• Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

    Can you believe that it’s already Memorial Day Weekend? Honestly I’m a little spooked, where did all of the Spring go?? It’s almost JUNE. Whew okay I’m calm we’re good it’s all good. I’m interrupting my usual Tuesday posting schedule to bring you this special collection of recipe highlights, perfect for a backyard barbecue! Whether you’re hosting a party or just feel like making something new and fun, please enjoy this collection of my 10 most Memorial Day appropriate recipes!!

    ONE. Blueberry Slab Pie

    Do you need dessert for a crowd? Or do you just eat enough pie on your own? Look no further than this masterpiece, it is deceivingly simple to make, because why mess with the flavor of blueberry and pie crust? Also did I mention that slab pies are baked on a sheet pan, crazy easy to slice, and serve up to 20 people? Go make a pie!!!

     

    TWO. Fresh Fruit Tart

    Slightly more labor intensive than a slab pie (only slightly), it’s hard to pass up a tart like this when theres fruit art involved. A crisp tart shell holds a generous portion of rich vanilla pastry cream, and from there the decorating is up to you! Will it be a symmetrical pattern? Or an artful heap? Berries or stone fruit? Or both? It’s up to you!!

     

    THREE. Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes

    Did you think I would go an entire rhubarb season without mentioning rhubarb?? Think again!! While a new 2019 rhubarb recipe is on its way, I will tide you over until then with this twist on the classic strawberry shortcake. A buttery biscuit, lightly sweetened soft whipped cream, and a heaping scoop of strawberry rhubarb quick jam becomes a simple yet incredibly flavorful dessert that guests can assemble themselves and take the pressure off you! You’re welcome!!

     

    FOUR. Fried Burrata in Romesco Sauce

    I realize that here on Sweet D I tend to favor dessert recipes, after all, it’s called SWEET D, right? However, this recipe was designed with entertaining in mind, so I’d be crazy not to include it on this list. And while you could eat this whole thing yourself (and I’d be very impressed with you), the best way to eat a ball of fried burrata is surrounded by friends, with a glass of chilled white wine and lots of garlicky bruschetta. Do I need to keep convincing you? I didn’t think so.

     

    FIVE. New York Cheesecake with Roasted Blueberry Sauce

    The best part about this cheesecake recipe, aside from the fact that it could LITERALLY be in a museum, is that the whole thing can be made the day before and kept chilled in the fridge, meaning you have more time with your guests, more time to grill, and more time to eat snacks! Highkey this recipe is one of the most decadent ones on my site, I still think about it at least once a day and you should too.

     

    SIX. Almond Sheet Cake

    You know how every year, Ina Garten makes a Flag Cake using a sheet cake and some berries? Well, here’s your fancy base to a flag cake, the simplest almond cake and frosting which will be a gorgeous and elegant compliment to the fruit on top. A word to the wise- if you choose to make the flag on this cake, use fresh berries only and don’t add any extra sugar to them, the berries will release their juices and make the top of the cake very soggy!

     

    SEVEN. Cornmeal Peach Cobbler

    Okay I know that ~technically~ it’s not peach season yet, but I couldn’t bring myself to look past this perfect cobbler in all its bubbly, fruity glory. Golden cornmeal biscuits are an excellent, slightly salty counterpart to the classic flavor of peach, but if you’re having trouble finding good ripe peaches this time of year, you could always substitute with blueberries, strawberries, or cherries!

     

    EIGHT. Tomato Salad with Burrata

    What’s that? You spent all your time making the desserts on this list and don’t have any food for dinner? Boy have I got good news for you. Enlist one of your guests to be your tomato chopping sous chef, and this salad will be done in 10 minutes. That’s right, TEN. And with the rustic yet glamorous presentation, people will think you put a lot more work into it than you did. Plus, there’s no better combination than mozzarella and tomato, am I right or am I right?

     

    NINE. Mini Pavlovas

    Are you sensing a theme here for these desserts? If you guessed berries, you’d be correct. Personally, nothing screams summer holiday like fresh berries, so it seems only fitting that they keep popping up on this list. While pavlovas are slightly on the challenging side, the payoff is well worth it, there’s nothing quite like the crisp, marshmallow texture of a pavlova with whipped cream and berries.

     

    TEN. Summer Fruit Galettes

    You know that I had to fit one more pie recipe in here, it’s practically in my contract. And what better recipe than the deeply unfussy, rustic pie that doesn’t even require a pie plate? These galettes are easily customizable, easily served, and the best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the things you know and love about regular pie to do it. A win-win!

     

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend, I hope it’s filled with all ten of these foods! XoxoxoxoxD

  • Norwegian Gold Cake

    On the heels of a very family-filled weekend, it seems only fitting to share with you a family recipe that has been passed down and sideways since before I was born. Called “Norwegian Gold Cake”, I am actually unsure of where it even got its name, but the recipe comes from the grandmother of my mom’s cousins (what that makes her to me, I couldn’t even begin to guess). The cake is luxuriously rich and golden in color thanks to the 5 eggs in the batter, but is also perfectly offset by the lemon-orange buttercream that tops it. Its got the zest and juice of both fruits and is the freshest, brightest tasting frosting you’ll ever have. When I was little, you knew dessert would be good if you showed up to my grandparents house and this cake was sitting on its cake plate on the dining room table. My grandma even put her own spin on it, preparing the cake with half citrus frosting and half coffee frosting. This may sound like a strange combo, but both frostings pair so well with a dense cake like this one separately, however the real best way to eat it is to have one slice with some coffee frosting and some citrus frosting. Traditionally in this family, this cake is baked in a tube pan, but it could also be done in a 9 x 13″ as a sheet cake instead, although a shorter baking time will probably be required.

    A piece of advice, read this recipe through all the way before starting, since some of the process is different than most cake batters. This recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which involves beating together the flour and butter instead of the sugar and butter. This way, gluten doesn’t start forming until the flour comes into contact with a liquid, and when the flour is coated in butter, it slows down this production. As a result, the cake should be more tender and velvety, as well as bake with less of a domed top. That last bit doesn’t matter so much for this recipe since you aren’t stacking the cake, but when making layer cakes, reverse creaming is a good idea since each cake bakes up flatter and less trimming is required. There’s your baking education for the week!

    This weekend we watched my only brother graduate from Notre Dame and it was so special. We spent Friday in Chicago, where we saw the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and had some crazy good food to warm us up on a particularly drizzly day (I’m talking chicken and waffles for brunch AND Russian food for dinner), then drove to Indiana for the remainder of the weekend. I am immensely proud of everything my brother has done, it’s been awesome to watch him grow over the past four years and he deserves every good thing coming to him. He’ll be starting a job at Google in August and ooooooh we’re so proud! Go Aidan!


    Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Sun showers that produce rainbows.
    TWO. Going out for tea.
    THREE. Putting your hair up.
    FOUR. Having your coffee in the park.
    FIVE. Pinch bowls.

    Norwegian Gold Cake

    This may be the most coveted family recipe that I've got; a moist, rich cake with the most perfect citrus buttercream, this cake is perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or when you just feel like treating yourself!
    Prep Time45 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time1 hr 25 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: buttercream, cake, citrus

    Ingredients

    Norwegian Gold Cake Ingredients

    • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
    • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
    • 5 eggs
    • cups sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

    Citrus Buttercream Ingredients

    • 1 lb confectioner's sugar
    • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice + zest

    Instructions

    Norwegian Gold Cake Steps

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a tube pan or 9×13" cake pan with butter and flour, then set aside.
    • Cream together the flour and butter on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
    • In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and baking powder, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix in the vanilla.
    • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the cake tester comes out clean. If you're using a 9×13" pan, start checking earlier, between 25 and 30 minutes instead. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Citrus Buttercream Steps

    • Cream the butter and confectioners sugar together on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla.
    • Add the lemon juice and zest, plus the orange juice and zest, and mix until incorporated. At this point, you can adjust the proportions by adding more confectioners sugar for a thicker frosting, or more juice for a thinner one.
    • When the cake is completely cooled, frost and decorate however you'd like! If you're feeling ~fancy~, you could even try to candy some fruit peels, instructions found here!

    YUM! xoxoxoxoxoD

  • Mini Pavlovas

    Spring is in the air bbs! And to me, a quintessential spring dessert is pavlova. Pavlovas are meringue nests, either in mini or large form, and are typically filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, lemon curd, or fresh fruit. It can be adjusted based on what is fresh and in season, so there are practically endless possibilities. I feel like that is a running theme of this blog, desserts that can be customized to your liking, and I’m not mad about it. I encourage everyone to play around with flavors and combinations and find what works best for you, the fun is in the process! For these pavlovas, I borrowed the basics from this recipe on ZoeBakes, doubled for more minis, and went from there!

    I feel like I may be the only person on this earth not watching Game of Thrones right now (it’s Sunday night as I’m typing this), and I am instead choosing to watch the 2nd season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina AGAIN because that’s exactly how I roll. Something I should have done today is give my room a good spring cleaning, but what did I do instead? Take a nap, watch TV and make pavlovas. Good stuff good stuff, guess that spring cleaning will have to wait until next week!


    Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about!!
    ONE. 
    Staying up to watch that extra episode because you know you can sleep late tomorrow.
    TWO. Tent dresses.
    THREEFern fossils.
    FOUR. Fried chicken with hushpuppies.
    FIVE. Cleaning out your wallet, makeup case, and purse.
    Let’s get baking!!

    MAKES: 12 mini pavlovas
    PREP TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 2 hours

     

    PAVLOVA INGREDIENTS

    8 egg whites
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    ½ cup cold water
    2½ cups sugar
    2 tsp vinegar (cider, white wine, or distilled)
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch

    PAVLOVA STEPS

    ONE.  Preheat your oven to 300ºF. To prepare your baking sheets, trace 3″ circles about 2 inches apart from each other on the underside of a sheet of parchment paper cut to size. Flip the paper over so that the circles show through but no pencil marks will rub off on the meringues.

    TWO. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the salt until medium-stiff peaks form. At this point, drizzle in the water with the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, and once all is added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks. This means that if you remove the whisk attachment and hold it upright, the egg whites will stick straight up.

    THREE. Add the vanilla and vinegar, and then sprinkle in the cornstarch. Fold the cornstarch into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, lightly shaking the spatula as you fold to eliminate any lumps.

    FOUR. Scoop even amounts of meringue onto each traced circle. Using an offset spatula, start by smoothing around the sides, then create a dip in the center, which will prevent the top from cracking during baking. For a more polished look, smooth the sides of each meringue by holding the spatula horizontal and dragging from the bottom to the top in quick strokes all the way around.

    FIVE. Bake the pavlovas at 300ºF for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Finally, turn the oven down again to 250ºF and continue to bake for 30 more minutes. At this point, turn off the oven, turn the oven light on, but do NOT open the oven door. Allow the meringues to sit in the off oven for at least an hour, up to overnight to fully dry.


    BLUEBERRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS

    1 pint of blueberries
    ¼ cup sugar
    ½ tsp cinnamon
    Splash of amaretto liquor (optional)


    BLUEBERRY SAUCE STEPS

    ONE. Combine all the above ingredients in a saucepan and mix to combine. Cook on medium heat until the blueberries begin to break down and the alcohol cooks off. Allow to cool completely before serving.

    WHIPPED CREAM INGREDIENTS

    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    2 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract


    WHIPPED CREAM STEPS 

    ONE. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed. Add in the sugar and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved and the whipped cream is the desired consistency. For this, some stability is helpful since the blueberry sauce will go on top.

    ASSEMBLY

    ONE. To serve, carefully remove a meringue from the tray so as not to shatter the thin sides, top with a generous scoop of whipped cream, a pour of blueberry sauce, and some extra berries. Best eaten immediately, but if needed, unfilled meringue shells can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

    XoxoxoxoxoD