By Cheryl Radkiewicz
Since most of us will be staying in this Valentine’s Day, (Thank you, Covid) the possibilities are endless for serving some easy-to-make, delicious, creative desserts.
If you have some fresh fruit, a jar of maraschino cherries, or frozen strawberries, you’re on your way. Most of these can be made in advance or just thrown together while dinner is in the oven or being picked up. So, relax and get ready for some very special treats.
1 pint strawberries
1 pint strawberry ice cream, softened
1/4 cup Amaretto
1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Wash and hull strawberries. Halve lengthwise and place in dessert dishes. Quickly combine softened ice cream and Amaretto. Spoon over strawberries and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Makes 4 servings.
Jan’s Fruit Cup:
2 cups combined sliced strawberries, seedless white grapes and bananas
1 Tbsp. sugar
6 oz. sherry or brandy
Combine all sliced fruit in a bowl. Mix with sugar and sherry or brandy. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with whipped cream.
Strawberry Almond Crepes:
4 crepes (made ahead)
1-3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
4 tsp. Half and Half
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Amaretto
2 Tbsp. toasted, chopped almonds
In small bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and half-and half; whip until smooth and fluffy. Spoon 1/4 of cream cheese mixture down center of each crepe; roll up. Place seam-side down on plates. In small bowl, combine strawberries, sugar and Amaretto. Spoon strawberry sauce over crepes; sprinkle with almonds. Serves 2.
Note: If you have pancake mix in the house, you can use that to make the crepes. Simply mix 1 cup pancake mix with 1 cup water, 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp. sugar and beat until batter is smooth. Pour about 2 Tbsp. batter into hot skillet which has been coated with melted butter. Cook until edges start to dry and center is set. Turn to brown other side. Note: This happens very quickly, so don’t leave the stove.
Molded Strawberry Dessert:
2 pkgs. (10 oz. each) frozen strawberries in heavy syrup, thawed
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup dairy sour cream
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
Drain strawberries, reserving syrup. Set berries aside. In large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of the whipping cream, 1 1/4 cups of the reserved strawberry syrup, sour cream and 3 tablespoons of the sugar until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
In small saucepan, mix gelatin and water. Let stand for 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Stir into cream mixture until blended. Pour into a 4-cup mold. Chill for 1 hour or until set.
To serve, in a small mixer bowl at medium speed, beat remaining 1/2 cup cream and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form. Unmold chilled mixture onto serving plate. Place strawberries in blender container. Cover and blend at low speed for 30 seconds or until very smooth and shiny. Pour about 1/3 cup pureed strawberries over mold; top with whipped cream. Serve remaining berry sauce separately. Makes about 8 servings (1/2 cup each).
Maraschino Soufflé Pie:
1 jar (8 oz.) red maraschino cherries
1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 envelope (1 Tbsp.) unflavored gelatin
4 beaten egg yolks
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Prepared and baked pie shell
Drain cherries and chop. Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Add enough water to pineapple syrup to make 3/4 cup liquid. Soften gelatin in liquid in saucepan; add beaten egg yolks. Blend thoroughly; stir constantly over low heat until gelatin dissolves and mixture coats a metal spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt; cool slightly. Add chopped cherries and drained pineapple.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into gelatin mixture. Beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into gelatin mixture. Turn into pie shell; chill about 4 hours or overnight. Makes 6 servings.
White Chocolate Mousse Cherry Pie:
14 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. almond extract
White Chocolate Mousse:
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. instant white chocolate pudding mix
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Milk chocolate curls or shavings, optional for decorating
For crust: In food processor combine cookies and nuts; cover and process until cookies are finely chopped. Add butter, cover and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto bottom and up sides of a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Bake in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
For filling: Combine cornstarch and water in small saucepan until smooth. Stir in pie filling. Bring to boil and cook and stir for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, stir in extract. Cool completely.
For mousse: In large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes; set aside. In small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cream; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, beat remaining cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and extract; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in gelatin mixture. Fold into pudding. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
Spread cooled filling into crust; top with mousse. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. Garnish with milk chocolate curls. Makes 8-10 servings.