Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

T-minus 24 hours.  The countdown has begun to Thanksgiving dinner.  The one day of the year when all of America sits down for a nice meal together.  We’ve just returned home after being in NYC for the past week, so needless to say, I’m behind.  Very, very behind.  Besides a bag of pears, the fridge sits strikingly empty—as does my grocery list.  I’m in trouble.  BIG TIME.  Given the circumstances, I’d normally be in a full-state of unabashed panic by now.  But instead, I’m calm.  I even surprise myself.  It might have something to do with what I saw in NYC.

I love NYC.  After countless trips over the years, I’d never made it out to see Lady Liberty.  I’d much rather wander the streets of the West Village and eat to my heart’s content.  This time, we finally go.  Laying eyes on Her for the first time strikes a chord in me I hadn’t expected.  Maybe because She symbolizes what’s so good about this country.  Freedom. Liberty.  Maybe because She’s the very first sight millions  of immigrants see as they enter America.  I wasn’t born here.  My husband wasn’t born here.  But this country welcomed us both with open arms and boundless optimism.  As corny as it may sound, we love this country.  I’m calm because I’m thankful for so many things, but Lady Liberty reminded us how truly lucky we are to live in a country like this one.  How lucky we are to call it homeTogether.

Wherever home is for you, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!

Oh, almost forgotHarvest Pears Poached in Beaujolais make for the prrrrfect seasonal, festive, not-too-sweet ending.  Besides being a superb alternative to pumpkin pie, I’d make this elegant and light dessert again strictly for the intoxicating aroma and warmth that engulfed the house.  Oh boy.  Heavenly.  This one’s a keeper.  The holiday season is here.  Enjoy!

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Tweaked from NY Times, yields 6 servings

If you don’t have Beaujolais on hand, any fruity red wine will work just fine.  A lush Zinfandel would be a good choice.

Music Pairing: The Beatles, Thank You Girl

6 firm but ripe pears, such as Comice or Bartlett
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bottle Beaujolais
1/2 cup mild flavored honey, such as clover
2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick


Fill a bowl with water, and add the lemon juice. Peel the pears, taking care to leave the stem intact, and place in the bowl of water.

Tie the peppercorns and cinnamon stick into a cheesecloth pouch, and place in a large saucepan. Add the wine and honey, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Drain the pears and carefully add to the wine. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the liquid. Discard the cheesecloth bag.

Place the pears in serving dishes. Return the wine to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce by half of its volume. Spoon over the pears. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

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Guy’s Rice Pudding

What does a world renowned chef and reigning king of haute cuisine serve for dessert at his 3-star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Paris? What follows a gastronomic feast filled with black truffles, veal kidneys, foie gras and fromage where the average bill weighs in at $1500 for two? Apparently, from what I’ve read in review after review, that feast also includes a bread sommelier. A bread steward whose sole purpose in life, is to ensure you select the proper bread, from the dozen or so breads baked fresh in-house, to be paired with your course. No Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

After such royal treatment, I’d imagine dessert would have to be the bee’s knees. An urban legend filled with secret ingredients. Sacred vows of confidentiality. Some fancy French pastry crust no one could ever replicate, coupled with an even fancier French fruit filling. A dessert that took scores of Europe’s top pastry chefs centuries to conjure up and perfect. It turns out, nothing could be further from the truth. As described in his book, Guy Savoy, decides instead, to go with something he claims took him 30 years to muster up enough nerve to feature on his dessert menu. Something he touts that, for him, is “par excellence”. The minute I read this , I knew I had to try making Guy’s Rice Pudding.


Five simple ingredients, which you probably have sitting in your kitchen right now, is all it takes. A saucepan and a wooden spoon. A little scraping, a little stirring and less than an hour later – Voilà! C’est fini. For me, the best part of making this rice pudding, besides its sheer simplicity, was being swathed in the vanilla infused steam that rose steadily from the saucepan. Ahhhhhh…..one of the best home facials I’ve ever had. Guy writes that he likes to serve his rice pudding at room temperature, but I actually prefer mine warm. It’s not too sweet, ohhh sooo creamy, and an economical way to dream up a (teeny) tiny taste of dinner at Guy Savoy’s.


Rice Pudding
Tweaked from Guy Savoy, Simple French Recipes for the Home Cook, serves 4

Music Pairing: Eartha Kitt, C’est si bon


1/2 cup short-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half and half
2 vanilla beans
1/4 cup sugar


    Place rice in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain into a strainer.

    Return rice to the pan. Add milk and cream. Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Add pods and seeds to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    Stir in sugar and simmer for 10 more minutes. Pour the rice pudding into a small serving bowl, discarding vanilla beans. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve the pudding at room temperature.

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    Easy Autumn Apple Pie

    Now that the slew of friendly neighborhood ghouls, ghosts and goblins have swept in and out for yet another year, it’s time to blow out the candles nestled within our jack-o’-lanterns one last time and return focus to the vast moody beauty of Autumn and her boundless harvest.  She calls for a day of strolling through crunchy leaves, sipping our favorite hot espresso and savoring, with ample time on your side, a slice of fresh apple pie straight from the oven.  And not just any ‘ole apple pie.  This is the speediest and easiest apple pie recipe in the world.  Okay, maybe not THE world.

    But definitely — in my world.

    It all happens in one bowl.  There’s no crust.  No fuss.  No mess.  Which means, less washing up (especially when the plate is licked clean).  It makes a perfect afternoon treat to nibble on while sitting on your backyard swing.  Or, in our case, a perfect ending to a day spent roaming through the nooks and crannies of our favorite paths and parks.  If you’re ever in need of a quick dessert everyone will love for a mid-week impromptu dinner party or gathering, look no further.  Turn to this pie.  It won’t let you down.  Ever.  Especially given the onslaught of holiday soirees and the like, in the months ahead, you’ll want to have this delectable and dependable weapon in your arsenal.







    Tweaked from Easy Swedish Apple Pie

    I know there are a lot of die hard fans of solely using Granny Smith Apples for pies, but I like using apples I like to eat most – Fuji, Gala, and of course, I’ll throw in a pear for good measure.

    Music Pairing: Don McLean, Bye Bye Miss American Pie


    • 3-4 medium apples and/or pears – peeled, cored and sliced
    • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
    • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar, divided
    • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup melted butter
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 egg


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Toss apples and pear with 1 tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and lemon juice.  Pour into deep dish pie plate.  Thoroughly mix together flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, vanilla and egg.  Spread evenly over the top of pie.

    Bake until apples and pears have cooked and the topping is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

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