Courtesy of Chef Kjartan Skjelde
Courtesy of Mary Sommers
This will make one 10″ Tart. You will need a 10″ removable bottom tart pan.
Peel, cut in half and core 3 pears. Poach them until soft in the following liquid.
After pears are softened by poaching, cool them and slice them very thin from the stem end through the blossom end. Place them on paper towels to drain while you make the crust and the filling.
Persimmon Pudding is a rich, delicious cake that takes advantage of the delicate Hachiya persimmons — the orb or acorn shaped ones that must become soft to be ripe. Pudding is the classic term used for desserts in the UK. Recently, I discovered this was true here in the US into the 20th century. Served with lemon sauce and whipped cream, it’s divine! The perfect Thanksgiving dessert, it also serves well for December holidays. If you use just some at a time, I recommend wrapping the balance of the cake in a clean dish towel moistened with Brandy or rum.
Courtesy of Chef David Lebovitz: www.davidlebovitz.com
Courtesy of Dona Judith Galicia
This recipe comes from Papantla, Veracruz, the center of the Mexican vanilla growing industry. Although apples are certainly not a fruit we associate with the tropics, the apples come from the Sierra Madre Oriental, the mountain range that is only a few hours away.
Lemon curd is one of those incredibly versatile recipes that can be used in so many ways! If you can keep from eating it by the spoonful out of the bowl or jar, it’s perfect as a jam on toast, biscuits, scones, waffles and pancakes. You can blend 1/2 cup of lemon curd with some fruity olive oil to use as a sauce for salmon or scallops. Blend lemon curd with whipped cream to fill meringue shells, then top them with blueberries or raspberries. And, of course, it is absolutely divine in Sicilian Lemon Tart. The best part is that it’s not difficult to make and lemons are available even during the winter months. Nothing quite like the bright, tart taste of lemon to lift our spirits!
Courtesy of Chef Bev Shaffer
Courtesy of Chef Tony Nigro
Note: This is a multi-level project. It’s not difficult, but it is time-consuming. It’s also impressive and delicious. It comes with the additional recipe for lady-fingers. These delicate sponge-cake treats are useful for tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake and other specialties. Although Tony didn’t indicate his recipe should be made this way, you could line an 8- or 9-inch spring-form pan with the lady-finger batter, then, after batter is baked, fill the pan with the pumpkin mousse. This method is less time-consuming yet maintains the beautiful flavor palette of the recipe. Decorated, it will have a dramatic presentation as well.
While I was writing VANILLA, I discovered that before Thomas Jefferson brought vanilla beans to the United States, the ice cream flavor of the moment was lemon. The idea of lemon ice cream sounded intriguing, but when I looked for recipes, all I could find were lemon sorbet and sherbet. I experimented and came up with a real winner. This recipe is ideal as a light dessert and “palate cleanser.” As it’s also lower in calories than regular ice cream, it avoids the category of “guilty pleasure.”
This is a very popular dessert as most of us love the rich and homey taste and texture of custard. The warm crunchy sugar crust, in contrast with the silken cold custard makes each bite a total sensory pleasure. Serve just as it is or with fresh berries on top.
Note: You may substitute 2 teaspoons of Rain’s Choice vanilla paste instead of the bean, vanilla bean powder and extract. Eliminate the bean, powder and extract and add vanilla bean paste to the cooled custard mixture before baking.
Courtesy of Gina Tassone, Vanilla Contessa
Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of bananas that have gone from perfect to mush, seemingly overnight. Summer is especially cruel to the sweet and perishable fruit. The Queen’s right-hand woman, Gina, a.k.a. the Contessa, has thoughtfully shared with us a great recipe for utilizing those overripe bananas. You will undoubtedly want to use this recipe often, as it’s quite good.
Years ago I lived in a rural area on the California Coast. I was writing cookbooks and doing some consulting work but I also wanted to be doing something that involved community and made money. A cookie business came to mind.
These cookies are hands down, the best cut-out cookies, whether they’re for the holidays or the 4th of July! They’re especially interesting with Tahitian vanilla extract as the flavor carries through nicely. I personally prefer them with a light sprinkle of flavored sugar instead of being frosted.
What I love about these cookies is that they are deeply chocolate, slightly crisp and chewy on the outside and densely chocolate inside. Just before serving, pop them into a microwave for a few seconds or a warm (not hot) oven for a few minutes to melt the chocolate a little. They also keep well, assuming you can keep from eating them all in one sitting.
Courtesy of Chef Stephen Block: www.kitchenproject.com
Chef Stephen says, “The most fascinating thing to me about this classic German Christmas cookie is how the flavors of this cookie develop with aging. A few weeks in a cookie tin and all the spices and flavors double in flavor.
“Some recipes actually call for a very small amount of ground pepper to be added to the dough. We recommend that the pepper be used at the discretion of the cook. Since these cookies contain no shortening, they become rather hard; they may need to be “dunked” in milk or coffee.”