Dessert Recipes

View All | View Summaries
Poached Figs in Puff Pastry Recipe

Poached Figs in Puff Pastry

09.18.09 by Jackie

Our garden is very abundant with figs this season. I gathered a full basket of large brown Turkey figs; they're re fairly wide and about 3 inches long. I love their flavor; they have a copper-colored skin, pinkish pulp and very few seeds. They are simply delicious and perfect for baking.

I poached them first in heavy syrup and wrapped them in puff pastry. It's a pretty easy dessert to make but sure to wow your guests.


Full Recipe...
Kiwi Tart with Pastry Cream (Tarte au Kiwi et a la Creme Patissiere) Recipe

A local bakery makes these wonderful kiwi tarts that everyone in the family loves. I just bought some really nice golden kiwis from the local market and I thought I'd try my hand at making a kiwi tart, but with my own twist.

I used a walnut dough with the standard crème pâtissière. Instead of coating the bottom of the pastry with chocolate, I drizzled it over the top. The chocolate and kiwi go well together and they mesh very well with the velvety cream and the texture of the walnut tart shell.


Full Recipe...
Gajar Halva (Indian Carrot Halwa Dessert) Recipe

Halva means sweet in Arabic. India is home to many varieties of halva, and it can be found at almost all of our family gatherings.

This particular type is made with carrots. Lulu's aunt taught me how to make it. The base is a dense, sweet confection made of flour such as cream of wheat or garbanzo flour, nut butter such as tahini, or lentils like mung beans. My friend Carole, who is by the way the editor of the site, told me she loves this kind. Here's her feedback about carrot halva:

"Your halva was smoother [than the one I get at the restaurant], and at the same time more flavorful but more subtle, too. We loved it. I can't wait to see the recipe and what's involved. I have a sneaky feeling there's going to be more butter than I want to know about!"

I told Carole: "Well, don't be afraid, there are only two tablespoons of ghee". I prefer making it at home because the gajar halva found at restaurants tends to be too thin and cloyingly sweet. I suspect that the extra sweetness is used to conceal the lack of richness that one would expect from real gajar halva.

Gajar halva, like some Vietnamese desserts, is not always the most glamourous-looking sweet, but it is delicious. If you've never had it before, try making some at home. You will love it.


Full Recipe...
Coffee and Cardamom Flavored Creme Caramel Recipe

Crème caramel is one of my favorite desserts. It's basically a rich custard with a layer of soft caramel. I dressed this one up with a little espresso powder and cardamom.

Making these desserts reminded me of my childhood. My mom would tell me every day not to eat anything before dinner, but after coming home from school, I would always make a beeline to the refrigerator when she wasn't looking. I would get one crème caramel, flip it onto a plate, and let the delicious caramel flow in every direction. It didn't last very long; I would inhale the dessert and lick all the caramel off the plate before I got caught. You would think that I wouldn't really have enjoyed the dessert because I ate it so fast, but there was something thrilling (and delicious) about sneaking a bite without anyone knowing.  Maybe that's why I named my site Pham Fatale.  I've been in the (food) espionage business for a long time!

These covert operations inevitably would make me too full for dinner. I know I was a terrible child! My parents always wondered why I never ate, and have probably been unaware of my antics until now. Sorry Mom!

I think, in America, crème caramel and flan can be used interchangeably.


Full Recipe...
Coconut and Sweet Tapioca Pudding with Bananas (Che Chuoi in Vietnamese) Recipe

Today, my local Asian market carried Vietnamese sweet bananas called chuối xiêm. Chuối xiêm are small, thin-peel bananas that are sweet and very flavorful when they are ripe. I made some coconut and sweet tapioca pudding with the bananas, called chè chuối xiêm in Vietnamese.  

Vietnamese desserts are not always the prettiest-looking sweets, but they are very good. They are composed of ingredients different from Western desserts and might look unusual at first. A lot of traditional Vietnamese desserts are made from sticky rice or other starches like cassava


Full Recipe...