Displaying items by tag: desserts


This is the perfect end to the meal with a cup of coffee. These are baked slowly to make sure that the shortbread does not become too brown and lose its perfect texture.

Servings: Makes 16 pieces.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ready In: 3 hours, including cooling time



2½ cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

⅓ cup water

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cardamom


1¾ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup icing sugar, sifted


Place dates, water, lemon rind and juice, vanilla, ginger and cardamom in a pot. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes or until dates are soft and a little sticky. Cool.

Butter an 8 x 8 metal square pan and line with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Reserve. Cream butter and sugar until soft and smooth in a separate bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in flour-cornstarch mixture. Pat 2/3 of mixture into the prepared pan and spread date mixture over. Crumble the remaining dough over the dates.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until shortbread is cooked through and the top is pale gold. Cool and cut into squares.


For these date shortbread squares, consider a sweet, nutty oloroso sherry. Beppi Crosariol

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This easy strudel is a satisfying finale for a meal. To prevent the phyllo from drying out, keep it covered as you work.

Servings: 6 with leftovers

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ready In: 2 hours, including cooling time


6 dried apricots

6 prunes

½ cup raisins

½ cup port

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 Cortland or Pink Lady apples, unpeeled, coarsely grated

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

6 leaves phyllo dough

⅓ cup butter, melted

¼ cup granulated sugar


Place apricots, prunes, raisins and port in a small pot over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil, simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until fruit is plump and soft, and port is almost gone. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

Drain the fruit and place in a mini chop or food processor. Process until well combined but slightly chunky. Combine dried fruit mixture with walnuts, apples, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay phyllo on counter and cover with tea towel. Remove first sheet, brush with butter. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over the phyllo. Top with second sheet, butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with remaining sheets.

Place apple mixture about 2 inches from the long edge and 1 inch from short edge. Fold in short sides and roll phyllo into a strudel shape. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush outside of pastry with butter and cut 3 slits on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until top is browned and mixture is cooked. Cool and serve at room temperature.


The strudel would be lovely with a glass of the port used to simmer the fruit. But a late-harvest dessert wine from Canada, a German spätlese riesling or oloroso sherry won’t lose the match. Beppi Crosariol

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This mousse is not only mouthwatering but it stays together beautifully. I usually make it a week ahead of time, freeze it and defrost slowly in the refrigerator.

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ready In: 24 hours


5½ ounces (165 grams) chopped 60 per cent cocoa bittersweet chocolate

4 large eggs, separated

⅓ cup sugar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon liqueur of choice (triple sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Chambord or kosher brandy)


Melt the chocolate over low heat in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Cool slightly.

egg yolks in a wide bowl sitting over a simmering pot of hot water. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat egg yolks with ¼ cup of the sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the olive oil, brandy and melted chocolate.

Beat the egg whites in the clean bowl of an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Then beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar continuing until stiff peaks form.

Fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture ⅓ at a time, gently continuing to fold until no streaks of white remain.

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.


For this mousse, pick a late-harvest Canadian dessert wine or, from France, a muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. - Beppi Crosariol

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Citrus is frequently served as dessert after a Japanese dinner. This way of preparing oranges is perfect after a spicy meal. We used the orange juice collected after segmenting the oranges. If you can’t get to a ¼ cup, use store bought. Use Cointreau, Grand Marnier or triple sec for the liqueur. Serve with vanilla or green tea ice cream.

Servings: Four

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ready In: 35 minutes



4 blood or navel oranges

½ cup water

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup orange juice

¼ cup orange liqueur

1 tablespoon shiso (Japanese mint/basil flavour) or basil leaves, slivered



Use a peeler to peel one blood orange reserving the peel. Then remove the peel and pith of the other oranges. Segment all oranges over a bowl reserving any juices. Measure out ¼ cup of juice. Set both aside.

Add peel to a pot of water, bring to boil, and simmer peel for 15 minutes. Strain and discard water. Remove any pith. Thinly slice orange peel.

Combine water, honey and sugar in a pot over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add peel and simmer for 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until syrup is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat.

Add orange juice, Grand Marnier and shiso or basil leaves to syrup. Spoon syrup over oranges and chill well.



Mediterranean comfort food tends to shine more brightly than the rib-sticking dishes from colder-climate regions. And so it is with this zesty chicken dinner. You’ll want to greet the tanginess of the tomatoes and olives with a double-cheeked kiss of acidity. So, if it’s a red wine you desire, stick with Europe, a continent in full embrace of reds with crisp backbone. Medium-bodied Salice Salentino from the southern Italian region of Puglia, full-bodied nero d’Avola from Sicily, young Chianti from Tuscany and French Côtes du Rhône are all good options. Dry rose works nicely, too, as does just about any unoaked white from a coastal Mediterranean region, such as verdicchio from Italy or Rueda from Spain. Beer? Try a hearty but bracingly bitter pale ale. - Beppi Crosariol

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This dessert tastes a bit like sticky toffee pudding but is much easier to make. Cut like a cake and serve with whipped or ice cream or on its own. It's terrific with a cup of tea. I find the easiest way to cut dates is with scissors.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 2½ hours




4 ounces (125 g) walnuts, chopped (about 1 cup)

8 ounces (250 g) pitted chopped Medjool dates, (about 1 ½ cups)

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

2 ounces (60 g) coarsely grated dark chocolate

1 teaspoon grated orange rind


2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon



Preheat oven to 300 F

Line the bottom of a 9 by 5 loaf pan with parchment paper and butter sides. Reserve.

Combine walnuts, dates and ¼ cup sugar in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.

Beat eggs with remaining ¼ of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in walnut mixture, grated chocolate and orange rind. Spoon into prepared baking pan and bake for 50 minutes or until cake is puffed and dry to the touch. A cake tester will show that it is still slightly moist in the middle. Cool on rack for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over warm cake.

Cool, remove from pan, slice and serve with whipped cream.

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This is a French version of lemon meringue pie. It is lighter and more tart than the familiar one we all know and love. The difference is that a tart lemon curd is used as the filling and the meringue is cooked on a slow heat rather than a high one. We loved it in the test kitchen. It’s easy to make and you can buy the lemon curd (add some extra grated lemon rind if you do) and even the pastry base if want to make it even easier.

To avoid weeping meringues: Make sure the filling is warm when you top it with the meringue; it encourages a better bonding of the two to prevent weeping. Sprinkle about ⅓ cup cake crumbs over curd before adding the meringue, as they will absorb any liquid and pretty much disappear. The lemon curd is tangy, fresh and keeps for two weeks refrigerated, or for up to six months in the freezer.

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ready In: 1 hour




4 egg yolks

½ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

½ cup unsalted cold butter, cut in 8 pieces

1 9-inch pre-baked pastry shell

⅓ cup cake crumbs or challah breadcrumbs


4 egg whites

½ cup granulated sugar

Pinch Salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Place egg yolks in heavy pot. Whisk together with sugar, lemon juice and zest. Place pot over medium heat and whisk in cold butter. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring or until mixture thickens and all butter is incorporated. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow to boil, otherwise it will curdle. Cool slightly and fill pie shell with curd.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place filled tart shell on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until lemon curd is warmed through.
Combine egg whites, sugar, salt and lemon in a heat-proof bowl, and set it into another bowl filled with hot water. Let egg mixture stand, stirring, for 5 minutes to warm up the whites. Remove bowl from water bath and beat on high for 4 minutes or until meringue forms stiff peaks when beaters are lifted.
Remove filled tart shell from oven and sprinkle cake crumbs in an even layer over the curd. Carefully spread meringue over top being sure to seal it with the pastry edge and trying not to incorporate any cake crumbs into the meringue itself. Use the back of a spoon to make lots of peaks and valleys in the meringue.
Place in oven and bake until peaks are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool.


A tangy and sweet late-harvest riesling would be splendid with this tart. - Beppi Crosariol
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This is one of these desserts that separates into layers giving it a crust, a filling and a topping. It is easy to make and always impresses. It makes an extra one for second helpings or eating out of the fridge next morning.

Servings: Serves two with one leftover for the morning.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ready In: 1 hour including, cooling time



2 large eggs

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whipping cream

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsweetened grated coconut

1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger

½ teaspoon grated lime rind

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt



Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk ingredients together in a large bowl. Divide among three buttered 4-inch ceramics ramekins.

Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden and middle is set. The flour will settle to form a crust, the coconut forms a topping and the centre is a tangy egg custard filling. Serve warm.



This pie, with its candied ginger, would be lovely with a late-harvest gewürztraminer, either from Niagara or the Alsace region of France (where they’re labelled “vendange tardive”). Opulent in texture, sweet but balanced with acidity, they often taste subtly of ginger and spice. - Beppi Crosariol
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To make this gluten-free, replace the flour with rice flour. You can toast almonds at 375 F (190 C) for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. With Demerara sugar, cornmeal and almonds, the topping has a nice crunch.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ready In: 1 hour



3 Pink Lady or other good cooking apples, peeled and diced

2 Bartlett pears, peeled and diced

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon and two tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons apple juice

¼ teaspoon ground star anise

1 tablespoon flour
½ cup Demerara sugar

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter½ cup toasted sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).Place apples and pears in a bowl and toss with sugar, lemon rind and juice, cinnamon, apple juice and star anise. Butter a 6-cup gratin dish and pile in fruit.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until fruit starts to soften. Sprinkle flour over fruit and toss to coat.

Combine sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture is clumpy. Add almonds and stir to combine. Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake a further 30 minutes or until fruit is soft and bubbling. Serve with ice cream.


Sweet vin santo or passito di Pantelleria add a complementary raisin-like character to this polenta crunch. - Beppi Crosariol

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Here’s a Valentine’s Day dessert you won’t have to fight over: The warm cardamom-spiked sauce over icy berries will satisfy a white-chocolate lover, while the crunchy dark-chocolate almond bark is a cocoa-driven classic for the purist in your pair.

Servings: 2

Prep Time: 2 hours, including freezing time

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ready In: 2 hours, 15 minutes



¼ cup sliced almonds with skin

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces

½ pint (1 cup) blueberries

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons cassis

¼ cup whipping cream

2 ounces (60 grams) chopped white chocolate

½ teaspoon cardamom

Lemon balm or mint


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place almonds on cookie sheet and bake for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned. Set aside to cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat bittersweet chocolate in heavy pot on low heat, stirring.

Pour onto prepared baking sheet, spreading thinly with a spatula. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Chill in refrigerator and break into pieces for serving beside the berries. To make the iced blueberries, toss berries with lemon zest. Place in metal cake pan. Freeze berries for 1 to 2 hours or until icy. Remove from freezer and place in 2 wine glasses. Pour 1 tablespoon of cassis over each glass of berries.

Bring cream to boil, remove from heat and stir in white chocolate until melted. Stir in cardamom and pour over berries.

Garnish with lemon balm or mint. Serve immediately. (Tip: Look for white chocolate made with cocoa butter only, not other vegetable fats. The taste is superior.)

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This is no ordinary chocolate mousse. The spiced syrup lifts it from the mundane to the spectacular.


Servings: Two

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour, including cooling time

Ready In: 3 hours, including chilling time


Spiced Syrup

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 star anise

1 inch (2.5 cm) piece cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods, crushed

1 red Thai chili, seeded and chopped (scant ¼ teaspoon)

⅛ teaspoon salt


1 cup whipping cream

4 ounces (125 g) dark chocolate

½ cup mascarpone


Combine water, sugar, honey, star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom, chili and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Cool to room temperature and strain out spices.

Bring ½ cup of whipping cream to boil over high heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until melted and well combined. Cool to room temperature. Put mascarpone in a mixing bowl and fold the chocolate mixture into the mascarpone. Beat remaining ½ cup of whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into chocolate mascarpone mixture.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon spice syrup in the base of each of two wine glasses. Spoon half of chocolate mixture into glasses, drizzle with another 1 teaspoon spice mixture then add remaining chocolate. Finish with another drizzle of syrup. Chill before serving.


Consider a floral-grapey, muscat-based dessert wine, such as muscat de Baumes-de-Venise from southern France. A cabernet franc ice wine would work well, too, adding a splash of Valentine red to your meal. - Beppi Crosariol

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