Easter ‘Ube’ Cheesecake Baskets

In my second blog for the month of November/2018, I had featured an article on ‘Ube’ Sweet Rolls. This was my first experience using this interesting Filipino purple yam. Since we had really enjoyed the flavor, why not take it further?!

First, I just wanted to talk a bit more about this tuber. Ube originated in the Philippines and refers to a bright purple sweet potato. Traditionally it is boiled and mashed with coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk to form essentially ‘dessert mashed potatoes’.  Unlike Matcha or Durian that have intense scents and flavors, ube doesn’t require a developed palate to enjoy.

It is easy to confuse ube with taro, but they are completely different foods. Taro is typically white on the inside and used in savory dishes, while ube is more commonly used in making sweets.

The violet purple color makes it highly photogenic, which gives it a natural marketing quality. The taste has been described as something similar to white chocolate with earthy nutty tones, gentle but not intense.

Fresh ube seems fairly difficult to find in North America but with a little persistence its possible. There are a few different forms it is sold in. Dehydrated powder, extract, ube halaya (or paste) or as a grated frozen product. Ube is not an exotic ingredient in the Philippines, but a common everyday staple that deserves a bit more respect and understanding.

When I saw a cheesecake recipe using ube, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect base for an Easter dessert. Creamy ube with the perfect note of tang and richness from the cream cheese.

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Easter 'Ube' Cheesecake Baskets
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Base
Ube Cheesecake Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Base
Ube Cheesecake Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Base
  1. Line 8-9 large muffin cups with large paper liners. In a bowl, combine melted butter & crumbs; stir until mixture looks like coarse meal & all of the crumbs are moistened with the butter. Divide crumbs between lined cups; set aside.
Filling
  1. Check for any hard particles in the thawed purple yam & discard them. Wrap purple yam (ube) in foil & steam for about 20-30 minutes or until very soft. Mash until creamy & let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, beat cream cheese until soft & fluffy. Add sugar & salt beating until combined. Add the cooled 'ube' & beat until incorporated & smooth.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition then add vanilla. Pour into prepared 'cups'. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they test done when the tip of a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Lay a piece of paper towel over a wire cooling rack. Remove cheesecake cups from oven; cool for a few minutes then lift out onto paper lined rack. Cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours.
Decorating
  1. Place coconut in a zip lock baggie. Dissolve a few drops of food coloring in a teaspoon of water. Pour over coconut, seal & shake until it is the color you want.
  2. Hollow out a small circle in the top of each cheesecake. Divide the yogurt between cheesecakes, filling each little divot with some. Next, divide the tinted coconut between the cheesecakes, covering the yogurt, to make a 'nest'. Top each nest with 3 'robin egg' Easter candies.

French Crepes in Paris, France

Today, July 25th, we celebrate my sister Loretta’s birthday.

                  ‘To have a sister like you is like finding a treasure in ones life’.                                                          ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORETTA’, you deserve all the best!’

In the fall of 2001, Brion & I, joined by Loretta, made our first trip to Europe. Before that our holidays had pretty much been in the USA. This was a whole new learning curve that has forever changed the meaning of travel for us. Our destination was France, starting out in Paris, then renting a car and driving to the west coast then on down through southern France.

The hotel we were staying at in Paris looked out over a ‘pedestrian only’ street. When we arrived it was evening and the street was dark and pretty much deserted. The next morning we heard a lot of hustle-bustle in the street below. When we looked out, the sight was just incredible! The street was lined with shops which were now open for business. It was the most beautiful sight to look down on with all its colors and activity. During the next few days we enjoyed everything Paris  to the fullest.

Down from our hotel we came upon a little street vendor selling crepes of all things. The taste was amazing! Fifteen years later, they have joined our ‘taste of a memory’ food list, knowing that so much of it was time & place.

Crepes are such a great meal. Simple to make with so many options whether it is a savory or sweet version. One of our favorite savory choices is a Seafood Crepe,  which I feature in my ebook, ‘LIVING LARGE ON A LEAN FOOD BUDGET’. For a sweet treat, you might enjoy to try these Strawberry-Citrus Crepes.

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French Crepes
Crepe batters can be stored in the fridge for a day ---- cooked crepes in the freezer.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Basic Crepe Batter
Parmesan Herb Crepe; add to ingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Chocolate Dessert Crepe; add toingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Basic Dessert Crepe; decrease milk in Basic Crepe to 1 1/3 cups & add the following
Gouda Sauce for Seafood Crepes
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Crepe Batter
Parmesan Herb Crepe; add to ingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Chocolate Dessert Crepe; add toingredients of Basic Crepe batter
Basic Dessert Crepe; decrease milk in Basic Crepe to 1 1/3 cups & add the following
Gouda Sauce for Seafood Crepes
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Crepes
  1. Place all ingredients in blender; whirl for 1 minute at high speed. Scrape down sides, whirl for another 15 seconds. Pour into a bowl & cover; refrigerate 1 hour. Heat a non-stick griddle to 350 F. Measure about 3 Tbsp of batter per crepe onto griddle. With back of spoon form batter into an 8-inch circle. Cook until golden on each side then lay on a wire rack to cool.
Gouda Crepe Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt margarine; sprinkle with flour & seasonings. Mix well; add milk & broth, stirring until sauce becomes thickened. Add cheese & blend.
Seafood Filling
  1. In a large skillet, saute zucchini, onion & garlic in oil for several minutes. Add mushrooms, green pepper & water chestnuts; cook 1 more minute. Combine ginger, soy sauce & water in a cup; add to vegetable mixture along with seafood. Gently stir fry ONLY until seafood is cooked. Reserve 1/2 cup Gouda sauce & add the rest to mixture.
  2. Divide filling between crepes; roll crepes & place on serving plates. Spoon remaining sauce over each of the filled crepes. Place each meal in microwave (covered) for 15 - 20 seconds on high. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately.
Strawberry-Citrus Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine water, cornstarch, lemon juice, orange juice & sugar; blend well. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens & becomes clear. Remove from heat & set aside to cool. Slice strawberries either by hand or using an egg slicer. In a small dish, combine yogurt & honey.
  2. In a large bowl, gently fold about 1 1/2 cups citrus glaze together with sliced strawberries (I used about 3 large strawberries per crepe). Lay 12 crepes on work surface & place equal amounts of strawberry/glaze mixture on one half of each crepe. Fold over opposite side then fold in half again. Place 3 crepes on each of four serving plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve Honey/Yogurt on the side as well as any extra citrus sauce you have left from filling.
Recipe Notes
  • I have been making crepes for a long time but have never bothered to buy a 'crepe' pan to cook them in. A non-stick griddle has always worked great for me.  Using a 1/4 measuring cup, first to pour a circle of batter on the griddle then with the bottom of it, keep enlarging the crepe to the size you want.
  • Being able to make all your crepe ingredients the day before then putting it all together on the day served is such a bonus.

Fresh Fruit Pizza

The quintessential summer BBQ dessert! Fruit pizza is like a giant cookie, covered with luscious cream, layered with colorful fresh fruit, topped with glaze and a drizzle of chocolate, if you please.

If you have been following my blogs, you have probably already noticed, choice is something I’m big on. Fruit pizza is a classic dessert with so many possibilities. I have always enjoyed to start with the original idea of a recipe and see how many ways I can vary it without getting too involved or requiring a lot of extra ingredients and time.

Since CANADA DAY celebrations are right around the corner I thought it was a good time to enjoy Fruit Pizza personalized’Here are some ideas to mix and match to your liking.

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Fresh Fruit Pizza
Personalize not only with ingredient choices but the design as well
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust
Oatmeal Crust
Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough
Cream Cheese Topping
Cool Whip / Custard Topping
Honey - Yogurt Topping
Citrus Glaze
Pineapple Glaze
Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Servings
Ingredients
Classic Shortbread or Pecan Shortbread Crust
Oatmeal Crust
Frozen Puff Pastry OR Crescent Roll Dough
Cream Cheese Topping
Cool Whip / Custard Topping
Honey - Yogurt Topping
Citrus Glaze
Pineapple Glaze
Fresh Fruit (use whatever fruit you prefer)
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
For Shortbread & Oatmeal Crusts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar until light. Add any flavorings. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until well blended. Press dough into pan & prick with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool completely.
Frozen Puff Pastry
  1. Follow package directions. Cool completely & place on serving tray.
Crescent Roll Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Pinch together crescent roll dough as you press into a 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Topping
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, lime juice concentrate & sugar until smooth.
Cool Whip/Custard Topping
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry pudding mix & milk for 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.
Honey - Yogurt Topping
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt & honey.
Citrus & Pineapple Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, combine ingredients. Cook over medium heat until thickens. Remove from heat & cool slightly. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the fruit with glaze. FOR PRESERVE GLAZE: mix preserves with water & brush onto fruit.
TO ASSEMBLE FRUIT PIZZA
  1. Spread topping of choice onto cooled crust & arrange fruit onto. Brush with glaze of choice. Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Dip a large spoon into chocolate; drizzle, quickly letting the chocolate fall in thin ribbons from the end of the spoon. If chocolate seems to stiff, add a drop of vegetable oil. Let pizza stand until chocolate is firm.