Tag Archives: dessert

Winter Berry Cobbler


No dinner party is complete without dessert.

As a food lover and fan of Alice Waters, about six months ago I made a purchase on Gilt Groupe–it was a tour of the Alice WatersEdible Schoolyard in Berkeley. I’m interested in sustainable farming, gardening and of course cooking so I thought it would be an adventure. I got a signed copy of Alice Waters’ new cookbook In the Green Kitchen. The book is laden with simple easy to make recipes. I chose two for our small dinner party last night.

The cobbler recipes calls for two things I left out. Instead of using peaches or nectarines which aren’t in season, I opted for more berries. I replaced strawberries for the nectarines–a mix of fresh and frozen berries. I got meyer lemons from the farmer’s market which are the most beautiful type of lemons available.

Please know, the recipe calls for fresh biscuits, but if you don’t have time to do everything please feel free to cheat by purchasing ready-made biscuits from Trader Joes. Shhhh!


1 package of Trader Joe’s buttermilk biscuits
1 cup sliced nectarines (or 1 cup strawberries)
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup whipping cream
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Prepare the biscuits in advance. Bake biscuits which are pre-cut for 18 minutes until browned. Cut them in half. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the fruit in a large bowl. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and salt, and stir into the fruit. Add the lemon zest and juice, and mix well.

Put the fruit in a large dish. Bake the fruit for 8 minutes or until the fruit just softens. Remove the dish from the oven. Brush the biscuit tops with the cream and sprinkle and sprinkle lightly with the remaining sugar. Place the biscuits on the fruit in rows and return the dish to the oven. Bake the cobbler for 35-45 minutes, until the biscuits are golden and the fruit is bubbling. Let the cobbler cool and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

I altered the color of this photo, but before you serve the individual servings it should look somewhat like this.


Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love fall, I love sweets and I love dressing up. What’s not to love?

I couldn’t miss this pumpkin recipe as it’s got some of the texture and flavor of the original cheesecake. It’s not quite Junior’s New York Cheesecake, but it’s still pretty yummy.

The crispy graham cracker tastes delicious against the cool creamy pumpkin filling that has a custard-like quality.

I adopted this recipe from Hungry Girl, also known as Lisa Lillien who tries to make yummy food low calorie. This recipe was more like a pumpkin mousse rather than a pie, so let’s hope you aren’t feeding pumpkin cheesecake purists. This recipe doesn’t exactly replicate the cheesecake, but it’s a fun and convincing waste-line friendly copy.

Lisa Lillien’s original recipe calls for sweetener and tons of cool whip but I’m not a fan of splenda especially so much of it. So this is my play on upside down pumpkin cheesecake, with a little chocolate for those of you, like me, who have a hard time eating “diet food.”

My grandmother Phyllis gave me this serving spoon. She has an adoration of antiques and she would be glad to know I’m serving with it. I miss her always and this makes me think of her.

Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients:

15 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup Fage 0% Yogurt
8 ounce container fat free or low fat cream cheese
7/8 cup fat free or low fat sour cream
3 1/2 sheets graham cracker, low fat honey, crushed
1/2 cup honey or agave (add more if sweeter flavor is desired)
2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

And if you dare:
chocolate chips, any kind
top with light whip cream

You can get all of these ingredients at Trader Joes!


Blend together all ingredients except graham cracker in a bowl with an immersion blender.
Put ingredients in a pie pan and coat the top layer with graham cracker
Add chocolate chips and serve cold
Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top

The Chocolate VitaMuffin Weapon


Why is dessert stressed spelled backwards? It’s because eating food with no nutritional value stresses us out. We feel guilty.

But because I don’t want to live in a world without chocolate, if I cheat—which I do—I try and find desserts with some nutritional benefit.

I was in New York this week to speak at a conference. While I was in New York I was reminded of all the things I did when I lived there (five very fast-paced years). The conference hotel was across the street from Rockefeller Center where I used to attend my beloved Weight Watchers meetings.

The girls in my Weight Watchers meetings were not all overweight. Many of them were just trying to lose a few pounds. But I think secretly more than anything we just loved to talk about food–because (shhh), we enjoy it. We loved our Monday lunch meetings where we would laugh the guilt away, trade tips and tricks and offer compassion when life got tough (trading stories not food related).

Every meeting at least one person would volunteer a new top secret product he/she had found and we would all lean in for the scoop. Free money. That’s what we all want. Desserts that don’t include stressed!

One day someone very enthusiastically brought up a little known treat called the VitaMuffin.

The VitaMuffin is low calorie and high fiber–so it keeps you full. It comes in a variety of flavors but the best one is chocolate. Heat up this chocolate delight in the microwave or the oven. A “diet” dessert becomes a satisfying mouthful of chocolatey goodness.  I will warn you you might want to arm yourself with skim milk to wash it down.

Jacob (partner in food crime and boyfriend) and I tend to split one. We heat it and take about a third a cup of low fat coffee frozen yogurt and mix the two together. I will warn you, dessert will never be the same. And why go to Cold Stone and bankrupt your week’s allotted cheat points when you can eat healthier versions of things that are equally satisfying! Here’s to decadent dessert!