Tag Archives: fruit

Viennese Whirl Cookies

I don’t remember eating a lot of desserts growing up … crepes, cream puffs, apple strudel, walnut torte with chocolate butter cream icing. Occasionally, my mom would make small crescent shaped cookies with ground walnuts in the dough. It may have been because she just wasn’t that fond of sweets. My dad, on the other hand, had a great sweet tooth. Unfortunately he didn’t bake so desserts were a rare event.

One of the first things I ever ‘cooked’ for my dad, that he loved, was Rice Krispie squares. The microwave made throwing together a pan so easy that I could have made them weekly but I didn’t make them often which made each pan that much more appreciated. (And the no bake cheesecake with Whip and Chill whipped cream, cream cheese, a crumb base, and canned cherry pie filling. My dad LOVED it.)

Over the years, I’ve expanded my dessert repertoire, and recently, UK/British ‘biscuits’ or cookies have become a small obsession.

After some previous successes, I’m iffy on the the most recent biscuit … Viennese whirls. I think it was the ‘idea’ of the cookie that inspired me. Tender shortbread cookies piped into a swirl and baked and then a butter/icing sugar filling and raspberry jam was sandwiched between two of the cookies.

I did some research, watched a few videos, picked a nice simple recipe and made a batch this weekend.

There were challenges in piping the dough which was quite stiff, even after I added some milk. And the cookies used up a LOT of the dough. I was able to pipe sixteen cookies, with which I could only make EIGHT sandwiches. The dough spread on baking so that the two inch cookies I piped out ended up about three inches in diameter. (PS: I had to increase the baking time of the tray of cookies to 20 minutes, because the tops/edges of the cookies remained pale, even after 15 minutes. The underside was a light golden brown by the end.) Handling the cookies was a challenge too since they were so tender and crumbly that the edges broke off when I tried to move them.

Which made filling the cookies a nightmare. When I tried to press down the top cookie to make a sandwich … it crumbled. By ‘smooshing, the buttercream filling down with an offset spatula, I managed to assemble a half dozen, more or less, nice looking cookie sandwiches. The cookies themselves were barely sweet but the filling made up for the lack. The jam (I used the last of my strawberry jam since I didn’t have any raspberry) almost seemed tart in comparison. I sifted icing sugar over the top, since that’s a feature of the cookies, but it’s NOT necessary.

REVIEW: The cookies are edible but, to be honest, you can barely get through one because they’re so BIG. And sweet. I’m sure they’d be appreciated by a lot of people. They just weren’t to my taste.

In conclusion, if I were to make something similar again, I’d try a different recipe and technique for making the cookies. The round ‘mound’ (top left in the picture directly above) I made using the dough scraps spread nicely and was a tasty nibble. No piping or filling necessary. If piping, small (1 inch) rosettes might work as they’d spread during baking, resulting in much smaller and thinner cookes to construct the sandwiches with. A recent post on FB resulted in the suggestion to reduce both the flour and the cornstarch by 25 gm each.

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Single Serving Apple and Blueberry Desserts

My pantry is rather sparse in terms of dessert ingredients, other than the basics. And my fruit crisper drawer is limited to a few apples (Red Delicious), so when I was planning on a seasonal fruit-based dessert for Thanksgiving (I don’t like pumpkin), the pickings were slim.

I decided on a single serving dessert that could be made and served in a cup sized ramekin.

I was intrigued by two possibilities and, rather than decide, I made them both. I included blueberries from the freezer in the apple crumble for colour and bit of extra flavour. The original apple crumble dessert recipe also used rhubarb.

Blueberry Pudding Cake

Blueberry Pudding Cake – serves 1

Blueberry Base

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries*
1 tsp lemon juice

* If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw.

Cake

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tbsp sugar**
2 1/2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter or margarine

** I tried 2 tbsp and thought it needed a bit more sugar next time.

Topping

1 tsp cornstarch
2 – 2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.

Use a ramekin that holds a bit more than 1 cup. Place onto a baking sheet for ease of transport and in case of boil overs.

Place the blueberries in the bottom of the ramekin and sprinkle the lemon juice over the top. Stir a bit to coat the blueberries.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the milk and melted butter and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Gently spoon the cake batter in a layer over the top of the blueberries.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Spoon evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Carefully pour the boiling water over the top, then place the baking sheet with the ramekin on it into the oven. (NOTE: This was the tricky bit for me as the water threatened to overflow the ramekin. I had to pour some water in, wait for it to trickle down through the edges of the batter and into the blueberries below, finding any available spaces, before adding some more. There was a bit of overflow during baking, making the baking sheet underneath a smart idea.)

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or pouring custard/Creme Anglaise.

Apple-Blueberry Crumble

Apple and Blueberry Crumble – serves 1

Filling

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 tbsp blueberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Crumble

2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp rolled oats or sliced almonds*
2-3 tbsp sugar

* I didn’t have any rolled oats in the pantry so I added the almonds for texture and bulk.

Preheat the oven to 350-360 deg F/180°C. Lightly oil a 1 cup ramekin with a neutral tasting oil like canola. Place the ramekin onto a baking sheet for ease of transport and in case of boil overs.

Place the prepared apple and blueberries in a bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the top of the fruit; add the brown sugar and stir through. Place the fruit into the ramekin, packing down a bit as needed.

Place the flour, butter,  sugar and oats in a medium bowl. Use your fingers or a fork, rub in the butter until it’s well combined and large crumbs form.

Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and bubbling.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream or pouring custard/Creme Anglaise.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving (2018)

Happy Thanksgiving

 

I went a little overboard this year and bought a pre-cooked 5 kg honey-glazed spiral cut ham for my Thanksgiving meal. It cost me $22 CDN and I figure I’ll get at least ten meals out of it so it was definitely a good purchase, price wise.

I had a wonderful lie in this morning, and hadn’t done the math needed to figure out how long it would take to re-heat this monster, ahead of time. It turned out to be almost THREE HOURS, with the enclosed glaze being brushed on for the last half hour. Next time I’d up the temperature to AT LEAST 300 deg or even 325 deg, from the 275 deg F written on the wrappings, because, even after the maximum roasting time recommended, it was still only lukewarm inside. So I sliced off and reheated the portion I ate in the microwave. By this point, it was 6 pm. And I was VERY hungry.

The ham was tasty and moist, but the potato and onion gratin was the star of the show, in my opinion. I started out with this recipe, and then made some changes. Because I was starved, I served myself about one quarter of the dish and by the time I was finished, I was so full, that I almost didn’t have room for dessert.

ALMOST

Cause this was a great looking dessert.

I wanted to make some sort of seasonal fruit dessert for Thanksgiving, but all I had in the house were three apples (Red Delicious) in the crisper drawer, and some blueberries in the freezer. I decided on an apple crumble (with sliced almonds in the crust because I didn’t have any rolled oats in the pantry) with a couple of tablespoons of the blueberries added for a bit of colour. I’ll post my recipe for an individual apple crumble in a future post. As well as for an individual blueberry pudding cake I made.

Potato and Onion Gratin

Potato and Onion Gratin – serves 6-8

1 medium (~300 gm) sweet potato, peeled, halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick *
1 medium white/yellow (~100 gm) Russet potato, peeled, halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick*
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced (1/8-1/4 inch thick)
~4 oz (125 gm) cream cheese, cubed
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
4 strips of cooked bacon, thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch thick)

* Use all sweet potatoes or white potatoes, if preferred, or if that’s all that you have available.

Topping

1/2 cup grated old cheddar cheese
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup fried onions

Combine topping ingredients in a shallow dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit.

Lightly oil a medium sized baking dish with a neutral oil like canola. (Spray with a cooking spray if you prefer.)

Cover the base of the baking dish evenly with about 1/3 of your sliced potatoes. Scatter about half of the sliced onions over the potatoes. Make another layer of potatoes, and then scatter the remaining onions over the top. Finish with the last of the potatoes.

Place the cubed cream cheese in a medium sized, microwave safe bowl, and warm just long enough to soften the cheese. Whisk/stir in the flour and the dried thyme. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, a bit at a time, until it’s smoothly combined with the cheese and flour mixture. Whisk in the milk.

Pour the cream cheese/broth/milk mixture over the layered potatoes and onions. Scatter the bacon over the top. Put the lid on the casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.

Take the lid off the casserole dish, scatter the topping evenly over the casserole and return to the oven. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes, then serve.

“Cake in a Mug” Duo

A few years ago I ran across a wonderful post on Diethood which had links to a collection of microwaved ‘cakes in a mug’. I copied several of the recipes and even made one … a “Strawberries and Cream” version. I served it with some macerated strawberries on top.

It was tasty but, for some reason, I never tried any of the other recipes in the collection I saved. Until this week.

By the way, I heartily recommend checking out Katerina’s blog. She’s a talented home chef, wife and mother of two young girls, and a beautiful person, inside and out.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Add ins: 1 tbsp chocolate chips

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the chocolate chips, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 2 minutes. Good texture (maybe a touch too firm) and taste. I’ll try 1 min 45 sec next time.

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 5 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 3-4 tbsp granulated sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp blueberry yogurt, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add ins: 2 tbsp frozen or fresh blueberries

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the blueberries, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 1 min 45 sec. Texture of the cake was very good, more tender compared to the slightly tougher one of the chocolate and peanut butter one that was cooked longer.

Crumb of the cake

I split open the ‘cake’ to see the distribution of the frozen blueberries. Everything was great UNTIL I tasted it and realized that I had forgotten to add the sugar.

So I poured the rest of the container of blueberry yogurt over the top and dug in. A tablespoon of sweetened whipped cream would have worked too. Or maybe some honey.

Flour and Blueberries (Muffins and Pancakes)

I finally replenished my stock of all purpose flour but, for reasons I won’t go into, ended up buying two 10 kg bags about a week apart, instead of my usual 20 kg bag.

In any case, it all ended up in five pound bags in the freezer, except for what was used to fill my tin flour canister.

Among the many things I made with the flour were blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes. Fresh blueberries sometimes go on sale, and, if I can, I buy a couple of clamshells full and bag and freeze them since no preparation is needed and they can be used straight from frozen.

The muffins were from a basic recipe which can be adapted with whatever additions are desired. You may find the combination of brown and white sugar a bit less sweet than a regular muffin recipe. In that case, use all white sugar.

Carole L’s Basic Buttermilk Muffins – makes a dozen large muffins

2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a large muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick cooking spray (or both).

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugars, salt, and baking powder.

In a liquid measuring cup beat together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until combined, do not over mix. Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups.

Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 deg Fahrenheit (don’t forget this!!). Continue baking until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about another 12 minutes.

Mix Ins:
Add 1 cup chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, candy, etc.

For Fruit Muffins:
1 1/2 cups fruit (such as berries, apples, etc.), finely chopped and well drained
If using fruit, add in with the dry ingredients to make sure the fruit stays evenly distributed and doesn’t sink to the bottom.

Banana Muffins:
3/4 cup mashed overripe banana (from about 2 small bananas) Add in with the wet ingredients.

The pancakes themselves, from a King Arthur Flour recipe that used an equal combination of all purpose flour and barley flour (home ground from some pot barley in my pantry) were a great success, taste wise, even if the blueberry version was a disappointment.

All purpose and barley flour pancakes

The second side, with the blueberries sticking out, didn’t make contact with the frying pan, and the surface didn’t really brown properly but looked almost wet and gummy when done. When cooled, I didn’t even bother eating one (of the three I made) but bagged and froze it until I have a pancake craving and buy some more maple syrup.

Mandarin Orange Trifle

I was in the mood for something sweet that didn’t involve chocolate and was fast to make. With a can of mandarin oranges from the pantry as well as a package of Savoiardi (Italian lady fingers) I came up with this creamy dessert. I didn’t have any instant pudding so I made my own using a basic vanilla pudding recipe spiked with a touch of orange extract.

And, I scaled it down to serve two in the faint hope of watching my waistline.

Mandarin Orange Trifle for Two

1 recipe of vanilla pudding (see recipe below)
1 can of mandarin oranges, drain the orange segments and reserve both the syrup and the oranges in separate bowls
4 Savoiardi biscuits
1 tbsp orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)**

Garnish
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped with a teaspoon of sugar until soft peaks form
reserved orange segments, about 1/3 of the can

** Omit the liqueur if it’s an issue

Set out 2 tall glasses for the assembly.

In a small bowl, combine 6 tbsp of the syrup, from the can of oranges, with the liqueur.

NOTE: I decided on TWO layers of biscuits, pudding and orange segments, topped with whipped cream and garnished with orange segments for each glass, so I divided the orange segments, by eye, into SIX relatively equal portions. The pudding was divided into FOUR x 1/4 cup portions.

Break one of the biscuits into 3-4 pieces depending on the size of your glass, and place the pieces in the bottom of the glass. Drizzle one tablespoon of the syrup over the biscuits. Let sit for 3-5 minutes until all of the syrup is absorbed by the biscuits.

Pour 1/4 cup of the warm vanilla pudding over the biscuits.

Arrange one portion of the drained orange segments evenly over the pudding.

Break a second biscuit into 3-4 portions and place over the orange segments.  Sprinkle with the syrup as you did earlier and let sit a few minutes to allow the biscuits to absorb the syrup.

Pour 1/4 cup of the warm vanilla pudding over the biscuits.

Repeat for the 2nd glass. If you have any pudding left, divide evenly among both glasses.

Arrange one portion of the drained orange segments over the pudding in each glass.

Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour before serving to let the pudding set and so that the biscuits will soften.

Just before serving, whip the cream and sugar. Spoon over each glass and garnish with the reserved orange segments.


Vanilla pudding – serves 2

1 cup cold milk, divided
4-6 tbsp sugar *
1 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
1 tbsp butter or margarine (if using salted butter or margarine, omit the salt)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp orange extract (optional)

* I’m going to use the lesser amount next time.

In a microwave safe measuring cup, scald 3/4 cups of milk. Reserve the rest of the milk

In a sauce pan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the rest (1/4 cup) of the milk and whisk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until the pudding starts to thicken and bubble.

 

Remove the saucepan from the stove and spoon a tablespoon of the hot mixture into the lightly whisked egg yolk. Whisk together. Add another couple of tablespoons of the hot mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk together. (You are tempering the egg yolk so that it doesn’t curdle when added to the remaining hot pudding mixture.) Add the egg yolk mixture into the pudding in the saucepan and whisk together.

Return the saucepan to the hot element on the stove and keep whisking until the mixture is boiling. Cook for an additional minute.

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and turn off the element. You’re done cooking the pudding.

Whisk in the butter or margarine and the vanilla extract, as well as the orange extract, if using.

Spoon into two serving bowls and refrigerate.

No Churn Ice Cream Duo – Cherry Garcia Cheesecake and Black Sesame Seed

I brought home over a kilogram of beautiful sweet ripe cherries and after eating some out of hand, I wondered what I could make with the rest that didn’t involve some sort of baked goods using flour.

Ice cream seemed a perfect solution. I wanted to use as much cherry puree as possible to make the flavour stand out but was afraid that would thin out the ice cream base too much. Since I had a couple of ounces of cream cheese in the fridge, I though the addition would thicken the base, sort of a cheesecake version. And, at the last minute, I added the dark chocolate chunks for a Cherry Garcia cheesecake ice cream.

Cherry Garcia Cheesecake No Churn Ice Cream – recipe makes ~ 4 cups of ice cream

3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp alcohol**
1 tbsp flavouring**
50 gm dark chocolate, cut into rough chunks, or mini chocolate chips
250 gm cherries, pitted (if sour, add 2 tbsp sugar)
57 gm (2 oz) cream cheese, softened to room temperature

** If using an extract with an alcohol base, like vanilla extract or limoncello, as I have in the past, one tbsp of the extract is all you need. In this case, I used 1 tbsp of Kirsch, a cherry flavour liquer.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, flavourings and add ins. (NOTE: For the first attempt, I added the cream cheese, sugar and Kirsch to the bowl of a food processor and processed them together until the cream cheese was smooth. Then I added the sweetened condensed milk and the pitted cherries and pulsed them together briefly, scraped down the sides and pulsed the contents again. You want to leave some chunks. Turn out into a medium sized bowl. If you’ve pureed your cherries too much, pit and roughly chop 5-6 cherries and add them to the bowl.) Add the chunks of chocolate to your bowl of cherries.

In a medium sized bowl, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Add about 1/4 of the whipped cream to the bowl of cherry flavoured sweetened condensed milk to lighten it up and then fold this mixture into the rest of the whipping cream, trying to deflate the whipped cream as little as possible.

Transfer the ice cream gently into a lidded 4 cup freezer safe/Tupperware container. Freeze for AT LEAST 6 hrs or overnight before serving. For maximum creamy texture, let the ice cream sit at room temperature for about 10-15 min before scooping.

And so that the rest of the can of sweetened condensed milk wouldn’t end up in the freezer, I wanted to make a second flavour. In contrast with the sweet fruitiness of the cherry ice cream, I decided on a simple black sesame seed ice cream. The flavour is subtle and the slight bitterness of the toasted and ground sesame seeds tones down the sweetness of the basic no churn recipe.

Black Sesame Seed No Churn Ice Cream Recipe – 3/4 cups whipping cream, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 1/2-2 tbsp toasted ground black sesame seeds, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt. Makes a bit over 2 cups of ice cream.

Coconut Mango Panna Cotta and Defrosting Update

A picture of some lovely ripe mangoes (88 cents each) in the most recent Food Basics flyer led me to consider making either mango creme caramel or a mango panna cotta. I decided on the latter since it didn’t involve turning on the oven. In the current heat wave, even with the A/C on, that’s an important consideration.

I was able to get a couple of cups of a smooth and tasty mango puree from two mangoes. And, using a can of coconut milk in place of whipping cream let me get some extra flavour into the creamy dessert while reducing the calorie count.

Based on the proportions of gelatin and mango puree I found in a recipe on line, I came up with a recipe. And then I had to adjust THAT since my panna cotta didn’t set enough to turn out cleanly. The recipe below is a bit awkward but uses amounts of coconut milk and mango puree that minimize wastage or leftovers. Once I get through all this test batch of panna cotta, I’ll play with reducing the recipe to something that’s more practical for a single person.

Coconut Mango Panna Cotta – serves 6 or 7 1/4 cup portions

1 can (400 ml / 1 2/3 cup) coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup mango puree*
4 1/2 tsp gelatin (1 1/2 pkts Knox gelatin)**
2 tbsp room temperature water (or orange juice)

Mise en Place … after finishing this bowl of soup, I’m going to make my mango puree

* Two good sized ripe mangoes, diced and pureed in a stand blender, with as much juice as gathered while cutting and peeling the mangoes, should give you about 2 cups of mango puree. Taste the puree and, if needed, add a tablespoon or two of additional sugar before using.

** If using some other thickening agent, ie agar agar or sheets of gelatin, use enough to set 3 cups of liquid.

Scald the coconut milk. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool until just warm to the touch. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.

In a small bowl, empty the gelatin and stir in the orange juice and 2 tbsp of warm coconut milk. Stir/whisk until the gelatin is evenly moistened and then pour into the warm coconut milk. Whisk through. Add the mango puree and again, whisk until everything is evenly mixed together. (If desired, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to make sure there aren’t any mango fibres or undissolved bits of gelatin.)

Divide among as many small ramekins as desired. Portion size may vary from 1/4 to 1/3 or even 1/2 cup. Tap the bottom of the container, very gently, on a flat surface to release any bubbles in the panna cotta. If using fragile glasses, you may not wish to risk breakage so skip this step.

Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight, before serving.

NOTE: If you wish to turn out the panna cotta, lightly oil the ramekin with a neutral tasting oil. Otherwise, just pour into a pretty cup, let it set, and serve directly out of the cup.

Freezer Defrost Status: Before and After … as of July 1st, this is my upstairs freezer.

Peaches and Other ‘Stone’ Fruit

According to wiki, ‘peaches are a type of drupe or ‘stone’ fruit characterized by a large central stone, which contains the seed. Other examples include apricots, cherries and nectarines.’

Nectarines and peaches were on sale this past week, and I couldn’t decide between them, so I bought five of each, intending on making a large baking dish of crumble bars. And then I found that I didn’t have enough flour in the house to make the full recipe. So I made a small (8 inch by 8 inch) baking dish instead and used the extra fruit to make a compote.

The compote was used to top a ‘peaches and cream’ parfait recipe that I found posted on the Fridgg website.

‘Peaches and Cream’ Parfait – A cheesecake-like base topped with the fruit compote of your choice. Serve with, or without, lightly sweetened whipped cream on top. I made half the recipe of the cream and divided it among three pretty glasses.

This is the stone fruit compote recipe that I used to top the parfait, with the changes I’d recommend on a future attempt, since, in my opinion, the compote recipe as posted was too soupy and sweet, and the amount of cinnamon used overwhelmed the flavour of the fruit.

Peach Compote – makes ~1 cup

3 fresh peaches, skinned, pitted and diced
1/2 cup brown sugar (reduce to 1/3 cup, or less)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup water (reduce to 2 tbsp)
1 tsp cinnamon (reduce to 1/4 tsp)

In a medium saucepan, add the ingredients and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the mixture thickens a bit. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge for a week or so. Serve over a plain sponge cake, ice cream, oatmeal or pancakes.

Peach and Nectarine Crumble Bars – An easy dessert which I first saw posted on Charles’s ‘Five Euro Food’ website.

‘Peaches and Cream’ Pavlova – Pavlovas made with leftover egg whites and topped with barely sweetened whipped cream and the last of my stone fruit which had been sliced and macerated in some sugar and vanilla bean extract. ‘Nectarines and cream’ doesn’t have the same appeal though it tastes just as good as peaches.

Strawberry Lemonade

If you have an excess of sweet (or not so sweet) strawberries on hand, make a big jug of strawberry lemonade this summer and enjoy it under a shady umbrella in your favourite outdoor spot.

Strawberry Lemonade – makes 5-6 cups of lemonade

Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup water, boiling
1/4 cup sugar, plus more sugar if needed

In a saucepan on the stove, or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave, bring water to the boil and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let cool slightly.

Strawberry Puree
400-425 gm (~2 1/4 cup) chopped strawberries
1/2 cup cold water
2 tbsp (1/8 cup) sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cold water

5-6 fresh strawberries, for garnish

In a stand/bar blender, puree the chopped strawberries, water and sugar.

In a large jug, add 1 1/2 cups water, sugar syrup, strawberry puree and lemon juice. Stir well, taste, adding more sugar if needed (another 2 tbsp at a rough estimate) and refrigerate.

Serve over a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with small to medium strawberries with a small slit in the base.

NOTE: The strawberry lemonade will look somewhat pink when first made due to all the air incorporated into the strawberry syrup during pureeing. As the bubbles burst and the foam dissipates, the lemonade will darken in colour.

Hard lemonade: Add 1 oz of vodka to each glass of lemonade.