dessert

Strawberry Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcake

I just don’t get tired of strawberries. Maybe because the season for local berries is so short- and sweet. Local strawberries are at all the markets now- and they are fabulous. The season for local berries is short and I try to use them as much as I can. I also will freeze some for use throughout the year.

I was making cupcakes for some friends and decided to make some with strawberries. As you might expect, they were a big hit. The berries add sweetness and color in a delicate, natural way. You could also  make these with frozen berries. I like to get extra strawberries and freeze some, so I will have them, even when the season is over.

 

Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 cup whole fresh strawberries

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing. Makes 12.

Strawberry Frosting

1/2 cup whole fresh strawberries or frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not over-mix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes.

Strawberry Waffles

Strawberry Waffles

These waffles would make a great breakfast. We actually had them for dessert last night. That’s the thing about waffles. They can be eaten any time of the day.

I have been enjoying fresh strawberries in everything!!! The season for local berries is pretty short, so I try to enjoy them as much as possible, while I can.

This waffle recipe came about because I needed a dessert for dinner with a friend. It was a last minute dinner, so I didn’t have a lot of time. Waffles seemed like a great idea. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and  they highlighted the berries. My friend really liked them. I did, too.

I made the waffles with fresh strawberries in the batter. Then, the  waffles are served topped with more fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar.

They were a perfect dessert. I could see topping them with ice cream or whipped cream, too. Any leftover waffles can be frozen.

For the fresh strawberry topping, you just combine fresh, sliced berries with some sugar. If you can make it ahead of time, the sugar draws juice out of the strawberries, kind of making its own sauce. I made the topping first, then popped in the fridge.

So here is my recipe. Enjoy!!

 

Strawberry Waffles

 

1 1/3 c. flour

2 T. sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

½ t. salt

2 eggs, separated

½ c. butter, melted

1¾ c. milk

2 t. vanilla

1 c. chopped fresh strawberries

 

Powdered sugar for topping waffles

Strawberry topping- recipe follows

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside. Separate the eggs. Set aside the yolks. Place the whites in a small mixing bowl. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.  Combine milk, melted butter, egg yolks and vanilla in small bowl. Add to dry ingredient mixture and blend. Stir in berries. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake. To serve, top with powdered sugar and strawberry topping. Makes 10-12 (4-inch) waffles.

 

Topping

1 qt. strawberries

½ c. sugar- or to taste

 

Wash and stem berries. Slice berries. Place in bowl and sprinkle on the sugar. Stir to combine and place in fridge until ready to use. Try to do this at least 30 minutes before using. That will give the mixture time for juice to be released from the berries.

Strawberry Chocolate Cheesy Pie

Strawberry Chocolate Cheesy Pie

This pie has it all. Fresh strawberries, glazed and sitting on a flaky crust. But it doesn’t stop there. The crust is topped with chocolate and a layer of sweetened cream cheese. The chocolate and cheese are under the berries. They provide a wonderful surprise when eating the pie.

The chocolate is such a natural match for the strawberries. The cream cheese gives a little “cheesecake” feel.  In the end, the combination works perfectly together.

During strawberry season, I enjoy so many different dishes made with fresh berries. Fresh strawberry pie is always going to be a favorite. I try to make different versions and this one was definitely a version I will make again.

Strawberry Cheesy Chocolate Pie

 

1 9-inch pie crust * recipe follows

1 c. chocolate chips

1 T. butter

1 qt. strawberries (1¼ lbs.), hulled

1 c. sugar

2 T. cornstarch

¼ c. water

1 T. butter

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

Whipped cream, optional

 

Using a pie pan, roll out your crust and fit it into the pan- trim off any excess. Pre-bake your crust. To do this: The prepared pie crust should be pricked all over with a fork. Cover the surface with foil and then pie weights. I use dry beans for my pie weights. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes. Check to be sure it doesn’t get too brown. Remove weights and foil. Melt chocolate chips and butter together, stirring until smooth. Pour over crust and use a spatula to spread into a thin layer on the bottom and, if you like, up the sides of the crust. Set aside and allow crust to cool and chocolate to set up. Select about 25-30 berries to be placed in pie crust, large side down, and set aside. You might need fewer berries, if they are really big. Puree or crush remaining berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and gets clear. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside. Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat in the powdered sugar. Spread cheese over the chocolate layer. Arrange the reserved berries on the cheese layer, pointy side up. Put the largest berry in the middle and arrange the rest around it decoratively. Spoon the puree over the berries and allow the pie to cool down a little before putting in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: other berries can also be used including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a combination. This recipe can also be used as a filling for tarts and tartlets.

 

Half and Half Dough*

 

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.

¼ c. butter, room temp

½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard instead, or chilled coconut oil

¼ c. sugar

½ t. salt

2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour

1/8 t. baking powder

¼ c. milk

1 t. lemon juice

Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts. You only need half the dough for the strawberry pie.

Strawberry Chocolate Crepes

Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries

Since strawberries are in season, I am sharing a lot of my favorite strawberry recipes.  This is one of my favorites. The chocolate crepes pair so nicely with the fresh berries.

If you haven’t made crepes, this might be just the reason to start. I often make a double batch of the crepes, then freeze some, between layers of wax paper. That way I can have crepes whenever I want.

Truth is, you can fill these crepes with all sorts of stuff. I had fresh berries, so that is what I used. I added some Kahlua to the batter for a little extra flavor and it worked out just great.

You can have all the components ready, then just assemble when ready to serve. Such a lovely dessert.

 

Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Crepes

1 c. flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
¼ c. cocoa
3 T. sugar
¼ c. Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur or ¼ c. strong coffee
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled

Mix all ingredients in blender (except butter) until smooth, scraping sides often. Add butter and blend well. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or batter can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Beat again, just before using.
Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 1 tablespoon of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)
Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 18.

Strawberry filling: I just sliced a couple of pounds of berries and added a little sugar- about ½ cup- a tablespoon of vanilla and a healthy dash of cinnamon.
When filling the crepes I spooned some berries down the center of the crepe and added some whipped cream. Folded over, topped with a few berries and another bit of whipped cream.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

Homemade Mini Chocolate Eclairs

If you want to surprise someone with a very special sweet treat, you could make eclairs. These are a bit or work, but the end result is so wonderful. I think they are worth the effort, especially for special occasions.

I decided to make a mini version this time. Not everyone wants to eat a full size eclair, especially after a big meal.

You start by make a pate a chou, or cream puff pastry. This is the same dough used to make cream puffs. It is a combination of water, butter, milk and flour- cooked on top of the stove, then enriched with the addition of eggs. The dough is piped onto baking sheets and baked until puffed, golden and crisp. Once cooled, they are filled with sweetened whipped cream or, more traditionally, a custard filling, then topped with chocolate ganache.

 

Homemade Mini Eclairs

1 recipe Cream Puff Pastry (Pate a Chou)- recipe follows
Egg custard- for filling, or sweetened whipped cream- recipe follows
Chocolate Ganache- for topping- recipe follows

Start by making the dough. This recipe will make 12-18 medium eclairs or 3 dozen of the mini ones.

Cream Puff Pastry

¾ c. water
¼ c. milk
¼ t. salt
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1¼ c. flour – unbleached or bread flour preferred
4 large eggs
Extra milk for brushing

In saucepan, heat together water, milk butter and salt into a full boil. Butter has to be melted. While stirring, dump flour into saucepan, stirring constantly. Mixture will form into a ball. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking dough, while stirring, for another minute or two. Place dough in an electric mixer and allow it to cool down a little before adding the eggs. Mixture has to be at 140 degrees F, or below, before you start adding the eggs. I use the paddle attachment and beat the dough before adding the eggs. This cools the dough down faster. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Beat until dough is shiny. A spoon, lifted out of the batter, should leave a peak that does not fall down.

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. I used a silicone liner and was happy with the result. Don’t grease the pan. Using a piping bag, squeeze the dough into 2-3-inch strips on the baking sheet- leaving a little room in between. Strips should be about ¾ -inch in diameter. Using a little milk on your finger, smooth down any peaks on the puffs. They should resemble miniature hot dog buns. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 375. Bake eclairs 10 more minutes, or until golden brown. Tap the shells. They should sound hollow. Turn off the heat and leave oven door open a crack, allowing them to dry completely. Cool before filling. Makes about 36.

Custard Filling

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Using a whisk, combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on stove top. Allow milk to scald (heat to the point when tiny bubbles form around edges of pan). Whisk occasionally to prevent cornstarch from clumping on bottom edges of pan. Remove milk mixture from heat, preferably to a burner that’s turned off.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of scalded milk mixture into eggs using whisk, then introduce eggs into milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking milk mixture constantly. Immediately return pan to heat and whisk gently until custard thickens, another two or three minutes. Do not allow to boil. (If you find that you have egg white strands in custard, feel free to pass it through a fine-mesh sieve into a different bowl now.) Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool before using. Makes 3 cups.

To fill the eclairs, using a small piping tip with a pastry bag, filled with the custard. Squeeze filling in on one end, on through the bottom, squeezing until it seems full.

Once eclairs are filled, top with a chocolate ganache. I just dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm ganache and chill until chocolate sets. Filled eclairs should be stored i8n fridge until ready to serve. They can be frozen.

Chocolate Ganache

4- 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped- or 1 cup chocolate chips
2 oz. heavy whipping cream

In saucepan, heat chocolate and cream together until just heated through. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. You can also do this in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave for about a minute. Remove and stir until smooth. Makes 1 cup.

 

Chocolate Crepes

Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries

If you are looking for a special dessert for Valentine’s Day, you might want to make these chocolate crepes. I love crepes and this recipe is one of my favorites. The chocolate crepes pair nicely with fresh berries.

If you haven’t made crepes, this might be just the reason to start.

I often make a double batch of the crepes, then freeze some, between layers of wax paper. That way I can have crepes whenever I want.

Truth is, you can fill these crepes with all sorts of stuff. I had fresh strawberries, so that is what I used. Ice cream would make a nice filling, too. A mix of berries would also be fun.

I added some Kahlua to the batter for a little extra flavor and it worked out just great.

 

 

Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Crepes

1 c. flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
¼ c. cocoa
3 T. sugar
¼ c. Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur or ¼ c. strong coffee
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled

Mix all ingredients in blender (except butter) until smooth, scraping sides often. Add butter and blend well. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or batter can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Beat again, just before using.
Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 1 tablespoon of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)
Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 18.

Strawberry filling: I just sliced a couple of cups of strawberries and added a little sugar- about 1/4 cup, a teaspoon of vanilla plus a dash of cinnamon.
When filling the crepes, I spooned some berries down the center of the crepe and added some whipped cream. Folded over, topped with a few berries and another bit of whipped cream.

Giant Peanut Butter Cup

Giant Peanut Butter Cup

If you are looking to make something special for Valentine’s Day this year, you might want to try your hand at making a giant peanut butter cup. It takes a bit of effort, but is not really hard to make.

I’ve made small ones in the past, so I knew the basic structure. Using a 10-inch tart pan offered different challenges, but I went ahead and gave it a try. I wasn’t worried about the components. I had good quality dark chocolate and peanut butter. I knew it would taste good. I wasn’t sure it would stay in one piece.

It worked, and here is the result. I used a pretty good amount of chocolate. You could probably use less, but I wanted the chocolate thick enough on the bottom the make it sturdy. I also used a slightly altered version of the filling I use when I make buckeyes. I am pleased with how it came out.

Here is how I did it.

 

 Giant Peanut Butter Cup

 

1- 1½ lbs. chocolate – I used a nice quality dark chocolate

1½ c. peanut butter

1 stick (½ cup )  butter, softened

2 ½ c. powdered sugar

2 t. vanilla

 

You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom. I used a 10-inch pan, but a 9- inch pan would work, too. Cover the removable bottom of the tart pan with wax paper. It will make it easier to get the thing out in one piece later. I cut out a square and just folded the extra wax paper under the pan and taped it down. Melt the chocolate and pour enough of it into the bottom of the tart pan that you can cover the bottom generously. Use a small spoon to push chocolate up the sides of the pan.

 

Now at this point you could just keep tipping the pan to get the chocolate evenly coated inside. I know my limitations. I just pictured myself dropping the pan of melted chocolate, so I used the spoon method instead. The important thing is that the entire inside gets a coating of chocolate. Place pan in fridge to cool and chocolate to set up. Meanwhile, in medium bowl mix peanut butter and butter together until well mixed. Stir in sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Spread this mixture over the chocolate shell. Don’t press too hard. You don’t want to break the shell. I will confess that before I added the peanut butter, I played around with loosening the chocolate shell. I was worried it would not come out later. After I added the peanut butter mixture, I put it back in the fridge to firm up. Once the peanut butter mixture was chilled, I melted the rest of the chocolate and poured it over the top.

 

I used a lot of chocolate in the base and needed to melt more chocolate than I originally planned on. I do think the thicker shell helped when it came time to get it out of the tart pan.

 

To remove the peanut butter cup- make sure it is completely hardened. I gently pulled at the sides all around the edges of the tart pan, to loosen it. Then I pushed up on the removable bottom of the pan. After a few gentle pushes, it came out. I had to trim a little chocolate off the bottom when removing the wax paper, but it helped in getting the peanut butter cup out in one piece.

Spread peanut butter mixture over chocolate shell

Spread peanut butter mixture over chocolate shell

Spread melted chocolate over peanut butter filling

Spread melted chocolate over peanut butter filling

 

Tiramisu Doughnuts

Tiramisu Doughnut

These doughnuts are inspired by the flavors of tiramisu, a traditional Italian dessert. They are a filled doughnut, like jelly doughnuts. I used the filling that I would normally use for making tiramisu. It is an egg custard, combined with mascarpone cheese and whipped cream. After the doughnuts are filled, they are topped with a mocha ganache. The end result is sublime.

I started making these doughnuts a few years ago. It was Fat Tuesday and I was making jelly doughnuts, a family tradition. Not everybody likes jelly doughnuts and I wanted to switch things up. As a kid, I loved the cream filled doughnuts my folks would make. I decided to use the filling recipe I used for tiramisu. To finish it off, a little coffee is added to the ganache to give it the flavors of classic tiramisu.

You do need to store finished doughnuts in the fridge, assuming any are leftover.

I won’t lie, these doughnuts are a bit of work, but worth the effort. Here is the recipe.

 

 

Tiramisu Doughnuts

Filling:

5 egg yolks

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. Marsala wine (not cooking wine)

2 c. whipping cream

4 T. sugar

1 lb. mascarpone cheese

Make zabaglione (egg custard). In double boiler, over simmering water, beat together egg yolks and sugar until lemon colored. Stir in Marsala and continue cooking, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and will mound on a spoon. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down. You can place in bowl in fridge 30 minutes or so. Beat together whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat in mascarpone and chilled zabaglione. Chill 1 hour.

Dough:

4 c. flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. salt

½ c. butter

1 packet yeast

¼ c. warm water

2 t. sugar

1 c. evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

 

Combine flour with sugar and salt. Cut in butter and set aside. Dissolve yeast in warm water and 2 t. sugar and set aside. Combine milk with eggs. Stir in yeast mixture and add to flour mixture stirring well. On lightly floured surface knead dough until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.  Remove dough from bowl and punch down. Using about a third of the dough at a time roll dough out to about an ½ -inch thickness and cut out with a 2½ -inch biscuit  cutter. Re-roll scraps and cut out. You should get about 2 dozen. Place dough circles on a floured surface and cover with a towel until doubled, about an hour. Heat oil in a deep pan until it reaches 375 degrees. Cook doughnuts a few at a time until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and cool before filling.

Note: You can also refrigerate the dough after kneading it if you would prefer. Just place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Roll and cut dough into doughnuts when cold from the fridge. Allow to rise, covered, until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours. Fry as directed.

To fill doughnuts use a pastry bag fitted with a long tube tip for filling. I have these handy plastic syringes which are easy to use. Insert tube tip into doughnut and squeeze gently until doughnut is filled with cream (or jelly). Be careful not to overfill or doughnut will split. Once filled doughnuts can be frosted or topped with a sugar glaze. For the Tiramisu Doughnuts I made a mocha ganache.

Mocha Ganache

2 c. chocolate chips

1 c. whipping cream

1 T. instant coffee powder

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth and return to microwave if chocolate is not fully melted. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds more at a time, stirring after each time until mixture is smooth.  For extra smooth mixture strain before using. Dip the top of the filled doughnuts in ganache.

Eva’s Kolachy

Eva’s Kolachy

Over the years, I have shared many of my family recipes. This is another family recipe- but not my family. Tia Houpt found this recipe when going  through her Grandmother’s recipe collection. She was kind enough to share the recipe- and gave me permission to share it with you. Her grandmother was Eva Skero- so I have named the kolachy in Eva’s honor.

There is something special in having old family recipes. We find so many recipes online these days, we sometimes forget there was a time when recipes were handwritten. Often, they were stored in a drawer or in a shoe box. There is usually a mix of handwritten recipes and recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines.

Sometimes you just find a list of ingredients. Measurements aren’t always precise. A handful of this a pinch of that. The phrase moderately hot oven doesn’t real help, does it? And what exactly is a number 2 can? Still, there are some real gems in those collections.

This is one of those recipes.

I have made kolachy for years and have used the recipe for the crust that my mom used. I love my mom’s recipe. I love this recipe even more.

I was intrigued that the dough contains both baking powder and yeast. I had to make it, just to see what it was like.

The dough is tender and very easy to work with. It doesn’t get chilled. You just make the dough, then roll it out and make the cookies. I did let my butter soften a little before cutting it into the flour. I could see using cold butter instead.

The dough rolled out beautifully and baked up a perfect golden brown. I had to let them cool a bit before I could taste one. I am not kidding- they were heavenly. Tender and so flaky. Tia and I both see this as a very nice tart dough, too.

So here is Eva’s recipe. I hope you will give it a try. Thanks, Tia, for sharing it.

 

Eva’s Kolachy

 

Dough:

 

3 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 c. butter*

3 eggs

2 pkts. Yeast

½ c. warm milk

Filling:

Assorted pie fillings, jams, sweetened cream cheese or ricotta cheese You will need about three cups of filling.

 

In mixing bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt. Cut  butter into flour until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.  Place eggs in a small bowl and beat until smooth. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add to egg mixture and stir to combine. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. If mixture is sticky add a small amount of flour. Roll dough out on floured board. Thinner the better, as this dough will puff some when baked. Cut into squares- or whatever shape you like. I did 2-inch squares. Place a spoonful of filling into center of each cookie. Fold up two of the corners and press firmly to seal. Fold over and press seam again. These like to pop open when baking, so the second fold over and pressing helps them to stay closed. Some people like to add a bit of egg wash or milk to the tops to help them seal better. I just squeeze together and fold twice.  Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cook on a rack. Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar or with a powdered sugar glaze. Makes about 5-6 dozen.

*The original recipe called for shortening. Tia and  I both decided butter was better!! That is the only change we made to Eva’s original recipe.

Cooled and dusted with powdered sugar

 

This post is dedicated to Eva Skero and all the home cooks out there who lovingly kept their recipes for us to find.

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

I wasn’t sure what to call this dessert. It started out as one thing, but sort of ended up somewhere else. I finally decided to just call it a tart. I’ll explain.

I was leaning towards making a cheesecake. I needed to make dessert for a dinner. Everybody loves cheesecake, right?  I already had cookie crumbs, I could use for the crust. Then, I discovered I only had one box of cream cheese. Not enough for a cheesecake.

While searching my fridge for cream cheese, I found a couple of lemons.

I suppose I could have made a lemon pie, but I decided to just make something up with what I had, including the cream cheese. What I ended up with is a sweet/tart lemon dessert. Really nice, actually.

Before I get to the actual recipe, let me talk about the lemons, and including fresh lemon juice in recipe directions.

Recipes will often list the “juice of a lemon” in the ingredients. There is about the same amount of lemon juice in all lemons, so that a little difference, one way or the other, is no big deal. The amount is anywhere from 2-3 tablespoons of juice in a lemon. You might get 4 tablespoons, if the lemon is really big. I have used that phrase in recipes myself.

Sometimes, however, you have to recognize when you have lemons that aren’t “average”.

The two lemons I had on hand were big, really big. When I juiced them, I ended up with 2/3 of a cup of lemon juice. So, in this recipe I used the actual measurement of the juice, rather than saying, “the juice of 2 lemons.” Three or four average sized lemons should give you 2/3 cup of juice.

So here is the recipe for my lemon tart, the happy end result of using what I had, and making it work.

 

Lemon Tart

Crust:

1½ c. crushed vanilla cookies

4 T. melted butter

Filling:

1 (8oz.) container cream cheese, softened

½ c. sugar

2/3 c. lemon juice

Zest of two lemons

3 eggs

¼ c. cornstarch

 

Combine crust ingredients in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture into a 9 –inch springform or tart pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In mixing bowl combine the cream cheese with the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and zest and beat well. Add the eggs and cornstarch and beat until smooth. Pour filling over the baked crust and return to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden on top. Center will be soft, but firms as the tart cools. Cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve. You can dust with powdered sugar, if you like.