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KILLER desserts for New Year's Eve

Here's the dliemma: I've been assigned to make 2 desserts for NYE for 6 adults, at least 4 of whom are full-blooded foodies. Even though I'm a pastry professional, I'm stymied! Since I don't want to spend all day and evening baking, I want to do something simple and/or make-ahead, but delicious. I generally believe that simple is best anyway...any ideas would be appreciated!!

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  1. Can't go wrong with creme brulee. I once did vanilla and chocolate and poured them side-by-side in the ramekins. These are simple but oh so good! You could add a tray of gourmet cookies (store bought or homemade) for a little crunch.

    1. Small Croquembouche. Always looks spectacular. Tastes great. Rich without being heavy. Make ahead.
      Also Gateau Sainte-Honoré. Same reasons.
      Neither requires last minute finishing.

      1. Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream frosting. I posted the recipe in another thread earlier and would be happy to point you to it if you like. It can be made 24 hours ahead and refrigerated and is very rich and delicious - always a hit when I make it.

        1. I made a trifle for Christmas, and it was a great hit. Definitely good for make-ahead - all that is needed at serving time is whipping the cream (or sabayon if you use that instead)

          The trifle I made had dried out poundcake for the cake layer -
          it was spread with rasp jam mixed with some grated (meyer) lemon rind and muscat wine and soaked in a mixture of the moscato, good sweet sherry and brandy. it was sprinkled with ground up amaretti and layered with pastry cream and fresh fruits (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and bananas - the latter tossed with some sugar, and lemon juice and rind. The strawbs were not sweet, they could have done with some maceration too. Oh, and some mandarin oranges, but they got panned by my foodie kid. We put some of the meyer lemon rind in the whipped cream too, which was a nice touch. Lots of fun to make and eat if you want to step back from you day job stuff a bit.

          1. I second the trifle idea. I've made an ammaretto roasted pear trifle twice now and it was a big hit both times. Here is a very funny column by marlena speiler with the recipe. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi... I used a home baked sponge cake in place of the ladyfingers, and a different recipe for the pastry cream (I think that pastry cream made with flour comes out gritty). It held perfectly in the fridge overnight, was beautiful and tasted deliscious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: peashoot

              Third on that Trifle idea, but make it a Ginger Trifle...substituting applesauce (homemade with ginger) for fruit, ginger-marmalade for jam, gingerbread for sponge/poundcake andf Ginger Wine (Stones Green Ginger or Robinson's work well) for Sherry. The custard remains custard as does the whipped cream and the entirety is decorated with crystalized ginger and sliced almonds. Looks gorgeous and when we served this at Christmas, both regular and gluten-free versions were totally devoured.

              1. re: LJS

                that sounds absolutely amazing though the thread is 5 years old.