dessert

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A simple but scrumptious Toffee recipe

Allowing oneself life’s simple pleasures every so often is high on my agenda.  Sometimes I go through phases when I allow myself such indulgences.  My no-guilt period goes flying out the window, I crave carbs and sweet delights.  I try my darnedest to adhere to rules I set for myself, but they don’t always work and I fall off the wagon.  Do you ever find yourself in such a dilemma?  I know I do.  This was a case in point.  I had taken these moreish toffee squares for a dessert on 2 different occasions and naturally I made a batch to keep 🙂  They were quite a hit.  The recipe is very simple and pretty versatile.  You can add whatever strikes your fancy.

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A classic southern favorite: Pecan Pie

I’ve learned to love and make pies ever since we moved to the United States.  I’ve made many many pies since then.  Pecan pies hold a special place in my heart having lived in the south.  There are all sorts of variations in making this classic southern favorite; adding chocolate, whiskey, bourbon, coconut etc.  But today I present to you a classic, plain and old-fashioned, southern pecan pie.  I got this recipe from none other than a southern lady who used to be our neighbor for a while before she returned down south.  Thank you Tracey.  I recall when I first tasted it, I was in pecan heaven, I’ve since made it over and over again and no matter, where or when I’ve made it, it has always been a hit.  On a recent trip to England to visit my family, I introduced this southern classic to them as it is not very common there.  Toasting the pecans just a bit ahead of time intensifies the flavor.

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Limoncello cheesecake squares

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy.  Even though there is debate about the origin of this drink, it is said to be at least 100 years old.  Limoncello is very popular in Italy and is only just becoming popular in other parts of the world.  It also happens to be a popular ingredient in cocktails and imparts a strong lemon flavor without the sourness or bitterness of pure lemon juice.  Today I’m going to share a recipe with you using limoncello in a dessert.  A guest that came over for dinner a few weeks back very kindly brought over a bottle, and I’ve been sampling this beauty in a few different ways 🙂 Click here for more information on Italian limoncello liqueur.  

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I recall a family trip made to 3 different parts of Italy a few years ago.  My favorite had to be Cinque Terre, a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera.  It was here that I had my very first taste of this potent potion 🙂  Cinque Terre when translated means Five small villages, they are set amidst some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, providing enough to bolster the most jaded of spirits writes The Lonely Planet. 

Ingredients

8 ounces biscotti

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

1 (12 oz) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained, at room temperature

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup limoncello liqueur

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray the bottom of a 9x9x2 in baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor.  Add the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened.  Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan.  Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes.  Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack. 

 Blend the ricotta in a food processor until smooth.  Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl.  Blend in the limoncello, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon zest.  Add the eggs one at a time, and pulse just until blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan.  Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan, pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the  baking pan.  Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold).  Transfer the cake to a rack; cool 1 hour.  Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours.  Cut the cake into squares and serve.  

and now…..sit back, help yourself to a serving and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Cinque Terre. Buon appetito!

 Click here for more information on Rick Steeve’s article on Cinque Terre.  Heading over to Angie’s now for some Friday Fiesta fun.  Thanks to co-hosts Hilda and Juliana.