Frozen Raspberry Peach Bellinis

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I had the honor of writing a guest post for Nancy from Feasting with Friends this week. She has a few people doing some guest appearances while she is recuperating at home from surgery, and I am thrilled to be one of them!  Our prayers were truly answered with a successful surgery, and will continue with her recovery.  Nancy is truly a wonderful friend…one that is held in high regard in our blogging family.

In other words… we love her.

We are all so thankful, and so, so very happy that every day brings a little more healing and strength to our lovely friend.
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As soon as she asked me, I knew immediately that I would be making something summery and refreshing for Nancy…and it didn’t take me long to decide on these Raspberry Peach Bellinis…

To see the recipe, please visit my guest post at Nancy’s Feasting with Friends today! While you’re there, say hello to Nancy…she would love to hear from you!

Click Here or on any one of the photos to see and print the recipe!

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Life is good, it’s a “praying that each new day brings renewed strength and recovery for our lovely friend”..kind of good…

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Molten Lava Cakes for Fiesta Friday

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This Fiesta Friday is especially special for me this week…

Imagine my surprise when I found an email sitting in my inbox from Angie at The Novice Gardener…. and now… imagine my delight when she asked me to co-host Fiesta Friday #13 with the lovely Indira at I’ll Cook, You’ll Wash!

Of course I happily agreed… Many of you know Angie and her artistic culinary talent (understatement)… and that combined with her charming wittiness and ability to draw her audience in with the first sentence or two of her post, you will understand why I am so thrilled and honored to co-host this lovely event!

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This is our 13th Fiesta Friday, and my-oh-my, how it has grown!! Every week, there are more and more people joining in the fun! I cannot wait to see what everyone brings this week…I’ve been blown away with the fabulous contributions these last few weeks, so I know that this week will be no different!

I know that I’ve said this before, but I have never met a more welcoming, supportive and loving group of people than this wonderful group of bloggers. I urge you to visit Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and join in on the fun.. and if you’re new to the blogging world, this is a great way to meet other bloggers, and gain more followers!

All are welcome to visit!

I wanted to make something flowery this week…you know….because it’s Angie. So I decided on Molten Lava Cakes with strawberry roses. Yeah, I know… what on earth was I thinking? First of all, I can’t bake to save my life…we all know the disaster which came from the strawberry cupcakes I attempted a couple of weeks ago… but I really wanted to make them.

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Although molten lava cakes have been done over and over again, and are probably old news for most people… I still love them, and wouldn’t turn one down if offered to me! One of my most favorite things to do is to order one for dessert to share when I’m out for dinner with my friends. I never get tired of that warm chocolate oozing out of the center of the cake, mixed with whipped cream.

The recipe for molten lava cake is pretty much universal. The ingredients and measurements are always the same, except that one person might add some orange liquor, while another might add coffee. Me? Mine is adapted from Betty Crocker’s recipe.. I like to add a little coffee and a little bit of Chambord. The Chambord gives it a lovely raspberry flavor, and this time I chose to make a raspberry sauce with a little added orange juice which gave it a wonderful raspberry citrus flavor… the whipped cream and the strawberry were just an added bonus!

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This is definitely a dessert that needs to be shared… just make sure that you get your fair share!

I’d like to thank Angie for thinking of me…and I’m so happy to be co-hosting with Indira. Indira is a lovely girl..and her blog is so beautiful..with recipes that are pure perfection. I hope that you take the time to stop by I’ll Cook, You’ll Wash to visit! I know you’ll enjoy her blog as much as I do!

If you’d like to join the party, and I really hope you do…please click the link below!  I look forward to seeing you there!

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Life is good…it’s a “Co-hosting Fiesta Friday with Indira” kind of good…

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Molten Lava Cakes
Makes Six 6oz Cakes

Just a quick note: I use 6 oz ramekins, and this recipe makes six cakes using them. Most recipes call for the oven to be preheated to 425 degrees and bake them for 10 minutes, but I found with my oven that it’s better to bake them for 17 minutes at 375 degrees. I would try just one in your oven before baking all of them to see what works best for you!

The Molten Lava Cakes:
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
1 stick, plus 2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp Chambord
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease and flour six 6 oz ramekins.

In a microwave proof bowl, melt the bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate with the butter in the microwave until smooth. I start out with 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time. It usually only takes a minute to fully melt the chocolate.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the melted chocolate with the eggs, whisking until completely combined. Add the flour and powdered sugar, and stir until blended. Stir in the salt, coffee, Chambord and vanilla just until blended.

Divide the batter between the six ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven, and bake for 17 minutes. The outside will be firm to touch, while the inside will be melted chocolate runny.

Invert onto a plate, or leave in cup to serve. Serve with fresh whipped cream and raspberry sauce, and garnish with raspberries or strawberry roses and mint leaves.

Raspberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the raspberries, orange juice, and granulated sugar to simmer..and cook for about five minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch and cook for about two more minutes. The sauce will thicken upon standing. Serve over the lava cakes.

I found out how to make the strawberry roses from Debbie, at One Little Project at a Time.

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Short and Sweet…. Raspberry Napoleon Cups

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It’s official. We are now into the holidays, and that brings the hustle and bustle of planning, preparing, and shopping. I love Christmas. It’s my most favorite holiday of the year, but it’s a lot of work!! Sometimes it’s fun work…and we all know that sometimes it’s really stressful work..

I think I can safely guess that you’re like me, and while I can get some of the things finished during the week, I rely on the weekend to get the majority of it done. Even then, it’s still a rush, because I still have the normal everyday things to do on top of everything else. Which is why I took Black Friday off, and just spent a relaxing day decorating and cleaning…I believe I started a new Black Friday tradition for myself! And then, there’s always that one weekend, that just when I’m in the thick of the hustle and bustle, I realize that I have a party to go to that night, and I promised my friend I’d bring a dessert! That’s when my mind starts looking for quick and easy…short and sweet.

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This is truly a short and sweet dessert. The idea came to me about five years ago, when I wanted to make a raspberry napoleon type dessert for a party that I was invited to. The only problem was, that it was going to be a finger foods type of party, meaning that a Napoleon wasn’t going to work, not to mention, I was pressed for time.

As I was walking through the freezer section at Wegmans, I saw this little box of mini phyllo cups. Perfect!! I could fill them with pastry cream, raspberries, whipped cream, and drizzle them with chocolate. They just might be a decent finger food dessert!

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I did not anticipate the huge hit they’d be… That evening, I could hear people talking about them, and asking who made them, and then asking me for the recipe! Of course, I had no culinary or patissier expertise to impress them… But as I shared the recipe, I found that they loved this little dessert, which was not only pretty, but also delicious enough for the fanciest of soirees, yet easy and casual enough for a picnic….but also quick to throw together, and so, so simple to make.

I have made these little Napoleon cups with the pastry cream, and without. I have to say that they are delicious both ways. Honestly? I think it’s the little phyllo cups that make them so outstanding, especially if you brush them with the butter before filling them, which gives them such a rich flavor.

So now I need to give you the bad news…. These little phyllo cups will hold up for an evening, but they won’t hold up overnight. If you are planning on making them the day before, it won’t work. They’ll get soggy regardless if you use the pastry cream or not. Go ahead and make the pastry cream the day before, but I recommend that you put them together the same day as the event. Like I said before, these are just as delicious with just raspberries and whipped cream, so if you’re out of time, then honestly, skip the pastry cream!  The good news is, is that there will be zero leftovers to worry about!

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Raspberry Napoleon Cups
Makes 24

The Cups
2 – 12 count packages of mini phyllo pastry shells
1 – 12 oz package of fresh raspberries
1 tbsp salted butter, melted

The Whipped Cream
1 – 8 oz carton heavy cream
1 tsp sugar, or more depending on your desired sweetness
1 tsp vanilla

Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl, and with an electric mixer, begin mixing it until it forms stiff peaks. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue to beat until it is stiff enough to put in a pastry bag to pipe. Put the bowl of whipped cream into the refrigerator until ready to use.

The Pastry Cream
¼ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 -1/2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk the sugar, heavy cream, flour, and salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook until it begins to bubble, or until it’s thickened, stirring occasionally. While the cream mixture is cooking, break two egg yolks into a small bowl and lightly stir them with a fork. As soon as the cream mixture has thickened, spoon about a ½ cup of the cream into the egg yolk bowl, and whisk quickly, pour the egg/cream mixture back into the pan and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and stir into the vanilla. Pour the cream into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

Once the pastry cream has completely cooled, take about 1/3 cup of the whipped cream, and fold it into the cream.

The Chocolate Sauce
½ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp heavy cream

In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the heavy cream for about a minute. Add the chocolate chips to the heated heavy cream and stir until melted.  Add a little more heavy cream if the chocolate sauce is too thick for drizzling.

Begin Layering:
The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare the phyllo cups right in their little plastic package. Melt the butter, and brush all over the inside of each cup. Begin layering the Napoleon cups by spooning one teaspoon of pastry cream into each cup. Put two raspberries on top of the pastry cream.

Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag that has been loaded with a star tip (I use Wilton 1M), and pipe the whipped cream over the raspberries. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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