Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

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If you are planning to entertain this week or happen to be traveling to visit friends - I have the perfect host/hostess bring-along, or an outstanding dessert with wide appeal to finish a dinner. I created this recipe knowing it would be one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked.

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Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Makes one large loaf, or three demi-loaves

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (15 oz container) fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained

1 1/2 cups Turbino or granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until smooth and light. Fold in ricotta in three parts. Scrape bowl well with a spatula. Mix dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar and mix just until flour is absorbed with eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla. 

Scrape down sides of the bowl, mix on low speed, 30 seconds just until batter is completely mixed. Do not over mix. Over mixing will toughen cake and produce air pockets. Pour the batter into greased pan and smooth on top. Once pan is filled with batter, tap pan against table or counter to remove air pockets.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. After 40 minutes, lower to 325 degrees until done. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan; finish cooling on wire rack. Top with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Dessert Grilled

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

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I don’t have a sweet tooth and unlike most people I can pass on chocolate. However, growing up, it would not be summer without my mom whipping-up a bunch of banana boats, my favorite summer sweet treat. It's one of those summer dessert traditions I look forward to every year. I know your whole family will love them. And, so much so I included Banana Boats in my first cookbook!

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Tips: Use large yellow bananas with the barest green tips. Avoid using bananas that are too ripe. For true decadence, top the bananas with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and some chopped pecans before serving.

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Grilled Banana Boats

Makes 6 adults servings, or 3 child servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

6 bananas

Three 1-ounce good quality chocolate bars; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, broken into small pieces, or 6 Tablespoons chocolate chips

2 cups mini-marshmallows

six 12 inch squares aluminum foil

Preheat a gas grill, or use a hot-charcoal grill; after cooking your main food item.

Split bananas down the inner sides, but do not remove the peels. Spread the peels apart and evenly place the chocolate pieces and marshmallows between the bananas and the peels. Bring the edges of the peels together as closely as possible and wrap each banana in aluminum foil.

Grill the bananas for 4-5 minutes; turn them and move them to the cooler edge of the grill for 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve and eat immediately.

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Rosé Peach Pie

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Fresh peaches as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

George Hirsch's Rosé Peach Pie

Makes 8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 recipe pastry for George’s Favorite 3, 2, 1 Pie Crust, see below

George Hirsch Lifestyle Peach Pie

There are three main ingredients in a Pate Brisee, basic pie crust: 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat and 1 part liquid. 

Flour forms the structure of the crust, fat adds flavor and a flaky texture while the liquid binds the dough. 

Chill the fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or lard) and liquids (milk or water) before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. Next, mix the flour, cut the chilled fat into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The resulting mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the flour is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork after each addition. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of fat into the flour, as a crust without lumps of fat will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will affect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two equal parts. Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

To make the pie shell:
Dust a clean, dry surface with flour; caution to not use too much flour or you will dry out the crust. Remove and unwrap one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator. Flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards.

Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle a quarter inch thick. The size of the dough round should be wider in diameter than your pie pan; the amount will vary depending upon the depth of your pie plate. Use a dry pastry brush to sweep away any excess flour.

Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and roll it out, over the pie plate. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge. Leave a one-inch overhang to make a decorative fluted edge or trim it to a half-inch if you're adding a top crust. If the dough cracks a little during this process, press it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with a bit of dough from the outer edges.

Place filling in bottom crust, unwrap the second ball of dough. Repeat the above step to roll out the pie dough. Brush the bottom pie dough around the edges lightly with water to seal the edges of crust. Lay the top piece of pie dough carefully over the filled pie. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the lower crust and press together lightly. Using the rim of the pie plate as a guide, create a fluted edge with your fingers or the back of a fork. 

For the peach pie, cut a small hole to vent the top allowing excess steam to escape during baking. Brush the surface with egg wash; made of one egg and one teaspoon of water and bake as directed.

George Hirsch Rosé Peach Pie

This recipe made with butter will result in a lighter and more flavorful crust. 

George’s Favorite Pie Crust Recipe
Makes one pie or two bottom crusts

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold milk

Chill the butter and milk before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. 

Next, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie crust in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the milk is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of butter into the flour. A crust without lumps of butter will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will effect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two equal parts. Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

George Hirsch's Rosé Peach Pie

To Make Peach Filling with Rosé Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan add, 3/4 bottle Rosé wine, ¼ cup pure cane granulated sugar. Simmer and reduce to about 1 cup. Chill. Pour rosé reduction over 8 sliced peaches and marinate overnight covered in refrigerator. 

Drain the rosé simple syrup after the 8 sliced peaches have marinated in rosé overnight. *Reserve the peach flavored rosé syrup. Add the additional 2 sliced peaches.

8 medium size fresh ripe peaches, cut into 1 inch slices 

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 medium size fresh ripe peaches, cut into 1 inch slices

½ cup cake crumbs, use pound cake, or sponge cake, etc.

Mix flour and brown sugar together, add to peaches and toss until fully combined. 

Roll out pie dough and place the bottom in a 9 inch pie pan. Cover bottom with cake crumbs. 

Fill with peaches, mounded slightly. Roll out top pie dough, cover with a top crust or a lattice crust. To add a richer color to a double-crust or lattice-topped pie, brush the top crust with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with teaspoon of water) before baking. Refrigerate peach pie before baking for 1 hour to slightly chill dough.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Bake directly on oven rack, do not use a sheet pan. After 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking for 30 additional minutes or until done. To test doneness, tap the edge of the crust lightly with finger, and you should hear a hollow sound. 

Chefs Note: *The drained marinated peach syrup can be added to Prosecco or club soda for the best Bellini or peach mimosa!

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Lemon Squares

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I have shared many desserts in my cookbooks and TV series, delighted to share one of my most requested desserts. 

This is the quintessential dessert, although it is also a popular dessert during the summer season. I have been told my recipe is the perfect balance of sweetness, lemony tartness and buttery shortbread. Make a batch and share this refreshing treat at your next gathering.

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Lemon Squares (aka Lemon Bars) depends on how you cut them

Makes 1 dozen, eight inch square pan

George Hirsch Recipe | chefgeorgehirsch.com

Short Bread Crust:

1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature 

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

pinch cinnamon

A square tip: (lining pan with parchment paper is helpful for removing squares after baking)

Grease an 8 inch square pan with butter, line with parchment

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

For the Crust: With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. By hand mix flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon forming a light dough. Press dough into greased pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, should be light brown. Remove from oven and cool in pan.

Lemon Filling:

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

2 eggs

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 

1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest 

2 Tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt

For the Lemon Filling: Mix with a wire whisk the sugar, flour, salt, and eggs until dissolved. Add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla just until combined. Do not over mix or too much air will affect filling. Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the filling is set. 

Remove from oven and cool. After cooling at room temperature, refrigerate. To serve, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Chill lemon squares until ready to serve.

Affogato

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Affogato literally means "drowned" in Italian. This Italian dessert with espresso + gelato is the perfect combination of bitterness and sweetness. Some might say it's a sophisticated version of an Gelato Domenica.

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Affogato

4 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

4 cup premium vanilla gelato or ice cream  

4 2 ounce servings of fresh brewed espresso

Brew fresh espresso. Dish-up four servings of ice cream or gelato. Pour hot espresso over the ice cream and serve immediately.

Optional: Add a tablespoon of your favorite liqueur, or crush a few of my favorite biscotti on top! 

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