Your spectacular NYE's dessert!!!!
I don't cook with much chocolate...but since you're open to ideas! How involved do you want to get with the recipe?
A few simple ideas - simple to execute but get that WOW with a nice presentation, and would go nicely with prime rib (comfort) dinner:
- pecan pie (I can share my mom's stellar recipe if you'd like)
- pumpkin custard
- apple crisp (really, my fav is thinly sliced baked apples w/ topping sprinkled)
- poached pears
I made this meringue cake twice, both times was truly special. The first time for 1999/2000 New Year's, as the name implies and again recently. Mmmm, very nice presentation, especially with edible gold flake. Here's the link...
This is a Rose Levy Berenbaum recipe that I make whenever I want to knock a chocoholic's socks off. I often decorate it with a white marzipan rose, but I've also decorated it with a real red rose and a real white gardenia (Damn! Gardenia's are hard to find these days!) People ooh and ahh when they see it, and then start to moan when they taste it. As I've mentioned before on these boards, I even got a marriage proposal from someone to whom I served it.
She doesn't seem to mention it in this link, but Berenbaum recommends serving it with it with a raspberry sauce, and I nearly always do--in which case I'll decorate with a white, instead of a red, flower.
That's really interesting. Similar to the Chocolate Oblivion Cake I linked to above, but substitutes water and sugar for the additional butter in the Berenbaum recipe. Would be really interesting to do a side-by-side--but I think I'll pass. One of these a year is more than enough.
Somewhere along the line we got into a tradition of making cream puffs with different flavored custards and fillings for new year's eve, probably partly as an excuse to have fun making fun choux sculpture creations to celebrate the night. (I think it started with a couple years of cream puff swans, and then morphed into making the numbers of the year and various other creations) The focus is maybe a little more on looks than on intense flavor, since we usually use mild Japanese fillings like red bean, black sesame, and green tea.
However, an ancho chocolate filling, or a bourbon cream filling, or an intense lemon (or maybe tangerine or blood orange?) could make a more stand-out flavor!
GalleyGirl's Pear Tart is always a hit...
Maple or Plain Creme Brulee
If you like Guiness, try this Guiness Chocolate and White Chocolate Mousse
For a festive sorbet, try Raspberry Champagne Sorbet:
1 qt. fresh raspberries
zest of one lime
1 cup champagne
1 cup simple syrup - 1 cup each of sugar and water boiled together
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Strain and chill for 1 hour. Pour into ice cream batch freezer and churn until the sorbet reaches the desired consistency.
Last minute I came up with chestnut pots de creme - based it on JC's French Chef cookbook (the paperback one that accompanied the original shows) recipe for chocolate ones (which I make all the time for fast snazzy desserts). 4 oz marrons glacés, 1 1/2 tb rum, 1 egg plus 2 yolks, 1 c cream, a shake of salt, whizzed in the blender, put in pots de creme cups, bake in hot water bath at 350 for 25 minutes. Terrific, although I would let the mixture settle next time because it produced a foamy top layer that was not unpleasant but not as luxuriously creamy as I had hoped. (To make the chocolate ones, you heat the cream, pour it over 4 oz choc chips or chopped chocolate, beat this into the beaten egg + egg yolks with the rum, and bake as above. This is a great and dead simple recipe, is delicious with everything from grocery store choc chips to the finest chocolate - the ones I made with Bernachon chocolate live in happy memory -, and you can use whatever liquor or liqueur you fancy in them of course.)
Last night on the spur of the moment, I made bread pudding in a dutch oven in the fireplace.
It was insanely good.
There were only two of us, so I cut the recipe down and in doing so, it ended up with way less sweet and rich, than bread pudding usually is.
Sliced and buttered some good Bay Area sourdough, layered it with pears and raisins. Whisked together and added 4 one day old eggs, 4 cups of raw (nonfat!) milk and about 1/3 cup of sugar.
Layered everything in a small buttered dutch oven, with a layer of parchment on the bottom.
I don't know what it was, the freshness and quality of the ingredients or the fact that I could cook shoes in the fireplace and they would be sublime, but it was fantastic.
I think because it wasn't so overly rich, each bite was a little journey through each ingredient.
Truly one of the best and simplest desserts I have ever made.
This wasn't for NYE, but for today. I made the hot chocolate layer cake on the cover of the current issue of Fine Cooking. I had some issues with the recipe -- the cake was a bit recalcitrant, the frosting required an overnight stay in the freezer (which I cut down to several hours), and I bought the marshmallows vs. making them -- BUT the final product got rave reviews for both presentation and flavor, so I'm not really complaining.
Here's my pic and a link to the recipe:
Inspired by several blogs adapting roasted pears, we made a roasted pear & banana. To the baking dish we added cinnamon, nutmeg, raw sugar, lemon juice, butter, and three split vanilla beans. The caramelized fruit was served with a choice of Greek yogurt, pound cake or honey cheesecake and frankly by itself was super satisfying. bonus: the vanilla beans scented the whole house!
We also rec'd nine pints of ice cream/sorbet/yogurt from Jeni's in Ohio and served the lot with spoons.
Happy NYE guests and no fuss for the hosts. My kinda holiday party.