And the Cutest Couple Award goes to…

We were so excited to see Christina Lane on the Today Show yesterday! She and her husband, Brian, told Matt Lauer about how they met, and it was no surprise that dessert was involved. They met at work, where Brian entered a company baking contest so he could spend time with Christina…only to make a cheesecake that was, Christina says, “Awful!” But in Brian’s defense, “The cheesecake wasn’t exactly the goal of the contest.” It looks like things turned out pretty sweet for both contestants in the end!

Christina and Brian

Christina gave an on-air demonstration for those of us who, like Brian, might be a little challenged in the kitchen. She recommends baking her scaled-down chocolate caramel mini pies in Mason jar lids, and she showed Matt Lauer how to use a drinking glass to press the graham cracker crust perfectly into the lid.

Chocolate pie

Christina and Brian also decorated a petite heart-shaped snowball cake with pink coconut marshmallow frosting, perfect for sharing for Valentine’s day.

Snowball cake

Or, if your Valentine is a little less traditional (or you’re planning a galentine’s day instead), you might want to try the other recipe Christina featured: frozen margarita tarts.

Margarita Tarts

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 1 cup (42.5 grams) mini pretzel twists
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

For lime curd filling

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh lime juice
  • Zest of 1 small lime
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 drop green food coloring (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tequila

To make the crust: Crush the pretzels in a food processor (or place in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin). You want a fine powder, but a few pieces of pretzels remaining are fine. Next, stir in the melted butter until combined. Pack a heaping tablespoon of the pretzel crumbs into six well-greased cups of a mini muffin pan. You should have six tart crusts. Place in the freezer to set.

To make the lime curd filling: In a microwave safe bowl, combine the granulated sugar, egg, lime juice, butter, and food coloring, if using. Whisk together, then microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stop, stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. For me, this takes 1 minute and 30 seconds, or three pulses. Scrape the filling into a shallow bowl (more surface area, faster cooling), press plastic wrap directly on to the surface, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. One hour before serving, dollop the filling over the frozen pretzel crusts. In a medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the cream until soft peaks form, and then stir in the powdered sugar and tequila. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the lime curd, and freeze until set.To serve, run a knife around the edge of the tarts,and pop each out onto a plate.

Dessert for Two was published by The Countryman Press in February 2015, and can be bought for $24.95 on www.countrymanpress.com, or at bookstores and online retailers.

Photos courtesy of The Today Show.

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