heat. Remove rosemary; let sauce cool 1 hour. Cover; chill until ready to use or up to 3 days. Stir before using. Makes 1-3/4 cups sauce.

Click here to see more photos and recipes of this delightful patio party.

 

Seckel Pear Tart

Shopping tip: Diminutive Seckel pears (introduced in Pennsylvania in the 17th century) have a sweet, spicy taste. They have firm flesh and hold their shape, which makes them a good baking pear. Mace has intense nutmeg overtones (it is derived from the outer membrane of nutmeg) and marries beautifully with pears for an unforgettable holiday dessert. This tart is literally easier than pie because you simply fold over the crust.

• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
• 1/3 cup shortening
• 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped
• 8 Seckel pears or 4 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (about 4 cups)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
• 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 egg white
• 1 tablespoon water
• Sugar
• Spiced Whipped Cream (see recipe below)

Line large baking sheet with foil; set aside. For crust: In medium bowl, stir together the 1 1/4 cups flour, the 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel, the salt, and the 1/4 teaspoon mace. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ice water over part of flour mixture; gently toss with fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of remaining ice water at a time, until all flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edge into circle about 13 inches in diameter. Transfer dough circle to prepared baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 375°F. For filling, spread almonds on dough circle to within 2 inches of edge. Place pears in large bowl. In small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons flour, 2 teaspoons lemon peel, and 1/2 teaspoon mace. Toss half of sugar mixture with pears. Mound pear mixture on top of almond-covered dough. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over pear mixture. Dot with butter.

Fold dough edge up and over pears, pleating dough gently as needed. In small bowl, combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water; beat with fork. Brush mixture onto top and side of dough. Sprinkle with additional sugar. 

Bake about 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly, pears are tender, and pastry is golden. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover edge with foil for last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serve with Spiced Whipped Cream. Makes 8 servings.

Spiced Whipped Cream:
In chilled small bowl, combine 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and dash ground mace. Beat with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). 

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Hawaiian Haupia (Coconut Milk Pudding) with Fresh Fruit

Haupia is a traditional Hawaiian pudding-like dessert. Chef Roy dresses it up by piping it into cannoli shells and serving it alongside fresh fruit and puréed mango dotted with strawberry sauce. This recipe needs to chill overnight.

• 4 cups unsweetened coconut milk, chilled
• 2 cups water, divided
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup cornstarch
• 12 cannoli shells
• Cubed fresh fruit, such as mango, kiwi, or strawberries
• Pureed mango sauce dotted with strawberry sauce (optional)*

In saucepan bring coconut milk, 1 cup water, and sugar to boil. Meanwhile in bowl combine remaining 1 cup water with cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture to coconut milk mixture; stirring until mixture returns to boil and thickens. Remove from heat. Pour mixture into 8-inch-square pan. Cover with plastic wrap so wrap touches top of haupia. Cool to room temperature. Chill overnight.

To serve, spoon haupia into pastry bag fitted with medium point. Fill cannoli shells; chill 1 hour. Using serrated knife, cut shells in half vertically. Stand 3 half-shells on end on each dessert plate. Serve with cubed fruit and mango/strawberry sauce.* Makes 8 servings.

*To make sauce, puree mango in blender until smooth. Press through fine-mesh sieve; discard solids. Dot serving plate with sauce; place drop of strawberry sauce in center of mango sauce.

Get inspired with more Hawaiian recipes here.

Frozen Chocolate Nougat Mousse

Nougat, a crispy white confection, can be found in Italian and other European import stores as well as the candy section of some supermarkets. Wrapping the soufflé cups with a collar helps the mousse stand tall. 

• 5 ounces 69- to 73-percent-cocoa chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
• 5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1-2/3 cups whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 cup chopped Italian nougat candy or almond toffee pieces

Place eight 3-ounce small cups or soufflé dishes on tray. To prepare collars, cut eight 12x6-inch pieces of foil. Fold lengthwise into thirds to form 12x2-inch strips. Wrap each collar tightly around cups or dishes with one edge extending 1 inch above top of cups. Secure with tape. Place cups in freezer to chill (about 2 hours).

Meanwhile, place finely chopped chocolate in large mixing bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine milk and gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, sugar, and 2/3 cup of the whipping cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture coats metal spoon (160°F), about 5 minutes.

Pour mixture over chopped chocolate in bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir to combine. Stir in vanilla. Place in freezer; chill 30 minutes or until mixture thickens and cools, stirring after 15 minutes.

Beat cooled chocolate mixture with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. In medium mixing bowl, beat remaining 1 cup cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream and nougat candy into chocolate mixture. Divide chocolate mixture evenly among chilled cups, filling to 1/2 to 1 inch over top of each dish if collar is present. Cover; freeze for 3 to 24 hours or until firm.

To serve, remove tape and gently peel away collars. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Makes 8 servings.

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A Trio of Sassy Sorbets

Mango-Lime Sorbet
• 1-1/2 cups water
• 2 cups sugar 
• 2 tablespoons lime juice 
• 4 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded, and cubed (4 cups)* 

In saucepan combine water and sugar. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool syrup completely. Stir in lime juice. Place mango in food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cooled syrup. Cover and chill. Freeze in 4-quart ice-cream freezer according to directions. Makes 12 to 14 servings (6-1/2 to 7 cups). 

*If mangoes are not in season or to save time, use 2 (24-ounce) jars (4 cups) refrigerated sliced mango, drained, in place of fresh mango.

Pineapple-Plus Sorbet
• 5 to 6 cups peeled, cored, cut-up fresh pineapple (1 large pineapple)
• 1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
• 1 stalk fresh lemon grass, chopped
• 1/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves
• 1 star anise
• 8 whole white peppercorns
• 1/4 cup lime juice
• 1-1/2 cups light-colored corn syrup

Place pineapple, half at a time, in food processor or blender. Cover and process until smooth. Strain through fine-meshed sieve. (You should have 4 cups.)

In large saucepan combine pineapple, ginger, lemon grass, mint, star anise, and peppercorns. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture (half at a time) to bowl of food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Strain through fine-mesh sieve to remove spices. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add lime juice and syrup. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours or until well-chilled. Freeze in 2-quart ice-cream freezer according directions. Makes 8 servings (4 cups).

Berry Sorbet
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 small melons, halved and seeded (optional)
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
 
Thaw berries, if frozen. Place raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries (half at a time) in food processor or blender. Cover; process until smooth. Strain through fine-meshed sieve to remove seeds. Stir in sugar. Cover and chill. Freeze in 2-quart ice-cream freezer according to directions. Serve in melon halves, if desired, and drizzle with wine. Makes 5 to 6 servings (2-1/2 cups). 

Click for more tips on making sorbets from chef Michelle Meyers.

 

Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced with cinnamon and studded with pecans, this cake is a true Southern classic. Bananas and pineapple give it a luscious texture, and its flavors mingle and grow more intense the day after baking.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 5 large bananas)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat both sugars with the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, bananas, and pineapple, mixing until just combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating until combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in ½ cup of the pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then remove the layers from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

To assemble the cake: Level the top of one of the layers with a serrated knife so it is flat. Place it cut side down on a serving plate. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread the top of the layer with a dollop of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Decorate the sides of the cake with the remaining 1 cup of pecans. The cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature. Serves 10-12.

Cream Cheese Frosting
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
• Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Makes about 5 cups.

Excerpted from The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012.

Banoffee Pie Recipe

This recipe comes from Chef April Bloomfield, a native of Birmingham, England. In 2004, Bloomfield opened one of America’s first “gastropubs”—The Spotted Pig in New York City.

• 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 6 to 7 bananas
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
• 2 cups whipping cream
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread sweetened condensed milk in 9-inch pie plate. Cover with foil. Place pie plate in roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of pie plate. Bake 2 hours, adding hot water as needed to keep water level halfway up sides. Remove roasting pan from oven; let stand 15 minutes. Carefully remove pie plate from roasting pan. Transfer browned sweetened condensed milk to medium bowl, stirring to combine. Cover; chill about 4 hours or until cold. Chill whole bananas in the refrigerator while caramel is chilling.

In a large bowl combine flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea size. Gradually add egg yolks. Using your fingers, gently knead dough just until ball forms. Cover pastry with plastic wrap; freeze 45 to 60 minutes or until firm.

Cut dough into 2 or 3 large portions. Coarsely shred dough with box grater. Arrange shredded dough in 11-inch tart pan. Press it evenly around base, then up sides. Prick bottom with fork. Freeze 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pastry about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean with paring knife. In large chilled bowl whisk together whipping cream, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, and vanilla seeds, just until stiff peaks form.

Preheat broiler. Peel and thinly bias-slice bananas. Cover tart crust with single layer of banana slices. Spread chilled caramel mixture over bananas. Arrange remaining banana slices over caramel in concentric circles, starting from outside and working towards the center. Sprinkle bananas with brown sugar.

Cover edge of tart with foil to keep crust from burning. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown sugar is bubbly.

Serve right immediately or cover and chill up to 1 hour. Gently dollop whipped cream mixture over bananas. Sprinkle with chocolate. Makes 12 servings.

See more recipes from The Spotted Pig.

Strawberry Parfait with Fresh Normandy Cream

This luscious parfait features a homemade sorbet, berries in syrup and velvety, rich crème fraîche. The sorbet can be made the day before serving.

Sorbet:
• 14 ounces very fresh, sweet strawberries, stems removed
• 2-1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon orange flower water
• 4 tablespoons vanilla sugar
• 2 grinds medium-coarse black pepper

Berries in Syrup:
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup best-quality raspberry vinegar
• 10 ounces very fresh, sweet strawberries, stems removed, cut top to bottom into 1/4-inch slices

Whipped Cream:
• 3/4 cup purchased crème fraîche
• 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

Garnish:
• Fresh mint leaves

Sorbet:
In bowl of food processor, combine strawberries, lemon juice, orange flower water, vanilla sugar, and black pepper. Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined and somewhat foamy. Transfer to non-reactive bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour and up to overnight. When mixture is chilled, transfer to 1 1/2- to 2-quart ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Hold in ice cream maker until ready to serve. 

Syrup:
In medium bowl, mix brown sugar and vinegar. Carefully fold sliced strawberries into syrup. Set aside for at least 1 and up to 4 hours, covered, stirring regularly and very carefully so berries marinate evenly.

In another medium bowl, whisk crème fraîche with sugar until it holds soft peaks. Cover; chill until ready to serve. 

To serve, spoon equal amounts marinated strawberries into champagne flutes, reserving syrup. Top with spoonful of crème fraîche. Top with equal amounts of sorbet, then top with remaining crème fraîche. Drizzle 2 teaspoons vinegar syrup from berries over top of each parfait; garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

See more succulent recipes from a French cooking school.

Grilled Peaches

• 6 small-to-medium firm, ripe peaches, halved and pitted
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 3/4 cup whipping cream
• 1/4 cup honey
• Crisp Topping (see recipe below)

Prepare Crisp Topping; set aside. Sprinkle cut sides of peaches with sugar; set aside. In chilled medium mixing bowl beat whipping cream until peaks just begin to form. Beat in honey. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Set aside.

For charcoal grill, place peach halves on rack of uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 8 minutes or until tender and slightly charred, turning once. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place peach halves on grill rack over heat. Cover; grill as above.)

To serve: Place peaches in bottom of trifle bowl. Top with whipped cream; sprinkle with Crisp Topping. Or, place 2 peach halves on each dessert plate; top with dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with desired amount of crisp topping. Makes 6 servings.

Crisp Topping:
Prepare honey butter: In a medium mixing bowl beat 2/3 cup softened butter and 3 tablespoons honey until combined. Cover; chill at least 30 minutes or until firm. OR, substitute 3/4 cup purchased honey butter.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger. Cut in honey butter until clumps are pea-sized. Spread in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Cool 30 minutes before using.

NOTE:
Store leftover crisp topping in airtight container up to 5 days. Use to top ice cream, yogurt, or fruit.

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Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Local Strawberries

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. Introduced to the United States from China in 1908 by Frank Meyer, they are less acidic and sweeter than regular lemons. “Meyer lemon trees grow in just about everyone’s yard here,” Chef Greenwald says. “Their flavor is truly sublime.”

• 2 Meyer lemons or 2 small lemons
• 2-3/4 cups whipping cream
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla 
• 1/2 cup sugar 
• 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 
• 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved 
• 2 tablespoon sugar

Squeeze enough juice from lemons to equal 1/4 cup; reserve 1 lemon rind. In medium saucepan combine 2 cups cream, the vanilla bean pod, the reserved lemon rind, and the 1/2 cup sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place remaining 3/4 cup cream in small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes for gelatin to soften. Stir softened gelatin into saucepan; return to medium heat and cook until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the 1/4 cup lemon juice. Strain to remove vanilla bean pod and lemon rind. Scrape the vanilla beans from pod. Stir vanilla beans into gelatin mixture. Divide among four 10-ounce or six 6-ounce custard cups. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or until set.

In medium bowl combine strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand at least 5 minutes, stirring twice.

Serve in custard cups topped with strawberries or dip bottoms of custard cups into hot water for 10 seconds and loosen sides. Unmold onto dessert plates; serve with strawberries. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Warm Upside Down Apple Spice Cake

• Non-stick cooking spray
• 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
• 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 egg
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 small Granny Smith, cored and sliced
• 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
• 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
• Fresh mint sprigs
• Vanilla frozen yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat eight 4-ounce ramekins or 6-ounce custard cups with nonstick spray. Sprinkle bottom of each cup with 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Arrange 4 to 6 slices of Granny Smith apple in bottom of each, overlapping as necessary. Arrange cups in shallow baking pan; set aside.

In large bowl stir together diced Fuji apples and egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup sugar, walnuts, oil, cinnamon, and baking soda; stir until all is moistened (batter will be very stiff). Spoon batter into prepared ramekins, filling almost full.

Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until knife inserted near center of each comes out clean. Cool in ramekins 5 minutes. Invert onto dessert plates.

In medium skillet cook second Granny Smith apple slices in 1 teaspoon hot grapeseed oil over medium-high heat until apples are golden brown (about 3 to 5 minutes). Top cakes with apple slices. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger and fresh mint sprigs. Serve with vanilla frozen yogurt. Makes 8 servings.

See more delicious recipes from California’s Golden Door Spa.

Black and White Pot de Crème

Bring eggs to room temperature and separate them as you use them. Milk chocolate may be substituted for white chocolate or dark chocolate layer.

• 2 cups whipping cream, divided 
• 3 ounces 60- to 70-percent dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 4 egg yolks, divided
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
• 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
• White chocolate shavings (optional) 

For dark chocolate layer, in small heavy saucepan combine 1 cup cream, dark chocolate, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or until mixture comes to full boil and thickens. Remove from heat. In medium bowl lightly beat 2 egg yolks with fork. Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; cool slightly.

Divide dark chocolate mixture evenly among eight 2- to 3-ounce glasses or pot de crème cups. Cover; chill 2 hours or until firm.

For white chocolate layer, in another small heavy saucepan repeat directions for dark chocolate using remaining cream, the white chocolate, and remaining sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Spoon cooled white chocolate mixture over chilled dark chocolate mixture. Cover; chill about 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with white chocolate shavings before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Click to see more recipes and entertaining tips from this New Year’s Eve party.

Spring Fruits with Sabayon

A light, elegant dessert finishes off this spring-inspired breakfast.

Tuilles
• 1 egg white
• 3 tablespoons butter
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 cups assorted fresh fruit (such as sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)

Sabayon Sauce
• 3 egg yolks
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/3 cup whipping cream

For tuille cookies, place egg white in small mixing bowl. Let egg white and butter stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheet with foil or silicone baking mat (Silpat). Lightly coat foil or mat with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In another small bowl combine flour and cardamom; set aside.

In small bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar. Beat 2 minutes or until mixture is light and creamy. Add egg white, beating until just combined. Fold in about half the flour mixture. Fold in remaining flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

For each cookie, drop about 1 tablespoon batter onto prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 6 inches between each mound. Using back of a spoon, spread batter into 4-inch circles.

Bake about 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are crisp and golden brown around edges. Let cookies stand about 1 minute. Using wide spatula, remove cookies from the baking sheet and place over backs of greased 6-ounce custard or coffee cups. (You’ll have enough batter for about 12 tuilles. Let cool. To serve, turn 8 tuilles over; fill with fresh fruit. Spoon Sabayon Sauce over fruit. Makes 8 servings (reserve remaining tuilles for another use).

For Sabayon Sauce, bring medium saucepan filled halfway with water to boil; reduce heat to simmer. In medium metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla until combined. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water (making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water). With a wire whisk beat yolk mixture until very thick and an instant-read thermometer registers 140° F (about 2 minutes). Whisk and cook 3 minutes more, keeping temperature at 140° F. Scrape mixture into clean bowl. Place bowl in larger bowl filled with ice and water. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula. In medium bowl beat whipping cream just until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into yolk mixture. Cover; refrigerate (sabayon can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead).

See more recipes from this lovely spring brunch.

Black Forest Cake

While Black Forest Cake usually calls for kirsch, or cherry-flavor brandy, we decided sweet cherries soaked in port would be an admirable substitute. We also lightened the cake batter, giving it a more airy texture.

To help achieve this, non-stick cake pans make the job easier. We used the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch nonstick 9-inch round cake pans. The aluminized steel distributes heat evenly and the nonstick surface helps release the cake layers without sticking. For this cake, we still recommend lining the pans with parchment paper to ensure the finished layer doesn’t stick to the pan. 

Port-Cherry Filling
• 4 cups fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries
• 1-1/4 cups good-quality port
• 2 8-ounce cartons mascarpone cheese
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Chocolate Cake
• 6 ounces sweet baking chocolate, chopped
• 2-1/4 cups milk
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 4 eggs
• 1 egg yolk
• 2-2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons port
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup butter, softened

Whipped Cream Topping
• 3 cups whipping cream
• 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
• 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
• Toasted coconut chips (3 cups)*

For Port-Cherry Filling: 
Thaw cherries if frozen; drain. In medium bowl combine cherries and 1-1/4 cups port. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Drain cherries, reserving liquid. Transfer well-drained cherries to food processor. Cover; process until nearly smooth. Add mascarpone cheese and the 3 tablespoons powdered sugar to cherries. Cover; process until just combined. Transfer cherry mixture to large bowl. Cover; chill until ready to assemble cake.

For Chocolate Cake:
In medium saucepan combine chocolate and milk. Cook and stir over low heat until melted; set aside to cool. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottoms and sides of three 9x2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper and generously coat pans with flour.

In large bowl combine eggs, egg yolk and 2 cups granulated sugar. Place bowl over skillet or saucepan of simmering water. Cook and stir until an instant read thermometer reaches 110ºF. Remove from heat.

See more recipes for cooking with wine.

Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cake 

• 1 cup Classic Hot Chocolate, cooled
• 1 cup strong-brewed coffee, cooled
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (100% cacao)* or unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup canola oil
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 8 (1-ounce) good quality marshmallows
• 1/4 cup Chocolate Sauce/Ganache

Preheat oven 350°F. In 2-cup measuring cup combine hot chocolate and coffee; set aside. In medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl beat sugar and canola oil with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add egg and vanilla; beat until just combined. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and liquids, ending with flour and beating until mixture is smooth.
Grease 30 (4 ounce) petite popover pans or 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; dust with cocoa to coat. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter into prepared cups until 2/3 full for popover pans or half full for muffin pan/cups.**

Bake in preheated oven about 12 to 14 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Let cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups and cool completely on wire rack.

To serve for Study, place 8 cakes on baking sheet. Top each cake with one marshmallow. Broil 4 to 5 inches away from heat source for 1 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted. To serve, place spoonful of Chocolate Sauce/Ganache on each serving plate. Top with cake. Cover and store remaining cakes in freezer for later use.***

Tip: **For larger cupcake, line muffin cups with paper bake cups. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

***To prepare cakes for a crowd, bake as directed. Increase to 30.

See more savory hot chocolate recipes here.

Seared Nectarines and Angel Food Cake

Fat-free angel food cake gets a crisp-toasty surface when grilled. Combined with grilled fruit, a few fresh berries, and a drizzle of honey, and you’ll have a super-fresh dessert without the fat.

• 4 ripe medium nectarines and/or peaches, quartered and pitted
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 1 7-inch angel food cake
• 4 to 6 teaspoons honey (optional)
• 1 cup fresh raspberries and/or blueberries (optional)
• Ground cinnamon (optional)

In small bowl, mix together ground cinnamon and orange juice.  Brush nectarines with cinnamon mixture. Reserve excess liquid for angel food cake. For charcoal grill, cook nectarines directly over medium coals 2 to 3 minutes on each side. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cover; grill as above.)

Cut eight slices of angel food cake. Brush one side of cake slices with orange juice mixture.

Grill cake slices on rack of uncovered grill directly over medium coals 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn; grill 1 to 2 minutes more. (Or cook cake on griddle over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes per side.)

To serve, place cake slice on plate or bowl. Spoon nectarines on top or alongside. Drizzle with honey, top with fresh berries and sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Makes 8 servings.

Check out more recipes from this Feel-Good Luncheon.

Ginger Chiffon Layer Cake 

This delicate spice cake with a luscious coconut cream filling, gets its subtle taste from crystallized ginger. 

• 1 recipe Coconut Cream
• 3 tablespoons crystallized (candied) ginger
• 1-1/4 cups plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 2-1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 5 large eggs, separated
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 recipe Vanilla Buttercream

Prepare Coconut Cream (see recipe below); cover and refrigerate. Heat oven to 325°F. Process ginger and 2 tablespoons sugar in food processor until finely chopped.

Sift flour, 1-1/4 cups sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Whisk in ginger-sugar. Make a well in center; add water, oil, egg yolks, whole eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Beat egg whites in large mixer bowl at medium speed until foamy. Beat in cream of tartar and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Gradually increase speed and beat to very stiff peaks, 7 minutes. Gently fold one third of whites into flour mixture, then fold in remaining whites until smooth.

Divide batter among 3 ungreased 9-inch round cake pans. Bake 25 to 28 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes 20 minutes; unmold and cool completely.

Meanwhile make Vanilla Buttercream (see recipe below). 

Place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread top with 1 cup Coconut Cream; top with second layer. Repeat process with remaining cream and third layer. Spread Vanilla Buttercream over top and side of cake. Makes 16 servings.

Coconut Cream: 
In medium bowl beat 1/2 cup heavy cream with electric mixer until stiff peaks form; chill. Bring 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup milk and 3 tablespoons sugar to boil in saucepan. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons sugar in bowl; add another 1/4 cup milk. Gradually whisk half hot coconut milk into cornstarch mixture. Return to saucepan; bring to boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking, 2 minutes; transfer to bowl. Cover top directly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold; whisk until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream; refrigerate until needed.

Vanilla Buttercream: 
In saucepan bring 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar to boil. Whisk another 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch in bowl; add 1/2 cup heavy cream. Gradually whisk half hot milk into the cornstarch mixture, return to saucepan and bring to boil. Boil, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, 2 minutes. Transfer custard to large mixer bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Cover top directly with plastic wrap; cool to room temperature. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Cut 2 cups softened unsalted butter into small pieces; beat in one piece at a time until blended and smooth after each addition.

See more photos and recipes from this Adoptive Mothers Luncheon.

Pumpkin-Goat Cheese Cheesecake

• 1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (about 30 cookies)
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 24 ounces goat cheese (chevre), softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 3 large eggs 
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

For crust, in small bowl combine gingersnaps, butter, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Press into bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the sides of prepared pan. Bake 5 minutes or until firm. Cool; wrap outside of pan with double thickness of heavy foil. Set aside.

In very large bowl beat together goat cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, and flour until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition just until combined. Add vanilla, beating on low just until combined. Remove 2 cups mixture; set aside.

Stir pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg into remaining cheese mixture just until combined. Pour 2/3 pumpkin mixture (about 2-2/3 cups) into prebaked crust. Dollop plain cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Top with remaining pumpkin mixture. Swirl layers with sharp knife.

Place cheesecake in shallow roasting pan; add hot water to roasting pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes or until top is set. Open oven slightly; turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in water bath 1 hour.

Remove from water bath and cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Carefully loosen sides with a sharp knife. Let stand 45 minutes more. Remove sides of pan; cool. Cover; chill 4 hours or overnight before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

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Desserts to Savor

From deeply decadent to light and fresh, these are our best desserts to savor

Produced by Lucy Fitzgerald
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Michal Venera

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Local Strawberries

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. Introduced to the United States from China in 1908 by Frank Meyer, they are less acidic and sweeter than regular lemons. “Meyer lemon trees grow in just about everyone’s yard here,” Chef Greenwald says. “Their flavor is truly sublime.”

• 2 Meyer lemons or 2 small lemons
• 2-3/4 cups whipping cream
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla 
• 1/2 cup sugar 
• 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 
• 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved 
• 2 tablespoon sugar

Squeeze enough juice from lemons to equal 1/4 cup; reserve 1 lemon rind. In medium saucepan combine 2 cups cream, the vanilla bean pod, the reserved lemon rind, and the 1/2 cup sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place remaining 3/4 cup cream in small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes for gelatin to soften. Stir softened gelatin into saucepan; return to medium heat and cook until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the 1/4 cup lemon juice. Strain to remove vanilla bean pod and lemon rind. Scrape the vanilla beans from pod. Stir vanilla beans into gelatin mixture. Divide among four 10-ounce or six 6-ounce custard cups. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or until set.

In medium bowl combine strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand at least 5 minutes, stirring twice.

Serve in custard cups topped with strawberries or dip bottoms of custard cups into hot water for 10 seconds and loosen sides. Unmold onto dessert plates; serve with strawberries. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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