Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Berry Trifle

I was asked to bring a trifle to a Dickens-inspired Christmas dinner. I had never made one, though I have this awesome trifle dish. After a bit of web searching, I am more than happy to declare that I got this recipe from the Food Network (thank you Tyler Florence). It was a lot of fun to make, but it does take some time and effort. It was declared delicious by all who ate it.

Berries: 1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into thick slices
2 pint raspberries
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 C sugar
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch

Lemon Cream:
1 qt whipping cream
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch lemon curd
1 pound cake, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Place the berries into a large bowl and sprinkle with half of the lemon juice. Lightly toss.

Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch and remaining lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a simmer and cook just until the berries begin to break down and give up their juices, about 3 minutes.

Take the berries off the heat and let cool; the mixture should thicken up as is cools.

Cut the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices.

In a clean bowl, whip the cream with the sugar and the vanilla to soft peaks. Put the lemon curd into a second bowl and stir in a little of the whipped cream to loosen it. Then fold in the rest of the cream.

To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the lemon cream into a large glass bowl.

Add a layer of pound cake, breaking the slices into pieces that fit.

Then soak the cake with a layer of berries and their juices.

Keep going to make 3 or 4 more layers, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Lemon Curd

I was asked to make a trifle for a family Christmas party this week. I decided on fresh berries, and found a great recipe for it. It also called for a lemon curd. I didn't know if I could buy a curd, but I found this great recipe for it online, so I thought it was a good thing to learn how to make as well.

3 large eggs
3/4 C granulated white sugar
1/3 C fresh lemon juice (2-3 small lemons or one large lemon)
4 Tbl unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbl finely shredded lemon zest

In a stainless steel or glass bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended.

Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a Hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F). This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps.

Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.

Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kingdom Hearts Sea Salt Ice Cream

My stepson, Riley, has been asking if we could try this recipe for a long time. I'm glad that we finally made it. It's really more of a custard with an amazingly rich flavor. The custard base is basic, so you could probably make it with any flavoring you'd like (in case you're a little leery of making salt-rich ice cream).


2 eggs
1 C milk
1 C + 1 tsp sugar
1 C heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
sea-salt to taste
blue and green food coloring (optional)

Crack 2 eggs into the bowl and whisk well for a few minutes.

Add one cup of sugar into the eggs and continue to whisk well until creamy.

Heat the milk in the saucepan over medium heat until warmish hot while constantly stirring with the wooden spoon (do not use a metal spoon it will scratch your pot and make the milk burn easier). The milk should be right before boiling, but do not let it boil. Do not heat too fast or the milk will curdle. Whole milk works best and makes the creamiest and most delicious ice cream, however any milk will do in a pinch (we used 2%).

Add the egg and sugar mixture into the warm milk and heat over medium to low heat until thickened. This will take a while and the mixture may boil a bit. If it does reduce your heat to low (to prevent further boiling) and keep stirring until it has the consistency of very thin pudding. If you want a slightly richer ice cream, add the extra teaspoon of sugar to this step.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stick it in the fridge to cool.

Once your mixture has cooled to room temperature or below, take it out of the fridge and add the heavy cream and vanilla.

Add sea-salt slowly and taste until you have a slightly salty but sweet flavor to your liking. I like my sea-salt ice cream very salty and put a little under a teaspoon of salt in. Some people like less, some people like more.

Add the food coloring. To get the traditional kingdom hearts color, 10 drops of blue and 2 drops of green.

Pour mixture into your ice cream freezer and follow the instructs for your freezer.

You may need to let it run for 1-2 hours. You will have to wait longer than normal for sea salt ice-cream to freeze because the salt lowers the freezing temperature.

If you want harder ice cream, put in a freezer-safe container and freeze hard for several hours.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

I've had several request for my buttercream frosting recipe. I've posted it on this blog, but not as it's own recipe. So, for everyone who has asked me for it, here it is. Now, go and bake!


1/2 C butter, softened
2-1/2 C powdered sugar, heaping
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp second flavor extract
2 Tbl cream>
Food coloring

Using your stand mixer or a medium bowl, beat all ingredients together except food coloring for 2-3 minutes. Add food coloring and blend together. On medium speed, beat for an additional 5 minutes.

Frost away!

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Filling cupcakes

After experimenting some with filled cupcakes, I finally feel comfortable enough to blog about my experience. I'm not making any wild claims about knowing the best way to do this. I was just really happy about finding a way that seemed to work for me.

Items you'll need:
Cupcakes (I've made Orange Cream and Pink Lemonade ones so far)
Pastry decorating bag
Wilton #230 Bismarck filling tip
Marshmallow cream filling (or whatever you want to use)

If you are using a large bag, it's easier to fill it if you fold down the top edge.

Put a generous amount of filling in your bag. Work the filling down to the tip. Twist the open end of the bag closed so the filling doesn't come out that way when you squeeze. (I know this sounds like a "well, duh!" kind of thing, but it's better to be safe than have someone ask me later "What am I doing wrong here?") To get a feeling for the amount of pressure you'll need for the flow you want, squeeze some out into your bowl.

Insert the tip into the top of the cupcake.

Squeeze 1 to 1-1/2 tsp of filling into the cupcake. You'll probably see the cupcake start to expand a bit. You'll know you've put too much in if it cracks.

Pull the tip out while lightly squeezing. This will fill up the spot in the cupcake where the tip was.

If you want, you can cut one open to see how much it getting into the cake.

Frost the top of your cupcake with your favorite frosting.


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Marshmallow Cream Filling

After experimenting with filling cupcakes with regular frosting (not recommended, it's just too rich), I came across a marshmallow cream filling that doesn't call for shortening. Hallelujah! (I'm not a fan of shortening. I know that sounds funny coming from someone who insists on lard in her pie crust dough.) This is pretty darn easy to make, and it tastes great!


6 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 C powdered sugar
3/4 C marshmallow cream
1-1/2 Tbs whipping cream

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together butter, sugar, marshmallow cream, and heavy cream until light and fluffy.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

From the kitchen of Carol Berlin

This is a quick, easy, delicious crock pot chicken recipe that is sure to please your family. And I'd like to thank my sister, Carol, for introducing me to it. Thanks!

8 chicken breasts or 10 thighs and legs chicken pieces
Lemon pepper
Your favorite barbecue sauce

Cover the bottom of your crock pot with a layer of chicken. Sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper.

Cover with barbecue sauce.

Repeat until crock pot is full, but not too full.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

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