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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category


I’ve been preparing this great dessert for many many years. As a matter of fact it has become a tradition that I bring enough to my best friend’s house for Thanksgiving of course it’s great for any occasion. It takes a little time to prepare but this one should make your family, friends and guests melt. This recipe makes enough for a crowd.

You will need:

Eggs — 6 separated.
Heavy Whipping Cream — two pints
Savoiardi — Two packages. These are Italian lady fingers do not use those spongy ones you find in a grocery store. Make an effort to find them.
Marsala Wine — About one quarter cup should do, the alcohol will cook out there really isn’t any replacement.
Mascarpone Cheese — One pint
Sugar — 1 TBSP
Espresso or Very Strong Coffee — Make about two cups. You might not use it all it just depends on how much the cookies absorb.
Dark Chocolate — Enough to shave over the entire finished dessert.

Start by making the zabaglione. Fill a medium sized pot about 1/3 way up with water. Bring to a steady simmer. Place a stainless steel bowl over the pot and add the egg yolks, using a whisk beat the eggs until they start to turn a very light yellow color, use caution here so the egg yolks to not set, move on and off the heat so that this doesn’t happen, add the sugar and continue to whip until it starts to thicken, add the Marsala wine and whip some more to fully incorporate the wine. Remove from the heat and add the mascarpone cheese then whip to fully incorporate. Set aside to cool. Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture, be careful not to over work as it will deflate, then fold the whipped egg whites in again don’t overwork as to not let it deflate.

I use a 13×9 pyrex dish to hold the dessert but anything will work. Pour enough coffee into the dish so that you have about 1/8 coverage. Place rows of the cookies on top of the coffee and press lightly so the coffee starts to be absorbed. Put about 1/3 of the egg/whipped cream/egg white mixture over the cookies and spread to cover. Add a layer of cookies and spoon come coffee over each cookie. Repeat until you use up all of the mixture, you might have some cookies left over but that’s OK they make a great snack. I use a vegetable peeler to shave the dark chocolate over the dessert. Use as much or as little as you like

Cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an your but as long as overnight. Enjoy.

Apple/Pecan Pie

I’ve prepared many a pie in my life but was never really satisfied with the outcome. Most of the time my dissatisfaction was due to the crust, I’ve used many different recipes and have even used store bought varieties. I happened to be watching an old, very old, you know the old black and white version, of a Julie Child show. In it she made a pie crust that I though to try and use. I’ve made only one change to her recipe and it was using frozen butter instead of just chilled butter, I’m not sure how much of a difference it made from her version but the final result was, fantastic.

You will need:

For the crust:

Flour — 1½ Cups all purpose flour
Butter, unsalted — ½ cup (one stick)frozen
Water — ⅓ Cup (ice cold water)
Vegetable Shortening — 3 TBSP (I used Crisco)
Sugar — 3 TBSP
Salt (table – non iodized) — Pinch

For the Filling:

Apples — 5 medium to large, use a variety such as Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Macintosh, try to use 1 of each.
Sugar — 1 TBSP
Maple Syrup — ¼ use the real stuff not pancake syrup.
Pecans — ¼ cup, chopped.
Salt — pinch of non-iodized table.
Cinnamon — 1 TBSP
Balsamic Vinegar &#151 1 TBSP
Butter — 4 TBSP

Start with the dough, in a food processor add all of the dry ingredients. Cut frozen butter in half length wise, cut the two pieces in half length wise then cut into half inch pieces add to dry ingredients along with the shortening. Pulse the ingredients to combine them, you want to watch this step, you want to see what looks like pea sized chunks scattered throughout the dough. Turn the machine on to full speed and add the water slowly through the feed tube run until the dough forms into a large mass. Remove from the machine, form into a ball, flatten the ball into a disk then wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

Now the filling. Peel and core all of the apples, cut into 8 pieces each, put cold water into a bowl large enough to hold all of the apples then add the vinegar and stir to combine, add the apples making sure they are all covered by the water mixture.

In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the apples in one layer add the butter and maple syrup, when the butter melts add all of the apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Add enough water just to about half way up the apple mixture. Bring to a rapid boil, turn the heat to simmer, cover and cook until the apples soften, about 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook the apples until all or most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue cooking until the apples start to caramelize. Remove from heat, place into a bowl and let cool completely. Once the apple mixture is completely cool add the pecan pieces.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, with the dough still wrapped use a rolling pin to pound the disk to a thickness that will be easy enough to roll. No need to be gentle here as the dough will be very stiff and can take the pounding. Lightly flour countertop, remove the dough from the plastic wrap and roll out to approximately a 10″ circle. Lightly spray a pie pan with baking spray or coat the pan with oil or butter. Lay the dough over the pan and lightly press it in with about ½” overlapping the rim. Fold the dough under itself to form an edge, crimp the dough to seal. With the tines of a fork dock the entire bottom of the dough. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the dough and fill with pie weights or beans. Place the pie shell in a preheated 400° F oven, bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove weights and foil, fill with the apple mixture and return to oven, reduce the heat to 350° F and finish baking, it should take another 15 to 20 minutes.

I think you’ll enjoy this one, serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Apple Pie Filing

While I call this recipe a filing it can also be used warm for a topping for a good vanilla ice cream. I was shopping at my local farmer’s market not knowing, as usual, what I was going to purchase. I came upon a stall selling fruit and spied several varieties of apples. Most recipes for pie filling tell you to use only a firm fruit such as Granny Smith however I like using varieties that break down when baked along with the firmer Granny.

This recipe will produce enough filing for one 9″ pie.

You will need:
Apples &#151 5 medium sized.
Cinnamon Stick &#151 1
Honey &#151 3 TBSP
Sea Salt &#151 1 tsp
Lemon Zest &#151 1 TBSP
Unsalted Butter &#151 3 TBSP

The biggest difference for this filling is that it is precooked prior to filing your pie shell. By pre cooking it you can control the amount of moisture exuded from the apples giving a firmer final product. Peel, core and cut apples into 6 to 8 pieces. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the fruit melt the butter using a medium heat setting. Add the apples, cinnamon stick, salt, honey and lemon zest. Cover the pan and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes, after 20 minutes check to see whether the apples are soft enough.

Continue cooking the apples, uncovered until all of the liquid has evaporated and the apples start to caramelize. Once you get a nice caramelization remove from heat and let cool completely. Once cooled you can use your favorite pie crust, I cheated here and used a store bought, then bake the pie until the crust is baked thoroughly. Mine took about 30 minutes.


Meyer Lemon Marmalade

A simple recipe that offers a unique flavor sensation.

You will need:

Meyer Lemons – quantity depends on how many lemons you have purchased use the complete fruit however zest the fruit first for the Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta recipe.
Sugar – quantity depends on how many lemons are being used but the ration should be at least three to one (lemon to sugar)
Water – just enough to come half way up the volume of the lemons.

In a sauce pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients bring up to a simmer, cover and cook until the lemons are translucent. At this stage taste the marmalade to adjust the sugar. You can also add a little salt to brighten.

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

I love a good Panna Cotta and have made several variations on the theme. I’ve wanted to try Meyer Lemon’s from the first time I heard about them. The thought that a combination of lemon and Mandarin Orange flavors intrigued me so when I saw them at my local produce market I bought a bag to try. I used my favorite yogurt panna cotta recipe with some adjustments.

You will need:

Whipping Cream – 2 cups
Plain Yogurt – 1 2/3 cups
Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp.
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Meyer Lemon Zest – approx. 1/4 cup
Unflavored Gelatin 2 tsps – a 1 1/4 oz. envelope.

In a small bowl or cup containing 1/4 cup of cream sprinkle the gelatin and let stand until it is combined and soft. In a 1 or 2 quart pan add the balance of the cream, the Meyer Lemon zest and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the cream mixture comes up to temperature remove from heat and add the gelatin mixture and stir to combine making sure that all of the gelatin is dissolved. Pour cream mixture into a non reactive bowl and stir in the yogurt and vanilla stirring to combine.

You have several options on how to serve this delicious dessert. I used ramekins for part of the mixture and a martini glass as shown in the picture above. You can use the juice for Meyer Lemon Vinigrette and the pulp for Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Enjoy!

Zabaglione Vino Cotto di Montillo

This version of the traditional recipe, which uses Marsala wine, is easy to prepare and provides a delicious dessert. Using the Vino Cotto provides a non-alcoholic alternative.

Served with fresh berries and Italian cookies this will have your family and friends swoon and beg for more. The recipe will make enough for 3 to 6 people depending on serving size provided.

You will need:
6 large egg yoks
6 tsp. powdered (icing) sugar
6 TBSP Vino Cotto di Montillo

Prepare the Zabaglione:
Put egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl placed over a sauce pot containing about one or two cups water. Bring water up to a slow boil and using a whisk cream the eggs until they grow in volume and start to change to a pale yellow color and starts to thicken. [NOTE: You can use a double boiler instead of the bowl over pot technique.] You can’t walk away while doing this or the eggs will scramble. Briskly whisk in sugar, continue to whip to add more volume and lighten the color. Add Vino Cotto and continue to whisk. You will know when the mixture is ready as it will coat the back of a spoon.

Pour equal amounts of the mixture into serving glasses (I use martini glasses as it makes for a classy visual). Serve warm.

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