Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Strawberry Charlotte

Charlotte are a classic French desserts composed of a mold of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers surrounding a rich Bavarian cream or mousse filling. This one combines a suave kirsch-and strawberry spiked white chocolate mousse with fresh, ripe strawberries. You could think of this charlotte as a sort of strawberry shortcake… if strawberry shortcake spent a year in Paris and came back unrecognizably glamorous!

Raspberry (or Strawberry) Chocolate Macarons

Macarons, with their crisp shells and soft fillings, are the current darlings of the pastry scene. Admittedly tricky to make, their finicky nature has resulted in countless, wildly different recipes to produce ‘proper’ macarons, with thin, crisp, un-cracked shells and bubbly ‘feet’ at the base. This recipe uses an Italian meringue as its [...]

Chocolate-Madarin Charlotte

A Charlotte is a classic French dessert composed of a mold of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers and filled with a Bavarian cream or mousse filling. This one combines a decadent dark chocolate mousse, Cointreau-brushed ladyfingers, and the lively tang of fresh satsumas or tangerines. Elegantly tall, crowned with drift of creme chantilly (whipped cream) and bound with a wide ribbon. It makes a glorious finale to a festive holiday meal.

Almond Poires Belle Hélène — Oven-Poached Pears with Almond Filling and Chocolate Sauce

Poires belle Hélène is a classic French dessert of poached pears served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. This recipe adds a decadent twist by oven-poaching the pears and stuffing each with a luscious hunk of almond paste, then further guilds the lily by adding a dollop of Provence lavender honey to the chocolate sauce, its subtle floral notes enhancing the flavor of the pears.

Summer Fruit Shortcakes

Perfectly ripe, juicy summer fruit needs only a few simple accompaniments to be transformed into a gala dessert. And a gala dessert that requires no baking on a hot summer day? Even better! Macerating the fruits in a mixture of sweet wine and lavender honey perfumes them, plus creates a richly-flavored syrup for soaking ladyfingers, used as a lighter alternative to the traditional biscuit-type shortcake. A dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of lavender honey complete the shortcakes— or use French vanilla/honey yogurt, if a lighter dessert is desired.

Chocolate-Chestnut Macarons

Macarons are the petite jewels of the dessert set. Dainty, yet decadent. At once crunchy and chewy. Delicately tinted or neon-hued to indicate the flavor combinations, filled with tart jams, decadent buttercreams, tangy citrus curds, rich ganaches… the variations are endless, and delicious. Macarons aren’t difficult to make, given a good recipe, proper equipment, and the right technique, so this recipe gives detailed info on how and why to do things. Allez, let’s make some macarons!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake: Fit for a … Prince!

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Prince William induced a raised royal eyebrow or two with his request that the royal wedding feast include a groom’s cake based on a favorite childhood tea-time treat, chocolate biscuit cake — groom’s cakes are an American tradition, not an English one. But one bite of this festive, decadent creation and you’ll understand why HRH considered it an essential addition!

As with many simple, good desserts there are many variations on the recipe. This one includes brandy-spiked raisins and crunchy toasted hazelnuts, but you could use any chopped dried fruit and toasted nuts — or none at all. The Biscuit Cake is quite rich, so a small slice usually suffices.

Chestnut-Prune Parfait

A wonderful combination of flavors and textures: creamy French yogurt, crunchy hazelnut brittle, toothsome brandy-braised prunes, and sweet, nutty chestnuts. It has the additional virtues of 1) being just as delicious if made with low- or non-fat yogurt and 2) being ridiculously easy to make. The only slightly fussy thing about it is the timing: it can’t be made too far ahead (an hour at most), or the caramelized hazelnuts get soggy.

Gingercakes with Chocolate Truffle Filling

Gingersnaps are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, glittering with the sugar they’re rolled in before baking.

Gingercakes are something entirely different: soft, spicy, luxuriously thick. In addition to the classic gingersnap duo of ginger and cinnamon, they include a spicy hit of cloves. Paired with a chocolate truffle filling, they create a perfect little indulgence to accompany a cup of coffee or tea as the finale to a meal or an afternoon treat.

Soft-Centered Chocolate Cakes with Blood Orange Granita

Individual almost-flourless chocolate cakes with delectably oozy centers, paired with magenta-pink blood orange granita and créme chantilly. The tastes and textures combine in wonderful ways: intense dark chocolate, fluffy on the outside and molten on the inside; tangy, crystal-crunchy granita, and rich, lightly sweet cream.