Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh Snap

I know this blog is ostensibly about my love of baking, but you know summer is officially here when I bring you The Cupcake Avenger's inaugural no-bake recipe. With the average summer temps in D.C. hovering around "sunny with a chance of sweat-your-face-off-by-9am," sometimes it's just not worth it to add an extra heat wave of 350 degrees for 35 minutes throughout the apartment.

For a friend's BBQ this afternoon, I knew that a typical chocolate cupcake or pudding pie was not going to do it. When it's this hot out, heavy chocolate desserts just aren't as refreshing paired with hot dogs and frosty adult beverages and, plus, any work you put into presentation usually just melts anyways. Besides, as the temperature and humidity have crept up, I've seriously been craving some chilled fruit. I found a great recipe for a Tropical Cream Tart from an old issue of Woman's Day and it was so quick and easy (and cold!) that I knew it would be just right.

The crust of this tart is made out of just crushed gingersnaps and melted butter and, I have to admit, this is the first time in my life I've ever eaten a gingersnap. For some reason, I feel like gingersnaps have an old-timey quality, like sarsaparilla or Necco wafers. But let me tell you people, these little cookies are addictive and they pack a punch. After sampling one wafer off the top of the box, my tongue was still tingling from the winning combo of ginger and molasses a full 5 minutes later. For your next summer soiree, if you're looking for a dessert that will capture the tropical tastes of the season topped off with a unique flavor twist (and won't leave your hair and makeup looking like you just walked out of the Amazon instead of your kitchen) I definitely recommend this dessert.

A few notes:
*If you don't have a food processor, just pulse the cookies in a blender or (if you're lazy like me, just put them in a Ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle)
*To save time, the crust can be made and refrigerated the night before, and the filling can be made up to 8 hours ahead
*I think this recipe calls for too much coconut for my taste and would reduce it by half next time, but all of the BBQ guests said they liked the coconut level so, just keep that in mind depending on how you feel about coconut

Tropical Cream Tart
26 Gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 6-oz containers of fruit-on-the-bottom pineapple yogurt
1 tub whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, shopped

Garnish: chopped mango, pineapple and kiwi

1. Coat a 9-in fluted tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick spray

2. Crust: Break cookies into food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Add butter; pulse until blended. Press firmly over bottom and up sides of pan with your hands and the back of a spoon. Refrigerate.

3. Stir yogurt in a large bowl to combine fruit. Fold in 2 cups whipped topping until blended, then the coconut. Spread into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set.

4. Garnish before serving

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