Key Lime Pie

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“Pie makes everybody happy”

Squeezing the last bits of summer out with this key lime pie – kinda literally. The only key limes I could find were so tiny I had to squeeze a ton of them to get my key lime juice! But it was totally worth it! This pie is perfect part tart and sweet – you won’t regret making it this weekend!

Crust

2.5 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press this crust into a 9-9.5 inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Meanwhile, make filling.

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Key Lime Filling

8-10 key limes (depending on size)

1/3 cup Key lime juice

3 large egg yolks

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Zest limes in one bowl, and then squeeze zested limes to collect juice in a separate bowl. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in your stand mixer until the yolks become thickened and pale. Mix zest in, then add in the condensed milk and beat for a couple minutes. Now mix in the juice for another minute.

Pour filling into the cooled crust. Bake pie for about 15 minutes –  do not let the top brown! Let cool completely to room temperature before topping with meringue and little lime slices.

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Meringue topping

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe the meringue onto your cooled pie. Next use a kitchen torch to brown the tips a bit. Make sure to always hold the torch at a safe distance and turn it off when you’re all done. (Follow the directions that come with your torch.) Top your finished pie with some zest.

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Cherry Clafoutis

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“Life is just a bowl of cherries”

Time for a yummy cherry-centric dessert. Imagine a bunch of cherries piled into a dish, then covered with batter and dusted with sugar – and voila! You have cherry clafoutis! An easy dessert for a nice warm day.

Cherry Clafoutis

2 cups of cherries, pitted

3/4 cup flour

1 cup of milk

4 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Powdered sugar for dusting

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Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or spray with non-stick spray a baking pan or pie pan. Place the cherries into the pan. In a stand mixer, combine the milk, eggs, and sugar. Next mix in the almond and vanilla extracts and salt. Add in the flour and stir. Pour this over the cherries and place in oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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Banana + Strawberry Bread

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“As long as you know how to bake…life is sure to be sweet!”

Here’s a little bit of a twist on classic banana nut bread. It’s summer so we’re lucky to have lots of strawberries! Why not add them to the banana bread and make your sweet treat a little sweeter?! This banana strawberry bread is super moist and the perfect breakfast treat or easy dessert.

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Banana + Strawberry bread

4 bananas

5 large strawberries

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash the bananas in a bowl and set aside. Dice up the strawberries into little squares.  Melt the butter in the microwave. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine the bananas, melted butter, whisked egg, and vanilla – mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined, then mix in the strawberries.

Butter your loaf pan and pour the batter in. Slice the last banana lengthwise and lay both sides on top of the batter. Sprinkle the banana with a little extra sugar. Place in the oven for 60-70 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Mini Pavlovas with Blackberry Sauce

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“Too much of a good thing is wonderful” …. hmmm… like dessert!

Yay for easy summer desserts! And these are naturally gluten free! These desserts are great because you can make most of it a day ahead – so they are perfect for your summer soirées – when you have too much to prepare and not enough time.

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Mini Pavlovas

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 225F.

For the next part you can use a double boiler or a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves.

Next transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment until frothy. Add vanilla. Beat to stiff peaks. Use a large round tip to pipe out a tiny bit of the meringue under each corner of the parchment paper to keep it form moving while you pipe the pavlovas. Pipe out the meringue in 6 circles on each baking sheet, leaving space in between them. It’s ok if your circles aren’t perfectly neat. Alternatively, if you like the more rustic look (as I did in this case), use large spoons to dollop out semi-round pavlovas. Use the back of one spoon to create a nest at the top of each pavlova – where you will place your filling.

Bake for about 1 hour – or until pavlovas are dry to your touch. (Do not open the oven until the hour is up).Once they are done, turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly open for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

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Whipped cream topping

 1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp. sugar (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat heavy cream in your stand mixer with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add vanilla. You can also add sugar if you prefer a sweeter cream. Beat until stiff peaks form.

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Blackberry sauce

2 boxes of fresh blackberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 cup water

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the sauce. Let cool. Save some of the whole cooked blackberries to add to your pavlovas as well.

Assembly

Pavlovas

whipped cream

blackberry sauce

fresh berries

mint leaves (optional)

Chopped pistachios (optional)

Lemon zest (optional)

Remove Pavlovas from parchment paper and place on plates you would like to serve them on. Fill nests with dollops of the whipped cream. Add some of the cooked blackberries and fresh berries on top of the cream, as well as pistachios. Pour on the blackberry sauce. Top with mint leaves and lemon zest. Ready to serve!

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Blackberry Mango Ice Cream

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“Happiness is…eating your ice cream faster than it melts!”

…And trying to take pictures of it before that too! So it’s super hot summer days, and clearly the best remedy for that is ice cream! I finally gave homemade ice cream a go, and all I can say is…I don’t know why I waited so long! I want to make ice cream all the time now!

When people hear blackberry-mango ice cream they might think sorbet. But no. This is every bit the rich and creamy ice cream you’re craving. The fruit does add a super refreshing kick though, especially the little bite size chunks of mango that have frozen over and give you that glorious burst of fruity sweetness when you bite into them. Enjoy!

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Blackberry Mango Ice Cream

1 box fresh blackberries

1/2 a lemon, juiced

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup reduced fat milk (I used 2%)

1 cup +1 tbsp sugar

5 large egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1 mango, chopped into bite sized cubes

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Combine first three ingredients into medium sauce pan on low heat for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile heat milk and 1 cup sugar over low heat, warming it only – do not bring to a boil.

In your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the egg yolks and 1 tbsp. sugar until yolks lighten in color. Next you’ll need to temper the eggs. Do this by adding a couple tablespoons of the hot milk mixture to the stand mixer while it is whisking on low. Then slowly add all of the milk mixture to the eggs and continue to whisk until all mixed in well. Now pour this mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly until it thickens. This may take just a few minutes.

Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain your blackberry syrup over the bowl, making sure to extract as much juice as possible ( discard the rest – you don’t want those seeds!). This will give your ice cream that nice creamy purplish-pink color as well as all your blackberry flavor. Pour your custard mixture into this mixture and combine well. Now you need to get this to a cold temperature. You can either keep it in the fridge for a while, or speed it up a bit by placing the bowl in an ice bath, letting it cool outside the fridge, then placing this ice bath in the fridge to speed it along even more. This shouldn’t take more than 30 mins-1 hour if you do it this way (hey, we want our ice cream NOW! 🙂 )

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After you get the mixture cold (and do make sure it is cold), you can follow your manufacturer’s instructions for churning. In my case (Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment and bowl), make sure the ice cream bowl that comes with it has been kept in the freezer for 15 hours beforehand. Remove from freezer, attach ice cream churning attachment and turn it on while you add your ice cream mixture to the bowl. Churning took me about 20-30 minutes. At about 12 minutes I added my mango cubes. After you’re all done, make sure to remove from the ice cream mixing bowl ( do not place in freezer in this bowl!) and place in a freezer-safe container that you can cover with a lid. I froze it overnight and it was perfect the next day. You can definitely eat it sooner, it just won’t be as thick and creamy, and will definitely drip more!

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Hope you have a sweet day!

Blueberry and Raspberry Summer Fruit Tarts

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“Happiness is a bowl of fresh berries”

…or maybe a bunch of fresh berries on top of a shortcrust mini tart and creamy vanilla custard? I’ll take the latter version 😉 Here’s my favorite fruit tart recipe- hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Shortcrust Tarts

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

a bit less than 1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Beat together two egg yolks with water. Add dry ingredients to butter in parts, beating in between additions. Add the eggs to the mixture and then the vanilla. When dough clumps together, remove from stand mixer and wrap well with plastic wrap. Place in fridge overnight. Save egg whites in refrigerator to brush tarts with later while baking.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place in pre-buttered tart pans (with removable bottoms). Pre-heat oven to 375F. Prick the tarts with a fork and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover each little tart pan with parchment baking paper and fill middle with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have those) so that the dough does not rise while baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes this way. Then remove from oven, remove beans/rice/weights/parchment paper and cover with egg white wash. Return to oven for a few minutes until golden-brown. Make sure they don’t burn! Let the tarts cool to room temperature before removing from tart pans.

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Vanilla Custard Cream

3 egg yolks

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 cup reduced fat milk

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp sugar

Beat egg yolks, flour, cornstarch in stand mixer until it becomes pale yellow and thickens a bit. Now boil milk, vanilla, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Once boiled, pour milk mixture into egg mixture, and mix well. Next pour this back into the saucepan and boil once more. This will thicken very quickly so stir constantly and do not look away. Once thickened, remove from stove and pour into a bowl. Allow to cool a bit, then cover with plastic wrap (touching the custard so a film does not develop) and place in fridge until cool. Meanwhile, in stand mixer, beat heavy cream to soft peaks. Add sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold this in parts into the cooled cream you’ve taken out of the refrigerator. Now your vanilla pastry cream is ready!

Use a spoon to divide the vanilla custard cream among the small tarts. Next, place blueberries and raspberries  in any arrangement on top. That’s it! The optional step if you’d like a glaze over your tarts ( especially if you don’t eat them right away), is to just boil some raspberry jam until you get a thick liquid consistency of the raspberry jam, and then just brush this over the berries on the top of your tart.

Bon Appetit!

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Strawberry Meringue Cake

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“Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

Yes! And this Strawberry Meringue Cake is the perfect addition to any summer soiree. Also, strawberry curd. It’s in this cake, but it should also be on top of your bagels, in your pastries, and just on a spoon headed into your mouth – because it is sooo tasty! Try not to eat all of it before you finish making the cake 😉

Strawberry Cake

10 large strawberries, pureed in blender, put through strainer

2 sticks (1 cup) butter

2 cups sugar

1 package strawberry gelatin

3 cups flour

pinch of salt

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla (clear)

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Prepare cake pans with non-stick spray. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in large bowl and set aside.

Beat butter in stand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and strawberry gelatin to combine. In a separate bowl mix together milk, buttermilk, vanilla, strawberry puree, and eggs. Add this mixture to the stand mixer and combine. In 3 parts add in the dry ingredients from separate bowl. Mix well.

Place batter into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Check if it is done with a toothpick in the center of the cake that comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

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Blackberry Cream Cheese frosting

1 box pureed and strained blackberries

1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

4.5 cups powdered sugar

After pureeing the blackberries in the food processor, strain the puree so you don’t have any seeds. Beat butter and cream cheese together in stand mixer. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cups and mix. Add Blackberry puree 1 tbsp at a time until desired color and consistency. (Remember you don’t want it too liquid-y because you will be piping the cream cheese frosting)

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Strawberry Curd

1 box strawberries, pureed in blender and strained

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp corn starch

3 eggs yolks

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup butter, cut into cubes

Add first 5 ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until thickened. Turn off the stove and add butter 1 cube at a time to further thicken. Continue mixing until melted. Let cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap (so that the plastic wrap touches the curd), and place in refrigerator for 1-4 hours. The more time, the thicker it will get – but if you’re in a rush like I was, and making this a couple hours before you are supposed to bring it to a party (oops!) – 1 hour will do!

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Meringue frosting

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract (clear)

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks.

Assembly

On your first layer of cake, spread a thin amount of blackberry cream cheese frosting, layer this with fresh strawberries that have been thinly sliced. Next, pipe a thick circle of the frosting around the top of the cake in a circle to create a border for the strawberry curd. Now using a spoon, fill the center of the cake with desired amount of curd. Place next cake layer on top and repeat the process one more time. Place last cake layer on top. Next crumb coat the cake with the meringue in a thin layer (it spreads very smoothly). Place this in the fridge for 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and using a closed star tip, pipe roses around the cake (starting at the bottom), with the meringue. Once you’ve completed piping the roses, use your kitchen torch to toast the meringue. This helps stabilize the frosting as well. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then enjoy!

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