Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Don’t skip the garnish—fresh cheese and herbs take these tacos to the next level

Tacos don’t need to be meaty to be delicious. These hearty vegetarian squash tacos have all the right flavors and textures. The acorn squash is crispy and tender, with a natural sweetness. Avocados add some cool creaminess, and a mayonnaise-based sauce brings in the rich, smoky, savory flavor you’d get from a traditional carnitas taco.

Ingredients For Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Acorn Squash Being Fried In A Pan
Prep your ingredients in advance for a stress-free frying process

Inspired by Roy Choi’s famous Korean short rib taco, we’ve borrowed a few Asian flavors for our recipe, this time from Japan. Our tacos start with acorn squash that gets sliced into wedges, battered, and then crisped up tempura-style. Pro tip: when creating your tempura batter, be sure to work with cold water. This will keep the final product light and crispy.

After the squash is fried we pair it with a smoky, tangy sauce and a few bright herbs to make a delicious vegetarian filling. The crispy squash pairs beautifully with bright queso fresco and creamy avocado.

Get the recipe: Squash Tacos with Tempura Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos Finished On A Plate
Double up on those tortillas—you’ll need the extra durability

We’re serving these vegetarian squash tacos in toasted corn tortillas with a wedge of lime. Heating the tortillas for about 30 seconds per side will bring out their best flavors and texture. To do this, simply place a pan on the stove top over medium-high heat, and toss the tortillas in the pan. Work in small batches. Serve each taco on two tortillas for extra stability and the perfect filling to tortilla ratio.

Can’t get enough squash? Check out our guide to spaghetti squash.

Make-Ahead Waffles for Pain-Free Breakfasts

Chef Tim Kemp is busy balancing his Blue Apron duties, his life with his family, a global pandemic, and a glass wine. This make-ahead breakfast recipe is helping him stay sane. Here’s Tim:

Make-ahead breakfast
Crispy, crunchy, delicious

In pre-COVID times, my kids often ate frozen waffles for breakfast. As an over-scheduled father of two, I didn’t think twice about it. At our home in Brooklyn it was always easy to pop into the corner store and grab their beloved Eggos. As the quarantine months crept on, our Brooklyn apartment started to feel smaller and smaller. When summer came we temporarily relocated to a family vacation home in northern Michigan. We love being here, but getting to the store is a two hour round trip. Making breakfast is suddenly easier than the store-bought option. 

Working from home has been a mighty struggle for a variety of reasons. Making things in large quantities, and making them ahead of time, has been our trick to getting the kids meals they like while keeping up with emails during the day. 

There’s nothing wrong with a good toaster waffle, but as a Chef I’ve come to enjoy the beauty that is the Liege waffle. This type of waffle offers a little more complexity and flavor than you’ll find in the freezer aisle. With a little experimenting I’ve created a version of the Liege waffle that is easy to make in advance. Best of all, my kids love it. 

Make-Ahead Breakfast (or snack!) Waffles 

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter 
  • 3 Cups of milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ Cup maple syrup 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 Tbsp barley malt or molasses 
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Cups AP flour 
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast 
  • Coarse sugar like demerara or turbinado (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a medium pot. Keep the butter over low heat until it is slightly browned. The butter will foam up and you’ll start to see little light brown flecks. 

2. Add the milk, vanilla, and maple syrup to the pot along with a large pinch of salt and the barley malt or molasses. Bring this up to around 110 degrees. It should be just hot enough very hot when touched, but not hot enough to burn a finger. 

3. Whisk the eggs thoroughly in a small bowl. 

4. In a large bowl, combine the flour and active dry yeast (I stan SAF instant yeast). Whisk to combine. Make sure the bowl is big for the batter to rise significantly.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir.  Then add the eggs to finish and whisk out all the lumps that you can.

6. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for an hour. Then move it to the fridge to continue rising until morning. A tight cover keeps the batter from bubbling over.

7. The next morning, heat your waffle maker until it’s good and hot. Grease it with non-stick cooking spray. If you have coarse sugar, sprinkle that on the waffle iron, add the batter, and sprinkle more sugar on top. The sugar will caramelize and add a delicious crunchy exterior to the finish waffle.

8. If you’re working ahead, cool the waffles and store in the fridge or freezer.  When it’s breakfast time you can reheat your waffles toaster oven, cut into dippable pieces, and serve with maple syrup on the side. A make-ahead breakfast your kids will love. 

making waffles ahead
Chef and sous chef

Recipe: Roasted Chicken with Apples & Fennel

 

Serves: 4-6

Time: 2.5 hours

Once the weather cools down enough to turn on the oven, it’s time for roasted chicken. If you learn how to roast a chicken, you’ll have the Sunday dinner menu locked down for rest of your life. A perfect roasted chicken makes everyone happy. Health nuts and meat-lovers agree that it hits the spot. This recipe incorporates roasted apples and baking spices for a hearty meal that brings together all the best flavors of fall.

  • 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole chicken (~4½ lbs)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 apples, quartered (Pink Lady, Empire, or Granny Smith work best)
  • 1 head of fennel, cut into 1” wedges

1. In a bowl, combine the salt, pepper, allspice cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, lemon zest, and garlic. Stir in 3TB of the olive oil until combined. Rub the mixture all over the chicken (including inside the cavity). Place the thyme and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Transfer to a baking sheet and let rest in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until browned. 

3. Remove the sheet from the oven and scatter the apples and fennel around the chicken. Drizzle with the lemon juice and remaining olive oil and return to the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

4. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. Transfer the roasted apples and fennel to a serving dish, and top with the carved chicken.

Can’t get enough fall flavor? Check out the Blue Apron menu for squash, apples, persimmons, and more. 

Get Excited for Fall with This Apple Pie Bar Recipe

Apple Pie Bar Recipe

Time: 1 hr 25 mins

Yields 24 bars

cut apple pie bar

This apple pie bar recipe is truly the best of both worlds. These treats have all the fall flavor of apple pie, with the ease and snack-ability of a bar. 

We’re using a mix of Granny Smith and Fuji apples because they keep their shape well while baking and add tart punch of flavor into the mix. If you can’t locate Granny Smiths apples, you can swap in another type of apple tart apple. When shopping, just look for a firm fruit, and avoid any extremely sweet varieties (leave the red delicious on the shelf).

For the crust & topping:

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, cubed & chilled
  • ¾ cup pecan halves, toasted & chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves

For the filling:

  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ⅛” slices
  • 3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into ⅛” slices
  • 2TB lemon juice
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅔ cup sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. Lightly coat with cooking spray.

2. In a food processor, combine the sugar, flour, and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place 1½ cups into a bowl and add the pecans, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Using your hands, form the mixture into a solid mass. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Transfer the remaining mixture to the prepared dish and spread in an even layer, pressing ½” up the sides of the dish. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the filling.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice. In a large pan, add the butter and heat on medium-high until melted. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg and cook, stirring constantly, 15-30 seconds. Add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, 12 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates and the mixture looks dry. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

5. Place the cooked apples on the cooled crust and press to form a solid layer. Remove the reserved pecan mixture from the refrigerator and crumble into bite-sized pieces. Scatter evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut the bars into your desired shape and serve (preferably with vanilla ice cream!).

A Classic Yellow Cake Recipe Perfect for Birthdays

 

Break out the candles and confetti, this yellow cake recipe is sure to be the life of the party. 

 

Prep time: 1hr 15 minutes, plus cooling time

 

Serves: 10-12

 

 

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Meet your new go-to recipe for birthdays, and any other special occasion. A  yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a nostalgic classic, perfect for kids or sentimental adults. This yellow cake recipe gets its familiar color and moist crumb from the extra yolks in its batter. 

For the ultimate crowd-pleasing finish, we topped off this tender cake with a rich chocolate buttercream.  Whip up the frosting while the cake bakes, but make sure you have time for the cakes and the buttercream to cool completely before bringing them together.

For the Yellow Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups granulated sugar 
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed), sifted 
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/3 cup whole milk 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven and prepare the pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of two 9-inch-round cake pans. Cover the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper circle. Lightly grease the parchment and flour the inside of the pans. Invert the pans and tap gently.

2. Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

3. Cream the butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Beat the mixture for 4 minutes on medium-high speed, stopping the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl (the butter and sugar will be very fluffy and pale yellow). 

4. Add the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer running, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time. Allow each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. After the last egg yolk is added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds on medium-high speed, until just combined.

5. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture (about 1 cup). Once mixed, add ⅓  of the buttermilk. Repeat the process, alternating between the remaining flour and buttermilk. After you’ve added the last buttermilk, mix the batter for about 30 seconds, until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the batter with a spatula. Gently tap the pan against the counter to remove any air bubbles

6. Bake the cake. Bake for about 33 to 37 minutes, until golden brown. (A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.) Place the pans on a wire rack and let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the wire rack. Remove and discard the parchment circles. Cool completely before icing with the frosting.

7. Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed. Add the milk in a slow, steady stream. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium. Mix until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. (Allow the frosting to come to room temperature and stir before using it on a cake.)

8. Frost your cake. After the cakes and frosting have cooled, layer and frost your cakes. Decorate as you see fit, and enjoy. 

Looking for more party recipes? Find this yellow cake recipe and other crowd-pleasing favorites in the Blue Apron Cookbook. 

Italy Meets Ohio in This Blackberry “Cassata” Cake Trifle

Lauren Katz is a trained pastry chef who never skips dessert. Here’s her recipe for a no-fuss twist on a cassata cake. 

Cassata cake trifle with blackberries

Traditional Italian Cassata cake is a super light cake layered with fruit syrup, dried fruit and ricotta whipped cream. I grew up in Cleveland, where we had our own (now famous) version of Cassata cake, that replaces the dried fruit with fresh strawberries and the ricotta cream with custard.

To create my ideal summer dessert I took elements of both recipes, and turned them into a deconstructed (read: low-maintenance) trifle. While strawberries are traditional in Northeast Ohio, any berry would be just wonderful. I used fresh blackberries, but feel free to swap in your favorite summer fruit. 

For the cake

  • 1 Cup cake flour (or 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour + 2 Tbsp cornstarch)
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 6 Eggs, divided
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Cup vegetable oil

Macerated Fruit

  • 1 ½ Lbs fresh fruit (blackberries, diced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pitted cherries or diced peaches)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Ricotta Whipped Cream

  • 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 Cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest

Prepare the cake

  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or softened butter.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  1. Place the egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer). Beat on high for 4 to 6 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. 
  1. Place the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, vegetable oil, and lemon zest in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wipe it out). Whisk on medium for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the speed to low and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until no dry streaks remain. 
  1. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, fold in half the beaten egg whites until combined. Add the remaining beaten egg whites and gently fold them into the batter just until the mixture is uniform. 
  1. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. Bake, rotating the baking dish halfway through, 18 to 22 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

The cake can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature.

Prepare the macerated fruit

  1. About 20 minutes before assembling combine the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl. Set aside to macerate, stirring occasionally. 

Prepare the ricotta whipped cream 

  1. Place the ricotta, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 
  1. Whisk on medium-low, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined. 
  1. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. At the last minute, add the lemon zest and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Assemble

  1. Tear the cake into large chunks. In a trifle dish, baking dish, or large bowl, add enough of the cake chunks to cover the bottom. Add a layer of macerated berries, then a layer of ricotta whipped cream. Repeat layering until you reach the top (or run out of ingredients), ending with whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day before serving. Enjoy!

For more of Lauren’s creations, check out this icebox cake.

Corn, Bacon, and Pasta: A Love Story

Chef Alex Saggiomo always cooks for a crowd, even when it’s just two people at the table. Here’s his recipe for a celebratory summer corn pasta that’s light and indulgent at the same time.

summery corn carbonara
Summery, light, and lovely

There are few things that make me as happy as cooking for someone, and when that someone is my fiancé, AND it’s his birthday…well, it’s time to pull out all the stops. Normally, when planning a grand feast to prepare for someone I love, I start dreaming of rich braises and lavish desserts, but a few years ago a simple request stopped me in my tracks; “do you think you can make something healthy?”

Healthy? For your birthday?! I guess we love our partners in spite of their flaws. The gauntlet had been thrown, and I was ready to accept. 

Instead of turning to classic “health foods,” I looked to dishes that I knew he loved, and tried to find ways to lighten them up. He’s an unyielding pasta fan, I knew that would be a good place to start. A stroll around the farmers market led me to a bounty of fresh corn, and inspiration hit: borrow the structure of pasta carbonara, but add richness with corn to keep it light. I gathered the rest of my goods and ran back to the kitchen, ready to get to work.

The pasta turned out exactly as I’d hoped: rich and pork-spiked like a carbonara, but bright and herbaceous like a new dish in its own right. A shower of fresh herbs and lemon zest helped it pop, and judging by the look on my fiancé’s face, it was a hit. Since then, this dish has become a birthday tradition, but as easy as it is, you’ll find yourself whipping it up in no time for a weeknight dinner. 

Summer Corn and Bacon Pasta Recipe

Serves: 4

  • 1 Lb spaghetti
  • 6-7 Ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 Tbsps butter, unsalted
  • 4 Oz pancetta or bacon, small diced
  • 2 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsps tarragon, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 3 Tbsps basil, plus more for garnish
  1. Place a kitchen towel on a cutting board; stand the corn on its flat side, and cut the corn kernels off the cob (the towel will keep all the kernels from flying about, and make them easier to transport). Transfer the corn kernels to a blender; puree until smooth. 
corn carbonara
Use a towel for easy kernel removal
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, and drain the pasta.
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat has rendered (6 to 7 minutes). Add the shallots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and softened. Add the cooked spaghetti, corn puree, half of the pasta cooking water, and the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is coated and the sauce has thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the tarragon, and 2 tablespoons of the basil (tear just before adding). Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and garnish with the remaining herbs. 

Recipe: Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies

Lauren Katz is a trained pastry chef. These strawberry hand pies honor her childhood tradition of strawberry picking every summer in Ohio. 

strawberry hand pies with cream
What could be better than grab and go pie?

These strawberry hand pies are cute, sophisticated, and easy to eat. They’re the perfect way to make use of beautiful summer produce. The simple filling shows off the flavor of the strawberries, and the balsamic vinegar adds a touch of complexity. 

Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies 

Pie Dough

  • ¾ Cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsps cold, unsalted butter, small diced
  • Ice water

Pie Filling

  • 4 oz fresh strawberries, small diced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 tsp granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
  • 2 tsp  balsamic vinegar
  • 4 grinds fresh black pepper, optional
  • A pinch of salt

Assembly

  • AP flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar, optional

1. Make the dough. Bowl method: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the diced butter. Using your fingers, gently work the butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons).

Food processor method: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the diced butter. Pulse a few times, until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons). 

2. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. *The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. 

3. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix to combine.

4. Form the hand pies. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter (it does not need to be perfectly round, a rustic circle will work just fine). If using a cookie cutter, stamp in the middle of one side of each dough round. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan.

shaping strawberry hand pies
Ready to fold

5. Divide the filling between the rounds and arrange in the middle of the unstamped side, leaving 1/2-inch border. Lightly coat the circumference of each round with water, then fold the stamped (or empty) side on top of the filling. Using a fork or your fingers, press the top layer of dough into the bottom layer to completely seal. If not using a cookie cutter, use a sharp knife to make 2-3 slits in the top of the dough.

6. Evenly coat the top of the hand pies with the beaten egg, then the turbinado sugar, if using. 

7. Bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Miniature Key Lime Pies with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

miniature key lime pies
Go ahead, have a whole pie

A single serving Key lime pie is an adorable treat. These are perfect for a small gathering, or just to make and freeze for yourself. Making these is a lot like making a full-sized pie, you’re just doing everything in miniature. If you don’t have miniature pie tins, you can bake these pies in ramekins or muffin tins, just be sure to grease the sides of the pan well to prevent the filling from sticking. 

Miniature Key Lime Pie with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

Servings: 4

Equipment: 4, 4-inch pie tins

Crust:

  • 4 graham cracker sheets, crushed (a heaping ½ cup crushed)
  • ⅛ Cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsps melted unsalted butter

Filling:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Key lime zest, from about 2 Key limes 
  • ½ Cup sweetened condensed milk (about 7 oz)
  • ⅓ Cup Key lime juice (juice of about 6 or 7 Key limes)

Toppings: 

  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Toasted flaked coconut (optional)

1. Prepare the crusts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place graham cracker sheets in the bowl of a food processor or a ziploc bag. Pulse or crush until you have the consistency of sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, coconut, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter. Stir until evenly coated. It should look like wet sand at this point. 

2. Bake the crusts. Place the tins on a sheet pan. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the crust mixture to each tin. Using your fingers and/or the flat bottom edge of a measuring cup, shape the crust into an even layer on the bottom of the tin and up the sides. You may have extra crust. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. The crust may slump down the sides of the tins while baking. Let cool slightly and, if necessary, use the measuring flat bottom of the measuring cup to carefully push the crust back up the sides of the tins. 

3. Make the filling. While the crusts bake, combine the egg yolks and the Key lime zest in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It should be almost the consistency of hollandaise sauce. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whisk until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the Key lime juice and whisk until just combined. 

4. Bake the filling. Pour the filling into the cooled crusts (you will have extra filling). The filling won’t rise, so you can pour to the top of the crust. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the filling is set on the edges. The center may still be a bit jiggly. 

5. Cool & chill the pies. Transfer the baked pies to a wire rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

6. Serve your pies. If desired, top the finished pies with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

For more pie, check out Blue Apron’s guide to making pie for any size party.

Make This Now: Rich and Creamy Chocolate Pudding

Chef Alex Saggiomo would never deny having a sweet tooth. Here’s his classic homemade chocolate pudding recipe

homemade chocolate pudding recipe
A dollop of whipped cream never hurts

Growing up, eating dinner was really just something I had to do in order to get to dessert. My mother, an amazing cook in her own right, would prepare everything from beautifully roast chicken to perfectly seared shrimp, but at the end of the day, it was that final sweet treat that motivated me to get through my portion of vegetables (side note to childhood Alex: you will learn to love vegetables, I promise). 

As a kid, something about a pudding cup always felt incredibly indulgent—a personally portioned dessert just for me?! I’ll take two! (Seriously, two minimum.) As a chef, it’s still the simple things that make my heart swell. I hope this recipe provides you the same sense of nostalgia—and bonus, you don’t need to wait until after dinner to eat it! 

Chocolate Pudding Recipe

  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for serving, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half and the heavy cream and scald over medium-high heat (you’ll start to see bubbles form around the edge of the pan, but the liquid is not boiling). Fill a separate saucepan a third of the way full with water, and heat until it is barely simmering. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, set the bowl over the water, and heat, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the sugar. Slowly pour the hot cream-chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time, whisking constantly (this is called tempering the eggs, and will make sure they don’t scramble when added to the hot liquid).  
  3. When all of the cream-chocolate mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl into the saucepan. Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a spatula and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent scorching for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (to test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon, the custard should hold the trail for a couple of seconds before it fills). First the mixture will be liquid and loose and then become thicker at the bottom of the pan. As it thickens, it will start to let off a little steam. 
  4. When the pudding is ready, immediately strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold. The pudding can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  5. Just before serving, stir up the pudding to smooth it out. Spoon into dessert bowls and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (if using).

Want even more dessert? Try this simple shortbread recipe.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Fritos, Pretzels, and More

Chef Lisa Appleton knows the value of a childhood classic, but she’s not afraid to get a little creative in the kitchen. Here’s her take on homemade chicken nuggets. 

Homemade chicken nuggets with Fritos, pretzels, and bread crumbs

As a kid, was there any better meal than chicken nuggets? They’re the perfect finger food, and the perfect vessel for practically any sauce. But what if you could make the chicken nuggets themselves more flavorful? The secret to the perfect nugget lies in your favorite snack foods. 

A good nugget coating needs to be something crispy or crunchy, but that doesn’t always have to be breadcrumbs. Pretzels, potato chips, and Fritos all make for a delicious coating. Choose your favorite snack and crush into pieces the size of breadcrumbs, it will work just fine. A toss in flour and a dip in beaten egg will get any of these things to stick and coat the chicken pieces. This hands-off recipe calls for baking in the oven. There’s no hot oil and no messy stove to clean up. Grab your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy.

Baked Chicken Nugget Recipe 

  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups coating of your choice (breadcrumbs, crushed Ritz crackers, chopped pecans, crushed Fritos, crushed potato chips and crushed pretzels)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with foil, and lightly oil the foil. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into approximately 1 ½ -inch pieces, and season with salt and pepper. 

2. Place the flour and beaten egg in two separate bowls. Place the coating in a third bowl. (I did 6 different coatings for fun, but you only need one.)

3. Working a few pieces at a time, thoroughly coat the seasoned chicken in the flour (shaking of any excess), then in the beaten egg (letting the excess drip off), then in the coating (pressing to adhere). Transfer to the prepared sheet pan. 

4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. If you want to brown them a bit more, broil on high for 2 to 3 minutes after baking. Transfer to a plate and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

A Lemon Curd Icebox Cake to Ring in Warm Weather

This lovely light dessert comes from chef Lauren Katz. Her version of the recipe calls for homemade lemon curd, but the store bought variety would work well too. This cake is easy to pull together, but needs to chill for at least 6 hours, so plan ahead. 

lemon curd icebox cake slice
Just look at those layers

I like to think of this as a cross between ice cream cake and frozen lemon meringue pie. The recipe is based on one of my favorite things to make: tart and luscious lemon curd. Two other easily accessible ingredients, whipped cream and graham crackers, play a supporting role. The cake itself is easy to make; the layering process is one of my ultimate forms of zen. The best part (second to eating it) is that I always end up with some extra lemon curd to mix into yogurt, spread on toast, and spoon into ice cream throughout the week.

All together now

Lemon Curd Icebox Cake

For the lemon curd 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 7 lemons)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick room temperature butter, diced
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

For the cake

  • 1 batch homemade lemon curd (or store bought) 
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 18 full graham cracker sheets 

Make the lemon curd:

1. In a small pot, combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then stir in the lemon juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon zest. 

2. Cook on medium, stirring constantly, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon (you should be able to run your finger through the mixture on the spoon and leave a trail). Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and strain thoroughly to remove any lumps. 

3. While the mixture is still hot, gradually whisk in the butter until melted and combined, then whisk in the sweetened condensed milk. Let cool to room temperature. 

Assemble the icebox cake:

1. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the heavy cream on high until slightly thickened. Add the lemon zest and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. 

2. Line an 8 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 3-inch overhang on each side. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of graham crackers (breaking into small pieces if necessary). Spread an even layer of lemon curd over the crackers, followed by an even layer of whipped cream over the curd. Repeat layering until you’ve reached the top (ideally ending with a layer of graham crackers). Tightly cover with the plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 6 hours.

3. When ready to serve, unwrap the plastic on top of the cake, then invert the pan onto a serving dish. Carefully remove the pan and plastic wrap. Slice and enjoy! 

lemon curd icebox cake oozing
Seriously, how good does this look?

Looking for more easy desserts? Try these five-ingredient blondies.