Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Desserts

This recipe can accommodate any type of fresh fruit. Baking times will adjust. See below.

Pear Galette

ingredients

1 crust from 1 box (14.1 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury™ Pie Crusts (2 Count), softened as directed on the box
2 large, firm Bartlett or Anjou pears, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Heat oven to 400°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper.

Remove pie crust from pouch; place in the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Unroll.

In a mixing bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Add the sliced pears. Mix well.
Mound the pears, about 3 cups, onto the center of the pie crust leaving a one-inch border all around\d. Crimp the edges of the pastry up around the pear mound.

 

For pears or apples

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. +
For softer fruit such as peaches or berries, bake for 30 minutes only at 400 degrees F.

Remove the galette from the pan to a serving dish and allow it to cool to room temperature.


16 servings

Ingredients

For the crust:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheese filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, at room temperature
¼ cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (12 ounces)
1/2 cup Italian limoncello, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 9 x13 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl and mix until moistened. Press the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan/ Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.

For the filling, place the cream cheese mascarpone, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta and beat for another minute, scraping down the bowl.

With the mixer on low, add the limoncello, vanilla, and milk and beat for one minute. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour over the crust.

Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, until almost set in the center and lightly brown in spots on the top of the cake.

Cool to room temperature. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 pieces to serve.


Lamb Cake

Ingredients

1 pkg store-bought pound cake mix
3/4 to1 cup water (use 1/4 cup less than the package directions-my cake mix calls for 1 1/4 cups of water)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Whipped Cream Frosting, recipe below
1 lamb mold

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the lamb mold by coating it with vegetable oil. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel.

Then grease (use a solid shortening) and flour the lamb mold, making sure to get all the creases.

Place the front of the mold on a baking sheet.

Prepare the cake batter according to the cake mix directions.

Fill the mold to the top for the front of the cake, do not fill the backside of the mold.

Place the back of the mold on the front and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake tests are done. (Test with a toothpick through a vent hole in the mold.)

Remove the mold from the oven, wait 10 minutes and remove the back of the body mold.

Stand the cake up and gently remove the front of the mold. Have clean towels rolled up and ready to support the head of the cake, while placing a rolled-up towel in the back of the cake to support that part also.

Place a dab of icing on a plate and stand the cake in an upright position. Frost and decorate with jelly beans, raisins, cherries, or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.

(Best results cool cake in the refrigerator before frosting, this makes a firmer surface for the icing.) Place green-tinted coconut around the base of the lamb; add jelly beans and a colorful bow at the neck, if desired.

Whipped Cream Frosting

This is a great whipped cream recipe because it does not weep after it sits on the cake.

Ingredients

1 (8 ounces) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

Decorations: jelly beans, coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, food coloring

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.

While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

12 buns

Ingredients

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons.wheat gluten
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
Powdered sugar icing, recipe below

Directions

Combine the flour, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

Add the sourdough starter, milk, butter, and vanilla. Mix together until a dough forms. Add the raisins, and mix them into the dough.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double — about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until double — about 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20 minutes or cooked in the center and golden brown in color.

Cool on wire rack. Be sure the buns are completely cool before adding the frosting or the frosting will melt over the buns.

Powdered Sugar Icing

Combine the following ingredients to make a thick frosting.

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

With a spoon, drizzle icing in a cross pattern over each bun.


Ingredients

For the cake:

1 box (15.25 oz) red velvet cake mix
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 box (3.4 oz) chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
4 large eggs

For the topping

1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into thin slices
¼ cup strawberry jelly
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a fluted tube cake pan with non-stick baking spray with flour.

Stir the cake mix, flour, and pudding mix together in a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, oil, water, and eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cooling in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serve the cake sliced with strawberries and whipped cream.

 

The toppings can be prepared ahead of serving time. Refrigerate until needed.
Heat the jelly in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is melted. Stin in the sliced strawberries. Set aside to cool.
Whip the v\cream with powdered sugar.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I am sharing some of our favorite recipes.

Christmas Butter Cut-out Cookies

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups butter ( 4 sticks)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour
Powdered sugar icing (see below) and red and green colored sprinkles, for decoration

Directions

In a large electric mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and smooth.
Separate 3 of the eggs and leave one whole. Beat the 3 egg yolks and the remaining whole egg into the butter-sugar mixture. Set aside the eggs whites and use for another recipe.
Beat in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour and mix well. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
Divide the dough into four equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one-fourth of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters. Transfer cookies to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and re-roll the scraps until all the dough is used.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Frost the cookies lightly with the icing and sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

Store in tightly covered containers for up to two months in a cool place, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Mix together to make a thin icing.

Italian Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter
3 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans halves
Powdered sugar icing, see below
Multi-Colored sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat butter, powdered sugar, water, and vanilla until creamy in an electric mixer. Add flour and salt. Mix well.
Cover a pecan half with 1 tablespoon of dough and place on cookie sheets.
Bake for 30 minutes until lightly brown. Cool cookies on a rack.
Frost with powdered sugar icing and sprinkle colored sprinkles on top.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Mix together to make a thin icing.

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups, softened (2 ½ sticks)
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream together the butter, egg, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Divide the mixture in half. Add 1 teaspoon red food coloring to ½ the dough. Chill both halves.

Divide each half into 60 small balls. Press a red ball and a white ball together. Roll the two into a 4-inch rope and form into a candy cane shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 9 minutes. Cool.
These cookies also freeze well.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I am sharing some of our favorite recipes.

Rainbow/Venetians/Neapolitan/Tri-Color Cookies

Ingredient

1- 8 ounce can almond paste
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
8 drops red food coloring
12-ounce jar apricot preserves
8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dishes; line with waxed paper; grease paper.
Break up paste in large mixer bowl with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and extract and beat with the mixer until fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir into almond mixture with a wooden spoon, using turning motion similar to folding.
Remove 1-1/2 cups batter; spread evenly into one of the prepared pans. Remove another 1-1/2 cups batter to small bowl; tint green with coloring. Spread into the second pan. Tint remaining 1-1/2 cups batter red. Spread in remaining pan.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges are lightly golden; cake layers will each be 1/4 inch thick. Immediately remove cakes from pans onto large wire racks. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Cool.


Place red layer on upturned jelly roll pan or large platter. Heat preserves; strain; reserve chunks in a strainer for other uses. Spread half of the strained preserves over red layer. Top with a white layer. Spread with remaining preserves. Cover with a green layer, top side up.
Cover with plastic wrap. Weigh down with a large wooden cutting board, heavy flat tray or large book. Refrigerate overnight.
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over hot water.

Trim off the uneven cake edges with a sharp knife. Frost the top layer with half of the melted chocolate. Let chocolate dry. Turn the rectangle over and frost the remaining chocolate. Cut cake crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 6 dozen. Cookies freeze well.

Marshmallow Fudge Squares

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 (6 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons milk
30 large marshmallows

Directions:

In a 1-quart saucepan melt butter and chocolate squares. Remove from heat.
Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Into large mixer bowl, measure flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat at low-speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. With a spoon, stir in chocolate mixture. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate pieces and milk. Remove from heat.
Remove baking pan from oven; arrange marshmallows in rows on top of the baked layer. Bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows are soft and puffed. Remove to wire rack. With a metal spatula, flatten marshmallows and spread evenly.
Drizzle melted chocolate mixture over marshmallow layer. Cool on rack 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate, until cold and the top is firm, about 2 hours. When cold, cut into small squares,
Store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator to use up within 3 days.
Cookies may be frozen with between layers of wax paper.


Making cookies for Christmas is an important part of my family’s holiday tradition. This week I will share with some of our favorite recipes.

Pine-nut (Pignoli)Macaroons

Use only almond paste, not marzipan or canned almond filling.

Ingredients

1 can (8-ounce) almond paste, cut in small pieces
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites, from 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 cup pine nuts, pignoli

Directions

Heat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In mixer bowl beat almond paste, sugar, egg whites, and lemon peel with an electric mixer until smooth. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls dough 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle with pine nuts to cover, then press them gently to adhere.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes until tops feel firm and dry when lightly pressed. Cool completely on cookie sheet on wire rack. Store airtight at room temperature. (Cookies are best eaten within 2 weeks, or they can be frozen.)

Italian Wedding Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
powdered sugar ( for rolling baked cookies in)

Directions

Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy; stir in vanilla.
Whisk together flour and salt; add gradually to butter mixture; stir in chopped nuts.
Chill dough if it seems too soft.
Form dough into 1 inch balls and place onto parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheets.


Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or just until the cookies start to turn light golden-brown; remove from oven and allow to cool slightly; while cookies are still warm (but NOT hot) remove them from baking sheets and roll, a few at a time, in powdered sugar until evenly coated; cool cookies completely on wire racks.
Cookies may (optionally) be rolled in powdered sugar a second time once cooled to room temperature. Cookies freeze well.
Yield: 48 cookies.


 

Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine wet ingredients: butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes until creamed together. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients: Gradually mix in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop dough: Measure out 1/4 cup balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet 2 inches apart.
Bake for15 minutes or until set around the edges (don’t overbake!).
Allow cooling for several minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
Notes
Make-ahead Instructions: Make the dough up to 2 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Freezing Instructions: The cookie dough balls may be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze the baked cookies, allow them to cool completely and store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.


 

I double the recipe and freeze some of the cookies for a later date.

Ingredients

3/4 cup golden raisins

1 1/2 tablespoons warm rum or water

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the cookies: Toss the raisins in the warm water and let soak for at least 10 minutes then drain.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Stir in the oats, walnuts, and the drained raisins.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart.

Bake, rotating the position of the pans halfway through, until golden brown around the edges, about 14 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.


My blueberry bushes are producing lots of berries right now, so I am busy thinking up ways to use them

Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients

One 9-9nch prepared pie pastry

For the filling
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping
1cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°.Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Place the pastry in the pan and crimp the edges.

Make the filling: Mix blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Transfer to the prepared pie pan.

Make the topping: Stir together flour, oats, baking powder, melted butter, and salt. Using your hands, squeeze topping pieces together into clumps.

Sprinkle topping evenly overfilling. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake until bubbling in center and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.



%d bloggers like this: