Archive for 2010

Truffled Shellfish Bisque with Pan-Seared Scallops

A very easy recipe for a very elegant entrée. Vary it by using lump crabmeat, lightly sauteed shrimp, or other seafood instead of scallops.

Oven-Roasted Broccoli

When roasted at high temperature, broccoli develops nutty sweetness and delicious crispy bits here and there, while still retaining a slightly crunchy texture. Garlic and Maldon salt roasted with the broccoli deepen its flavor; a little lemon zest and juice add freshness and color, and pungent freshly-ground pepper adds the finishing touch.

Pan-seared Foie Gras with Pears and Mâche

Foie gras is not difficult to cook, but it must be cooked quickly otherwise it will dissolve into a puddle of expensive melted fat. Its unctuous richness pairs nicely with sweet, juicy pears and nutty mâche leaves.

Deconstructed Chocolate-Rum Charlotte
(aka, “Eiffel Trifle”)

A Charlotte is a classic French dessert composed of a mold of liqueur-soaked ladyfingers and filled with a Bavarian cream or mousse filling. Delicious, but fiddly to make, what with trimming all those ladyfingers to fit and getting (and keeping!) them positioned in the mold just so. This recipe solves that problem brilliantly: fuse the components of a decadent chocolate-rum Charlotte with the assembly technique of an English trifle.

Chocolate-Chestnut Pavé with Raspberry Coulis

Chestnut purée (also called crème de marrons) is a delicacy from the chestnut-growing regions of France, Spain and Italy. It is available in two forms: one plain, the other sweetened and flavored with vanilla. Its delicately sweet and nutty flavor pairs beautifully with chocolate and dark rum.
Pavé is a French word for [...]

Apple and Almond Galette

Fast, tasty, and beautiful — what more could one want from a dessert? A galette is a rustic, freeform tart. Sweet apples such as Golden Delicious or Gala work better than tart ones such as Granny Smith in this recipe, but be sure the apples are fresh and crisp rather than mushy, or they will be too soft when cooked. Using a mixture of red and gold apples makes an extra-handsome tart.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is ridiculously simple to make, and ridiculously good. It makes a great gift: fragrant, unexpected, keeps forever, and can be used in any recipe in which you’d use vanilla extract. Buy plump, slightly soft vanilla pods for this recipe — it’s harder to get them chopped up properly if they are hard and dried up (they will still flavor the sugar nicely, though).

Amaretti (Italian Macaroons)

All too often, amaretti recipes are based on commercial almond paste, producing a gummy, overly-sweet, lifeless cookie with an overpowering marzipan flavor and no crunch. These are nutty, crunchy morsels with a chewy, almond-y center. They are delicious as-is, but if you are the sort inclined to gild all passing lillies on [...]

Almond Crescents

Yet another member of the wide-ranging Mexican Wedding Cookie/Russian Tea Cake family, Almond Crescents are buttery, only lightly sweet, and somewhere between crisp and crumbly. Finely-milled almond flour and a touch of walnut oil are the secret to their rich taste and tender, delicate texture. Almond Crescents keep well stored in a tightly-sealed container, although their confectioner’s sugar coating can get a bit spotty-looking if they are stored for a while, so give them a final roll in the sugar before serving to restore their snowy-white appearance.

Linzer Torte

Linzer Torte is a holiday tradition in Austria and Hungary, a nutty, spiced cookie dough surrounds a filling of tart-sweet raspberry or apricot jam, then is topped with a lattice of the same nut dough. Named after the city of Linz, Austria, it’s the oldest-known torte in the world — the oldest surviving recipe dates back to 1650. It’s a cinch to make, but since the jam is a major component of the torte’s flavor, the jam needs to really shine. And if you make home-made jam, this dessert is going to be your new best friend — what better way to showcase your creation?