The heaviness of desserts can often be somewhat overwhelming after a decent dinner, yet avoiding dessert entirely might not feel right either. Most of us love having something sweet to finish the night off. Dessert cocktails are a fantastic way to do this, as they’re much lighter than a regular dessert. Plus, there are many […]
Does a milkshake with whisky really need any introduction? Take everyone’s childhood favorite quick dessert and spike it and what else does adult life really need? A swirl of this decadent dark chocolate sauce, infused with the gorgeous aroma of toasted cardamom pods, is what!
One of my first childhood food memories is of my grandmother sitting on the front porch, churning homemade ice cream by hand. Boy those were the days! We used to just dip right out of the mixer before she had a change to get it into the freezer. And it was heaven spooned into a cup with a dash of milk– a poor man’s milkshake if ever there was one!
The Eton Mess is an old-school classic British dessert, which had lost its popularity and is now seeing a resurgence in pastry chefs who are looking back through history to learn from the old craftspeople of the time.
Simply, the eton mess is a delightful way to use the best of what’s around: excess egg whites for the meringue, delicious sweet cream for the whipped cream, and unctuous red summer fruits for the tart, bright fruit compote. Here I have made it easy on you and called to simply purchase meringue shells at your local supermarket or better yet, small locally-owned bakery.
Growing up in the Southern United States, pecan pie was something of a staple. Everybody made it during the holidays, and I grew tired of it quickly! Overly sweet, the savory deliciousness of the pecans got lost in a sea of sugar. This recipe is much more balanced, and uses the milder maple syrup in place of the extra-strong corn syrup which is usually used with abandon.
I like to toast my pecans lightly before adding them in, but that is just a personal preference. I also call here to blend them until they are finely ground– I find this adds a lovely texture to the final pie where the custard sets on top and the ground pecans form a delicious layer in the bottom of the crust.
I love coffee, let me just say that outright. A great cup on a cold morning– you just can’t beat it. So when I discovered affogatos– an Italian treat consisting of my other favorite, ice cream, drowning in a shot of espresso- I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Why not add a shot of booze, I thought one dreary day? And thus this dessert was born.
I find shortbread to be a lovely way to just have a nibble of something sweet with out the feeling of “committing” to a slice of cake. Here I have called for you to rub in lavender buds, but if that is too off the wall for you try a simple lemon zest addition and it will still be stellar!
So, what is more iconic and beloved than a New York style Cheesecake? Not much past American apple pie! This “cremeux”– just a fancy way of saying “creamy”– is a lighter take on this amazingly decadent dessert stronghold. Here we have added Campari, the famous grapefruit-based liquor, to grapefruit segments, which take them up a notch in color and flavor. Paired with the NY Cheesecake Cremeux it is a combination not to be beat!
We have called for Graham Crackers to be crumbled on top, as an ode to the crust of the Cheesecake itself, but for our gluten-free hosts, any crunchy garnish your heart desires will definitely do! Perhaps a few pistachios candied in honey, or even some gluten-free toasted coconut just to top it off! Either way, you could even go to the trouble of making a proper graham cracker crust. But the point here is easy breezy, so do what you can to give yourself a break! Alright then, on to the good stuff: the food!
Ever wonder what to do with extra ripe bananas? If you are anything like our family you end up with too many ripe ones, freeze them, forget about them, and they end up going in the trash! Luckily there are so many nice ways to use them, and this delicious and decadent pudding and cake hybrid is one of them.
The measurements call for two cups of banana puree– that should be about six bananas, depending on their size because they sure do vary! Make sure they are so ripe the skins are nearly black. You can achieve this quickly by placing nearly-there bananas in a paper bag with another ripening fruit such as an apple or a tomato. They share the same ripening agents and will help each other along.
Now here is a dessert the whole family can get behind! The sumptuous familiarity of fall in the caramelized apple garnish, and the warm comfort of ginger and honey in this decadent cake… what’s not to love! If your family is a big fan of the ginger flavor, feel free to grate some fresh ginger right on in the mix, a little goes a long way and can not hurt this hearty cake!
As for the whiskey caramelized apples, if there are some in your group who love the little extra ‘punch’ to their evening, I like serving a full shot alongside this desert. Why not? Find your designated driver for the evening and have second dessert helpings!
There is something perennially fall to me about poached pears. Maybe it is because my first ever pastry cook job at a massive restaurant began in the fall, so my task every day was to peel and poach two crates’ worth of pears. It became like a meditation, each day, peeling that many pears by hand!
In any case, find the best firm-but-ripe pears that you can– I like the Bosc variety as they travel well and are not hard to find. Make sure after you core them, you check to see you’ve cored them straight through the bottom and there are no bits of stem leftover. You can also forego coring if you like the look of them poached while they are still whole, just know that you need to cook them longer to compensate.
Alright so this dessert is a little next-level, I will fully admit. However most of the time spent is passive, waiting for the yeast to rise, and I will tell you firsthand it is worth the wait! So take the time and make this dessert from start to finish and you will end up thanking me!
In France it is tradition to serve this “with rum,” which in many bistros means they simply place a whole bottle of rum on your table and you serve yourself! Delicious, non? Serve it any way you like it, but the fact is this cake needs to be soaked with rum before serving. I have also called for it to be served with rum-poached cherries, because why not just keep going over the top when you are already!