Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peanut Butter Pie - Reduced Fat

Make this special and delicious recipe for any occasion. Using reduced fat ingredients for the milk, cream cheese, peanut butter and whipped topping makes far healthier than the full-fat version.

INGREDIENTS:

1 2/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 8 1/2 cookie sheets)
7 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2/3 cup reduced-fat crunchy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
3 tablespoons finely chopped salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup shaved milk chocolate (about 1 ounce)

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and egg whites; toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Prick crust with a fork before baking. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack.

Combine milk and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly; transfer mixture to a bowl. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring with a whisk until combined. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Place cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Fold in whipped topping; pour mixture into prepared piecrust. Freeze, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight or until hard. Sprinkle with peanuts and shaved chocolate. Transfer pie to refrigerator 30 minutes before slicing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cognac and Hazelnut Affogato

The name Affogato means “drowned in coffee” - referring to the ice cream. This elegantly quick recipe simply involves taking a scoop of ice cream and pouring over some espresso; this recipe adds Cognac and Hazelnuts, but Caramel sauce or Chocolate sauce are also popular additions. This is a superb recipe for a very simple yet classy dessert.

INGREDIENTS:
120ml Cognac
1 litre vanilla ice-cream
50 grams (1/3 cup) roastd hazelnuts, peeled and halved.
1 tbsp finely ground coffee beans
6x 50 ml shots of freshly brewed espresso

PREPARATION:

Scoop ice-cream into small bowls or glasses. Pour Cognac over and sprinkle with combined hazelnuts and coffee. Serve immediately with shots of espresso to the side to pour over.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cashew-dates

Cashew-date is a pure, natural treat, and has particularly been a long tradition in Hyderabad region of India. A favorite at tens of small shops specializing in dates, dates with cashews is prepared by stuffing sweet, moist dates with fresh cashews. When you take a bite, first you would get the caramel-like date and then the cashew, which balances and enhances the tastes. This is perhaps the simplest recipe we have done at Easy Desserts - but its also makes a very delicious, very simple after dinner sweet!


INGREDIENTS:
Cashews
Dates

PREPARATION:
Stuff the dates with the cashews. Eat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Raspberry and Goats Curd Cheesecake

You can't beat the peerless simplicity of a bowlful of ripe raspberries, plain and unadorned, but on top of this cheesecake they add that bit of sweetness. Additionally, the base of this dish is appealingly crunchy... it is a fantastic cheesecake.

Goat’s curd is available from specialist cheese shops. Recipe serves 8.


INGREDIENTS:

250 gm shortbread biscuits
1½ tbsp butter, melted
3 egg yolks
120 gm caster sugar
50 ml verjuice
4 leaves gelatine, softened in cold water
375 ml (1½ cups) pouring cream
400 gm goat’s curd

2 tsp vanilla bean paste
500 gm raspberries
80 gm (¼ cup) raspberry jam

PREPARATION:

Process biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs, add butter and pulse until combined. Spoon mixture into a 25cm springform cake pan and press evenly over the base. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks in an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Combine sugar and verjuice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve, then bring to the boil and cook until syrup reaches 120C on a sugar thermometer. With motor running on high speed, add sugar syrup to egg yolks in a thin stream. Return saucepan to heat, squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to pan, stir until just melted then add to egg yolks and whisk until cold.


Combine cream, goat’s curd and vanilla paste in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold cream mixture into egg mixture. Spread evenly over biscuit base and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until set.


Arrange raspberries in a single layer over the cheesecake. Pass jam through a fine sieve and discard seeds. Combine sieved raspberry jam and 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Cool slightly, then brush jam over raspberries and refrigerate until required. Cheesecake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.


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Monday, July 21, 2008

Apple, Blackberry & Butterscotch Tart

This is one dessert that just NEEDS to be served with whipped cream. (Well, it doesn't need to, but I cannot imagine it served any other way!) This tart is simple and delicious; put down the pastry - make your own as per this recipe or use store bought - then fill with slices of apple and blackberries before pouring over the butterscotch. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream!

INGREDIENTS:
- Filling
2 large / 3 small Granny Smith apples
15/20 fresh or frozen blackberries
150g brown sugar
3 Tbs plain flour
2 eggs
4 Tbs cream, plus extra for serving

- Pastry
120g plain flour
60g butter
Pinch salt
1 tsp lemon juice
Iced water

PREPARATION:

Make the pastry by putting the flour in a pile on a bench. Dice the butter and add with the salt, rubbing with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and then 1 tablespoon of water at a time, mixing with your fingers until it begins to bind. Gather together into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill for 20 minutes.

Bring the pastry up to room temperature. Roll out to fit a 21cm tart or flan dish and trim. Preheat the oven to 210C. Peel the apples, core, halve and slice thinly then pile into the case. Dot over the blackberries.

Whisk together the brown sugar, flour, eggs and cream then pour over the fruit. Bake for 10 minutes then lower the oven to 180C and continue cooking. If the edges of the crust become too brown, cover with tinfoil and continue to bake until the filling is set.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chocolate Chestnut Cakes

Chestnuts are very low in fat (~1%), very low in sodium and are free of gluten, oil and cholesterol. Chocolate, on the other hand, is not! But brought together they make the basis for these delicious individual chocolate cakes.

If you are having a hard time finding chestnut puree, check your local delicatessens.

INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
85 gm caster sugar
50 gm (1/3 cup) cornflour
25 gm (¼ cup) Dutch-process cocoa, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp plain flour
40gm unsalted butter, melted
½ cup thickened cream
¼ cup sweetened chestnut purée

For the chocolate sauce:
200 gm dark chocolate, chopped
50 gm unsalted butter


PREPARATION:
1. Whisk eggs and sugar until mixture holds a trail. Sift cornflour, cocoa, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and flour over egg mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold in, then add melted butter and fold in until combined. Spoon mixture into two 18x26cm baking paper-lined swiss roll pans and bake at 180C for 12 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly touched. Stand cakes for 3 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool.

2. Using an electric mixer, whisk cream until soft peaks form, then stir in chestnut purée until combined. Using a 7cm-round pastry cutter, cut 12 rounds from sponge, then spread 6 rounds with chestnut cream, top with remaining rounds and refrigerate for 5 minutes or until firm.

3. For chocolate sauce, melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, add butter and stir until smooth.

4. Serve cakes, dusted with cocoa and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Cakes will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mango Cheesecakes

This citrus-ey cheesecake is very creamy and light; the individual serve makes them look extra special. If fresh mangoes are out of season or are otherwise difficult to get, substitute with canned mango pulp. Serve with a lime wedge to further the hint of the tropics.

INGREDIENTS:
125 gm shortbread biscuits
1 tsp ground ginger
30 gm butter, melted
250 gm mascarpone
300 gm cream cheese, softened
90 gm golden caster sugar
120 gm mango flesh, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 limes, juice only
2 mangoes

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 150C. Process biscuits and ground ginger in a food processor until finely ground, add butter and mix to combine. Press biscuit mixture into the bases of six 7.5cm-diameter x 6cm-high ring moulds. Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray and refrigerate until required.

Combine mascarpone, cream cheese, sugar, mango flesh, eggs, egg yolk and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth, then spoon mixture over biscuit base and smooth top. Bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely cold.

To serve, remove cheesecakes from moulds. Thinly slice mango and layer in overlapping slices over top of cheesecake. Serve immediately with lime cheeks.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chococcino Cake


If you love coffee cake as much as chocolate cake, why not combine the two? This recipe merges moist chocolate sponge layers with a creamy mocha filling. We don't seem to do cakes very often here at Easy Desserts - but when its just grease a pan, whisk the ingredients and bake for 20 mins, you know we will give it a go!



INGREDIENTS:

200g soft, butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp baking powder
85g good-quality cocoa powder
140g self-raising flour
200g golden caster sugar (for the sponge)
4 eggs
2 tbsp milk



2 x 250g tubs mascarpone
85g golden caster sugar (for the filling)
4 tbsp very strong coffee
50g dark chocolate , for grating

PREPARATION:


Heat oven to 180C. Grease and base-line 2 x 20cm non-stick round sandwich tins with baking parchment, then lightly grease the parchment. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then tip in all the other sponge ingredients. Using an electric whisk, beat everything together until smooth. Divide the mix between the cake tins, then bake for 20-25 mins until cooked and golden. When cool enough to handle, remove the cakes from the tins, then leave to cool completely on a rack.

Make strong coffee by dissolving 4 tbsp of instant coffee in 4 tbsp of boiling water. For the filling, beat the mascarpone and sugar together, then beat in the coffee. Use half the mix to sandwich the cakes and spread the other half over the top, swirling with the back of a spoon to make pointy curls. Finely grate the chocolate over the top, then serve.





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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry tarts are delicious, for dinner parties, afternoon teas and on picnics. These tarts are easy to make and all the ingredients can be prepared in advance but the final assembly of them is best left up to an hour in advance as the pastry can become moist.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 to 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup seedless red currant jelly
PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, blend flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form (this may take up to 1 minute). Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

With floured fingers, press dough evenly into pan and up sides. Dip a dry-measuring cup in flour, and use it to press dough firmly into bottom and against sides of pan. Freeze crust until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a fork, prick crust all over. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, pressing down gently once or twice with a spoon during baking if crust puffs up. Cool completely in pan.

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth; spread mixture evenly in bottom of baked crust (still in tart pan). Starting from outside edge, arrange strawberry halves, stemmed side down, in tight concentric circles on cream cheese.

In a small saucepan, heat jelly on medium-low until liquefied. Gently brush strawberries with jelly; let set at least 20 minutes. Chill in pan 1 - 6 hours; remove from pan just before serving.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Apple Cranberry Walnut Crisp

We don't always do healthy recipes here at Easy Desserts, but this one is definately a healthy choice. High-fiber, low-calorie, and full of vitamins, oats are a boon to any dish. Another plus for this recipe is that it can be made ahead and warmed in a 250º oven while you eat dinner. It's great served with low-fat vanilla ice cream.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:
9 cups peeled, sliced Gala apples (about 3 pounds)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt

Topping:
1 cup regular oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare the filling by combining apples and next 7 ingredients (apples through dash of salt). Spoon apple mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Combine oats and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 20 minutes or until topping is crisp and juices are thick and bubbly.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nutella Semifreddo

Semifreddo is Italian for "half cold", and can refer to many semi-frozen desserts. This semifreddo straddles several desserts classifications; its mousselike texture is similar to ice cream, but is lighter, airier, and less frozen. I always enjoy ice cream recipes that did not rely on an ice-cream maker, and this one does not. It somehow feels like you've beaten the system, making (a variation of) ice cream without needing "proper" equipment.

This recipe can also work well with a hint of liquer if you want to impart an even more 'adult' feel to the recipe. I found Frangelico goes very well with the nutella; just add a tbsp or 2 to the heavy cream before whipping.

INGREDIENTS:
1 egg
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g Nutella, warmed over a double boiler
300ml heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Pistachios to garnish, chopped

PREPARATION:

Line a 22cm x 11cm x 5cm (1 litre) loaf tin with cling wrap. Place the egg, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk for 5 to 6 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Drizzle in the Nutella and whisk gently to combine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Whipped the heavy cream and then gently fold in the egg and nutella mixture. Pour into the prepared loaf tin, and cover with cling wrap before putting it in the freezer for about 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove from freezer, leave for around 3 minutes for it to thaw, turn out the semifreddo onto a plate, sliced and sprinkle with pistachios.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rice Kheer

Rice Kheer is a sweet rice pudding from India. It is very versatile and can be served warm or cold, and garnished with your choice of dried fruits or nuts.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 c Rice
4 c Milk
1/4 c Raisins
3/4-1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Cardamom seeds
1/4 c Shredded blanched almonds
6-8 drops Rose water
1/2 c Water

PREPARATION:
Wash and drain the rice. Soak in 1/2 c water for 1/2 hour. Boil the rice in the same water until it is coated and the water dries up. Add the milk and simmer on low heat until rice is well blended with consistency similar to porridge. Stir occasionally at first and then constantly when the milk begins to thicken, to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the sugar, almonds, ground cardamom, and raisins and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and set aside. Sprinkle with the rose water.

Serve warm or chilled in dessert bowls.

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