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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Nevis Women's Club members share nutty recipes

Strawberry cake topped with a frosting made of pudding and cool whip and sliced strawberries is one of the favorite dessert recipes contributed by the Nevis Women's Club.

Members of the Nevis Women's Club (previously the Nevis Study Club) shared some of their favorite recipes using nuts. The club is part of the General Federation of Women's club, one of the largest volunteer women's clubs in the United States. For more information on becoming a member, call Linda at 218-255-3821.

Chocolate, Cherry and Pistachio Tart

Crust: 1/2 stick butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for greasing pan.

Eight 4-1/2-inch-long plain or almond biscotti cookies, coarsely broken (about 5 and 1/2 ounces)

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup cherry preserves or jam

Filling: 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup dried cherries

3/4 cup chopped, shelled pistachio nuts

For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degree. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine biscotti, butter and sugar in a food processor. Blend until mixture forms moist crumbs that stick together when pressed. Firmly press crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until golden and feels firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 20 min. Spread cherry preserves over the cooled crust leaving a 1/2- to 1-inch border.

For the filling, place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Remove pan from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add dried cherries and 1/2 cup of the pistachios. Pour chocolate filling over cherry preserves and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pistachios on top. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight. Loosen the tart from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge. Unmold the tart and transfer to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Strawberry Refrigerator Cake

1 box (15 ounces) strawberry cake mix, prepared according to package directions

1 container (10 ounces) frozen strawberries in syrup, partly thawed

1-1/2 cups cold milk

1 box (3.5 ounces) vanilla pudding

1 12-ounce container Cool Whip

1 pint strawberries with tops removed and strawberries cut in half

1/3 cups chopped pecans (optional)

Make boxed cake mix according to directions on box, pouring cake batter into greased 9 by 13 pan. When done, remove from oven and cool. Once cool, use the handle of a spoon to poke rows of holes in the cake. Put thawed strawberries with syrup into a food processor or blender. Puree a bit. Pour the strawberry puree mixture over cake and spread it out evenly. Let it soak in.

Whisk together cold milk and instant vanilla pudding mix in a bowl until it thickens. Fold in the

Cool Whip and spread it evenly over the top of the cake. Place fresh strawberry halves on top of cake frosting and sprinkle on chopped pecans. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Next Best Thing to Robert Redford Dessert

Bottom layer:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Middle layer:

1 (8 ounce) package soft cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

8 ounce container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Top layer:

1 (4-serving size) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix

3 cups milk

Mix flour and butter together until they form small crumbs. Stir in pecans. Press into 9-by-13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To make middle layer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in half of whipped topping, then spread over cooled crust. For top layer, place contents of both packages of pudding mix into a large bowl. Add milk and beat slowly about 2 minutes until well mixed. Spread on top of cream cheese mixture. Let stand a few minutes, then spoon remaining whipped topping carefully over the dessert. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.