Rhubarb/Strawberry Compote Yogurt and Homemade Granola Parfait

I often call it a breakfast. That means I have an excuse to have a dessert afterwards with my morning espresso.  Yes, I believe every meal should be followed by a sweet course.

I prefer to bake rhubarb instead of cooking on a stove since it lessens the chance of overcooking. The rhubarb is such a sneaky veggie; one minute it’s raw and not even remotely done, the next moment – it’s already a puree.

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Trompe L’oeil “Soft Boiled Egg”

This is the same lemon pudding I posted earlier, but presented differently. The illusion is very realistic due to the color and consistency of the pudding and a lemon curd “yolks”. For the toast, there’s an anise seed génoise-sort-of-cake, baked in a loaf pan and toasted before serving. The texture of these “toasts” is nice, not even close to hard or difficult to bite in; they don’t need to be dunked before eating – they melt in the mouth.

Adapted from the Gourmet magazine

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Lemon Pudding with Ginger Lemon Madeleines

When the weather is as hot as we’ve got here, cool and tangy dessert like this seems soothing and refreshing. I made the pudding late at night, after the summer heat subsided, and the idea of stirring a hot mixture on the stove didn’t look so torturous. The madeleines, unfortunately, can’t be baked in advance (although the batter can, and, actually, should be made earlier). So, I still had to turn my oven on the following day, but only for a brief moment – it took under 15 minutes for the madeleines to bake. And this sort of cookies/cakes  is worth to be made even during the most excruciating heat.

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Raspberry and Chocolate Clafouti

Son: “What’s for dessert, mum?”
Mum: “Uh… fresh raspberries, perhaps? You see, your mum has been very busy reading your Harry Potter book left so hastily right in her view…” (and now this mum is worrying if a dreadful regressing back-to-her-childhood process has already begun, since she’s found the particular book of yours quite fascinating indeed)
Son: “It won’t suffice… I was hoping for something else…” (the kid is obviously spoiled)
Mum: “Raspberry and chocolate clafouti then?”
Son: “Umm… dunno… but it sounds interesting!” (it sure does in mum’s so perfect French)
And so they’ve settled.

Clafouti is one of the easiest desserts to fix. It’s French in origin, usually made with cherries (stones within). As per my dad’s description, the clafouti is like a sweetened omelet (he wasn’t very fond of this dessert, to be honest). Well, it’s not exactly the omelet. It’s a baked custard, thickened with just a bit of flour to make it sliceable later (you will need to slice it if you bake the clafouti in a large pie pan). I think it’s rustically nice, and easy, and versatile. You can use apricots, peaches, plums, pears, any berry you like or have on hand.

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White Russian Panna Cotta

This is a gelatinized version of my favorite drink. I drink it black when I’m on a diet and with cream when I don’t count calories (I don’t sip it everyday, don’t you think that :). I adjusted the proportion, since it didn’t quite appeal to me to eat mainly vodka-tasted gelée with a spoon. To make the dessert alcohol-free, simply substitute Kahlua/vodka mixture for lightly sweetened espresso (not quite the same effect though). To make it suitable for pregnant women and children, go with decaffeinated coffee. DO NOT offer the original version to kids; it’s seriously boozy. And for serving, I would suggest chocolate cigar-shaped tuiles, dipped into coffee-infused ganache, perhaps.

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Vanilla Cheesecake Mint White Chocolate Mousse and Strawberry Gelée Bites

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge, hosted by Jenny from JennyBakes, was Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake. My sincere thank you to Jenny not just for hosting, but also for not limiting us with rules and restrictions, for providing with an opportunity to create a dessert suiting everyone’s taste. We were free to choose any flavor combination as well as presentation options.

I didn’t change the original cheesecake recipe, except for omitting a graham crust (I’m not very fond of it, to be honest) and adding a tablespoon of flour to the batter (an old habit, couldn’t help myself). I scaled the recipe down, but baked the cheesecake in a required 9-inch pan, so the cake was not too tall and could be easily cut into small rounds. These cheesecake cut-outs were fit inside crispy caramelized phyllo tubes (cylinders) baked earlier. Sticky cheesecake bottoms were then dipped into coarsely ground pistachios creating some sort of a crust and preventing the dessert from adhering to a serving platter. The mint infused white chocolate mousse was piped over the cheesecake and, after the mousse was set, the strawberry gelée, cut into small cubes, was piled over the mousse layer. A little bit more of the pistachios and fresh mint leaves for garnish completed the picture.

They are easy to handle, small-portioned, one-bite (ok, maybe two-bites for some of us, always struggling with those huge sushi rolls as I am) dessert which I found satisfying enough and sufficient for serving one per person (after a good meal).

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