Last year this time, I was fresh from culinary school, still testing out recipes on people I trusted to tell me the stone-cold truth: my family. My mom handled the grill, my husband handled the napkins (I needed assurance that he wouldn't mess up anything) , and I handled quite a few things: a dirty rice salad, pineapple jalapeno salsa, red velvet cake, lemon pie, and coconut sorbet.
Lemon Pie Yield 2 pies or one 1/3 sheet cake pan
1 box Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers or Girl Scout Shortbread cookies
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 (14oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp lemon zest, minced (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Chill mixing bowl and beaters in freezer. Crush cookies in a food processor until crumbs are a fine dust. Add softened butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into two pie plates, springform pan, or cake pan with a spoon or rubber spatula. Place crust in freezer while preparing filling.
Those cans stacked up seemed aesthetically pleasing to me.
The pizza is something that kids can help to do. I don't have any little ones yet, but I do have some come over from time to time to help me cook. It's a great hands-on project, especially laying down the fruit in patterns.
Brownie Fruit Pizza
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
8 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a pizza pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl, then pour in chocolate mixture, whisking until combined well. Whisk in flour mixture and transfer batter to baking pan.
Bake until top is shiny and set and sides have begun to pull away slightly (a wooden pick or skewer will not come out clean), about 35 minutes, for fudgy brownies; or until wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour total, for cakey brownies.
Cool brownies for 1 hour in pan on a rack.
1pkg (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese
1 8 oz package fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Assorted sliced and diced fruit: kiwi, cherries, bananas, mango, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread.
After brownie has cooled, spread cream cheese frosting in an even layer. Place sliced fruit on brownie in decorative patterns. Cut into 8 or 16 thin slices and serve.
*Store-bought brownie mix is OK to use in this recipe. It's definitely cheaper.
*To prevent bananas, apples, or pears from oxidizing, coat with lemon or lime juice.
*After frosting but before decorating pizza, place pie in refrigerator to firm up icing so that fruit will stay where you place it.
Blackberries, diced nectarines, kiwi, bananas, and cherries
My fruit hanging out.
Coconut Sorbet Yield 1 1/2 pints (depending on overrun)
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
6 oz powdered sugar
1 oz lime juice
2 oz coconut flavored rum
Combine all ingredients. Put in ice cream machine. Mix according to manufacturer's directions. Place in freezer for 4 hours to firm up before freezing.
*The rum in the sorbet keeps ice crystals from forming, making a smooth and creamy product.
*Overrun is the percentage of increase in volume of ice cream greater than the amount of mix used to produce that ice cream. There are formulas and calculations to predict this, but I am was not a math major. Talk to these people if you're interested in that sort of thing: here.