Diana's Desserts Newsletter

Edition Number #8

June 1, 2003

Welcome Home Baker's and Friends,


I hope all of you had a great month of May and that you spent a wonderful
Mother's Day with family and friends. I also hope that some of you that didn't
have your mothers or children with you (as myself and my husband), had a good
Mother's Day too, doing things that made you happy.

I know that many of you baked or made delicious desserts for Mom. At our home,
we made Sourdough Bread loaves on Mother's Day. My husband and I had it toasted
with creamy butter and cherry preserves with our breakfast. It was delicious and
fun to make.

June is the month for honoring our Father's, and also for celebrating
graduations and commencement day ceremonies. This edition of Diana's Desserts
newsletter will include recipes for these and other holidays and special
occasions in June.

The Diana's Desserts Newsletter Guest Submitted recipe for June is Apple Crisp,
submitted by Donna Shuford. It will also be the Recipe of the Week on Diana's
Desserts Website from June 1st thru June 7th.

The Food Tips and Information Section for June's newsletter is on the subject of
STRAWBERRIES. (See below for Article)

Holidays and Celebrations


June 5, 2003 The Jewish Holiday - Shavuot (Begins at Sundown)
June 14, 2003 -
Flag Day (In the United States of America)
June 15, 2003 - Father's Day (Celebrated in many countries)
June 19, 2003 -
Juneteenth Day (A Day of Thanks and the Celebration of Emancipation-USA)
June 2003 Graduations and Commencement Day Cerimonies

SHAVUOT (Jewish Holiday)
Shavuot, the Feast of the Weeks, is the Jewish holiday
celebrating the harvest season in Israel. Shavuot, which means "weeks", refers
to the timing of the festival which is held exactly 7 weeks after Passover.
Shavuot also commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments
to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

In August 1949, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed June 14th as
Flag Day. Since then the President proclaims the commemoration yearly, and
encourages all Americans in the country to display the Stars and Stripes outside
their homes and businesses. Individual states determine how they will observe
the day. In Pennsylvania and American Samoa* it is a public holiday. Usually the
flag is flown from all public buildings, speeches are made in public places and
ceremonies take place in towns or cities.

*In American Samoa Flag Day is celebrated on April 17th.

Father's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad. It
is a day to not only honor your father, but all men who have acted as a father
figure in your life - whether as Stepfathers, Uncles, Grandfathers, or "Big

Juneteenth Day is the celebration of the anniversary of the
Emancipation Proclamation which was issued by US President Abraham Lincoln on
January 1st, 1863. The proclamation gave the Southern slaves their freedom and
is considered an important benchmark in the African-American struggle for
freedom and equality.

The word "Juneteenth" comes from the words "June" and "19th", which according to
southern folklore is when the slaves of Texas first learned of their freedom.
Though technically freed in 1863, the slaves did not learn of their freedom
until the arrival of the Union soldiers on June 19th, 1865. This was after the
end of the Civil War and 2 1/2 years after the proclomation was first issued.

The Emancipation Proclamation is considered the catalyst that ended slavery. But
at the time the proclamation was issued, it really did not free anyone since the
Confederate states did not recognize President Lincoln's authority. It was not
until after the Civil War had ended that the 13th Amendment to the US
Constitution, ratified in 1865, offically outlawed slavery.

Juneteenth began as a celebration by ex-slaves and has continued to be
observered by African-Americans in the US South. Recently there have been
efforts to bring a wider audience to the celebrations.

Guest Recipe of the Month


Apple Crisp

Recipe Submitted by: Donna Shuford

Makes 8 servings.

Comments: Everyone I make this for absolutely Loves it, it is delicious and so
easy to make. Do not microwave it at anytime, though.

Note: To bake the apple crisp, I use a 2 1/2 quart French White baking dish.

The Apples:
6 cooking apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks

The Crumb Mixture and Topping:
l cup granulated sugar
l cup all-purpose flour
large fresh egg
1/2 cup (4 oz./1 stick) butter
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (180C). Lightly coat a 2 - 2 1/2
quart (2 to 2 3/4 litres) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Peel, core and slice the apples into chunks. Place them in bottom of prepared
baking dish.

Mix together the sugar, flour, and the egg. Put crumb mixture over the top of
the apple chunks in baking dish. Dot with the butter and lots of ground cinnamon
and ground cloves.

Bake at 325 degrees F (180 C) for one hour or until center is done. Great for
dessert or even as a breakfast dish.

Note: Do NOT microwave to cook or reheat.

Makes 8 servings.

Thank you Donna for submitting this wonderful "comfort food" dessert. It is
delicious and so easy to make. I'm sure guests to Diana's Desserts website will
love it as much as your family and friends do..........Diana

Click here to view recipe and photo of Apple Crisp on Diana's Desserts Website.

For Shavuot

Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis

One of the Shavuot customs is the eating of dairy foods. One
explanation states that this comes from a passage in the Torah which reads:

"And He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey".

Desserts such as cheesecake or blintze are eaten on the festive Jewish Holiday
of Shavuot.

This classic cheesecake is especially delicious with the strawberry coulis
drizzled over the top.

Makes 10 servings

For The Crust:
8 ounces graham cracker crumbs
13 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted

For The Cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 cups, plus
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons
all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon
grated lemon zest

For The Strawberry Coulis:
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and rinsed, or
10 ounces frozen strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 C).

For The Crust:
Grind the graham crackers (sweet biscuits) in a food processor to
fine crumbs, or use 8 ounces ready made graham cracker crumbs in box. Place in a
mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs, and stir to combine. Press
into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan, lining the base and sides.

For The Filling:
Place the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar in a food
processor and process until smooth. (Alternatively you can use an electric
mixer.) Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Transfer to
a bowl (if using a processor) and fold in the flour, sour cream, lemon juice and
lemon zest. Pour into the crust-lined springform pan.

To Bake:
Place the springform pan with cheesecake batter inside a larger baking
pan, and fill the larger pan carefully with one inch of water and place pan in
300 degree F/150 degree C oven. (This method is called a "WATER BATH" which
helps your cheesecake bake evenly and to prevent cracking.) Bake for 1 hour, or
until the cheesecake is set in the middle. Turn off the heat and leave in the
oven for another one hour, with the door ajar. Remove from the oven, take
cheesecake pan out of water bath, and set aside on cooling rack to cool
completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Before serving,
decoratively drizzle each dessert plate and slices of cheesecake with Strawberry

To Make Strawberry Coulis
In a blender or food processor, puree strawberries
with sugar and lemon juice. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice as needed.
Strain seeds from strawberries, if desired. Cover and refrigerate coulis until
ready to serve cheesecake.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo of Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis
on Diana's Desserts Website.

Flag Day

Blackberry Cobbler

Makes 8-10 servings

Cobblers, a very American dessert is just the right dish to serve on
such a patriotic day such as Flag Day. If the weather's good, and you want to
have a picnic, this would be a great dessert to bring along.

Note: Instead of using only blackberries, try mixing in some raspberries and
blueberries as well. Or replace the blackberries with sliced peaches or
nectarines and a handful of dried sour cherries or cranberries. A combination of
3 or 4 plum varieties, all pitted and quartered, is also wonderful. If you'd
like, add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg or a dash of vanilla or almond
extract to the fruit. Or sprinkle a small handful of sliced almonds or chopped
pecans over the topping before baking.

For The Filling:
6 cups blackberries or a mix of seasonal berries

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp.all-purpose flour
1 tsp. finely grated lemon
Pinch of salt

For The Topping:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp.
vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Lightly grease a 2-quart
baking dish.

To make the filling, in a bowl, gently toss the berries with the sugar, flour,
zest and salt until blended. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder,
cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, butter
and vanilla until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry
ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, fold gently until the flour is
moistened and the mixture forms a soft dough.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of the dough onto the fruit, spacing them evenly; the
dough will not completely cover the fruit. Bake until the filling is bubbling,
the topping is browned and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out
clean, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Click here to view recipe and photo of Blackberry Cobbler on Diana's Desserts

Father's Day

Crepes Filled with Strawberry Compote

Make these lovely Strawberry Filled Crepes on Father's Day for breakfast or
brunch. Dad or hubby will love them, and will be so very appreciative.

Makes 4 - 6 servings (2 crepes per servings)

For the Crepes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 eggs,
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter

For the Strawberry Compote:
2 baskets strawberries
1-2 tbsp. orange liqueur such
as Grand Marnier, (optional)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp.
orange marmalade

For the Garnish:
Whipped cream or Double cream

For the Crepes:
Snift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the eggs
and half the milk ad stir un1til mixed in, then add remaining milk and beat
until smooth. Stir in oil or melted butter and leave for 30 minutes. Heat a
non-stick pan and moisten with a little oil or butter. Pour in a large spoonful
of the batter, swirling it around the pan to make a thin crepe. Cook until both
sides are golden and bubbling. Stack the cooked crepes together. Fill with the
warm compote, and garnish with whipped or double cream.

For the Strawberry Commpote:
Wash, hull and dry the strawberreis, then slice
them. Melt the butter and saute' strawberreis and lemon juice for a few minutes
over medium heat. Stir in the marmalade and warm through until melted.

Tip: If desired, add 1-2 tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) when
sauteeing the strawberries.

Makes 4 - 6 servings (2 crepes per serving).

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo of Crepes Filled with Strawberry Compote on
Diana's Desserts Website.

Juneteenth Day

Sweet Potato Pecan Topped Pie

Makes 2 (9-inch) pies

A very traditional pie hailing from the southern part of the US. This
delicious Sweet Potato pie topped with pecans makes a wonderful dessert for any
holiday or special occasion and makes an especially appropriate dessert for
serving on Juneteenth Day.

2 (9-inch) frozen store-bought deep-dish pie shells
8 oz. cream
cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 can (15 1/2 oz.)
sweet potatoes or yams, mashed
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 tablespoon
pumpkin pie spice
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup light brown sugar,
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Whipped cream (optional)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Beat softened cream
cheese with electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Reduce mixer speed
and add eggs, one at a time. Beat in mashed sweet potatoes (or yams), evaporated
milk and pumpkin pie spice. Pour filling into pie shells. Bake pies 30 to 35
minutes until edges puff, crust browns and custard is set.

Meanwhile mix together the pecans, brown sugar and melted butter. Pour over top
of pie and return pie to oven for 7 to 10 minutes longer until topping is golden
brown and crisp. Cool pies on rack completely. Garnish with whipped cream
(optional). Store any leftover pie in refrigerator.

Makes 2 (9-inch) pies. Each pie makes approximmately 8 servings.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo for Sweet Potato Pecan Topped Pie on Diana's
Desserts Website.

Graduations and Commencement Day


Celebration Cake with Cherry Preserve Filling

Makes 12-16 servings

A beautiful cake to serve for a special graduation or commencement
day party. If you like, pipe the frosting decoratively over top and sides of
cake for a professionally finished look, and place glace cherries around top and
bottom edges of cake.

1 pkg. white cake mix (for a 2 layer cake)
3 - 5 drops red food
coloring (depending on what shade of pink you want the cake)
4 oz. white baking
chocolate, grated
1/2 - 3/4 cup cherry preserves*
1 tub ready-made white frosting or vanilla
Glace cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour 2 (9-inch)
round cake pans.

For the Cake:
Prepare cake mix according to package directions for making a
2-layer (9-inch) cake, adding the red food coloring to batter. Stir in half of
the grated white chocolate. Set aside remaining grated white chocolate for
garnish. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 28 to 31 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out
clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely.

To Puree the Preserves
Place the cherry preserves in a blender or food processor
and puree or process until preserves are of a very thin spreading consistency.

Place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread with pureed cherry preseves. Top
with remaining layer. Frost sides and top of cake with frosting. Garnish top of
cake with remaining grated white chocolate. If desired, place glace cherries
around edges of cake.

*Note: Seedless red raspberry jam or seedless strawberry jam may be used in
place of the cherry preserves. If using jam, there is no need to puree it, but
heating the preserves or jam in a saucepan on low heat will thin it out and will
make it easier to spread.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Makes 12-16 servings.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Celebration Cake with Cherry Preserve
Filling on Diana's Desserts Website.




History of Strawberries

Strawberries have a history that goes back over 2200 years. Strawberries grew
wild in Italy as long ago as 234 B.C. Wild strawberries were discovered in
Virginia by the first Europeans when their ships landed there in 1588. Early
settlers in Massachusetts enjoyed eating strawberries grown by local American
Indians who cultivated strawberries as early as 1643. After 1860 strawberries
were widely grown in many parts of the country.

Strawberries have been grown in California since the early 1900's. Today, over
25,000 acres of strawberries are planted each year in California and the state
produces over 80% of the strawberries grown in the United States. On average,
each acre produces about 21 tons of strawberries and the state produces one
billion pounds of strawberries a year. That's a lot of strawberries!

How Strawberries Got Their Name

There are many explanations, some believe that the name came from the practice
of placing straw around the growing plants for protection, others believe the
name originated over 1000 years ago because of the runners which spread outward
from the plant. The name may have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb to
strew (spread) and the fruit came to be known as streabergen, straberry,
streberie, straibery, straubery, and finally, "STRAWBERRY" to the English.

Types of Strawberries

There are more than 600 different varieties of strawberries, each with its own
look and characteristics. Strawberries vary in size, shape, and color (some are
off-white and yellowish).

The most common American variety is the result of several centuries of cross
breeding of the wild Virginia strawberry (North American's main native
strawberry) and a Chilean variety. It is probably today's most hardy berry and
is able to withstand both storage and shipping.

Another variety is the French grown European Alpine strawberry, better known as
the "queen of strawberries". This strawberry is tiny and extremely flavorful.

Selecting Perfect Strawberries

Look for a brilliant, even red color and symmetrical shape. Berry tips should
not be too seedy. While you should always rinse off fruit before eating, it's
also recommended that you look for strawberries that are clean and dry when
purchasing. The little green leaves on the crown of the berry are called the
"calyx". They should look fresh and unwilted. At home keep your strawberries
refrigerated in ventilated plastic bags as close to 34 degrees F (1 degree C) as

Storage and Handling Tips

Always refrigerate berries immediately. Temperatures between 34 degrees F and 38
degrees F (1-3 degrees C) are ideal. For best results, store your strawberries
in the container you purchased them in. For berries purchased in plastic pint
containers, transfer them to a large container with a dry paper towel on the
bottom. Don't wash your berries until you are ready to use them. Gently rinse
berries with the green caps (calyx) still on, under cool water. After washing,
remove green caps. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature
before serving. Under ideal conditions, strawberries should keep for 2 - 5 days
in your refrigerator. For best results, consume your berries as soon after
purchase as possible.

Nutritional Information for Strawberries

Naturally sweet and juicy, one serving or eight medium strawberries contains:
More vitamin C than one orange, strawberries have 160% of the vitamin C our
bodies need every day.
Strawberries contain 20% of the folic acid and 16% of the
dietary fiber we need every day for good health.
Strawberries contain no fat, no
cholesterol, and are high in fiber, and only contain 45 calories per serving (8
medium strawberries).

Sources: California Strawberry Commission, Dole Food Company Inc., and Driscoll
Strawberry Associate Inc.

Why Not Submit a Recipe?


If you don't feel confident about sharing one of your recipes with others on the
Internet, you are not alone. Alot of people think that their desserts are ones
that only their family or friends will like, but I have found that this isn't so
in most cases, and that some of the best recipes come from home bakers such as

Remember, "as home bakers, we have much to share".

If you'd like to submit a dessert recipe that possibly will be chosen to be
included in the next newsletter, please submit it to Diana's Desserts website on
or before June 20th for the July edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter.

Here is the link to click on to submit your Guest Submitted Recipe to Diana's

Until Next Month

As always, I hope you have enjoyed Diana's Desserts Newsletter, and that you try
some of these special recipes for June. I think you'll enjoy them, and find that
they are quite easy to make.

Please let me know if you find the Food Tips and Information Section helpful to
you. It is important to me that I am including information in my newsletter that
will give you knowledge of foods that will help you in your quest for improving
your cooking and baking.

July's Newsletter will focus on recipes for the most special of American
holidays, Independence Day, which celebrates the birthday of the United States
of America. Founded July 4th 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of
Independence, America is celebrating it's 227th birthday this year.

I wish all of you a wonderful month, and also a Happy Father's Day to all the
great Dad's out there. To those of you that are graduating from school or
universities, or for those of you that have family members or friends that are
graduating, congratulations!

Happy Baking!

Sincerely, Diana

Diana's Desserts
A Website Dedicated to Home Bakers

Web site: http://www.dianasdesserts.com
E-mail: diana@dianasdesserts.com