Category Archives: Sweet Sauce

Individual Cheesecakes

Bday 001

Allison wanted her birthday cake to be cheesecake. And as always, I had to do something special. Since different folks like different tastes, I decided to make individual cheesecakes with a smorgasbord of sauces. Each cheesecake is about the size of a cupcake, and is complete in itself. And then there are the toppings with which each person can choose and complement their cheesecake. All the recipes are in this article, even if some have appeared earlier in other articles.

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For toppings, I made a ganache, a caramel, a praline sauce, lemon curd, strawberries, blueberries, and pumpkin. The latter is because this year we celebrate Alli’s birthday on Halloween, and Halloween goes well with pumpkin cheesecake.

I obviously made way too many, and too much toppings. I was surprised to find that the lemon curd and the strawberries were probably the favorites, with the caramel running third. The ganache was not a favorite; as daughter Mindy told me later- who wants chocolate with cheesecake? Cheesecake is almost the anti-chocolate food.- She also said that she felt pumpkin mousse was not a topping for cheesecake, but if you want a pumpkin cheesecake, you should put the pumpkin in the cheese layer.

Individual Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 pkg (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups Sour Cream at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

The above Ingredient list is broken into 3 parts- bottom crust, middle filling, and topping.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Put cupcake papers into the bottom of 18 muffin cups
  3. For the crust, mix the graham crumbs, 2 Tablespoons sugar and butter until well blended, and press into the bottoms of the cupcake papers.
  4. For the filling, beat the cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 cup sugar until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over the crusts.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the centers are almost set.
  6. For the topping, combine the sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Spread over the surface of the warm cupcakes. Return the cupcakes to the oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night.
  7. Remove the cupcake papers and arrange the individual cheesecakes for serving.


Since I made the seven toppings, I will give you recipes for each of them although you should probably only focus on a couple or three for your serving.

Ganache is a mixture of heavy cream and chocolate. I have used several of these in the past and am providing you with a pointer to some of those recipes as well as giving you a recipe herein. Perhaps the best previous recipe was with the home-made Ding Dongs. In that case, We wanted the ganache to set since it was an outside coating, and we wanted it to be shiny. So the amount of chocolate was more than the amount of cream, and we added fat (butter) for the gloss. Likewise, for holding cake pops together, we use a ganache. The recipe in the cake pop article is not strong enough compared to the recipe for white chocolate ganache in the Icings, Frostings and Glazes article; you really need a 4 to 1 ratio of chocolate to cream for cake pops. Here, we want a fairly liquid ganache, and use a 1 to 1 ratio.

Ganache

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Chocolate Pieces (any flavor or type, including white)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

Directions

  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl
  2. Heat the cream in a sauce pan until small bubbles start to appear around the edges (just to a boil but not boiling!)
  3. Remove from the heat, and pour over the chocolate.
  4. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 5 minutes
  5. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth

An alternative approach is to place the ingredients in a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Since the chocolate is in a heat proof bowl, and the sauce pan is out, this should be an easy change from heating the cream separately and waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Caramel is a mixture of heavy cream and sugar. Most of the caramel I have used I have made from salted caramel chips, and used a ganache recipe; it works. However, if you want a straight caramel without salt, then the recipe I have in the Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes article does a nice job.

Caramel

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool it to room temperature and refrigerate it in a covered container. Reheat over low heat until smooth and spreadable.

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and cream. Stir with a whisk until the sauce bubbles and gets sticky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

If ganache is Chocolate and Cream, and Caramel is Sugar and Cream, then I would say that Praline is Sugar and Sugar; it is a very sweet sauce, and this recipe adds chopped pecans to give it more of that Southern flavor.

Praline Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespooons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small heavy sauce pan, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch
  2. Stir in the corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts and vanilla.
  4. Cool slightly, and serve.


I tried many recipes for a lemon sauce, and found I didn’t like any of them. Then I found this recipe for Lemon Curd, and the way the people at the party liked it, I think it is a real winner. As one person said, “I can’t wait to have my toast with lemon curd in the morning”.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks in addition
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating each into the mixture. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look lumpy but will smooth out in the next step as it is cooked.
  2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook the mixture over low heat until it smooths out. The lumpy appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. The thickened mixture should leave a path on the back of a spoon, and will read 170 degrees F on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture go beyond 170 degrees, or boil.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator; it will thicken as it cools.

The curd will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks, and can be frozen for a couple months.

For the strawberries, I made the Strawberry Sauce recipe that is macerated strawberries. Again, I had tried several different recipes to get a good strawberry sauce, and finally settle on this one; it is juicy and sweet.

Strawberries

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Mix the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Taste the resulting sauce, and if not sweet enough, add more sugar. Some recipes go to 1/2 cup of sugar, while others start with only 2 Tablespoons of sugar.

I started with the idea that I would macerate the blueberries, but then, who would want smashed blueberries. They really would not be very appetizing. So I left the blueberries whole; maceration seems to need the fruit to be cut, or opened such that its juices can flow.

Blueberries

For this “sauce” I added a couple tablespoons of sugar and some lemon zest to the blueberries, but next time, nothing but the berries. I think the zest turned people off; blueberry lovers want the simple pure fruit!

So finally, here is the pumpkin mousse that Mindy said was not proper for a cheesecake; she said the pumpkin should be cooked into the cheese layer of the cheesecake and not painted on top. However, this mousse would make an excellent filling for a simple pie- say graham cracker crust. And it would require no cooking- ready in a jiffy!

Pumpkin mousse

Ingredients

  • 2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding (sugar free is okay)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 -15 oz. can pure pumpkin/pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp clove

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla pudding mix, milk, pumpkin and spices.
  2. Whisk until smooth


That is all there is too making the mousse. Use it as you like.

Lemon Curd

If you have breakfast breads, like toast or English Muffins, then you should learn to make Lemon Curd as a topping for the bread. It works just like jams and jellies, but I discover that I skip the butter when I use lemon curd.

Lemon Curd 002

And lemon curd is not just a topping for your breakfast breads; it can also be used on sweet breads, like tea breads or pudding breads- anywhere you would like a strong lemony flavor. Lemon curd is also a base for other recipes that want a strong lemony flavor.

This recipe is easy, and I feel fail-safe. I have made it several times, and it comes out perfect with a nice smooth curd.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks in addition
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating each into the mixture. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look lumpy but will smooth out in the next step as it is cooked.
  • In a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook the mixture over low heat until it smooths out. The lumpy appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. The thickened mixture should leave a path on the back of a spoon, and will read 170 degrees F on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture go beyond 170 degrees, or boil.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator; it will thicken as it cools.

The curd will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks, and can be frozen for a couple months.

For a lime curd, substitute lime juice and zest for the lemon juice and zest.

I found that two large lemons gave me the 2/3 cup of lemon juice. I have also made this recipe with just a single lemon for the zest, and the rest of the juice from the plastic bottle in the refrigerator.

The recipe makes about 20 ounces of curd.

Lemon Sauce

If you have been watching the sweet sauces I have posted, you will have noted that I do not like a sauce with corn starch, and I have been searching for a good lemon sauce. I have found one that I want to share with you.

lemon sauce 001

March 9, 2015 Update of the following
I kept getting inconsistent results as I tried to repeat this recipe, and finally, I think, I found the problem; it takes a lot of heat to get the sauce to thicken. So in the Directions, I am adding information about thickening the sauce. My results now are a thick lemon sauce that is not quite as stiff as a lemon curd.

Lemon Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon zest
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature

I found that two large lemons provided both the necessary juice and zest

Directions

Cut the butter into 5 or more pieces. It has to be able to melt easily in the hot egg, sugar,and juice mixture.

In a heavy bottom pan, cook the eggs, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened. It requires a temperature of the mixture to get into the 165 degree F range for the mixture to thicken.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and zest. Stir until smooth and the butter is all melted into the mixture. Transfer to a storage container.

Place plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture to avoid a scum forming. Refrigerate.

When ready to use, stir until smooth again


This sauce has a very strong lemon flavor, but is ideal for spreading on sweet breads such as the Steamed Bread Pudding, or even as a topping for ice cream.

I originally tried to make this sauce in a bain marie, or double boiler. The sauce would not get hot enough, and didn’t thicken. Then, as it cooled, it separated. I was able to save the sauce by reheating it in a heavy bottom sauce pan and stirring and raising it to a temperature of 168 degrees F. Don’t let the sauce boil, and don’t let the temperature go over 170 degrees F.

I used lemons- about 2.5-3.0 inches in diameter.

Pepper Relish

This recipe come from Mother Crary, and was passed to us in 1968. Pepper Relish is a sweet relish made from Bell Peppers that we used on red meat- all the way from hamburgers to roasts. Because it is made with Bell Peppers, it is not the least bit hot. It is made into a jelly like substance by adding pectin in the form of Certo.

pepperRelish 0B

I inquired of the Kraft Foods, which makes Certo as well as the Sure Jell products about using one of the powdered pectin instead of the liquid Certo, and they said that there is not a substitute. The good news is that Certo is now packaged in 3 ounce quantities so that it is reasonable to cut the recipe in half. At the time my Mother was making Pepper Relish, Certo came in a 6 ounce bottle, and thus the proportions in the recipe.

In fact, I was going to try to make just a half recipe, so I bought 4 red bell peppers to go with the green bell peppers I was growing in the back yard. A branch had broken off the pepper plant and I had to harvest what was there, which was one big pepper (good for stuffing) and 7 medium peppers. It turned out that the 4 red bell peppers made a full cup of processed peppers, so I had to use all my green peppers to make the second cup. I guess they are growing peppers much bigger than back in the 1960s. Thus, be careful when Mother suggest 8 red and 8 green peppers- I fear you will have way too much pepper pulp.

Pepper Relish

(Mother Crary, 1968)

  • 2 cups prepared peppers (red and green bell); (see below)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces Certo

Open (about 16) peppers (half red, half green). Discard all seeds and cores. Put through finest knife of food chopper twice (or once with an electric grinder). Drain pulp in sieve and squeeze dry in a cloth.

Measure sugar and vinegar into a large kettle. Add prepared peppers (packed solid to measure). Mix well and bring to a full rolling boil (will not stop boiling when stirred) over hottest heat. Stir constantly while boiling. Be careful that it doesn’t boil over.

Boil hard 2 (two) minutes (too long makes it tough). Remove from fire and stir in Certo. Stir and skim foam by turns for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Pour quickly into jars and parafin or seal at once. Makes about 64 oz.

I did boil over and had to clean the stove. I also didn’t get the foam to be skimmed. Finally, I decided to make it into refrigerator jam, and not do the sealing process; I put most of it in 1 cup plastic food savers.

However, for people feeling more comfortable than I with the canning processes- either boiling or parafin- this would be an interesting gift in pretty little jars.

Creme Chantilly

Creme Chantilly is your basic whipped cream, with flavoring added. It is a staple for many desserts. I originally got the recipe from the Julia Chile/Simone Beck cook books; I learned a lot of interesting cooking from those books because they lead you step by step. One of my first baking was to make Napoleans, and they were successful; they took me from making the puff pastry all the way to the chocolate dribble across the top.

One interesting aspect of the Creme Chantilly recipe is that after you have finished, and taste the results, you can add more sugar or flavoring to suit your own taste.

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Creme Chantilly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • A chilled 3 quart mixing bowl
  • A chilled wire whip, or chilled blades of an electric mixer
  • 2 Tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or other flavorings*

Directions

Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and start beating it at a low speed until it begins to foam. Make certain the beaters are going all around the bowl and lifting the cream as it is whipped. Gradually increase the speed to moderate and continue until the beaters leave a light trace on the surface of the cream.

Continue beating a few seconds more until the cream is a bit stiff and forms peaks. Do NOT beat beyond this stage as the cream will become granular, and begin to turn to butter.

Before serving, fold in the confectioners’ sugar and flavoring. Taste, and if the cream is not sweet enough fold in more sifted confectioners’ sugar.

*Flavorings: if desired, the creme can be flavored with a Tablespoon or two of brandy, rum, or other sweet liquor instead of the vanilla extract.

I can not emphasize enough the need to chill the bowl and beater; I actually put mine in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill it.

Strawberry Sauce

Ever since I tried to make Strawberry flavored sauce using the Favorite Sauce recipe, I have been unhappy with the results, and have tried several other recipes, including one for Strawberry Hard Sauce, which turned out to be a flavored butter. None of these recipes left us with the fresh strawberry showing through. Now I can give you a recipe that does. This Strawberry Sauce could also be called Macerated Strawberries. I think if you are into strawberries and want to use them as a sauce, this is your way to go.
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Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Mix the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Taste the resulting sauce, and if not sweet enough, add more sugar. Some recipes go to 1/2 cup of sugar, while others start with only 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Some recipes use heat- bringing the mix to a boil and simmering a couple minutes to start the process and then only take a couple hours to bring the sauce to its finished state.

This process is known as maceration; it is similar to marination but with a sweet liquid. It tends to draw the liquid out of the fresh fruit, and add the flavor of the macerate to the fruit – in this case, sweetness of sugar. It works with other fruits, too.

Chocolate Sauce

This is an interesting sauce; it is an old fashion way for making chocolate sauce. Now days, you just buy chocolate sauce in a can or a squeeze bottle.
The recipe is simple. The sauce is quite grainy. I remember that at times we had a pan of this sauce on the back of the stove ready to reheat and use. We used this sauce mostly on the Steamed Bread Pudding, but it was also good on ice cream.
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Chocolate Sauce

(Catharine P. Crary, 1963)

  • 8 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in saucepan and heat until well blended.

Favorite Sauce

This is a very simple sauce that can take on fruit flavors by changing the first ingredient. I think Mother use to make this as a lemon sauce, but she did not show the exact values when Marlys got the recipe.

However, there is a issue that the amateur cook like myself might not catch; it can cause problems. I talk about it below.
Favorite Sauce

Favorite Sauce

  • 1 cup hot water (or fruit juice + 1 Tablespoon butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cook hot water, sugar, salt and cornstarch until clear and add vanilla.
    **Can stir in 1/2 cup whipped cream just before serving.

    Again, it is a cornstarch based sauce, which means it will set hard in the refrigerator, and need both whipping and heating to make it smooth again.

    I tried making it into a lemon sauce like I remembered Mother making, but I am not certain I got it right. With the wide variety of fruit juices on the market now, it could be fun to develop your own favorite flavor.

    I decided to make a strawberry flavored version of this sauce. I started with a pound of strawberries, and like the first steps of the Strawberry Devonshire Tart glaze, I used the food processor and then sieved the pulp to get a cup of strawberry juice. I then made the mistake of dumping everything into my sauce pan and turning the heat on. The mistake is that you need to dissolve the cornstarch in cold liquid- always! So my sauce had some lumps of undissolved cornstarch.

    The sauce was good except for that. But learn from my mistake; ALWAYS DISSOLVE CORNSTARCH IN COLD LIQUID.

    This makes me wonder about the first line of the recipe where it wants to use a cup of hot water; that just doesn’t sound right.

    Lemon Sauce

    I am not certain where Marlys got this recipe; it is simple and easy. Since it is based on cornstarch, it sets up if you refrigerate it, and so you need to beat and heat it after that to get it smooth again. Enjoy.

    Lemon Sauce

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon rind
    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice

    Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon rind. Stir in gradually water. Cook about 5 minutes or until clear and thick. Add butter and lemon juice. Makes about 2 cups.

    I strongly suspect that my experience making this sauce was somewhat as a good accident. This recipe calls for boiling water and cornstarch. What we amateur cooks don’t know is that you need to dissolve the cornstarch in cold liquid. I learned this the hard way making the Favorite Sauce.

    Rum Sauce

    Marlys got this recipe in 1970 from Glenna Morris- I think she was a Bridge Playing friend. It is an excellent sauce for desserts, like dense cakes and ice cream and is very simple.
    rum sauce

    Rum Sauce

    (Glenna Morris, 1970)

    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon rum flavoring or rum to taste (real rum gets stronger as it sits).

    Combine and boil one or two minutes the sugars, butter and cream. Add rum.


    I used real rum when I made my sample. This sauce is nice in that it is not a cornstarch based sauce, but instead is based on the butter and heavy cream.