Berry Danish Recipe

The goal this summer was to beat cancer and to keep my daughter occupied. Both are big challenges, and I think I am winning both at this point in time. The first challenge has been a total battle, but being the warrior that I am, I think I am at the tail end in finding out the outcome, and the second one, as challenging as it might not sound, has been a tough one as well. I’ll be honest. My daughter is pretty bored this summer, and unfortunately there has not been a whole lot I can do based on my condition to keep her busy. There has been one thing I have been active doing though and that is teaching her how to bake and cook in the kitchen. This is something that she has always loved, and I can say that it has been a joy teaching her new things. This one in particular was teaching her how to make a berry danish.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

I knew that she was going to love pretty much all of this, but there is one thing that she was going to question and that was the cream cheese. Something that she doesn’t really like, nor eat on a regular basis. My hope is that by using it in the desert factor that she would get over that hump and really enjoy the combination of berries and cream cheese. I think she loved them!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups of blueberries, washed
  • 2 cups of blackberries, washed
  • Pinch kosher sal
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 8 ounces package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Splash water or milk

Begin by making the berry mixture. Combine the honey, half of the blueberries, half of the blackberries, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this down for about 15 minutes, stirring during the simmer. About 15 minutes in add the rest of the berries and simmer gently about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside to cool to room temperature. The goal is to have some texture to the berries.

Next, make the cream cheese filling. Beat together the cream cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside. That’s it, simple stuff.

Get out two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients
Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients

Unfold your puff pastry and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Try to keep the pastry cold while you continue to work on each individual one. The colder the better. No one likes working with room temperature pastry dough.

Roll the puff pastry into a 4-x-9-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment. Use a ramekin or cookie cutter and cut them into circles, repeating as you continue to lay them out on the parchment paper, leaving about an inch or so between each circle.

Take a fork and gently poke each  pastry circle. Add a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the center of each pastry circle, then put the entire tray into the freezer for 20 minutes. Next, whisk together the egg and and water and set aside.

After 2o minutes, remove the the pan from the freezer and brush the edges lightly with egg wash. Spoon a very heaping tablespoon or so of the berries on top of the cream cheese.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

Bake the pastries 15 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake 10 minutes more, until the pastries are deeply golden. Once cooked, remove the pastries to a wire rack and let cool. Now it’s time to dig in!

The result is a perfect bite. An awesome pastry that is creamy and fruity and is just a real treat anytime of the day. Did my daughter like them? I think so, especially after she investigated the cream cheese for a long period of time, but she got over it and asked for seconds. Hope you enjoy!

Ultimate Brownie Bites

Since I have been laid up at home, and the kids have been around during their summer break, I have been dabbling in more baking than I probably should, not only to kill time and boredom but to provide a dessert for post dinner meals for the kids. I typically let my daughter handle most, if not all, of the desserts for the family. By default it is typically a small bowl of ice cream, however my daughter will jazz things up with crushed pistachios and a fresh raspberry coulis from time to time. For me, I have little patience and just want to get things done with dessert. This is where the ultimate brownie bites comes into play.

It’s similar to the dump cake I made last year, or maybe even the Ranger cookies where I purged a bunch of things from our cupboard. This is very identical and the inspiration was to get rid of things and make a chocolate dessert that I knew my kids would love. The things I do, I’ll tell you…

Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Not the prettiest of pictures, but trust me, the picture doesn’t matter as the taste made up for it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 box of your favorite brownie mix, cooked according to its instructions
  • 16 small Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • 6 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of roasted, salted peanuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup of butterscotch chips, optional
  • vanilla ice cream, optional

Start by baking your brownie mix according to directions. Cook about 3/4 of the way through, then remove from the oven. We are only cooking partially as we are going to load it up and finish the rest with the toppings.

Once about 3/4 of the way through cooking, remove the brownie pan from the oven and set onto a non-burn working surface.

Take the graham cracker crumbs and sprinkle on top of the brownies, lightly coating the top.

Next, layer on about 16 of the Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Ultimate Brownie Bars Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Crumble on the Oreo cookies, then sprinkle with roasted peanuts and butterscotch chips.

Place this back into the oven, and cook until the top is nicely melted and the brownies are cooked to your liking.

Remove, let cool, and let the kids gaze at this sugary delight until it is time to dig in. Sure, it’s a mess when slicing into it, and it falls apart of the most part, but that’s where the vanilla ice cream come in and acts like a glue to capture all of that loveliness.

Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe
Ultimate Brownie Bites Recipe

Was this a hit for dessert? You betcha, and let’s just say it didn’t last long in the house. The good thing is I was able to purge a few things from the cupboard while satisfying the rest of the family. A win, win. Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Pie

I’m always thinking of things to create to get one or more of my kids in the kitchen. Having three kids in the kitchen is quite the task, but I’ve been known to manage a couple, especially when teaching them how to make smoked pork ribs. When it comes to dessert creation however, I tend to go straight to my daughter for assistance, and this coconut pie was no exception.

I’m a big fan of coconut, and I knew that my wife and daughter were as well. Seeing that we had family in town, I decided to make a(nother) coconut pie as the first one I made was devoured in less than seven hours. Yup, I said it, in less than seven hours. That’s almost unspeakable in my kitchen. It was that darn good.

Coconut Pie Recipe
Coconut Pie Recipe

Let’s get started on this coconut pie which is way too easy to create.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon zested, and juiced
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup additional coconut flakes, lightly toasted
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 store bought frozen pie crust

This pie is pretty much a mix, and dump into pie crust, so yes, it’s really that easy. The only time intensive part is waiting.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mix all the filling ingredients, omitting the toasted coconut flakes at this time, until nice and smooth and then pour into the frozen pie shell.

Place the pie onto a cookie sheet to prevent any spillage, and then bake for 1 hour.

Coconut Pie Ingredients
Coconut Pie Ingredients

After 1 hour, remove the pie from the oven, and top with the toasted coconut flakes. Let the pie set and then place into the refrigerator for at least one hour to completely cool before slicing and serving.

You talk about an awesome pie, and when biting into it you get the great texture from the toasted coconut, then the creaminess, then the zing from the lemon. BOOM! This is one awesome pie. Hope you enjoy!

 

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding

Whenever pudding is on sale at the store, I grab some up for the kids. Typically the usual fare such as chocolate, vanilla, or the combination. Not too long ago, I decided to throw in the classic tapioca pudding to see if there were going to be any takers. There was one who had high interest, only due to the fact that the chocolate and vanilla puddings were already taken. When he asked me what it was, I said ‘pudding, try it’.  He tore into it, looking at it, nibbling on the spoon, much like we probably did as kids (I really liked tapioca pudding growing up, or any pudding besides butterscotch), but then he just scooped it up like there was no tomorrow.

That’s when I decided I would make a batch of my own tapioca pudding and get their take on it. Success? Yes, and with a gentle and awesome twist.

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe
Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of large tapioca pearls, soaked overnight in room temperature water
  • 2 1/12 cups of milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • additional sugar
  • fresh blueberries, optional

Start by soaking the tapioca pearls in room temperature water, overnight.
The next day, drain the water from the tapioca, give a gentle rinse, and drain again. Reminds me of making sticky rice believe it or not.

Set aside, then warm up your milk. You do not want the milk to come to a boil, rather just before a boil is ideal, so keep an eye on it.

Once the milk is warmed through, add in the salt, and the tapioca pearls. Give a good stir, keeping an eye not to boil the milk. Once the milk begins to slightly bubble on the sides of the pot, reduce the heat to very low heat, and cook those tapioca pearls for 60 minutes, making sure the the milk never comes to a boil.

Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe
Bruleed Tapioca Pudding Recipe

During this time, separate your egg yolks from the whites, making sure to reserve both.

Add the yolks to the bowl of sugar, and mix that together to form a nice paste. Now it is time to gently mix in some of the hot milk mixture to the sugar and yolk mixture. This is called tempering. The goal is to warm the yolks through without scrambling them. You can use a couple of tablespoons of that milk mixture, slowly, to achieve that process. Once you have that ready, add this mixture to the pot of milk and tapioca pearls and give a good stir.

Next, turn up the heat and give a good stir, cooking for about 15 minutes or until the tapioca thickens.

During this time, take those reserved egg whites and beat the crap out of them until you have nice, stiff egg whites. Once stiffened, slowly stir those into the cooked tapioca, adding the vanilla extract as well.

Pour into serving bowls, and place into the refrigerator to completely cool (unless you like warm tapioca, that’s your call).

Now the fun part, at least for me, and the kids. Add some fine sugar to the top of each tapioca bowl, get your kitchen brulee torch out, and caramelize the top of the sugar. Once done, add some blueberries (I used frozen for texture), and dig in.

Was this ever a fun treat? Heck yes! Did the kids love it? You betcha! Was it worth the time, effort, and expressions on their faces? Absolutely. If you are wanting to make some tapioca, give this one a try, especially bruleed as it was cool, refreshing, and delicious. Hope you enjoy!