Saturday, July 11, 2009

Desserts in Three Flavors

Fudge Brownies
I’ve been using this recipe for years and years. The round pan will give you a dessert that looks more like a cake than a cookie.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted*
½ cup flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup walnuts, optional

1. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs.
2. Blend in melted chocolate. Stir in flour and nuts.
3. Grease an 8x8 square or an 8-inch round pan. If you are using the round one, line it with parchment paper for easier brownie removal. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a 325ºF oven for 30-35 minutes. The round one may take slightly longer.
4. Cool and cut into 16 squares or as for a cake. You can serve with Roasted Strawberries and whipped cream if you like or dust with powdered sugar.

* You can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 4 minutes at 50 percent power.
You dramatically improve the quality of the brownies if you use good chocolate.

Makes 16 squares or 8-10 slices.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

Lemon Pudding Cake
The miracle of this dessert is that the batter separates into a cake layer on top and a lemon sauce layer on the bottom. It’s magic.

1 cup sugar (divided ¾ cup and ¼ cup)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1½ cups milk
3 eggs, separated

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 1½-quart baking dish or an 8-inch baking pan.
2. Mix ¾ cup of the sugar, the salt, and the flour together in a bowl. Add the melted butter, lemon juice, lemon peel, and egg yolks, and stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in the milk.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup sugar until they are stiff but remain moist. Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
4. Set the baking dish in a larger pan at least 2 inches deep and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
5. Serve warm or chilled. Blueberries or raspberries, or any other fruit of your choosing, would be great on the side.

6 servings
Adapted from Marian Cunningham’s Lost Recipes

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
A cool and refreshing Italian treat on a summer evening with the wonderful hit of concentrated strawberry flavor from Roasted Strawberries.

1½ cups half and half or whole milk
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons or 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
Fresh strawberries or Roasted Strawberries
Fresh mint for garnish

1. Warm the half and half, sugar, zest, and cinnamon sticks in a non-reactive saucepan. Once the mixture begins to steam, remove it from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 to 60 minutes.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it soften for 5 minutes.
3. Rewarm the infused half and half, then pour it through a strainer over the softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve it completely. Press the zest to release as much of the liquid as possible. Add the salt. Let the mixture cool.
4. Stir in the buttermilk. (If the mixture is steaming hot when you add the buttermilk, the mixture can separate. If it does, whisk it vigorously until it is smooth.)
5. Lightly grease 5 or 6 4-ounce ramekins with unflavored oil. (If you use smaller ramekins, you’ll make more desserts.) Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
6. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to release the panna cotta. Invert each one on a serving plate. Spoon the strawberries (roasted or fresh) around it. Add a sprig of fresh mint if you like.

5-6 servings in 4-ounce ramekins
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ripe for Dessert
He serves his with a blueberry sauce.

Oven-Roasted Strawberries
 Roasting concentrates the luscious strawberry flavor. You won’t believe it.


1. Remove the stems and place the strawberries on a sided cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone mat.
2. Sprinkle lightly with sugar (about 1 tablespoon per basket).
3. Roast in a 300°F oven for about 1 to 1½ hours. Turn them over about half way through roasting. You can use Convection Roast if your oven does that. The roasting time will be shorter.
4. The strawberries are done when they have shrunk to about half their original size and are soft without being burned.
5. Store with any collected juices in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Serve with Fudge Brownies, anything chocolate, panna cotta, or shortcakes.

Adapted from Michelle Polzine’s suggestions in San Francisco Magazine, June 2007


Linda next door said...

Love the blog, the pics, dem sweet things. Last two 'pees look especially yumsterlicious . My buds salivate. Elastic waistbands, here I come.

Transnets said...

Beautiful story... which is exactly true. And if you try these desserts now you would never think she had a hard time starting with them. They aure sooooo delicious.