Blackberry Cream Cheese Puffs

This is the third recipe of my berry series ! The stars this time are blackberries ! They tend to be more tart than other berries but are equally delicious. And instead of a muffin or a pie, I want to make something more fun. My daughter has been asking me to make cream puffs, so why don’t I put the two together ?! Blackberry and cream cheese go so well together. And WOW ! It turned out with such a pretty colour! Choux pastry is so magical, it turns into light and airy puffs without any leavening agents. And you can fill the puffs with any flavour of cream or custard, even just a spoon of whipped cream. Be sure to eat them immediately for best tasting…..but hey, they are so yummy and I guarantee they are not going to last ! 

 Makes about 10-12 puffs 

For the fillings

  • 100 g fresh blackberries
  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 60 g icing sugar, sifted
  1. Puree blackberries with a blender, strain through a fine mesh to remove seeds, should yield about 60 g of puree
  2. Beat cream cheese until fluffy, add icing sugar, beat until smooth
  3. Add blackberry puree, mix until blended
  4. Store in refrigerator until use 

For the choux pastry puffs

  • 200 mL water
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 2 g salt
  • 30 g  granulated sugar
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  1. Heat together water, butter, salt and granulated sugar in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil
  2. Turn heat down to low, add flour all at once
  3. Stirring constantly, cook until a thin film of paste formed at the bottom of the pot or about 5 minutes if using a non-stick pot
  4. Transfer paste to a bowl and cool down
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare piping bag with desired piping tip
  6. Add eggs to paste, one at a time and mix well after each addition
  7. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper 
  8. Bake at 350ºF  for about 15-20 minutes until starting to brown, turn heat down to 325°F and bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden (if puffs are under baked, they will collapse after taken out)
  9. Turn heat off, leave puffs inside oven for about 10 minutes with oven door ajar
  10. Take puffs out, let cool  

To assemble

  1. Cut puffs in halves with a serrated knife, spoon or pipe blackberry fillings in middle
  2. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately 
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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream 

Our summer has been pretty hot, I am not complaining, it’s been great ! And nothing is better than having a bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day…..and it’s homemade ! Blueberries are in season, so why not make good use of them ! This recipe is really simple, yet flavourful. No kidding, it’s probably the best ice cream I have ever made ! It looks amazing too ! I am so glad I bought the ice cream machine, trust me, it’s totally worth it !  Oh, here are some extra tips …….

  • Don’t skim on the dairy if you want your ice cream to be rich and creamy, use full fat
  • Make sure your mixture is very cold before putting into the ice cream machine
  • Don’t mesh all of the blueberries when making the compote if you want some “blueberry crunch” in your ice cream

Hope you will give this a try and have a great summer !

Makes about 1 L

  • 150 g blueberries 
  • 30 g granulated sugar (adjust if needed)
  • 10 mL lemon juice 
  • 250 g soft cream cheese 
  • 250 mL whipping cream
  • 250 mL full-fat milk 
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  1. To make the blueberry compote, cook blueberries, 30 g of sugar and lemon juice over medium heat 
  2. Turn heat down when liquid starts to bubble 
  3. Gently mesh blueberries with back of wooden spoon and cook until slightly thicken 
  4. Let cool then refrigerate until use 
  5. Blend cream cheese, whipping cream, milk and sugar together for a few minutes until smooth 
  6. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until mixture is very cold
  7. Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions 
  8. Spoon and swirl blueberry compote into ice cream 
  9. Freeze until serve 

Fruit Pizza (For Canada Day) 

​Summer is here and that means…..lots of berries ! I love to eat them fresh, but also like to use them to make pies, tarts, ice cream, etc…….Just thinking about it makes me soooo excited ! To start off my “berries season”, I made this simple fruit pizza ! It’s basically a giant cookie, top with cream cheese and fruits ! I picked strawberries and raspberries just in time to celebrate Canada Day, but you can also use blueberries, blackberries, even kiwi and banana. It is so easy to put together and I think it is a nice, refreshing dessert for your summer backyard BBQ. Have a Happy Canada Day !  

Makes about four 7″ pizzas

For the “pizza” dough

  • 170 g all-purpose flour 
  • 170 g cake and pastry 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 2 g salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 30 mL lemon juice 
  • Zest of 1 small lemon 

For the toppings

  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • Fruits of choice 
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda and salt, set aside 
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy 
  4. Add 1 egg, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest, mix until blended 
  5. Mix in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time until just cooperated (do not over mix)  
  6. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is formed (dough can be stored in fridge or freezer for later use)
  7. Roll out to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  8. Cut into large circles using a plate or a cake ring (You can collect the dough scraps all together and re-roll, cover unused dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap)
  9. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool
  11. Beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth
  12. Just before serving, spread cream cheese on top of giant cookies, top with fresh fruits  

 

Date Energy Balls

Except my sweet tooth, I think I have a fairly healthy lifestyle. I exercise regularly, I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, drink a lot of water. I try to avoid eating too much carbs and fat. And about a month ago, I started doing kickboxing classes ! Yes, isn’t that crazy ?! It is a pretty strenuous workout, but it’s a lot of fun ! And what a great way to release my stresses…..you know, I can just imagine I am punching my “enemies” …. LOL ! And after all the hard punching and kicking, I made these energy balls to treat myself ! They are delicious, nutritious and super easy to make ! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, they sure can give me a kick of energy before or after my class ! Medjool dates and nuts are however, fairly high in calories, so just keep in mind not to indulge yourself too much….even though they are so tasty and healthy !  

Makes about 12 balls

  • 90 g blanched almonds (or other nuts)
  • 250 g medjool dates (about 13-14 pitted dates)
  • 10 g chia seeds 
  • 15 g hemp protein powder 
  • 25 g cocoa powder 
  • 15 mL coconut oil 

  1. Put dates into a food processor and pulse until they are in small pieces 
  2. Add all other ingredients and blend until well combined
  3. Roll into one-inch balls
  4. Keep in refrigerator 

 

Strawberry Mousse Cake

I first made this cake for my son’s 13th birthday last year. He specifically wanted a strawberry cake. It came out alright…but the cake was slightly dry and the mousse layer was too thick…..

My son’s birthday cake

I have been wanting to remake and “upgrade” it ever since, but never had a chance. It’s Mother’s Day, so I thought this is the perfect time! I added a jelly glaze on top to brighten both the colour and flavour. Each of the three layers has a different texture but they match very well together. It looks much prettier than last time too! I can now share it with my mom and my family. Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms! I wonder what my kids are doing to surprise me this year…….

Makes one 6 inch cake

For the cake

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 1 g salt
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 5 mL fresh lemon juice
  • 30 mL vegetable oil

For the mousse and jelly glaze

  • 400 g fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 160 g granulated sugar
  • 10 mL fresh lemon juice
  • 250 mL cold whipping cream
  • 4 x 1 g gelatin sheets

To make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
  3. Whisk together egg yolks and 60 g of sugar until pale
  4. Mix in vanilla and oil, then gently fold in flour mixture
  5. In a separate bowl, make a meringue by whisking together egg whites and lemon juice until frothy
  6. Slowly add in 15 g of sugar, whisk until medium peak
  7. Gently fold meringue into flour mixture
  8. Pour batter into a lightly-greased 6 or 7 inch cake pan, lined with parchment paper at the bottom (see notes)
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes
  10. Let cool, then trim top and side of cake

Notes : I baked my cake in a 7 inch springform pan and trimmed it to fit into a 6 inch cake ring. You can just bake and assemble your cake in the same pan.

To make the mousse and jelly glaze

  1. For the mousse, place a large mixing bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes
  2. Soak 3 gelatin sheets (1 g each) in cold water for a few minutes
  3. Blend strawberries and strain seeds out through a mesh
  4. Add sugar and lemon juice, and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved
  5. Set aside half of the puree for the glaze
  6. Drained gelatin and add to remaining puree, stir until dissolved, let cool
  7. Whisk whipping cream in the cold mixing bowl until stiff peak
  8. Fold in strawberry gelatin mixture until just blended
  9. Pour on top of cake, smooth with a spatula and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours until set
  10. For the jelly glaze, soak 1 gelatin sheet in cold water for a few minutes
  11. Reheat the saved strawberry puree over medium heat
  12. Add drained gelatin and stir until dissolved
  13. Let cool, pour on top of mousse layer and refrigerate for another 3-4 hours until set
  14. Release cake from pan or ring and decorate as desired

Homemade Pop Tarts

My daughter loves to read ever since she was very young, and she loves all kinds of books…novels, science, history, comics and even cook books ! So, a lot of times, our bedtime reading will include looking at recipes, sweet or savoury, and deciding what we should try. Pop tarts was one of them that’s on the top of our list. It’s easy, colourful, fun and of course, super yummy ! Personally, I like them without the sprinkles, but my daughter will definitely disagree. She had so much fun putting on the glaze and the sprinkles….yeah, might be just a little too much…..    

Makes about 6 tarts

For the crust

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • 2 g salt
  • 240 cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 ml milk
  • 5 ml pure vanilla extract

For the glaze 

  • 120 g icing sugar 
  • 30-45 ml milk

Other ingredients

  • Fruit jam of choice (I used raspberry)
  • 1 egg white for brushing
  • 30 g vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  • Sprinkles for decorating
  1. To make the glaze, mix together icing sugar and milk until smooth, set aside
  2. To make the crust, put flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl
  3. Rub in chilled butter with fingers until butter is pea-sized
  4. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla
  5. Gently press dough together, do not knead
  6. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F
  8. Roll dough to about 0.5 cm in thickness. If dough was in the fridge overnight, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before rolling
  9. Cut into 8 cm x 12 cm rectangles (2 rectangles per tart)
  10. Place half of the rectangles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  11. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of fillings on top
  12. Brush sides with egg white and cover with the other half of rectangles
  13. Press sides gently to seal, then press down with a fork
  14. Make a few holes on top to vent
  15. Brush top with egg white and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
  16. Bake for about 30 minutes
  17. Cool, then decorate with glaze and sprinkles

Coffee Cake Muffins 

The past month has been super busy! Kids were on spring break, we went for a mini vacation to Portland with my parents. I came back to start a new pharmacy job, meanwhile trying to prepare for 3 Spring markets….. I was basically working 14-16 hours a day! It was exhausting but I had so much fun doing the markets. I love to share my baking passion and people’s responses are very positive and encouraging. I also love meeting and talking to other artisan vendors. It makes me really appreciate the time and effort that they put into their art, whether it’s food related or not. So go visit your local artisan markets and I am sure you will discover some very amazing local vendors and their products.

This is a recipe I did a while ago. I usually try to have one or two “spare” recipes so I can keep posting when I am busy. It’s a very simple muffin recipe but the crumble makes them taste so good! It’s a perfect afternoon snack with a cup of coffee! And definitely need it on my 16 hour-day!

Makes about 12 

For the muffins

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 180 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 60 mL canola oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300 g sour cream
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract

For the crumble

  • 60 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. To make the crumble, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt
  3. Rub in cold butter with fingers until resemble wet sand, set aside
  4. To make the batter, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda
  5. Mix in sugar and salt
  6. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream, melted butter and oil, stir until just blended
  7. Spoon half of the batter, then half of the crumble into lightly oiled and floured muffin tins
  8. Layer with the remaining halves
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes

Recipe adapted from Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel Topping at www.justataste.com