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Recipe: Sparkling Pear Champagne Cocktail

This sparkling cocktail is the perfect way to ring in the New Year or any special occasion.

2 cocktails

2 oz pear juice (no added sugar)
2 oz Poire Williams (pear brandy)
8 oz chilled dry Champagne or sparkling wine (Prosecco or Cava)
thinly sliced fresh pear, for garnish (optional)

Pour the pear juice and Poire Williams into two Champagne flutes. Top with Champagne. Garnish with fresh pear slices.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Make the holidays extra special with this delicious Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe.

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
9 ounces (2 2/3 cups) fresh cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
FOR THE BATTER:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
—topping
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.
Prepare the topping: Put butter and brown sugar in a 9-inch round cake pan, place the oven. As the sugar dissolves, stir once so the mixture spreads evenly over the pan. When the sugar starts to bubble and caramelize, remove pan from the oven and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the cranberries and orange juice. Toss to coat berries well. Spread the berries evenly in the pan. Drizzle with any juice remaining in bowl. Set pan aside, and prepare the cake batter.
Prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat in egg yolks one at a time, scraping bowl once or twice. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, ending with dry ingredients. Set batter aside.
Using electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until whites are stiff enough to hold a slight peak.
Fold whites into batter 1/3 at a time. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and spread it evenly over cranberries. Bake until top is browned and cake pulls away slightly from edges of pan, 30-35 minutes (add 5-10 minutes if you live at high altitude). Test for doneness with a wooden skewer, cake is ready when it comes out virtually crumb free.
Let cake cool for 15 minutes before turning onto a serving plate. Top with the candied ginger. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired.

This recipe is a slight variation of Alice Waters’s Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Pumpkin Dutch Baby with Caramelized Apples

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Melted Candy Corn Skillet Brownie

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Greek Salad with Salmon and Creamy Feta Dressing

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Americana No-Bake Cheesecake

I love to make special desserts for the holidays, especially for July 4th. This Americana No-Bake Cheesecake will impress all your guests and it’s super easy to make ahead of time.

Ingredients

‘–for the crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 full sheets) you can also us ginger snaps or chocolate wafers
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted, unsalted butter
baking spray
for the filling
1 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream
3 (8 ounce) blocks full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
for the topping
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Directions

Prepare the crust: Pulse the graham crackers (or your preferred cookies) in a food processor until you have a consistent crumb. Pulse in the sugar and butter until well combined. Spray a 9″ or 10″ springform pan with baking spray. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan, using your palms to make sure it’s firmly packed. Refrigerate while you are making the filling, 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the filling: Whip the cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until you have stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and place in the fridge.

In the same bowl, you don’t have to rinse it, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl with a soft rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the confectioners sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla bean paste until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Be sure that there are no lumps of cream cheese in the mixture.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream being sure not to over mix, you don’t want to cream to deflate.

Scoop the cheesecake mixture over the crust. Smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Decorate with the berries.

Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours up to two days. Serve cold.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Greek Barley Salad

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Skillet Brownie with Maple Whipped Cream

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Maple Vanilla Roasted Strawberries

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Italian Tortellini Salad

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Easy Chicken Marsala

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~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Maple Pecan Morning Muffins

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~ Marla Meridith