I was supermarket shopping this week and could not resist the fresh dark cherries that were just being packed on the shelf. How about Cherries Jubilee I thought to myself. With my cherries in hand, I headed for the frozen section to pickup some vanilla ice cream to complete my dessert!
The great French Chef Auguste Esscofier created this dessert in honour of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration who loved cherries. Its a simple recipe of cherries simmered in syrup which is then flambeed with kirsh and served with vanilla ice cream. Flambeing caramelizes sugars and deepens flavors.
It makes for a cool dessert on a hot summer evening. Give it a try!
1 lb. fresh dark cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup kirsh
2 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a skillet, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.
- Stir in the water and orange juice . Continue to whisk over medium heat until thickened.
- Add the cherries and simmer for 5 minutes or until cherries warm through.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the kirsh. Ignite and allow alcohol to burn off.
- Spoon the cherries over ice cream and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
A few weeks ago we celebrated KB’s birthday on a Tuesday evening up in Irish Town. Instead of making a regular birthday cake I decided to make a Pavlova for the celebration.
A Pavlova is a meringue cake that is light and delicate on the outside and soft and sweet in the centre, like toasted marshmallows. It is very simple to make and consists of egg white , sugar, vinegar and cornstarch beaten to stiff peaks and baked in the oven. Once the Pavlova is cool it is topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits and berries. The birthday Pavlova was topped with lychee, mangoes, grapes and kiwi.
The dessert was named after the Russian Dancer Anna Pavlova. The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer during a tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1926. Both countries claim to be the creator of the dessert.
Here is the recipe:
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
Fresh fruits such as kiwi, bananas, strawberries, pineapple or your choice of fruits
- Preheat the oven to 275F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl with a whip attachment on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
- Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
- Spread the meringue in the circle on the parchment making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.
- Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it is light pale colour.
- Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
- Remove the meringue from the oven and place on a plate.
- Whip the cream until it forms peaks.
- Mound the cream on top of the meringue and arrange the fruit on top.
It is indeed one of my favourites!
Here is another interesting dessert trend. We are accustomed to pairing wine with food and dessert. Beer is now being introduced as a dessert ingredient and for pairing with desserts too. So instead of have dessert with a sweet wine, how about trying a spiced, malt beer? Beer has a wide flavour profile which makes dessert and beer a perfect combination.
In addition, with micro breweries on the rise there is a wide range and variety of flavors to match any palate. Along with a wine list, restaurants are also presenting the beer list. At Sweet Revenge NYC they pair beer and wine with artisan cupcakes – Bird of Paradise & Palma Louca, Brazilian Beer, Mayan Chocolate & Kopparberg Pear Cider, Sweden and Very Strawberry & Guinness, Ireland.
Check this out! They have a savoury cheesecake Jamaican Curry – West Indian Curry Spices, Chick Peas, and Ricotta Cheese Cake with Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce which they pair with Palma Louca, and Colomba White from France.
After having a traditional Jamaican Sunday dinner of Roast Chicken, Rice and Peas, Macaroni and Cheese and Tossed Salad I like to have Bananas Foster for dessert. This dessert was introduced to me by my mother after a trip to New Orleans where this dessert originates.
The dessert was created by Chef Paul at the famous Brennan’s Restaurant in 1951. Here is the original recipe adapted from the Brennan’s Restaurant website :
- ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup banana liqueur
- 4 bananas, cut in half
lengthwise, then halved
- ¼ cup dark rum
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
- Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a skillet. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
- Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot.
- Lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.
It’s a simple dessert to make and definitely hits that sweet spot! Happy Sunday!
Sweet and Savoury
Another dessert trend is the combination of sweet and savory. Bacon isn’t just a breakfast item anymore. It’ now sizzling atop your most decadent dessert! Yes, I said bacon!
So, I decided to conduct an “experiment” of my own. This morning for breakfast I had eggs and decadent chocolate cupcakes with silky italian chocolate butter cream and crispy bacon sprinkled on top. I was pleasantly surprised. The bacon gave the cupcake a salty zing and a sweetness at the same time. The bacon also gave the cupcake a crunchy texture. I found myself biting the cupcake and alternating with a bite of bacon to get a more intense experience! Delish!!.
Yummy Cupcakes in Brentwood, CA serves up Apple Bleu Cheese, Spicy Chocolate Bacon and Turkey Gravy Cranberry cupcakes. Visit their website at www.yummycupcakes.com. Check them out the next time you’re in the California area,
Cupcakes are all the rage now, with “cupcakerys” popping up in every major city in the United States. Following on the concept of food trucks, desserts trucks are on the rise too on street corners and parking lots in NYC, DC and LA. These trucks are basically old UPS or USPS trucks converted into a retail bakery on wheels serving up artisan ice cream, gelato, red velvet cookies, chocolate bread pudding, whoopie pies, baked ores, hot chocolate and my favourite – creme brulee !
These trucks change their location almost daily depending on parking availability and traffic and so you have to follow them on Twitter or some other social media website to be updated on their whereabouts. How about a dessert truck on Knutsford Boulevard or Downtown Kingston? What do you think?
Image courtesy of www.foodtrucksdc.com
Stay tuned for Sweet and Savoury. . .
My love affair with baking began at 10 years old when I baked a cake from scratch all by myself. My mother was recovering from an illness and wanted me to bake her a cake. She handed me the recipe and I later returned with the finished product. I remember Mummy sampling my creation and being very pleased. That made me very happy!
Growing up, my Mummy was the perfect home maker, always cooking and baking. On Sundays, there was always a lavish spread for dinner followed by dessert of some kind – Baked Alaska, Custard, Cheesecake, Parfait, Ice Box Cake. She was always trying out some new recipe. Today she is still cooking up a storm but leaves the baking and desserts to me. LOL!
From that time on, I baked and decorated cakes on a regular basis and eventually started selling them. I guess I caught the entrepreneur bug from then. So it was a natural progression when I studied Hospitality Management.
Circa 1993, Nicole’s Sweet Temptations comes to life. I am beginning to realize my lifelong dream. After almost 8 years in business I have created a reputation for creating high quality, custom designed cakes and desserts for all occasions.
I don’t consider myself to be a pastry chef, but then again titles don’t mean that much to me. A lot of what I do comes to me naturally, although I have done a few courses to master some basic techniques. I am slowly beginning to realize that maybe I do have a talent. I get total satisfaction when I exceed a clients expectations and help to make that special occasion a memorable one!