Strawberry Fruit Parfaits*

srawberry This is a light summery dessert, but actually one that you should have in the house all the time for an emergency.

It whips up in no time, consists of stuff you can always have on hand, and is elegant enough to work for guests.

In fact that’s exactly what it’s for. People drop in unexpectedly and you can make this and serve it in literally minutes.

Best eaten fairly soon, though it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 or so cups of frozen fruit (strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries all work great
  • 2 tbsp or more (as needed of some sort of sweetener)
  • 1 large egg white (this is not cooked, so used pasteurized if you worry about that)
  • additional fresh fruit and whipped cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the frozen fruit in a food processor and pulse until it is reduced to small chunks.
  2. Add the sugar and the egg white and whirr until smooth.
  3. Spoon into serving dishes and top with a bit of fresh fruit (or defrosted frozen) and whipped cream.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: It’s important that the fruit is still frozen when you whirr it up, since it’s this quality that makes it foam up into a nice mousse-like appearance.

SOURCE: Serious Eats

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Do It My Way Apple Dumplings

appledumpOkay, apple dumplings. Sounds like a lot of work. It is. But you can significantly make the job a lot easier and compromise neither taste nor appeal.

No you don’t have to substitute crescent rolls or puff pastry. But you do change the procedure, and change is good.

So listen up and I am very sure that this will work a lot better than the old-fashioned way of making this delightful comfort food.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe for a 2-crusted pie crust. I have a couple so do look at the index.
  • 6 granny smith apple or other crisp tart apple.
  • 6 tbsp butter for the apples
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 3 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

This is a fairly standard recipe. We are going to make two very major changes. One, we are not going to make individual squares to cover each apple. Two we are going to simplify the preparation of the apples. It is hard to roll out the dough to the correct size and it tends to want to break on you as you try to bring it up around the sides of the apple. Apples are hard to core well with an apple corer, leaving behind pieces usually. We are avoiding both these problems, and speeding things up.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare your favorite pie crust and divide the dough 2/3 – 1/3. shape into rectangles and cover with wrap and place in fridge for a good hour.
  2. After about 40 minutes begin the rest of the preparation.
  3. Peel your apple with a peeler and then cut off the bottom and top. Slice through from top to bottom. Cut out the cores. Place each half in lemon-water to keep from browning while doing them all.
  4. When apples are done, prepare your butter into individual 1 tbsp for the apples and mix the spices together.
  5. Bring out your larger of the two pie crust doughs and roll out as you normally would into a rectangle that is large enough to come over the edges of a 9 x 13 high sided baking dish.
  6. Butter your baking dish and lay in the rolled out dough.
  7. Dry 2 pieces of your apple, lay with core side up and place a pat of butter in the center, then a tablespoon of brown sugar. Bring the other half up and squeeze together. Place in the baking dish.
  8. Do this with the rest until you have 6 “apples”, three to a side in the pan.
  9. Sprinkle with the spices
  10. Now roll out the second piece of dough. Roll this to larger that the bottom of the pan. You are going to loosely drape it over the top but between each set of apples to the end. Then bring up the sides of the bottom crust over the top to make the seal.  Slice down the top crust across between apples, then push the dough gently between and around each apple. Your seal will not be perfect, but it will be close enough. It’s important to make sure the top crust is really longer and wider than the 9 x 13 pan, so it will be loose enough to do this.
  11. Take the ingredients from 2 tbsp butter down and place in a saucepan, bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  12. Pour in and around your dumplings. You may not be able to use it all, depending on your baking dish.
  13. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 50-60 minutes or until pie crust is browned and sauce is thick and bubbly.

SERVES: 12 (1/2 per person is more than enough I promise)

NOTES: Wonderful served with whipped cream or ice cream.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

OVEN: 400°

COOKING TIME: 50-60 minutes

Blackberry Very Peachy Cobbler

blackberry_peach_cobblerLuscious.

That would be my word to describe this.

Add some ice cream.

Die.

Go to heaven.

But only if they have this.

Otherwise, consider. . . oh silly, ice cream won’t last in Hell.

Make this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint of blackberries
  • 5 peaches (give or take) About 5 cups peeled and sectioned. Yes I know it’s a pain, but otherwise it gets a bit chewy.
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 C flour

FOR THE BISCUITS:

  • 1 c + 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 stick butter frozen
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat oven to 375°
  • Whisk the dry ingredients for the biscuits together.
  • Grate the butter using the large grate opening into the flour, toss with fingers
  • Add the sour cream and heavy cream and mix with hands until it comes together.
  • Knead into a disk and pat out our roll gently into a rectangle.
  • Cut into about 8 pieces. (do this on parchment paper and lift onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate until done with the filling and ready to put in oven.
  • Mix the fruit gently with the rest of the filling ingredients and place in a 9 x 9 or 12 x 12 baking dish. Lay the biscuit dough on top separating between each piece.
  • Brush with a little extra sour cream and dust with some sanding sugar if you have it.
  • Place in oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: Don’t overdo the blackberries since you will lose the flavor of the peaches. You can not peel the peaches if you desire but they become tough, so I like them removed. You could easily substitute blueberries, strawberries, or cherries, but keep the ratios the same to keep he peach flavor up. You might want to add a 1/4 tsp of peach extract and stir into the peaches first. Depends on how flavorful your fruit is. And technically this is not a cobbler but who cares!

SOURCE: Chow

 

Fruity Magic Cobbler

cobbler-2Cobblers are wonderful desserts and easier than a lot of others to make.

This one is found all over and is touted for its “magical” qualities.

What’s magical? The fact that the top “biscuit” magically arises all on its own. In other words, it’s not the typical biscuit dough you make separately and place on top.

I find this one simple to make, and gooey, which is how I like my cobbler anyhow. Fresh fruit of any kind works here, and frozen as well, which I would thaw and drain.

So let your imagination guide you. This one here is a plum cobbler, but as I said, apples, mangos, peaches, cherries, blueberries and so forth work just as well. I think fresh fruit is easier to work with, but you can use frozen. Be inventive!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 c sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 4 cups fruit, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ground cinnamon/and or nutmeg to taste (1/2 tsp generally)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°
  2. Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1 c of the sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk together.
  4. Add the milk, and mix gently just until combined. Pour this into the baking dish and DO NOT MIX.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, lemon juice and remaining sugar.
  6. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove and add the spices.
  8. Carefully pour into the baking dish, and DO NOT STIR.
  9. Bake on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serves: 6 or so.

NOTE: great served with ice cream or whipped cream. Serve either warm or cold. This recipe came from Bartolini Kitchens, but as I said, it’s a fairly common one around the Internet.

Elegant Sour Cream Apple Pie

sourcreamapplepie400aOh goodness I do love apple pie. This is a variation off the usual one and frankly it’s utterly delicious.

It’s from allrecipes.com., with just a tad of alteration.

So think of this marvelous pie whenever you want to do something just a bit more elegant than the normal apple pie, good as that is.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 unbaked pie crust for a 9 inch pie (half recipe)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lg egg
  • about 4-5 peeled, cored, and sliced granny smith apples or other similar “hard” apple. Golden delicious works fine as well as some of the newer hybrids which are tart and crunchy. Do not use soft apples. They just disintegrate during the cooking.

For the Topping:

  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • about 1 c of oat meal (quick or regular)
  • 1/4 c chilled diced butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the pie crust following the recipe or *gasp* buy one of those premade ones. But please don’t.
  2. Place the crust in the pie plate and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, flour and salt together with a whisk.
  4. Whisk together the sour cream and the egg, and then add that to the flour/sugar mixture.
  5. Add the apples and stir to coat.
  6. Place all into the pie crust.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 425° oven. Reduce to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Prepare the topping by add all the ingredients save the butter and mix. Then drop in the butter chunks and cut it into the mixture until it is crumbly. Place in the fridge until ready to add to the pie.
  9. After the 30 minutes backing time is over, remove the pie and place the topping on top.
  10. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
  11. Cool the pie on  a rack and then place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.

Serves: 8

NOTES: you can vary the topping to include anything that would work here. Brown sugar might be substituted in part, also adding walnuts or pecans would be good.

 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

This is a truly wonderful fall-type dessert. Have this with coffee or better yet, some hard cider. While we don’t have anything you could really call fall here in Las Cruces, I can almost hear the crunch of the leaves underfoot and the smell of the wood smoke as the stove is cranked up for the first time when I take a bite.

Simple to make, they are easy to transport too, so they make a nice treat to take when visiting.

There are several recipes for this and they are all pretty much the same. I got this one from  Cookies and Cups.

 

INGREDIENTS:

The Crust

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened

The Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 8oz pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced or sliced
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

The Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2 c or more, caramel sauce (bottled Smuckers)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with foil.
  3. Mix the crust ingredients with a fork or cutter until blended and then press into the baking pan.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla, egg, and the sugar. Beat until smooth.
  6. Prepare the apples, and sprinkle with a tbsp of sugar and the pumpkin spice.
  7. Make the streusel topping by combining all the ingredients and cutting with fork or cutter until crumbly.
  8. When crust is done, cool it, placing in fridge for a few minutes.
  9. Then spread the cream cheese mixture on top followed by the apples.
  10. Then spread the streusel topping.
  11. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is just lightly browned.
  12. Remove and cool. Drizzle with as much or little caramel sauce as you desire. Place in fridge to chill for 2 hours.

Serves: 12

I see no reason why you couldn’t substitute other fruit. Especially pears. But I can see blueberries or raspberries as well. Perhaps you might want to alter the sauce to butterscotch or chocolate for some fruits. It’s versatile!

 

Layer It Jello Delight

I left this title purposefully a bit vague.

I did it for a reason. I always have a reason.

It’s because it is super versatile. Pick any fruit pretty much that you want, and then partner it with a jello that it can go with. The rest is the same.

This is what we would call a “Midwestern” dessert. Not sophisticated of course. How can you  be sophisticated with Jello? It’s the kind of thing you will find plenty of at church pot-lucks, and Fourth of July picnics.

It’s pleasantly good always, easy to make, and like I said, you can make it in an infinite number of alternatives.

What’s not to like?

This is Stephanie’s recipe over at JustaPinch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C flour
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pecans ( or any nut you like–pretzels are used in some recipes for this too)
  • a bit of shortening to grease the dish
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 80z block of cream cheese
  • 8-9 oz frozen whipped topping, or equivalent whipped cream
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 c water or lemon-lime soda
  • 1 regular box jello (strawberry in this case)
  • 2 quarts strawberries, cleaned and sliced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and butter together. I used a pastry cutter and that worked nicely. Then add the chopped nuts. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with the shortening ( I don’t use butter, because when heated the butter bleeds out water which sogs up the bottom). Press your crumb mixture into the bottom.
  2. Bake at 350° until lightly browned. Cool completely. Once it is partly cooled, slip into fridge if you wish to speed this up.
  3. Mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and thawed whipped topping together. I also used a pastry cutter for this to get the sugar and cheese combined, then stirred in the whipped topping.
  4. Spread this on the cooled cookie crust.
  5. Return to the fridge while the next step is in process.
  6. Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the fruit, into a sauce pan and heat to a boil, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Dump in the strawberries and stir until mixed. Take off heat, and cool down about half way.
  7. Pour onto the whipped cheese filling, spread evenly and refrigerate until set.
  8. You can add more whipped cream and sliced fresh strawberries for decoration if you wish.

Serves: 10

NOTE: I can’t wait to try grapes, cherries, peaches, pineapple, and a whole host of fruit. Hope you enjoy it.