Food and Photography Blogger Pretty in Pistachio Curates a Warm-Weather Treat Exclusively for Design Twins!
When Justine Dungo finished her studies, entered the workforce and began living a 9-5 schedule, she started to realize she was becoming “one of those people.” As a creative at heart, this epiphany called for some life assessment…So to cure her artistic and crafty needs, she started Pretty in Pistachio.
A photography and food blog, with hints of lifestyle and DIY, Pretty in Pistachio combines Justine’s love of flavors, textures, plating, creative writing and shooting photographs into one pleasant destination. While her posts never fail to leave our mouths watering over unique recipes, stunning imagery and innovative techniques, everything she does is also inspiring and educational (and even accessible to those who aren’t masters in the kitchen!).
We were lucky enough to have Justine create an exclusive recipe just for us!! In celebration of Design Twins and summery-vibes, the food maven has come up with the perfect Raspberry Popsicle!
Makes 8 (3oz.) popsicles
Ingredients for Raspberry Syrup
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
5 graham crackers
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 fresh raspberries
Make the Raspberry Syrup. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the frozen raspberries and granulated sugar. In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and water. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the frozen raspberries and stir until combine. Continue to stir the raspberry mixture until it boils. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down and let simmer stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to simmer until it reduces to a thick syrup. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow it to cool completely.
Make the graham cracker crust. Place the graham crackers and sugar into a small food processor and process until it turns to crumbs. Place the crumbs into a small bowl. Add in the melted butter and stir until well combined and a crumble mixture forms. Set aside.
Make the cheesecake filling. Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until the cream cheese becomes fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in the sugar. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula when necessary to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Add in the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
Assemble the popsicles. Place 1-2 fresh raspberries at the bottom of each popsicle well. Spoon in 2 tablespoons cheese cake filling. Add 1 tablespoon raspberry syrup. Take a popsicle stick and slightly swirl the mixture. Continue layering with fresh raspberries, cheesecake filling, and raspberry syrup until the entire popsicle well is full. Add the graham cracker mixture to the top of the mold and place a wooden popsicle stick in the middle. Once all of your popsicles are assembled, place the molds into the freezer and let the popsicles freeze for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, remove popsicles from freezer. Run the bottoms of the molds under warm water for a few seconds to loosen the popsicles for easy removal. You can also insert a small knife along the edges of each popsicle to help loosen it from the mold.
Meet The Foodie!
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE INSPIRATION AND CREATION BEHIND PRETTY IN PISTACHIO.
Pretty in Pistachio has been my “creative” outlet for the past few years. I studied art and marketing in college, and when I graduated, I took a marketing job that dealt more with analytics than creativity. With Pretty in Pistachio, I am able to create and explore whatever I want without limitation.
I grew up in a pretty “artsy” house. My dad was a fashion photographer, my mom loved drawing and painting, and my brother is a musician that has been mastering various instruments since the age of seven. Over the years I’ve dabbled in art, baking, photography and design (all sorts of design from graphic design to shoe design!) and I wanted to create a place where I could put all of those skills to use.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER SEEN YOUR WORK?
Bright brights and dark darks. I tend to “overexpose” my photos and white highlights get blown out often, but I really like it that way. If I were to describe the aesthetic by using a feeling I would say “happy.” When I look at my photos or my work as a collective I want the feeling portrayed to be cheerful, bright and make people smile. The combination of brightly lit images with dashes of pop color help convey that. I like to add in dark darks when I can to give the content a touch of richness and contrast.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT, RIGHT NOW, IN TERMS OF FOOD AND INTERIOR DESIGN? WHY DO YOU FIND THE INTERIORS TO BE INTERESTING?
So hard to choose! I have always claimed L’Artusi in the West Village as my favorite. The open kitchen gives it a warm homey feel, not to mention the pasta dishes are out of this world amazing. L’Artusi will always be one of my classic favorites.
However, I’ve been exploring Brooklyn more and more lately and the last restaurant I tried was The James in Prospect Heights and I was quite impressed. The entire restaurant, from menu to interior, was designed in house by a team that had no previous interior design background. Deborah Williamson, one of the founders, played a large role in designing the interior. The restaurant that was in the space previously was Russian with an all white interior…Walk in there today and you’ll see the space took a complete 360. All of the current decor gives off an “old school New York” vibe. Everything in the space is an original piece from somewhere in New York. For example, there are these grand mirrors that hang on the walls which the team picked up from an old mansion in Harlem. They also have an amazingly textured wall behind their bar. The texture wasn’t planned at all, but instead was a gem they discovered when tearing down the white walls of the previous Russian restaurant.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT YOUR NEXT RECIPE IS GOING TO BE? OR RATHER, WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
Inspiration, for me, stems from so many different places. For this recipe, I wanted to do something that in a way relates to New York, but has a little bit of a twist to it. Whenever someone thinks of great food in New York, cheesecake is definitely on top of that list. Once I decided that I wanted to base the recipe around cheesecake, I scanned through magazines, books, and of course foodgawker and pinterest to help spawn some ideas. I ultimately decided on creating a popsicle and incorporating the flavors of a cheesecake. I also like to add bright vibrant fruit when I can and I love when a cheesecake is topped with sweet raspberries so that’s what I went with here!
In general, I am always reading and often get my inspiration from magazines and books. One of my favorite books is The Flavor Bible. I’ve had it for years and I don’t know what I would do without it! Normally when I start a recipe, I have an ingredient in mind and then I turn to the flavor bible to see what that ingredient pairs well with.
Eating out is definitely another source of inspiration. Whenever I am traveling or even just trying new places in NYC, I always jot down notes about the menu and the dishes I try. If there is a certain technique or pairing the chef used that I really enjoy, I like to try and replicate it at home while adding in my own little twist.
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTTO?
Stay curious and never stop learning.
I am a huge advocate for education. It doesn’t have to be a “formal” education, but just taking the time to read books or watch tutorials and videos can keep a person moving forward. When someone is curious and also has the drive to learn every detail about the subject they are curious about, that is when new creative ideas are born.