Smoothies are like the *it* thing right now. Smoothie shops are popping up on every corner in every shopping plaza across the country. A smoothie is such a wonderful concept. Fruit, milk, a thickener, and delicious flavorings. Blend it all together and you get your healthy, yet flavorful drink. You also get your natural vitamins for the day. It sure as heck beats shoving broccoli down your throat. As you guys know, smoothies come in many different flavors and they’re incredibly easy to make. A lot of times, you can just blend up what you have on hand and voila, you have a smoothie! In my case, I have lots and lots of berries on hand at the moment. So, I figured it’s my perfect chance to share my version of a triple-berry smoothie.
There is currently six inches of snow outside. We still have a couple of months of this. I need something bright to remind me of the light of at the end of the tunnel, Spring. That’s where these lemon bars come in. Lemon bars are a staple of your local bake sales for good reason. They’re incredibly easy to make, tangy, creamy, and chewy. Great flavor and texture, which is what we all really want. Bakery-style bars right from your own home. It doesn’t get much better than that!
A few weeks ago, I shared a raspberry mousse recipe with you guys. Well, little did you know what was going on behind the scenes. That mousse went a long way. Not only did I use them for my raspberry mousse cups, which you can find the recipe for here, but I also was able to use the mousse for this lovely chocolate-raspberry mousse cake. For as good as this cake looks and tastes, it’s incredibly easy to make. I used a homemade chocolate cake, but you can use the boxed mix or grocery cake layers. From there, all I did was make some ganache, which is child’s play and used the leftover raspberry mousse I had on hand. It was that easy.
It’s Summer and it’s hot out. I really don’t do well in this weather. I’m more an Autumn girl. However, since I can’t press a fast forward button to the Fall, I’m going to have to tough this heat and humidity out. During the Summer, I want something cool and refreshing daily. These mousse cups check all the boxes. They look impressive. They are easy and quick to make. And man oh man are they good. I’m pretty much a sucker for any raspberry and chocolate combination. Lastly, the best thing is the differing textures. We have the cool creamy mousse, with the dense fudgy chocolate cake and cookie crumbs sprinkled throughout. It really doesn’t get much better.
Lemon curd is the best of both worlds. It’s delicious and it’s super easy to make. It’s jam and jelly’s richer, more luxurious cousin. I don’t know about you, but I play favorites. And curd is definitely my favorite of the fictitious food relatives. You can eat curd with fresh fruit as is or you can use the curd as a filling for a variety of tarts and pies or you can pour it over some ice cream. You have plenty of options. This curd is just tart enough. If you want a make your face pucker tart curd, you’ll have to add more lemon to this one. In my opinion, it’s perfectly balanced. Do yourself a favor and make this. It’s too easy, it’s ridiculous and it’s always great to have on hand for a nice light dessert.
**Note: For my fellow Muslims or for anyone else who can’t use pork gelatin, there is halal beef gelatin available. Other substitutes include agar agar or you can just use cornstarch. Both will act as thickeners.**
Bloom your gelatin in about a tablespoon or two of cold water. Set aside.
Prepare a pot of water and get it simmering. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, whole eggs and egg yolks in a medium to large sized bowl.
Place the bowl of ingredients over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture reaches 180°F.
Take off the heat, add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk in until dissolved. Immediately, whisk in the diced up butter, a couple pieces at a time. Whisk until smooth.
Pour through a sieve into a container. I love using mason jars personally, but you can use whatever container floats your boat. You can see from the picture below, this is a necessary step because the sieve will catch any eggs that were partially cooked. Cooked eggs are lovely for breakfast, but they’re not welcome in my lemon curd.
That’s it! You are finished. Wait until the mixture is room temperature. I like skimming the top foam with a spoon. Then, I cover the container and place it in the fridge. You’ll notice it will be a thin consistency, but it will thicken as it cools.
I took final pictures after a couple days because I was working all week. You can see how significantly thicker the consistency got. It will look like this after a few hours in the fridge as well. Give a stir before using or leave it as is if you like it very thick. Enjoy in whatever application you’d like!
See how I do it:
- 3 Whole eggs
- 2 1/2 Egg yolks
- 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
- 4 Lemons (juice)
- 1/8 cup lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- 5 oz, unsalted butter, diced
- small pinch of salt
Bloom your gelatin in about a tablespoon or two of cold water.
Combine the zest, juice, yolks, whole eggs and salt in a medium to large size bowl.
Prepare a pot or saucepan with water and heat until simmering.
Place the bowl of combined ingredients over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 180°F or about five to ten minutes on medium-low heat.
Once the proper temperature is reached, remove from heat.
Immediately whisk in the bloomed gelatin. Stir until dissolved.
Then, immediately whisk in the diced butter, a couple pieces at a time.
Whisk until completely smooth.
Pour the mixture through a sieve into the appropriate container for storage. I love using mason jars.
Leave uncovered until room temperature.
Skim the foam off the top with a spoon.
Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours.
I find lemon curd is best used the day it's made. It will store in the fridge for up to a week in a mason jar or a well-covered container, but really is the best day of or within the first few days. Lemon curd freezes well. Just place it in a well-covered container and thaw before use. It will last up to a month frozen. You may leave the gelatin out completely, it won't be as thick or you can substitute the gelatin with agar or a bit of cornstarch. If you're using cornstarch instead, experiment with the amount and you would have to place it in while cooking the curd, not after you remove it from the heat. I think this is perfectly tart, but if you want it more tart, add more lemon to the recipe.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ice cream is an American favorite and with good reason. Creamy, cool and flavorful, what’s not to like? Well, summertime is here and it’s the perfect time to munch on some ice cream. I can’t think of a better type of ice cream to eat than some homemade, eggless strawberry ice cream. Yes, it’s homemade. That’s a plus. The recipe has no eggs. That’s a bonus. And it’s strawberry ice cream…which yeah….is kind of amazing. So, kick back, relax and cool down with this great recipe. Oh yeah, did I mention none of those pesky ice crystals? There are two keys to this recipe’s success. First, we toss the strawberries in sugar and let the large amounts of liquid in the berries drain. We don’t want that water in our ice cream. Secondly, we use milk powder. It’s key to absorbing the excess liquid and contributing to a creamy texture. Enough talk, let’s get started.
Start by tossing the strawberries in sugar and letting them sit at room temperature covered with plastic wrap for 6-8 hours.
Drain the excess liquid through a colander and place in a bowl.
Pour in the milk, sugar, vanilla, milk powder, salt.
Use a blender or immersion blender to blend the mixture together. You don’t want any lumps of powder or berries. It should be a smooth, uniform mixture. Pour in the heavy cream and stir until combined.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine until about 1/2-3/4 full and churn 15-20 minutes or until soft serve consistency.
You can enjoy at this point, but I suggest freezing it from anywhere to a few hours up to overnight. If you choose to freeze, leave out for 5-10 minutes before serving.
See how I do it:
- 1 lb fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 1/4 cups granulated or cane sugar
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup skim milk powder
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Toss the strawberries in 1/2 cup of the sugar in a bowl and allow to sit out at room temperature covered with plastic wrap for 6-8 hours.
Drain the strawberries in a colander in the sink.
Combine the strawberries, milk, milk powder, vanilla extract, 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl and use a blender or immersion blender to puree until smooth. No lumps should remain.
Pour in the heavy cream and stir until uniform in color.
Transfer this ice cream base into the ice cream maker and churn about 15-20 minutes, according to manufacturer's instructions. Make sure you only fill it about 1/2 way full or 3/4 way full when you pour the base in. You'll have two batches of base.
Transfer the finished ice cream to a storage container. Serve immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 hours or up to overnight.
Temper ice cream for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish how you please and enjoy!
You'll have extra ice cream base. It makes about two batches worth. Don't over churn and leave some space in the ice cream maker so "overrun" can occur.
This strawberry sauce is so versatile. You can use it to top ice cream, cheesecakes, cakes, and pretty much anything else you want. Though it’s not strawberry season at the moment, Spring and Summer is just around the corner, so we may as well get ready for it the right way. The sauce is delicious, but not overpowering like some may be. I’ll personally be using this sauce to make a tasty trifle. Watch out for that next week!
Start by placing some whole strawberries to the side. You’ll cut off the tops and slice these, but you won’t put them into your sauce until after it’s cooked. Cut off the tops and slice in half the rest of the berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar.
Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until thicker. Stir occasionally. A wooden spoon is best for this recipe.
Once it’s done cooking, it should look something like this.
Take off the heat and pour into a separate bowl. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix.
Blend with your immersion blender until desired thickness is reached. If you want it thinner, add in some water or lemon juice when in the cooking process. It will obviously be tarter if you go the lemon juice route. You can also strain it after you blend it and just add the liquid to some sliced berries and mix.
Enjoy with some ice cream, cheesecake or in a trifle, like I’ll be doing. Keep covered, refrigerated for up to a week.
See how I do it:
Cut the tops of the strawberries and slice them in half. Leave two whole berries to the side and slice them as well. Place in a saucepan along with the sugar. Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and pour into a seperate bowl. Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix. Use a immersion blender to blend to the consistency you'd like. Enjoy! Refrigerate covered for up to a week.
Cut the tops of the strawberries and slice them in half. Leave two whole berries to the side and slice them as well. Place in a saucepan along with the sugar.
Cook on a medium to medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and pour into a seperate bowl.
Add in the lemon zest and vanilla and mix.
Use a immersion blender to blend to the consistency you'd like.
Refrigerate covered for up to a week.
It was just another day. I was online browsing recipes as I usually do and I made a discovery that would forever change my life. I saw a picture of a lovely white meringue, topped with fruit and cream. It looked absolutely delicious. I thought, hey, why not? Let’s give it a try. Little did I know, just how freaking good this dish is. Pavlova is a dish that originated in New Zealand. It’s a meringue that is topped with cream and fruit, traditionally. I’ve never had anything like it. The outer shell gives a little bit of a crispy texture. The inside has a marshmallow texture. It is the lightest dessert ever. Topped with the fresh whipped cream and strawberries to add some sweetness. It has all the elements you want in a dessert and all the elements really contrast well with each other. Strawberries go great with it, but really any berries will work. If you haven’t had Pavlova, it will change your life. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.
Ensure that the egg whites are at room temperature. This will ensure you get a proper meringue. Also, we want to make sure these meringues don’t stick to our baking sheet. You’ll use a parchment or silicone sheet. You can use a stand mixer or Pre-heat your oven to 200°F.
To begin, prepare your oven and baking sheet. Using a whip attachment, whip up the egg whites on low speed until slightly frothy.
Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to high. Continue whipping until tracks form and the whites are at a soft peak. It should be a soft, drooping peak when you lift the beater.
With the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar, vanilla, vinegar and cornstarch.
Continue whipping until it’s a shiny stiff meringue with stiff peaks. For me, it only took a couple of minutes after adding the rest of the ingredients. You can stop the mixer and check if you’re not sure. If it’s stiff and holds it’s peak, you’re good to go.
You can pipe the meringue, use a cutter to ensure that there’s an even amount, or you can just spoon them onto the sheet. Drop the meringue into 5 equal mounds with a couple inches between them on the prepared baking sheet.
Dip a soup spoon in hot water, wiping off each time you dip it and you the back of the spoon to create a divot in the center of the mound. This will be where your cream and fruit will go.
Bake the meringues for 1 1/2 hours and then turn off the oven and leave them for another hour to dry out. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before topping them. All ovens are different, so if you see that the meringues are browning too quickly, open the oven door for 10 minutes to let it cool down. Cracks are totally normal too.
Now, prepare the cream and the berries. I like to macerate the strawberries in a little sugar and lemon juice. If you’d like to top it with a strawberry sauce, that would be delicious, as well.
Top them as you please and enjoy. These don’t last long around here. I finished them all off within the hour. Hey, I can’t help it! They’re so light. It’s like I’m eating air. It’s my ultimate dessert cheat code, when I want something sweet without a ton of fat.
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? It’s perfect anytime and it’s so versatile. Flavors vary from Oreo to pumpkin to red velvet. New flavors seem to be created on a daily basis. But if you’re not as adventurous, you can always come back home to the traditional. You can’t go wrong with the traditional cheesecake. A graham cracker crust, the creamy middle and the topping of strawberry puree. It’s so delicious and goes really well anytime, but especially in the spring or summer. This recipe is the one we used in class. The first time I tasted it, I felt like I was on cloud nine. The crust is slightly spiced, the middle is super creamy and light and of course the tartness and sweetness from the strawberries really goes well with the subtle cream cheese tang. If you’ve never made cheesecake, try this recipe and I guarantee you’ll never doubt your cheesecake skills again.
Before we begin, it’s vital that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you want a great cheesecake, starting with room temperature ingredients, will get you there.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease a 10″ springform pan. This recipe yields one cheesecake for a 10″ pan.
To begin, combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until it clumps together like wet sand when clinched in hands.
In a lightly greased spring form pan, press the crust into the bottom. Ensure the sides are covered and it’s pretty even throughout.
Begin by mixing the cream cheese on low until smooth and no lumps. Stop the mixer a couple of times to scrape.
Gradually add in the sugar. Scrape after mixing for a little bit. Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix for a little bit. Scrape. Begin to add in the eggs one at a time. Beat well between additions. Allow the egg to get absorbed before adding the next one. Also, I scrape between each addition. I also add the vanilla extract at this point. After mixing for a bit, it should look more liquid and smooth. Scrape the bowl and blade at this point. Use your hands to clean the blade off. Add in the sour cream, mix, scrape, add in the heavy cream slowly, mix, scrape, add in the lemon juice, scrape and mix. Keep the mixer on the lowest speed or second speed throughout this process. I can’t stress enough the importance of scraping throughout.
Place the batter in the pan on top of the crust. Place your pan into a 2″ pan or round pan. Pour 3 cups of hot water. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes to an hour. It took me about 45-50 minutes for this to finish.
It’ll bake for 40 minutes to an hour. The internal temperature should be 155°F. The best way to tell if it’s finished if it’s set around the sides, but jiggly in the middle. It should be firm to the touch in the middle, meaning it shouldn’t be liquid when you touch it.
Once out of the oven, remove from the 2″ pan and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the strawberry sauce, wash all the strawberries and cut them in half. Set aside 1/3 and cook the rest. Cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until it becomes thicker and more like a syrup.
Once it’s thicker, remove from the heat and move to a new container.
Add in the 1/3 uncooked strawberries and mix. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, have a pitcher of steaming hot water with a small offset or butter knife, a chef’s knife and a cake or pie server in it.
Using the offset or butter knife, unmold the cheesecake, top with the strawberry sauce, decorate (optional).
If topped with whip cream, serve within the first couple of days. Without whipped cream, you can serve it for up to a week. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
- 1.5 lbs cream cheese (3 8oz boxes)
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup eggs + 3/4 of an egg
- 5 oz graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1.25 fl oz melted butter
- Strawberry Sauce
- 1 lb strawberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- lemon zest
In one bowl, combine all your ingredients for the crust and combine until it clinches together like wet sand.
In a lightly greased 10" springform pan, pat the crumbs until they reach the sides and are even across the bottom. Make sure they don't go up the sides.
Start by having all your ingredients at room temperature and pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Mix the cream cheese on low for about five minutes, stopping to scrape. It should be smooth and lump-free.
Gradually add in the granulated sugar and mix until sugar is blended in, about 2 minutes after adding all the sugar in. Scrape.
Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Scrape.
Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Let it mix properly before adding each egg. Scrape in between each addition.
Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape.
Slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add the lemon juice and mix until combined. Scrape.
Pour the batter on top of the crust in the springform pan and tap lightly to release air bubbles.
In a pan or pot that has 2" sides, pour in three cups of hot water.
Place the springform pan in the middle of the water bath.
Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes to one hour. I check at the 40-minute mark and go from there. If you have a digital thermometer you can check the internal temperature, which should be at 155°F when it's done. The best way to tell if it's done is if the sides are firm, but the center is jiggly. If it jiggles, but when you touch it with your finger it's not liquid in the center, that means it's done.
Top with strawberry sauce and serve.
Wash all strawberries and cut them in half.
Place 2/3 of the strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar and vanilla.
Cook about 15 minutes on medium-high heat, until thicker and syrup-like.
As you cook the strawberries, mash them slightly with the wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and place the remaining 1/3 uncooked strawberries with the cooked strawberries and mix.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes. Cover with saran and refrigerate overnight.
Serve with the cheesecake the next day.