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Video: Giada's easy Easter desserts

TODAY recipes
updated 4/8/2009 4:48:41 PM ET 2009-04-08T20:48:41

Recipe: Mascarpone mini cupcakes with strawberry glaze

Make these for your little girl’s next tea party; they are pretty and so easy to make.

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 4 mini muffin tins (a total of 48 mini muffin molds) with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil.

Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and creamy. Add the cake mix and 1 cup of water and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fill the muffin liners to just below the rim and bake until puffed and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly in the tins, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and place in a medium bowl. Pour in the strawberry puree and whisk until smooth. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the strawberry glaze. Let the cupcakes sit for a few minutes for the glaze to firm up, then serve.

Serving Size

Makes 48 mini muffins

Recipe: Easter pie

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sifting
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup cooked short-grained rice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 15 sheets of frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Blend 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest in a food processor until smooth. Add the ricotta and pulse just until blended.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta mixture aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, allowing the pastry to hang over the sides of the pan. Brush the dough with butter. Turn the pan 90 degrees and lay a second sheet of phyllo dough over the pan to line the bottom and sides, and allowing the pastry edges hang over the sides of the pan. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo dough, turning the pan after each layer and buttering each sheet.

Spoon the ricotta mixture into the pan. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely.

Bake the pie until the phyllo is golden brown and the filling is set, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Release the pan sides. Sift the additional confectioners' sugar over the pie and serve

Serving Size

10 to 12 servings

Recipe: Heirloom tomato and basil tart

  • 2 medium (12 ounces) heirloom or 4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Crust
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust (recommended: Pillsbury)
  • Pesto
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts* see Cook's note
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the crust: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pie crust on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes until lightly golden. Cool for 20 minutes.

For the pesto: In a blender or food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until finely chopped.

With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture forms a smooth and thick consistency. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a spatula, spread the pesto over the cooled crust. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the pesto and garnish with the sliced basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut the tart into wedges and serve.


Cook's note: To toast pine nuts, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F oven until lightly browned.

Serving Size

Yield: 4 to 6 servings; Prep time: 12 minutes; Cook time: 7 minutes; Inactive prep time: 20 minutes


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