Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

I had an epiphany this morning.

As I sat at the red light in light traffic in my car after dropping off the kids at school, I realized I’d forgotten to throw on a coat.

And in that exact moment, as the radio blasted Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild’ loud enough to be heard by anyone close enough and as I sat there with it blasting dressed in my fabulous pink bathrobe, I realized that I looked ridiculous.

Thank goodness there is a recovery plan for these sorts of epiphanic moments, the basis of which is one three-syllable word: Chocolate.

Francois Payard’s ‘Chocolate Epiphany’ is the best book to consult, and I’ll tell you why.

How many times have you looked at a cookbook to find exactly the same recipes as the last cookbook only written with different names and different recipe formats?

I find this happens more often than not.

Unless the book is one of the few designed to be at the forefront of cutting-edge (haute – sorry, these things cost money) cuisine (though it won’t be called ‘haute cuisine‘ for the term is passe) the recipes circle around each other – distinguishing themselves pretty much by a sense of style or by a hint of one or two small-yet-intelligent differences created by the author.

Cookbooks specializing in chocolate can often seem to be repetitive even more often than other cookbooks, for the genre is limited.

‘Chocolate Epiphany’ has more to say (on a variety of levels) than any other chocolate-based cookbook I’ve recently seen.

Try these on for size: Kougin Amanns – distinguished by Payard morphing the recipe into one with chocolate imbued throughout . .  . Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse – the pavlova shaped into a two-piece half-sphered ball which is then filled to break open with the touch of a fork to utter the syllables of its filling . . . a Honey and Saffron Apple Tart with Chocolate Chiboust, startling in the conceptualization of flavors . . . a Gateau de Crepes with Green Tea Ice Cream . . . and a Chocolate Paris-Brest which makes one wonder why the Paris-Brest was not made chocolate in the first place.

I’m off on the road to recovery – pink bathrobe and all. It doesn’t mind a splash or two of chocolate on it – and seriously, neither do I.

The only remaining question is what music to blast to best suit Orange Custards with Dark Chocolate Foam.

I’ll definitely get dressed up nice to eat my chocolate recovery prescription, though. Then I’ll wait for my next epiphany.

Hopefully it won’t be yet another one where I feel ridiculous.


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The last day of the year is a time for cautionary tales. Most everyone has their own to muse on, but if you find yourself shorted in this area you can always turn to The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly-Poly Pudding to give yourself a good fright.

Here is where the action begins in earnest. Tom Kitten has gone off on an adventure and in the process has been captured by hungry (aren’t they always) rats. The dough is gathered, the rolling pin pushed over to begin the task of making a fine Kitten Roly-Poly for dinner.

Poor Tom Kitten.

There are other sorts of roly-poly puddings to be made if you like the idea but without the kitten.

The Great British Kitchen has recipes made with jam, syrup, lemon, and mincemeat. And if all this is just too dainty for your taste, here you will find a good recipe for rasher pudding, also known as bacon roly-poly.

Any of these taste fine with champagne, ale, or tea.

Happy New Year!

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Menu-planning at Christmas-time should always begin with dessert.


His body is perfectly spherical,
He weareth a runcible hat.

If you do not plan dessert first, armies of meringue snowpeople will come to sit on your table.

If you do plan dessert first, during your every waking moment you will be accompanied by two perfect little Santas who will bring you luck and joy.


They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.

It’s difficult to decide which dessert to have. Unless, that is, one chooses them all and decides to spend every waking hour leading up to the day flying around the kitchen whisking butter and sugar and eggs into the glorious ephemeral bite.

Buche de Noel is traditional. I like to make mine out of chocolate cake, then fill it with a quick blend of vanilla whipped cream and crystallized ginger. Then on with the fancy dress.

But here is another gorgeous one with an elegant, most stunning robe . . .


It’s tempting to order ready-made a devilishly red cake from the glorious and musical Laduree website. Naturally their buche has macarons stuck on it. Ah, if only I had spare macarons hanging around. That would make life easy!


Calico Pie,
The little Birds fly
Down to the calico tree,
Their wings were blue,
And they sang “Tilly-loo!”
Till away they flew –
And they never came back to me!

It’s been eons since I’ve made a croquembouche. But what could be more perfect for Christmas, with its tree-like ways! Wrapped round with spun sugar like an angelic barrier crunch crunch then the tearing apart of all it, the creamy centered puffs disappearing but for the moments of memory which cunningly sidled up into them then gathered like glittering rings in a jewelry box to sparkle into the futures of the ones who opened their mouths to crunch, melt, devour.


Calico Jam,
The little Fish swam,
Over the syllabub sea.

Yet my heart still returns to linzertortes – of calico jams mit syllabub schlag


Who, or why, or which, or what,
Is the Akond of Swat?

That’s the question at Christmas-time, isn’t it. Who is the Akond of Swat.
Everyone must make up their own mind about that, to find an answer that fits them best.

But remember, whatever you do . . . plan dessert first. Then you can be sure

When awful darkness and silence reign

Over the great Gromboolian plain,
Through the long, long wintry nights


Ploffskin, Pluffskin, Pelican jee!
We think no birds as happy as we!
Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill!
We think so then, and we thought so still.

And please don’t forget your runcible spoon! Things just aren’t the same without it.


All quoted poetry from Edward Lear (who probably liked mince and quince pies.)

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