These trendy riffs on basic recipes will elevate any meal. 

For desserts that style divine however don’t take all day, attempt these up to date classics from chef Katherine Thompson. Thompson’s mom impressed the pavlova, whereas the flourless chocolate cake, figgy pudding, and pineapple the other way up cake will really feel acquainted however recent with accents like candied macadamia nuts and mascarpone mousse.

Thompson educated on the Culinary Institute of America and co-owned a number of in style eating places in New York earlier than returning to her hometown of Arlington to open Thompson Italian. Last 12 months she was a James Beard Award semi-finalist and was nominated for a RAMMY (introduced by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington). In addition to co-authoring the ebook Downtown Italian, Thompson has been featured in Food and Wine and the New York Times, and has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and Bravo’s Best New Restaurant. Here she shares a number of of her trademark homey-but-delicious desserts. ThompsonItalian.com

For an interview with Katherine Thompson, click on right here.


Pavlova with Raspberry Cream and Fresh Berries

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raspberry whipped cream (see recipe)
  • 2 pints combined recent berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • confectioners sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 275 levels. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Place the ring of a 9-inch springform pan, with out the underside, on the sheet tray. Place the sugar in a meals processor and mix till it’s superfine in texture.

In the bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-high pace till frothy. Gradually add the superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Do this very slowly. Whisk till the whites kind stiff peaks. Adjust the pace to low. One by one, add the cornstarch, then the vinegar, after which the vanilla. Increase the pace to medium-high and mix for a couple of seconds to mix. 

Pile the entire meringue into the springform pan ring. Smooth the highest. Use a paring knife to chop between the meringue and the ring. Then, pull the ring upward to launch. Immediately place the pavlova within the oven. Reduce the oven warmth to 250 levels. Bake for 1 hour and quarter-hour. Turn the oven off. Let the pavlova sit within the off oven till cool, about 2 hours or in a single day. Using a big spatula, switch the pavlova to a big serving platter. If serving later, wrap nicely in plastic wrap and retailer in a cool, dry place. The pavlova may be made two to 3 days forward of time.

Before serving, dollop the raspberry whipped cream on prime of the pavlova. Place a beneficiant quantity of recent berries everywhere in the pavlova. Sprinkle it with sifted confectioners sugar. Cut into wedges. 

Serves 8

Raspberry Whipped Cream

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

In a bowl, whisk collectively the mascarpone, cream, jam, and sugar till the combination is thick (medium-stiff peaks). If made forward, retailer refrigerated in an hermetic container. Best served the day it’s made.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Candied Macadamia Nuts

  • 7 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 6 ounces gentle brown sugar
  • poached pineapple (see recipe) OR 2 20-ounce cans pineapple slices 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all function flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup créme fraîche or bitter cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pineapple juice or orange juice
  • candied macadamia nuts (see recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 levels. Spray a 9-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the paper.

Melt 3 ounces of butter with the brown sugar over low warmth. The combination won’t emulsify; that’s OK. Pour into the cake pan and unfold evenly. Top with overlapping slices of pineapple.

In a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment, cream collectively the remaining butter and sugar at medium pace for five minutes. Add the eggs, scraping down the perimeters of the bowl after every addition. Add the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt, and put aside. Add the créme fraîche and juice, and blend to mix. Add the flour combination, and blend on low pace till simply mixed. Pour the cake batter into the ready pan and unfold evenly. Bake for 25 to half-hour, or till a picket choose inserted within the middle comes out clear.

While the cake remains to be heat, reduce across the edges with a paring knife. Release the pan the other way up onto a serving platter. Garnish with candied macadamia nuts and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8

Poached Pineapple Slices

  • 1 pineapple
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar 
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut up

Remove the perimeters of the pineapple. Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Use a spherical cutter to take away the core of every slice. Bring the water, sugar, and vanilla bean to a boil in a saucepan. Lower the warmth to a simmer. Add the pineapple slices and canopy with a spherical piece of parchment paper to maintain them submerged. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the warmth and funky. Pineapple may be saved within the liquid in an hermetic container and refrigerated for as much as every week.

Candied Macadamia Nuts

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups macadamia nuts
  • kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 levels. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Place the nuts in a bowl. Pour the sugar syrup over the nuts. Let sit for half-hour. Strain off the liquid, then unfold the nuts on a baking sheet. Bake till evenly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt, and let cool fully. Roughly chop the nuts and retailer at room temperature. 


Figgy Sticky Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream

  • 6 ounces dried mission figs, stems eliminated, reduce in half
  • ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
  • zest of half of a lemon
  • zest of half of an orange
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ¾ ounces darkish brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces all function flour
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • caramel sauce (see recipe)
  • whipped cream (see recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 levels. Spray a regular muffin tin generously with nonstick spray. Place the figs, espresso powder, and zests in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the boiling water over the fig combination. Let sit for 20 to half-hour or till the combination is not sizzling (room temperature). In a blender, mix the figs with the entire liquid till the combination is clean however the fig seeds are nonetheless seen. Set apart.

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium pace till gentle and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla to the butter combination, scraping the bowl steadily. Whisk collectively the flour and baking soda. On low pace, add the flour combination and the fig combination to the butter combination, alternating between the 2. Scrape the bowl between every addition. Blend on low pace till the combination is emulsified.

Portion the batter between the muffin cups. The batter will generously fill the cups. It doesn’t rise a lot throughout baking. Bake at 350 levels till a picket skewer comes out clear, 20 to 25 minutes. Use a paring knife to loosen the perimeters of every pudding. Unmold onto a baking sheet or rack. 

Heat the caramel sauce in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sauce is heat, dip every pudding into the caramel sauce to coat fully. Remove the pudding and place on a baking sheet or plate. Repeat with the entire sticky puddings. To serve, drizzle a bit of additional heat caramel sauce on every pudding. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream.

To make forward of time, place the dipped puddings in an hermetic container and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days; retailer the additional sauce individually. To serve, reheat the puddings and the additional sauce within the microwave till heat. 

Serves 12

Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces chilly unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt (ideally Maldon)

Heat the water and sugar over medium-low warmth in a medium saucepan; don’t stir the contents of the pan. Cook till the sugar begins to show a light-weight caramel coloration. Slowly swirl the contents of the pan to distribute the caramel coloration, wiping down the perimeters of the pan with a moist pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals. Continue cooking the caramel till the colour may be very darkish amber (if uncertain, hold cooking longer). Slowly add the cream to the caramel. Be cautious, because the contents of the pan will bubble up ferociously. Whisk the cream and the caramel collectively. Gradually whisk within the butter, 1 dice at a time. Then, whisk within the sea salt. The caramel sauce may be made a number of days forward of time and saved in an hermetic container within the fridge. To serve heat, reheat the sauce in a small saucepan over low warmth or within the microwave on excessive for about 40 seconds. Yield: 2 ½ cups

Whipped Cream

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk substances in a bowl till barely stiff (medium-stiff peaks). Store refrigerated in an hermetic container. Serve the day the whipped cream is made.


Flourless Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Mousse

  • 7 ounces 70 % bittersweet chocolate
  • 7 ounces unsalted butter
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • mascarpone mousse (see recipe)

Preheat the oven to 325 levels. Spray a 9-inch springform pan generously with nonstick spray. Line the underside with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper. In a double boiler, soften the chocolate and butter. Stir steadily to emulsify. (Alternatively, soften in a microwave on 50 % energy). Set apart at room temperature.

Place the eggs and vanilla extract within the bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment, Whisk at medium-high pace till doubled in quantity and lightweight in coloration, 12 to fifteen minutes. Separately, whisk collectively the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar combination to the eggs. Adjust the mixer to medium-high and blend collectively till included, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a whisk to fold within the chocolate and butter combination. Once included, pour the batter into the springform pan. Place within the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake is completed when the perimeters are set however there’s a slight jiggle within the center. Remove from the oven and funky fully. Use a paring knife to chop across the cake between the cake and the pan. Remove the perimeters. 

To serve, dollop the mascarpone mousse on prime of the cake. Slice into wedges and serve. The cake is finest served at room temperature.

Serves 8

Mascarpone Mousse

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk till thick (medium-stiff peaks). Store refrigerated in an hermetic container.


For an interview with Katherine Thompson, click on right here. This article initially appeared within the April 2021 challenge.



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