Diana's Desserts Newsletter

Edition Number #7

May 1, 2003

Welcome Home Baker's and Friends,


Because of the world situation, I know baking and cooking was not the most
important thing on your minds, but I still hope you had a good April and that
you were able to enjoy some of the nice things that Spring has to offer.

Let's hope and pray that things get better in the world, and that peace takes
the place of war.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted recipes to
Diana's Dessert Website during this last month. Your recipes sound great and I
hope to make all of them at one time or another. I wish I had the time to bake
every day, but I am very busy keeping up my website and also giving my husband a
little attention, which he so un-selfishly deserves.

In this month's edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter, the focus is on dessert
recipes for two very important and cheerful holidays: Cinco de Mayo and Mother's
Day. I have also included some history on both of these special days.

*Note: See all Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day recipes below. These recipes
follow the section on The History and Meaning of Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and
the American holiday, Memorial Day.

This month, the Food Tips and Information Section is on Milk and Milk Products.
Hopefully, you'll find information here that will be useful to you in your
baking and cooking. If any of you make the Tres Leches cake (see Cinco de Mayo
recipes below), the information on the 3 different kinds of milk used in the
recipe should be informative.

I have added 3 new recipe
categories to my website for desserts and other goodies. They are "Treats for
Kids" (goodies that children will like), a "Tea Time" category for foods that go
well with tea or coffee, or for that special "pastry" or "sweet" to serve at an
afternoon tea, and lastly "Brunch Time", my newest category for entrees,
desserts, breads and rolls for serving at a late morning or afternoon brunch. I
do hope you enjoy these recipe categories, and also that you will submit some of
your own recipes for these new categories.


Cinco de Mayo-Monday May 5, 2003

Mother's Day-Sunday May 11, 2003

Memorial Day-Monday May 26, 2003
(Memorial Day Holiday Weekend-Saturday May 24,
2003 thru Monday May 26, 2003)

Please submit any recipes to Diana's Desserts by May 20th for June's Diana's
Desserts Newsletter Recipe of the Month, and for the Recipe of the Week on
Diana's Desserts Website for the first week in June.

May's Guest submitted recipe is from Joan. It is a recipe for a delicious and
sweet Polish Babka, a delightful breakfast or snack bread using yeast.

May's Guest Submitted Recipe


Polish Babka

Recipe Submitted by: Joan

Servings: Makes 2 loaves



Definition: [BAHB-kah] Hailing from Poland, this rum-scented sweet yeast bread
is studded with almonds or walnuts, raisins and orange peel.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's
Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

"This is a sweet bread and delicious both plain or spread with butter. The dough
is easier to handle if mixed with a wooden spoon instead of using an electric
mixer with a dough hook"........Joan

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 stick (4 oz.) butter or margarine
Heat above ingredients briefly to about 120 degrees F/50 degrees C

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 package (1/4
ounce/7 grams) dry yeast
2 eggs
Approximately 20 marachino cherries, halved
cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Cinnamon sugar, to taste

1). Mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast together. Blend in heated
milk mixture; add eggs and then more flour as needed until dough can be easily
handled. Knead for about 15 minutes.

2). Place dough in a large greased glass bowl and turn so top of dough is also
greased. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk.

3). Divide dough in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle shape. Sprinkle
with cinnamon sugar, then scatter cherries, nuts and raisins over cinnamon

4). Roll up, seam side down, and place in 2 greased loaf pans (seam side down).
Cover and let rise again.

5). Bake the babkas in a 325 degree F (160 C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (If
they begin to brown too quickly, cover them loosely with aluminum foil).

Note: When kneading, if dough is difficult to handle, grease hands!

Makes 2 loaves.

Source: Family Recipe

Submitted By: Joan

Date: April 16, 2003

Thank you Joan for submitting your wonderful family recipe for Polish Babka. It
sounds so delicious with the filling of cinnamon-sugar, cherries, raisins and
nuts. This babka would make a very special and lovely breakfast or brunch treat
for Mother's Day.........Diana

Click here to view recipe and photo of Polish Babka on Diana's Desserts Website:



Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano
communities. It marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the
Battle of Puebla. Althought the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the
"Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism.
With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin
America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention.
Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest.

Cinco de Mayo's history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The
French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of
1846-48. With this war, Mexico entered a period of national crisis during the
1850's. Years of not only fighting the Americans but also a Civil War, had left
Mexico devastated and bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued
a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief
period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would

The English, Spanish and French refused to allow President Juarez to do this,
and instead decided to invade Mexico and get payments by whatever means
necessary. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused
to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III.
Some have argued that the true French occupation was a response to growing
American power and to the Monroe Doctrine (America for the Americans). Napoleon
III believed that if the United States was allowed to prosper indescriminantly,
it would eventually become a power in and of itself.

In 1862, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza,
5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what
came to be known as the "Batalla de Puebla" on the 5th of May.

In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as simply "Cinco
de Mayo" and unfortunately, many people wrongly equate it with Mexican
Independence which was on September 16, 1810, nearly a fifty year difference.
Over, the years Cinco de Mayo has become very commercialized and many people see
this holiday as a time for fun and dance.

Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo has become more of a Chicano holiday than a Mexican
one. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale here in the United
States than it is in Mexico. People of Mexican descent in the United States
celebrate this significant day by having parades, mariachi music, folklorico
dancing and other types of festive activities.

Source: CLNet: http://latino.sscnet.ucla.edu/cihnco.html

Mother's Day

The Story of Mother's Day

The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring
celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During
the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on
the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter), "Mothering
Sunday" honored the mothers of England.

During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy.
As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the
houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day
off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A
special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a
festive touch.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the
"Mother Church" - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them
from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday
celebration . People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe
(who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to
peace. Ms. Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass ever

In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national
Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia
to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the
2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in

Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and
politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was
successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state.
President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming
Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd
Sunday of May.

While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different
times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland,
Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother's Day on the
second Sunday of May.

Source: Holidays on the Net http://www.holidays.net/

Memorial Day in the United States

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a
day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as
Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years,
becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became an
American federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day is observed on Monday May 26th this year. Memorial Day weekend is
observed from Saturday May 24, 2003 through Monday May 26, 2003.

As Americans and for All people who believe in a Free and Peaceful world, let us
not forget the courageous men and women who have served our countries and who
have given their lives to protect us from the evils of this world.

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Tres Leches Cake

Makes 12 servings

Tres Leches Cake, a perfect dessert for Cinco de Mayo.

Pastel Tres Leches ("three-milk cake") appeared in Mexico perhaps a generation
ago. It swept through the social set and soon became the thing to serve at fancy
parties. A butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk and most often topped with
billows of meringue or whipped cream, it is sweet and insanely rich.

Nobody knows where this confection came from. Mexican cooking authority Maria
Dolores Torres Yzabal (the co-author of The Mexican Gourmet cookbook) thinks it
might have originated in a Mexico City bakery whose name is now lost. In her
cookbook The Taste of Mexico, Patricia Quintana says that it first appeared in
the state of Sinaloa. To complicate matters further, Mexico-born chef Roberto
Santibanez has friends in Guatemala and Nicaragua who swear the cake is native
to their countries. His pet theory is that it came from a promotional recipe
once distributed in Latin America, perhaps on cans of evaporated milk or with a
brand of electric mixer.

Wherever it started, Tres Leches Cake has now established itself all over the
world. Its tres leches ("three milks") are evaporated milk, sweetened condensed
milk, and heavy cream. This cake's definitely "Got Milk".

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
9 large egg yolks
9 large
egg whites
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2
teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2
teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Glaze:
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk or use Fat-Free for a lighter
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk or use Fat-Free for a lighter
2 cups heavy whipping cream or use Half and Half (Single Cream) or Whole
Milk for a lighter version

For the Frosting:
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon
vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Lightly grease and flour a
13x9-inch rectangular cake pan. Set aside.

To Make Cake:
Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg
yolks and beat well. Add the flour mixture and milk; beat well. Set batter

In a metal bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold into the cake batter. Stir in the vanilla. Pour batter into prepared
cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean and when cake springs
back when touched lightly in center. Remove from oven and cool on rack for about
20 minutes.

To Make Glaze:
In a large bowl combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed
milk and heavy cream. Mix well.

Pierce the entire top of cake with a fork or wooden skewer, then pour the glaze
over the cake. If cake stops absorbing the glaze, it has had enough. If desired,
save remaining glaze to drizzle over the top of cake as garnish. Refrigerate
cake for at least 2 hours before frosting and serving* (see note).

To Make Frosting:
When ready to serve, combine the whipping cream, the vanilla
and the sugar, whipping until thick. Spread over top of chilled cake.

*Note: Because of the milk in the cake, it is very important that you keep the
cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve cake chilled.

Makes 12 servings.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve cake topped with chopped nuts, fresh berries or other
sliced fruits.


Place 1 maraschino cherry on top of each slice and drizzle with chocolate or
caramel syrup. Dulce de Leche sauce would be terrific drizzled over top also.

Frosting Variation:
Tres Leches cake can be made with either a Whipped Cream
Frosting (as in above recipe) or made with a Meringue Topping.

Topping Variation:
Meringue Topping
1 cup granuated sugar
1/3 cup
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the 1/3
cup water and the 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to
dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235-240
degrees F (112-115 degrees C). Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the
egg whites to soft peaks, add the vanilla extract. While beating, add the hot
syrup in a thin stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture
cools, and a glossy icing forms.

To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the meringue
topping evenly across the top.

TIP: The meringue will keep, covered, 2 days in the refrigerator.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo of Tres Leches Cake on Diana's Desserts


Makes 12-14 servings

This Spanish and Mexican specialty consists of a sweet-dough spiral
that is deep-fried and eaten like a doughnut. Churros are usually coated with a
mixture of cinnamon and confectioners' (or granulated) sugar.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch for
2/3 cup sugar, to roll the churros in
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably
freshly ground Mexican canela (optional)
Pinch of salt

For the Dough:
In a medium-small (2-quart) saucepan, combine the
oil, the 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water. Set over
high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and
add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture forms a thick,
smooth-textured ball. Let cool in the pan.

To Fry the Churros:
Spread the 2/3 cup sugar over the bottom of a baking pan and
mix in the optional cinnamon. Set aside.

When you're ready to eat the churros, heat the oil in a large pan (my preference
for ease and consistency of temperature is a heavy pan or cast-iron skillet
that's about 9 inches across and 3 inches deep) over medium to medium-high to
about 375 degrees F/190 degrees C (the oil will shimmer on the surface and give
off that characteristic hot oil aroma).

Scoop the dough into a churrera, a cookie press fitted with a 3/8-inch fluted
opening or a heavy-duty (canvas-type) pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch star
tip. Holding your pressing apparatus a few inches above the hot oil, press out a
5-inch length of dough (the end will dangle into the oil), then pull it free
from the press with your fingertips.

Cook this one churro, turning occasionally, until it is deep golden brown, about
2 to 3 minutes if the oil temperature is right. Remove it to drain on paper
towels and let it cool a minute, then break it open to check for doneness-it
should be just a little soft inside, but not too doughy. Too low an oil
temperature, and the churros will take a long time to color, usually bursting
apart before they're brown; too high a temperature, and they'll brown quickly
but not cook enough.

Adjust the temperature if necessary, then press out and fry the churros 4 or 5
at a time, draining each batch on paper towels. Roll the churros luxuriously in
the sugar mixture (that you have put in bottom of baking pan) while they are
still warm. They're ready to enjoy.

Add 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely ground pecans and 1/2 teaspoon very
finely chopped orange zest (colored rind only) to the dough along with the

Source: Mexico One Plate At a Time by Rick Bayless

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

Horchata: A Mexican Cinnamon-Rice Drink

Servings: Makes 2 1/2 quarts of Horchata

Although Horchata (pronounced or-CHAT-ah) is not really a fruit drink,
it's served in the same way, and on the same occasions as Aguas Frescas. The
unusual blend of rice, sugar and cinnamon makes this a preferred drink of many
Mexicans. You can often find Horchata in Mexican restaurants, made fresh daily.
This recipe must be made in two parts, over a six to eight hour stretch. The
first part of the recipe takes a maximum of five minutes to prepare, and must
stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. The second part takes
about 20 minutes to prepare and an hour or so to chill.

2 cups long-grained white rice
2 cups water
2 quarts whole or
low-fat milk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground

1). Place the rice in a bowl with enough hot water to cover it
completely. Seal bowl with plastic wrap and let stand, at room temperature, for
six to eight hours, or overnight.

2). The next day, strain rice through a colander, discarding water.

3). Place one cup water and two cups milk in blender with one cup of rice. Blend
until liquified. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat with other half of milk, water and

4). Pour through a strainer to remove extra rice pulp. Mix in sugar, vanilla and
cinnamon and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Chill thoroughly before
serving. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses and serve.

Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

Source: Recipe provided by Ann Hazard and adapted from Mexgrocer.com

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

Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano (Mexican Chocolate Pie)



Pecans, Mexican Chocolate, butter, chocolate pudding, cream cheese. Who could
ask for anything more in a pie. A super dessert for Cinco de Mayo!

Makes 6 servings

2 cups graham cracker, crushed
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup
butter or margarine melted
2 cups milk
1 package (3 5/8 oz. size) chocolate
pudding and pie filling mix
1 circular tablet Mexican Chocolate*
1 (8 oz.)
package cream cheese

Optional Garnish:
Whole or coarsely chopped pecans, for garnish
shavings, for garnish

In a bowl, combine crushed graham crackers and nuts. Set one cup
of graham cracker crumb mixture aside. To the remaining mix, add melted butter
and press on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Heat milk and Mexican
chocolate over low heat. Add pudding and stir occasionally until thickened. Add
softned cream cheese to pudding and stir until melted. Pour contents into pie
pan and let cool. Refrigerate several hours before serving. If desired, garnish
edges and top with reserved graham cracker crumb mixture.

Decorate top with whole or chopped pecans or chocolate shavings.

*Note: Mexican Chocolate can be purchased at Mexican or hispanic markets or
grocery stores, or online at: http://www.mexgrocer.com

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Mexgrocer.com

Click here to view recipe and photo of Pastel de Chocolate Mexicano on Diana's Desserts Website.

Mother's Day Recipes

Coconut Cake with Strawberries

Makes 8 servings

A lovely cake to serve on Mother's Day. Makes a beautiful
presentation.......Diana's Desserts

For The Cake:
3 oz. (75g) finely grated fresh coconut
6 oz. (175g)
self-rising flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs at room
6 oz. (175g) very soft butter
6 oz. (175g) granulated or superfine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For The Coconut Frosting:
1 1/2 oz. (40g) finely grated fresh coconut
9 oz.
(250g) mascarpone cheese
7 fluid oz. (200mL) fromage frais ( or low fat cream
cheese), softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. light
brown sugar (or granulated sugar)

For The Topping and Sides:
2 oz. (50g) coarsely grated fresh coconut

For Garnish:
Fresh Whole Strawberries

You will also need two 8 inch (20cm) round cake pans with a depth
of 1 1/2 inches (4 cm), lightly greased and the bases lined with parchment
paper, lightly greased also.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Grating The Fresh Coconut:
Before you start this cake, you'll first have to deal
with the coconut. Not half as difficult as it might seem, as all you do is first
push a skewer into the 3 holes in the top of the coconut and drain out the milk.
Then place the coconut in a heavy plastic bag and sit it on a hard surface - a
stone floor or an outside paving stone. Then give it a hefty whack with a hammer
- it won't be that difficult to break. Now remove the pieces from the bag and,
using a cloth to protect your hands, push the top of a knife between the nut and
the shell. You should find that you can force the whole piece out in one go. Now
discard the shell and take off the inner skin using a potato peeler. The coconut
is now ready to use. The best way to grate coconut flesh is with the grating
disc of a food processor, but a hand grater will do just as well.

To Make The Cake:
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, holding
the sifter high to give them a good airing. Now just add all the other
ingredients, except the grated coconut, to the bowl and go in with an electric
hand whisk and combine everything until you have a smooth mixture, which will
take about 1 minute. If you don't have an electric hand whisk, use a wooden
spoon, using a little more effort. What you should now have is a mixture that
drops off a spoon when you give it a tap on the side of the bowl. If it seems a
little stiff, add a drop of water and mix again. Finally, stir in the 3 oz.
(75g) finely grated coconut and divide the mixture between the pans. Now place
them on the middle rack of the preheated 325 degree F (160 C) oven for 30-35
minutes. To test whether the cakes are cooked, lightly touch the center of each
with a finger: if it leaves no impression and the sponges spring back, they are

Next, remove them from the oven, then wait about 5 minutes before turning them
out on to a wire cooling rack. Carefully peel off the base papers, and when the
cakes are absolutely cold, carefully divide each one horizontally into two
halves using a very sharp serrated knife.

Now make up the frosting by simply whisking all the ingredients together in a
bowl to combine them. Next select the plate or stand you want to serve the cake
on - you'll also need a palette knife - then simply place one cake layer on
first, followed by a thin layer of frosting (about a fifth), followed by the
next layer of cake and frosting, and so on. After that, use the rest of the
frosting to coat the sides and top of the cake. Cover the sides and top of cake
with the grated coconut. Place whole strawberries around the bottom edges of
cake, and place one on top of cake.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Recipe adapted from Delia Smith, Cookbook writer, British TV, Magazine
and Newspaper Food Columnist.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Coconut Cake Garnished with Strawberries
on Diana's Desserts Website.

Chocolate Creme Brulee's

Makes 4 servings


Creme Brulee

Definition: [krehm broo-LAY] The literal translation of this rich dessert is
"burnt cream." It describes a chilled, stirred custard that, just before
serving, is sprinkled with brown or granulated sugar. The sugar topping is
quickly caramelized under a broiler or with a salamander. The caramelized
topping becomes brittle, creating a delicious flavor and textural contrast to
the smooth, creamy custard beneath.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's
Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

A "must have" dessert for chocolate lovers!! These luscious creme brulee's can
be made in heart shaped ramekins for Valentines Day or for that very special
dessert for Mother's Day.

2 cups heavy cream
3 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate,
chopped into small pieces
3 large egg yolks
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp.
vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 325
degrees F (160 C). Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until small bubbles form around
the edges of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the
chocolate until melted and blended. Cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp. of the sugar until the
mixture is pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk, about 5 minutes.
Slowly stir in the warm chocolate cream, then stir in the vanilla.

Line a 3-inch deep baking pan with a kitchen towel and place four 6-oz. ramekins
or dessert cups in the pan. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve
set over a bowl. Divide the chocolate mixture among the ramekins. Add boiling
water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the pan
loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake until the custards are just set around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cover and
refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tbsp. sugar evenly over the surface of each
custard. Using a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously in small circles
over the surface until the sugar bubbles and just begins to turn golden, 20 to
30 seconds per custard. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo of Chocolate Creme Brulee on Diana's
Desserts Website.

Miniature Pavlovas with Plums and Creme Fraiche

Servings: Makes 6 miniature Palovas



Definition: [pav-LOH-vuh] Hailing from Australia, this famous dessert is named
after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It consists of a crisp meringue base
topped with whipped cream and fruit such as strawberries, passion fruit and
kiwi. A pavlova is usually served with fruit sauce or additional whipped cream.

Source: Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food
Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

"If you love meringue, you'll love Pavlova. These miniature "light as a feather"
sweet meringues topped with a cardamon scented plum sauce and a dollop of sweet
creamy whipped creme fraiche, make a very special Mother's Day
dessert"..........Diana's Desserts

For The Plums:
1 1/2 pounds plums (fresh or canned), halved,
pitted, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

For The Meringues:
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup
granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

For The Topping:
1 1/2 cups chilled creme fraiche
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For Plums:
Combine all ingredients in large skillet; toss to coat.
Cover and cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring
occasionally, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until plums are tender but still
hold shape, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes longer; cool to room
temperature. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to bowl. Cover and chill.)

Note: If using canned plums, you will probably not need to cook them as long as
fresh plums. Watch carefully when cooking them, making sure the canned plums
still hold their shape, but are tender.

For Meringues:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Line large baking sheet
with parchment paper. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl 1
minute. Add cream of tartar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually
add sugar, beating until whites are thick and resemble marshmallow creme, about
5 minutes. Beat in cornstarch, vinegar, vanilla, and cardamom. Drop meringue
onto prepared sheet in 6 mounds, spaced 3 inches apart. Using back of spoon,
make depression in center of each.

Place meringues in oven. Immediately reduce temperature to 250 degrees F (120
C). Bake until meringues are dry outside (but centers remain soft) and pale
straw color and lift easily from parchment, about 50 minutes. Cool on sheet on
rack. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

For Topping:
Beat creme fraiche and sugar in medium bowl until peaks form.
Refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Place meringues on plates. Spoon plum mixture into center depression. Spoon
topping and any plum juices over.

Makes: 6 miniature pavlovas.

*Note: Creme fraiche is sold at some supermarkets and gourmet food stores. Look
for it in the dairy department, or if your market has a gourmet section.

If unavailable at your supermarket, you can make your own creme fraiche by
heating 1 1/2 cups whipping cream to lukewarm (85 degrees F). Remove from heat
and mix in 3 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover and let stand in warm draft-free area
until slightly thickened, 24 to 48 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Source: Diana's Desserts

Click here to view recipe and photo of Miniature Pavlovas with Plums and Creme
Fraiche on Diana's Desserts Website.

Elegant French Toast

Makes 4 servings

This cherry and cream cheese-stuffed French toast makes an elegant
addition to any holiday brunch. Great for a late morning or early afternoon
Mother's Day brunch. Mom will love it!

1 1-pound loaf unsliced egg bread, such as challah or other firm
1-1/4 cups canned or thawed, frozen pitted tart red cherries, drained
3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (see variation below)*
1/4 cup whipping
2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar (optional)
6 beaten eggs
1/4 teaspoon
ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Sifted powdered sugar
Maple syrup

For Garnish: (optional)
Apples, sliced into thin wedges
Mint sprigs

1. Trim ends from the loaf of bread and cut the bread into six
1-1/2-inch-thick slices. To make a pocket in each slice, beginning at the top,
cut lengthwise in half to within 1 inch of the bottom. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, beat 3/4 cup of the cherries, cream cheese, whipping cream
and the 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, if you like, with an electric mixer until
well combined.

3. Spread about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pocket of each slice of bread.
Gently press pieces of bread together, distributing filling evenly inside
pocket. Combine eggs and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Dip bread into egg mixture
to coat all sides.

4. On a griddle or in a skillet, cook bread in hot butter over medium heat for 2
to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add more butter, if needed.

5. Remove from heat and cut French toast in half diagonally, forming two
triangles. Place three triangles for each serving on warm plates. Sprinkle with
additional powdered sugar and remaining cherries. Serve with maple syrup, and if
desired, garnish with thinly sliced apple wedges and mint sprigs.

* Variation:
Mascarpone cheese (Italian Mascarpone cheese is a buttery rich
double cream to triple cream cheese made from cow's milk) may be substituted for
the cream cheese in this recipe. You can find mascarpone cheese at some large
supermarkets, at Italian delicatessens, or at some gourmet food stores. It may
also be purchased online at: pastacheese.com OR at: igourmet.com.

Makes 4 servings.

Click here to view recipe and photo of Elegant French Toast on Diana's Desserts




Cow's milk is one of the most popular animal milks consumed by humans. People
drink milk from animals such as camels, llamas, reindeer, sheep and water
buffalo. Most milk is nutritious and has protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins
A and D, lactose (milk sugar) and riboflavin. However, milk's sodium content is

Most milk in the U.S. is pasteurized, which means it's been heated, then
quick-cooled to kill disease-causing microorganisms (such as salmonella and
hepatitis). This gives milk a longer shelf life. Most milk products are
homogenized, meaning the milk fat is broken down and evenly distributed. As a
result, the cream does not separate from the milk.

In 1993, the Federal Drug Administration approved injecting cows with the
genetically produced hormone protein bovine somatotropin (BST), a natural growth
hormone found in all cows. The milk production of BST-injected cows increases by
up to 25 percent. Scientists claim the milk is not altered and has no adverse
effects. There is no mandatory labeling for milk from BST-enhanced cows, though
products may be labeled "farmer certified to not come from BST-supplemented
cows." Milk comes in many varieties.

Raw Milk

Raw milk is not pasteurized and may be more nutritious since vitamins and
natural enzymes are not destroyed by heat. Dairies certified to sell raw milk
have rigid hygiene standards and regularly inspect their herds, but the
unpasteurized milk carries potential risk of disease.

Almost all pasteurized and homogenized milks are fortified with vitamins A and

Whole Milk

Whole milk is straight from the cow and has 3 1/2 percent milk fat.

Lowfat Milk

Lowfat milk comes in two types: 2 percent, which is 98 percent fat-free; and 1
percent, which is 99 percent fat-free. A few lowfat milks contain only 1/2
percent fat.

Nonfat or Skim Milk

Nonfat or skim milk must contain less than 1/2 percent milk fat. Lowfat and
nonfat milk are available "protein-fortified"--with milk solids added. This
boosts protein to 10 grams per cup and adds richness. Federal law requires that
lowfat and nonfat milk be fortified with 2,000 International Units (IU) of
vitamin A per quart. Vitamin D fortification is optional, but 400 IU per quart
is usually added.


Buttermilk of times past was left after butter was churned. Today it's made by
adding bacteria to nonfat or lowfat milk for thickened texture and tangy flavor.
Dry or powdered buttermilk is also available.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus Milk

Healthful lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria is added to sweet acidophilus milk
(whole, lowfat or nonfat). It tastes and looks like regular milk but many
scientists believe the bacteria balances the digestive tract.

Low-Sodium Milk

Low-sodium milk in which potassium replaces 90 percent of the sodium, is for
those on sodium-restricted diets.

Lactose-Reduced Lowfat Milk

Lactose-reduced lowfat milk is for the lactose intolerant. The lactose content
in this milk is reduced to only 30 percent.

Ultrapasteurized Milk

Ultrapasteurized milk is heated to 300 degrees F, then vacuum-packed. For up to
6 months, it may be stored unrefrigerated until opened. Though the heat kills
harmful micro-organisms, it also lends a "cooked" flavor.

Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk is whole milk with sugar and chocolate.

Chocolate Dairy Drink

Chocolate dairy drink is skim milk with the same flavorings added. If either
drink uses cocoa instead of chocolate, it's "chocolate-flavored drink."

Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream

Heavy Cream, also called Heavy Whipping Cream is whipping cream with a milk fat
content of between 36 and 40 percent. It's usually only available in specialty
or gourmet markets. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped.

Light Cream and Light Whipping Cream

Light cream, also called coffee or table cream, can contain anywhere from 18 to
30 percent fat, but commonly contains 20 percent. Light whipping cream, the form
most commonly available, contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes
stabilizers and emulsifiers.


Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream, and is 10 to 12
percent milk fat. Neither half-and-half nor light cream can be whipped.

There are many dry milk and canned milk products such as:

Evaporated Milk

This canned, unsweetened milk is fresh, homogenized milk from which 60 percent
of the water has been removed. Vitamin D is added for extra nutritional value.
It comes in whole, lowfat and skim forms; the whole-milk version must contain at
least 7.9 percent milk fat, the lowfat has about half that and the skim version
1/2 percent or less. As it comes from the can, evaporated milk is used to enrich
custards or add a creamy texture to many dishes. When mixed with an equal amount
of water, it can be substituted for fresh milk in recipes. Evaporated milk is
less expensive than fresh milk and is therefore popular for many cooked dishes.
It has a slightly caramelized, "canned" flavor that is not appreciated by all
who taste it. Canned milk can be stored at room temperature until opened, after
which it must be tightly covered and refrigerated for no more than a week. When
slightly frozen, evaporated milk can be whipped and used as an inexpensive
substitute for whipped cream.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

A mixture of whole milk and sugar, 40 to 45 percent of which is sugar. This
mixture is heated until about 60 percent of the water evaporates. The resulting
condensed mixture is extremely sticky and sweet. Unsweetened condensed milk is
referred to as evaporated milk. Store unopened sweetened condensed milk at room
temperature for up to 6 months. Once opened, transfer the unused milk to an
airtight container, refrigerate and use within 5 days. Sweetened condensed milk
is used in baked goods and desserts such as candies, puddings, pies, etc.

Buying Milk

Always check the carton date to make sure it's fresh. Pull dates (see open
dating) are intentionally conservative, and milk in a high-turnover market will
keep a week after purchase.

Storing Milk

Refrigerate immediately. Milk readily absorbs flavors so close cartons tightly.
Milk's shelf life shortens when left at room temperature for 30 minutes or more.

Source: The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst


I hope you have enjoyed the recipes for Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day, and if
you made any of these goodies, please let me know how they turned out.

Also, please let me know if there are any dessert, bread, roll, etc. recipes
that would be of particular interest to you. Just send me an email and let me
know. My email address is at the end of this newsletter. I will try very hard to
find and post any of your recipe requests on my website, Diana's Desserts.

The June edition of Diana's Desserts Newsletter will focus on recipes for
Father's Day (June 15th this year), and also dessert recipes for graduations.
Many high-school, college and other graduations are celebrated during the month
of June, especially here in the United States.

Summer officially begins on Saturday June 21st this year. I will be including in
June's Newsletter, recipes, baking and cooking tips and information (for the
warmer weather), and will also be giving you some ideas on desserts to serve
with your picnics and barbeques.

Have a great month. I wish you a wonderful and festive Cinco de Mayo and a very
Happy Mother's Day. Also, have a restful and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Sincerely, Diana

Diana's Desserts
A Website Dedicated to Home Bakers

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