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Desserts at home


fresco
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The eGullet universe is probably not the place to find a representative sample, but I'll ask the question anyway: are desserts (and I'm talking about confections that require some cooking and preparation, not a bowl of ice cream) becoming a "reward" that people no longer have much at home, but reserve for special restaurant occasions?

Are pies, cakes and other sweets moving into that special preserve of arcania that the average person has ceded to the professionals?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I don't usually do desert at home. For some reason, most of my friends and family are not really into sweets. In fact, I rarely order dessert in a restaurant. When the Texas blueberries are in, I will do a couple of cobblers. Same goes for dewberries. (OOPS, The cobbler thread tells me that my recipe is a clafoutis.) I do an occasional bread pudding. My sister is the pie maker for holiday meals. I make the occasional batch of cookies or brownies to ship to my son's sweet tooth friends. Desserts on a regular basis? naaaaah

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I'd rather eat food.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I love desserts and don't consider a meal complete without a dessert. By serving a dessert every evening, I almost feel I am upholding tradition.

As I am the main cook at home, we have dessert every night, and I don't mean ice cream, which I will sometimes serve in a pinch but consider to be cheating since it requires no cooking or baking. I love to bake, and desserts give me a reason to bake.

Our everday desserts are devil's food cake with chocolate frosting (just last night); pies, pies, pies (my personal favorite dessert) such as buttermilk, buttermilk-chess, blueberry, apple, pecan, sweet-potato, or pumpkin; peach cobbler; strawberry shortcake; chocolate brownies; peanut-butter brownies; butterscotchies; chocolate-chip cookies; oatmeal, oatmeal-chocolate-chip, or oatmeal-raisin cookies; hot-fudge pudding-cake; banana pudding; pineapple upside-down cake; spice cake, carrot cake, jam cake, or hummingbird cake with cream-cheese frosting; fruit crisps; Boston-cream pie; butter-mochi cake; Chinese sweet red-bean or mung-bean soup; tapioca pudding; rice pudding; chocolate or vanilla bread pudding; fruitcake; pound cake; and raw-apple cake.

My two children have come to expect dessert every evening, and that's all right with me!

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May I add that when I go to dinner at someone's house and the dessert is just store-bought ice-cream with a store-bought cookie stuck in it, I feel a bit let down? Like it's not a proper dessert. That's when I have to whip up a cobbler or pudding as soon as I get home.

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butter-mochi cake; Chinese sweet red-bean or mung-bean soup

Butter-mochi cake?? Oh do tell.

It's taken me my whole lifetime to adore sweet bean soups. Red bean - I crave beyond reason.

Desserts at my home - when I was doing pastry at school it was absurd how many sweets we'd have. Four cakes one week? How many kilos of chocolate? But since I don't have a stove - and I'm in Paris - I buy desserts now - more chances to taste what's out there. Today I'm having a peach and hazelnut tarte from Maison Kayser.

But back in California, I'd make desserts all the time - excess fruit from back yard trees - orange and lemon glazed weekend cakes , plum tartelettes, etc.

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I try to make a good dessert once or twice a week. I love desserts and try to keep developing my pastry skills. I don't ever have people over without preparing a dessert, unless it's brunch in which case I prepare a breakfast pastry of some sort. I think it's part of a quality meal.

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I still make real desserts. Most store-bought versions are too sweet for me, and it's just fun. Or I did until I moved about a year ago. Haven't gotten the new oven fully figured out yet so baking has been one disaster after another. When things do turn out, I bring them into the office. Come to think of it, it's probably about time again for the peanut butter cream cheese mousse pie extravaganza.

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butter-mochi cake; Chinese sweet red-bean or mung-bean soup

Butter-mochi cake?? Oh do tell.

It's taken me my whole lifetime to adore sweet bean soups. Red bean - I crave beyond reason.

Ooh, one of my favorite cakes, and a favorite recipe. If you crave red bean and if you love glutinous-rice sweets like Japanese mochi, you will love the butter-mochi cake. It is the Asian idea of the red-bean mochi westernized by the addition of butter. To my butter-loving taste buds, it's even better than red-bean mochi. In fact, when my mother was given the recipe by an Asian women's group, the name of this cake was "French Rice Cake" (a name I just can't bring myself to use because I hate calling things French that are not French, and because "rice cake" has unfortunate connotations to me of something crunchy, dry, and dietetic). Anyway, I crave the buttery, chewy goodness of this cake laced with sweet red bean.

A tip: the original recipe calls for the smooth red-bean paste that you typically find in cans in Chinese groceries, but I have also made the cake using the chunky red-bean paste that I find in Korean groceries and that is used on shaved ice, and the chunky red beans bring good textural contrast to the smooth rice cake.

Another tip: try pan-frying a slice (as my mother is wont to do), for a nice crispy edge to a warm, chewy, gooey interior.

BUTTER-MOCHI CAKE

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1-1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 16-ounce box sweet (glutinous) rice flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 18-ounce can sweet red-bean paste

Position oven-rack so that pan will be in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9" x 13" rectangular pan. Mix together all ingredients except red-bean paste until smooth. Pour into pan. Drop red-bean paste by scant teaspoonfuls (no larger, to avoid sinking) into batter, distributing evenly. Bake for one hour and ten minutes. Remove from oven. Cool in pan to room temperature. Slice into squares or rectangles, and serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed after slicing. Freezes well.

Enjoy!

Edited by browniebaker (log)
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I don't really do desserts. Once in a while, growing up, Mom would make a cobbler or a tart or something but I wasn't the type who expected dessert every night. Now, I make cookies or pudding or something but we never eat it right after dinner. It's usually a snack, either later on in the evening or in the middle of the day.

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There are four of us in our home, two adults, two children both aged 10-11. We cook and eat in five nights/week. Every Sunday we make a dessert (pie, cake, tart, something) that will last for the next several days.

Adults eat dessert three nights a week, the kids, of course, about seven.

Last week, we had an apple Brown Betty. Didn't last long at all :biggrin:

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Reading through this thread, I think I might have to rethink my position on dessert. It seems to be a way to work more fruit into my diet, which I find difficult. I know that recently I have eaten the blueberry cobbler (er... calfloutis) for breakfast. That has to be more healthy than a McD's sausage and biscuit picked up in the drive through lane.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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dessert at home is usually something convenient - cookies, ice cream, or something that comes in a box (i.e. Twinkies or chocolates) or a delivery bag (i.e. a slice of apple pie).

that is, unless a Baking Bug hits. then I'm likely to spend an entire weekend immersed in cookbooks, baking this and that. A few weeks ago it was toffee-lace cookies and lemon squares. Usually the Baking Bug hits on a dreary weekend, when it's too rainy or cold to go out & play.

come Monday, I drag my goodies to the office, for the sake of my girlish figure. :smile:

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I often wonder how much of our attitudes toward desserts and baked goods are based on our upbringing. My mom baked weekly, and I love having homemade baked goods in the house. My husband's mother, on the other hand, only baked for the holidays and as a result he doesn't understand my compulsion for homemade baked goods.

I make dessert a least once a week. Although I love to bake, these days I'm more apt to make a bread pudding, fruit crumble or ice cream. I always bake when I entertain. My husband tries to convince me to buy something, but I think it shows a lack of appreciation for my guests - like I don't care enough about them to spend an hour or so baking a cake.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I'm wondering how much of it is regional? I like baking a cake or pie for dinner parties, but find that people rarely want it. Even if it right there on the table in front of them, they'll pass. And I can't remember the last time I went to anyone's house and was served a cake or pie. A cookie and a little ice cream/sorbet with some fruit seems to be standard dinner party fare among my California friends. I do notice that these same cakefree friends will eat one small homemade cookie after another if I leave them sitting in front of them. :blink:

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I'm wondering how much of it is regional? I like baking a cake or pie for dinner parties, but find that people rarely want it. Even if it right there on the table in front of them, they'll pass. And I can't remember the last time I went to anyone's house and was served a cake or pie. A cookie and a little ice cream/sorbet with some fruit seems to be standard dinner party fare among my California friends.  I do notice that these same cakefree friends will eat one small homemade cookie after another if I leave them sitting in front of them. :blink:

I suspect a lot of that is psychological. A cake -- even a slice of cake -- is "big." A cookie is "little," and it disappears quickly, innocuously, fingers not fork. It's irrelevant that a few cookies equal a slice of cake. People still feel more virtuous that way.

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I'm wondering how much of it is regional? I like baking a cake or pie for dinner parties, but find that people rarely want it. Even if it right there on the table in front of them, they'll pass. And I can't remember the last time I went to anyone's house and was served a cake or pie. A cookie and a little ice cream/sorbet with some fruit seems to be standard dinner party fare among my California friends.  I do notice that these same cakefree friends will eat one small homemade cookie after another if I leave them sitting in front of them. :blink:

Either that or they'll insist you custom cut them a tiny piece to their exacting specifications, so they can taste it, even though they were stuffing themselves pointlessly only moments earlier. Sort of a combination of wanting very special service and wanting to appear virtuous.

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come Monday, I drag my goodies to the office, for the sake of my girlish figure.  :smile:

I don't have an office to go to right now, but I have neighbors. I automatically halve anything I've baked and trot it next door before the sun sets on it.

My mother never fails to provide dessert, and it's always fresh and homemade. I don't bake as often as I like (abovementioned Girlish Figure concerns and marriage to a man who counts calories as if he were a sixteen year old girl)but four or five times a year I plan a Puff Pastry Saturday. I make lots. Th stuff freezes perfectly, and being able to pull some from the fridge when the whim strikes is a very comforting thing.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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We eat dessert at my house. This weekend was a little heavy on the sweets (my birthday). There was a peach cobbler, a chocolate meringue pie (heavenly) and a really great yellow sour cream cake with icing that is called caramel pecan but is really just a praline recipe cooked barely to soft ball stage.

On a regular basis we usually have one sweet item around, usually come kind of cake, peach cobbler in the summer, and cookies most of the time (heavy on the oatmeal chocolate chips and the lemon squares). All homeade, haven't used a box of mix in 20 years for anything (excepting cornbread, really prefer Arrowhead mills to anything I make, I just add whatever I want, corn, peppers, etc.)

Incidentally, none of us are overweight :smile: moderation is the key.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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In the past couple of years, I've begun having desserts on a semi-regular basis, after many years of forsaking most sweets.

I will always make dessert for company, and am often asked to bring it when going to other people's houses. As my husband loves to cook, baking and dessert-making are two areas that I'm able to go completely free-form with.

Summer is all about the fruit; winter desserts are warm, and pulled from the oven.

In keeping with the girlish figure trend, I send most of the leftovers to friends or family. Some of my husband's coworker's are lucky enough to receive them, and have actually done favours for him in order to garner status in the dessert que. :smile:

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When we were kids, we didn't really have dessert, per se. We'd have what my mom called "snicky-snacks". We'd each get a small aluminum pot pie tin (something else from childhood) and put pretzels or cookies in the tins and snack on them while watching television.

As adults, we've graduated to "real" desserts but usually only with the weekend meals. My mom has "The Cake Mix Doctor" recipe book so at family dinners lately we've had lots of cake. Surprisingly, most of them have been very good.

edit: to correct spelling

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I almost always bake something for desserts although I almost never eat them. My usual dessert for guests is eithe creme brulee, chocolate torte or strawberries in grand marnier cream. For just us, I'll make cookies or cakes or chocolate mousse.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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As I rarely eat dessert, even in restaurants, I must say I rarely make one. Usually only if I'm cooking for someone I know loves desserts. Otherwise, on the rare occasions I do have any dessert, it tends to just be ice cream. Though I sometimes knock up a batch of chocolate sauce for it!

On saying that, I have almost finished a rather large tub of smarties ice cream (Sounds rubbish - but is fab, in a trashy kind of way!) in the last two days. But we are having a bit of a heatwave in the UK at the moment (Meant to be the hottest on record today or tomorrow).

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Currently I rarely eat desserts. It seems, at least for me, to be a function of what the people I'm cooking for expect (read girlfriends). The last girlfriend really liked desserts. The think she really liked was some mixed berries made into a sauce with some wine and sugar stirred into some plain yogurt with some uncooked fruit as well. Think simple syrup with wine instead of water. Other treats we would have were roasted fruits or grilled fruits. Everything topped off later with a nightcap of hot chocolate and hand-whipped whipped cream.

Current girlfriend: not so much into food. It's disappointing, really. But, this girlfriend really knows how to cook well. Meat and potatoes cooking, but good cooking. Makes her own bread (like me) and really likes ice cream. Best recent dessert: ice cream with macerated blackberries. She doesn't yet believe me about the yummy goodness of roasted fruit, but my current apartment doesn't take having the oven on as well as my old apartment, so cooking is relegated to the grill during the summer in the interests of low electric bills.

My issue with cooking desserts is I have not mastered pie dough yet. The fastest way to make me swear is to hand me flour, ice water, salt, and grease and say "make a pie dough". Breads, I can do til the cows come home. Pastries, cakes, and pies, I'm not so hot at. The other thing is time/presentation. I don't have a proper place to eat, and I don't feel like I have a proper occasion to eat dessert. It doesn't seem to make culinary sense to have dessert when you're eating, sitting cross-legged on the floor, or on the couch, glued to the tv.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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