A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

Kim’s Killer Banana Pudding

In Food, Recipes on November 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

banana pudding

You will either thank or curse me for sharing what is the ultimate in banana pudding recipes from one of the best cooks I know. I cannot overstate how mind-blowingly delicious this pudding is. A few months ago, my friend Kim brought us dinner—a comforting slow-simmered bolognese along with a Bouchon butter lettuce salad, and for dessert her banana pudding. I’m not a fan of hyperbole but this is THE BEST BANANA PUDDING I’VE EVER TASTED. EVER. I’ve since made her recipe for my own family, as well as sharing with friends and neighbors, my sister, a friend who just had a baby, and in return have received a couple of marriage proposals not to mention reignited interest from my own husband. It’s really that good. My own twist to Kim’s recipe is making vanilla wafers from scratch, though you can certainly use Nilla Wafers. The homemade wafers are super quick and easy to make, and can be done while the pudding and condensed milk are setting up.

Kim’s Killer Banana Pudding

5-ounce package instant vanilla pudding

14-ounce can condensed milk

1 1/2 cups water

3 cups heavy cream

30 vanilla wafers

3 sliced bananas

In a large bowl, mix instant pudding, condensed milk and water until blended. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whip cream until peaks form. Fold all but about 3/4 cup whipped cream into pudding until there are no streaks of pudding. Then fold in wafers and sliced bananas.

banana pudding

Spoon into individual containers and top with whipped cream. Or spread into a large baking dish and top with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate for several hours. Be sure to hide some at the back of the fridge for yourself for breakfast the following morning. Because all is fair in love and banana pudding.

homemade banana pudding

Rhubarb Pie

In Food on May 20, 2012 at 11:00 am

“Things that were hard to bear were sweet to remember,” said Seneca. If you were to ask my sister, the Roman philosopher was clearly anticipating the challenges of making rhubarb pie in a friend’s kitchen without a food processor, pastry blender or rolling pin. But through adversity, there is redemption and Claire made the dough with a fork and rolled it out using a Bacardi bottle wrapped in Saran Wrap. The result? A spectacularly delicious rhubarb pie, one that we will be making all summer. Recipe via food52.com.

Tangerine Dreams

In Drink, Recipes on April 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Recently I got several pounds of tangerines in my CSA farm bag and promptly put them to nostalgic use. For those whose happiest childhood memories involve a Creamsicle—that perfect balance of tart, sweet and creamy—this Creamsicle Float from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques is made for you. Goin suggests using tangelos, which are sweet and not too acidic and have very few seeds. But tangerines will also do the trick. I made these for Easter and again the following week when my inlaws were visiting. I’m hoping someone will make them for me on Mother’s Day.

To make, squeeze 1/2 cup of juice per serving (or juice from two to three tangerines depending on size and juiciness). In each glass place a large scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Pour over 1/2 cup tangerine or tangelo juice. Top with seltzer. Serve with a straw.

When Life Hands You Persimmons…

In Food on December 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

Our friends Hugh and Aimee brought over a bag generously overflowing with fuyu persimmons from their tree. Besides being gorgeous to look at, persimmons are fantastic in cakes and sticky puddings. Of course, the catch is that I don’t bake. So yesterday I begged Tiny G’s nanny to embark on a project with the little guy to bake a Persimmon Cake with Cream Cheese frosting (omitting the currants because personally I find them to be an epic bummer in cakes). In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous with a masters in Egyptology from Cambridge University under her belt, Tiny G’s nanny is also infuriatingly good in the kitchen. She whipped this up like it was as easy as Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics (because, as it happens, Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics are easy for her)…

It turns out we have enough persimmons for about 10 of these cakes, and we just might make that many because they are THAT GOOD.

Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata

In Food on May 4, 2011 at 8:53 am

Make this! My sister did on Sunday night and it was outstanding. It’s a Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata from the May issue of Bon Appétit Magazine, and it would be great for Mother’s Day this weekend. The whole wheat flour in the crust gives a nutty flavor that I hope you love as much as I did! Come August, can’t wait to try the crust topped with ripe peaches and cardamom.

Pumpkin Flan

In Food on February 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I know we have a ways till Thanksgiving, but I’m already sold on this year’s dessert. This past weekend—for my Turkey in Mole Poblano soiree—I liberated a leftover can of pumpkin purée, added it to a flan and topped with some pepitas toasted in ancho salt. MAGIC. I might make it again this weekend for the Oscars, any excuse really. This was the first time I’d made flan and the first time I’d made a dry caramel. Talk about weird science. You just heat plain cane sugar in a pan until it turns to caramel. (Obvi for some, revolutionary for the rest of us.)

The caramel gets poured into a souffle dish, and then the flan so that when you eventually turn it upside down, the caramel spills out and pools around the flan.

The flan itself is a snap—you probably already have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. Click HERE for recipe. The flavor and texture—absolute perfection. My flan was a little runny in the middle so next time I might cook a little longer than the recommended hour and 15 minutes, and make sure it has more than 6 hours chilling in the fridge to set. Oh, and with any dessert it passes the most important test of all: A++ leftover for breakfast the next morning with a cup of coffee.

Let Him Eat Cake

In Food on January 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

My husband married me with the clear understanding that ours would a cakeless union. I can count on one hand the number of cakes I’ve baked in my life. But sometimes in a marriage, expectations change and you suddenly find yourself standing over a double boiler whipping egg whites and sugar for your very first Seven Minute Frosting.

Coconut cake is our mutual favorite, and for other people’s birthdays we often order an exemplary version from Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose. For the inaugural run on a coconut cake of my very own, I consulted Martha, Alton, Epicurious et al, but in the end let’s cut the crap. Do I need to be splitting coconuts with a screwdriver? I do not. And if we’re going to be totally honest here, who do we really think makes the best coconut cake? I put my money on Paula Deen. When it comes to butter, sugar and more of both, Paula doesn’t disappoint. Her recipe for Jamie’s Coconut Cake uses a basic cake recipe, subbing in rich coconut milk for regular. (I saved the leftover coconut milk with the design of making a Thai iced coffee for an afternoon indulgence. I mean, if you’re going to go out in a caloric supernova, why stop at cake?) It’s a three-layer situation, which makes icing the thing a little tricky.

I love Paula’s method of poking holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon so that the sour cream-coconut filling really seeps into the cake’s layers.

What resulted was pure moist and rich coconut goodness. Even better for breakfast the next morning. Happy belated birthday, my love!

Next up: dealing with my frosting technique.

Cookie Fortune

In Drink, Food, Out of Town on October 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Most wine geeks hear “Teldeschi” and they think gorgeous, spicy Zinfandel sourced from 97-year-old vines in Dry Creek Valley. But from here to eternity, yours truly will be thinking “cookie.” This past week I was working up in Sonoma, exploring some of the most historic vineyards in the country. The highlight of the trip was taking a helicopter ride over Sonoma and Napa Valleys and up through Alexander Valley to the Teldeschi family home, where Caterina, aka “Mama,” hand made exquisite Italian cookies. But first, check out our ride:

The commute from Sonoma to Dry Creek was pretty spectacular and literally gave me a new perspective on where I grew up:

But that view has nothing on Mama’s cookies. She uses grappa and anise seed in her secret recipe, and presses in the most beautiful designs that make these confections look like edible doilies. As the cookies started to make their way around the table, Johnny Teldeschi jumps up and says “I got whipped cream, six cans!” His sister leans over to me and says you’ve gotta try one with whipped cream and hands me a can. She is right. I could have eaten the entire plate and polished off that aerosol can o’ sweetened ultra-pasteurized cream.

Thank you to the Teldeschis for such gracious hospitality. And thank you, Ravenswood, for making such seductive wines from these old vines. Now pardon me while I click my heels to return to the Teldeschi home, where even the recycling bin is the height of good taste.

All About Apple Galette

In Food, Recipes on August 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

For this past Saturday night’s picnic in the graveyard to see All About Eve, my sister, Claire, was charged with making dessert. Earlier in the week she had asked for ideas. The question came after I’d enjoyed a couple gin and tonics one night. “Obviously, you should make apple galette,” I said, having never made one myself. “Why, obviously?” she asked. “You know,” I said, “All About Eve? The apple?” And then I forgot about it. But Claire did not. She is a good sport that way. And my lordy does she have a way with pastry dough. To say nothing of apple arrangement!

The recipe follows, with one extra-special Claire flair…

She arranged the apples on a bed of apricot preserves with Sauternes, which, I might add have also jazzed up one of my billion dollar brown rice rolls today as an afternoon snack:

Apple Galette, Bon Appétit, September 2006

This recipe is inspired by a tart from Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Total Time: 3 Hours

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Whole milk

Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep dough chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine apple slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Slide long thin knife between parchment and galette. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Summer Fruit Shortcake with Mascarpone

In Food on July 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I have three delicious words for you: Summer. Fruit. Shortcake. Okay, five, if you add: With. Mascarpone. Two crucial and decadent words. I mean, really, this recipe might be the last word in summer desserts. Our friend Vincent brought it over the other night in all its summery glory. It’s one large shortcake, which Vincent then cut into individual slices and—with a flair for drama—sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with fruit juices reserved from the fresh raspberry, blackberry and peach filling.

It was so pretty that we busted out the silver. And then we cleaned our plates. And I mean CLEANED. Thank you, Vincent!