Tag Archives: easy recipes

Mango Granita

Mango GranitaI first came across a granita recipe in the summer of 2009 and thought “That looks easy and delicious. I’m going to make that.” And then ten years passed.

But I did make granita, and it was/is easy and delicious, and now I’m here to tell you to do the same. Maybe skip the ten years of procrastination though.Mango GranitaMango GranitaIf you are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, granita is a semi-frozen Sicilian dessert–basically a classy snow cone. The texture is fluffy and snowy, but instead of being ice flavored with brightly-colored syrup, it’s made from real fruit with very limited added sugar, and you don’t need a special machine to make it.Mango GranitaTo make this Mango Granita, you’ll need:

  • a few pounds of fresh mango. You could probably use thawed frozen if that’s all you can find.
  • lime juice for brightness. Lime and mango are great together.
  • the tiniest amount of sugar to round things out. Yes, ripe mango is already very sweet, but cold temperatures mean that flavor doesn’t always shine through the way it does at room temperature. I like to add two tablespoons of sugar to the entire recipe. That small amount makes a big difference!
  • a pinch of salt for balance. You can leave this out if you want to, but salt is rarely a bad idea.
  • a blender (or food processor), a dish, a fork, and time.

Mango GranitaMango GranitaThe process is simple. Blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour the purée into a large dish and put it in the freezer for an hour.Mango GranitaWhen that time is up, remove the dish from the freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to drag the frozen purée into the looser center. This will begin the process of making fluffy, snowy ice crystals. At first, you may feel like you’re dragging a fork through soup, but an hour later, it’ll be a different story.Mango GranitaAnd then, thirty more minutes will go by and crystals will really begin to form! The grainy texture is the “gran-” in granita.Mango GranitaYou’ll know it’s ready when it looks like this:Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita is as delicious as it is beautiful—light and refreshing and perfect for these sweltering last few weeks of summer! The texture is somewhere between a snow cone and a sorbet. Where you might think this would be icy, it’s super smooth and surprisingly creamy. This is the sort of dessert that is great for any occasion from watching Netflix in your PJs to a cookout to a dinner party. It’s vegan, nut-free, low calorie and low sugar–a wonderful option for a crowd!Mango GranitaMango GranitaBefore I get to the recipe, here are a few more tips for granita success:

  • use the largest dish you can. The shallower the layer of purée, the faster it will freeze.
  • you can use any fruit you like! I love mango, but peaches, melon or berries would be magnificent here!
  • make granita on a day you’ll be spending a lot of time at home. This recipe is low maintenance, but the ice crystals need to be scraped every hour at first and then every half-hour. Give ‘em one final scrape before serving.
  • for the love of everything, don’t wait ten years to make this. Ideally, you should make Mango Granita as soon as possible. Like tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Mango Granita

Mango Granita
makes about a quart

3 large ripe mangoes (about 3 pounds), pits & skin removed, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Combine mango, lime juice, sugar and salt in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a large shallow dish (I used a 9×13-inch casserole). Freeze for 60 minutes.

Remove cold mixture from freezer. Starting at the outer edge, use a fork to scrape/drag the icier edges of the mixture into the center of the dish. Mixture will still be quite loose. Return dish to the freezer for 45-60 minutes before repeating scraping. Continue to scrape every 30 minutes for the next 1-2 hours, or until the texture is fluffy and snow-like.

Freeze until ready to serve. Give one last scrape before serving in small bowls.

Leftover granita will keep in the freezer for about a week. Scrape before serving.Mango GranitaMango GranitaMango Granita

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Plum Cobbler

Plum CobblerI have been asked many times over the last several summers for my favorite cobbler recipe. Every time, I have referred these inquiries elsewhere—usually to Deb—because the truth is that…I don’t like cobbler. It sounds so baby-ish to say it that way, that I just don’t like an entire category of food regardless of flavor or nuance or anything else. But I just don’t like it.

Or, as you may have gathered from the title of today’s recipe, I just didn’t like it.Plum CobblerBut that was before I started a blog and spent time trying to bake with all types of seasonal produce, even stone fruit, which I previously thought should never be warmed. Pre-2015 Liz would never, ever have eaten Plum Cake or Peach Tart and definitely would have passed on Peach Pie, and she would have looked on in horror as 2019 Liz ate apricot jam on an English muffin while in Maine a few weeks ago. But the truth is that having this blog has brought me around to all these things and more, and that’s how we got to this momentous day, on which I have prepared, eaten and enjoyed a cobbler.

*bows awkwardly*

*and metaphorically*

Um, sorry. Got a little carried away there.Plum CobblerIn retrospect, I’m not sure why I ever turned my nose up at this particular category of dessert—I mean, what could be bad about fluffy biscuits baked over seasonal fruit and served with ice cream?! Too many textures, maybe? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll figure it out one day. For now, I know that I’m a cobbler convert, thanks in no small part to the glut of fabulous plums at my local green market and a drive to bake even when my un-air-conditioned kitchen is already 85 degrees.Plum CobblerTrust me, though. This Plum Cobbler is worth heating up the house. It may very well make a believer of even the staunchest of the anti-cooked-stone-fruit contingent.Plum CobblerThe filling is made of sliced fresh plums (I used a mix of red and black), sugar, lemon juice and ground ginger for depth, and a touch of cornstarch. It’s piled into a baking dish and dotted with butter.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerNext up is the topping, which is simply my Cream Biscuit recipe with an additional tablespoon of sugar. Instead of rolling and cutting the biscuit dough as I usually would, I prefer to scoop the dough in small increments and then flatten them with my hands.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerThe flattened pieces are then arranged in a cobblestone pattern—this is where the name cobbler comes from. After brushing the dough with cream and sprinkling on some coarse sugar, everything is baked for 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerMaybe my favorite thing about cobbler (and crisps and crumbles) is that it’s best hot from the oven. I like to let mine cool ten minutes, just until the filling stops bubbling, before spooning it into shallow bowls and finishing it off with vanilla ice cream.Plum CobblerPlum Cobbler is tart and sweet and a bit on the syrupy side, the perfect contrast to the fluffy biscuit topping. And that’s to say nothing of the outstanding vibrant color of the filling or the way slow-melting ice cream rounds out this bowl of late summer goodness. It’s damn near impossible to resist.Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler
makes one 9×13-inch dish, about 12-16 servings

Plum Filling:
4 pounds plums (about 10-12 plums; I used a mix of red & black)
1/2-2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Cream Biscuit Topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream + more for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)

For serving:
vanilla ice cream

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.

Use a large sharp chef’s knife to pit and slice plums into wedges (I got about 12 wedges per plum). Place plum pieces in a large mixing bowl. Fold in sugar, ground ginger, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer filling to prepared baking dish and dot with butter.

Make the cream biscuit topping. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in heavy cream and fold into a sticky dough.

Scoop biscuit dough in ~2 tablespoon increments, flatten them with you hands, and arrange them in a cobblestone pattern over the filling. Brush the biscuit topping with more cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Bake cobbler 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top with bubbling filling.

Let cobbler cool 5-10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream. Cobbler is best the day it’s made, but leftovers may be tightly covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4. Reheat before serving.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerPlum Cobbler

Peach Tart

Peach TartIf you’re looking for an easy, elegant late-summer dessert, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet. This Peach Tart, y’all. I can’t get enough.Peach TartIt’s as beautiful as it is delicious, and much easier than pie, whether you make your own pastry or use the frozen stuff.Peach TartWhere most peach desserts are flavored with cinnamon and/or other pie spices, the fruit on this tart is prepared simply.Peach TartPeach TartPeach TartPeach TartPeach TartFresh peaches are sliced thin and tossed with lemon juice before being arranged over pastry, then sprinkled with a tiny amount of sugar and dotted with butter before baking.Peach TartThe result is this golden and gorgeous fruit-forward Peach Tart. There’s nothing to mask the flavor of the peaches because this time of year, when they’re at their peak, there’s no need.Peach Tart

Peach Tart
makes one tart, about 8-10 servings

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For the tart:
3-4 medium peaches, sliced very thinly
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces

For garnish:
sifted confectioner’s sugar

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any excess overhang. Dock center of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate while you prepare the peaches.

Using a large sharp chef’s knife, slice peaches as thinly as possible, about 1/8-1/16 of an inch. Place slices in a bowl and toss with lemon juice.

Arrange slices decoratively over the crust. Scatter sugar over the top and dot with butter. Bake 28-30 minutes, until edges are puffed and golden brown. Large bubbles may form during baking. Just pop them with a fork or sharp knife.

Let tart cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment to remove tart to a cutting board. Remove parchment. Sift confectioners sugar over the top. Slice into pieces. Serve immediately.

Tart is best eaten the day it’s made. Slices may be layered with wax paper or parchment and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Make the tart.”

Peach TartPeach Tart

Tomato & Zucchini Confit

Tomato & Zucchini ConfitThis is the last post-vacation recipe, I promise. After today, I will write about things that are not the most perfect little island off the coast of Maine. I will. But first I’m going to tell you about the easiest, fanciest-sounding (thanks, French name!) savory late summer preserve/condiment/what-have-you: Tomato & Zucchini Confit.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitUnlike the other recipes I’ve posted from our trip, this one was not part of the plan. I was sitting on the Swan’s Island Library internet porch on our second-to-last night trying to think up ways to use the last of our produce, when I saw Chanie Apfelbaum* talking about garlic confit in her Instagram Stories. When I got back to the cottage a little later, I proceeded to make confit from some grape tomatoes and zucchini that were languishing in the fridge and toss it with some red lentil pasta. And it was good. So good that we ate it again for lunch the next day. So good that it was the first thing I cooked when I got home to Brooklyn. So good that I’m here writing about it because it’s so good, you should make it.

*I follow a number of Kosher food blogs, as I make many Shabbat dinners and holiday meals throughout the year. Chanie’s is one of the best.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitNow, you’ve almost certainly heard of confit, most likely in association with duck. The word itself comes from the French word confire—literally “to preserve.” A confit is a preserve created by slow-cooking a food in fat or sugar. Today, we’re confit-ing tomatoes, zucchini and garlic in olive oil.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitMaking this confit couldn’t be simpler. Start by tipping a pint of grape tomatoes, some diced zucchini and an entire head’s-worth of garlic cloves into a casserole dish. Season them with thyme, red pepper flakes and salt. Stir in 3/4 cup of olive oil and slow-roast until it’s all soft, caramelized, and fragrant. That’s it.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitThe sky’s the limit on applications. Tomato & Zucchini Confit can be stirred into pasta , grains or beans for a quick meal, or used to garnish chicken or fish. For this post, I just spooned it onto some baguette slices that were toasted in olive oil and called it crostini. Really, put this on anything that could use a touch of herby, savory, garlicky tomato & zucchini. (I think you’ll find that that’s most things.)Tomato & Zucchini ConfitI’ve written this recipe so that the oven is at 300F and the confit cooks for about an hour, but you can go even lower and slower (think 250F for 2 or even 3 hours) for greater depth of flavor. I think it’s pretty wonderful as is though.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini Confit is great the day it’s made, but since it’s a preserve, one batch can last a while. Once it has cooled, just pile it into a jar, top it off with olive oil so that none of the tomato, zucchini or garlic is exposed, and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve it, bring the confit back to room temperature. When you’ve had your fill, top the leftovers with more oil and refrigerate the jar again for up to two weeks. If you’re anything like me though, it won’t be around longer than a few days.Tomato & Zucchini Confit

Tomato & Zucchini Confit
makes about 2 cups

1 head garlic
1 dry pint grape tomatoes, whole
1 large zucchini, 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Serving suggestions:
toasted baguette
pasta
cooked grains
beans
chicken or fish

Preheat the oven to 300F.

Separate all the cloves on a head of garlic and peel them; I like to do this by smashing each one with the flat side of a large chef’s knife and slipping off the skins with my fingers.

Place peeled garlic, tomatoes and zucchini in a large casserole dish. Scatter thyme, red pepper flakes and salt over the top. Pour in olive oil and carefully stir to combine. Bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes, or until tomatoes and garlic have begun to caramelize and everything is fragrant.

Let confit cool at room temperature before transferring to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Top with extra olive oil if anything is exposed before storing in the refrigerator. Tomato & Zucchini Confit will keep in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Continue to top the jar off with more olive oil before storing.Tomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini ConfitTomato & Zucchini Confit

Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry PopsiclesHi there! Long time, no blog.

After last Wednesday’s post, I began writing a Friday Favorites round-up, but then I remembered I was on vacation and so I bailed and went to a watercolor class instead. Blogging is great and all, but I felt the need to Maine* while in Maine, you know?

*Yes, I used “Maine” as a verb.Blueberry PopsiclesThat doesn’t mean I didn’t cook though. Vacationing on a remote island means spending time in the kitchen is a necessity, and for me, a luxurious one. The menu for our trip is meticulously planned every year, but I always make room for playing around. It never amounts to anything anything particularly elaborate (except for pie), but I always add ingredients to the list specifically so I can mess around with them.Blueberry PopsiclesBlueberry PopsiclesThis time around, we already had blueberries (because Maine), maple syrup (because waffles), and vanilla (because I’m a baker) on the list, and I had packed a blender (because salsa), so adding a can of coconut milk, Dixie cups,* and popsicle sticks seemed like logical steps. Because Blueberry Popsicles.

*When at home, I use these popsicle molds.Blueberry PopsiclesThese are the perfect easy summer dessert! They require the bare minimum of effort and ingredients, but deliver big-time on icy texture and creamy blueberry flavor. Oh, and they’re vegan, so your gluten-free vegan co-traveler can enjoy them too.

The batch pictured was made on a Wednesday morning before we went to the beach. They were enjoyed at a dinner party that night, and then at every subsequent meal until we left on Saturday morning. VJ and I both agree that they are good on the first day, but that their blueberry flavor deepens drastically as time goes on.Blueberry PopsiclesThere are four steps to making Blueberry Popsicles:

-blend all ingredients until smooth.
-divide the mixture into cups/molds. It’ll be thick and may seem lumpy, but rest assured that this is normal. Chemistry is weird.
-wait 45-60 minutes before adding sticks.
-freeze until solid.
Blueberry PopsiclesBlueberry PopsiclesAll that’s left to do is unmold and enjoy them on a patio in Maine. Or in your New York City apartment while daydreaming about being on a patio in Maine.

Maine Maine Maine Maine Maine.

Um. Sorry. I’ll try to contain myself.Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry Popsicles
makes about 8-10 pops

12 ounces (1 dry pint) fresh blueberries
1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. Mixture may seem thick and lumpy—this is normal and will not negatively affect final texture.

Divide mixture among ice pop molds (I used 3-ounce Dixie Cups). Do not add sticks.

Freeze one hour. Insert sticks. Freeze at least 5 more hours before enjoying.

To release from ice pop molds, place mold in a glass of warm tap water for 30-45 seconds. Popsicles should release easily. If they don’t, place them back in the warm water for 15 seconds before making another attempt.

Store in the freezer.Blueberry PopsiclesBlueberry PopsiclesBlueberry Popsicles