Dessert Pizza

Dessert Pizza | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old Pampered Chef recipe that I learned to make many years ago. It’s very easy to do because the crust is made from refrigerated cookie dough. You can lay the fruit in any pattern or design you want. It makes a very pretty presentation and is sure to wow your dinner guests when you serve it. Little do they know how simple it was to make!

DESSERT PIZZA

  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 box (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 4 cups assorted fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, etc.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. For the crust, shape the cookie dough into a ball.
  3. Place ball in center of a cookie sheet or pizza pan and flatten it lightly with the palm of your hand.
  4. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle using a lightly floured rolling pin.
  5. Bake the sugar cookie crust for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined.
  8. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the cookie crust.
  9. Arrange fruit over the cream cheese mixture in any design or pattern you want.

NOTE:  For a large 16-inch pizza like the one I have pictured, just double the recipe.

Here’s a picture of another one I made for a different occasion. As you can see, the design possibilities are endless with all the fruit combinations you can come up with.
Dessert Pizza | Pinky's Pantry

Advertisements

Pear and Pistachio Guacamole

Pear and Pistachio Guacamole | Pinky's Pantry
I saw this recipe on foodnetwork.com and I thought it would be fun to make a different kind of guacamole for Cinco de Mayo. This guacamole recipe couldn’t be any more different from the traditional, but it was delicious! It had a slightly sweet, slightly spicy flavor that went great with tortilla chips and was a perfect addition to our Cinco de Mayo dinner.

PEAR AND PISTACHIO GUACAMOLE

  • 3 Hass avocados, halved, pitted and cubed
  • 2 firm ripe Seckel pears or 1 large Anjou pear, cored and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1½ – 2 fresh limes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced (if you want it less spicy, remove the seeds)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped roasted pistachios
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • blue corn tortilla chips, for serving
  1. Toss together the avocados and pears in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in the cilantro, juice from 1½ limes, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and pepper.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional lime juice, salt, and pepper if desired.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle pistachios over top.
  5. Serve with lime wedges and blue corn tortilla chips.

 

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake | Pinky's Pantry
This is an old recipe that I got from one of my first cookbooks many, many years ago. Hummingbird Cake is basically a banana-pineapple-nut cake. It’s moist, delicious, and absolutely addictive. I usually bake it in a bundt pan and serve it plain, but you could also bake it in three round cake pans and frost each layer with a cream cheese frosting. Either way is delicious and will have you humming with delight!

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 can (8 ozs.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the eggs, oil, vanilla, bananas, pineapple, and nuts, and stir together well.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (In my oven, 50 minutes is perfect, but depending on your oven, this could take up to 70 or 80 minutes.)

NOTE: If desired, cake may be baked in three 9-inch round cake pans. If using three cake pans, bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2 pkg. (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. With an electric mixer set on medium-low speed, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar little by little, beating at low speed until blended.
  3. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake | Pinky's Pantry
My mom used to make this cake for us all the time when we were growing up. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is an old-fashioned cake that sort of died down in popularity over the years. It’s delicious, though, and definitely deserves a comeback. I’ve altered my Mom’s original recipe to make the cake more moist and added more pineapple to it, but the basic recipe is still hers. It’s easy to prepare and my family loves it judging by how quickly it disappears every time I serve it!

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

  • ⅔ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 20-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved
  • 1 8-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved (optional)
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 16 Tbsp. reserved pineapple juice from the cans
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place butter in a 9×13-inch cake pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter.
  3. When butter is melted, remove pan from oven.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula.
  5. Arrange pineapple slices over the butter-brown sugar mixture in any pattern you want. You can leave the slices whole or cut them in halves or quarters to make a fancier design.
  6. Cut a few maraschino cherries in half and nestle them, cut side up, around the pineapple slices in the cake pan. You can leave the cherries whole if you want, but my mom always cut them in half. Probably to save money.
  7. In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  8. In a small bowl, stir pineapple juice and vanilla together.
  9. With an electric mixer, beat softened butter and white sugar on high until thick and light colored.
  10. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well-combined.
  11. Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the pineapple juice mixture until just incorporated.
  12. Pour cake batter evenly over the pineapple slices in the cake pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed down lightly on top.
  14. Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rectangular plate. If a pineapple gets left behind in the pan, just pick it up with a metal spatula and flip it over onto the spot it came from on the cake.

NOTE:  You only need one 20-oz. can of pineapple, but if you want to completely cover the top of the cake with pineapple rings like I have pictured, you’ll find one can is about 2 slices shy. My family likes a lot of pineapple so I add the second smaller can, but if you don’t want to bother with that, you can make do with one 20-oz. can and just space the slices farther apart so they’re evenly distributed. Bear in mind, if you do decide to use just one 20-oz. can of pineapple slices, you might be a little short on the pineapple juice. Different brands have different amounts. If you’re short, just add enough water or cooking oil to make 16 tablespoons.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's PantryIt’s blueberry season! Every year, my sister Helen takes her daughters blueberry picking with a bunch of their school friends and their families. They go to this blueberry farm up in the hills and have an absolute blast while they’re there. Helen’s youngest daughter, Sophie, is a little blueberry-picking speed-demon and can fill up a bucket faster than you can say blueberry pie!

Anyway, whenever they go, they always make sure to bring me back a bagful of the beautiful little blue gems. This year was no exception. The berries are always so sweet and juicy. If you’ve never had blueberries fresh off the bush, you’ve got to find a way to try some. Commercially sold blueberries are good, but they pale in comparison to these ones. I think it’s time for some Blueberry Buttermilk Cake!
Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's Pantry

BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE

  • 2 – 2½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or white granulated sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Place blueberries in a small bowl.
  3. Take 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss it with the blueberries. Coating the blueberries with flour helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
  4. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add vanilla and beat in eggs, one at a time.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions until completely combined.
  8. Fold in blueberries.
  9. Spread batter in prepared baking pan.
  10. Sprinkle top evenly with demerara sugar.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  12. Cake can be served warm or cool completely before serving.

NOTE:  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own homemade buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to the cup till it reaches the 1-cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk with a wire whisk for a few seconds.

Sausage Apple Stuffing

Sausage Apple Stuffing | Pinky's Pantry
Every year, when Thanksgiving would roll around, I would try a new stuffing recipe to serve with our turkey. I tried making chestnut stuffing, cornbread stuffing, caramelized onion stuffing, ciabatta stuffing, cranberry nut stuffing, sundried tomato stuffing, you name it. The kids never liked any of them! Then came the year when I finally gave up and said, “I’m not making stuffing this year.” Strangely enough, everyone went up in arms when they heard that. So at the last minute, I sent Old Goat to the grocery to buy some Stove Top “instant” stuffing. Well wouldn’t you know it, for the first time in years, there wasn’t a lick of leftover stuffing in the bowl!

Well I’m nothing if not a quick learner. Stove Top was the key! Since then, I’ve made Stove Top stuffing every year. I just doctor it up with a few ingredients to make it fancier and no one ever guesses that the stuffing wasn’t made from scratch. The empty bowl each Thanksgiving is a testament to how yummy this stuffing is. And my big smile is the testament to how easy it was to actually make.

The amount of stuffing you make depends on how many people you’re having over for dinner. I usually make 6 boxes for our family shindig, but we have a large family. I’ll post the ingredients for one box of stuffing and you can just multiply it as you need to.

EASY SAUSAGE APPLE STUFFING

  • 1 box (6 oz.) Stove Top stuffing
  • ½ lb. bulk sausage
  • ¼ medium onion, diced
  • ½ stalk celery, sliced
  • ½ – 1 apple, peeled and cut in cubes
  1. Prepare stuffing according to package directions in a large pot.
  2. In a skillet, brown sausage with onion and celery.
  3. Stir in the apple and continue to cook until apple is beginning to soften but isn’t mushy. You can use a half to a whole apple, depending on how much you want.
  4. Drain and discard any grease rendered by the sausage.
  5. Pour sausage mixture into the pot with the prepared stuffing.
  6. Stir to combine well.

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi | Pinky's Pantry
Mango Lassi is a popular drink in India where the climate is frequently sweltering. The yogurt-based drink makes a great treat on a hot day and is perfect for cooling down those spicy Indian curries. My understanding is that traditional lassi is actually a savory drink, made by blending plain yogurt with water, salt, and spices like cumin or mint. I’ve only ever had sweet lassi which is made by blending yogurt with sugar, fruit, and sometimes rosewater. My favorite is mango lassi, though you could use other fruit if you like.

Mango Lassi is so refreshing and addictive. It’s also very easy to make. The hardest part is getting your hands on some good mangoes like the ones from the Philippines. They’re thin-skinned and juicy and very sweet, unlike the fibrous ones that come from South America. Alphonso mangoes are a good choice and can be found more easily in the U.S., especially in Asian food stores.

MANGO LASSI

  • 2 cups mango puree (3 to 5 mangoes, depending on how big they are)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt – it’s too thick)
  • ¼ cup sugar (omit if mangoes are very sweet)
  • pinch of cardamom powder
  • mint leaves and extra mango cut into cubes, for garnish (optional)
  1. Peel mango and cut into pieces.
  2. Put mango in blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Add ice cubes, yogurt, sugar, and pinch of cardamom, and blend all together well.
  4. If it seems too thick to drink, add a little water to thin it out to the consistency you want.
  5. Garnish with a mint leaf and 2 or 3 little cubes of mango, if desired.

Peaches and Cream Cake

Peaches and Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry
This recipe is one of those that’s been around forever under one name or another. It was given to me by one of the nurses at work. She’s been making it for years and she said it’s always a hit at her house. I’m glad I got the recipe from her because it was a hit with my family, too, though I did tweak it a little (as always). I increased the peaches, cut down on the sugar, and added vanilla extract. I can tell it’s going to become a favorite at our family get-togethers and at potlucks, too. This one is a definite keeper!
Peaches and Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry

PEACHES AND CREAM CAKE

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. each) cook & serve vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large (29 oz. each) cans sliced peaches
  • 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. peach syrup from can
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling on top (recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  2. Drain both cans of peaches, reserving 6 tablespoons of syrup for later.
  3. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla puddings together.
  4. Add milk, butter, and eggs.
  5. Beat together with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Spread in prepared baking dish.
  7. Arrange peach slices to cover top of batter.
  8. Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
  9. Add sugar, peach syrup, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined.
  10. Spoon over peaches, then smooth with a spatula.
  11. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over cream cheese mixture.
  12. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
NOTE:  To make cinnamon sugar, the ratio is 1/4 cup sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Store in an airtight container. For this recipe, you’ll probably only sprinkle about a couple of tablespoons or so over the top.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Jellied Cranberry Sauce | Pinky's Pantry
My brother-in-law, Anthony, hails from Arkansas. He loves canned cranberry sauce. He grew up eating it as part of their Thanksgiving dinners and looks for it every year so I’ve made it a point to always have a can on hand for him each Thanksgiving. That being said, have you looked at the ingredients list for the canned stuff? It’s not very healthy. It’s made with high fructose corn syrup, for one.

So several years ago, I decided to try making my own jellied cranberry sauce. I even bought a pretty mold to put it in. Now the operative word is “tried.” I tried several times and failed…. miserably. Somehow, the sauce never quite seemed to work. It either didn’t jell, or didn’t taste good, or something was always wrong. But now, by jove, I think I’ve got it! Finally, this one not only tastes good but holds its shape when taken out of the mold! If you really have to have that can shape, you can pour this into an empty can or two and chill them in the fridge until ready to serve.

This sauce uses a lot of cranberries because you only use the liquid that you get from straining them. That leaves a lot of cranberries to discard. If you don’t want to waste the cranberry solids, don’t throw them away. Use them to make a second batch of cranberry sauce so your guests will have 2 kinds to choose from. Just stir in 1/2 cup or so of orange juice, or water, or even wine like cabernet or merlot into the solids. Transfer to a bowl and serve. You can even jazz it up by adding the zest from 1 large orange, a little cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, chopped pecans, etc.
Jellied Cranberry Sauce | Pinky's Pantry

JELLIED CRANBERRY SAUCE
(Makes about 6 cups)

  • 4 (12-oz.) bags fresh cranberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
  • ⅓ cup cold water
  1. Place cranberries in a colander and rinse them under cold running water, picking out and discarding any wrinkly or mushy ones, or any stems you might find.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and 3 cups water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until all the berries have burst, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour into a large fine-mesh sieve set over a 2-quart glass measure or bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the juices. If you want your jelly to be more “clear” with less of an applesauce consistency, don’t press on the solids. Just pour the sauce into the sieve and let stand about 30 minutes or until all juices have drained through. Note that you will get less liquid this way.
  5. While cranberries are draining, place the ⅓ cup water and gelatin into a small sauce pot and stir together with a wire whisk. Let stand about a minute to soften.
  6. Add 1 cup of the drained cranberry liquid to the gelatin mixture and bring to a simmer over low heat, gently stirring with the whisk till gelatin is completely dissolved.
  7. Pour gelatin mixture back into remaining cranberry liquid and stir well.
  8. Pour cranberry sauce into lightly oiled decorative mold or small individual molds.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic wrap against the cranberry sauce to prevent a skin from forming, and set aside to cool.
  10. Place in refrigerator to chill until firmly set, preferably overnight.

TO UNMOLD:  Run tip of a thin knife between edge of mold and cranberry jelly. Tilt mold sideways and tap side of mold against a padded work surface, turning and tapping to break the seal and loosen cranberry jelly. Keeping mold tilted, invert a plate over the mold, then invert cranberry jelly onto the plate.

NOTE:  Jellied cranberry sauce can be chilled in the mold for up to 3 days.
It can also be unmolded 1 hour ahead and kept chilled or at room temperature before serving.

Strawberry Cream Cake

Strawberry Cream Cake | Pinky's PantryIt’s Bashful’s birthday today. She’s turning 23. Where did the years go? It’s so true that time flies faster the older you get. Like her namesake, Bashful is shy and sweet and kind-hearted. Been that way since she was a little girl. She spoke just fine at home, but hardly said two words outside. Without fail, every new teacher she had would call me at the beginning of each school year to ask if things were alright at home because she never said a word in class. I would have to explain that that was just her way but if they called on her to answer, she would, even if she hadn’t raised her hand. She answered in this tiny little soft-spoken voice, but she answered. She’s all grown up now but when I look at her, I still see that quiet little girl who always stood to one side silently watching the world with big, solemn eyes and a shy smile.

This morning I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and of course, she asked for her favorite Strawberry Cream Cake. Its always been her favorite and that hasn’t changed over the years. I’m not surprised. This cake is so fabulously good. I make a moist vanilla cake for the base, use sliced fresh strawberries in the filling, and cover it up with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s Yummy with a capital Y!
Strawberry Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE

Vanilla Cake:

  • 3 cups all­ purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray three 9-­inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, then spray the paper.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy.
  5. Slowly pour in the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  7. Then add the vanilla, beating until well-combined.
  8. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions.
  9. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a spatula.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  12. Invert cakes, peel off parchment paper, then re-invert so cakes are top side up.
  13. Cool completely before frosting. Trim tops off to make cakes level if desired.

Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
  1. Hull, wash, and slice strawberries.
  2. Toss in a bowl with sugar and set aside until ready to use.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, add more or less as desired
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
  1. Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  2. Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it less sweet.
  3. Beat until stiff peaks form.

NOTE:

  • If you want really white frosting, omit the vanilla or use clear vanilla extract.
  • If you have cake strips, use them! They really help the cakes to rise up evenly with nice, level tops.