I am finally putting an end to my long hiatus! April has been a pretty crazy month for me and it’s not over just yet but I thought I should seriously take the time to post the two dessert recipes I made at the beginning of the month! In my last post, I mentioned that I had baked for a Valentine’s Day Benefit Concert hosted by an organization named UAID but the event got cancelled due to a snow storm. On April 1st, we were finally able to have the concert and changed the theme to make it a Spring Fling Benefit Concert.
Since flowers were beginning to bloom on campus, I decided to make my desserts more suitable for the change of season by including some fresh berries and making the textures a little lighter.
The first dessert I made was mini fruit tarts!
In order to make the crusts, I was originally thinking of purchasing premade pie crusts to save time but then I realized they would taste 10 times better if I made a sugar cookie crust. While it does take more time, it’s definitely worth the effort! The delicious taste of freshly baked sugar cookies is perfect with the homemade custard-like pastry cream and garnishing berries.
~ Mini Sugar Cookie Fruit Tarts ~
Sugar Cookie Crust –
1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pastry Cream –
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Raspberries/ Blackberries (or any fruits desired!)
1. For the crust, in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and add in the egg and vanilla extract.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Incorporate the flour into the butter mixture and refrigerate for 35 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter 1-2 muffin tins so that nothing sticks.
5. Using a 2 tbsp ice cream scoop (or a tbsp measuring spoon), scoop up the sugar cookie dough and shape it to fit the muffin tin molds and form mini tart crusts.
6. Bake the crusts for 15 minutes. You will notice the base will rise a little. Gently flatten the base of the crusts with a small spoon as soon as they come out of the oven to give them the right shape.
7. To make the cream, combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a large heatproof bowl and sift in the flour and cornstarch.
8. Bring the milk just to a boil in a saucepan and immediately pour it into the heatproof bowl. Make sure to whisk constantly while pouring so that the eggs do not curdle.
9. Transfer the custard (pastry cream) back into the saucepan and keep whisking constantly over medium-high heat until the cornstarch causes the cream to thicken.
10. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
11. To assemble the mini fruit tarts, first lift the sugar cookie crusts gently out of the muffin tin. Then divide the pastry cream as equally as possible among the crusts and top with the fruits of your choice!
My second dessert is a delicious crowd-pleasing brownie recipe. The quantities below are for one batch only. I doubled the recipe when I baked for the concert. 🙂
~ Chocolate Ganache Cocoa Brownies ~
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, butter a square pan and line with a piece of parchment paper to make it easier to lift out the brownie.
2. Melt the butter and mix in the sugar and cocoa powder.
3. Let the mixture cool enough to add the eggs and vanilla extract.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and incorporate the flour mixture into the butter-cocoa mixture.
5. Finally, fold in the sour cream, pour the batter into the square pan, and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.
6. To make the chocolate ganache, put the 4 oz. of bittersweet chocolate (broken into small pieces) into a heatproof bowl.
7. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and add in the butter, cut into small cubes.
8. Let the butter melt and the heavy cream come to a boil and immediately pour the hot mixture over the chocolate pieces. Make sure they are almost completely submerged by the milk. Do NOT stir, let the mixture sit for 2 minutes.
9. After 2 minutes, stir everything together.
10. With a knife, make a few slits into the brownie, then pour the chocolate ganache on top. The ganache will coat the top of the brownie and some will slip down into the slits.
11. Refrigerate for 45 minutes and then cut into squares and top with raspberries.
These recipes are perfect for any occasion: concerts, picnics, movie nights, afternoon treats, you name it! Since they have so many components to them, they’re even more fun to make as a group. If you need more incentive, remember that no artistic skills are required to make them look good. Just top them with some berries and they’ll look even more appetizing right away!