I have to admit, the only reason I made strawberry mousse this week was because I have these silicon half moon shaped molds that I’ve been dying to try out. I actually bought them a long time ago, but have never used them. I wanted to make pretty domed shaped mousse. I have a lot of silicon baking pans/molds and I swear by them. They have become my absolute favorite, and the best part is that you can shove them into a drawer and I mean literally shove. I stayed pretty simple for this recipe, but you could top the molds with a piece of store bought poundcake and when you flip the mousse out you would have a nice mousse topped dessert. The mousse would also be great as a filling for a layered cake–just make sure to use a springform pan if you decide to use it for that purpose.
yield: 4 Cups
5 Cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
3/4 Cup heavy cream
purchased pound cake (optional)
(whipped) heavy cream (optional for topping)
extra fresh berries (optional for topping)
1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, cook the berries, sugar, lemon juice, and water until very liquid, about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and let cool completely. You should have about 1 1/4 Cups of strawberry juice.
2. Pour 3/4 cup of the juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface to soften.
3. Reheat the remaining juice until it is warm to the touch. Add the softened gelatin mixture to the warm juice and whisk until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
4. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Fold one-third of it into the strawberry mixture. Gently fold in the remainder until no streaks remain. Pour mousse into a bowl or small molds, or ramekins, or wine glasses, and chill. If desired, place cut out rounds of pound-cake on top of the mousse molds. If using molds– to unmold, dip the molds or ramekins in hot water for a few seconds and invert on a plate, decorate with whipped cream and fresh berries.
What is it about Spring that sneaks up on you? You wait for it forever, and then suddenly…WHAM! here it is. Full on. Warm weather, and allergies. You have to take the good with the bad sometimes to appreciate the good. Spring has always been my favorite season. When I grew up in Michigan it seemed like forever before the winter thaw came, but when spring finally did arrive it was glorious. Rhubarb is one of those vegetables that signals Spring is finally here. You almost feel compelled to make something with it as it is not about for very long. I have to admit I’m a bit more intrigued with the color of it than the taste, but when you combine it with something sweet; such as the ever popular combination of strawberry you get something amazing. Throw in a few other flavors like orange and ginger and it makes a great pie. Note–this recipe also makes enough filling for one galette if you like to make just one pie.
Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
yield: ~ 18 3 inch hand pies (will also make one large 9 inch round galette)
1 recipe fearless pie crust or your favorite pie crust recipe
1 Cup diced fresh strawberries
1 Cup diced fresh rhubarb
1 tsp. orange zest
1/4 C sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
egg wash: one egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. milk
coarse sugar for sprinkling top
1. In a small bowl combine the sugar, vanilla bean seeds, ginger, and cornstarch then set aside. Roll out the pie crust and cut out 3 inch circles. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place pastry rounds onto sheet tray 2 inches apart. Mix the diced fruits, orange zest and sugar mixture together. Top each pastry round with 2 teaspoons of filling (being careful not to include too much juice) and brush edges of circles with egg wash. Take a round of pastry for the top and stretch it out slightly larger by pressing around the edges with the heel of your hand and place over the top of the fruited round, press down and around the filling with your finger to seal edges, then crimp with a floured fork. Cut a slit in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Freeze the pies for 10 minute while you preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Remove the pies from the freezer, redo the slit in the top if needed, then bake the pies at 400° F for 20 minutes until pies are golden brown. Let pies cool on the tray placed over a wire rack.
I love a good lava flow. Cocktail that is. Okay, perhaps witnessing an actual lava flow (from afar) is pretty cool too. Years back we took a cruise to Hawaii. NCL cruise line does a Hawaii cruise and it’s pretty darn fun. The ship cruised around the Hawaiian islands and at night our ship was strolling past the big island (I think it was the big island) when we saw the actual lava flowing into the sea. Now, I’ve never seen The Husband get so excited before. Who knew it took molten hot lava. He was like a little kid when he saw that red orange hot lava flowing over the cliff edges into the cool sea. I’m getting just as excited to think these little puppies are sitting in my freezer box as we speak. So whenever you’ve had a bad week; take some time to whip these little pops up and sit back, close your eyes and pretend you are sitting in Hawaii. No lava needed…
Lava Flow Cocktail Pops
yield: ~ 6-8 pops depending on size of your molds
1/2 lb. (about 8 or 9) fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
2 Tbsp. sugar
10 oz. can Bacardi Frozen Pina Cola Mix, thawed
6-10 oz. Coconut milk
4 oz. Light Rum (optional)
In a blender combine the thawed pina colada mix and 10 oz. of coconut milk, blend to combine. Pour into a 2 cup measuring container. Set aside and rinse the blender. Combine the strawberries and sugar in blender until pureed. Strain the seeds either through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. Place the pureed strawberry mixture into a 1 cup measuring cup and set aside.
For original version with alcohol: Follow instructions as above except use 4 oz. of rum and 6 oz. of coconut milk instead of the 10 oz. of milk.
To create Ice Pops:
Pour about 1 Tbsp. to 1 1/2 Tbsp. of strawberry mixture into bottom of ice pop molds. Take the mold and hold it in your hand at a 45 degree angle and carefully pour the prepared pina colada mix along the side of the molds until mold is full. Hold the mold up straight, and take chopstick or table knife and insert to hit bottom, and drag the strawberry mixture along the sides of the mold in 3-4 places from the bottom upwards to create a flowing effect. Freeze the molds for about 40 minutes and insert wooden sticks and continue to freeze until mixture is completely frozen. To remove pops run mold(s) under hot water for a few seconds to release.
March 21st is California Strawberry Day. Not sure who makes these things up, but there it is. In honor of the beautiful red berry I made a snack cake. Yes, it could be breakfast. Call it coffee cake. Who am I to dissuade you from eating cake for breakfast? . You know when strawberries are ripe when you can smell them just passing by with the grocery cart. Standing over the berries I could tell they “looked” ripe but even more so, they smelled heavenly. We normally plow through strawberries so fast that I don’t get to eat too many before they are gone. This time however, I had just enough left to make this cake with. You will need about 10-12 berries. Mind you, leftover berries are not a problem–normally I freeze them and keep them for smoothies, but I’m trying to clean out my freezer so I didn’t want to add to it. Don’t chop your strawberries too far ahead of time, as to prevent them from becoming too watery and bleeding into the batter. Enjoy~
Strawberry Pecan Streusel Cake
1/2 Cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Lg. egg
1 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla will do)
1 1/2 Cup chopped (1/2 pieces) fresh strawberries
1/2 Cup seedless strawberry jam, divided (I like Smuckers)
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C butter, softened
1/3 C coarsely chopped pecans
1. In a measuring cup mix the milk and lemon juice and set aside for at least 15 minutes; (essentially you are making a quick buttermilk). Prepare an 8 inch square pan with a parchment sling and lightly spray with baking spray.
2. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Make the streusel and set aside. To make streusel: combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter with a fork, then mix in the nuts.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine. Add lemon zest, vanilla and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternating with the milk mixture in two additions, ending with the flour mixture. Take 1/2 of the batter (it will be thick) and spread it evenly in the pan. Take 1/4 C of the jam and heat it slightly in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Spread the jam evenly over the batter, then swirl with a knife. Sprinkle 1/2 of the strawberries over the batter. Take the remaining batter and dot spoonfuls of the batter over the first layer, then carefully spread batter, repeat by spreading the other half of the (warmed) jam, swirl batter layer with a knife about 1/2 inch inward, and sprinkle with remaining berries. Sprinkle enough streusel to cover cake generously, but not too heavy (you will have about 2 Tbsp. left over).
4. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the top starts getting too dark, you can tent with foil for the last portion of baking. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
I think we should just make Mondays Mojito Day and be done with it. You can thank me now. Mind you; this has to start of course at 5:30 Pm, or when you hit the front door. Today I hit the front door at promptly 5:45 Pm and yes the mojito was made BEFORE DINNER. Somethings take priority and yes, the dog can wait if it was a particularly painful Monday. Fido will understand when he sees you chillin. Just remind your husband [ahem] not to weed wack the nice pile of mint you have growing in the backyard. Yes, I know the weed wacker can be fun. Yes, I know you can’t tell mint from a weed. Listen up husbands with weed wackers- soon you will be hip to the properties of fine mint once you taste this bad boy! It’s officially summer now and all the components are ripe for the picking. Fresh mint, limes and strawberries with a little libation thrown in. Mondays are a bit too painful sometimes and you need something to kill the pain. Today was one of those days. Rum beats advil any old day in my book. Bottoms up.
1 Tbsp. sugar
9 fresh mint leaves
2 shots white rum
3 Tbsp. diced strawberries
1 shot fresh lime juice
Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar in a glass. Fill the glass half way with ice cubes. Add the rum, strawberries, and lime juice. Add enough seltzer water to fill the glass, stir well. Garnish with a strawberry and mint sprig. Serve chilled.
I just bought a strawberry plant. I’m hopeful but cautious at the same time. It’s a known fact that I do not have a green thumb. The Husband will be quick to vouch for this-the fact that I kill plants. When we were first married he had this crazy-God knows what it was-leafy plant. He was so proud that he had this plant for years and it had thrived with gentle watering and sweet talking. Then I came along. It died. Ever since this I have tried to grow various plants. I’m good with herbs; no problem. Plants are a different story. Thirteen years later since killing The Husband’s plant, I am still trying. I could not resist the cute strawberry plant at Home Depot. There it was just beckoning me. I know, I know…but I had to buy it. The dark green leaves, the tiny little strawberry buds, the delicate little white flowers. The entire plant housed in a perfect basket for hanging. I am determined not to kill this plant. In the meantime, while I am awaiting the outcome of my berry bliss, I am lucky to find plump sweet California berries in my local market; perfect for mini tart tatins.
Mini Strawberry Tarte Tatins
(yield: 12 mini tarte tatins)
recipe adapted from Donna Hay
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 Cup caster (superfine) sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half
frozen puff pastry, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. In a small nonstick pan combine the butter, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste.
2. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying the wells lightly with non-stick spray. Place about 3 small berries in the bottom of the wells with the rounded side down and cut side up. Pour about 2 tsp. of caramel over the berries. Using a round cutter place a cut piece of puff pastry that is about 1/2 inch bigger than the muffin tin. Tuck the pastry over the berries and tuck down into the wells slightly.
3. Bake the tatins for about 20 minutes or the pastry is golden. Let the tatins rest for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert by placing a sheet pan over the muffin tins and invert. Spoon any syrup over the tatins. Serve with creme fraiche or ice cream if desired.
Strawberry Guava Cupcakes
Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues with pretty in pink cupcakes, and to also honor my friend Ruth and her birthday. Ruthie as we like to call her sprinkles sugar where ever she goes; just like these pretty cupcakes. Happy Birthday Ruthie! We love you so much.
Strawberry Chiffon Cake
(this chiffon cake recipe is from Jennifer at use real butter) please check out her blog- it is amazing. Her site is www.userealbutter.com)
[note: this recipe calls for a lot of egg whites- because of this I like to buy the carton of fresh egg whites; you can find them near the butter section of your grocery store] It will save you time and you won’t have a ton of egg yolks leftover.
14.5 oz cake flour
8.75 oz. confectioners sugar
0.5 oz. baking powder
6.75 oz. whole milk
6 oz. canola oil
3-4 oz. strawberry puree
13 oz. egg whites
9.5 oz. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
(Guava jam for filling cupcakes)
1. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 standard muffin tray with cupcake liners.
2. Sift the dry ingredients (except the granulated sugar) together and set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine the milk, oil, 2 eggs, strawberry puree and vanilla.
4. Whip the 13 oz. of egg whites and the granulated sugar together until they reach medium peaks.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients from step 3 and combine until incorporated.
6. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter gently. Note; if you like you can add some additional red food coloring at this point if you want your batter a little darker.
7. Fill the paper liners with 1/4 Cup batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack. Fill and frost when completely cool.
8 egg whites (or equivalent of liquid “just whites” the carton will tell you the conversion amount)
2 Cups sugar
6 sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C strawberrry preserves
1. In the mixer bow of a stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar and place over a saucepan of simmering water.
2. Heat the egg white mixture while whisking until the temperature is about 160 degrees and/or the mixture is very warm to finger touch and can no longer feel any sugar crystals between your fingers.
3. With the whisk attachment; place the bow on the stand mixer and whip until you have a stiff meringue and the bottom of the bowl is barely warm. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time until all of the butter is incorporated; mix on high speed. Add the vanilla and strawberry preserves. Whip until smooth.
If you desire you can remove a piece of the cupcake with an apple corer and fill with guava jam. Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream and sprinkle with choice of decorated sugars. To get the swirled effect as above I have used a 1M Wilton pastry tip.