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Dec 15, 2009 09:52 PM

2 ??s re flavor pairings for Christmas desserts

Still trying to finalize two of my dessert choices and could use your opinions:

1) Cheesecake--I'm going to make an eggnog cheesecake and need a non-berry fruit suggestion to complement the eggnog. Originally, I was planning to make a plain cheesecake with a passed plum-cranberry-walnut compote. Would that go well with the eggnog flavor, IYO?

2) Drunken cake--This is the dessert that's going to be the Christmas centerpiece on the sideboard. It's going to be iced with a poured fondant recipe I have that sets up beautifully for subsequent decorations. That first calls for a crumb-coat. I'll probably do a preserve-syrup coat, a thin layer of buttercream and then the mock fondant.

Obviously, there are many sweet elements here. I can "dial back" the sweetness of the crumbcoat syrup and the buttercream, and even the cake, but poured fondant --well, I can't do much about that. It is what it is.

I'm looking for a liqueur to soak the cake, or maybe a fortified wine, that is not extremely sweet but still appealing to a couple of the guests whom I know do I put this?...well, less sophisticated palates. I know for example that Amaretto would appeal to them, but I think that's far too cloying together with the other elements. Would something like Irish Mist or perhaps a medium Sherry or a Marsala help to cut the sweetness? Would they appeal to those who have non-exotic tastes?

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  1. Is the fruit a topping or accompaniment to the eggnog cheesecake? Or are you talking about another dessert? Frankly, I think the eggnog flavor might be best on its own, although I suppose that apple might complement the nutmeg in eggnog.

    What sort of flavor is in the drunken cake? I am not familiar with that recipe (though I'm plenty familiar with soaking cake layers--and the cake baker--with liquor/liqueur). Is it a plain spongecake? If so, rum might work--a familiar enough flavor for those with underdeveloped palates.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Hi, nofun. Thanks for answering.

      I'm planning to pass the whatever fruit compote I come up with as an accompaniment. Ergo, people can have their cheesecake plain or with topping according to their preference. I know what you're saying; eggnog seems like a tough flavor to match up with fruit. I could go another route with a simple nutmeg sauce recipe I have...or a cinnamon sauce? Do you think one of those would be better?

      A drunken cake *is*--to me, anyway ;-)--simply a cake soaked with spirits (or a simple syrup flavored with liquor, which is what I'll do). I'm going to decide which cake recipe to use based on the liquor I finally select, but it will definitely be on the yellow/white/pound/butter cake side of the spectrum. I think you're right--that everyone would be able to deal with the rum, and that's what I was originally planning to do. Since I don't drink, however, I wasn't quite sure how sweet rum is? Would you suggest a light or dark rum, nofun?

      1. re: Normandie

        Meyer's dark rum has been a kitchen workhorse for me and for others. It has a decent flavor (frankly, to me it smells and tastes of Christmas!) without breaking the bank like pricier "drinking" rums would.

        1. re: Normandie

          I like the idea of the nutmeg sauce. Eggnog is such a delicate flavor, it seems that fruit (especially an assertive one like cranberry) would overwhelm it ... Perhaps peaches would not, and nutmeg would be good with them.

      2. For soaking the cake, I'd find a high quality Spanish port. Not too sweet but oh so good.

        1. 1) I love this eggnog tiramisu and think a sauce with the flavor along those lines w/ the marsala (I used marsala instead of rum) and nutmeg would be a great side:

          I'm also thinking this apple marsala sauce would be good:

          2) What about a Grand Marnier for the cake? It's a pretty basic flavor and gives you orange to play off of which would be easy. To make it more palatable to people who don't like strong flavors, you could do do a tres leches idea but flavor the milks with coconut or rum.

          1. Mmm! Both desserts sound so very delicious. Wish I had your skill in baking!

            Cranberry might go alright with eggnog flavors, but a sweet Damson plum compote might be nicer on its own, I think. Also, I'd lean towards mild, creamy fruits like very ripe persimmon if those aren't too hard to find / expensive where you are, banana or the creamier varieties of pear. Possibly fig.

            Re: drunken cake... bourbon?