Shortbread

3/ 4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/ 2 cup powdered sugar
1/ 2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/ 2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease pan lightly.

Cream butter until it’s light.

Beat in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla.

Finally, work in the flour. Knead dough on an unfloured board until smooth.

Firmly press dough into shortbread mould so that it comes up below the rope detail.

Poke all of the surface with a fork, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a plastic knife, and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into serving pieces while warm.

Almond Snowflake Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup milk
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour snowflake pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time; stir in almond and vanilla extracts.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds.

Beat in the flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Pistachio Cake

8 ounces butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup finely ground unsalted pistachios
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon rosewater
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch nonstick cake pan with parchment paper.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the butter and superfine sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, then add the ground pistachios and almonds.

Add the orange juice, orange zest and rosewater, and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour; do not overmix.

Scoop the mixture into the cake pan, and bake until the top is firm and a light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Lightly cover the top of the cake with foil and continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry, about 10 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for several minutes, then remove and cool on a rack.

When the cake is cool, make the icing: mix the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl, and pour over the cake. If desired, decorate with crystallized rose petals and pistachios. Allow the icing to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Pound Cake with Poached Apricots

Cake:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups superfine sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apricots:

2/3 cup Grand Marnier
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups dried apricots (about 8 oz.)
1 1½-piece peeled ginger, sliced
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)

Lemon Souffle

About 1 teaspoon unsalted butter for the dish
1 cup sugar, plus some for the dish
6 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon minced or grated lemon or orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice or Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
Pinch salt

Butter a 2-quart soufflé or other deep baking dish. Sprinkle the dish with sugar, invert it, and tap to remove excess sugar. Set aside and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and very thick; the mixture will fall in a ribbon from the ends of the beaters when it is ready. Beat in the flavorings and set aside.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold soft peaks; continue to beat, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, until they are very stiff but still glossy. Stir a good spoonful of them thoroughly into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, using a rubber spatula or your hand.

Transfer to the prepared soufflé dish(es) and bake until the center is nearly set, 25 to 35 minutes (15 to 25 minutes for individual soufflés). Serve immediately.

Pressure Cooker Pandan Custard

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup sweetener of choice
3-4 drops pandan extract
Green food coloring (optional)

Blend together the eggs, milk, sweetener and the pandan extract, and pour it into a 6-inch heatproof bowl. Cover with foil.

Place 2 cups of water into your liner, place a trivet in the liner, and place your bowl onto the trivet.

Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes and let it release pressure naturally. A knife inserted into the custard should come out clean.

Cool in refrigerator until the custard is set.

Pasticcini di Mandor (Italian Soft Almond Cookies)

Makes 12-16 biscuits

350g ground almonds
150–200g icing sugar, plus more for dusting
Zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons
2 medium eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar, lemon zest and eggs to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Dust your hands with icing sugar, and scoop out a walnut-sized ball of dough. Then gently roll it between your palms. You can also roll it on the work surface as long as it is dusted with icing sugar. Repeat. Put the balls on the baking tray and make an indentation in the centre of each.

As they bake, the biscuits will crack gently. For soft and marzipan-like biscuits bake for 11-12 minutes, for a firmer, chewier biscuit 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will keep in an airtight tin for a month.

Pressure Cooker Applesauce

2 pounds (4 large) Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 pounds (4 large) Honeycrisp apples—peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients and toss to mix.

Cook over high pressure for 8 minutes.

Transfer the applesauce to a bowl and let cool completely. Stir to combine, then serve or store in a sealable container in the refrigerator.

Mango Kulfi

1 pint heavy cream
1 30-ounce can Alphonso mango pulp
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 pinch salt

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients until there are no streaks of color, then pour the mixture into a 9- or 10-inch loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (or individual freezer-safe ramekins).

Place in the freezer, and allow to set for at least 10 hours, until frozen.

Dip the outside of the pan in warm water, just long enough to release the kulfi.

Remove plastic wrap. Slice and serve the kulfi immediately. If you’re using ramekins, allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes, then serve directly in the bowls.

Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Use a brush dipped in cold water and brush the inside of the saucepan, brushing just about the level of the simmering sauce.

Cook over high heat until the mixture is golden brown.

Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the reserved cream.

Return to the boil and cook over low heat for two to three minutes.

Stir in the vanilla.

Passion Fruit Fool

12 passion fruit
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Passoa or Cointreau

Chill 6 small wineglasses. Cut passion fruit in half, and scoop out pulp with a teaspoon into a bowl. Mash lightly, cover and refrigerate. Using an electric mixer or by hand, whisk cream until lightly thickened. Refrigerate cream until needed, up to 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove cream from refrigerator, and add sugar, lemon juice and liqueur. Whisk mixture until thickened but still slightly floppy. Fold in passion fruit. Spoon into glasses, and serve.

Strawberries with Swedish Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar or honey to taste
1 tablespoon any liqueur, like Cointreau or amaretto (optional)
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, if necessary

Whip the sweet cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the sour cream; add sugar to taste and liqueur if you like.

Put the berries in four to six bowls or stemmed glasses and top with the cream. If desired, garnish with a leaf of fresh mint.

Chocolate Ganache

14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons espresso, strong coffee or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar (confectioners’, granulated or light brown)
3/4 cup heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
1 pinch coarse salt, more to taste

In a heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients and melt together over very low heat, stirring. (Alternatively, combine in a bowl and microwave at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking in 30-second blasts, stirring in-between.)

Just before all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir until chocolate melts and mixture comes together. It may appear curdled, but keep stirring or whisk vigorously; it will smooth out. If too thick to pour, whisk in hot water a tablespoon at a time. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning.

When ganache is hot and pourable, it’s a classic companion to ice cream.

Warm, you can pour or pipe it over a cake, cupcakes or cookies; it will set to a soft, rich glaze.

Let it cool to room temperature and whip it in a mixer to make a fluffy frosting.

Or chill it, then roll into balls and dust with cocoa powder to make truffles.

This sauce has a slightly more adult flavor than the ice-cream-parlor standard; coffee will do that to a dessert. Leave it out if you prefer. Also note that bittersweet chocolate will deliver a stronger, sharper chocolate taste than semi-sweet.

Refrigerate leftovers in a jar; it will keep indefinitely. To rewarm, place the jar in a saucepan half-filled with simmering water, or uncover and heat in microwave at low heat.

Chocolate Cherry Mousse

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons cherry brandy or kirsch
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 or 3 tablespoons sugar, as needed
2 large eggs

In a heavy-based saucepan, combine chocolate, cherry brandy or kirsch, butter and corn syrup. Add 2 tablespoons sugar if using cherry brandy, 3 tablespoons sugar if using kirsch. Melt over very low heat, then scrape into a bowl and allow to cool a little.

Separate eggs, and whisk whites until soft peaks form. Beat yolks into cooled chocolate mixture, then gently mix in a dollop of egg whites to lighten mixture. Carefully fold remaining whites into chocolate mixture, taking care to keep mousse airy.

Spoon mousse into two wine glasses. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours before serving.

Spiced Brandied Cherries

1 cup sugar
2 whole cloves
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
1 quart sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup Cognac or other aged brandy

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and spices with a cup of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and add cherries and brandy to pot. Let cool, then store mixture in a jar in refrigerator for at least 2 days before eating, and up to several months. These are great over ice cream.

Magic Shell

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Melt the chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Stir in the coconut oil and heat until dissolved, about 1 minute.

Keep the liquid lukewarm until ready to pour over the ice cream.

Chocolate will harden into a shell within a few seconds when spooned over ice cream.

Apple Crumble

12 tablespoons/170 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pan
1 1/2 cups/180 grams all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup/300 grams packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 cup/80 grams old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup/113 grams pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 pounds mixed apples, such as Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (about 8 medium apples)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup/200 grams of the brown sugar, oats, pecans and salt. Add the butter, and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Add the apples to the buttered baking dish and toss with the remaining 1/2 cup/100 grams brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Spread the apples into an even layer.

Press the crumb mixture together to create clumps of different sizes, and sprinkle on top of the apples.

Transfer to the oven, and bake until the apples are tender and the crumb topping is crisp and deep golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Atlantic Beach Pie

For the crust:

1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers (about 6 ounces or 60 crackers)
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream, for garnish
Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands.

Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients.

Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set.

The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup prepared lemon curd
Kosher salt
About 20 whole graham crackers
Blueberries, for serving

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of overhang. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and just firm; do not overbeat. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of salt.

Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking them to fit. Repeat the layering with the remaining lemon cream and crackers, finishing with a final layer of cream. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Uncover and invert the cheesecake onto a platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Serve with blueberries.

No-Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberries

CRUST
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7 ounces)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt

FILLING
7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons strawberry jam mixed with 1 teaspoon hot water
Quartered strawberries, for garnish

MAKE THE CRUST
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs over the ?bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate on high power in 10-second intervals until just melted. Let cool slightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste and orange and lemon zests until smooth. Gradually beat in the white chocolate. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.

Wipe out the bowl of the stand mixer and add the cream to it. Attach the whisk and beat the cream at high speed until firm peaks form. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. Spread the cheesecake filling over the chilled crust in an even layer. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least ?3 hours or overnight.

Unmold the cheesecake. Top with the strawberry jam and garnish with quartered strawberries. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Top with the jam and strawberries before serving.