No Cook Blender Lemon Curd Recipe

February 28, 2014 in Desserts

 No cooking required for this easy blender lemon curd.

Blender Lemon Curd Tarts

The easiest Lemon Curd ever. And yet so delicious.

This lemon curd is so seriously delicious that most of it never made it out of the blender and into the tiny tart pans. The Hubs and I just ate it with a spoon. Very large spoons.

My sister Sandy is an amazing cook and is the genius behind Everyday Southwest – and is a holder of an actual pastry certificate from an actual culinary school. She recently made a graham cracker crust that I just had to make. And I had a recipe for blender lemon curd tucked into my wallet, and it has also been calling my name recently.  Yes, the culinary stars aligned on this one.

For the filling, you just throw everything in the blender and then you blend it for what seems like an eternity (FIVE minutes) so that the heat from the blender gently cooks the curd. ( I used my trusty Blendtec blender, which I love, love, LOVE ) Then, you just chill until set. It’s that simple. I used Meyer lemons for this – but you could try regular lemons or even limes – and I think you would get the same delicious results.

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Easy Fresh Peach Tart Recipe

September 3, 2013 in Desserts

Easiest peach tart ever.

Peach Tart

Got Ten Minutes? You, too, can make this fabulous Peach Tart.

If there were a list of culinary miracles, frozen puff pastry would be on that list.

Just whip it out of your freezer and you become an instant pastry chef in the eyes of your devoted diners. And yes, I have made a quick version of puff pastry from scratch. It is something to cross off your culinary bucket list: Make Puff Pastry from Scratch. Check. But the store bought kind is even easier than this.

Puff pastry works wonders with just a few ingredients tossed on top – five, to be exact. And with just 10 minutes of prep time ((No, that’s not a typo!))

Here is the entire recipe: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut one sheet of puff pastry in half. Slice two medium sized peaches into 1/4 inch thick slices. Spread slices overlapping on center of each piece of frozen puff pastry. Brush peach slices with a little honey that has been heated in the microwave. Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until pastry puff around edges and is browned.

Serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is not optional. You won’t be sorry.

– posted by Donna

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No Bake Kiwi Lime Cheesecake Tarts with a Gingersnap Crust

March 11, 2013 in Desserts, Holidays

No Bake lime tarts – plus kiwis!

Kiwi Lime Tart square

Kiwi Lime Tart

In a few days, the Kelly family will observe St Patrick’s Day, which for us involves dressing up in crazy green clothes, inviting strangers to kiss us because of our heritage and – this is my favorite part – eating green food. Ok, in honor of tradition we also make Irish stew, colcannon and soda bread rolls. As a young bride, my guinea pig for my self tutorial in the kitchen was The Hubs. All I can say is that it is a good thing he loves me, because otherwise my cooking would have driven him screaming into the street. Case in point: Corned Beef. In a microwave oven. In the late 1970’s, microwave ovens were new fangled inventions. They were large and expensive and we got one as a wedding gift in 1977. No one knew how to cook with one. No one we knew even had one. I did my share of experimenting, and scraped exploded food off the roof of the oven almost daily. Do not ever, ever try cooking a “soft boiled egg” in the shell in a microwave. Trust me on this. I did manage to figure out that the microwave oven took less time to cook food than a regular oven. So, My calculation in 1977 went like this: regular corned beef = 4 hours in the oven; so, hmmm . . . microwave oven will take less time, so microwaved corned beef = 2 hours. I plopped the corned beef in a 9 by 13 and into the microwave and set it on HIGH for TWO HOURS. Looking back, it is amazing that we didn’t burn the house down. We left to go to see the newly released movie “Grease” and returned to thick smoke that billowed out of the  house when we opened the door and a substance that was the exact size and texture of a red brick. Whenever my husband wants to keep me humble about my cooking, he asks with a twinkle in his eye “Remember the Red Brick Corned Beef?” These days I cook all our beloved traditional foods and then make a dessert that is green. Hence, these little tarts. They are creamy and yet tart. And I’d like to thank Mother Nature for making kiwis green – perfect for St Patrick’s Day.

Kiwi Lime Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

Kiwi Lime Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

Irish Blessings to You All!

– posted by Donna

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Eggnog Almond Bark: Inspired by Trader Joe’s

December 20, 2012 in Desserts, Holidays

Eggnog Almond Bark

Eggnog Almond Bark

Do you have a beloved seasonal foodstuff you look forward to rediscovering every December? Some eagerly anticipate the return of Caramel Brulee Lattes and Cranberry Bliss Bars to Starbucks, others count the days until boxes of Candy Cane Joe Joes arrive at Trader Joe’s. A fabulous friend of mine looks forward to getting another item from Trader Joe’s: their Eggnog Almonds. Alas, she found them to be sold out on a recent visit. Being me, I thought I would see if I could surprise her with my own rough re-creation.

As it turns out, making smooth, uniform, individually coated almonds is way beyond my confectionery skill set, but I quickly figured out that the big blob of white chocolate and nuts would make a great bark instead. When I changed course, I roughly chopped THROUGH the blob (which I do not recommend, it was just my only option since it was already combined), spread it on a baking sheet and chilled it. Voila, eggnog bark. I do believe it will now be an annual Thing. Read the rest of this entry →

Raspberry Napoleon Recipe – a Five-Ingredient Enlightened Summer Dessert

June 3, 2012 in Desserts

Lightened Raspberry Napolean

Easy Enlightened Raspberry Napoleons

Let me introduce you to your new favorite raspberry dessert.

Raspberries are soft, pillowy, tangy and flavorful. I crave them. I even dream about them. I am unbelieveably excited that this year we will be harvesting bushels full of these little red jewels – since the hubs planted and tended raspberry bushes for the last few summers – this year – fingers crossed! – will be the year of The Great Raspberry Harvest at the Kellys.

And so, I am practicing up my jam-making, fruit freezing, shortcake baking skills. And I whipped up this dessert. Just for research purposes, of course.

Did you know that raspberries are a member of the rose family, and are uber healthy? Well, it’s true: they have ten times the antioxidant power of tomatoes!

This dessert is so light and refreshing and flavorful – and takes 20 minutes, tops, to throw together. You can bake up the wontons whilst you are lounging on the patio and then just cool and stack. That’s it. Really.

Happy Raspberry Season, Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Caramelized Banana Pudding Recipe – A Childhood Favorite Upgraded

October 24, 2011 in Desserts

Banana Pudding 1865x1865

I have the most amazing husband on the planet earth. I have been treated like a queen every single day of my 34 year (and counting) honeymoon.

So, you will understand when I tell you that there is no better reason to cook fabulous food than to make Jim smile. The best thing about Jim as a sounding board/critic is that he loves me enough to be honest. Truly Honest. “This-dish-stinks” kind of honest.

Jim closer

So, when he tasted the banana pudding dish that I made this weekend, it was a great moment  for me when he closed his eyes, smiled and said “This is heaven.”
Classic banana pudding, an Americanized banana trifle recipe popular in the 1950s and 1960s, is layers of vanilla wafers, pudding, whipped cream and bananas. Jim ate this dish along with the rest of Americans as a kid and this recipe topped his food memory. The secret, I’m convinced, is the homemade pudding, and not using the store-bought box. It is truly write-home-about remarkable.

I was given the blog A Spoonful of Thyme as part of this month’s Secret Recipe Club challenge. California blogger Kate shared a Roasted Banana Pudding recipe and I made her recipe to a “T” except I caramelized the banana slices with a little butter and brown sugar in a hot skillet instead of roasting them. Kate’s pudding was fresh and flavorful and light – delightful. Thanks, Kate, for a recipe that I memorized and will use again and again for dessert deliciousness!

– posted by Donna

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Easy Candy Apple Tart Recipe

September 19, 2011 in Desserts

Four ingredients and a trip back to childhood in an apple tart.

Candy Apple Tart 1865x1865

Classic Candy Apple Flavor in an easy Tart recipe

As a kid, I looked forward every fall to those crunchy, sticky chewy bright red candy apples. You know the kind – with that stick-to-your-teeth coating that you have to pry off of your teeth.

So, I saw an easy apple tart recipe a few days ago in a magazine using apple jelly brushed on top as a glaze. I thought of that shiny, cinnamon-y glaze that is on candy apples.

I decided to try and infuse the apple jelly with those cinnamon red-hot candies we ate as kids for that spicy sweet-hot candy apple flavor. This works like a charm! The red hot candies give the apple jelly that classic flavor and as a bonus, they add a rosy color to the tart as a beautiful finish.

If you use a purchased pie crust, this tart only has FOUR ingredients. Yes, you read that right: FOUR ingredients. Of course, by all means use your favorite home made pie crust for an even yummier result. Or, come back here in a few days when I post my completely foolproof Never Fail Pie Crust that even kids can make. Really.

Either way, this tart is an easy riff on apple tarts. I recommend you make one every single week this fall. Then,  just stand back and wait for the rave reviews when your house smells all cinnamon-y and this stunning dessert comes out of the oven.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Candy Apple Tart II 1865x1865

Another view of this four ingredient Candy Apple Tart

– posted by Donna

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Foolproof Strawberry Lemon Zest Sorbet Recipe

June 9, 2011 in Desserts

No fail sorbet just in time for summer.

Strawberry Sorbet

Easy Peasy Strawberry Sorbet

I have always been afraid of sorbet. Terrified, really.

I thought it was one of those seems easy but is really deceptively hard things to make. Like the Tarte Tatin of the frozen dessert world.

If you add too much sugar, your sorbet will be soupy. If you don’t add enough, it will freeze as hard as a rock. But, the thing is – you won’t know until it’s too late and is already in the freezer trying to freeze. . . . Thus causing you to run screaming from the room, wishing you had chosen to write an edgy political blog instead of a food blog. . . . but I digress . . . .

Dara at Cookin’ Canuck, a  fabulous food blogger I follow, recently did a sorbet that looked so delicious, I summoned my courage to attempt my own sorbet. After strolling around the world wide web,  I came across a kitchen trick/geeky science experiment to make a foolproof sorbet.

Zoe at Zoe Bakes, a chef turned food blogger, recently shared this amazing trick for making the perfect sorbet: an egg. Yes, a whole uncooked egg is they key. No, you don’t use it as an ingredient. You use it as a test to arrive at the perfect sugar/fruit juice combo. You put it in your un-frozen sorbet mixture and if it sinks, the sorbet needs more sugar. If it floats, just like the David Letterman WILL IT FLOAT gag, kitchen edition, that means your sorbet has the perfect sugar-to-juice ratio.

The great thing about knowing this trick is that you can make ANY kind of sorbet with this technique. Really, ANY juice can be made into this sorbet now that you know the floating egg trick. Basil-lemon juice sorbet? Sure. Blackberry-rosemary sorbet? No problem. ANY juice will work with this technique, so go ahead – live it up! Try your own flavor combos!

So, you just keep adding simple syrup to your juice until the egg finally floats! I love kitchen magic tricks!

Here’s how it looks when your sorbet is perfect:

DSC_8617

When your egg floats to the top, your mixture is perfect!

Never fear again – the perfect sorbet is just one floating egg away!

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No-Bake Nutella Chocolate Ice Box Cake Recipe

May 26, 2011 in Desserts

No bake, no fuss – not your Grandma’s Ice Box Cake.
Nutella Ice Box Cake

My grandma’s ice box cake recipe is one of my favorite food memories.

I have lots of other happy memories of her as well.

My great grandma’s hair was a thing of beauty and amazement to me. When I was lucky enough to sleep over at her house, I just couldn’t wait until nighttime. She would sit at her dressing table surrounded by her pretty perfume bottles and soft horsehair brushes and ivory broaches. It was the 1960’s everywhere but in Alta’s bedroom, where it was still the 1920’s. She would take the combs out of her put-up hair and it would cascade down to her waist, soft, wavy and billowy like I just knew a mermaid’s hair would be.  Sometimes she even let me brush it, the biggest thrill of all. Softer than a dream, and shiny from the rainwater she saved to wash it in.

My Grandma Greenhaw loved us grand kids and we knew it by the way she let us “help” her. We sliced ripe summer tomatoes from the garden and arranged them fan-like on the plates. We peeled cucumbers and squash. And the biggest honor of all was helping with the Ice Box Cake.

It wasn’t a cake, really. It was graham crackers with whipped cream – layers and layers and layers until we ran out of crackers. Then, we stuck it in the Ice Box for what seemed like eons, waiting and waiting and waiting impatiently until it was soft and luscious and, well, cake-like. The way it works is that the moisture in the whipped cream softens the graham crackers and turns them into thin cake-like layers. It was a treat fit for a queen and her royal court. We giggled and ate so much our tummys hurt and then she read us stories until she began to nod her head and we all headed off to bed.

I decided to update Alta’s Ice Box Cake, using chocolate graham crackers, something she wouldn’t have dreamed of, and smeared with Nutella, also unknown to Alta, before slathering on the whipped cream. The flavors are richer than Alta’s, but the texture takes me right back to nights on her porch eating Ice Box Cake until we were sick. It’s the perfect “cake” for summertime, because there’s no baking required. No heating up your already steamy kitchen. And My! Oh My! is it luscious.

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Alta Frances Greenhaw – circa 1920 (above) and 1970 (below)

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Cherry Almond Semifreddo Tarts – A Valentine’s Day Shortcut Dessert Recipe

February 7, 2011 in Desserts

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Cherry Almond Semifreddo Tarts - shown here inverted for serving

Your sweetie deserves a special treat on Valentine’s Day, right? Your sweetie deserves the best, right?

But if time constraints don’t allow you to spend hours in the kitchen creating an elegant French masterpiece worthy of your sweetheart, we have a solution for you: our shortcut semifreddo tarts.

Cherry and almond is a flavor match made in heaven. One of my mother’s signature dishes is a cherry pie she makes with added almond extract to the filling. It is a dessert that several generations have raved about for 50 years. So, I decided to whip up an easy dessert with that flavor profile, and started with cherry pie filling. The result is our entry for the Lucky Leaf pie filling recipe contest.

I love the texture of a semifreddo (semi-frozen) dessert, so this mousse-type mixture is placed in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to achieve that texture.

Whip these tarts up with minimal prep time and then chill for at least 30 minutes and -voila! – fabulous cherry almond flavor with that Italian semifreddo texture!

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