Since I am still in recovery mode, it was nice this year to not have to cook a full Easter meal. We went out to eat for lunch and then came home for dessert. I made four delectable treats and set the table with my favorite blue opaline and lots of spring color.
I kept the flowers pretty wildflower-y this year…they looked like spring, and they were cheap. (they were in that 3 for $10 section at the grocery store – I find a grouping of these filler flowers can be a pleasing, organic look)
Underneath the desserts in pie plates, I layered colorful, vintage handkerchiefs.
I have grand ideas for tablescapes on holidays, and then the holiday sneaks up on me. Luckily for me, I collect pieces throughout the year at fleas, thrift stores, and estate sales, which helps when I need to put together a pretty table in oh less than ten minutes.
I was so happy I picked up these West Elm napkins (they are on sale now!) a few months ago. Each one has a different stripe pattern on it which I love for an eclectic, collected vibe. The plates were found at the Alameda Antique Fair in California this past January, the blue opaline makes an appearance nearly every holiday, and the glassware is vintage.
Since I do not like marshmallows, Peeps have never looked good to me, and I have never tasted one in my life. But they did look cute as little appetizers at the dessert brunch, nestled in the blue paper grass. Plus these were dipped in dark chocolate, yummy!
Now it wouldn’t be fair if I talked about all of these incredible desserts I made, and then didn’t share recipes, now would it? A couple of these are tried and true, and a couple of them are new favorites, but let me tell ya, they were all delish, and there was barely anything left when all was said and done. (always a clear sign of success) Keep in mind too that these recipes would be fantastic for a Mothers Day Brunch or any other holiday for that matter.
One of my most requested desserts is this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart which I adapted from a recipe in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. (seriously, everything I have ever made in this book has been super yummy)
I have made it for all sorts of holidays, and it is always a hit. It’s fairly easy, but please note you will need a tart pan.
* Either get frozen pie dough and bake it or make your own piecrust.
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 cup dark chocolate chips (the darker the better in my opinion)
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 eggs at room temperature that have been beaten together a bit
* optional: 2 tablespoons sugar (I like my chocolate dark and not as sweet, so you may not need to add this. Just taste your chocolate mixture once you have put it all together to decide if you want to add the sugar or not.)
Decor Ingredients: raspberries, cacoa powder
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon of liqueur or vanilla extract
1. Mold your piecrust into your tart pan and bake as directed for “pre-baked pastry shell” if you bought box dough or according to your recipe if you made your own piecrust.
2. Bring your cream to a simmer over medium heat. Make sure it doesn’t boil, it simmers fast.
3. Remove the cream from the heat and whisk in your chocolate chips until smooth.
4. Add your vanilla, kosher salt, and sugar if desired, and stir well.
5. Whisk in your eggs and pour into the tart shell.
6. Put your tart shell on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. You will know it is done when you shake it, and the middle slightly jiggles. Let it cool completely (30-45 minutes) before you put on your whipped cream.
7. Put the whisk attachment on your bowl mixer, or get out your hand mixer. Place the cream, sugar, and liqueur or vanilla in the mixing bowl, and mix it on high speed until the cream gets thicker and forms stiff peaks. I always taste it at this point to make sure it is flavored well so I can adjust as necessary.
8. Spread your whipped cream onto your tart and sprinkle the cacao powder on it as desired. Decorate with respberries around the edge for extra prettiness.
Note: I think this tart tastes better cold so I like to refrigerate it a few hours before serving.
Because one of my family members has celiac disease, I always make sure there are good gluten free options at my table. Now gluten free items often taste “off” to me, and I have experimented with several different sources of recipes. I found this recipe over at “Food & Wine”, and it was amazing. Seriously, you would not have known it was gluten free if I had not told you. Since I copied this recipe to the letter, with no adaptations (except I did add a couple of tablespoons of organic almond extract for an extra punch of almond), I am not going to copy it. Instead, you can find the full recipe here. Also, I did make fresh whipped cream to dollup on top if one liked.
* 5 Granny Smith apples (you will probably need 7-8 apples if you use organic since they are smaller) – peel them, core them, and chop into one inch-ish pieces
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 1 stick unsalted butter
* 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup flour
* 1/3 cup rolled or quick-cook oats
(please note I doubled these streusel ingredients to make double the topping)
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.
2. Make the filling: Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt, and vanilla in a large bowl and and mix well.
3. Pour the apple filling into a large pie plate or eight inch square dish.
3. Make the streusel: Melt the butter in a medium to large pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat when melted and add brown sugar and kosher salt. Stir together. Add the flour and oats and stir just until incorporated.
4. Crumble the streusel on top of your apple filling and bake until the streusel is lightly browned, and the filling is bubbly. This will take around 45-50 minutes.
5. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream. (or both!)
Last but not least is my husband’s new favorite recipe. I made this Blueberry Banana Cream Pie for his birthday a week or so ago, and it was gone so fast I knew it would be a hit at Easter. Plus it just seems spring-like to me. I combined a few pie recipes, plus added my own ideas to create this pie, and it is simple, and hmmm-mmmm good.
* 6 oz. cream cheese (I bought the eight ounce and just cut off the extra two ounces) – let this sit out for a bit to soften up before mixing it
* 1 can sweetened condensed milk – 14 oz. (I actually don’t use this and instead made my own using coconut milk – recipe here)
* 3/4 cup cold water
* 1 package 3.4 oz instant french vanilla pudding mix (or you can make your own like I did using this recipe and just use 1/4 cup of it)
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whip this before you begin making the pie
* 2 medium/large bananas cut into 1/2 inch slices (if you use organic bananas, you will need 3 or 4 bananas since they are smaller)
* large container of blueberries or 2-3 of the smaller containers of blueberries
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* one sleeve of graham crackers (I used these which are organic and gmo free)
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* pinch of salt (I always seem to forget this)
Optional: Extra whipped cream for pie garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 with a rack in the center.
2. Grind your graham crackers in a food processor or place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
3. Put your graham crackers in a bowl and mix in the butter, honey, and salt. It will look kind of like wet sand.
4. Press your dough onto the bottom of your pie plate (I like a nice, thick bottom crust) and bake about 15 minutes or until it is dry to the touch. Let cool.
5. In a large bowl fit with the paddle attachment or by using a hand mixer, beat your cream cheese until smooth.
6. Add your milk, water, and pudding mix, and beat until smooth.
7. Fold in your whipped cream using a spatula.
8. In a little plastic baggie, mix your bananas and lemon juice. ( this keeps your bananas from browning) Drain the remaining lemon juice.
9. Put half of your cream cheese mixture on the cooled graham cracker crust.
10. Place the bananas along the edge in a circle and work your way in. I press the bananas down lightly.
11. Layer a generous layer of blueberries on top of your bananas.
12. Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture and garnish as desired. I piped some whipped cream along the edge of my pie and put some blueberries in the middle.
13. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.
Everything turned out beautifully, and it makes me happy to open my home and provide good food for people I love.
We did get a decent family photo this Easter, which is difficult to do. (Does everyone feel like family photo taking is hard work?)
I’m such a proud mama.
Getting a good picture of these four crazy chickadees is a different story though.
Hope you had a great weekend with your family.
Make these recipes, they are good! : )