Compiled by Lisa Day
Cider-poached pears with Greek yogurt
1 cup apple cider
1/2 orange, juiced
2 star anise pods
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cinnamon stick
2 Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 tbsp candied walnuts
Combine apple cider, orange juice, star anise, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in a small sauce pan set over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add pears and reduce the heat.
Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat. Let stand until cooled completely. Place pears on serving plates; set aside.
Place the saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the remaining poaching liquid until reduced to a syrup. Drizzle over the pears.
Meanwhile, stir the yogurt with the orange zest until well combined. Dollop the yogurt mixture over the pears and sprinkle with candied walnuts. Serve immediately.
~ Recipe courtesy of Oikos yogurt
Chocolate espresso bread pudding
6 oz (170 g) dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 cups 35 per cent whipping cream, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
12 slices (1/2-inch) day-old egg bread, brioche, or white bread
Lightly butter a 13x9-inch glass baking dish and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate, 2 cups of the cream, sugar, espresso and butter and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place slices of bread on a cutting board and cut off crusts. Cut each slice diagonally into four triangles. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Gradually pour in chocolate mixture in a thin stream, whisking well to combine. Spoon a 1/2 inch layer of chocolate mixture over bottom of prepared dish.
Place half the bread triangles over the chocolate, overlapping slightly as you go. Pour half of the remaining chocolate mixture over bread, then cover with remaining bread in same pattern as before.
Pour remaining chocolate mixture over the top. Press the bread down all over with a fork to allow mixture to coat bread evenly. Allow dish to cool for 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or for up to 48 hours.
To serve, heat oven to 350 F. Remove plastic wrap from dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is crunchy and pudding is set but pudding-like in the center. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
In a chilled bowl, whip remaining cream and serve with warm pudding.
Cooking Tip: Brioche is a light and fluffy bread made with eggs, sugar and butter. Egg bread (challah) or white bread can easily be substituted. Use a rectangular loaf that makes square slices for the best presentation.
Rice Krispies Ornament
6 cups (Rice Krispies
250 gram (1 pkg) marshmallows
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Red licorice string
Red and white fondant and silver dragees, available at cake decorating supply shops, crafting or grocery stores
Ruler, bamboo skewer, pizza cutter, rolling pin and paint brush
Wrapping: cello bags, ribbon, and mini decorative bulbs – available at local crafting stores
In a large microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows at high for three minutes, stirring after two minutes.
Stir in vanilla. Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Form into shape.
Shape the Ornament
Form Rice Krispies cereal mixture into half balls, leaving space in the centre.
Poke a small hole in a piece of fondant with bamboo skewer and thread with your red licorice to make the loop for hanging.
Place the loop inside the ball and add more Rice Krispies* mixture to close the ball around the licorice so the loop sticks out; add more mixture as needed and mold with hands into ball shape.
~ Recipe courtesy of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
Strawberry cheesecake bars
1 cup strawberry Greek yogurt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
8 oz package cream cheese
3 large eggs
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
9 strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
Heat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl stir together graham cracker crumbs and 2 tbsp sugar. Pour in butter and use a fork to combine.
Transfer to an eight-inch square baking dish, pressing firmly into dish. Bake crust until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove and set aside.
To make filling, place cream cheese, yogurt, eggs and flour in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into crust and bake until firm around edges while center still jiggles, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight before slicing.
Top each square with a few slices of strawberries and serve.
~ Recipe courtesy of www.ChobaniKitchen.com
Yogurt and pear cake
The subtle pear flavour, the lightness of the garnish and the thin, biscuit-like dough give this layered cake a sublimely delicate taste. You can substitute raspberries for the pears.
2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds
5 average sized pears (Bartlett or Anjou), peeled, cored and cut into pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 350 F and butter a nine-inch springboard pan.
Mix together all the cake ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times, until a dough ball forms. Press the dough in the pan to uniformly cover the bottom.
Cover the dough with the sliced almonds and top with the pear pieces.
Using a food processor or electric mixer, quickly mix all the garnish ingredients. Pour this liquid preparation over the pears and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, let cool before turning out, and serve.
Upside down mango cake
Replace the mango with other fruits and the plain yogurt with a vanilla yogurt to lend variety to this dessert.
2 mangoes, peeled and pitted, cut in strips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
Heat the oven to 375 F.
Grease and sprinkle with sugar the bottom of a round nine-inch cake mould. Arrange the mango strips on the bottom of the mould.
In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the butter with the sugar until the mixture whitens and becomes bubbly. Add the eggs and beat for a few
seconds, then add the yogurt and mix well.
In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. With a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mixing until well incorporated; pour over the mango strips.
Cook in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out completely dry. Remove and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Place a serving plate over the top of the cake mould and flip over to turn out of the mould so that the fruit appears on top of the cake.
Serve warm or cold.
200 g strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
4 strawberries to garnish
Wash and remove the stems from the strawberries; pureed them with the sugar in a food processor or a electric mixer and set aside.
Beat the egg whites until firm. In another bowl, blend the pureed strawberries and the yogurt. Using a spatula, gently fold in beaten egg whites.
Pour the strawberry mousse into ramekins or small pots.
Freeze for at least three hours.
When serving, garnish with a fresh strawberry.
Panna cotta with berries
1 cup assortment of frozen berries thawed, or fresh berries
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp ground linseed
2 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tbsp gelatin
1/3 cup warm one per cent milk
1 1/2 cups) Greek yogurt
This quick dessert can be made with a wide variety of fresh, seasonal fruit (mango, passion fruit, raspberries) or with frozen fruit. For a sweeter taste use vanilla yogurt.
In a small saucepan, combine the fruit and the maple syrup. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer over low heat for about five minutes.
Process the fruit in a blender and add the ground linseed. Transfer the fruit coulis to four ramekins or glasses and chill thoroughly.
Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft. Let set for a few seconds. Liquefy the gelatin by heating the mixture in a microwave oven for several seconds.
Add the warm milk and mix well.
Incorporate the yogurt and mix until smooth and homogenous.
Carefully spoon the yogurt over the fruit into the ramekins.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture sets, for at least two hours.
~ Recipes courtesy of IOGO
Strawberries and chevre Romanoff
This tastes like ice cream in a bowl and the benefit is that it won’t melt. Fragrant strawberries create a tasty topping for this rich creamy dessert.
1 large log (10 oz/300 g) Ontario chevre (soft, unripened goat cheese), at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup 35 per cent whipping cream
2 tbsp orange liqueur
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp grated orange rind
In a bowl and using electric hand mixer, beat together cheese, sugar, cream and liqueur until smooth and fluffy. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until well chilled.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together strawberries, sugar, vanilla and orange rind until well coated.
Divide cheese mixture onto plates and top with strawberries.
Make-ahead: Goat cheese mixture can be made up to three days ahead.
For a richer and creamier taste, let the cheese mixture come to room temperature to serve.
~ Recipe courtesy of ontariogoatcheese.ca