Whether it's a basic brownie, crème brulee, or a delicate panna cotta, desserts are always good - possibly my favorite part of the meal! By discovering a few modernist cooking techniques, it's easy to make amazing, fun desserts for friends and family.
Elevate your dessert by preparing a flavored whipped cream such as blackcurrant, mango, ginger-peach, or even chocolate as a topper to pie, cake, fruit or ice cream. Foams are easy to make, especially when you utilize a whipping siphon – the only limit is your imagination!
Kids of all ages can't resist eating fluffy homemade gelatin marshmallows in a variety of flavors or toppings. And I still love eating chocolate chip cookie dough but what about those raw eggs? Luckily we can use sous vide to fully pasteurize the eggs, rendering them completely safe to eat.
Fruit compotes, jams, and marmalades are real easy to make with sous vide. Simply put some fruit, with any pits or inedible skin removed, into a bag with some sugar and acid then cook it up to an hour or two and you are good to go.
This fancy creme brulee recipe is easy to make with a sous vide machine and the white chocolate turns it into a more decadent dessert. I serve it topped with raspberries, a raspberry syrup or other berries in season.
Like this chocolate whipped cream with berries dessert, sometimes the most impressive dishes to my guests are the easiest ones to make. In addition this combination is unforgettable when served warm on cake, brownies or ice cream!
Versawhip and xanthan gum combine to make light
foams that are a great way to add texture to dishes.
It's a great topping for desserts and ice creams or can
even be eaten as an amuse bouche between dishes.
For a PB and J dessert worthy of a party, I make a home-made cashew butter to replace the peanut butter and then turn some fresh raspberries into a flavorful fluid gel for the jelly. I serve it with a sliver of dark chocolate for richness and a lemon twist to add brightness. When served open face it better highlights the flavors.
For these fun and flavorful party desserts I make a gelled ravioli from bananas and cream and fill them with Nutella. Just top them off with some shaved chocolate and mint leaves or serve them with ice cream - either way it is a crowd pleaser!
For this dessert I've taken the components from my mom's sweet potato casserole and broken them down into a modernist dessert. I take crispy sweet potato chips and top them with a fresh orange and brown sugar marshmallow. Then I finish it with a drizzle of molasses for extra flavor.
This recipe takes classic homemade marshmallows and covers them in yummy chocolate. Mint and chocolate is a classic pairing and the soft marshmallows are a great way to hold them all together! A definite party favorite!
This recipe produces a thick chocolate foam that is a tasty fun way to top ice cream or brownies. It makes a wonderful smooth dessert when served by itself with just a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar topping it off!
Using a marshmallow base turns a rich, decadent chocolate covered cherry into a lighter equally satisfying treat. I add cocoa powder to the marshmallow mixture, resulting in a light chocolate flavor and cherry juice is turned into a marshmallow coating. These addictive snacks have great flavor and are a visually interesting dish that will get your guests talking!
Creme brulee is a fancy but very simple dessert to make when using a sous vide machine. This recipe infuses the flavors of cinnamon and vanilla bean into the cream before placing in ramekins in the water bath to cook. This creamy and flavorful dish will impress your dinner guests.
This recipe infuses milk with the great flavor of maple and pecan then turns it into a tender panna cotta dessert. The common modernist gelling ingredients of iota carrageean and kappa carrageenan are used to make the panna cotta portion; an immersion blender and a whipping siphon are both modernist equipment used to make this delicate ending to your meal.
I love peanut butter, whether its by itself, baked in something, or on veggies. This modernist recipe turns the peanut butter into a creamy custard gel. It is bound by a combination of iota carrageenan and kappa carrageenan and contains a little bit of sugar and some vanilla for flavoring.
One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.
Marshmallows are a favorite food of children everywhere. These homemade ones are so much better than store bought that there is really no comparison. Whether you want to eat these on smores, in hot cocoa or just plain they will amaze you and your friends.
Matt Zadorozny is my sous vide guru. I recently spent a few hours with him at his home on Nantucket Island, talking a blue streak while he prepped 50 pounds of mushrooms for his sister's wedding. Matt has worked in some of the finest kitchens in New York, including Per Se and WD 50, where sous vide cooking is part of the daily routine. He has his own immersion circulator and chamber vacuum sealer (I'm envious), and his passion for the technique is contagious. Matt has been very generous in sharing his extensive knowledge of cooking times and temperatures with me, and we're delighted to have him collaborate with us.
For my father-in-law's birthday we were going to be having mud pie for dessert so I decided to make a key lime whipped cream to go on it. I decided to use my iSi whipping siphon so I could show it off. The process of making traditional whip cream with it is very easy.
I recently purchased an iSi whipping siphon for easier creation of foams and also to carbonate various liquids. One of the first things I used it for was to create whipped cream (how can you not start there!).
Summer isn't exactly apple season, but at both farmer's markets and grocery stores many varieties are available year-round. Here in Central California we've had quite a bit of cool weather from late May through June and into July. For me, cool weather means comfort food, and baked apples fall right into that category.
Summer is upon us and my thoughts have turned to berries, and cherries, and luscious stone fruits. I love to combine the sweetest fruit of the season with a simple yet elegant sauce such as Italian zabaglione (or sabayon, as it is known in France).
I am crazy for the sweet-tart, floral flavor of passion fruit. Although my garden produces just about every kind of fruit, it's a few degrees too cold during the winter months in Carmel Valley to grow this divine tropical fruit. I know, because I've tried and failed on two occasions.
Pears are one of my least loved fruits when eaten out of hand, but when they're poached in butter, sugar, vanilla, and spice, well, that's another story. Normally, you immerse the pears in a flavorful liquid, such as wine or sugar syrup, and cook them on the stove top. Then, after they're poached, the cooking liquid needs to be reduced to concentrate its flavors.
Although you can now buy lemon curd in most supermarkets, it is extremely simple to make in your water oven, and the homemade version doesn't contain any preservatives or artificial flavors. Traditional recipes require cooking the lemon-egg mixture in a double boiler until the curd thickens. This can be tricky, as one or two degrees can make the difference between success and disaster. With the sous vide technique, the curd cooks itself without any stress or stirring.
Caramel is my favorite thing, especially combined with chocolate, but I like it unadulterated, too, in all of its many forms. Dulce de leche, Spanish for "sweet milk" is on my list of must-have condiments. I always have a jar or two in my over-crowded fridge because it's very versatile and great for last-minute desserts. Sometimes I'll treat myself a spoonful right from the jar if there's nothing else on hand to satisfy a sudden caramel craving.
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