You Made That - Dessert!

Peach-Berry Crumble

I always say that I won the in-law lottery, because I truly love Mark's mom and dad. But lately I've been feeling even more blessed, because I've also fallen in love with several of their friends. This week we had the pleasure of entertaining a couple, Bill and Linda, who are good friends of my in-laws, and now I feel like I can say they're our friends, too. 

After a delicious fish dinner, lots of wine and a ton of laughs (not to mention a naked bedtime parade by the mush), I served up this crumble for dessert. I developed this recipe for All You last year, and it's become a favorite in our house. I managed to forget the ice cream, but we all devoured the sweet-tart-crunchy-buttery goodness anyway. 

Make this one quick, before the summer comes to a close...



Peach-Berry Crumble

Serves 8

(recipe by me, for All You magazine)



1 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sliced almonds


1 1/2 lb. firm, ripe peaches (4 or 5)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Make topping: In a bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in butter until well mixed. Toss in almonds. (Can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. You may need to break it up with a fork just before using.)

2. Make filling: Peel peaches (you can blanch them and then peel off the skins, but I just use a serrated peeler, much easier). Cut peaches in half, remove pits and slice fruit into wedges. Toss in a bowl with sugar, flour and salt. Fold in berries. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer filling to pie plate and scatter topping on top. Place pie dish on baking sheet.

3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until filling bubbles and topping is golden. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream (if you remember it!).


Whole Wheat Crepes

Crepes! Easy to make, look impressive, a few simple ingredients, can be made in advance. Does it get any better than that? Oh yeah: And they're flexible, too -- whether you're craving savory or sweet, crepes do the job. 

You don't even need a special crepe pan -- any small nonstick skillet will work. Whip these up the next time you want something special for brunch or dessert.

Note -- as with waffles and sometimes pancakes, the first one is often a wreck. Don't sweat it -- just keep cooking. The next one will be better, I promise!



Whole Wheat Crepes

Makes about 16

(Adapted from this recipe by Alton Brown)


2 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup whole-wheat flour

3 Tbsp. melted butter (plus more for brushing on pan)

1/4 tsp. salt


1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds, or until blended. If you have time, refrigerate the batter for an hour. If not, don't worry about it.

2. Warm a small crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Fill a 1/4 cup dry measure about 3/4 with batter. Pour it into the center of the pan, and use the other hand to quickly swirl the pan around to spread the batter evenly. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sides begin to dry. Using your fingers or one of these, gently flip the crepe and cook the other side for about 15 seconds. Transfer the crepe to a plate and cover it immediately with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining batter until it's used up, stacking the crepes on top of each other and covering them with the kitchen towel.

Note: You can use the crepes right away, or transfer them to a ziplock bag, seal and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 


Blueberry galette

Top 10 best things about summer:

10. Outdoor concerts

9. Running in shorts and tank tops

8. Summer Fridays at work

7. Swimming and playing outside with The Mush

6. Having a cold glass of wine while dining outdoors with friends or on date nights

5. Longer days

4. Going to the beach

3. BBQs

2. Summer fruits and vegetables bursting off the tables at farmer's markets

1. Summer fruits and vegetables bursting off the tables at farmer's markets


OK, so I repeated the one about the fruits and vegetables. Can you blame me?

Just last week the very nice folks at the Highbush Blueberry Commission sent me a lovely bag full of all kinds of blueberry treats -- the best of which was 4 big containers of the fattest, juiciest blueberries you ever saw. Lucky me! Naturally the first thing I thought of was baking a pie. 

But time got away from me, so my visions of the fancy blueberry pie with cassis and a cinnamon lattice crust from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook turned into a quick galette made with store-bought puff pastry. Oh well -- it was still crazy-delicious and gobbled up by happy friends at a backyard barbecue in sweet home Brooklyn (except for the 2 pieces that Mark ate...). 

Try this one -- it's a perfect summer treat and a real crowd-pleaser. Don't forget the vanilla ice cream! (Oh, and apologies for the not-so-gorgeous photo -- we had to snap it with an iPhone quickly before the tart was devoured!)



Blueberry Galette

Serves 8

(Adapted from this recipe in Gourmet)


1 lb. fresh blueberries (about 3 cups)

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm)

1 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 Tbsp. milk


1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or Silpat.

2. Stir together blueberries, cornstarch, zest, juice, salt and 1/2 cup sugar until well combined.

3. On a lightly floured surface (I used my trusty pie bag), roll out puff pastry. You don't want it too, too thin, just thinner than when it's first unrolled. Transfer pastry to baking sheet (ends will hang over). Spoon blueberry mixture onto pastry, mounding it in the center and leaving a rough 1 1/2-inch border around the edges. Fold the edges of the dough over the outside of the filling (the center will remain exposed), pleating the dough as needed. Dot the filling with the butter. Brush the edge of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. sugar.

4. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry has puffed up and turned golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm.



Breakfast strawberry shortcake

Getting ready to hit the road for a few days on lovely Shelter Island with some good friends -- but before we go, I leave you with this little bit of breakfast deliciousness. For Father's Day, I wanted to make something special for Mark, and he loves him some strawberry shortcake. I started to think that if made with biscuits, it's pretty breakfast-y -- so with a little tweaking, I turned it into a morning meal. Make it with strawberries while they're still juicy and sweet -- or try it with other berries, or nectarines or plums. Heck, in the winter you could saute up some apples and pears, too.

Enjoy -- and happy 4th!


Breakfast Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 4

(Recipe by me, with help)


Biscuits (adapted from this recipe)

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup plain, full-fat yogurt

1/2 cup whole milk (or sub 3/4 cup buttermilk for the yougurt and milk)

1 Tbsp. milk or cream (for brushing)


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or Silpat.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda (you can sift, but I just whisked). Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembes coarse meal. Add yogurt and milk and stir with a fork until dough just holds together. 

3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead 5 to 7 times, just until dough holds together. Pat it into about an 8-by-5-inch rectangle (don't worry about making it perfect). Cut dough into rough squares with a chef's knife, or into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet and brush with milk or cream. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until pale golden. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.


While the biscuits are baking make...


Macerated Strawberries

1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 Tbsp. sugar

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. orange zest


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the berries are juicy and beginning to soften, 15 to 20 minutes.


Mascarpone Cream

2 oz. mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup plain full-fat yogurt

2 tsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Add more honey if you like it sweet.)


To serve: Split a biscuit. Drop a dollop of mascarpone cream on top and scatter berries over cream.






Raspberry blondies

You're welcome!

Seriously, I consider myself a blondie connoisseur (yes, that's how you spell it!) -- just look here and here and here. Oh -- and here. So you get the idea. Anyway -- I love me some blondies! But even with all that expertise (and butter) in my history, it somehow never occurred to me to toss some FRESH raspberries -- one of my favorite things in the world! -- on top of some blondie batter. Who knew?

Friends, I have to tell you, these are some spectacular blondies. Even Mark, an avowed non-white chocolate lover, scarfed his right down and sang its praises. 

And the best part -- you're less than an hour away from thinking, "Gee, I'd like some amazing raspberry blondies" to putting one in your mouth.



Raspberry Blondies

Adapted slightly from this recipe in All You

(developed by the amazingly talented Lauren Chattman)

Makes: 16


8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 3.5- to 4-oz. bar good-quality white chocolate**, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on at least 2 sides. 

2. In a medium pan over very low heat, melt butter with brown sugar. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, stirring with a fork to mix well.

3. Whisk egg and vanilla into butter mixture, then stir in flour mixture until well combined. Fold in chopped white chocolate. Scrape batter into baking pan, spreading evenly. Scatter raspberries over batter. Bake until blondies are just set in center, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. Use foil handles to lift blondies out of pan. Place on a cutting board, peel off foil and cut into squares. 


** Note: When buying white chocolate, check the label and make sure the brand you buy has pure cocoa butter in it. The quality of white chocolates varies wildly -- the good stuff can be sublime and the bad stuff is plain awful. I used Perugina and it was excellent (I may have tasted a nibble before adding it to the batter -- quality control!). I'm also a big fan of Green & Black's.