Double Chocolate Berry Meringue Trifle


Double Chocolate Berry Meringue Trifle-001

You know that saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”? Well, life was spitting lemon juice at me every time I tried to make this dessert lol. My original idea was to make mini meringue shells and fill them with the cheesecake mixture and berries. But after three tries to make mini meringue shells and failing each time (meringue too runny, cooked meringues not cooked enough yada yada yada) I then went to just two large meringue shells, figuring I could make something like This amazing dessert. But then I undercooked THOSE a touch and when I went to get them off of the baking sheet, they crumbled. Very tasty crumbles, but crumbles nonetheless. So there went the idea of a two layered pavlova sort of dessert. So what did I do? I made lemonade. No, no, not really. Chocolate meringue lemonade? EWWW. I know I can be a bit out there at times, but not THAT much. Proverbial lemonade, people.

So what is the proverbial lemonade? A trifle. As I stood there ready to either cry or beat on a wall because this would be the third mess up (and I have made meringues many many times before. I have NO idea what my issue was this time.) for this idea. But as I stood trying not to sob, the thought popped into my head… make it into a trifle. So…ummmm… I did. Every once in a while I listen to that voice. Usually it gets me in trouble, like that whole incident with Wal Mart and wearing the underwear on my head or the time I…well, never mind.

I have to admit; the trifle idea is a pretty good one. Is it as pretty as having all of this as elegant little meringue shells would have been? No. Do I care? No. I’m more of a rustic type of a gal anyway. More importantly though- will YOU or those you’re feeding care? Oh, hell no. This is creamy from the cheesecake filling, chewy/crisp form the meringue, tart/sweet form the berries and then creamy again from the whipped cream. All in all, while I hate the eggs I wasted getting to this point, I’m quite pleased with the end result. This makes a lot so is perfect for that Summer cookout while berries are in season or great for a large family dinner.

As usual… you know the drill. Get to cookin’.

Double Chocolate Berry Meringue Trifle

  • Meringue-
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cheesecake filling-
  • 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 egg yolks (optional- they add richness but aren’t necessary if the idea of raw eggs skeeves you out)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Berries-
  • 5 cups mixed berries or berries of choice (I used a mix of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries) rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves, melted and cooled slightly (I like using preserves in many desserts instead os sugar because you get some sweetness but it’s not overpowering plus the berries tend to release less juice using jam or preserves so no liquidy mess)
  • Whipped Cream-
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Make your meringue- Preheat oven to 225 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on it, add your egg whites, vanilla and cream of tarter. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Turn speed up to high, gradually add your sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Don’t panic if it seems to be taking forever. Some days when I make meringue, it gets to peak quickly. Other times, it may take like 5 minutes. It all depends on the temp of the kitchen, the humidity, the temp of the eggs, etc.
  3. When you have stiff peaks, take the bowl off of the stand and gently fold in your cocoa powder. Don’t mix vigorously or you’ll deflate your whites. When mixed, spread half of the mixture into a circle on each prepared pan.
  4. Cook at 225 for about one hour or until the meringue is cooked throughout (don’t be afraid to stick a knife in there and check; you’ll just be crumbling these up anyway so pretty isn’t imperative. ) and lightly browned. Turn oven off and let meringues sit in the oven for about another hour or until completely cool.
  5. Meanwhile, make your filling- In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone and cream cheese. Beat at medium speed until light and creamy. Add in the sugar (and egg yolks if using) and beat well. Add in the cream and vanilla extract and beat well, until mixture is smooth and creamy. On low speed, beat in the cocoa powder.Β  If you did NOT use the egg yolks, you may need to add a tablespoon or two more of cream to get this to a more spoonable consistency. Cover and put in the fridge until ready to put together the dessert.
  6. Make your berries-Β  in a medium bowl (shush… bowls aren’t that hard to wash πŸ˜› ), combine the berries and the preserves. Gently fold together trying not to mush up the berries. Take about a cup of berries and set aside for the top of the dessert.
  7. Make your whipped cream- In a large bowl, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside or refrigerate if not using right away.
  8. To put together- Crumble up one of the cooled meringues at the bottom of a large serving or trifle bowl. On top of that, layer half of the chilled chocolate mixture. On top of that, spread half of the berries. Repeat layering, then top with the whipped cream. Top the cream with the reserves berries. Cover and chill if not serving this immediately and store leftovers in the fridge.

Mascarpone Lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits

Mascarpone lemon Cheesecake & berry Parfaits

Mascarpone lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits

Wow, that recipe name was a mouthful. But I wanted to get the gist of it across. I could have just said cheesecake parfaits but beyond the fact that that sounds completely boring, it doesn’t talk about the mascarpone and we all know that mascarpone creates a totally different cheesecake and mouth feel (hehehehe… I said mouth feel…{insert Beavis and Butthead voice here } yes, I am really 12 years old ) than plain cream cheese so it needed mentioning. And of course you see the berries but you can’t SEE the lemon so I had to mention it too lol.

Other bloggers know how difficult it can be to come up with a name for something you’ve made if it doesn’t already have one. I have seen some that are so ridiculously long that it turns me off of even wanting to make the dish. Fictitious example- “Lamb Burgers With a Garlic Emu testicle Aioli, Caramelized And Bruleed Llama Toenails AndΒ  Sauteed Red peppers Served On A Tapioca Flour Spelt Bun On A Bed Of Spicy Arugala”. If you read recipes, you KNOW what I’m talking about there. Then on the other extreme you have ones that give you no idea of what it is. You’ll see a photo that obviously has a handful of different components but all it will say is “Llama Rice”. But…but…but…WAIT!!! I see what looks like pine nuts there and sparrow wings and dried fruit and and and isn’t that a brioche it’s resting in???

Thus why I tried to be somewhat concise here. Because Mascarpone No Bake Lemon Cheesecake With a Graham Cracker Crumble, Lemon Curd And Berries made me cringe as a title. And Lemon Cheesecake doesn’t do this justice.

I was quite proud of this when I tried the final dessert. I had already tried a bit 75 spoonsful of each separate part and they were all fantastic. I could and possibly do eat lemon curd as my dessert just off the spoon. I may have made a double batch for this dessert just so that I would have a lot of leftovers hehe. The cheesecake filling was simple yet tasted rich and creamy. The graham cracker crumble was a wonderful sweet textural counterpoint to the creaminess of the dessert. And the berries?? Well, they’re berries… in season…with raspberry jam. What else can I say? πŸ˜€

This comes together easily but it is a little time consuming as you are layering it all. It also makes enough for 12 servings so either make this for a large gathering (think cookout, pot luck or picnic) or cut it in half. Whatever you do, enjoy and… git to cookin’.

Mascarpone Lemon Cheesecake & Berry Parfaits

  • Cheesecake-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 8 ounce package mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon Curd-
  • My recipe for lemon curd is here
  • Graham Cracker Crumble
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Berries-
  • 3 pints mixed berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam (GOOD QUALITY)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest


    1. Make your lemon curd first so that it can chill. When made, cover bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
    2. Make the cheesecake which couldn’t be easier as this is no bake. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Beat at medium high speed with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Pour in the condensed milk and beat until mixture is again smooth and creamy
    3. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat at low speed just until combined. Pour mixture into a tupperware-ish bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
    4. Make your berries- In a medium bowl, combine the berries (make sure to pick off all the pesky leftover stems). Add in the jam (melt it a little and cool it if it is a very thick jam. You don’t want to have to stir so hard to mix that you crush all the berries) and stir to combine. Again, refrigerate for about 2 hours to give the flavors time to meld.
    5. Make your graham cracker crumble- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with foil.
    6. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.
    7. Mix in the melted butter into the crumbs and stir well until is is all combined.
    8. Pour crumbs onto baking pan and bake at 350 for ten minutes or until the crumbs look dry and lightly toasted, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
    9. When the other ingredients have chilled, get out 12 4 ounce glasses (4 ounce canning jars work well if you don’t have a lot of glasses and they come in handy with the current trend towards desserts in jars plus it makes them portable if taking them out of the house)
    10. Layer the ingredients in whatever order strikes your fancy. I did it with cheesecake filling, crumbs, lemon curd, berries and then repeated one time.
    11. Chill parfaits until serving time.

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Berries & Cream Chocolate Eclairs

Berries & Cream Chocolate Eclairs

Berries & Cream Chocolate Eclairs

I like to lie to myself sometimes. I lie and tell myself that yes, I really Do look good with a muffin top in my jeans and I am the only one around who can totally rock that style. Then I sob hysterically and smack myself around for lying.

I lie and tell myself that I will be just fine with only 3 hours of sleep because I stayed up late watching reruns of Cold Case (gosh, I love that show). Then I look in the mirror the next morning and wonder who had to have rubbed purplish black makeup all under my eyes while I slept and why my wrinkles suddenly look deeper. Then I sob hysterically and smack myself around for lying.

I lie and tell myself that rereading The Proud Breed by Celeste DeBlasis for the 15th time counts as deep reading because she has well researched information on the history of the state of California in it amidst all the love scenes and dramatic romance. Then I get sad when I realize how few functioning brain cells I have left because I continue to read books like that. Then I sob hysterically and smack myself around for lying.

I lie and say that eating Brachs Fruity Gummis for dinner is perfectly all right because I am 48 years old and am allowed to make decisions like that. Then I wake up the next morning and try to stuff myself into a pair of jeans that has magically grown too small. Then I sob hysterically and smack myself around for lying. And the cycle begins all over again.

I also lie when I eat desserts like this and tell myself that because it tastes so light, it MUST be low calorie and quite possibly as good for me as say, a lean chicken breast and a green salad. I lie and ignore the eggs, the cream, the chocolate, the more cream etc etc etc. Then I sob hysterically…and well, you get the point.

I lie a lot. But only to myself. Well, maybe also to my kids when I say that I ate all the chocolate when I know it’s just well hidden.

But sometimes lies are totally worth it. And if lying lets me eat one or eight of these eclairs, I’m all for a life lived lying. The pastry cream alone is worth a lie or two…or three…or fifty. Add in the puffy pasty outside and the thick sour cream chocolate icing and you’ll be willing to lie too. But I take no responsibility for your morals when it comes to chocolate. It’s all on you.

You will probably end up with leftover pastry cream and frosting. I promise… you won’t mind. Take it and layer it in parfait glasses and make somebody happy. It’s an easy way to let little kids enjoy this dessert without the mess of them trying to eat an eclair.

You know the drill. Get to cookin’.

Berries & Cream Chocolate Eclairs

  • Choux pastry-
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Pastry Cream-
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries and blackberries. Use your favorite)
  • Chocolate Sour Cream Icing-
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  1. Make your pastry cream-
  2. In a medium (preferably non-stick) saucepan, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Stir in the milk until you have a smooth mixture. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil and thickens. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Beat a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them, stirring it constantly. Then slowly pour the hot yolk mixture into the pot of the hot milk, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook over medium low heat until mixture again thickens up and coats the back of the spoon. Don’t let it come to a boil; it could separate.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled. Meanwhile, make your eclairs.
  6. For the eclairs-
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a large baking sheet.
  8. In the same medium saucepan from earlier (washed of course) heat the butter, salt and water over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Pour in the flour all at once. Stir vigorously until mixture comes together and leaves the side of the pan in a ball.
  9. Add in the eggs, one by one, stirring well after each one, until smooth.
  10. Let the mixture cool slightly, then drop large spoonsful of it into the prepared pan, shaping into a roughly rounded rectangular shape.
  11. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or until the eclairs look lightly browned and dry. Take them out and cut a small slit in the side of each, then put them back into the oven and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. The cut helps the inside dry out.
  12. Take out and cool on the pan for about 15 minutes. Then cut them in half and carefully pull out the doughy insides of each one.
  13. Get your pastry cream out to finish preparing it. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms fairly stiff peaks. Stir about a quarter cup of it into the pastry cream to lighten it up, then fold in the rest of the cream until no white streaks remain.
  14. For the icing, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments at 60% power until you can stir it freely and it is totally melted. Stir in the sour cream. If it thickens up too much to spread after the cold sour cream hits it, microwave it again, 15 seconds at a time, at 60% power, until it is smooth and glossy.
  15. To put the eclairs together-
  16. Fold the berries into the prepared pastry cream. Spoon about 1/3 of a cup of the pastry cream (more or less as desired but know if you use more, you will NOT be able to pick these bad boys up without a mess lol)Β  into the bottom half of each eclair then put the top half on top of that. Then spread each eclair with a good dollop of frosting.
  17. If not serving immediately, these need to be refrigerated but I strongly suggest NOT doing final prep on them until just about ready to serve as the eclairs will get soggy otherwise.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones 2-001

I can hear the outcry now… “MORE scones, lady!!!??? What the heck?? Can you do anything but scones or citrus pies or risotto!?”

Yes. yes, I can. But I wasn’t thinking the other day when I, on my Facebook page asked everyone which they would prefer- these scones or a quick bread I am trying. They chose the scones. Sooooo, being a woman of my word, I made them. Because honesty is just how I roll. Well, when I trip on our land, downhill quickly is also how I roll but I won’t blog about that. Though photos would probably be hilarious.

Moving on- been interesting in our household lately. My (very pregnant) daughter and her boys are with us through mid August while her husband goes through Basic Training and AIT (the on the job training for whatever you will be doing part of the military) so having 2 extra little ones (they are 3 and 6) has been chaotic to say the least. But I love knowing that when they move, they will, for a time at least, until it fades, have some memories of living with gramma and grampa. My daughter is due in a few weeks so I’ll have time with the baby (girl) for a while too πŸ™‚

Plus, I’ve been having some health issues again. Not gonna go into detail here yet but I’ll cue you all in when things are more settled as to treatment. Until then, I’m just gonna continue to bake fattening things for all of you. Why? Cause I lurves you of course!!! Seriously. You have no idea what it means to me to know that people actually come here to my tiny blog, read my inane words and sometimes actually even make the foods I post.

These scones turned out delicious. I got the base recipe from The Pastry Queen Cookbook (you should have noticed by now that I love this cookbook) but changed it around. I just KNOW you’re surprised at that news. The only problem I had (which is my fault not the books) was shape. After I added the berries, I didn’t want to knead the dough, thus mushing the berries and toughening the dough, so I just reshaped it. BUT… I wasn’t able to get it back into a decent circle. so I tried making it more rectangular and cutting the scones from that. It turned out rather laughable πŸ˜› These taste absolutely amazing… light, tender, flaky with a perfect mix of berries and chocolate and an orange glaze that just complements it all. But the way they look? Kinda wonky lol. But I promise you; you won’t care once you make some and taste them how they look. Also, you may have better luck shaping the dough than I did ANYWAY thus negating the issue. So don’t let looks fool you. Just look at the nicely glazed surface… see the pieces of berry peeking out alongside some chocolate. Then go bake. And I promise… no more scones…. for a few days anyway πŸ˜›

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, COLD
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • zest from one large orange (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a buttered baking sheet with parchment paper then butter the paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (as always, you can use these directions with a hand mixer), combine the dry ingredients on low speed, including the orange zest.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the flour. Beat on low speed until the butter is in small pea sized pieces. Then add in 1 cup of the cream and the vanilla and continue beating on low speed. You want the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl in a clean ball of dough, no floury remnants left behind. If it still looks dry, add more cream, about a tablespoon at a time until it forms the dough ball.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead the chocolate chips into it. You’re not trying to work the gluten up like in bread dough. That will make the scones tough.
  5. When the chocolate is incorporated, gently pan the dough out into a fairly thin circle or rectangle. Lay the berries down on one side of the dough, then fold the other side down over them. Press gently to seal.
  6. Reshape the dough (circle if you want wedges, rectangle if you want squares or diamonds) and cut into either 10 wedges or if making squares or diamonds (for the diamonds, cut into squares then cut them in half diagonally), cut into 12 pieces. Brush each with some of the leftover cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes for wedges or 10 to 12 minutes for squares or diamonds. You want them a nice golden brown on top.
  8. For the glaze- in a small bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients. Whisk well to get rid of lumps.
  9. Pour the glaze out onto a shallow lipped plate.
  10. Dip the top of each scone into the glaze. Let dry for about ten minutes then dip each one again. Let dry a bit before serving though when they are warm and sticky they are awfully hard to resist πŸ˜€

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Rumors Of My Death Yada Yada Yada

I’m fairly sure no one really missed me or even noticed that I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks *sobs dejectedly and hides under the bed* but just in case…. I’M NOT DEAD!!!! Just thought I’d mention that in case you weren’t sure if I was dead or not when you saw a post from me.

*Scratches head, looks confuzzled, starts to speak and gives up*

Seriously though (who am I fooling with the word ‘seriously” in my blog? Please raise your hand so that we can all laugh at you), I AM back. Can I promise I won’t disappear again? No. I may get hit by a falling space satellite tomorrow. I could contract Typhoid. I could get eaten by an enraged chicken. You never know.

Or I could just need a break again and not be the type to try to get whining attention by writing a post saying “I must leave *insert heavy sigh* because life is too hard *insert more sighs* and I need to lie in my bed, watch bad reality shows and eat Cheetos *sigh more and look downtrodden* and then expect 500 people to comment telling me to go away and come back when I’m refreshed. I prefer to just go away, come back when I’m refreshed and giggle maniacally knowing that maybe one or two of you were wondering where I had gone. I DID need to go away though. For reasons that are probably obvious if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I just needed some down time… physically, emotionally, mentally. But I’m back, I’m raring to go and I MISSED ALL OF YOU!!! *Spreads hugs, kisses and Twinkies everywhere*

And I like to think I have come back with a bang. Berries are getting a bit less expensive as the year progresses (meaning I didn’t have to sell the kids to buy some berries) and if you’ve read my blog, you know I love berries. During the Summer, I tend to exist on fresh blueberries and raspberries *”Violet! You’re turning Violet, Violet!!” (who knows what that’s from? Huh huh huh?)

So what I have for you today *uses my professional voice* is pretty darn yummy. It’s also pretty darn rich so plan to have this after a light meal, not, say, a pork roast or after going to a Chinese buffet (am I the only one who eats like a pig at those?) . I made a parfait that layers a rich white chocolate/almond pudding with fresh berries. I originally started out with a cake that had a white chocolate/almond filling and berries on top and it morphed into this lol.

This is fairly easy. You’re just making a pastry cream, lightening it up into a pudding type mixture, layering it with berries and there ya go… bobs your uncle (what the heck does that phrase MEAN anyway!?)

Berry & White Chocolate/Almond Parfait

  • 1 cup half and half or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Scant 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup almond paste, crumbled
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 cup assorted berries
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  1. Pour half and half into a saucepan. Add vanilla extract and bring cream to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, then the warm half and half. Pour this back into the saucepan.
  4. Add the almond paste and whisk over medium heat until almond paste dissolves and pudding boils, about ten minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add the white chocolate. Let sit for about 3 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  6. Put plastic wrap over pudding and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
  7. When cold, fold in the heavy cream. Cover again and chill for about another 3 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, put the preserves in a small bowl and microwave until melted, about 25 seconds.
  9. Fold gently into the berries in a medium bowl.
  10. Make a layer of the pudding, a layer of berries, another layer of pudding and top with more berries. Serve. Drool. Eat too much.


There’s A Reason I Do Certain Things

Triple Berry Muffins

Like using muffin/cupcakes liners when making those baked goodies. Muffin pans hate me. They really do. It’s a vast right wing conspiracy! I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman!

Sorry; I was channeling the Clintons. But really… muffin pans hate me. It never fails. I make a tasty batter… I spoon into HEAVILY greased pans… they come out looking completely beautiful.

Then they stick. Did I mention that muffin pans hate me? They are evil sentient life forms that delight in my agony.

Muffin pan liners however are wonderful angelic sentient life forms that make my muffins come out easily and not in 37 pieces (we ate all those straight from the pan or as piles of muffin mush in bowls… still tasted great lol). Yes, I know that sometimes the sight of a whole muffin with no liners is prettier but muffin pans hate me. I’m not sure if I mentioned that yet.

So I bet you’re wondering what the recipe will be today right? Don’t stop now; click here!

Make Mine Extra Crispy Momma!

Is there ANY way to take an appealing photo of a mish mash of warm fruit? Lol

I’ve mentioned my son Jordan a couple of times. He is my sweetheart and I don’t know what I’ll do when he grows up and moves away, though in all actuality the chances are that he never will though my prayers are for him to enjoy as much self sufficiency as possible. On the other side of the situation, there are times I want to send him to live with a band of roving Gypsies in Budapest. Depends on the day. Today I figured I’d keep him.

Jordan is 16, almost 17 but intellectually he will never be more than about 9 or 10 and some days less than that which is why I say that chances are he will always live with us. He has mild mental retardation, high functioning Autism, ADHD and a scope of other issues. Why? I don’t know. He is who and what he is and I love him dearly. He is getting ready to start his sophomore year of high school. Our hopes are that he can make it through without what are becoming far too frequent hospital stays. He gets overwhelmed in school and lashes out which inevitably leads to a hospital stay to try to get his meds adjusted.

Yet this same boy has inherited his mommas warped sense of humor though in him, it is more likely to come out via the worlds worst knock knock jokes or a high decibel giggle over the everyday strange happenings of life. He can one minute be playing “whee” with Joshie, my two year old son, as they both laugh hysterically at something only they get and the next he can be crying as if the world is ending because I have to throw out a pillow he has grown attached to and loves like, as he put it, “another family member”. Life with him is never boring and I never know what will come out of his mouth next. Like today. I was making a fruit crisp. he asked me what I was making and I told him. He “oooed” and “ahhhed” a bit and then looked at me and said “I like crisps. that’s like when we get KFC. make mine extra crispy momma! Just like chicken”. This led to an explanation where I told him that they weren’t quite the same things. This led to his disappointment and my feelings of guilt that I couldn’t make the fruit crisp extra crispy for him. πŸ˜› After all that, he chose to have for dessert the cookies stuffed with frosting that I got for him and Zach (my 14 year old) at the store rather than have the utterly delicious made with love fruit crisp I made. Sheesh. Kids. πŸ˜€

Oh well. Maybe YOU’LL like the fruit crisp. I used five kinds of Summery fruits, sweetened it up and covered it all in a crispy buttery oatmeal crumb mix. Oh my gosh, this is good! The fruit wasn’t too sweet or too tangy and the crumbly topping just put it over the top. Try this one before all the fresh fruit is out of seasona nd costs more than your utility bills. You’ll love it!

Summer Fruits Oatmeal Crisp

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine fruits, sugar, tapioca, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss well to combine.
  3. Pour into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. You’re best off using a glass pan because metal pans can react with acidic fruits and give an off taste and color to cobblers and crisps. If I am making it for someone else, I use the disposable foil ones; they won’t do that.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the other ingredients (from the 1 cup of flour down), using a pastry blender to cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle this over the crisp.
  5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375. Cook for approximately 30 more minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
  6. I would say let cool before scarfing it down but I would be hypocritical since the serving in the photo was eaten by me in the space of ten minutes. Ummm…oops?

Say Grrrr With Me!


I think that anyone who cooks has certain things that either drive them batty as they do them or that they are just scared to even attempt. Normally, there isn’t much I won’t attempt to cook but I have to admit, working with puff pastry has always terrified me. I’m not sure why. I mean, I know what it is and I even know how it’s made. But the delicate flakiness of things made with it has always scared me away. I just knew I would mess up. Well, guess what? I was right. πŸ˜›Β  Weren’t expecting that were you? You thought I was going to say that I no longer had any fear and that I had mastered working with the buttery devil named puff pastry. Nope. But… maybe.

I can’t say I have mastered it. I have tried to make a tart shell three times and all I end up with is one hell of a puff pastry balloon. Yes, I prick it all over, but it still rises and in no way resembles a shell. A flaky doughnut maybe, but not a shell. Mind you, the doughnut thing had me half tempted to fill it with a thick cream and call it a puff pastry doughnut and I may still do that, but you can’t use that as a tart shell. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but I will not be defeated!!! They may take my puff pastry but they won’t take my freeeeedommmmmmmm!!!!

Erhmmmm. Sorry. As usual I got a bit carried away. Plus, now I want to break out the DVD of Braveheart and watch it. All except for the one scene where Mel Gibsons girlfriend gets her throat slashed. I always close my eyes for that one. I’m a violence wimp.

Back to puff pastry. So I gave up on the tart shell idea… for now; JUST for now and I decided to make Napoleons. I know…. first grade puff pastry work but it still tastes fantastic. Add in some juicy lime scented berries and a white chocolate pastry cream and this is heavenly. Also approximately 70000 calories but if you drink a diet coke while you’re eating it, it negates all the fat and calories πŸ˜€ So don’t be a timid wuss like me.Β  Break out the puff pastry and make this. And…ummm… if you figure out how to make a tart shell that doesn’t look like you need to attach a string to it and give it to a small child, let me know πŸ˜›

Napoleons With White Chocolate Pastry Cream & Lime Scented Berries

White Chocolate Pastry Cream-

  • 1Β  cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise or one teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 10 to 12 ounce bag white chocolate pieces (I used Ghirardellis)


  1. Place the milk, half the sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in color. Add in the flour and the salt, mix to combine.
  3. When the milk just begins to boil, remove from heat and remove vanilla bean. Very slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring all the time. When about half of the milk has been added, place all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Using a spatula or a whisk, mix the pastry cream as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when you stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Remove from heat and add the butter and white chocolate. Stir until the white chocolate melts. This can take a few minutes. Strain if you wish for a smoother cream. Place into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap to stop a skin from forming on the cream. Chill and use within a few days.

Puff Pastry Squares

  • 17 ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 2 13×9 baking sheets
  2. Lightly flour a board or counter. Unfold one of the pastry pieces onto the floured board. Cut in half lengthwise down the middle then cut each half in thirds (the fold lines help in that). Place the six pieces onto one of the greased pans and sprinkle liberally with the sugar. Do the same with the other piece of pastry. If you can, place both sheets on the same shelf in the preheated oven. If not, halfway through cooking, rotate the pans so one isn’t closer to the heating element for the whole time. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Lime Scented Berries-
  1. 1 16 ounce container fresh strawberries
  2. 1 six ounce container fresh raspberries
  3. 1 six ounce container fresh blueberries
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. juice and zest from one small lime
  • Cap and slice your strawberries. Mix them and your other berries in a large, preferably glass, bowl. Add the sugar, lime juice and zest and let sit for at least one hour to give the flavors time to blend.

Putting it all together-

  • Get out some pretty dessert plates. You heard me. This deserves better than your old chipped corelle plates. Believe me, I know. The one I plated on the pretty plate tasted better than the one I put on..well… the old chipped corelle plate. It was”The Pretty Factor” at work πŸ˜› I am giving the direction for normal people here not the directions for the dessert in the bottom photo which was made for a 14 year old boy who actually asked if I could just dump the whole bowl of fruit and some pastry cream in my 2 quart plastic bowl for his share. God help me.
  • Take a pastry square and carefully slice it in half. Put the bottom half on your (pretty) plate. Top with some pastry cream and berries, Lay the other half of the square on top and top with more pastry cream and berries. See how easy this all was? Seriously though, the hardest part of all this is making the pastry cream because it takes watching. Otherwise, this tastes impressive, looks delicious but isn’t difficult at all.

This is the "Made for a teenage boy" version.