dessert

Fancy Dessert Can Still Taste Like Childhood

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There’s no way to describe Panna Cotta except as milk jello. And that is not appetizing to people, apparently. This, however, tastes exactly like childhood. I used my favorite childhood cereal and regret nothing. Graham is eagerly awaiting a version that uses Blueberry Toast Crunch. The process is the same no matter which cereal you use. Make it taste like your childhood, then tell me all about it.

Begin by soaking 2 cups of your favorite cereal with 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup milk (almond works well here, too). You want this to sit for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup milk with one envelope of gelatin mix. Stir well.

When your cereal milk has soaked up all that good flavor, strain and pour liquid into a saucepan set to medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Stay close when this milk mixture is on the heat. Add gelatin-milk mix and stir until incorporated. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

Pour mixture into ramekins, glass containers or silicone muffin pans. I sprinkled a few fruity pebbles into each serving while it began to set. Let panna cotta come to room temperature naturally, then move to fridge to cool for at least 4 hours. Serve without saying the words “milk jello.”

 

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Mango-a-go-goes with Lime

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I often find that graham cracker crusts are a bit heavily flavored for me and then pies have to be sweeter to hold their own. Plus, the idea of a citrus fruit with shortbread makes me think of Scottish lemon curd on shortbread, which I love together. This tart is my answer to a cheesecake, but this feels a lot lighter and less sweet but still very flavorful.

Shortbread tart:

Combine 1 cup salted butter, 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. When thoroughly combined, press into a pie pan, tart pan, or a springform pan, as I used. Press as thin as you can, and leave a bit going up the walls of your dish, to hold the tart filing later. Cook at 350 for 17-20 minutes. Leave inside your baking dish.

Mango Lime filling:

Puree the flesh of two mangoes, then press the puree through a fine mesh strainer so you’re getting the smooth juice. To that juice, add the zest and juice (about 3 tablespoons) of two limes, one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yolks, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk that all together, then pour into your tart shell. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool on a rack for an hour, then in the fridge for two hours. Serve alone or with whipped cream.

Tajin Whipped Cream:

In a bowl that’s been in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, use a hand or stand mixer to whip 1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon Tajin or chili powder.

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Apricot Scones

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Scones are one of those things that feel intimidating and fancy, but really shouldn’t. They come together quite easily and are pretty versatile.

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup cubed cold salted butter. Mix together with your hands until it looks like coarse crumbs. Fold in a heaping 1/2 cup diced dried apricots (I used half regular dried apricots, and half chocolate covered dried apricots we had in the pantry) and 3/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, whisk together one egg and 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Knead lightly approximately 30 seconds, until everything comes together. If it feels too wet and you’re having a hard time pulling your hands out cleanly, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it you can shape the dough without it sticking to you much. It should look a lot like cookie dough.

Pat the dough into a ball and transfer to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Flatten into a 1″ disk. Use a butter knife to carefully cut the disk into eighths. Brush with additional heavy whipping cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Cook about 17 minutes at 425.

If you prefer savory scones, omit the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, apricots and chocolate. Instead, half the sugar (use 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup), add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup grated sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup fresh chives.

 

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Floats Like a Butterfly, Sweet Like a Bienenstich – Bee Sting Cake

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In small saucepan, combine 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, 3 1/2 Tbs honey, and 1 cup milk. Heat over low until the butter melts and mix is blended. Set aside to cool about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, stir together 4 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. When milk mixture has cooled, whisk in the zest of 1 lemon, 1 egg, and 1 Tbs. dry active yeast (4 packets). Let sit about 5 minutes until frothy.

Mix milk mixture in with dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Remove to a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 6 minutes by hand or 2 by machine. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let sit 1 hour in warm area or on top of a heating pad set to warm.

About 50 minutes into your rise, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 6 Tbs. honey, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups slivered almonds, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Heat over high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Allow to boil until it begins to turn lightly golden (7-10 minutes). Remove from heat and add 1 Tbs. vanilla.

In 9″ springform pan, press the dough across the bottom. Do your best to press it along the walls of the pan. Pour the almond syrup over the top and spread so it’s flat.

Cook 25 minutes in an oven at 350. Pro tip: on the rack beneath your cake pan, put a cookie sheet covered in foil. That way if anything leaks out of the pan, you’re not scrubbing your oven forever.

Other recipes will tell you to cut your cake in half horizontally and then fill with a vanilla custard. Save yourself this step by serving atop the vanilla pudding you already know how to make!

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Bruleed Grapefruit

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Cut the ends off a fresh grapefruit and then cut in half. You’ve cut the ends off so that when you wield a torch at it, it doesn’t wobble and you don’t light your house on fire. Hopefully. Place grapefruits fruit side down on paper towels for ten minutes.

For some extra flavor, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon or cardamom over the grapefruit before you add sugar. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Sprinkle half of mixture on each grapefruit half. You want a relatively thick coating. Even it out with the back of a spoon or a fork.

Light your brulee torch. Keeping the torch 1-2 inches from the fruit, move it in small circles to keep dispersing the heat. Melt the sugar so it caramelizes.

Give it a minute to cool off, then serve!

You can also make this in your oven: turn your broiler on and give it a few minutes to get hot. Put your sugared grapefruit under the broiler and keep an eye on it. It should take about 8 minutes.

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Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Nana BreadBanana bread is a perennial favorite in our house; we like to add blueberries for an extra burst of flavor! It’s a great way to use bananas that are a little browner than your liking. All that mushy banana helps the bread stay moist!
Preheat your oven to 350. Cream together 1/2 cup salted butter and 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 2 large eggs (beaten ahead of time). Then add 3 large smashed spotty bananas (approximately 1 1/4 cups), 1/4 cup milk (we use vanilla almond milk), 2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Mix together, then fold in 1 cup of blueberries. Pour into a greased loaf or muffin pan. It’s okay if your blueberries look suspiciously similar to walnuts or chocolate chips. It all turns out delicious. For muffins, bake at 350 for 45 minutes and check with a fork for doneness; if not done, check every five minutes. For loafs, bake at 350 for an hour and check for doneness; if not done, check every ten minutes. It’ll be nice and golden on top.

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