Dessert, Sweet

Blueberry Icebox Cake

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My husband and I love blueberries.  In fact, it is our favorite after-dinner dessert, whether we are trying to be healthy or not.  A few weeks ago,  I bought two large boxes of blueberries (in fear that we may not get fresh fruit for a while–pandemic and such).  With all the other easter/birthday related desserts I have been making (Raspberry-swirl Cheesecake, Banana Bread), we have not been able to go through the berries as fast as we normally do.   As a result, the berries needed saving.  I did not want to through them away and since I just made blueberry waffles, I wanted to make something different. Thus, the icebox cake was born.  I saw a recipe like this in Bon Appetit magazine and decided to make my own version with what I had in the pantry.  I also wanted to make it relatively healthy so that I could eat the cake every night and not feel guilty.   The recipe has a few steps, and it does require overnight freezing.  You may think it is labor-intensive but, making this was a welcome distraction to grading papers!  The overall verdict was that it “tastes good”, but “it could do with more layers” (I quote my husband).  Maybe, in the warmer months, I will try to tweak the recipe, but this will do wonderfully, for now.

Ingredients:

For the Blueberry filling:

4 cups of fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked

2Tbsp of cornstarch

4 Tbsp of water

3 Tbsp of sugar (add more if your berries are not sweet)

To make the filling:

 

 

Dump all the ingredients in a deep sauce-pot and turn the heat to medium-low and start stirring constantly.  This is important, you don’t want the berries to melt and stick to the bottom on the pot,  Nobody likes burnt filling.  You will need to stir constantly for about 5 minutes.  You can reduce the heat to low if you think that the berries are sticking to the bottom.  By the end of the process, you will have a pot full of gooey blueberries–resembling the consistency of pie filling.  Take the pot off the heat and cool completely.  Proceed to make the graham cracker crust.

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Ingredients:

For the graham crackers crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1 stick of butter

To make the crust mixture:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir all the ingredients, till it resembles wet sand.

 

 

Important note: Since I was “coming up” with the recipe, I grossly overestimated the amount of crumbs.  I ended up using about half of the butter, crumb mixture.  I made PB&J cookies with the rest–why waste ingredients?  You can most certainly halve the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the yogurt filling:

1 and 1/2 cup of vanilla greek yogurt

1/8 cup of sugar

2 cups of whipped topping

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (you can use extract)

To make the filling:

Mix yogurt, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly till completely incorporate and smooth.

 

 

Gently fold in the whipped topping at the end.  Continue folding, till fully incorporated.

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To assemble the icebox cake:

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Line a 9X5 loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving some overhangs so that you can lift the cake out of the pan once it is set.

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Using a 1 cup measure, layer in the graham cracker crumbs.  Press down with the back of a spatula/measuring cup/or spoon to create a neat and flat crust.

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Pour in 1 cup of the yogurt mixture and smooth it out.

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Add all of the blueberries (I wanted to use up all the berries–that was the whole point of this recipe. My husband would have preferred a thinner layer of berries)

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Cover the berry mixture with 1 cup of crumbs–smooth it out.

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Top the crumbs with the remaining yogurt mixture and smooth it out.

 

 

Wrap the “cake” with the plastic wrap overhangs and set in the freezer overnight.

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Remove from the freezer and leave it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before unfolding.  If it is still frozen, you can place the bottom of the pan in a larger dish filled with tap/warm water–it should help with the unfolding process.

 

 

Unwrap the top of the cake and using the overhangs, gently lift the cake out of the loaf pan on to a cutting board.

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Slice into half-inch slices and serve!  It tastes better as it starts to thaw a bit, but you most certainly still want to enjoy it while it is cold.  This is indeed a perfect dessert for a hot summer’s day!

 

 

Cake

Smore’s Ice Cream Cake:

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April marks the start of “lab” birthdays.  here is the first birthday cake of the year !

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Graham Cracker Cake:

Filling:

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Graham Cracker Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugars and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
  5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula and whack the pans against the counter to evenly distribute.
  8. Bake for approx. 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  9. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins. Whack the pans on the counter to loosen the cakes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:

  1. Whip the cream till it reaches soft peaks and fold in the mini chocolate chips
  2. Bring the ice cream to room temperature so that it can be spread.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the cake into two layers and place one layer on the bottom of the springform pan.
  2. Spread ice cream, as much as you like. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and marshmallows, if you want.
  3. Add the other cake layer on top and press down
  4. Add the chocolate chip whipped cream on top
  5. Decorate with more marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers crumbs.
  6. Store in freezer.
  7. Thaw in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before cutting into this messy delight !
Dessert, Treats

Grilled Pears with French Vanilla Yogurt, Honey and Cardamom

A guilt-free dessert.  Enough said !

Ingredients

2 medium-sized Bosc pears (Bosc works best as they are sweet and juicy)

French Vanilla Yogurt

1/2 Tbsp of Honey

A dash of ground cardamom

Method:

Fill an ice cream scoop with yogurt and put it in the freezer to harden up into a scoop

Slice the Bosc pears into thin sliver and add to a hot grill pan.   Add another pan on top of the pears to quicken the grilling.

Grill till you can see nice dark grill marks.  The natural sugar and water of the pears add to the caramelization of the fruit.  No oil needed.

Arrange the pears on a plate, and add yogurt scoop onto the warm pears.  Drizzle with honey and add a dash of cardamom.

Give into this sweet treat !