Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category


6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup coarse cornmeal

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 large egg white, lightly beaten


1/3 cup nectarine jam

1 tsp cornstarch

3-4 firm, ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar


  1. To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the butter, flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the yogurt and pulse until the mixture starts to come together in a ball.  Do not overwork.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface covered with plastic wrap and press into a disk.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a round about 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan and press evenly into the pan.  Trim the edge.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Bake the tart shell until the pastry is lightly colored, about 30 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg white and bake for 5 minutes longer.  Let cool on wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the jam and cornstarch. Spread in the pastry shell and arrange the nectarines on top.  In another small bowl, stir together the vanilla and sugar and sprinkle over the nectarines.  Bake until the fruit is tender and bubbling, about 35 minutes.  Serve warm or chilled, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

You can substitute other fruit for the nectarines (both fresh & jam); I have used apricots in the past.  A little whip cream is also amazing on top!

Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Dessert of the Day cookbook by Kim Law (page 160).


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4 Plums, pitted—1 cut into 8 wedges and 3 roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. balsalmic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

Salt & pepper

2 cucumbers—peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

1lb pork tenderloin, patted dry

1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for coating

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. Place a 9×13” metal pan in the oven and preheat to 500°. In a bowl, toss the first three ingredients; season.  In a colander, toss the cucumbers with 3/4 tsp. salt; let sit in the sink to drain.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit 2 inches deep along the center of the tenderloin. Rub with olive oil and season.  Insert 5 or 6 plum wedges, skin side out.  Drizzle the balsamic liquid over the plums.  Close the pork over them, securing with toothpicks.
  3. Transfer to the pan seam up; roast 8 minutes. Flip, add chopped plums to the pan and roast until pork registers 145° on an instant-read thermometer, 10-14 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board.
  4. Rinse the cucumbers and toss with the onion, lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season.  Slice the port and serve it with the saucy chopped plums and the cucumbers.

Mix it up!  You can substitute any other juicy fruit for the plums—peaches, nectarines, cherries, etc.

Recipe from Rachelraymag.com September 2013 issue, page 62

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1/3 Cup butter

1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh sliced stone fruit

12 cherries (can sub maraschino or canned if fresh aren’t available)

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1 package spice cake mix


Melt butter in 9×12” pan.  Blend brown and granulated sugars and sprinkle over bottom of pan.  Arrange  stone fruit slices and cherries in 12 “flowers” – on for each serving when the cake is cut.  Sprinkle lemon rind over top.  Make up cake according to package directions and spoon over peach slices.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on rack before turning out.

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2 Cups water

1 Cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup medium pearl tapioca

4 peaches—peeled and diced

2 cups blueberries

One 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream, for serving


  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the water with 1 cup of the lemon juice and 1 cup of the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the tapioca and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the pearls are plumped and tender, 3-5 minutes.  Remove the tapioca from the heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Do not refrigerate.
  2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine the diced peaches, blueberries, smashed ginger and salt with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the compote is deep purple and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Scrape the compote into a heatproof bowl and let cool completely.  Pick out the ginger.
  3. Scoop vanilla ice cream into glasses or bowls and top with peach-blueberry compote. Garnish the sundaes with the tapioca and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The peach-blue berry compote can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe from Food & Wine magazine

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Cherry Yogurt Pops


1 3/4 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt

4 tablespoons sugar or agave nectar

3 cups sliced, pitted cherries**


  1. Whisk together the yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. In a sparate bowl, combine the cherries and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and mash with a fork or potato masher until coarsely crushed.
  3. Layer the yogurt and blackberry mixtures (starting with the yogurt mixture), dividing evenly among eight 4-ounce paper cups or 4-ounce ice-pop molds. Drag a toothpick or skewer through the mixtures to create a swirl effect.  Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 4 days.  Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to    soften slightly.
  4. Enjoy!

**or substitute any berries or other fruit, or a combination of fruit, for exciting new popsicles!

 Recipe from Real Simple, July 2013 issue

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Soft Apple Cider Caramels


2 quarts apple cider

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

4 cups sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

Pinch of ground cloves

Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, for brushing


1) In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour.  Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.

2) Line a 9”x13” rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray (or butter). In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.

3) In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Carefully whisk in the butter until melted.  Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated.  Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel ring forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes.  Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan.  Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.

4) Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil, invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil.  Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles.  Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal.  Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.

MAKE AHEAD:  The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.  The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.

***These chewy treats are like caramel apples in candy form, combining the tangy-sweet flavor of cider with buttery caramel.  To create your own spin on them, use a flavored apple cider or add different spices, like ground ginger or black pepper.


From Food & Wine, December 2012 issue

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Apple Crisp Crescents


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup cold butter

1 egg, separated

2/3 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped peeled tart apple (McIntosh work well!)

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup raisins, chopped (optional) (I’ve used dried sweet cherries as a substitute)

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon


In a large bowl, combine four and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk, sour cream and vanilla; add to crumb mixture and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Divide dough into thirds.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 10-inch circle.  Combine the apple, walnuts, raisins, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/2 cup over each circle.  Cut each circle into 12 wedges.

Roll up each wedge from the wide end and place point side down 1” apart on greased baking sheets (tip: use a baking sheet with sides; the butter melts profusely!).  Curve each to form crescents.  Whisk egg white until foamy; brush over crescents.

Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Store in airtight containers.

From Taste of Home Christmas

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