Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guilt-Free Berry Pie

"I think I gained ten pounds just looking at your blog."

This seems to be one of the most common comments I get about this blog. And unless your eyeballs have actually discovered a way to turn the phenomena of mouth watering into cold hard calories, I don't think anyone is gaining an ounce. But I do get the sentiment. All these cakes and fluffy frostings do create a few sinful cravings. An next thing you know you've eaten a whole bag of Oreos and sold your shoes for a Twinkie.

So for the waist-watching masses I've decided to tickle your taste buds once more - but in the guilt free sorta way. Now you can make this tasty berry pie and not even bat an eye at the treadmill.

Sweet Splenda Strawberry Berry Pie

Makes on pie.

The Crust:
Use one recipe of Pate Brisee.
1) You will only need half of this recipe, but you can make the full batch and have two pies!
2) If you want to de-calorie even further use margarine or a butter substitute for the butter in the recipe.

One nine inch pie shell baked. Or use 1/2 of Pate Brisee recipe link above.
4 cups sliced strawberries (or mixture of berries)
2 cups water
1 cup granulated Splenda
2 tbsp corn starch
2 boxes of sugar free strawberry Jello (or any other flavor you want)
Cool whip or whipped topping

1) Bake pie shell for five to ten minutes.
2) Pour strawberries (or other berries) into baked, cooled, pie shell and set aside.
3) Mix water, Splenda, cornstarch in a sauce pan and cook at medium heat, stirring till it boils.
4) Continue stirring and let boil for two minutes.
5) Slowly pour in Jello mixes. Stir till disolved.
6) Pour mixture over berries in pie shell.
7) Refrigerate until set.
8) Top with whipped cream and serve!

Okay, now go make and eat this one! I don't want to hear any complaining about gaining weight from sugarfree and fat-free pie!! (Plus it's good!)

Also, a special berry-riffic shout-out to Russell Gearhart Photography! And a quick behind the scenes look at how he gets those baked good to look absolutely calorie-inducing through photography alone:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Magnificent Merlot Cupcakes

What are my two favorite foodie delights? Why that would be wine and cupcakes, of course. Now these two treats pair well when one is in a cup and the other on the plate, but do they play nice when the temperature is turned up in the oven?

I decided to experiment. I found a cheap Merlot (because a lot of flavor bakes off, so you shouldn't pull out the big expensive guns), and tried it out with some chocolate cake-y-goodness! Then I blended a cream cheese frosting with a few shots of port (one for the cake one down the hatch, one for the cake one down the hatch)! Though neither taste distinctly like wine or port, the whole cupcake has a very unique and subtle flavor on its own. But you shouldn't take my word for it, you should make your own!

Magnificent Merlot Cupcakes
(Serves 20 -24)

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted softened butter2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz. Merlot wine (about half the bottle)

Cupcake Directions:
1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2) Line cupcake tins with paper liners
3) In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4) In a bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy.
5) Add sour cream and beat in.
6) With the mixer running slowly, pour in the Merlot.7) Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and slowly stir until it is evenly mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides so everything is mixed in.
8) Divide the batter up into cupcake liners.
9) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Port Berry Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting Ingredients:
1 8 oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
1 4 oz. stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2-3 tbsp of port (start with two and then check consistency)
1 tsp of berry extract (I recommend raspberry)
20-24 raspberries for garnish

Frosting Directions:
1) Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, put cream cheese, butter, and sugar into the bowl and beat until fully. Slowly drizzle in the port. You may be tempted to add more port, but don't because the frosting will become to liquid to stay on your cupcakes.
2) Pipe frosting onto the top of the cupcakes.
3) Garnish with a raspberry and/or a chocolate drizzled decoration.

And eat! These cupcakes of course pair nicely with the left over port and Merlot that didn't go in the cakes themselves. Mmmmm good!

Special thanks to Russell Gearhart Photography for taste testing and of course providing deeeeelicious photography! Russell Gearhart Photography doesn't just photograph cake, in fact they prefer to photograph people. Check them out at: Russell Gearhart Photography

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Berry Mousse Parfait

As summer rounds the corner, wiggling its sunny toes at us, one can't help but smell fruit in the air. Red raspberries and strawberries glitter like rubies at the farmers market, ripe and plump and begging to be baked with. Not to mention the fact that we all are looking for a light and lovely treat to tickle our mid-may morning sweet tooth. How does a little frothy white chocolate mousse sound with a luscious layer of fresh berries and pleasant puree?

Perfect for your next picnic, try out this Berry Mousse Parfait!

Berry Mousse Parfait

Makes Six Servings

White Chocolate Mousse Ingredients:
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 ounces white chocolate (chopped)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Berry Puree Ingredients:
12 ounces frozen strawberries or raspberries (or mix)
2 tablespoons sugar

Fresh Berries:
1 pint strawberries (fresh and sliced)
1 pint raspberries (fresh)
1 tablespoon sugar

To Make the Mousse:
1) Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar in a medium stainless-steel mixing bowl or top of a double boiler.
2) Stir in the orange juice, water, and lemon juice.
3) Set bowl over pot of simmering water (making sure the bottom does not touch the water) or use a double boiler.
4) Whisk eggs briskly until thick and the mixture has tripled in volume (2 to 3 minutes).
5) Remove bowl from the stove and whisk in the white chocolate until smooth. Let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally.
6) Whip the cream until soft peaks form and fold it into the white chocolate.

To Make the Sauce:
1) Puree the frozen berries in a food processor.
2) Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the seeds (you can skip this step if you don't mind seeds in your puree).
3) Add sugar, and then taste and add additional sugar if needed.

To Prep the Berries:
1) Slice the strawberries into manageable bites.
2) Mix strawberries and raspberries in a bowl and add sugar. Taste and add additional sugar if needed.

To Assemble the Parfait:
1) Find six clear glasses or plastic cups.
2) Layer the ingredients in the following order: Berries, mousse, sauce, berries, mouse, sauce, etc.
3) Refrigerate parfait for several hours before serving.
4) Add a garnish of berries, mint, or a cookie before serving.
5) Eat!