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50 Desserts That Every Cook Should Know

AmandaCA Sep 23, 2010 04:57 PM

With the indulgence of the holiday season just around the corner, I thought it time for me to sift through and update my dessert recipes. I have a few go-to ones, a Pumpkin Cheesecake from epicurious.com and a lemon tart from an old job as well as the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Cook's Illustrated a few years back.

I know some of you have tons of recipes, tried and true, collected over the years. So, from one home chef to another, if you could recommend 50 (at the most) desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, squares, tarts, etc.) that I have in my arsenal, what would they be?

Here's what I have so far:

Lemon Tart
Nick's Supernatural Brownies
Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Vanilla Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop

PLEASE post recipes if you have them!

Thanks to all those in advance who take the time to respond. :D

  1. Hank Hanover Sep 21, 2012 11:08 PM

    Hoilday desserts have been nominated as dish of the month. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869782

    Vote for it if you would like to see a lot of dessert recipes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hank Hanover
      iL Divo Sep 22, 2012 10:24 AM

      I like the idea of that HH.
      I haven't been one to check the DOTM but did recently see the Meatball thread.
      not checked the recipes there yet, but will when I have more than a few minutes.
      like the idea of dessert recipes as we always need a go to favorite that comes with lots of high marks.
      I'll vote for it, thanks HH. this morning I made a very simple dessert for my husband to add to his breakfast. home made doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar.
      I'll post it there.

    2. Hank Hanover May 20, 2012 09:25 PM

      I recently bought a plastic flower pot with no hole in the bottom. It is going to be a real multitasker. My grand daughter will use it as a hat. I am going to use it as a mould for a chocolate russe and another time as a mould for a bombe.

      I'm really looking forward to making those two desserts.

      1. iL Divo Jan 17, 2012 07:38 PM

        Gale Gands lemon sponge pudding.

        http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

        1. m
          MIss G Jan 17, 2012 07:34 PM

          Since it's 50 desserts, how specific are you getting? 1 cookie, 1 pie, 1 cake, 1 plated dessert, 1 pot luck dessert, etc....

          1 Reply
          1. re: MIss G
            AmandaCA May 18, 2012 06:27 AM

            Whatever I think. I didn't include Christmas cookies in my first list because I have about a dozen of those alone. But lets just say like 5 cookies, 3 cakes, 2 cheesecakes, 5 French desserts, 5 Italian, 5 pies, 5 show stoppers, 5 from Asian including India, 5 frozen, 2 something different, 3 soft desserts (like pudding or mousse) and 5 holiday specific.

            I think when I first started this post I was looking for those solid dessert recipes that I may not have read or seen but that other foodies are familiar with. Also, those solid recipes that can be adapted to a number of variartions. Like the best cheesecake you have ever had but then I can top that with any sauce or decoration that fits when I serve it.

          2. t
            Tuls Mar 7, 2011 02:09 PM

            Great ideas and recipes! How about adding something Indian to this list... for instance Gajar Halwa (carrot pudding) or Kheer (Rice Pudding)? Both are easy to make, taste good warm or chilled and popular enough that a lot of people are familiar with them.
            If you've only tried the Indian restaurant version, you have no idea how delicious these can be when made at home!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tuls
              buttertart Mar 8, 2011 05:41 AM

              Would you share your recipes? I love Indian sweets (it's only natural, my sister-in-law is from Kolkata).

            2. caraely Feb 14, 2011 10:20 AM

              50 is a lot! Off the top of my head:

              Flourless chocolate cake (epicurious) with Alton Brown's chocolate ganache
              Gramercy Tavern gingerbread with lemon curd and whipped cream
              Orangette's brownie recipe
              Butterscotch pudding
              Bread pudding
              Lemon cake
              Caramels
              Pot au chocolat
              One good fruit pie

              1. j
                jsantopietro Jan 13, 2011 05:58 PM

                I recently made a molten lava cake. Sure they are so 90s but god are they good.

                1. t
                  twilight goddess Jan 12, 2011 09:41 AM

                  eat! these! blondies!. Easy and delicious; everyone ends up grabbing more than one. Even the catty girl at the office had to reach for a 2nd, and grudgingly said "you could make these again, you know, and bring them in for us." Ha ha. Those are the only remotely warm words she's ever said to me!

                  My modifications: Ghirardelli chips or a Ghirardelli/other fine dark chocolate bar crunched and crushed up. I use dark brown sugar, no nuts.

                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: twilight goddess
                    t
                    twilight goddess Jan 12, 2011 05:23 PM

                    Nigella Lawson's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake. As Nigella says, "I start with this because I think it is the essence of all that is desirable in chocolate: its dark intensity isn't toyed with, nor upstaged by any culinary elaboration."

                    This cake is also really a snap to put together, and actually tastes better the 2nd day. So it's nice to make in advance for guests. It may collapse a little in the middle, but who cares? Here's the recipe, that I found on a blog while bopping around looking for it:

                    http://technically.us/eat/x/nigellas-...

                  2. h
                    haiku. Jan 10, 2011 07:01 AM

                    Something that I'm listing just because it's so easy and quick, and an accidental discovery (I had had too much milk and made dulce le leche with it, but it was a bit grainy and I was looking for a use for it and some leftover puff pastry... and it was a huge hit!): Banoffi Pie - http://www.hungrymonk.co.uk/pages/ban...

                    1. lilgi Jan 8, 2011 10:41 PM

                      This is the list I'm working on for myself, emphasis on Greek desserts (we love them!). Not necessarily a very well rounded list but most of these are items I regularly make or I'm in the process of getting to eventually. I didn't include basics like oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, etc.:

                      Baklava
                      Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)
                      Finikia/Melomakarona (Greek Honey Cookies)
                      Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard)
                      Cannoli
                      Italian Ricotta Cheesecake
                      Seven Layer Cookies
                      Pignoli Cookies
                      Tiramisu
                      Holiday Biscotti with Cranberry and Pistachios
                      Panna Cotta
                      Molded French Cream
                      Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons
                      Eclairs
                      French Fruit Tarts
                      Cream Puffs
                      NY Cheesecake
                      Magnolia Bakery's Recipe Chocolate Buttermilk Cake and Cupcakes
                      Magnolia Bakery's Recipe Vanilla Cake and Cupcakes
                      Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes (recipe in progress)
                      Coconut Cake
                      Strawberry-Peach Crumble
                      Apple Crumble
                      Pumpkin Pie
                      Pecan Pie
                      Damson Plum Pinweels
                      Lemon Bars

                      30 Replies
                      1. re: lilgi
                        lilgi Jan 9, 2011 01:33 AM

                        Forgot Croquembouche since I'm still deciding on my pastry cream.

                        1. re: lilgi
                          lilgi Jan 16, 2011 12:37 PM

                          The most challenging recipe for me was to find one that came close to authentic NY cannoli, without having tried out any as of yet. Got my cannoli forms on Friday, and the recipe I just acquired seems spot on. I'll know in a couple of weeks how it turns out, can't wait :)

                          I just saw my grammatical error on the list above: eclair!

                          Forgot to add Madeleines, still looking for that traditional recipe; it seems to be one of those cookies that gets much critique.

                          1. re: lilgi
                            souschef Jan 16, 2011 06:29 PM

                            I can't remember if you have posted on the madeleine thread, but have you tried the recipes there ?

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731816

                            1. re: souschef
                              lilgi Jan 16, 2011 07:01 PM

                              I've glanced at the thread several times recently. I'm sure I missed something because I don't think I've seen a recommended madeleines recipe there. I made Dorie's once before and I loved them only to find out that her recipe gets criticism by purists. I think Smitten Kitchen's was next on my list, She had a problem with hers too that I remember reading about. I also have Martha Stewarts; same as well.

                              Edit: Also, apologies for not posting there, it's just not a recipe or a cookie that I'm that familiar with.

                              1. re: lilgi
                                t
                                toveggiegirl Jan 16, 2011 10:46 PM

                                Bon Appétit has a very good (and simple) recipe. I'm not sure if it is the "traditional" one your looking for.
                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                1. re: toveggiegirl
                                  lilgi Jan 16, 2011 11:30 PM

                                  Just as I saw your post I remembered there was one other recipe that I have to try. I just copied Patricia Welles' recipe from the Food Lovers Guide to Paris. I'll see how these workout first. ty!

                                  1. re: lilgi
                                    t
                                    toveggiegirl Jan 17, 2011 01:19 AM

                                    Please let us know how her recipe turns out. I love Patricia Wells!

                                    1. re: toveggiegirl
                                      lilgi Jan 17, 2011 07:24 AM

                                      Her recipe looks good, but I just found Souschefs (I definitely need new contacts!). I think his is going to be much less dense (less flour) and with the addition of baking soda probably gives the little "hump". Will report back on his thread :)

                                      1. re: lilgi
                                        souschef Jan 17, 2011 10:02 AM

                                        You do need new contacts! It's baking powder, not baking soda :)

                                        1. re: souschef
                                          lilgi Jan 17, 2011 10:36 AM

                                          LOL! I just posted on your thread, need to confirm quantities :)

                                      2. re: toveggiegirl
                                        lilgi Jan 19, 2011 05:53 PM

                                        toveggie, on the wells' recipe, we liked it the least from the three I tried. Too much flour perhaps, I know my son needed to drink something right away, but he's very sensitive to texture. I posted one that we liked very much on the Madeleines thread.

                                        1. re: lilgi
                                          t
                                          toveggiegirl Jan 19, 2011 06:48 PM

                                          Thanks! I'll go check out that thread.

                                2. re: souschef
                                  lilgi Jan 17, 2011 07:20 AM

                                  Found it!

                            2. re: lilgi
                              AmandaCA Jan 9, 2011 12:22 PM

                              Would you share the Magnolia Bakery's Recipes? I am always looking for great cake and frosting recipes. Also, the raspberry chocolate macaroons sound delish! Are they hard to make?

                              1. re: AmandaCA
                                lilgi Jan 9, 2011 02:08 PM

                                Sure! The Macaroons appear in the same Gourmet Christmas issue as the Damson Plum Pinwheels I listed and are now on epicurious, and they are easy!

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                I can't say enough about the Magnolia recipes; my crew worships them here and I was a skeptic before I made them. They are very popular, and I wanted "not" to like them. After the cupcakes were made they kept calling me into the kitchen....now there is no going back. I also use the buttercream recipes, let me know if you want me to list those as well.

                                I am a true chocolate lover but lighter chocolate flavors impart an entirely different experience in to the cake. I prefer the "lighter" chocolate, but I also enjoy a good, deep chocolate brownie like everyone else. I think both flavors are good to have in your basic list. The vanilla recipe follows:

                                Magnolia's Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes and Cake*
                                (About 24 cupcakes or 1 double layer 9-inch cake

                                )

                                To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 15 minutes, or until lukewarm.

                                *To make a layer cake, butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

                                Ingredients
                                2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
                                1 tsp Baking Soda
                                1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
                                1 Cup Sugar
                                1 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
                                4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
                                6 Oz Bittersweet Chocolate melted (original recipe lists "unsweetened")
                                1 Cup Buttermilk
                                1 tsp Vanilla Extract
                                1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (not listed in original recipe)

                                Method
                                Preheat oven to 350˚F.

                                Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

                                In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

                                In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

                                Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

                                Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

                                Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

                                Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes and Cake
                                (About 24 cupcakes or one triple layer 9-inch cake)

                                For a layer cake, butter and flour 3 (9 x 2-inch) round cake pans, then line the bottoms with wax paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool inside pans for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

                                Ingredients
                                1 ½ Cups Self Rising Flour
                                1 ¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
                                1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
                                2 Cups Sugar
                                4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
                                1 Cup Milk
                                1 tsp Vanilla Extract

                                Method
                                Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

                                In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

                                Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

                                Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

                                1. re: lilgi
                                  AmandaCA Jan 9, 2011 11:11 PM

                                  Please post the buttercreams too. Thanks for these, I will be sure to try them soon. It is always such a struggle to find that perfect cake recipe.

                                  1. re: AmandaCA
                                    lilgi Jan 10, 2011 06:13 AM

                                    Magnolia's Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe
                                    (Enough for a 2 layer (9-inch) cake or 2 dozen cupcakes)

                                    The key to achieving a creamy texture is to beat the icing at proper speeds for the proper amount of time. If beaten at too high a speed, the icing incorporates too much air and becomes fluffy rather than creamy.

                                    To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 15 minutes, or until lukewarm.

                                    Ingredients
                                    1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
                                    2 Tablespoons milk
                                    9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                    2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

                                    Method
                                    In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and desired consistency.

                                    Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Icing

                                    Ingredients
                                    1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
                                    6-8 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
                                    ½ Cup Milk
                                    2 tsp Vanilla Extract

                                    Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

                                    Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

                              2. re: lilgi
                                souschef Jan 13, 2011 04:14 AM

                                You forgot Ekmek Kataifi. I think I got the spelling right.

                                1. re: souschef
                                  buttertart Jan 13, 2011 05:02 AM

                                  Come to NYC and I'll get you to a place they make that on order and serve it hot. Also the most amazing tiny-cubed lamb loin dish.

                                  1. re: buttertart
                                    souschef Jan 13, 2011 05:20 AM

                                    I should take you up on that offer. I have only had that dessert at Milos in Montreal, and they have a branch in NYC; have you had it there? I love lamb too.

                                    1. re: souschef
                                      buttertart Jan 13, 2011 05:38 AM

                                      Milos here has a rep of being eyewateringly expensive and not being as good as it is pricy, so haven't been there. This is a little Turkish restaurant in Brooklyn, Tacis Beyti.

                                  2. re: souschef
                                    lilgi Jan 13, 2011 06:51 AM

                                    haha, didn't forget but there are other Hellenic pastries I didn't include. Kataifi is deelish! Sometimes I need a reason to get to Astoria :)

                                    1. re: lilgi
                                      buttertart Jan 13, 2011 07:15 AM

                                      One of the nicest experiences of my life was being in Athens for New Year's 2009 and having kourabiedes and melimakarona everywhere, including big plates of them in the hotel lobby. Love that city. Another one was on my first trip there as a teenager and having my first ever tyropita, on a launch between our ship and the island it was bought on, hot. Greeks have got it going on foodwise!

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        lilgi Jan 13, 2011 07:25 AM

                                        Omg yes! Those are wonderful memories.

                                        We aren't Greek, but their cooking has been so influential in our lives, living a few years in Astoria, relatives from Athens through marriage, and some very close friends as well. And when we lived in Astoria we had a neighbor who baked for us every Sunday. I learned to adopt lots of lemon in my cooking as well.

                                        1. re: lilgi
                                          buttertart Jan 13, 2011 07:30 AM

                                          I had a Greek bf in high school, hence my initial interest! Expanded over the years in my cooking too. Did you see the Saveur last year with the articles on Greece? Excellent.

                                          1. re: buttertart
                                            lilgi Jan 13, 2011 07:40 AM

                                            No, but thanks for the heads up!

                                            I have an old Gourmet Best of 1997 cookbook featuring the foods of Greece. My favorite little cookbook is one that was compiled by housewives belonging to one Greek Orthodox church; all home cooking recipes and desserts, sometimes many of them the same, with different influences; a treasure :)

                                            1. re: lilgi
                                              buttertart Jan 13, 2011 07:47 AM

                                              I've seen that one. Another good one is "Greek Islands Cooking" by Theonie Marks, who had the nicest cooking show on PBS in the mid-seventies.

                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                lilgi Jan 13, 2011 07:51 AM

                                                Thanks so much! I would love to pick that up as well.

                                                1. re: lilgi
                                                  buttertart Jan 13, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                  It's old but available on used book services like ABEbooks v cheap.

                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                    lilgi Jan 13, 2011 05:25 PM

                                                    Thanks again! I'm looking forward to adding to my seriously outdated cookbook collection and update my Greek cooking recipes.

                                2. m
                                  mclaroc Jan 8, 2011 05:32 PM

                                  I'm not sure if this thread is still going, but here what gets us through the Montréal winter : sucre à la crème ! It is a really simple, very traditionnal recipe. The textures resembles fudge .

                                  3 cups brown sugar
                                  2/3 cup butter
                                  2/3 cup heavy cream
                                  1 cup icing sugar.
                                  Butter a 6x10 pan. Mix brown sugar,cream and butter in a saucepan.Bring to a boil, and cook, boiling, for 5 minutes.Take off the heat. Add icing sugar and beat vigourously. When the mix is smoth, cool in buttered pan and cut in small squares.

                                  1. q
                                    Querencia Dec 15, 2010 05:46 PM

                                    Reading through this thread I'm not clear on whether we are cooking for family here or competing on Iron Chef. If it's family, I don't see homage being paid to fruit cobblers, which are very go-to in cold weather, or for the baked pudding that comes out chocolate cake on top and gooey fudge sauce on the bottom. With nuts.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Querencia
                                      AmandaCA Dec 15, 2010 09:35 PM

                                      Well clearly lists vary depending on people's own personal skill set or background. But I think I posed the question as more of a home chef looking for reliably delicious go-to recipes. Would you share your chocolate cake/pudding recipe?

                                    2. sugarcube Dec 12, 2010 06:05 PM

                                      Cream Cheese Pecan Pie from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (the second one)
                                      Cream Cheese Buns from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (second one)
                                      Sticky Buns from HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World (it uses a brioche dough for an over the top buttery treat)
                                      Danishes (Baking Illustrated has an easy to follow and delicious recipe)
                                      ShooFly Pie from Sugar Cookbook
                                      Shortbread (Baking Illustrated)
                                      Poached Pear and Fragipane Tart (Baking Illustrated)
                                      Butter Tarts with Caramel sauce (Sugar Cookbook)
                                      Deep Dish Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust ( I take from Food Network and Leite's Culinaria)
                                      Chocolate Gingerbread (Nigella Lawson, How to be a Domestic Goddess)
                                      Sticky Toffee Pudding (Baking Illustrated)
                                      Apple Cheesecake (Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours)
                                      Chocolate Mousse (Epicurious.com)
                                      Flourless Chocolate Cake (Nigella Lawson, How to be a Domestic Goddess)
                                      Spiked Apple Galette (Chow.com recipe)
                                      Chippster Topped Brownies (a glorious hybrid: half a brownie and half a chocolate chip cookie together at last) (Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours)
                                      Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (Baking Illustrated)
                                      German Chocolate Layer Cake (Sugar Cookbook)
                                      S'mores Bars (Sugar Cookbook)
                                      Whoopie Pies (King Arthur Flour)
                                      New York Crumb Cake (Cook's Illustrated)
                                      Black Bottom Cupcakes w. a cream cheese filling (Magnolia Bakery Cookbook- 2nd one)
                                      Crack Pie (Momofuku Cookbook)
                                      Butterscotch Bars (Sugar Cookbook)
                                      Lemon Bars (Sugar Cookbook)
                                      Apple Cake with Toffee Crust (Food and Wine, Best of 2008)
                                      Tiramisu Cake (Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours)
                                      Berry Cobbler (Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours)

                                      ... and i'm out of steam...

                                      http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com/

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sugarcube
                                        o
                                        owen_meany Dec 15, 2010 10:48 AM

                                        Terrific list!

                                        Lame question I am sure but I can't find the "Sugar Cookbook"....who is the author?

                                        1. re: owen_meany
                                          sugarcube Dec 15, 2010 04:43 PM

                                          It's by Anna Olson. She's a Canadian Cook.
                                          http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1552855090/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=485327511&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=155285809X&pf_rd_m=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB&pf_rd_r=0R23EKRKVSWHT4ZTAGFZ

                                          http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com

                                      2. g
                                        gwendolynmarie Oct 25, 2010 03:34 PM

                                        In addition to all that's been listed already, I have to throw in for consideration:
                                        Noodle pudding (kugel) with raisins.
                                        Rugelach.
                                        Molten chocolate cake.
                                        French yogurt cake.
                                        German chocolate cake (using only condensed milk pecan-coconut frosting, no chocolate frosting to distract from the perfect filling-cake ratio).
                                        Olive oil cake. Citrus semolina preferably.
                                        Frangipane based tarts. Change the crust, the fruit and nuts, as long as the frangipane is involved.
                                        One cooked fruit dessert, at least. Red wine poached pears, pears belle helene, stuffed baked apples, grilled glazed peaches.
                                        Donuts! Any which way, but definitely every cook should choose one to learn, whether yeast-raised or cake-style and baked, culturally and seasonally specific varieties like apple-cider, beignets, churros and bombolini, filled or hole-d, dusted or glazed.
                                        Pots de creme.
                                        Linzer torte.
                                        Dulce de leche.
                                        Zuppa inglese cake.
                                        Savarin.
                                        Boston cream pie.
                                        Floating islands / oeufs a la niege.
                                        Biscotti.
                                        Coconut macaroons (dipped in dark chocolate, naturally).
                                        Homemade candy, like fleur de sel caramels, fudge, pralines, peanut butter cups, or seafoam.

                                        While I'd like to add halvah, daifuku, egg tarts, sprtiz cookies, pecan sandies, mammoul, black and white cookies, whoopie pies, gooey butter cake, ice cream sandwiches, and cannoli, this might be going too far.

                                        1. toodie jane Oct 21, 2010 08:30 PM

                                          my mother's Lemon Chiffon Pie
                                          baked alaska
                                          Tres leches cake
                                          Baba au Rum

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: toodie jane
                                            d
                                            dkennedy Oct 24, 2010 08:24 PM

                                            Recipe for Tres leches cake por favor!

                                          2. b
                                            burgeoningfoodie Oct 21, 2010 07:44 AM

                                            Hmmmm I'm thinking just generally (basic) unless otherwise noted in parenthetical statement...

                                            Pecan Pie
                                            Chocolate Cake
                                            White Cake
                                            Angelfood Cake
                                            Pound Cake
                                            7 layer bars (magic cookie bars or whatever)
                                            Chocolate Chip cookies (I hear Jacques Torres are great)
                                            Brownies
                                            Truffles
                                            Cream Puffs or Eclairs (or even eclair cake)
                                            Apple Pie
                                            Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
                                            Blue Perry Pie
                                            Cherry Crisp
                                            Banana Pudding (esp if you have a southerner)
                                            Pumpkin or Sweet Potato pie
                                            Cheesecake
                                            Snicker Doodles
                                            Marshmallows
                                            Scones
                                            Macaroon
                                            Hummingbird Cake
                                            Carrot Cake
                                            Shortcake
                                            Dacquois
                                            Basic Danish
                                            Cinnamon or Sticky buns
                                            Lemon Bars
                                            Gingerbread
                                            Monkeybread
                                            Basic Caramel
                                            Basic Pudding
                                            Jelly Roll ( or genoise)
                                            Meringue (cookies or pavlova)
                                            Any type of trifle
                                            Basic Sugar Cookie
                                            Lemon Meringue Pie
                                            Keylime Pie
                                            Any cupcake

                                            And my train of thought just derailed...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                              bushwickgirl Oct 24, 2010 04:16 PM

                                              I would have reached max load long before you did. Question: hummingbird cake, with bananas, pineapple, pecans, etc, the classic Southern cake?

                                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                b
                                                burgeoningfoodie Oct 26, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                Yes and I guess you could add P'nutbutter cookies to the cache

                                            2. iL Divo Oct 16, 2010 06:14 PM

                                              my orange cream dreamsicle cake
                                              tie die for/triple choclate mess
                                              my big fat peanut butter cup incased peanut butter cookies

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: iL Divo
                                                AmandaCA Oct 17, 2010 02:58 AM

                                                That orange cake sounds very interesting. Would you share the recipe?

                                                1. re: iL Divo
                                                  p
                                                  paprkutr Nov 20, 2010 02:33 PM

                                                  My husband loves creamsicles, and would love to have the recipe if you can post it. TIA

                                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                                    t
                                                    twilight goddess Jan 12, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                    I searched around, and a bunch of cakes called Orange Dreamsicle feature vanilla cake mix, orange Jell-O, and cool whip.

                                                    http://livefromnoble.blogspot.com/201...

                                                    1. re: twilight goddess
                                                      AmandaCA Jan 13, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                      Hmm. That's not exactly what I was thinking. I am sure it could be done with an orange cake filled with a vanilla frosting though. Perhaps some experimentation is in order...

                                                      1. re: AmandaCA
                                                        t
                                                        twilight goddess Jan 15, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                        Lol, it's definitely not what I was thinking either, but every recipe seemed to be that take on it. I thought the same -- easy enough to make a from-scratch version.

                                                  2. MartiniGenie Oct 6, 2010 05:52 PM

                                                    Humm, not much on baking, but I my favorite desserts are still the same. Have learned to make them, also LOL.

                                                    Living in Florida - Key Lime Pie- only three ingredients, please!
                                                    Lived in Texas - Texas Sheet Cake
                                                    Lived in Michigan - Mrs. Pero's fresh from the vine Raspberry Pie (what we as kids didn't sneek went into it)
                                                    More living in FL - White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies with fresh orange zest (MO's!!!)
                                                    Still remember MI - Mrs. Pero's fresh from the garden Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
                                                    And then,
                                                    Pan toasted walnets caramelized with cinnamon and sugar over premium vanilla bean ice cream.
                                                    OK, time to raid the frig.

                                                    Recipes by request. MG

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: MartiniGenie
                                                      AmandaCA Oct 6, 2010 10:06 PM

                                                      Yum, Raspberry Pie recipe please! Also what makes a sheet cake a Texas sheet cake?

                                                      1. re: AmandaCA
                                                        goodhealthgourmet Oct 6, 2010 10:26 PM

                                                        i'm no expert, but my understanding of 'Texas' sheet cake is that the batter contains cocoa and either sour cream or buttermilk, and the frosting is a boiled powdered sugar icing with pecans.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                          AmandaCA Oct 7, 2010 12:35 AM

                                                          So kind of like a riff on red velvet combined with pecan pie? And like a yellow cake or white or is it considered chocolate?

                                                          1. re: AmandaCA
                                                            goodhealthgourmet Oct 7, 2010 11:43 AM

                                                            it's chocolate.

                                                            1. re: AmandaCA
                                                              buttertart Oct 7, 2010 12:03 PM

                                                              http://www.texascooking.com/features/...

                                                        2. re: MartiniGenie
                                                          buttertart Oct 7, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                          Raspberry pie is the absolutely best pie as far as I'm concerned. I like your geographic take on things.

                                                        3. aching Oct 4, 2010 10:23 PM

                                                          Reine de Saba Torte
                                                          Chocolate Tart
                                                          Chocolate Souffles
                                                          Devil's Food Cake
                                                          Creme Caramel/Flan
                                                          Panna Cotta
                                                          Carrot Cake
                                                          Lemon Poppyseed Cake
                                                          Brownies
                                                          Lemon Bars
                                                          Chocolate Chip Cookies
                                                          Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
                                                          Gingersnaps
                                                          Snickerdoodles
                                                          Fresh Berry Pie
                                                          French Apple Pie
                                                          Pumpkin Pie
                                                          Mincemeat Pie
                                                          Pecan Pie
                                                          Lemon Meringue Pie
                                                          Cheesecake
                                                          Banana Bread
                                                          Pumpkin Bread
                                                          Apple Crisp

                                                          Let me know if you want recipes for any of these in particular!

                                                          1. j
                                                            jsaimd Oct 4, 2010 08:29 PM

                                                            I like your list of the basics, but if we are talking amazing dessert recipes I have to add Pierre Herme's lemon cream tart - oh yum...

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: jsaimd
                                                              AmandaCA Oct 4, 2010 11:48 PM

                                                              Do you have a link or recipe for that?

                                                              1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                j
                                                                jsaimd Oct 6, 2010 08:18 AM

                                                                Most desserts my husband tries are - good. Just good - and that is after asking about his opinion. This he tried just the cream and volunteered - this is really good.

                                                                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                1. re: jsaimd
                                                                  buttertart Oct 6, 2010 08:40 AM

                                                                  It had me at "The tart should be served cold, because it is a particular pleasure to have the cold cream melt in your mouth." Must make this.

                                                                  1. re: jsaimd
                                                                    k
                                                                    karykat Oct 6, 2010 10:08 AM

                                                                    This looks absolutely fantastic. On my "must try" list.

                                                                    Looks like the lemon cream has a lighter texture and uses a little different preparation method.

                                                                    1. re: karykat
                                                                      j
                                                                      jsaimd Oct 6, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                                      The key is that there is no cream as we know cream. It is actually butter, mixed in a blender at just the right temperature, so it blends perfectly with the lemon curd, but doesn't melt completely. Then the butter melts in your mouth. So it isn't a lighter texture - in fact it is quite rich, but so good.

                                                                      1. re: jsaimd
                                                                        AmandaCA Oct 6, 2010 02:00 PM

                                                                        This recipe looks way better than my previous lemon tart recipe. Definitely saved it. Plus, how can you go wrong with Dorie.

                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                          j
                                                                          jsaimd Oct 6, 2010 02:38 PM

                                                                          or Pierre Herme....

                                                                        2. re: jsaimd
                                                                          k
                                                                          karykat Oct 6, 2010 04:51 PM

                                                                          Lighter texture? Or not really?

                                                                          (And if it's rich - no problem. Just cut smaller pieces!)

                                                                          1. re: karykat
                                                                            j
                                                                            jsaimd Oct 6, 2010 10:19 PM

                                                                            Not lighter just different - smoother...

                                                                2. souschef Oct 4, 2010 01:40 PM

                                                                  Amanda, if you had to choose only 5 of those 50 desserts which ones would you choose?

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: souschef
                                                                    AmandaCA Oct 4, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                                    Surprisingly, I didn't have to think too hard about this question. When I originally read your questions, I laughed and thought, 'I'll get back to you in a few years when I have tried them all,' but after thinking about it for a second this is what I would pick:

                                                                    Brownies, I love chocolate and this is one of those classic recipes that I just must have
                                                                    Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing, My husband's favorite, still hunting for that perfect recipe
                                                                    Chocolate Chip cookies, for my son
                                                                    A solid pie crust recipe that could work with a variety of fruit fillings for July 4th and Christmas
                                                                    One show stopper dessert, so maybe the Baba or clementine cake or chocolate and pear cake, maybe something on fire, idk...

                                                                    Since we have just started really entertaining, I don't have that go to impressive dessert as of yet. But I guess when I bake, it is primarily for other people.

                                                                    1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Oct 6, 2010 01:02 PM

                                                                      By show-stopper, do you mean something that looks very fancy or special, or just something that tastes amazing? Because, for instance, the clementine cake is pretty plain to look at. Tastes very good, but much less to look at than a simple iced layer cake.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                        AmandaCA Oct 6, 2010 01:59 PM

                                                                        Well taste is most important in my mind but what I want is something that is slightly unusual and receives ahs at the table and mmms on the spoon. Kind of like my signature dish that if I was a 1950's housewife I would serve to my husband's boss to get him that raise.

                                                                  2. d
                                                                    Dcfoodblog Oct 4, 2010 01:36 PM

                                                                    Barefoot Contessa's chocolate white chocolate chunk cookies
                                                                    Pavlova (from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat)
                                                                    Zabaglione
                                                                    Tiramisu
                                                                    Fruit crostada (There's a great crust from Bon Appetit April 2000)
                                                                    Nigella Lawsons chocolate cake (from Nigella Bites)
                                                                    Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake (How to Eat)
                                                                    Sour Cream Coffee Cake (Barefoot Contessa parties)

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      csdiego Oct 4, 2010 09:37 AM

                                                                      My most basic and most impressive dessert recipe is flan, the way I learned to make it as a child in South America:

                                                                      1) Heat oven to 350, with roasting pan or Pyrex half-full of water inside for water bath.

                                                                      Line a flan mold (small Bundt pan is a good alternative) with caramelized sugar: place ~1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan (or if you have a flat-bottomed mold and a sturdy potholder just do it right in there), stir over medium heat until sugar melts and turns a dark amber color, then add ~1/4 cup water (carefully, the hot sugar will spatter) and stir until hardened sugar re-melts, then simmer for about ten minutes until thickened. Pour into mold, swirl around to cover sides as well as possible, although it doesn't have to reach all the way to the top. When cool, sugar will be sticky but still pliable, NOT entirely hardened or you'll never be able to unmold.

                                                                      2) Combine: one can sweetened condensed milk; same can full of whole milk; four eggs; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Pour into burnt-sugar-lined mold. Place in water bath in heated oven.

                                                                      3) Bake 30-40 minutes. When done, custard will be set around edges and very jiggly in the center. Do NOT leave in longer than 40 minutes or flan will overcook and weep, and have a fried-egg taste around the edges. You have to take a leap of faith and remove the pan from the water bath after 40 minutes--as long as the custard doesn't actually splash when you jiggle, it's done and will be perfect when it cools.

                                                                      4) Cool on a rack--do not refrigerate--until just barely lukewarm. Run a knife around the outside and inside edges of the flan to loosen. Unmold onto a dish with sides, let caramel syrup run down for a few minutes.

                                                                      Don't turn up your nose at the sweetened condensed milk. It makes the flan much tastier than one made with just plain eggs + milk/cream. This is the kind of dessert that makes people lose their minds. They never have to know one of the ingredients came out of a can if you don't tell them.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: csdiego
                                                                        kattyeyes Oct 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                                        SCM rules--I could be the poster child for it!!! :) Nice recipe!

                                                                      2. eclecticsynergy Oct 3, 2010 09:11 PM

                                                                        I have one more simple American classic to add:
                                                                        Refrigerator Cake, the one made from chocolate wafers and whipped cream, covered with a mosaic of chopped Maraschinos. I flavor the whipped cream with almond extract when I make mine.

                                                                        I know rice pudding's been included, but has anyone mentioned oatmeal custard?

                                                                        And baklava, of course.

                                                                        What about rum balls?

                                                                        German plum cake, with its lovely spiral of plum slices on top, and that light dusting of sugar crystals sprinkled on when it comes out of the oven.

                                                                        My list would also have to include a dessert soup.

                                                                        And at least one savory or floral combo, like sage ice cream or lavender-infused custard...
                                                                        Earl Grey Bruleé, anyone?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy
                                                                          kattyeyes Oct 4, 2010 04:30 AM

                                                                          Lavender creme brulee is FAB, I totally agree...and love lavender mint gelato...or cinnamon basil gelato.

                                                                        2. Gio Oct 3, 2010 07:54 AM

                                                                          This Was (I don't bake anymore) my list...
                                                                          Thanksgiving:
                                                                          Pumpkin Pie
                                                                          Apple Pie
                                                                          Lemon Meringue Pie
                                                                          Pumpkin Quick Bread
                                                                          Gingerbread

                                                                          Christmas:
                                                                          Mincemeat Pie
                                                                          Squash Pie
                                                                          Angel Food Cake/Lemon icing
                                                                          Struffoli
                                                                          Butterball Cookies
                                                                          Gingerbread Men & Women
                                                                          Christmas Sugar (cookie cutter) Cookies/royal icing

                                                                          Easter:
                                                                          Devil's Food Cake
                                                                          Raspberry Jam Fingerprint Cookies
                                                                          Lemon Quick Bread/lemon drizzle
                                                                          Ricotta Pie

                                                                          July 4:
                                                                          Strawberry Shortcake w/Blueberries
                                                                          Brownies
                                                                          Banana Quick Bread
                                                                          Nestles Chocolate Chip Cookies

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                            souschef Oct 3, 2010 08:32 AM

                                                                            I'm intrigued - why do you not bake any more?

                                                                            1. re: souschef
                                                                              Gio Oct 3, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                                              RA mobility problems set in about 5 years ago and I can no longer, roll, knead, and do all the necessary steps that baking requires. I now need a wheelchair. In the kitchen I can prep and do the mise en place but then DH does the actual cooking while I read out the recipes and directions. He's been very good about it and actually enjoys most of it. Though I think he's reached his interest limit with stir-frying and whisking.

                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                souschef Oct 3, 2010 10:36 AM

                                                                                I'm sorry to hear that.

                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                  ChristinaMason Oct 3, 2010 09:21 PM

                                                                                  You two sound like a good team in the kitchen.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                                    bushwickgirl Oct 12, 2010 01:11 AM

                                                                                    I'm completely sorry to hear this, Gio. I have a friend who has RA and has such difficulty. I'm glad to hear you have a partner that can join you in the kitchen, two is better than one.

                                                                              2. kattyeyes Oct 3, 2010 07:13 AM

                                                                                Don't hate me, buttertart...you know I tried Nick's Supernatural Brownies, but still love GHIRARDELLI'S AWARD WINNING DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES the best. Oddly enough, it's NOT on Ghirardelli's site, but can be found here and on the Ghirardelli can:
                                                                                http://www.food.com/recipe/ghirardellis-award-winning-double-chocolate-brownies-51404

                                                                                I add fresh raspberries to mine and they rock. White chocolate chips or additional dark chocolate is a lovely addition, too. Pics here if you're interested:
                                                                                http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/ghirardellis-award-winning-brownies-with-fresh-raspberries/

                                                                                My favorite chocolate cake is HERSHEY'S DEEP DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE...and I like to frost mine with either cream cheese frosting or whipped cream. I have a super-easy cream cheese frosting recipe if anyone wants it--LMK and I'll post:
                                                                                http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipes/detail.asp?id=4608

                                                                                You can use the above cake to make an IRISH CAR BOMB CAKE (adds Guinness instead of water to the cake, then Jameson's and Bailey's Irish Cream to the frosting).

                                                                                CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING is one of my all-time favorites:
                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593798#4391366

                                                                                Agree that every home cook should have a great recipe for FRUIT CRISP. And though I have never made one, I need to learn exactly how my mom makes her APPLE PIE as it is my favorite in the whole wide world.

                                                                                CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES--try them with a sprinkle of finishing salt halfway through as they bake.

                                                                                OATMEAL COOKIES WITH M&Ms--Nanny always used the Quaker Oats recipe...I do, too, but use butter instead of vegetable shortening...and NEVER raisins...if you must have raisins in your oatmeal cookies, make them Raisinets. :) With all the varieties of M&Ms now, it's fun to experiment.
                                                                                http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipes/content/recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?recipeId=461

                                                                                STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE--I grew up on Bisquick biscuits, but discovered CI's recipe this year...too good and too easy not to make from scratch:
                                                                                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/11/cooks-illustrated-best-drop-biscuits-recipe.html

                                                                                I love KRISTIN KING'S ALMOND SQUARES...they're so quick to throw together and taste like something straight out of an Italian bakery. Mmmmmmmmmm!
                                                                                http://www.examiner.com/cooking-in-norfolk/almond-square-recipe

                                                                                So there you have it, my top 10 for your consideration! ;) HAPPY BAKING!

                                                                                >>^..^<<
                                                                                http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/

                                                                                1. Hank Hanover Oct 2, 2010 10:41 PM

                                                                                  I have a book (Chez Panisse Desserts by Linsey Remolif Shere). It starts out with what it calls "The Basic Repertory" which walks you through making basic building blocks like crème Anglais, pastry crème, chantilly, mousse, basic pastry doughs and all kinds of things and then expands on what to do with the building blocks.

                                                                                  If every cook went through that first chapter, they would be well on their way of knowing what every dessert cook needs to know.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                                    AmandaCA Oct 3, 2010 12:49 AM

                                                                                    I'll have to check that out. There are so many desserts out there that I think most beginning cooks need a place to start; at least that's how I feel. Also, no one in my family really passed down recipes so I kind of on my own here,. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                                                      buttertart Oct 3, 2010 03:00 PM

                                                                                      You just reminded me of the chocolate cake from that book. One of the best ever.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                        emily Oct 4, 2010 12:37 PM

                                                                                        The butter cookies are great, too.

                                                                                        1. re: emily
                                                                                          buttertart Oct 4, 2010 12:38 PM

                                                                                          Thanks, I didn't know that.

                                                                                    2. amokscience Oct 2, 2010 09:30 PM

                                                                                      I just wanted to say thank you for this thread. It's given me a concise way to extend and round out my dessert repertoire.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: amokscience
                                                                                        AmandaCA Oct 3, 2010 12:46 AM

                                                                                        Sure thing. :) That's kind of what I am trying to do too. I have started to do some research as to the best recipe or version of each of these. Do you think people would be interested in me posting what I have found?

                                                                                      2. AmandaCA Sep 28, 2010 12:49 AM

                                                                                        I thought I would post my final list for those of you who helped me build it. I had to expand it to 55 but I think I have everything. Some of them are generalized but thats ok. Now I just have to find the best version of each of these, lol!

                                                                                        Baba
                                                                                        Blondie
                                                                                        Bread Pudding
                                                                                        Brownie
                                                                                        Cake, Abstract (By abstract I mean a unique cake of your tastes)
                                                                                        Cake, Carrot
                                                                                        Cake, Chocolate & Buttercream
                                                                                        Cake, Coffee
                                                                                        Cake, Flourless Chocolate
                                                                                        Cake, Ice Box & Royal Icing
                                                                                        Cake, Pound
                                                                                        Cake, Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Icing
                                                                                        Cake, Short
                                                                                        Cake, Sponge or Geniose
                                                                                        Cake, White & Buttercream
                                                                                        Cake, Yellow
                                                                                        Cheesecake
                                                                                        Clafoutis
                                                                                        Cookie, Chocolate Chip
                                                                                        Cookie, Selection of Christmas (Again, this varies by family history or country of origin)
                                                                                        Cookie, Ginger
                                                                                        Cookie, Gingerbread
                                                                                        Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin
                                                                                        Cookie, Peanut Butter
                                                                                        Coulis
                                                                                        Crème Brulee
                                                                                        Crème Caramel
                                                                                        Crisps
                                                                                        Cupcake, Vanilla & Chocolate
                                                                                        Custard, Pot de Crème
                                                                                        Dacquoise
                                                                                        Fosters, Banana, Pineapple or Cherries Jubilee
                                                                                        Fudge
                                                                                        Ganache
                                                                                        Lemon Bars
                                                                                        Lemon Curd
                                                                                        Meringue
                                                                                        Mousse, At Least Chocolate
                                                                                        Pastry Cream
                                                                                        Pate Choux
                                                                                        Pie Dough
                                                                                        Pie, Cream
                                                                                        Pie, Fruit Filling
                                                                                        Pie, Pecan
                                                                                        Pudding
                                                                                        Sabayon
                                                                                        Souffle
                                                                                        Strudel
                                                                                        Sweet Bread, Banana, Pumpkin, Lemon
                                                                                        Tart Shell
                                                                                        Tarte Tartin
                                                                                        Tiramisu
                                                                                        Trifle
                                                                                        Vanilla Ice Cream

                                                                                        I realize there are no true Asian desserts here but I think I could easily make a Green Tea infused something or other. I also realize that some of you may find a few things missing here. I'd be interested to see what anyone else thinks is missing although I think I am pretty happy with this list. :D

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                          souschef Sep 28, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                                                          I'm not sure I agree with your final list. You asked for desserts, but you also have building blocks on your list. As an example, pâte à choux on its own is merely a building block; what you should instead have on the list is what you can make using it. The same goes for pastry cream and tart shell. And coulis is just a sweet sauce.

                                                                                          1. re: souschef
                                                                                            AmandaCA Sep 28, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                                            I am ok with having building blocks on the list, simply because if I were to find the best choux and pastry cream, I could easily put together a dynamite cream puff. Same thing with having a great go to buttercream, it is then easy to adapt it to other applications. However, the list IS a little bit of a mishmash of building blocks and actual complete recipes. So I went though and made it a more "specific dessert recipes" that include building blocks and thus by learning each of these, you would be able to learn the skills to become more creative on your own.

                                                                                            For me, I just want to have a solid arsenal of great desserts (actually all courses but with time) that I am able to rely on. I am becoming known for my love of cooking in my family and so I want recipes that not only impress my guests, but that I am proud to say I made with my own two hands. And of course, I love to eat them too, lol!

                                                                                            Thus, new updated list:

                                                                                            A Simple Rustic Dessert: Crisp, Cobbler, etc.
                                                                                            A Sweet Bread: Banana, Pumpkin, Lemon
                                                                                            Baba
                                                                                            Blondie
                                                                                            Bread Pudding
                                                                                            Brownie
                                                                                            Cake, Abstract
                                                                                            Cake, Carrot
                                                                                            Cake, Chocolate & Ganache
                                                                                            Cake, Coffee
                                                                                            Cake, Dacquoise
                                                                                            Cake, Flourless Chocolate
                                                                                            Cake, Ice Box & Royal Icing
                                                                                            Cake, Pound
                                                                                            Cake, Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Icing
                                                                                            Cake, Short
                                                                                            Cake, Sponge or Geniose
                                                                                            Cake, White & Buttercream
                                                                                            Cake, Yellow & Choc. Buttercream
                                                                                            Cheesecake w/ Fruit Coulis
                                                                                            Clafoutis
                                                                                            Cookie, Chocolate Chip
                                                                                            Cookie, Ginger
                                                                                            Cookie, Gingerbread
                                                                                            Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin
                                                                                            Cookie, Peanut Butter
                                                                                            Cookies, A Selection of Christmas
                                                                                            Cream Puffs or Eclairs, for Pâte à Choux & Pastry Cream
                                                                                            Crème Brulee
                                                                                            Crème Caramel
                                                                                            Crepes, Sweet
                                                                                            Cupcake, Vanilla & Chocolate
                                                                                            Custard, Pot de Crème
                                                                                            Flaming Dessert, such as Bananas or Pineapple Foster or Cherries Jubilee
                                                                                            Fudge
                                                                                            Lemon Bars
                                                                                            Meringue
                                                                                            Mousse, At Least Chocolate
                                                                                            Pie, Cream
                                                                                            Pie, Fruit Filling
                                                                                            Pie, Pecan
                                                                                            Pudding
                                                                                            Sabayon
                                                                                            Souffle
                                                                                            Strudel
                                                                                            Tart, Fruit or Lemon
                                                                                            Tarte Tartin
                                                                                            Tiramisu
                                                                                            Trifle
                                                                                            Vanilla Ice Cream

                                                                                            Was this more of what you were thinking souschef?

                                                                                            1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                              souschef Sep 28, 2010 01:09 PM

                                                                                              Yes, and sorry for being picky.

                                                                                              1. re: souschef
                                                                                                AmandaCA Sep 28, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                                                                lol, it's ok. It did help me make a more streamlined list. So in the end no harm, no foul. :)

                                                                                                1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                  ChefMomRD Oct 1, 2010 04:58 PM

                                                                                                  Is it ok if I add chess pie? Am I too late? :)
                                                                                                  http://www.southernplate.com/2008/09/...

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  1. re: ChefMomRD
                                                                                                    AmandaCA Oct 2, 2010 01:34 AM

                                                                                                    Course not! :) I realized I also left off rice krispie squares and sweet crepes, both of which I've made quite a lot (and will surely make more of as my son gets older). Thanks for the recipe link.

                                                                                                    1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                      ChefMomRD Oct 2, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                                                      You're welcome. That's not my recipe link but it looked good to me. That is my pic at the bottom however.

                                                                                        2. bayoucook Sep 25, 2010 05:41 AM

                                                                                          creme brulee
                                                                                          pecan pie
                                                                                          tiramisu
                                                                                          coconut cake with lemon filling
                                                                                          strawberry shortcake
                                                                                          chocolate mousse
                                                                                          chocolate layer cake
                                                                                          at least for us in the deep South: old-fashioned banana pudding (make the custard!)
                                                                                          bananas foster
                                                                                          cheesecake made with ricotta cheese

                                                                                          1. mcel215 Sep 25, 2010 04:55 AM

                                                                                            I think that having a few select things you make well is wonderful. I like to keep mine fairly simple, yet delicious.

                                                                                            Chocolate Cloud Cake - Nigella Lawson
                                                                                            Raspberry Cheesecake - Ina Garten
                                                                                            Lemon Bars - Martha Stewart
                                                                                            Pear and Cranberry Crisp - Gale Gand
                                                                                            Robert's Best Brownies - Robert Steinberg

                                                                                            And my absolute Fall favorite: Pear and Ginger Tart Tartin - Helen Rennie, served with HD Ginger Ice Cream

                                                                                            1. souschef Sep 24, 2010 09:38 PM

                                                                                              Trifle
                                                                                              Strawberries with a boozy sabayon

                                                                                              1. souschef Sep 24, 2010 07:54 PM

                                                                                                RLB's Golden Grand Marnier Cake
                                                                                                Paris-Brest
                                                                                                Tarte Tatin
                                                                                                Chocolate Mousse
                                                                                                Savarin (Baba)
                                                                                                Grand Marnier Soufflé
                                                                                                Génoise with chocolate or praline buttercream

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: souschef
                                                                                                  AmandaCA Sep 24, 2010 08:28 PM

                                                                                                  What is a Baba? And where would I find the best recipe for a Tarte Tartin and Genoise?

                                                                                                  1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                    souschef Sep 24, 2010 08:52 PM

                                                                                                    A Baba is a yeast cake that is soaked in rum syrup, absorbing the syrup and getting fat and juicy.

                                                                                                    The best recipe I have seen for a Genoise is in The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

                                                                                                    I will post a Tarte Tatin recipe here in a couple of days.

                                                                                                    1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                      mcel215 Sep 25, 2010 04:47 AM

                                                                                                      I took an "Easy as Pie" class from Helen Rennie (excellent class, btw) and her Tarte Tartin recipe in on her website, beyondsalmon.com. It is TDF. And she has a step by step pictorial, which is great. :)

                                                                                                      1. re: mcel215
                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                        lulou23 Oct 1, 2010 05:31 PM

                                                                                                        Could only find her apple galette recipe. Is this what you meant?

                                                                                                        1. re: lulou23
                                                                                                          mcel215 Oct 2, 2010 02:19 AM

                                                                                                          http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2006/03/t...

                                                                                                          Here is the link to her Pate Brisee.

                                                                                                      2. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                        souschef Sep 25, 2010 05:50 AM

                                                                                                        Please check the post by mcel215 and let me know if you still want me to post the Tarte Tatin recipe I use, from the book "The Roux Brothers on Patisserie".

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef
                                                                                                          AmandaCA Sep 25, 2010 12:54 PM

                                                                                                          I've seen a lot of people say good things about the Roux brothers. But someone else on Chowhound tried it and wasn't impressed. If you really think it is the best, I'd love to see the recipe to at least compare it to Greenspan's and Rennie's from above.

                                                                                                          1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                            souschef Sep 28, 2010 06:52 AM

                                                                                                            The Roux Brothers' recipe for Tarte Tatin is the only one I have tried, so I can't say it's the best. I have made it a number of times and it has always worked for me. A general comment about the Roux Brothers' recipes is that they are not for inexperienced bakers as they do some things that require interpretation. Also, they do not take shortcuts, so their recipes are very involved.

                                                                                                        2. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          sunflwrsdh Oct 2, 2010 07:44 PM

                                                                                                          The latest issue of Fine Cooking has a good Tarte Tatin recipe. I made it for the first time about a month ago, and it came out great!

                                                                                                      3. AmandaCA Sep 24, 2010 02:23 PM

                                                                                                        So some type of pie seems to be making a lot of people's lists. I recently went hunting for the best pie crust and came back with the vodka one from Cook's Illustrated, a Pate Brisee and a cream cheese crust from some famous baker whose name escapes me. That should cover my basis right? I think that most fruit pies at least don't need too much of a recipe once the crust is made. Is that true?

                                                                                                        What about chocolate cake or yellow cake? I have a 6 month old son who I will soon have to find the perfect birthday cake for. I saw SmittenKitchen's birthday cake, has anyone tried it?

                                                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                          auburnselkie Oct 3, 2010 09:54 PM

                                                                                                          Amanda, do you mean the monkey cake she just posted that she did for her son's birthday? Because my boy turned two today and that's what he got. Really easy (I love to bake but haven't ventured into anything crazy like croissants or puff pastry...yet) and so, so cute. The cake tastes a lot like a banana bread, which stands to reason, given the recipe, and that was a big plus in our house (hubby is more of a pie man). Anyway, big success, and I highly recommend it. Of course, if you're talking about a different recipe, you get to see a cute pic anyhow.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1. re: auburnselkie
                                                                                                            AmandaCA Oct 3, 2010 11:23 PM

                                                                                                            That is a cute cake but I meant the yellow cake with chocolate icing. I love your pics! I am thinking about doing the monkey cake for my son's first b-day but the hubby likes classic yellow cake birthday cakes.

                                                                                                            1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                              kattyeyes Oct 4, 2010 04:29 AM

                                                                                                              Classic yellow birthday cake is my favorite, too...and shhhh, if I ever knew of a recipe I would like more than good ol' Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden (Mmmmm!), I would gladly learn to bake it...I think I saw one on King Arthur flour, but honestly, it's my little guilty pleasure...with homemade chocolate lovers' frosting. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

                                                                                                              And that monkey cake is ADORABLE! Happy belated birthday, little one!

                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                buttertart Oct 4, 2010 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                I love cake mix cakes. I don't make them because himself doesn't like them. But I love them, especially white cake. What could be more artificial?

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                  souschef Oct 4, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                  Buttertart, you'll next be telling us that you like (chemical) red velvet cake ! I always thought of you, dean of baking here, as a purist !

                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef
                                                                                                                    buttertart Oct 4, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                    No, that I don't like. But even though my mom was a super baker (pies a speciailty) she never made layer cakes from scratch. So it's a childhood thing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                      ChristinaMason Oct 6, 2010 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                      I love cupcakes from a mix. It's a textural thing for me.

                                                                                                                      The icing has to be homemade, though.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                                                                        kattyeyes Oct 6, 2010 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                        YES, re the frosting...one of life's many ironies...without fail, cake was made from a box (always Duncan Hines), but frosting was ALWAYS made from scratch. :) I have been eyeing my box of Butter Recipe Golden on and off today because of this thread!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                          buttertart Oct 7, 2010 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                          Same, come to think of it, with my mom! We never used the canned stuff. (She used to make her chocolate icing with orange juice as the liquid - even people who didn't like orange w chocolate liked it - it gives it a little lift.)

                                                                                                                2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                  kattyeyes Oct 9, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                  "YOU PEOPLE!" You got to me...all week long with your chat about yellow cake in the box. Well, OK, I submit--I caved! Ol' Duncan's Butter Recipe Golden is cooling on the counter with some homemade Chocolate Lovers' Frosting to come. Happy unbirthday to me! :) It's gonna taste great for breakfast, too...

                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                    buttertart Oct 10, 2010 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                    Save me a piece!

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                      kattyeyes Oct 10, 2010 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                      Ain't just fer dessert anymore...makes a damn fine breakfast as well. XO
                                                                                                                      And this frosting is so like fudge. Mmmmmmmmmmm! Got milk?
                                                                                                                      >>^..^<<

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                        buttertart Oct 11, 2010 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                        Me want!

                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                          bushwickgirl Oct 12, 2010 01:07 AM

                                                                                                                          OMG, looks spectacular, just the kind of cake my mom made, with lots of fudge frosting.

                                                                                                                    2. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                                      hotoynoodle Oct 13, 2010 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                      smittenkitchen has an amazing yellow cake recipe.

                                                                                                                    3. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                      mels Oct 6, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                      I'm with your husband - I love the classic yellow cake/chocolate frosting! I use a Cook's Illustrated yellow cake recipe and top it with chocolate frosting (Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" frosting recipe). I also have been known to take the yellow cake and choc frosting and spread a layer of dulce de leche between the two cake layers. Heaven!

                                                                                                                      Other standards in my repertoire:

                                                                                                                      Carrot cake (this recipe has earned me accolades from many)
                                                                                                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                      Brownies: I use the Baker's One Bowl Brownies recipe but use better quality chocolate and bake it in an 8x8 glass dish for 55 min...perfectly fudgy brownies every time.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mels
                                                                                                                        kattyeyes Oct 6, 2010 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                        Please do tell--do you like the Cook's Illustrated yellow cake recipe as much as you do your favorite yellow cake in a box?

                                                                                                                        1. re: mels
                                                                                                                          AmandaCA Oct 6, 2010 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                          Would you mind posting the recipe for the yellow cake from CI?

                                                                                                                          1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                            toveggiegirl Jan 13, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                            If you have a CI online membership, you can get the recipe on their website:
                                                                                                                            http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/articlepromo.asp?docid=437&parentdocid=5149

                                                                                                                            If not, the recipe for the cake (but not the frosting) can be found here:
                                                                                                                            http://www.ellenfork.com/ellenfork/2010/02/a-throne-fit-for-a-cake.html

                                                                                                                            In true CI style, there is another, more recent version of the yellow cake that you can find here:
                                                                                                                            http://macandcheesereview.blogspot.com/2008/02/sick-is-new-birthday.html

                                                                                                                            I haven't tried the above recipes, but I do really like CI's Classic White Layer Cake With Raspberry-Almond Filling.
                                                                                                                            http://www.food.com/recipe/best-class...

                                                                                                                            1. re: toveggiegirl
                                                                                                                              AmandaCA Jan 13, 2011 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                              Thanks for posting these. I don't have a CI membership. Do you think it is worth getting? I used to get the magazine but I found it to be kind of hit or miss and prefer picking them up at the store.

                                                                                                                  2. Pia Sep 24, 2010 02:02 PM

                                                                                                                    I love to try new recipes, so I don't have many go-to desserts, but these two are amazing:

                                                                                                                    Bittersweet chocolate and pear cake
                                                                                                                    http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/bittersweet-chocolate-and-pear-cake/

                                                                                                                    Brown butter hazelnut cake
                                                                                                                    http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/03/haz...

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Pia
                                                                                                                      THewat Oct 25, 2010 04:23 PM

                                                                                                                      oooh. looking forward to trying both of those.

                                                                                                                    2. boyzoma Sep 24, 2010 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                      Coconut Cream Pie
                                                                                                                      Fudge
                                                                                                                      Cheese Cake with Hot Fudge sauce & whipped cream
                                                                                                                      Yum Yum Balls
                                                                                                                      Lemon Meringue Pie
                                                                                                                      Popovers (fruit filling of your choice - blueberry, apple, peach, etc.)
                                                                                                                      Wacky cake
                                                                                                                      Herman cake

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma
                                                                                                                        AmandaCA Sep 24, 2010 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                        Care to post links/recipes for the Yum Yum Balls, Wacky Cake and Herman Cake? I don't know what any of those are, lol.

                                                                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                          boyzoma Sep 24, 2010 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                          Sure. The Yum Yum Balls are fun to make with the kids!

                                                                                                                          Yum Yum Balls

                                                                                                                          INGREDIENTS:
                                                                                                                          1 package large marshmallows
                                                                                                                          1 package Kraft caramels
                                                                                                                          ½ cup real butter
                                                                                                                          ½ cup eagle brand milk
                                                                                                                          Rice Krispies

                                                                                                                          DIRECTIONS:
                                                                                                                          Melt carmels, butter and milk in double boiler. Dip marshmallows in caramel mixture and roll in rice krispies. Let cool. These keep well.

                                                                                                                          Wacky Cake

                                                                                                                          INGREDIENTS:
                                                                                                                          3 cups flour
                                                                                                                          2 cups sugar
                                                                                                                          2 tsp. baking soda
                                                                                                                          2 tsp. vanilla
                                                                                                                          3 tbsp. vinegar
                                                                                                                          2 cups cold water
                                                                                                                          6 tbsp. cocoa
                                                                                                                          1 cube butter

                                                                                                                          DIRECTIONS:
                                                                                                                          Melt butter. Mix ingredients. Pour cold water over. Mix well. Pour into 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until done. Sprinkle with powered sugar if desired or you can frost.

                                                                                                                          Herman Cake

                                                                                                                          This link provides many different alternatives for Herman Cake and Friendship Cake. I used to make it adding fruit cocktail! Unfortunately I don't have a pix of the Herman Cake.

                                                                                                                          http://www.recipes4cakes.com/herman/

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          1. re: boyzoma
                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                            karykat Sep 25, 2010 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                            Great pictures, boyzoma!

                                                                                                                            1. re: boyzoma
                                                                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Oct 4, 2010 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                              That's the first time I've seen someone give a recipe for wacky cake that includes butter. Sounds like someone added it to enrich the classic wacky cake, which was called wacky because it worked without butter or eggs - a depression-era recipe, when both were luxuries. The classic recipe is what you posted, except without the butter. I use more cocoa in mine, though.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                boyzoma Oct 4, 2010 02:23 PM

                                                                                                                                Well, this one was passed down from my now deceased ex-MIL, so I have no way of knowing the original. I had never heard of it before I met her. So that is just the way I always made it. But hey, everyone loves it. How much cocoa do you use?

                                                                                                                                1. re: boyzoma
                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Oct 4, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                  The recipes I've use are half yours, for an 8x8-inch pan (I just double if I want to make a 9x13 or bundt), so I'd say I use about double the cocoa. If you wanted to increase the cocoa, you could just decrease the flour a bit. If you google wacky cake (or crazy cake, or Amazon cake), you will find a zillion recipes with varying proportions of sugar and cocoa. I'm a fan of less sweet, more chocolaty, so I use more cocoa.

                                                                                                                        2. roxlet Sep 24, 2010 04:06 AM

                                                                                                                          Maybe the best cheesecake ever...

                                                                                                                          FOR THE CRUST
                                                                                                                          • 18 pieces zwieback, crushed (or use graham crackers if unavailable)
                                                                                                                          • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, and softened
                                                                                                                          • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
                                                                                                                          FOR THE FILLING
                                                                                                                          • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
                                                                                                                          • 2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
                                                                                                                          • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                          • A 1-inch length of vanilla bean, finely chopped -- almost to powder
                                                                                                                          • 3 large eggs, separated
                                                                                                                          • 1 cup sour cream
                                                                                                                          MAKE THE CRUST:
                                                                                                                          • In a bowl stir together the zwieback, the butter, and the sugar until the mixture is combined well and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
                                                                                                                          MAKE THE FILLING:
                                                                                                                          • In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the sugar and the cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy. Do not over beat. Add the flour, a pinch of salt, the vanilla bean, and the egg yolks, beaten lightly, and combine the mixture well. Stir in the sour cream. In a bowl beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks and fold them into the cream cheese mixture gently but thoroughly.
                                                                                                                          • Pour the filling into the prepared pan and run a rubber spatula through the filling in a circle about 1 inch in from the rim to help the cake rise evenly. If you have Magic Cake Strips, attach one to the perimeter of the pan. Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350° F. oven for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and let the cake stand in the oven for 30 minutes. (The cake will be puffed but will sink as it cools.) Let the cake cool completely, or until it is set, in the pan on a rack. (For a slightly firmer consistency, let the cake cool completely and chill it, covered, overnight.) Remove the cake from the pan and garnish it with the lemon.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                            millygirl Sep 24, 2010 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                            Just saying.....I love this thread!!!!

                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                              AmandaCA Sep 25, 2010 01:42 AM

                                                                                                                              Definitely will be saving this one then.

                                                                                                                            2. Discerning1 Sep 24, 2010 02:47 AM

                                                                                                                              The quintessential American sweets:

                                                                                                                              Seasonal fruit crisp
                                                                                                                              Brownies (a wide variety of kinds)
                                                                                                                              Bananas foster
                                                                                                                              Lemon bars
                                                                                                                              Strawberry shortcake
                                                                                                                              Chocolate chip cookies (and variations)
                                                                                                                              Bread pudding
                                                                                                                              Strawberry rhubarb pie
                                                                                                                              Coffee cake
                                                                                                                              Homemade ice cream
                                                                                                                              Pecan pie

                                                                                                                              And for a quick and delicious French twist—crepes spread with lemon juice and sugar

                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Discerning1
                                                                                                                                mamachef Sep 24, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                I have to piggyback on Discerning1 as far as the all-American desserts are concerned. I have such respect for you true pastry people, but I'm a home cook and the above list represents the majority of what I'd be likely to have on hand and know how to work with. Don't get me wrong: I like a good Reine de Saba or Genoise as much as anyone; just wouldn't be likely to make it at home. My last true "pastry event" was making a batch of Opera for a friend's wedding, and if anyone doesn't know what that is, it's a 7-layer sponge/ganache cake or bar that alternates coffee sponge, chocolate sponge, mocha cream, dark chocolate ganache and a few other layers. My effort involved scales, 48 hours, tears, swearing,rulers, a level and a magnifying glass. : )
                                                                                                                                So I was most happy, a few days later, to make a batch of simple, easy peanut butter cookies which I turned into ic sandwiches with the addition of butter pecan ice cream.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                  HillJ Sep 24, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                  Couldn't agree more mamachef. There's a time and place for both in a homecooks kitchen. If I was whipping up fancy desserts all the time I'd have no time for anything else and baking, cooking, recipe browsing and feeding those I love is just one side to my personality.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                    buttertart Sep 24, 2010 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                    Same here. My biggest recent foray (other than an Opera cake that was quite exhausting) was the Gateau St-Honoré that souschef challenged me to make. It was worth it both as a learning experience and as a dessert (delicious). Most of my baking is much more down-to-earth. However, a lot of things just sound complicated and /or have fancy names - if you can make brownies (and whip egg whites) you can make a Reine de Saba.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                      HillJ Sep 24, 2010 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                      Good point buttertart, no one should ever hesitate to tackle a recipe by "fancy" name or ingredient alone. Time would be the main factor in selecting a rustic recipe/tried & true over a precise, labor intensive one. HST, my own "must try" list is embarassingly long :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                        buttertart Sep 24, 2010 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                        And most of the fancy fancy ones are made up of parts that can be made over a period of days (until the last nerve-shattering moments of assembly come).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          souschef Sep 28, 2010 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                          Hey Buttertart, speaking of nerve-shattering moments of assembly, I think it's time to challenge you to a croquembouche. Oh wait, we already have an outstanding chocolate cake challenge. I hafta look at that soon.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef
                                                                                                                                            buttertart Sep 28, 2010 06:46 AM

                                                                                                                                            Haha I have the secret to the glaze on that one - and I ain't tellin.

                                                                                                                              2. Caroline1 Sep 23, 2010 11:34 PM

                                                                                                                                If the holiday is Thanksgiving, there are only two dessert options: pumpkin pie and mincemeat pie. But if you're talking Christmas, New Years, Winter Solstice, then flaming desserts light the way!

                                                                                                                                Flaming plum pudding
                                                                                                                                Crepes Suzette
                                                                                                                                Cherries Jubilee

                                                                                                                                Someone has already mentioned bananas Foster, but anything in a chafing dish that is set alight or doused in brandy or other booze, then torched is good holiday dessert for me!

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                  HillJ Sep 24, 2010 04:55 AM

                                                                                                                                  I was staying traditional including bananas foster in my list but pineapple foster is actually my favorite warm dessert.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Sep 25, 2010 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                                    i find these sorts of threads fascinating because different families and different regions have different "must-haves" at holidays and for us, pumpkin and mincemeat were definitely not on that list, lol.

                                                                                                                                    my mother always made spectacular cheesecake, the recipe for which i was never able to get.

                                                                                                                                    my go-to at holiday time is usually nigella's celementine and a boca negra cake. i also like lemon curd tarts filled with fresh berries.

                                                                                                                                    my simple everyday kinds of baking are crazy chocolate cake, which is vegan and can be turned into something much more elaborate, with layering and different fillings, and i also love an old fashioned gâteau au yaourt, which is also endlessly adaptable and a snap to make.

                                                                                                                                    rose levy berenbaum's brownies are amazing. am still on the hunt for the "best" chocolate chip cooke. martha stewart's chewy peanut butter cookies rock and i have a triple gingersnap cookie recipe that does too. fruit crisps i don't use a recipe, but include granola in the topping for better crunch.

                                                                                                                                    pate choux is a great little thing to learn too since it can be turned into savory (gnocchi and gougeres) or sweet (cream puffs.)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                                                      AmandaCA Sep 25, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                      I would love your gingersnap recipe. Is it a crisp one or a chewy one? I once shared an apartment with a girl who made the most amazing ginger cookies. I still haven't found a recipe but sometimes I think that my memory has made them even better than they were. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                      On another note, I really like the Cook's Illustrated cc cookies but I under cook them a little so they are more soft and chewy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                        amyzan Oct 6, 2010 09:42 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm not Amanda, but I make a triple ginger cookie from this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... (The photo at the link doesn't do it justice.) If you can find it, Brer Rabbit brand mild molasses is reliably good. I find it here at SuperTarget.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                                          CdnBaker Nov 20, 2010 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                          Hi Amanda,
                                                                                                                                          I have a couple of Gingersnap cookie recipes from an old(er) cookbook, passed down as an heirloom. Here's the first one:
                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup dark molasses
                                                                                                                                          7/8 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                                                          5/8 cup shortening
                                                                                                                                          1 egg, unbeaten
                                                                                                                                          3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp ginger
                                                                                                                                          1 tsp cloves
                                                                                                                                          1 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                                          2 tsp grated orange rind
                                                                                                                                          1 tsp sour cream
                                                                                                                                          Put molasses and sugar into saucepan, heat gently until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add shortening; stir until shortening is melted. Add unbeaten egg; blend until very light. Sift together flour, spices and soda; add in 3 additions to molasses mixture; add orange rind and sour cream. The mixture should be stiff enough to shape into a roll; chill overnight in refrigerator. Slice thinly; bake in a moderate oven (375F) for 6-8 minutes. Yield: 8 dozen.

                                                                                                                                          Here's the second one:
                                                                                                                                          "Old Fashioned Gingersnaps"
                                                                                                                                          1/3 cup shortening
                                                                                                                                          3/4 cup white sugar
                                                                                                                                          1 egg, well beaten
                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup molasses
                                                                                                                                          2 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                                          2 tsp hot water
                                                                                                                                          2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
                                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp cinnamon
                                                                                                                                          1/2 tsp ginger
                                                                                                                                          Cream together shortening and sugar; beat until light; add well-beaten egg and molasses. Dissolve baking soda in hot water; add to creamed mixture. Add sifted dry ingredients; blend well; chill batter for 2 or 3 hours. Roll out on lightly floured board; cut with 2" floured cutter. Bake on oiled cookie sheet at 350F for 12-13 minutes. Yield: about 6 dozen snaps.

                                                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                                                      jindomommy Sep 23, 2010 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                      I'm going to list a combo of desserts and pastry basics which form the basis for a multitude of other desserts:

                                                                                                                                      Genoise
                                                                                                                                      Brioche Dough (No Mix Dought)
                                                                                                                                      Pate Brisee
                                                                                                                                      Basic Pie Dough
                                                                                                                                      Pate Choux
                                                                                                                                      Pound Cake
                                                                                                                                      Basic Chocolate, White, and Yellow Cake
                                                                                                                                      Flourless Chocolate Cake (Elizabeth David)
                                                                                                                                      Carrot Cake (Silverton)
                                                                                                                                      Coconut Cake
                                                                                                                                      Pineapple Upside Down Cake
                                                                                                                                      Chocolate Cream Pie (Malgieri)
                                                                                                                                      Banana Cream Pie (Malgieri)
                                                                                                                                      Apple Pie (Gale Gand and Rose Levy Berambaum...I combine the two)
                                                                                                                                      Peach Pie (Angie Moser)
                                                                                                                                      Lemon Bars
                                                                                                                                      Brownies (Ina Garten Outrageous)
                                                                                                                                      Cheesecake Brownies
                                                                                                                                      Cheesecake
                                                                                                                                      Pumpkin Cheesecake
                                                                                                                                      Chocolate Mousse
                                                                                                                                      Dacquoise
                                                                                                                                      Pot de Creme
                                                                                                                                      Pudding
                                                                                                                                      Creme Brulee
                                                                                                                                      Creme Carmel (Cook's Illustrated)
                                                                                                                                      Cream Puffs
                                                                                                                                      Chocolate Chip Cookies (leite's)
                                                                                                                                      Chocolate Chocolate Cookies
                                                                                                                                      Shortbread
                                                                                                                                      Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
                                                                                                                                      Bread Pudding
                                                                                                                                      Banana Bread (Joanne Chang)
                                                                                                                                      Gelato (Food and Wine Blackberry Gelato. Use it as a baseline recipe)

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jindomommy
                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                        karykat Sep 24, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                                                                                        Your thread reminds me of a book by Sherry Yard called The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts. Each chapter goes into a simple component, like caramel, vanilla sauce, pound cake, pate a choux. Then she has variants on the basics and puts them together different ways. Really well written.

                                                                                                                                        (I suggested it for baking cookbook of the month.) It looks like you were thinking along similar lines.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: karykat
                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                          jindomommy Sep 24, 2010 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                          That's funny. I don't own the book, but it's in my "queue." If Joanne Chang's book doesn't get here soon, I'm going to pick Yard's book. Just waiting for another Border's coupon. I would love to do Yard for Cookbook of the Month.

                                                                                                                                      2. HillJ Sep 23, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                        Rice pudding
                                                                                                                                        Chocolate pudding
                                                                                                                                        Ice box cake
                                                                                                                                        Lemon Poppy seed pound cake
                                                                                                                                        Red velvet cake
                                                                                                                                        Grasshopper pie
                                                                                                                                        Apple Struesel pie
                                                                                                                                        7 layer bars
                                                                                                                                        Key lime pie
                                                                                                                                        Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
                                                                                                                                        Sponge cake with fruit and cream filling
                                                                                                                                        Mini fruit tarts
                                                                                                                                        Cupcakes (amazing how poor some cupcakes are)
                                                                                                                                        Bananas foster
                                                                                                                                        Baked Alaska
                                                                                                                                        Dessert fondue
                                                                                                                                        Baked apples

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                          AmandaCA Sep 24, 2010 01:23 AM

                                                                                                                                          Have you tried the 7 layer bars from epi? Are they any good? Also... do you have a recipe for a GOOD cupcake?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                            HillJ Sep 24, 2010 04:54 AM

                                                                                                                                            http://cupcakeblog.com/ has (imho) the best tested recipes and creativity for homemade cupcakes. I follow her cupcake originals to the letter.

                                                                                                                                            On the 7 layer bars, I'm not a fan of butterscotch chips so I omit them and increase the chocolate chips (I prefer using minis) in the recipe. I've not tried Epi's but most of the 7 layer bar recipes are similar in ingred list & method.

                                                                                                                                        2. g
                                                                                                                                          gordeaux Sep 23, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                          I have a much more simple aresenal, but:
                                                                                                                                          Bread pudding
                                                                                                                                          Blonde Brownies
                                                                                                                                          Apple Crisp
                                                                                                                                          Pecan Pie

                                                                                                                                          Real Butter ONLY! (And lots of it)

                                                                                                                                          1. w
                                                                                                                                            WestIslandian Sep 23, 2010 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                            I would be interested in your pumpkin cheesecake recipe! My boyfriend is of the opinion that nothing cooked with pumpkin has any taste and I am on a mission to prove him wrong this Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                            In my opinion there are a few classics you're missing like:
                                                                                                                                            Eclairs
                                                                                                                                            Tiramisu
                                                                                                                                            Clafoutis (Cherry or other fruit)
                                                                                                                                            Strudel (Apple or other fruit)
                                                                                                                                            and Tarte tatin (Apple or other fruit)

                                                                                                                                            I love versatile recipes that can use just about any fruit =)

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: WestIslandian
                                                                                                                                              AmandaCA Sep 27, 2010 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                                              Sure. :) It is a classic. I posted the link above. I believe SmittenKitchen also reviewed it and thus the recipe is there as well. I've been making it every Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                            2. chefj Sep 23, 2010 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                              You definitely need a couple of custards:
                                                                                                                                              Crème Brûlée
                                                                                                                                              Crema Catalana
                                                                                                                                              Crème Caramel
                                                                                                                                              Flan
                                                                                                                                              Buttermilk Pie
                                                                                                                                              Oh and a couple of Indian style Sweets.

                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                maxie Sep 23, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                World Peace Cookies (Dorie Greenspan)
                                                                                                                                                Chocolate caramel tarts (Claudia Fleming)
                                                                                                                                                pound cake
                                                                                                                                                chocolate cake
                                                                                                                                                shortcake
                                                                                                                                                sable
                                                                                                                                                shortbread
                                                                                                                                                truffles
                                                                                                                                                chocolate pudding
                                                                                                                                                banana cream pie

                                                                                                                                                1. k
                                                                                                                                                  karykat Sep 23, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                  panna cotta

                                                                                                                                                  chocolate souffle

                                                                                                                                                  spoon cookies from epicurious. (I make them without the filling, just plain, kind of a browned butter cookie

                                                                                                                                                  summer berry mint cream tart from epicurious (with a creamy layer infused with fresh mint topped with strawberries)

                                                                                                                                                  blueberry raspberry cake from epicurious (for a good basic summer cake, kind of a cross between a coffee cake and regular cake)

                                                                                                                                                  for a showstopper that is not as hard as it looks, the almond praline cake with mascarpone frosting and chocolate bark from epicurious. very impressive and tastes fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                  1. p
                                                                                                                                                    paprkutr Sep 23, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I love your post, but what would even be greater,is recipes to go along with it.

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paprkutr
                                                                                                                                                      AmandaCA Sep 23, 2010 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Here are mine so far:

                                                                                                                                                      Lemon Tart

                                                                                                                                                      Crust
                                                                                                                                                      1 C all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                      7 tbl. softened butter (no substitutions)
                                                                                                                                                      2 tbl. powdered sugar

                                                                                                                                                      Filling
                                                                                                                                                      3 large eggs lightly beaten
                                                                                                                                                      1 C sugar
                                                                                                                                                      1/3 C fresh lemon juice
                                                                                                                                                      2 tbl. flour

                                                                                                                                                      Preheat oven to 350°. Combine crust ingredients in a bowl. Press evenly into tart
                                                                                                                                                      pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown and cool
                                                                                                                                                      for 15 minutes. Whisk all filling ingredients together and pour into tart shell. Bake for
                                                                                                                                                      15-18 minutes until set. Cool and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Refrigerate until
                                                                                                                                                      ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream and a few raspberries or blueberries.

                                                                                                                                                      Nick's Supernatural Brownies
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Nicks-Supernatural-Brownies

                                                                                                                                                      Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-chip-cookies-cooks-illustrated-150343

                                                                                                                                                      Pumpkin Cheesecake
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Cheesecake-with-Bourbon-Sour-Cream-Topping-13386

                                                                                                                                                      Vanilla Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop
                                                                                                                                                      http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/02/...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                        w
                                                                                                                                                        WestIslandian Sep 23, 2010 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I use the Clafoutis recipe from the LCBO ( http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/RecipeCo...

                                                                                                                                                        )

                                                                                                                                                        and my mom's Tiramisu recipe

                                                                                                                                                        Ingredients

                                                                                                                                                        6 eggs
                                                                                                                                                        6 tbsp sugar
                                                                                                                                                        500g mascarpone cheese
                                                                                                                                                        lady fingers
                                                                                                                                                        brandy
                                                                                                                                                        Cold espresso

                                                                                                                                                        Directions

                                                                                                                                                        Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Mix the egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone cheese..
                                                                                                                                                        Then beat the egg whites into a still foam and incorporate them into the cheese mixture.

                                                                                                                                                        Make the coffee with sugar, milk, and brandy. Dip ladyfingers in the coffee and arrange them in the bottom of the tray.

                                                                                                                                                        Pour some of the egg mixture over the ladyfingers, then make another layer of ladyfingers.
                                                                                                                                                        Finish with cheese mixture refrigerate.

                                                                                                                                                        Sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                                          paprkutr Nov 20, 2010 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks

                                                                                                                                                      2. v
                                                                                                                                                        Val Sep 23, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I *totally agree* with buttertart on the pecan pie (I've used the recipe from the back of the Karo syrup bottle for many years to happy raves)...and I'm only adding 2:

                                                                                                                                                        Epi's Double Chocolate Layer Cake http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275
                                                                                                                                                        Gramercy Tavern Ginger Bread http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Val
                                                                                                                                                          ChristinaMason Oct 3, 2010 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                          That gingerbread is really tough to get out of even a well-greased non-stick. Just a word of warning for anyone new to the recipe. It's delicious though.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                                                                                                            roxlet Oct 4, 2010 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                            You really have to try the Wilton Cake Release. This stuff is fantastic. I just made that recipe for gingerbread and it came out like a dream.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                              ChristinaMason Oct 6, 2010 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Noted! Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                        2. buttertart Sep 23, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Dacquoise - nut meringue with buttercream cake
                                                                                                                                                          Reine de saba - chocolate nut cake
                                                                                                                                                          Madeleines
                                                                                                                                                          Cream puffs and their ilk
                                                                                                                                                          Pecan pie (and/or its Canadian sister, the butter tart)
                                                                                                                                                          Shortbread
                                                                                                                                                          Fruitcake
                                                                                                                                                          My seven...this is fun, looking forward to the other contributions!
                                                                                                                                                          (And you picked the right brownies.)

                                                                                                                                                          56 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                            AmandaCA Sep 23, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Lol, I picked them because of you! You said they were the best. I added about a teaspoon of espresso powder to them for that little kick and everyone said they were the best brownies ever! I also made a gluten-free batch for my Dad, he actually got mad because I guess he was on a diet and couldn't stop eating them lol!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Sep 24, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Yay!!! They are great, aren't they.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                millygirl Sep 24, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Okay you guys are killing me. I just read Nick's brownie recipe and immediately went to fridge to take out butter. Making tonight, can't wait!!!! They look amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: millygirl
                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Sep 24, 2010 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  What took you so long? I've been raving about them for years. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: millygirl
                                                                                                                                                                    AmandaCA Sep 24, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    They are amazing! Seriously, best brownies ever. I also like the fact that it is a simple recipe and thus easy to tweak to your needs and/or tastes.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                                      millygirl Sep 24, 2010 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I dunno, I can't recall seeing it before. Probably a good thing. Mr. MG can't eat too much chocolate at night so I find myself eating for two. LOL
                                                                                                                                                                      Gets very dangerous.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: millygirl
                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                      spinachandchocolate Jan 12, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I can't find the link to Nick's supernatural brownies. Please post!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: spinachandchocolate
                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Jan 12, 2011 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                                                                                                                        I happen to have it handy..

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: millygirl
                                                                                                                                                                        Andrea Alexander Mar 17, 2011 06:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, Nicks Brownies are incredible. What are some of the best cheesecake recipes you have all come across?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Andrea Alexander
                                                                                                                                                                          buttertart Mar 17, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.food.com/recipe/japanese-cheesecake-90032
                                                                                                                                                                          for the recipe
                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.c...
                                                                                                                                                                          for a picture of what it really looks like
                                                                                                                                                                          This is my current favorite - I love!!! this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                                                                                            walker Mar 17, 2011 11:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            In a few minutes, I'm going to make this; eggs and cream cheese are room temp (went to two stores in a row that only had fancy cream cheese brands...had to go to a 3rd store in order to get Philly...I've read that it's the best to use in cheesecake recipes).

                                                                                                                                                                            I also bought some Apricot jam for a glaze. Can I leave this cake on the counter the rest of the day and then serve it tonight OR does it have to be stored in the fridge? (Hope it's enough for 4 people!!)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Mar 17, 2011 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Great! It's more than enough for 4, more like 8 good-sized pieces.
                                                                                                                                                                              Yes you can leave it on the counter - it's wonderful barely warm or room temperature.
                                                                                                                                                                              I'd put the leftovers in the fridge.
                                                                                                                                                                              Memo to self, must try frozen, I bet would be wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                w
                                                                                                                                                                                walker Mar 17, 2011 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                So, when should I pour the glaze over it? Should I let it cool off a bit in the pan, first?

                                                                                                                                                                                The other recipe said to let it remain in the water bath a while. I was surprised this recipe did not call for the cake flour, like the other one. (Or, maybe that was in the comments.)

                                                                                                                                                                                Have you ever tried making the other one with the photo?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                  lilgi Mar 17, 2011 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Buttertart, I grinned when I saw Walker's post because I'm taken with the picture of Diana's (I know, I know, prettier doesn't mean better). Also, I liked that it was taller and I like using my 8" round pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If I were to do cornstarch only for Diana's recipe (I'm not sure I think you recommended this), what would you say about the amount of eggs in Diana's vs. the recipe you prefer?

                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a cheesecake I can't wait to try, but it may be a while before I do so. I'll probably want to take a day and make a few to freeze. My thoughts are it seems a little labor intensive and it will probably go in 2 bites!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                                                                                    buttertart Mar 18, 2011 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Side-by-side comparison:
                                                                                                                                                                                    Diana's is bigger overall (and if it's really done in a 8" pan ot must be a very deep one indeed).
                                                                                                                                                                                    Measurements approximated because no scale to hand - first is Diana's -
                                                                                                                                                                                    2/3 c sugar vs 1/2 cup
                                                                                                                                                                                    6 eggs vs 3 eggs (this must be VERY light indeed)
                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 tsp vs 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (egg white fixative, shouldn't make a huge amount of difference)
                                                                                                                                                                                    2 oz butter vs none
                                                                                                                                                                                    9 oz vs 7 oz cream cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                    3 oz vs 2 oz milk (I've used sour cream here btw...)
                                                                                                                                                                                    1 tb vs 2 tb lemon juice (I like more lemon and use the grated zest as well - maybe less cream of tartar because less acid?)
                                                                                                                                                                                    2 oz cake flour vs none
                                                                                                                                                                                    1 oz cornflour ve 1/4 c - appx the same?
                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 tsp salt vs none (I always add a bit anyway)
                                                                                                                                                                                    Conclusion: I've got to make the Diana one soon...for purposes of comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                      lilgi Mar 18, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I thought the eggs were the big difference here (I missed the butter). Sour cream is a fantastic addition. Do you think you'll simply replace the butter with the sour cream keeping the milk?

                                                                                                                                                                                      I started leaning towards Diana's after looking at photos/tips here:
                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.thelittleteochew.com/searc...
                                                                                                                                                                                      Recipe at top

                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought it was just a tad labor intensive after looking at this. She complains incessantly about her photos, meanwhile I just want to grab that cake right off the screen. She also mentions tenting foil on top of the cake to prevent excessive browning. I like her idea of sieving and she doesn't use lemon (I would).

                                                                                                                                                                                      I forgot I have a casual birthday next week; will make with a light dusting of confectioners' and serve with a ginger/lime curd. Let me know what you think of what she does with the cake. And merci for the side by side (much too frugal on kitchen space for the scale!).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart Mar 18, 2011 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Those photos are gorgeous! Methinks she doth protest too much. Ingrained cultural modesty? "Oh this? this is just ordinary everyday food..." said over a home-cooked banquet...
                                                                                                                                                                                        I do not melt the cream cheese, I just beat those ingredients together. Wonder how that would affect the end result??? Hmm. Yes on the sieving, anything with egg should be sieved.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I used the sour cream instead of the milk.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Obviously there's a lot more to be done with this...a separate thread topic maybe?
                                                                                                                                                                                        Incidentally if you're ever near a patisserie run by Japanese people, get in there and buy stuff, their pastries are wonderful (at least the ones I've had from one in Fort Lee in NJ).
                                                                                                                                                                                        Poor Japan.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                          lilgi Mar 18, 2011 11:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hah, yes she has issues - all in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I posed the question on the sour cream because I thought it could go either way (fat or milk) in this recipe, whereas the other one contains no fat. Wasn't entirely sure, I'll probably do it your way. Good idea on another thread. Cake making for me will be next Thursday (yay!)

                                                                                                                                                                                          And yes, I do see a Japanese dessert binge in my near future ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                                                                                            buttertart Mar 19, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm definitely making Diana's v soon, next weekend I hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                                    walker Mar 17, 2011 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, I waited about 10-15 minutes and then took it out of the pan and put it on a pretty cake plate and then poured the apricot glaze over.

                                                                                                                                                                                    If it tastes as good as it looks, I'll be happy. Since you need to beat 2 different things and I only have one bowl for KA, I was smart enough to to mix cream cheese, etc in a bowl with my hand mixer and saved the KA for the 10 minutes of beating of egg whites.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                      buttertart Mar 18, 2011 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a good way to do it - I only have 1 bowl as well, with this and other cakes requring it I usually do the egg whites first and put them in another bowl (since there's sugar in them they are fairly stable as long as they're not kept very long), and then do the cream cheese etc, folding in the egg whites in a few goes.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I used to fold the whole amount in at once in my baking in general but it's much easier and retains lightness better if done in several parts.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I've never glazed it, we usually eat it plain with frozen sour cherries (my husband is crazy about them and lays in a supply each summer).
                                                                                                                                                                                      When I made it at his mother's house in Iowa recently, there was too much batter for her pan so I made 3 Pyrex custard cups of it that we ate barely warm with the cherries (they sell them in grocery stores there...). Oh my goodness.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I use a 3" deep 8" Wilton pan for mine as I think I said and it makes a nice deep cake.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I use either cornstarch or potato flour as the starch, some recipes say do not use wheat flour of whatever kind.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't find it to be any more work than any other 2-step cake (with the egg whites folded in at the end).

                                                                                                                                                                                      PS hope you loved it!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                        w
                                                                                                                                                                                        walker Mar 18, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Those sour cherries sound WONDERFUL. I used to be able to find Agrimontana Sour Cherry Preserves but now you have to special order and they are even more expensive!!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, the cake was wonderful. I managed to get a slice for myself .. yay .. so it fed 6 with an extra slice or 2 for a guest to take home to enjoy in private!

                                                                                                                                                                                        I really think it came out exactly as it should (I've never eaten such but it looked like the description. I don't know how to take the photo and post here -- I was trying to get my daughter to do it but .. maybe next time. It looked really pretty sitting on a nice cake stand. I used the apricot jam glaze -- I think that made it even better. I think I like it even better after it's been in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd love to hear about how it compares with the other recipe that uses cake flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                        There's a newish Japanese Sweet store on Market Street in San Francisco. I have not been inside but from outside, it looks like a fancy jewelry store. They probably have this cake in Japanese bakeries in Japantown.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                          buttertart Mar 19, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          The sour cherries are great - and not very expensive, but I've only seen the commercially-frozen ones (lately) in Hy-Vee stores in Davenport, IA. WHY NOT IN NYC??? Lots of people here are crazy about sour cherries.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I am so happy you liked it, it really is very special. I'll make the other one next week and report.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The sweet store probably has the quite wonderful seasonal specialty sweets (wagashi) made with agar-agar, bean paste, chestnuts, rice flour, and other traditional ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                          They may have French pastries as well, but if it looks like a jewelry store I think it would be the other (a whole branch of sweetmaking onto itself with unimaginably many local and seasonal items to explore - we were served one with chestnut filling upon our arrival for a fairytale four days at the Hiiragiya traditional inn in Kyoto a few years back, made only there and staped with their holly logo). Have a look at "wagashi" or "traditional Japanese sweets" on the web, gorgeous stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                          There must be a patisserie qua patisserie in Japantown, the ones here (Bergen County, NJ) have names like "Parisienne" etc to indicate what they're up to.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've seen apparently shelf-stable ones of these wrapped up like snack cakes in Chinatown here but have never been brave enough to try them.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Another SF person to bedevil me with memories of when we lived in the Bay Area, eh???

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                                                                                                            walker Mar 19, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            There's a chocolate candy store on the corner of Gough and Hayes (I think it's Hayes) that looks like an expensive, exclusive jewelry shop (too). I have not been inside there, either. The Belgian chocolates (especially special ones at Christmas) that Costco sells are good enough for me! (and my budget!).

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Mar 20, 2011 05:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Leonidas I believe, love them too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                toodie jane May 3, 2011 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                you two might want to see if your library has Joy Of Cheesecake--superb cheesecake book, circa 1970's. Got the idea from it to use mascarpone in a savory CC that won a CC contest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellent book!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toodie jane
                                                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart May 3, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My dear great aunt-in-law gave me that book as it happens, will look!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: toodie jane
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hank Hanover May 3, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Joy of Cheesecake can be purchased used for as little as $4.00 including shipping. http://www.amazon.com/Cheesecake-Dana...

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                                                          mom22tots Sep 25, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Would love to know how you made them gluten free...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mom22tots
                                                                                                                                                                            AmandaCA Sep 25, 2010 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            It was pretty simple. I changed out the chocolate chips for an allergen-free vareity that my parents just keep around the house. Then I picked up a package of Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix which you can sub one to one for ap flour. Pamela's is a great baking mix but it does have buttermilk in it so if anyone in your family has dairy allergies then you can use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free AP Flour. When I made them gluten-free, they needed to be cooked a touch longer, but it could have been just me; I think it ended up being around 45 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmandaCA
                                                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                                                              mom22tots Sep 25, 2010 05:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Sounds easy enough, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mom22tots
                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Oct 3, 2010 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                i'm not a huge fan of any of the packaged GF mixes, but if you have your own go-to GF flour mix, it will sub nicely in this recipe thanks to all the butter & eggs :)

                                                                                                                                                                                i made them a while back with a combination of rice flours plus the requisite tapioca & potato starch and a touch of guar gum...i actually did it as an experiment to see if i could fool gluten-eaters, and it worked like a charm. they all *loved* the brownies and didn't believe me when i told them they were GF.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                  ChristinaMason Oct 3, 2010 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  brownies work really well with GF flour. that was a happy discovery when I was avoiding gluten a few months ago. no one can tell the difference, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                                                                                                                                    kattyeyes Oct 4, 2010 04:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    While we're talking gluten-free, flourless chocolate cookies are intensely wonderful. I made them with pecans instead of walnuts...and even made a Mexican variation with cinnamon, ancho and chipotle. They have a chewy, brownie-like consistency, which made me want to chime in here on your brownie discussion. ;) You just need to be be careful with the temperature--maintain 350 degrees F as you put the cookies in the oven, then drop the temperature to 325 degrees F. Be sure to bring the oven back to 350 degrees F for each new batch, then drop it back down. Thanks to both Danna and Caitlin McGrath for helping me to troubleshoot back when. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/651981#5453566

                                                                                                                                                                                    My mom even enjoyed the cookies when I screwed them up and they came out like rocks. HA HA!

                                                                                                                                                                                    >>^..^<<
                                                                                                                                                                                    http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                                    jsaimd Oct 4, 2010 08:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I also am not a huge fan of the baking mixes. I had a bunch of money left in my healthcare account and bought a bunch to try with the money. Anyway, i don't think I get better results with them than I do with my own blends.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I make the supernatural brownies with GF flour all the time. Because they don't have a lot of flour it always fooled.

                                                                                                                                                                                    In fact have made GF baked goods all the time that fool. Breads and such don't fool, and some cakes are tricky to get the right texture depending on how picky the tasters are.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                            roxlet Sep 24, 2010 03:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Which book is Nick's Supernatural Brownies from? Never mind. I just saw the link to the Saveur article.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                              bushwickgirl Oct 2, 2010 04:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, the supernatural recipe is on the web and at his site as well, and it's from his chocolate book, which is definitely worth adding to your collection.

                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Simpl...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Oct 2, 2010 05:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, enough from you! More books? No way! Oooh, did you say chocolate. Wait, lemme see...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                  bushwickgirl Oct 2, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Haha, go for it. This one and Alice Medrich's Cocolat and you've covered all the bases.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                    souschef Oct 2, 2010 07:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't forget Alice Medrich's two other chocolate books. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef
                                                                                                                                                                                      bushwickgirl Oct 2, 2010 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I was trying to avoid over suggesting cookbooks for roxlet, as I think she may be reaching critical mass, but yes, I am of the belief that you cannot have too many chocolate books.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                        souschef Oct 2, 2010 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was just being a troublemaker, but Buttertart is right that Bittersweet is useful for substitutions. I don't believe in light/low fat dessert/chocolate books - why bother. As Julia Child once said in an interview (I'm paraphrasing), "A cake can be extremely rich, but all you need is a very small slice".

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: souschef
                                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart Oct 2, 2010 04:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Even the low fat Medrich is worth having. You definitely need Bittersweet, it has info on substituting diffferent percentage chocolates in receipes that call for a particular one, v useful.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Get the Malgieri Chocolate, miss, it's great. (His first book, on Italian desserts, is wonderful too and has recipes that you don't see elswhere.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm putting my drum away now...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                          roxlet Oct 2, 2010 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          So, what? I'm going to spend my $200 KA&L gift certificate on chocolate books? Starting to look that way...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                            souschef Oct 2, 2010 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I suggest that if you don't already have it, you buy Cocolat first and make a bunch of cakes first using a chocolate you already know. you may never need another chocolate book.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Oct 3, 2010 07:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              To roxlet, Nah, ABEbooks or even Amazon first. You need something really special for that gift cert, something you wouldn't/couldn't get otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                              bushwickgirl Oct 3, 2010 05:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Whoops, Bittersweet, another one added to my list...and Great Italian Desserts. I've been thinking about Dolce Italiano as well, anyone have/know that one?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                buttertart Oct 3, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't like Dolce Italiano, too pastry-cheffy, and the brownies with chestnuts I made from it were a waste of chestnuts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Yay!!!!!!!!!!! It's chestnut season/weather!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                  souschef Oct 3, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay indeed. I have to go see if the marroni are available yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                    pikawicca Jan 12, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Have you made the chocolate sandwich cookies? Worth the price of the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                                                      jsantopietro Jan 13, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We just tested that chestnut brownie and I so didn't like them. I tried them again with my own brownie recipe, substituting half the ap flour for chestnut flour, and again, a flop. I think the chestnut flour was too bitter (or too old - how long was that bag sitting on the store shelf). I agree with you, not the best use of roast chestnuts, either. I'd rather eat a bowl of roasted chestnuts than one of those brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jsantopietro
                                                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart Jan 14, 2011 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you get some new chestnut flour try the chestnut pound cake in Alice Medrich's "Pure Dessert". Fantastic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it's a waste to use a subtly-flavored ingredient like chestnut flour with chocolate in any case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bushwickgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                      roxlet Oct 3, 2010 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      There seem to be so many Medrich chocolate books on abebooks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ChristinaMason Oct 3, 2010 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        don't forget half.com! it's great for cheap books and cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                                          sancan Jan 12, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          So interesting that you say pecan pie's "Canadian sister" of the butter tart. The Southern pecan pie may have originated with the Scots-Irish immigrants here, which is the same place (I've heard) that the Canadian's got the butter tart. Hi, sister.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sancan
                                                                                                                                                                                            buttertart Jan 12, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            And I bet they're both adaptations of treacle tart from the old country. Good point, I never really thought of that, sister!

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