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What's on your menu for dessert?

Dessert

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45 replies to this topic

#1 chefette

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:25 PM

In this little chunck of guilt-free calorie-free time between Christmas and New Year's resolutions when everyone is getting together with family and friends, preparing and consuming special meals and treats, what is everyone making, or buying, or looking for at the table?

I love these little chocolate cakey cookies frosted with fudge and topped with a maraschino cherry half. They are a must have, and gingerbread christmas tree cookies frosted with the good old fashioned 10X, butter, and milk recipe frosting with red hots as decoration. Somehow the season also seems to make me think of mint and chocolate too. Maybe people have alot of mints around at the holidays to help people who have indulged a bit more than they should ease their stomache pains.

Everyone lists off what they had or served for dinner, I think we need to start seeing more detail about the really special parts of everyone's meals - desserts.

Life is Short - Always start with dessert!

Edited by chefette, 30 December 2002 - 03:36 PM.


#2 chefette

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:34 PM

This year I did not have time to make any of my usuals. I did manage to make a few chocolate bon bons though.

I made a white chocolate nutmeg ganache with butter and a touch of rum that tasted like egg nog enrobed in dark chocolate (72%)

I also made a nice milk chocolate ganache infused with orange zest also enrobed in dark chocolate (72%)

I had prepared several other ganaches to make chocolates for friends and family (some experimental) but did not have time to make all the chocolates I had planned so wrapped and froze most of it for later use.

Tried and true; milk chocolate with cinnamon, dark chocolate with red wine infused with pear and spices, Manjari (simple, smooth, perfect in its natural complexity). I think that the holidays seem to be all about spices so I like to do a holiday chocolate spice collection.

My experimental ganache that I was not so happy with was based on a reduction of mulled apple cider with dark chocolate (no dairy).

The other dessert I usually think of for New Years is Creme Caramel.

Edited by chefette, 30 December 2002 - 03:35 PM.


#3 Belmont3

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:51 PM

I did a lemon sabayon with a pine nut crust and honey mascarpone whipped cream on the side. It was fantastic.

#4 nightscotsman

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:51 PM

Orange and cardamom infused dark chocolate truffles, raspberry marshmallows, chocolate haystack thingys (chocolate, corn flakes and toasted coconut), and orange and caramel rice crisps. I may also make some kind of cookie - something with nuts - or sweet/savory cracker depending on how much time and energy I have today.

Your "dark chocolate with red wine infused with pear and spices" sounds really interesting. was this a ganache that is formed into truffles? I'd love to hear more about this one.

#5 Anna N

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 03:53 PM

Comfort foods: Danish applecake and Danish ris a l'amande (and a couple of turns with my new ice cream maker!).
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#6 chefette

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 07:00 PM

The ganache with red wine infused with pear and spices is something I have been playing around with for a couple of years now since we did a Kosher Parve class for a Jewish Community Center. I wanted to come up with a way for them to make and enjoy a nice chocolate cake with ganache just like anyone else.

I like to use the somewhat reduced liquid from poaching pears in red wine to make the ganache. It works out rather well, although if you were specifically considering the ganache and not the pears, you would want to cut back a bit on the sugar to make it less sweet.

pretty much substitute the wine mix for cream - yummmm.

Edited by chefette, 30 December 2002 - 07:01 PM.


#7 chefette

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 07:02 PM

when we were kids my Mom always made what we thought of as a sweedish tea ring. I really miss those.

Anna, are you from a Danish background? Or you just love these Danish treats?

Edited by chefette, 30 December 2002 - 07:03 PM.


#8 Timo

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 07:15 PM

good topic chefette - you're right, dessert does not get nearly the amount of attention it deserves.
nightscotsman - where do you get your recipe for raspberry marshamllows? I am a sucker for a homeade marshmallow, but have failed hopelessly (and countless times) with the recipes I've tried. But, in Dorie Greenspan's new book (called "Paris Sweets", I think) she has a recipe for strawberry marshmallows that I want to try. But, she uses fresh strawberries to first make a puree, and I am afraid to use the flavorless ones in the grocery store right now. (I can't handle another disappointment in my attempts at a passable marshmallow) I was going to wait until I could pick my own in May. Does anyone know if there is some alternative for flavoring the marshmallows?
"Things go better with cake." -Marcel Desaulniers
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#9 tsquare

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 07:35 PM

Having joyously sampled Nightscotman's strawberry marshmallows (recipe on The PNW thread - "Egullet Holiday Party In Seattle, at the Blue Onion Bistro") I'd guess that he has a winning recipe for raspberry ones too. Just substitute of puree? Oh yeah - I assume you strain either version before adding to the mix? He also mentioned using some orange flower water.

#10 Fish

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 09:04 PM

I did a lemon sabayon with a pine nut crust and honey mascarpone whipped cream on the side. It was fantastic.

That's the French Laundry lemon tart, right ? Try it with Meyer lemons while they're still in season (you still have 2 balls of dough in the freezer, right ?)

- S

#11 nightscotsman

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 01:22 AM

good topic chefette - you're right, dessert does not get nearly the amount of attention it deserves.
nightscotsman - where do you get your recipe for raspberry marshamllows? I am a sucker for a homeade marshmallow, but have failed hopelessly (and countless times) with the recipes I've tried. But, in Dorie Greenspan's new book (called "Paris Sweets", I think) she has a recipe for strawberry marshmallows that I want to try. But, she uses fresh strawberries to first make a puree, and I am afraid to use the flavorless ones in the grocery store right now. (I can't handle another disappointment in my attempts at a passable marshmallow) I was going to wait until I could pick my own in May. Does anyone know if there is some alternative for flavoring the marshmallows?

Here's a link to the page of the thread with the marshmallow recipe: clickster (scroll about halfway down the page). I tried Dory's recipe, but I thought they came out lighter and airier than I was looking for. I wanted creamy and gooey. So I took her flavoring idea and combined it with Martha's no-egg-whites recipe and it seemed to work.

No need to waste fresh strawberries when you're just going to puree them. Frozen will have much better flavor than any you can get in a standard supermarket anyway. I wouldn't strain either - the seeds are tiny and they remind you you're eating the real thing. To make other flavors just substitute different purees (though you'd want to strain out larger seeds, like raspberry).

#12 Timo

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 01:39 AM

hey - thanks nightscotmsman for the tips! I especially like the idea of leaving the seeds in. I tried Martha's recipe once, I think it was among the more successful batches, but still not quite what I wanted. Maybe with a little pracitce I'll finally get it right.
I've seen the long, rope-like "homeade" french marshmallows, but have never bought them because 1) I figured they could never be fresh enough to be any good and 2) the real reason, because I could never get myself to pay 2 or so dollars per marshmallow when I can pick up a whole bag of jiffy-puff for a fraction of the price. I am such an American... But, the flavors always seem right - I wouldn't say no to trying a rosewater marshmallow.
"Things go better with cake." -Marcel Desaulniers
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#13 Anna N

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 02:01 AM

when we were kids my Mom always made what we thought of as a sweedish tea ring.  I really miss those.

Anna, are you from a Danish background?  Or you just love these Danish treats?

No, born a Brit but proud to be Canadian. I married a Dane some forty years ago and fell in love with Danish food (as well as The Dane).

Like all ex-pats though, when you actually go home again, as it were, you discover you are more Danish than the Danes! In my husband's family, we seem to be an anachronism. They have moved on to much lighter, healthier food! Traditional Danish dishes are only served to visiting relatives.
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#14 Belmont3

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 06:52 AM

[QUOTE] Fish@ Dec 30 2002, 09:04 PM

That's the French Laundry lemon tart, right ? Try it with Meyer lemons while they're still in season (you still have 2 balls of dough in the freezer, right ?)

Thanks for the advice. I want to use the balls before they go bad.

#15 chefette

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 07:24 AM

I myself have never actually made marshmellows, but while I was staging at the French Laundry they were making and serving fresh marshmellows as petit fours. It seems easy and fast - so fast that I missed seeing it done. It did seem that resting the marshmellow properly before cutting them up was important.

I agree with Nightscotsman that for pureeing you should select frozen berries. Trader Joes is a great resource for good frozen berries at excellent prices.

Night (ok for short?) how do you use/serve your marshmellows?

Anna, have you ever tried the apple cake at Ikea? We were shopping there the other day and I thought what the heck - let's try it and it was pretty good. I would get it again. I admit, I did ask if I could microwave it and it was nice all warmed up. The sauce was disappointing though. Anyway, if you have tried it, is this like your cake?

#16 Marlene

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 07:27 AM

Made the Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake for Christmas Day. Tomorrow will be trying to make a Zuccotto cake for the first time.
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#17 chefette

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 07:51 AM

Who's up for locating and making something new for dessert tomorrow that we have never made before but wanted to, but were afraid of for some reason? Or creating some new dessert?

We can all report back here about what we attempted, or created how it worked out, how we might change it, etc. Any takers?

#18 chefette

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 07:57 AM

I am thinking of trying out one of Michel Bras desserts: The Nougat Millefeuille with banana butter, yogurt cream, and caramelized almonds on page 187 from The Essential Cuisine of Michel Bras. It looks intriguing--I suspect getting the thin nougatine layers just right might be the most interesting part.

#19 Patrice

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 08:49 AM

I'm in charge of the dessert for tonight meal...
I didn't had a lot of spare time so yesterday, at the restaurant I made a cake: dacquoise with spices ( cinamon, nutmeg, star anise, pepper...), cranberry compotte, almonds praliné and a manjari mousse.
Patrice Demers

#20 Rhea_S

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 08:50 AM

I'm in for trying something new if I can get access to my own kitchen. My mother has taken over and I haven't been able to do much more than make tea or coffee the last week and a half. I did make a Chestnut Mousse Cake for Christmas Eve that tasted exactly how I wanted but looked rather dismal. My mother had put away the clean dishes, utensils and cutlery in all the wrong places and I couldn't find anything.

#21 chefette

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 09:15 AM

Don't you just love how 'helpful' mothers can be in the kitchen? I guess its payback for all those times we 'helped' mommy make something and it took four times as long and the cleanup was never really fully realized.

My Mom's birthday is right after Christmas and when I was about 10 I decided that I was fully capable of making and decorating an immensely beutiful birthday cake for her without any supervision. I completed the chocolate cake layers (using my Grandmother's recipe) without incident. I made the frosting - an astounding puse buttercream. At this point I probably need to add that I managed this whole project wearing my brand new ruby red patent leather mary janes :wub: (that I had just tormented my poor mom into procuring for me the way only a determined child mesmerized by something in a department store can :rolleyes:

As I very carefully frosted the sides of the cake without paying much attention to the edge of the counter or gravity, the whole cake ended up on my new shoes - my Dad rushed to the rescue (of the cake) scooped it up, slathered it with whipped cream and froze it in rough cake form. We talk about it every Christmas. It is a wonder we never made upside down puse buttercream chocolate cake enrobed in whipped cream a standing tradition. :biggrin:

Fortunately my Mother has not chosen to come help me in the same manner :laugh:

#22 bripastryguy

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 09:46 AM

Chefette,

How is that book, Michel Bras?

Was tempted to buy it, but havent yet

Any good ideas from the French Laundry on petit fours?

I made marshamallows yesterday and the spatula slipped into the sugar and splattered on my hand, , thank god I keep ice water near by, pretty bad burn though.

I think the syrup evaporated too much so the marshamallows got a little hard. I microwaved them for 12 seconds then browned them with a torch, serving em with my espresso pots du creme for tonight.

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#23 chefette

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 10:34 AM

I really like the Bras book. Cool ideas, great presentation. So far though I cannot say that I have been really overwhelmed by anything I have made. Admittedly I only made two savory items and one pastry item. If I do this banana nougatine thing it will be my first complete dessert from his book. It certainly is full of great ideas though - very inspiring.

French Laundry petit fours? I assume you are asking what they were serving. While I was there they were doing a little passionfruit gellied curd dome on a fluted round of sable with candied lime zest crossed on top, something I don't exactly recall with a rosette of cream and half a raspberry, tiny chocolate tartletts (filled and fired a la minute), marshmellows, soft caramels, house made truffles (a trick to enrobe in the afternoon heat without air conditioning), house made molded chocolates, and an assortment of incredibly beautiful macaroons (beet, lemon, rose, plain, chocolate, pistachio... ) served to guests in beautiful porcelain boxes

But back to the thread - are you making anything special for New Years? Anything traditional? Anything new?

I think the tradition should be to try something new for the New Year, to move forward into new pastry areas, skills, flavors, and presentations--it should be strictly wrong just to reach back and do safe old things.

#24 Steve Klc

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 10:45 AM

Don't forget there are two Bras books--Essential Cuisine, which is the one Chefette was talking about--but also the Bras Dessert Notebook. Both are superb in their own way. (We've discussed them both on the site in other threads.)

On my menu for new "New Year's Eve" desserts for 250 people tonight--"Coconut two ways with mango salad and lime gelee"--built as a parfait--lime gelee, brunoise of mango tossed with vanilla, lime and a Chilean "Botrytis" dessert wine called Montes, a jiggly coconut cream with the consistency of "tembleque," topped with a very light coconut espuma and also "Choco-Coco-Banana"--a warm chocolate cake with liquid coconut center, Venezuelan chocolate flan (with Michel Cluizel 72% VZ chocolate) caramelized bananas, caramel gelee and salty plantain powder.
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#25 nightscotsman

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Posted 31 December 2002 - 10:54 AM

I myself have never actually made marshmellows, but while I was staging at the French Laundry they were making and serving fresh marshmellows as petit fours.  It seems easy and fast - so fast that I missed seeing it done.  It did seem that resting the marshmellow properly before cutting them up was important.

Night (ok for short?) how do you use/serve your marshmellows?

So far I've just served them as petit fours/snacks and to top hot chocolate (strawberry marshmallow on hot chocolate - perfect). They are so easy and good that I suspect I will be a little marshmallow obsessed for a while until I can try all the flavors and combinations that are swiming through my head. And yes, the resting part is vitally important as it takes a very long time for gelatine to reach maximum stability at room temp.

I'm also very interested in the Michel Bras book. Beautifully photographed and some great presentation ideas. I have the Dessert Notebook and it was delightful to read. Made his candied vegetables to go over vanilla panna cotta and his tomato pate de fruits - both very good, though several people I gave them to got a little freaked out when I told them the fruit jellies were tomato. Hmmm... tomato marshmallows? Naaah. :blink:

#26 tsquare

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 10:06 AM

I think the tradition should be to try something new for the New Year, to move forward into new pastry areas, skills, flavors, and presentations--it should be strictly wrong just to reach back and do safe old things.

This is probably really basic for experienced chefs and bakers - but I made lemon curd for the first time. I had leftover yolks in the fridge and a good supply of lemons on hand. With many recipes as references, I'm forgetting which one I actually used! (4 yolks, sugar, lemon juice, butter, salt, lemon zest - no flour or cornstarch.) I wasn't sure what I was looking for when taking it off the heat - and underestimated it. Cooled it and put it in the fridge. Next day, the mixture had separated, with butter at top and liquid sunshine below. Not good. Decided to go ahead and reheat it over a medium low heat, stirring all the while. Sat and read "More Home Cooking" and stirred for 20 minutes easily. And then, almost custard! A thick mass of beautiful, sweet-tart lemon curd! I think it will be incorporated into a fruit tart this weekend. (Didn't end up needing it for the holiday afterall.)

#27 Steve Klc

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Posted 02 January 2003 - 10:11 AM

T--so much depends on the recipe and having the right balance of lemon juice to yolks--but one little trick you might try next time: don't put the butter in until you've removed the curd from the heat and let it cool down a bit. Then add the butter and whiz with an immersion blender. Very unctuous.
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#28 chefette

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Posted 05 January 2003 - 11:52 AM

OK, OK, I feel awful because I have yet to actually make that Michel Bras recipe. I am ready, have everything I need (except time), and will do it really soon. Meanwhile has anyone else made anything new? hmmmmm?

Today in Washington, DC it is cold and grey and snowing so I reverted to serious comfort food and made a bread pudding - truly scrumptious. I used the recipe I wrote down when I was 10. My Mom always made it after Christmas to use up the stale cinnamon rolls (swedish tea ring) Since I have already admitted to not making those myself for home consumption I resort to the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl bread with raisins.

Here is the recipe in case anyone else wants to join me in a bowl of hot bread pudding drizzled with heavy cream:

1 16 oz loaf of P Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread cut into cubes
3 cups whole milk - scalded
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins

- Place the bread cubes in a caserole dish or pan (I used a half half hotel pan which is roughly 9x11 but I think 8x8 would do fine)
- pour the scalded milk over the bread and let it sit a couple of minutes
- whisk the eggs, add the sugar salt and cinnamon and combine then whisk in the raisins
- add this into the bread mixture ad stir it around with the whisk to combine it
- set baking dish into a pan with 1" hot water and bake 1 hour in a 350 degree oven

This always makes me think (secretly) of a book I loved as a kid - "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" by Joan Aiken - the two little heroines who are plagued by an evil scheming governess while their parents are on an ocean voyage are constantly being served cozy meals of hot bread and milk with buttery cream in the nursery. This is how I imagine my bread pudding.

#29 nightscotsman

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Posted 05 January 2003 - 04:24 PM

What a co-inky-dink - I've been sick with a cold since New Year's day and wanted something warm and comforting, so I tried out a recipe I got from my Mom at Christmas for apple dumplings she used to make when I was little. It's a very unusual recipe in that she used diced rather than whole apples, the crust has quite a bit of baking powder and milk so it's halfway between a biscuit and a pie dough, and the whole thing is baked in a spiced syrup making it almost like a cobbler or pudding. Mom made a few changes to the original recipe and I made some as well (and will probably make more changes next time I make it), but here is what I did last night:

Syrup:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3 Tbs butter

combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temp

Apples:
4 granny smiths, cored, peeled and chopped into 3/4" dice
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I would use less sugar next time)

Pastry:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening (I used butter, Mom used Crisco)
1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. cut in butter using pastry blender or food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and stir quickly with a fork just until all the flour is moistened. don't over mix - treat it like a biscuit dough. Push the dough together and roll out a little larger than a 18x12 rectangle (do not chill first). Cut into squares a little larger than 6x6. Toss apple chunks in sugar/spice mixture and mound in center of pastry squares. moisten edges of pastry, bring corners together over apples and seal seams. don't worry about being neat and tidy or making sure the apples are completely sealed in - this is a very rustic, homey dessert. put the dumplings in a 9x13 baking dish and pour the cooled syrup over them making sure to moisten all of the top surfaces. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar and bake at 375 F for 35 minutes until the apples are tender. server warm (these also reheat in the microwave quite well).

I think this recipe might be even better with rhubarb and the the spicing could be played with. Also it's quite sweet, so some tinkering with the amount of sugar might be in order.

Chefette - the bread pudding sounds great. Could I ask what size you cut the bread cubes?

#30 chefette

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Posted 05 January 2003 - 05:29 PM

Night, those dumplings do sound good too. Something to try this winter.

For the Bread pudding I don't think it matters too much about the size. I guess I end up making about a 1/2" square though (roughly) Since I am starting with sliced bread which is approx 1/2" thick, and I probably managed to slice the loaf into 4 or five slices throught the top and same down the side (too lazy to cut 3 or 4 piles of slices).





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