Lemon Angel Food Dessert

Are you looking for a new summer dessert recipe that’s sure to be a hit when entertaining? I’ve got one that I predict will become a favorite for your family and friends.

First let me say, I LOVE PINTEREST. If you’ve ever looked at my Pinterest profile (@spencesgirlblog) you’ll see that I spend a great deal of time there, at least 80% of my boards are recipes. I subscribe to numerous foodie magazines and own so many cookbooks that when I redid my kitchen a few years ago, I designed it to showcase my collection.

That said, I still keep a recipe box of those great recipes that are from family and friends – old school, right? And this summer, I’ve been craving some retro-type desserts and my recipe box yielded some treasures. This dessert is easy, light and refreshing with similarities to tiramisu’s or trifles. I made it recently for a big family dinner and got rave reviews.

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My Recipe Box

Lemon Angel Food Dessert    serves 12-16

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I love my juicer and microplane….

For the custard:

  • 6 egg yolks – lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • juice from 4 lemons
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 1 T unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 c ice water

In a saucepan, blend the eggs yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Cook over medium heat – stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Add the gelatin to the ice water, stir together and set aside. Once the custard starts to thicken, remove from heat and add the gelatin/water mix.  Stir well and set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3/4 c sugar

Beat the egg whites until thick, begin adding the sugar a bit at a time.

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It will look like this……

In a 9×13 pan, break up a store-bought Angel Food Cake.

Easy right?
Easy right?
Just break it up by hand...
Just break it up by hand…

Fold the lemon custard together gently with the egg white mixture. Pour over the top of the cake, “blanketing” the top.  Refrigerate for several hours and serve chilled.  While this is good for several days, it rarely lasts that long and just a personal note, it’s great for breakfast!

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White Chocolate Praline Bread Pudding

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This is a recipe that I’ve come up with after having White Chocolate Bread Pudding at a little restaurant called Paw Paw’s Kajun Kitchen in Sevierville Tennessee last year.  We had gorged on all-you-can-eat crawfish (flown in that morning) while on vacation and were chatting with the owner who does all the cooking.  A charming southern gal, originally from New Orleans, she asked if we’d saved room for dessert.  “Not even if it was free” (my typical reply when I’m stuffed) but she seemed disappointed and tempted us with “not even for my White Chocolate Bread Pudding?”

She had my attention and I couldn’t imagine not trying it! I was in heaven.  It was so good I took a second order to go. Past the midday rush, she sat down and told me her secret was not just the white chocolate sauce but to include white chocolate in the bread/custard mixture.  I vowed to re-create this amazing dessert.

After searching for recipes, I’ve come up with my take on it adding a little twist – a praline pecan topping.  The recipe for the White Chocolate Sauce follows.

White Chocolate Praline Bread Pudding            serves 8-12

Bread Pudding:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 c milk
  • 6 c cubed white bread – crusts removed (I use whatever stale bread that I have frozen – italian, french etc.)
  • 1/2 c Ghirardelli Classic White Chocolate Chips

Praline Topping:

  • 1/4 c brown sugar (packed)
  • 3-4 T butter
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans

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After cubing bread, set aside in a large mixing bowl.  Next – and this is important, beat the 4 eggs in a separate bowl for 7-10 minutes (this does matter – it almost gives it a souffle quality, trust me).

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Set a timer for the 7-10 minutes of whipping time!

Continue beating while you add the sugar and milk until blended.  Pour over the bread and fold in repeatedly – pushing down the cubes so all the bread is soaked, set aside for 15 minutes (I give at least two more good stirs during this time).

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In a small saute pan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar followed by the pecans.  Stir together on a low heat for 10 minutes, bubbling but with care not to burn.

Back to the bread mixture, stir in the white chocolate chips.  Setting your oven at 350 degrees, butter an 8×8 pan and spoon the bread pudding mixture into the pan (there will be some liquid that hasn’t absorbed into the bread).  Use a spatula or spoon to press it evenly across the top and into the corners.

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Using a small spoon, drop the praline pecans evenly over the top of the pudding.

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Bake for 50 minutes.  You’ll notice that it rises, like a souffle (it will come down a bit as it cools).

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Allow it to cool for at least 45 minutes.  When ready to serve, top each serving with the White Chocolate Sauce (recipe below) and enjoy.  If you don’t finish this the first night, refrigerate it, then re-warm it for about 20 seconds in the microwave.

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White Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 c half and half (or cream)
  • 1 T butter
  • 8 oz Ghiradelli Classic White Chocolate Chips

Heat the half and half (do not boil), when it begins to bubble, remove from heat whisking in the butter and white chocolate.  Set aside and cover until you’re ready to serve.  This stores nicely in the refrigerator and stays liquid, just a bit thicker.

Apple Crisp

Serves 4-6
For the topping:
1 stick very soft butter
1 c flour
1 c light brown sugar
1 t salt
For the base:
7-8 c sliced or chopped apples – recommend 2 types, I like McIntosh and Empire
1/4 c cinnamon
1/4 c sugar
2 T butter
Combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the dry ingredients into the butter for the topping, until well mixed and crumbly. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. In a deep souffle dish (or casserole) you will be layering the apples – a cup or two of apples, followed by sprinkling a tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat – more apples, more cinnamon sugar. Use all the cinnamon sugar. This will seem like a lot of apples but as it cooks down, the volume will drop by half. Put the topping over the apple mixture, covering completely, pressing down if necessary. Take the two tablespoons of butter and cut into several pieces – place on top of the topping.

Before baking (and this is a full size souffle dish even though it looks like an individual crock)
Before baking (and this is a full size souffle dish -even though it looks like an individual crock)

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until browned and crisp. Cool for one hour and serve.

After baking
After baking

Note from Chef Laura: I make this all the time from memory. I posted a picture on my blog titled Oh Yum. I was immediately asked for the recipe. So today, I made myself write down what I was doing while doing it and voila! A recipe. That said, use more apples if you wish, I recommend good cooking apples. And if I’m honest, I may have downplayed the cinnamon. I grew up with a mom who doubled the cinnamon in every recipe she ever prepared and you could safely do that here. It’s great alone or served warm with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

Most Delicious Ever Carrot Cake

I’ve taken my favorite go-to carrot cake recipe and modified it after our trip to Sedona.  At a little gem in Oak Creek Canyon called the Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market we had arguably the most decadent, scrumptious carrot cake muffins in a courtyard garden where you could enjoy a cup of soup, sandwich, glass of wine or bottle of beer with a treat from their bakery.  It was so amazing in fact that after our accidental discovery we purposely went there as we left Sedona.  This time I noted every nuance that made them so delicious.  This is something I frequently do; my journey through life is fueled by my passion for food.  And I’m darn successful at identifying, then re-creating the food that inspired me.  So, now I’m sharing my recipe with you.  Enjoy!

1 1/2 c canola oil
1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs, well-beaten
3 c grated carrots
1/2 c diced pineapple
1/2 c coconut
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
2 t allspice
1 c walnuts – toasted (this is important)
1 t vanilla extract

Cream together oil and sugar.  Fold in eggs, followed by carrots, pineapple and coconut.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Blend dry mixture into carrot mixture, blending well.  Once blended, add the nuts and vanilla.   Grease and sugar two 8 x 8 pans.   Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Cool before frosting.

FROSTING

1/2 c melted butter
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 c sifted powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Whip butter and cream cheese with sugar.  Add vanilla, mix well at high speed until smooth.  Spread on cake. Top with 1/2 c coarse chopped, toasted walnuts.

Serves 24 (or less if you cut big pieces). Chef Laura’s note: I use two 8×8 pans since the uncut cake stays moister longer.  You could do cupcakes, bake in two loaf pans or a 10×14 pan, just tweak the time baked.  Also, you can use pecans if you prefer them to walnuts, just toast them first, trust me!

Most Delicious Ever Carrot Cake
Most Delicious Ever Carrot Cake