Tag Archives: dessert recipes

Blueberry Cobbler

Forbidden Rice Blog | Blueberry Cobbler (2 of 6)

Just like that, here we are, almost to the middle of February and it’s a whole new year since the last actual recipe I posted on this food blog. Though this space hasn’t been entirely vacant, and certainly I’ve been cooking frequently, my apologies for the lack of shared recipes.

After being “away” for so long, I wondered if I needed to explain myself. But… I don’t feel the need. There aren’t good excuses. Life is busy. There never seems to be enough hours to get everything I both need and want to get done in a day. Let’s be honest. I spend the majority of every day doing a multitude of tedious things that have to get done (though I try to make at least an hour to get outside — the puppy needs a good walk/play/run, after all). By the end of the day (which is usually somewhere between 11PM and 2AM for my nocturnal brain), I finally have time to myself and generally trying to think of words to describe a recipe in any detail sounds less than enjoyable.

That said, here we are. Blueberry cobbler. There are cobblers and then… there are COBBLERS. I’ve rarely heard of people agreeing on what exactly constitutes an authentic fruit “cobbler.” Bottomless-pie-pastry-crust-top? Thick, wet, cake batter smoothed over fruit then baked? Biscuit batter dropped haphazard and beautifully onto some fruit filling? I don’t know. Maybe YOU wouldn’t even call this cobbler. You can call it whatever you want, really, it’s still tasty!

Blueberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

For the biscuit topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
2/3 cup cold buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg

For the filling:
2 pounds fresh blueberries, stems removed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Additional ingredients:
fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ baking dish.

Prepare the biscuit topping: in a large bowl, combine the two cups of flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, sugar, salt. Mix well. Cut the butter into your dry ingredients, until you form pea-sized crumbs.

Whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Add this mixture to the butter/flour mixture, gently kneading until a soft ball of dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll until you form a rectangle approximately half an inch thick. Fold the bottom edge of the dough upwards, over the middle. Next for the top edge over the side you’ve just brought to the middle. (Basically creating 3 layers!) Roll this out until it’s a half inch thick again.

Use a knife or rectangular biscuit cutter to cut the dough into 12-15 pieces. Set on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the blueberry filling: stir together the cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the blueberries and toss to evenly coat. Pour the blueberries into your buttered baking dish.

Prepare the cobbler:  place the biscuits on top of the blueberries, spacing them about one-inch apart from one another.

In a small dish, stir together the 1/4-cup buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush over the top of each biscuit. Sprinkle the coarse sugar, lemon zest and a light pinch of fresh nutmeg.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream if you’d like!

White Chocolate Mousse

Forbidden Rice Blog | White Chocolate Mousse

Mousse can easily seem intimidating. There’s often the precision of whipping up egg whites into meringue, the whipping of cream, and the delicate folding together of these ingredients, ensuring a light, airy dessert. You can go haphazard. There may be denseness, overly thick pudding-like mousse.

You’d think that a recipe with so few ingredients would be less likely to come across as daunting… However, intimidating or not, I’m hard-headed. And my cooking philosophy still applies daily: don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

When I decided to make the following white chocolate mousse, it was mainly for my mother-in-law, whose favorite “chocolate” is white “chocolate.” I found a recipe that seemed approachable and dove in. This mousse doesn’t include a meringue, but the whipped cream still creates a light dessert. This mousse is incredibly rich and decadent. It’s not overly difficult and easily comes across as impressive. A win-win situation, especially when adding in the fact that it tastes good!

White Chocolate Mousse

White Chocolate Mousse

Serves 8 or so.

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white chocolate chips

Optional:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves

Directions:

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, until they’re thick lightly yellow in color. Gradually beat in the sugar.

Heat 1 cup of whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat, just until hot. Temper the eggs by gradually stirring at least half of the cream into egg yolk mixture, then stir this mixture back into hot cream that remains in the saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not allow it to boil). Stir in the white chocolate until completely melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.

Beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream on high speed until stiff peaks can form. Fold the completely cooled, refrigerated white chocolate mixture into the whipped cream, being sure not to . Spoon mixture into parfait (of your preferred) glasses.

If you want, beat together 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff peaks form. Garnish the top of each mousse cup with a dollop of the fresh vanilla whipped cream, a raspberry and mint leaf. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to be eaten.

White Chocolate Mousse

Purple Sweet Potato Pie

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‘Tis the season to go blog MIA (apparently). Things have been crazy and busy – life, travel, crazy weather, the holidays… Every day appears to fade right into the next. We aren’t even going to talk about how Christmas is next week. Luckily I got my parents’ and siblings’ gifts in the mail on time this year (a first, possibly). Our kitchen has been busy with other gift making concoctions and at the end of the day, when I stop moving finally, writing some lengthy post is not on my preferred list of things to do (like, you know, sleep).

That said, I have been meaning to share this recipe for a month. I recently (okay maybe not that recently) wrote about these sweet potato haupia pie squares. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I knew I wanted to make a sweet potato pie. I remembered the gorgeous color of those purple sweet potatoes and decided to give it a try. The result was a gorgeous colored, wonderfully tasting, pie. The crust is light and flaky, the filling smells like holidays and delivers a taste bud explosion.

I used Joy the Baker‘s recipe for her dad’s famous sweet potato pie as a basis for this pie. I had a half-brain notion to make two sweet potato pies – this one and the traditional yammy orange colored variety… But really since we were only having dinner for 3, dessert for 5, two pies of the same variety (more or less) seemed like overkill. If you cannot find purple sweet potatoes, yams will easily suffice!

 

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Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Yields one 9-inch pie.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6-8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
2 medium sweet potatoes (yields 2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) evaporated milk, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

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Directions:

Make the dough for your pie crust: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined. Cut in the butter and shortening. (My preferred way to do this is by using a box grater to add in the butter. Once the whole stick has been grated, I add in my shortening, then use my hands to mix everything together into what resembles really coarse cornmeal.) Mix the dry ingredients, butter, and shortening together until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the ice cold water one tablespoon at a time. Use your hands to mix everything together until the dough just comes together. (You may need more/less water, but remember to add it just one tablespoon at a time.) Flatten into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

Prepare the pie filling: Peel the sweet potatoes, then dice them into large, 3-inch chunks.  Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water reaches boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the potatoes are completely tender, about 20 minutes.  Test the done-ness of the potatoes using a thin knife or fork. If the knife/fork is met with any resistance, simmer the potatoes a bit longer. Drain the potatoes in a colander.

In the same large pot, add the cooked  potato pieces, the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk. Over low heat, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes as they cook.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Make sure the mixture is as smooth as possible. Once the mixture is smooth and fragrant, remove from the heat and let it cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining evaporated milk, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla, whisking well.  Pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture. Set aside until needed.

Make your pie: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the refrigerated dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer it to a pie pan.  Trim the edges until only a 1/2-inch of overhang from the edge of the pan is left.  Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers.

Pour the prepared filling into the pie crust.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake until the filling is completely cooked through, about 50 to 55 minutes. If you lightly shake the baking sheet, the center of the pie should minimally jiggle. If it appears too jiggly, return the pie to the oven for an addition 5-10 minutes, or as needed.

Transfer the cooked pie (in the dish) to a cooling rack. Let the pie cool to room temperature before cutting and serving. Leftovers can be wrapped and refrigerated up to 3 days. (This pie is delicious cold, too!)

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The Art of Failed Cakes and Mistakes

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One of the most rewarding things I’ve learned from really delving into cooking is: mistakes happen. Not that I wasn’t aware of this before. And certainly in the areas of life outside of the kitchen, I’m a mistake aficionado. Life happens. You mess up. By “you” I also mean “me,” or “I.” If you’re like me, the f’ups probably happen over and over again. Sometimes over really stupid things – like forgetting to grease your pans before adding a delicate batter you so patiently and tenderly put together. Or turning the oven up 80-degrees more than you should’ve. Or grabbing a pizza from under the broiler with a dishcloth, only to set the whole damn thing on fire (yes, the towel… and the pizza). We aren’t even going into non-kitchen related mistakes, because those are plentiful, too, but this is a food blog. (And mostly, I don’t necessarily want to divulge ALL of my own stupidity for public viewing at the moment.)

I don’t care how many years of education you have under your belt. Or how much time you’ve spent working in the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant kitchen. Mistakes still happen. And when they do, you either reposition your intentions – your preconceived ideas – or you get out of the kitchen, feeling entirely defeated. I’ll be honest, I’ve done both. I’ve gotten better about being flexible when I screw up, but it often comes with hesitation and curse words.

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Last week, I decided to bake a birthday cake for our friend Gary. I made the following cake, which already has a place on this blog from two years ago, when I had the overnight responsibility of baking Silas’s birthday cake. It’s amazingly scrumptious. Chocolatey, rich, not overwhelmingly sweet, and so moist it almost pains me to think of not eating this cake at least every other week. Somewhere in my cake planning, I thought of the brilliant strawberries that are available right now, then decided that a strawberry mascarpone cream cheese buttercream frosting would be delicious with this chocolate cake.

Regardless of my careful efforts and mass planning, the frosting was an absolute FAIL. While it tasted amazing – creamy, sweet, light, not overwhelming – I couldn’t get it to thicken enough to frost the cake. Especially not a two layered cake, which was the intention all along. First, I put one cake down, then added frosting, along with a thin layer of fresh strawberries. I added the second cake layer and it slid around, the frosting came oozing out from the center, and I said a LOT of f-words aloud. And may or may not have thrown a spatula at the sink. From across the room.

I’d like to say I gained my composure and went with the flow of where this situation was heading. But… I didn’t. I separated the cake layers, scraped off all the frosting, then got teary eyed about the hours of work I was ready to throw in the trash. Then I frosted both single layered cakes, topped each with fresh sliced strawberries, stuck everything in the fridge to harden a bit. Then, with encouragement from my husband, two delicious single layered cakes were born out of one waaay-trashy looking two-layered cake. He said people work really hard to make something look like these one layered cakes! Plus in the category of flavor, these cakes were seriously not lacking.

Plus Gary appreciated the gesture, the cake, the sparkler. All was not lost over stupid frosting. And as they say, two cakes are better than one. And… if no one’s said that, they certainly should.

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Rich Chocolate Cake

Yields one 8-inch, two layered cake. Or two single layered 8-inch round cakes.

Ingredients:
2½ cups packed brown sugar

¾ cup + 2 tbsp. butter, softened

3 eggs, room temperature
1¾ tsp. vanilla extract

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup + 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

2½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. sea salt

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature (light is okay)

1 cup + 2 tbsp. boiling water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan, cut to fit exactly. Brush with oil, then dust the entire cake pan lightly with flour.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the creamed butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Sifting is ideal, but not necessary.

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Alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream to your butter/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until well combined. The batter will be quite thick at this point.

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Stir the boiling water into the other mixture. This will thin out the batter almost instantly. Don’t worry, you’ll think you screwed the whole thing up, but it’s supposed to do this. Pour the batter evenly into your prepared cake pans, filling each about 2/3-full. Don’t over fill – this will certainly cause a collapse while baking! It’s likely you’ll have enough batter leftover for some cupcakes; bake them for 20-25 minutes. Bake the round cakes for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean or with minimal crumbs attached.

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Cool completely, in pans, on a wire rack. Invert the cakes on a plate, then frost as you wish once the cakes are entirely cooled.

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Seeing as the frosting part of this cake didn’t turn out, I’ll leave you with some suggestions for frostings that have worked for me in the past, which I think would work nicely with this particular chocolate cake:

This vanilla bean frosting would work.

Or this whipped honey buttercream.

Maybe this vanilla buttercream.

Feeling like chocolate? This chocolate buttercream is my favorite, hands down.