Cheesecakes are easy, but at the same time, they take just a bit of work. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Stay with me for a bit here. So, cheesecakes aren’t complicated. They involve ingredients we typically have on hand. Graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, heavy cream, etc. Cream the ingredients in a pan and bake them off. However, they are also a bit of work. Some people bake their cheesecakes in a water bath. I’m not saying a water bath is difficult to set-up, but anyone who’s done it will attest to its awkward set-up. On top of that, it’s not like you can just dive-in once it’s baked. You have to wait for the next day for the cheesecake to set-up before doing that. That’s probably the hardest part of it all. Well, sometimes you’re just not feeling it. Sometimes you want to cut the ingredients, time, and effort in half. This recipe for no-bake mini cheesecakes will fill your cheesecake sweet tooth and it’s so easy and quick to put together. No baking, no crust, no water bath, just easy mixing.
We all know the French invented cooking and pastries. They are the pioneers that we should all bow down to for giving us so many delectable dishes. One of the many creations the French gave us is called crème anglaise.
The name may make it sound fancy, but all it really is a custard like cream sauce. It’s not hard to make, but it is worth the effort. What you’ll get is a rich cream sauce that tasted like vanilla ice cream. It’s so good and complements so many desserts. I used it in my trifle, but you can use it along side any dessert really. This recipe will give you a thicker crème anglaise than you may be used to seeing. It tasted just as delicious though. I took it to a thicker stage by continuing to cook it, but if you wanted it thinner, you would just take it off the heat quicker. Anyways, let’s get this party started.
Start by combining the cream, about 1/4 cup or 50 grams of milk, and 68 grams of sugar in a medium saucepan.
If you’re using the vanilla bean cut in half, place it in the saucepan at this point. Place over medium heat and stir for 10 seconds. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 68 grams of sugar in a medium mixing bowl and whisk immediately for 30 seconds.
Add 50 grams of milk to the egg yolk mixture.
When the milk comes to a boil in the saucepan, turn off the heat. Remove the vanilla pod. If you didn’t use a pod, at this point pour in the vanilla extract and stir. Stir constantly with a whisk pour about 2 cups of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture.
Pour this egg yolk mixture into the hot milk in the sauce pan and place over low heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir constantly until it begins to thicken.
The temperature should reach between 165°F – 185°F and the sauce should stay put if you run your finger down the middle of a spatula.
Strain the mixture into a mixing bowl over an ice bath. Stir for a few minutes until it’s cooled and then let it cool down for 20 minutes.
Once cool, transfer to a container, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s ready to use. Custard will keep for up to 48 hours in the fridge.
See how I do it:
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 vanilla beans or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8-9 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Set aside 1/4 cup of milk and place the rest of the milk, all of the cream and 1 1/3 cup of sugar into the medium saucepan. Place the vanilla bean in the saucepan if you're using that.
Place over medium heat and stir for 10 seconds to make sure that the sugar doesn't stick to bottom.
Meanwhile, combine the yolks and the other 1 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a medium bowl and whisk for 30 seconds. Add 50 grams of milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk in.
When the milk cream mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and remove the vanilla pods and at this point add in the vanilla extract if that's what you're using.
Stir constantly with the whisk, pour about 2 cups of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
Place the saucepan back on low heat and use a rubber spatula, stir constantly until you feel the mixture starting to thicken.
Cook, stirring constantly until it reaches 165°F -185°F. Strain this mixture into a bowl placed over an ice bath. Stir for a few minutes, then cool for 20 minutes.
Once cool, transfer to a container, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Lasts for about 2 days in the fridge. Sauce should be thick and creamy, not runny or grainy.
You think you know what marshmallows taste like, but you have no idea. You’ve been lied to and so have I. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I’m talking about the lie we’ve all been told. The lie of the store-bought marshmallow.
When we think of marshmallows, we think of chewy, borderline rubbery, confections that taste like air. That’s what the marshmallows we’ve grown up on taste like. Well, little did I know, they’re not supposed to taste or feel like that.
I had my awakening when I was on a field trip in Ann Arbor. We went into the world famous, Zingerman’s. I tried one of their homemade marshmallows. It was like everything fell into place. Everything started to make sense. I understood why the sky was blue. It was all good. The texture was soft and pillowy and there was a huge burst of vanilla when I bit into it. It was so good. I knew I could never go back to the cardboard air we are sold in the supermarkets. I feel like everyone should have the chance to taste real homemade marshmallows once in their life. And believe it or not, it’s not super difficult to make.
You’ll need a few things. First, this job is much easier with a stand mixer, so I suggest you use that instead of a hand mixer. Also, you’ll need some kind of thermometer. Either a candy or digital one will do the job.
You’ll need some powdered gelatin. This is halal powdered gelatin. It’s available for those who can’t use the pork gelatin.
You’ll need some granulated sugar.
Some light corn syrup.
Cornstarch and powdered sugar.
And some extracts, whatever one is applicable. In this case, vanilla.
To get started, pour the 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of the stand mixer and pour the gelatin over the cold water. Attach it to the stand mixer and have it ready with the whip attachment. Let it stand.
In a saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar, 1/2 cup water and salt.
Place over medium high heat, covered for 3-4 minutes.
Uncover it and let it cook for 7-8 minutes or until the mixture reaches 240°F. Use a candy or digital thermometer to determine when it’s done.
Once it’s reached temperature, get the mixer going on low and slowly pour the mixture down the side of the bowl. Make sure the mixture doesn’t get poured into the whip attachment. Once the mixture is completely poured in, turn the mixer up to high and beat for 12 minutes.
In the meantime, prep your cake pan, by greasing it lightly and sifting some of the confectioner’s sugar/cornstarch mixture over the top. Shake around pan to coat the sides and take excess out.
During the last minute of whipping, add in the vanilla extract and whip for another minute. Immediately stop the machine (it will probably be hot, so be careful) and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Use an offset to spread it out and coat the top with the sugar/cornstarch mixture. If it begins to stick to your hands or spatula, use the cornstarch/sugar mixture to help you out.
Let it rest overnight uncovered.
Turn it out onto the board and cut the pieces as you please. I’m personally using a round cutter, because I want them to look like little cotton balls. I’m in charge of a nursing grad dessert table, so these are going there. The much easier way though, is to just cut them into squares with a knife.
Place in a mason jar or storage container and store at room temperature covered for up to three weeks.
See how I do it:
- 7 1/2 teaspoons or 3 packages powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup ice cold water (for gelatin)
- 1/2 cup ice cold water (for sugar mixture)
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Nonstick spray
Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Get the whip attachment attached and ready to go.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Uncover, clip a candy thermometer or digital thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
When the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
Immediately, turn the mixer on to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Make sure it doesn't get into the ship attachment.
Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan.
Lightly spray the 13x9" metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift in the confectioner's sugar/cornstarch mixture and move around to coat the bottom and sides. Return the excess to a paper plate.
Lemon, vanilla and berries. You can’t really do any wrong with these flavor combinations. The Italians get that. Many of their desserts are small-form, light and not too sweet. And many of their desserts involve these great flavor combinations. They really have nailed the formula for guilt-free desserts. One of the many Italian sweets that is well-known to everybody is panna cotta. In case you have to brush up on your Italian, panna cotta translates to “cooked cream.” And guess what, that’s exactly what panna cotta is. It’s just cooked cream, milk and some other goodies. Very simple and very delicious. Now, one of the key ingredients in panna cotta is gelatin. You need the gelatin to help set the cream. Many of you may not be able to use gelatin, due to it not being available or maybe religious/moral reasons. Well, luckily for you, there are other options. They do sell halal beef powdered gelatin for all the Muslims out there. You can also use agar agar. This is a natural vegetable counterpart. It will help firm up and set the panna cotta, but you don’t have to worry about it coming from an animal. As you see, there are many options when it comes to gelatin and gelatin substitutes. So, don’t let that stop you from making this very easy and tasty dessert. Great for a rewarding sweet for yourself or for entertaining guests.
We’ll need granulated sugar and gelatin.
Lemon and vanilla.
Lastly, heavy cream.
Start by sprinkling the gelatin over the top of the cold milk. Make sure all the gelatin is coated in milk and let it sit and bloom for about five minutes.
Next, combine the sugar, heavy cream and vanilla in a sauce pan that has a thick bottom.
Scald mixture. Don’t boil! Whisk until combined. Take it off the heat and add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until dissolved. Also, add in the lemon juice and whisk to combine.
Pour into containers and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Wrap in saran and refrigerate and chill for four hours to overnight.
After they’re set, unmold by placing the container in a bowl of very hot water for a minute or two. Go around the sides with an off-set spatula and use a blow torch if needed. Give it a shake or two on the plate and that should help unmold it as well.
Serve with some berries and sauce and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- 1 1/2 C heavy cream
- 2.5 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 t vanilla extract or paste
- 7.5 grams gelatin or agar agar
- 1/2 c milk
- 2.5 oz lemon juice
Bloom the gelatin in the cold milk.
In a thick bottom pot, scald the cream, sugar and vanilla. Don't boil!
Remove from heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin.
Stir in lemon juice.
Pour into molds or containers and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
Refrigerate and chill until set. Anywhere from four hours to overnight.
If you know me, you know that I appreciate all things Italian. The culture, the country, the language and of course the food. The Italians are well-known for taking simple ingredients and making them shine. Simplicity is the key in Italian food and I really appreciate that. They somehow carry that mentality to desserts as well, which is hard to imagine. While many want to overcomplicate desserts, the Italians say “no way!” They want simple ingredients to shine. They want smaller portions and lighter desserts. Semifreddo is a great example of that. Semifreddo literally translates to “semi-frozen.” That’s what semifreddo is. It’s a half-frozen mousse. Much lighter than ice cream, but with the same creaminess. It’s very easy to make and very versatile. You can flavor a semifreddo pretty much anyway you’d like. You can also serve it anyway you’d like. Me, I decided to not overcomplicate it. I made a vanilla semifreddo and served it with strawberry sauce and a few fresh strawberries. The next day, I made a fresh strawberry compote. I served it slightly warm and oh my gosh was it delicious. The cold and warm contrast in desserts always works best. What I’m saying is, flavor and serve as you please! Learn the technique and have some fun with it.
Make sure you have your eggs at room temperature and your heavy cream cold. Having your ingredients at the proper temperature is always important in executing desserts. Grease a loaf pan and line the loaf pan with plastic wrap with a little overhang. Place in freezer.
Separate your eggs. You’ll only use 1/3 cup of the egg whites for this recipe. Reserve the rest for another recipe or discard the rest. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together your egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla extract and vanilla beans if using, with a whisk or hand beater until lighter yellow and thickened. With a hand mixer, it’ll take about 2-3 minutes. With a whisk it’ll take about five minutes. Place the heat-proof bowl over simmering pot of water and continue to whisk for about 3 minutes until volume is about doubled. Take it off the heat and whisk for another minute.
Zest in the lemon zest and whisk in.
In a stand mixer, whisk the cream of tartar and egg whites on high speed. When tracks begin to form, gradually add in the other 1/4 cup sugar. Continue to whisk on high speed until a moist, shiny, firm stiff peak forms.
Fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture gently.
Without cleaning the bowl or whisk, pour in the heavy cream and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
Fold in the whipped cream into the mousse mixture.
Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and pour the mousse gently into the pan and slightly flatten the top. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
After 4 hours.
Dip the pan in hot water for about 10 seconds and use an offset to unmold the semifreddo.
You can serve the semifreddo with any kind of berry, compote or sauce.