Great American Desserts

Great American Desserts

by Debbi Fields
     
 
Debbi Fields, who turned a simple chocolate chip cookie into a national icon, understands America's love of desserts. In Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts, she offers 100 recipes bound to satisfy all dessert fans. Beautifully illustrated and lively, Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts presents Debbi's own down-to-earth style in easy, foolproof recipes for

Overview

Debbi Fields, who turned a simple chocolate chip cookie into a national icon, understands America's love of desserts. In Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts, she offers 100 recipes bound to satisfy all dessert fans. Beautifully illustrated and lively, Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts presents Debbi's own down-to-earth style in easy, foolproof recipes for American favorites with delectable variations on many of them.

Try Debbi's classic Devil's Food Cake, then make her irresistible variation: four chocolate layers sandwiched with Dark Chocolate Fudge Ganache and Whipped Chocolate Espresso Filling, covered in White Chocolate Frosting. And if you think Debbi's Truffle Cake is to die for, just wait until you taste her Triple Truffle Cake. Prefer pie to cake? Then enjoy Paradise Key Lime Pie, or the heavenly Peanut Butter-Chocolate Mud Pie. Craving cheesecake? After you've baked Debbi's New York Style Cheesecake, move on to her Sweet Potato-Pecan Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. In the mood for something simpler? Then Debbi's Banana Pudding or Strawberry-Peach Shortcake will fill the bill. And for cookie lovers, there are Caramel Macadamia Butter Cookies and Chocolate Swirled Shortbread.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fields, of the Mrs. Fields' cookie chain, knows the kinds of desserts Americans like: rich, familiar and frequently chocolate. Eschewing the honorific in her third cookbook (after Mrs. Fields' Cookie Book and Mrs. Fields' I Love Chocolate Cook), which is being published simultaneously with the appearance of a PBS TV series of the same title, she covers expected family favorites, including layer cakes, pies, icebox desserts and cookies. Chocolate remains the most favored flavor, especially in such "signature" recipes as Debbi's Devil's Food Cake, Debbi's Chocolate Cream Pie, Debbi's Fudge Mousse, and Debbi's Flourless Fudge Brownies. Fields describes herself as "almost incapable of resisting the temptation to add extra ingredients." This proclivity leads to some excess, as in Peanut Butter, Fruit, and Nut Bars, the recipe for which includes a pecan-chocolate crust topped with peanut butter, chocolate chips, peanuts, almonds, apricots, dates and coconut. More appealing are simpler recipes such as Georgia Peach Butter Cake, Lemon-Berry Bars, Sweet Potato Pie and White Chocolate Bundt Cake. Throughout, recipes are clearly presented and often accompanied by illustrative photos, although discussion of technique is limited. 200,000 first printing; first serial to Family Circle; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Bluestein and Morrissey are the authors of The 99% Fat-Free Cookbook of Appetizers and Desserts (LJ 2/15/96) and The 99% Fat-Free Cookbook (LJ 4/15/94), among other titles; this time around, they're indulging themselves. True, they do include a chapter of Healthy Cookies (low-fat, sugarless, and/or gluten-free), but there are dozens of recipes for such treats as Cappuccino-Filled Hazelnut Sandwiches, Three-Layer Brownies, and Macadamia Florentines. Instructions are particularly clear, and there is also a section on holiday cookies, from Christmas to Passover to Halloween. Highly recommended. Debbi Fields is Mrs. Fields of cookie shop fame (see Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, LJ 8/92); she has appeared often on the TV Food Network, and this book is the companion to a new PBS series. She offers lots of rich desserts, both her versions of classic favorites such as Coconut Cake and Banana Pudding and her dressed-up, more extravagant variations, such as Lemon-Cream Coconut Cake or Chocolate Banana Pudding. The recipes sound delicious, and her TV show will only increase her popularity. Recommended for most collections.
Stephanie Zvirin
A familiar name among cookie lovers (and cookie bakers) widens her bakery repertoire in this companion to a PBS television series slated for September. Although she includes a selection of scrumptious cookie and brownie recipes, her real focus is on bigger sweet treats. There's much that practiced bakers will find familiar, but Fields adds her own special touch. There's also lots that will seem new, with all recipes accompanied by step-by-step instructions that even novice bakers should be able to follow. Filled with butter, egg yolks, and chocolate, these sweets aren't for the nutrition conscious, but reserve room for this on the shelf anyway.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684831770
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
09/17/1996
Pages:
254
Product dimensions:
8.22(w) x 10.44(h) x 1.42(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 8

Special Occasion Desserts

The ten special occasion desserts that follow are as varied a grouping as any in this book! From simple poached pears to two of my favorite candies, with four chocolate desserts in between, there's a lot of temptation to ponder when planning your next celebration. Whether you're hosting an anniversary dinner, a family reunion, or a graduation gala, there's a dessert here to fit all tastes.

You'll find some surprises, too. Baked apples, a simple early-American dessert if there ever was one, has never been more elegant: Here they're poached, then filled and baked in a buttery crust.

Now let's move on to chocolate. From my own truffle cake (one of the easiest recipes in this book) to a triple truffle cake, stacked three layers high and thick with icing, to mousse pies, you have your pick of intense chocolate desserts.

Debbi's Poached Pears
Makes 6 servings

The simplest way to poach pears is in sugar syrup, which undoubtedly many early Americans did as a way of using pears before they went bad. The modern dessert-maker has lots of other choices, including wine and liqueurs, but this recipe uses cran-raspberry juice for a change of pace. And I've added fresh citrus juice, which imparts a zesty flavor of its own.

These pears are a lower-calorie alternative to cake or pie, and make an elegant, simple, old-fashioned dessert. Mint leaves always add that special something when you're serving these at a special occasion, as would a few fresh raspberries to garnish the plate.

Equipment Needed: * melon baller

6 slightly underripe Bartlett pears

Poaching liquid:
4 cups cran-raspberry juice
1 lemon, juiced and fruit quartered
1 orange, juiced and fruit quartered
1 cup sugar

Garnish:
Mint leaves
Fresh raspberries (optional)

Make the poaching liquid:
1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the cran-raspberry juice, lemon and orange juices, cut-up fruits, and sugar, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugar.

2. Meanwhile, peel each pear and with the melon baller scoop out the core from the bottom, extending about halfway into the fruit. Leave the stem end intact. Cut a slice off the bottom of each pear so that it stands upright.

3. Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid in the pan, standing them upright. If necessary, add water to the pan to come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pears. Cover and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. With a slotted spoon, remove the pears to a plate to cool.

4. Reduce the poaching liquid over high heat to 1 cup. Remove the pan from the heat, drain into a bowl, and let cool.

5. To serve, arrange a whole poached pear on a serving plate and drizzle it with the reduced poaching syrup. Garnish with mint leaves and raspberries, if desired. Serve any remaining syrup separately.


Fancy Poached Pears with Fillings
Makes 6 servings

If my version of Poached Pears (page 184) is simple, just look at what you can do when you want to fancy them up!

You can roll the pears in delicious toasted hazelnuts and serve them whole. Or you can drizzle the pears with a fabulously rich double chocolate sauce. Or you can let out all the stops and halve them, then fill the centers with contrasting layers of pastry cream and chocolate sauce.

To save time, the pastry cream can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, as can the chocolate sauce. (You will need to rewarm the sauce before you use it, of course.) In fact, the pears can be prepared in advance as well. Store them in the refrigerator in the poaching liquid that you haven't yet reduced. When you're getting ready to serve the pears, simmer the liquid as directed on page 184.

6 slightly underripe Bartlett pears

Hazelnut coating:
2 cups skinned, toasted hazelnuts, chopped (see Tip: To Skin Hazelnuts, page 172)

Double chocolate sauce:
3 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (page 55), cooled, as accompaniment
1. Poach the pears according to the directions on page 184. Drain and cool them, and reduce and reserve the poaching liquid.

Make the hazelnut-coated poached pears:
2. Brush the whole poached pears with the reserved poaching syrup, then roll the pears, 1 at a time, in the chopped hazelnuts to cover all the surfaces.

Make the double chocolate sauce:
3. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, heat the chocolates with the cream in a microwave oven on High for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

4. To serve, put a whole poached pear on each dessert plate and ladle the hot chocolate sauce over the top. Serve the remaining chocolate sauce separately.

Make the pastry cream- and chocolate sauce-filled pears:
5. Have the pastry cream and the double chocolate sauce ready. If desired, brush each pear with the reduced syrup, then roll in toasted chopped hazelnuts. Slice each poached pear in half. Place level tablespoons of the pastry cream and then the chocolate sauce over the middle of each pear half. Transfer carefully to a dessert plate.


Baked Apple in Butter Crust
Makes 4 servings

The baked apple is simple and comforting and as easy to do as almost any dessert I know. This apple is a special-occasion treat of pudding-filled poached apples, baked to a golden turn in a sweet, buttery crust. All the components of the recipe can be done in stages ahead of time. You can decorate the apples as fancifully or simply as you like with dough cut-outs.

Be sure to reserve the poaching liquid. It's wonderful when reduced and served over cut-up fresh fruit or as a sauce over ice cream.

Equipment Needed: * baking parchment * fluted pastry cutter * melon baller

Sweet pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg yolk, well chilled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

Apples:
2 cups apricot nectar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 medium-size tart apples, such as Gala, Fuji, or Granny Smith

Filling:
1 small package vanilla pudding (not the instant variety), cooked according to package directions
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

Eggwash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make the sweet pastry:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture is coarsely textured with small, irregular flakes and bits the size of small peas.

2. In a cup, stir together the egg yolk, vanilla, and ice water. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the flour mixture, a little at a time, stirring with a fork, until the dough just holds together. Gather the dough and divide it into 4 equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Prepare the apples:
3. In a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the apricot nectar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

4. Meanwhile, peel the apples, halve them crosswise. With a melon baller or a small, sharp knife, core the insides, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Add the apples to the poaching liquid and poach them at a bare simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they can be pierced with a knife. Do not overcook them; the apples should still be rather firm at the end of the cooking time. Remove the apples from the poaching liquid and let cool, rounded sides up, on a wire rack. (If desired, reserve the poaching liquid for another use.)

Assemble the apples:
5. On a well-floured surface, roll out each disk of dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut a triangle shape out of each circular dough piece, reserving the scraps for later.

6. Blot the apples with paper towels to remove any remaining moisture and pair up matching halves. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

7. Fill the cavity of each of the apples with 1 heaping teaspoon each of pudding and brown sugar. Cover each apple with its matching filled half. Center each apple on a triangle of dough.

8. Press 2 tablespoons of brown sugar onto each apple, letting any excess fall onto the dough. Enclose the apple in the dough, sealing the dough at the bottom by wetting your fingertips with cold water and pressing the edges together.

9. Reflour the work surface, roll out the reserved dough scraps, and with the pastry cutter or a small, sharp knife, cut out leaf shapes and stems and attach them decoratively to the dough, brushing the dough first with water to make the pieces adhere. Brush the dough all over with eggwash.

10. Transfer the apples to the prepared baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

11. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

12. Bake the apples for 25 to 30 minutes, then tent the tops of the apples with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove the apples to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Baked Pear in Butter Crust
Makes 4 servings

This is a variation of my very special baked apples, except that this time nuts and chocolate cream are the surprise when you cut into these almost-too-beautiful-to-eat pears! I love the way they look, and you'll love the gasps of delight from your dinner guests when you present these at the end of a gala meal.

The fruit you use should be firm but not rock solid. That can be difficult because pears are often unready for use when you buy them at the market. You can ripen them in either a plastic or a brown paper bag with other ethylene-producing fruit such as apples or bananas.

Equipment Needed: * baking sheet * baking parchment * melon baller * fluted pastry cutter

1 recipe Sweet Pastry dough, page 188

Pears:
2 cups apricot nectar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 ripe but firm pears

Nut filling:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Dark chocolate cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

White chocolate cream:
8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Eggwash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Prepare the Sweet Pastry dough and chill according to the directions on page 188.

Prepare the pears:
2. In a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the apricot nectar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Peel the pears, halve them lengthwise, and with a melon baller or a small, sharp knife, core the insides, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Carefully carve out the core ends. Add the pear halves to the poaching liquid and poach them at a simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Take care not to overcook them; the pears should still be firm at the end of the cooking time. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and let cool, rounded side up, on a wire rack.

Make the nut filling:
4. In a small bowl, combine the pecans, honey, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Make the dark chocolate cream and white chocolate cream:

5. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, melt the semisweet chocolate with the cream on High in a microwave oven for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a separate ceramic or glass bowl, melt the white chocolate with the cream in the same manner.

Assemble the pears:
6. On a well-floured surface, roll out each ball of pastry into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Using a flute pastry cutter, cut a triangle shape out of each circular dough piece, reserving the scraps for later.

7. Blot the pears dry with paper towels to remove any remaining moisture and pair up the matching halves. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

8. Fill the cavity of each pear half with 1 heaping teaspoon each of nut filling, dark chocolate cream, and white chocolate cream. Cover each pear with its matching filled half. Center each pear on a piece of dough.

9. Press 2 tablespoons of brown sugar onto each pear, letting any excess fall onto the dough. Enclose the pears in the dough, decorate them with pastry cutouts of leaf shapes, and brush the dough all over with the eggwash. Put the pears on the prepared baking sheet and place them in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

11. Bake the pears, standing upright, for 25 to 30 minutes, then tent the tops of the pears with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove the pears to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

12. If desired, serve the pears with any remaining chocolate cream, or ladle chocolate cream onto each serving plate, and then set a pear on top of it.

Debbi's Truffle Cake
Makes 6 to 8 servings

When you want a cake that's truly special, that celebrates the significance of an occasion like a birthday or anniversary in an unforgettable way, look no further. Here's the cake that says it all.

This cake bakes in a loaf pan and looks quite innocent when sliced and ready for serving on a plate. But don't be fooled. One taste tells you there's nothing innocent about this cake at all. With lots of chocolate, butter, and eggs, only a trace of flour, and a touch of cinnamon, this cake is dense and glorious to eat. It's not by accident that this is called truffle — as in the chocolate confection — cake! I serve it drizzled with chocolate glaze, although if you feel that's too intense, you can serve a little unsweetened whipped cream on the side.

Equipment Needed: * 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan * electric mixer

Cake:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, separated, the whites at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour the loaf pan.

Make the cake:
2. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Put the egg yolks in a bowl and beat until combined using the electric mixer on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 4 to 5 minutes, until thick and pale. Whisk together the flour and cinnamon, and beat in until combined. Slowly beat in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.

4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff using the electric mixer on medium speed with clean beaters. Gently fold half of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture until combined, then fold in the remaining whites. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

5. Fill a 2-quart baking pan halfway with hot water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake the cake on the middle rack for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife blade around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the cake and remove the cake. Let the cake cool to room temperature, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the glaze:
6. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, heat the cream with the chocolate on High in a microwave oven for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

7. To serve, cut the cake into slices and serve drizzled with the chocolate glaze. Serve any remaining glaze separately.

Triple Truffle Cake
Makes one 10 by 5-inch triple-layer cake

This three-layer truffle cake is enriched with ground almonds, soaked with coffee syrup, and gilded with a dense frosting. It's a symphony of taste and texture.

If you don't have a pastry bag, you can still prepare this special occasion cake by spreading the frosting over the sides and top.

Equipment Needed: * 10 by 15-inch jelly-roll pan * baking parchment * electric mixer * pastry bag (optional)

Chocolate frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Cake:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
4 ounces toasted blanched almonds, finely ground
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Coffee syrup:
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur

Garnish:
Chocolate leaves (optional)

Make the chocolate frosting:
1. In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, butter, and corn syrup to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Cover loosely and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to spread.

Make the cake:
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the jelly-roll pan with baking parchment and butter the paper.

3. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, melt the chocolate on High in a microwave oven for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth. Set aside to cool.

4. Put the butter and half of the sugar in a bowl and cream together using the electric mixer on medium speed. Add the cooled chocolate and beat until combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl. Add the almonds and crumbs and beat on low speed until combined.

5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy using the mixer and clean beaters. Add the cream of tartar and the remaining sugar, a little at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold the remaining whites in until no streaks of white remain.

6. Place the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the pan onto a large wire rack and remove the paper. Turn the cake right side up and cool to room temperature.

Make the coffee syrup:
7. In a small saucepan, combine the coffee, sugar, and liqueur over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Assemble the cake:
8. Brush the cake with the coffee syrup. Slice the cake into thirds crosswise, making three 5 by 10-inch layers. Set one of the layers on a serving plate and spread a thin film of frosting over the top. Set another cake layer on top and spread it with a thin film of frosting. Top with the remaining cake. Spread or pipe the remaining frosting with a pastry bag fitted with a ribbon tip in a decorative design over the sides and top of the cake. Garnish as desired.

Truffle Pie
Makes 12 servings

Mention the word "truffle," and you could be referring to one of nature's most expensive ingredients or to a luxurious chocolate confection. Like a good truffle, this pie is rich and silky and intense with the flavor of good chocolate. Just a thin slice makes the most wonderful ending to an elegant meal.

As extravagant as this pie looks and tastes, it may be one of the simplest and quickest recipes to prepare in this book. The crust comes together in a food processor, and the pie, once filled, requires no baking at all.

Equipment Needed: * food processor fitted with metal blade * 8- or 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom * electric mixer * pastry bag (optional)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Filling:
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Garnish:
Grated semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust:
2. Combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, and butter, in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are crushed and the butter is incorporated. Remove from processor and press the crust over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes; then set aside on a rack to cool.

Make the filling:
3. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to bubble around the edges; be careful not to let it scorch.

4. In a double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Gradually add the hot cream to the melted chocolate, stirring constantly to combine. Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla until fully blended. Cook over low heat until thickened and hot, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour the filling into the prebaked crust and chill for at least 4 hours.

Make the whipped cream:
5. Put the cream and powdered sugar in a chilled bowl and beat with the electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

6. Before serving, pipe the whipped cream with a pastry bag over the filling in a crosshatch pattern or spoon it on decoratively. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over all.

7. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the pie to a plate for serving.

Cappuccino Truffle Mousse Pie
Makes 12 servings

The drama of Truffle Pie (page 196) lies in its intensely flavored chocolate filling. One day I was wondering how to lighten the filling but still keep the exquisite richness of that wonderful pie. I added whipped cream to the cappuccino-flavored top layer. Then I added a nutty crust and a white chocolate drizzle over all.

This dessert is a showstopper, but it's easy to make. In fact, it has to be made in advance to allow the filling, a basic mousse preparation, to chill.

Equipment Needed: * 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom * electric mixer

Crust:
2 cups skinned hazelnuts, toasted (See Tip: To Skin Hazelnuts, page 172)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Mousse filling:
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2/3 cup chilled heavy cream, beaten until stiff

Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream, divided
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the tart pan and set aside.

Make the crust:
2. Combine the nuts, flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, and butter in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground and the butter is incorporated. Press the crust over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside on a rack to cool.

Make the filling:
3. In the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks. Whisk in the cream and cook, stirring, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

4. Pour 2/3 of the warm chocolate filling into the prebaked crust, then refrigerate the pie for 1 hour.

5. While the remaining chocolate filling is still warm, add the dissolved coffee mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

6. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled cappuccino mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon the filling over the chilled chocolate filling in the pie shell, spreading it evenly, and refrigerate the pie again for 4 hours.

Make the garnish:
7. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, heat 1/3 cup of the heavy cream with the white chocolate on High in a microwave oven for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

8. Put the remaining 2/3 cup of cream and the powdered sugar in a chilled bowl and beat using the electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the pie:
9. Garnish the top of the pie with dollops of the whipped cream, then drizzle the white chocolate cream decoratively over the cream and pie.

Tip: Using a Squeeze Bottle with Chocolate Cream to Garnish

Using a squeeze bottle is the easiest way to create a design with a melted chocolate garnish. Simply put warm chocolate cream in the bottle and squeeze gently over the surface of the dessert. If you have any leftover cream, store the bottle in the refrigerator. To reuse, simply heat the bottle in hot water until the cream pours again. Make everyday desserts special by drizzling chocolate cream prettily over a piece of bundt or pound cake or, easier still, a scoop or two of frozen yogurt.

Pecan Lily Pads
Makes 18

The term "lily pad" has always summoned up an image so beautiful to me that I felt destined to use it as the title of one of my special-occasion desserts. I call these a dessert, but they're really confections — nuts, caramel, and chocolate. I absolutely adore these nuggets of delight (and the macadamia nut variation that follows).

Pay attention when cooling the caramel. You want to be able to shape it with your hands, which means it must be cool, but it must not be so cold that it hardens and sets. Here, practice will make perfect.

Equipment Needed: * baking sheet * pastry brush

Caramel:
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 recipe Double Chocolate Sauce
(page 186)

Garnish:
72 toasted pecan halves, plus additional chopped pecans, toasted

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Make the caramel:
2. Follow the directions on page 176, Steps 4 and 5. Transfer the caramel to a bowl, cover, and cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm enough to form into a ball with your fingertips.

3. Prepare the Double Chocolate Sauce according to the directions on page 187.

Make the candies:
4. On the prepared baking sheet, arrange a cross-shaped cluster of 4 pecan halves. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of the caramel and press it over the center of the nut cluster, letting the ends of some of the nuts remain exposed. Spoon a level teaspoon of the warm chocolate sauce over the caramel, spreading it smooth and letting it drip over the candy. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the warm chocolate.

5. Continue to make candies with the remaining ingredients in the same way. When done, refrigerate the candies, covered, on the baking sheet for 30 minutes. Store any remaining candies in layers separated by sheets of wax paper in an airtight container.

Macadamia Lily Pads
Makes 18

Lily pads made with macadamia nuts are special enough, but I've added a little something extra: Instead of topping the nut clusters with caramel and double chocolate sauce, I've used caramel and peanut butter fudge sauce. The combination is fantastic! In fact, when the girls and I make lily pads, we make a batch of each and serve them together. You guessed it — there are never any left!

Equipment Needed: * pastry brush (for caramel) * baking sheet

1 recipe Caramel (page 202)

Peanut butter fudge sauce:
6 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
About 100 whole macadamia nuts, plus additional, chopped for garnish

1. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Make caramel as directed on page 176 and cool it as instructed in Step 2 on page 202.

Make peanut butter fudge sauce:
3. In a ceramic or glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, heat the chocolate with the cream and peanut butter on High in a microwave oven for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

4. Make lily pads, using 5 or 6 nuts, depending upon the size, for each cluster, arranging in a circular pattern on the baking sheet. Spoon the caramel and the peanut butter fudge sauce over tops. Garnish with chopped macadamia nuts, cool, and store as directed on page 202.

Copyright © 1996 by Debra J. Fields and Reid/Land Productions

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