Italian Mousse With Balsamic Strawberries
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar, divided
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a rubber spatula until it is smooth and creamy. Spread it around the base of the bowl so it can come to room temperature as you whip the cream.
In another large bowl, whip the cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Add the ricotta, 1/2 cup sugar and lemon zest to the bowl with the beaten mascarpone. Using a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually fold the whipped cream into the ricotta until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about two hours.
Put strawberries in another bowl. Thirty minutes before serving, gently mix in the balsamic vinegar and remaining sugar.
When you are ready to serve, fill glass bowls halfway with the strawberries and their juices. Spoon on the ricotta-mascarpone mousse.
Summer Stone Tart
1 puff pastry sheet
3 cups stone fruit, sliced (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, mangoes or cherries)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 375 F. Place baking sheet or pizza stone in oven to heat up.
Place puff pastry on parchment paper. Roll edge of puff pastry toward the center to create a half-inch border. Set aside. In a bowl, toss fruit, honey and lemon juice.
Remove heated sheet or stone from oven. Place puff pastry on top. Pour fruit mixture on pastry. Brush border with lightly beaten egg. Optional: Sprinkle raw sugar on border.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Slow-Cooker Plum Cobbler
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 pounds plums, pitted and quartered, about 10 cups
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup half-and-half
Vanilla ice cream
To make the filling, whisk together the cornstarch and
1/4 cup water in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the plums, granulated sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
To make the topping, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter. Rub the mixture together with your fingers to form a coarse meal with some pea-size lumps. Add the half-and- half. Stir with a spoon to form a wet dough.
Drop small spoonfuls of dough over the fruit mixture. Cover the slow cooker with a lid. Cook on high heat until the cobbler is bubbly and the biscuits are cooked through, about three to four hours.
Let the cobbler rest for 20 minutes. Spoon it into serving bowls, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Note: Peaches may be substituted for plums.
Watermelon and Summer Herb Granita
8 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
1 lime, juiced
¼ teaspoon lime zest
½ cup granulated sugar
6 to 8 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnish
6 to 8 leaves fresh mint, plus more for garnish
Add half the watermelon, lime, sugar, basil and mint to a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl. Repeat with remaining watermelon, lime, sugar, basil and mint.
Pour the pureed mixture into two 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dishes or sheet pans.
Place baking dishes or sheet pans in the freezer. Let chill for one to two hours. Once the liquid has started to set, use the tines of a fork to scrape the top, creating flakes of ice. Return to the freezer. Continue to scrape every one to two hours until the granita is fully frozen and is the consistency of a snow-cone.
Eat immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Scrape with a fork before serving.
Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs
16 2-inch chunks of pound cake or angel food cake
16 medium strawberries, leaves removed, hulls intact
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Four 12-inch skewers
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Toss the cake chunks, strawberries and 11/2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl until the cake and berries are coated. Thread a piece of cake and a strawberry onto a skewer; repeat three times. Repeat with the remaining skewers and ingredients. Set the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk together the cream, remaining sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
Lightly oil the grill grates. Place the skewers on the grill. Grill, covered, until they are lightly marked, about one minute. Use a spatula to gently loosen the skewers, and use tongs to flip them over. Continue to grill, covered, until the cake and strawberries are toasted with grill marks, and the sugar starts to bubble and harden, about two to three minutes. Serve with whipped cream on the side.