At this time of year, when juicy ripe peaches are plentiful, I try to come up with creative ways to make use of the sweet fruit. This month, my local co-op had a bin of the most beautiful, fragrant peaches — I think maybe the best crop I’ve had in years — and I couldn’t wait to put them to good use. I cooked them with just a touch of honey and a vanilla bean. This light-as-air angel food (great for these hot end-of-summer days) has a healthy dose of citrus zest, which nicely balances the sweet peaches.
Citrus Angel Food Cake with Peaches
Continue Reading Citrus Angel Food Cake with Peaches
The icebox cake is an iconic retro dessert that is perfect for the summer months. From June to August I avoid my oven at all costs, so the only way to make cake is by “baking” it in the refrigerator, rather than the oven. It’s easy to make and is always a favorite among family and friends. The ingredients are simple enough to have on hand and once you get the method down, the variations are endless. Every icebox cake is made up of some key components: essentially, cookies and cream. (What’s not to like?) I tend to think about it in layers.
First: the wafer cookies. These chocolate wafer cookies are a classic option and perfect for any icebox cake, but I’ve found that a variety of flavored wafer cookies are fun to use as well, like lemon, almond, chocolate-mint and ginger. I usually use two (6 to 9 ounce) boxes of cookies for one cake made in a 9-inch springform pan.
Second: whipped cream. Here you can keep it super simple, or have some fun. Fresh whipped cream is a must and it can be a great canvas for other flavors from extracts, sweeteners, or even peanut butter, coffee or fruit curd. I usually use 2 1/2 to 3 cups heavy whipping cream for one cake made in a 9-inch springform pan.
Third: flair. Here’s where you can really play with flavor, whether by layering in or garnishing with additional ingredients. Consider adding fresh fruit or chocolate shavings in between the layers or to the top of the icebox cake.
Continue Reading Kelsey’s Icebox Cake Essentials
This is a very tossed-together Black Forest Cake, or, as I like to say when I am too lazy to bring out the piping bag and tips, it’s “rustic.” It has all the components of the classic German torte, but without the fuss. Layers of dark chocolate cake are sandwiched with fresh whipped cream and sweet cherries spiked with kirschwasser (“cherry water,” or clear sour cherry brandy). These flavors are among the most celebrated combinations in the history of pastry making — and for good reason. This swoon-worthy homemade version of the cake is super-fast and easy to put together.
Rustic Black Forest Cake Recipe (aka Cherry Chocolate Cake)
Continue Reading Rustic Black Forest Cake
Though I consider myself a New Yorker, I was born and raised in the South, and this berry-filled twist on the classic Southern cocktail takes me back to my roots. Like the traditional cocktail often served at the Kentucky Derby, this Jell-O mold is made with sweet mint and bourbon. Tart blackberries balance out the dish and create a surprisingly cool and refreshing treat — perfect for relaxing all day on the front porch of your Southern farmhouse. Or if you’re like me, on the roof of your apartment building.
Continue Reading Mint Julep Jell-O: Cocktails Meet Dessert
Hedy Goldsmith's Plum Upside-Down Cake
Our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2012 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Fresh this week: plums.
Summer is stone fruit season and plums are just one of the many delicious fruit varieties that you’ll see at the market right now. Its sweet and tart flavor make it the ideal ingredient for cakes, cobblers and compotes.
Here are our favorite plum recipes to bake up right now:
Continue Reading Summer Fest: Plum Good Sweets
I always make a big batch of vanilla ice cream and then mash other ingredients into it to create new flavors. This way I can tailor the ice cream to the dessert I am serving or the mood I am in. I start with a really great custard base, which is lusciously smooth, dense and has a silky texture. The flavor should be rich, but not too buttery (greasy) and I always start my “French custard” ice cream base with vanilla bean — there really isn’t a flavor that it doesn’t complement.
Continue Reading One Ice Cream Base, Endless Flavor Combinations
Mexican-style Lime Pie Paletas are frosty, frozen treats that are surprisingly easy to make at home.
What the heck are paletas? They’re frozen Mexican ice pops, made in all kinds of inventive flavors. In the new cookbook Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, Fany Gerson, owner of the paletas street fair shop La Newyorkina in New York City and author of My Sweet Mexico, includes recipes for traditional Mexican favorites, like Spicy Pineapple Ice Pops, and some of her own inventions, like whimsical Lime Pie Ice Pops. (Explore a Mexican ice cream festival with Fanny Gerson.)
Paletas are surprisingly easy to make at home. If you don’t own ice pop molds don’t let the logistics slow you down — this book includes instructions for making paletas in glasses or other molds, so the only special equipment you’ll need is sticks. Here are some recipes to get you started: Lime Pie Ice Pops, Avocado Ice Pops & Yogurt Ice Pops with Berries.
Continue Reading Cookbook Giveaway — Paletas: Mexican Ice Pops and Shaved Ice