Entries in dessert (4)


crisp topping


During summer months crisps are such a delicious and easy dessert. If you make a big batch of crisp topping you can keep it in the freezer and assemble a great dessert in minutes...all you need to do is bake it, which can happen while you are eating dinner. The recipe below is enough topping for an 8 inch square but you can double it if you want to keep it in the freezer. Just use some for an individual crisp, or a little more to make enough for 2 or 4 people. Like granola, you can vary the recipe to suit your tastes. A base of oats, butter, sugar and flour can be added to in any number of ways. I often add almonds, coconut, cinnamon and ginger (see amounts below) but I vary it based on what I have. I find that berries alone get a little too soupy but if you add some apple slices or rhubarb that adds some structure to it. Peaches and plums are some of the best fruits for a crisp, either alone or mixed with berries.


P.S. The soft ice cream on top is the result of a homemade ice cream mishap...but that is a post for another day! 



1 cup oats

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup almonds (can substitute pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts if desired)

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces


Combine everything except butter in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and continue pulsing until the mixture is clumpy.

For an 8 inch square crisp, slice about 6-8 peaches to fill dish. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of flour over peaches and stir. Top with crisp topping and bake in a 375° oven for about 45 minutes, or until top is browned and peach juices are bubbling. Set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. 


rustic strawberry rhubarb pie


Strawberry rhubarb pie is one of my favorites and the rhubarb season is upon us. I love the tartness of the rhubarb as well as the body it gives to the pie filling. I enjoy making pies of all sorts but I find rustic pies easier to make than traditional ones...you don't have to worry as you roll the crust about whether or not it is the exact right size for the pie plate, or whether the amount of filling is going to give the pie the perfect height, etc. I just roll the crust, place it on a sheetpan (lined with parchment paper or a silpat) and then pile the fruit in the center. Fold the crust up over the fruit, sealing up any holes around the sides by pinching the crust together. Brushing the crust with a lightly beaten egg or a little ice water and then sprinkling it with some coarse sugar gives it a nice crunchy crust.



Rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 recipe martha stewart pie crust

3 pints strawberries (1 1/2 quarts)

3 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup instant tapioca (can substitute flour)

Juice of half a lemon

1 egg, lightly beaten

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling


Make the pie crust according to the recipe but do not divide it in two parts before chilling - just form one disk and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Cut the strawberries into halves, or quarters if they are quite large, and place in a bowl. Add chopped rhubarb, sugar, tapioca (or flour), and lemon juice and stir to combine. 

Roll out the pie crust until about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the crust to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Mound the fruit in the center of the crust and fold crust up over the sides of the fruit, leaving the center open.  

Brush crust with egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 

Place in oven and bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.



honey custards


Every time we travel abroad I become obsessed with the nice little glass jars that yogurt and puddings are sold in. Not only does the yogurt seem to taste so much better, but the glasses are perfect for the kids to use at meals and are virtually indestructible. I no longer bring them home - I have collected more than I need. 



Custard is one of my dad's favorite foods so while we were away I made a batch using all the little cups we had gathered on the trip. You can bake the custards in any oven proof dish - small ramekins would be a close match for the glass dishes I have collected. You can also bake the entire recipe in a glass or ceramic pie plate but the cooking time will vary. 


Since we were away and had minimal ingredients in the pantry honey added flavor while simultaneously sweetening the custard so I did not have to buy a vanilla bean. Since being home I have made these again using maple syrup in place of the honey - use whichever flavor you prefer. 


Honey Custard

(makes about nine 4 ounce custards)

3 cups milk

1/3 cup honey

Dash ground cinnamon

4 eggs


Preheat oven to 350°. Place milk, honey, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and heat until warm and honey is dissolved. Place eggs in a medium bowl and whisk lightly. Stir in warm milk mixture while continuing to whisk eggs. Skim bubbles from surface of mixture.

Place custard cups in a baking dish that is about the same depth as the custard cups. Fill custard cups with custard and fill baking dish with boiling water about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the custard dishes. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until edges are starting to set but centers are still wiggly like jello. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Transfer custards to the refrigerator and chill several hours.



lemon tart


My mom just celebrated a very big birthday and my sister, father, and I threw her a dinner party at my house. For dessert I decided to make a lemon tart. Since I knew we had a lot of cooking to do for the dinner I wanted to make something easy but delicious, and I had to be able to make it a day in advance. Mom loves fruit tarts but baking a bunch of tart shells can be pretty labor intensive so I decided to make a ginger snap crust.


I found Anna's Ginger Thins at the local deli and ground them in the food processor until they were almost a powder. I mixed in enough melted butter that the mixture looked moist but not soggy. (I was making 3 tarts but 1 5.25 ounce box plus about half of a second box (15 more ginger thins) and 7 tablespoons of butter makes crust for one 8 or 9 inch tart.) Pour the crumb mixture into a tart pan with a removable bottom and spread it fairly evenly in the center with more crumbs around the rim. Use a rubber spatula to press the bottom into a nice flat base, working from the center towards the edges. Once you are ready to do the edge, use your fingers to press the crumbs into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Do not worry if it extends up a little past the rim - this gives the crust a pretty rustic appearance (first photo below). Once it is all pressed into place put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while making the filling. 


For the filling I used my favorite lemon curd recipe from the Book of Tarts by Maury Rubin. I love his technique for making lemon curd - rather than the traditional french method of whisking the butter in one piece at a time at the end, you whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook it, whisking constantly, until it just barely comes to a boil. Then you strain it immediately after cooking (see photos below). Since lemon curd is a little soft for a tart filling that needs to be sliced I added an extra egg yolk to the recipe to thicken it a little more. 


Pour the lemon curd into the chilled tart shell and refrigerate it overnight. 


We served our lemon tarts with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries that were tossed with a little lemon juice and sugar. I also made this almond macaroon torte from smitten kitchen which was very popular too.