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"C" may be for cookie - but that's certainly not good enough for us.
Before her several year stint at The French Laundry and the opening of her own sweet venture, Platine Cookies, Jamie Cantor was taught at the Culinary Institute of America to build a dessert menu around the five C's: chocolate, citrus, coffee, cheese and caramel.
Incidentally, she was also taught "desserts" is "stressed" spelled backward.
But who wants to stress about making fancy, involved desserts during the long, hot, carefree days of summer? Here are some simple, delicious ways to incorporate the five most popular dessert flavors into your summer entertaining.
The Five C's of Dessert: Jamie Cantor
For example, make a tasting of chocolate puddings with a high percentage single origin chocolate. I am really into Pralus chocolates these days; they have some great single origin bars that are fun to try.
Use some really cute individual-sized dishes for each type and create a conversation starter for your foodie guests. Take a simple, old-fashioned recipe and turn it into something more sophisticated with the right technique and proper ingredients."
Make your own fresh orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream and layer them in fantastic popsicle molds; or take the easy way out and buy the sorbet and ice cream, layer them in Dixie cups and stick a popsicle stick in the middle.
The affogato is a super easy dessert that kills two birds with one stone – coffee and dessert. You can be a real foodie and make your own ice cream to float in a shot of espresso, or just buy a pint of vanilla at the grocery store.
Now that summer is in full swing, I think the best way to do affogato is to make an espresso granita instead of the hot espresso."
So get a bit of three to five REALLY nice cheeses (ask your local cheesemonger what to pair with your dinner) with a few different accoutrements. I like to have an assortment of flavors and textures – so some nice crackers (I am really into Raincoast Crisps), some quince paste or fig jam, a nice piece of honeycomb, and maybe some nuts, to go with the cheese selection."
Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce
Caramel sauce ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into random chunks (about 1 1/2 inches for baking dish or regular muffins, or 1/2 inch for mini muffins). In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, vanilla, 1 tablespoon salt, milk and cream. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Toss the bread cubes into the mixture until all the pieces are saturated.
If you are using a large baking dish: Spray the pan with nonstick spray. Add the mixture to the pan. Melt the remaining 4 ounces of butter and combine it with the 3/4 cup of brown sugar and salt to taste. Drizzle this mixture over the contents of the pan and then cover the pan with a layer of plastic and a layer of foil. Bake at 325° until the custard is almost set. This could take about 1 hour. Uncover the pan and bake for about another 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.
If you are using muffin tins: Melt the butter and mix in the remaining brown sugar and salt. Place a generous spoonful if this mixture into the bottom of each muffin space. (The size of the spoonful depends on the size of the pan, but it is always better to be generous, you can make more of this butter/sugar mix if needed) Then spoon some of the bread custard mix into each space – fill about 3/4 of the way. Drizzle the tops with more brown sugar if desired. Bake in a 325° oven until the custard is set and the tops are golden brown. Cool on wire racks and remove each pudding carefully to preserve the caramel at the bottom.
For the Caramel Sauce
Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small, heavy bottom saucepan. Gently stir once to dissolve the sugar, and then do not stir again. Place the pan over high heat and allow it to cook until you see an area of the sugar turning golden brown. Once the sugar starts to brown, carefully swirl the pan (do not use a utensil to stir… just swirl the pan with your wrist) so that the browning begins to spread evenly. Once the sugar is a uniform brown color, turn off the heat. Add the cream and then whisk to incorporate it. Add the butter and sour cream and whisk gently until the mixture is smooth. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then add half of the fleur de sel. Carefully taste the sauce (it will be very hot), and add more fleur de sel as desired.
Once the bread pudding has cooled, drizzle the caramel sauce over the pan, or cut into individual servings and drizzle individually for a more festive look.
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