Fireworks aren’t the only way to end July 4th with a bang. Why not try a star-spangled dessert? Three local chefs shared their favorites like luscious Lemon White Chocolate Mousse and Berry Parfaits.
“Oohs and aahs come with the presentation — the better the vessel, the bigger the ‘wow’ effect,” explained chef and caterer Amy Bause-Bartra of Bause Catered Events in Pottstown. “They look really pretty in wine glasses.”
The parfaits feature two kinds of mousse — lemon and white chocolate — layered with fresh berries.
“The richness of the white chocolate is cut by the lemon juice. It’s a nice balanced dessert,” described Bause-Bartra, who adapted the recipe from Bon Appétit.
“This is a pretty easy recipe that you can put together in 30 minutes or so. The berries can be anything — blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries,” she said. “You can also add ladyfingers, crushed graham crackers, toasted walnuts or hazelnuts.”
Chef and caterer Julie Zlogar of The Wooden Spoon Bakery & Café in Phoenixville also chose berries as a festive finale. Cherry and Almond Custard Tart has “been in our repertoire a long time,” she said.
“It’s nice because it’s versatile. You can use any fruits you like,” added Zlogar. “Cherries and blueberries are great for the Fourth of July.”
Chef and caterer Joanie White of Union Jack’s Inn on the Manatawny declared independence from typical holiday desserts by selecting Grilled Peach Melba instead.
“Everybody expects the flag cake. It’s more elegant looking, but just as simple,” she said. “I just love it. It’s semi-healthy with the raspberries and the peaches.”
“It looks much fancier than it is,” noted White, an instructor at Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville and health coach too. “If you really want to spruce it up for company, put a sprig of mint on top.”
The easiest way to peel peaches, she suggested, is to put them in a pot of boiling water for a minute or two. Let them cool enough to handle, and “the skins just slide right off.”
Another tip: “Don’t leave out the vanilla. That’s what makes the recipe so awesome! You can let the peaches sit in the syrup until you throw them on the grill.”
White plans to have fun on the Fourth kayaking and then grilling lakeside.
“I’m definitely making it (Grilled Peach Melba) for July 4th this year,” she said. “The smell of the peaches is amazing when they come off the grill.”
Lemon White Chocolate Mousse and Berry Parfaits
5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch of salt
¼ cup plus 3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
3 1/2 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
5 cups assorted berries (strawberries and blueberries work well)
To make the lemon curd, combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd (this prevents it from forming a skin). Cool until the mixture is at least at room temperature.
Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup of the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl with the white chocolate. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Once both the lemon curd and white chocolate mixtures have cooled, beat the remaining heavy cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Once the cream is fully whipped, divide the mixture between the two bowls with the lemon curd and the melted white chocolate. Gently fold the whipped cream into each until well incorporated, smooth and no streaks remain.
Layer the lemon mousse and white chocolate mousse as desired in serving dishes (wine glasses work well) with berries between the layers. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8.
(Courtesy of Bause Catered Events, originally from Bon Appétit, April 2009)
Cherry and Almond Custard Tart
1 prebaked pie shell or tart shell
2 cups pitted cherries
2 cups whole milk or half and half
¾ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean
¼ teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat milk or half and half, vanilla bean, almond extract, sugar and salt. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. In a small bowl, combine one egg and flour, whisking until smooth. Add the two remaining eggs to the flour mixture. Whisk egg/flour mixture until smooth, with no lumps visible. Slowly add the hot milk mixture into the egg/flour mixture, whisking constantly. Discard vanilla bean. Pour custard into prebaked shell and place fruit evenly over surface. Bake for 30 min or until custard has set and is beginning to brown. Increase oven heat to 500 degrees, sprinkle turbinado sugar over surface of tart and return to oven for 5 minutes. The sugar on top should caramelize. Serve warm with caramel sauce and ice cream.
(Courtesy of The Wooden Spoon Bakery & Café)
Grilled Peach Melba
8 peaches (1 per person)
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Blend and strain sauce ingredients. Chill. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Chill.
Peel and cut peaches in half. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to a simmer. Keep warm. Dip peach halves in vanilla syrup. Grill until tender. Dip in syrup again. Spoon a little of the raspberry sauce into a bowl. Top with peach halves. Spoon in some whipped cream. Top with more raspberry sauce and a mint leaf. It’s also good with vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.
(Courtesy of Joanie White)