Sweets Recipes

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Blackberry Creme Brulee Recipe

Blackberry Creme Brulee

03.11.10 by Jackie

Crèmes brulées are my mother-in-law's pêcher mignon, which literally translates to "cute fault" in French (which means guilty pleasure). I keep telling her that these custard desserts can be flavored with anything and she keeps challenging me. She brought home a whole case of blackberries from our local market and asked if I could make her favorite dessert cups with them.

So after flavoring crème brulée with lemon, cherry, butterscotch, matcha green tea and masala chai, I was able to prove to her that I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  It has occurred to me though that maybe her "challenge" is just an excuse to get me to make more crèmes brulées. As long as I can come up with more flavors, I'll keep playing along. After that, she'll have to come up with a better reason!


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Chestnut Crumb Coffee Cake Recipe

Chestnut Crumb Coffee Cake

03.07.10 by Jackie

For brunch, the girls and I made a crumb coffee cake flavored with chestnut purée, and a streusel topping made with cinnamon and brown sugar for a rich, caramel flavor. Buttermilk gives a moist texture to the coffee cake; the result was just divine. Chestnut may not be a common flavor for coffee cake, but I guarantee that after tasting it, you'll be hooked.

I served the coffee cake with a big pot of masala chai. We all enjoyed ourselves. Hope your weekend is as relaxing and peaceful as ours!


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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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