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Jan 21, 2010 03:34 AM

Need a signature dessert! Can I steal yours?

In my husband's family, at every potluck gathering, the women bring their signature dessert. And now that we have been married for more than 10 years, my husband thinks it is time I came up with my own. I am already known as the best chopped liver, chicken soup. and noodle kugel maker in the family but desserts? Not so much. It's not that I can't bake-I once came in second in a national magazine's cooking contest for "Giant Pesto Pizza Muffins"-its just that I don't have a signature dish....yet.

This is where I need help. I need a recipe that is easy to make but yet impressive to taste and to look, versatile for a variety of occasions, and is not:

-a coffee cake
-an apple cake
-chocolate peanut chews

(these are the recipes that are already someone else's signature)


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  1. What about a trifle idea that you could change, depending on seasonal fruit that is available? That could also include a tiramisu, at least, to me. My signature dessert years ago was cheesecake--there is so much cheesecake out there but not the creamy dense ones that take the right technique. It's another dessert you can change with the season.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      I have used the pepperidge farms frozen puff pastry' cut into about a 4" square. place a Tbs. of chocolate chips in center, arrange square into "purse"; bake according to instructions' and sprink;ed w/ cpmfectioners' sugar; enjoy!

    2. Not traditional tiramisu, but ridiculously good! I got this recipe years ago from my father, who got it from the Ghiradelli website (I can't find it there anymore, but did find it here

      2 Replies
        1. re: toveggiegirl

          It is crazy good! (I have to admit that I use the hard lady fingers and don't split them, and end up upping the liquid to make them softer).

      1. I was doing okay until i saw that you couldn't use a mandlebrot or a coffee cake recipe ( my sour cream coffee cake used to put my former father in law in transports of ecstasy) but
        I do get frequent requests for the old standard rum cake made with yellow cake mix. Or, since no one has claimed the pie area -- find a good apple pie or a chocolate pie and serve it with whipped cream.

        1. I don't have a signature dish either, but I make strawberry shortcake, German Chocolate Cake, Fresh Coconut Cake with Pineapple Filling, and pecan pie (all from scratch) when I need a large dessert. Creme brulee or tiramisu for smaller gatherings.

          25 Replies
          1. re: bayoucook

            There's a great recipe called Blueberry Boy Bait on - I've made it with fresh and frozen blueberries and it's always a hit. I was originally intrigued by the name...


            1. re: janeh

              I bookmarked that one - can't wait to make it! Thanks.

              1. re: bayoucook

                It is very good - it's also in CI's Lost Recipes book, a v good one.

              2. re: janeh

                OMG this looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to make this one.

                1. re: janeh

                  Geez, I've never had any luck removing a 9x13 cake from the pan. Looks so nice when it's out. I must try harder next time. Is their a trick to this besides the usual flour and grease?

                  1. re: millygirl

                    Butting in: You could use baker's parchment. Half a half-sheet pan size works in a 13x9. Cut the corners diagonally inward about 2 inches and it will fit into the corners of your pan (I spray the pan with Pam first and also spray the parchment).

                    1. re: millygirl

                      An easy way is just to insert a piece of aluminum foil to fit -- you don't need to spray or lube up anything. Make it a bit longer so you can lift it out easily -- the foil just peels right off.

                      1. re: walker

                        Yes this works too. Usually form it over the outside and wet the inside of the pan slightly to make it stick a bit better (I guess I'm a lubeaholic).

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Re aluminum foil - unless it's the treated non-stick kind, I would still spray it with Pam (or grease and flour it).

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Believe me, it always peels right off with no problem w/out Pam or crisco.

                            1. re: walker

                              I certainly believe it works for you, but have had problems with bare foil sticking in the past.

                      2. re: millygirl

                        I've usually made it in a 10" round pan and it comes out pretty easily. I've had a hard time removing cakes intact from 9x 13 pans, and that's why I tried it in the round pan.Made it at a friends' house in a 9x13 pyrex pan and just served it from the pan.

                        1. re: janeh

                          Is 10 inch round equivalent to 9x13? Can't be, can it? LOL my math sucks, or maybe that's algebra? Whatever.

                          1. re: millygirl

                            No, a 9x13 is closer to 2 8" pans. But, if it's a low cake, then you might be able to use a 10" pan and bake longer, watching carefully. With a rectangular pan, I use a sling as mentioned above. With a round pan, especially a larger one, I use silpat circles but you can cut a 10" round parchment paper and use that below. Butter both the pan and the parchment.

                            1. re: millygirl

                              12 inch round is equivalent to 9x13.

                          2. re: millygirl

                            i use something called bakers spray..i learned it from paula deen Its basically flour and oil in a spray can..GENIUS!!!

                            1. re: drewb123

                              Isn't it the same this as Pam for baking?

                                1. re: toveggiegirl

                                  Baker's Joy is what I sell and use. It does a great job.

                          3. re: janeh

                            Re: Blueberry boy bait

                            This is my Mother and was my (now deceased) Nanas signature summer dessert.
                            Everyone LOVES it!
                            I also made this for my in-laws the first time I met them 11 years ago.
                            It is yummy!

                            1. re: janeh

                              btw I just read the smittenkitchen recipe and this is not how my Nana made it. She seperated the egg whites and yolks. She creamed the yolks with the butter and then beat the whites until stiff peaks and slowly incorporated like you would a souffle. This made for an incredibly airy cake. I noticed the one pictured was quite dense.

                              1. re: foodsnob14

                                sounds like a genoise--the cake used for a jelly roll. Light and a bit (but not too) eggy. Spongey, too--absorbs flavorings very well.

                              2. re: janeh

                                made it twice this summer. Good an easy peezy to make

                              3. re: bayoucook

                                THe coconut cake sounds great! Which recipe do you use?

                                1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                                  I've make this one about a dozen times; sometimes I substitute a lemon curd filling.
                                  It is always delicious and we get fresh frozen coconut here.


                                1. re: HillJ

                                  That's a wild looking cake! Thanks for the intro to foododelmundo - looks like lots of interesting stuff.