Thursday…. Call for Desert Recipes!

I don’t have a cooking adventure this week.  Instead I am calling out for all tasty desert recipes.  What do you have that is tried and true?  Favorites to make or favorites to eat.  Cookies, cakes, pies, fruity concoctions!  Whatever makes you think of happy smiles just at the mention of it.

I was trying to make some molten chocolate cakes in trial runs in anticipation of Adam D’s folks coming down the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with us.  I’m glad I did because they came out…poorly.

I love making cookies but was looking for more of a sit-down post-big-meal desert.  So while I’ll definitely enjoy cookie recipes if you have something in mind for something a bit snazzier, lay it on me!

Pie in the works

I'm grimacing, hoping the pie crust will NOT be soggy on the was.

Also?  I’m bub-kus at pie crust.  Any help?

Okay.  Have at it y’all!


19 thoughts on “Thursday…. Call for Desert Recipes!

  1. The Vodka Pie Crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated is pretty darned awesome in my humble opinion. I used it when I made apple pie at Thanksgiving, and it was fantastic.

    The only problem is that it’s really sticky due to the extra liquid. I rolled it out on wax paper and floured the heck out of my rolling pin.

    As far as other stuff goes, I am in love with just about everything The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond makes. Her Pumpkin Cream Pie is to die for. I could just.. eat everything. Om noms.

  2. Blind bake the pie case in the oven. Before filling, brush a little beaten egg over the pastry, pop in the oven for another couple of minutes to set. It helps make a seal between the pastry and filling. Also pop the pie tin on a metal baking tray that is very hot while it bakes. These can all help 🙂

      • If you blind bake a pie crust in a recipe that doesn’t specifically call for it, be VERY sure to put some foil over the outer edges of the crust in the final bake. Otherwise they’ll burn for sure.

        Me? I wouldn’t blind bake a pie crust unless the recipe calls for it.

        My advice is to always work with very cold ingredients and work them as little as you can. Cold butter and fast work are your best bets.

        But if that doesn’t work, don’t sweat it. There are a lot of people who just aren’t that good at pie crust. There’s no shame in using a commercial crust if you don’t have the touch.

  3. I love to bake, so I have a lot of dessert recipes I go to.

    My suggestion, if you want good recipes for baked desserts, go thou forth and find a copy of any baking book written by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Seriously, I found a copy of her Cake Bible at a garage sale for a buck once, and it’s the best purchase I have ever made in my life. She not only has fabulous recipes, she also explains the hows and whys of the techniques. Her Cordon Rose Banana Cake with the Chocolate Sour Cream Ganache frosting it is my go-to cake recipe. Virtually everyone seems to love it and it’s ridiculously simple to make.

    • Twistie it looks like that one is on our shelves at the library even; I’ll check it out! And thanks for the notes about pie crust. My problem is usually that (even with store bought) the crust on the bottom is still gooey. :p Pies = Fail for me! 😉

      • She also has an amazing book called The Pie and Pastry Bible which has a lot more useful tips and tricks. If you want to learn pie crust, this is the place to look for the knowledge that will help you. Best of luck!

  4. Brownies. I have a tried and true, dead simple recipe for brownies from scratch, and whenever I don’t know what to make to bring somewhere, I make them.

    If you want to get fancy: Cut them a little larger. Place a scoop of vanilla gelato on top. Top with the best chocolate sauce you can find. Pour a little framboise on top too if you have it. Garnish with a few fresh raspberries and a mint leaf.

    It looks fancy, tastes great, and is dead simple.

    The other big, fancy meal dessert I end up with is cheesecake. Again, it’s really easy, and you can add all kinds of wild and wonderful flavors that make people think you worked a lot harder than you did. (White chocolate cranberry for Christmas?)

    I can’t help on the pie crust. I don’t do pie crust (I don’t like pie enough). My husband does.

  5. I like hot fruit at this time of year. Baked apples: Take the center out of a small, tasty apple, fill with marzipan or crumbled cookies (or a mix), pour some rum (or other alcohol) in, if you like it, close with a little butter, sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven on 200°C for about 30 minutes, until it’s wrinkly and smells of hot apple, but not until it’s mushy. Serve with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice.

    Baked peaches, from a can: butter an oven form, put peach halves in it, round side up. Mix creme fraiche and honey, pour on peaches. Some thinly sliced almonds on top, bake at 180°C for 20 minutes.

    And a cold one: Peel pears, remove center, cut in cubes. Put in glass bowl. Make chocolate pudding or mousse au chocolat, pour on before it solidifies. Stir once if needed to mix the pears in some more. When cold and solid, cover with sweetened whipped cream. Decorate with chocolate flakes. (It’s in a glass bowl because it looks prettiest that way.)

    And a very cold one: Put frozen raspberries (or strawberries) in a glass bowl, cover with vanilla joghurt, cover with sweetened whipped cream, cover with brown sugar. Let stand for an hour in a place warmer than the fridge and colder than your living room. The raspberries should now be half-thawed, and when you start dishing this out, it earns its name: Pale Pink Pulp. (You can also put it in small dessert bowls. Prepare before you serve the first course, it will be just right when it’s time for dessert.)

    Hm. I wonder if I still have any apples left?

  6. Pie crust tips:
    Don’t overwork
    Let it rest.
    Freeze it while you make filling if you are not blind baking.
    King Arthur Flour had a great blog post about pie crust but I can’t find it.

    My most-requested recipe:

    Lindy’s Cheesecake

    Cookie Crust
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 egg yolk
    1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch bits

    Cheese Filling
    5 packages softened Philadelphia cream cheese (2 1/2 lbs)
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
    1 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    6 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
    1/4 cup heavy cream

    To make the crust, place the flour, sugar, grated lemon rind, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter in a large mixing bowl. With your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until they are well mixed and can be gathered into a ball. Dust with a little flour, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate at least one hour.

    Place the chilled dough in an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, pat the spread the dough evenly over the bottom and about 2 inches up the side of the pan. Bake in the center of preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool to room temperature.

    To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is creamy and smooth. Beat in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time and when it is well incorporated, beat in the flour, lemon and orange rinds, vanilla extract, eggs and yolk and heavy cream.

    Pour the filling into the cooled cookie crust and bake in the center of the oven for ten minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan. Then demold.

    Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least three hours before serving.

    (Notes: I often find that I have to leave this one in a bit longer if I’m using an electric oven. Just remember that you want a toothpick or cake tester to come out clean, if you can’t tell if it has set by the appearance. If the cheesecake is close to done, I’ll often turn off the oven and let the oven and cheesecake cool off at the same time until I put the cheesecake in the refrigerator.

    Gas ovens produce a more consistent result, simply because they are often more evenly temperatured and aren’t subject to surrounding usage fluctuations like electric ovens are. As cheesecake is very temperature sensitive, if you know you have a “hot spot” or “cold spot” in your oven, I would place the cheesecake in the most evenly temperatured area of your oven.)

    Runner-up, also known as Waldorf-Astoria Cake

    Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Vegetable oil for the pans
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon cocoa powder
    1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
    1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
    1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
    Crushed pecans, for garnish

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

    Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

    Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

    Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

    Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 pound cream cheese, softened
    4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
    Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

    Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake

  7. Not everyone has occasion to do kitchen stuff with small people- but if that’s part of your Christmas, we love home-made gummies around here.

    1 box of flavoured gelatin dessert, 2 packets of unflavoured gelatin.
    sprinkled over 1/3 cup appropriately coloured fruit juice in a small saucepan, leave it for 10min. Then heat the whole thing over Med. heat ’til all the gelatin is dissolved. Pour into molds and let it set. Voila! your very own home-made candy.
    This recipe uses water, but we found using fruit juice packs more flavour into the candies – and it lets us make morally superior claims of “made with real fruit juice!”- just like the store-bought candies. 🙂

  8. Oh man y’all are so full of tasty sounding ideas! 😀 It will take me a while to get to these all but I hope I do. Fruit and gummies and brownies and pies….well, okay maybe not all at the same time! :p

  9. We just had a cookie exchange here yesterday, but the week before I did a LOT of test-baking with mixed results. I wanted to make some cookies that would impressed and delight, but in the end, I went with my standard Peanut Butter Blossoms. I also did a new recipe which I think will become my favourite go-to…cookie bark.

    6oz white choco chips
    8 oz semi-sweet choco chips
    12 Oreos, crushed
    2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

    You melt the white in one bowl and stir in the PB, then sprinkle half the cookies into it. You melt the semi-sweet in another and stir in the rest of the Oreos. Spread in a foil-lined pan, chill overnight, break apart. ANNnnggghhhh…

    Although lacking Oreos, I have to say that chocolate covered Digestives work even better. Hubby actually let out a yip of joy when he saw there was some cookie bark left for him to nosh.

    Aside from that, I make banana bread a LOT, along with a recipe called Crazed Monk Zucchini Bread. It’s the most amazing recipe, and it was the only thing I could eat when I was so sick with my last pregnancy!

  10. Looks like you got a lot of good tips ( and I got some great recipes!) here…can’t repeat enough on pie: COLD is good. I used to have an annoying set of sheets(?) that said ” for pie crust that’s as good as gold…be sure to keep ingredients cold”. Also-my grandma insisted on Crisco, which BTW is no longer evil. Butter flavor Crisco is the bomb-diggety for pie and biscuits. Shouldn’t need to blind bake if you don’t handle it much. And yes, foil, or crust covers are essential.

    Another shout out for Rose’s cookbook. That lady knows what she is doing.

    I will gladly share Grandma’s signature cake recipe here. Not glamorous, as it is too moist to shape and decorate. But trust me, it won’t matter.

    Grandma Vi’s Chocolate Cake
    This one is easy and quick-really only 1 hour from start to the time the last pan is clean. One note: it’s VERY moist, so you have to serve it in the pan it is baked in.
    The very richest, gooey-est chocolate cake ever!

    2 C sugar
    2 C flour
    pinch salt
    1tsp soda …..mix together

    in a saucepan, boil…
    2 sticks butter or margarine
    4 Tb cocoa powder
    1 C water

    pour hot mixture over flour and stir together…

    in a separate bowl, mix:
    ½ C sour milk (add ½ tsp white vinegar)
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 lightly beaten eggs

    Add egg and milk mix to chocolate/flour mix-stir till no lumps.

    Bake in greased/floured 9.5×11” sheet pan @ 350 for 20 min.
    Will be moist, but top should spring back when done.
    While cake is cooling, make frosting.

    In a saucepan, boil
    1 stick butter
    4 Tb cocoa powder
    Scant ½ C milk….
    pinch salt
    Remove from heat and stir in:
    1 box powdered sugar
    1 C chopped nuts (walnuts are best)
    Pour and spread on cake-it will thicken as it cools
    You can save a few nuts to garnish on top.

    Also a huge fan of baked fruit crumble. Take whatever fresh (apple, pear, berry, etc) or canned (apricot, etc.) and dump it in a pretty baking dish. Cream a hunk of butter with some brown sugar and add oats, whole wheat flour and nuts if you’re feeling frisky. Work it with your fingers til crumbly. Crumbles on top of fruit, dot with a bit of butter, or add some reserved fruit juice. Bake until goo bubbles through the crispy top…1/2 hr? You can speed it up by spritzing it a couple times with juice or… Great ala mode.

    How bout cored baked apples filled with chopped figs and nuts mixed with lightly sweetened mascarpone? Even better drizzled with port, rum, or whatever strikes your fancy before baking.

    In summer, halving stone fruits or figs ( yessss!), skewering them and brushing them with any kind of italian syrup or better yet, reduced amaretto. Yummm!

    Can you tell I like chocolate fine, but think booze and fruit makes a great dessert?
    Yeah, my secret is sooo out.

  11. I make a really good short crust–flour, salt, water, lard, butter.

    There are a few key things:

    Mix flour and salt in bowl.
    When cutting in the lard and butter, the fats should be as cold as possible. Do this as quickly as you can so that the fat doesn’t have time to warm or soften much
    When adding the water, do it a little at a time. A few spoonfuls–sprinkle all over, don’t dump–toss with a fork. And again. To keep from adding too much water to the dough, which can make it soggy and tough, Every second additon or so of water, pick up the bowl and sort of jerk it up and down to flip the contents. Then the dry flour comes to the top. You’ll be able to mix better without mixing so much–which can toughen it.

    Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours. I prefer overnight. This allows the water to fully penetrate the flour.

    When rolling, my rule is I never roll dough more than twice. If it cracks or splits, I patch. Once it’s baked, no one will notice any patches anyway.

    Move your baking rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven–below the middle, anyway. This will help the crust cook and keep it from coming out pale and soggy.

    Finally, see if you can find a copy of the cookbook “Maida Heatter’s Great Desserts” in your library. Her tutorial on pie crust is great.

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