How to Make Dessert Like a Pro
Dessert is often the most eagerly awaited course of a meal or the most sought-after page on a restaurant menu, so it is important to end a meal on a high note rather than a low one. Nobody wants to disappoint their dinner guests at the end of the meal.
Fortunately there are lots of simple dessert recipes which even a rookie home cook can put together with relative ease, and that means that absolutely anybody can make their own great desserts, even without having much experience.
Making Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream can be the basis of a dessert, it can be the dessert, or it can be a garnish. If you want to use an ice cream maker to make your own ice cream, you will want it to come out creamy and smooth.
You need to chill the ice cream mixture before freezing it, to ensure it comes out smooth. Chilling it first also means it freezes faster. Do not fill the canister more than two thirds full, because the mixture will expand. Keep stirring the ice cream as it freezes. The ice cream should be left to stand for several hours after freezing, so it can develop its flavor.
You can do this in the ice cream maker by packing it with extra salt and ice (use one cup of salt for every four cups of ice). Another way is to put the ice cream in the freezer in a covered container. Homemade ice cream has fine ice crystals in it, but these ice crystals will become coarser after a few days, so homemade ice cream will not keep as long as the store-bought kind.
Perfect Dessert Presentation
Part of making great desserts is knowing how to present them. Serving the dessert simply on a plate is fine, but you can also paint the plates with sauces or purees. Creamy desserts are nice served in martini glasses or wine glasses.
Drape freshly baked tuile cookies over a bowl while they are still warm to make cookie cups, or use hollowed-out fruits to serve ice cream or sorbet. Freeze the hollowed-out fruit first so it stays firm. You can paint the outside of inflated balloons or the inside of foil baking cups with tempered chocolate to make chocolate serving bowls.
Whole or sliced fruits make good garnishes, as do candied or fresh citrus zests or rounds. You can make peach, mango, kiwi, raspberry, blackberry, or strawberry puree to drizzle on the plate or over the dessert, or even use fresh herbs like rosemary, lemon thyme, basil, lavender, or mint.
Edible flowers including rose petals, violets, snapdragons, pansies, and orange blossoms look beautiful on delicate desserts, and powdered sugar, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon or cocoa powder can be sprinkled over mousses, custards, or puddings.
Chopped or whole, toasted or raw, candied or plain nuts can be good for dessert garnishes, or you could try toasted coconut or chocolate shavings or curls. Try whipping some cream with vanilla extract or almond extract, or even a few drops of liqueur. You can use sweetened crème fraiche instead for more tanginess. If you want a tangy, creamy garnish, what about combining equal measures of ice cream and sour cream. This would be good with pumpkin pie or something fruity.
In this photo you can see a happy girl indulging in a wonderful homemade chocolate pudding which is finished off with a touch of whipped cream. Chocolate pudding is a beloved dessert which has stood the test of time and is still one of the world’s best-loved dessert recipes today. If you have never made your own chocolate pudding, you might not know how simple it is to put together. Chocolate pudding can be made ahead and then brought out when you are ready to serve it. Gourmet garnishes include fresh whole raspberries or strawberry slivers and fresh mint leaves.
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