EASY NO BAKE CAKES FOR SUMMER: Part 1

Growing up, my grandma would make icebox cake for family get-togethers. It was a favorite dessert and is super easy to make. Here is a variation that is just right for casual summer parties.

Chocolate Raspberry Icebox Cake

Stack 8-10 Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Cookies with raspberry infused whipped cream and set each stack next to each other on a platter. You should have about 4 stacks.

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Frost the outside with plain whipped cream and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. At serving time, decorate the top with fresh raspberries and chocolate sprinkles.

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Recipe

1 pint raspberries plus more for garnish
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Puree the raspberries then put through a strainer to remove the seeds. Set aside. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Divide the whipped cream in half. Fold 1/4 cup raspberry puree into one half of the cream. Stack the cookies, glueing them together with approximately 1 tablespoon of raspberry cream per cookie, into 8-10 cookie stacks. Line the stacks up next to each other on a small platter. Frost the outside of the stacks completely with the plain whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Decorate the top with fresh raspberries right before serving. Cut the cake on the diagonal so each slice looks like zebra stripes. Serve with the remaining raspberry puree.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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TOO MANY LEMONS?

There  is a prolific lemon tree in my garden that fruits and flowers year-round.

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The lemons are Meyers, a cross between a traditional lemon and an orange, making for super juicy, sweet-tart fruit.

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My beloved decided to make a lemon meringue pie for dinner tonight, it being Easter and springtime. My go-to recipe for lemon pie filling was handed down to me from Auntie Irene, a somewhat persnickety “aunt” by friendship who was a whiz at baking. Her cookies were delicate of crumb and rich with butter, her cakes were light as a feather and her lemon meringue pie was famous throughout Montclair, New Jersey, her hometown.

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The recipe really delivered, the pie came out beautifully.

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Here’s it is for you to try at home. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, traditional lemons work just fine. After all, that is what Auntie Irene always used.

AUNTIE IRENE’S LEMON PIE FILLING

Spread in between thin shortbread cookies or use as a cake or pie filling. It’s a natural for lemon meringue pie; use the egg whites left from this recipe for the meringue.

1 ¼ cups sugar

3 ¾ tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

grated zest of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

4 egg yolks

1 ½ cups boiling water

Measure first 5 ingredients into the top of a double boiler. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gradually add boiling water while whisking. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes whisking constantly until filling has thickened to the consistency of runny pudding. Remove from heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter. It will thicken further while cooling. Cover surface of lemon filling with plastic wrap so a skin doesn’t form. If using for pie, pour into a pre-baked, cooled pie shell. Allow filling to cool slightly, then cover with meringue and bake in a 350 oven until meringue topping is a golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Yield: about 2 cups of filling