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Jun 30, 2014 03:18 PM

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Desserts

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  1. Honeydew-Kiwi Sorbet with Chartreuse - P. 324 - Anyone made w/o Chartreuse, or have a suggestion how to get 6 T. of that without investing in a $50 bottle? Otherwise, I will be using one of the substitutions suggestion on Cook's Thesaurus

    15 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        Looks like mine will be a non-alcohol version. Benedictine is 34 dollars here, no smaller sizes of any of the listed subs available at the 4 stores I stopped in. Although I did find a tiny bottle of Jagermeister, which per the description sounds too potent for the dessert?

        1. re: MidwesternerTT

          Jagermeister definitely seems too potent (in taste) for this recipe - at least to me. I'm going to need to look at the recipe and see what it is she's trying to add here flavor-wise.

          1. re: LulusMom

            We use the jagermeister to torch our plum pudding. It packs a punch and is potent. Tread lightly!

            1. re: LulusMom

              Yes, I associate Jagermeister with shots with punk rock boys in my teenage years! The flavour never did anything for me..

            2. re: MidwesternerTT

              OK, so I looked at the recipe and I'm sort of flummoxed too. It seems like nothing is going to *exactly* match the flavor of green chartreuse (and I had no idea there was a yellow variety) so maybe just go with some slightly vegetal liquore that you do happen to have and enjoy? I thought of maybe Campari, but that would definitely change the color. Do you have any of that St. Germaine stuff (elderflower)? That is lovely, but obviously would be pretty different. Possibly white Lillet? Can't wait to hear what you end up doing - best of luck!

              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                I would try Jagermeister but use a LOT less of it, maybe just 2T, and add a little extra sugar syrup or a sweeter liqueur (the St. Germain might work) to make up the difference. It's true though that Chartreuse is unique, and no sub is going to exactly match the flavor.

            3. re: MidwesternerTT

              I haven't looked at the recipe but chartreuse is sweet and bitter, kind of like Campari. Honeydew- kiwi sounds good on its own anyway. One purpose of the alcohol is to inhibit formation of ice crystals, so you could consider subbing a bit of vodka (or gin might have a floral /herbal note more similar to chartreuse).

              1. re: Westminstress

                TY both, Lulusmom and Westminstress. Very helpful comments. The syrup/fruit mixture is chilling now and when I churn it I may try half just plain first and half with Sapphire Gin after refreezing the bucket. I'd thought of using vanilla-infused vodka too but that may take it too sweet.

                BTW - recipe calls for 1/2 C. sugar plus 3 T. and then never uses the extra 3 T. It's a mystery...

                ETA - just found the recipe online at her blog and see that sake is suggested as a sub for the Chartreuse. Not that I have any of that in the house, either LOL

                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  That is so weird (about the sugar). Given that sake is her suggested sub, I'd go with the gin (as you have already decided to do, so I'm not really helpful!).

                  The only recipe I remember making from the book that I found weirdly worded/at all tough to cook from was in the dessert section. It was the pineapple flan, which seemed to assume that you'd made flan many times before and knew what each stage should look/be like. Maybe desserts aren't her strong point. I guess this month will tell.

              2. re: MidwesternerTT

                Happy results for the non-alcohol version. "This is nice" = high praise from my husband. The sorbet is just barely sweet (fine for us), the kiwi and honeydew fruit flavors stayed true and were nicely balanced. Great as a topper for a quarter-inch thin watermelon slice - I used a large cookie-scoop to make uniform shapes. Very refreshing as a summer dessert and quite the colorful presentation even without the edible flowers. Two scoops were enough to satisfy as an after-dinner treat.

                The recipe makes plenty, so it could take us a while to get thru the full batch. I used a half of a large honeydew and 3 large kiwi fruit to make the measured amount per the recipe. Next time I'd cut the kiwi fruit in half and scoop out the insides rather than peeling and slicing them before pureeing them. I used a blender instead of a "food processor".

                I drizzled a half tsp. of Sapphire gin over one scoop of my sorbet and couldn't detect any taste difference, so I will still try incorporating it in the second batch, tomorrow.

                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  Photo - an ice cream scoop for serving and dish rather than plate. Of course, I ate this "model".

                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                    Looks just like it does in the book.

                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                      When I make melon salad I often add a bit of melon liquor to it - it intensifies melon flavour. It is nothing like Chartreuse which to me is sweet and spicy but is green and just might work.

                  2. Chocolate "Pousse"

                    Ms. Gold notes that this is half way between a mousse and a pudding, hence the name. For me it was much more reminiscent of a mousse, but that was a good thing.

                    She would have you melt some chocolate and butter over low heat, I just did this in the microwave, and then add a bit of dark rum. Once it is cooled a bit mix in a bit of creme fraiche or sour cream. Meanwhile you whip 5 extra large egg whites (6 large in my case) until very firm. The chocolate mixture is folded into the whites, at which point you spoon into wine glasses and chill a bit before enjoying.

                    In my case I always find these preparations are nearly impossible to spoon into a wine glass without making a mess so I simply went with large ramekins (6 in end).

                    This wasn't as ethereal as let's say the mousse in Julia Child's Mastering the Art, but it was much much easier and still very good. The texture was still silky smooth and the flavour was lovely. I might add a touch more rum next time.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: delys77

                      Chocolate "Pousse" p. 305

                      I really liked this mousse crossed with pudding. And I agree with delys77 that it is more mousse-like than pudding. In fact, I agree with everything that delys said in the original review, including the ease of microwaving the chocolate and butter till melted.

                      The resulting dessert is deeply chocolate-y and satisfyingly mousse-like, with the extra benefit of being easy and quick. I did increase the 2 tsp. of dark rum to 1 TBS as per delys' suggestion and liked the result. Ms. Gold says to "fold the chocolate mixture into the beaten whites." This wasn't in the recipe-instructions, but when combining any mixture with beaten egg whites, I always fold about 1/4 of the egg whites in first first to aerate it, and then finish by folding the mixture back into the the remaining beaten whites: thank you, Julia! Even though it deflates somewhat, as Ms. Gold warns, the texture of the mixture stays light--"smooth and creamy" as the recipe notes say, without being too loose or pudding-y.

                      I was serving this recipe as part of a dessert buffet for ten, so I spooned the recipe for 4 into 10 small shot-glasses, mounding the mixture up slightly, and supplied little demitasse spoons. (Demitasse cups would have been adorable too! ) It was gratifying to see how every single person scooped out every last lick of "pousse." I supplied no whipped cream or other sauce, though I did have fresh sliced strawberries also on the buffet.

                      I think this is a keeper and I would recommend keeping the servings on the small side because it is rich.

                      1. re: Goblin

                        I'm glad you also liked it goblin. I forgot about that little piece of wisdom from Julia.

                    2. Almond Galettes p. 310.
                      Almonds are toasted then ground in a food processor. Eggs, sugar, and lemon zest are added and processed then baked. I used regular eggs instead of extra large. The result is a fairly dense and tasty cake. I added berries and whipped cream and skipped the glass of sherry that the author suggested as an accompaniment.

                      I might make this again as it was very easy, and a good recipe to have on hand for guests who can't eat gluten (it's gluten free)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: panthera

                        What type of pan did you use? She calls for four 4.5 inch tart pans with removeable bottoms. Would mini-loaf pans (not removable bottoms) work? Or a single 10 inch round springform pan?

                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                          I used a tart pan with a removable bottom that is 4 by 13 inches. I had some extra batter that I put in a mini loaf pan. The mini one came out of the oven at about 15 minutes, and the larger one I baked a bit longer than the 18 minutes in the recipe. The mini loaf one was difficult to get out (good for tasting it ahead of time though) so I wouldn't recommend it. Anything removable should be ok as long as you increase the bake time a little.

                      2. French Yogurt Cake with Nutella p. 312

                        Wonderful texture, excellent flavor, I'm so happy with this cake! I marbled too much white batter into the Nutella, there could have been more contrast, but no matter.
                        The yogurt cakes I've done in the past have not been as nice as this, I'm keepin' this one.
                        Shown with whipped cream in the book, eaten plain at my house, I really think crème fraiche would be just perfect with this. Next time I'll do that, no fail.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Pineapple Flan p. 305

                          This is good, and a nice change. An electric mixer combines pineapple juice, eggs with extra yolks, and sugar. Some of the sugar is first melted and poured into the baking dishes – to become
                          a shiny golden top for this dessert.
                          Surround the dishes with boiling water and bake until firm. Refrigerate until very cold before unmolding.
                          The color of this stuff is gorgeous.
                          I used canned unsweetened pineapple juice, knowing the whole time how much nicer it would be if fresh pineapple juice were in that bowl and later in my mouth. Still I liked it very much.

                          I made just half a recipe in a small casserole dish instead of individual custard cups. An orange slice to garnish -- the book calls for either mint or edible flowers.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: blue room

                            I wasn't sure how to do the picture when I posted this (new computer) but here it is now.