These poached pears with sorbet are the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving dinner. The pears can be made days ahead, don’t require any oven space and are decadent with flavor, but light enough to follow your Thanksgiving feast. The poaching liquid is homemade chai; a blend of sweet spices and black tea. Once the pears are finished poaching, the liquid can be chilled in an ice cream maker to serve as sorbet. A drizzle of chocolate ganache gussies up the dessert and makes it look like something you fussed over, even though this is one of the easiest desserts to create. No one needs to know that!Read More
I met Michelle Gayer’s desserts many years before I ever met her. When I was still a pastry assistant I came to work with Charlie Trotter’s Desserts, which Michelle wrote while she was the pastry chef at Trotter’s, and convinced the team to make everything out of it. Her style was entirely about the food, elegant, but not architectural and overly fussy. I did manage to bake and cook my way through her book and probably landed the Executive Pastry Chef job as a result. Fast forward a decade and I was introduced to Michelle by a mutual friend. Michelle had just moved to Minneapolis from Chicago with her family to create the desserts for a national bakery. It was one of the finest days in our fair city’s history of sweets. We became fast friends, not in the kitchen, but on the playground with our kids. The very first day I met her we talked about her dream of opening her own bakery, which seemed as inevitable as snow in Minnesota.Read More
This caramel apple and pear cake is rather sweet and rich so I like to use tart apples, combined with a layer of pear.
Haralson, Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Prairie Spy, Regent, Beacon, Red Baron and dozens of other varieties of apples have all been developed at the University of Minnesota. We may be known for our 10,000 lakes, but few people outside of the state realize that we are also a leader in apples.
I didn’t realize this until my friend Stephen Durfee came to visit. Yes, it took a pastry chef from California to show me what treasures were right in my own backyard. He set up a tasting with one of the “breeders” from the University and my education of apples began at a coffee shop on campus. We tried several of their latest and greatest developments and I realized for the first time the subtle and not so subtle differences of the fruit. The textures, acid, sugars and skins were all incredibly different, she talked about the characters as though we were tasting a bottle of fine wine.Read More
Every New Years Eve my husband and I stay home and have raw oysters, lobster and champagne. This has been our tradition ever since we moved to Minnesota, 15 years ago. Graham proposed to me on NYE so it has always been a special night for us. This year our two young boys joined us in the celebration. They helped to shuck the oysters and then reluctantly slid them down. Our 9-year-old was satisfied with just one and will perhaps forgo this part of the tradition next year and head straight for the lobster! 😉 Our 7-year-old, on the other hand, ate the oysters like popcorn. The only problem with having a child who likes raw oysters is now I have to share!
After a meal this rich I wanted something decadent, but light. Poached pears seemed the perfect ending, but with a twist on the classic. Pears slowly poached in chocolate sauce. Gorgeous and luscious, but absolutely no fat in the entire recipe. The 4 of us ushered in the New Year while playing scrabble and eating our pears! Not exactly the dance-all-night-raves of our youth, but just as wonderful!Read More
I’m dying to go apple and pear picking. I’ve decided that it is fall and my mind has shifted to the autumnal fruit. Well, there is nowhere to pick yet, so I went to the co-op and bought some seckel pears, from who knows where? I like to bake with seckels because they are very firm, which means you can cook them in the caramel longer and they don’t turn to mush.
It is also the season for one of my favorite treats, the pomegranate. It is one of those foods that is more about the experience than the flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste, but the fun is picking the seeds out and biting into their tart juices. My boys love them too, because they are a serious mess. I send them out onto the back steps and they eat, with the red juices flying everywhere.Read More
Poached pears are one of the easiest and sexiest desserts there are. They sit on the plate like a jewel, filled with the essence of wine and in this case pomegranate. The house becomes scented with spices and vanilla. Once these regal beauties are tender and succulent they can be paired with pastry cream, ice cream, sorbet or even blue cheese. A sprinkle of crushed praline and you have a classic dish that takes very little effort.Read More