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Keep your cool with these desserts

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

We may not be in a heat wave, but it’s still summer, and there are days when turning the oven on just isn’t appealing.

After sharing lots of recipes for fresh, local vegetables, it seemed like the right time to talk desserts, and in this case, no-bake or minimal cooking desserts. My favorite recipe this summer was for the No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream, which was basically berries, sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream.

And just last week, I had a peanut butter ricotta pie with chocolate ganache at Pinocchio’s, inspiring the idea to collect some simple, cool desserts.

Banana ice cream is a big thing right now. It usually has just one ingredient: Bananas.

Make sure the bananas are beginning to turn brown, meaning they are very ripe. This does not work with green bananas.

Peel the bananas, cut into pieces and freeze them. Use 2-3 overripe bananas.

Once frozen, toss them into a food processor or high-powered blender and process until smooth and the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. You can add up to 1/4 cup milk or other liquid to the processor if needed to smooth it out. You can eat it immediately, or put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it more scoopable.

Here’s where further magic happens. Add another flavor to the basic ice cream.

For chocolate: Use 3 bananas, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder.

Peanut butter: Use the basic recipe, adding 2-3 Tbsp. peanut butter or other nut butter while blending.

Berry: Use the basic recipe and add 1 cup frozen berries, such as blueberries or strawberries, and 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract.

Pina Colada: Make the basic recipe using 1/4 cup canned coconut milk. Blend in 1/2 cup frozen pineapple. Stir in shredded coconut if desired.

Cookies and cream: Make the basic recipe. After blending add in crushed sandwich cookies.

2-Ingredient Watermelon Sherbet

6 cups (1-inch cubes) seedless watermelon (2 pounds)

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Arrange the watermelon cubes in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

Combine the frozen watermelon, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the soft sherbet to an airtight container and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Makes 1 quart.

Lemon Cream Icebox Cake

1/4 cup unsalted butter, very soft

3 cups cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large lemons, zested and juiced (about 2 Tbsp. zest and 1/3 cup juice)

25 to 30 graham crackers, from about 4 sleeves

1 cup lemon curd, slightly warmed, divided

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer), whip the butter until very soft. Gradually whip in the cream. When it has been smoothly combined with the butter, add the sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whip until the cream forms firm peaks, then slowly beat in the lemon juice. Continue beating until completely combined. The cream should still hold soft peaks.

Smear a small spoonful of the lemon cream in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Lay down a layer of graham crackers and spoon 3/4 to 1 cup of the whipped cream over the top. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the lemon curd. Repeat three more times, finishing with a top layer of whipped cream. You will have four layers of graham crackers, and four layers of whipped cream. Drizzle the final 1/4 cup lemon curd over the top of the cake in three straight lines, then draw a knife through these lines perpendicularly, creating a streaked checkerboard pattern.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours, until the crackers have softened to a cakelike texture (test this by inserting a thin knife along the side and bringing up a few crumbs). This can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time, but it is best consumed within a day or two, as it will get soggy if it sits too long.

From Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand.

Creamsicle Cheesecake

For the crust

24 whole Golden Oreo cookies, crushed

6 tbsp. melted butter

Pinch of kosher salt

For the filling

1 (3-oz.) box orange Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

2 cups whipped topping (or whipped cream)

2 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

For garnish

1 cup whipped topping

1 clementine, peeled and separated into segments

In a large bowl, whisk together orange Jell-O and boiling water until Jell-O is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.

Make crust: In a medium bowl, mix together Oreo crumbs, butter and salt. Press into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and up the sides.

Make filling: In another large bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, then add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture, then pour half of mixture into cooled Jell-O. Whisk until smooth.

Onto the crust, alternate pouring 1/4 cup dollops of cream cheese and Jell-O mixtures until both mixtures are used up. With a butter knife, gently swirl the layers. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, or until firm.

To serve: When firm, pipe dollops of whipped topping around the outside of the cheesecake. Top each dollop with a clementine segment, garnish with orange zest and serve.

You can easily substitute whipped cream for the whipped topping. Just add a bit of confectioners sugar and vanilla into 1 cup of whipping cream.

Love Bakes Good Cakes

Death by Chocolate Lasagna

3 3/4 c. cold heavy cream, divided

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

2 1/2 packages Oreo Thins

Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Make chocolate whipped cream: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat 3 cups heavy cream, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until medium peaks form.

Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat remaining 3/4 cups heavy cream just until it bubbles. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth and no clumps remain.

Assemble lasagna: In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of chocolate whipped cream. Add a layer of Oreo Thins, then top with a layer of chocolate whipped cream. Drizzle over a layer of ganache and spread to make an even layer. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

Refrigerate 5 hours and up to overnight. Refrigerate remaining ganache and reheat in microwave when ready to drizzle.

Garnish with chocolate shavings, drizzle with remaining ganache and serve.

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