Put the Lime in the Coconut: Lazy Summer Biscotti

Put the Lime in the Coconut: Lazy Summer Biscotti

Take a tried and true biscotti recipe and switch things around to create a tantalizing summer treat, perfect for lazy Summer days that call for lemonade and lounging.  Click to skip to the recipe

Lime Coconut Biscotti

 

Do you remember that song by Harry Nilsson?

 

“Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime

His sister had another one she paid it for the lime

She put the lime in the coconut, she drank ‘em bot’ up….”

 

Well, in these lazy days of summer, that song started whirling around in my head and hello….. a cookie was born. Now, you might think this a bit strange, but if you’ve been around me long enough, you’ll know that strange is the inspiration for much of my food!

I love biscotti as a mid-afternoon snack. I make myself a latte and dip the cookie right in the cup. But, on a warm summer day, sometimes a latte can be a bit much. So, I settle for an ice coffee or lemonade.

These drinks do not lend themselves to appropriate dipping.

So, I decided to summer-up my traditional biscotti.

I added a bit of cornmeal to the flour to give it an earthier flavor. Fresh lime juice, zest, and thyme bring in the Italian flavors that I associate with summer.

And then….Well, coconut is so tropical that I just had to throw some into the mix. Toasted pine nuts complement all the other flavors while adding richness and voila…a crisp, fully-flavored biscotti was born.

This is just another example of how you can take a tried and true recipe and switch things around to fit your mood. Give these biscotti a try and let’s see what you think.

“Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning…. woo….”

Lime Coconut Biscotti

These biscuit-like cookies are crisp, crunchy, and full of Italian flavors. They are the perfect afternoon snack with a glass of chilled lemonade or even better…. how about as a late-night snack with a flute of limoncello!

Ingredients

For cookies:

3 ounces pine nuts, about ½ cup

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Zest of 2 limes, about 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 stick

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Juice of 2 limes, about 3 tablespoons, divided


For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

Yields:   3 dozen biscuit cookies

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Toast the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat until just golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep your eye on the pine nuts as once they are fragrant, they go from perfect to burnt in a nanosecond.

Place the granulated sugar, coconut flakes, lime zest, and thyme into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter with the flavored sugar. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and two tablespoons of the lime juice. Stir in the flour. Add the pine nuts. Divide the dough into two halves, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Form each portion of dough into a log about 3-inches wide and 10 to 12-inches long. Place these onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the logs are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. When cooled, use a serrated knife to cut each log into ½-inch slices and lay cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake until the cookies are dry and just crisp, about another 30 minutes.

Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, half-and-half, and vanilla until smooth. When the cookies have cooled, drizzle each one with the glaze.

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries (and Murder Hornets)

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries (and Murder Hornets)

From the pandemic to “Tiger King”, 2020 has been crazy.  I invite you to turn off the news and turn on your oven to make my BEST very berry cherry pie recipe and get back to the simple pleasures this summer.   Click to skip to the recipe

Bowl of cherries

 

Think about all of the crazy things that have happened in the first six months of 2020.

In a Super Bowl commercial, Mr. Peanut (Planters Nut’s mascot for, oh, maybe forever….) died. Prince Harry and his bride decided not to be royalty anymore while Hollywood royals, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson contracted COVID-19 and were quarantined in Australia. The rest of the world decided to lockdown as well and the audience for Netflix’s “Tiger King” was born. The Boy Scouts went broke. Murder Hornets swarmed Washington state. The Pentagon released UFO photographs, and no one even batted an eye.

Life is just a bowl of cherries….Right?

Well, it is if you are a fruit pie lover. That is, if you are a cherry and berry fruit pie lover.

Everyone needs a little break once in a while and mine came this week when I discovered a huge bag of dark red cherries in the produce section of the grocery store. I brought them home and pondered their delivery.

Will it be cherry ice cream, cherry chutney, cherry jam, cherry cobbler, or, hey, what about cherry pie?!

I did cheat by using one of the several refrigerated pie crusts that I had in the fridge. I’ve always had a bit of a problem getting the crust to hold the filling. Sometimes it’s just too soggy on the bottom. So, I thought I’d use a prepared crust and concentrate on the filling. Most recipes call for frozen cherries. These exude a lot of liquid when you simmer them, mostly from being frozen.

In order to use fresh cherries, I had to add liquid. Normally just a bit of water would do. But I happened to have a bit of berry sauce leftover and thought, well, why the heck not! I’m sure the murder hornets won’t mind.

Then I added a touch of vanilla. Something about cherry coke and vanilla coke just kind of enter my brain, and, well….BEST CHERRY PIE FILLING EVER!

The berry puree is easy and it’s the perfect thing to do with fruit that is getting a bit too ripe. This step is not as time-consuming as you might think and is definitely worth the effort.

In place of turning on the evening news this week, why not turn on your oven instead and make this yummy dessert? 

After all, life is just a bowl of cherries!

Very Berry Cherry Pie

Remember having a Vanilla Coke on a warm summer’s day? Well, take that memory and turn it into a summer fruit pie. Yes.…I did just that!

Ingredients

8 cups fresh pitted cherries

½ cup berry puree (see note)

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling

¼ cup corn starch

1 teaspoon vanilla

Refrigerated pie crust for two-crust pie

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons half and half

Serves:   6-8 people

Time:   20-minute cuisine plus baking

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Place the cherries into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the cherries begin to exude their juices, about five minutes. Stir in the berry puree and continue cooking until the cherries begin to breakdown, about 5 minutes more.

Mix together the sugar and the cornstarch. Stir this into the cherries. Stir in the vanilla. Stir and continue to cook until the cherries are sticky and slurpy, about 5 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Roll out one crust and fit into the bottom of a pie plate. Pour the cooled cherry filling into the pie crust. Dot with butter. Roll out the top crust and fit over the filling. Crimp together the edges and cut slits in the top. Brush the top crust with half and half and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the pie is golden brown, and cherry filling peaks through the top crust, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Make-Ahead Berry Puree:

Place 4 cups berries and ½ cup granulated sugar into a deep saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the berries until they break down and are soft and mushy. Cool to room temperature. Place a colander or fine sieve into a larger bowl. Push the berries through the colander, using a wooden spoon or potato masher. You want most of the pulp and seeds to stay in the colander. Transfer the puree in the bowl to a small pitcher.

4th of July Party, Safely: A Socially-Distanced BBQ Get-Together Plan

4th of July Party, Safely: A Socially-Distanced BBQ Get-Together Plan

Host a social distancing get-together this July 4th with tips to stay safe and recipes to make it delicious!

Click to skip to the recipes

With so many large-scale activities canceled for the 4th of July holiday, small gatherings with appropriate social distancing are the sign of the times.

This year, my family barbecue is trimmed down to immediate family with only a few (very close) family friends. I will miss the annual get-together of friends and neighbors. Mostly, I will miss seeing the kids that grow from children to tweens to teens to young adults each year.

But, with my “glass is always half-full” vision, I appreciate the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones and less time preparing for a big bash. After all, those glow-in-the-dark bracelets will last ‘til next year!

We are who we are, and we Americans will celebrate! Trying to plan for my slimmed-down annual party, I started by putting my caterer’s hat on.


Back in the day, when my pals and I were planning a Memorable Occasion’s (the name of my old catering company) party we would lay out the menu and then come up with some clever way to serve it. We were always short of staff, so serve-yourself food was a great solution when feeding a crowd.

This strategy works perfectly when you are planning an appropriate socially distanced backyard Fourth of July barbecue. Allowing your guests to choose their own items from individual containers is smarter in today’s climate.


Here are some pointers for a safe and social distancing get-together:

 

  1. Fresh air is best for this year’s celebration. If it’s possible sit outside. Sit on your back porch, in your back yard, even in your driveway.  If you are rained out, or don’t have enough space, open the windows to let the fresh air in. 
  2. It’s still okay to ask your guests to bring a dish. No one says you, the host, must do it all. But we’re going to ask either that the dish is brought in individual portions, or that you dish it up in the kitchen before serving. This is not the time for a buffet supper. 
  3. Serve right from the grill. For example, let guests bring their bun to you when grilling dogs and burgers! Condiment packs are key here for mustard and ketchup, but you can also be safe by providing several bowls of condiments and allowing each guest to use his or her own spoon for scooping diced onions and peppers.
  4. As much as you can, serve everything individually. Use whatever you have around the house as containers. My plan this year is to serve scoops of potato salad in metal cups, shrimp on skewers, and stuffed mushrooms on porcelain tasting spoons. A homemade milkshake served in a mason jar, dripping with chocolate and nuts, or doused in sprinkles is the best of the best when you’re talking personal desserts. Get creative with what you have, but also take a look at all the clever paper goods that are available to hold sides and desserts. 
  5. Don’t forget to get the kids involved. Kids can pass around trays of individual appys and help prepare those decorative shakes. The more people involved, in the safest way… the better!

There are lots of ways to celebrate what is a most important American holiday, but there’s only one way to make it perfect. And that is by sharing it with your friends and family who you love and who love you back! 

Happy Fourth, everyone.

And here are a couple of my favorite recipes for you to try.

Spicy Potato Salad

Ingredients

Potato salad is a picnic and cold supper staple. When spiced up with a little hot sauce, it becomes a devilish addition to most everyday meals. Feel free to make this day a day in advance to allow the spicy flavors to marry with the potatoes.

5 pounds small red creamer potatoes, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 bunch (6 to 8) green onions, chopped (about ½ cup)

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon paprika

4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Servings:   6 – 8

Time:  30 minutes, plus chilling

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain and place into a bowl.

Add the onions to the bowl. Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard paprika and hot sauce.  Pour this mixture over the potatoes. Toss the potatoes with the dressing.

Season with salt and pepper and if you like with additional hot pepper sauce.

Chill the salad for 1 hour or overnight.  Sprinkle the salad with fresh cilantro.

Beer Basted Baby Back Ribs with Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

This is a foolproof way to prepare moist, tender, and never over-cooked ribs. By steaming the ribs in a slow oven, the meat cooks in advance of grilling; therefore, the time spent grilling is significantly reduced.

For ribs:

6 pounds baby back ribs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garlic powder

1 (12-ounce) can beer

For sauce:

1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup cider vinegar

½ cup dark molasses

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup Jack Daniels whiskey

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 or more drops hot pepper sauce

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Servings:   4 – 6 

Time:  Several hours in the oven and about 20 minutes on the grill

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season the ribs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place them onto a rack in the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Pour the beer into the pan.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Place the pan into the oven.  Cook until the ribs are quite tender, but not falling off the bone, about 2 to 3 hours.

For the sauce, bring the tomatoes, vinegar, molasses, canola oil, whiskey, mustard, chili powder, cinnamon, and as much hot pepper sauce as you like, to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the ribs to an outdoor grill over medium-high heat.  Cook, turning often until well browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Baste the ribs with sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Transfer the ribs to a board and slice into individual servings.

Invite guests to bring their plates to you and serve with a drizzle of extra sauce on the side.

The BEST Lemon Cake Recipe and Berries, Cherries, and Pies (Oh My!)

The BEST Lemon Cake Recipe and Berries, Cherries, and Pies (Oh My!)

Spring means berries and cherries and all the delicious baking that goes with it! Even if you can’t go to the farm, let the farm come to you by way of your local grocer and get ready to cherry and berry. Click to skip to the recipe

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

 

When I think of Spring, I think about berry pickin’. When I was little, my grandparents had a huge garden. (They also raised pigs and chickens… but that’s another story.) In the garden we picked ripe strawberries from vines for Gram when asked.

We usually ate more than we turned over for Gram’s famous berry pies as was evidenced by our stained (and somewhat guilty) smiles.

At the end of Gram and Gramp’s long, dirt drive was a hedge of berry bushes. I think they were huckleberries, but they could have been blackberries. I remember my brother and sister and I would pick the berries and thread them onto long straws and then eat them like an ear of corn. Yumm! Many of these didn’t make it to the pies, either.

Luckily, Gram had nine grandchildren, and even given our full bellies, pies were baked!

Today, I love to take my grandkids to a strawberry patch at this time of year, but, in this climate of social distancing, the patches are devoid of pickers, yet abundant in berries. I recently bought a box of over-sized deeply red, ripe, strawberries from my grocery store. The handwritten sign told me that they came from a local farm, not but five miles away.

Which leads me to my berry recipes! The first is not a recipe. It’s a “just a little extra’ to your everyday standard.

I’m talking about blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup.

Blueberry Pancakes with Berry Sauce

easy blueberry pancakes with blueberry sauce

I add a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to my standard boxed pancake batter. Then I substitute melted butter for vegetable oil. This creates rich batter for your cakes.

I reserve about twenty blueberries from a pint. The rest I place into a deep saucepan. Pour maple syrup over the berries and simmer on low until the berries break down. Be careful, the berry syrup can bubble up if you’re not watching. Turn off the heat so that the syrup cools down a bit.

Make the pancakes as you normally would, but place a few of the reserved berries onto each one before you flip it over. Stack the blueberry pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of butter and ladle warm berry syrup over the top. The cakes absorb the berrieness from inside and out! It’s a treat.

As you might imagine, I can find myself with a bunch of leftover berries. These, I freeze and use to make smoothies and sauces. My lemon cake is the perfect foil for an easy berry sauce.

Glazed Lemon Cake With Very Berry Sauce

Serves:

Time:

A crowd

30-Minute Cuisine, Plus 1 Hour Baking

Ingredients

This lemony cake with berry sauce is just puckerable enough to make it into the lip smackin’ category.

For cake:

1 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup butter, 1 ½ sticks, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

¼ cup sour cream

Zest from 2 lemons, about 2 tablespoons

Juice from 2 lemons, about ¼ cup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Juice from 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For berries:

4 cups assorted berries (I used frozen left-over berries)

½ cup granulated sugar

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the pan with some of the sheets overlapping so that you can use the paper to remove the cake after baking. Then spray the paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy and smooth. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the lemon zest and juice from 2 lemons, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time, until the batter is just mixed together. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 60 minutes. Cool the pan on the rack for 30 minutes, then transfer the cake from the pan to the rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, juice from 1 lemon, cream, and vanilla. The glaze will be thick, but pourable. Place the cake onto your serving platter. Pour the glaze over top.

Place the berries and ½ cup sugar into a deep saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the berries until they break down and are soft and mushy. Cool to room temperature. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Push the berries through the colander, using the potato masher. You want most of the pulp and seeds to stay in the colander. Transfer what’s left in the bowl to a small pitcher.

Drizzle the sauce onto a plate. Top with a slice of cake and a few extra berries for garnish.

Best Cherry Tart Recipe

I have a thing with cherries. I love cherry pie, cherry jam, cherry chutney. Just eating freshly pitted cherries with grandson, Ben, is a blast. He loves the pitting!

On the flip side, I deeply dislike canned cherry pie filling; Don’t get me started!

So, I came up with a way to satisfy my cherry pie craving, using fresh cherries and time-saving refrigerated puff pastry dough. It’s easy and delish!

Serves:

Time:

Makes about 20 palm-sized tarts

30-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

These little tarts are best warm from the oven. You can make them and freeze them and bake them off when you’re ready for a treat!

For cherry filling:

2 pints fresh cherries, pitted about 3 cups

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

Zest from 1 lemon, about 1 tablespoon

Juice from 2 lemons, about ¼ cup

For pies:

1 (13.5-ounce) refrigerated package puff pastry dough

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I used raspberry flavored coarse sugar)

Mini Cherry Tarts

Place the cherries into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar and splash in about 2 tablespoons of water. Heat the cherries over medium heat until they begin to breakdown and the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir together the cornstarch, lemon zest and juice until smooth and pour into the pot. Continue simmering until the cherries begin to bubble up the sides of the pan. Use a potato masher to mush together the cherries in the syrupy sauce. Continue simmering until the mixture resembles fruit jam. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Place the dough onto your floured board or work surface. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 15” x 18” and about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into four equal strips, horizontally and 5 equal pieces, vertically. You will end up with about 20 squares.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Pour the cherries through the colander, using the potato masher to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Place a tablespoon of cherry filling on each square of dough. Fold the dough over and seal with the tines of a fork. I folded mine into triangles, but rectangles or squares are fine too! Place each tart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each tart with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until the tarts are puffed and golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.

When the Shelves Are Bare…We Bakers Turn Private Eye!

When the Shelves Are Bare…We Bakers Turn Private Eye!

 

After the Lysol, tp and hand sanitizers evaporated, certain food staples started to get sparse. I can understand milk and eggs vanishing, but I was somewhat surprised when bags of flour disappeared.

Then, the lightbulb went off. Flour makes bread. Baking bread is all about saving your sanity.

There is something about mixing, kneading, shaping and baking that says, “you’re home, you’re safe, life goes on.”

People who don’t even eat bread, are baking bread. So, bye, bye all-purpose flour! Just as I was thinking about converting to almond or coconut flour for my baking needs, an email from Carolina Ground popped into my mailbox, letting me know they are open and ready to ship!

Carolina Ground, in the Asheville, NC area is a mill that links the farmer, miller and baker. They use a cold stone milling method to grind locally grown grains into several varieties of flour. I ordered (you can too!). The flour shipped, and cookies were my first task.

And then…. as I was deep diving into my pantry, I found half a bag of King Arthur black cocoa. In the new normal and with so much time on my hands, I decided to experiment with my good-old chocolate chip cookie recipe, and modify it into a mucho decadent chocolatey, chocolate chip cookie. Boy did I knock it outta the (virtual) park.

Here’s the magic ingredient that makes ‘em so good: black cocoa and brewed coffee! Together, they bring out the dark chocolatiness of these cookies.

I used Carolina Ground’s Trinity Blend, which is a combination of hard wheat, soft wheat and wrens Abruzzi rye for the flour component. Yes, there’s a hint of orange in these cookies. Which also brings the chocolate flavor forward. It’s a mish-mosh of ingredients that just works!

You can substitute regular cocoa for dark cocoa powder if you like, but again, when you have the time on your hands to fill with baking, why not splurge a little and support our local farmers (and treat yourself) by purchasing from Carolina Ground?

BUT HERE’S THE MOST IMPORTANT “BITE” OF INFORMATION

Take half of the cookies and share them with someone that might not have the time to bake; someone spending their time protecting you and me!

Ridiculously Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

30 minute cuisine

2 cups flour (un-bleached all-purpose is fine)

½ cup black cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried orange zest

2 cups shortening (don’t judge!)

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup brewed coffee

1 teaspoon orange flavoring

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 (12-ounce package) dark chocolate morsels, about 2 cups

Preheat the oven to 375°. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the shortening with the sugars until fluffy. Mix in the eggs, coffee and orange flavoring. Mix in the flour in three additions. Mix in the oats and then the chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a medium (about 2-inch) ice cream scoop to measure batter onto the sheet. Use your immaculately clean fingers to flatten the cookie dough balls into disks. Bake until the top of the cookies spring back when touched, about 12 to 14 minutes.

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons….. Make Lemon Curd!

When Life Gives You Lemons….. Make Lemon Curd!

If there is a Facebook Quiz that analyzes your personality traits and tells you what color you are, I would be YELLOW. It’s my favorite color. I love all things yellow; yellow blouses, yellow tulips, yellow dishes, yellow gift wrap, yellow lemons…… yellow everything! Yellow is so not brown. Yellow is not red hot. Yellow is not calmingly green. Yellow is not a sad shade of blue. Yellow is perky and optimistic and bright and personable and…. well… me!

So, while others were hording toilet tissue, I was hording sunflowers (for my kitchen vase), eggs (sunny side up of course), semolina flour (that’s for my brand new pizza oven) and lemons. Lots and lots of lemons. Sure, lemons are sour, which is why God gave us sugar!

The combination of egg yolks with the zest and juice of lemons, produces a custard with a consistency between pudding and jam. You can spread lemon curd on your English muffin, swirl it in the center of a pound cake, whip it into a mousse, transform it into ice cream or make lemon curd parfaits for a light, airy and bright spring dessert.

And that’s what I did here. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd Parfaits

with Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream

makes 6

30 minute cuisine, plus 20 minutes for biscuits

For lemon curd

3 large lemons, about 2 tablespoons zest and ½ cup juice

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ pound butter, room temperature, 1 stick

5 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon kosher salt

For berries

1 pint strawberries, stemmed and cut in half

For mascarpone cream

1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cream

¼ cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

For biscuits

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup shortening

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Zest the lemons and place into a bowl with the sugar. Use a fork to combine. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the lemon-sugar, which you will need later when you assemble the parfaits. Pour the remaining lemon-sugar blend into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter and mix until creamy. Add the egg yolks, the juice from the lemons and the salt.

Heat water to a simmer in a pan (some bubbling, but not a mad boil). Place a heat proof bowl over the simmering water. You can use a double boiler for this. Pour the mixture into the bowl. Stir and simmer until the curd thickens, about 10 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, you can make sure your curd is plenty thick when it reaches 170°. Cool the curd and then transfer it to a jar or plastic container. You can refrigerate the curd for up to 2 weeks.

Place the strawberries into a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the reserved lemon-sugar. Stir and set aside. You can chill the berries for up to several days.

Place the mascarpone cheese, sour cream and vanilla into a small bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture together until smooth and creamy.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Place the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ½ cup sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to mix together. Take off the lid of the machine. Pinch the shortening into small pieces on top of the flour mixture. Return the top to the machine. Pulse until the flour turns into coarse crumbs and begins to climb up the side of the bowl. With the machine running, slowly pour in the buttermilk/eggs. The dough will clump together and begin to wrap around the blade.

Dump the dough onto your floured work surface. It will be soft and sticky! Dust the top of the dough with additional flour. Use your hands to pat the dough down to about ½-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round biscuit cutter (or top of a glass) to cut 12 circles from the dough, reusing the scraps. Place the dough circles onto the baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits begin to rise and turn golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the reserved lemon-sugar into the melted butter. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush with the sugared butter. Cool to room temperature.

To assemble the parfaits, cut one biscuit in half. Break a biscuit half into pieces and place into the bottom of a glass (or container of your choice). Spoon some of the strawberries over the biscuit. Add a spoonful of mascarpone cream and a large spoonful of lemon curd. Repeat with the other half of the biscuit, strawberries, cream and curd. You can drizzle some of the sugared berry juice on the top. Place the remaining 6 biscuits into a resealable plastic bag. You can keep these in the fridge or freezer.