Summer is in full swing here in Arkansas! The sun is shining, and the humidity is through the roof. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna. A sauna with mosquitos… The plus side, however, is that summer fruits are plentiful! And while fruit is great on it’s own, sometimes the old sweet tooth takes over and you start craving a decadent fruit dessert. On a recent occasion, we turned to Cook’s Country for a recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie. It was amazing. Light and sweet, it’s perfect for summer, plus you only need to bake the crust (or buy one if you’re into shortcuts), which means you don’t have to heat up the whole house.
1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
- FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Process cookies, sugar, and salt in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add almonds and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer crumb mixture to pie plate. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom and up sides of plate. Bake until crust is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes. (Crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)
- FOR THE FILLING: Sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process hulled whole strawberries in food processor until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl and press on solids to extract 1 cup of juice; discard solids. Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and strawberry juice together in small saucepan.
- Bring juice mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to large bowl, stir in lemon juice, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of meringue into cooled strawberry mixture until smooth. Fold remaining meringue into strawberry mixture until only few white streaks remain.
- In now-empty mixer bowl, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in sliced strawberries. Spoon filling into crust and spread into even layer using back of spoon. Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve.
from Cook’s Country, August/September 2014
Editor’s Note: We’re very happy to have one Debbie Carlos breaking onto our very own blog with a fun new cooking series: “A Sunday Ritual.” What follows is the first installment, which we’ve tried and is as good as advertised. Thanks Debbie! Take it away.
I have a problem. I suppose its not the most serious problem in the realm of problem-having, but it does eat at me. Being a food enthusiast and lover of cooking, I collect many food magazines, cookbooks, and clip recipes off the internet daily. I have stacks and piles of cookbooks and magazines stuck full of post it notes, marking recipes I will someday make. There are probably as many post it notes as pages in each book, if not more.
I have a folder on my desktop labelled “menu” (which is a weird name for a recipes folder) with recipes I’ve saved off the internet. Looking through it recently, I found that within the menu folder lies another folder named “menu” with even older saved recipes. What? I also always work with two open browser windows. One window of things I’m currently internet-ing and the other is just tab after tab of recipes. I have no idea what I’m thinking sometimes.
I want to change. I want to be better! Its sad to just have these recipes sit there in disuse, so I’ve given myself a project. Every Sunday, I will sit down and dig through my archives and cook something new. I will then present to you, dear reader, the best of what I’ve made. The kind and lovely Sarah and Brian of the blog you are currently reading have given me a platform from which to broadcast my experiments. I am so excited about this exercise and to be a guest blogger on Westervin!!
For the first “A Sunday Ritual” post, I am going to tell you about the quickest cake recipe you will ever come upon. Pulling out the ingredients will take more time than baking this cake, I kid you not. Its a chocolate cake for 1 (or 2, or 3 as this recipe is easily doubled and tripled) baked in a microwave. I’m not one to usually skimp on the cooking process. I am all about the home-made, slow food way of life but this recipe just seemed so compelling and has been on my mind since I saved it. It definitely hits the spot when you’re craving a chocolate-something late at night. So here goes!
60 Second Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake
adapted from the site, The Family Kitchen
- 1 egg
- ¼ Cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- the tiniest splash of vanilla
- a tiny pinch of salt
- Whipped cream, vanila ice cream, chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, chopped nuts (optional toppings)
- Crack an egg in a bowl. Whisk in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt. Mix until smooth and combined.
- Pour mixture into a mug and microwave for about 50 seconds until cooked but still gooey inside.
- Top with toppings of your choice & Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: this post is part of the series “A Sunday Ritual” by Debbie Carlos.
For years we’ve been making cakes the old fashioned way: with a Betty Crocker cake mix. But all of that’s about to change. Now we’re using Betty Crocker Cake Mix and Diet Soda. Alright, so maybe this combination isn’t going to make the best cake ever, but it will make a pretty tasty low cal alternative to your typical cake, whether out of the box or from scratch. And that’s not even the best part. Did you know that diet soda comes in an endless variety of flavors? Did you know that cake mix also comes in a seemingly endless variety of flavors? Sounds like you have double infinite combo possibilities, right?
The other night we had a brownie craving, so we thought that we could put a few aging boxes of cocoa powder to use! We really liked how dense and choclately these particular brownies were. They definitely hit the spot. We used a combination of regular Hershey’s cocoa powder and the Dutch processed cocoa powder, since that’s what we had on hand. If you’re in the mood for a real brownie, and not just any pansy, pre-boxed, pre-made brownie, put your stretch pants on and try this variation from Alton Brown.