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Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I’m probably biased, but I think Louisiana is home to the best strawberries on Earth. I’m planning on picking up a pallet in a couple weeks to really experiment with all things strawberries.

This past weekend, I picked up a couple pints from a local farmer’s market and decided to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. Unfortunately, I only had frozen rhubarb, but the result was still spectacular. Maybe because I also chose to throw in some fresh basil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts, thawed and rolled out (you can make your own if you want)
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling

  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Pie Lattice Work

    Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie before baking.

  3. For the pie filling, mix together the strawberries, rhubarb, basil, orange zest, sugar and flour.
  4. Place one pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan or dish and press into pan. Snip the edges evenly, but leave some crust for a small overhang
  5. Add the filling and drop in pieces of butter on top.
  6. Cut remaining pie crust into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch strips (with a knife or pastry cutter).
  7. Weave the pie crust strips over the top of the pie, fluting the edges.
  8. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over the top of the pie.
  9. Bake pie at 400F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and cook another 35-40 minutes (or until filling is about to bubble over and the crust is slightly browned.
  10. Cool pie on a wire rack for 2 hours.
  11. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This really is the perfect pie for Spring and/or Summer. It’s fresh, light and has a nice tang to it. The filling actually reminded me of the taste of Gushers (the fruit snacks).

I ran out of time, but I was planning on topping mine with basil whipped cream. I think the basil whipped cream would give it an even better pop of flavor.

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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Key Lime Bread Pudding

Key Lime Bread Pudding

Key Lime Bread Pudding with a Coconut Milk Glaze

I have to admit this Key Lime Bread Pudding was really more of an experiment than a vision, but it worked.

Key limes (or their juice) are vital to this dessert recipe. And rather than French bread (which I normally use in bread pudding), I used donut holes to give it added sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Key Lime Bread Pudding Ingredients

    Key Lime Bread Pudding Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 3 dozen day-old donut holes, torn into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Key Lime Bread Pudding with Donut Holes

    Soaking the donut holes in the key lime custard

  3. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.
  4. Add donut holes and toss gently to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Spread mixture evenly into a baking dish coated with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until bread pudding sets.
  7. Garnish with a key lime slice and serve.

For a topping, I combined a little coconut milk and some sugar to give it a really tropical vibe.

If you can’t get donut holes, just buy donuts and tear them into bite-sized pieces. You may even sweet talk a donut shop into giving you some stale donuts or donut holes for cheap.

  • To make sure I didn’t eat the whole pan, I took this to the office and it disappeared in a few hours. It’s that good.
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    Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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    Recipe: Beet Brownies

    Beet Brownies

    Beet Brownies

    I can’t say I’m a big fan of beets, but I usually try to make best of the ingredients I have on hand. So rather than centering a dish around the beets, I chose to integrate them in to Beet Brownies.

    The chocolate masks the earthiness of the beets really well — so well, you don’t really taste them.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup beets, peeled and chopped
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 sticks (8 oz.) butter
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. Beet Brownie Batter

      Beet Brownie Batter

    3. In a small pot or saucepan, cover beets with water and cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Drain, puree and set aside.
    4. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 TBSP butter.
    5. In a medium pot or saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugars and stir until dissolved.
    6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1-2 minutes. Add cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate.
    7. Add pureed beats and butter-sugar mixture and mix all ingredients together. Add whole wheat flour and chocolate chips and stir until all ingredients are blended.
    8. Grease a 9×13 baking sheet and pour in batter. Bake 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick pulls out relatively clean. Enjoy warm or let cool in the pan.

    This recipe should yield at least a dozen medium-sized brownies. You can cut them into larger or smaller pieces based on how long you want them to last.

    I recommend serving them with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

     
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    Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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    Recipe: Pumpkin-Kahlua Bread Pudding

    Pumpkin-Kahlua Bread Pudding

    Pumpkin-Kahlua Bread Pudding

    This is a pretty rich dessert recipe, but it’s worth every calorie. Since most people are probably following through with New Year’s resolutions right now, you may want to file it away for a special occasion.

    I would have never guessed that pumpkin and Kahlua go well together, but luckily they do. You can pretty much use a liquor of your choice for this. I think Bailey’s would make a nice alternative, or maybe even whiskey.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 large croissants, torn into pieces and left to dry out overnight
    • 1 can of pumpkin pie filling
    • 3/4 cup Kahlua
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • Croissants

      The Prepped Croissants

    • 1 cup milk
    • 7 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • Butter, for greasing the dish

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter.
    3. Croissants in the Pumpkin-Kahlua Custard

      Croissants in the Pumpkin-Kahlua Custard

    4. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin pie filling, heavy cream, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and Kahlua.
    5. In the greased baking dish, place in the croissants then pour in the pumpkin mixture. Press with the back of a spoon until the croissants are moistened.
    6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center is set.
    7. Remove from oven, let cool and serve.

    One of the keys is to let the croissants dry out over night. They will maintain their butteriness, but will absorb more liquid if you do so.

    This is a simple recipe that will disappear very quickly. It’s also kid-friendly (despite the Kahlua) since the alcohol cooks out while it’s baking. Of course, you can drizzle with some extra Kahlua to give it an adult kick.

     
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    Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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    Recipe: Whole Wheat Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Milk and Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    What Santa Really Wants for Christmas

    Mint and chocolate make an awesome team. Probably only second to chocolate and peanut butter in my book. These Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with whole wheat flour. Trust me when I tell you, you won’t miss the white flour.

    The green mint chips pack a lot of minty flavor, but it’s balanced out well by the semisweet chocolate morsels. I happened to find the mint chips at World Market by accident, but I’m sure chopped Andes Mints will work just fine.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

      Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup mint chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk or mix together the eggs, butter, sugars and vanilla extract.
    4. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture in two batches, adding in the milk between batches.
    5. Whole Wheat Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

      Whole Wheat Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    6. Use a flat wooden spoon to work in the mint and chocolate chips.
    7. Scoop the batter onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet in about 1-inch rounds. Pat down gently then bake for 15 minutes.
    8. Remove cookies from oven to cool for approximately 3 minutes. Serve.

    You can make the batter in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to two days before baking. Just make sure to wrap it in parchment paper so it doesn’t dry out.

    Even though I’m not a big chocolate fan, these cookies are great for the holidays and the green in the mint chips give them a nice pop of color. If mint’s not your thing, you can substitute any flavor of chip you can get your hands on. I’m thinking peanut butter chips would go well with this batter.

     
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    Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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    Recipe: Loaded Carrot Cupcakes

    Loaded Carrot Cupcakes

    Loaded Carrot Cupcakes

    Let’s be honest, carrot cake is some pretty damn good stuff. These cupcakes don’t come from the most traditional carrot cake batter mix, but they’re loaded with goodness. That’s why I’m calling them Loaded Carrot Cupcakes.

    I added shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, pecans, walnuts and coconut to the batter to really load them up with a variety of ingredients. The batter is pretty minimal so it’s these ingredients that form the majority of these cupcakes.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup white flour
    • 1 cup wheat flour
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
    • 1 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • Carrot Cupcake Batter

      Carrot Cupcake Batter

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups shredded carrots
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 cup shredded coconut
    • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin or cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
    2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and center. Form a hollow center then add oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
    3. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in carrots, pecans, walnuts, pineapple and shredded coconut.
    4. Carrot Cupcakes in the Oven

      Carrot Cupcakes in the Oven

    5. Pour batter into cupcake liners until each is about 1/2 full (optimist!). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes will rise while baking then settle some once removed.

    This recipe should yield roughly two dozen cupcakes. I whipped up a cream cheese frosting for mine and garnished with some of the remaining shredded coconut.

    The pineapple ensures the cupcakes remain moist and the nuts give the cupcakes a nice crunch. I wasn’t sure how these would turn out given my lack of success with baking, but they turned out delicious and (dare I say it) I was proud of the effort.

     
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    Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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    Recipe: Brown Butter Pear Tart

    Tart Before Baking

    The Tart Before Baking

    I can admit to not being the best baker in the world, but it’s definitely something I’m working on. The hardest part? Realizing it’s a science and that instructions must be followed and the ingredients must be measured to the T.

    Luckily, this is a pretty simple recipe that’s a crowd pleaser during the holiday season. Poaching the pears gives them a nice texture and taste. The filling of this tart is rich in vanilla and complements the pairs well.

    I’ve included the crust recipe I used, but feel free to buy one premade.

    Ingredients

    • For the crust:
    • Non-stick spray (for the pan or pie dish)
    • 1 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
    • Poached Pears

      Poached Pears

    • 1 egg yolk mixed with 4 TBSP cold water
    • For the pears:
    • 6 cups water
    • 1 can of Sprite (or other clear soda)
    • 1 cup sweet white wine
    • 4 Bosc pears, cored and quartered (you can also peel them if you like)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
    • For the filling:
    • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • pinch of salt

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 10-inch pie pan with non-stick spray.
    2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt from the crust ingredients and pulse until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Finally, add in the egg yolk-water mixture and pulse until dough is crumbly.
    3. Pour the dough into pie pan and press to form an even crust. Bake the crust in the lower third of the oven until golden brown (about 25 minutes). Reduce oven heat to 350F.
    4. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients form the poached pears, except the pears. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
    5. Add the pears then cover with parchment paper and a pot lid and cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes. (Parchment paper is flammable so make sure the piece isn’t so big it hits the burner.)
    6. After poaching the pears, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Cut each wedge in half, lengthwise.
    7. In a small skillet, cook the butter from the filling ingredients over medium heat until brown and fragrant (about 6 minutes). Set aside in a small bowl.
    8. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs with the sugar, vanilla seeds, orange zest and salt. Add the flour and whisk until mixed. Finally, mix in the brown butter until filling is smooth.
    9. Brown Butter Pear Tart

      Brown Butter Pear Tart

    10. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Saving three slices, arrange the pear slices in a concentric circle with the narrow edges pointing to the center. Trim the remaining slices and arrange them in the center.
    11. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the over for 1 hour, until the filling is set. Let cool before slicing and serving.
    12. Serve in large soup bowls.

    You can prepare everything except for the filling ahead of time and store for two days if you want to make some of this recipe ahead of time.

    I recommend serving this tart with ice cream. I served it with dulce de leche ice cream and it was a hit.

    This is a great winter dessert that makes a perfect addition to your holiday dessert line-up.

     
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    Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

     

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