Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

pumpkin cheesecake moussePsst!

Still need a dessert for your Thanksgiving meal?

Do you have a hankering for a little more pumpkin wonderfulness – but really don’t want to make a pie crust?

Maybe you’ve got a can of pumpkin left that’s needing to be used?

Here’s the perfect recipe for you!

Creamy pumpkin wonderfulness that can whipped up in a flash.

Angel Girl and I are addicted. We just finished our third batch this month – but who’s counting. 🙂

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 can of pumpkin)
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup of sugar (or1/3 cup Truvia )
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together the cream cheese, pumpkin and spice. Add sweetener.

In a separate bowl whip the cream with vanilla until soft and fluffy.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.

Spoon into individual serving dishes, or into a graham cracker pie crust for a pie.

Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and some freshly grated nutmeg.

You could take a short cut and use Cool Whip – but why? The real whipping cream takes just a few minutes and is so amazing!

Want to take it to the next level? Whip up a batch of Bavarian Cream to dollop on top.

Bavarian Cream

8 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup brown sugar (1/4 cup Truvia)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 pint of whipping cream

Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Set aside. Whip cream. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese.

This will stay stable and keep in the fridge for about a week if well hidden from the children.

<happy sigh>

No wonder we’re addicted!

Enjoy!

Crepes

DSC_0004The work load increases on the farm as the weather warms up.

The hours of daylight in the evening after school and work are the busiest, making it hard for the family to sit down for a meal.

One of my favorite meals for nights like these are crepes.

What’s a crepe? It’s a fancy word for a thin pancake that acts like a tortilla shell.

The batter can be mixed up in advance.  Then I stand at the stove and fry up fresh crepes to serve the troops as they file in from gardening, mowing, fixing fence, or bringing in the laundry.

For fillings I’ll set out whatever I can find in the fridge – left-over meat, cheese, rice, beans, lettuce, veggies. You can be creative with this and use up those bits of left-overs.  It’s always first come – first served on crepe night.

When they’ve had their fill of savory crepes – they can move on the sweet ones. I use the same batter but we fill it with fruit or pudding.

Combinations like strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar are favorites here.  Chocolate pudding and whipped cream is yummy, too! No pudding? Just throw some chocolate chips on your whipped cream and wrap it up!

Crepes

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all the ingredients in the blender. Place the batter in the fridge for 1 hour. (You can skip this step – but the batter may tear some when you try to flip the crepes.  If I’m in a hurry – I just cook them since my crew doesn’t really care how they look!)

Heat a small non- stick pan. Add some butter and pour a spoonful of batter in the middle of the pan. Swirl it around to coat the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds and flip carefully with a spatula. Cook another 30 seconds and serve hot to hungry family members!

If you have batter left when the troops are fed, it can either be refrigerated for a few days to use later, or you can fry up the extra crepes and keep them in the fridge up to a week or the freezer up to a month.

Enjoy!

Pots de Creme – Chocolate of Course!

Pots De CremeOne of the perks of hosting Easter dinner is enjoying the amazing left-overs!

Which we did. All last week.

When I finally got to the bottom of the refrigerator, I discovered a surprise – two containers of egg yolks. One from the dozen egg whites I used to make our traditional homemade angel food cake.

The second was from the other dozen egg whites I used in my attempt to make a gluten free angel food cake to honor one of our guests. (And you know – it was surprisingly tasty- even if it did fall in the middle!)

So – what does one do with 2 dozen egg yolks? I hid them in scrambled eggs and used them in pancakes but I still had a dozen waiting in the fridge.

It was time to call in the heavy guns – chocolate pots de creme.

The real stuff – thickened with egg yolks. Six eggs yolks.

Super easy. Super rich.

So good – it makes me want to make another angel food cake.

Chocolate Pots de Creme

1/2 cup heavy cream (ideal – but I used whole milk and it worked)
5-8 ounces of chocolate chips (you can use whatever kind of chocolate you have – we used dark – but milk or semi-sweet would work 0r any combination of them. I’ve even been known to melt left-over candy bars – but don’t tell my children!)
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler over boiling water. Stir until melted and blended.

In separate bowl beat the egg yolks slightly. Add about 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture to the eggs and mix well. (This will bring the eggs to the temperature of the chocolate so they don’t turn to scrambled eggs when added. It’s called tempering.)

Then slowly add the egg mixture into the chocolate and milk mixture, whisking as you pour.

Continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour into 4 pretty serving cups.(It’s the prefect time to use those pretty stemmed dessert glasses!)

Refrigerate until set and serve with whipped cream.

I told you it was easy!

And so yummy!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Bavarian Cupcakes

Test 2My sister-in-law introduced me to the wonders of Bavarian Cream recently when she brought some Chocolate Bavarian Cupcakes to a family gathering.

I must admit that I wasn’t too excited at first. After all, I’m really not a cupcake person.

But one bite of my husband’s cupcake and I was hooked.

I finished it for him.

So he went to get another one.  I finished that one, too.

I’m so glad he loves me.  🙂

Of course I got the recipe! I made a batch – shared them with the family – then hid the rest in the freezer where it’s easy to grab one for Jan’s lunch (I owe him a few!) or when I need a treat.

Come for tea and I just might share!

The best thing – you use a cake mix. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one – the cake is just the socially acceptable way to get that amazing cream in your mouth.

My sister-in-law actually used a gluten-free cake mix and they tasted great.

Chocolate Bavarian Cupcakes

1 devils food cake mix
whatever eggs and oil or butter is needed to make the cake mix
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Hershey’s chocolate bar (for shavings – you won’t need the whole thing – so plan to eat the rest!)

Make the cake mix as directed for cupcakes and bake.

Remove from the cupcake tins and let cool completely.

Mix the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt together until creamy. Set aside.

Whip the cream with the sugar to make whipped cream. You can add a touch of vanilla if you wish.

Slowly fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream.

Then cut each cupcake into thirds, put a layer of Bavarian cream on each layer, and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Refrigerate.

If you’d rather have a full-size torte –  just make the cake mix as directed for 2 round cake pans.

When the cakes have cooled, cut each one in half and spread the Bavarian cream and chocolate sprinkles on each layer while assembling.

Enjoy!

Frozen Pumpkin Dessert

PumpkinJust as soon as I turned the calendar page to November I started craving pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars…

…and this yummy pumpkin dessert that my mother-in-law makes.

Even with three different layers, it was pretty simple to put together. And then it just sits quietly in the freezer out of the way until we need it – making it perfect for the holidays!

Frozen Pumpkin Dessert
Recipe from Jan’s Mom

Crust:

2 1/2 cups Rice Chex, coarsely crushed (we used Crispix)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Filling:

30 large marshmallows
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces Cool Whip
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Mix together the ingredients for the crust and press up to 2/3 into a 9 x 13 pan, saving the remaining mix for a topping.

For the filling, melt the marshmallows with the milk in a double broiler over boiling water. Stir in the pumpkin,  cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Let it cool.

Fold in Cool Whip.

Spread 1 quart vanilla ice cream over crust, then the cooled pumpkin mixture and reserved topping.

Freeze.

It cuts better if removed from freezer 15 minutes or so before serving.

Enjoy!

Apple Tart

apple tartNothing says autumn quite like apples.

Unless it’s apples and cinnamon…

…on a buttery shortbread crust.

Yum.

This tart looks pretty fancy – but is really super easy. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you! Buddy can do the entire thing by himself .

If you don’t have time to artistically arrange the apples slices – just toss them in the glaze, throw them in the crust and call it rustic. 🙂

Apple Tart

Crust:

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

5-6 baking apples (Granny Smith or Jonathon’s are my favorites)

Glaze:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Crust: Cream the butter and sugar. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Mix briefly. The mixture should be crumbly but moist. Press into a tart pie or a 10 inch pie pan.

Peel and slice 5-6 apples. Arrange on the crust.

Glaze: Place all of the ingredients for the glaze in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until thick. Pour over apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are tender.

Perfect either hot or cold – and definitely with fresh whipped cream or ice cream!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudgecicle Dessert

Chocolate'I was looking for something cold to beat the heat – when I stumbled across this gem in an old cookbook on my shelf.

It was obviously written back when people eat things made with raw eggs and never worried about salmonella.

I had no qualms making it – since I could use our own farm fresh eggs that I knew were handled properly.

But then I still eat raw cookie dough and make my homemade ice cream with a raw base. 🙂

If you are brave enough to try it – you are in for a treat! The creamy chocolate base is reminiscent of a fudgecicle.  Cold creamy and wonderful!

Chocolate Fudgecicle Dessert

2 cups graham cracker crust
1/4 butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 8 x 8 pan.

Cream the powdered sugar with the 1/2 cup butter.  Add the melted chocolate, vanilla and egg yolks. Mix well.

Stiffly beat the eggs whites. Fold carefully into the chocolate mixture. Spread on crumb crust and chill.

When filling is firm, spread softened ice cream over it. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if you desire. I just swirled the top with Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

Freeze and enjoy!

Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp

Crisp

We seem to be in a rhubarb eating frenzy! I think we’ve made at least six rhubarb crisps in the last month alone.

I kid you not!

But when the rhubarb is abundant and this crisp is so easy to make my 11 year old can do it – why not?!

I took this particular version to church one Sunday night and brought home an empty pan. The blackberries added sweetness and such a pretty color!

If you don’t have blackberries – you can always substitute raspberries, strawberries, or just add more rhubarb.

By the way – I was totally serious when I said my 11 year old can make this. Buddy made the one in the picture!

Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp

3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Toss the rhubarb, blackberries, 6 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of white sugar together in a bowl.

Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, butter and remaining 2 cups of flour together in a bowl.

Spread evenly over the fruit and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and the fruit bubbly.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a large dollop of whipped cream!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Pie

Option 2Somebody had a birthday last week!

Yep. I’m a whole year older – and I’m sure much wiser. Ha!

For years we’ve celebrated my birthday with a decadent chocolate cheese cake pie that I painstakingly copied from a Debbie Fields cooking show on PBS.

But this year it was time for a change. After all – at my age – it could be dangerous to get in a rut! 😉

So Dagmar and I started brainstorming. We started with an Oreo cookie crust and topped it with a super rich chocolate filling. Then in  a burst of genius, she covered the entire thing with a delicious peanut butter whipped cream. (And I do mean delicious! Trust me – that stuff is crazy good!)

<happy sigh>

It was delectable! Perfection on a plate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookies
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tub whipped topping
1/2 cup peanut butter

In a mixing bowl, combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and the butter. Press into a 9 inch pie pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Place dark chocolate chips and half & half in a double broiler and melt. When melted and smooth, stir in the vanilla.

Carefully pour over the Oreo cookie crust and refrigerate until set.

Before serving, combine the peanut butter and softened whipped topping. Spread it over the cooled filling and top with shaved chocolate.

Hide any left-overs in the back of the refrigerator and just hope that you can get to them before your children!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday on Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Caramel Apple Bars & a Crazy Weekend

Apple DessertIt was a really busy weekend.

Our Sunday activities included a church potluck at lunch and a 4H Soup Supper Fundraiser in the evening – with exactly one hour between the two.

That meant that we needed to be totally ready for both on Saturday – which made for a pretty crazy kitchen on Saturday afternoon!

I had Angel Girl, her friend Bethany and Dagmar all assisting. When we ran out of dishes we’ll call Buddy and Pedro to wash a few so we could keep moving.

In one afternoon we made barbecue venison, Grandma’s Cherry Dessert (but with blackberries) a chocolate oatmeal cake, lasagna, bread sticks, homemade caramel sauce, potato soup for 100, and a new creation – some yummy Caramel Apple Bars.

At one point – when I was mentally multiplying potato soup recipes in my head and praying that it would all turn out okay (it did!) – I handed Dagmar 2 different apple bar recipes and told her to make something work.

She did! The end result was an oatmeal crust with a gooey caramel apple filling.

We used homemade caramel sauce – since I forgot to buy caramels when I was shopping that morning – and it worked great!

Caramel Apple Bars

Crust:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional – we didn’t use)

Filling:

4-1/2 cups peeled and chopped baking apples (we used a fat quart of our frozen apples)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 – 14 ounce package caramels
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Stir in pecans.

Set aside 2 cups.

Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan.

For filling, toss apples with flour and spoon over the crust.

In a saucepan melt the caramels and butter over low heat and drizzle over the apples.

Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool before cutting into bars.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.