Desserts

Cherry Coulis

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I think cherries are stunning. Their vivid, voluptuous appearance makes them absolutely irresistible to me. I spied some plump beauties at the Farmer’s Market this past Saturday morning and snatched some up for a dessert to serve our dinner guests that evening.

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Cherries belong to the genus Prunus, which also includes almonds, so it should be no surprise that almonds and cherries are as compatible as Fred and Ginger on the dance floor. I decided to pick up a couple of pints of Talenti toasted almond gelato and whip up a simple cherry coulis to spoon over the top.
This recipe will make enough for 6-8. It really depends on how heavy handed you are with the spoon. I had some left over and put it in the freezer for another day (I also added a spoonful to our oatmeal the next morning. Yum!).
1.5 pounds of fresh cherries
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. quality balsamic vinegar
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Pit the cherries (your hands will be a stained mess, but it’s so worth it) and plop them in a saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and water over the cherries. Mix well, cover, and bring to a very slow simmer. The cherries will begin to release their juices. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until thickened.
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Mash any remaining whole fruit with a large spoon. Remove from the heat and let the coulis sit. Once it’s cooled, add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. You could also serve the coulis warm, which would make a nice contrast with the cold gelato. Your choice. Enjoy!
Eat well,
April

“Love is an ice cream sundae, with all the marvelous coverings. Sex is the cherry on top.” – Jimmy Dean

Black Cherry and Cheese Pie

Roger had his third immunotherapy vaccine last week and, thankfully, he has experienced no ill effects, which is the good news. Now for the bad news. Per the study protocol, chemo restarts again today and this round will be double the previous dosage. It’s not going to be pleasant; therefore, this week we will eat. And eat. And when we’re finished eating, we will eat again. Even gluten.

We hosted a dinner at our home on Monday night, and I made a cheese pie for dessert in anticipation of the scheduled appearance of Roger’s loss of appetite. The pie is really simple to make and quite tasty. Here’s what you’ll need-

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

A springform pan

A jar of Toschi Amarena sour black cherries (you can find them at Bristol Farms)

4 oz. graham crackers

1 oz. unsalted butter, melted

1 oz. almonds (be sure to tell your guests there are nuts in there!)

8 oz. room temperature cream cheese

1 ½ cups sour cream

½ cup sugar

½ tbsp. sifted cornstarch

2 eggs

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. vanilla

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Process the almonds and graham crackers, until fine, in your food processor. Add the melted butter and mix.

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Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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Whisk the cream cheese with an electric whisk. Add the sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the cornstarch and mix. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix again. Add the sour cream and mix again.

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Pour the batter into the pan and place it in the oven. Bake until set, which should be approximately 45 minutes (depends on your oven). Let cool completely. Release the hinge from your springform pan and carefully remove the ring.

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I topped the cheese pie with some of the Toschi black cherries and spooned some black cherry sauce over the top. The amount you wish to use is up to you.

Eat well!

April

“Man never made anything as resilient as the human spirit.”

-Bernard Williamns

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate and Orange Icebox Cake

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Nabisco Chocolate Wafers are the Swiss Army Knife of cookies. They have multiple uses and are one of the more practical cookies sold in the cookie aisle, along with graham crackers and vanilla wafers. You can toss the chocolate wafers into a food processor and turn them into a crumb to make a tart crust, a piecrust, or use them as a layer for an ice cream cake, or trifle. You can use them whole and make a variety of sandwich cookies, ice-cream sandwich cookies, and icebox cakes. I’ve even seen them used as the base to a cookie pilgrim hat: a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with the wide end sitting on top of the wafer and a thin squirt of orange frosting posing as the band. Ingenious! The only limit is your imagination.

I keep a few boxes of chocolate wafers in the pantry at all times for “emergency” dessert preparations (you know life is good when the only emergency you’re experiencing is what you will be having for dessert) and I was recently asked to bring a dessert to an impromptu dinner. Although I wouldn’t have labeled this an emergency, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the house, yet again, for a market run. Instead, I looked around the house and found all I needed to whip something up (pun intended).

Chocolate and Orange Icebox Cake (serves 8-10)

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream – You could use Trader Joe’s Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream here. Because the whipping cream is merely a vehicle for the orange flavor. An intense dairy flavor is not critical here. For easier whipping, thoroughly chill the TJ’s carton before use.
  • 1 whole box of Nabisco Chocolate Wafers processed into a rough crumb consistency. I used my food processor.
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cream
  • 3 tbsp. of powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 – Lindt “Intense Orange” dark-chocolate bar
  • Zest from 2 oranges
  • 1/4 tsp. of orange extract – I have every flavor of extract you can imagine in my “baking” drawer.

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Zest both oranges and then cut them into quarters. Squeeze enough juice for 4 tbsp. If you have some left over, drink up!

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Add your chilled heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, freshly squeezed juice, powdered sugar, and half of your orange zest to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Or, do it the old-fashioned way and whisk by hand. You’ll burn more calories this way allowing you to have more dessert and less guilt!

 

While your cream mixture is working towards stiff peaks, smash your candy bar in a large bag with a meat tenderizer until you have small chunks.

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Once that’s done, add a layer of cookie crumb to the bottom of your serving vessel. I used a glass pedestal bowl.

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Once you have stiff peaks with your cream mixture, you can begin layering your dessert: bottom layer is cookie, then add cream mixture, then another cookie layer (press down on cookie layer to compress to minimize the air pockets), and end with another layer of whipping cream.

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Garnish the top of your dessert with the broken Lindt bar and the remaining orange zest.

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Wasn’t that easy?!  Now refrigerate for 3 – 4 hours before digging in.

What we brought home. Monica polished it off as soon as I took the photo.

What was left. Monica polished it off as soon as I took the photo.

“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not! “ – Author Unknown

Eat well!

April