07 July


Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Crème Brulee

Lilikoi Creme Brûlée

July 27: National Crème Brulee Day

Our favorite dessert at Kona Grill is its passion fruit crème brulee. The mainland-based chain restaurant tries to add a tropical taste to its menu. Islander loves lilikoi (Hawaiian word for passion fruit) and indulges once in awhile in the custard with a crust of crackly burnt sugar on top.

Now that she has learned how to make lilikoi crème brulee in her own kitchen, she makes these for fellow Hawaii expatriates. The passion fruit flavor reminds them of home. For a tropical twist to traditional crème brulee, infuse some passion fruit flavor and see why locals love the lilikoi in this delicious dessert.

Make lilikoi crème brulee for a summer social or luau and especially for National Crème Brulee Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from NBC Connecticut)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, divided use
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup passion fruit puree/pulp/juice

Directions

In a microwavable cup or small bowl, stir the cream with the vanilla paste. Heat until hot (about 1-2 minutes). Let cool for about 10 minutes to infuse the flavoring. Boil a quart of water and set aside. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar and salt. Gradually add the cream mixture and continue whisking.

Lilikoi Creme Brûlée

Add the passion fruit liquid. Strain this mixture, if necessary. Put the mixture into custard cups or ramekins. Pour the boiled water halfway up the sides of the custard cups or ramekins to make a water bath. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick (it should wiggle gently).

Lilikoi Creme Brûlée

Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the ramekins to a wire rack. Cool for about 30 minutes then cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of the remaining sugar on top. Carefully use a crème brulee torch in a back and forth or circular motion to caramelize the sugar to a crisp. Serve immediately while the custard is still cold and the sugar top hardens.

Lilikoi Creme Brûlée

Notes

  • Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) to Phyllis S. for ribbon lei for the final food photo above. Mahalo also to Olga W. for gifting Islander with the crème brulee blow torch.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing lilikoi (passion fruit) as an ingredient.

Caramel Pecan Delight Pie

Caramel Pecan Delight Pie

July 12: National Pecan Pie Day 

Our neighbors across the street, Glenn and Ana Maria B., happen to be an intercultural couple like us. He is a Native American and she is Mexican-Japanese. We try to go on double dates to pow-wows, cultural festivals or restaurants around South Texas whenever we can.

Ana Maria gave a recipe for Caramel Pecan Delight Pie to Islander, knowing that she likes to make desserts. This recipe yields two pies—so we can keep one and share the other with our friendly neighbors. Islander used low-fat or fat-free ingredients for a guilt-free indulgence!

For a twist on the traditional pecan pie, make Caramel Pecan Delight Pie. This dessert is doubly delightful and delicious on National Pecan Pie Day.

Recipe

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (we used fat-free)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (we used fat-free)
  • 1 container (16 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2 graham cracker pie crusts (we used reduced fat)
  • 1 jar caramel ice cream topping or dulce de leche sauce

Directions

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Chop the pecans and add them to the skillet, along with the coconut, and brown them in the butter. Set aside to cool completely.

Caramel Pecan Delight Pie

In a large bowl, cream the cheese with the condensed milk. Fold in the Cool Whip until well blended. Divide between the two pie crusts and spread the tops until smooth.

Caramel Pecan Delight Pie

Top both pies with the cooled pecan-coconut mixture. Drizzle the tops with caramel sauce. Cover and freeze until firm (about 3-4 hours). Slice the frozen pies and plate them. Top with extra Cool Whip, if desired, and serve immediately.

Caramel Pecan Delight Pie

Notes

  • While this pie seems really sweet, the pecans balance out the caramel.
  • Try the traditional pecan pie recipe from our previous post.
  • Search our blog for more pie and pecan recipes.

Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

July 4: American Independence Day/July 12: Eat Your Jell-O Day

Happy birthday, U.S.A.! At the backyard barbecues and summer socials we attend on this American holiday, people share potluck side dishes and desserts at the host’s home. We usually contribute a flag cake but sometimes it is too filling and heavy. So we bring “Broken Glass Jell-O” in patriotic colors (red, white and blue) instead because it is lite and cool. The recipe is easy and versatile—change the colors of the Jell-O to reflect the holiday (orange and lemon yellow for fall; strawberry or cherry red and lime for Christmas; etc.). Nosh on this nostalgic dessert on July 4 (American Independence Day) and also on July 12 (Eat Your Jell-O Day)!!!

Recipe

(From Phyllis S.)

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (1 large box or 2 small boxes) blue Jell-O (blueberry)
  • 6 ounces (1 large box or 2 small boxes) red Jell-O (strawberry, cherry or raspberry)
  • water
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Directions

In a bowl, dissolve the blue Jell-O in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir well. In another bowl, dissolve the red Jell-O in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir well. Pour each into two 8-inch square pans. Cool to set in the refrigerator.

Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

In a bowl, dissolve the unflavored gelatin in 2 cups boiling water. Stir well. Cool slightly then mix in the condensed milk. Then cool completely at room temperature (do not refrigerate yet).

Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Cut the blue and red Jell-O into small squares. Place in a lightly greased 9×13-inch pan. Pour the cooled milk mixture over the Jell-O squares. Refrigerate until firm. Slice into 24 blocks. Arrange on a platter and serve chilled.

Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Notes

  • Thanks to Phyllis S. for sharing the recipe with us and gifting us with a Jell-O cookbook, “The Magic of Jell-O,” which has additional recipes for Jell-O desserts.
  • Search our blog for other patriotic and Jell-O recipes.

Chranachan

Chranachan

July: National Berry Month

July is National Berry Month—an appropriate time to have raspberries in a recipe from Highlander’s heritage—chranachan. Similar to an English trifle because of the layered look, chranachan is a summery Scottish dessert that uses raspberries. Other ingredients include heather honey, Scotch whisky, oats and whipped cream. Serve up something simple and sweet to beat the summer heat—cool off with a cup of chranachan!

Recipe

(Adapted from BBC Food Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oats (preferably steel cut/pinhead)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons Scotch whisky
  • 3 tablespoons honey (heather or organic)
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries

Directions

In a small pan, toast the oats by mixing over medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Set aside and cool. In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks.

Chranachan

Fold in the whisky, honey, toasted oats and raspberries. Scoop into dessert glasses. Garnish with extra toasted oats and a few raspberries (optional). Serve chilled.

Chranachan

Notes

  • Chranachan is derived from Scottish Gaelic: Crannachan.
  • Traditionally, chranachan ingredients (whipped cream mixed with whisky and honey, toasted oats and fresh raspberries) are placed in individual dishes and laid out on the table buffet style so diners can layer their own dessert into their dishes according to their tastes.
  • Any good quality “runny honey” (not crystalized) may be used for this recipe.
  • Toasted oats add texture while raspberries add tartness to this dish.
  • Variations of this recipe include soaking the toasted oats in whisky overnight then mixing it into the whipped cream and pureeing or mashing the raspberries instead of adding the whole fruit.
  • Islander especially loves iced chranachan made with lactose-free vanilla ice cream as a substitute for the whipped cream.

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

July 1: Canada Day

Highlander was happy when a fellow Canadian, Joseph N., from Manitoba, came to live on the college campus of Islander’s brother where he ministers and teaches in South Texas. Joseph got homesick at times, so we would make him the “dainty dessert” known as Nanaimo bars to cheer him up.

Nanaimo is a city in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Although we have visited Highlander’s aunt on B.C.’s west end in Port Hardy and missed a stop in Nanaimo when we were on the island, we actually got to taste our first bar back in Nova Scotia on another trip to Highlander’s country of birth!

The origins of the recipe are unknown, but the beloved bar is so popular in Canada that, in 1985, Nanaimo Mayor Graeme Roberts held a contest to find the definitive recipe. Various versions were submitted, but Joyce Hardcastle’s recipe won!

Nosh on a Nanaimo bar now! Happy Canada Day to our relatives and neighbors from the north.

Recipe

(By Joyce Hardcastle)

For the base

  • ½ cup butter, European-style cultured, unsalted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup coconut, flaked

Directions

In a double boiler over the stovetop, melt the butter, sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the beaten egg and cook to thicken. Remove from the stovetop.

Nanaimo Bars

Mix in the graham cracker crumbs, almonds and coconut flakes. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 8×8-inch pan.

Nanaimo Bars

For the filling

  • ½ cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (see Notes for substitution)

Directions

In a bowl, beat the butter with the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla custard powder until light. Spread over the bottom layer.

Nanaimo Bars

For the topping

  • 4 ounces/squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoon butter, unsalted

Directions

In a bowl, melt the chocolate with the butter. Let the mixture cool but remain slightly liquid. Pour over the filling and spread to cover. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Nanaimo Bars

Notes

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

July 30: National Cheesecake Day

Sopaipillas are the official state pastry of Texas, where we currently live. Those puffy pieces of bread are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and taste muy delicioso on their own. When made into a cheesecake, it becomes a doubly delightful dessert!

We got the recipe for sopaipilla cheesecake squares from una amiga at a fiesta and, in turn, we baked it for another gathering and got rave reviews! This crowd-pleasing confection is easy to make, especially when using ready-made refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, which puff up like sopaipillas.

Try a Tex-Mex creation for National Cheesecake Day and make sopaipilla cheesecake.

Recipe

(Adapted from Brooke H.)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Mexican vainilla)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar* (we used McCormick brand)

Directions

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and mist with cooking spray. Unroll one package of the refrigerated crescent dinner rolls and flatten the seams together to make the dessert base in the prepared pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Add the vanilla extract and continue to blend well. Spread over the dessert base.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Unroll the other package of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls and pinch- flatten the seams together and place over the cream cheese mixture. Pour the melted butter or margarine over the top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely to let the filling set (otherwise it will be runny). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice into squares and arrange on a platter or tray.

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

Notes

  • Cinnamon sugar may be made by mixing 1 cup sugar to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon.
  • Muchas gracias to Brooke H. for sharing the recipe for sopaipilla cheesecake with us.

Magdalenas

Magdalenas

July 22: Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene

In a previous post for the Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene, we shared a recipe for a shell-shaped sweet called madeleines. The tasty tea cakes from France require a special baking mold to get their distinctive scallop form. For those who like madeleines but do not have that particular pan can still enjoy something similar called magdalenas. The cute cupcakes from Spain taste just like its French counterpart but can be baked in standard muffin tins. Make magdalenas for a traditional Spanish breakfast treat and for observing the Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene. ¡Buen apetito!

Recipe

(Adapted from Spain-Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, divided use
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

Melt the butter and zest the lemon. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with ¾ cup sugar until light.

Magdalenas

While still beating the eggs and sugar, stream the butter and mix thoroughly. Stir in the lemon zest. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Gradually blend this into the egg mixture.

Magdalenas

Add the milk and mix until smooth. Scoop no more than half the batter into cupcake papers to allow for rising when baking. Sprinkle each of the tops with a bit of the remaining sugar.

Magdalenas

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven. Cool for five minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Magdalenas

Notes

  • Savor the citrus! Magdalenas may be flavored with orange zest instead of lemon.

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