Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberries are a really versatile fruit–I mean how many amazing desserts come to mind when you think of strawberries? And out of all of those, I bet the first one that entered your mind was an American classic: strawberry shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcake

And so it only seems appropriate that this be my first strawberry post (oh there are many more coming! Crepes, while delicious, don’t count as the first! ). I was excited about strawberry season and all of the desserts I could see myself making, but my wife wasn’t too thrilled about it. This was the recipe that got her on board the strawberry train. Macerated, sweet, juicy strawberries are a delightful treat unto themselves, but with a flaky, crisp shortbread scone sandwiching it and sopping up those juices, you have an unstoppable combination. Throw a little home-made whipped cream, er, crème chantilly, in there, and these are just a sensation and my absolute… click to read more…

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Blueberry (or Cranberry) Muffins w/Hazelnut Streusel

Everybody loves muffins, whether it be the tops, the stumps, or the whole thing, and when I think muffins, I think blueberry muffins. Something about them is just comforting, warm, and inviting at any time of day. Whether it be a not-so-healthy breakfast or a mid-day snack, the fluffy, perfectly spiced muffins, sweet, oozing blueberries, and delicious, sweet and crunchy topping of these blueberry muffins are just there for you whenever you need a little something.

In searching for blueberry muffin recipes for inspiration, none of the batters really appealed to me. I instead decided to approach this like I would a cake, for in my mind, muffins are like cupcakes are like cakes, so there you have it. I thought I could get a fluffier, richer tasting muffin this way, and in the end, my wife and I were thrilled with the results. Its actually a great foundation for a… click to read more…

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Nectarine Cobbler

I figured dessert has been a little ice cream-centric lately, so it only seemed fair to give something else a shot. Well one of my favorite fruits has been very available lately–nectarines–and what better way to serve up a nectarine dessert than in a cobbler?

Nectarine Cobbler

Cobblers are a fun, comforting dessert–sort of like a fruity pie but without the trouble of making a proper crust and sort of like a cake, but without worrying about it looking pristine. A cobbler is just a nice, no frills way to serve up some delicious fruit. This smelled great while baking in the oven and it tasted wonderful–light, sweet, lively fruit flavor, and a spongy cake-like topping with a nutty crunch. I was disappointed in it when I ate it the first night though, but was delighted to fall in love with it again the next day–I suppose the flavors were shy and had to get to know each other a little… click to read more…

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Molten Chocolate Cake

This is one of those desserts surely everybody has had at least once before: a warm, flourless chocolate cake with the surprise of gooey, warm, fudgey chocolate oozing out of the center. Classic, rich, decadent, and most importantly, chocolate.

Molten Chocolate Cake

This particular recipe is from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert, which continues to be good to me. This recipe was a hit: 2 batches in one week! Batch one: I didn’t want big (well, normal-sized) cakes, so I thought it might be good to try a cupcake pan instead. I also wanted to add a little something different to the recipe, and I thought I had a simple, clever idea to make it better: why not add more texture contrast by coating the outside of the cake with praline (its not like my recent desserts show an odd obsession with hazelnuts or anything)? I’ve had this stuck in my head after seeing… click to read more…

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Upside-down Cardamom Praline Pear Cake

This is the time of year where pears are at their best, so what’s a fruit-based dessert junkie to do? This was a delicious, sweet and nutty upside-down cake, topped off with some caramelized pears.

Upside-down Cardamom Praline Pear Cake

Cardamom is one of those spices that you’ll find featured a lot in Indian cooking, but outside of that, it seems to be a pretty rare thing. If you’re not sure if you’ve ever had cardamom before, I’d recommend you try to pick some up with next week’s groceries–its interesting and you’ll find some good uses for it. I try to experiment with it a lot in other dishes, and I was delighted to have it featured in this dessert. The cake batter has three really strong flavors at play: cardamom, hazelnut, and almond, and having them all together at once is a really nice combination. No one flavor overpowers the other, but rather, they all just provide a well-rounded sweet/spicy/nuttiness to the batter… click to read more…

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Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard

This time of year is right smack in the middle of the harvest of one of my favorite fruits of all time: persimmons! I love eating persimmons fresh, but they really don’t get enough love recipe-wise. I was hoping I could try my hand at a different persimmon-based dessert: persimmon chiffon cake & custard drizzled with caramel sauce.

Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard drizzled with Caramel Sauce

If you’ve never heard of persimmons before, it is very important that we establish up front that these stout, orange-colored fruits (which look like odd tomatoes but are nothing like them) are simply the best fruit out there (I think I’d put figs second, for those keeping score). Grab some now at your grocery store if you can–they aren’t around long during the year, but they are really something.

Persimmons come in many different varieties which are all quite different from each other. My favorite is the hachiya: acorn shaped and one of the absolute worst things you could possibly eat… click to read more…

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