Delectable Desserts Made For Summer

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Berry pie and ice cream is a standard summer dessert. Why not shake it up a bit?

Serve this tasty pound cake and top it with berries and yogurt cheese. The leftovers can be toasted up for breakfast the next morning. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, make grilled peaches and top them with yogurt cheese, or crème fraiche, and a dusting of cinnamon. Choose unblemished, firm, ripe peaches for the best results.

Bon appétit!

Cinnamon and Cardamom Pound Cake(Serves 8 to 10)2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1½ teaspoons water

1½ teaspoons pure ground cinnamon, preferably organic

1 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1½ cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Powdered sugar, for dustingTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the oven rack in the center position.

Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch-by-3½-inch loaf pan with butter.

Line the pan with long strips of parchment paper, leaving an overhang to facilitate lifting the cake out of the pan.

Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium-high speed, until it is smooth and shiny.

Gradually add sugar to the butter.

Continue beating, until light, fluffy and almost white, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add vanilla and almond extract.

Beat until blended.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and water together in a bowl, until they are frothy.

Pour the egg mixture into the butter/sugar in a slow, thin stream with the mixer running.

Beat about 5 minutes.

Add cinnamon, cardamom and salt.

Mix well.

Place the flour in a sieve.

Sift it onto waxed paper.

Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour over the batter and fold it in.

Continue folding flour into the batter until blended.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Smooth the top.

Scatter almonds over the batter.

Bake, until a cake tester inserted into the crack in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (Tent with foil if top is browning too quickly.)

Set on cooling rack.

Let the cake rest in the pan, about 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of the cake.

Gently remove the cake from the pan using the paper overhang.

Transfer to a rack.

Cool completely.

Remove any leftover paper from the cake.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut into slices. Serve with ice cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt cheese, and fresh fruit.Crème Fraiche(About 2 cups)1 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

Pinch of kosher saltTo prepare:Whisk together sour cream, heavy cream and salt in a mixing bowl, until blended.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Let stand at room temperature, about 2 hours.

Transfer to a clean container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.Yogurt Cheese, A Healthier Cream Topping(About 2½ cups)1 quart non-fat plain yogurt

Various flavorings:

Few drops of pure vanilla or almond extract

Grated zest of lemon, lime, or orange

Freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamonTo prepare:Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl.

Dampen a triple thickness of cheese cloth, or clean white linen towel, and line the strainer.

Transfer yogurt into the strainer.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate overnight.

Transfer the curd in the strainer to a clean glass jar.

Refrigerate until needed.

To serve, whisk the selected flavoring into 1/2 cup of yogurt cheese.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Spoon a dollop on top of the dessert.Grilled Peaches(Serves 4)4 large firm ripe peaches, washed

1 lemon, cut into wedges, for juice and garnish

1 teaspoon pure cinnamon, to taste

2 teaspoons light brown sugar, to taste

Canola oil, for spraying

Fresh mint leaves, for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the grill on high, or until the coals are white hot.

Cut peaches in half. Do not peel.

Remove the pits.

Drizzle with lemon juice on the cut side.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste.

Spray with a light coat of oil to prevent sticking to the grid.

Place cut-side down on the grill.

Cover.

Cook until grill marks appear, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Rotate the peaches about 45°.

Grill until the skin begins to recede about 1/8 inch from the edge, about 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Transfer to dessert plates.

Garnish with lemon wedge and mint leaves.

Serve with crème fraiche or yogurt cheese.

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