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Need Recipe Ideas for Desserts!

  • j

I and some of my friends have a foodie group, and every once in a while we have what we call a "Foodie Challenge" (like the TV shows "Chopped" and "Iron Chef", except we have time to plan). We draw three ingredients from a hat and have to make a dish that uses all those ingredients. It's really fun! (Last time's results are on my family's food blog, www.goodtoeat.ca ).

This time, I got hit with a doozie, though: I have to come up with a dessert that uses dark chocolate, sundried tomatoes, and red cabbage! We're allowed to split our course into two dishes (but no more than two).

Right now I'm just looking for inspiration. Anyone have any ideas?

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  1. You ought to modify your title and even add some Vancouver/BC locational context inside your post, or else Admin will move your thread to General Topics or Home Cooking. Unless you're ok with that.

    If it were me, I'd pulp that red cabbage to smithereens, sweeten it a lot and use it as a coulis of sorts. The sundried tomatoes ...... garnish ? LOL

    Are you restricted to these three ingredients, or simply these are the core, and you can add several other ingredients ? That would be a game changer otherwise.

    Sounds fun. Ready ..... Set ...... Cook !

    2 Replies
    1. re: LotusRapper

      Doh ..... the Admins got ahead of ya ! :-(

      1. re: LotusRapper

        We can use whatever ingredients we want, as long as those three are included. We can even split them across two dishes, as long as they both match the course.

        (By the way, sorry to the Mods … this is my first post here and I definitely did not know how everything went! It's totally a recipe request, so I don't mind it being moved.)

      2. What a bizarre trio of ingredients...

        "We're allowed to split our course into two dishes..."

        So you can have 2 separate desserts? Or two desserts that go together (like ice cream on top of pie)?

        The only cabbage dessert I've ever heard of is Hungarian cabbage strudel. There is a recipe here, which is poorly rated but will give you a general idea: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/...

        Perhaps sautéing the cabbage with a bit of sugar until caramelized will render it fit for a pie filling.

        Tomatoes I think could work well if roasted/sautéed until sweet, and maybe pureed with red berries (strawberries, raspberries) or rhubarb even.

        What I'm finding difficult in all honesty is fitting the chocolate in there. Dark chocolate doesn't sound like it will pair well with the acidity of cabbage and tomatoes. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn a bit.

        Good luck, and please let us know what you come up with.

        10 Replies
        1. re: nothingswrong

          It is a weird trio, isn't it? haha That's what you get for randomly drawing ingredients, I guess.

          Fantastic idea about the tomatoes with the berries and rhubarb! Thanks! :D That could be a brilliant solution! I had one idea already that was a tragic fail (good thing I tried it so far in advance before serving it to my guests!). I made some sundried-tomato-coconut-cream-filled chocolate truffles; they were so revolting that I actually gagged when I ate one! Maybe I'll try your suggestion next, haha.

          I like your idea of making the cabbage into a pie, too. Honestly I was leaning in that direction, maybe mixed with apples or something. I also saw a recipe for a cabbage cake that was supposedly similar to carrot cake in flavour, so that was an option too, especially since it might combine decently with the fruit and tomatoes, and then I could offer the chocolate as a separate dish altogether. That's a lot of ifs, though.

          Seems so strange to get hung up on the chocolate for a dessert when I'm stuck with sundried tomatoes and cabbage, but that was my difficulty too.

          1. re: jonvs

            can you use the dark chocolate ina "dessert drink" like a frothy, frozen hot chocolate? that could get it out of the way so you can concentrate on what appear to be the tougher ingredients. I was thinking along the lines of a strudel, puff pastry type thing using sweetened sauteed cabbage, bleue cheese and pears. just a little bit of the sundreid tomatoes becuase you have to... hopefully not enough to overwhelm.

            1. re: momoftwo

              That's an idea, with the strudel/cabbage/cheese/pears. Kind of a more savory dessert, but I think would pair well.

              1. re: momoftwo

                A chocolate drink is an excellent suggestion! It would certainly solve the problem I've had so far of the tomatoes horribly clashing with the chocolate.

              2. re: jonvs

                That's funny about the truffles. Glad you tried it out already!

                The cabbage + apples is exactly what I was thinking. I've never had sweetened sautéed cabbage, but I just feel like it would work with the apples and a crust of some sort (or puff pastry, phyllo, etc.). You see coleslaws with shredded apple, so maybe it will work in a sweet application.

                Agree about the chocolate. Might be best used as a separate dish. I just can't wrap my head around any way it would go well with cabbage+tomatoes.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  cabbage + chocolate + tomato would work well in a savory context, think about chili. As a desert it's a tougher nut.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    I often sauté apples and cabbage sometimes with cider or vinegar. It doesn't really get desert sweet though. Maybe some sugar?

                    1. re: melpy

                      Yes, I'd think definitely with sugar. Probably quite a bit, depending on the sweetness of the apples. Maybe brown sugar, some vanilla, honey...?

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        Sweetness is good. I could easily imagine an apple pie with cabbage in it. Then there's just my other ingredients. Maybe I could make a compote with my tomatoes, cherries, and red wine and serve it on a dark chocolate pudding or pot de crème.

                        1. re: jonvs

                          I think this sounds like a great plan. Very doable, and will probably be delicious.

                          Despite all the great suggestions, I just can't fathom one dish which will use all 3 ingredients together in harmony.

              3. Could you serve these as part of a cheese plate or would that break the rules?

                2 Replies
                1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                  I was thinking this too, but wasn't sure if it would be considered too non-desserty.

                  1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                    It wouldn't break the rules, I don't think, as long as it's primarily a dessert and not an appetiser or side dish (which are being done by other foodies in the group who drew different ingredients).

                  2. What fun! I love the cabbage strudel idea. How about that served alongside little chocolate puddings topped with the tomato/berry sauce?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tcamp

                      You know, that's a strong possibility! Cheryl (below) suggested rehydrating the tomatoes with red wine, which would probably work really well with berries.

                    2. How about using the red cabbage to make food coloring and not as an on-the-plate edible? Perhaps some take on Easter eggs?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                        That's a brilliant idea. I'm sure you could use red cabbage to easily dye some sort of cake or torte.

                        I'm sure on Chopped they would dock points for it not actually being cabbage-like, but in this case that's probably a good thing.

                        1. re: nothingswrong

                          They'd also dock points for not transforming an ingredient. How many times have the judges docked points for just garnishing a plate with an ingredient or "hiding" it instead of embracing it?

                          I love this type of challenge, btw...

                        2. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                          That is really creative! :D But as Cheryl suggested, I'd rather embrace the ingredients if possible (with this combo it might not be possible, haha).

                          1. re: jonvs

                            good luck!! I'd love to hear how it turns out.

                        3. First, are the sundried tomatoes dried or packed in oil? If dried, then I'd rehydrate them in some water or red wine. I'd juice the cabbage AND some beets (or use beet powder), puree the tomatoes then use the juices/pureed tomatoes in a chocolate (using the dark chocolate) whoopee pie (filled with coconut pecan frosting) or red velvet cake.

                          Just like in "Chopped" you don't have to use a whole head, you can use a little or a lot of an ingredient.

                          Segment an orange, add to the wine (if used to rehydrate) with brown sugar and balsamic in a saucepan to make a gastrique for a sauce; serve with some vanilla bean whipped cream. You'll win the competition.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Cherylptw

                            What an answer, wow!

                            We actually have a lot of interpretive freedom with our ingredients; we’re not given them specifically, only told which ones we must use.

                            Your idea for reconstituting the tomatoes using red wine is an absolute game-changer! The marinated tomatoes I used in my aforementioned chocolate truffle catastrophe were probably the main reason for its failure. Actually, the longer I think about it, the stupider I feel for not getting dry ones in the first place. Well done, Cheryl!

                            1. re: jonvs

                              Thanks...can you tell I love Chopped"? lol...

                          2. There's a classic recipe for a sauerkraut cake, where the shreds end up resembling coconut. Could add the chocolate in the batter, too.

                            I made tomato jam last year--I'd try rehydrating the sundried tomatoes and either using them as a jammy cake topping or a mixed-fruit chutney topping.

                            1. For those who didn't see my earlier post, my first attempt at reconciling the chocolate with the sundried tomatoes was a horrible failure. I made chocolate truffles with a coconut sundried tomato cream, and they were so horrible they literally made me gag while eating one.

                              Some success since then! Per Cheryl's suggestion, I let some unmarinated sundried tomatoes soak for a while in red wine. Then I puréed them with canned cherries, and it made a delicious bittersweet paste (I may need to sweeten it slightly for dessert purposes). Surprisingly there are all kinds of recipes for chocolate sauerkraut cake floating about the Internet, which is close. Perhaps I could use butter-sautéed cabbage instead of sauerkraut, and frost the cake with my tomato-cherry purée to create a distant cousin of the Black Forest cake. (I never thought I could combine all three ingredients into one dish! I thought for sure I'd need two!) hopefully it turns out!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jonvs

                                Oh. Now that I read this, I retract my statement upthread. This sounds like it may work!

                                Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out!!

                                1. re: jonvs

                                  Glad to know my suggestion worked out for you; I'm curious to know the final outcome so please post what you ended up doing.

                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                    Will do! It's not for another few weeks, but I will definitely post a link here when I have photos up. It probably wouldn't have been possible for me without everyone's input.

                                2. I make chocolate sauerkraut cake all the time and it is delicious
                                  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sa...

                                  1. Success, thanks in no small part to all your suggestions! I've posted the results on GoodToEat:

                                    http://goodtoeat.ca/foodie-challenge-2/

                                    Thank you all so much! :D

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jonvs

                                      Great pictures! What fun :)
                                      Any update on the taste/success of each dish?

                                      1. re: melpy

                                        Sure! First was the sundried tomato slatko. It was about half cherry, half sundried tomato (which I rehydrated in red wine). At first it was too bitter to mix with anything else so I added quite a bit of sugar and it ended up working great with the gelato. It tasted really like a cherry purée but with the odd hint of bitterness now and then. The green tea really helped cleanse the palate if the bitterness became too much, but that only ever happened when I randomly got a chunk of tomato.

                                        The real surprise for me was the cake. For a touch of irony, I put one of my disgusting sundried tomato truffles in the centre as a garnish, but what was truly ironic was that all three of my guests tried it, and two of them actually liked it! I thought they were revolting, but anyway …

                                        The cake itself was a pleasant surprise! It was moist and delicious. Sautéeing the cabbage in butter and brown sugar toned it down considerably. I do feel I put too mich cabbage around the cake, because with the cabbage in the filling and around the sides it started to overwhelm a bit, but if you scraped the cabbage off the frosting it was fantastic. I used chocolate cream cheese as the frosting, which I would definitely do again.

                                        When I was making it I actually began to feel like cabbage in a chocolate cake was totally normal. Maybe it's just because the cake took so long to prepare.

                                        Anyway, as for the other dishes of the night, the prosciutto rolls and the beet-carrot-apple slaw were probably my favourites.