Request for unusual dessert to impress
I'm spending a weekend in Sonoma with a bunch of serious foodies and am requested to bring a dessert. I'd like to bring something that is sweet and savory, herbaceous, possibly with chocolate. It also has to travel well (either baked, or as partially assembled to be baked there) I'd love for it to be weird, delicious, unexpected, and not too time intensive. Any suggestions?
How about sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce? It's not beautiful, but everyone raves about it.
I posted this on a recent thread about bacon but this might fit your needs too - sounds great but i have yet to try it - it is from a recent food and wine:
1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
1 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
1 package phyllo dough
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons bourbon
Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a skillet, fry the bacon in batches until crisp. Drain well and crumble. In a food processor, finely chop the bacon with the almonds and dates.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Lay a sheet of phyllo in the pan; trim the edges to fit and brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more phyllo sheets and butter. Spread 1 cup of the filling evenly over the phyllo. Repeat this layering of 5 phyllo sheets and bacon filling two more times. Top with 5 buttered phyllo sheets, buttering the top well.
With a small, sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds. Bake the baklava for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to 325° and bake for 1 hour longer, or until nicely browned.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, maple syrup, water, bourbon and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let stand at room temperature uncovered overnight.
"The Last Course," by Claudia Fleming is a wonderful dessert cookbook with many choices that would probably meet your criteria. Fleming was the pastry chef at Gramery Tavern in NYC. Just one example: she does a strawberry short cake that is essentially traditional...except that the strawberries are macerated with some fresh tarragon and tarragon goes into the whipped cream. Lots of stuff like that. The last chapter aggregates some of the recipes into Fleming's signature "trios." My word. Kind of like a dessert tasting plate, with three complementary sweets.