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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lemon-Blackberry Mini Tarts

* 1/2 of a 15-ounce package folded refrigerated unbaked piecrust (1 crust)
* 1/2 of an 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup purchased lemon curd
* 1 cup fresh blackberries
* 2 tablespoons seedless blackberry spreadable fruit
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 4 mint sprigs
* Powdered sugar

1. Let piecrust stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Unfold piecrust. Cut four 4-1/2- to 5-inch rounds from piecrust. Press rounds firmly into bottom and up sides of four 3-1/2- to 4-inch individual tart pans with removable bottoms. Trim crusts even with top of pans. Prick bottoms of each crust several times with tines of a fork. Place pans on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

2. In a small mixing bowl beat cream cheese and lemon curd with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Divide filling among pastry shells, spreading evenly. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours or until well chilled.

3. Before serving, remove from pans; arrange tarts on plates. Arrange berries on each tart. Combine spreadable fruit and lemon juice; spoon over tarts. Add a mint sprig, and sift powdered sugar over tops.

Makes 4 servings.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Coconut-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

* 1/2 cup butter
* 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup flaked coconut
* 1/2 cup ground pecans
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1-1/2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 Tbsp. brandy or milk
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 2 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. For crust, in a small saucepan heat butter over medium heat until the color of light brown sugar. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. In medium bowl stir together graham crackers, flour, coconut, pecans, and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir in butter until combined. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

4. Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar on medium until combined. Add eggs, brandy, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour over hot crust. Sprinkle with blueberries.

5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until center appears set. Cool in pan on rack. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into bars. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes about 32 bars.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cherry Revel Bars

* 1 cup butter, softened, divided
* 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 4 eggs, divided
* 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla, divided
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 cups (10 ounces) fresh sweet cherries (such as Bing or Royal Ann), pitted
* 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. In mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup of the butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the brown sugar, the baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, occasionally scraping bowl. Beat in 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat or stir in 1-1/4 cups of the flour. Stir in oats; set aside.

2. For filling, in saucepan stir remaining 1-1/2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter over medium heat until combined; cool slightly. Stir in remaining 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; lightly beat with wooden spoon. Stir in remaining 1-1/4 cups flour and the chocolate.

3. Set aside 3/4 cup oats mixture; press remaining in pan. Spread filling, top with cherries, dot with reserved oats mixture, and sprinkle nuts. Bake 25 minutes, until top is light brown and filling is moist. Cool on rack 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

4. Lift from pan; cut with serrated knife. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Makes 25 bars.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Light Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

* 6 squares low-fat honey graham crackers, finely crushed (1/2 cup)
* 2 Tbsp. margarine, melted
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 1 4-serving-size pkg. sugar-free low-calorie lime-flavored gelatin
* 3/4 cup boiling water
* 1 16-oz. container fat-free cottage cheese (1-3/4 cups)
* 1 8-oz. pkg. fat-free cream cheese, softened
* 1 8-oz. container frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping, thawed
* Key Limes or limes, cut in wedges (optional)

1. In small bowl combine graham crackers, margarine, and sugar. Press crumb mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart square baking dish. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

2. In large bowl combine gelatin and water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside.

3. In blender or food processor combine cottage cheese and cream cheese. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down sides. Whisk 1/2 cup of the cottage cheese mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whisk in remaining cottage cheese mixture until smooth. Fold in whipped dessert topping. Spoon filling over chilled crumb mixture.

4. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours or until filling is firm. To serve, cut in squares. Top with lime wedges.

Makes 9 servings.

Nutrition Facts: * Calories 147, * Total Fat (g) 3, * Saturated Fat (g) 1, * Monounsaturated Fat (g) 1, * Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1, * Cholesterol (mg) 4, * Sodium (mg) 410, * Carbohydrate (g) 17, * Total Sugar (g) 4, * Protein (g) 10, * Calcium (DV%) 7, * Iron (DV%) 1, * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coconut and Pistachio Baklava

* One 1-pound box phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
* 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

* 2 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened dried coconut
* 3/4 cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tablespoon orange flower water
* Pinch of salt

* 1 3/4 cups sugar
* 1 1/2 cups water
* Large pinch of salt
* 3 tablespoons orange flower water
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

* 2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted pistachios

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.

2. Unfold the sheets of phyllo dough, lay the stack on a work surface, and cover with wax paper and then a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Remove 2 pieces of phyllo, place them in the pan, and brush them with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Continue in the same way with the phyllo and butter until you have used 24 sheets of phyllo.

3. To make the filling: Stir together the coconut, pistachios, sugar, water, orange flower water, and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle half of the filling evenly over the phyllo in the pan. Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the pan and brush them with 1 tablespoon butter. Continue in the same way until you have used 12 sheets of phyllo. Spread the remaining filling on top. Layer and butter the remaining phyllo in the same way. Brush the top layer of pastry generously with butter, and pour any remaining butter over the top. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava lengthwise into 4 strips and then crosswise into 6 strips, taking care not to press down on the phyllo.

4. Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F and bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

5. To make the syrup: Bring the sugar, water, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the orange flower water and lime juice.

6. Transfer the baklava to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and pour the syrup evenly over the top. Let cool completely on the rack. (The baklava can be stored at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 2 days.)

7. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and serve.

Makes 24 pieces.

~~Epicurious | April 2010~~

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cream Puffs with Lemon-Cream Filling

Lemon-cream filling:
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
* Pinch of salt
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
* 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Cream puffs:
* 3/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup whole milk
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
* 6 large eggs, divided


* Robin Eggs malted milk candy (optional)
* 4 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped

* Special Equipment: Pastry bag with 1/2-inch plain round tip

For lemon-cream filling:
Combine sugar, egg, lemon juice, lemon peel, and pinch of salt in heavy small saucepan; whisk to blend. Add butter. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until curd is hot and thick enough to coat spoon (do not boil), 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream in another medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into curd in 3 additions. Cover and chill filling 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

For cream puffs:
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with wooden spoon until butter melts. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until dough forms and pulls away from sides of pan. Continue to stir until film forms on pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer dough to large bowl. Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 egg and, still using wooden spoon, beat until blended. Add remaining 5 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each, then beat until dough is smooth and shiny, 2 to 3 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer dough to pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe 1- to 1 1/4-inch mounds, spaced about 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Using wet finger, smooth tops of mounds.

Bake puffs 15 minutes. Reverse baking sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue to bake until puffs are dry, firm, and deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Cool puffs on baking sheets.

For assembly:
Cut each puff horizontally in half; pull out any soft dough. Fill puff bottoms with 1 tablespoon lemon-cream filling. Place egg-shaped candy atop filling, if desired. Press on puff tops to adhere.

Place white chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is soft and almost melted. Remove from over water; stir until completely melted and smooth. Using teaspoon, drizzle white chocolate decoratively over each cream puff. Arrange filled puffs on platter. Refrigerate until chocolate glaze sets, at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Makes 10.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup red maraschino cherries, quartered
* 1/4 cup green maraschino cherries, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, flour, and confectioners' sugar. With an electric mixer, beat for 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Spoon onto cookie sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Place a piece of maraschino cherry onto the middle of each cookie, alternating between red and green.
3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from oven, and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies on to wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container, separating each layer with waxed paper.

Makes 36 cookies.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mini Parmesan Scones

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups self-rising flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and cheese. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the butter, milk and water; stir gently to combine. Add water in small amounts until dough pulls together.
3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and press out to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut dough into rounds with a floured 1 1/4 inch cookie or biscuit cutter. Place rounds on prepared tray and sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Handle scones gently until complete cool.