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Entries in cream (6)


Chocolate Pavlova Cake with Strawberries and Cream 



   This was a fun cake to make. It looks harder than it actually was. There are a few different parts to it, but they’re all basic and easy.

     The Hershey’s back of the box chocolate cake recipe is tried and true. It’s my go to recipe when I want a chocolate fix.

      Merengue is an easy thing to master as long as you’re patient with adding the sugar, get the egg whites really stiff, and let it cool slowly in the oven so it holds its shape and doesn’t crack.

     Ganache? Melted chocolate and cream – not hard at all. Strawberries and cream classics with chocolate and meringue.

     Simple, singularly delicious pieces all put together for a #GBBO inspired showstopper. Next time I’ll make it three tiers!


For the meringue “crown” 

5 large egg whites

11 oz granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the chocolate cake 

1 cup sugar  

1 ½ cups self rising flour or  

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup boiling water


For the chocolate ganache

4 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

¼ cup heavy cream


For the topping

½ cup heavy cream, whipped

1-1 ½ cups sliced strawberries


Make the chocolate cake

     Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and dust with cocoa powder. Combine sugar, flour, and cocoa in a large bowl. Add egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. reduce speed to low, add water (batter will be thin) and pour into pan.

      Bake 25-30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire wrack, remove then cool completely. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Make the meringue “crown”

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Draw a 10-inch circle on one piece of parchment paper. Draw a 6-inch circle on another piece of parchment paper. Place on un-rimmed baking sheets.

     Whisk egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand-mixer until they form soft peaks with the whisk is lifted. Slowly whisk in sugar, a tablespoons at a time until the egg whites become stiff and glossy. Whisk in cornstarch and vinegar.

     Spoon or pipe ½-¾ of the mixture onto the 10-inch circle to form a base. Continue spooning or piping a “wall” of meringue around the edge of the circle up to 2 ½ inches high. Do the same on the 6-inch disk with remaining meringue.

     Reduce oven to 275°F. Bake 1-1 ¼ hours until the shells are crisp on the outside, but still soft inside. Turn oven off and let cool completely in the oven.

Make the ganache

     Pour the cream over the chocolate pieces, stir over low heat until the pieces are melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool until lukewarm, and still spreadable.  

Assemble cake

     Trim the top and sides of chocolate cake so that it will lie flat and fit inside large meringue base. Place cake, upside down in base, cover top and sides with ganache. Top with smaller meringue “crown” fill with whipped cream and strawberry slices. Garnish with additional whole strawberries and meringue decorations.


Note: recipes adapted from Hershey’s Classic Recipes and BBC Food’s Crown Layered Pavlova




White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake - The easier way


     White and dark chocolate mousse cake for Thanksgiving? Sure no problem. Finding a recipe that didn’t make me want to whack my head with a cast iron frying pan? A problem.

     Oh the recipes are out there, quite a few, and they’re pretty long, overly complicated (IMO), and nothing I wanted to tackle with all the other Thanksgiving prep. 

     So I did a deep cookbook dive. I hauled out books by Julia, Ruth, Buddy, Tom, James, and Nigella. Didn’t find what I was looking for. This was turning into a nuisance dessert and a great big UGH.

     Then I came across a recipe for white chocolate mousse filling from Tom Douglas on It was straight forward and exactly what I had searched for. The good news? It works with dark chocolate as well. One recipe, one method two mousses. Perfect.

     This was easy to make, very easy. The only drawback was the waiting time. And that’s only a drawback because you can’t tuck into this delicious, smooth, light textured, rich tasting dessert immediately.

     I can’t believe I’ve never tried making this before. Next time, a triple chocolate mousse, or maybe a swirly moussey cake. The options are endless with a good basic recipe like this!

     Let your imagination imousseination go wild.

     A special shout out to Sophie for sticking with your guns on this dessert request for our Thanksgiving feast. You’ll be pleased – if I do say so myself.


White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake


Makes 1 9-inch cake


For the brownie base

½ cup butter, melted plus a little more for pan

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the dark chocolate mousse layer

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate pieces or bitter-sweet

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon water

¾ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons vanilla extract, strong coffee like espresso or brandy

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

For the white chocolate mousse layer

12 oz. good quality white chocolate pieces

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon water

¾ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons vanilla extract or orange liqueur

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar


Make the brownie base

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Grease the bottom and sides with a little melted butter.

     Whisk flour, cocoa, and baking powder together in a bowl, set aside.

      In a medium bowl, stir melted butter, sugar and vanilla together until combined. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated. Add flour mixture to eggs and butter mixture, beat until well blended. Pour enough batter into prepared pan, to come ½ inch up the side. Drop the pan on the counter to even out the batter, smooth top with an off set spatula. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes until a tester inserted to the center comes out clean and the top feels soft and set. Do not over bake, the brownie base will harden as it cools. Cool completely.



For the dark chocolate mousse layer

     Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened.   

     Melt chocolate with 3 tablespoons heavy cream over a double boiler or microwave, stir until smooth, set aside and let cool.

     Beat heavy cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, return to fridge and chill at least 10 minutes or until ready to fold into chocolate mixture.

Heat vanilla or coffee until hot, add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved.

     Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl with a hand mixture on high speed until thick and pale about 5 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl often.

     Beat in gelatin mixture then cooled chocolate. Fold chilled whipped cream into chocolate mixture.

     Pour mousse on top of brownie, smooth, cover with cling film and chill 4 hours or overnight before adding the white chocolate layer.


For the white chocolate mousse layer

     Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened.  

     Beat heavy cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, return to fridge and chill at least 10 minutes or until ready to fold into white chocolate mixture.

     Melt white chocolate with 3 tablespoons heavy cream over a double boiler or microwave. Stir until smooth, set aside and let cool.

     Heat vanilla or liqueur until hot, add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved.

     Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl with a hand mixture on high speed until thick and pale about 5 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl often.

     Beat in gelatin mixture then cooled white chocolate.

      Fold chilled whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Pour white chocolate mousse on top of chilled dark chocolate mousse, smooth, cover with cling film and chill 4 hours or overnight.


     When ready to serve. Remove cake from spring form pan. Carefully pull away the parchment collar around sides. Smooth sides with a metal spatula if necessary. Dust top with cocoa powder using a decorative stencil. The cake will cut easily and clean when chilled.




Notes: The brownie recipe is adapted from Hershey’s Classic Recipes. The mousse recipe was adapted from Tom Douglas’s White Chocolate Mousse Filling.






Vanilla Genoise with Mascarpone Cream and Fresh Strawberries


I saw a recipe for a Strawberry Cassata on the NYT Cooking website the other day and it looked so appetizing. A light sponge cake, soaked in vodka laced syrup, layered with sweetened fresh ricotta and topped with berries. While that recipe wasn’t a “traditional” cassata – no candied fruit on top and no marzipan. It did get me thinking about making a copycat dessert. So I did.


For the cake: 

3 large eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for dusting

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

1-teaspoon lemon zest

For the Mascarpone Cream:

1-cup heavy cream

8oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

16oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper, butter paper and dust entire pan with sugar, tap out excess. Whisk vanilla into cooled, melted butter – set aside.

     Beat eggs, sugar and lemon zest together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high, until a thick, ribbon forms when the paddle is lifted. This will take at the very least 5 minutes - don’t under beat.

     Remove bowl from stand, sift flour over mixture and fold in until incorporated. Add ½ cup of batter to butter and vanilla, gently fold together until completely mixed, fold butter mixture back into batter. Spread batter into the prepared pan, smooth top. Bake for 25 minutes until top springs back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan until you can handle it, run a knife around the edge of pan, and turn out onto a cake rack. Cool completely then use a serrated knife to cut in half making two layers.

     Whisk cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth.

     Place bottom slice of cake on a plate, cut side up. Spread with ¾ of mascarpone cream. Place strawberries in a circle starting from the edge, filling in until cream is covered. Cover with top slice, spread remaining cream and decorate with strawberries.

     Keep chilled until ready to serve.



Gateau de Crepes from "The Essential New York Times Cookbook"


They are all over the place.  Every time I turn around another one just grabs my attention.   They are almost impossible for me to ignore.  Burning holes in the back of my head, staring me down as I travel from store to store, aisle to aisle.  A good looking one will catch my eye and I’ll think about it and think about it until I can’t stand it anymore.  Then usually desire takes over and BOOM – I own another cookbook.  Well with this one, I stupidly held off working on the “I need another cookbook like a fish needs a bicycle” and “Christmas is coming” mottos.  And I got my wish – The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser.  YES – it’s fabulous!  I’ve been reading it ever since Santa (okay, my son Luke) placed it under the tree.  I love her background stories with each recipe and I love the twists and updates on the classics.  I love her straight forward recipe writing approach - no nonsense - this is how you do it sort of way. 

The first recipe I tried was her Gateau de Crepe.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a recipe that works and does so perfectly.  The crepe recipe made exactly 20 crepes.  The pastry cream recipe made exactly enough for filling the 20 crepes.  The cake wobbled a bit but did not fall down (which was my fear when I thought about making this in the past) and was absolutely one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made.  So, thank you Amanda Hesser for a wonderful New Years Eve dessert and a new tradition.

For the crepe batter:

6 tablespoons butter

3 cups milk

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

7 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

For the vanilla pastry cream:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

For the assembly:

Corn oil

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar or more

3 tablespoons Kirsch 
(I used Grand Marnier)

Confectioners' sugar.

1. The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.

3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.

4. Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.


5. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won't hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.

6. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners' sugar. Slice like a cake.

Batter adapted from Joy of Cooking.  Pastry cream adapted from Desserts, by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan. Serves 10.

It’s All Delicious Notes:  Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser



Creamy Lowcountry Shrimp Tarts - With a Hint of Curry


Our lowcountry shrimp are amazing! I know I bang on about this a lot, but the wild shrimp that trawl our waters are sweet and meaty yet tender. And these little babies were from our local Hilton Head waters, which makes me love them even more. There’s a hint of curry in these tartlets and they are dead easy to make. Great as an appetizer or paired with a salad (and glass of wine...of course) for a light lunch.

You definitely could make one large tart but if you did I would recommend roughly chopping the shrimp before spreading them over the bottom just to make cutting it in slices a little easier. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these classic flavors.

Serves 6 as an appetizer


30 shrimp, about 1-¼ lbs

1 small shallot, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

2/3 cups dry white wine

1-½ tablespoons curry powder

2/3-cup heavy cream

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 15oz package of pie crusts or make your own

Special equipment: 6 4-inch mini tart pans with removable bottoms

Clean, peel and devein the shrimp. Keep the tails on 6 of them for the tops of the tarts. Lightly poach shrimp for two minutes in boiling water, remove and plunge into an ice bath, drain and set aside.

Pour wine into a small saucepan, sprinkle curry powder over and whisk. Boil until reduced by half. Cool and set aside

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry to ½ inch thickness. Cut out 6 circles from dough. The circles should be 2 inches larger than the tart pans. Line pans with dough, pressing into sides and bottom, prick shells all over. Chill for 20 minutes. Bake shells for 15 minutes, cool and set aside.

Whisk cream, egg, egg yolk, shallot, cilantro, and curry –flavored reduction together in a medium bowl.

Place 4 shrimp in each tart shell. Pour cream mixture over the shrimp, just to cover and then top each one with the remaining shrimp with the tails on. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

It’s All Delicious Notes: Don’t initially over poach the shrimp – 2 minutes tops. They will continue cooking in the oven and you do not want to make them tough and unbearably chewy.



Pavlova with Summer Berries

Here’s a summer dessert that knocks your socks off. Pavlova originated in Australia first made for Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina on tour in Kangaroo country yonks ago. I learned to make it in London, when I lived there. It was a summer staple at all the summer picnics (British for tail gait accept with linen, silver and china). What makes this different from your straight up meringue is that a Pavlova is squishy in the middle not rock hard. The squishy-ness mixed with the whipped cream filling and berry topping makes a pretty dessert for sure and definitely an incredibly delicious one...just maaavalis daahling, simply maaavalis! Just one little tricky note don’t make this on a humid day and make sure you must must whip the egg whites long enough or else the Pavlova will flatten out in the oven and look like a giant blob rather than rounded and peaky. So, give it a go as they say in the old country.


Serves about 8 people

For the Pavlova

5 egg whites

10 oz granulated sugar

1-¼ teaspoons corn starch

1 ¼ teaspoons vinegar

Pinch of salt

Canola oil

For the filling

1 pint each, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries

(Or any other combo of fruit you like)

1 ½ pints of whipping cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil lightly.

Beat the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high until stiff and standing in peaks. Lower the speed and add ½ of the sugar. Continue whisking on medium/high until glossy. Turn the mixer to low again and add the remaining sugar, cornstarch and vinegar. Whisk until incorporated, but do not let the egg whites deflate.

Drop mounds of meringue in the shape of a circle (about 10 inch diameter) using a metal spoon. Spread additional meringue in the middle and “hollow” out the center to create a “nest,” continue dropping more on top of the circle edges creating “walls.” The Pavlova will expand in the oven then deflate a bit when taken out of the oven. Bake for 1 hour turning ½ way through to ensure even browning. Carefully peel away parchment paper and let cool on a wire rack. Transfer to a large plate or platter

Wash and pick over berries, quarter the strawberries. Fill the center of the Pavlova with whipped cream and mound the berries in the center. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is such a pretty dessert!

Its All Delicious Notes: You can make your Pavlova smaller or larger just keep sugar egg white ratio 2-1. The color of your Pavlova will vary based on the type of vinegar you use, obviously the darker the vinegar the darker the Pavlova. Sorry, thought I should throw that in. Also...personally, I don’t add sugar to the berries or the whipped cream but there’s nothing stopping you if that’s what you prefer. I like the fresh tastes as is and there is a lot of sugar in the Pavlova anyway.