Holiday Entertaining: Dessert RecipesDecember 2, 2015
With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll serve your guests at your Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve gatherings. Enjoy the recipes below or click on the News tab for recipes and tips for your entire holiday meal.
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
1 cup (250 ml) strong coffee
2 extra large eggs
Scant 1/2 cup (3 oz./80 g) sugar
2 1/2 cups (1-1/4 lb./500 g) mascarpone
Scant 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) confectioners’ sugar
2–3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
8 oz. (250 g) ladyfingers
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Prepare the coffee and set aside.
Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in a mixing bowl with the sugar and with an electric beater, whisk until the mixture is as pale and thick as possible, about 3 minutes.
Add the mascarpone and whip until the texture is light and airy. Beating the mascarpone until it resembles whipped cream gives the tiramisu its lovely texture and ensures that it holds its shape.
Make sure your beaters are perfectly clean, grease-free, and dry. In another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites. When they begin to hold soft peaks, add the confectioners’ sugar. Continue whipping until the meringue mixture holds firm peaks.
Using a flexible spatula, fold the egg whites into the whipped mascarpone, taking care not to deflate the mixture.
Stir the liqueur into the coffee.
Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture just to moisten them. Be careful not to soak them.
Pack the ladyfingers tightly in a 7 x 10 inch (18 x 24 cm) dish. Pour the mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers, spreading it evenly. If you’re making a second layer, repeat the process. Chill for at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle the entire dessert with cocoa powder that you’ve pushed through a small sieve. A dusting of cocoa powder around individual portions is very attractive, so you may want to plate the tiramisu before serving.
Date and Chocolate Rugelach
Makes 12 servings
2 generous pinches of kosher salt, divided
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and kept very cold, plus additional, melted and cooled, for finishing
9 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cut into chunks and kept very cold
12 1/2 ounces Medjool dates, pitted
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
8 ounces (1 1/3 cups) dark chocolate chips, lightly crushed
Granulated sugar, for finishing
Into a medium bowl, sift together a generous pinch of salt and the flour through a fine-mesh sieve, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the 8 ounces of butter and the cream cheese, just until combined, with large chunks still remaining. Add the flour mixture, and mix just enough to combine. Place the dough on a floured surface, and with your hands, bring the dough together. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling, make the jam. Combine the dates, orange juice, and the remaining pinch of salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn the temperature down to low heat, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and cool for about 10 minutes, then process in a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, with the Grand Marnier until it is smooth and has a paste-like consistency. Cool completely.
When the dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 5-inch strips. Spread the date jam on top of each strip, and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Roll each strip the long way into a log, and place it on a half-sheet pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until firm.
Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut the logs into 2-inch slices, and roll each slice in the melted butter, and then in the sugar. Place the slices on the prepared pans, leaving at least 2 inches in between each one. Place the pans in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Remove the rugelach from the freezer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the rugelach from the oven, transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely.
Nonna’s Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream
Makes 10 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for coating the pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup natural cocoa powder, sifted
1 envelope Italian vanilla-scented baking powder (Instead of Italian baking powder—such as Lievito Pane degli Angeli—substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3 ounces (1/2 cup) mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325F (preferably set on convection). Lightly spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and coat with granulated sugar. Tap out the excess sugar, and set aside.
Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the butter with the remaining 1¼ cups of the granulated sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until pale and light, about 5 minutes. The sugar should not be visibly grainy any longer and the mixture will have lightened quite a bit. Add the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low speed, and mix until combined and fluffy.
Add half of the dry ingredients, then add the milk, and finally add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is uniformly dark and lump free. Do not overbeat or the finished cake will be tough. With a silicone spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, with the top facing up so that it does not become marked by the rack. Dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar.
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a clean whip attachment, whip the cream to the soft-peak stage, then add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Serve the cake in thick slices, with a tuft of whipped cream.