There are infinite ways to glam up a chocolate cake. Let your creativity flow - fruit, peppermint, chocolate chip mint, candy bar, hazelnut, almond, cherry, orange...I can keep going. It's always good to have a "go to sauce" for your desserts. Here is my Raspberry Coulis recipe. Coulis is fancy french term for a pureed and strained fruit sauce. Fill your squeeze bottle with this sauce and make a pretty plate.
Tina's Raspberry Coulis
* 16 oz. bag frozen raspberries (about 2 cups)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 TBS Chambord Raspberry liquor
Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Mash up the berries as the mixture boils. Once all of the berries are broken up, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Once cool, blend the sauce up until it's smooth. Strain through a fine mess sieve. Raspberries have tiny seeds that will not get blended up so they must be strained or else they'll block your squeeze bottle.
Yield: 1 cup
A great way to jazz up your cheesecake is by topping it with a curd, which is a pastry cream made from fruit juice. It brings a super concentrated flavor to that creamy cheesecake. If you'd like to make homemade curd, Sally's Baking Addiction has a great recipe.
Alternatively, store bought curd from reputable brands such as Bonne Maman or Mrs. Darlington's will do the trick and no one will be the wiser:)
After a big and rich holiday dinner, it's nice to have something that is light and sweet. The answer is this delicious homemade chocolate pudding. Do it all ahead and then glitz it up for your guests.
Smitten Kitchen's Best Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6 to 7
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
6 ounces (170 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup good chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, Slowly whisk in the milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated. Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 10 minutes or so (slower over lower heat is better, to give the cornstarch time to cook), before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
If you’re concerned about lumps: Run mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
Distribute among individual pudding cups or one large serving bowl, and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours.
If you dislike pudding skin: Put plastic on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
Do ahead: Pudding is good for 3 days in the fridge but nobody I know would allow it to last that long.
While pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple and totally delicious, its not the most beautiful dessert - tan, burnt orange. To give your pie some style, prepare some pie crust cookies to adorn the pie. Here's how:
Pie Crust Cookies
* 1-2 pie crusts, store bought
* White sparkling sugar
* 1 egg
* Gel food coloring
* Leaf & pumpkin cookie cutters
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pie crusts from the package and let them come to room temperature. While the crusts rest, prepare a simple egg wash of 1 egg and a splash of water. Whisk very well to ensure the egg wash is a homogeneous mixture. Divide the egg wash into small bowls. Using a toothpick, add gel food coloring to each bowl - red, yellow, orange, green. Cut the pie crusts out with your cookie cutters. Using a pastry brush, add the egg wash to the cutouts. Top each cookie with white sparkling sugar to get them a bit more sparkle. Bake for 10-12 min. Cookies should have some golden color. Let cool and arrange on the pie.