Desserts Recipes

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Tarte Poire Noisette (Pear Tart with Hazelnut Cream) Recipe

Tarte aux poires et à la noisette sounds like a fancy-schmancy dessert but really, it's just a French tart made with hazelnut cream and ripe pears. That's about it. The only other embellishment is that I enhance the flavor of the nut cream with a little green anise.

Green anise seeds are usually infused in tea as a medicinal treatment for children's stomach aches. It's a pretty common remedy in Northern Africa. I love the sweet fragrance and the strong notes of licorice. You don't have to add the aromatic seeds to the nut cream but I think they pair wonderfully with pears.

Being French, it still is really remarkable to me that in America, French sounding names make products sound more luxurious (and expensive). I've even seen some products that have names that don't make sense in French, but I guess evoke a sense of elegance. Now that I've let you in on the secret, don't be fooled by fancy French names anymore! However, if you prepare this recipe for your friends or family, make sure that you use the French name to impress them. Better to be the "fool-er" than the "fool-ee!"


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Cherry Creme Brulee with Stewed Cherries Recipe

I wanted to make a crème brulée that was absolutely packed with cherry flavor. No subtlety here. I'm talking full on, Witches of Eastwick levels of cherry flavor. To accomplish this, I added cherry extract to the custard, and placed a layer of stewed cherries at the bottom of each bowl. I finished each dessert by serving it with a maraschino cherry.

It's not cherry season yet, so I used frozen cherries. They are picked at the peak of ripeness, so they taste great. When thawed, frozen cherries can lose their form, but since I was stewing them, the shape of the cherries didn't matter so much. Cherries may not immediately come to mind when you think of winter desserts, but their ready availability in a variety of forms that are great for cooking make them an excellent choice.


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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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Apple Bread Pudding Recipe

Apple Bread Pudding

02.19.10 by Jackie

This recipe calls for all the usual suspects that are found in bread pudding, namely sugar, milk, fresh or dried fruits and some dry bread cubes. I made my apple raisin bread pudding using stale bread that has been sitting on the kitchen counter. The dryness of stale bread is actually an asset in preparing bread pudding, because the dry bread will soak up a good deal of flavor. If you buy a lot of bread and sometimes don't use all of it, this recipe might be helpful for you. It was amazing how fast these little mini loaves of bread pudding disappeared!

Bread pudding to me is a perfect breakfast food, similar to pain perdu, or French toast. I also often enjoy it for le goûter de 4 heures, which in English translates to "4 p.m. snack". As a child, this was my favorite time of the day! My childhood memory of a typical "4 heures" would be a piece of warm baguette with a piece of chocolate, an apple and chocolate milk. If you ask any French kid, that's pretty normal but it doesn't seem to be this way in America. The juice box and supermarket candy bar that most American kids eat (including my little sisters-in-law), definitely don't compare.

Apple Bread Pudding Recipe with Picture


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Chocolate Pear Entremet Recipe

Chocolate Pear Entremet

02.15.10 by Jackie

Un entremet poire chocolat is an ultra-refined dessert made of layers of chocolate cake, pear flavored mascarpone and covered in chocolate cream. The key to this dessert is to use very fragrant and juicy pears. I waited a few days for the pears to reach the peak of ripeness. I baked the mini chocolate cakes in 4-½" diameter pans so we could each have our own serving.

Of course, we ended up sharing one individual cake and feeding each other. Lulu commented that the entremet was almost too pretty to be eaten, but he soon got over his initial reaction. It was the perfect way to end our Valentine's Day dinner, and I'm sure I'll be making more of these in the near future.  There's no reason to wait a whole year to enjoy this decadent treat again!

Entremet Poire Chocolat


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