Tag Archives: summer desserts

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Like so many of my favorite recipes, these Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes came to be on a whim. There were no plans; I was just playing around with cornmeal leftover from making Blueberry Corn Muffins on a Wednesday morning when shortcake inspiration struck.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

I set to work making a batch of my trusty Cornmeal Biscuits, which are somewhere between a buttermilk biscuit and cornbread. They’re tender and a touch crumbly, but still pretty sturdy—perfect for shortcakes. I added a little extra sugar and cut them larger than I normally would for maximum surface area.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

I baked them up and let them cool, spending the lag time digging through my fridge for seasonal fruit. I sliced up a couple of perfect nectarines and tossed in some blueberries, then added a few tablespoons of sugar and let them macerate. I also whipped some cream.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Then I assembled the whole lot. The cooled biscuits were sliced into two thin disks and piled high with whipped cream and fruit, only to be quickly demolished with forks and fingers.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Oh my goodness, y’all, these Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes are so good. Sweet, but not too sweet. Fluffy, tender, just corny enough. Creamy, fruit-forward. Full-on late summer vibes. Not bad for Wednesday morning baking improv.

Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
makes about 10 shortcakes

2-3 ripe nectarines (or peaches or other stone fruit), thinly sliced
1 cup blueberries
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 batch Cornmeal Biscuits for Shortcakes (recipe below)

In a small-medium mixing bowl, toss together nectarines, berries and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit (macerate) at room temperature for up to an hour.

When the biscuits are cool and the fruit is ready, make the whipped cream. In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Assemble shortcakes. Use a fork to gently split biscuits in half equatorially (it’s okay if they’re not perfect). Gently move the bottom half of a biscuit to a plate. Top with whipped cream and fruit. Place the top half of the biscuit over the top. Garnish with more whipped cream and berries, if desired. Serve immediately.
Cornmeal Biscuits for Shortcakes
makes about 10 shortcakes

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in buttermilk until a dough forms.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Cool completely before using for shortcakes.

Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes
Cornmeal Summer Shortcakes

Cherry Almond Tart

Cherry Almond Tart

Of all the wonderful things about cherry season—namely, that there are cherries everywhere and in everything—the lone drawback is that it’s quick. Cherries arrive in the produce section fast and furious, and then suddenly two months have passed and you’re googling pumpkin recipes again. Where does the time go?

Cherry Almond Tart

I have spent every summer of this blog’s brief existence trying to fill it with recipes highlighting every major warm weather fruit group. There are many (so, so many) berry recipes and a shocking number of peach desserts considering that I don’t care much for cooked stone fruit, but I’m happy if I nail down one cherry treat per year. Lucky for all of us, this year’s Cherry Almond Tart is a notch above the rest.

The secret? Frangipane aka almond pastry cream. It’s easy to make—it’s just a blend of almond flour (or whole blanched almonds), sugar, eggs and a few other baking staples—and is spread into a thin layer between rough puff pastry dough and a bevy of pitted whole cherries. As it bakes, this thin blanket of almond cream puffs up and nearly envelops the cherries, and gets a touch dark on top.

Cherry Almond Tart

The results are outstanding. Every bite is full of juicy, collapsed cherries, flaky pastry and a soft, thick layer of frangipane. I gilded the lily with some confectioner’s sugar and sliced almonds, but it truly needs no adornment. But, you know, ice cream is never a bad idea.

Cherry Almond Tart

Heads up that I’m on vacation this week! I’ll be taking Friday off to spend time with my family, but I have an epic ice cream recipe coming next Wednesday. Have a great week, y’all.

Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond 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 butter (I used Kerrygold)
1/4 cup water or milk of choice, very cold

Frangipane:
1 cup blanched almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Cherries:
2 1/2 cups whole sweet cherries, stemmed & pitted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Garnish:
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Note: If you’d like to use frozen (thawed) puff pastry instead of Rough Puff Pastry, start the recipe at the paragraph beginning “Make the tart.”

Make the Rough Puff 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 8x10" rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8x10" 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 10x14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any excess overhang. Use your knife to score a rectangle on the dough, so that there is a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Dock the center rectangle of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Remove crust from the refrigerator. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread frangipane in a thin layer all over the docked rectangle. Evenly scatter the cherries over the top. Sprinkle with sugar, then dot with butter.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl, then use a fork to whisk them together. Use a pastry brush (or a clean finger) to brush egg wash over exposed crust.

Bake tart for 28-30 minutes, until puffed and golden all over. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice the tart, then sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve, garnished with sliced almonds, if desired.

Tart is best within 48 hours. Wrap leftovers and keep them in the refrigerator.
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleCherry season is late this year, but it’s finally here. Thank goodness for that—otherwise, you might have to wait a year to make this Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble. That would be a shame. I mean, who doesn’t need another quick & easy crowd-pleasing summer dessert in their repertoire?!Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble is exactly what it sounds like: a layer of soft sweet cherry filling topped with a crispy sugar cookie crumb. Where crisps have oats and nuts to contrast with the fruit beneath, this crumble relies instead on a craggy layer of buttery topping. Some of the crumb mixture will sink into the fruit as it bakes and remain soft, too, so there are all sorts of great textural things happening.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleThis is the sort of dessert that can be made in an hour start-to-finish and be served warm from the oven—no need for fussing over delicate pastry or waiting hours for molten filling to become cool enough to slice.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleTo make this crumble, toss together a quick fresh cherry filling and tip it into a baking dish. Next up, stir together the sugar cookie crumble, which is just the crumb topping from my Double Funfetti Crumb Cake without the sprinkles.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleScatter that over the top of the cherries and then bake the whole thing at 375F until the crumb is golden and the fruit is bubbling and tender. Let it cool about ten minutes before spooning the hot crumble into bowls and topping it with vanilla ice cream.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleEat. Go for seconds. Repeat.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble
makes 8-10 servings

Cherry Filling:
2 pounds fresh or frozen (thawed) sweet cherries, pitted
1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar (depending on preference & sweetness of fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Sugar Cookie Crumble:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Make the cherry filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweet cherries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and almond extract. Toss together until combined. Transfer to baking dish and create an even layer. Set aside.

Make the sugar cookie crumble. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form.

Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumble over the top of the cherry filling. Bake crumble 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Let crumble cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Warm before serving.Sweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie CrumbleSweet Cherry Sugar Cookie Crumble

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis post really couldn’t come at a better time: New York weather has officially crossed over into the “totally disgusting” zone. Blazing hot, humid AF—you get the picture. There will be no baking in my Brooklyn kitchen until Monday, at the very least.

I love my apartment—love it!—but its one major drawback is that the kitchen is both windowless and un-air-conditioned. There is no amount or configuration of tiny Costco tower fans that can counteract the all-consuming heat of a 350F oven on a sticky 99F NYC day. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesSo, let’s skip the oven this weekend and make milkshakes instead. Caramelized Banana Milkshakes, to be specific.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesSure, they require five minutes of stove time to caramelize the bananas, but that small amount of cooking will be totally worth it when you’re blitzing up frosty, brown sugar & banana milkshakes.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesWe’re talking pure banana flavor here, unencumbered by cinnamon or anything else. You may, of course, add a pinch of whatever you like, but don’t go too crazy. Simplicity is the name of the game.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis recipe is a breeze: three steps, four ingredients (six, if you count the recommended whipped cream and drizzle of caramel or butterscotch). The hardest part is waiting for the bananas to cool so that they don’t melt your ice cream. After that, it’s just a blitz in the blender and deciding which of your dwindling stash of paper straws you’re going to use today.

Oh, and parking yourself directly in front of your air conditioner until the heatwave is over, but you already knew that.Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes
makes about 2-3 small milkshakes

3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For Garnish (optional):
caramel or butterscotch sauce
whipped cream

Peel bananas and slice into 1-inch chunks.

Combine butter and brown sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and pan is hot. Carefully add banana slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Combine bananas and ice cream in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with caramel/butterscotch sauce and/or whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana Milkshakes