Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

Watermelon Margarita Granita

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The heat of this past week prompted me to try a frozen treat a little more grown up than popsicles, although I’m not knocking popcicles.  I wanted something simple, and I wanted to use up the watermelon taking precious space in my refrigerator.  I was thinking this could also become a more family friendly Watermelon Limeade Granita by omitting the alcohol, and increasing the amount of lime juice and sugar. Don’t be surprised if I give you more granita possibilities before the summer is out. I’m on a granita roll, playing around with different flavors.  I also made an amazing espresso granita that’s my favorite so far.

Puree your watermelon flesh by throwing it into a food processor, or whiz it with an immersion blender.

Watermelon Margarita Granita
2 1/2 cups  watermelon puree
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)
1/2 cup tequila

Combine ingredients in a shallow baking dish and place in the freezer. When slushy  ice begins to form around the edges (20 to 30 minutes), use a fork to rake the ice back into the mixture. Repeat this every 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture is completely frozen and granular.

Serve in dishes that have been pre-chilled in the freezer, and garnish with a small watermelon wedge.

Maple Bread Pudding

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Last week I made a couple of loaves of organic whole grain raisin bread. For some reason only one loaf got eaten, and I found myself with a whole loaf of stale raisin bread.  Also, with maple syrup production in full swing, I had a little of last year’s syrup that I wanted to use up.  Maple Bread Pudding was the solution to my overabundance of stale bread and old maple syrup.

This recipe uses stale bread. I’m telling you, the texture of the finished pudding won’t be right if you use fresh bread. If you don’t make your own bread, then something like stale french bread from your local bakery can be used. However, don’t use that soft chemical laden stuff that masquerades as bread.

Maple Bread Pudding
6 to 7 cups roughly cubed stale bread
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk or half & half
1 1/2 cups amber or grade B maple syrup. Save your good light stuff for pancakes.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Specks scraped from 1/2 a vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place bread cubes in a buttered 9 x 11 baking dish. Whisk together milk, eggs, maple syrup, salt and spices.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes.  Place dish in refrigerator for about an hour.  It’s important to give the bread cubes plenty of time to absorb the liquid if you want your pudding to have a nice silky texture. I made mine up the afternoon before and refrigerated it overnight so that it was ready to bake on Sunday afternoon when I had the oven already heated for a roast chicken.

Place a roasting pan with about an inch of water in the oven, and preheat to 350. Place pan of bread pudding in the water and bake for about an hour.  I’ve discovered that it’s quite common for ovens to be out of calibration, and highly recommend the use of an oven thermometer when preheating.  I really need to get my oven calibrated. I have to turn my oven on to 420 to heat to an actual 350.

Remove bread pudding from oven and allow to cool for a little while.  Serve with a drizzle of  maple syrup and a couple of generous splashes of cream. This stuff is comfort food at it’s best!

Strawberry Cake

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I promised the recipe for the strawberry cake I took to my 4th of July family reunion, but there are a few things I’d like to share about this cake.  First, giving credit where due, this is not one of my own original recipes. It was given to me by one of my sisters in law on my husband’s side of the family. Second, this cake is absolutely yummy! Third, this cake represents everything I try NOT to do when I cook. This cake is fat, sugar, and unnatural food ingredients, and I only make it a couple of times a year.  I’m also sure to make it for an occasion including lots of people.  We all get a small slice, and I never have any left over. Lastly, did I mention that this cakes tastes absolutely divine? My boys beg me to make this cake more often, but I make them wait for every 4th of July and Christmas.

Strawberry Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 package strawberry gelatin
2/3 cup oil
1/4 c water
4 eggs
1 cup frozen, unsweetened strawberries (thawed and drained, reserve liquid for frosting)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine cake mix and gelatin in a mixing bowl. Add oil, water eggs, and strawberries. Beat mixture until thick and creamy, and strawberries are very well incorporated. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans. Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, approximately 60 to 75 minutes. Be sure to cool cake completely before attempting to remove from pans. This is a very moist cake, and failure to cool thoroughly will result in the cake tearing apart when you try to remove it. I also find it very helpful to shake the edges of the cake loose before inverting the pan.

Strawberry Frosting
1 cup reserved strawberry liquid (add enough water to make 1 cup)
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar

Combine strawberry liquid and flour in a double boiler and cook until thickened. COOL. This is very important. If you don’t make sure this mixture is completely cool, you will have problems with the frosting when you try to blend it with the butter and sugar.

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Combine strawberry mixture and butter mixture and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Frost as a 2 layer cake, decorate with sliced strawberries and mint leaves,  and enjoy!

Creamy Buttermilk Lemon Pops

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I am not a hot weather person.  Add any humidity to the equation and I turn into the world’s biggest whiner.  Over the last few days we were hit with wonderful humidity and temperatures in the 90’s, and I’ve been so grumpy my family is about ready to ship me to Siberia.  This type of weather drives me to eat things like chilled avocado soup and these luscious sweet-tart freezer treats. I know you may think buttermilk sounds weird, but trust me, these are fantastic! I suppose you could flake out on me and substitute yogurt, but I encourage you to give it a try.  I think you’ll be surprised. My guys are not huge fans of buttermilk, but they love these.  The whole time they’re eating them they gripe and complain about how much I use buttermilk.  But, if I tell them that I’d be more than happy to take the pop off their hands, they shoot daggers at me with their eyes.

Since I make my own buttermilk and lemons are a staple in my refrigerator, I always have the ingredients on hand. These are a snap to make, taking very little time. Simply mix the ingredients together in a 4 cup measuring pitcher, pour into freezer pop molds, and freeze.

Creamy Buttermilk Lemon Pops
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/3 cup)
1 cup sugar

Seriously, it’s that simple!

I’ve got quite the collection of freezer pop molds, and my favorites are those made by Tovolo