As Amanda mentioned last week with her amazing Scallops with Strawberry Spinach Salad, we are big fans of Masterchef and Gordon Ramsay in general. For this date, we wanted to make something that would fit the “me-on-a-plate” guidance that the judges often give to competitors to inspire them to cook their very best that is close to their heart. I was a bit stumped on this one, but I knew that baking is my first love and it had to be a dessert.
Anyone who knows me knows that trying new food was a bit of a challenge for me for most of my life. Unfortunately do not have a classic, romantic story about how the perfect bouillabaisse in France touched my lips and changed my life, or how I’d grown up eating new flavors that inspired my love of cooking. There were a lot of chicken nuggets and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches in my life and I liked it that way just fine. There still are a lot but, you know, I space it out now.
Instead I was always eager to whip up a batch of cookies or brownies, and dinner was just a formality to make it through to dessert. So, for this challenge, I wanted to bring the classic flavors any kid would love, that PB&J, and combine it with my love of baking into something remotely masterchef worthy.
Would Chef Ramsay throw it back in my face if he took a bite? Not sure…
Did it all disappear into our tummies by the end of the weekend because we thought it was so delicious? You know that’s right!
Almond Butter Cookie Crust
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until fully mixed.
- Press the dough into a 9-inch pie plate or spring-form pan in an even layer across the bottom and slightly up the sides if able.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until crust looks dry and has risen slightly.
- Remove from oven and using a heat resistant, flat bottomed cup, press gently into the center of the crust to flatten. Press against the sides to form the edges so that you have what resembles a tart crust.
- Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan, and save for assembly. Note: This crust is very chewy and delicate so it might help to chill in the fridge before removing from the pan.
Strawberry Puree Whip
- 1 Packet of gelatin
- 3 Tbsp boiling water
- 1 Pint strawberries, greens removed and roughly chopped (can also use frozen, but definitely get some fresh ones for garnish)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 Cup heavy cream
- Bloom the gelatin in the boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Over medium heat, heat the strawberries and sugar. Add the gelatin and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the strawberries release their moisture and become mushy.
- Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to filter out the seeds and allow to cool slightly.
- Reserve about 1/3 of the puree for assembly and chill.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy cream and the remaining cooled puree. Whip the mixture until there are stiff peaks.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes until ready to use.
Almond Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 tbsp softened butter
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a stand mixer, mix together all frosting ingredients until smooth.
- Chill until ready to use or you can use immediately. Transfer to a piping bag whenever ready for assembly.
- Make sure the crust is properly cooled before beginning assembly. Spread a thin layer of the reserved strawberry puree over the center of the cookie.
- Spread an even layer of the strawberry whip over the puree so that it is level and even with the sides of the crust.
- Pipe the almond butter frosting on top of the and top garnish with strawberries as desired.
- Chill for at least 2 hours before enjoying.
Wine Pairing: You could go with a sweet dessert wine if you wanted, although that’s a bit too much for me. So I went for a Zinfandel. You still get that PB&J feel, but without wanting to brush your teeth right after!