Holiday Baking 2006


By Tejal Rao

November 2006

The unassuming pumpkin was a standard find on American pastry menus long before it became trendy for pastry chefs to blur the lines between sweet and savory with vegetables and spices. Pastry Chef Elizabeth Belkind treats Kurri and Tahitian squash to a long, slow braise in honey, brown butter, and vanilla to make a rich custard. Sandwiched between a buttery graham cracker crust and a fluffy burnt marshmallow topping, Belkind’s American pumpkin pie is both sophisticated and nostalgic.

Honey-Braised Pumpkin Tart with Burnt Marshmallow and Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
Pastry Chef Elizabeth Belkind of Grace - Los Angeles, CA

Chocolate and mint make an invigorating ending to heavy winter meals. Pastry Chef Molly Hanson fills a crispy shell of pâte à choux with a scoop of refreshing mint ice cream for a small tea-time treat or an after-dinner dessert dribbled with chocolate sauce. For those with time to make a decadent layered-cake, try building Pastry Chef Zoe Behrens’ Chocolate Mint Torte, a celebration of chocolate and mint in textures.

Peppermint Ice Cream-Filled Pāte à Choux
Pastry Chef Molly Hanson of Excelsior and Grill 23-Boston, MA

Chocolate Mint Torte with Mint Ice Cream
Pastry Chef Zoe Behrens of 1789 - Washington, DC

Poached pears are a classic holiday dessert. Pastry Chef Pradeep Dharmawardane chooses the more celebratory and subtly-flavored Champagne over red wine, spicing the poaching liquid with vanilla and cinnamon. He hollows the pears, stuffs them with a mixture of marzipan and cranberries and bakes the whole in puff pastry for elegant, individual pear-shaped pies.

Champagne-Poached Pear Stuffed with Marinated Cranberries and Marzipan
Pastry Chef Pradeep Dharmawardane of Marcel's - Washington DC

Pastry Chef Heather Chittum takes the classic Italian flavor profile of chocolate-hazelnut to new levels by replacing the standard vanilla of an affogato with homemade hazelnut gelato and filling traditional yeasted bomboloni with Nutella. Chittum finishes her whimsical Italian adaptation of coffee and doughnuts with freshly-brewed espresso poured over the gelato, sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Coffee and Doughnuts
Pastry Chef Heather Chittum of Dish and Notti Bianche - Washington, DC

Pastry Chef Jérôme Girardot has two simple recipes for the perfect holiday petit four. Homemade marshmallows are only slightly sweet, tender, and best of all, easy on a full belly of turkey, potatoes and pie

Coconut-Rum Marshmallows
Strawberry Marshmallows

Pastry Chef Jérôme Girardot of The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown-Washington DC

For chefs who want to include a dessert special for the inevitable lactose-intolerant guest take a look at our favorite dairy-free desserts from Chanukah Jelly Doughnuts to Saffron-Poached Pears with Champagne Sabayon. You can skip the butter and cream and still compose elegant and delicious desserts with our Dairy-Free Holiday Baking!

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