I was recently asked for some California desserts. I had to stop and think because I really never thought about California having specific dessert recipes. I have certainly found through this website that desserts are loved worldwide; first all chocolate desserts and then I would say the next category would be cheesecakes.
It is hard to say which desserts are favored in different countries and it is really hard to say which ones are the most favored in the different states. It seems that the same dessert recipes or similar ones are appreciated in all the states.
This was a new question for me so I asked myself, what I think of when thinking about California desserts. The first thing that came to my mind was all the delicious oranges from that state. Although I consider Florida one of my homes, most of the time when I purchased oranges, the only ones available were from California.
Sister Donna said to me when she visited me in Florida, “Where are all the Florida oranges”? I had to admit that I had no idea but we could always get beautiful California oranges. You can see why this is the first thought which came to mind when trying to answer this question.
The next ingredient used in so many California desserts would have to be the many delicious berries. When I was very young, my sister Gloria visited Knott’s Berry Farm. I remember she brought back many jars of their delicious jams. I still have a mug from out there and I use it every day. I have heard so many people who I know that live out there talk about all the delicious raspberries and blackberries grown there. Although I have visited California, there were so many things to do that I never got to see the fields of berries. I also want to add to this, I have heard so much about this state’s dates and apricots; both of which I love and are used in many California desserts. Date bars have been a favorite since childhood and Sister Gloria got me hooked on apricots, especially her apricot cookie recipe.
One place I did visit when I was in California was the Ghirardelli candy factory. Now I know this might be “old hat” to you Californians, but I cannot leave this fine chocolate out when talking about California desserts. This wonderful ingredient is the favorite all over the world and I would be crucified for not mentioning it; and all the fabulous California desserts created with it. Another place I was able to visit was Napa Valley. What a wonderful section of wines to have available for adding to almost any recipe and some fabulous California desserts.
One event which has always stood out in my mind and we can also use it in our California desserts is the Beautiful Rose Bowl Parade. No other place or event can one see so many beautiful flowers. Fresh edible flowers are wonderful to garnish special dishes with especially desserts. Rose water is also used in many desserts for flavoring. My favorite thing is sculpturing roses and rose leaves from delicious chocolate; a great use for Ghirardelli chocolate.
WHAT IS ROSE WATER? This is a flavoring produced in the Balkans, the Middle East, in India and in a few other countries. It is made by distilling the oil of rose petals. This can be purchased in specialty stores and over the years has become a useful ingredient around the world for many desserts.
One thing for certain is that California is unique in its own right. Below are some of the recipes which I thought would be unique for this state. I wanted to come up with some truly unrivaled recipes that I felt could fulfill that states name and utilize the wonderful ingredients which it produces.
ORANGE ANGEL FOOD DESSERT
A light and refreshing sample of the California desserts.
Break cake into bite size pieces and set aside.
Soften gelatin in cold water; then dissolve in boiling water.
Add orange juice, juice from lemon and sugar; mix well and chill until syrupy thickness.
Fold the whipped cream into gelatin mixture; mix well and pour over cake pieces.
Fold mixture gently until well blended and pour into lightly oiled mold (6 to 8 cup).
Refrigerate over night.
To serve remove from mold to a serving platter; garnish with candied orange peel.
DATE NUT CAKE DESSERT RECIPE
This date nut cake dessert is one of the best California desserts utilizing not only dates but many other local fruits.
Beat yolks with sugar until light and creamy.
Add and blend in flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, dates and nuts.
Fold in beaten egg whites.
Spread batter on greased cookie sheet lined with wax paper. (Should be ½ inch thick)
Bake in preheated oven at 350F degrees for 30 minutes.
Turn cake out onto tray and peel off wax paper; cool and break into bite size pieces.
Combine Fruit Mixture
Extra Ingredients to Finish Dessert
To Assemble this California Dessert
AMBROSIA CAKE RECIPE
I love great cake recipes; I feel this ambrosia cake recipe make one of the great California desserts using not only orange but lemon and coconut. I hear coconuts are grown in California; if not it says California to me!
Preheat oven at 350F degrees.
Grease and flour 2 8 inch layer cake pans.
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.
Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt; add alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture.
Blend in vanilla; pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove cakes from pans and cool completely; fill with orange coconut filling and frost.
Orange Coconut Filling
Combine all ingredients except coconut; cook and stir over low heat until clear and thick.
Cool mixture and then add coconut; spread between cake layers and frost with jiffy frosting.
Jiffy frosting recipe
Heat small mixing bowl by rinsing with hot water.
Combine in bowl sugar, boiling water, cream of tartar and egg white while beating.
Beat until icing reaches a good spreading consistency about 5 minutes; blend in vanilla.
Spread on cake and sprinkle with grated coconut.
CITRUS BLOSSOMS WITH LIME CURD RECIPE
This California dessert makes you think of sunshine with every bite.
Brush sheet of dough with melted butter; top with another sheet and brush again with melted butter.
Cut into 4 inch squares and place into regular size cupcake tins.
Add 2 more squares to each tin rotating a little to form petals.
Bake Phyllo cups at 375F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool and remove Phyllo cups from tins; cool completely.
Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon lime curd into each cup and top with berries.
Garnish with dab whipped cream and mint leaf.
Lime Curd Recipe
In a heavy saucepan combine egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lime juice and lime zest.
Whisk until well blended; cook over low stirring constantly until thickened.
(Curd will coat back of spoon; DO NOT BOIL).
Remove from heat and gradually whisk in butter.
Pour into glass bowl and let cool; refrigerate until ready to use.
RASPBERRY BAVARIAN CREAM
Set 1 cup raspberries aside for garnish.
Puree remaining berries in blender and run through fine sieve to remove seeds (should have 1 cup)
Stir into pureed berries 1 cup sugar and lemon juice.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water in a small saucepan to soften.
Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin dissolves.
Remove gelatin from heat and stir puree into gelatin mixture.
Fill a large bowl with ice and add 1 cup cold water to ice.
Place saucepan in ice and stir constantly until gelatin mixture cools and thickens to consistency of unbeaten egg whites. (About 5 minutes)
Remove pan from ice; beat whipping cream until stiff.
Whisk a large spoonful of whipped cream into puree mixture to lighten.
Now fold puree mixture into remaining whipped cream; blend thoroughly.
Spoon into a Bundt pan, cover and refrigerate for several hours or until set.
Add ¼ cup sugar to remaining raspberries and toss to blend; refrigerate until serving.
Unmold Bavarian cream by quickly dipping bottom of mold into hot water.
Place chilled platter over the top and invert mold onto platter.
Garnish with sprigs of mint and fresh raspberries.
CHOCOLATE GATEAU RECIPE
This nostalgic California dessert takes you bake to Ghirardelli square.
Melt chocolate and water in double boiler over hot water (Not boiling water)
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in flour, sugar and butter.
Beat egg yolks vigorously and stir into chocolate mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
Pour into a round greased and lined 8 inch cake pan; bake at 425F degrees for 15 minutes ONLY and cool.
Mix rum and brown sugar; marinate grapes in rum mixture for several hours, stirring occasionally.
Before serving mix grapes with sour cream.
To serve chocolate gateau recipe dust with a little sifted powdered sugar and top with grape mixture.
Very rich and delicious!
APRICOT TART RECIPE
Combine all ingredients and press into greased and floured tart pan.
Bake at 425F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes; cool and loosen slightly.
Make filling, glaze and garnish.
Beat all ingredients in a small bowl; spread over the cooled baked crust.
Combine chopped apricots, water, brown sugar and Grand Marnier in medium size pan.
Heat over medium for 10 to 15 minutes; drain.
Cool mixture; spread over tart.
Simmer apricots in water for 15 minutes; drain and cool.
Start at center and make circles with apricots covering apricot glaze on tart.
Place almonds between apricots.
Whip cream adding sugar; fold in Grand Marnier.
Put whipped cream in pastry bag; decorate tart with whipped cream and fruit.Refrigerate and cut into wedges to serve.