No-Bake Cheesecake With Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut

FOR THE CARAMELIZED PINEAPPLE:
1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups/225 grams fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (from about 1/2 small pineapple)

FOR THE CRUST:
6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted, plus more for greasing the pan
7 ounces/200 grams gingersnaps, from about 28 (2-inch) cookies
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

FOR THE FILLING:
1 (13-ounce/400-milliliter) can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
16 ounces/450 grams cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice (from 2 limes)
Toasted coconut flakes (optional), for topping

Make the caramelized pineapple: Heat a medium saucepan over medium until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and make a dry caramel by adding the sugar in an even layer. The sugar should begin melting into a clear syrup once it hits the pan. If it browns immediately, your pan is too hot and the heat should be turned down. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring with a heat-safe spatula to cover any dry spots, about 3 minutes. As the crystals melt, the syrup will change color from light to golden brown, about 5 minutes. Once melted, continue to stir and cook the syrup until it is a deep amber color, 2 to 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and very carefully, to avoid splatter, add the pineapple all at once. Immediately cover with a lid to prevent the hot liquid from bubbling over. Once the bubbling slows after 1 to 2 minutes, stir the mixture to melt any hard chunks of caramel that have formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pineapple pieces to steep in the caramel syrup until they are infused, at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight in the refrigerator). The pineapple will turn a deeper yellow as it steeps, and will develop a more pronounced caramel taste.
(Caramelized pineapple can be made up to 1 week ahead, refrigerated and stored in the syrup.)

Using a fork, remove the pineapple pieces from the syrup, transfer them to a food processor to purée, or finely chop. Reserve and refrigerate the leftover caramel syrup for another use.

Make the crust: Lightly grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on two sides. In a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps until they form coarse crumbs. (Alternatively, place gingersnaps in a resealable bag and crush with a wine bottle or rolling pin.) You should have about 1 1/2 cups crumbs.

Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl; stir in the melted butter, sugar and salt. The crumbs should look slightly wet and clump up when pressed together in your palm. Pour the mixture into prepared pan and spread to completely cover the bottom. Use the flat side of a measuring cup to compress, push and flatten the crumbs to cover the base and about 3/4-inch up the sides. Refrigerate while you make the filling. (Crust can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead.)

Make the filling: In a small saucepan off the heat, combine 1/2 cup/120 milliliters coconut milk with the gelatin and allow to bloom, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, salt, lime zest and juice on the lowest setting until smooth. Heat the coconut milk-gelatin mixture on low to melt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the coconut milk to cool down the mixture. Scrape down the bowl and switch to the whisk attachment. Slowly pour in the coconut milk mixture with the mixer on the lowest setting. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed. As the coconut milk incorporates, the mixer speed can gradually be increased to medium to make sure the mixture is smooth throughout.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and dot the top with teaspoonfuls of the pineapple purée. Some spoonfuls will sink in to create lovely pockets of pineapple within the cream filling, which is fine! Chill at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
To unmold, run a knife or an offset spatula along the sides of the pan to loosen the crust. Lift both sides of the parchment and move cake to a board. Slice into 9 to 12 squares with a clean, warm knife, top each square with toasted coconut if using.

No-Bake Melon Cheesecake Bars

FOR THE CRUST:
9 1/2 ounces/269 grams graham crackers (about 18 whole crackers)
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)

FOR THE FILLING:
2 (1/4-ounce/7-gram) packets powdered gelatin (about 5 teaspoons)
1 1/4 pounds/566 grams peeled cantaloupe, diced (about 3 cups)
1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1/2 cup/120 milliliters heavy whipping cream
Honey, for drizzling (optional)

Prepare the crust: Place the graham crackers in a resealable plastic bag. Close the bag and, using a rolling pin, heavy can or other blunt object, crush the graham crackers into a coarse rubble. To the bag, add the melted butter, sugar and salt, and mix thoroughly.

Transfer the crumbs to an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and press into the bottom of the pan with your hands, forming a thick, sturdy base. Place in the freezer to set while you make the filling.

Make the filling: In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together 1/4 cup cold tap water and the gelatin. Let sit to bloom. Meanwhile, use a blender to purée the cantaloupe, cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium until simmering at the edges or in a small bowl in the microwave until hot to the touch, 45 to 60 seconds on high. Add the bloomed gelatin to the hot cream and stir vigorously until smooth. Transfer the cream to the blender and blend with the cantaloupe until smooth.

Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the filling over the graham cracker crust. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Cut into bars and serve, drizzled with honey, if you like.

Buttermilk Sheet Cake With Peaches and Blueberries

16 tablespoons (226 grams; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
3 cups (360 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt or fine sea salt
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup well shaken buttermilk, preferably full-fat
3 peeled, pitted peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups; see NOTE; can use frozen)
1 cup (150 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper so the 2 shorter sides overhang a bit (for lifting the cake out of the pan.) Grease the paper with a little butter.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Combine the 16 tablespoons of butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on medium speed, 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl from time to time.

Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk and stir to combine. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in two or three additions, ending with the flour, mixing until just barely incorporated. Use a flexible spatula to gently fold the batter a bit more by hand, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to work in any residual dry ingredients. Once the batter looks combined with no white streaks, scrape it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Arrange peach slices on the top and scatter the blueberries evenly over the peaches. Bake (middle rack) for about 1 hour (start checking after 50 to 55 minutes), until the cake is golden brown on the edges and begins to pull away from the sides. During the baking, the batter will puff up over the fruit; once the cake cools, it will deflate a bit.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (in the pan). Lift the cake using the parchment paper ends, then discard the paper and cut into 15 to 20 squares.

NOTE: To peel peaches, plunge them it into boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of ice water. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. The riper the peach, the less time it needs in the boiling water.

Peach and Berry Skillet Cobbler

7–8 fresh peaches – 2 lbs, peeled (optional) sliced into chunks or slices ( about 3 cups total ) or sub plums or nectarines. ( see notes)
1 cup fresh berries (optional – sub blackberries, blueberries)
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cobbler topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( or use a GF flour blend) or half whole wheat
1/3 cup sugar ( or sugar substitute like coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons, or 3/4 cup ) melted, and then cooled slightly (or use coconut oil)

FOR SPRINKLING:

turbanado sugar ( optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar ( see notes) spices, salt, lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and gently fold in berries. Taste and adjust sugar, adding more, if berries are particularly tart.

Place the fruit only, in a greased 10 inch cast iron skillet, and heat over the stove over medium heat, until just bubbling and hot in the center about 8-9 minutes. If this looks overly “juicy” feel free to spoon out some of the liquid ( this mostly happens with over ripe fruit and plums).

While this is heating, make the topping. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.

Mix the melted butter into the flour and sugar and combine to form a crumbly dough.

Pat handfuls of dough into 2 inch-wide disks, 1/2-inch thick. They dont have to look perfect.

Add disks to the top, overlapping a little bit if you like, sprinkle crumbles of the remaining dough, into all the nooks and crannies, and place in the hot oven and bake until bubbly, golden and crispy, about 45 -55. minutes – checking at 20-30 minutes to see if it’s getting too dark and if so, rotate or lightly cover with foil for a bit.

Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Notes:

Blueberries will most likely need less sugar, start conservatively. Huckleberries are pretty tart and may need more.

To get the biscuit topping crispy, golden and cooked all the through, make sure to add it after the fruit is heated and bubbly ( either stovetop or in the oven.) Bigger dollops of topping may require you to cook longer and cover the cobbler with foil for part of the baking time, to prevent them from getting too dark.

Farm-Style Peach Galette

Pie Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons cold butter – cut into 10 pieces
1/4 – 1/3 cup cold water
Filling

8–9 medium peaches, perfectly ripe – sliced into ½-¾ inch slices (about 6–7 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar ( more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
—–
1 tablespoon butter- optional
1 beaten egg
sugar for sprinkling
fresh thyme or garnish
serve with vanilla ice-cream (optional)

Make the pie crust: Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter, then pulse repeatedly (15-20 times) until it resembles course sand with some larger pea sized clumps of butter. Turn processor on and gradually add water,just until dough clumps together and forms a shaggy ball. You may need to add a little more or little less. Just until it clumps together.

Gather up and place on a well-floured piece of parchment, flouring the top as well. Form into a round ball, then flatten into a neat and tidy 1-inch thick disk about 7 inches wide. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 4ooF

Gently rub peach fuzz off the peaches with a terry cloth towel or rub it off under cold running water. Pat dry. Leaving the clean, defuzed skins on, slice peaches into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick wedges. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, flour, sugar salt and spices, mix very gently, to combine. If you like a juicier pie, only add ¼ cup flour. Or, for a thicker consistency, add up to ¼ cup more flour. Taste for sweetness. The sweeter and riper the peaches the less sugar you will need- but note you do need at least ½ cup sugar to get the right consistency when baking. Add more sugar to taste. Set aside. The lemon juice is not just for flavor, it adds vibrancy to the color of the cooked peaches and helps the consistency- so don’t leave this out.

Roll out the dough: Neaten the edges, flip and begin rolling it out on the floured parchement, from the center out to the edges- while keeping the underneath surface well-floured to prevent sticking. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick or roughly 14 inches in diameter. Carefully lift pie dough and place in a 10 1/2-inch wide cast iron skillet, gently pressing it into corners and sides. Sprinkle the bottom with a tablespoon of flour, this helps the crust to not get soggy.

Spoon in the pie filling, and arrange peaches nicely just in the top middle area where they will show. Dot with a little butter if you like.

Fold the raggedy edges of the crust over itself about 1/4 inch or so, just to clean up the edges.

Then carefully draw the crust up over the filling, folding and overlapping in the same direction, every 2 inches or so. It need not be perfect.

Brush the top of the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on the middle rack of a 400 F oven for 15 minutes.

Turn heat down to 375F and continue baking until deeply golden and bubbly, about 35-40 minutes.

If crust starts to get too brown, lover heat to 350, or cover the edges with foil – this doesn’t usually happen, but every oven is different!

When done, let rest 20 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with vanilla ice-cream and enjoy!!

Notes:
You can also just bake this on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake at 375 the whole time- 40-45 minutes.

Extra Crunchy Fruit Crisp

FOR THE TOPPING:
1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/50 grams rolled oats
1/3 cup/75 grams light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, ginger or allspice, or use lemon zest
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING:
2 to 5 tablespoon light brown sugar (or granulated sugar), depending on the sweetness of the fruit
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen), or cubed peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, or pitted sweet cherries (or a combination)

Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, salt and spices. Stir in butter. Using your hands, squish mixture until coarse crumbs form. Some should be about 1/2-inch in size, some smaller.

Spread topping in one layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. (You don’t have to grease it first.) Bake until crumbs are solid when you gently poke them, and are fragrant, about 15 minutes. They won’t change appearance very much. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling. (Crumbs can be baked up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.)

Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add fruit and gently toss to coat with the sugar mixture. Pour filling into an ungreased 2-quart gratin dish or 10-inch cake pan, mounding the fruit in the center.

Spoon crumbs over filling and place the crumble dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflowing juices. (You can use the same baking sheet you cooked the crumbs on.) Bake until filling bubbles energetically around the edges, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like. Crumble can be made up to 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, or warmed up briefly in a 350-degree oven.

Note: one reader suggested reversing the first two ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of oats to 1/2 cup of flour. More crunch and healthier. Another added toasted pecans.

Ritz Carlton Blueberry Muffins

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt, optional
5 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
5 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 or 5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Additional sugar for topping

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Stir in eggs, milk and butter; do not overmix. Carefully stir in berries.

Grease the top of large muffin tins. Insert paper cups and spoon batter to the top of the paper cups. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Reduce heat to 400 degrees, place muffin tins on middle shelf of oven. Bake about 25 minutes, until muffins are golden brown. Remove from muffin tins and cool.

One-Bowl Skyr Cheesecake

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup (133 grams) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
2 cups (16 ounces/453 grams) plain low-fat skyr (Icelandic yogurt), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and place it on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer (or in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, add 2/3 cup of the sugar and beat, starting on medium-low speed and increasing to medium-high until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add the skyr, vanilla and lemon zest and beat on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions, and beat until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 15 minutes, then, keeping the cake in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes, or until the cake is just set but still jiggles a little in the middle. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Then, keeping the cake in the pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, in a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and the lemon juice. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan before unmolding. Serve each slice of cheesecake topped with a mound of the strawberries.

Yogurt Parfait with Warmed Strawberries

2 cups strawberries, quartered 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
Granola, as much as you desire
Whip cream, as much as you desire

Slice the strawberries into quarters.

Line the air fryer basket with perforated parchment paper (optional) and place the strawberries in the air fryer. Sprinkle the sugar on the strawberries and air fry at 400°F for 8 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, add in the yogurt, honey, mixing to combine.

Place the yogurt and honey mixture in small glasses, filling the glass 1?4 of the way full. Add the same amount of strawberries and granola on top. Repeat those steps until the glasses are full.

Place whip cream at the very top.

Crispy Coconut Dessert Topping

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups coconut panko

Mix cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Melt butter in saute pan over medium low heat.

After butter is melted, place coconut panko in pan. Toss continually to keep from burning. Remove from heat when panko turns golden.

Mix in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Sprinkle on top of pie filling, cheesecake, ice cream, yogurt, or fruit.

Streusel Topping

250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
250 grams (2 1/2 cups) hazelnut flour
250 grams (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
6 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) fleur de sel
250 grams (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Make the streusel dough: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a spatula), combine the all-purpose flour, hazelnut flour, sugar, and fleur de sel. Add the butter and mix to combine. Using your fingers, break up the streusel dough into pieces about the size of marbles. (Alternatively, push the dough through the holes of a wire rack to get pieces of a more uniform size.)

Bake the streusel: Spread the streusel over the prepared pan and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. The edges should be crunchy and the inside still soft. Let cool completely.

If you can’t find hazelnut flour, pulse 250 grams (3 cups) whole hazelnuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground. You can also substitute almond, pistachio, or walnut flour.

Extra Crunchy Fruit Crumble

FOR THE TOPPING:
1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/50 grams rolled oats
1/3 cup/75 grams light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, ginger or allspice, or use lemon zest
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING:
2 to 5 tablespoon light brown sugar (or granulated sugar), depending on the sweetness of the fruit
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen), or cubed peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, or pitted sweet cherries (or a combination)
Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, salt and spices. Stir in butter. Using your hands, squish mixture until coarse crumbs form. Some should be about 1/2-inch in size, some smaller.

Spread topping in one layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. (You don’t have to grease it first.) Bake until crumbs are solid when you gently poke them, and are fragrant, about 15 minutes. They won’t change appearance very much. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling. (Crumbs can be baked up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.)
Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add fruit and gently toss to coat with the sugar mixture. Pour filling into an ungreased 2-quart gratin dish or 10-inch cake pan, mounding the fruit in the center.

Spoon crumbs over filling and place the crumble dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflowing juices. (You can use the same baking sheet you cooked the crumbs on.) Bake until filling bubbles energetically around the edges, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like. Crumble can be made up to 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, or warmed up briefly in a 350-degree oven.

Coconut Mango Frozen Yogurt

1 cup plain coconut water
1/2 cup sugar
1 small mango (about 10 ounces), peeled and diced
1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut water and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Let the sugar syrup cool.

In a blender or food processor, puree the diced mango with 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup. Transfer 1/4 cup of the puree to a bowl and whisk in the Greek yogurt, coconut milk, lemon juice and the remaining sugar syrup. Pour the mixture into a glass baking dish and freeze for 1 hour, until frozen around the edges. Whisk the mixture to break up the clumps and return to the freezer. Freeze for about 2 hours longer, whisking frequently, until the mixture is nearly frozen. Spread the remaining mango puree on top and, using a butter knife, swirl it into the yogurt. Freeze until nearly solid.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the shredded coconut over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it’s golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the coconut to a plate and let it cool. To serve, scoop the frozen yogurt into bowls and top with the toasted coconut. Alternatively, in a tall glass, layer the coconut between small scoops of the frozen yogurt, like a parfait.

Lemon Custards with Strawberries

FOR THE CUSTARDS:
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, lemon zest and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer vigorously until mixture thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until mixture has cooled slightly and a skin forms on top, about 20 minutes.

Stir mixture, then strain through fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout; discard zest. Pour mixture evenly into six 6-ounce ramekins or small bowls.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours.

As the custards chill, prepare the strawberry topping: Toss strawberries and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Let fruit macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the sugar is dissolved.

To serve, top each lemon custard with some strawberry topping and grind black pepper on top.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Maple Glazed Peaches with Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk cold (*or see notes to make your own buttermilk)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing biscuits after baking

For glazed peaches:
3 medium peaches cut in half and removed from stone
3-4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup **or see notes for substitution option
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme, optional
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
For serving:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Crème Frâiche or Thick Yogurt

Preheat oven to 475F with rack in centre of oven.
Make the biscuits: (Can be made several hours ahead) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup, scoop out dollops of batter and drop onto a baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with a bit of melted butter. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. (If making ahead, cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in microwave briefly or pop into a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so.
For the peaches: Preheat a large skillet on the stove-top over medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add a few thyme leaves, if using and cook for one minute. Add the halved peaches, cut side down, and cook until bottom starts to colour. Once the peaches are coloured a bit, add the maple syrup and cook for about 30 second more. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then flip the peaches over. Let the syrup simmer until it is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat under the pan.

To serve: You can serve directly from the larger skillet you cooked the peaches in or transfer to smaller skillets or plates, topping with biscuits, thyme sprigs and a dollop of crème frâiche or yogurt, and spooning reduced syrup over-top. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a bit of lemon zest. *I find it best to allow the peaches and syrup to cool to a bit before serving, for best flavour and to keep the creme fraiche or yogurt from melting too much.

Fresh Peach Ricotta Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese full-fat recommended
3 large peaches peeled or not, as you like
For topping:
Flaked almonds
Brown sugar
Pinch salt

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. *A 9-inch springform is the best option, if you have that size.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the peaches by peeling, if desired, then cutting 2 of the peaches into cubes and then cut the 3rd peach into slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the white sugar until light in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the 2 cubed peaches until combined well with the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced peaches on the top of the batter. Scatter some flaked almonds on top, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and and pinch of salt.

Bake in preheated oven as follows: for a 9-inch springform pan, bake for 75-80 minutes. For a 10-inch springform, baking time will be shorter, about 60-65 minutes. In all cases, cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top should be evenly golden. You can test centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked in the middle.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outside ring from the springform pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan base.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined.

Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs.

Add flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices.

Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. Wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.