Archive for DESSERTS

Spanish Rolls

Spanish Rolls are one of my favorite things to eat!
They are a soft, sweet bread dough rolled flat and filled with sweetened butter, then rolled jelly-roll style.  The rolled dough is brushed with melted butter then topped with a sprinkling of a sugar-breadcrumb mixture and baked to golden brown perfection.

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Eat them as a snack, dessert, or have a roll or two or three 😉 for breakfast with
a steaming cup of your favorite coffee.

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It’s not that difficult to make.  Follow my complete recipe below and mix up a batch of sweet bread dough.  Flatten pieces of dough and brush with a butter-sugar mixture.  Roll up the dough, jelly-roll style and let the dough rise.

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Spread more butter on top of the rolls and top with a sugar-breadcrumb topping before baking.  Use turbinado sugar, also called sugar in the raw, to top the rolls.

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The sugar-breadcrumb mixture bakes up into a sweet and crunchy topping that compliments the soft and incredibly fluffy, buttery rolls.

Don’t you wish you could just reach into your computer and pull one of these
scrumptious rolls right off that pan?

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll like it. 🙂

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Spanish Rolls
 
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Soft, fluffy rolls with a buttery sugar filling and topped with a crunchy, sweet sugar-bread crumb topping
Author:
Recipe type: Yeast Bread
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
Filling:
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
Topping:
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar (also called sugar in the raw)
Instructions
  1. Place the milk into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Pour the hot milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar to the milk, mixing until the sugar is dissolved, about one minute.
  2. Add the yeast to the milk-sugar mixture then mix until dissolved. Let the yeast stand for about 10 minutes to proof (the mixture should become very foamy).
  3. Let the melted butter cool down a bit then mix it with the salt, egg and egg yolks. Pour the butter mixture into the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix in the flour, a half cup at a time until you've used four cups of flour.
  5. Change the paddle to the dough hook then add the last half cup of flour. Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  6. Spray the ball of dough with butter cooking spray then cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes to an hour).
  7. After the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down then place it onto a clean countertop. Knead gently for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into ovals.
  8. Prepare the filling by mixing the softened butter and sugar together until creamy.
  9. Evenly spread about a tablespoon of the butter and sugar mixture over each piece of flattened dough (you will have some of the mixture leftover; save this for use later).
  10. Roll the dough, jellyroll-style. Place onto a baking sheet about one inch apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; place the pan in a warm place to rise for about 20 minutes.
  11. While the rolls are rising, mix the breadcrumbs and turbinado sugar together.
  12. After the rolls have risen, gently spread some of the remaining butter-sugar mixture on top of the rolls. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the buttered rolls.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm from the oven and ENJOY!

 

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Fresh Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler is the ultimate summer dessert.  I like using fresh peaches when they are in season, but canned peaches (in juice, not syrup) will do in a pinch.

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This is a very easy dessert to make.  The hardest part is peeling and slicing the peaches.  However, if you ask my kids, the hardest part is actually waiting for the cobbler to finish baking! 😉

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Fresh Peach Cobbler

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Place the sliced peaches into a large mixing bowl.  If you’re using canned peaches, be sure to drain all the liquid.  12 fresh peaches yields about 10 cups of peaches.

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 Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and lemon juice to the bowl.

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Gently stir to combine all of the ingredients.

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In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

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Add milk to the flour mixture.

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Stir or whisk, just until a batter forms.  A few small lumps in the batter are okay.

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Pour the melted butter into the pan.

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Pour the batter over the melted butter.  DO NOT STIR. 

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Place the peaches on top of the batter.  Again, DO NOT STIR.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the batter (that seep through to the top) is golden brown.

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I love how the some of the batter rose through the peaches and sweet cinnamon sauce and settled on top.  If you want more of the batter to seep through to the top, save some of the batter, placing dollops of it on top of the peaches before baking.

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The peaches are perfectly cooked, not mushy at all.  The batter is fluffy on the inside and just slightly crisp on the outside where the sugar caramelized on top.

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What’s better than warm peach cobbler?  Why, peach cobbler with ice cream, that’s what!

Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and ENJOY!

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Fresh Peach Cobbler
 
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Fresh, juicy sweet peaches mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, baked with a buttery batter to create the summer dessert favorite.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
Peach filling:
  • 12 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Batter:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the filling:
  1. Place the sliced peaches in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine all of the ingredients.
Prepare the batter:
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Pour in the milk; mix together until a batter forms.
Layer the cobbler:
  1. Pour the melted butter into a 9x13 pan.
  2. Pour the batter over the melted butter. DO NOT STIR.
  3. Pour the peach mixture over the batter. DO NOT STIR.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and ENJOY!
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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

My entire family loves, loves, loves cookies!  Soft, chewy, crispy, crumbly, chocolate, butter, coconut, sugar, stuffed, double-stuffed, you name it, we’ll probably love it.

One of our favorites are a crispy cookie from Guam called Chamorro Chip Cookies.  They are crispy bite-sized cookies that are perfectly sweet and chocolaty.  I still remember requesting bags of cookies be sent to me in care packages.  I was absolutely over the moon one trip home when the airline served small packages of the delicious morsels in lieu of peanuts! 🙂

Well, gone are the days of free snacks on the airlines, but you don’t have to wait until you get to Guam or for someone to send you a care package to enjoy these delicious, sweet and crispy cookies. It takes just a few ingredients to mix up a batch, ingredients you’re likely to have on hand already.

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give my recipe a try. I’m sure you’ll like it. 🙂

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

~ My version of the beloved “Chamorro Chip Cookie”

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These are all of the ingredients you need.  You probably have all of these on hand already.  As I mentioned above, my family loves cookies and baked goods, so I make sure I always have flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda (and powder), salt, vanilla extract and chocolate chips in my pantry.

I made a double batch of cookies, which is why you see two bags of chocolate chips.  Otherwise, one batch uses only one bag of mini chocolate chip morsels.

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Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together.

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Place the butter and suar in a medium sized mixing bowl.

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Use a hand-held mixer to cream the butter and sugar together.

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Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl.

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Mix until creamy.

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Add one third of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Mix for a minute or until the dry ingredients are well-incorporated with the butter mixture.

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Add another third of the flour mixture; mix another minute then add the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until all of the flour is well-incorporated and a thick, creamy cookie dough forms.

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Add the entire bag of mini chocolate chips to the bowl.

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Use a spatula to fold the chocolate chips into the cookie dough.

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Place 1 tablespoon of cookie dough about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.  I use a small cookie scoop to get nicely rounded scoops of dough.  These cookies will spread while baking so make sure you don’t place them too close together.

I used a Pampered Chef large round stoneware pan in the photo below.  I fit about 18 balls of dough on this pan — don’t try to fit much more than that on this size pan or your cookies will spread and touch during baking (my daughter calls those “butt cookies” when they spread and touch during baking).

I also used the rectangular stoneware pan (also Pampered Chef), fitting 20 balls of dough on it.

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Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 12 minutes.  The cookies will be slightly brown around the edges.

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Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Serve with a tall glass of milk and ENJOY!

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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A crisp cookie loaded with mini chocolate chip morsels, reminiscent of one of Guam's favorite cookies, the "Chamorro Chip Cookie"
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (12-oz.) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl; mix together.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a handheld mixer to mix together until creamy.
  4. Mix in the the eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, one third at a time, mixing until you get a thick creamy dough.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them about 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are light brown around the edges.
  9. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
ENJOY!
This makes about 7½ dozen cookies about the size of a Chips Ahoy cookie.

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Ube Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?  And for those of us who grew up in the islands, who doesn’t love ube-anything?  If you haven’t tried ube, or taro, now’s the time.

While vacationing on Guam not too long ago, I went to a restaurant that featured a taro cheesecake as one of their signature desserts.  It was to-die for!  The cheesecake was rich, creamy, and topped with a crispy caramelized sugar topping that took this dessert to an entirely new level!

I decided then and there that I would try my hand at making this cheesecake.  I decided to use steamed and puréed fresh purple yams instead of ube jam.  Ube jam is good, don’t get me wrong; I just wanted to control the amount of sugar I put into the cheesecake and ube jam is already sweetened.

I’m forewarning you…this cheesecake takes a while to prepare.  The mixing of the batter doesn’t take that long at all.  There are, however, several steps in making this cheesecake, but it’s worth it in the end.  The cooling process takes a very long time as well, about 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.  But don’t let all that discourage you from giving my recipe a try.  While there are a lot of steps, it’s a very easy recipe to make.

Give it a try and let me know how it turned out for you.

Ube Cheesecake

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Make the Crust:

  • 18 graham cracker squares
  • 3 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

This is a photo of graham cracker “squares.”  Depending on the brand, some graham crackers are rectangular shaped.  I used plain graham crackers for this recipe.  I do not recommend using graham crackers that have sugar and cinnamon on them.

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Break the squares into small pieces and place into a food processor.

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Pulse until you get fine crumbs.

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Pour the crumbs in a bowl, stir in the sugar, then fold in the melted butter.

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Spread the crust mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

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Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and just slightly up the side.  I use a measuring cup to press down on the crust to really compress it.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees, or until the crust turns a nice rich brown.

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Make the Cheesecake Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups steamed and puréed purple yam, sweet potato, or sweet taro (about 1 large or 2 medium ones)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cook the yams:

There are many ways to cook yams.  You can roast them in your oven, bake, boil or steam them.  I prefer to roast yams if I’m eating them by itself as part of my meal.  However, for this recipe, I decided to steam them.

Fill a pot with just enough water so that the water does not touch the steam basket when it’s placed into the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.

Wash the yams throughly.  Use a dish scrubber to remove any dirt. Cut out any dark, rough spots.

Peel the yams. Cut the yams into large chunks.

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Place the yams into the steamer basket then place the basket over the pot of boiling water.

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Cover the pot and let the yams steam for 25-30 minutes. The yams are ready when they are tender when pierced with a fork.

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Place the yams into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until the yams are smooth and creamy.  Set aside for now.

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Make the Filling:

Before getting started on the filling, I need to say a word or two about the cream cheese…you really want to use full fat cream cheese in this recipe.  Reduced fat cream cheese doesn’t bake well, especially in cheesecakes.  I like Philadelphia brand cream cheese over other brands, but use the brand you like.

You’ll also notice I used heavy cream in my recipe instead of sour cream.  The sour cream is traditionally used in recipes for New York style cheesecake, making for a tangier dessert.  I didn’t want to overpower the yams so I opted for the milder heavy cream.

Alright, back to the filling.  Whisk the sugar and salt together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

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Spread the puréed yam on a triple layer of paper towels.  Place another triple layer of paper towels on top of the yam.  Press down on the paper towels to soak up as much moisture as possible.  If you don’t press out the liquid, your cheesecake will turn out too wet and you’ll end up with a fall-apart, mousse-like pie.

Because I steamed the yams rather than boiled them, there wasn’t that much water to squeeze out.

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Place the softened cream cheese in a stand mixer on medium low speed; mix for a minute or two.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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Mix 1/3 of the sugar mixture with the cheese.  Mix on medium speed for a minute until the sugar is incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle then add another 1/3 of the sugar.  Mix again then scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Add the remaining sugar; mix until creamy.

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Add the pureed yam to the bowl, along with the vanilla extract.  Mix on medium speed for a minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

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Add 3 eggs to the bowl, mix for a minute, scrape down the sides, then add the last 2 eggs, mix and scrape.

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Add the heavy cream.  Mix for another minute.

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Bake the Cheesecake:

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

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I decided to bake this cheesecake in a water bath.  This prevents the top of the cheesecake from cracking during baking. You could also place a pan filled with water in the rack beneath the cheesecake.  If using a water bath, place two layers of foil beneath the springform pan.  Wrap the foil around the sides of the pan.  This keeps the water from the water bath from seeping into the pan.

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Place the foil-covered springform pan into a large roasting pan.

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Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake inside it into a pre-heated 325 degree oven.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan (be sure to wait until AFTER you place the pan into the oven to pour in the hot water).  The water should come about halfway up the side of the springform pan.

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Bake for 1 1/2 hours.  If you have a thermometer, take the temperature at the edge of the cheesecake to see if it is done.  The cheesecake is done when the temperature reaches between 145 and 150 degrees. Or, do what I do and use the “jiggle method” to check for doneness.  If you move the pan, the center of the cheesecake should move or jiggle only slightly.  Too much jiggle in the middle means you need to cook it a bit longer (10-15 minutes should do it).

When the cheesecake is done, remove the roasting pan and cheesecake from the oven.  CAUTION!  Be very careful taking the pan out of the oven!  You don’t want to spill hot water on yourself!!  Leave the cheesecake in the pan of hot water for 1 hour before removing it from the roasting pan.

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After an hour of cooling at room temperature, the cheesecake needs to now cool in the refrigerator.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill for 4-6 more hours in the refrigerator; chilling overnight is even better.

NOTE:  After chilling for just 4 hours, I cut a slice of the cheesecake.  The middle was still a bit softer and creamier than the edges.  It appeared that the cheesecake was underdone, but it was cooked the right amount of time.  All I needed to do was refrigerate it for a few more hours (overnight cooling did the trick).  In the morning, the cheesecake was PERFECTLY set.

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Caramelized Sugar Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar

Before serving, sprinkle the superfine sugar all over the top of the slice of cheesecake.

NOTE:  4 tablespoons of sugar covers the ENTIRE cheesecake.  You’ll need about one teaspoon of sugar per slice.

If you can’t find superfine sugar at your grocery store, just blend regular white, granulated sugar for a minute or two until you get superfine granules.

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Use a creme brûlée torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.  Allow the caramelized sugar to harden then  serve.

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For presentation purposes (for pretty pictures 😉 ), I caramelized sugar on top of the entire cheesecake.  However, I recommend you slice individual pieces of cheesecake BEFORE caramelizing sugar on top.

The melted sugar hardens and makes cutting clean slices a challenge if you caramelize sugar on top of the ENTIRE cheesecake rather than just one slice at a time.

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Here’s a tip for an easy way to cleanly slice the cheesecake.  Dip a knife (a carving knife works well since it has a narrow blade) into a glass or pitcher of very hot water.  Dry off the knife before slicing.

Serve and ENJOY!

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Ube Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 slices
Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 18 plain graham cracker squares
  • 3 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Batter:
  • 1⅓ cups white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups steamed and puréed purple yam, sweet potato, or sweet taro (about 1 large or 2 medium ones)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Caramelized Sugar Topping:
  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar
Instructions
Make the Graham Cracker Crust:
  1. Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in a food processor. Pulse until you get fine crumbs.
  2. Place the crumbs into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, then fold in the melted butter.
  3. Spread the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F, or until the crust is a rich brown color. Set aside to cool.
Make the Cheesecake Batter:
  1. If you’re using fresh yams (you can use frozen), peel then cut into cubes. Steam for 25-30 minutes or until soft through the middle. Place the steamed yams in a food process; pulse until the yams are smooth and creamy. Place the puréed yams in between several paper towels; press firmly to squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside while you make the filling.
  2. Whisk the sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add the cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Mix on medium low until creamy. Add the sugar-salt mixture to the cream cheese in thirds. Mix after each addition until creamy.
  4. Add the puréed yams and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Mix on medium speed for a minute, until the yams are just incorporated with the cream cheese.
  5. Add 3 eggs to the mixing bowl; mix for a minute then add the remaining 2 eggs. Mix for a minute.
  6. Add the heavy cream to the mixing bowl; mix for another minute.
Cook the Cheesecake:
  1. Pour the batter into the cooled crust.
  2. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with two sheets of aluminum foil. Place the pan into a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan into the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan, adding enough water to fill to halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  3. Bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 90 minutes (1½ hours). The cheesecake should measure between 145 and 150 degrees F when done, and the middle should jiggle slightly.
  4. Remove the roasting pan from the oven (CAUTION! BE CAREFUL NOT TO SPILL ANY HOT WATER WHILE TAKING THE ROASTING PAN OUT OF THE OVEN!).
  5. Leave the cheesecake in the pan of hot water for 1 hour before removing it from the roasting pan. After that hour, cover the cheesecake (still in the springform pan) with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Serve the Cheesecake:
  1. Slice the cheesecake into pieces.
  2. Sprinkle superfine sugar over individual pieces, about 1 teaspoon per slice. Use a cooking blow torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

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Rich and Creamy Custard Pie

Rich, creamy, sweet and luscious Custard Pie…are you drooling yet?

Egg custard pie is so easy to make. Chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, so why not bake up one of these sweet and creamy pies for your dessert tonight?

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This is not a pie that is a bake-and-eat option.  Because it’s a baked custard, you must let the pie fully set (cool) before serving.  Therefore, if you want this for your dessert after dinner, I advise making this pie in the morning or early afternoon (or even the night before).

I’ve tried many recipe variations for custard pie, most of which are good, but I wanted a really creamy filling.  Some recipes I’ve tried included butter in the custard filling — this is not necessary at all.  Other recipes I’ve tried use variations of milk — skim, low-fat, or whole milk.  I found that using rich heavy cream or half-and-half makes a custard filling that is out-of-this-world rich and creamy, just what I want in a custard pie!  My recipe below uses half-and-half.

I’ve also used store-bought/ready-made pie crusts before.  I am very picky about my pie crusts.  Most commercial brands taste too bland for me.  It’s so easy to make homemade pie crusts, so why buy the pre-made stuff?  I include a recipe for homemade pie crust as well.  Give it a try, but if you prefer the packaged kind, I recommend you still pre-bake (also called blind-baking) the crust before baking the custard.

One note about the pie crust and filling — my recipe below makes enough for one DEEP-DISH, 9-inch pie.  Make sure you use a deep dish pie plate (or buy a deep dish pie crust) when making this recipe or you’ll have leftover pie dough and filling that you’ll end up throwing out (it would be a shame to waste your ingredients).

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Rich and Creamy Custard Pie

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Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ICE-COLD water

Custard Filling:

  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Other Items:

  • 1 9-inch deep dish pie pan
  • Dried, uncooked beans (any kind), about 3 cups
  • Parchment paper

Directions:

MAKE THE CRUST:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter.

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2.  Stir the ingredients together briefly, just enough to mix the flour, sugar and salt together.  Use a dough cutter (or you can use a food processor) to “cut” the butter into the flour.  You want to see very small pieces of butter (about the size of a pea).

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3.  Pour the ice water over the flour mixture, starting with 1/4 cup of ice water.  Gently mix the water into the flour, forming a shaggy, loose dough.  Add more water, a spoonful at a time, until the dough comes together.  You should not need more than 1/2 cup of ice water.

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This is what it looks like after the initial mixing of water and flour.  You can still see some dry bits at the bottom of the bowl, but this is the perfect consistency — you do not need any more water at this point.

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Give it another minute or so of kneading and the dough will come together.

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4.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 15 minutes.  I actually place my dough in the freezer.  Don’t worry — the dough won’t freeze solid.  The goal is to get the butter very cold again (since the butter softened during the mixing process).  You want to still see chunks of butter when you roll out the dough and eventually bake it.  During the baking process, the melting butter creates steam, which is what makes your dough nice and flaky.

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5.  After 15  minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator (or freezer).  Place the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper.

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6.  Roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick and two inches larger in diameter than the width of your pie pan.  Turn the pie pan upside down on top of the parchment paper to measure.

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7.  To place the dough in the pie pan, remove one sheet of parchment paper.  Turn the pie pan upside down over the dough.  Carefully slide your hand beneath the parchment paper and flip the dough and pie pan right-side-up.  Gently push the dough down into the pie pan.

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8.  Carefully peel the parchment paper off the dough (save the paper for use later).  Push the dough into the sides of the pan (and pinch the dough to close any holes), if necessary.

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9.  Trim off some of the dough around the edge, leaving a little bit of dough hanging over the side.  Use whatever method you like to flute the edge of the dough.  I just use my fingertips to create a fluted edge like you see below.

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10.  It’s time to blind-bake the pie crust.  Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Place one sheet of parchment paper inside the pie pan.  Place the dried beans over the parchment paper.  I like to place my dried beans in oven cooking bags; this way I can reuse the beans the next time I bake a pie.

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11.  Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes then remove it from the oven.  Remove the beans and parchment paper and return the pie crust to the oven to bake for 5 more minutes.

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12.  During the last 5 minutes of baking, the bottom of the pie crust will very likely bubble up.  Do not panic.  After you remove the crust from the oven, immediately (but very gently) push down on the bubble to release the steam.  The bottom of the pie crust will flatten again once all of the steam is released.

Set the pre-baked crust aside while you prepare the custard filling.

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MAKE THE FILLING:

1.  Decrease your oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, place the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt.  Use a hand mixer on low speed (or a whisk) to mix the ingredients together; mix for a couple of minutes only.  Do not over-mix or your resulting custard will turn out grainy.

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2.  In a separate microwave-safe bowl, heat the half-and-half in the microwave on high for two minutes.  Mix the hot half-and-half — 1/2 cup at a time — into the egg mixture.  DO NOT add the hot liquid all at once or you will end up scrambling your egg mixture!  Adding the hot liquid a little at a time tempers the egg mixture.  Continue mixing in the hot liquid, a little at a time, until all the liquid is mixed with the egg mixture.

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BAKE THE PIE:

1.  Place your oven rack in the bottom half of your oven.  Place a baking pan in the oven, then place the un-filled and pre-baked pie crust on top of the baking pan.

Carefully pour the filling mixture into the pie crust.  Be careful not to touch the hot oven with your arms or hands as you pour the liquid into the pie crust.

I do it this way because the filling will come to the very brim of the pie crust — it is much easier doing it like this than trying to fill the crust outside of the oven, then carrying the full crust to the oven without spilling it (yeah, that’s a mess waiting to happen). 😉

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2.  Bake the pie for a total of 50 minutes.  After 40 minutes, if you need to, wrap a piece of foil (or use a pie shield) around the edge of the pie (to prevent the crust from burning or browning too much).  Bake for 10 more minutes then remove the pie from the oven.

The pie will be jiggly still when you take it out of the oven.  It will look something like jello, with the top surface of the pie rippling as you gently shake it.  You may think the pie is under-cooked, but TRUST ME, it is DONE.  Resist the urge to bake it longer.

You really don’t want to over-bake custard pies.  Have you ever had custard pies that tasted way too much like eggs?  That’s due to OVER-BAKING the custard — a real no-no.

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3.  Now comes the hard part.  You MUST let the pie cool at room temperature for at least 2 or 3 hours before cutting into it.  As the pie cools, the filling is still “cooking.”  The pie will set (firm up) once completely cooled.

Ideally, after cooling at room temperature for a few hours, you want to refrigerate the pie another hour or so to finish cooling and allow the pie to set fully.

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Of course, after the requisite 3 hours of room-temperature cooling, I just could NOT wait to eat this pie.  I went ahead and cut a small slice — to give it a taste test, you see.  As our family’s resident home chef, I just HAD to ensure this pie was fit for consumption! And it was. 🙂

As you can see, the pie is mostly set at this point, but another hour or longer of cooling in the refrigerator will be better.

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This is the pie after cooling in the refrigerator overnight.  Make sure the pie is completely cooled at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator or else condensation will collect on the top of the pie as it cools in the fridge.  If that happens, don’t worry — just use a paper towel to soak up any accumulated condensation on top of the pie.

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This makes the BEST breakfast!

Serve up a slice — or two — and ENJOY!

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