Red, white and blue desserts to celebrate July Fourth

The Fourth of July is usually celebrated with a cookout with family and friends. There’s BBQ, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings. What more could you want? Perhaps a dessert or two?

This year celebrate the holiday with red, white and blue desserts. A trifle, cake, cheesecake, cup cakes, whatever your favorite may be, make it with traditional patriotic colors. Create your own or try some of these ideas and desserts.

— Make a red velvet sheet cake into a flag cake. Use blueberries for the stars. Tint half the white icing red and make red and white stripes.

— Make red velvet or white cup cakes. Top with white icing and then decorate with red, white and blue sprinkles.

— Make white or red sheet (9x13-inch) cake and ice with white icing. Use blueberries to make the star corner. Use whole raspberries or sliced strawberries to make the red stripes.

Star-Spangled Fruit Tart

1 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4-cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2-cups fresh blueberries (may use less)

2-cups fresh raspberries (may use less)

2 cup halved fresh strawberries (may use less)

Strawberry Glaze (opt.)

Press cookie dough onto an ungreased 12-in. pizza pan. Bake at 3500 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and extract until smooth. Spread over cooled crust.

In center of tart, mark off a star shape with the tip of each point reaching the edge of the tart. Use the blueberries to outline the star shape, reserving some for trimming the edge of the tart. Arrange red berries in the center of the blueberry outlined star, reserving some of the raspberries for trim. Stand the strawberries on end in the center and star points and outline them with the raspberries.

Trim the edge of the tart by outlining the edge with 2 blueberries between each raspberry. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 16 servings.

NOTE: The amount of berries depends on how you decorate the tart. Commercially purchased strawberry glaze can be drizzled over the red berries in the center of the star, if desired.

Berry Cheesecake Pie

8 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2-cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2-cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

1-cup whipped topping

Sliced fresh strawberries and additional blueberries, optional

Place one phyllo sheet in a greased 9-in. pie plate; brush with butter. Repeat seven times; trim edges. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.)

Bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (center will puff up). Cool on a wire rack.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; cover edges with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake 23-27 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled.

In a small bowl, beat jelly until smooth; spread over filling. Spread with whipped topping. Garnish with strawberries and additional blueberries if desired. Yield: 6- 8 servings.

Note: If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

Patriotic Trifle

1 package (3 ounces) berry blue gelatin

1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin

2-cups boiling water

1-cup cold water

2-cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

1-pint fresh blueberries

1-quart fresh strawberries, quartered

1 prepared angel food cake (8 to 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes

In two small bowls, combine each gelatin flavor with 1 cup boiling water. Stir 1/2-cup cold water into each. Pour each into an ungreased 9-in. square pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 2 cups whipped topping.

Set aside 1/4-cup blueberries and 1/2-cup strawberries for garnish.

Cut the gelatin into 1-in. cubes. In a 3-qt. trifle bowl or serving dish, layer the strawberry gelatin, half of the cake cubes, the remaining blueberries and half of the pudding mixture. Top with blue gelatin and remaining cake cubes, strawberries and pudding mixture. Garnish with reserved berries and remaining whipped topping. Serve immediately.

Red, White And Blue Dessert Bars

1 can (15 ounces) wild blueberries in light syrup

1-tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups low-fat granola cereal with raisins and nuts

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 package (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese

1-teaspoon ground ginger

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream*

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup strawberries, stemmed and cut in half

* 1 1/2 cups non-dairy, whipped topping may be substituted for the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Drain blueberries over a medium saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into blueberry juice. Cook juice until it comes to a simmer and thickens. Add blueberries and cook until mixture returns to a simmer. Cool.

In work bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse cereal until crushed. Add butter, and pulse until combined. Press granola mixture into bottom of an 11x7-inch baking dish. Chill.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and ginger until light and fluffy. Add pineapple and beat until combined. In separate bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold whipping cream into cream cheese mixture and stir until combined. Pour over crust. Spoon blueberries on top of cream cheese mixture, making three diagonal lines. Garnish with strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

— Judy O’Daniel’s “Country Gourmet” column appears each Wednesday in the Times-Journal. This column originally ran Dec. 10, 2008.

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