Friday, April 30, 2010

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie is one of my hubby's favorite desserts. I think it was one of the first desserts I made for him (this, or Lemon Meringue, his other favorite). It's actually quite easy to make, and is soooooo good!

I made individual "pies" for Easter - I placed all of the filling into a large pastry bag, then divided it between 8 chocolate bowls. They were stored in the fridge. Right before serving, I took them out, used my new, fancy smancy Whipped Cream Dispenser (like coffee shops have!) to make them pretty, and served them. Quick, easy to serve, and easy to clean up. They were extremely rich in the chocolate bowls, but no one complained.

FRENCH SILK PIE FILLING (Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book)
Makes 1 pie (8 servings)

1 cup whipping cream
6 oz semi sweet chocolate squares, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 beaten egg yolks
3 tablespoons whipping cream

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted (approx 10 minutes). Remove from heat.

Gradually stir half of the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return egg mixture to chocolate mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until mixture is slightly thickened and begins to bubble (approx 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in additional 3 tablespoons of whipping cream.

Place the saucepan into a bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture stiffens, and becomes hard to stir (about 20 minutes).

Transfer chocolate mixture to mixing bowl.

Beat cooled chocolate mixer on medium to high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light & fluffy.

Spread into pie crust (or individual bowls, in my case). Cover & refrigerate for 5-24 hours.

To serve, top with whipped cream.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Bowls

I have to admit, there really isn't much of a "recipe" here. I made these Easter weekend to serve our dessert in. I wanted a dessert that was single serving - easy to serve & not worry about pie pieces coming out of the pan nicely.

The only ingredient for these is chocolate. Because I didn't want to waste expensive chocolate if these didn't work, I used Nestle's Semi Sweet Chocolate chips.

1. Blow up balloons.

2. Melt chocolate in a double broiler. After the chocolate is melted, you can turn off the stove.

3. Spoon some chocolate onto a plate & spread it around. (This cools the chocolate down so the balloon doesn't pop - you can learn from my experience!)

(Sorry the picture is sideways - I don't know why it's uploading this way!)

4. Gently roll the balloon on the chocolate.

5. Place balloon onto wax paper to cool.

6. Let the chocolate set. You can speed it up by placing in the fridge, but the chocolate may get some spots on it.

7. Once set, cut a very small hole it the top of the balloon. Slowly let the air out of the balloons. As the balloons get smaller, they will pull away from the chocolate. When you get to the bottom, the balloon may stick. VERY slowly, pull the balloon off.

8. Store in a cool place until ready to use. (I made mine 2-3 days early). I made individual French Silk Pies out of these. Watch for my next post for the recipe!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Key Lime Cupcakes

I finally had time to bake again! I haven't had a day off from the hospital in 3 weeks - and was looking forward to getting back into the kitchen. With the beautiful, sunny weather we had this weekend, my hubby requested some lime cupcakes. I've made coconut lime before, but I wanted to try something a little different. Plus, my grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary is coming up in 2 months, and I've volunteered to make dozens of cupcakes to serve all of the guests. (I hope that my husband & I can make it to 50 years!) I want to serve a variety of flavors, so I need to start trying more new recipes. Over the next week or two, you'll also be seeing some of the cupcakes I've made in the past year, prior to starting the blog.

To start, I have to share a picture of the zest. I realize it may be a boring topic, but I love the picture - the green is so vibrant that I can smell the fresh, tart scent of the lime zest, and the beautiful flowering trees in the background. I wish it could stay spring forever!

KEY LIME CUPCAKES (Adapted from Bon Appetit - recipe originally from Bittersweet Bakery)
Makes 12 Cupcakes


3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 med/lg lime's worth)
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (approx 1 lime)
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter & sugar in large bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (batter may look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions.

Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2+ cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.

Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread over cupcakes.

Note: I made a double batch of both the cupcakes & the frosting, and, although I never thought I would say this, I have WAY too much frosting! The cream cheese frosting is very rich, so I put much less frosting on than I usually do (and swirled from the inside out, making more of a "rose" like design). I definitely have enough frosting for another 18-24 cupcakes.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my hubby's favorite two favorite desserts. (It may have been how I won him over in the first place!) I wanted to make a version of the pie that is easier to share, and this recipe definitely fits the bill. Plus, cupcakes have been my "thing" for the past year or two, so I was especially excited to try this recipe out. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart's webpage, but I adapted the recipe slightly so I didn't have to buy too many groceries, or let things go to waste.

I was also excited to try out these cupcakes to try out one of my newest kitchen toys - a torch! And not any little old kitchen torch, I went all out & bought a Benzomatic TS3000 from Home Depot. (It IS labeled as a multi-purpose torch after all.) I read some reviews online, and while the kitchen torches get points for being "cute" and "easy to hold," they just didn't seem to have much power. With my busy schedule as a resident, I didn't want to spend 3-5 minutes torching each individual dessert I make - I needed efficiency!

LEMON MERINGUE CUPCAKES (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes 24 Cupcakes


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour & baking powder

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in lemon juice, lemon extract and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions, and beating until just combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.


8 large egg yolks (save the whites!!)
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
8 large egg whites, room temperature (saved from making lemon curd)

Combine 2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.


Spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (I use Wilton #1M) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak.

Hold a torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over.

(Isn't it a beauty!?!?)


I made the lemon curd the night before baking the cupcakes, and refrigerated it overnight. Cupcakes are best if served in the first day or two.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garlic Pesto Rolls

When planning for my Easter dinner, I decided I wanted to try to make homemade rolls. I ran across these from I decided to give them a try before the big meal, and they are delicious! Much easier to make than I thought they would be, and easy to whip up again for Easter Dinner.

GARLIC PESTO ROLLS (adapted from Savory Sweet Life)
Makes 12

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 (.25 ounce) package (2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Place water, milk, egg, melted butter, sugar, and garlic salt in a KitchenAid mixing bowl. Add flour on top of all the liquid mixture sprinkling yeast on top. Using the dough hook, knead bread mixture on speed 3 until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour in a warm area.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle slightly larger than 9×13 inches. Spread surface evenly with pesto and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Beginning with the long side, roll dough pinching the seam to seal.

Cut into 12 equal slices and place them in a greased muffin tin, cut side up. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from muffin cups and serve warm.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Simple Scones

Wow! It's been too long! I guess working nights & adding a Puggle to the family has distracted me for awhile.

These are one of my "go-to" breakfasts when we have guests. We almost always have everything we need in the house, and they are very simple to mix up. They were delicious on Easter morning served with fresh fruit, coffee & some lemon curd on the side. (And quick to make when you have a new puppy asking for some attention!)

SIMPLE SCONES (adapted from All Recipes)
Makes 12

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup butter (room temp)
1 egg
1 cup raisins/craisins/chocolate chips (flavor of your choice)

In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in the butter. Stir the sour cream mixture and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened. Mix in the "flavor".

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll or pat dough into a Two rounds, 3/4 - 1 inch thick. Cut each into 6 wedges, and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom.