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Pumpkin Spiced Whipped Cream

October 13, 2016 Dessert, Menu 1 Comment

Recently, I shared with you my recipe for Whipped Mascarpone and Greek Yogurt, served with puffed pastry and fresh fruit. Today, we’re going to add a little fall flavor to this recipe! All you will need are two additional ingredients that are autumn staples…pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice (a dash of cinnamon wouldn’t hurt either). The pumpkin flavor is not too overpowering…it’s just enough to put you into the autumn mood. Whether you decide to use my mascarpone and yogurt recipe, or the more traditional heavy whipping cream version, this delicious topping will go perfect with any fall dessert. Serve it over your favorite slice of pie, or along with spiced wafers or graham crackers. If you’re using the heavy whipped cream version, add a dollop in your cup of coffee, hot chocolate or apple cider. Or just eat it with a spoon!




Pumpkin Spiced Whipped Cream

Mascarpone and Greek Yogurt version
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tspn powdered sugar
2 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
dash of cinnamon

Combine mascarpone, yogurt, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice in a chilled mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix until thick and creamy. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Top with a dash of cinnamon.


Heavy Whipping Cream version
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tbspn powdered sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
dash of cinnamon

Combine cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a chilled mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix together until soft peaks form. Add the pumpkin pie spice and continue to mix until stiff peaks form. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Top with a dash of cinnamon.




Carrot Cake Dip

May 13, 2015 Dessert, Menu No Comments

One of the things that I really enjoy about writing a food blog is sharing my ideas that are thought of ‘outside of the box.’ Especially when it comes to a more traditional type of dish. If you’re in search for a traditional recipe, chances are that someone in your family has a recipe for it. And if they don’t, there are most likely countless versions that exist online. This is also the time when I like to put my creative side to good use. Instead of trying to change or modify a perfectly established and well-balanced dish, I prefer having fun with it…reinventing it, if you will.

Recently I had a craving for carrot cake. Although I’ve never made a carrot cake from scratch, I know that there is a decent amount of work involved. I also know that there are more than enough perfected recipes floating around online that probably would not benefit much from my improvising. Being that party dips are always a fun approach (and are pretty popular at my family parties), I decided to give a carrot cake dip a try. Since cream cheese and spices are key carrot cake ingredients, this was actually an easy recipe to put together. I added the basic spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar), along with chopped walnuts, toasted coconut and, of course, shredded carrots, and folded them into the cream cheese (you can also add raisins if you prefer). Using ginger snaps to scoop up the dip, the flavor was spot on…and much easier to make than an actual cake!

So if you’re a fan of carrot cake and fun party dips, give this recipe a try. I promise you it’ll be a big hit!

Carrot Cake Dip

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/4 cup toasted coconut*
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except for carrots, coconut, walnuts and raisins, mix on medium high speed for 1-2 minutes. Fold in remaining ingredients. Serve with ginger snaps.

* For tips on toasting coconut, click here.



My kitchen assistant, helping me mix the ingredients.






Amaretto Mascarpone Rice Pudding

February 10, 2015 Dessert, Menu No Comments

There are few desserts that come to mind that are as rich, creamy and elegant as a classic home-made rice pudding. This past weekend, I decided that I would make my own version of rice pudding by adding two of my favorite decadent dessert ingredients – mascarpone cheese and Amaretto liqueur. Since I have never made rice pudding, I put a little extra time into researching recipes online, to determine which method would work best with my additional ingredients. I came across a bunch of variations, including recipes made with egg yolks, whipping cream (heavy and light), milk and butter. One ingredient that was always consistent with the highly rated recipes was arborio rice.

Arborio is a short-grain Italian rice with a high starch content that is used when making risotto. When cooked, it plumps up and makes a creamy texture that blends well with other flavors. Creamy is definitely a texture that I wanted to go for with the pudding, so arborio rice was the way to go.

Because I wanted to add mascarpone cheese (an Italian cream cheese) to the recipe, I thought it would be best to use a recipe that did not incorporate other dairy ingredients high in fat. The first recipe that I attempted to make called for 4 cups of 2% milk, and 1/2 cup of pre-cooked arborio rice. Because I was adding the mascarpone, the idea of only using 2% milk seemed appealing. I was wrong. Whether it was the lack of fat in the 2% milk, or that the rice was pre-cooked in water and no additional starch was released in the milk, the pudding never thickened for me, even after adding the mascarpone. Even after letting it sit for a good two hours, the texture never got beyond a soupy consistency. It tasted great, but was way too thin to serve.

Back to drawing board, I decided to cut the liquid measurement down to three cups, but this time using two cups of 2% milk and 1 cup of light cream. The mascarpone would have added some thickness and fat to the dessert, so I didn’t see the need to use heavy cream. I also cooked the arborio rice directly in the milk/cream mixture, so that the released starch would help thicken the pudding.The results were much better and looked beautiful when I removed it from the stove. But once cooled, it thickened a bit too much. To help thin it out, I stirred in a bit of cream before serving and the taste and texture were perfect. But I came to the conclusion that 4 cups of liquid are indeed needed when using 1/2 cup arborio, using a 3-1 ratio of 2% milk and light cream (3 cups milk/1 cup cream). If you want to make a slightly smaller serving, stick with the 2/1 ratio of milk and light cream as I did, but reduce the amount of arborio rice to 1/3 cup.

If you’re adding Amaretto, you can simmer it in a sauce pan on low heat for about 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol to make it kid-friendly. Make sure to keep an eye on the simmering Amaretto, to make sure that it doesn’t evaporate.

Amaretto Mascarpone Rice Pudding
Serves 4

1/3 cup arborio rice
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup light cream
1/4 cup sugar
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1 tspn vanilla extract
*1/4 cup Amaretto (alcohol can be cooked off)

(To make a serving for 6, increase milk measurements to 3 cups and increase arborio rice measurements to 1/2 cup).

In a large sauce pan, place arborio rice, milk, cream and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until milk and cream start to thicken and the rice is soft and plump. Remove from heat, fold in mascarpone cheese, Amaretto, vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Place the rice pudding in a covered bowl, refrigerate for 4 hours.

Serve and enjoy with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon!

* To cook off the alcohol in the Amaretto, place the Amaretto in a small sauce pan. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. You will be able to smell the alcohol cooking off. Be sure to keep an eye on the Amaretto so that it doesn’t burn or evaporate.

rice pudding


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