Spring has sprung, and it was brilliantly evidenced by the batch of Meyer lemon sunshine sitting on my kitchen counter silently begging to be transformed into this creamy, dreamy, luscious, airy, lovingly sweet with a bit of a sour kiss kind of cheesecake.
Coming home with an arm-full of fresh, juicy, sweet, succulent sun-ripened peaches from Nashville’s own, The Peach Truck, in the sweltering and achingly humid summer heat could only mean one thing…peach ice cream! Okay, okay, you’re right, it can mean so many a lovely peachy things: pies, preserves, cobblers, tarts, cakes, the list is endless. But in this moment, right now, right here, all I can think of is seeing these ruby speckled gems in a cool, heat quenching Summer Sweet Roasted Peach Ice Cream.
It’s Strawberry season y’all! And what a season it’s been. Producing some of the most luscious, ripe, succulent, and juicy, sun-kissed strawberries I have ever had. So I knew whatever recipe I created, it needed to preserve, enhance and balance that fresh picked natural sweet perfection. Then, passing by this sea of farm to our kitchen strawberries, my husband casually throws out, “those would be great on top of a cheesecake!”
This recipe of deep, dark, slightly spicy chocolate crisps, served with a ruby, locally picked, sun-ripened strawberry and tangy-sweet lime salsa has been such a fun and creative journey; one that was inspired by our stunning, vibrant and resilient neighbors in Mexico on this Cinco de Mayo (which by the way, is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day)!
The holidays mean family, friends, love, peace, joy and cookies! Cookies in all shapes, sizes, colors, flavors and origins. These easy peppermint meringues are some of my favorites this time of year and they look and taste like the holidays. While some consider meringues to be a bit finicky, just follow these simple steps and I promise they will be perfection!
Oh you guys, this bake is just beyond. A rich bread is cubed and soaked in a luscious creamy pumpkin custard, baked to golden perfection and then saturated in a sweet caramelized tres leches bath.
This is my seasonal obligatory pumpkin creation. Please don’t get me wrong, lest this sound like a task I begrudgingly embark on, nothing could be further from reality. This is a yearly right of passage into fall that I happily embrace for I adore pumpkin desserts. This year’s inspiration however, bypassed the oven and ended squarely in mousse territory, and this Spiced Pumpkin Caramel Mousse is not only all kinds of pumpkiny goodness, but it’s also quite simple to make.
I am not from the South, so I never knew there were varying degrees of nakeness! A few years after moving to my adopted home state of Tennessee, a kind and sweet as back porch iced tea, Southern, young-at-heart friend explained that there most certainly are.
“Now dear, there’s “naked” and then there’s “nekked,” she explained with an oh so lovely drawl that toggled on that line between sincerity and syrupy sweet Southern sarcasm. There was no mistaking here, she was down right serious. She continued, “naked is when you don’t have clothes on, and nekked, well…nekked, is when you don’t have clothes on and you’re doin’ something you’re not supposed to be doin’!” I am not exactly sure when the snorting laughter ensued, but at one point I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and distinctly remember thinking that her explanation made perfect sense. That is the moment my friends, I knew I was a Southerner at heart.
The moment I began thinking of making this recipe for you all, I thought of this story and knew this cake had to be the perfect combination of “naked” and “nekked.” Classic enough to be presentable, but with just a bit of sass to make you wonder! A cake where you can see all of the beautiful baked cake layers, stacked high with perfect pillowing frosting peeking through and crowned with an indecent amount of seasonal fruit.
I love to bake. I seriously, really, honestly love to bake. It brings me immeasurable joy and it’s a passion I happily dwell in, often at the expense of a good night’s sleep! But, when the temperatures begins to rise and the most chic accessory I’m wearing is sunscreen, I look to our garden and the farmer’s market for culinary inspiration, and it often does not require turning on the oven. So, on days like today with a high of 91°F and 71% humidity, a lush, cool, creamy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta topped with seasonal cherries is the most perfect end to a hot, muggy day.
Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my tendency to wax poetic about virtually anything within the realm of the baking and pastry worlds. However, there is beauty in brevity, and this Cherry Preserve story is the epitome of that notion. So basically, I saw this heap of bright ruby sunshine at the market and could not resist turning them into preserves. The End. Okay, maybe just a few more details…