Little Strawberry Charlotte

Little Strawberry Charlotte

Meet Little Strawberry Charlotte. She understands summer. She knows it’s hot outside and you don’t want to turn on your oven. She knows you don’t need to feed a crowd, because smaller gatherings make more sense in this uncertain world. You’ll gaze at her beauty and sigh. You’ll take one bite and realize that her simple, non-traditional methods made you love her even more.

Print Recipe
Little Strawberry Charlotte
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, strawberry
Servings
Ingredients
Simple Syrup
Strawberry Charlottte
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, strawberry
Servings
Ingredients
Simple Syrup
Strawberry Charlottte
Instructions
Simple Syrup
  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a small shallow bowl or dish wide enough to dip ladyfingers. Stir in extract.
Strawberry Charlotte
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree strawberries. Pass through a mesh sieve to strain out seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine strawberry puree and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Set aside two tablespoons of strawberry puree mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin powder. Whisk together and let sit until dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add gelatin mixture to warm strawberry puree and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool.
  6. In a large bowl, beat mascarpone cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth. Add strawberry puree and and extracts. Beat until well combined.
  7. In a separate large bowl, whip heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip the cream or it will look curdled.
  8. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
  9. Optional: Line the bottom of your springform pan with a cake board if you don't want to serve it on the pan base.
  10. Slice the round end off of 16 ladyfingers. Dunk them briefly in the simple syrup then line them up along the inner sides of a 7-inch by 3 inch deep *springform pan. (Typically you would line them smooth side in facing the filling, but I placed mine smooth side out because I wanted a smooth look on the outside and it makes removal from the pan easier.)
  11. Line the bottom snuggly with ladyfingers, cutting to fit where necessary.
  12. Top with half of the filling mixture, about 2 cups. Then top with a layer of ladyfingers, cutting to fit as with the bottom layer.
  13. Top with remaining filling. Smooth the top with a small offset spatula.
  14. Cove with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours.
  15. Carefully remove the springform pan ring from the base. Separate the base from the cake board, if using. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Brush strawberries with reserved strawberry puree mixture. Tie a clean ribbon around the finished Charlotte.
Recipe Notes

*To find a 7-inch springform pan, click here.

Strawberries & Cream Tarts

Strawberries & Cream Tarts

May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.

I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.

Print Recipe
Strawberries & Cream Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea size pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans.*
  7. Dock the bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with six 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights.)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Filling
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to remove large seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat strawberry purée and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the top of water. Let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour gelatin mixture into warm strawberry purée mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Add extracts and beat until combined.
  7. Add strawberry purée mixture a little at time and whisk until well combined
  8. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
  10. Spoon into cooled tart shells. Smooth tops with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours. Garnish with sliced, fresh strawberries.
Recipe Notes

*To find the tart pans I used, click here.

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.

Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I decided to skip that step since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.

I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.

Print Recipe
Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes
Soft, fluffy mini white vanilla cakes with lilac syrup and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with lilac blossoms
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Lilac Syrup
  1. Combine lilac blossoms, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow lilac blossoms to steep for 2 hours. Pass lilac syrup through a mesh sieve.
White Vanilla Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. On medium speed, beat in egg whites in two additions, then beat in egg until well combined.
  5. On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture, then beat in sour cream just until combined.
  6. Beat in the remaining flour in two additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-33 minutes, or until top is light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.
  9. Cut cakes into twelve 2 3/4-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush mini cakes generously with lilac syrup or vanilla simple syrup.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing butter to fully incorporate before adding more. If mixture looks curdled, keep mixing and it will correct itself.
  5. Switch to a paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla bean paste and salt. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
  6. Remove about 3/4 cup of frosting and transfer to a small bowl. Using a toothpick, place two tiny drops of lilac gel food color and one tiny drop of violet gel food color into the bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Smear a bit of frosting on each mini cake board. Top with a cake round, frosting, then a second cake round. Frost with a crumb coat if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost mini cakes with white Swiss meringue buttercream, then smear small amounts of lilac Swiss meringue buttercream around the sides and top. Smooth frosting with a bench scraper and smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Decorate with lilac blossoms.
Vanilla Simple Syrup (optional)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
Recipe Notes

*If you can't find ultra fine granulated sugar, it's ok to substitute with regular granulated sugar.

**To find the lilac gel food color I used, click here.

***To find the violet gel food color I used, click here.

****To find 3-inch mini cake boards, click here.

Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles

Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles

Hear me out. Imagine you’re in a beautiful room, reclining on a plush velvet chaise lounge. There’s a dainty table nearby. On the table is a cake pedestal with a little pyramid of small, perfectly plump, pink pastries. They’re filled with sweet, luscious strawberry cream. And they’re all yours. This Strawberries & Cream Profiteroles recipe can make that dream come true. Maybe not the velvet chaise lounge, but really any comfortable chair will do while you indulge in these delicious little gems. Profiteroles have a way of making you feel regal and indulgent. I think princesses and princes snack on them. Most of us don’t have a personal pastry chef or the budget to order from French bakeries every day, but we can certainly follow a recipe and make one of the easiest pastry doughs there is. Choux pastry or pate à choux is used to make profiteroles, cream puffs, eclairs, churros and other pastries. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

This recipe features fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will work too. You can also substitute raspberries or peaches. To find the recipe for Peaches & Cream Profiteroles, click here. The strawberry purée can be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To make it easy on myself, I like to make the strawberry purée on day one, the pastry cream on day two, then make the profiteroles and strawberry icing and assemble on day three. It’s also helpful to practice the French culinary style of prep, mise en place, which means to have all of your ingredients and equipment in place before you begin. Everything will go much smoother and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Print Recipe
Strawberries and Cream Profiteroles
Bite sized choux pastry puffs filled with fresh strawberries and cream filling and topped with fresh strawberry icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
profiteroles
Ingredients
Strawberry Pureé
Strawberries and Cream Filling
Profiteroles
Strawberry Icing
Instructions
Strawberry Purée
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor. Strain puréed strawberries through a sieve.
  2. Transfer strawberry purée to a small saucepan. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until strawberry purée is reduced by half.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberry extract. Set aside to cool completey.
Strawberries and Cream Filling
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
  3. When milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour mixture through a sieve placed over a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
  7. Set aside 2 tablespoons of strawberry purée. Add remaining strawberry purée to cooled pastry cream and stir to combine. Cover strawberry pastry cream and chill in refrigerator.
  8. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with an electric mixer at high speed. Fold whipped cream into cooled strawberry pastry cream. Set aside in refrigerator.
Profiteroles
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper,
  2. Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball.
  4. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until steam dissipates and mixture cools to lukewarm.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl.
  6. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. (I used *Ateco tip 808)
  7. Pipe 1 1/4-inch mounds, about 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Smooth tops with a wet finger.
  8. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down the oven heat to 350ºF and continue baking until golden brown, about 8-10 more minutes. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick a small hole in each profiterole to allow steam to escape. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Use the tip of a paring knife to make a pilot hole in the bottom of each profiterole.
  10. Place strawberries and cream filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. (I used **Wilton tip 12)
  11. Place tip into the pilot holes and fill each profiterole with filling.
Strawberry Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all icing ingredients together until smooth. Spoon over filled profiteroles. Refrigerate profiteroles until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

*To find Ateco tip 808 click here.

**To find Wilton tip 12 click here.

Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate it. Most cookbook recipes were either too dry, too dense or too spongey. Some books have some velvety, butter based recipes that use the reverse creaming method, but they don’t have the moist, nostalgic texture I was looking for. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.

The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark or black cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake. The chocolate frosting recipe is one I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.

I think this frosting recipe is the one! it has the best of both worlds and is perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine.

Print Recipe
Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Instructions
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Combine egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed with a handheld electric mixer, until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add hot coffee and stir to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together maple syrup, water, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth with an electric mixer
  3. Gradually add cooled maple syrup mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined.
Recipe Notes

*For smoothest results, use chopped bar chocolate and make sure chocolate is completely melted.  Do not use chocolate chips

 

Strawberry Sugar Hearts

strawberry sugar hearts
Click here to watch the video of Strawberry Sugar Hearts

I’ve always been enamored by sugar cubes. You can’t help but feel fancy dropping a lump of sugar or two into your teacup. Flavored sugar formed into cute shapes is so fancy, I may faint. Someone please get the smelling salts! Pardon me while I google “what exactly are smelling salts?” In the mean time please enjoy these sweet, dainty, positively precious Strawberry Sugar Hearts. Pop them into tea, lattes, lemonade, cocktails or sparkling water.

These cuties are fragrant, delicious and easy to make. The most tedious part is filling the molds. Make sure to fill them completely and press firmly for the most defined shape. It’s also important to use enough water. Think of building a sand castle at the beach. You want enough water to dampen the sugar, but not turn it to slush. I live in a dry climate so I used 3 teaspoons, but you may need less depending on your climate.

Feel free to use the freeze dried fruit of your choice. Most grocery stores carry freeze dried fruit and you can always find it online. The most interesting one I saw was an apple-cherry combination. I might try that next!

Print Recipe
Strawberry Sugar Hearts
Servings
1/2" sugar hearts
Servings
1/2" sugar hearts
Instructions
  1. Process freeze-dried strawberries in a small food processor or a clean spice grinder until a powdered consistency is reached.
  2. Pass powdered strawberries through a sieve to strain out seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered strawberries and sugar.
  4. Add water, one teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Climate will effect how much water is needed.
  5. Press mixture firmly into *silicone heart molds or any shape silicone molds of your choice. Brush off excess sugar.
  6. Let dry, uncovered, at least 24 hours.
  7. Remove sugar hearts from molds and store in a covered container
Recipe Notes

*To find the silicone heart molds I used, click here

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Orange Slices

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead of perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!

I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.

If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!

Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  4. Add brown sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add molasses and beat until combined.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until combined.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling wells 2/3 full. (If you have any remaining batter, prepare an additional muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.
  11. Place cupcakes upside down on cooling rack and brush generously with orange simple syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed, until smooth.
  2. Add butter, orange zest and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  4. Add blood orange juice and beat, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
  1. Slice oranges into thin 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add orange slices to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain oranges, reserving syrup.
  5. Heat oven to 175ºF. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a baking mat in a single layer and bake until orange slices begin to stiffen, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. If desired, insert toothpicks when slices are cool enough to handle. The slices will continue to stiffen as they cool.
Recipe Notes

*To make orange simple syrup,  combine the juice of one orange with enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine mixture with the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Peaches & Cream Profiteroles

Peaches & Cream Profiteroles by Brownie Mischief

Summer is nearly over, and after the recent heatwave here in Southern California, I’m more than ready to welcome fall weather. But before I put on my fluffy sweater and dive into pumpkin spice everything, I want to enjoy the tail end of peach season, don’t you? Farmer’s markets and stores near my home are still brimming over with fresh peaches, so I picked up some peaches and decided to give them a proper goodbye and send them off in style.

Peaches & Cream Profiteroles by Brownie Mischief

I created some luscious peaches and cream filled, bite-size puffs of choux pastry, called profiteroles. They’re like cream puffs, only smaller. The filling is creamy, but so light and airy that I’m convinced that these profiteroles have no calories! The recipe I’m sharing with you uses fresh peaches, but feel free to substitute frozen peaches if fresh peaches aren’t available. There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but the steps are done in stages and are very easy to do.

Peaches & Cream Profiteroles by Brownie Mischief

I decorated my profiteroles with fresh, pesticide-free miniature rosebuds, also known as spray roses. If you can’t find miniature rosebuds, pesticide-free rose petals would be a good substitute. You may not get a chance to embellish these little beauties. They have a way of popping into people’s mouths even before you can decorate them!


Print Recipe


Peaches & Cream Profiteroles

Bite-sized puffs of choux pastry filled with a creamy, fresh peach filling and topped with fresh peach icing.

Course Dessert
Cuisine French

Servings


Ingredients
Peach Purée

Peaches & Cream Filling

Profiteroles

Peach Icing

Course Dessert
Cuisine French

Servings


Ingredients
Peach Purée

Peaches & Cream Filling

Profiteroles

Peach Icing


Instructions
Peach Purée
  1. Purée peaches in a blender or food processor. Strain puréed peaches through a sieve. Stir in lemon juice.

  2. Place puréed peaches in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

  3. Reduce heat and simmer until peach purée is reduced by half.

  4. Remove from heat. Stir in peach flavoring and set aside to cool completely.

Peaches and Cream Filling
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.

  3. When milk starts to boil, remove from heat and pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.

  4. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.

  5. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and extracts.

  6. Pour mixture through a sieve placed over a bowl. Cover the surface of pastry cream with plastic wrap. Let cool.

  7. Set aside 2 tablespoons of cooled peach purée. Add remaining peach purée to cooled pastry cream and stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator.

  8. In a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks with an electric mixer at high speed. Fold whipped cream into peach pastry cream mixture. Set aside in refrigerator.

Profiteroles
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Combine water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

  3. Reduce heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of the pan and forms a ball.

  4. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until steam dissipates and mixture cools to lukewarm.

  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl.

  6. Transfer mixture to a piping bag, fitted with a large round tip. (**I used Ateco tip 808.)

  7. Pipe 1 1/4 inch mounds, about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Smooth tops with a wet finger.

  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 350ºF and continue baking until golden brown, about 8-10 more minutes. Using a toothpick or skewer poke a small hole in each profiterole to let steam escape. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

  9. Using the tip of a paring knife, poke a pilot hole in the bottom of each profiterole.

  10. Place peaches and cream filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. (***I used Wilton tip 12.)

  11. Place piping tip into the pilot holes and fill each profiterole with filling.

Peach Icing
  1. In a small bowl, whisk all icing ingredients together and spoon over filled profiteroles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Recipe Notes

*To make peaches easy to peel, blanch them  in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dunk  in ice water.

**To find Ateco tip 808, click here. ***To find Wilton tip 12, click here.

Marshmallow Love

 

Marshmallow Cake by Brownie Mischief

Dear marshmallows, why are you so sweet and fluffy? I shall call you squishy and you shall be mine! Yes, it’s true, I’m a bit crazy about marshmallows. This post is nothing short of a marshmallow fest! First, my daughter and I made some Sparkly Marshmallow Hearts that are super fun and easy to make. I literally want to put them on everything! How cute do they look on this mini cake? They also make adorable cupcake toppers! To view the Sparkly Marshmallow Hearts tutorial click here.

We also had some fun with Puffy Poles. In case you’re not marshmallow savvy, Puffy Poles are marshmallows that look like chubby barber poles. They’re very popular on dessert tables and candy buffets. We used pink ones, which have a subtle strawberry flavor. We applied them to the pictured 4-inch diameter by 2 1/4 inch tall strawberry cake, which was crumb coated with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream. We used buttercream to adhere them to the sides of the cake. To find Puffy Poles click here.

Marshmallow Cake by Brownie Mischief

Next, I made some Billowy Sky Blue Marshmallow Frosting to share with you. One of the things you’re going to love about this frosting, besides being yummy, is it’s natural beauty. You can simply spoon it on, no piping or fancy tricks necessary. Everything it touches becomes an ethereal cloud of deliciousness! The recipe is below.

Print Recipe
Billowy Sky Blue Marshmallow Frosting
Fluffy, glossy, sweet marshmallow frosting.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar until frothy.
  2. Place bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl. Whisk mixture until temperature reaches 160° and sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Remove bowl from heat. Add extracts. Beat mixture with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer on high speed until stiff and glossy.
  4. Add a small amount of food color with a toothpick and mix on low speed. Continue adding food color, a little at a time, until desired shade is reached. Use a clean toothpick for each addition.
Recipe Notes

*It's important to dissolve all of the sugar when making this frosting. Ultra fine sugar dissolves easier, but if you are unable to find it, you can use regular granulated sugar.