Cherry Coke Float

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

If you’re feeling adult, add a shot of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. I’m just feeling like a kid today.
Ice Cream, Cherry recipes, Ice Cream Recipes, Summer Desserts, Libbie Summers, Chia Chong, A food-inspired life
Cherry Coke Float
makes 4 

What you need:
1 (12 ounce) package of frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and chopped
1 quart vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened
4 (6 ounce) bottles Coca-Cola  (don’t even use anything else), ice cold
4 tablespoons natural cherry juice

What to do: 
Eight hours ahead, or the night before: Stir the cherries into the vanilla ice cream. Pat the ice cream into a shallow dish and freeze until hardened. Add 1 tablespoon of cherry syrup into each of the glasses. Add two small scoops of the cherry ice cream to each glass and pour some of the contents of each bottle of Coke over. Serve the remaining Coke on the side of each drink. *Great as a fun dessert at your next dinner party!
Floats, Coke, Coke Floats, Summer Drinks, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life

Fancy Donuts!

By Libbie Summers for Terra’s Kitchen
Assisted by David Dempsey

I make homemade yeast donuts once a year. It’s a big production that I subject my family to with much pomp and circumstance leading up to the big day –donut Sunday! But, for donut cravings that don’t LAND on donut Sunday, I make these fast and easy Fancy Donuts!

With a fancy donut, the art is not in the making, but in the decorating. This is how an ombré of matcha colored glaze and edible decorations take a store bought cake donut from boredom to stardom!

Fancy Donuts
makes 12

What you need:
12 store bought plain cake donuts
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Matcha powder
Edible petals/flowers (violas, lilac, blueberry, carnation, nasturtium, marigold, bachelor button, chive)*
White sugar pearls
Chocolate dipped pretzels
Edible Gold (if you want to be super fancy)
Donut Decorating, Libbie Summers, Terra's Kitchen, A food-inspired Life
What to do:
Make the glaze: Add the powdered sugar to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk and extract until smooth. Divide the glaze between 3 bowls. Leave 1/3 of the glaze white. Mix in just enough matcha powder to the second bowl to make a pale green glaze. Mix in enough matcha powder to the third bowl to make a darker green glaze. Cover the pale green and dark green glazes with plastic wrap (pushing against the glaze to keep from crusting over).
Dip and decorate the donuts: Working with one color of glaze at a time (white first) dip 4 of the donuts into the glaze and rest on a drying rack. Working while the glaze is still wet, decorate each donut with the flowers*, sprinkles, chocolate dipped pretzels and edible gold. Repeat the process with the remaining two colors of glaze.

*Go sparingly on the edible flowers…a little flower petal goes a long way!
Matcha, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired Life, Donut Decorating,
Fancy Donuts, A food-inspired Life, Donut Decorating,

Strawberry Upside Down Skillet Corn Cake

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine

This is a derivation on a recipe from my book, Sweet and Vicious. I honestly have not met a fruit that does not work with it. The cornmeal cake makes it just the slightest bit savory and the rum gives it the slightest Caribbean kick.

Strawberry Upside Down Skillet Corn Cake
Serves 6-8

For the fruit layer:
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Gosling’s Black Seal Bermudan Rum
1 pint strawberries, stemmed and sliced lengthwise to a medium thickness

For the corn cake:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

For the vanilla bean whipped cream:
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste


To make the fruit layer:
In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until just bubbling. Add the brown sugar and rum. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Arrange two layer of the fruit in a decorative pattern to cover the brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the skillet. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
To make the cake batter:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Ass the vanilla paste and beat to combine. Ass the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then add the milk and mix to combine, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix only until the flour mixture is just incorporated. Spread the batter over the fruit, being careful not to move the fruit around too much. You may smooth the top, but don’t worry too much because everything will settle as it bakes.
Bake cake for 45 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the skillet and you can see the syrup bubbling around the sides. The center should feel set to the touch.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
While the cake cools, make the vanilla bean whipped cream: beat cream, sugar and paste with a wire whisk attachment, whipping it to a soft peak. Set aside.
Run a knife around the edfe of the skillet, then very carefully place a plate (much larger than the diameter of the skillet) over the top of the skillet and flip the skillet over to turn the cake out onto the plate. There will be wonderful, oozing syrup escaping around the sides. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a dollop of vanilla bean whipped cream.

Strawberries, Spring, Dinner Party, Flowers, Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life

Raspberry Pavlova

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Cedric Smith for Thom Magazine
Shot on location at Alex Raskin Antiques in Savannah, GA

I was 26 when I served my first pavlova to a bunch of Ski Patrol hooligans in Vail, Colorado. It was a ballsy move to serve as the last course of a wild-game heavy dinner to a group of men of whom most would rather wrestle a bear than use a cloth napkin.

Appetizer course pheasant. Main course elk. Dessert course baked meringue?

I’d seen the recipe in a cookbook by Lee Bailey and thought it was the most beautiful dessert ever created. At the time, I didn’t know that the lack of humidity in Colorado would make it a slam dunk dessert for me, I just wanted to be as cool as that guy, Mr. Bailey, who’s slight body and inviting smile graced the cover of the book. So, macho guests be damned, I made pavlova.

I don’t remember everything about that night –just a few life changing points. I remember a few guests were left on my sofa and elk scraps were left for the dog, but not a crumb of pavlova was left on the dessert platter. I remember I went to bed that night with the cutest and smartest guy at the table –the same guy I make pavlova for today. 
Raspberry Lemon Pavlova Stack from Libbie Summers
Raspberry and Lemon Pavlova from Libbie Summers
Raspberry and Lemon Pavlova Stack
serves 8

8 large egg whites
2 cups superfine sugar (pulse sugar in a food processor for superfine)
½ teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup heavy cream whipped with 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form
1 cup raspberry puree (from fresh berries)
1 cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup chopped pistachios for garnish (optional)
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 250º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium until they hold soft peaks. With the mixer running, begin adding the sugar a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until the meringue is very shiny and holds a stiff peak. Beat in the extracts. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the vinegar and cornstarch with a spatula. Divide the meringue evenly between the the two baking sheets with the meringue in the middle of each sheet. Using a spatula, spread the meringue out to an 8-inch circle.

Bake until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color (about 65-75 minutes). Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven (I let mine cool overnight). The outside will have cracks, but the inside will have a marshmallow consistency.

To Assemble: Place one meringue round on your cake stand. Top with half of the whipped cream and swirl in half of the raspberry puree. Top with the second meringue and repeat. Finish with fresh raspberries, chopped pistachios and a few fly away mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Raspberry and Lemon Pavlova Stack from Libbie Summers (Photography by Cedric Smith)
Raspberry and Lemon Pavlova Stack from Libbie Summers (Photography by Cedric Smith)

Rhubarb Profiteroles

Recipe and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Assisted by Candace Brower

Once you master the art of making a pâte a choux (an airy cream puff dough) the possibilities of its use are endless. You can fill the baked dough with a savory or sweet mixtures. In honor of our rhubarb week, we chose sweet.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Rhubarb, Profiteroles, Recipes

Rhubarb Profiteroles
makes approximately 15

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, and 2 egg whites
Pastry Cream (recipe to follow)
Rhubarb Puree (recipe HERE)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with a silicon mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the milk, brown sugar, butter and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir crazy fast until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tight dough forms, about 2-5 minutes.

Transfer the dough into the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low allowing the dough to cool for about 4 minutes. Slowly add the eggs one at a time, making sure the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next. Once all the eggs are added continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny.

Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe golf ball-sized mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them. Cook for ten minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

To assemble: Cut the profiteroles in half. Swirl some or all of the Rhubarb Puree into the chilled Pastry Cream before filling a piping bag with it. Pipe a generous amount of the filling onto the bottoms of each profiterole. Replace the top and serve.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Rhubarb, Profiteroles, Recipes

Pastry Cream
makes about 3 ½ cups

2 ½ cups milk
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
2 tablespoons butter

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan heat the milk on medium high heat until it starts to simmer. While the milk is heating whisk the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla paste and cornstarch together in a separate bowl. Temper the milk into the egg yolk mixture by slowly ladling a cup of the hot milk into the bowl and whisking constantly. When the egg yolks are tempered add to the pot. Whisk constantly until the pastry cream starts to thicken making sure it bubbles. Add in the butter. Strain through a wire mesh strainer to remove any lumps and allow to cool.

NOTE: Make sure to put plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream when storing to prevent it from developing a skin.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Rhubarb, Profiteroles, Recipes