Pina Colada Cake + 5 Boozy Cake Links!

 

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Not bad, she thought, regarding her reflection in the full length mirror of a small hotel room she shared with her husband and three children.   The navy blue, white polka dot, full piece bathing suit fresh off the rack from Macy’s hugged her hips and small breasts, her smooth, pale Nordic skin almost pearlescent in the bright, Bahamian light.  As she turned to grab her ten dollar, drugstore sunglasses and scratchy hotel towel, she noticed her profile, pronounced in the warm light. She tenderly rubbed the soft space between her hip bones, a slight bulge, her body forever three months pregnant, abdominal muscles long gone; this space was once the home of her three children.

[Babies too large for her small frame and yet she willed herself to carry them.  And when they tore her apart, departing her body and entering the world, she felt nothing but relief.  Love would come…later.]

The family trip to the Grand Bahama was her idea.  He, her half present husband, the worst kind, acquiesced.  Anything to stop her nagging.  Anything to keep her questions at bay.  His soul’s sin would be revealed many years later.  An affair: yes.  But his real sin: insecurity.

[ A soul with a hole so cavernous no drink or woman could fill.]

So, when she found herself at the poolside bar, admiring the bartender’s dark brown eyes, golden skin, silvery hair and stainless white teeth, was she appalled by her desire for him?  No.  Like driving a car with a low tire, the air slowly, but surely escaping, something was amiss in her marriage.  This she she felt in her milky skin, her blue veins, her raging claret blood…her bones. 

She ordered a pina colada.  The bartender smiled, got to work.  She watched him: tan, capable hands adding ice, fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut cream and rum to a blender; a bit of sweat twinkled on his brow and above his hairless lip in the mid-day sun.  

[Briefly, she thought of his lips on hers. This fantasy quickly dissipated when she noticed a gorgeous, buxom, blonde saddling up to the bar. She is who he wants.  Or, so she thought.]  

When he handed her the pina colda, complete now with a fresh pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, he also gave her his number on a white cocktail napkin.  Ha!  Cheeks flush and gitty with surprise, she paid him.  After taking a long drink, she smiled, stood, turned and walked away. The cocktail napkin remained on the bar where he placed it, her sweating pina colada sitting directly on top of the scribbled numbers.  Nothing said, no door left ajar.  Condensation from glass would make the numbers bleed into each other.  And this memory of being seen again, fresh, would bleed into other memories of unexplored men handing her a drink.

She found her family sitting by the pool, her handsome husband with a beer in has hand chatting with their strawberry-haired, freckled faced boy.  His favorite, his only.  The girls, both husky, pretty tomboys, were huddled together on a chaise lounge, dripping pool water.  The older girl had found forty dollars in the hot-tub.  Such luck, she thought!  As the girl held the wet twenties overhead, victorious, her sister decided since they were a family who shared, they should share everything, including this serendipitous loot.  They laughed, not yet knowing, too much and not enough would be shared in the decades to come.

Pina Colada Cake

A moist cake studded with fresh pineapple and covered in a sweet rum glaze

recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

serves 8

Ingredients for cake:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces of coconut oil, at room temperature

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup cream of coconut (This is not coconut milk.  I found it in the Mexican food section of our local grocery store.) Shake well before measuring.

1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple, strained, juice reserved (from a can in juice not syrup)

Ingredients to brush over cake:

2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice

Ingredients for glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon dark rum

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with a circle of parchment paper.  Lightly butter and flour parchment paper.  Tap  out excess flour.  Set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and coconut oil at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Add rum.  Next, add cream of coconut.  The batter will look curdled.  Don’t worry! It will come back together once you add the flour.

Add half of dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl with a spatula, before adding the other half.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in chopped pineapple.

The batter will be thick.  Spread it evenly into your prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.  Cool in pan, on wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack.  Remove parchment paper.

While the cake is still hot, brush it with reserved pineapple juice.

While cake is cooling, make glaze.  Grab a small bowl and add powdered sugar and salt.  Stir in milk and rum.  Stir until completely smooth.  Pour glaze into middle of cake and spread to the edges with an offset spatula or butter knife.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for 20 minutes until glaze is set.  Cake is best the day it is made.  Leftovers, stored in an air-tight container, at room temperature, will last for 2 days.  Enjoy!

5 Boozy Cake Links!

Still feel the winter chill in your neck of the woods? Warm yourself up with Food & Wine’s Maple-Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake.  I’m guessing it will hit the spot.

I love a good mojito.  Olive’s mojito cake is on my must make immediately list.  Yum!

Don’t wait until next St. Patty’s day to make Spoon Fork Bacon’s spicy chocolate stout cake with simple peanut butter frosting.  This combo sounds delicious!

Bubba loves a good margarita and never turns down a piece of cake.  I think it’s time to make him Pastry Affair’s boozy margarita cake.

My mom loves all things coconut so this Mother’s Day I may just make her Beth Cake’s triple coconut rum cake.  Coconut + rum equals a tropical vacation in a bite!

 

Key Lime Curd Coconut Bars + 5 Key Lime Links!

3:46 AM glows green.  My sleep swollen eyes want more sleep, but my mind has other plans.  Should I just get up? Read? Finish my key lime curd blog post?  Bake muffins? Fill them with the leftover curd?  Maybe I’ll go for a run.  Maybe not.  I turnover and watch my husband: his profile outlined by the ambient light in our bedroom, the chest I rest my weary head on nightly heaves up and down, his handsome face is relaxed, peaceful.  I want to kiss the tiny, fine lines around his eyes.  What are you dreaming about J?  Have you escaped to someplace far away?  I feel such tenderness for him.

Snore. Snore.  Ugh.  A good shove should do it.  And hate.  [Marriage is complicated in the dead of night. First light, we start again.  Love renewed…mostly.]  I turnover, face the blank wall and curl up like a newborn fresh out of the womb.  Tonight, I will chase sleep like a coy lover.  J seduced her a couple of kids ago.  Good for him.

Eyes heavy again.  I’m drifting.  Little voice: “Mama? My belly hurts.”

5:30 am and the day has begun.

Key Lime Curd Coconut Bars

Creamy key lime curd paired with a whole wheat coconut crust and drizzled with melted white chocolate is a dessert you should commit to memory!

Makes 12 bars

Key lime curd recipe adapted from Food 52 lemon curd

Coconut crust adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Lemon Bars

Bars inspired by Taste of Home Easy Lemon Curd Bars

Ingredients for key lime curd:

1/2 cup key lime juice

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 stick + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 white chocolate chips, melted (for topping)

1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut (for topping)

Directions for curd:

Pour two inches of water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Grab a stainless steel or oven proof glass bowl large enough so it will sit in the rim of saucepan without touching the water.

Using that bowl, whisk together the key lime juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt.  *Do not let the eggs and sugar sit together.  The sugar will start to cook the yolks resulting in a granular texture.*  Place the bowl over the saucepan and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes very thick, about 10-12 minutes or when it registers 180F on a candy thermometer.  You know it is ready when your whisk leaves a trail in the curd.

Remove bowl and allow to cool slightly (5 minutes or so), stirring occasionally.  While the curd is cooling, cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces.  Add the butter 1 piece at a time and whisk until completely incorporated.  Alternatively, you could use a blender or immersion blender to incorporate the butter.  The curd will be a slightly pale yellow and super thick.  If you are not making the bars right away, store the curd in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Ingredients for Coconut Crust:

1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Spray a 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Spread 1/2 cup of coconut flakes on a small baking sheet and bake until the coconut is golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Cool.

Using a medium bowl mix together toasted coconut, flour, powdered sugar and butter until a dough forms.  Spread the dough into the prepared baking pan and press evenly, covering the bottom of the pan.  Bake crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let cool.

Once the crust is cool, pour the key lime curd on top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with a 1/2 cup of coconut flakes.  Bake until the curd is set and the coconut flakes are golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Once cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or overnight.  Cut into 12 bars when ready to serve.  Bars will last in an air-tight container for two days.  Enjoy!

5 Key Lime Links!

Looking to combine your love of cheesecake with your love of key limes?  The Merry Gourmet has a recipe for key lime cheesecake that will unite both loves into one delicious dessert.

Nostalgic, handheld desserts are the best kind of sweet treat.  Head to Martha Stewart for her key lime whoopie pie recipe.  Who doesn’t love a whoopie pie?

Key lime doughnuts? Yes, please! A Zesty Bite has the recipe for you.

Part cake, part custard; Foodness Gracious has a recipe for key lime magic cake that is sure to win the hearts of all!

Foodess’ no bake whipped key lime pie is on must make summer dessert list.  I’m drooling…and dreaming of summer.

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

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“Mama will you sing me a lullaby?” G.

“Sure buddy.” Me.  The lyrics to You Are My Sunshine come imperfectly out of my mouth.  I hear Johnny Cash in my head. He hears my exhausted, grating voice attempting to coax him to sleep.  Unconsciously, I rub his back.  His eyes are heavy, any minute now he will be dreaming. Dreaming of home?  Perhaps.  For now he makes his nest in a sterile hospital bed, his blankies, froggy and me, little bits of home, remain with him.  

I stare at his sweet, peaceful face, more obvious to me now with his head tightly wrapped in gauze. Beneath the gauze, a constellation of small metal probes stick securely to his head, a rainbow-colored array of wires spill from the top of his head, all connecting to small a computer, recording his brainwaves.  Where do you go when you disappear, buddy?  Maybe this test will tell us.  

I attempt to sleep in the tiny bed/chair they provide.  I can’t get comfortable, my mind races and morning can’t come soon enough.

Morning breaks.  The sky turns from gun-metal gray to overcast ocean blue.  Lights in the building across from us become less obvious as the sky brightens.  I stare out the window, not fully awake, despite nursing my second cup of hospital coffee. I gaze 9 stories down to the Healing Garden, a small bit of nature growing between two buildings, providing a bit of respite for the sick and their caregivers.  A mother and son play with a soccer ball.  The boy, maybe 7, no hair, runs for a bit, but he tires quickly.  Mom picks him up.  He finds the perfect spot on her lap and snuggles.  Her body sways gently back and forth like a cradle.  They attempt normalcy.

G eats breakfast in bed while watching TV.  This is, by far, his favorite part of this visit.  Today we go home with no real answers.  Today after a short drive home, fingers crossed, we attempt normalcy, again. pcccf1119pcccf1169

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Shortly, after our hospital stay I made these pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting because it felt good to bake.  It felt good to give Bubba and kids cupcakes for no reason at all.  After a long few days, we all needed to feel normal, less stressed.  This cupcake brought us back.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

A moist pumpkin cupcake with subtle hints of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon topped with a rich chocolate cream cheese frosting makes a perfect dessert for fall.

Makes 12

Cupcake recipe barely adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Frosting recipe adapted from the Cupcake Project

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground ginger

¾ cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 eggs

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

Using a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Set aside.

Using a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugars and oil until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Pour half of your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and fold gently.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently until no flour streaks remain.  Do not over mix!

Fill each lined muffin cup with batter, about two-thirds to three-quarters the way full.  Place the muffin pan on the center rack of your oven.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, but check at 18 minutes.  The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute in the pan and then dump them on a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost the cupcakes and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

**The cupcakes taste best the day they are made.  If you need to make them a day early, store them in air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.**

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

makes about 3 cups

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (Use good quality cocoa powder here.  You will taste the difference!)

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional but delicious)

Directions for Frosting:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy or several minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Next add the cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  Use frosting immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**If you refrigerate the frosting be sure to bring it to room temperature and beat for a couple of minutes before using.**

5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

If you love cheesecake check out Baker By Nature’s pumpkin ricotta cheesecake and Jelly Toast’s mini pumpkin goat cheese cheesecakes.  Such creative riffs on a classic dessert!

Halloween is coming up.  Try making a classic candy with a healthy twist this year!  Check out Edible Perspectives chocolate pumpkin almond butter cups.  I want to eat ten of them now!

Craving a s’more?  Head to How Sweet It Is for Jessica’s pumpkin s’mores tart recipe.  Wow!

If you need a gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe, Alice Medrich has the recipe for you on Food 52.  She rocks.

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes + 5 Nectarine Recipes!

 

rnc1022dThe temperature dropped just slightly in the Boston area, so I turned on my oven.  Time to measure, sift and whisk.  Time for some flour on  the counter, maybe some in my hair; softened butter, room temperature eggs and sugar, lots of it.  Time to mix it up until just combined.  Time to bake.  My hiatus from baking left me wandering and unsatisfied.  I made ice cream, fruit crisps, cold Israeli cous cous salads and Alice Water’s potato salad.  I utilize the veggies from weekly CSA as if the end of days were near.  And yet, something was missing: my oven.

When I came across these beauties at the market, I knew they required more than just a crisp or cobbler.  They deserved to be nestled in a butter and sugar batter.  Showered with raw sugar; baked until they turned into delicate crumbed butter and sugar cakes, all just the size of a 6 ounce ramekins, a sweet and personal treat.

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Baking with Julia provided the inspiration and I ran with it.  I swapped out the plums for nectarines, orange zest for lime zest and added a healthy sprinkling of raw sugar.  Twenty-five minutes later these sweet little nectarine cakes were ready for us to eat.

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We ate them without the addition of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream; they were delicious.  The nectarine caramelized just slightly.  The cake was delicate and light with an unexpected, slight tartness from the lime.  When I make them again, I’ll add a dollop of unsweetened whip cream and maybe a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.  A creamy, cold liquid is a great way to ensure every last crumb is scooped up.

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Baking with Julia’s Oven Roasted Plum Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons, packed, light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup buttermilk

6 large nectarines, halved and pitted

1/4 cup raw sugar for sprinkling

Cooking spray or melted butter for coating ramekins

Special Equipment: 8 ramekins

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly coat the inside of the ramekins with cooking spray or melted butter. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a few more minutes.  Add one egg and beat on high until the egg is incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and add the second egg.  Beat until incorporated, about 30 more seconds.  Add lime zest and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high for another minute.

Lower the speed of your mixer and add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix for less than a minute. Stop the mixer and finish combining the ingredients with a spatula. Do not over mix!

Assembly

Drop about 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each ramekin. Place half of a nectarine, cut side up, into each ramekin. Push down just a little. You don’t want the cake to rise over the nectarine, although some of mine did.  Sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on each nectarine.  Place ramekins on baking sheet and put on the center rack of your oven.  Bake from about 25 minutes, but start checking them at 20 minutes. When the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, they are ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the ramekins for 10 minutes.

Once cool, run a butter knife around the edge of the cake. Lift the cakes out with a small spatula or butter knife. You want to keep them right side up. If this seems too hard, turn the ramekins upside down, lightly tap out the cakes and then place the cakes right side up. Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature. A little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is a great addition to these cakes, but not necessary. Enjoy!

**Cakes can be kept for up to a day stored at room temperature in an air-tight container.**

Don’t let summer pass without checking out these 5 fantastic nectarine recipes!

Looking for fresh twist on a tart or buckle recipe? Head to Smitten Kitchen for Deb’s nectarine brown butter buckle or nectarine, mascarpone gingersnap tart.  Yum!

Martha’s nectarine cupcakes are on my must make list.

If it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, how about making nectarine ice cream?

If you want an interesting twist on your next caprese salad, head to Shutterbean for Tracy’s nectarine caprese salad.  This looks like summer!

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars + 5 Summer Cheesecake Desserts You Should Check Out!

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She started this years ago.  Cheesecake, any form, any flavor, equaled special occasion.  My mother’s go to cheesecake recipe featured a vanilla wafer crust, creamy, silky smooth cheesecake topped with canned cherry or blueberry pie filling.  She rarely needed to refer to the recipe.  She knew it by heart.  She also knew how quickly the little individual cheesecakes nestled in their silver cupcake liners would disappear.  A stern warning like “don’t touch them until Christmas Eve or you’ll get coal in your stocking” usually followed the last dollop of pie filling she place on the perfectly browned cheesecakes.  We waited, and not so patiently waited, until she declared, after her final sip of wine, “let’s have dessert!”

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When she pulled the little bites from the fridge, our mouths watered.  We always ate two immediately and maybe a third if her mood allowed it.  When we got older, the cheesecakes would make a late night appearance usually due to an insatiable case of the munchies.  The baffled look on her beautiful morning face when she discovered just how many we consumed still haunts me to this day.  I’m sure she thought “wtf”?  And then quickly figured out the culprit.  She was, after all, an ER nurse, she grew up during Woodstock, she knew, though pretended otherwise.

When we moved out of her nest, these sweet treats became her go to dessert for any family dinner.  No longer were they just for the holidays. Merely having us in her nest again warranted an appearance of her cheesecake.  We still eat them with the same passion as when we were children.  It’s amazing how food has way to transport you back to a time and place that you still long for, a place we attempt to create in our new families; a place called home, but really home was her.

bcc816I thought about asking her for the recipe, but I knew damn well she wouldn’t share it.  It is still her made from scratch delight.  I get it.  So I drew inspiration from her, but adapted a recipe from Pioneer Woman.  Like my mother’s, the cheesecake is smooth and tangy.  The crust is perfectly sweet, but features graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers.  The blueberry topping is made from fresh blueberries.  Honestly, I could go either way.  I love the canned stuff, but with blueberries abundant this time of year how can you not go fresh?

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I made and shared these bars at a fourth of July party with good friends.  They were a hit.  I saved a few for Bubba and the kids at home.  They asked for them the next day and the day after that.  Maybe this will be the dessert for my kids.  The dessert that reminds them of home, the dessert that reminds them of me.

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients for Crust:

2 sleeves of graham crackers

1/2 unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for Filling:

3 packages, 8 ounces each, cream cheese, softened

1 + 1/2 cup sugar

1 + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for Blueberry Topping:

4 cups blueberries, about 2 pints

3/4 cup of sugar

squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons water

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into crumbs.  Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and pulse until the crumbs look like wet sand.  Dump the mixture into your prepared baking pan and the press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla until smooth.   Next, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pinch of salt and mix until well combined.

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth out the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Then turn off the oven, leave the door closed and allow it to bake for another 10 minutes.  Lastly, open the oven door a bit and allow it sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.  (Yup, with the door open.)

Remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cheesecake cools, make your blueberry topping.  Add blueberries, sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a small pan.  Over medium high-heat, bring to a boil and cook until the juices slightly thicken, about 5 minutes.  ( I mashed some of the berries during this time for a less chunky topping, but it is not necessary.)  In a small bowl, make a slurry: 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 4 tablespoons of water, mix well.  Stir in slurry and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let it boil for another couple of minutes and then remove from heat.  Allow to cool before adding to cheesecake.

Pour the blueberries over the cheesecake and smooth over the top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.  I think overnight is best.  Once chilled, remove from 9×13 pan by lifting it out with the foil overhang.  Grab a serrated knife and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

(Can be made two days ahead. Keep refrigerated, covered and cut just before serving.)

5 Cheesecake Recipes You Need To Check Out!

Looking for a completely new and creative take on cheesecake?  Check out My Mother’s Apron Strings for The SoNo Cheesecake: pistachio graham cracker crust, cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries. Wow!

If you need a quick and easy cheesecake, head to Food &Wine for their icebox chocolate cheesecake.

Smitten Kitchen’s raspberry swirl cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie are on my must make list!

Check out my lemon ricotta cheesecake. It was a huge hit!

Fresh Cherry Tart + 5 Tart Recipes You Need to Check Out!

 

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The cherries were on sale.  Fresh from Washington state, Bing cherries, $4.99 a pound! the sign read.  I stared at the individually wrapped 2 lb bags of cherries.  That’s still $9 for cherries.  No keep walking I told myself, but they were taunting me. I could almost taste their sweet, slightly tart juice and meaty flesh.  My mind started racing with recipe ideas: cherry salsa? hand-pies? trifle? I could eat them raw while watching Chopped.  The possibilities were endless.  After much back and forth, I found myself standing at the checkout counter paying for a $9 bag of beautiful cherries.

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I don’t regret it.  We snacked on the raw cherries, the kids taking turns with the cherry pitter, cherry juice staining their mouths and hands.  I managed to save half of the cherries and tuck them safely behind a gallon of unopened milk in the refrigerator.  The next day I made a fresh cherry tart, a Martha Stewart recipe I had my eyes on for weeks.

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I made a couple of changes.  Her recipe called for a graham cracker crust and I opted for a crunchy, sweet and delectable Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust.  My sister-in-law introduced me to this crust when she made Dorothy’s Fresh Blueberry Pie, again swapping out a traditional crust for this bit of crunchy food heaven.

fct588The Cracklin’ Oat Bran crust came together as easily as any graham cracker crust.  Once the crust cooled, I spread a silky honey and cream cheese mixture to the edges of the crackling crust.  I topped the tart with fresh cherries and a bit of raspberry glaze; I placed the tart in the refrigerator to chill and occupied myself with the kids outside.

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Patience is a virtue, but not my virtue…or Bubba’s…or the kids.  I sliced into this tart as soon as 30 minutes of chilling time passed.  Patience and willpower be damned!

Fresh Cherry Tart

Serves 8

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust from Food 52

Ingredients for Filling:

6 ounces from bar of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup of honey (mild)

zest of 1 lime

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 lb Bing cherries, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Ingredients for Cracklin’ Oat Bran Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Using a food processor with a blade attachment, pulse the cereal until fine.  Be sure to measure the cereal after you grind it.  You want 1 1/2 cups of ground cereal.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground cereal with the melted butter until evenly combined.  The cereal should look like wet sand.

Dump the cereal/butter mixture into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press mixture evenly along the bottom of the tart pan and up the sides.

Bake the crust for about 9 minutes, but start checking it at 7 minutes.  The crust is ready when it is dry and a deeper shade of brown.  Cool on a wire rack before filling.

Directions for Cherry Filling:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the cream and continue to beat until soft peaks form.  (I switched from the paddle attachment to the beater attachment at this point.)  Gently fold in lime zest.

Spread mixture in cooled crust and top with cherries.

Using a small sauce pan, combine raspberry jam and 1 teaspoon of water.  Heat over low heat until liquefied, a couple of minutes.  Grab your pastry brush and dab the cherries with the glaze.  Cover the tart and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.  Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss Tart Recipes!

If you love key lime pie check out Whisk Kid’s lime curd tart recipe.  This tart looks so refreshing!

I love when stone fruits start popping up at farmer’s markets and the grocery store.  When you see these beauties again why not make a tart?  Head to Apt. 2B Baking Co for a simple stone fruit tartlet recipe.

Pretty soon gardens will burst with beautiful tomatoes and being a tomato lover I can’t wait.  Brooklyn Supper’s tomato chevre tart is on my must make list.

Looking for a healthy spin on a butter tart? Head to My New Roots and check out a better butter tart recipe.  I am fascinated!

When apples are in season again, Flourishing Foodie’s salted caramel apple tart will make an appearance on my table.  I don’t want to wish the summer away, but I can’t wait!