Category Archives: Dessert

Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu is the Italian creation which will save your ass when the 3:00 slump hits you at your desk, stove, steering wheel or washing machine.  Tiramisu literally means “pick me up” and with the coffee and sugar called for in the recipe, it will!  I first made this dessert in 1991.  I had decided to have an Italian Thanksgiving as I’ve never been a huge fan of turkey and the traditional “fixin’s”.  Our guests were family plus one of Jimmy’s students from MIT, Laura Duenes, and her boyfriend, Forest McKennie.  When Laura decided to pull up stakes and move to Fort Lauderdale, Jimmy immediately offered her a plum job.  She knew all of us…my entire family.  We loved her and she loved us.  Laura was young, smart, beautiful… the quintessential cheeky, sassy Chicana.   While she flew all over the country standing up to banks, my little sister, Pamela, kind of ran the office… answering the phones, filing, etc.  Nothing made them happier than when they were both in the office together.  One afternoon Jimmy returned to the office from a meeting.  Walking in, he found the office surprisingly quiet.  Turning a corner he found Laura’s and Pamela’s eyes riveted to the television set and his desk had been somewhat reorganized.  They were both doing their nails; his desk was covered with cuticle sticks, base coat, polish, top coat, nail files and all manner of hand creams.  As Jimmy exclaimed, “What’s going on here?   This is a business, ya know!” both girls, without moving a muscle, answered, “SHHHHH! We’re watching our story.  It’s General Hospital.  It’ll be over in a minute.”  Can you imagine saying that to your boss, never mind giving yourself a manicure at work!  Knowing he was outnumbered, Jimmy just shook his head and muttered, “Girls!”.  Laura was family.  We had a superb Thanksgiving that year.  I found the menu and have to say, it was pretty great.

The wine flowed and laughter rang out all afternoon.   The tiramisu was a huge hit, smooth, rich and cool on a hot south Florida day.  Laura and Forest eventually married and accepted positions in D.C., then south Africa and back to D.C..  Those were some good days and every single time I make tiramisu I think of that girl.

Tiramisu is a glorious make-ahead treat.  Granted, there are several steps in making it but, boy, is it worth it!  It can be prepared in a 9X13 inch dish, individual pots or wine glasses.  Some folks make their own ladyfingers but I find store-bought are fine.  Because the bags of cookies in my store are 7 ounces, I try to make a somewhat double layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of the dish.  One bag isn’t enough for this recipe and the extra cookies give the dish added structure.  There’s quite a bit of liquid in the recipe and the cookies soak it up in a most delicious way.  Tiramisu should be served as cold as you can get it, so feel free to chill your dishes if you’re inclined.  The set, chilled texture is not even as firm as Jello although it is not runny either.  If you prepare this dessert in one large dish it’s best to serve it up in the kitchen.  And be assertive with your serving spoon and spatula.  The tiramisu will lose its shape, fall over and slide around making serving a bit of a challenge but it’s not meant to be pretty.  It’s meant to be spectacular!

Classic Tiramisu

  • Servings: 14-16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 14 ounces ladyfingers
  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rum, dark or golden, divided
  • 4 tablespoons Gran Marnier
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa, to cover top of dish
  1. Set a 9X13 inch baking dish aside.
  2. In a large shallow bowl mix the espresso, 2 tablespoons of rum and Gran Marnier.
  3. Working quickly, dip each ladyfinger, one at a time, into the espresso mixture, moistening each side then placing on the bottom of the baking dish.  Continue until the bottom of the dish is completely covered.  I make a second layer of cookies, completely optional, with about 1″ in between each ladyfinger.  Reserve enough cookies for a final layer in between the mascarpone mixture.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl place the remaining rum and mascarpone and beat until smooth.  Set aside.
  5. In a small double-boiler over medium-low heat, beat the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar until light and foamy, about 4 minutes.
  6. Pour the hot yolks into the mascarpone mixture, mix well to combine and set aside.
  7. In a separate bowl, whip the cream with the  vanilla extract until soft peaks are formed  when the beaters are lifted.
  8. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold in.  Fold in the remaining cream adding 1/3 at a time.  Set aside.
  9. In a separate bowl and using a hand mixer with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until foamy.  Slowly add the remaining sugar and continue beating the egg whites until the peaks hold their shape.  Do not over beat.
  10. Add the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold in until there are no streaks of egg white.
  11. Pour half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers in the baking dish.
  12. Lightly dip the remaining ladyfingers, one at a time, in the espresso mixture and layer evenly over the poured mascarpone.  Break the cookies to cover any holes.
  13. Pour the remaining mascarpone mixture over the cookies, smooth the top and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  14. Prior to serving, cover the top of the tiramisu with a thick dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder.
  15. Serve immediately.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

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Double Strawberries and Cream Cheese in Puff Pastry

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When last Jim and I were in Paris we had the good fortune to meet several times with my extended family.  They entertained us as only Parisians can, in fine restaurants with lots of yummy champagne.  My cousins also rounded up the family who were in town for a Sunday afternoon reunion in the house of my father’s cousin, Marie Claire, where we spent the afternoon reminiscing  over days long past and laughing at our young foolishness, sipping champagne and nibbling on a gorgeous mirabelle plum tart made by my cousin Hubert’s wife, Anne.  Marie Claire’s apartment had been her sister, Francoise’, and that was where I began my first adventure in France oh, so many years ago.  Whenever I went to Paris I stayed with Francoise and having gone all over the city by foot I came to know her neighborhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine pretty well.  With Mama and without, I took the Metro to get around, and found the walk to the station and back to the apartment an absolute delight.  Magnificent  maple trees lined the streets leading to her house and, I have to tell you, I never felt prettier or happier than when I my feet hit those sidewalks.  I felt as though I was walking on air.  Francoise’ building was, and still is, magnificent.  The entrance hall was mahogany, the floor large black and white tiles whilst an antiquated brass elevator  waited at the right…or was it the on the left?  Regardless, it was there in all its creaky, rumbling glory.  However, if you chose not to wait, an exquisite caracol staircase was ready to take you to the second floor.  Although the elevator was majestic it was still a bit utilitarian so I always chose to take the staircase, resplendent with a dark ruby Persian runner held in place by old brass stair runners tacked into the well-worn mahogany steps,  stained obsidian and sunken in the middle by years of use.  And the apartment!  I remember some rooms being sea-green in color, enormous oils of our ancestors hung in heavy gold frames on most walls and the dining room and her generous bathroom completely beguiled me with its charming fireplace and mammoth, cast-iron claw-foot bathtub.  For me Francoise’ house was, and will always be, the height of luxury.  She introduced me to the French press for coffee, the beauty and pleasure of engraved calling cards, the importance of knowing how to read a map and the notion that a sterling porringer makes a fine ash tray.

Treasured bits from years past. Crazy about her calling card!
Treasured bits from years past. Crazy about her calling card!

Meals were small and only when necessary.  We were too busy to eat.  We left the flat early in the morning.   Most days Francoise went to her office where she wrote for various magazines while Mama and I were off to museums, shops and concerts, all possible by taking the Metro.  Towards the end of the day we met up for a glass of wine or champagne then back to the apartment to dress for dinner.  How I love that apartment and how special it was to be back in it with Hubert, Anne and their daughters and Grand-cousin, Marie Claire.  Still lovely and well-appointed with family pieces but now with bursts of life and color from the artwork of many grandchildren.  Merci encore, Marie Claire, pour un apres-midi splendide!

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This pastry is not only easy but dramatic in its presentation.  The puff pastry is store-bought and although it appears braided it is not.  Strips of dough are folded over and the end result is one good-looking dessert.  The dried and fresh berries compliment each other quite well, the dried berries mixed with cream cheese lend a creamy texture while the fresh give a juicy blast of flavor.

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Double Strawberry and Cream Cheese in Puff Pastry

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 12-14 fresh, ripe strawberries, sliced vertically 1/4″ in thickness
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, I like using vanilla sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1.2-ounce bag or 2 cups of freeze-dried strawberries, available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 (that’s 1 sheet) of a 17.3 ounce box of puff pastry, thawed but kept in the refrigerator until needed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Toss the fresh strawberry slices with tablespoon of sugar and set aside to macerate.
  3. In a blender, mini-food processor or magic bullet process the freeze-dried strawberries until they are the texture of powder.
  4. In a small bowl mix the cream cheese until it becomes loose and easy to handle.
  5.  Add the strawberry powder and confectioners’ sugar to the cream cheese and stir until both are completely mixed together.
  6. Remove the sheet of puff pastry from the refrigerator and gently unfold on top of the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tin foil.  Place the pastry so the fold marks run vertically.  The pastry will look like 3 equal rectangles attached together by the folds.
  7. Working as quickly as possible so the dough stays chilled, lightly roll out the dough so that it measures roughly 9 1/2″X 10 1/2″.
  8. Leaving the inside rectangle intact, make 1/2″ diagonal cuts into the two outside pastry rectangles.  Discard the 4 corners of the pastry.
  9. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly down the center rectangle all the way to the cuts.  Mound the fresh berries on top of the cream cheese mixture evenly.
  10. Fold the top and bottom flap of dough over the berry filling.
  11. Fold the diagonal cuts over the berry mixture alternating left and right until the entire pastry is braided.  Tuck in any loose ends.
  12. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
  13. Bake pastry for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
  14. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Silky Coconut Cream Cheese Flan

One of my favorite Christmas scents is alcohol breath at midnight Mass.  It’s almost tradition for grownups to show up lit up.  Consider this.   If one sits down to Christmas Eve dinner at 7:00pm and the meal is concluded at, say, 8:30pm…well, there’s quite a bit of time to get into trouble before sliding into your pew to hear a few carols before the service begins.  We started our tradition years ago.  And when I say “we” I mean Pamela, my little sister, and me.  Mama would have a Puerto Rican Christmas Eve dinner with many of the typical dishes shipped to us in dry ice.   Remember, Mama didn’t cook.  After a rich, heavy dinner we had to move so Pamela and I took off  and met our friends at Mai Kai, a famous Polynesian restaurant and bar here in town known for their island dancers and rum drinks.  It was great when Jimmy and I started dating because then we had a driver.  The three of us would have two or three barrels of  rum, (that was the name of the drink….lethal), and at 11:30 the three of us would stumble out of the bar and Jimmy would drive to church where Mama would be waiting for us.

I love out beautiful church, Saint Anthony. We've been parishioners over 55 years. Mama so loved our church.
I love our beautiful church, Saint Anthony. We’ve been parishioners over 55 years. Mama so loved our church!

Midnight Mass was always packed, standing room only, with all dressed in their holiday finery.  If we had a cold snap a few furs would be seen.  As we maneuvered through the crowd waving at friends and the parents of friends, our eyes scanned our beautiful church searching for Mom.  And then, suddenly, there she was soaking in the exquisite music of the choir.  The moment we laid eyes on her the ruckus began.  We thought we were whispering but apparently not.  “Mama!  MAH-MUH!!  I love you, Mama.”  Her mouth set in an angry line she’d make room for us in the pew.  By the time Mass ended we’d pretty much be forgiven but then Pamela always, always had to do cartwheels on the church’s front lawn.  Boy, did we catch heck all the way home.  “Your father and I have a name in this town!  Are you trying to ruin us?  Alicia, what are you thinking?  You’re supposed to set an example for your sister, caramba!”  Pamela and I laugh about it now but only because we truly believe Mama’s enjoying celestial, angelic music in Heaven.  Though we miss Mom so much we ache, we do wish her a merry, merry Christmas!

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One of the few dishes Mama made herself for Christmas Eve was flan.  It was a traditional flan, the flavored ones had not yet begun to appear.  This flan is silky smooth, redolent with the flavor of coconut and the more subtle notes of cream cheese.  What I really enjoy about it is it never has that “eggy” taste many flans have.  And since only coconut cream and milk are used there are no little flecks of grated coconut meat floating around in your mouth.  Bleah.  Most recipes call for a 10″ cake or round pan.  I used an 8″ round cake pan with 4″ tall sides.  If you use a pan smaller than 10″ make certain the sides are 4″-5″ tall.  This dish needs to be made in advance, yay!, in order to set and chill.  I’ve made it 2 days before serving and it’s perfection.  It is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.  My friend, Andrea, said it should be made illegal.  Or at least made every Christmas Eve!

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Coconut Cream Cheese Flan

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups cream of coconut
  • 1 13.66-ounce can coconut milk
  • 10 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a medium size pot pour the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Do not stir! When it turns caramel in color pour into waiting baking pan.  Immediately rotate the pan so the caramel completely covers the bottom of the pan.  The caramel hardens quickly so move fast.  Set pan aside.
  3. Place cream cheese in a large bowl and using a hand mixer beat until fluffy.
  4. Add the cream of coconut to the cream cheese and mix well.
  5. Add the coconut milk to the cream cheese mixture and beat well until all ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
  6. In a medium size bowl break the eggs and, using a hand whisk, gently beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are thoroughly mixed.  You want to minimize the air bubbles so don’t use a hand mixer or blender.
  7. Pour the eggs into the cream cheese mixture and using the hand whisk blend well.
  8. Pour the cream cheese and egg mixture into the baking dish and place the filled baking dish into a larger baking pan, for instance a casserole dish.
  9. Heat some water to the boiling point and  carefully pour the water into the larger baking pan or casserole dish.  The water should reach 3/4 of the way up the sides of the flan pan.  In other words, you’re making a bain Marie.
  10. If using a 10″ pan bake for 1 hour or until the middle of the flan is “jiggly”.  For a taller 8″ pan bake for 2 hours.
  11. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap directly onto flan and chill overnight up to 2 days.
  13. Right before serving remove plastic wrap, run a knife around the edge of the flan, cover the flan with your serving platter and quickly invert.  The flan should slide right out onto your platter.  If not, gently tap the platter on your counter or carefully shake the inverted pan.  Once a little air gets around the flan it’ll come right out with the melted caramel syrup.
  14. Spoon a bit of syrup over every slice prior to serving.

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Peppermint Bark

It’s hard to stay away from holiday treats and Peppermint Bark is no exception.  Williams-Sonoma features a Peppermint Bark during the holidays that has to be, if not the best, one of the top two or three.  But at $29.00 per pound, well, I have to say, I can’t afford it.  Neither can my waistline so it’s probably better that way.  Between eggnog, coquitos and peppermint bark, December is usually the time of a losing battle for me.  I tried my hand at making my own bark and after quite a few attempts have come to a few conclusions.  Since most days in south Florida range from the high-70’s to the mid-80’s, chocolate is NOT going to firm up on your counter.  And if there is any humidity what so ever, and here there always is, the crushed peppermints will weep, bleed and stick all over everything.  I yearned for the “snap” of commercial chocolate when broken apart and learned that tempering chocolate is not enough.

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Tempering chocolate produces glossy, flawless chocolate that when bitten into breaks off with a snap.  Essentially, you’re raising and lowering the temperature of the dark, milk or white chocolate in order to make it behave properly…melt in your mouth not in your hand.  I tempered chocolate all day long yesterday and between the rain and heat of the day let’s just say ain’t no “snap” in MY chocolate!  That said I will move forward and skip the tempering process.  I also discovered that a decent quality white chocolate must be used, one high in cocoa butter.  White chocolate chips do not melt.  At least not for me.  Not in the microwave, over a double boiler or in the oven.   So.  Get thee good quality chocolate bars, for instance Guittard, not chips, especially when melting white chocolate.  When melting the chocolate make absolutely certain that not one drop of water comes into contact with it as it will seize up and become unworkable.  Take your time melting it.  Chocolate is delicate and can become grainy and lumpy if melted too quickly over high heat.  The water in the double boiler should be kept at a simmer and should never touch the bottom of the chocolate bowl as it can scorch easily.  As the chocolate begins to melt, stir frequently with a rubber spatula.  Take the bowl off the pot when the chocolate has almost completely melted and only a few small lumps remain.  Continue stirring off the heat until smooth.  I also found leaving the candy cane crumbles in a closed baggie will keep it from weeping and sticking to everything like all your fingers, the counter and the floor instead of the darn bark.  And last of all move fast.  Have your tray or large baking sheet well covered with parchment paper.  Pull out a wooden skewer and keep it close to the baking sheet alongside the crushed candy cane.  Merry Christmas!

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Peppermint Bark

  • Servings: 2 pounds
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 1 pound white chocolate bars, chopped or broken into pieces, NOT chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes
  1. Place 1″-2″ of water in the bottom of a  double boiler or pot and bring to a boil.  When the water comes to a boil drop the temperature and let water simmer.
  2. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl which fits snugly over the top of a pot or sauce pan.
  3. With a rubber spatula stir the chocolate until almost completely melted.  Take off of the heat, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and continue stirring until shiny and smooth.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and smooth to the thickness and shape you desire using an offset spatula.
  5. Melt the white chocolate in the same manner.  When the white chocolate has melted completely, add 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, mix in well and spoon over dark chocolate leaving space in between the chocolates.
  6. Using the blunt end of a wooden skewer, make designs and curlicues in the two chocolates by dragging the skewer from the middle of the candy to the outer edges.
  7. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the bark and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until hard.
  8. Break the bark slab into pieces and chill until serving.

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No-bake Diplomatico Cake

Part store bought, part homemade, this cake is a winner.  How can you lose when you’re working with coffee, rum, chocolate and cream?  I started making this cake back in the ’80’s and it has never let me down.  Light yet rich and luxurious, Diplomatico cake is typically credited to Marcella Hazan.  I lost my original recipe, however, this one is quite close to hers.  A cheap, store bought pound cake is best as it’s sturdy and will keep its shape.  It’s a super easy going recipe…a little more of this and a little less of that is not an issue.

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I’ve made it with 4 eggs and I’ve made it with 6.  Sometimes I have espresso and at times I’ve only had the morning’s cold coffee available.  It all works beautifully.  The coffee and rum are strong and aromatic.  The intense chocolate mousse inside is…well, it’s chocolate, it’s heavenly.  And that cloud of whipped cream softens and compliments the entire cake.  Keep in mind the eggs are raw, not cooked, so if anyone has allergies or food issues maybe they should have their own little dish of berries.  Hope you’ll try it!

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No-Bake Diplomatico Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso
  • 3 tablespoons rum, preferably dark or golden
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 12-ounce store-bought pound cake, cut into 1/4″-1/2″ slices, you’ll need about 16 slices
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line a 1 1/2 quart loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Lay the cake slices out flat so they are not overlapping each other.
  3. Combine espresso, rum and 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Using a pastry brush,  paint the espresso mixture evenly over one side of each slice.
  4. Line the bottom and sides of the loaf pan with the cake and the pan and remaining slices aside.
  5. In a medium bowl whip the egg yolks until pale and thick.  Add the remaining 3 teaspoons of sugar and mix well.  Set aside.
  6. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and slowly mix into the whipped egg yolks.  Do not allow to cool completely.
  7. Whip the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Mix a little of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture just to loosen it up then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  8. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared loaf pan and cover with the remaining cake slices, coffee side up.
  9. Cover cake with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator over night.
  10. Prior to serving turn cake onto serving platter and discard plastic wrap.
  11. Pour whipping cream into a medium size bowl and whip until soft peaks form.  Add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff, firm peaks form.
  12. Smooth the cream over the cake and garnish with berries, shaved chocolate or nuts.
  13. Store in the refrigerator.

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The Ultimate Dark Chocolate Mousse with Rum Spiked Whipped Cream

My mother was a complete fool for chocolate.  From the cheapest drug store candy bar to the finest handmade chocolates from Switzerland, Belgium or France, she loved it all and all was eaten in a frenzy and with abandon.  Mama was crazy for chocolate.  I made this mousse often in the 70’s and 80’s when we entertained and always made sure Mama got some.  This dessert is unbelievably easy and simple.  Velvety smooth and elegant, its depth and richness will make you swoon.  The recipe calls for just a few ingredients so use the best dark chocolate, the freshest eggs and highest quality whipping cream available to you.  Now is not the time to skimp.  It can be made a day ahead of serving and is excellent with after dinner coffees and dessert wines.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have…like right now when I pulled out a cup from the refrigerator just to “even it off”.   I had a little bit more because, well, it’s so good.  And then I couldn’t stop and didn’t until I thought, “I must have some kind of disease.  Like those people who can’t control themselves and eat dirt.”   I think all you ladies out there understand.  Enjoy but be forewarned.  This stuff is dangerous!

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The Ultimate Dark Chocolate Mousse with Rum Spiked Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 2 3/4 cups or 4-6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. In a double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water but not touching the water, whisk the chocolate until it has completely melted.  Do not let the water boil as the chocolate will easily scorch and be ruined.
  2. Whisk in the coffee and sugar.  Continue to whisk while adding one egg yolk at a time.
  3. Continue whisking until the mixture has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. While the chocolate is cooling, whip the cream to soft but almost firm peaks using a hand mixer.  Watch the cream, you don’t want it to get “grainy” or turn into butter.  You just want it to hold its shape.
  6. Whisk the vanilla extract into the partially cooled chocolate mixture then fold in the whipped cream folding until all streaks of cream are gone.
  7. Spoon into serving dishes or glasses, lightly cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.
  8. Top each serving with a dollop of Rum Spiked Whipped Cream right before serving.
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 level tablespoon confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum, orange liquor or liquor of choice
  1. Pour cream into a small bowl and whip until cream starts to thicken.
  2. Add the sugar and liquor and continue whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Spoon a dollop of cream over each serving of mousse.

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Chocolate Truffles

How do YOU say “thank you” to someone?  Or “happy birthday”?  Maybe you want a little special something to present your favorite hostess the next time you’re invited to her celebration.  I consider a bottle of wine a somewhat thoughtless gesture.  I mean really, all you’re doing is reaching into your wine stash and grabbing the bottle you were planning on drinking that night.  And that exquisitely slim, leather-bound volume of poems you love is a real shot in the dark and, I don’t know about you, but the only flowers I can afford are the grocery store variety and, quite frankly, if I don’t want them in my house I certainly wouldn’t take them over to yours!  But a gift of chocolate is always, always welcome.  These nubby little nuggets of flavor are soooo easy to make, easy on the wallet and easy to pop in your mouth.  I started making them to give away back in the ’70’s and they’ve been a hit every time I’ve shared them.  The beauty of Chocolate Truffles is they can be made with or without liquor.  And just about any kind of liquor is a magnificent addition.  I’ve used Bailey’s, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Amaretto, Chambord, Metaxa even dark rum.  It’s all good.  Except maybe Jaegermeister.  Although it may taste good…I’ve never tried it.  I just don’t think something that tastes like cough syrup would marry well with rich, dark chocolate.  The recipe doesn’t call for a  large quantity of chocolate so make certain you’re using the best quality you can find.  The truffles do need to be refrigerated and are best served after sitting out for 15 to 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: 20- 22 truffles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons liquor, optional
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet or sweet dark chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • any of the following to roll the truffles in: unsweetened cocoa, confectioners sugar, toasted, finely chopped pecans, toffee bits, coconut, chocolate flakes, sugar sprinkles
  1. In a small, heavy pot boil the cream until it has reduced to 2 tablespoons.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the liquor, if using, and the chocolate.  Stir well until the chocolate has completely melted.  Return to low heat if necessary continuing to stir.
  3. Stir in the butter, mixing until completely smooth.
  4. Pour into a shallow container, cover and chill in the refrigerator 30-40 minutes or until firm.
  5. With a small melon baller, scoop out 1″ portions and shape into balls with your fingers.  You can also cut out 1″ portions with a small knife.  I like the balls roughly shaped as they look better than perfect spheres.
  6. Roll the balls in cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar or any ingredient you wish.
  7. Cover truffles and store in the refrigerator.
  8. Allow to sit out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes prior to serving.

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