Can you believe that summer is already upon us? I must admit, I have missed the smell of summer air and those wonderful golden rays of sun that seem to penetrate your skin and warm you from the inside out. And raise your hands if you love a nice cool drink by the pool? (I raised both….) Hooray for the summer season!
Not only does summer bring longer days and warmer nights, but along with all the other pleasantries comes the celebration of the birth of our great nation. Yay America! Fourth of July was always such a big deal for our family, and it’s something I can’t wait to celebrate with our kids when we have them. I remember Mom decking Megan and I out in our matching red, white and blue ensembles, and walking just only five houses down the street to our cousins home for the most spectacular BBQ.
It was always such an incredible spread of all our summer favorites. Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, the most delicious and flaky home made pies, watermelon, corn on the cob, and all the ice cream us kids could get our sticky hands on. It’s no wonder I became such a foodie when I grew up….it was the center of everything we did. And looked like something straight out of a Martha Stewart catalog. Our mom’s made it look so effortless, and still do.
So this year, to pay homage to our patriotic family gatherings of yesteryear, I made an All American dessert spread for a friend’s BBQ this Saturday. Triple Berry Pie with my very own Almond Pie Crust recipe, red velvet truffles, and red, white and blue chocolate dipped waffles cones with homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, that will surely be devoured before it even has a chance to melt and create those sweet and sugary streams down the sides of the cone. My mouth is watering…..
I wish everyone a very Happy and SAFE Fourth of July. And let us not forget the wonderful and truly amazing country that we get to wake up in, and celebrate our freedoms each and every day. I may be a proud and fiery mix of my Latin and Mediterranean parents, but I am also deeply proud to be an AMERICAN. Every single day.
May God Bless the USA,
Triple Berry Pie with Toasted Almond Pie Crust
Prepare 2 disks Toasted Almond Pie Crust (recipe below) and refrigerate 30min.
All-purpose flour, for surface
7 1/2 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries, and blackberries
1 ¼ cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out 1 disk pie dough to about 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Press dough into bottoms and up sides of desired pie plate. Trim excess dough flush with edges of pie plates using a knife, or crimp edges.
Stir together berries, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt. Fill pie shells with berry filling.
Whisk together the egg. Roll out remaining disk of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut out stars using cookie cutters, a knife, or a pastry wheel.
Brush the pie top with the egg wash, and sprinkle your sanding sugar. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until juices are bubbling and tops are golden brown, 60 to 75 minutes. (Tent with foil if crusts are getting too dark.) Let cool.
Lauren’s Toasted Almond Pie Crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground toasted almonds
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, cut up, or shortening
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 – 2/3 cup ice water
Preheat oven to 375-400
Place whole almonds on a baking sheet and toast for about 20 minutes. Every oven is different so check them periodically. They could toast In more or less time.
Once almonds have toasted, allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Place in grinder and grind until a fine almond flour is achieved.
In a food processor mix together flour, ground almonds, sugar and salt.
Add shortening to the flour mixture, in tablespoon dollops, and add the butter cut into small pieces. Pulse until mixture has turned into pea size crumbles.
Add almond extract and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse after each tablespoon. Continue until dough forms a large ball in the mixer. Lightly flour your surface and knead the dough ball gently until it holds together. Divide pastry in half; form disks and refrigerate half an hour.
No-Bake Red Velvet Truffles (courtesy of Southern Living)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup red velvet cake mix
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate morsels
4 oz. Red vanilla candy melts
4 oz. Royal Blue vanilla candy melts
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add flour, cake mix, salt and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until a dough consistency is formed.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet. Chill truffle dough for at least 15 minutes or until firm.
Melt white candy melts according to package directions. Using a fork or dipping tool dip truffle balls into melted candy, rolling to coat. Place on wax paper to dry (about 15 minutes).
Melt blue candy melts according to package directions and place in a zip top bag or small piping bag. Cut the tip off the bag. Drizzle blue candy melts over the truffles. Sprinkle the tops with a small amount of red nonpareils, if desired. Chill truffles until ready to serve.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla bean paste
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.