Rainbow of Flavor

Here are the four versions of my signature dish I made for our cookout.

I like them to have variety, but the filling for all of them was a mixture of cream cheese/neufchatel cheese, homemade yogurt, and raspberry preserves.

Michael seemed to be quite happy there were enough for him to have two slices! 😉

SHF#45: Sweet Berries

Since the berry fudge didn’t turn out to be the masterpiece I had envisioned, I turned to tarts for Sugar High Friday, that very sweet creation of The Domestic Goddess, Jennifer. Food Blogga selected the luscious ripeness of berries for the sweetness of this round.

I love berries. In fact, our entire family loves berries. All kinds. Locally we easily have access to strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, so that’s what I used, in addition to half of a kiwi just for color. To jazz it up from my routine tarts, for my crust I used almond meal, leftover from the Opera Cake. I used mascarpone cheese, white chocolate, and strawberries for a creamy filling. I can’t wait to dig into it!

Berry Tart
Almond Crust:
1 c. almond meal
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
10 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tart pan; set aside.

Stir the almond meal, flour, and sugar together to remove the lumps. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is evenly distributed and crumbly. Press into the prepared pan.

Bake at 400 F. 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling:
3/4 c. strawberries, cleaned and chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar

6 oz. white chocolate
4 Tbsp. heavy cream

8 oz mascarpone cheese

Place the strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar; set aside.

In a heavy pan over low heat, melt chocolate and cream until smooth. Cool.

In a medium bowl, beat together mascarpone cheese, strawberry mixture, and white chocolate mixture. Chill if necessary to thicken.

Spread into cool crust. Top with berries as desired.

Red, White, and Goo

It’s fresh berry season and who can resist the beauty and exquisite taste of fresh berries? Not me. Before we left for Montana I had this idea for making a white chocolate fudge with blueberries and strawberries for a patriotic dish. Well, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand that I thought I did, so it was shelved until we returned. Even then, I didn’t have as much white chocolate as I thought I did so it was really soft and had to be frozen to stay firm at all, but it tasted so good I knew I would try again. And frozen ‘fudge’ isn’t a bad thing in summer!

So last week I attempted this again, but I have to tell you that I didn’t improve it much. I think my idea is just fated to failure because, even though I thoroughly dried the fruit before adding it to the white chocolate, it gets a little watery around the fruit and becomes a runny, drippy mess. It only holds together when frozen and it seems to melt rather rapidly. The first time I had better quality white chocolate than the second, too. I’ll probably tinker with this a little more, but I’ll give you what I’ve done so far. Meanwhile, I’m working on a different entry for Sugar High Friday.

Patriotic Fudge

18 oz white chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 t. orange extract

fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
fresh strawberries, washed, chopped, and patted dry

In a heavy pan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the extract.

Fold in 3/4 of the fruit. Pour into a buttered pan, 8×10 or 9×13. Sprinkle remaining fruit on top. Freeze until firm.

A Little Farm Food

This past week it was my turn to provide dessert for our small group. I was so indecisive, thinking about chocolate, not really wanting to heat the kitchen too much, waffling on ideas left and right. And then I walked by the rhubarb in the produce section of the Grocery and all was resolved right there. I knew I would make Citrus Bundt Cake with Rhubarb Sauce.

I don’t know where this recipe originated, but it was very popular when I was growing up on the farm. I know by looking at my handwritten copy that I either copied it while at Grandmother’s house during grad school or asked my mom to read the recipe to me over the phone during those years. Those were the days that all my recipes were written on blank 8 1/2 x 11 sheets with little more than a list of ingredients and a time and temperature for baking. Method? We don’t need no stinking method! 🙂

The syrup makes this cake especially moist and is an essential part of the cake — don’t leave it off. Actually, I pour half of the syrup on the cake when it comes out of the oven and then pour the other half on after I turn the cake out of the pan, so both sides get some syrup.

The rhubarb sauce is worth making in larger quantities than the original recipe. I ended up making a slightly different syrup again the next day to have on our pancakes. The cake is also very good with blueberry sauce, strawberries, pretty much any fruit you can think of, as well as being awesome on it’s own. Due to the size of our group, I made two of these — one in my ‘normal’ Bundt pan and one in the Cathedral pan my mom gave me. While very beautiful, the cathedral pan is a pain to grease and flour, so it doesn’t come out of the cabinet as often as it might otherwise. 😦

Citrus Bundt Cake with Rhubarb Sauce
Cream together:
3/4 c. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs

Add:
3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. milk or plain yogurt
2 t. grated lemon peel
2 t. grated orange peel

Mix well.

Pour into greased & floured pan. Bake at 325 F. for 60-75 minutes.

Syrup
Boil:
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/3 c. sugar

for 3 minutes
Drizzle over warm cake.

Rhubarb Sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 t. orange peel
1/4 t. lemon peel
2 c. rhubarb, cut finely

Boil all but rhubarb. Add rhubarb and boil 8 minutes.

This Is Shortcake?

Other than baking cookies and making Jell-O Parfaits, the first real dessert I remember making all by myself (age 13) was a huge strawberry shortcake (I remember it as being a triple batch!) that I baked in a Bundt pan and l sliced in half and layered with strawberries and Dream Whip on my mom’s green glass pedestal plate and served to some of my mom’s friends for whom I had cooked dinner. I remember wanting it to look just like the one in the Betty Crocker cookbook and it turned out very well.

Strawberry shortcake is still a favorite of mine, but typically I think of shortcake as being almost biscuit-like, just a little sweeter. So I was a little curious about this recipe for shortcake in my “Delicious Summer Desserts” booklet from Gold Medal (Betty Crocker/General Mills — it’s all the same company) and it didn’t look biscuit-like at all. And, in fact, it’s not. But it *is* very tasty!

Shortcake

3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. hot water
1 t. lemon extract (original calls for vanilla)

Fresh fruit
Whipped cream

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 9×9 inch square pan or 9-inch round pan; set aside.

Beat eggs in large bowl on high speed until very thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed. Gradually beat in water and extract on low speed. Pour into pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Split short cake, fill and top with fruit and whipped cream.