Strawberries with sabayon

If you’re tired of the same old accompaniments for your summer berries, try this sabayon. It is an Italian dessert that slightly custardy and very light. It goes well with a variety of fresh fruits or can be served on the side of cake.

Makes 2 cups

1 pt strawberries
3 large egg yolks
1/3 c sugar
½ c sweet white wine such as moscato or prosecco
Fresh Vanilla, optional

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk
Heat over a double boiler and whip until tripled in volume – do not let it boil and do not let the water hit the bottom of the bowl if you are using stainless steel, you don’t want to cook the egg yolks
If using vanilla, once the mixture has fully developed, scrape in the seeds from the pod and incorporate
Chill and serve cold with fresh strawberries

Panna cotta with raspberry coulis

This panna cotta is probably one of the easiest things I’ve learned to make so far in school. I sorta missed that the chef told us to make a half recipe which meant I wound up with twice as much as I should have. Woops! Not such a bad thing though – we’ve been enjoying this all weekend.

Since I had so much leftover, today I decided to dress it up with a raspberry coulis. PS, don’t throw away the leftover raspberry mixture. If you can handle the seeds, there’s plenty leftover to use for a jam on you breakfast bagel or English muffin.

I recommend making these in the following order: panna cotta, because it needs the most time to set, then the simple syrup because it needs to be completely cooled before using, and finally the coulis. All of these can be made a day ahead of time should you want something easy and impressive to serve at a dinner party. The flavor is amazing and it’s a surprisingly light dessert despite being composed of some heavy ingredients.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 3 to 4 oz servings; more or less depending on the size of the mold you use.

panna-cotta

Recipe

Panna cotta (Recipe converted from Professional Baking, 6th edition by Wayne Gisslen)
Pre-conversion amounts in parenthesis

  • 1 ¼ cup milk (10 oz)
  • 1 ¼ heavy cream (10 oz)
  • ½ cup sugar (4 oz)
  • 1 tsp agar plus 4 tbsp hot water*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*You can use gelatin. For a softer texture and if you’re going to be serving this in the dish it sets in, use 1½ tsps. For a firmer dessert and if you will be taking it out of the mold for plating, use 2 ¼ tsp.

Instructions

  • Heat the milk, cream and sugar in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved and a light film appears on top of the liquid and there are small bubbles along the side of the pan.
  • While the milk, cream and sugar are heating, combine the 4 tbsp water and agar and bring to a boil. Don’t skip this step, the agar has to come to a boil before being put into the mixture.
  • Once the agar has boiled, add it to the milk and cream mixture and stir until dissolved
  • Stir in the vanilla until all ingredients are well combined
  • Pour mixture into molds and chill until set, about 6 hours.

Coulis (Recipe from Food Network)

  • 2 cups raspberries (about 12 ounces), rinsed
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • Bring the raspberries, syrup, and lemon juice to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are very soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the cornstarch over 2 teaspoons cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the simmering raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard the seeds. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Freeze any leftover coulis in a plastic container for up to 1 month.

Simple Syrup

  • Combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour the syrup into a container and refrigerate until completely cold, about 45 minutes. The syrup can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Desert assembly

Plate the panna cotta and drizzle with the raspberry coulis. Garnish with one or two whole raspberries and mint (optional).

Sunshine bars

In honor of the sun and great weather we had for (most) of this weekend, I pulled out this recipe for sunshine bars. You know what, though? I really don’t like the name of it. So I’m just going to call it what it is: lemon-grapefruit bars. I usually don’t spend a lot of time with dessert, but I’ve made a few over the last couple weeks that were pretty darn good.

This is a really good one to make if you’re heading to a party and are on dessert duty. I like it because it makes a million little bites, and a little goes a long way. And what’s even better, it’s the easiest kind of baking you can do. Mix a little sugar, a few eggs, squeeze some lemons, done and done. It’s a totally approachable and easy dish to make, so give it a try if you’ve been shy about baking something!

lemon-bar

Recipe from Leah Eskin

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 55 minutes
Makes: 48 small bars

  • 3 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 3 grapefruits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut up
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained (from about 8 lemons)
  • 6 eggs

1. Buzz: Measure sugar into the food processors. Drop in grapefruit zest. Buzz to a fine grapefruit-scented powder, about 1 minute. Scoop ¼ cup scented sugar into a small bowl; set aside. Scoop 2 ¼ cups scented sugar into a large mixing bowl; set aside.

2. Combine: Measure 1 ½ cups flour and the salt into the remaining ½ cup scented sugar in the food processor. Buzz to combine. Drop in butter. Pulse many times. Mixture will look like fine sand, then coarse sand, then big clumps.

3. Pat: Dump clumps into a 13-x-9-inch baking pan. Pat into the bottom of the pan. Slide into a 325-degree oven and bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

4. Whisk: Meanwhile, whisk remaining ½ cup flour into the scented sugar in the large mixing bowl. Whisk in juice. Whisk in eggs.

5. Bake: When pastry is golden, lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Pour egg mixture over pastry and bake until center is just set, about 30 minutes. Pull pan out of oven.

6. Gild: Spread remaining ¼ cup scented sugar over the top. Cool. Chill. Cut into 48 bars.

 

Banana split bites

I’m going to start out by saying I will probably never make these again. Cute and tasty as they are, they are not that easy to put together. You have to be quick or it will melt everywhere!

They’re pretty good though. If you feel like taking on a quick-fire dessert and have some help on the assembly line, maybe you can make them work. I barely got a picture in before they all fell apart!

bananas1

Thanks to my brother-in-law, if you want to try these, maybe take his idea to dip the whole banana in chocolate and put them in the freezer first. Then dress them up with the goodies and serve. It may make things easier. Or try it once and maybe you’ll find an easier way to assemble these. If you do, let me know!!

This picture was taken barely a minute after they were put together – they just don’t hold up.

bananas2

bananas3

Ingredients:

  • 4 firm bananas – get some while they’re still green
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Whip cream
  • Chocolate, melted
  • Peanuts, sprinkles or other garnish
  • Cherries, blueberries or other fruit topping

To assemble, slice the bananas with the skin still on. Scoop out the inside with a melon baller and put in the freezer. (Careful how long you freeze them. I had them in there for a couple hours and it was too hard to get the peel off.) Melt the chocolate, dip the ends of the bananas in the chocolate then top with ice cream, whip cream and fruit. And do it quickly!

Strawberry basil sorbet

If you’re looking for an easy dessert, look no further. This sorbet is just about the easiest thing you can make and it takes virtually no time. You can put a number of different spins on it as well. For example, next time, I think I’ll add some champagne or vodka to the mix to give it a little kick.

Simple as it gets!

strawberry_sorbet

Recipe

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 lbs strawberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • fresh basil

Stir sugar and water together in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved.

Allow to cool in pan for a 1/2 hour (the syrup is extremely hot) before transferring to a 1 cup container and chilling it in the refrigerator.

While the syrup is cooling, hull strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender. Blend strawberries to a puree, then pour through a sieve into a medium size bowl. Add lemon juice, and stir well.

Refrigerate puree until syrup has chilled – about 1 hour.

Combine chilled syrup and strawberry puree, then transfer to an 8-inch metal baking pan (stainless steel is best).

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours. Remove sorbet from freezer and puree once more in a food processor or blender. Return strawberry puree mixture to metal pan, cover and freeze for a further 3-4 hours.

Garnish with basil.

Serves 6