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Inspiration/brainstorming for new project dessert (long)

Hello everybody!

Since I really enjoyed feedback from this forum in my last post (choosing an ice cream pairing for shoe fly pie), I thought it might be interesting to get your opinion once again.

I have volunteered to make another dessert for father's day and I am looking for a project to pique my interest. I am hesitating on several potential recipes but nothing is fixed yet.

All my family are good cooks. They go from solid everyday cooks to maniac foodies. Most are obsessive about recipes and new ingredients. All are open minded, ready to try new things. Apart from allergies, most things are fair game.

My preference:
My favorite cooking moments are projects I plan for a long time and take my time to execute. I am pretty much a recipe guy (although I mix and match different recipes to get to where I want to go from time to time). I usually succeed most recipes I try so for me the challenge is usually finding a good recipe or mix of recipes. I am methodical, analytical and detail oriented. I like really vintage recipes, off the wall tests, retro concepts, new ways of doing old things or really difficult classic recipes. I don't really care for trends, molecular gastronomy (not equiped for it) or shortcuts.

Some of my previous projects (for reference)

*Paris-Brest cake
*Shoo Fly Pie
*Rum baba
*Sauterne savarin
*Bailey's cheesecake
*Baked alaska
*Bourbon pecan pie
*Crème caramel
*Kouign amann
*Momofuku Crack Pie
*Momofuku Birthday cake
*Momofuku Carrot Cake

Potentially interesting recipes:

*Canelé de Bordeau (I don't have the molds however...

*Chess Pie (the momofuku crack pie was loosely inspired by the chess pie. I liked to do the shoo fly pie and the chess pie is another southern classic

*Treacle tart (an english classic I see in the same family as chess pie, sugar pie and shoo fly pie
or, for a more vintage approach,

*Queen of Sheeba Cake (I really like vintage julia child

*Gâteau Saint-Honoré (I have a great choux pastry recipe, looks complex but should be a bit easier than optics suggest

*Sweet potato Pie (never tried it!

*Ricotta pie (saw it on the soprano's and became curious!

*Marjolaine Cake of La Pyramide (a french classic

*Sticky toffee pudding (another english classic!

*Upside down pineapple cake (a classic revisited!

So! What do you think? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you in advance!

TLDR: Looking to make a dessert. I like projects. Too much choice. Any advice would help.

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  1. If your family appreciates/practices local and seasonal, I'd recommend a strawberry rhubarb pie/tart/cobbler with homemade lemon buttermilk ice cream.

      1. re: Tara57

        We had a croquembouche as our wedding cake, and it was fantastic.

        Another suggestion is a Moscato and Peach Gelee: http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes...

        We made this last week and it turned out great. It would work particularly well as a hot weather dessert, it's very cool and refreshing.

        You could easily adapt the recipe for different flavors or to incorporate what's seasonal, for example strawberries and moscato with rhubarb. Or add some herbs or spices such as mint, lavender, tarragon, rosemary, angelica, fennel, lemongrass, or cardamom, anise and nutmeg.

      2. This time of year a traditional Fraisier cake is my go-to to take advantage of strawberries at their peak. These days I make it with a flourless almond cake but pistachio is awesome as well.




        Its not rocket science but the more time you spend on it the better it looks and sourcing the best ingredients you can elevates the taste, of course.

        If you do a Google image search you can see several different takes on the assembly, I favor a square cake with the edges cut off after it's set up in the fridge. The marzipan *must* be green for me since that's how I remember it at the French bakeries were I first discovered it as a teenager.


        I did see a strawberry, lime, basil Fraisier spin on it that has my interest piqued, though.

        2 Replies
        1. re: weezieduzzit

          Wow, this is brilliant. I know I've seen these cakes but didn't know what they were called.
          It's the height of strawberry season here, and I'll be making this!

        2. While I've always adored real strawberry shortcake (sweet rich biscuits, macerated berries, whipped or simply poured-on cream), the best thing I remember from my youth was a strawberry pie our excellent local restaurant had, with the macerated berries folded into whipped cream, and this mixture ladled and smoothed into a baked lard pie-crust and set in a good cold refrigerator case. This pie was 25¢ per slice, a dime more than any of their other pies, but as poor as I was I had to have a slice or two while the season lasted.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen

            I'm envisioning a Norman Rockwell painting ;)

          2. Do a croquembouche.

            Just spelling it correctly is a project all unto itself.

            1. If this were on Food Quests, that board would FINALLY have an appropriate topic posted there.

              1. The sweet potato pie and sticky toffee pudding feel more fall/winter than summery....

                For father's day i would defer to the father being celebrated- perhaps his favorite flavors or a memory of his favorite dessert. I know my father loves pies, so he would much prefer one over a beautiful french cake.

                1. It's not necessarily seasonal, and more focused on technique than taste, but... what about a Mondrian cake? (http://museumstore.sfmoma.org/moartde... )

                  1. Hey!

                    @Monavano and Weezieduzzit: Rhubarbs are in season but it appears strawberries will be really late in my corner of the woods because of the temperatures. I'll keep Fraisier in mind because my mother loves strawberries! Love the lemon buttermilk ice cream idea!

                    @Will Owen: agree! I also like to work on what would be an "ideal" version of seemingly simple classic. It sounds close to Weezieduzzit's Fraisier! For my part, its a strawberry cheesecake memory with an interesting mix between the cream cheese and mascarpone that I have to perfect.

                    @Tara57 and ipsedixit I thought of a Croquembouche but it is very close to the Saint Honoré for me.

                    A croquembouche is visually impressive but I've always struggled with the serving method. Would it be a centerpiece and the guests pick at it? Trying to cut it in parts without destroying the architecture of the choux pastry looks difficult.

                    In term of execution, it looks impressive but the Saint Honoré explores the same techniques (stuffed choux, use of caramel), combines crème chiboust and crème patissière and feels to me a bit more of a dessert than an acrobatic culinary experiment.

                    That being said, if I had to try a Croquembouche I'd try this one (the words are french but the video speaks for itself) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QXBw...

                    @greygarious: thank? I guess? I presume Food Quest is not an impressive board (never heard of it)?

                    @Ttrockwood: actually, my father usually likes rich (read: winter/fall) desserts. Anything that reads "decadent" is a hit. I already did 2 plays on his favorite flavor (savarin & rhum baba) so I have to try other things. I'm currently leaning towards Queen Sheeba Cake.

                    @truman A mondrian cake is a hilarious idea that works very well for my friends but would be lost on my familly. Art classics are lost on them I am afraid.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CaptCrunch

                      I was drooling over your link to that queen sheeba cake, and it incorporates rum for your dad.... Would a rum flavored whipped cream or ice cream to go with be too over the top...??

                    2. I love to bake and love making new interesting desserts" here are some of my favourites:
                      A millefeuille cake or millecrepes cake
                      I have had great success with Tartine's Bavarian cake. I change around the fruits to suit my mood/season.
                      Boston cream pie
                      Or for something extravagant the strawberry rhubarbe trifle from masterchef australia
                      The hardest part is narrowing down your choices

                      1. Go for the Queen of Sheba cake.

                        I'd suggest rhubarb upside down cake http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9009..., but it's quick-to-make, not a "project" recipe unless you do a make-your-own vanilla ice cream as a topping.

                        1. Hello all!

                          Thank you for the kind comments! I will be doing a Queen of Sheba cake with homemade macha ice cream (I love the flavor of macha, have a ton of it at home and it should pair well with the chocolate).

                          @trockwood: that's the concept! A good rum, chocolate, almonds... it should fall in his chords. I decided to pair it with a macha ice cream but that's just because I've been meaning to do one for a while now.

                          @downtownjosie: Thanks! I see a lot of strawberry and rhubarb in my future! I'll be adding the boston cream pie to my list of "to do"!

                          @midwesternerTT: That's what I did! :) I'll keep the upside down rhubarb cake in mind!

                          1. Small update! The Queen of sheba cake was a great success!

                            Now I am tasked with another desert and I believe that I will try a Fraisier! (thx to @weezieduzzit!!)

                            I'll be using a recipe that inspired me (I'm a very visual guy!)

                            I had in mind to pair it with an apérol & citrus granita or @monavano's idea of a homemade lemon buttermilk ice cream.

                            To be honest I wanted to do a framboisier (a variation of Fraisier with rasberry instead of strawberry? lol) and pair it with aperol/citrus but the fraisier looks just too good. Now I'm not sure anymore about that pairing (the tartness of the raspberry matched the citrus more and I feel that the creaminess of the lemon buttermilk will complement strawberry more... but I really want to try that granita recipe!!!


                            Plus I really liked those looks! Maybe next time!


                            I'll keep you updated!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: CaptCrunch

                              That Fraiser does look so pretty and dramatic! I think the look of it really does need the half strawberry though....since a raspberry halve just isn't as pretty :/
                              What about a raspberry tart? Or is that too ordinary....? This one has an almond cream that sounds lovely.

                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                Wow! That looks like it taste great!

                                Although i would reverse the raspberries and glaze them or powder them with sugar (either or...)

                                Maybe i can make the strawberry with buttermilk lemon ice cream for the next dessert and the raspberry one later with the granita? I really want to pair that granita with tart raspberries...