Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Baking & Pastry Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences!
I was 16 the first time I ever made pate a choux, the dough used to make cream puffs and eclairs. I remember so vividly standing over the stove, boiling milk, butter and sugar, adding flour and vigorously stirring the pot until a cohesive dough formed, and then ruining all of my hard work by cracking eggs directly into the hot pot and scrambling them into the dough. My mom compared the consistency to that of matzoh balls, gave me her typical “I told you so” spiel about impatiently ignoring the directions and told me to start over.
When I found out we were going to make pate a choux in class, I was excited to have another chance to work on my technique. The procedure we were taught was exactly the same–except for one crucial detail, a word that gets used almost every day in the pastry kitchen: tempering. To temper something means to either increase or decrease the temperature of it, which is quite easy given the proper ingredients and instruction. T0 temper choux dough, slowly pour beaten eggs into the pot where your butter-milk-flour mixture has cooked and stir it continuously until the mixture is cool enough (it feels warm to the touch but not scalding) to dump the remaining eggs in. Scrambling the eggs in my dough could have been easily avoided had I just tempered it first. Lesson learned.
In class I wound up with a beautifully soft and smooth choux dough, ready to be piped, baked, filled and eaten. I couldn’t wait to share photos of my successful desserts with my mom: cream puffs stuffed with homemade ice cream, also known as profiteroles (pictured above), and one of my proudest accomplishments, croquembouche, a tower of cream puffs filled with pastry cream and held together by caramel sauce (pictured below).
You can see I’ve come a long way from my matzoh ball-like choux days– this was one sweet feat!
Check back next Friday for another delicious adventure!
One of your favorite childhood fixtures has officially grown up: Snow cones are now appearing at restaurants, bars and food trucks–complete with local ingredients, artisanal syrups and the occasional splash of booze. Time to explore the next ice age!
Brabo Restaurant in Arlington, VA, serves up the kickin’ Old Town Ginger snow cone, a refreshing blend of kaffir lime vodka, ginger beer syrup, mint liqueur and ice chunks, all of it topped with lime zest and chili flakes. braborestaurant.com
At the Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls shop in New Orleans, the specialty is made with light-as-air shaved ice (versus the ground kind you’re used to) and crowned with house-made syrups such as watermelon-jalapeño and cardamom cream. iwsnoballs.com
Kauai’s Uncle’s Shave Ice serves up shave snow, a Hawaiian take on a Taiwanese treat that starts as a frozen block of water, milk and syrup (try the Asia-inspired lychee or dried plum), then gets shaved into creamy ribbons. uncleskauai.com
Sno con Amor at L.A.’s Hollywood Farmers’ Market fancies up raspados (Mexico’s answer to the snow cone, served in a cup) with handmade syrups. Two faves: lime-mint and grapefruit juice with vanilla bean. snoconamor.com
In true Bay Area style, Oakland’s Skylite Snowballs makes nearly everything from scratch with local farm fare. The result? Seasonal syrups–from pluot to lemon-ginger–poured over crunchy ice and served from a truck. skylitesnowballs.com
By Jenna Scatena
We love a good chocolate pudding and we know you do too: it’s one of our most popular chocolate desserts ever! In honor of National Chocolate Pudding Day (that’s today!) we’re sharing an updated version of the classic dessert. It’s warm and luscious and just sweet enough. You’re going to want to make extras!
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk
2 egg yolks
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped cream, for serving
In saucepan, whisk 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in milk and yolks over medium heat. Stir in chocolate. Simmer, whisking, until melted. Divide pudding among ramekins; let cool slightly. Top with cream.
We’re so happy it’s National Biscuit Day– biscuits are the perfect food to eat for every meal! When it’s time for dessert, make a cobbler. Top it off with this simple and delicious biscuit topping that can be made two different ways: it can be rolled and cut into shapes or, even easier, turned into rustic drop biscuits. The difference? Just a few tablespoons of cream.
A bubbly, warm, saucy Italian dish on a cold, winter night? Now that’s amore! Save the caprese salads and basil pesto for the summer–this winter, we want the hearty baked dishes, crunchy baguettes and creamy desserts that Italy is known for. So take your pick at a cheesy, sausage-laden pizza bread, a rich and smoky sauteed chicken or a creamy, gooey, this-is-what-dreams-are-made-of baked pasta dish. Finish it off with a riff on Tiramisu and you’ve got yourself an Italian grandmother’s hug for your taste buds.
This tabletop display sparkles with decorations you can eat: doughnut holes!
How to: poke the bottom portion of an S-shaped ornament hook into a plain doughnut hole; repeat with additional hooks and holes. Melt one package of chocolate chips or mini Candy Melts according to directions, then roll doughnut holes in the melted candy and coat in sanding sugar. Let dry on parchment until hard, about 15 minutes, then thread a Life Savers candy onto the hook to rest flat on top. Hang ornaments on a tabletop tree and, when dinner’s done, let guests help themselves to dessert!
As the last weekend of National Ice Cream Month approaches (we know, we’re tearing up a little bit over here, too) there’s no better way to send off the sweetest time of year than by whipping up some homemade ice cream! Brrrrr-illiant, no? So whether you like chocolate, vanilla or something fruity, it’s time to schedule a date this weekend with the coolest kitchen accessory: your ice cream maker!
A summer dessert that’s just as beautiful to look at as it is to eat? Easy. A beautiful and delicious summer dessert that’s also healthy? Not so much. But have no fear! Our Guilt-Free Summer Fruit Dessert Booklet from our July/August issue is here to save the day. While many of the desserts require just a few ingredients and minutes to put together, this show-stopping dessert is worth a weekend in the kitchen: Mixed Berry Lattice Cobbler.
It wouldn’t be a proper Grilling Week without being able to have a 3-course meal made entirely on the grill. Now that we’ve given you some great side dish options, it’s time to explore the sweeter side of grilling: desserts! Here are some of our favorite grilled dessert recipes that really capture the essence of summer desserts:
We love brownies, and we’re also sweet on blondies, their caramel-flavored cousin. Start with our simple recipe, then fun it up with the same mix-ins and toppings for our Mind-Blowing Brownies (ours are studded with dried cherries).
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Coat the foil with cooking spray.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Off heat, whisk in both sugars, vanilla and salt. Whisk until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between additions. Add the flour; stir until just blended. Pour into the pan.
3. Bake the blondies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 40 minutes. cool in the pan set on a wire rack. Using the foil overhang, lift the blondies out of the pan. Cut into squares.