Lately, and with increasing frequency, I am noticing that the passage of time has been amped up to warp speed. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into Months. And months turn into, well, let's just say I am now coloring my hair every 25 days. YIKES!
But there is always the ability to come home to a place where, it seems, time stops. Creeping with an odd familiarity, and reminding us of our roots, our mistakes and our successes, it is the anchor point for relinquishing the hurriedness and the hardship. However, the opposite of this is when we come for an event, such as the wedding of my niece that brings us to this place. Then when I hug cousins and sisters and nieces and nephews I feel old. Gray hair showing or not.
Mmmm. Strawberry season yields such lovely results. With a crust of sugary puffed rice cereal and butter the layers of custardy tart cream and peanut butter are topped with homemade strawberry jam, courtesy of my mother Lenis and her husband Ted.
RECIPE: Peanut Butter Mousse with a Sugary Puffed Rice Crust
Makes 4 servings - Click here for printable version.
2 of 5.3 ounce containers plain Greek yogurt, or that approximate size. Low fat is fine as well as the regular yogurt
½ C creamy peanut butter
1 C heavy whipping cream whipped
½ C sugar
2 t vanilla
1/8 t ground allspice
4 T unsalted butter melted
2 C Sugar Smacks™ cereal
¼ C jam
Using a small food chopper, process the cereal until the consistency of chunky bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and combine, then press into the bottom of 4 parfait cups.
Measure out the 1 C of heavy cream and beat to soft peaks. Then add ¼ C of the sugar and 1 t vanilla. Whip again until stiff peaks. In another bowl, blend the yogurt, peanut butter, ¼ C sugar and 1 t vanilla. Using a whisk, blend until all is very creamy and incorporated. Now add the allspice and blend. Then, using a spatula, carefully fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Spoon each serving onto the Sugar Smacks crust and swirl tops. Chill until ready to serve and top with your favorite jam and a sprinkling of whole Sugar Smacks.
"How do you cook with figs?" My mother asked. "With abandon!" I respond.
RECIPE: Pineapple Fig Puff Pastry Hand Pies.
Makes 9 - Click here for printable version.
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farms puff pastry
1 ½ C dried mission figs, chopped
1 ½ C fresh pineapple cut into small chunks
3 T white sugar
2 t vanilla extract
¼ t ground ginger powder
¼ t cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
Extra white sugar
Mix the figs, pineapple, sugar, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon. Roll out the puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch square. Cut into 9 equal squares. Place 1/3 C of the fruit mixture in the center of each square. Brush the edges with the beaten egg, and fold over the seal the hand pies. Brush each with more of the egg wash, and sprinkle the sugar on top. Cook for 20 minutes on 400 degrees Fahrenheit or until browned and bubbly.
If desired, top the hand pies with a mixture of 4 ounces cream cheese and ½ C peach syrup blended
There's only one thing to do on a Sunday night. Make cake! Spicy, smooth, punctuated with the moist flavor of ripe pears and tangy raisins, not to mention lovely to look at, these little sweet desserts are the BOMB with homemade caramel and ice cream.
RECIPE: Pear Raisin Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce
Makes 4 large or 8 small cakes - Click here for printable version.
1 ½ C all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t cinnamon
¼ brown sugar
¼ C white sugar
½ t kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
3 T butter melted plus more for greasing
2 t vanilla extract
½ C plus 2 T milk (1% is fine)
Zest from one orange
2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
Heaping 1/3 C raisins
Heaping 1/3 C diced ripe Bartlett pear
Butter the bottom, insides and lip of the ramekins. Mix the flour down to the kosher salt in one bowl, stir with fork to incorporate. In another bowl combine the beaten egg, milk, vanilla, orange zest, orange juice and melted butter that has cooled a bit. Pour the wet into the dry and stir just until incorporated. Gently fold in the pears and raisins. Divide batter into the ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill with ½ inch water up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35-40 minutes. Done when edges begin to pull from sides and the cakes are browned. The smaller the ramekin, the faster they’ll cook!
Serve with ice cream and caramel sauce!
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.