5@5 - Fine fall desserts
September 28th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Renown pastry chef François Payard helps us fall into the harvest season with desserts featuring some of autumn's most valuable players, like apples, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and cranberries.

Five Fall Desserts: François Payard

1. Apple Financier Tart (Serves 6)
apple tart
"To me, this tart really says fall. We use fresh organic Fuji apples that we bake in the oven until they begin to caramelize. This tart is perfect for so many different occasions like Thanksgiving. It’s also a great tart to serve at a dinner party with friends because it tastes great served at room temperature."

For the financier batter:

  • 3 Tbsp (43 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp (50 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (54 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp (15 grams) cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp (42 grams) honey
  • 1/4 cup (58 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split

For the apple filling:

  • 10 Tbsp (1 1/4 sticks or 142 grams) unsalted butter, cut into Tbsp
  • 3 medium (510 grams) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dices
  • 1/2 cup (168 grams) honey

For the assembly:

  • 1 9 1/2-inch tart shell, unbaked

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup (84 grams) honey

Cooking Directions

  1. Make the financier batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the butter until it begins to brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Put the slivered almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Transfer the ground almonds to a medium bowl. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the almonds. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Combine the egg whites, honey, cooled browned butter and cream in another medium bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean (reserve the pod for another use) into the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Set aside.
  5. Make the apple filling: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it is golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the diced apples and honey and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Drain the apples in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Stir the reserved liquid back into the diced apples.
  6. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell and spread in into an even layer. Scrape the financier batter over the apples, covering them completely.
  7. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the tart on a wire rack.
  8. Glaze the tart: Put the honey in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave on high for 10 to 15 seconds, until hot. (Or, heat in a small saucepan.) Brush the honey over the top of the hot tart. Cool the tart completely before serving.

2. Cranberry Chocolate Tart (Serves 8-10)
chocolate cranberry tart
"This is one of my favorite tarts because the combination of the rich dark chocolate pairs so well with the tart yet sweet cranberry, the fruit of fall."

For the cranberry gelée:

  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp 100% cranberry juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce

For the cranberry ganache:

  • 5 oz 61 % chocolate, chopped
  • 1 3/4 oz 34% chocolate, chopped
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp pure cranberry juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

For the assembly:

  • 1 prepared 9-inch tart shell

Cooking Directions

  1. For the gelée: Sprinkle the gelatin over 3 tablespoons of the cranberry juice, let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the remaining juice, the sugar and cranberry sauce in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk to break down the jelly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir the gelatin into the hot liquid. Pour the gelée in the prepared tart shell, filling about a fourth of it, and refrigerate the tart for about 30 minutes to let the gelée set.
  3. For the ganache: Place both chocolates and the corn syrup in a medium bowl.
  4. Bring the juice and cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the liquid over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. When the mixture gets close to body temperature, stir in the butter until it is well incorporated and the ganache is smooth and shiny.
  5. Pour the ganache over the set gelée in the tart shell, filling it completely. Refrigerate the tart to let the ganache set, about 30 minutes and serve.

3. Warm Pear Soufflé (Serves 6-8)
"Pear is another ingredient that I love to use during the fall, because it so versatile. I also love this dish during the fall because it can be warm and comforting when the weather starts to get cool, but it’s still light and flavorful."

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Sugar
  • 6 pears, canned, drained, puréed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 80 grams sugar for yolks
  • 25 grams pear-flavored liqueur
  • 10 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 120 grams sugar for egg whites

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the inside of the ramekins using a pastry brush and chill them for 15 minutes. Brush them again with the butter and coat the insides with sugar. Pour out any excess sugar and reserve the ramekins in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the pear purée, egg yolks, sugar and pear liqueur in a blender and blend for several minutes to emulsify. Place the pear mixture in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Place the whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on slow speed. When the whites are foamy, add the lemon juice and whisk on medium speed until they form soft peaks.
  4. Add the sugar and whisk on slow speed until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Fold one scoop of the meringue into the pear mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue.
  5. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the soufflé mixture (optional). Fill each mold 3/4 full. Using the thumb, wipe the edge of the mold to remove any excess soufflé mixture and the sugar and butter from the rim. Bake the soufflés in the oven for 8 minutes for a moist center, and 10 minutes for a firmer center. Remove the soufflés from the oven and serve immediately.

4. Sweet Potato Chocolate Tart (Serves 8-10)
"Sweet potatoes are usually thought of as savory foods or used as side dishes, so I wanted to really highlight the sweet potato and show how you can use this ingredient in a new way. Adding the layer of dark chocolate to this tart really makes this an elegant and special dessert while staying true to seasonal flavors."

For the tart base:

  • All-purpose flour
  • 1 frozen puff pastry (14 oz), thawed
  • Confectioners' sugar

For the sweet potato filling:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 8 oz 61% or 72% chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the optional garnish:

  • Chocolate shards
  • Fleur de sel

Cooking Directions

  1. For the base: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. One a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick and at least 9 inches wide. Pierce the entire surface with a fork and brush off the excess flour. Place the puff pastry in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Using a round 9-inch cake pan as a guide, cut a 9-inch round out of the puff pastry. Remove the scraps.
  4. Place a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper over the puff pastry, then cover with a wire cooling rack to keep it from rising too much. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the rack and silicone baking mat and increase the heat to 450°F. Sift some confectioners' sugar over the top of the puff pastry, and bake for 5 more minutes, until the sugar begins to caramelize and darken. Remove the base from the oven, and set it aside to cool.
  5. For the filling: Place a rack in the center of the over and preheat to 400°F. Rinse, peel and cut the sweet potatoes in half. Place them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Put 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup over each half, and wrap them in the foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fork easily pierces their flesh.
  6. When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and immediately purée them in a food processor until smooth or pass them through a potato ricer.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place a 9 x 2 1/2-inch cake ring mold on the baking sheet. Fill the ring to the rim with the purée. Smooth the top of the ring with a large offset spatula, and place the baking sheet in the freezer until the filling sets, at least 1 hour or up to 1 week (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap).
  8. For the chocolate glaze: Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl.
  9. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour over the tart and spread immediately.
  10. To finish the tart: Remove the baking sheet from the freezer 1 hour before serving, so that the sweet potato purée has time to thaw out. Gently lift the ring from the filling. Place a wire cooling rack on the baking sheet, and place the frozen purée on it.
  11. Pour the glaze over the purée, completely covering it. Push the glaze down the sides with an offset spatula if needed. When the glaze has set slightly, after 3 to 5 minutes, place the purée on top of the puff pastry.
  12. Decorate the sides of the tart with chocolate shards, and sprinkle fleur de sel over its top. Serve at room temperature. The tart can be assembled up to 6 hours before serving.

5. Pumpkin Macarons (Makes about 50 macarons)
pumpkin macarons
"Everyone associates fall with pumpkins, so I always love making some sort of pumpkin dessert. I wanted to do something different, so I created a spiced pumpkin ganache for pumpkin macarons. The pumpkin really stands out in these macarons."

For the macarons:

  • 3 1/2 cups (450 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 4 cups (400 grams) almond flour or finely ground blanched almonds
  • 9 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 5 drops orange food coloring

For the 5-spice pumpkin ganache:

  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp (80 grams) sugar
  • 12 tsp (180 grams) cream
  • 4 tsp (16 grams) cornstarch
  • 7 Tbsp (100 grams) butter
  • 3.2 oz (90 grams) white chocolate
  • 6 Tbsp pumpkin purée
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • Pinch of ginger

Cooking Directions

  1. Make the macarons: Place a rack in the upper and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. If you have enough baking sheets, double them up (this will prevent the macarons from baking too fast).
  2. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and almond flour over a large bowl. Stir in 4 egg whites, until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
  3. With a candy thermometer handy, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup (125 grams) water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. If sugar sticks to the sides of the pot, dip a pastry brush in water and brush the sides.
  4. While the sugar is cooking, put the remaining 5 egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Once the sugar reaches 221°F on the candy thermometer, start beating the eggs on high speed. When the sugar reaches 250°F, pour it into the eggs in a slow stream, with the mixer running. Continue beating until the meringue is thick and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch.
  5. With a silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the dry ingredients and food coloring, in 4 increments. Fold until everything is well combined.
  6. Spoon the batter in a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag, and cut a 1/2-inch opening in the tip or corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into quarter-size circles onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between each macaron. The macarons should have a uniform size. Let them sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes, until a skin forms. This will transform into a beautiful crust on the finished macarons.
  7. Put the macarons in the oven, and turn the oven off for 5 minutes. After that time, turn it back on to 400°F, and continue baking for 8 minutes, until a crust forms and they are soft inside. Remove from the oven, and let the macarons cool in the pans.
  8. Make the ganache: Start by bringing the cream to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and sugar together in a separate bowl. Temper the cream into the sugar and cornstarch mixture, and then pour back into the pan. Let the mixture cook and when it comes to a boil, add the pumpkin purée and spices. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the white chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache cool, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula until it reaches about 40°F and then add the butter.
  9. Pour the ganache onto a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and let the ganache cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours or overnight. (Note: it is best to prepare the ganache the day before to get the smoothest consistency).
  10. Assemble the macarons: Turn the silicone baking mat over, and carefully pull it away from the macarons, to free them up. Turn half of the macarons over, so that their flat side is facing up.
  11. Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag, and cut a 1/2-inch opening in the tip or corner of the bag. Pipe a nickel-size amount of ganache in the center of the macarons that are facing up. Gently press the remaining macarons over the ganache, to make small sandwiches. Try to match the size of the two halves as much as possible.
  12. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Make • Recipes • Sweet • Think

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Cookie Wookiee

    I am, as I type this, in the process of making the pumpkin maracrons. Like the recipe, but I found a couple of problems:

    1. 12 tsp of cream is NOT the same as 180 grams. I went with the weight measurement.
    2. Because almond flour is much heavier and denser than regular flour, my sifter couldn't handle it. I ended up using a colander.
    3. The recipe does not tell you when to add the allspice to the macaron mixture. I only realized this at the last minute–just managed to get the berries ground and into the dry ingredients in time.
    4. 5 drops of food coloring would not be not enough to get the macaron mixture anything close to orange. I used gel and needed a LOT. I mixed it in with the dry goods and added even more when I folded in the meringue. Next time I'll also add some to the meringue mixture while it's whipping, so that the color is more consistent–no streaks, and less chance of overfolding.
    5. A matter of taste, but I found that the amount of butter given for the ganache was way too much. I ended up using about half–any more and it would have been too rich.

    Hope this turns out well in the end!

    November 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  2. noodle21

    The apple tart looks amazing. Although, I am wondering how complicated it is to make. Has anyone tried it?

    October 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  3. icons set

    I confirm. I join told all above. We can communicate on this theme. Here or in PM.

    October 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  4. dragonwife1

    1. Could we get a measurement conversion on recipe 3 (pear souffle), for those of us who don't have a set of kitchen scales?

    2. In recipe 1 (apple financier tart), nothing is said about removing the vanilla bean seeds from the egg white/honey/cream mixture. Do they stay in there? Just asking, because I've never seen a recipe where the seeds remain in; they normally stay in a certain amount of time to flavor the mixture, then are strained out.

    I'm by no means a gourmet cook, but I do love to cook and most of these sound delicious!

    October 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Sarah LeTrent

      Hey there!
      Surely. Since grams to cups/tablespoons isn't a straight conversion, here are some approximations: 80 grams sugar is roughly 1/3 cup, 25 grams of liqueur is a little less than 2 tablespoons, and 120g of sugar is a little more than 1/2 cup. As for the vanilla bean, the seeds don't need to be strained out. In fact, most recipes that use vanilla bean don't remove the seeds from the mixture unless they don't want the black flecks to show in the finished product. The only important thing is that you reserve the pod. Hope that helps!

      October 2, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  5. Liz in Seattle

    I'm confused about what kind of tart shell is expected for the first two recipes. Would that be like a pie crust in a springform pan, or would you do a graham cracker-type crust? Anybody have advice? I make lots of pies but never made a tart before.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  6. priya20g

    Reblogged this on en quête de saveur and commented:
    Nom ! unique fall desserts

    October 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  7. Jreame

    Hey If you guys need some Vanilla beans this company sells great ones! Beanilla.com
    I've used them in the past and they rock!

    October 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  8. Ann

    Went to a local pub this weekend, and they had a warm pumpkin/white chocolate bread pudding. YUM.

    October 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Erica1112

    A special thanks to the author for the correct spelling of MACARON. Note: 'ron' not 'roon'. MacaROONS are the Jewish coconut yummy treat – of equal deliciousness in my opinion.

    October 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  10. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Nothing exists outside of Cherry Pie, no matter how many fake pictures and non-existent recipes you claim to show. NOTHING!!!1111!!1

    October 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Sally

      NOTHING exsists outside of tarimasu !!!!

      October 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        That stuff looks pretty good.


        October 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • mre2

        Second that!

        October 2, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • mike

      Creme Brulee Cheesecake. 'Nuff Said.

      October 2, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  11. Jerv

    Sweet Potato Chocolate Tart sounds amazing.

    October 1, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  12. gassengirl

    The apple tart looks amazing! Definitely going to try that this fall!

    September 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  13. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Walked by Whole Foods prepared food section yesterday and they had some apple cobbler and things of that nature – oh my did it smell AMAZING, just like my kitchen at Thanksgiving. I am so excited for the holidays, it's time!

    September 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • ieeta cornbread

      We love your good site GiGi.

      September 30, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • GiGi Eats Celebrities

        Aw thank you!!!! Season Finale of my web series is being posted tomorrow! :)

        October 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  14. Truth™


    September 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
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