- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

You know how your Mom always gives you the larger slice of cake? And if there’s only one piece of candy left in the box, you’re the one who gets it? That’s a mother for you: generous, giving and often on the short end of the dessert plate.

This Mother’s Day, you can make amends by preparing luscious delicacies just for her.

Even if don’t like working with flour, you can whip up a worthy treat. Some of the most luscious desserts are simply a matter of assembling the best-quality ingredients.

Choose the most luscious, sweet strawberries available. Add a splash of heavy cream and a shaving of bittersweet chocolate, and you’ve got an effortless mom-pleasing dessert.

For another no-effort dessert, spread slightly softened vanilla ice cream over a store-bought crepe. Roll the crepe up, top with heated fudge sauce and sprinkle on chopped salted macadamia nuts. The recipe for the variation that follows is simply a matter of layering a blend of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese with strawberries.

If you would like to bake a special sweet, try cookies. The pistachio shortbread recipe that follows is delicious yet easy to make. What’s more, it yields enough cookies to share, if Mom’s willing.

Mascarpone parfait

½ cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles or shavings

2 large whole strawberries, hulled

Beat cream in electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add cheese and beat in.

Layer 2 parfait glasses. First, spoon ½ cup strawberries into each glass. Top with half the whipped cream mixture. Add remaining ½ cup strawberries to each glass.

Add remaining whipped cream topping to each. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chocolate over each serving. Top with one strawberry. Makes 2 servings.

Pistachio shortbread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup salted chopped pistachios

Cream butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer. Gradually add flour, lemon zest and salt to form a dough. Stir in nuts by hand.

Shape into 16 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased insulated cookie sheet. Flatten to 1/3 inch.

Bake in preheated 300-degree oven for 25 to 28 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 16 cookies.

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