S’mores Pizza

by Jennifer

This recipe is from Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas by Craig W. Priebe with Dianne Jacob, and it is unbelievably good.  Truly.  I can’t emphasize enough how GOOD this dessert is.  Needless to say my kids went nuts, but I was right there with them!  Makes one 12” pizza.

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 9 full graham crackers or 3 cups graham sticks, divided
  • 11 oz. pizza dough
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter, melted
  • 7-oz. jar marshmallow fluff
  • Cornmeal for pizza paddle

(It rained the night I made this so I used a preheated pizza stone in the oven at 450 degrees, but if you do grill it, you’re going to grill the first side of the crust, flip it over, then brush with the melted butter and proceed, sliding it back on the grill after you top it.)

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on HI for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and set aside.

Place 2/3 of the graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush the best you can without breaking the bag (I used the condensed milk can;  you could also use a rolling pin).  Break the remaining graham crackers into small pieces.

Roll out the dough into a 12” circle and transfer to a pizza paddle sprinkled with cornmeal.  Brush with melted butter.

Spread the crushed graham crackers on top.

Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture and fluff over the graham cracker layer, then sprinkle with remaining broken graham crackers.  Slide pizza onto hot pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes,

or until underside of crust is golden and fluff is puffed and golden.

Vanilla Pudding with Summer Berries

by Jennifer

This recipe, from Gourmet magazine, is one of my favorite summer dessert recipes.  It’s easy to put together, can be eaten warm or cold, and with your favorite berries.  The original recipe served 2;  since there are 5 in my family, I tripled the recipe to make 6.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups berries of your choice

In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Whisking, slowly add the milk until well-combined.

Whisk in the egg yolks.  Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.

Once boiling, whisk constantly and boil for 1 minute.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla and almond extract.

Layer pudding and berries in wineglasses, starting and ending with fruit.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes for a warm pudding, or longer for cold.

Blueberry Pie with Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

by Jennifer

I love fruit pies, but sometimes the ice cream on top (which in my mind is an absolute necessity) adds too much sweetness to the already sweet fruit.  This ice cream recipe, from Gourmet magazine, is fantastic, a little sweet but also tangy, and a perfect foil to the pie.  You can substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt.

Blueberry Pie – adapted from Abby Mandel’s recipe, Chicago Tribune

  • Fool-Proof Pie Dough, doubled, or store-bought pie crust
  • 4 pints blueberries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant tapioca
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rimmed baking sheet inside.

Combine blueberries, lemon juice and lemon zest in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine sugar through salt.

Add sugar mixture to blueberries and stir gently to coat.

Roll out pie dough for the bottom crust and transfer to a 9” pie plate.

Pour blueberry mixture into the pie plate and dot with butter.

Roll out dough for top crust and place on top of the pie, crimping the edges.  Cut slits for steam to escape.

Bake pie on the baking sheet for 50 – 60 minutes, or until crust is a deep golden and the fruit is bubbling;  you may need to cover the edges with aluminum foil or a pie ring if they get too brown.

Greek Yogurt Ice Cream – adapted from Gourmet magazine

The ice cream can be made up to 3 days ahead;  if you make it the day you’re serving it, it needs 4 – 6 hours to harden in the freezer before serving.

  • 16 oz container 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and the sugar has dissolved.  Refrigerate mixture (in blender) until quite cold.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to directions, then transfer to a freezer-safe container to harden.  Let soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Coffee Kahlua Brownie Ice Cream

by Jennifer

This turned out to be a great way to use leftover brownies, and was given two thumbs up by every member of my family!

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped brownies

Combine cream through eggs in a heavy saucepan and bring mixture, whisking often, to 175 degrees over moderate heat.

Pour custard into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any solids.

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then stir in Kahlua and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 8 hours.

Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to instructions,

and in the last 5 minutes add the brownies.

Transfer ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Free-Form Nectarine and Almond Tart (served with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and Salted Caramel Sauce)

by Jennifer

I’d wanted to make a nectarine tart for a while, and had some ground almonds in my freezer to use up, and then found a salted caramel sauce recipe on browneyedbaker.com, and this dessert all came together.

  • pie dough for a single pie crust, homemade or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 4 – 5 ripe nectarines, sliced (I used both yellow and white nectarines)
  • 1/4 cup, packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla frozen yogurt
  • Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce (or storebought)
  • Toasted sliced almonds for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough to a rough 13” – 14” circle, then transfer it to the parchment paper.

Spread ground almonds on top, leaving an inch or so margin.

Toss nectarines with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt.

Arrange nectarines on top of ground almonds,

then fold up crust.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden.  To serve, top each slice with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt, a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of sliced almonds.

Bananas Foster

by Jennifer

This is one of my stepfather’s favorite desserts, and while I have great memories of eating it growing up, this combination of the original recipe from Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans and an Alton Brown recipe I found at foodnetwork.com is the best I’ve had.  Serves 4.

  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 bananas, peeled, sliced lengthwise, then crosswise (so you should have 16 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream

In a skillet over low heat, combine butter through nutmeg, cooking and stirring until butter melts and it all conglomerates.

Add bananas and cook, stirring frequently,

until sugar melts and everything’s thick and bubbling.

Add rum, stirring until it gets very hot,

then ignite the rum using a long match (thanks to our friend, Bob, for catching this part on camera!).  When the flame dies out, spoon out bananas and lots of sauce over 4 bowls of ice cream.  Eat immediately, and feel free to lick the bowl clean.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

by Jennifer

Yet another delicious way to make use of local strawberries…

  • double recipe of Fool-Proof Pie Dough, or store-bought pie crust for a double-crust pie
  • 4 cups strawberries, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • milk to brush on top
  • 1 tsp sparkling sugar or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with a lined baking sheet inside.

In a large bowl toss together strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch.

Roll out half the pie dough on a floured surface and transfer to a 9” pie plate, trimming the overhanging dough.

Pour berry mixture into the pan and dot with butter.  Roll out second half of the dough and place on top, trimming excessive overhanging dough,

then tucking the dough underneath the bottom dough, crimping around the edge.  Cut a few vents for steam to escape.

With any leftover dough, if you’re feeling inspired, cut some creative decorations (I was aiming for strawberries, but wondering if they look more like fish?) and place on top crust.  Brush top crust with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 – 50 minutes,

until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling (you may need to cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil if they get too brown).  Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt if desired.