Above the sounds of car doors opening and closing, luggage being loaded, and 30 women exchanging “goodbyes and well wishes,” comments regarding their retreat could be overheard. They were all very positive, especially those regarding their meals. Many of these women love to cook, and are very attentive to—and appreciative of—what they are served.
From what I overheard, their final dessert was the ultimate perfection, and had made quite an impact, sending them off on a high, happy note. As I thought on all of this someone quietly appeared offering me a luscious looking lime creation garnished with a fresh mint leaf and whipped cream on a crystal clear glass dessert plate. Suddenly I was reminded of a favorite verse of scripture in the Old Testament where God in referring to prayer says: “Before they call, I will answer.”
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended. Transfer to a medium bowl and add coconut flakes and melted butter. Toss to combine completely. Pour the crumbs into an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Stir until thick and well incorporated. Set aside.
- Place the gelatin in a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand two minutes to bloom. Microwave in 10-second bursts until gelatin is dissolved. Cool the gelatin to near room temperature, but do not let it set—very important.
- Add the whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. (If you don't have a stand mixer use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer.) Whip the cream for one minute on a medium speed. Slowly add the sugar to the cream. Turn off the mixer and check to see that the gelatin has cooled, but not set. Add the gelatin and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Separately reserve about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping for garnish.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the key lime filling and lightly stir to combine. Add the rest of the whipped cream and fold completely into the mixture, careful not to deflate the cream too much.
- Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and smooth over with a spatula.
- Garnish with whipped cream and thinly sliced lime as desired. Refrigerate for at least two hours for a cloud like dessert. For a frozen tart, freeze at least two hours.
- To serve, remove the tart from the freezer and let it sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes to soften a little before slicing it.
It is a sunny, slightly warm day here on the Cape, but cold weather is on its way again soon. I’m not quite ready for spring, though, I am still waiting for the BIG snow of the season. We did have a couple of snow falls of a couple of inches, but I would really love a good 10 to 12 inches. Snow is also great for the garden, and we are already planning what vegetable seeds to buy, along with starting another plot for a garden, so please pray that we get the big storm!
I recently had a birthday and was given one of my favorite desserts — a coconut cream trifle. I have served this in little glasses, and called it coconut cake in a glass — and it is truly divine. This recipe is a little complicated and time consuming, but I promise it is well worth the effort for any event or family gathering.
Coconut Cake in a Glass, or Coconut Cream Trifle
Coconut Cake In A Glass, Or Coconut Cream Trifle
First make the simple syrup:
- Bring water and sugar to a boil.
- Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for about 30 minutes.
- Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Let cool.
Then the custard:
- Bring milks to a simmer over low heat in a nonreactive saucepan.
- Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
- Whisk in a small amount of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly whisk in the rest until smooth.
- Return mixture to the pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.
- Scrape mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
Now the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously butter and flour 2 (9″by 2″) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
- Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
- With mixer on low speed, add remaining milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more.
- Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
- Divide batter between the 2 pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 22 to 24 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then invert onto the rack, removing the parchment. Let cool completely.
- Toast the 1 cup of coconut until golden for topping.
- Whip the 1 1/2 cups of cream, and fold 2/3 of it into the cooled custard for the filling between layers of cake, reserving the last 1/3 for the final layer of the dessert.
- Slice each cake into 2 layers, brush with the simple syrup, and then chunk up into bite size pieces.
- You can make these either individually in glasses, or for a crowd in a large glass bowl.
- Put a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of your container, then a layer of the custard mixture, continuing until your container is full, final layer being the last 1/3 of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
- This is most delicious if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours so the flavors meld.