This variation is one of the fanciest of my panna cotta recipes. It pairs the tropical flavor of coconut (which is my go-to at the end of winter when I'm so tired of apples, pears, and citrus fruits) with a bright fuschia-colored layer of hibiscus gelee and little gems of pomegranate seeds.
Welcome to our newest column, Seasonal Sweets, where Jenny McCoy—pastry chef, ICE instructor, and author of Desserts for Every Season—will be sharing a recipe that highlights the best ingredients of the season. First up? Easy chocolate-banana croissants.
Hands down, panna cotta is my favorite dessert. (Just ask any server at Craft what the pastry chef recommends and their response will be panna cotta.) In this recipe, the sweet milk chocolate is nicely paired with the tartness of raspberries and the complexity of saba.
When I make a crisp, I make a very large crisp—mostly because it's such a crowd pleaser that unless you have way more than you need, you'll never have leftovers. And those leftovers make a fantastic breakfast!
Swirl ice creams are the best of both worlds--ribbons of sweet and sticky jam folded into rich and creamy ice cream. It's like a sundae in one scoop. What could be better?
I love making crepes—the accomplishment of flipping (without ripping) them brings me great satisfaction. Once you get the hang of the technique, I'm sure you'll agree. These incorporate cocoa powder (I recommend Valrhona brand) into the crepe itself; the crepes are then rolled with blackberries and a mascarpone filling.
How this classic French dessert goes virtually unknown amongst many home bakers is a mystery to me. It is elegant, easy to make, and goes great with just about any ripe fruit—cherries are perfect for the season. Give it a try and tell your friends; I'm on a mission to give it the limelight it deserves.
As a professional pastry chef, I did the unthinkable last night. I bought pre-made cookie dough from the market. (Shame.) It was a chilly night and already 9 p.m., and spending an extra hour making cookies from scratch on top of dinner prep was simply out of the question. So I did something I haven't done since I entered culinary school 12 years ago—I used my dough to buy another's.
Everyone's had cannoli (if you haven't, stop reading right now and go to your nearest Italian bakery). Mmm, delicious little tubes of fried pastry, filled with sweetened ricotta and dusted with confectioner's sugar. Italy's version of the éclair. If you're lucky, you've had them homemade—light and crispy with a creamy whipped filling, decorated with chopped pistachios or chocolate chips. If you're not as lucky, maybe you've had them from a bakery or, shudder, a gas station. But they're always better homemade.
While perusing the aisles of Dean & Deluca a few days ago, I found to my delight, 15 different types of licorice sold in their bulk candy section. As I peered through the giant glass jars, I marveled at how many varieties I'd never even heard of. Licorice has always been one of my favorite treats. So much so that on Halloween, when all my friends would gather to trade our loot at the end of the evening as I would happily turn over my stock of Snickers bars for boxes of Good & Plenty, and receive star status for my peculiar tastes in candy. I thought I'd be able to handle all 15 without a doubt. Uh, I was wrong.
Last week I went home to Chicago to visit my family and while in town, I also paid a visit to Marshall Fields & Company for a box of Frango Mints. They are something of an Andes-Candy-turned-bon-bon. With a filling of peppermint-flavored ganache, enrobed in a semisweet chocolate shell, they are simply delicious.
New Orleans has always had great ways to make the best out of its sweltering days. A sno-ball from Hansen's Sno-Bliz is definitely one of my favorites, a strawberry daiquiri from any number of drive-thru outlets falling shortly behind, and an ice-cold Abita root beer will always do the trick. But recently I discovered some refreshing homemade popsicles from Meltdown Popsicles, located in the French Quarter.
My favorite ice cream of all time is Mint Chocolate Chip—it always has been, always will be. And when blended into a shake with a heavy-handed dash of malt powder, I'm in heaven. It's my version of a gourmet Shamrock Shake, that amazing blend of frozen vanilla soft serve, peppermint flavoring, and green dye at select McDonald's during St. Patty's time. So when I recently stumbled upon a tin of bright green Mint Chip Maltballs at Dean & Deluca, I was ecstatic.
Single bean chocolate varieties are replacing blends, and the result is fascinating. These dark chocolates from the French chocolate company Pralus are a perfect example.
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