Days of fresh fruit desserts and long hot summers are gone and Fall has definitely arrived. Loving it! Time to switch gears and make warm, cozy desserts and a bread pudding soufflé makes that request easy to fulfill. You can use all types of bread for this (Challah, Italian, Brioche, or any artisan-style bread) but I prefer to use to be traditional Sour Dough French Bread which adds a more acidic and tangy taste to the desert. It also helps to make the bread pudding rise similar to a soufflé, but without all that extra work and worry associated with it. Same flavors, but a different texture from a bread pudding recipe where you end up with a very dense, moist pudding – this is light and airy, and lovely. Make sure whatever bread you choose, that it should be at least a day old (up to a week). Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, set a bowl of freshly whipped cream on the side, and you are ready for a lovely, cozy, dessert to enjoy cuddled up …
On the way home from work on Friday I was listening on the radio to Jeanne Robertson, a really wonderful and funny humorist and motivational speaker. She was relaying a story about her 7Up Pound Cake, which she makes and delivers to family and friends when someone has “passed”. Now you might not think death is a funny topic, but in fact her story is amusing as she talks about her husband Left Brain, and his adventure at the grocery store while picking up ingredients for her. See the clip below, as Jeanne tells it far better than I could explain here (that’s why she is paid for her humor, and I am not). As Jeanne was approaching the end of her routine, I was approaching my neighborhood Whole Foods, where I made an immediate right turn into the parking lot so I could get ingredients to make my Lemon Loaf. Right now you can find really bright and juicy lemons – I used Meyer Lemons for this dessert as they are sweeter than regular lemons. …
I like to make a French Glace Strawberry Pie to kick-off summer and then again just when it’s ending, right around Labor Day. I made the first one mid-June and decided to switch out my batch of strawberries intended for jam this weekend, to making strawberry tarts instead. Pie crusts can sometimes be hit or miss – sometimes they turn out great and other times they are dry and crumbly – this frustrates a lot of bakers, myself included.
Just in time for a Labor Day BBQ or picnic with friends, Strawberry Shortcake! I picked up oodles of strawberries on the weekend and made this dessert and will be making jam this weekend too. I love strawberries, and use them throughout the year, but in summer they almost become a staple, same as eating tomatoes on a daily basis. I have made shortcakes from scratch on many occasions – this was not one of them. Instead I turned to Bisquick and honestly I have to say the texture and flavor is sooooo close to “scratch” that I tend to defer to Bisquick as it is so much quicker! Also, I prefer individual shortcakes as opposed to making one large shortcake, which is what I grew up with. Why? Cuz when I make the really large one for 8 or 10 people, it looks terrible after you cut the first slice. The individual ones look amazing from start to finish.
I was recently on a cruise in the Baltic Sea and spent three days in St. Petersburg where we toured the Hermitage Museum known for its collection of more than three million works of art among five buildings, one of which was the Winter Palace of Czar Nicholas II, a member of Russia’s Romanov family. While many people think Strawberries Romanoff was created for the Romanov family by their royal chef, they would be wrong. This dessert was originally created by Auguste Escoffier and known as “Strawberries Americaine Style” when he was Chef at the Carlton Hotel in London in the 1920s. Around the mid 1940’s Escoffier’s recipe was “borrowed” by Prince Michael Romanoff (he was actually an actor and considered a “professional imposter” as there was no royal blood in his family). But he did know how to publicize his restaurant and promote a wonderful dessert, Strawberries Romanoff. The recipe lives on long after his death in 1971 and is still considered a classic when it comes to summer entertaining.
Jamocha Mocha Mousse is definitely not Low-Carb, but tastes wonderful and I will be bringing it to a Bridal Shower later this week. There are hundreds of recipes in cookbooks and on blogs for chocolate or mocha mousse, but this is the recipe I have used since I was a teenager. I think I originally wrote it down when watching one of Julia Child’s TV shows, but have tweaked it here and there over the years, and turned it from Chocolate Mousse to Mocha Mousse as I love coffee-flavored desserts.
Clafouti is a traditional French dessert with a flan-like batter poured over black cherries, and a delightful dessert in the warmth and sunshine of summer when cherries are in season. When you use other fruits, such as pears, peaches, apples or berries, it technically becomes a Flaugnarde – which is harder to pronounce and doesn’t sound nearly as sexy – so I made a Blackberry Clafouti! Raspberries are one of my favorite berries, but when I got to the store I found Raspberries cost $9 for a 12 ounce pack, while the blackberries (which looked luscious) were selling for $5 – it was a bit of a struggle as I went back and forth on which to choose, but guess which berry won!
It’s that time of year when family starts to descend on you for the holidays. Aunt Sue and Uncle Bernie and their 3 kids will be staying with you, and this year they are bringing the family dog Apollo, as he gets lonely in the kennel. Your mother-in-law and her new boyfriend are off for some sun and fun in Dubai, so they will be arriving before Christmas to visit and exchange gifts. Then of course there is the stress of shopping for gifts (who wears what, what size are they this year, what is that color they absolutely refuse to wear) and decorating the house (yes that does mean the roof too), all of which can drive a person into overload, then stress and anxiety build to a crescendo and you want to explode.
These are a whole lot of chocolate with a surprise center: cream cheese and teeny chocolate chips. Two of my favorite combos, and one of my father’s two favorite desserts (the other being Pineapple Upside Down Cake). My father passed away quite a while ago, but I was thinking of him yesterday on Father’s Day and decided late last night to whip up a batch of Black Bottom Cupcakes, his way. Most Black Bottom Cupcakes do not have frosting or icing on top, as the cream cheese rises to the top while baking and serves as the frosting. But my Dad really liked chocolate and he adored chocolate frosting in particular – so I always frosted these cupcakes to make them special for him. You can make the cupcake batter from scratch, but a cake mix off the shelf can be awfully tasty when you are rushed, or as in my case it is 11:30 at night when I started baking.
This is an easy chocolate cake that gives you a lot of bang for your buck in both richness of chocolate and presentation. Using a packaged cake mix will cut down prep time considerably, so majority of your time will be spent in assembly and frosting the cake. Preparing both the mousse filling and the icing are easy and each only use 3 ingredients. This is chocolate at its finest with chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse for the filling, and then a rich chocolate ganache icing to pull it all together. Your guests will think you spent half a day preparing this dessert – only you will know the truth!