Lets face it: Its hot and no one wants to crank up the oven.I had some fun with no-bake favorites last year and while trying to stay cool this summer, I looked for a few more to rotate into the sweet-tooth cycle.We have a long way to go until we feel like torturing ourselves over hot ovens and stoves to make cakes and pies, so here are a few no-bake (or very minimal baking) recipes to keep you cool and sweetly satisfied.The pink stuff Ive always been a fan of the vintage dish ambrosia. You know, its the fruity, sour-creamy, nutty and often pink or mint green-colored cold fruit salad that your grandmother loved to serve on the big buffet at gatherings?When I ran across a recipe called Pink Stuff online (there are many variations), it had the look and feel of ambrosia but seemed more hip and fun, so I had to give it a try and adapt it. The simplicity of the directions seemed too good to be true.I made this for family and friends, and they all seemed to go nuts with the first bite. The proof that this stuff is all that its cracked up to be was the empty bowl, which had to be refilled several times. Lucky for me, it is almost shamefully too easy to make. I get a ton of credit for doing very little, and the kitchen stays cool. Good show. Banana pineapple coconut pecan cream pieWhats not to like about a cream pie in the summertime? Its kept cold, its creamy-smooth and heck, its good even for breakfast with coffee on special occasions. My banana pineapple coconut pecan cream pie works as currency. At my beach house, I have the most wonderful barter arrangement. My neighbor mows the yard when the grass grows a bit too high and when I roll into town, I bring over the homemade desserts one by one. He loved the vintage millionaire pie I made last summer, but this year I went with the more tropical flavors of this pie; it tastes like the essence of summer and the beach.The only thing you have to bake with this is the crust, and just for 10 or 15 minutes. To make it absolutely no-bake, use a graham cracker or Oreo pre-made crust. Those work great and can be just as delicious. Lemon ice box pieOne of the easiest pies in the world to make is also one of those pies that makes people go a little berserk. I have seen relatives hide this pie in the fridge at gatherings, hoping to take it home after the crowd has settled for other desserts. As a child, I was addicted to a certain lemon ice box pie that my aunt made. She would make two, and at family parties, she kept one stowed away in my grandmothers fridge to take back home if no one wanted it.I was on to this routine even as a kid. When pie No. 1 had been devoured, I went for its understudy, which was lying low in the refrigerator. I wasnt about to miss that once-a-year opportunity to have a taste of lemony, cool heaven. When I got a little older, that aunt divulged the recipe one day in an effort to keep me away from her backup ice box pie. This was not a pie to hide, this was a pie to make many of and really fast. Everyone has a different recipe for lemon ice box pie. One Fort Worth friend uses cream cheese, others use eggs. I keep mine pretty effortless, like my rather crafty aunt did. When you are dealing with vacation kitchens and desserts made in a jiffy, this one is the easiest.Its one of those classic desserts that family members of all ages can enjoy together.
Lemon ice box pie
Makes 2 pies (about 16 servings)
So good that it gets stashed away in the ice box at parties.
• 2 tubs Cool Whip whipped cream topping
• 2 small cans Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, seeds removed
• 2 8-inch graham cracker crusts
For the whipped cream:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. Blend two tubs of Cool Whip topping, two cans of Eagle Brand condensed milk and lemon juice together until smooth.
2. Pour mixture equally into each crust. Chill overnight in the refrigerator, not the freezer. That keeps the pie at the right consistency.
3. Just before serving, whip up in your electric mixer the homemade whipped cream. Mix 1 cup of whipping cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Beat in the mixer on high speed. Plop a little of the homemade whipped cream on chilled slices of lemon pie. (If you add whipped cream to individual slices as you go, you can keep the unused part of the pie fresh for serving next time.)
Serving suggestion: I love to slice a lemon in the middle, paper thin, and sprinkle white sugar on it, then place it in the center of the pie or on one slice. Serve it on china or porcelain so that it will look elegant and stay ice-cold.
Nutritional analysis per serving: xxx
Banana-pineapple-coconut-pecan cream pie
Makes 8 to 10 servings
This recipe makes one pie, or you can double the ingredients to make two pies (trust me, your guests will be craving more, plus usually you have two pie crusts together anyway)
• 1 pre-made deep dish pie shell (recommended: Pillsbury’s Pet-Ritz crust)
• 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup ice-cold water (no ice and measured to 1 cup)
• 1 package (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling (sugar-free is not recommended)
• 1 cup flaked coconut
• 1/2 to 1 cup crushed pineapple, to taste, drained well
• 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip, plus more for topping pie, to taste
• 2 medium bananas, sliced thinly
• Juice of about 2 lemons
• 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans, to taste
1. Bake the pre-made crust per product directions. (Always pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork so that the air and steam will release and the crust will not rise in the center while cooking.) Usually it takes about 10-15 minutes to cook a pre-made crust. Keep an eye on the crust so it doesn’t get too brown. Allow the crust to cool while you make the pie filling.
2. To make the filling, combine the condensed milk and ice-cold water in an electric mixer bowl. Add the pudding and pie filling powder mix. Then add the coconut flakes.
3. Drain the crushed pineapple very well, so there is no moisture in the pineapple pieces. (Tip: Use a piece of cheesecloth to squeeze out the excess pineapple juice.) Add to mixing bowl and combine until smooth.
4. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in Cool Whip by hand, stirring until everything is blended and is a light yellow color, not marbled.
5. In a small bowl, dip sliced bananas in lemon juice to keep them from browning. Lay them in the bottom of the cooled, browned pie shell. I sprinkle some pecans around the bananas.
6. Pour the pudding and pie mixture into the pie crust and over the bananas. Smooth out the top with a frosting knife or the back of a large spoon.
7. Gently, top the pie filling with the remaining Cool Whip and allow the pie to chill for 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving. It needs to get firm. I like to let it sit overnight so the flavors blend perfectly.
Serving idea: I always sprinkle the top with more chopped pecans. Chopped walnuts are good, too. And if you have coconut left, sprinkle some on top for garnish. The combination of the creamy, smooth pie and crunchy nuts is heavenly.
Nutritional analysis per serving: xxx
Clare’s pink stuff
Makes 10 servings
You’ll find many variations on this modern-day ambrosia. You can add or take away the coconut, use your favorite kind of nut (pistachios or macadamias would be great) or substitute blueberry pie filling for the cherry, if you’d like. You could even throw in sliced fresh or thawed frozen strawberries or mandarin oranges.
• 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling (recommended: Comstock’s Country Cherry Pie Filling)
• 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
• 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained so that little moisture remains
• 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
• 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
• 1 12-ounce container Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
1. In a large bowl, mix pie filling, condensed milk, pineapple pieces, chopped nuts and coconut. Fold in the whipped topping.
2. Refrigerate until chilled, allowing about 3 hours for the perfect consistency.
Serving tip: Keep this chilled and always remember to re-stir it before re-serving. I love to put this in a chilled wine goblet, pretty crystal beverage glass or ice cream dish to make it look festive.
Nutritional analysis per serving: xxx