Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 27, 2009 05:45 AM

The Last Course by Claudia Fleming (Report Thread)

There are many different threads that reference this book, but none that consolidates people’s reports on the recipes, so I thought I’d start one in the hope that others who have cooked from this book will jump in here. I know quite a few people have made and loved the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake. What else have you made and loved from this book?

I just acquired it recently and tried my first recipe (well, two, actually) for a party this past weekend.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (page 229)

Someone, somewhere, had recommended these highly. It really is a brownie in cookie form with mini chocolate chips in it. Easy and terrific, although I made them much larger than she recommends (not on purpose; my “heaping teaspoonfuls” were just too heaping). One of her serving suggestions is to make ice-cream sandwiches with them and that sounded like a fun idea for a party so I did that.

Milk Chocolate Malted Ice Cream

Her ice cream recipes call for a dozen egg yolks and I had told myself I just wouldn’t do that. But something possessed me as I was separating the eggs and I did. This recipe has both extra-bittersweet and milk chocolate and contains original (not chocolate-flavored) Ovaltine. Unfortunately, I overcooked the custard and it began to separate. I whisked it, then put it through a strainer, and it froze well but the texture wasn’t as wonderfully creamy as it should have been. Doubt any of my guests noticed, though, since the flavor was good and the combination of dense chocolate and malted milk was just perfect. The ice cream sandwiches were a real hit. Everyone thought they were fun and got quite a kick out them.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. OMG Joan... those look absolutely scrumptious! How on earth do you find the time?

    I'm thinking I could probably make those cookies, even though I've pretty much given up baking. That is if DH agrees to become an aide in the attempt. Cooking is one thing, baking quite another. I wonder if I can find the recipe on-line.....

    Is this it?

    Here a link to more recipes:

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      That's why I retired, Gio. So I would have the time to shop and cook. ;-)

      No, that's not the same recipe, although it sure does look like a good one. Here's the recipe I made:

      1. re: JoanN

        Good for you -
        The recipe you made is indeed something I'll be making. Thank you for the link!

    2. I love the stack of ice cream sandwiches in your photo. The cookies look similar to another chocolate favorite of mine--the chocolate krinkle cookie. Do you know the ones I mean?

      Are you a mint person, by chance? Your cookies would be killer with fresh mint ice cream. Of course, it's too soon for that in my yard, but come summertime, I will be thinking about it again. We made it for the first time last year and I still remember it fondly.

      Yesterday was a perfect day for ice cream sandwiches--esp. homemade ones.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        No, not familiar with the chocolate krinkle cookies. Are they like brownies?

        I'm not a big fan of mint, but my grandsons are and I'll bet they'd adore these with mint ice cream. Great idea.

        1. re: JoanN

          I guess you could say they're like brownies in that they're fudgy. And I misspelled them, too--crinkle--sorry. I haven't had one in a long time, but I had even clipped a Penzey's recipe for them as I always loved them. Is your recipe similar?

          Here's a recipe and description from Joy of Baking:

      2. Wow! Those do look amazing. If I weren't so behind on, well, EVERYTHING, in life right now, I'd go make those. I think we should all follow JoanN's lead and retire so we can bake and shop more. :) .

        So, the dozen egg yolks--were you glad you did?


        11 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          The jury's out on the dozen yolks. Pretty over the top, isn't it? Next time I make one of her recipes I'll try half a dozen or eight and see if I can tell the difference. I figured, since most of this ice cream would not be sitting in my freezer tempting me, that I might as well give it a try just once. I mean, there had to be a reason she was one of the top pastry chefs at one of the top NYC restaurants, right?

          1. re: JoanN

            Yes, agreed on every point! It will be interesting to see how a version with 6 or 8 compares...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Ha! Just checking in on Bloglines and saw this in a Smitten Kitchen post from last Thursday. She was posting about Claudia Fleming's Buttermilk Ice Cream.

              "I’m going to share with you a little secret: You don’t need to use all of these egg yolks. Oh sure, you can and the results will blow your ice cream-loving mind. However, let’s say you find that you only have six or eight egg yolks on hand, this will also do. The ice cream will be less rich, but still incredibly more rich than anything you can buy at any store."

              Guess that settles it. As if it needed settling.

              1. re: JoanN

                I'm glad you tried it with all twelve. Sometimes, you have to just go for it. It's not as if you eat ice cream that rich every day!


                1. re: JoanN

                  JoanN: I'm wondering if you experienced a buildup of fat on roof of your mouth. I just don't like that overly rich stuff, and usually de-fat ice cream by subbing some regular milk or even 1%.

                  Did you notice anything like that when eating your ice cream?

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Nope. Maybe all the chocolate in the brownie cookies kept me from noticing? ;-)

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      I'm so glad to read you've "skinnied" your ice cream down. I've just started playing with the machine over the past (almost) year and was wondering how much I could get away with in terms of trimming cream and # of yolks. Don't get me wrong, I *LOVE* overly rich stuff, but am trying to behave myself in terms of cholesterol.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Yes, I just bought an ice cream maker yesterday(!) and a copy of The Perfect Scoop. I am tempted to scale down the amount of cream in all of the recipes, glad to know others have tried it already with success.

                        1. re: newfoodie

                          Welcome to the ice cream making club! I just posted a link of frozen treat recipes (found it while on Cooking Light). There are skinnied-down recipes there, too...along with the full-fat for when we feel like indulging. ;)


                          Am hoping more folks will chime in to talk about frozen treats now that it's getting warmer.

                          1. re: newfoodie

                            newfoodie, The Perfect Scoop was Dessert Cookbook of the Month last summer, plus there were some long and helpful earlier threads on it here. Links to all of them are contained in this thread:

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Thank you Caitlin! I can't wait to look it over.

              2. I've made a few things from this book myself and had a few more. One recipe that is a staple for me is the Buttermilk Panna Cotta. I haven't made it with the rose gelee but have made it with fruit or different sauces. It's really easy and not as rich as some panna cottas since it has buttermilk and not all cream.

                I've made the almond brown-butter cakes a few times too. Also very easy and good. Basically a financier recipe.

                Her maple baked apples are a winter staple for us. I substituted dried barberries for some of the other dried fruit because it adds some tartness. The sauce that the apples bake in is a combination of apple cider or juice and maple syrup. It really works well and I've used it for other fruit too.

                I had a number of other things at some classes Claudia Fleming taught at a cooking school here. One standout for me was the rose meringues which she served with strawberries and marscapone cream. Also the marcapone cream-filled cannoli with raspberries. She used an interesting technique for that: she made a raspberry compote that involved raspberries with sugar that were strained. That compote was then tossed with fresh raspberries. The word she used to describe them was "jewel-like" -- which it was. The raspberries just glistened with the compote on them. A detail that really made it stand out. I also liked some shortcakes which were served with strawberries and tarragon. She makes good use of herbs in some interesting ways.

                There are so many things on my list to try. Including all the desserts with concord grapes. A coconut tapioca soup with fruit. The chestnut souffles. (I am crazy for chestnuts.) And take a look at the espresso orange panna cotta parfaits with coffee gelee on page 186. The picture is gorgeous.

                Everything has just a little different twist and she really cooks with the seasons. This is my very favorite dessert book. Eventually I want to get to her bed and breakfast on the east coast. Where I will eat nothing but desserts!

                1 Reply
                1. re: karykat

                  I prepare desserts almost exclusively for dinner parties so it's going to take me a long time to get around to trying some of these. The tapioca soup is on my list as well. And I, too, adore chestnuts. The souffle had passed me right by. Glad you mentioned it.

                2. I've only made a few things beyond the wonderful gingerbread cake, which I've made many times:

                  I made those Chocolate Brownie Cookies, but didn't fill them (that looks fantastic, BTW) and we absolutely loved them. Now I've GOT to fill them with ice cream!!!

                  Cornmeal Nut Biscotti, p. 140 - I made these so long ago, I don't remember what we didn't like about them, just that we didn't like them. But, truthfully, there have only been a few biscotti recipes that we've loved.

                  The Cashew-Chocolate Crisps, p.141, on the other hand, were very good! Brittle and crispy and tasty.

                  Pistachio-Nut Brittle, p. 142, is a delicious take on brittle.

                  The Caramel Ice Cream, p. 193, is quite good - extremely RICH.

                  Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta, p. 206, is delicious. Mine collapsed, so it didn't look as pretty as the picture, but tasted great.

                  There are so many other recipes I've marked to try: That Brandied Fig Ice Cream, Macadamia Tart, Pinenut Tart, Butterscotch Custard w/Coconut Cream, Coconut Ice cream, Coconut Tuiles ..... but I don't make desserts very often and there are so many cookbooks!

                  Thank you for starting this thread.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mirage

                    How did you like the chocolate brownie cookies? The picture looks fantastic. Are they fudgy or more cakey? (I like the fudgy kind.)

                    1. re: karykat

                      Not mirage, but I'll answer for me. Fudgy. Definitely. And very slightly crisp on the outside (at least, before they were frozen). I liked them a lot. And they were marvelous as an ice cream cookie. But they were very rich and next time I make them I'll be sure to make them small, as she says they should be.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        They kind of look like the tops of regular brownies with that kind of crinkly texture.

                        Glad to hear they're fudgy. Another thing to add to the to-do list for this book.

                    2. re: mirage

                      I second the pistachio was delicious! I also made the chocolate-caramel tarts and they were heavenly (but the crust was a bit difficult to work with if i remember correctly)