Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cream Pie

I have some friends who declare that they “don’t bake”.  And I get that, not everyone enjoys baking but that doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy homemade treats, specially not these days when ingredients that are normally baked can be bought inexpensively at most grocery stores.

You can buy things like pie and tart shells, puff pastry and bread dough inexpensively and they sure cut your baking time almost in half.  At times it’s more cost effective to buy these things frozen than it is to make them from scratch.  Not only that they actually taste good!  And of course you don’t have to tell anyone that the pie crust was frozen; let them think you made it from scratch!

So for those of you who love desserts but don’t like to bake here’s a super easy Strawberry Cream Pie!  You can actually use any fruit, yes even canned pie filling, for this pie, but I love strawberries and these days you can pretty much get fresh strawberries year round.

Strawberry Cream Pie
Ingredients:

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1 Pkg. Whipped Cream Cheese

1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Pkg. Cool Whip

1 Basket Fresh Strawberries cleaned and hulled

For Glaze:

3/4 Cup Juice any type

1/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tbs. Cornstarch

2 Tbs. Corn Syrup

Directions:

Beat cream cheese in mixer until smooth.

Add vanilla and powdered sugar.

Fold in Cool Whip.

Pour into pie crust and smooth top.

Chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile dissolve corn starch into 1/4 cup of juice.

In small saucepan whisk together remaining juice and sugar.

Cook over low heat to boiling.

Stir in dissolved corn starch and cook until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup.

Set aside to cool.

Once pie filling is set and chilled arrange strawberries on top.

Gently pour thickened glaze over strawberries.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie is my favorite.  It’s sweet tartness is very refreshing, specially in the summer.

The first time I had Key Lime Pie was at a small local restaurant in Key West, Florida.  It was love at first bite!   Of course there it’s a very popular dessert; Key West has long claimed the pie originated on their tiny island using the small thin skin limes associated with the island.

You might be wondering what makes the Key Lime so special.  It’s a citrus hybrid that is smaller, rounder, and seedier than the usual larger more oval limes.  Key Lime, also known as Mexican Lime, Omani Lime, and West Indian Lime, also have a stronger aroma, more acidic, and thinner rind than its larger counterpart.

Whatever the case may be as the famed ingredient in Key Lime Pie it’s delicious!  Of course you can substitute other limes to make Key Lime Pie, but seriously it isn’t quite the same.  But in many places finding fresh Key Limes is not always easy. However you can buy Key Lime Juice in some stores and definitely on Amazon.  Living in Hawaii I rarely find fresh Key Limes and must resort to using the bottled juice.  I do garnish my pie with a slice of fresh lime, whatever type I manage to find.

There are many Key Lime Pie recipes out there, and believe me I’ve tried more than a few.  But for me easy is best.  This mean I do not like to make pie crust, it’s one chore I avoid whenever possible.  Now Key Lime Pie is usually made with a Graham Cracker crust, of course you can make your own, there are many recipes for this, or be like me and use store bought Graham Cracker Crusts.

You also need Whipped Cream, which of course you can buy spray cans of in your grocer’s dairy section.  That would be the easiest.  But although I’m always looking for the easy way, I make my own whipped cream.  I prefer homemade whipped cream simply because I love the taste of freshly whipped cream.  I like to pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie using a large star tip, or sometimes just around the outer edge and a large dollop in the middle.  But if you don’t what to make your own whipped cream the spay cans will do just fine, you won’t even need a star tip and piping bag to decorate the top of your pie.

So having said all that here’s my recipe, it includes instructions on homemade whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

1  9″ Graham Cracker Pie Crust (homemade or store bought)

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Key Lime Juice

1 Cup Fresh Heavy Whipping Cream – cold

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Fresh Lime Slice

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk condensed milk, sour cream, and lime juice together in a medium bowl.

Whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on counter for about 30 minutes.

Chill pie in refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Before serving make whipped cream:

Using the whipping attachment to your standup mixer or the beaters of a hand held mixer beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Beat in vanilla.

Pipe on top of chilled pie.

Garnish with a slice of lime if desired.

 


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Strawberries & Cream Pavlovas

What is a Pavlova?  It’s a sweet cloud of deliciousness!  Actually it’s a meringue based dessert that’s named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.  It’s lightly crispy on the outside and light and marshmallowy on the inside.  It’s usually served topped with fruit and cream.

Pavlovas can be a cake like dessert or they can be individual shells filled with cream that’s topped with fresh or preserved fruits.  I love meringues and Pavlovas are one of my favorites.  It’s one of the desserts I always choose when we’re on a cruise.

Most folks think Pavlovas are for company desserts, yes, they’re that impressive.  But really Pavlovas a pretty easy to make.  I usually make them after I’ve made my grandmother’s flan which uses up a lot of egg yolks.  Pavlovas handily use the remaining egg whites.  Other than egg whites all you need is sugar, preferably caster or baker’s sugar (it’s super fine sugar that is between regular sugar and powdered sugar), cream or tartar, cornstarch, and vanilla.  You probably have all those things already.  (If you don’t have caster sugar you can either pick some up at the grocery store’s baking aisle or place regular granulated sugar in your blender and pulse until the crystals turn into a fine grains, sort of like sand, but not powdery.)

You’ll also want to use your standing mixer with a whisk attachment.  You can also use a hand held mixer.  You’ll need parchment paper to line your baking sheets, and a piping tip and bag if you have one.  Otherwise you can spoon the meringue onto the parchment paper for baking.

For my Strawberries and Cream Pavlovas I make individual shells that I fill with the mascarpone cream I make and top with Riesling Marinated Strawberries.  Click here for the Riesling Marinated Strawberries recipe!

Here’s  how to make these delicious Pavlovas.  Your family and friends will be impressed!

Ingredients:

Meringue:

4 Egg Whites

1 Cup Caster Sugar

1/2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 Tsp. Cornstarch

2 Tsp. Vanilla

Cream Filling:

8 Oz. Container of Mascarpone Cheese

1 Cup Cold Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 320 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.

Gradually add caster sugar and cream of tartar.  Continue beating at high speed.

Add cornstarch and vanilla.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

Pipe or spoon meringue on to the parchment paper. If piping start with a small circle for the base then pipe coils of meringue on top of it.  If spooning meringue drop them on the sheet and use the back of the spoon to make a shallow indentation in the  middle.  (I usually drop meringue Kisses with any leftover meringue.  I use them to top the strawberries)

Place on sheet in the oven and IMMEDIATELY lower temperature to 245 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Lower temperature to 200 degrees and back until the meringue is dry to the touch.  Touch carefully as they are fragile.

Turn off the oven and open door halfway.  Leave meringues inside to cool down to prevent them from cracking.

Meanwhile whip mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla together until fluffy.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

When meringues are cooled fill the wells of each meringue with cold cream mixture.  Top with Riesling Marinated Strawberries.  If you have a meringue kiss place one on top to decorate the pavlova, you can also add a fresh mint leaf if you like.

Serve immediately!


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Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Waking up to the aroma of freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls is one of life’s simple pleasures.  It’s a sure way to get everyone out of bed and onto the breakfast table.

But who has the time to wake up at the crack of dawn to start a batch of dough?  Not me that’s for sure!  But I do love my cinnamon rolls so I found a way to make them fresh without all the work.  Really!  These cinnamon rolls are super easy to make, it uses frozen bread dough!  Now how cool is that?

You can take them out the night before and let them rise in the fridge.  In the morning you just have to put them in a pan, brush them with cinnamon butter (I use the Chef Shamy spread you can buy at Costco) and pop them in the oven.  In a very short time your house will smell like cinnamon!

I like to either glaze each roll with a thin glaze or if I have the ingredients make a cream cheese icing for them.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

24 frozen bread roll dough

Chef Shamy Honey Butter Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Flavor

OR

1 Stick butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 Tbs. Ground Cinnamon – mixed together to make a  paste

Glaze:

1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

2 Tbs. Milk

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Directions:

Place frozen dough rolls on a parchment covered tray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll 2 rolls together to form a ball and cut 4 slits from top to bottom, but don’t cut all the way thru.

Place this into a greased muffin tin.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  You will have 12 rolls.

Spread the Butter Paste on top of the rolls and also in between the slits.  It’s best to do this with clean hands so you can get the paste deep into the slits.

Cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with baking oil.

Let the dough rise until it’s double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove plastic wrap and place risen rolls in the oven and bake about 15 minutes.

Gently remove from muffin tins and brush the tops with glaze or icing.

The Glaze:

Mix glaze ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.  Glaze will be slightly thicker but not icing consistency.  Spread this on warm rolls before serving.

If you prefer ice with your favorite cream cheese icing.

Serve warm and don’t forget to brew some coffee!

 

 

 


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SNOWBALL COOKIES

SNOWBALL COOKIES

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Greek Kourabies, Melting Moments, Meltaways, or Snowball Cookies; whatever you call them these little balls of sweetness are delicious.

Traditionally made with chopped nuts these sugar coated morsels melt in your mouth. They’re the perfect cookies to serve at tea time, snack time, or anytime.

I’ve always loved these cookies and include them in my holiday baking. But I prefer them without nuts, so when I make them I simply omit them.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired
Powdered sugar for coating

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Fit standing mixer with paddle attachment
  3. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy
  4. Mix in vanilla extract
  5. Add in flour and nuts (if using nuts) and mix until soft dough balls form
  6. Using a 1” cookie scooper or tablespoon form 1” dough balls
  7. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet or one covered with parchment paper or silicone mat
  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until balls are set but before they turn brown
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes
  10. Place about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl
  11. Roll each cookie in sugar then place on a cooling rack
  12. Cool completely then roll in sugar again
  13. Store cookies in airtight containers

 

 

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