Dessert Recipes

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Carrot Halwa Cheesecake Recipe Recipe

Carrot Halwa Cheesecake Recipe

06.01.10 by Jackie

I just received a huge package of Walkers shortbread cookies (thanks so much Iza), and before my little munchkin goes through the entire package (she's already had 24 individual packets!), I wanted to prepare a sweet treat with them. I also had leftover carrot (gajar) halwa from a batch I made over Memorial Day weekend, so it made sense to combine the two items. After much deliberation, I decided to make an Indian-inspired cheesecake using the shortbread rounds. I mixed the halwa with cream cheese and cardamom syrup, then softened it with whipped cream and used the mixture as the filling. For the crust, I crushed several shortbread cookies and mixed them with butter.

The Indian flavors weren't overpowering at all. In fact they were actually quite subtle, and paired perfectly with the buttery flavor and mild sweetness of the shortbread crust. The dessert was a big hit,and has inspired me to try using both Indian sweets and shortbread in creative ways. Stay tuned!


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Coffee Cardamom Creme Anglaise Recipe Recipe

As a child, I remember being so crazy about crème anglaise that I would lick the plate clean whenever I drizzled the sauce over a quatre-quart ("pound cake" in French). When I first met my husband Lulu, I knew from the very beginning that he had a sweet tooth but I was shocked when he told me he found crème anglaise to be too eggy to his taste. I was determined to prove him wrong. To do this, I dressed it up with strong flavors; I made Vietnamese-style coffee using condensed milk and cardamom-flavored cream. I poured the sauce over salted caramel swirl ice cream.

Lulu loved it, unsurprisingly. Seriously, who can resist anything with half and half and condensed milk in it?


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Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe with Chestnut Swirl Recipe

This recipe proves that vegan doesn't always mean healthy. Coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, pure vanilla extract, chestnut purée and stabilizers combine to make a vegan ice cream recipe that tips the scales at about 3000 calories per quart (that's 375 calories per serving). But there aren’t any eggs or dairy products!

I recently received a request for a vegan ice cream recipe from Leslie. It was the first time I tried making a vegan dessert. I made use of the same combination of stabilizers I use in other egg-free recipes, namely soy lecithin and xanthan gum. I increased the quantity to improve mouth-feel though. Xanthan gum in particular inhibits the formation of ice crystals, which create a more pleasing texture.

After tasting the final product, everyone in the house agreed that the ice cream strongly resembled chè, a very popular Vietnamese dessert. I hadn't anticipated that at all. Since I swirled the ice cream with chestnut purée, I thought it would have a more French flavor to it, but that was not the case. That's one of the things I love about cooking. I really enjoy experimenting, and the results of these culinary adventures can add completely new recipes to my repertoire.

My husband Lulu has decided to leave the ice cream maker on the kitchen counter until the end of summer to encourage us to make ice cream more often this year. I’ll post our concoctions on here all summer, so at least some good can come out of my impending weight gain. Stay tuned!


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Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

05.08.10 by Jackie

As I mentioned yesterday, the girls are planning to prepare a scrumptious meal for Mother's Day. My mother-in-law has a sweet tooth, so we decided to surprise her with a homemade strawberry cheesecake. Well, it will be a surprise as long as she doesn’t read this!

This is not your average cheesecake. The crust is made with macaroons and the filling is flavored with both coconut extract and fresh strawberries. My cousin Tri just brought a giant case of strawberries he hand-picked himself with his wife at a “you pick’em” farm in Brentwood. The strawberries were rich in color and flavor. If the strawberries you have aren't very flavorful, you could add a few teaspoons of strawberry extract to reinforce the flavor. We taste-tested the cheesecakes this afternoon and it was a big thumbs-up. Even my little sis-in-law who's allergic to egg yolks could have some, which was quite a treat for her.

In addition to the heart-shaped cheesecake, the girls had the idea to finish the decoration by cutting the fresh strawberry halves into a heart. Isn’t it adorable?


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Pandan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Recipe

Pandan cookies always intrigue the guests who come to our house. The green color from the pandan paste makes the cookies very original, and after the first bite, our guests are amazed at how great they taste. Daddy's friend, who lives in Minnesota, loved them so much that I decided to send a basket of two dozen cookies to him as a care package.

When I was a child, Maman would use pandan leaves to flavor steamed jasmine rice. It's also used in many Vietnamese desserts, such a rau câu. That inspired me to try using pandan in Western dessert recipes.

I often fuse the ingredients of one cooking tradition with the recipes of another. It’s a great way to create new dishes. In fact, the very first recipe posted on PhamFatale.com was for pandan cookies. In that recipe, I used pistachios and white chocolate chips. Both are great, but I think the cocoa in semi-sweet chocolate pairs especially well with pandan. Changing ingredients and coming up with new dishes is a big part of the culinary journey I've been sharing with you for a year and a half. After all, that's what cooking is all about. The history of cooking is really the history of the migration of people from one place to another. As they traveled, they adopted and adapted the local cuisine, creating many of the classic dishes we enjoy today. I hope you enjoy my small contribution to this tradition.


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