For the holiday of love I made my loved ones a showstopper dessert! Cheesecake is not the best choice if you don’t truly enjoy baking, it takes a long time, lots of ingredients and a fair amount of steps, but there’s nothing super tricky about it and in the end, you get such a special treat! It’s an excellent dessert for a special occasion. Before you start, load up on cream cheese and the crumb crust ingredients of your choice, and remember, you probably won’t eat this the day you make it because of the long bake and the even longer cool time. I used a blueberry sauce to mix into this cake, its a sauce we make regularly for pancakes, crepes, and waffles, but it works great for this dessert as well! I highly recommend you double the quantities below and use the sauce for all your sweet fruit sauce needs. This is my own creation from combining some Carolines kitchen classics. Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day!
Chocolate Crust: 8-9 Chocolate Graham Cracker sheets (5-6 oz) 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt 2 Tablespoons sugar
Filling: 2 pounds (four 8 ounce bars) cream cheese at room temperature 1 1/2 Cups plus 1 Tablespoon sugar pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large eggs
Blueberry Sauce: 6 oz of frozen or fresh blueberries 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice strained 1 cinnamon stick 2 teaspoons water 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 – Line the bottom of your springform pan with a parchment round (if you don’t have one, it will be okay, but it does help your crust to come with you when you take it off the pan)
To make the blueberry sauce (double if you want to use it for other things, which you probably do) Combine blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a stainless steal pot. Cook over medium heat until the berries release their juices. Stir the water and cornstarch into a smooth paste and briskly stir it into the berry sauce then cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Mix in the butter and let cool. Strain to use on cheesecake as you will only need 2-3 Tablespoons.
To make the crust grind your graham cracker crumbs to a fine consistency. Stir crumbs with the melted butter, sugar and salt. Press mixture into your springform pan, pushing up a bit on the sides, try to get it into an even layer. Bake until set, about 10 minutes, then let it cool completely and turn the oven down to 325.
To make the filling – be sure your oven is down to 325. Wrap your springform with a double layer of foil. Put a large pot of water to boil.
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
Reduce to low and add sugar in a slow steady stream.
Add the salt and vanilla and beat until well combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each until just combined, don’t overmix.
Pour cream cheese filling over the crust.
Drop your strained blueberry sauce in circles around the top of your cheesecake, you’ll only need 2-3 Tablespoons – then use a toothpick or an offset spatula to swirl it into the top layer.
Set foil lined Springform pan inside a large shallow roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of your springform pan. Bake until cake is set, but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 75 minutes. At this point, I cracked the oven turned off for about 15 minutes before removing the cake carefully and unwrapping from the foil to cool on a rack for a good 2 hours then refrigerate uncovered a good 24 hours. It might help to run a knife around the edge before unmolding from your pan.
Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking Hot Blueberry Sauce pg. 845 and Martha Stewart’s Cakes – Lemon Swirl Cheesecake page 172
I’m here to tell you with conviction that you can eat berry pies all through the winter! Blueberry pie is not always the most popular, people kind of love it or feel ehh about it, but I’m a fan, and I felt that instead of double crusting it, a nice heavy oat crumble would do wonders with some blueberry goodness. I was super right about that. Not only did this pie have amazing flavor with the sweet berries, lemon, cinnamon and sugar, but the texture was fruit pie perfection! Whenever you make a fruit pie you must send up a prayer that it sets up and you don’t end up with soup. This little number sets up like a champion every time! Sturdy slices, but still so juicy and with that delicious oatmeal crunch on top, hands down best blueberry pie I’ve EVER HAD! And frozen blueberries are just fine, put them in the fridge the day before and STRAIN ALL JUICES! Trust me on that one, and be sure to have some good quality vanilla ice cream on hand because that combination will send you! -CK 2.0
Traditional 9″ Pie Crust – we like King Family Pie Crust the best, but make or buy whatever crust you like and line a 9 inch pan.
6 cups blueberries fresh (or frozen works too as long as you thaw them and drain ALL the juices. You will probably need to measure 8 cups frozen because once they thaw the volume goes way down)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar (I reduced because there is sugar in the streusel, but if your berries aren’t sweet go to 1/2)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (if you don’t have the above spices, just increase cinnamon to 1/2)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes at room temperature
Make your crust and roll out into a 9″ pie pan. Keep in fridge or freezer while you prepare your filling.
To make the filling: Put the blueberries first in a strainer to make sure you have no extra juices, then place them in a bowl with the lemon juice and stir to coat. Separately combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamon. Mix them thoroughly then add them to the blueberries stirring until all combined. Take filling out of bowl with a slotted spoon leaving any extra juices out of your filling. Spread filling into prepared crust and put it in the refrigerator to set while you make your crumble. The recipe says to let it set 30 minutes, but mine set up perfectly and it was only in there about 15.
Set oven to 425. To make the oat crumble stir together all the ingredients except the butter in a large bowl. Sprinkle the butter pieces and toss to coat. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is chunky but not homogeneous. Put on your pie and let chill for another 5 minutes or so.
Bake (on a baking sheet if it looks pretty full so you don’t leak onto the oven) for 20 minutes at 425 then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and your crumble is a gorgeous brown. I put a pie shield on my crust or you can put some little foils strips around the edge to avoid the crust getting too brown on the outside. Cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before slicing, then chill in the fridge. Serve with a really thick vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
Prior to this I had never even had Tres Leches Cake and didn’t think I particularly needed to, but I was randomly watching Pioneer woman one day while folding laundry and she whipped up one of these and it looked super amazing and unique. I followed her recipe except for adding some cinnamon to the whip cream frosting because it’s an insanely delicious secret I learned from 1.0’s amazing Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie. Also I used strawberries instead of maraschino cherries because those are kind of yuck but strawberries are summer fruit central and tasted delicious! I fed this cake to a crowd and they went nutso for it – I always enjoy seeing my bakes disappear with a quickness. I’m sure you’ll have a similar result because this cake was such a pleasure to eat.
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs – separated
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the tres leches mixture:
1/4 cup heavy cream
one 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
one 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 pint heavy cream, for whipping
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (scant) teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
strawberries to decorate
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch cake pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, set aside. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
Bake until the cake is done, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan, and then turn out (upside down) onto a rimmed platter.
For the tres leches: Combine the heavy cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk in a small pitcher. Pierce the surface of the cake with a fork several times. Drizzle the milk mixture over the top and allow the cake to sit and absorb the milk mixture. Don’t worry about totally soaking the cake! That’s what you want.
For the icing: Whip the cream with the sugar and cinnamon if using. Spread it evenly over the top and sides of the soaked cake and decorate with strawberries. You can use as many or as few as you choose. I was more minimal for pictures, then I gave the rest of the strawberries to my 3 year old and she plastered it how she saw fit, which tasted great!
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Several hours is fine. The cooler the cake, the better!
Here in coastal So. Cali there have been really nice strawberries lately. Summer is almost over for us, our kids are going back to school later this week, but the strawberries haven’t been this sweet all summer so a strawberry streusel pie just seemed like the right thing to do. I thought about doing a strawberry pie with one of those intricate braided, flowered, super detailed double crusts, and then I remembered how I have 3 young kids and an insane schedule and no time for that mumbo jumbo right now. I also remembered that streusel is dear to my heart – anything is better when you top it with a nice crumbly, sweet, delicious crumb. This pie turned out so incredible! The strawberries baked up super sweet and the streusel top made for such a texture knock out. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Labor Day spread!
traditional 9 inch pie crust par baked – with ours that means bake for about 6- minutes at 425 before filling (I actually used a deep dish so I just rolled our recipe really thin and it worked out well, but could have been a little more full, it will fill a 9 inch nicely but be sure to bake on a sheet to prevent spills)
For the filling:
6 cups (2 pounds) strawberries hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar (less if you want your pie less sweet)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For crumb topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
First make the crust, par bake it and set it aside. Set your oven to 350.
Make the filling: Toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and spices and zest in a mixing bowl. Let sit in the fridge or at room temp for a good 25 minutes and strain out any juices.
While you are waiting for your strawberries to let out some juice make your crumb streusel topping. Combine the oatmeal, flour and sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Freeze or refrigerate the topping until chilled, a good 10-15 minutes.
Spoon your strawberry filling into the crust being sure to not include juice. Spread the crumb topping over the top and bake in the middle rack of the oven (put a cookies sheet under to prevent spills) until your pie is bubbly and the crust and topping are golden brown, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.
There was a brief and lovely Two Carolines reunion over the weekend (with most of the rest of the family) and of course—there had to be a dessert party. I wanted something that would feed the whole crew and that could be prepared ahead of time. I dug back into the family archives and found this dessert that came from family on my mom’s side. It’s almost like a Pavlova, but with some extra ingredients that add to the texture and flavor. It is one of those desserts that all the kids and adults were devouring and wanting seconds and thirds. It takes some time to make it, but each step is pretty easy and it’s totally worth it.
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups small marshmallows
1 pint cream, whipped
1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen berries, thawed
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the salt and sugar; whip 10-15 minutes in stand mixer.
Spread in an 11×15 inch greased pan. Bake one hour at 250-275 degrees. Turn off oven and leave in overnight.
Mix the cream cheese, sugar and the vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the marshmallows and mix until incorporated. Gently fold in whipped cream until mixture is uniform. Spread evenly on meringue layer. Cover with plastic wrap.
Chill 8-10 hours.
To serve, cut into squares and top with spoonful of thawed mixed berries.
I’m in a wordpress meet-up that’s super fun and very well attended and I needed to bring a dessert that would be amazingly delicious, could feed a crowd, and wouldn’t take me all day. This cake was all of that and more! It’s so easy, no strange ingredients, and it’s a high volume cake that not only can feed a big room of word-pressers but it will make those you serve it to think you’re a cake genius!
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 (more if you like it thicker, which I do) cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.
In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray – for bundts I like to use the cooking spray that has flour for baking. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes – mine was done in 60 but be sure to check for doneness, not bake times. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.
For the glaze – mix the lemon juice and zest then add powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency. Pour over the top of cooled cake.
I’m such a cheesecake kid, but I get upset when cheesecake is done wrong which I think is WAY too common. When cheesecake is just sweet mush with no tartness at all, or way too dry, or lacking flavor in general, it gives me the sads. This amazing Sour Cream Cheesecake is none of those things, it has an incredible texture, soooooo creamy, I don’t know how it’s possible that it can be so creamy dreamy and still be totally set, but it is! Plus the flavor is perfection – sour notes from the cream cheese and sour cream but balanced perfectly with the sweetness from the sugar and heavy cream. And I’ve never met a recipe that bakes at only 250, so I was curious, but I put my trust in Alton Brown who is obviously a kitchen genius and the result was brilliant. I can’t wait to make it again, it really wasn’t a difficult recipe and people went crazy for it, I hope you enjoy as much as we did!
For the Crust:
33 graham cracker squares, crumbled
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus additional, for brushing the pan
1 tablespoon sugar
For the Cheesecake:
20 ounces cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom and the sides. You can also use a springform pan that you line on the outside with foil so your water bath doesn’t leak into your cake.
In a small bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, the remaining melted butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan pressing into an even layer on bottom and up on the sides as far as you can, mine reached a good 1/2 inch or so. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl.
In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated. Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.
Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan with foil around bottom if in a spring form into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Unmold onto a cake round or serving dish.
To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake. Serve with fresh fruit – my favorite was raspberries, but the crowd preferred strawberries.Recipe adapted from Alton Brown Sour Cream Cheesecake
The dark, mysterious, beautifully flavored and often misunderstood blackberry is the star of this show. Nice firm and tart Granny Smith apples support the berries so things aren’t one note smooshy or soupy, but that gorgeous dark magenta berry bubbling out the top of these hand pies tastes like all that is right in the world. I used this butter crust recipe, and you know I’m loyal to my shortening, but for a handpie where you’re going to need to handle the dough more and it takes more of a center stage, this dough worked out well, but it is tougher to make and can be harder to work with so feel free to use a shortening dough if that’s what you prefer. You can use other berries too, but this combo made for a sweet and sour flavor explosion of total and complete hand-pie joy!
Pâte Brisée (don’t be freaked out by the name, it’s basically just a butter crust) 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
extra flour for dusting
1 egg lightly beaten for tops of pies
demera or raw sugar for sprinkling
Apple Berry Filling:
2 granny smith apples peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 1/2 cups blackberries 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I thought this was the perfect amount of sweetness, but you can use a little more if you want your pies less sweet) 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
First make the Pâte Brisée or crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)
With machine running, add ice water through feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
To make the filling in a medium bowl, add apples, blackberries, lemon, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cardamom; stir to combine, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (a French nonstick baking mat) or parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll one half of dough into a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch-thick. Using a 5-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet. I used a small bowl and just traced around it with a knife because I don’t have a large cookie cutter – I think mine was just short of 5 inches.
Place about 3 or so tablespoons of the apple/berry mixture onto one round – use a slotted spoon and leave any juices in the bowl so you don’t get soupy pies. Lightly brush egg around the edge of each round. Take another dough round and put it on top. Gently press edges together to seal. I then took a fork to the edge for decoration, do what you think looks cool. Brush the tops of each pie with egg. Using a paring knife, slash the top of each pie. Sprinkle generously with raw or demera sugar.
Repeat this process with second half of dough and remaining filling on second baking sheet.I was able to make 8 total, but you can use less filling and roll them over into half moons to make more.
Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pies to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Or let cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.