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Mango Sorbet

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I love mangoes, and I couldn’t wait to make mango sorbet this summer.  I was at The Fresh Market recently and saw some of the biggest, most beautiful mangoes for only 99 cents each, so I took that as a sign that I needed to make this sorbet right away!  I think sorbet is my favorite way to enjoy a mango.  It is just sweet enough, and really brings out the flavor of the mango.  I have said before that I am not a huge fan of most fruit desserts, but sorbets are a big exception.  It is hard not to like the taste of a good fruit sorbet in the hot summer weather.  I often reach for a big spoonful after a long run- it’s the perfect way to cool off!  So far, I have not been able to choose a favorite, but this one is definitely a contener!

Mango Sorbet
Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 large, ripe mangoes (2 pounds)

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon dark rum, plus more to taste

Pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the pit.  Cut the flesh into chunks and put them in a blender with the sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt.  Squeeze the mango pits hard over the blender to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible.  Puree the mixture until smooth.  Taste, then add more lime juice or rum if desired.  Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Banana Muffins (TWD)

I’m committing a cardinal sin of blogging this week, as my post has no pictures.  But, I actually have a good excuse.  My husband ate it.  Last week, my sister and her boyfriend spent the night at our house on a weeknight, so I thought I would make this cake into muffins so everyone would have something for breakfast the next morning.  I made these at night and planned to take pictures the next afternoon with whatever muffins were left over.  The trouble is, David didn’t realize this plan and took all the leftover muffins with him to work, leaving me with no muffins to photograph.  I was annoyed for about two minutes, but it was an honest mistake.  So, I’m sorry that I’m leaving no visual here, but I can assure you that these muffins were very much appreciated!

Because I didn’t have that many people to eat these, I decided to cut the recipe in half and make them into muffins.  This also worked since I wanted to make these to grab quickly on the way to work.  Everyone liked them, and they made a great breakfast.  David said that they were pretty much like regular banana bread.  With half the recipe, you can get 12-14 muffins depending on how you fill the tin (I tend to overfill muffin and cupcake tins).  Mary of The Food Librarian chose this recipe, and you can view the recipe on her blog.  You can also visit the TWD blog to see what they actually looked like 🙂

Peach Cobbler

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Besides sorbet, Peach Cobbler is one of the fruit desserts that I truly enjoy.  On a recent vacation, I stopped at a roadside stand to pick up some peaches and couldn’t wait to get home and use them.  I made peach ice cream and this cobbler, and I wish I had gotten more.  My mother-in-law is crazy about peaches, and always makes peach cobbler for everyone at the beach.  She doesn’t bake much, but we always look forward to this cobbler.  I don’t know where she got the recipe, but I’m sure it was from a church cookbook or a newspaper clipping.  You’ll find a similar recipe in most southern kitchens!

I’ve been looking forward to making this cobbler since the last cobbler I made was no good.  That recipe caused a lot of controversy within the TWD group.  Some liked it, but the southern TWD ladies were horrified at the idea of a biscuit topping!  Biscuit topping=not true peach cobbler.  Southern peach cobblers are incredibly simple to make.  You melt some butter in the pan first, then you mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk and pour it on top, then spoon the peaches on top of that.  During baking, the batter will rise to the top and mix with the peaches.  I have always liked more dough, but if you want more fruit, simply increase the peaches.  This is a simple but traditional summer dessert that you don’t want to miss!

Peach Cobbler
Source: my mother-in-law

3 to 4 cups sliced fresh peaches

2 cups sugar

1 stick butter

¾ cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk

Mix peaches with 1 cup sugar and let stand until juices are formed.  Put butter in a 2-quart casserole dish (a 9×13-inch dish works just fine) in a 325-degree oven to melt.  Combine remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and milk; pour over melted butter.  Do not stir; spoon peaches on top of batter.  Do not stir.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

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I love raspberries, but I hate that they are so expensive.  I saw them at Cosco recently for a good price, so I picked some up.  I made cupcakes with half, but was left with trying to decide what to do with the rest of them.  I didn’t have enough for sorbet, but I have been wanting to try this Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream, so I went with that.  I love the combination of raspberries and chocolate, and couldn’t wait to taste this ice cream.  I’ve never had the combination blended together the way before.  It’s always been desserts such as raspberries on top of a piece of cake, where they complement each other, but aren’t totally mixed.  I loved the flavor of this ice cream.  It was such a nice contrast with the sweetness of the chocolate and the tanginess of the raspberries.  It’s not a commonly seen ice cream combination, but one that you should definitely try 🙂  The recipe says that straining the raspberries is an optional step, but I would definitely do it.  It’s kind of a pain, but it’s worth it to not have to worry about raspberry seeds in your ice cream!

I’m also submitting this to the Ice Cream Social, hosted by Scotty Snacks, Savor the Thyme, and Tangled Noodle.  This is perfect since July is National Ice Cream Month!

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream
Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 ½ cups heavy cream

5 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen

Whisk together the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large saucepan.  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it will start to foam up).  Remove from the heat and add the raspberries.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender.  If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cupcakes

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I go running every morning, and often I think of things I want to bake while I’m running (what a great way to stay motivated!).  During a recent run, I thought about raspberry buttercream and how it would be perfect with chocolate cupcakes.  When I got home, I did some searching on the internet, and remembered that Peabody made these yummy cupcakes last summer.  I decided that these were just what I was looking for.

I made these for David’s office.  He works for a small company, and I dropped by one day during lunch to meet everyone (I am a teacher, so I have the summer off to do things like this!).  They loved these cupcakes.  These cupcakes were delicious.  With so much Dutch-process cocoa, they were very rich and chocolaty, and they were nice and moist.  The raspberry buttercream was incredible!  It was perfectly sweet with a nice raspberry flavor- prominent, but not too strong.  The raspberries on top were a great additional touch.  I used a pastry bag to pipe the ganache into them.  It was tedious, but a great detail that didn’t go unnoticed.  I had some ganache left over, but it will be great for drizzling over ice cream or brownies.  I also had some buttercream left over, so I think that next time I would pipe some into the cupcakes for some extra raspberry flavor.  They made a great first impression on David’s office and definitely lived up to my expectations!

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Raspberry Jam Buttercream and Raspberry Truffle
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Devil’s Food Cake
Raspberry Jam Buttercream
Raspberry Truffles

Deeply Dark Devil’s Food Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour mini cupcake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix to incorporate.
Beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the warm water in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake cupcakes for 13-15 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and remove cupcakes from pan. Let cool on wire rack. When cool, frost with Raspberry Jam Buttercream.

Raspberry Jam Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6-8 cups powdered sugar
½ cup seedless raspberry jam

Place butter and jam in a mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream butter and jam until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time until you reach desired consistency. If frosting gets too thick you can add a little milk to thin it out.

Raspberry Truffles

2 pints fresh raspberries, cleaned and dried
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ cup seedless raspberry jam

Place chocolate and raspberry jam in a heat proof bowl.
Bring cream to a boil.
Pour cream over chocolate and jam and let sit for about 3 minutes.
Whisk together chocolate mixture. If it is still a little lumpy, put in microwave for a few seconds and whisk again.
Put ganache into a piping bag fitted or even an plastic bag(with a tiny hole cut out). Pipe chocolate ganache into fresh raspberries.
Let sit in fridge for about 15 minutes. Top frosted cupcakes with raspberry truffle. Eat any extras…they are good.

Strawberry Hand Pies

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I had never really seen hand pies until last summer when I started to see them on blogs.  I thought it sounded like such a fun idea.  Cutting into a whole pie can be a pain (and very messy), but hand pies are easy to transport and easy to serve.  I knew I wanted to experiment with making these.  I made these for our neighbors (while saving a couple!), who have been very helpful to us as we’ve moved in and started to get adjusted to the neighborhood.

The original recipe used peaches, but I decided to use strawberries instead since they have been so good this year and I haven’t found peaches that I’m happy with yet.  The filling was so delicious!  Instead of bourbon, I used rum, although in hindsight, I should have used kirsch.  As Deb says, the pie dough is very fussy, and requires numerous chilling times, but it was very easy to work with and resulted in a flaky, buttery dough.  Making hand pies requires a little more effort than a regular pie because instead of rolling out one crust (or two if you’re making a double-crusted pie), you have to make several.  These would be great to take to a picnic or other event where you don’t want to have to worry about plates and utensils.  It’s also hard to beat such a cute, individualized dessert!  I didn’t get as many pies as the recipe called for.  I think I got 10.  I’m guessing I didn’t make them as small as the recipe said, but to me, they were the perfect size.

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Strawberry Hand Pies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 14 to 24 (depending on cutter size) (I only got 10)

For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:
2 pounds of strawberries
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rum (I would use kirsch next time)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

One egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)
Coarse sanding sugar, for decoration

1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

2. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough. (I used a 4-inch cutter–if you can call a “cutter” the tin edge of the container that holds my smaller round cutters–and managed to get 12 from each dough half, after rerolling the scraps.)

3. Make the filling: Hull and cut strawberries into small pieces, much smaller than you’d use for a regular-sized pie. Mix them with the flour, sugar and pinch of salt, and add the liquor and vanilla, if you wish.

4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

Pineapple Sorbet

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The best part about food during the summer is the abundance of fresh fruit.  I try to eat as much of it as I can during the months it is in season.  One of my favorite fruits is pineapple.  The canned variety just isn’t as good as fresh, and I’ve found that it’s worth it to get a fresh pineapple, even if cutting it can be a bit messy and kind of a pain to do.  I knew that once pineapples started appearing in grocery stores, I wanted to make this sorbet.

Sorbets are so simple, and they are really the perfect summer treat.  This was my first time cutting a pineapple by myself.  It wasn’t that difficult, but it did get pretty messy!  If you want to see a visual of how to do it, this video is very useful.  I loved this sorbet and the way the sweet pineapple flavor came through.  It also had a really smooth texture, just right for sorbet.  I will definitely make this again, and I’m looking forward to trying even more fresh fruit sorbets this summer.

Pineapple Sorbet
Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

½ pineapple, peeled and cored

8 to 10 tablespoons sugar

½ cup water

Cut the pineapple into chunks and puree in a blender with 8 tablespoons sugar and the water until smooth.  Taste, then add up to 2 tablespoon additional sugar, if desired.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise (TWD)

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I am a visual person, and I love when a picture in a cookbook captures my attention.  This Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise definitely did just that, although I waited longer than I usually would to make it!  Once the summer rolled around, I had a good feeling this would be chosen.  I love pineapple, and it seems like other fresh fruits are features more often in summer desserts.  This dessert features pineapple, and combines it with coconut and white chocolate whipped cream sandwiched between layers of meringue.  When you put all those elements together, you have a spectacular summer dessert.

This wasn’t difficult to make, but did require some advance planning.  The meringue bakes for 3 hours (I wish I had read carefully before starting to bake at 9:30 PM!) and the white chocolate whipped cream needs a good chilling period.  Once assembled, the dessert needs at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.  I made the cream and the meringues in one night, assembled it early the next afternoon, and let it chill until after dinner.  It was a pretty messy dessert and it doesn’t keep well, so that is something to keep in mind as well.  I think my favorite part of this dessert is the white chocolate whipped cream.  I am already thinking of some other desserts it would go with- I think it would be great as a filling for cupcakes or to go between cake layers.  This dessert was definitely worth the wait!  You can visit Andrea’s blog for the recipe, and the TWD blog to see everyone else’s pineapple creations.

Honey Peach Ice Cream (TWD)

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As you can see from my other blog entries, I love making ice cream.  It’s the perfect treat, and not just for summer!  I love making ice cream all year, but the best part about summer is being able to use fresh fruit, either in a sorbet, or in an ice cream like this.  Peach ice cream seems to be the most popular summer flavor, and the flavor that comes to mind when people think of homemade ice cream.  I’ve been wanting to try a peach ice cream for a while, and was happy to get the chance.

I must admit, though, that I am a peach snob.  South Carolina has some of the best peaches in the country, and I grew up in a region that produces the most peaches for the state.  Every year I look forward to stopping at roadside stands and picking up a basket of peaches.  Since we just moved, I haven’t found a roadside stand or farmer’s market yet, so I had to buy these peaches at the grocery store, and peach from the grocery store just aren’t as good.  They were fine once I put them in the ice cream, but if you want good peaches for cobbler, pies, or just eating, do yourself a favor and stop by the side of the road 🙂  I really loved this ice cream.  It had a nice, sweet, peachy flavor and a perfectly smooth consistency.  I really liked the bits of peaches in the ice cream.  I cut them in smaller chunks than the recipe called for.  The honey and peach flavor went together nicely.  On the P&Q on the TWD site, Tommi thought about adding amaretto, which I thought sounded like a fabulous idea, so I did just that, and loved the results.  You can visit her blog for the recipe.  This was a great ice cream, and satisfied by peach ice cream craving!  You can see what the rest of the TWD members thought about the ice cream by visiting the TWD blog.

Apple Strudel (Daring Bakers)

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The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I was surprised to see that I had already made a version of this month’s chosen recipe.  I made Sherry Yard’s recipe for Apfelstrudel in February and was pleased with how it came out.  I was interested to see how this one compared.  I made this for my husband, who loves strudel, and I wanted to find out which one he liked better.

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The dough recipes were quite different.  Sherry’s recipe called for egg in the dough and just a little bit of oil, and more water than this month’s recipe.  Rick Rodgers relies more on oil and water and a little bit of vinegar to moisten the dough.  Sherry’s recipe called for a mix of all-purpose and bread flour, while Rodgers’s recipe uses just all-purpose flour.  The filling recipes were quite similar, although I did like the addition of rum in Rodgers’s recipe.  I thought it added a lot of flavor.

I thought this dough was easier to work with, although that may have just come from having worked with this type of dough before.  I followed Yard’s method of stretching out the dough, and was able to roll it out even thinner than I did last time.  Using her method, you stretch out the dough using your fists.  I like this method because it gives you more control over the dough and prevents too much tearing.  Strudel dough is very delicate, and I did make two very small tears, but they were easily fixed.  I didn’t have fresh breadcrumbs on hand, so I used graham crackers instead and it didn’t make a difference.

The result?  David liked this one better!  I could tell by his excitement when he tried it, and by how big a piece he took to work the next day 🙂  I was pleased with how thin I was able to stretch out the dough, and how flaky it was.  I love that strudel is not as complicated as one might think and that it’s something that I will make more often.  I would love to try making this with different fillings.  I think it would be great with raspberries and/or blueberries.  This was a great Daring Bakers month and I can’t wait to find out what June brings!