culinary review
Chocolate Mousse
Creme Brule Fresh Fruit Tart
Vanilla Sauce Chocolate Cake
chocolate truffles ricotta lemon tart

Classic French Creme Brulee

Last Modified: 11/19/19
First Published: 10/22/07
Views: 5025
Views: 5025
Crème brûlée is such a simply yet elegant dessert. Everybody loves a warm, smooth custard with burnt sugar on top,creme_brulee it's so velvety smooth, rich and completely irresistible.

There are a lot of different crème brûlée recipes out there, yet the basic ingredients are the same: egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and flavoring. After that point, it's just a matter of proportion.

Crème brûlée is a great dessert if you're entertaining
since you can make the individual ramekins in advance and then just put them under the broiler at the last second – easy and convenient. Plus, it always feels a little extra special when you're served an individual dish.
click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 0
Total Cost: $4.85
Cost Per Serving: $inf
Total Calories: 3,516
Calories/Serving: inf
Egg Yolks (6 egg yolks)
Heavy Whipping Cream 36%
Sugar, White Granulated
Extract, Vanilla Pure

When it comes to flavorings, vanilla is the true original and most peoples favorite. However, there are plenty of alternatives: how about chocolate crème brulée, orange, ginger, fruit, the sky's the limit... You could either flavor the custard itself or make an underlaying layer at the bottom of your ramekin and then pour your custard on top.

Just remember, that this is a custard so don't over-cook it! Don't leave the ramekins in the oven too long, or the custard might break (unfortunately we have experienced this...)

6 servings:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or in a pinch some good quality vanilla extract)


Heat the cream in a sauce pan. If you're using a vanilla bean, place the bean along with the cream in the pot, bring to a simmer, then let sit for about 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture starts to lighten in color. Now start tempering the egg mixture by adding a little hot cream at a time, continue to stir. (If you're using vanilla extract, this would be the time to add it.) When all the cream is incorporated, divide the liquid into 6 ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a large roasting pan and fill the pan with hot water (about halfway to the sides of the ramekins).

Tip! It's easier if you first put the baking pan with the ramekins in the oven and then pour the water into the pan. Just be careful not to splash any water into your ramekins.

Bake in 325 degree F until the crème brûlée is set, but still trembling in the center, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Take the ramekins out of the fridge about 30 minutes in advance. Pour about 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of each ramekin (you want a nice thick layer). Either melt the sugar with a torch or put the ramekins under the broiler for about 30 seconds or until the sugar is melted. Let the sugar form a crispy top before you serve it.

Baked Custard in Ramekins

Last Modified: 06/11/13
First Published: 06/18/10
Views: 969
Views: 969
click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 4
Total Cost: $2.15
Cost Per Serving: $0.54
Total Calories: 1,133
Calories/Serving: 283
Eggs, Chicken (3 eggs) * 150.00 Grams $0.50 234
Sugar, Superfine 4 Tablespoons 45.00 Grams $0.06 174
Milk, Whole 2 Cups 480.00 Grams $0.48 300
Heavy Whipping Cream 36% 1/2 Cup 120.00 Grams $0.56 400
Extract, Vanilla Pure 1 1/2 Teaspoon 6.50 Grams $0.31 19
Nutmeg, Ground 1/2 Teaspoon 1.17 Grams $0.23 6

The baked custards are a nice finishing touch to a meal.


  • Melted Butter for greasing ramekins
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • nutmeg


Preheat oven to 315 degrees and grease 4 ramekins.
Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl.

Heat milk and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add to the egg mixture with vanilla and strain into ramekins. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Place the dishes into a large roasting pan with hot water halfway up the side of ramekins.

Bake 25 minutes or until set.
Remove from the pan and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Malta Rice Pudding with Oranges & Cream

Last Modified: 12/28/12
First Published: 12/26/12
Views: 503
Views: 503
rice pudding

This rice pudding with oranges and cream (Ris à la Malta) is a traditional Swedish dessert that's usually served around Christmas time. It's made with cooked rice porridge that you need to prepare ahead of time. It's a rather nice dessert that's refreshing and pretty light, and it can be made up to a day ahead of time.

6 servings

Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla until you have hard peaks. Peel and cut the oranges in small pieces. Combine the cream with the rice porridge, the oranges and sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Serve immediately or keep well covered in the fridge.

Simple Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

Last Modified: 06/26/12
First Published: 03/09/12
Views: 514
Views: 514

click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 8
Total Cost: $9.77
Cost Per Serving: $1.22
Total Calories: 3,647
Calories/Serving: 456
Flour, Cake 3/4 Cups 3.00 Ounces $0.16 372
Sugar, White Granulated 1 1/2 Cup 300.00 Grams $0.40 1,161
Egg White (12 whites) * 396.00 Grams $2.51 237
Cream of Tartar 1 Teaspoon 3.00 Grams $0.29 8
Lemon juice, fresh 1 1/2 Teaspoon 0.25 Ounce $0.08 2
Extract, Vanilla Pure 1 1/2 Teaspoon 6.50 Grams $0.31 19
Extract, Almond 1/2 Teaspoon 0.08 Ounce $0.38 5
Heavy Whipping Cream 36% (topping) 2 Cups 480.00 Grams $2.25 1,600
Sugar, White Granulated (topping) 3 Tablespoons 37.50 Grams $0.05 145
Strawberries (topping) 2 Cups 304.00 Grams $3.33 98
I wanted to make a special dessert for Father's Day, something we haven't had in a long time but still delicious, homemade, light and summery. A dessert that complemented our tasty BBQ dinner. My mother used to make a wonderful angel food cake with cherries and whipped cream, so that was the inspiration for this dessert.
So the first thing was to purchase an angel food cake pan. Since the recipe called for about 16 cups filled, I knew I wanted something larger than the one I had. I had read some reviews about pans but finally I purchased a 2 piece tube pan that worked out perfectly. The recipe was really easy and I made sure I had everything on hand.
I wanted a whipped cream icing to make it a little more special instead of a glaze, so I folded thinly sliced strawberries into the heavy cream. It was a little tricky and should I say messy and thick, but delicious. I also added whole strawberries to the top and around the plate for a little color and texture. It certainly tasted better than it looked and now it's sure to be a favorite - with or without the whipped cream. Fluffy, airy, delicate and simple comes to mind for this angel food cake - the recipe came from America's Test Kitchen, since they're always so dependable and solid.
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 large egg whites room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Whipped Cream Icing
2 cups whipped cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups thinly sliced strawberries 
  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line a tube pan with parchment paper on the bottom, but do not grease. 
  • Whisk flour and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl for later.
  • Whip the egg whites in an electric mixer until foamy, (low speed) then add cream of tartar and salt. Increase speed, adding 3/4 sugar slowly until shiny, then add lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts.
  • Sift flour over the egg whites slowly to incorporate
  • Pour the batter into tube pan & tap lightly
  • Bake 50 - 60 minutes turning halfway
  • Invert over wine bottle ( the wine bottles I had wouldn't fit - so I turned it on its side for a few minutes and then using a knife pried the cake out. 
  • Peel off parchment
  • Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks appear and then fold in strawberries with a spatula.
Frost with cream and serve

Rhubarb Vanilla Compote

Last Modified: 04/23/12
First Published: 04/22/12
Views: 462
Views: 462

Rhubarb features such an interesting flavor: it's acidic, a bit tart and definitely needs a bit of sugar, but once you add that, then you're in for a lovely and unique flavor experience. Here we have cooked rhubarb into a compote, which is wonderful to serve on it's own, with a bit of whipped cream, over yogurt, over ice cream, in milkshakes - you name it!


  • About 4 cups of cut up rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split open
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


Place the diced rhubarb (if the skin is tough, you might need to peel it a bit), sugar, vanilla bean and salt in a pot. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is starting to break apart. In a cup, make a slurry with the cornstarch and the water. Add this to the cooked rhubarb and contine to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Taste and see if the sugar content is right (if you have exceptionally tart rhubarb, you might need more.)

Let cool and store in the fridge.

New York Style Coffee Cake

Last Modified: 10/14/11
First Published: 10/14/11
Views: 790
Views: 790

click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 16
Total Cost: $2.66
Cost Per Serving: $0.17
Total Calories: 3,870
Calories/Serving: 242
Sugar, White Granulated (crumbs) 1/3 Cup 66.00 Grams $0.09 255
Brown Sugar, Packed (crumbs) 1/3 Cup 72.60 Grams $0.21 274
Salt, Table (crumbs) 1/4 Teaspoon 1.50 Grams $0.00 0
Cinnamon, Ground (crumbs) 3/4 Teaspoons 1.70 Grams $0.09 5
Butter, Unsalted (crumbs) 8 Tablespoons 112.00 Grams $0.50 800
Flour, Cake (crumbs) 1 3/4 Cup 7.00 Ounces $0.37 868
Flour, Cake (cake) 1 Cup 4.00 Ounces $0.21 496
Sugar, White Granulated (cake) 1/2 Cup 100.00 Grams $0.13 387
Salt, Table (cake) 1/4 Teaspoon 1.50 Grams $0.00 0
Baking Soda, Generic (cake) 1/4 Teaspoon 1.20 Grams $0.00 0
Butter, Unsalted (cake) 6 Tablespoons 84.00 Grams $0.38 600
Extract, Vanilla Pure (cake) 1 Teaspoon 4.33 Grams $0.21 12
Buttermilk (cake) 1/3 Cup 79.20 Grams $0.13 40
Eggs, Chicken (1 egg, cake) * 50.00 Grams $0.17 78
Egg Yolks (1 yolk, cake) * 17.00 Grams $0.17 55

We first learned about the recipe watching America's Test Kitchen and wanted to give it a try. It came out really well, although I don't think you have to be so careful as they are about every detail. The cake will come out great if you follow the basic instructions. It did go very well with coffee.

The two things we did learn though are to not over-mix the crumbs and not to cook it as long as the instructions stated. I think 25-30 minutes in a decent oven it plenty.



  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (one stick)
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • large egg
  • large egg yolk
  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • In a bowl combine white sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon, mix well. Add the melted butter and stir until smooth. Add cake flour and stir until combined. Covered with plastic wrap and set aside on the counter for 10-15 minutes. This allos the gluten to relax.
  • In a standing mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda using the paddle. With the mixer running on medium-low, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each piece breaks down before adding the next. Continue mixing until it has a uniform sandy texture.
  • Add the vanilla, buttermilk, egg and egg yolk. Run mixer on medium-high until batter is smooth and thick, at least 1 minute, or use a handheld electric mixer. The batter will be very thick, almost like frosting.
  • Butter and flour an 8 x 8 inch pan, or use a non-stick spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper, and lay it into the pan, allowing 2 inches to overhang each side. Spread the batter into the pan.
  • Break the crumb mixture into pieces and spread the crumbs around the outer edge of the pan first, then evenly fill in the center.
  • Place the pan in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for about 30 minutes.

Brownie/Pudding Chocolate Dessert

Last Modified: 09/30/11
First Published: 09/15/11
Views: 818
Views: 818

What a gooey and wonderful dessert we had the other night. It all began when I was looking for an easy dessert perferably with chocolate to accompy our chicken marsala dinner. Well, it couldn't have been better or more pleasing. A cross between a brownie and pudding said the recipe and boy was that accurate. Messy and delicious, rich and calorie ridden this dessert was fun and filling. The Barefoot Contessa sure knows how to please a crowd. I would surely make this recipe again and next time invite over a few more people so I won't eat all the leftover brownie/pudding myself! I added a scoop of ice cream for a few more calories but a dollop of cream would also work.

I followed the recipe and it worked out fine - easy, gooey and syrupy works great every time.


* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
* 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
* 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
* Vanilla ice cream, for serving


I coated a 9 X 12 X 2 inch oval dish with butter in a 325 degree oven. Melted the butter and then let cool.

In an electric mixer I beat the sugar and eggs until light and thick. Sift the cocoa powder and flour in a small bowl.

I added vanilla extract as I didn't have a bean and no liquer then added the cocoa mixture until combined and added the cooled butter.

Poured the mixture into my baking dish and then into a large pan with hot tap water coming half way up the sides. Bake 1 hour and then cool & serve

The picture of the Barefoot Contessa's was a bit more of a brownie whereas mine was a little more gooey. Maybe the oven's were off but still a nice dessert to serve with ice cream and a cappuchino.

Raspberries, Cream & Meringue

Last Modified: 09/11/11
First Published: 09/07/11
Views: 474
Views: 474

Farmer's Market had a beautiful selection of berries this season, so of course I couldn't pass up some red raspberries for a lovely dessert to complement our meal. Tasty and delicious the raspberries are also colorful and fun. I had recently seen the Food Network and Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) who is also, one of my favorite chefs, created a beautiful dessert with raspberries, cream and meringue. Well, I too recreated this wonderful and easy dessert - and what a hit. It not only looks great but it is great. I strongly recommend this simple and elegant after dinner treat.


  1. 6 6 ounce packages fresh raspberries
  2. 1 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons framboise liqueur
  5. meringue


I heated about 2 pints of rasberries, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saute pan for about 10 minutes over medium heat til syrupy. I didn't have the liqueur so I just skipped it. Cool the mixture. I whipped about 2 cups of heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla( it was too much --do about 1 1/2 cups).

Then I crushed some meringue pieces to add some texture.

Layer into glass dishes or bowls ( my dishes were a bit smaller than her recipe called for). Nevertheless - it really doesn't matter. The delicious dessert was perfect with a chilled white or sparkling wine. 

Easy Blackberry Clafoutis

Last Modified: 09/09/11
First Published: 09/09/11
Views: 661
Views: 661

If you have extra blackberries on hand, then this would be an excellent way to use them. Making a clafoutis is an easy and delicious way to use this fruit. Here we made a recipe that's perfect for 4 people, it makes a smaller amount than the plum clafoutis we made previously.

Clafoutis is such an interesting dish. Made right, it's smooth and creamy and taste very custard-like, however it doesn't require a water bath to cook it. We have also chosen to beat the whole eggs at one time instead of separating them and beating the yolks and the whites separately. To separate them probably produces an even fluffier and lighter texture, however sometimes you just don't feel like taking that extra step or doing the additional dishes, and then it's nice to know that this simplified recipe turns out oh so delicious.

  • about 1 pint of blackberries
  • butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream + 1/4 cup of milk (altogether 1 cup of liquid, could be any combination of milk and cream)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the eggs in a mixer and add the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, at that point add the vanilla, lemon zest, flour and cream/milk. Mix on low speed until combined, but don't overdo it! Set aside and let sit for a few minutes.

Butter a pan - we used an 9x9 glass pyrex dish. Sprinkle sugar on top of the buttered surface and add the berries. Pour the batter on top of the berries.

Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, watch carefully at the end, you don't want to cook it too long or the clafoutis can curdle a bit. Let sit for awhile before eating, ideally at least 30 minutes. Either enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Simple Yellow Plum Clafoutis

Last Modified: 09/09/11
First Published: 09/09/11
Views: 569
Views: 569

Having come across a nice amount of yellow plums, I was thinking of what to do with them. Immediately the concept of a clafoutis entered my mind. A clafoutis is something of an in-between cake and custard dish, which is commonly made with cherries in France. It's easy to make and is really great with all kinds of fruit, so why not try it with beautiful, ripe plums?

It turned out really nice; the flavors of the plums really accentuated the dish. This is great to do a little while in advance of a dinner party, it's really nice to serve slightly warm or at room temperature. 

This is a very simple recipe, all the ingredients are mixed in one bowl, no whipping the egg whites separately as some other recipes require. Be careful not to bake it too long however; if you overdo it the eggs can curdle, so it's important to almost underdo it and let it settle, as opposed to overdo it.

serves about 6


  • about 10 ripe plums
  • butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream, milk or a combination thereof)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, whisk the eggs together well. Add sugar and beat for a few minutes until nice and frothy. At this point lower the speed and add the zest, vanilla extract, flour and half and half. As soon as the batter has come together, stop beating it. You don't want to overdo it. Leave the batter to settle.

Now tend to the fruit. Wash, halve and remove the bits and cut in pieces. Butter a pan (I used a 9 1/2 inch oval Le Creuset pan, however an 8x8 pyrex would also work nicely) and sprinkle it with sugar. Divide the fruit in the pan.

At this point pour the batter into the pan.

Bake in the oven 35 - 40 minutes,  watching closely at the end so as to not overcook it. Let cool for at least 30 minutes or so before enjoying.