Our Strawberry season is just ending up Nord, here, in Minnesota. So before it’s too late, I’ve been taking advantage and using strawberries, a lot! One is this Fresh Strawberry Compote. It’s just a simple, little sauce but it’s infused with fresh strawberry flavor.
If there is ever a show stopper of a dessert that’s really just a big, easy “cheat” it’s got to be Pavlova. And this White Balsamic Strawberry Pavlova is a perfect ending for a summer party.
There was a time, when I was a youngster, I didn’t like cherry pie. Or pretty much cherry anything. I couldn’t really “get it” because I love cherries. If you’ve noticed the same thing, this is going to rock your world.
Every spring I hafta make this coffee cake and this is not just any old coffee cake, it’s my Rhubarb Coffee Cake with a Vanilla Streusel and to top it all off, a Vanilla Sauce. Did you get all that? It’s a one, two, three punch of sweet tart goodness.
One of my summer/fall favorites is this marvelous Sour Cherry Compote. It’s a little sweet, a little tart and goes so well with so many things. I often make up a batch and can or freeze so I have it to pull out in the winter, too.
I can’t wrap my head around it – some people call it Caramel Sauce, others Butterscotch. But they’re all talking about a rich, delicious, luscious sauce.
This is just a fun little whisper of a dessert, barely sweet and absolutely scrumptious. I don’t know why it took my so long to grill plums and serve them for dessert. I just didn’t “get” it. Now I do. Brushed lightly with honey and seared over high heat for just a minute totally intensified the flavor.
Depending on where you live (and if you don’t have a Mexican market nearby) Dulce de Leche can be pretty pricey.
Salted Caramel – while the name evokes a gourmet treat (and it is) it always makes me want to snort just a little. Make caramel sauce and add a little salt. I know it’s fantastic, but people seem to just go nuts over the name! Anyway, salted or not, you just can’t beat a rich, luscious home-made caramel sauce.
A little over a year ago, I was super excited to supply a Guest Post for CCU Uru of Go Bake Yourself, one of Australia’s premier bloggers. This week, when I remade this cheesecake, I updated with new photos and am reissuing this post so everyone can see it and maybe think about making it this Christmas! It is just so flippin’ good – make it, and you’re welcome!!! 🙂
For once I don’t have too much to say about a recipe – only that I became utterly enamoured with the idea of this when I was leafing through a Midwest Magazine. I was wowed! Perfect for fall, perfect for Thanksgiving and perfect for me! The recipe makes eight servings, but for these photos, I made a smaller version.
When I was a child, it seemed this sauce was almost ubiquitous! It would sneak into Church suppers and funeral luncheons, it was served at school hot lunches, in diners, and sometimes found its way home to appear on some dessert or another.
Some custard sauces of today, or Creme Anglaise as they are sometimes known, are getting a bit out of hand. I recently saw one with 6 eggs and a vanilla bean, and while it must have been awesome, I like the idea of this classic sauce from the Hungry Mum. It’s delicious, silky and lovely, and won’t “steal” the show when served with another dessert. It has just the right amount of body to pour and nap, then pool, enveloping your dessert within it’s rich embrace.
An Apricot Caramel Sauce? To American tastes, the combination of dried fruit and caramel may seem a bit different, but it is absolutely surprising and certainly delicious.
Easy to make, watch the sugar carefully and don’t burn it – if it becomes darker around the edges or you catch even the faintest whiff of a burnt smell, move your pan off the heat and keep stirring until the sugar is melted, moving it back on if needed. A fork seems to work very well for stirring.
Blend a long time – there will be some texture; if that bothers you, simply strain it while it is still liquid enough to sieve. Once it cools, it thickens, so rewarm if necessary.
This is the caramel I normally serve with my Baked Austrian Crepes in Custard Sauce. It’s so good in or on so many things. The dried apricots may be replaced with a different dried fruit.
Apricot Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1 cup firmly packed dried apricots (about 6 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a dry heavy saucepan (about 3-quart capacity) cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork until melted and then swirling pan, until sugar is a golden caramel, perhaps just a bit past golden towards amber, but not too dark.
Remove pan from heat and carefully add 3 cups water down side of pan (it will bubble up and steam). Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.
Slice apricots and add to pan. Simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Cool mixture 10 minutes and in a blender purée with vanilla until very smooth. Add any or all of the additional water if desired.
Sauce may be made several days ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat sauce to warm.
Put Your own Spin on It
I’ve made this before with both pears and peaches instead of apricots and both are wonderful! I’ve not yet tried dried apples, but I imagine they’d give a lovely flavor to the sauce.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
- Sugar: Look for sugar on sale, which usually happens around the holidays. While any holiday generates a sales price, the best sales are generally from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when coupons are abundant. Check out Aldi for your sugar; their prices are generally great. A rule of thumb: A store brand on sale will often beat a name brand on sale with a coupon. Aldi generally beats both. 1 cup is about 8 cents.
- Dried Apricots: Dried fruit can be downright cheap when purchased on sale with a coupon, especially during the Christmas sales. The Holidays are a great time to buy dried fruit of any kind at a low price. Regular price for Apricots, 6 ounces was $2.99. Sale price $1.00, coupon, $1.00 off two, final cost was $1.50.
With a few pantry ingredients and about five minutes of time, you can whip together a chocolate syrup that is so unbelievably good it doesn’t even deserve the same name as they store-bought kind. It’s so good, you’ll feel sorry for every poor creature out there who has never had the opportunity to taste this elixir.
There are shortcakes, and then there are shortcakes, and these Three Berry Shortcakes are the latter – an absolute show stopper of a summer dessert. Wait, this is more than a dessert, this is an extravaganza.
Old-Fashioned Butterscotch (or Caramel) is one of my favorite things – I love the way it drizzles out of the jar in a golden buttery waterfall, hits the cold ice cream, then slides, slowly, over the creamy mound, pooling at the bottom of the bowl.
You know a dessert’s good when someone licks their plate (and it wasn’t me…I knew there was more in the kitchen.) That dessert is my Grandma’s Apple Cake with Rum Sauce – one of my favorites when I was a child.