Pastries in Paradise

Lemon Meringue Tart

16 - 1 (1)Bright, citrusy desserts are the perfect way to end a summer meal. Since there is always one of the many varieties of lemon in season year round, a dessert focused on lemons is a great way to indulge in a summer citrus craving while keeping with seasonal produce. The lemon meringue tart is one of my favorites, as it offers a quick and relatively simple way to feature lemons in a show-stopping summer dessert.

16 - 1 (2)For those of you familiar with the popular lemon meringue pie, you may be wondering how a tart is any different other than the pan it is baked in. Truth is they are very similar in appearance but the difference lies heavily in the crust and filling. A pie uses a lemon custard for the filling, which contains flour or cornstarch to thicken and little to no butter for flavor. On the other hand, a tart uses lemon curd for the filling, which contains no flour/cornstarch and has butter added for a creamy, smooth texture. Lemon curds also tends to have more lemon juice or zest added, creating a more intense lemon flavor. There is also a noticeable difference in the crusts. A pie uses the traditional flaky pie crust as a base while the tart will use a ground almond/cookie crumb crust.

16 - 1Both the crust and filling of this tart are very easy to prepare. The only part that may trip up beginner bakers is the meringue. That is why I chose to use a swiss meringue as it is more stable and doesn’t need to be baked like other meringues. I also chose to use store-bought lemon curd for convenience but you could easily prepare your own. This tart is baked in a 9 inch tart pan and will make approximately 8 servings.

Lemon Meringue Tart

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Blanched Almonds
  • 3 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 36 Vanilla Wafers
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 (10 oz.) Jar Lemon Curd
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar, and wafers. Process mixture until finely ground. With the motor running, drizzle the butter through the food chute and process until blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until well toasted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once crust has cooled, spoon lemon curd evenly into crust. Place egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with a stand or hand mixer on high-speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Preheat broiler. In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 250°. With mixer running, slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the egg white mixture over the tart. Broil for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Serve

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

20160703_153619Stone fruits are one of summer’s best seasonal produce options. When I spotted some fresh Georgia Peaches on sale along with a red variety of plumcots, I had to bring them both home (plus a few plums that happened to hop on in). Unfortunately, these tasty gems go from remarkable to rotten extremely quick, like overnight quick. I probably should mention that it didn’t help matters that one of my cats decided to taste test one, bruising it pretty good. Of course once one peach gets bruised any near it also get bruised and soft.

20160703_153805Upon first glance, the fruit looked like it deserved a trip to the trash. However, the great thing about stone fruits are they can easily be salvaged. Crisps are a simple, rustic way to save any stone fruits that seem past their prime. My golden rule is if the fruit still smells sweet and you don’t see any mold it can be thrown in a crisp. A crisp is a simple way to showcase the abundance of summer’s stone fruits. All you need is a small baking dish, the fruit, and a few other ingredients that are typical pantry staples. No extravagant shopping trips necessary.

20160703_153738The stone fruits used in this crisp are peaches, plums, and plumcots. I specifically used black plums and red plumcots but you are welcome to use whatever combination you have on hand. I prefer this combination as it provides a mixture of tart and sweet fruits that complement one another. The goal is to add a hint of sweetness from the peaches but keep the flavor remaining tart overall so that it does not become too sweet when paired with the ice cream. The addition of cinnamon and nutmeg warms up the flavor of the stone fruits while the crispy oat topping provides a crunchy textural contrast to the soft fruit base.

I find this crisp to be the perfect end to any summertime meal. This year it will be served at our Independence Day BBQ. It is best served warm with some low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Enjoy & Happy 4th of July to America!!!!!!!

Note:

  • If you are preparing the crisp ahead of time and would like to serve it warm to guests, you can place it in single serving bowls then microwave each bowl for approximately 30 seconds. If you would like to heat up the entire crisp at once you can place it in a 350° oven for approximately 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired degree of warmth.
  • This crisp yields about 6 servings, however it can easily be doubled. When doubling the recipe make sure you use a 13 x 9 inch baking pan to accommodate the larger amount of ingredients.
  • The nutritional information is based upon a serving that includes ½ cup of crisp and 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream.

Summer Stone Fruit Crisp

Fruit Base Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups Sliced Peaches
  • 1 cup Sliced Plums
  • 1 cup Sliced Plumcots
  • 3/8 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

Oat Topping Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 1.7 ounces All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 cups Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation:

  1. Combine all of the fruit base ingredients in a large bowl. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the fruit mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle mixture with the butter. Stir mixture with a fork until crumbly.
  4. Once the fruit base has finished baking, sprinkle the oat mixture over the baked fruit. Continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(½ cup crisp & 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream)

SummerStoneFruitCrispNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 14 Smart Points, 8 Points Plus, or 6 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

IMG_20160627_113132Chocolate chip cookies are a simple, traditional treat that almost guarantees to please every sweet tooth. Although chocolate chip cookies are wonderful as is, they also make a great base for additions that can lure in the adventurous or be made to cater any specific taste. Toasted coconut is one of these many options that is quite hard to beat. There is just something about the combination of chocolate and coconut that tastes divine together (hence my love of Mounds candy bars). In fact, if a Mounds candy bar were turned into a cookie, this would be it.

20160627_154819Given that these cookies feature two ingredients (coconut & dark chocolate) that are not as bad for your health as once thought, they make the perfect guiltless treat. Sure, as with any treat that lacks essential nutrients, they are in fact deemed a treat. However, not all treats are created equal and these certainly will not set you back as bad as many others without sacrificing taste. By toasting the coconut before adding it to the batter, the cookies take on a unique texture of both crisp and chewy. When you are not getting hit with bursts of intense dark chocolate flavor, the cookie has a hint of nuttiness lent from the toasted coconut. So if you want a spin on a classic, try this cookie and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Note:

  • This recipe yields approximately 20-25 cookies, providing you use a level tablespoon to measure. You can make the cookies bigger or smaller, however keep in mind there will be changes to texture, baking time, and nutritional information.

Skinny Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 oz. Premium Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (such as Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange coconut in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Bake coconut for 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool. Keep oven preheated to 350°.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk until blended. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Turn the speed down to low and add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Gently stir in the toasted coconut and chocolate by hand.
  3. Coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until edges just begin to brown, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cookies rest on pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

 

skinnycoconutchocolatechipcookiesNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 2 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JACKIE MILLS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

20160606_110931As Spring comes to a close and we turn things over to summer on June 20, now is the time to enjoy the bountiful fresh fruit options spring provides. Luckily, here in Central Florida, you can find white tents and loaded pickup trucks all over the sides of the roadways selling fresh, in season produce and other oddities (such as gator jerky) on a typical drive home year round. This time of year, the main produce being sold at these mini markets of sorts are strawberries. Since I live rather close to Plant City (Florida), the winter Strawberry capital of the world and host of the annual festival dedicated to strawberries, it is not hard to come by an abundance of strawberries at affordable prices. With an abundance of fresh, irresistible strawberries, finding new ways to use them is not only fun but tasty.

20160606_111339-1Strawberries (and cherries) have always been my go to topping for cheesecake. As much as I love fruit glazed cheesecakes, I do have a problem with the cheesecake to fruit ratio often found in many recipes. The ratio ALWAYS leans heavily in the side of the cheesecake with minimal fresh fruit topping. I decided this needed to be changed. Why not make a cheesecake-esque dessert that focuses more on the fruit topping over the cheesecake filling.

20160606_111935The following recipe is the result of such a desire I have had since childhood. With this recipe, for once, the strawberries are the star of the show. Instead of being a simple topping, the strawberries are nestled in a thinner layer of creamy cheesecake filling and graham cracker crust, allowing them to shine. Perhaps even better than the taste itself, is the fact that this dessert will not set you back a ton of calories. In fact the tart is very low in cholesterol and high in vitamin C. It is perfect to serve at spring and summer parties and your guests will never suspect it is not as indulgent as it appears.

20160606_111325While on the topic of parties, this is also a great dessert that can be made in advance. You can easily make the crust and filling ahead of time (up to 2 days) and then assemble the dessert the day of the party. This will help free up some time to make all of the other items you may be serving that do not have the ability to be prepared in advance.

Notes:

  • This tart will easily serve 10 people. If you need it to serve more you can easily double (or triple) the recipe and divide the crust, filling, and topping evenly amongst two (or more) tart pans.
  • You may have some extra strawberries if your cartons managed to miraculously not have any squishy or moldy strawberries at the bottom.
  • Although I chose to use a 9 inch round tart pan, you may also use an 8 x 12 inch rectangular tart pan or 9 inch pie plate.

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

Crust Ingredients:

  • 36 Honey Graham Crackers (9 sheets)
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 4 tsp. Water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened (about 2/3 cup)
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons Fresh Strawberries; hulled & divided
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tbsp. Cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9 inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add the sugar, butter, and water. Pulse until the mixture is moistened. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared tart pan and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Once crust has cooled completely, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir until mixture is smooth. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the crust.
  4. To prepare the topping, place 1 cup of strawberries in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pureed. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine strawberry puree, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove the glaze from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  5. Combine remaining strawberries (approximately 3 cups) and lemon juice; toss to coat. Arrange the strawberries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over the filling. Spoon the glaze evenly over the berries. Sprinkle almonds around the edge. Cover and chill tart for at least 3 hours.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Wedge)

STRAWBERRRYALMONDCREAMTARTNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 11 Smart Points, 6 Points Plus, or 5 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEAN KRESSY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

20160526_163523Angel food cake is a dessert as heavenly as the name suggests. It is light, spongy, and just sweet enough to satisfy without feeling as if one has gone overboard. As great as angel food cake is on its own, its simplicity provides endless possibilities for creating different versions of the dessert. With very little effort, a plain angel food cake can be transformed into an elegant cake for any occasion.

20160526_163534Traditionally, angel food cake is dressed up with fresh fruit and whipped cream to keep the cake light. I elected to go a bit of an unconventional route and add some heavier flavors because the rest of the cake is light enough to handle such additions without being too much. I took the flavors found in a turtle sundae (chocolate, caramel, pecans) and drizzled them across the top of the prepared cake. The results were a divine cake from top to bottom.

20160526_163739Chocolate & Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (7oz.) container Dark Semi-Sweet Dipping Chocolate (such as Baker’s)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Pecans; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Bake angel food cake according to package directions. Cool completely.
  2. Melt dark chocolate according to package directions. Place melted chocolate in a clear, decorating squeeze bottle. Squeeze bottle over top of cake, moving back and forth to create a drizzled effect on both sides of the cake. If you do not have a squeeze bottle use the back of a spoon to drizzle the chocolate using the same motion.
  3. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and salt over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly drizzle caramel over the cake in the same motions as the chocolate. Top with pecans and serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

2016-05-15-15.42Spring is a time when the heartier flavor profiles of fall and winter (namely spices and chocolate) are replaced with lighter desserts more fitting of the season. The spring and summer months typically cause us to crave lighter flavor profiles such as citrus and berry based desserts. We also tend to crave colder items since the days are hotter and we do not want to be warmed up by our sweets in the same way we do during fall and winter. Many turn to ice cream to keep them cool and satisfy a sweet tooth. Despite the many flavor possibilities of ice cream, it can quickly become tiresome.

20160515_152257-1To keep things simple in the kitchen I try to make desserts that bake up quick, like cookies or cupcakes. Coconut always reminds me of warmer weather but many recipes fail to deliver on intense coconut flavor. The ones that do deliver are often more extensive in preparation than I care to take on this time of year. Therefore, I designed this simplistic recipe with the light flavors and textures of spring that can be whipped up quickly, leaving plenty of hours for some fun in the sun.

Triple Coconut Cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 box White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 cups Coconut Milk
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • ½ cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) container Frozen Whipped Topping (such as Cool Whip); thawed (or you can substitute an equal amount of homemade whipped cream)
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) package Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (such as Jello Brand)
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 1 tsp. Coconut Extract
  • ½ cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut; toasted

Preparation:

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottoms of two 12-count cupcake tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, coconut milk, water, and egg whites. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the coconut by hand until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins, filling each cup half full. Bake cupcakes until light golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mix, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping/whipped cream until no streaks remain. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while the cupcakes cool, at least one hour.
  5. Assembly: Once the cupcakes have cooled completely you can frost the cupcakes. Remove the frosting from the refrigerator and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle frosting with toasted coconut and serve. Cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

20160426_102122As the days creep closer and closer to 90° here in Florida I begin to miss the cooler, humidity free temperatures of winter. What makes summer even harder to grasp is this year we had a very mild winter with only a handful of very cold days. I quite honestly feel robbed of my favorite time of year. In order to make up for the loss I decided to make a classic cooler weather combination in spring.

20160426_101906Growing up, one of my favorite sweets to eat in fall was the caramel apple. A local candy shop in my hometown makes the best caramel apples and to this day I have yet to find a location that has made them better. The problem is those apples are seasonal treats and once the season is over (October/November) the decadent apples disappear for another year. The memories of eating these apples were brought up a few weeks ago and I have been craving them ever since. Of course I couldn’t even get one if I wanted to because they are not in season but perhaps I could replicate the flavors I was craving and fool my body into thinking I had been reunited with my childhood favorite. An even better idea was to implement those flavors into a skinnier option than a typical dessert.

20160426_102135This recipe makes approximately 4 dozen cookies so if you do not want that many at a time I recommend freezing some of the dough to bake in the future. After taste testing a few of these my father also suggested that the flavor and texture of the dough would make a great snack bar. If you have a snack bar pan it may be worth the try although I have not personally given this a go yet. Packed with oats, chopped apple, and decadent caramel, these cookies bring the flavors of fall year round. At less than 100 calories a cookie they also leave you feeling a bit less guilty.

Skinny Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (approximately 1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large Apple; peeled, cored, & quartered
  • ¾ cup Caramel Baking Bits (Kraft)
  • Parchment Paper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a slip mat and set aside.
  2. Place quartered apple pieces in a food processor. Pulse until apple is finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Measure out ¾ cup of the chopped apple and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl place the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk until combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl), add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter. Using a stand or hand mixer set to medium speed, beat the mixture together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg, beating again until combined. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Fold in the chopped apple and caramel bits until evenly combined.
  5. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough mounds slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

SkinnyCaramelAppleOatmealCookiesNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 1 Traditional Point

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HELEN WORTHINGTON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

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