Thursday, September 8, 2011

End-of-Summer Desserts

Ahhh....end of summer has left me with a sweet tooth.  My husband and I got to get away for a night recently and we found ourselves at a u-pick farm, munching on berries, peaches, etc.  We brought the blackberries and peaches home and the rest is history.  Hope you enjoy some of these dessert recipes.  There is life (and more of it) after refined sugar!

Graham Cracker Cake

This recipe is my husband's favorite that his mom used to make for him.  We now make it without sugar...

-1 box graham crackers (Whole Foods has a healthy version - no canola oil and no sugar.  Become a professional label reader!)
-6 cups rich chocolate pudding (see recipe below)
-3 cups whipping cream

Assemble this dessert the night before serving in a 9x13 pan.  Start with graham crackers and layer chocolate pudding on top - usually 3 layers, but there's no law on how many.  Finally, layer whipped cream on top, 1-2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Pudding

Mix in a sauce pan:

-2/3 cup plus 2tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
-1/4tsp. sea salt

Gradually stir in, making a smooth paste:

-2/3 cup warm water
-2/3 cup honey/agave nectar

Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat. 

Stir in:

-3 1/2 cups half and half ( I highly recommend using organic dairy!!!)

Place in a bowl:

-8tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
-1/2cup half and half

Thoroughly stir into the cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Reduce heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in:

3 tsp vanilla or brandy or rum or ???

Blackberry Peach Bourbon Pie

2 pie crusts (I use a pat in the pan butter crust, made with whole wheat or spelt. I roll it out and cut it into 4ths for         the top crust.)
4 cups peaches, sliced, or chopped
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1tbsp cinnamon
1 very heaping tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
1/3 cup honey/agave nectar/maple syrup

Toss the peaches, blackberries, bourbon, cinnamon, cornstarch and honey together.  Set aside. Place the filling into the bottom crust and place the top crust over the filling.  Ventilate the top crust a bit. Brush with a little cream or an egg yolk. For baking, I place the pie into a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down to 375 for another 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down again to 350 degrees and lay a piece of foil over the top if it's browning too fast and the juices aren't bubbling thick and dripping yet.  After another 5-10 minutes, it's usually done.  We serve with vanilla ice cream.  For the ice cream, use your favorite recipe and replace the sugar with honey, sugar or agave with 2/3 the amount of sugar called for.

Mango Agave Sorbet with Tequila

(I think I stole this from Cooking Light...)

4 cups cubed peeled ripe mango (about 3 pounds)  (I used 2 bags of the Trader Joe's frozen mango - defrosted)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 cup tequila
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup water

1. Combine cubed mango, orange juice, lime juice, and tequila in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl, and stir in the agave nectar and 1/3 cup water. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
2. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 8 hours or until firm.

by Danneca