Fruit desserts are more than tarts and pies—they’re cakes, mousses, cookies and so much more. It doesn’t matter if you grow and pick from the garden, or browse and buy from the farmers' market or grocery store, Jackie Bruchez has the perfect dessert for your bounty.
This comprehensive cookbook helps you pack more sweetness into your day in the most extravagant fashion possible. The variety of flavors makes it easy to spice up simple cookies with berries in Blueberry–White Chocolate Oatmeal cookies, swap out brownies for Apple-Maple Blondies and make the most of summer with a Rhubarb-Striped Mango Cake. Every confection includes fantastic fruits that elevate each dessert to something more complex than the average sweet.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I am far from simple in everyday life. I've been known to say, "I'll become a minimalist when Elton John does." But when it comes to desserts, sometimes simplicity is key. While I love a good fruit-enhanced cake, I also love a warm and bubbly fruit cobbler. In-season fruits are the best for these sorts of desserts because of their sun-ripened sweetness. This chapter includes recipes from simple Merlot-Poached Pears to Blood-Orange Crème Brûlée. You will find that all the recipes take the tree-ripened fruit to a whole new level and turn them into an elegant dessert perfect for any occasion.
Growing up, this is the one dessert that I remember my mom made on a regular basis. It wasn't until well into my adulthood that I began making it for my own family. With a little adapting and some brown sugar butter crumble, these baked apples quickly became a family favorite. Now, it is the first recipe we make after coming home from our annual day of apple picking.
MAKES: 4 apples
2 cups (480 ml) apple cider
2 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter
3 tbsp (40 g) light brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (20 g) rolled oats
1/3 cup (70 g) light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (60 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
4 firm cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or Braeburn
½ tbsp (8 ml) lemon juice Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
To make the cider syrup, pour the cider into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, and continue to cook until the cider has reduced to half and is somewhat syrupy, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter, brown sugar and salt. Pour the syrup into the bottom of an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) or 6-cup (1.4-L) baking dish.
To make the crumble filling, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized clumps form. Set it aside.
Cut the tops off the apples. Using a melon baller, core out the center of the apples, leaving about an inch (2.5 cm) of flesh against the skin. Discard the tops, seeds and core, but retain the extra apple flesh. Chop the extra flesh and toss it in with the crumble filling. Brush the insides of the apples with lemon juice to avoid browning. Position the hollow apples in the baking pan over the cider syrup. Fill each apple with the apple-oat crumble filling.
Cover the pan lightly with foil and bake the apples for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and baste the apples with the cider syrup in the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the apples. The apples should be soft, but not collapsing.
Serve the apples warm with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with leftover cider syrup.
Apples can also be served with a drizzle of homemade Crème Anglaise.
Poached pears are one of my favorite desserts to serve at dinner parties during the fall. Like the Cider-Baked Apples, these pears require little work and a few good quality ingredients. The better the wine you use, the better and more decadent the pears will be.
MAKES: 4 pears
3 cups (720 ml) good quality merlot
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 firm, medium-sized pears, such as Anjou, Bartlett or Bosc
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the merlot, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, set out a dish large enough to hold 4 pears. Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Cut off the bottoms of the pears to create a flat bottom. Add the pears to the liquid and simmer for 25 minutes, rotating the pears every 5 minutes until they are tender but still somewhat firm. Remove the pears from the liquid and place them on the dish.
Strain the liquid from the saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized bowl, and then return the liquid to the pan set over medium-high heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes; cool it to room temperature.
Plate the upright pears on individual serving dishes. Drizzle them with syrup and serve.
Poached pears can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill the pears in the strained poaching liquid before reducing the liquid to a syrup. Before serving, separate the pears and liquid and reduce the liquid to a syrup. Rewarm the pears in the syrup over medium-low heat until the pears are warm, if desired. Alternatively, serve the pears at room temperature drizzled with warm syrup.
PUFF PASTRY–BAKED PEARS
A simple yet elegant dessert, these decorative pears are full of rich, deep flavors and a perfectly buttery crust. The juxtaposition of textures from the soft pear and the golden flaky crust will blow your mind.
MAKES: 6 pear halves
3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp (30 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
3 pears, peeled, cored and halved
1 whole egg, beaten
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom; mix well and set it aside.
Unroll the refrigerated puff pastry dough and cut the dough into 6 pear shapes, making the shapes about an inch (2.5 cm) larger than the actual pear. Position the pastry pears on the lined baking sheets 2 inches (5 cm) away from each other. Use the excess pastry to make leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each pear-shaped pastry.
Using a pastry brush, brush the pear-shaped dough and leaves with three-fourths of the butter/sugar mixture. Place the pear halves, core side down, in the center of each pastry. Brush the pears with the remaining butter/sugar mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Using the same pastry brush, brush the exposed pastry dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve them immediately.
For a French-style dessert, add a small wedge of Brie cheese in the hollowed-out pear core before placing the pears core side down on the pastry.
Although cranberries are tart, coating them in sugar makes them a delightful treat and beautiful decoration. I usually make a few bags of these a year and use them on cakes, cookies, salads and cheeseboards. They bring color and a magical visual element to the final dish.
MAKES: 2 cups (200 g)
2 cups (480 ml) water
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (200 g) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup (130 g) sanding sugar
In a small saucepan, combine the water and granulated sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then remove it from the heat and cool the syrup for 10 minutes.
Place the cranberries in a large bowl and pour the syrup over the top. Stir gently to coat the cranberries with the syrup. Cool them completely, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once the cranberries have steeped and are cold, drain them into a colander. Place the sanding sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries in small batches, rolling to coat them with sugar. Spread the sugared cranberries in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let the cranberries sit at room temperature until dry, about 1 hour. Store the cranberries in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.
I usually dip a few sprigs of rosemary in the cranberry syrup before draining the syrup from the cranberries, then I dip the rosemary sprigs in the sugar as well. This also makes for a beautiful decoration, but is not quite edible.
These slightly tangy yet sweet treats are perfect for nibbling on, garnishing tarts or cakes or even using as a gourmet ice cream topper! They are super simple to make and will keep for up to two months in the refrigerator.
MAKES: 1.5 pints (550 g)
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 lb (455 g) whole kumquats, approximately 30–40
In a medium-sized pot, combine the sugar and water over medium heat; bring it to a simmer.
Slice the kumquats into halves or thirds (for the larger fruits), removing the seeds, if desired. Add the fruit to the simmering syrup and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the fruit steep, covered, for 8 hours.
After the fruit has soaked, return the pan to the stove and bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Carefully spoon the fruit and syrup into two half-pint (240-ml), wide-mouth Mason jars and let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover the jars with lids and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Leave smaller kumquats whole or cut them in half. Use this recipe to also make candied Meyer lemons. Simply slice four to five Meyer lemons, remove the seeds and proceed with the recipe.
BLOOD-ORANGE CRÈME BRÛLÉE
The first time I had a blood orange was when I was an exchange student in Switzerland. I was still learning my numbers and colors in French, so my host father would bring home different things to teach me new words. Orange was an easy one, because I could simply say it with a French accent. However, when he sliced it open, I gasped, as I had never seen a blood orange before. From then on, this citrus has been one of my favorite ways to glam up a standard dessert or brighten a gloomy winter day.
MAKES: 6 servings
4 cups (960 ml) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
6 large egg yolks
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp (10 g) blood-orange zest
¼ cup (60 ml) blood-orange juice
1 whole blood orange
Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean pod and scraped seeds over medium heat. Bring the cream to a low boil, then turn off the heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow. Whisk in the zest and the blood-orange juice. Temper the egg yolk/orange mixture by very slowly adding the hot cream to the mixture while whisking constantly. Pour the liquid into six (6-oz [180-ml]) ramekins, filling them three-fourths full.
Carefully place the ramekins in a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, being careful not to splash the hot water into the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil. Bake the crème brûlée for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it has set but is slightly jiggly in the center.
Remove the ramekins from the pan and cool them for 10 minutes, then chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
When you're ready to serve, slice the whole blood orange into six thick slices. Cut off the peel and rind and place an orange slice on each chilled crème brûlée. Sprinkle the ramekins with the remaining ½ cup (100 g) of sugar, then torch the sugar until golden brown. Alternatively, place the ramekins under the broiler set on high. Watch carefully and remove them when the sugar is caramelized.
These can also be made in mini 4- or 8-ounce (120- or 140ml) jars. This is particularly useful when making it for a small crowd because you can cover them with their lids and stack them in the fridge until ready to serve.
STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB ETON MESS
Any name that has the word mess in it resonates with me, despite being an odd name for a dessert. I'm one of those people who thrives in chaos. This dessert may appear to be a bit messy, but it works so well, and the pink-and-white layers contrast beautifully in the glasses! The crunchy meringue pieces absorb the delicious spring compote, and each bite is finished off with a taste of whipped-cream perfection. It's no wonder it has been a staple dessert in England since the late 1800s!
MAKES: 4 servings
1 cup (120 g) rhubarb, diced
1½ cups (240 g) sliced strawberries, divided
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1½ cups (360 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 small meringue cookies, broken into small pieces
4 strawberries, sliced, for garnish, optional
4 sprigs of mint, for garnish, optional
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the rhubarb, 1 cup (160 g) of the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and the strawberries have melted into a syrupy mixture. Remove it from the heat, stir in the remaining ½ cup (80 g) of the strawberries and cool it completely, then refrigerate it until cold, about 1 to 2 hours.
When you're ready to serve, beat the whipping cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Dollop a spoonful of the whipped cream into four decorative serving glasses or jars. Sprinkle a few meringue pieces over each glass, then top them with a layer of strawberry-rhubarb compote. Repeat the layers until the glasses are full. Garnish them with fresh strawberry slices and mint leaves, if desired.
The strawberry-rhubarb compote can be made up to two days in advance. Simply stir in the additional ½ cup (80 g) of the fresh strawberries when you're ready to serve.
STRAWBERRY-APRICOT BROWN BUTTER CRUMBLE
There's nothing quite like a fresh, seasonal crumble topped with a giant scoop of melting ice cream. In my husband's hometown in Switzerland, the small highway leading into the village is lined with apricot trees that you can smell from a mile away during the summer. It's something that he reminisces about every year. So whether I'm trying to butter him up before a big purchase or just trying to ease his homesickness, the aroma of this cobbler baking always does the trick.
MAKES: 6 servings
8 apricots, peeled and quartered
1 qt (640 g) strawberries, sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
? cup (70 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (10 g) cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter
¾ cup (60 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
¾ cup (100 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (70 g) light brown sugar, packed
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt Ice cream, for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
To make the fruit filling, in a deep-dish baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, or three mini cast-iron pans, add the apricots, strawberries, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gently stir it to evenly coat the fruit; set it aside. If you're using three pans, add the apricots, strawberries, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a large bowl, gently stir it to evenly coat the fruit, then evenly distribute to the three pans.
To make the topping, in a small saucepan, cook the butter over low heat, stirring regularly until the butter is a deep golden color and smells nutty, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix in the browned butter, making sure to scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pan into the flour mixture.
Sprinkle the crumb topping over the fruit. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crisp is golden and bubbling. Allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a large scoop of ice cream, if desired.
To peel the apricots, mark an X at the bottom of the fruit. Prepare a large bowl of ice water on the side. Bring a large saucepan half-full of water to a boil. Carefully drop the fruit (one to two pieces at a time) into the boiling water and let it sit for 30 to 40 seconds. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and submerge it into the ice-cold water for 30 seconds. Remove the fruit from the ice water and gently peel the skin away from the flesh. Cut it in half, remove the pit and slice as desired.
SUMMER BERRY CHAMPAGNE TERRINE
This lovely, refreshing gourmet version of a Jell-O® shot requires no baking and only about fifteen minutes to put together.
MAKES: 6 servings
2 tbsp (30 g) unflavored gelatin
1 cup (240 ml) cold water
2 cups (250 g) berries, plus extra for garnishing
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (480 ml) chilled champagne, such as Brut Champagne, divided
1 cup (240 ml) chilled sparkling grape or apple juice
Whipped cream, for garnish
Mix the gelatin and water in a small bowl; let it sit for 5 minutes.
Line one (9 x 5–inch [23 x 13–cm]) terrine mold or loaf pan with plastic wrap. Arrange the berries inside the pan.
In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, cook the sugar and 1 cup (240 ml) of the champagne until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove it from the heat and add the gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin mixture has completely melted into the champagne/sugar mixture. Pour in the remaining 1 cup (240 ml) of champagne, as well as the sparkling grape juice.
Carefully pour the champagne mixture over the berries in the pan, leaving approximately an inch (2.5 cm) of space at the top of the pan. Cover the top of the gelatin with plastic wrap, then cover it with a second terrine or loaf pan, with the bottom of it sitting on the plastic wrap. Place a can from your pantry on top of the second terrine to weigh down the fruit. Refrigerate it overnight.
When you're ready to serve, dip the tin briefly in hot water, then invert it onto a serving plate. Dip a sharp knife into hot water and cut the gelatin mold into slices. Top the servings with extra berries and/or whipped cream.
When it comes to berries, I was always taught to secretly test the fruit before buying it. Or for the more socially acceptable route, you can always ask the produce manager in most stores, and they will gladly give you a sample. Make sure the berries are plump, tender and bright in color. Check the bottom of the container for moldy or mushy berries and that the plastic separating the berries from the container is not damp or stained.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Decadent Fruit Desserts"
Copyright © 2019 Jackie Bruchez.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Cider-Baked Apples 11
Merlot-Poached Pears 12
Puff Pastry-Baked Pears 15
Sugared Cranberries 16
Candied Kumquats 19
Blood-Orange Crème Brülée 20
Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess 23
Strawberry-Apricot Brown Butter Crumble 24
Summer Berry Champagne Terrine 27
Honey Cinnamon-Grilled Peaches 28
Stone Fruit Cobbler 31
Plum Clafoutis 32
Honey-Roasted Figs 35
Fruits that Take the Cake 37
Bananas Foster Cake 39
Blood-Orange Bundt Cake 41
Tropical Fruit Trifle 45
Rhubard-Striped Mango Cake 46
Fresh Raspberry-Lime Cake 49
Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake 50
Quick Rhubarb Cake with Crème Anglaise 53
No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes 54
Blueberry-Thyme Pound Cake 57
The Best Real Strawberry Cake 58
Plum Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake 61
Fresh Fig Banana Bread 62
Surprise Pear Gingerbread 65
Apple Cake with Apple Butter Filling and Dulce de Leche Frosting 66
Tiger Fig Pistachio Roulade 69
Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cake 72
Upping the Pie Game 75
Roasted Grape Tart 77
Chocolate-Pomegranate Tart 78
Fall's Best Apple-Pear Pie 81
Banana Crème Brûlée Tart with Hazelnut Crust 82
Raspberry-Ricotta Cheesecake 85
Peach Bakewell Tart 86
Nectarine Galette 89
Berry Fried Hand Pies 90
Classic French Fruit Tart 93
Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie 95
Paloma Tart 99
Forks Not Required 101
Blackberry Custard Bars 103
Lemon Cheesecake Bars 104
Bourbon-Cherry Brown Butter Bars 107
Apricot-Oatmeal Bars 108
Apple-Maple Blondies 111
Raspberry Frangipane Scones 112
Cherry Pie Turnovers 115
Blueberry-White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies 116
Raspberry Meringues 119
Cherry Double-Chocolate Cookies 120
Frozen Sweet Concoctions 123
Cantaloupe Rose Sorbet 125
Balsamic-Strawberry Ice Cream 126
Watermelon-Mint Granita 129
Island Sherbet 130
Raspberry-Apricot Mascarpone Ice Cream 133
Pomegranate-Almond Champagne Sorbet 134
Tropical Mango Popsicles 137
Blackberry Vacherin 138
Cranberry-Pear Ice Cream 141
Fruit Curd Base 145
Blueberry Mousse 146
Pomegranate Panna Cotta 149
Caramel-Passion Fruit Pot de Crème 150
Banana-Chocolate Pot de Crème with Cognac Sauce 153
Passion Fruit Pastry Cream 154
About the Author 157