Cheesecake in a Jar

April 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

At Sweettablescapes, we always look for fun ways to serve dessert and also to keep the portions small, cute and guilt-free. This version of the cheesecake classic fills all these requirements and is just too cute to pass up. We also got to use our collection of empty “Bonne Maman” jam jars.

Find it at Marthastewart.com

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You’ll need:

For the Cheesecake:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 ounces sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fruit preserves or jam
For the Graham Topping:
  • 1/2 cup finely ground graham crackers (from 4 crackers)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make the cheesecakes: Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.  IMG_9515Add sugar. IMG_9517Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes more. Reduce speed to low. IMG_9518Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Raise speed to medium. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. IMG_9521Beat for 3 minutes.

  2. Divide batter among six 6-ounce jars, filling each two-thirds full. Transfer jars to a deep baking dish; add enough boiling water to dish to reach halfway up the sides of the jars. IMG_9523Cover dish with foil; cut 8 slits into top to vent. Bake until set in the center, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight to set.

  3. Meanwhile, make the graham topping: Stir together graham-cracker crumbs (we replaced those with chocolate cracker crumbs) and butter. IMG_1399Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Let cool.

  4. Top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons preserves. Divide graham topping among jars (about 1 heaping tablespoon each).

Cook’s Note

Cakes can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Topping can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.
PS: We served those for Passover and made an appropriate topping with 1/2 cup ground walnuts, 2 TBsp melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar.IMG_1400

Peach, Blueberry and Chickpea Flour Pound Cake

April 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

In the quest for Passover dessert recipes, SWEETTABLESCAPES realized that lots of gluten-free desserts are also very much suitable for the Jewish holiday. Now, some Jewish rules do not allow legumes, beans and in this case chickpeas during Passover, but if you are allowed, I would highly recommend this delicious version. The final taste is slightly different of course but the cake is super moist, rises nicely and is not too sweet; all extra points in my book.

The recipe comes from, yet again (we’ve tried others here and here), Quatre-quarts Forever and can be embraced by all gluten-free bakers out there!

IMG_9566You’ll need:

2 eggs

120 g sugar

120 g salted butter

120 g chickpea flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

2 ripe peaches (we used canned peaches and drained them very well)

125 g blueberries

20g chickpea flour

10 g butter or cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix eggs, pinch salt and sugar with electric mixer until light in color and thick.IMG_9554IMG_9555 IMG_9556

Melt butter and add to the egg mixture while beating. IMG_9557Add flour and baking powder.IMG_9558IMG_9560IMG_9561

Peel peaches (if using fresh) and cut them in small pieces. Wash blueberries and drain. Mix fruit with 20g chickpea flour (this will prevent your fruit to sink to the bottom of the batter when baking) and add to batter.IMG_9562 IMG_9563

Butter your cake pan (we used an 8-inch round). Pour batter inside pan and bake for 45 minutes.IMG_9564IMG_9565IMG_9567Enjoy!!

Passover Dessert: Pear-Chocolate Cake

April 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Passover is not quite over yet and if you crave an easy, yet delicious dessert, this cake will most likely satisfy everyone! The second Passover dessert recipe by Leah Koenig, published in the Wall Street Journal this past week (see first one here) was this Pear-Chocolate Cake. Replacing flour with cake meal was the only sacrifice SWEETTABLESCAPES had to make and the result was still completely delicious. Lots of pears add moisture and of course the chocolate makes it all perfect and sophisticated.

IMG_9528
Pear-Chocolate Cake:

Total Time: 1½ hours Serves: 8

You’ll need:

½ cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅔ cup chocolate chips (we recommend using 60% cocoa chips. The cake is quite sweet and you don’t need semisweet chocolate chip here)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup matzo cake meal
3 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered and cut into ½-inch pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan. (Note: make sure your pan is deep enough because there is quite a bit of batter and pears and chocolate to put in there. We started out with a basic 9-inch by 1 1/2-deep dish and it was too small)IMG_9502

2. In a bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Set aside.IMG_9503

3. Use an electric mixer set on medium to beat eggs until well combined and bubbly, about 1 minute. IMG_9504IMG_9505Add sugar, beating until mixture is pale yellow and billowy. IMG_9506Pour in ½ cup oil in a slow, steady stream, followed by vanilla, beating until combined. Use a spatula to fold matzo cake meal into batter until just combined.IMG_9507

4. Pour half of batter into prepared pan.IMG_9508  Top with half of pears, followed by half of walnut-chocolate mixture. IMG_9509IMG_9510Add remaining batter, using a spatula to smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining pears and walnut-chocolate mixture.IMG_9511IMG_9512

5. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, 1-1¼ hours. Remove cake from oven and let cool completely before serving.IMG_9513IMG_9528

Passover dessert: Raspberry Curd Pavlova

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

We all love a bit of creativity when Passover baking is involved. The forbidden use of flour certainly cramps our baker’s style BUT….fear not. Many options are available to present your guests with a beautiful-looking AND delicious-tasting finale to your Seder.

This recipe by Leah Koenig in the Wall Street Journal looked and sounded too good to pass up, so SWEETTABLESCAPES gave it a special spot on our Passover dessert table.

Raspberry Curd Pavlova:

IMG_9529You’ll need:

Active Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 3 hours (includes chilling and baking) Serves: 6-8

For the raspberry curd:

3 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1 cup fresh raspberries, smashed with a fork
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon potato starch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

For the meringue:

3 large egg whites at room temperature
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh raspberries
Bittersweet baking chocolate shavings, for garnish

1. Make curd: In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, raspberries, sugar, potato starch, lemon juice and coconut oil until combined. (It’s OK if coconut oil causes mixture to look clumpy at this stage.)IMG_9484IMG_9486

2. Set pan over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble. Continue cooking and whisking until mixture thickens slightly, 2-3 minutes. IMG_9487 IMG_9488

3. Off heat, use a rubber spatula to press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, discarding solids. IMG_9490Cover and refrigerate until thickened, at least 3 hours. (Curd can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept, covered, in refrigerator.)IMG_9491 IMG_9492

4. Make meringue: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a large baking sheet and use a pencil to draw a 9-inch circle on paper. Flip paper so you can see the circle but meringue won’t touch pencil marks when placed on parchment.

5. In a clean, dry bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment to beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes. IMG_9493 IMG_9495Slowly add sugar, continuing to beat until stiff, shiny peaks form, 2-3 minutes.IMG_9496

6. Sift potato starch over egg whites. IMG_9497Drizzle vinegar and vanilla over top, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold into mixture. IMG_9498 IMG_9499Pile meringue into center of parchment paper circle. Smooth meringue, then create a slight dip in the center so outer edges are a little bit higher. IMG_9501Bake meringue until firm to the touch but still very pale in color, about 1 hour. Turn off oven, keep door closed and allow to cool in oven, about 2 hours.IMG_9524

7. Assemble Pavlova: Gently peel meringue disk off parchment and set on a serving plate or cake stand. Spoon desired amount of curd onto meringue, then mound raspberries on top. Garnish with baking chocolate shavings.
IMG_9529

 

Happy Easter: desserts to welcome Spring!

April 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

Now that Spring is officially here and that temperatures finally match the season, it is high time to dive into all nature-inspired confections and enjoy eggs, bunnies and other treats to celebrate both the season and Easter.

SWEETTABLESCAPES has been busy creating two tables for the occasion and our desserts reflected the spirit of April, gardens and new life. See the tables here and here; then check out some of our creations:

Cookies that say "Spring"!

Cookies that say “Spring”!

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Topiary cakepops, birdhouse and bunny!

Topiary cakepops, birdhouse and bunny!

 

 

Friendly faces...

Friendly faces…

the usual suspects...

the usual suspects…

Eat your carrots!!

Eat your carrots!!

More topiary inspiration from

More topiary inspiration from Bellasucre

We also wanted our bunny-cookies to stand up on our table so we attached some triangular-shaped support pieces (made out of cookie too) on the back of each rabbit.

Stand-up bunnies...

Stand-up bunnies…

IMG_9441Just use some thick Royal Icing as glue to attach triangle to back of bunny…

IMG_9442Let it dry and …voila!

Critter invasion!

Critter invasion!

Lovely felt bags filled with goodies...

Lovely felt bags filled with goodies…

Big Basket!
Big Basket!

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!!!

Spring Dessert Tables in Bergen Mama, part Two

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Just in time for Easter and all your Spring celebrations, SWEETTABLESCAPES had the pleasure of designing two seasonal dessert tables for a local website catering to busy moms: BERGEN MAMA! (We also donated a beautiful Easter Basket filled with goodies that you can win, so go check it out here!!!)

See our first table here.

This second one is all about classic French gardens, filled with topiaries, symmetrical flower beds, trellises and boxwood. A couple of white ceramic rabbits are frolicking in our garden with a bunch of  these little stand-up guys…oops, we mean…bunnies! We kept a simple palette of white and green and had lots of fun making “topiary” cakepops, mini-flower-AND-vegetable-garden carrot cakes as well as meringues and marshmallows for crunch and softness.

Fresh greens and topiaries supplied by Ellen (follow her on Instagram @irhee) added the final organic touch!

IMG_9466         IMG_9467

Flower bed over a carrot cake!

Flower bed over a carrot cake!

Eat-your-veggies carrot cake!

Eat-your-veggies carrot cake!

Topiary cakepops in a chocolate cupcake!

Topiary cakepops in a chocolate cupcake!

One bunny lost in the middle of the topiaries!

One bunny lost in the middle of the topiaries!

Critter invasion!

Critter invasion!

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows...Yum!!

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows…Yum!!

Chcolate-dipped meringues!

Chcolate-dipped meringues!

IMG_9477

Spring Dessert Tables in Bergen Mama, NJ (part One)

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

SWEETTABLESCAPES just had the pleasure to design two dessert tables for a local mom-friendly resource: BERGEN MAMA! Their website and newletters provide advice and ideas for the busy moms and we were proud to show them two original and seasonal tables: perfect for any spring celebration or Easter! (By the way, you can also win a beautiful Spring Basket provided by yours truly if you check them out…)

We only had a few days to come up with the design and bake the desserts and it was…how do you say? stressful fun!!

We chose to create a “traditional” pastel table with a beautiful fresh flower arrangement in a bird cage. (Our friend Ellen, a floral designer and botanical artist provided these as well as the topiaries for our second table. Follow her on Instagram @ irhee). Our other table is a “classic” garden with topiaries and miniature garden cakes.

Here, we used lucite trays filled with candy to carry the treats and added a bit more in 3 apothecary urns! Take a look!

Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!

IMG_9454

Mini Sugar cookies with something to say...

Mini Sugar cookies with something to say…

 

Raspberry cream Puffs

Raspberry cream Puffs

Coconut Financiers

Coconut Financiers

Candy-dipped pretzels

Candy-dipped pretzels

Mini flower brownies

Mini flower brownies

Bouquet of sugar-cookie flowers and oreo pops!

Bouquet of sugar-cookie flowers and oreo pops!

Ellen's arrangement! Looks amazing and smelled even better!

Ellen’s arrangement! Looks amazing and smelled even better!

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