I’m squeezing in a recipe before Easter and even Passover (if you make some modifications.) These mini strawberry cheesecakes are a twist on a classic cheesecake recipe because I use cream cheese and Greek yogurt plus I am making MINIS! I love an individual dessert. The strawberry swirl is easier than it looks and divine. Let’s do it!Continue reading
Just when I think I can’t come up with another awesome pumpkin dessert recipe, I do! This is a pumpkin pie meets a crumble meets a gingersnap cookie! What’s not to love? And it’s so easy, has make-ahead written all over it and can be adaptable. There are many twists on this recipe including a graham cracker crust or a chocolate cookie crust and you can omit the crumble topping if you want to keep this simple.Continue reading
I once again had the pleasure of teaching the always stylish and gracious Jenni Kayne and her lovely friends a July 4th cooking class at her gorgeous home. Although I teach at Jenni’s home every month, this was a special class in which we also partnered with The Chalkboard, one of my very favorite sites. With Independence Day just around the corner, Jenni wanted to create the perfect holiday get-together that was festive, but relaxed. My job was to come up with the deliciousness!
If you have seen some of the classes I have done at Jenni’s before, you know that every detail is so beautiful and perfect, you want to go recreate the whole thing on your own. One of the best parts of Jenni’s Rip + Tan blog is that she generously provides sources for everything, from table linens to straws to jars. What I just loved about the décor is that it was in the spirit of the holiday, but still beautiful and understated, without going overboard. Please check out Rip + Tan for more photos and details about the decor.
This year, I made five recipes that I think are easy, seasonal, healthful and perfect for summer entertaining. We started with some delicious vegan beet and black bean burgers which I will be teaching in my classes this summer. I love salads at this time of year and especially for entertaining since most of the ingredients can be prepped in advance. At Jenni’s I whipped up a charred corn salad, a vegetarian antipasto chopped salad, and an arugula and farro salad with peaches. All so yummy and healthy and I will post them all before July 4th! For dessert, you will love this yogurt and blueberry tart in a graham cracker crust, which I am sharing today.
Have you ever tried straining Greek yogurt overnight? It comes out with a texture like cream cheese! No joke! I stirred in a little Grade A maple syrup and some vanilla beans (although you could definitely use vanilla extract) and the result is a super thick and creamy, spreadable yogurt for a delicious tart filling. This tart is lightly sweet, which I love, and I think it would equally welcome for brunch as it is for a dessert.
Since I am beyond crazy for the fresh blueberry sauce I posted last year, I poured that on top for the perfect finish. Of course you can do something more red, white and blue by topping the tart with fresh raspberries and blueberries. These berry tarts from Martha Stewart look darling and can give you some inspiration for using fresh fruit. Or you can use any type of fresh fruit sauce like peaches, cherries, or citrus in the winter. So many delicious ways to enjoy this!
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, raw honey or cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped (use the pod to flavor sugar or discard)
1 pint fresh blueberries for garnish or blueberry sauce (recipe below)
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend graham crackers, sugar and salt in a food processor until graham crackers are finely ground. Add butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch round tart pan, springform pan or pie plate. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
In a medium bowl, mix the strained yogurt with the maple syrup and the scraped beans from the vanilla bean. Spread the yogurt mixture in the crust and smooth the top. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Garnish with fresh blueberries or pour blueberry sauce over the top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, however crust will be soft the next day
I have tried this recipe with alternative yogurts, such as coconut, but they will not strain to the same thick, cream cheese-like consistency as the Greek yogurt.
*To strain yogurt: place a thin, clean tea towel/flour sack towel or a double layer of cheesecloth inside a colander. Place the yogurt in the tea towel and wrap up to cover the yogurt. Place the colander in a large bowl or on top of a plate to catch any drips and place in fridge overnight.
FRESH BLUEBERRY SAUCE
make 1 1/4 cups of sauce
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (depending on how thick you want it)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 Tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
3 Tablespoons water
In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot in the lemon juice until dissolved. Set aside.
Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Add the arrowroot and lemon juice mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes until blueberries are very soft and sauce has thickened.
Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream or refrigerate up to 5 days for later use.
I had my first s’more on a girl scout camping trip when I was 12 and I thought it was genius. I loved that crispy graham cracker paired with a smooshy, slightly burnt marshmallow and the way the chocolate just started to melt a little. Do-it-yourself desserts are just so fun to put together too, especially when you’re with friends. I remember sitting around the campfire with the other girls trying to get the perfect golden toastiness on our marshmallows without actually setting them on fire and then giggling as we snuck an extra square of chocolate, because why the heck wouldn’t we?
I think s’mores have a way of bringing out the kid in all of us, so they are always a welcome dessert in the summer when we have other families over for dinner. Set your s’mores bar with homemade graham crackers and your family and friends will be like, “no you didn’t!” I certainly don’t have to tell you how to put together a s’more, but I thought I would share a fun twist on a classic.
Since I think marshmallows border on toxicity (I can be fun, really!), that was my target in creating a more healthful s’more. Basically, I grill firm, but ripe and speckled bananas and use those in place of the marshmallows. You still get something sweet, something soft and something that tastes amazing with chocolate and graham crackers. The point of grilling them is just to get them warm enough so they melt the chocolate a little bit, so watch out for chocolate dripping down your chin. With all the fun, new chocolates out there, I think it would be amazing to put out some interesting ones for people to use. Picture a grilled banana s’more paired with caramel and sea salt chocolate or one laced with hot pepper or bits of lavender. Did I have you at “grilled?”
3 3.5-ounce thin bars of chocolate (thin is better so that it can melt a little)
oil for brushing the grill, such as coconut or olive oil
2 large or 3 medium firm, but ripe bananas
Preheat the grill to medium.
Arrange 12 graham crackers on a platter and top with a 1-ounce piece of chocolate or a piece large enough to fit.
Peel the bananas and slice in half crosswise. If the bananas are large, you can cut them in thirds. Then slice each piece lengthwise. Brush the grill with oil and grill bananas 2-3 minutes on each side until warm. The goal is just to get them warm so that they melt the chocolate slightly. You can also arrange the bananas on a baking sheet and broil them for a couple minutes until warm and toasty.
Top each piece of chocolate with a banana slice and then with a graham cracker. Serve immediately.
Another option is to make s’mores sandwiches with raw bananas, wrap each individually with parchment and foil and place on the grill over medium heat until chocolate is slightly melted. Or you can forgo the square of chocolate and spread with chocolate nut butter. Delish!