Friday, June 19, 2009

Yummy Desserts Revisited

Here are some tasty recipes to enjoy this Summer

Macaroon Fruit Tart
I've been thinking up this creation for a quite awhile. A couple years ago, I made a mango tart with a coconut crust and the crust was so different and delicious, I always remembered it. Then I made a silky vanilla custard for a banana cream pie and vanilla custard was so good on it's own, you could just eat it with a spoon. So, I wanted to combined these amazing flavors and create a delicious custard tart.

The crust uses soft coconut macaroon cookies, pecans and butter. I choose to make my own coconut macaroons (recipe below). I made the vanilla custard for the filling and topped it off with fresh, slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Homemade Macaroons. The recipe below makes around 20 cookies, so you'll have plenty for the crust and some to snack on. All the cookies I had were gobbled up fast.

Shredded macaroon cookies

The crust, going into the oven. I broke up the pecan pieces with my fingers, so I had big chunks in my crust. I was just too lazy to pull out the food processor.

Mmmm. The golden crust, baked and filled.

A mix of fresh cut fruit, strawberries, kiwi's, pears, nectarines, raspberries, boysenberries, etc are all tasty additions. Sliced banana's turns this into a yummy banana cream tart.

This tart is tasty unadorned too with just the simple custard and whipped cream.

Vanilla Custard Tart with Coconut Macaroon Crust
Coconut Macaroon Crust9 soft macaroon cookies, crumbled (2 cups)
1 cup ground pecans
3 T butter, softened

Mix all ingredients together. Press mixture into a 10 to 11-in fluted tart pan.
Bake at 350 until golden brown 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on wire rack

Coconut Macaroon CookiesIngredients
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve

* Make sure you use a removable bottom tart pan. This crust can be sticky. Try lining the pan with buttered parchment paper and don;t pat it down too firmly.

Vanilla Custard
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch (4 or 5 T)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Make the custard: In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In a medium saucepan, bring milk just to a boil. Remove from heat, and whisk about 1/2 cup of hot milk into yolk mixture. Whisk yolk mixture into saucepan of hot milk. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until melted. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Immediately strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Place bowl of custard in ice bath to cool, stirring occasionally.

Whipped cream topping
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. powdered sugar, sifted

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until combine. Chill until ready to use.

Assemble Tart
Pour chilled vanilla custard into cooled coconut crust. Carefully spread whipped cream over custard. Chill until ready to serve. Top with favorite fruit, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, pear, mango, kiwi, just before serving. Sprinkle with powdered, if desired.
Citrus Sandwich Cookies

My latest obsession are these cream filled sandwich cookies from Martha Stewart. The cookies are slightly crisp with a hint of zest and the filling is just yummy. I've made them with orange, lemon and grapefruit zest and while they are all tasty, orange and lemon are the best. I added extra zest to the creamy filling to give it more of a kick. For a sweet, crunchy texture, I sprinkled clear sanding sugar on top of the dough rounds, before I popped them into the oven. Overall this is an excellent cookie and is great with coffee in the morning. Mmmm, enjoy!
Tips: The filling is pretty runny. While the cookies are baking, make the filling and chill it until cookies are done. Don't add any juice for more flavor, it will never set up.

Raspberry-Lemon Tart
A refreshing summertime tart with the perfect kick of lemon.
The crust is really crumbly, but bakes up well. I filled my hot crust with frozen berries. I didn't wait for the berries to thaw and drain. The only problem this caused was that it needed extra time to bake. It also changed the consistency into a berry filling as opposed to a drier, cakier filling. So if you want it cakier, make sure you drain your berries well. I used a mix of black raspberries and blackberries which gave the tart a gorgeous deep purple color. I topped it with powder sugar...
And it was pretty darn tasty. Here's a piece topped with a big dollop of fresh cream :)

My only change to the recipe would be to use a little less lemon juice, so it's not so tart. I think juice from 1 1/2 lemons would give it the right amount of zip (or maybe just 1 lemon). That extra amount of juice put it over the top.

For the recipe, click here.

Apple Oatmeal Crisp

I never make apple desserts, not because I don't like apples, I just never use them in baking. So, I decided to make an apple crisp. I don' think I've made any fruit crisps either, but I wanted to try something simple and good. I turned to to search for recipes. I browsed through apple crisp recipes and settled on this one for an oatmeal crisp.
It turned out really good, although a little sweet. It made the house smell wonderful as it baked. The thing I liked about this recipe was that it had a bottom and top crust made from streusel. The apples were spiced perfectly with cinnamon and it was wonderful, warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

Brown Sugar and Oat Streusel

The apple crisp, dotted with butter, ready to go in the oven

I served the apple oat crisp, crumbled in martini glasses with a scoop of ice cream and a fresh grating of nutmeg.

This crisp comes together really quickly and bakes up in 40 minutes.

Apple Oatmeal Crisp1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 scant cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped *
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 T butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, salt and melted butter. Mix until crumbly. Place half of crumb mixture in pan. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon, top with remaining crumb mixture and dot with butter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

* A mix of red and green tart apples would be good in this to cut down the sweetness of the streusel.

*Peaches, nectarines or pears would be fabulous too!

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