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Friday, July 26, 2013

Experiment #40: Peach Blueberry Crumble

I was looking at making some sort of a summery dessert for my husband's uncle and cousins for dinner.  I stumbled upon an Ina Garten recipe on the Food Network site.

I love Ina Garten, but my husband and I joke that she uses at least a cup of butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in each of her recipes, which is not exactly what we enjoy.

I reduced the sugar and replaced 1/2 of the white all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.  I read some of the reviews and found out that some people added oats to the crumble topping which I love so I added that to the recipe as well.

I cooked it in one pan not in the ramekins like the original recipe.

Peach Blueberry Crumble adapted from Ina Garten's Peach Blueberry Crumbles
Ingredients:
For the fruit:
2 pound firm ripe peaches (6 to 8 peaches; I used 7 peaches)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 heaping cup of fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)

Crumble topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fruit filling:
Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily.  Place them immediately in cold water.  Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour.  Toss well.  Gently mix in the blueberries.  Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.  Spoon into baking dish.

Crumble Topping:
Combine the flours, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter in a mixer or if you want to make this manually use a pastry blender and cut into the butter and flour until the butter is the size of peas.  Rub the mixture together with your fingers until its in big crumbles.  Gently mix in oats, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbling.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

An interesting note at the bottom of this recipe:  If you want to make the crumble early, store the unbaked crumbles in the refrigerator and bake before dinner.  This idea sounds great for a make ahead dessert.

The results:
The crumble was a hit!  The sweetness of the peaches with the sweet tartness of the blueberries was perfect.  I would make this again with a bit of modification.  I would definitely make this crumble again with a few modifications.

I thought there was too much flour in the fruit portion.  I might increase the fruit portion and keep the same amount of crumble topping.

Link to the original recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/peach-and-blueberry-crumbles-recipe/index.html

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Experiment #39: Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberries

My sister in law and her daughter were coming to visit and we were hosting a big party for their visit and I was trying to decide what kind of dessert to make.  I am on kind of a lemon kick since our tree is still overflowing with lemons, so I decided to make lemon cheesecake.

I have used this Martha Stewart recipe before, but I have never made a double recipe, which was a definite requirement for the 15 person party at our house.

I replaced her graham crackers with these Speculoos cookies from Trader Joe's and omitted the sugar from the crust since these cookies are sweet enough.  For those who are searching for a cookie like them, they are crisp caramelized cinnamon spiced Belgian cookies (that's from the box.)  I hope that helps with substitutions or if you can't find something like it, you can substitute back in those graham crackers that were in the original recipe.

I also reduced the sugar in the cream cheese mixture and added more lemon, because I love lemon.  As a final thought, I tumbled fresh blueberries over the cheesecake to finish it off.

Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberries adapted from a double recipe of Martha Stewart's Lemon Cheesecake squares
11 oz. Speculoos cookies
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 - (8 oz.) bars of cream cheese (32 oz. total)
4 large eggs
Finely grated lemon zest and juice of 3 lemons
Fresh blueberries

Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, blend cookies until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.

Press the crumb mixture into 9 X 13 inches and pat in gently.  Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.  Wipe out the food processor to get rid of crumbs.  While the crust is baking, make the filling.

Make the filling:
Place cream cheese in food processor with sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into pan; smooth top.  Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 45 minutes.  (I would check around 30 minutes. Just take a peak and jiggle the pan.)

Martha instructed to have the cheesecake completely cool and wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm at least 2 hours.   I didn't have too hours so.. The cheesecake was warm and not firm.

Tumble fresh blueberries over this lemon cheesecake if you like, which I did.

Sorry for the out of focus photo... The cheesecake was going fast and I almost forgot to take a photo before it was all gone.  :)

Results:
Everyone loved the cheesecake. This cheesecake is a favorite recipe of mine and I was glad that a double recipe came out so well.  I would definitely make this again. Yum!

Update August 24, 2013:
I made this recipe with 16 oz. regular cream cheese and 16 oz. of reduced fat cream cheese and it was still rich and creamy.  Next time, I might even go with all reduced fat cream cheese.  I also made the recipe the day before I served it, and it was cool and still had a delightful smooth creamy texture.

Link to the Original recipe:
http://www.marthastewart.com/318031/lemon-cheesecake-squares?search_key=lemon%20cheesecake

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Experiment #37: Broccoli Cheese Calzone

I was looking to do something different for dinner again and I remembered at the store that I wanted to try a broccoli calzone that I had seen on Martha Stewart's web-site.  I forgot it had ricotta when I went to the store and when I looked it up I realized I had to change the recipe a bit.

I had purchased premade almost whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's as well as a 4 cheese blend they call Quattro Formaggio, which I love.  The cheese blend has parmesan, asiago, mild provolone and fontina cheese. I use this cheese blend quite a bit for various recipes, including my lasagna recipe which I use the cheese instead of mozzarella.  Anyway, sorry to get off topic, I searched the web for a broccoli cheese calzone that didn't include ricotta and stumbled upon a blog called "My Life on a Plate."  The broccoli cheese calzone recipe was easy enough and so I came up with this hybrid recipe between the Martha recipe and Keeley Powell's recipe.

Broccoli Cheese Calzone adapted from Martha Stewart's website and My Life on a Plate
Purchased whole wheat pizza dough (2 - 16oz packages)
2 1/2 cups cooked broccoli
1 cup Quattro Formaggio cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, & Fontina cheese blend)
1/2 sauteed chopped yellow onion

Mix broccoli, cheese and onion.

I cut each package of dough into thirds.  Rolled them out until about 8 inch circles.  Place a heaping 1/2 cup broccoli filling on the middle.  Fold dough over the filling and fold the edges to seal the calzone.
Cut 2 slits in the top of the calzone.


Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Results:
I thought this recipe was a success.  The flavor was great and I was able to freeze some for a later meal.  Easy meals ahead!  Yes... One note though, I thought there the ratio of filling to dough was a bit off.  I would definitely fill them more, maybe 3/4 cup of filling next time.   I would also undercook the broccoli a bit as it got a bit overcooked for my taste.  I would definitely make this again.  This recipe was tasty and quick and left me with a make ahead meal.

Link to the original recipes
Martha Stewart's recipe:
http://www.marthastewart.com/313608/broccoli-calzones

My Life on a Plate Blog:
http://www.keeleypowell.com/2011/02/broccoli-and-cheese-calzones.html