This is the dessert I made for the last class of my 3-week cooking series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The semester ended last night – it is officially summer for me. No more classes until September.
Since I made this during class, I don’t have any step-by-step photos for you, but the recipe is straight forward.
This is the perfect dessert for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, or honestly for any day of the week this summer. Enjoy!
May 16, 2013 5 Comments
I wanted to let you know that there is a new heading in the Complete Recipe Index under the “Holidays” tab – Cinco de Mayo. It was called to my attention yesterday that it was missing. It is there now, with more than 35 dishes listed, the following recipe included.
I found this creative dessert on Pinterest. Over the years, I’ve made fruit pizza for many parties and cooking classes. You know – the recipe where you make a sugar cookie crust, top that with a frosting and then arrange cut fruit and berries on top.
This is a fun take on that. Instead of sugar cookie crust, we have sugar cookie “tortilla” chips. The frosting is colored to look like guacamole. And the fruit is chopped to imitate salsa.
Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
You’ll notice that the recipe calls for pure lemon oil or lemon bakery emulsion instead of lemon extract. (I didn’t have lemon bakery emulsion, but wanted you to see a bottle of it, hence the almond in its place.)
What is the difference between the three?
An extract is flavoring dissolved in alcohol, while an emulsion is flavoring suspended in water with an emulsifier. Pure essential oils are more pure and clear-tasting and stronger in flavor when placed in a batter than an extract.
Bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while your mixture goes through temperature changes, and they combine more easily with other emulsions (such as butter, sugar, and egg) than extracts do. When extracts hit the heat and the alcohol evaporates, so does a bit of the flavor.
Not that extracts are bad. Extracts are perfect for everyday baking where the flavor is playing a supporting role rather than a starring one. Such as vanilla in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The oils and emulsions are what you want to use when you want that specific flavor to really shine through and to give intense flavors to things like candies, frosting, and fillings.
That’s it for the flavorings lesson today… on the the recipe…
May 3, 2013 1 Comment
On Monday, Chef Beau MacMillan from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain was the guest instructor at Les Gourmettes. The class and the menu were outstanding. This dessert was the crowning glory. Beau made a dense, not too sweet, polenta-pistachio cake, topped with olive oil cured strawberries and drizzled with a winning zinfandel-dried cherry syrup. Out of this world!
Since he brought pre-made individual cakes, I was the happy recipient of the cake batter he demonstrated for the class. My boys will be so happy with their dessert this coming weekend!
May 1, 2013 1 Comment
Last week Les Gourmettes owner, Barbara Fenzl, made this beautiful and delicious dessert for her classes. Everyone was wowed.
Meringues plus Berries and Cream. They made for a glorious presentation! Light, refreshing, and perfect for spring. This will continue to be the ultimate dessert throughout the upcoming summer months.
Orange Flower Water is one of the special ingredients. Although it is added to three different components of the recipe, less than 1/2 teaspoon is used in total.
Measure carefully and do not be tempted by the notion that if a little is good than more is better. Like Rose Water, Orange Flower Water is potent and if too much is added, your dessert will end up tasting like perfume. Not a good thing!
April 27, 2013 1 Comment
For dessert, I put out a pink-candy sweets tower, a gorgeous pink birthday cake, and individual mini Bourbon-Butterscotch Puddings.
I bought the birthday cake from Honey Moon Sweets, a bakery in Tempe that my sister uses all the time. Sloane is the wedding and special event coordinator at The Buttes Resort in Tempe. Birthday cakes were also ordered from Honey Moon Sweets for My Dad’s 80th birthday party and for my 50th Surprise Party.
I requested a pink obmre ruffle layered cake like one I’d seen on Pinterest, and the pastry chef at Honey Moon Sweets made it exactly as I imagined it would be. So Pretty!
The pudding recipe came from Bon Appétit. I doubled it and used mini-flare dessert dishes instead of ramekins, otherwise I made it exactly as it was written.
Anne, Lorraine, Connor, Peggy, Stevo, Samme, and Natalie – happy after enjoying dessert!
March 3, 2013 4 Comments
This is the dessert I made with that microwave lemon curd I posted yesterday. The recipe said to serve it warm or at room temperature. I served it warm. That was a mistake.
I had a piece the next morning (yes, for breakfast – don’t judge!) that was at room temperature -
So. Much. Better.
Do not serve it warm!
As with the curd, this recipe comes from the February issue of Southern Living. I only altered it slightly; using Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons, honey yogurt instead of plain, and adding a bit of garnish.
The one other change I’ll make, when I make it next time, is to cut the crumb topping in half. Not that it was overwhelming or that it was not wonderful, just to cut down on the fat and calories. It’s just that half a stick of butter seems like a better bet than a full stick when you can do with less, you know?
If you love lemon, lemon curd, lemon bars… yeah, any sort of lemony-goodness, you’ll love this. It’s a keeper!
January 20, 2013 1 Comment
Earlier this week I told you that we were having, Karen, my long-time friend, who was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and her husband, Bob, over for dinner on Friday night.
As of Thursday night, I had not a clue what I’d make for dinner the next evening. I wasn’t too worried, I knew I’d figure out something, so I went to bed.
In the wee hours, the house phone rang.
That really is the worst thing, isn’t it? Nothing good can come of that, no good phone calls occur at 3:53 AM!
I rolled over, grabbed the phone and looked, through very blurry eyes, at the caller ID. “Starnetpaetec” is what it read. I immediately pressed “Talk” and then “End” and said a choice curse word or two.
Starnetpaetec, whoever you are, what the heck? It’s 3:53 AM, what could you possibly think you could sell me at that hour?!?
Thank you for ending my much needed sleep for the night. Yep, that was it. For the next hour, try as I might, I was not able to fall asleep, too many aches and pains in my leg prevented it. Finally, I relented and decided to get in the Jacuzzi tub to relieve the pain.
And that is where and when I came up with my menu and shopping list for the dinner party that was, by now, only 12 hours away.
I love to read books or peruse magazines in the tub. I had a stack there already and pieced together the menu from the February issues of Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Today’s recipe comes from Southern Living.
On the cover this month, there is a gorgeous Lemon Bar Cheesecake.
Lemon! Yay! Inside, there are several recipes using lemon curd to make different desserts. Lemon Curd! Triple YAY!
The thing is, there was a new way of making the lemon curd that intrigued me. Using the microwave. I was curious as to just how that would turn out as compared with the usual stove-top method. Turns out, pretty darn well.
Personally, I will probably use the standard method from here on out, because I found having to go to the microwave every minute, and then every 30 seconds, to stir it, more annoying than just standing there and stirring constantly, as you usually do. That could be attributed to the fact that I’m a bit ADD and find it difficult to keep track of all those time intervals.
Need proof of that? I had to put a Post-it note on the microwave to keep track of the times I stirred it.
Seriously! If I didn’t do this, God only knows how many times I would have cooked and stirred this for 1 minute, could have been 4 or 10 – most certainly not the correct amount!
But, if you’ve been afraid to try making lemon curd before, stop being afraid and make this recipe. It works perfectly and you’ll finally have homemade lemon curd you can be proud of!
The rest of the recipes from the dinner will be posted throughout the week to come, including the dessert I used this curd for.
January 19, 2013 No Comments
It doesn’t make sense that this recipe did not appear on my blog long ago.
I developed it back in the late 1990′s and it was published in “Reflections Under the Sun: The Brightest Collection of the Best Recipes from the Junior League of Phoenix” in 1999.
I remember being so pleased when the JLP requested a recipe from me. I hadn’t been a member for a couple of years by then.
I had become a member in 1992, back when the previous cookbook was being published, joining too late to participate in that project.
Anyhow, everyone loves these muffins. We often make them for our graduation luncheon during summer cooking classes with the teens and there is never a crumb left. How they have been so elusive and not yet appeared here, is beyond me. Make a batch now and thank me later!
January 13, 2013 1 Comment
If you’ve read from this blog before, you most likely already know that I am NOT a baker. If I bake something, and it turns out, and I post it here, and I call it “my own” – you can rest assured that it is a fluke, a miracle, or a lie!
The exception, the fluke, if you will, is my carrot cake. I did “create” that. After making carrot cake after carrot cake over many years (and many years ago) I finally got a perfect carrot cake that I truly believe is the best you will ever have.
I do make a pretty mean cheesecake, but not because I’ve created anything new. But because I’ve discovered, while making many cheesecakes and by reading many other people’s opinions about cheesecake, and then stealing the best of their various ideas and putting them together, how to make a fool-proof cheesecake. My cheesecakes always turn out perfectly! For my three “must do” steps/tricks, go HERE.
Aside from that one cake and cheesecakes in general… I would no more be able to create a new and wonderful baked dessert than I would be able to take apart a car engine!
All that being said, I’ve found a woman, a blog, and a cookbook with pretty fantastic desserts! It’s called Sprinkle Bakes and I made the following Very Impressive, Very Beautifully Photographed, and Very Delicious cake from her very lovely blog for my cooking series last month.
In all honesty, I should just stop now and send you directly there. I’ve pared down her recipe to make it a bit more manageable, but I haven’t really changed it at all. Also, I should not post my photos, as they were taken with my iPhone at Les Gourmettes, in the rush of a cooking class for 16 students. Photos of food are not top priority in those moments. Cutting the cake and serving it to the lovely paying students, is! But I made the gorgeous decadent cake, so you shall suffer through my photos, then go over and see Sprinkle Bakes’ very professional photos and her very helpful step by step photos and be inspired and amazed!
Now, be prepared, not only is this cake a mouthful, so is the name of the cake!
On a quick side note: Congratulations to my friend, Larry Fitzgerald, who received a Man of the Year award yesterday. It is beyond well deserved. Now I wait for him to receive the overall NFL Man of the Year award when it is announced Super Bowl week. Fingers crossed. Larry lives up to his press, he truly is a wonderful man!
Oh, I almost forgot – Merry Christmas Eve! xoxo
December 24, 2012 1 Comment
She Cooks She Made Something!
Yeah, I was going to say that I cooked, but then as I was typing up the recipe, I realized I didn’t really cook at all, but I did put together a freezer pie! No true cooking involved, but I did stand at the kitchen counter, use the walker to maneuver around the kitchen and pantry and I made something from scratch! That’s saying something after two full weeks of kitchen nothingness!
I made a quick and easy Eggnog Pie. The recipe makes two pies, so one went to our Annual Lorts’ Christmas Party last night, and the other will be served either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, here at home.
Lorts is my mom’s maiden name, she is the oldest of eight, so it’s quite the bash! My Uncle Mike (#6 of the 8) and Aunt Sylvia always host in their beautiful Paradise Valley home. There were three generations represented. My mom’s generation, mine, and my kids’. We do the “white elephant gift stealing thing” which, as you might imagine, gets a bit out of hand. Good Times!
Then this morning, Marissa, Connor, and my daughter-from-another-mother, Alyse, went to Oink Café for breakfast. There, the four of us split two bacon doughnuts. Yes, you heard that right, Maple Glazed Bacon Doughnuts! So rich and decadent that half if more than enough! OH, SO Good!!!
December 23, 2012 1 Comment