Tag Archives: dessert

So Simple: Lemon Sour Cream Pie

Lemon Sour Cream Pie - Inside NanaBread's Head

Looking at my last three posts, I’d say there’s a high probability I’m on a fruit bender. Peach waffles. Papaya Cheesecake Bars. And now this. I think I’m trying to channel Spring. I first tasted this pie in the mid-80’s when our neighbor in Owasso, Oklahoma made it for us. It’s super simple, yet loaded with lemon flavor. A little sweet, a little tart, and a little tangy… just like me.

Lemon Sour Cream Pie:

one 8″ pre-baked pie shell (I use this recipe.)
4 small lemons, zested & juiced (1 Tbsp. zest + 1/2 cup juice)
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup sour cream
whipped cream, to garnish

Pre-bake your pie crust (homemade or store-bought) and let it cool completely.

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks and milk. Cook over medium-low heat until thick, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Allow the custard to cool completely. Once cooled, whisk in the sour cream.

Pour into your pre-baked pie crust and refrigerate at least two hours. To serve, slice and top with whipped cream. Serves 8. Keep refrigerated.

If you like simple, you’ll love this pie. If you insist on getting fancy, spread a thin layer of your favorite raspberry jam on top before you slather on that whipped cream. Oh, baby! Cover me. I’m going in.

Lemon Sour Cream Pie - My Slice - Inside NanaBread's Head

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It’s 80F so we made ice cream

Chocolate Amaretto Pecan Ice Cream - TitlePic

For the record, 80F in January is a crime against nature. My roses are blooming again. Our yard guy showed up this week to mow. We turned on the AC again. It’s JANUARY, people! This is why we can’t own sweaters. {sigh}

So what do you do when Mother Nature turns the tables on you? Make ice cream (of course). This time we decided to use the chocolate-covered amaretto pecans given to us by our friends Kaki & Donny. She said they were addictive like crack. She was right. These babies are good right outta the bag, but they’re even better swimming in a big vat of dark chocolate ice cream.

I’m going to daydream about that for a minute…

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate-Dipped Amaretto Pecans
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (we use 2%)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup
3/4 cup chocolate-dipped amaretto pecans, chopped

Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes); slowly add sugar and whisk for one minute more. Add the cream, milk, salt, vanilla and chocolate syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into an electric ice cream freezer and process until done. We use the Cuisinart machine, which takes about 30 minutes. Stir in the chopped pecans, spoon into a a freezer-safe container with a tight fitting lid & place in the deep freeze overnight. (Makes 1 quart)

Chocolate Amaretto Pecan Ice Cream - CloseUp

So while the rest of the nation basks in the glory of fluffy snow or cute sweater weather, we’ll be down here pulling weeds in our flip-flops. And eating ice cream.

PS – If that makes you jealous, call me. House-swap offers will be considered.

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Comfort Food: Slab Apple Pie

Sometimes you just need a comfort food, know what I mean? Apple pie does it for me, and this one does it best because it’s so easy to pull together.

NanaBread’s Slab Apple Pie:
One batch of Kirsten’s ‘No Excuses’ Pie Dough (click for the recipe)
8 small or 6 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored & sliced thin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water (egg wash)
sugar crystals (or Demerara sugar) for sprinkling on top

To start, mix up the pie dough as directed in the link above. Form the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer to firm up. If this pie dough recipe rings a bell, it’s because it’s my all-time favorite go-to recipe. Kirsten’s pie dough is as billed – no excuses. If you have a food processor and five minutes, you can make amazing homemade pie dough. Thanks, Kirsten!

While the dough is chilling, peel, core and slice the apples and place them in a large non-stick skillet. Add the lemon juice and unsalted butter; cook over medium-high heat until the apples start to brown slightly and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the applesauce, brown sugar and spices and continue to cook until the mixture is bubbly and the sugar begins to caramelize. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the apples to cool to room temperature.

Once the apple mixture has cooled, remove the pie dough from the freezer. Generously flour your work surface and rolling-pin. Divide the dough (2/3 for the base; 1/3 for the strips on top). Roll the larger portion into a rectangle (the size depends on your baking sheet). I like to place mine on a silicone baking mat to prevent it from sticking and to help the bottom brown more evenly.

Spread the apple mixture evenly across the bottom crust, to within 1 1/2″ of the edge. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle. If you’re in a hurry, simply place the second rectangle over the apple mixture and cut a few steam vents in the top, then skip to the section below about finishing the edges.

If you really want to get frisky, go for broke and impress your friend and family with a pretty lattice top. You can do it! Cut the second rectangle into 1/3″ to 1/2″ strips – I like to use a yardstick and a pizza cutter to cut even strips. I know, I know… it’s just that I’m all about perfect strips. If you’re not, just eyeball it. If your strips are uneven, you call this Rustic Slab Apple Pie. {wink}

Lay one layer of strips in one direction, about an 1/2″ apart. Fold every other strip back about 2″ and lay your first horizontal strip, then return the folded strips back to their original position. Then switch and do every other vertical line until you’ve worked all the way across the pie.

If you’re starting to panic just reading this, remember you can use the second rectangle as a solid top to your slab pie. Just be sure to cut a dozen or so small steam vents into the top before baking. I’m all about giving you options. Once your top crust is on, trim off the excess so that the edges are aligned, then roll the edges inward until they are touching the edge of the apple pie filling.

To help create perfectly square corners, fold each corner in before you roll the edges. That’s an old sewing trick. Thanks for teaching me to sew, Mom!

You can stop here and have plain edges, and it will look perfectly fine.

Or you can go for broke and flute the edge. You know what they say… “go big or stay home.” Not one to shy away from a fancy-pants pie, I fluted mine. Have a few extra tablespoons of flour nearby; you’ll need it to keep your fingers from sticking to the dough while you crimp those edges.

Once you’re satisfied with your crimped up primped up pie, pop it back in the freezer for at least one hour. Why? Two reasons – 1. it will help create a flakier crust if the butter is frozen when the pie goes into the hot oven, and 2. when you brush the pie with an egg wash before baking, it will prevent the brush from damaging the dough like it would at room temperature.

Once your slab pie is properly frozen, remove it from the freezer and pre-heat your oven to 375F. Whisk one egg with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the entire pie with it making sure to coat all of the exposed pie dough. Then sprinkle with crystallized sugar or Demerara (sugar in the raw).

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, rotating the pie once after 15 minutes, or until the pie turns a light golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving. That’s the hardest part of this recipe.

I like mine with homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but you can do whatever floats your boat. Want a slice of cheddar on top? Go for it! Looking for an excuse to by a pint of Dulce de Leche Caramel ice cream? Do it! Whatever makes you happy. And that’s what this slab apple pie is all about – making you happy. Isn’t that the goal of all our favorite comfort foods?

Note from NanaBread: this slab pie can be made with almost any thick filling. If you love canned fruit pie filling, just spoon it on and go from there. Or go fresh and try it with an apple/cranberry combo or fresh sliced plums; yum. Go nuts! And if you do, let me know what worked for you. Enjoy!

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Lemon Cream Crepe Cakes for Two

It’s Crepe Week! I love these collaborative cooking weeks with my blogging buddies. Having never made crepes before, I’ll admit this one caused me some doubt and anxiety. Then I read the America’s Test Kitchen crepe recipe we chose as our common element, and those doubts evaporated. I’ve said before that I’m a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen. Why? Because they work diligently to perfect all of their recipes; they do the work so you don’t have to.

For Crepe Week, we’re using this America’s Test Kitchen Crepe Recipe. It’s so adaptable and easy to follow, my fears evaporated when my first crepe came out of the pan. It was perfect. They’re so easy, your French friends will sing your praises with “Vous êtes tellement fabuleux parce que vous pouvez faire des crêpes. Je suis très impressionné!” Translated, that’s “You are so fabulous because you make crepes. I am so impressed!” Now that I know how easy crepes are to make, this could become a regular and delicious thing.

Love to cook? Then I encourage you to register as a user of the ATK website. It’s free, it only takes a second, and you’ll find yourself going there over and over to take advantage of their recipe collection. As a bonus, there’s a video linked to this recipe so you can watch their crepe-making tutorial. They really do think of everything. And now, here’s my contribution to Crepe Week.

Lemon Cream Crepe Cakes for Two
makes two 3″ diameter crepe cakes

For the lemon cream:
one box (5 ozs.) Jell-O Cook & Serve Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 cups milk (whole or 2% works best)
1 carton (6 ozs.) lemon-flavored yogurt
1/2 jar (9.5 ozs.) Dickinson’s lemon curd (or your favorite)

In a saucepan, whisk the pudding mix and milk until well blended. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture is thick and smooth; remove from heat and allow to cool completely. To speed up the cooling process, I like to transfer the pudding to a mixing bowl and set it over an ice bath; just whisk often to prevent lumps. Once the pudding is chilled, whisk in the lemon yogurt and half of the jar of lemon curd (4-5 ounces) until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while you make the crepes.

For the crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoon butter, melted & cooled
a non-stick skillet or crepe pan
1/2 teaspoon of oil for the skillet

I followed the America’s Test Kitchen crepe recipe exactly as it was written. As a crepe novice, I had no intention of playing around with this. The key to perfect crepes is to properly oil and pre-heat the pan for 10 minutes, so don’t skip that part. Mix up the crepe batter and cook as directed. If you don’t have a crepe pan, don’t worry. I used a 10″ non-stick skillet and it worked perfectly. I also prepped 12-14 sheets of waxed paper and stacked my cooked crepes to keep them from drying out. Let the crepes cool completely.

When I finished my crepes, the stack was about 1″ to 1.5″ tall. Since I had envisioned a crepe cake at least 3-4″ tall, this was a problem. And because there are only two of us at home, it made no sense to make 2-3 more recipes for crepes. Two people really shouldn’t eat 36-48 full-size crepes. Instead, I decided to grab my 3″ biscuit cutter and turn my 12 full-size crepes into mini-crepes, as pictured. In my case, that was 3 minis per crepe for 36 total.

Once cut, I layered them in waxed paper again and covered them with a clean kitchen towel to prevent any air from getting to them and drying them out while I assembled the crepe cakes. It actually worked really well, as I could peel off one sheet of waxed paper and work with a few crepes at a time.

With my baby crepes cut and prepped, I was ready to assemble. Removing the lemon cream from the fridge, I gave it one last whisk to add a little air, then I grabbed a spoon from my silverware drawer and dug in for a sample. My eyes then rolled back in my head and I murmured “Man! That is really great stuff!” But that’s not really part of the recipe. :)

Now, layering custard between crepes and stacking them high can be a slippery mess. I was warned of this by another blogger before I started. So with a little forethought and planning, I decided to build my crepe cake on a piece of waxed paper so I could move it easily from my cutting board to my cake plate. I also decided to build each crepe cake inside the same biscuit cutter I used to cut mini-crepes to help keep them straight and tall. It was a good call.

Starting with a baby crepe, I laid it into the mold and made sure it was flat against the waxed paper. I then spooned in one tablespoon of lemon cream and topped it with another crepe. Using a flat-bottomed juice glass, I lightly pressed the crepe into place, working around the edges of the mold just until the crepe was flat and I could see the custard around the edges. The key here was to press gently enough to disperse the custard evenly between the crepe layers, but not so hard that the custard squished out. The juice glass worked perfectly.

Once I hit the top of the mold, I finished with a good layer of lemon cream. I confess – the hardest part of crepe cake construction is controlling the urge to hork down the entire bowl of lemon cream with a big spoon. I kid you not.

Now here’s an important tip: to keep the cakes from collapsing like dominoes when the mold is removed, cut two bamboo skewers about a 1/2″ taller than the crepe cake and pushed them in just off-center. Then put the crepe cake into the refrigerator (still inside the mold) to firm up completely. Before serving, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the mold and lift it off; remove the skewers and top each crepe cake with whipped cream and a fresh slice of lemon. Voilà! Light, lemon lusciousness in single-serve form.

Here’s what I learned:
1.) This was so much easier than I had imagined, and so fun to make!
2.) No biscuit cutter? Use a clean empty can with both ends cut off.
3.) Stacking these higher than 3″-4″ will make them tricky to eat.
4.) Slide these off the waxed paper onto a plate before removing the mold.
5.) You can substitute any filling – other custards, jam, ice cream, etc.
6.) Leftover lemon cream makes excellent popsicles or fro-yo; seriously.

Now, here’s the best part of Crepe Week! Eleven other bloggers are putting up their best crepe creations throughout the week and four will be giving away the following America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks thanks to the fine folks at ATK: the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, the Baking Illustrated Cookbook, the Family Baking Cookbook, and Simple Weeknight Favorites. Also, be sure to check out the Crepe Pan Giveaway sponsored by King Arthur Flour on Bakeaholic Mama’s blog starting this Thursday. This week promises to be epic, so be sure to follow our Crepe Week shenanigans and enter to win!

Monday:
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic (*) – savory Tuscan Crepes
Megan @ Wanna Be A Country Cleaver (*) – sweet Grand Marnier Berry Crepes

Tuesday:
Kat @ Tenaciously Yours – savory Southwest Crepes with Cilantro Pesto
Jeanne @ Inside NanaBread’s Head – sweet Lemon Cream Crepe Cakes for Two

Also on tap as Crepe Week unfolds:

Wednesday:
Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain (*) – savory Pork Belly & Mushroom Crepes
Madeline @ Munching in the Mitten – sweet Blueberry Ginger Crepes a la mode

Thursday:
Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama (*) – savory Vermonter Ham & Cheese Crepes
Katie @ The Hill Country Cook (*) – sweet Blackberry Orange Crepes

Friday:
Monica @ The Grommom – savory Prosciutto & Asparagus Crepes with Fresh Mango Cream Sauce
Mads @ La Petite Pancake – sweet Strawberry Crepes Au Lait

Saturday:
Allison @ Decadent Philistines – savory Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Crepes
Anne @ From My Sweet Heart – sweet Red Velvet Crepes with Mascarpone

Note: Bloggers hosting Crepe Week giveaways are marked with (*) above.

A very special thank you goes to America’s Test Kitchen for partnering with us for Crepe Week. Their help and support, along with the donation of cookbooks for giveaways has helped make Crepe Week particularly special. As a collective group of superfans, it’s a thrill for us to collaborate with America’s Test Kitchen.

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Tropical Cream Cheese Pound Cake

When it comes to dessert, my motto is usually “More is More.” A pan of plain brownies doesn’t cut it in my world. They need to have Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup, dark chocolate chips and a shot of Kahlua thrown in. There are, however, a few things for which I am a purist. Shortbread cookies and pound cake, for example. Some things are just better in their pure, simple forms.

Don’t get me wrong – you can still add stuff, but the key is to keep it simple. To enhance, not overshadow. Sometimes, that’s a thin line to balance. For a girl who trips over her own two feet and walks into walls (this girl), that can be tricky. This week, I tried something that could have pushed ‘simple’ over the edge, but didn’t. It worked beautifully and started with some of my favorite things:

1. Lots & lots of butter, cream cheese and some gorgeous brown eggs

2. A bowl of soft, fluffy, sifted all-purpose flour; I’m a messy sifter

3. Macadamia nuts, shredded coconut and Cream of Coconut

4. A bag of dried tropical fruits – mango, papaya and pineapple

The result was a soft, moist, not-too-dense pound cake with all of the flavors of the islands. I’m not going to lie. My heart melted at the first bite. This, to me, is a perfect cake. No layers. No frosting. Just pure, delicious cake. It was super easy to whip up, and made two large gorgeous loaves. Here’s how I did it.

NanaBread’s Tropical Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Cream of Coconut
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 6-oz. pkg. dried tropical fruit

To start, lay your butter, cream cheese and eggs out in advance. You’ll want them to be at room temperature when you start putting this together.

Preheat your oven to 325F. Spray 2 large non-stick loaf pans with Pam spray for baking (or grease & flour both pans).

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, gradually beat in the sugar, then add the salt, vanilla, almond extract and Cream of Coconut. Beat until thoroughly combined. Turning the mixer down a notch, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder; whisk to blend well. Roughly chop the dried fruit into 1/2″ pieces, then add the fruit, macadamia nuts and coconut to the bowl of flour; stir until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold until all of the flour mixture is incorporated. Divide the batter in half and spread evenly into each loaf pan. Tap the pans gently on the counter a few times to help remove air bubbles, then bake at 325F for 60-75 minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the top of the cake. You’ll want to keep an eye on it so you don’t over bake these. An over-baked cake is a dry cake.

Remove from the oven and place the pans onto wire racks for at least one hour. After one hour, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on the racks for another hour. One loaf can be sliced and stored in an airtight container for now; the other loaf can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and zipped into a large freezer bag and stored in the freezer for later. Or you can make a friend’s day and share a loaf. It’s up to you, but I’d taste it first and then decide. You might just decide to hang on to both.

Note: This recipe was adapted from a cream cheese pound cake recipe by my blogging friend & baker Anne, the genius behind the From My Sweet Heart blog. If you haven’t seen Anne’s blog yet, you need to drop in for a visit. She’s a lovely lady and her love of baking shows in all of her recipes and photographs. If you drop in, please tell her I said hello.

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Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Blondies

NanaBread's Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Blondies. Wish you could smell them!

If that name sounds a little confusing, I’m with you. The truth is, this recipe is a combination of two of my favorites – buttery shortbread and soft, chewy sugar cookies. And you know what? It works. It has all of the glorious flavor of butter shortbread with the soft chewy texture of a good sugar cookie. Throw in some dried cranberries and some toasted pecans, and you have what I’m calling Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Blondies. Works for me!

Here’s how to make them for your family:

2 sticks (8 ozs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 extra-large or jumbo egg
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup pecans, toasted & finely chopped
1/3 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top

Pre-heat your oven to 350F, then line a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper. I like to leave some hanging over each side, making a sling which allows the cooled cookies to be removed from the pan more easily. Set the pan aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and granulated sugar; beat slowly until combined, then turn to med-high speed and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt and flour. Stir in the cranberries and nuts and toss to coat them with flour.

Turning the mixer to low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until well combined. The dough will be thick. Using a spatula, turn the dough out into the baking pan. Using another sheet of parchment or waxed paper, cover the dough and using your hands, press the dough out to each side, smoothing it into a uniform thickness (mine was about 3/4″ thick). Once your cookie dough is smooth and even, remove the top sheet of paper.

Score your cookie dough & sprinkle with turbinado sugar crystals

Using a bench scraper or metal spatula (I grew up calling them pancake flippers), score the dough as you would for shortbread. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the cookie dough. Place on the middle rack in the center of your oven and bake 30-40 minutes, or until the cookies have that fabulous browned butter smell and are a light golden brown. When I bake buttery shortbread cookies, I always know when they’re done by the smell. If you know what I’m talking about, raise your hand. It’s such a heavenly aroma.

A bench scraper is the perfect tool for shaping & cutting these cookies

Once done, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Using the same bench scraper or spatula, cut the cookies along the score lines. Now all you need is a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of tea. Then treat yourself. Sit back and savor the contrast of flavors and textures – tart cranberries paired with buttery shortbread; soft chewy crumb with a crunchy sugar topping. Maybe I’m playing favorites, but I think this cookie has it all.

Soft and chewy; buttery and tangy; and totally addictive

I apologize for all the sugar on the blog for the past week. I promise I’ll make it up to you next week with something savory or a craft tutorial. Deal? Awesome!

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My Baby turned 29 last week

She'll always be our baby

I haven’t written about it yet because it has taken me a week to come to terms with the fact that my baby turned 29 last week. How did this happen? Where did the time go? I swear I remember taking her to her first day of kindergarten like it JUST HAPPENED. I can tell you exactly what she was wearing – a pale turquoise jumper with pink buttons and little pink sneakers. She had her hair in pigtails with pink ribbons. But now our baby is 29, and I’m gonna need a minute. {insert long pause here}

At her request, I made rainbow cupcakes for the occasion. If you were a reader last spring, you’ll remember that my big sister led a baking session when she, my baby sister, and our mother came to visit. We had a blast and the rainbow tie-dyed cupcakes were a hit. At that time, we used Big Sis’s scratch-made white cake recipe and the expensive Wilton food colorings. This time, I used white cake mix. Guess what? It worked! Two cake mixes made one dozen regular cupcakes and six jumbo-size cupcakes. For the mixes, I used whole eggs instead of eggs whites and dialed the amount of water back just slightly so the cupcakes would have better structure. I also added a teaspoon of almond extract, which added great flavor. With a basic set of Wilton food colors from the grocery store, I divided the batter into 6 bowls and colored each. For the regular cupcakes, I swirled the colorful batter; for the jumbo cupcakes, I layered it. Here’s how they turned out:

Unfrosted in 2 Sizes - Jumbo = 5" and Regular = 2"

A jumbo rainbow cupcake - frosted with sprinkles

Look out! She's going in for a bite!

Too tall for a normal approach, she had to turn it sideways.

She did it! And apparently, she liked it.

Happy birthday, honey. I’m so happy you loved your cupcakes, but I’m especially happy that you are our girl. Your dad and I are so very proud of you. And now that 29 is behind you, we’ve got 12 months to plan for next year – when you turn 30 and I turn 50. I’m pretty sure that requires a big blow-out of some kind, don’t you? I’m thinking Vegas (with bail money, of course).

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Mom’s Raw Peach Pie – Two Ways

Mom's Raw Peach Pie - on brown sugar biscuits or cinnamon sugar pie crust

Summer reminds me of fresh fruit – strawberries, blueberries, watermelon and peaches – and hot summer weather reminds me of my mother’s raw peach pie. It’s what I call a “freestyle” recipe. She made it every summer when peaches came in season. It’s a family favorite and a perfect summer treat because it’s easy, light, refreshing and delicious. Mom always made hers with pie crust, but for the sake of shortcake lovers, I’m giving you TWO versions to choose from. One is made with cinnamon sugar pie crust and one is made with brown sugar biscuits. I have a personal favorite, but I’ll let you decide which one sounds best.

There are only a few basic ingredients:
fresh peaches – peeled and sliced
sugar – to sweeten the peaches
whipped cream – I prefer homemade
your favorite biscuit mix OR pie crust recipe
cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on your biscuits/pie crust
brown sugar (optional, if you’re using the biscuit method)

To prep your raw peach pies, begin by peeling and slicing your peaches. Sample a few slices to determine how sweet your peaches really are. If they need it, add a few tablespoons of sugar, give them a good stir, and place them in the refrigerator to macerate for at least one hour. If you don’t need extra sugar on your peaches, e-mail me immediately and let me know where you’re buying yours. Our peaches smell fabulous, but they’re not very sweet.

The next step is deciding which crust appeals to you – are you a biscuit guy/gal or a pie crust person? If you’re making pie crust, simply use your favorite recipe, roll the dough into a rectangle and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the pie dough with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 425F until the crust turns a beautiful shade of light brown, as if you’re baking a pie. Remove from the oven and allow the pie crust to cool to slightly warm or even room temperature. Can you cheat and use that store-bought brand that comes in a box and rolls out? Absolutely! Who’s going to know except you?

If you are a biscuit lover, grab your favorite biscuit mix. I prefer Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix, but if you are a loyal Bisquick user, that works, too. Depending on how many people you’re serving, measure the biscuit mix into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for extra flavor (this is dessert, after all), stirring to combine it with the biscuit mix. Then add enough milk or buttermilk to form a nice biscuit dough. Place it on a floured surface and roll it to approximately 3/4″ thick. Cut into round biscuits, placing them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 425F until they are fluffy and light brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool to slightly warm or even room temperature.

While your pie crust or biscuits are baking, beat up a batch of homemade whipping cream. I like to use one pint of really cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. You can use vanilla extract. It works just as well, but I love those vanilla bean flavor flecks you get with vanilla bean paste, so if you can find it, use it. You’re worth it.

To assemble, grab a serving bowl or plate and begin with a layer of pie crust or biscuit. If you’re using biscuits, I like to split them in half. If you’re using pie crust, just grab your slab of cinnamon sugar crust and break it into serving dish size pieces. Top your crust of choice with a big spoonful of sweet peaches and a dollop of whipping cream, then create another layer. You can stack them as high as you like; the sky and gravity are the limits. Or you can just pile cut biscuits or pie crust into the bottom of a bowl and top it with peaches if presentation is not high on your priority list. It’s your bowl; do whatcha’ wanna do. Now for the big flourish – top with a generous blob of whipped cream and you’re done. Grab a spoon and a glass of ice tea and enjoy the best summer and my Momma has to offer. Thanks, Mom.

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Quite Possibly the Easiest Summer Berry Dessert You Will Ever Make


This is one of those “accidental” recipe finds, discovered while browsing comments on The Pioneer Woman’s website. PW posted a photo blog of fabulous strawberry recipe photos (many of which made me weep with joy), but it was the first comment posted that really grabbed my attention. Sydney B posted a link to a strawberry clafouti recipe. A strawberry what?!? Clafouti. That’s klah-FOO-tee. Say it with me. “Klah-FOO-tee.” I like it! It sounds like a party in a Pyrex. Reminds me of KC & the Sunshine Band. It’s got me singing, “Shake shake shake…. shake shake shake… shake clafouti. Shake clafouti.” Let’s see if that’s not stuck in your head the rest of the day, right? But what IS a clafouti, really? I needed to know.

“Clafouti, is a baked French dessert of black cherries (or other fruit) arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafouti is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.”

There. Now we know. So back to Sydney B’s link. It took me to www.shutterbean.com, where I discovered the easiest berry dessert I’ve ever made. And since I love berries and I love custards, this has the potential to become my go-to throw-down company’s coming dessert-in-a-hurry recipe. Thank you, Tracy the Shutterbean!

Here’s how easy this recipe is. For the record, it calls for strawberries, but I threw in some raspberries, too. Basically, you butter a glass baking dish. Toss your fruit with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and arrange them in the bottom of the dish. Combine the other ingredients in a blender and whiz for 15 seconds. (I didn’t want to dig out my blender, so I used a mixing bowl and a whisk – old school style). Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake it until the center is set and the top is lightly browned. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and serve it warm. Done. Can you believe it? Seriously… from start to finish, it took 10 minutes to pop this into the oven. To see Tracy’s step-by-step photos and recipe, click here. You won’t be sorry.

If you love summer berries and creamy custards, you should try this. I will give you a few tips. Use really ripe, sweet strawberries. If your strawberries are really large, cut them into bite-size pieces. If you add raspberries like I did, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup or it will be really tart. Other than that, this recipe is simple, easy to make, and bursting with the fabulous flavors of summer berries and vanilla. And that’s all I need. Well, that and the Strawberry Kiss Cake posted by Brooks the Cakewalker from the Pioneer Woman’s photo post mentioned above. Have mercy! If you make that one, I am SO coming over!

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TCP Cooks: New York-Style Cheesecake

The Complete Package Cooks: My all-time favorite cheesecake

As promised, I am sharing more of The Complete Package’s signature dishes on my blog. For new readers or random visitors, The Complete Package is my beloved husband of 29 years. (Side Note: Yes, those are 29 continuous years. Yes, he cooks. Yes, he does dishes. No, you can’t have him. And sorry, but he doesn’t have a brother.) The first recipe I shared was his flavor-packed flank steak sandwiches with soy-ginger mayonnaise. This one comes from the other side of the menu board. It is his signature creamy New York style baked cheesecake, and it’s AMAZING. If you love cheesecake the way my family loves cheesecake, you’ll definitely have to try this one. I’ll warn you… somewhere a horrified cardiologist is clutching his chest, screaming “don’t do it!” But fear not. For somewhere else, on the other side of the spectrum, is a cheesecake lover screaming “oh, hell yeah!” This recipe is for that person. Or people. Or flash mob. So hide your bathroom scales, grab a springform pan and your fat pants, and let’s make The Complete Package’s earth-shatteringly fabulous cheesecake.

For the crust, you’ll use:
one sleeve (approx. 5 ounces) of graham crackers
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs; add the butter and nuts. Stir to combine and press into the bottom of a 10″ springform pan. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Turn your oven up to 475F for the cheesecake.

For the filling, you’ll need:
5 packages of cream cheese (8 ozs. each), softened
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 eggs, divided – 5 whole eggs & 3 yolks
the zest of 2 lemons
the zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of almond extract

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour and salt, the whole eggs and yolks, the citrus zest, heavy cream and extracts. Beat at high speed for 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the filling into the springform pan and smooth out the top. Place the cheesecake in the oven on the center rack and bake at 475F for 12 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 300F and bake for 35-40 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Once your cheesecake is completely cooled, you can move it to the refrigerator to chill. When you are ready to serve, remove the sides of your springform pan by running a sharp knife around the edge to loosen it and pop the ring clasp on the side of the pan.

If you’re serving this for company or a fancy dinner, you can move your cheesecake to a pretty cake plate. If you are a plain cheesecake person, dig in. If you like to dress yours up first you can top it with a good quality blueberry, cherry or strawberry topping. If you’re really twisted, you can cover the entire thing in melted chocolate and put it back in the fridge to form a hard chocolate shell. If you do that, please call me so I can come over. I’ll bring the coffee!

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