Enjoying the Little Things that Make a Delicious Dessert

Years ago when embarking on this baking adventure in my life, cookbooks authored by Maida Heatter became the inspiration for multiple heavenly desserts that graced our home. Little did I know that while browsing the cookbook section of our local library that Ms. Heatter would be so influential in my culinary dessert creations. Why her, you ask? The answer is simple. Her recipes are flawless. But the best part is reading her warm, encouraging words of inspiration and hints for success that accompany most every recipe. She not only has a love for baking fine desserts, but she wants her readers to enjoy the same fantastic results when they try her dessert recipes. You will feel like a warm, cozy blanket has just been placed around you when you browse through her dessert cookbooks. I have made something as simple as her “Top Secret” cream (recipe following) that accompanies fresh fruit to her multiple-layered “Dobosh Torte,” all with mouth-watering success. I encourage you to find a copy of 1 of her dessert cookbooks. You will want to make every recipe she has published!

”Top Secret ” from Maida Heatter’s Pies & Tarts, page 252

1/2 cup cottage cheese (4% milkfat or 1% milkfat, but the 4% milkfat is preferred)

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

Few drops vanilla extract

Maida’s directions are as follows: “Place the cottage cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Process for 1 full minute (no less) until as smooth as honey. You will think it is ready sooner, but please do process for the full minute, at least. Stop the machine once to scrape down the sides during processing. When you think it is done, process still a few seconds longer. The sugar or honey and vanilla may be added before, during, or after the processing. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for several hours or longer.”

Maida says, “I was in some new kind of heaven and vowed that I would eat nothing but strawberries and processed cottage cheese as long as berries were in season; then I would switch to some other fruit. I loved each bite of the pure, simple, natural, bland, maybe-a-bit-sour-but-not-really-sour flavor. ”

Maida goes on to say, “This may be served immediately after it is prepared, but if it is refrigerated for a few hours, the mixture will thicken and become even better. Prepare as much or as little as you want. Plan on 1/2 to 1 cup per person if you are serving this with strawberries or sliced fresh peaches. If you serve it with apple pie or baked apples or with peach or blueberry cobbler or something filling like that, you might not need so much. But when someone knows what this is-how low in calories-they will eat twice as much.”