Monday, April 26, 2010

Cherry Rhubarb Dessert with Vanilla Icing!

It's that time of the year again... rhubarb time!  With the lack of rain we've had in WI (until this past weekend) the rhubarb seems to be a slow grower this year... not to worry though, with yesterday's rain & sunshine all week, I'm sure the rhubarb will make a liar out of me... and I'm O.K. with that! :)

Today's delectable rhubarb treat would be great with coffee as a pastry breakfast, or (because I can't wait until tomorrow) after dinner served slightly warm still as a fresh, light, flaky dessert.  Last year when I made this recipe, it was so delicious these bars got all gobbled up before I could even get a picture.  SO this year, I'm going to try to beat Chris to the pan an get a picture before they are gone... they really do bake up very pretty.

Here's the recipe!  Make sure when you want to make this you allow preparation time because you make the pastry crust by hand! (and it's worth every bit of effort!)

Cherry Rhubarb Dessert
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter - cold
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, separated
1 cup corn flakes (I used blueberry special K)
4-5 cups diced fresh rhubarb.  (See Note if you use frozen rhubarb)
1 1/2 cups + 1 Tblsp sugar, divided
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 - 2 tsp. milk
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour & salt; cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. Stir in the milk & egg yolk.
  3. Divide dough in half.
  4. On lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a 13x9 rectangle.
  5. Place one rolled out piece into a greased 13x9 baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with cornflakes.
  7. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb and 1 1/2 cups sugar, stir in cherry pie filling and vanilla; spread over corn flakes.
  8. Top with remaining rolled out pastry.
  9. Cut small slits in the top.
  10. In a small bowl lightly beat the egg white; brush over pastry.  This will make the top bake up beautiful golden brown.
  11. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  12. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  13. Cool on wire rack.
  14. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars.
  15. Store in refrigerator.  Can be served warm or cooled with ice cream or whipped cream.
  16. NOTE:  If using frozen rhubarb, measure while frozen (5 cups).  Thaw completely in a colander, drain but do not press liquid out of the rhubarb.
I hope you take a chance an try this recipe.  I had no idea how wonderful the homemade crust was really going to be.  Like I said earlier, it's worth every ounce of effort you put into it! ;)   I'll post a picture later... if I can get one! :)

Picture posted at 7:35 pm... and the final grade is M... as in mmmmmmmmmm good! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Banana Alaska by Sandra Lee

My favorite show on the Food Channel is Simply Homemade with Sandra Lee.  She combines 70% store bought ingredients with 30% fresh to make amazing appetizers, dinners, DESSERTS and cocktails! 

This last week, she featured an amazing looking Banana Dessert she called Banana Alaska.  As we were hosting Chris' parents for dinner over the weekend, I thought they would be the perfect guinea pigs wonderful diners to sample my amazing concoction! 

It turned out delicious, but I did modify the recipe to suit my tastes.  The recipe called for a meringue topping to be broiled, but I didn't think that flavor would be perfect.  So I opted for a can of spray whipped cream and it was perfect.  Great Banana flavor, amazing ice cream... and here's the recipe for your delight!

Banana Alaska - Dawn's style
  • 1 roll sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus a dash for dusting)
  • 1 - 5.1 oz. instant banana pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 pints Haagen Daas Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream, softened for 2 hrs. in refridgerator
  • 1 banana sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds (I toasted them myself - bake at 350 for about 5 minutes)
  • Spray whipping cream
  • 10" spring form pan
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.

For cookie layers:  In a bowl, knead 1/2 of the cookie dough w/ 1/4 cup of flour until flour is incorporated.  Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured surface.  Using the springform pan as a template, cut 1 large cookie.  (you want it to be slightly smaller than the pan as it will rise when baking)  Repeat with remaining cookie dough and another 1/4 cup of flour.  Place both large cookies on baking sheets or plates and cover them with plastic.  Place in the freezer and chill for 15 minutes.  Remove from freezer, place on cookie sheet (if it's not already there) and bake for 15 - 18 minutes until golden brown.

For pudding:  In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat pudding and milk until thickened.  Using spoon or spatula, fold in sliced bananas.  **Recommendation, after making this recipe, I would wait to mix this until an hour before you want to serve.  Then I'd make it and put it on the frozen layers and place in the refrigerator to set.  Then you'll get the banana cream pie effect without having frozen pudding.

To Assemble:  In the bottom of a 9 or 10" spring form pan, place 1 of the cookies.  On top of the cookie, spread with softened ice cream.  Layer with another cookie.  Top with banana pudding mixture and smooth.  Sprinkle with toasted almond slices.  Cover with a layer of plastic wrap and wrap a layer of aluminum foil completely around the pan over & under.  Freeze for a minimum of 8 hours, preferably over night.  See ** above for my recommendation. The double layer prevents leaking from the bottom of softened ice cream and it also stops the pudding from getting a layer of skin on top.)

To serve, use a hot towel or wash cloth, to soften the ice cream and pudding from the sides and release the springform pan.  Slice with knife heated under hot running water.  (It makes cutting through the frozen layers so much easier.)  Top with dallops of whipping cream and serve to your drooling guests! 

I'll definitely make this one again.  Next time, I'll use the ** recommendation so the pudding is soft and creamy rather than frozen.

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