Tag Archives: Dessert

Scrumptious Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Fruit Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Two of the season’s best treats – strawberries and rhubarb – combine to make a luscious topping for Scrumptious Strawberry Rhubarb Bars with a rich buttery shortbread base.

Step 1 – Making the Strawberry Rhubarb Juice

The first step is to make the strawberry rhubarb juice needed for the topping. This is a matter of cooking rhubarb and strawberries with a bit of lemon juice and zest and then straining the mixture to extract the juice. A large spoon can be used to gently press the mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve to extract as much juice as possible. I recommend a second straining through a clean sieve to ensure all bits of the pulp solids are strained out.

The exact amount of rhubarb/strawberry juice extracted from the rhubarb and strawberries is hard to predict with 100% accuracy because so much depends on the quality and age of the rhubarb and strawberries and their water content as well as their growing conditions. If the strained amount of juice is slightly less than the ½ cup required for the topping in this recipe, up to ½ tbsp of fresh, strained lemon juice can be added to bring the quantity to ½ cup. If the amount of strained juice results in more than ½ cup, only use the ½ cup called for in the recipe as it has been tested to achieve the optimal texture of the topping. Adding more juice than called for in the recipe without proportionately adjusting the amount of thickener will yield a topping that is too runny to cut and plate well. If you are not sure on the quality of the rhubarb and berries and how much strained juice they are likely to yield, you may wish to cook an additional ½ – 1 oz each of rhubarb and strawberries when initially making the juice to be sure you have enough to equal ½ cup strained juice.

Fruit Bars for Teatime
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Step 2 – Making the Shortbread Base

The lovely buttery rich shortbread base for these bars is par-baked then cooled slightly before the topping is added. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer to make this base but a food processor could also be used. Once the base has been pressed into the pan, be sure to prick the base with the tines of a fork to allow steam to release as the base bakes and to eliminate air pockets from forming.

The base will bake for approximately 20 minutes or just until the edges of the crust start to turn very pale golden in color and start to show signs of slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan. Be careful to not overbake the crust as it will be going back into the oven when the topping is added and, if overbaked, the tender crust will become hard.

Let the base cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack before adding the topping. There is no need to let it cool completely. Leave the oven going at 325°F so it will be temperature-ready when the pan goes back into the oven.

Step 3 – Preparing the Topping

The eggs are whisked with the strawberry rhubarb juice along with the sugar and cornstarch until completely smooth. This will be a salmon-colored mixture. If you prefer a brighter, more rosy color, add a smidgeon of pink food coloring until the desired color is obtained. The photos of the bars in this posting have had a small amount of pink icing gel color added.

The topping mixture is poured over the still-warm base and baked for approximately 30-35 minutes, just until the filling is no longer jiggly in the center and is barely set.

Let the bars cool, in the pan on a wire cooling rack, at room temperature for a couple of hours then transfer them to the refrigerator to chill and fully set for at least four hours before cutting. Dip a knife in warm water and wipe dry to cut the bars, starting with trimming off all four sides of the bars. This will give lovely clean edges to every piece. I recommend dipping the knife in warm water and drying it between each cut to keep the bar edges clean and tidy.

The bars can be cut into squares or rectangles of desired size. To cut them into triangles as shown in the photos, cut the bar into four equal squares then cut each square into four triangles.

Pretty Pink Bars for Teatime
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Dust each cut bar with sifted icing sugar just at the time of serving so the powdery sugar does not dissolve into the bars and create a murky looking top.

These bars need to be kept refrigerated and will keep for up to three days in an airtight container.

Royal Albert's "Margaret" Teacup from their Sweetheart Roses Series
Teatime with Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

This is a lovely dessert and pairs well with a fine cup of tea or coffee. It’s also a lovely addition to an afternoon tea dessert plate. In fact, I included the Strawberry Rhubarb Bars on the dessert plate for my Platinum Jubilee Afternoon Tea.

Sweet Treats on Tea Table
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Scrumptious Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Ingredients:

Strawberry-Rhubarb Juice:
5½ oz red rhubarb stalks (weighed after leaves and root ends removed), cut into 1/2″ pieces
5½ oz strawberries, hulled and mashed with potato masher
1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Shortbread Base:
½ cup butter, cubed into 1” pieces, room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
½ tsp pure vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1/cup-for-cup baking flour, if needed)
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt

Topping:
2 large whole eggs, room temperature and lightly fork beaten
1 large egg yolk, room temperature and lightly fork beaten
½ cup strawberry-rhubarb juice (recipe above)
¾ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2½ tbsp cornstarch
Pinch salt
Pink food coloring (optional)

Icing Sugar for dusting Bars

Method:

Strawberry-Rhubarb Juice:

Combine rhubarb, mashed strawberries, and lemon juice into a pot. Cover and bring mixture just to the boiling point over medium heat then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until rhubarb and strawberry mixture is soft and mushy. Add the lemon zest for the last five minutes of cooking. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture to further break down the rhubarb and strawberries as much as possible.

Strain rhubarb/strawberry mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl to extract the juice. Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the pulp to extract more juice. Discard the rhubarb/strawberry pulp. Straining the juice a second time through a clean fine wire mesh sieve to refine it further and remove any traces of the fruit pulp impurities is recommended. Discard any remaining pulp and solids. This should equal ½ cup of strained strawberry-rhubarb juice needed for the recipe. If it strains out more than ½ cup of juice, only use the ½ cup called for in the recipe. If it strains out slightly less than ½ cup of juice, up to ½ tablespoon of strained freshly squeezed lemon juice may be added. (See Note below)

Shortbread Base:
Line 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang on sides to grip and lift baked bar from pan for cutting. Spray parchment paper lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter at medium-high speed. Reduce speed to medium low and blend in sugars. Add vanilla. Beat for approximately 45 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula if necessary to ensure all ingredients are fully blended. With mixer set to lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Once all the flour has been added, increase speed slightly to medium-low and blend mixture just until ingredients are incorporated.

Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Prick base all over with tines of fork to allow steam to release as the base bakes and to eliminate air pockets from forming.

Bake base approximately 20 minutes, or just until edges of crust start to turn very pale golden in color and start to show signs of slightly pulling away from pan sides. Do not overbake or crust will be hard. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes before adding topping. Keep oven on at 325°F.

Topping:
Combine and whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in small bowl. Set aside.

While the base is cooling slightly, begin to prepare the strawberry-rhubarb topping by whisking the whole eggs and egg yolk together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the strained ½ cup of strawberry-rhubarb juice along with the sugar-cornstarch mixture until mixture is smooth. To achieve a bright rosy color, add a small amount of pink food coloring, if desired, and mix well into topping ingredients so color is evenly distributed.

Pour mixture over slightly cooled, but still warm, crust. Bake at 325°F for 30-35 minutes or until topping is no longer jiggly in the center and is barely set. Cool bar at room temperature for a couple of hours in pan on wire cooling rack then transfer bar to refrigerator for about 4 hours to fully set before cutting.

To Cut Bars:
Using the excess parchment paper as handles, lift bar from pan and transfer to cutting board. Peel away and discard parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut off rough edges on all sides of bars, rinsing knife in warm water between each cut. The bar may be cut into squares or rectangles of desired size. Or, to cut into triangles, cut the bar into four equal squares and then cut each smaller square into four triangles.

Dust tops of squares, rectangles, or triangles with sifted icing sugar just at the time of serving.

Store bars, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to three days.

Yield: 1 – 8” pan

NOTE: The exact amount of rhubarb/strawberry juice extracted from the rhubarb and strawberries is hard to predict with 100% accuracy because so much depends on the quality and age of the rhubarb and strawberries and their water content as well as their growing conditions. If the strained amount is slightly less than the ½ cup required for the topping in this recipe, up to ½ tbsp of fresh, strained lemon juice can be added to bring the quantity to ½ cup. If the amount of strained juice results in more than ½ cup, only use the ½ cup called for in the recipe as it has been tested to achieve the optimal texture of the topping. Adding more juice than required without proportionately adjusting the amount of thickener called for in the recipe will yield a topping that is too runny to cut and plate well. If you are not sure on the quality of the rhubarb and berries and how much strained juice they are likely to yield, you may wish to cook an additional ½ – 1 oz each of rhubarb and strawberries when initially making the juice to be sure you have enough to equal ½ cup strained juice.

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Scrumptious Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

These showy and scrumptious Strawberry Rhubarb Bars feature a rich buttery shortbread crust with a luscious strawberry rhubarb topping
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword rhubarb, rhubarb bars, strawberry, strawberry rhubarb bars
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

Strawberry-Rhubarb Juice:

  • oz red rhubarb stalks (weighed after leaves and root ends removed), cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • oz strawberries, hulled and mashed with potato masher
  • tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Shortbread Base:

  • ½ cup butter, cubed into 1” pieces, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla
  • cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1/cup-for-cup baking flour, if needed)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt

Topping:

  • 2 large whole eggs, room temperature and lightly fork beaten
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature and lightly fork beaten
  • ½ cup strawberry-rhubarb juice (recipe above)
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • Pink food coloring (optional)
  • Icing Sugar for dusting Bars

Instructions

Strawberry-Rhubarb Juice:

  1. Combine rhubarb, mashed strawberries, and lemon juice into a pot. Cover and bring mixture just to the boiling point over medium heat then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until rhubarb and strawberry mixture is soft and mushy. Add the lemon zest for the last five minutes of cooking. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture to further break down the rhubarb and strawberries as much as possible.
  2. Strain rhubarb/strawberry mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl to extract the juice. Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the pulp to extract more juice. Discard the rhubarb/strawberry pulp. Straining the juice a second time through a clean fine wire mesh sieve to refine it further and remove any traces of the fruit pulp impurities is recommended. Discard any remaining pulp and solids. This should equal ½ cup of strained strawberry-rhubarb juice needed for the recipe. If it strains out more than ½ cup of juice, only use the ½ cup called for in the recipe. If it strains out slightly less than ½ cup of juice, up to ½ tablespoon of strained freshly squeezed lemon juice may be added. (See Note below)

Shortbread Base:

  1. Line 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang on sides to grip and lift baked bar from pan for cutting. Spray parchment paper lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter at medium-high speed. Reduce speed to medium low and blend in sugars. Add vanilla. Beat for approximately 45 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula if necessary to ensure all ingredients are fully blended. With mixer set to lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture. Once all the flour has been added, increase speed slightly to medium-low and blend mixture just until ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Prick base all over with tines of fork to allow steam to release as the base bakes and to eliminate air pockets from forming.
  6. Bake base approximately 20 minutes, or just until edges of crust start to turn very pale golden in color and start to show signs of slightly pulling away from pan sides. Do not overbake or crust will be hard. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes before adding topping. Keep oven on at 325°F.

Topping:

  1. Combine and whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. While the base is cooling slightly, begin to prepare the strawberry-rhubarb topping by whisking the whole eggs and egg yolk together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the strained ½ cup of strawberry-rhubarb juice along with the sugar-cornstarch mixture until mixture is smooth. To achieve a bright rosy color, add a small amount of pink food coloring, if desired, and mix well into topping ingredients so color is evenly distributed.
  3. Pour mixture over slightly cooled, but still warm, crust. Bake at 325°F for 30-35 minutes or until topping is no longer jiggly in the center and is barely set. Cool bar at room temperature for a couple of hours in pan on wire cooling rack then transfer bar to refrigerator for about 4 hours to fully set before cutting.

To Cut Bars:

  1. Using the excess parchment paper as handles, lift bar from pan and transfer to cutting board. Peel away and discard parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut off rough edges on all sides of bars, rinsing knife in warm water between each cut. The bar may be cut into squares or rectangles of desired size. Or, to cut into triangles, cut the bar into four equal squares and then cut each smaller square into four triangles.
  2. Dust tops of squares, rectangles, or triangles with sifted icing sugar just at the time of serving.
  3. Store bars, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 1 – 8” pan

NOTE: The exact amount of rhubarb/strawberry juice extracted from the rhubarb and strawberries is hard to predict with 100% accuracy because so much depends on the quality and age of the rhubarb and strawberries and their water content as well as their growing conditions. If the strained amount is slightly less than the ½ cup required for the topping in this recipe, up to ½ tbsp of fresh, strained lemon juice can be added to bring the quantity of juice to the required ½ cup. If the amount of strained juice results in more than ½ cup, only use the ½ cup called for in the recipe as it has been tested to achieve the optimal texture of the topping. Adding more juice than required without proportionately adjusting the amount of thickener called for in the recipe will yield a topping that is too runny to cut and plate well. If you are not sure on the quality of the rhubarb and berries and how much strained juice they are likely to yield, you may wish to cook an additional ½ - 1 oz each of rhubarb and strawberries when initially making the juice to be sure you have enough to equal ½ cup strained juice.

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Pretty Pink Fruit Bars for Teatime
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Mini Blueberry Bundt Cakes

Mini Blueberry Cakes
Mini Blueberry Bundt Cake

Mini Bundt cakes have become quite popular and trendy and they are ideal individual desserts that present so attractively on a plate. Today, I used my pan of fluted mini Bundt pan molds (each having a 1-cup capacity) to make individual Mini Blueberry Bundt Cakes with a lemon glaze. Continue reading Mini Blueberry Bundt Cakes

Baked Caramel Pudding For One

Caramel Pudding
Baked Caramel Pudding for One

Single-serving “mug” cakes and puddings are popular for those living alone. I haven’t published many recipes for one or two servings since the industry standard for recipe development tends to be dishes that will generate four to six servings.  That, however, for singles living alone can be a problem, particularly if the dish desired is not one that can be batch cooked and frozen in individual serving sizes for later use.

Sometimes, one has a craving for something sweet but if there are not several people to eat it up, who wants a pudding that will make four to six servings when you really only want the one serving! My proportionately sized Baked Caramel Pudding is perfect when you have no one to please with a dessert but yourself! Continue reading Baked Caramel Pudding For One

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Today, I am sharing my recipe for a real old-fashioned type of dessert – Rhubarb Pudding Cake. The cake is “self-saucing” which means that the delectable sauce forms underneath the simple cake batter as the cake bakes. It’s an “all-in-one” pudding and cake! It may not be the most extravagant looking dessert but it sure is mighty tasty! If you are a rhubarb lover, you will love this dessert.

Pudding Cake
Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This pudding is easy to make and can be made with either fresh or frozen rhubarb.  In fact, I often freeze the amount of rhubarb needed for the pudding in ziploc freezer bags labeled “For Rhubarb Pudding Cake” and it’s a real treat in the middle of winter! This is an old, old family favorite of ours! For those on a gluten-free diet, this pudding is easy to make gluten free – simply replace the quantity of flour called for in the recipe with an equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour.  In fact, the photos in this post are of the gluten-free version of this pudding cake.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Rhubarb chunks are spread in the bottom of the baking dish then covered with a simple cake batter that is lightly spiced and then topped with a sauce made with either orange or pineapple juice. The juice trickles down through the batter and meets up with the rhubarb and the two form a heck of a tasty sauce. As the pudding bakes, a soft golden crust forms on top of the cake.  Lots of texture happening in this pudding cake!

Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is best served after it has been allowed to stand for 15-20 minutes after it has baked and been removed from the oven.  I sometimes serve it plain and, other times, I’ll add either a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

2¾ cups rhubarb, cut into ¾“ chunks
3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour (or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
1 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
smidgeon cloves

½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1¼ tsp finely grated orange rind
½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
¼ tsp almond flavouring

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish.  Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish.  Set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.

In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.

In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together.  Mix in the grated orange rind.  Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring.  Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.

Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish.  Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares.  Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This easy-to-make dessert features rhubarb with an orange or pineapple-flavoured sauce that forms underneath a gently spiced cake layer as it bakes. True comfort food!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • cups rhubarb cut into ¾“ chunks
  • 3 tbsp butter softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • smidgeon cloves
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
  • ¼ tsp almond flavouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish. Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish. Set aside.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  4. In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.
  5. In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together. Mix in the grated orange rind. Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring. Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.
  6. Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish. Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares. Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

 

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Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Individual Baked Alaskas with Raspberry Coulis

Baked Alaska with Raspberry Coulis
Baked Alaska with Raspberry Coulis

One of my all-time favorite desserts is Baked Alaska. I first had Baked Alaska on a cruise many, many years ago and I have loved it ever since. Many people think Baked Alaska is difficult to make but I don’t find it is. It does, however, take a little planning and time since it is prepared in stages.  Baked Alaska can be made as a large dessert to serve several or it can be tailored down to serve one or two.  My recipe is for two individual servings, perfect for a special intimate dinner such as Valentine’s Day, or anytime as a nice treat.

There are options for the cake base of a Baked Alaska. Brownies or pound cake are my preferences and they can be either bought or homemade. I like brownies because the dark contrast is eye-appealing with a light-colored ice cream. Whatever base is used, it needs to be cut out with a 2” cookie cutter and it should have a depth of about ½” to ¾ “. Now, at first glance, this might appear to be a rather miniscule dessert but, as you’ll soon discover, the meringue adds a lot of volume to the Baked Alaska.

Choice of ice cream is important for the Baked Alaska. Choose a high quality ice cream with a high percentage cream content for this dessert because it will freeze hard. Some of the lower fat or cheaper ice creams tend to be softer and, because this ice cream is going into a 475° oven, it needs to be able to stand up for itself! Any flavour of ice cream of your choosing will work. My favorites are vanilla, coffee, or strawberry. Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 5-7 minutes before scooping it out.  You want to try and get as perfectly a round scoop as you can because this is what will give the Alaska its dome shape.

It’s important that both the cake base and the scoop of ice cream be frozen super hard so plan ahead to have them frozen for at least two hours or longer before serving time.  I use a couple of small pieces of wooden boards covered with tin foil on which to bake the Alaskas because the boards don’t heat as fast as a metal cookie sheet would which could cause the Alaskas to start to melt down too quickly in the oven.  The idea is to keep the Baked Alaskas as cold as possible.  The Alaskas are only put in the oven for 2-3 minutes solely to tan the meringue.

The Raspberry Coulis can be made a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated.

I find I have greater success with whipping egg whites for the meringue when they are at room temperature.  Allow the separated egg whites to come to room temperature for about 30-40 minutes before whipping.

It’s super important to completely cover the ice cream and base with the meringue as, otherwise, heat will reach the ice cream which will simply melt and ooze out of the Alaska when placed in the oven.  The meringue acts as an insulator of sorts which prevents the ice cream from melting for the 2-3 minutes it is in the oven.  I have found that even the smallest gap in the meringue will cause the ice cream to melt in even the short time it is in the oven.  Work as quickly as you can to apply the meringue so that the ice cream does not soften and melt.

Individual Baked Alaskas with Raspberry Coulis

Raspberry Coulis:

1¼ cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
⅓ cup sugar
¾ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water

In medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients.

DSC08489

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Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until raspberries have broken down and released their juices.

Remove from heat and pour mixture into a fine sieve over a bowl.

Press mixture with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard raspberry seeds left in the sieve.

Cover coulis tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled.

Yield: ½ cup

Baked Alaskas:

2 pieces of brownie cut into 2” circles and sliced ½“ – ¾” thick.
2 round scoops of ice cream, your favourite flavour

Meringue:

2 large egg whites, room temperature
⅛ tsp salt
⅛ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp almond flavouring

Line a small rimmed baking sheet with tin foil. Using the rimmed baked sheet allows for easy transport to and from the freezer and keeps the Alaska bases from accidentally sliding off.  Place the brownie circles on the baking sheet and top each with a scoop of ice cream. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours, until very firm.

At the same time, cover two small boards with tin foil and place in freezer.

When ready to prepare the dessert, place oven rack about 8” from broiler and preheat oven to 475°F.

In bowl of stand mixer, beat egg whites just until frothy then add the salt and cream of tartar.

While beating the egg whites, add the sugar slowly, about a teaspoon at a time.

Continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form when wire whisk is lifted from the egg whites.

Add the almond flavoring and beat for 10-15 seconds longer.

Remove brownie and ice cream rounds along with the foil-covered boards from the freezer. Transfer the brownie and ice cream rounds to the foil-covered boards.  Quickly cover the ice cream and brownie completely with the meringue.

With the tip of a knife, twirl the meringue into decorate tips.

Place the Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet for ease of transfer to and from oven.  Bake in the pre-heated oven until the meringue browns, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven and plate. Drizzle with Raspberry Coulis and garnish with fresh raspberries. Serve immediately.

Serves: 2

——————

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Rhubarb Custard Torte

Slice of Rhubarb Custard Torte on white plate
Rhubarb Custard Torte

Rhubarb Custard Torte is one of my all-time favorite desserts and it is simply sublime!  While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe. However, our rhubarb season here in Atlantic Canada is all too short so most of my rhubarb recipes, including this torte, can be made with frozen rhubarb.

My family has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember.  It’s not overly difficult to make but it does take time since there are three stages to it:  1) the shortbread base; 2) the rhubarb custard filling; and 3) the meringue.

The most tricky part is making the rhubarb custard and ensuring it doesn’t scorch while it is cooking and thickening.  To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook it at medium-low temperature and stir it constantly.  Some other tips when making this recipe are, first, don’t overbake the base as it will become hard and somewhat tough.  And, second, add the sugar slowly, a tablespoon at a time while continuing to beat the eggs.

I love the rich, ruby red color of the rhubarb!  Use the brightest red rhubarb you can find as it will give great color to your torte.

Rhubarb Custard Torte

Shortbread Base:
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
2 tbsp sugar

Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.

Lightly grease 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan.

Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack while preparing filling.

Custard Filling:
1¼ cups sugar
3½ tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
3 large egg yolks
2¼ cups chopped rhubarb, chopped into 1/2″ pieces.

In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens and rhubarb is softened.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400F. Spread rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.

Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Place the egg whites and cream of tarter in bowl of stand mixer and beat on high speed until eggs are foamy.  Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the vanilla just to blend.

Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered to the pan edges.

Bake for 5-6 minutes, or just until meringue starts to brown.

Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 9 servings

Close-up of rhubarb custard torte
Rhubarb Custard Torte

Enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.

Slice of Rhubarb Custard Torte on white plate
Rhubarb Custard Torte

 

For other great rhubarb dessert recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Custard Torte

Delightful dessert featuring shortbread base covered with a cooked rhubarb custard and topped with a meringue.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword torte, rhubarb, rhubarb torte
Servings 9
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Shortbread Base:

  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Custard Filling:

  • cups sugar
  • tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
  • 3 large egg yolks (reserve whites for the meringue)
  • cups rhubarb, chopped into ½” pieces

Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp vanilla

Instructions

Shortbread Base:

  1. Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.
  2. Lightly grease 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan. Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack while preparing filling.

Custard Filling:

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens and rhubarb is softened. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°Spread cooled rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.

Meringue:

  1. Place the egg whites and cream of tarter in bowl of stand mixer and beat on high speed until eggs are foamy. Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the vanilla just to blend. Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered to the pan edges. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or just until meringue starts to brown.
  2. Cool completely before serving.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 9 servings

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Rhubarb Custard Torte
Rhubarb Custard Torte

 

 

Gingerbread

 

Gingerbread with Whipped Cream and Brown Sugar Sauce
Gingerbread with Whipped Cream and Brown Sugar Sauce

Do you have certain desserts that you associate with different seasons or times of the year?  Gingerbread is one dessert I tend to associate most with the coldest winter months for some reason.  It’s a plain but tasty dessert any time of the year but it’s a particularly good comfort food in the dead of winter.

Gingerbread is very easy to make and doesn’t take any ingredients that are unusual or difficult to find.  I add a small amount of hot strong coffee to the batter because I find it brings out the strength of the spices.  Adding some applesauce also helps to make the cake moist.

I made this cake in an 8″x8″ cake pan because I was planning to split it into two layers to fill with whipped cream.  If you want to keep it at just one layer, then I recommend baking it in a 9″x9″ pan which will yield a more shallow cake.  Note, however, that the baking time will need to be adjusted as a 9″x9″ cake will take less time to bake.

Gingerbread is best when served warm and drizzled with brown sugar sauce.

Gingerbread

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp soda
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
⅛ tsp allspice

½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp applesauce

⅔ cup molasses
⅔ cup boiling water
2½ tbsp hot strong coffee

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

1-DSC02881

Preheat oven to 350º and position rack in middle of oven.  Line 8”x8” pan with parchment paper with two strips of parchment as shown in photo below.  Make sure you leave enough parchment over the edges of the pan so you can easily use the parchment as a “sling” when it comes time to remove the cake from the pan. Set prepared pan aside.

Whisk together the flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time and beat into butter and sugar.  Stir in applesauce on low speed.

Combine the molasses, hot water, and coffee.  Stir to mix well.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with dry ingredients (process is three additions of dry ingredients and two of liquid ingredients).  Scrape sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Turn batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean or cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.  If edges start to brown too much, loosely place a piece of foil over top of cake.

Let cake rest in pan for at least 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan by lifting the parchment paper sling.  Cut into squares.  Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and/or brown sugar sauce.

Note:  A 9”x9” pan may be used instead of an 8”x8” pan.  This will make a more shallow cake.  Adjust baking time accordingly as the 9”x9” pan will likely take less baking time.

Yield:  9 servings

Gingerbread

A classic comfort food that never goes out of style, Gingerbread is a soft and spicy cake-like dessert. Supremely good served with a dollop of whipped cream and/or brown sugar sauce.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword dessert, gingerbread
Servings 9
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • tsp allspice
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • cup molasses
  • cup boiling water
  • tbsp hot strong coffee

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º and position rack in middle of oven. Line 8”x8” pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Set aside.

  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat into butter and sugar. Stir in applesauce.
  4. Combine the molasses, hot water, and coffee. Stir to mix well. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with dry ingredients (process is three additions of dry ingredients and two of liquid ingredients). Scrape sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. If edges start to brown too much, loosely place a piece of tinfoil over top of cake.
  6. Let cake rest in pan for at least 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Cut into squares. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and/or brown sugar sauce.

Recipe Notes

Note: A 9”x9” pan may be used instead of an 8”x8” pan. This will make a more shallow cake. Adjust baking time accordingly as the 9”x9” pan will likely take less baking time.

Yield: 9 servings

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Gingerbread
Gingerbread

Chocolate Potato Cake

We are familiar with cakes made with vegetables like carrot and zucchini.  However, have you ever heard of potato cake?

We Islanders like our spuds, there is no doubt about it.  Potatoes are a very versatile vegetable and can be prepared and served in many different ways but have you ever heard of having them for dessert?  Well, combine potatoes with chocolate and some light spice seasoning and you have a really tasty cake.

What follows is my creation of a recipe for chocolate potato cake.  This is a fairly dense-textured cake so don’t look for it to have the same “foggy” and fluffy texture of a typical chocolate cake mix out of a box!  Despite the two cups of sugar in the recipe, it is not overly or sickeningly sweet.  The potatoes are cooked and mashed really well before adding them to the cake batter.  It is important that they be lump-free as, otherwise, you will have lumps in the cake batter.  The mashed potatoes should be warm when added to the batter.

You may find two or three of the ingredients different in this cake recipe.  For example, I have added a pinch of cayenne pepper because I find it enhances the depth of the chocolate flavor.  The key, of course, is not to overdo it – if you add too much, there will be excessive “heat” in the cake….just a pinch is all it takes.  The addition of the espresso powder is also another good way to draw out the flavor of the cocoa and lend a mocha flavor to the cake.  I have quite a collection of balsamic vinegars from our local Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.  One of them is the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar which is delicious when simmered on the stove, reduced down, and drizzled over ice cream.  If you have never tried a good quality balsamic vinegar reduction in this way, you are missing out on a delectable treat.  I added 1/2 tbsp of this balsamic vinegar to the chocolate cake batter.  This is a chocolate all-the-way cake!

I recommend baking this cake in a 10″ tube or bundt cake pan.  These pans have a hollow tube in the center of the pan and this allows dense-batter cakes to rise and bake more evenly.  There is also less chance of the cake falling in the middle or the outsides of the cake baking too quickly and drying out before the centre of the cake is baked.

The key to making this cake is not to overbake it.  Start checking it at about the 40-45-minute baking point.  If a cake tester does not come out clean at that point, continue to bake it but check it every 4-5 minutes.  If it overbakes, it will be dry.

Chocolate Potato Cake

2½ cups flour

¼ tsp salt

2¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

pinch cayenne

⅔ cup cocoa

¾ cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup warm mashed potatoes

½ cup milk

1½ tsp espresso powder dissolved in ⅓ cup hot water

2 tbsp Swiss Chocolate Almond Liqueur (or your favorite coffee liqueur)

½ tbsp dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (optional, but good)

1½ tsp vanilla

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake
Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line bottom of 10” tube pan with parchment paper.  Grease or spray cooking oil on sides of pan.

Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake
Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake

Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and cocoa.  Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine the brown and white sugars.

1-1-DSC01494

In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy (2-3 mins on medium-high speed). 

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well to incorporate after each addition.  

Add the mashed potatoes and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until batter is smooth.

Add the coffee, liqueur, balsamic vinegar, and vanilla to the milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  (Note – if you choose not to add the liqueur and/or balsamic vinegar, replace them with milk so that the liquid measurement equals 1 cup.)

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture (process is three additions of dry ingredients to two of liquid), mixing well after each addition. 

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula as necessary to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. 

Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently
Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. 

Bake for apx. 40-55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean and the cake springs back to a light touch.  Do not overbake or cake will be dry.

Baked Chocolate Potato Cake
Baked Chocolate Potato Cake

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Ice with your favorite frosting.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Potato Cake
Chocolate Potato Cake

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