Double Chocolate Pudding with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs

I’ve been a bit out of sorts recently, getting a little buried under things that are less-fun than cooking and baking. Fortunately, I gotta eat. And I also have to have chocolate, frequently. (As in, daily.) Otherwise I turn into some kind of crazed person. It’s a little strange, but I guess there are odder things to be addicted to. But if I don’t have…

Chocolate pudding recipe

I’ve been a bit out of sorts recently, getting a little buried under things that are less-fun than cooking and baking. Fortunately, I gotta eat. And I also have to have chocolate, frequently. (As in, daily.) Otherwise I turn into some kind of crazed person. It’s a little strange, but I guess there are odder things to be addicted to. But if I don’t have a tablet of chocolate in my kitchen (or living room, or bed room, or…), I go a little mental and find myself wandering around wherever I am, searching for a bar to break the end off of and nibble on.

Which is why unsweetened chocolate is so vexing. While it’s great for baking, and giving things like chocolate pudding an especially intense bitter chocolate flavor, it’s hard to keep my hands off the little chunks when I can chopping it up for a recipe.

Double Chocolate Pudding

Continue Reading Double Chocolate Pudding with Caramelized Cocoa Nibs...

Madeleine Kamman’s White Chocolate-Chartreuse Bavarian

I don’t remember the first time I made this dessert, but I certainly remember being wowed by its flavors, and the creator of it, Madeleine Kamman. (Who I’ll get to in a minute…) I’d been making it for years and it’s a wonderful way to use white chocolate, which pairs remarkably well with dark chocolate, but also goes nicely with everything from berries and lemon,…

I don’t remember the first time I made this dessert, but I certainly remember being wowed by its flavors, and the creator of it, Madeleine Kamman. (Who I’ll get to in a minute…) I’d been making it for years and it’s a wonderful way to use white chocolate, which pairs remarkably well with dark chocolate, but also goes nicely with everything from berries and lemon, and caramelizes beautifully, which can be used in cakes, sorbets, and ice cream. (I learned how to make it at the Valrhona Chocolate School, and it’s become so popular that the company now sells it by the bar.)

What can’t white chocolate do?

Well, it can’t replace chocolate because it’s not chocolate. Milk chocolate technically isn’t chocolate; it’s chocolate with milk added. On a similar note, I’ve only had Home Fries served to me at diners, not at home. And I’m still perplexed that we call it Banana Bread, because some people have told me that Cornbread, if made with a few teaspoons of sugar, isn’t bread, it’s cake. Yes, some insist that white chocolate “…isn’t chocolate!” but herb tea, as it’s commonly called in the U.S., has no tea in it. So if you’ve ever sipped a cup of “chamomile tea” (or even if you haven’t), you are welcome to enjoy white chocolate!

Continue Reading Madeleine Kamman’s White Chocolate-Chartreuse Bavarian...

Flan Parisien

When people inquire about recipes from the pastries on offer in Paris pastry shops, I look at the recipes we used when I went to pastry school at Ecole Lênotre and it’s hard to imagine cutting down a recipe that makes a hundred canelés into a recipe that makes six or eight for a home cook, who likely doesn’t want to go out and buy…

When people inquire about recipes from the pastries on offer in Paris pastry shops, I look at the recipes we used when I went to pastry school at Ecole Lênotre and it’s hard to imagine cutting down a recipe that makes a hundred canelés into a recipe that makes six or eight for a home cook, who likely doesn’t want to go out and buy a hundred copper canelé molds at 35 dollars (or even €10-15) a pop. Professional bakeries don’t make a single gâteau Opéra or eight éclairs; it’s might be a dozen cakes, five or six dozen éclairs, and hundreds of caramels. So paring down a recipe that won’t overwhelm the oven, kitchen…or budget…of a home baker can be a challenge

Professional bakeries also make components separately as part of their schedule, and in large quantities, and will start the puff pastry or make the pastry cream for a cake or tart in advance, then assemble them over the course of several days. Often recipes depend on techniques learned over a period of time, such as macaronage, the proper stirring and folding of macaron batter, and aren’t just a list of ingredients. So as wonderful and generous as bakers tend to be, not all professionals can share (or in some cases, are willing to part with) the secrets of their success.

Continue Reading Flan Parisien...

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin pie is a wonderful dessert, but it isn’t the only treat that you can make with pumpkin during the fall baking season. Pumpkin can be incorporated into a wide variety of muffins, breads and cakes. It can also work its way into fall versions of even more classic desserts, such as …

The post Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee appeared first on Baking Bites.

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin pie is a wonderful dessert, but it isn’t the only treat that you can make with pumpkin during the fall baking season. Pumpkin can be incorporated into a wide variety of muffins, breads and cakes. It can also work its way into fall versions of even more classic desserts, such as a creme brulee. My Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee puts a seasonal twist on a timeless classic, adding pumpkin puree and a bit of spice for a dessert that captures the fall flavors you love in an elegant way.

This creme brulee is flavored with vanilla bean and a little bit of nutmeg, but also contains pumpkin puree. Vanilla bean really gives a beautiful flavor to any milk or cream based dessert, and it uplifts the pumpkin puree, keeping the dessert feeling rich but light. Nutmeg enhances the vanilla bean without making the custard to spice-heavy. As much as I enjoy pumpkin pie spice, creme brulee isn’t a dessert that you want to turn into a spice-bomb.

Be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which may contain additional sweeteners in it. Pumpkin puree should be nothing more than pure pumpkin! Most commercially made pumpkin purees will be quite smooth, but the custard should be strained before baking just to ensure it doesn’t contain any lumps.

The custards can be prepared a day or so in advance and stored in the refrigerator, but they should be bruleed just before serving. For the brulee, a generous amount of sugar should be added to the top of the custard and spread (or shaken) until it is even. Then, the sugar can be caramelized with a kitchen torch until it is golden. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can pop the custards until a hot broiler for a minute to caramelize them.

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee

And if you love the idea of a brulee, but you just can’t help yourself from sticking with a pumpkin pie for your next pumpkin dessert, let me point you in the direction of my Bruleed Pumpkin Pie, which features a caramelized topping exactly like the one you would find on a creme brulee. It’s an easy variation on a traditional pie and one that will make your dessert a little bit more memorable!

Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 300F. Arrange six, shallow 6-oz ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Split vanilla bean and use the back of a knife or a spoon to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod to heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
After vanilla has finished steeping, remove vanilla bean pod, then bring back to a simmer
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, egg yolks, pumpkin and nutmeg.
Slowly stream the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture, while whisking continuously to temper the eggs without cooking them. Strain pumpkin custard through a fine strainer into a large measuring cup to remove any lumps.
Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly between the prepared ramekins. Fill the baking dish containing ramekins with hot water, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the custards are set. (if using deeper ramekins, baking time will be slightly longer and yield will be one less). Allow them to cool in the water bath, then refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours). Custards can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, top each custard 1-2 tsp of sugar, turning the ramekin to coat the surface of the custard.
Caramelize sugar with a kitchen torch or by putting ramekins under the broiler for about 1 minute, watching closely.

Serves 6

The post Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Creme Brulee appeared first on Baking Bites.

This Chocolate Chip Cookie Isn’t Crispy or Chewy—It’s Better

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today: your new favorite chocolate chip cookies.

I’m big on cookies, so much so that I consider them pantry st…

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today: your new favorite chocolate chip cookies.


I’m big on cookies, so much so that I consider them pantry staples. Can you even consider them pantry staples? That’s a debate for another day. But a cookie or three with afternoon tea is simply nonnegotiable.

Read More >>

Chocoflan

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes. Chocoflan has always…

A few desserts on this blog stick with me, often because I posted them a while back, with a lingering feeling they could be improved upon. As anyone who cooks or bakes knows, things change over time. New ingredients get introduced (such as bean-to-bar chocolates) and we learn better or faster ways to do things the more we make our favorite recipes.

Chocoflan has always fascinated me and over eleven years ago, I posted this recipe, based on one by my friend Fany Gerson in her terrific book My Sweet Mexico. When I got her book, I was wowed by it immediately. I was so taken with her book that I asked the same photographer, Ed Anderson, to shoot my next book, which was My Paris Kitchen. I’m happy the pastries of Mexico have been adequately explored in a whole book, with recipes from a notable pastry chef to boot.

Continue Reading Chocoflan...

Coffee Caramel Panna Cotta

Two of my favorite flavors come together right here, in this Coffee Caramel Panna Cotta, which offers up the rich flavor of caramel with a few strong shots of espresso. I seem to have good caramel karma and when I baked professionally, the executive pastry chef at one restaurant told me that I was the one she wanted to make the caramel desserts since I…

Two of my favorite flavors come together right here, in this Coffee Caramel Panna Cotta, which offers up the rich flavor of caramel with a few strong shots of espresso. I seem to have good caramel karma and when I baked professionally, the executive pastry chef at one restaurant told me that I was the one she wanted to make the caramel desserts since I had a knack for getting caramel just right.

Continue Reading Coffee Caramel Panna Cotta...

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is always a good choice when you’re in need of a comforting dessert. The custard-based pudding is rich in texture and flavor – and the fact that it can be served warm always seems to add another layer of indulgence to each serving. There is no time of year that …

The post Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding appeared first on Baking Bites.

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is always a good choice when you’re in need of a comforting dessert. The custard-based pudding is rich in texture and flavor – and the fact that it can be served warm always seems to add another layer of indulgence to each serving. There is no time of year that calls for comfort food more than the fall and winter holiday seasons, and that means that this Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding is a perfect option for dessert during that time of year.

The bread pudding is made with pumpkin puree and a generous amount of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice, or pumpkin pie spice, is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger that is typically included in pumpkin pies and other pumpkin desserts. You have undoubtedly had it in a pumpkin spice latte, even if you weren’t familiar with the individual spices that went into the mix in the first place! The spices add a delicious warmth to the natural sweetness of pumpkin puree, which is further enhanced in this dessert with brown sugar and vanilla.

Bread puddings are usually soft and custardy, without much texture of their own. In this recipe, I add in a generous amount of toasted pecans. The flavor of the pecans works beautifully with the pumpkin spice elements, as well as adding a nice crunch to each serving of bread pudding. Toasted pecans will give you the best results in this recipe, as they will hold up to the custard without loosing their texture. Feel free to use pecans that are both roasted and salted if you like a little extra salty-sweetness in your desserts (I do!). I like to toss a few extra on top for garnish, to hint at the flavors that are inside the bread pudding.

This recipe makes a generous batch of bread pudding and you might not have a large enough gathering to serve it all at once. Fortunately, bread pudding keeps very well and the leftovers are just as delicious as the freshly baked dessert. If you do have leftovers, store them in the fridge. You can serve them cold or reheat individual portions in the microwave for a few minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding
2 3/4 cups milk (pref. whole)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (1-15 oz can)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
9-10 cups cubed bread (pref. white bread or brioche)
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans
topping: 2 tbsp sugar + 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until very smooth.
Place cubed bread in a large bowl, and pour pumpkin mixture over the top. Use a spatula to gently fold the bread cubes until they are well coated. Allow bread mixture to stand for 20 minutes to soak up the custard mixture.
Pour bread custard mixture into prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the bread pudding.
Bake for 40 minutes, until the pudding springs back when lightly pressed and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers should be cooled completely and stored in the refrigerator.

Serves 10-12

The post Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Bread Pudding appeared first on Baking Bites.

Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and …

The post Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee appeared first on Baking Bites.

Honey Creme Brulee

Creme brulees never go out of style in my book – especially when you’re making them at home so that you can put a twist on this very classic dessert! This Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee recipe is a new favorite of mine. The silky smooth custard is sweetened with honey and vanilla bean, giving it a rich sweetness along with a wonderful floral vanilla flavor. The vanilla bean really pairs beautifully with the honey, making this dessert both delicious and decadent!

The custard is easy to make and uses heavy cream and whole milk as a base. The fat in the dairy is what makes this custard silky smooth and velvety, so this is one dessert where you don’t want to substitute lower fat dairy if you want to get the best possible results. The recipe starts by infusing the cream and milk mixture with vanilla bean. If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, you can use vanilla extract and stir it into the milk and egg mixture before dividing it into ramekins.

The custard is sweetened with both honey and sugar. Most of the flavor comes from the honey, and each honey has its own unique flavor, so be sure to choose a honey that you like. I like wildflower, orange and acacia for this recipe, but just give your honey a taste before you incorporate it into the custard to be on the safe side.

Honey Creme Brulee

Bake your custards in a water bath, allow them to cool and then chill them before bruleeing the tops. I find that the best way to serve these is when the caramel layer on top is still slightly warm and the custard is cold, an effect that I get by using a kitchen torch to brulee the custard just before serving. For a perfect crust, try to use superfine sugar to create a thick and even layer of sugar on the cold custard, then use the torch in small circles to caramelize it without burning. If you’re not serving all the custards at once, store the extras for up to 2 days in the fridge and brulee just before indulging.

Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
hot water, for water bath
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 325F. Arrange six 6-oz ramekins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Split vanilla bean and use the back of a knife or a spoon to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod to heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod, then bring back to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Whisking constantly, very slowly stream the hot milk mixture in to temper the eggs. Strain mixture into a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout.
Divide mixture evenly into prepared ramekins. Place pan onto a rack in the oven, and pour boiling water into the pan around the ramekins so that water comes two thirds up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custards are set and have only a slight jiggle to them. A very sharp knife inserted into the center of a custard should come out clean.
Carefully remove tray from oven and allow custards to cool in the water bath. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating, then cover with plastic wrap and chill completely before adding topping.
Custards can be prepared up to two days in advance.

For topping: Add about a tablespoon of sugar onto the top of each custard and spread into an even layer. Using a kitchen torch and moving it slowly, but constantly, caramelize the topping. Topping can also be caramelized under the broiler.
Allow caramel to set for a minute before serving.

Serves 6

The post Honey Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee appeared first on Baking Bites.

Riz au lait (French rice pudding)

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front…

Recently I was contacted by a film production company that was proposing to include me in a series. They were interested in what I do and mentioned they wanted to come over and film me in my office, along with all the people I work with. I hated to disappoint them, but I had to tell them that it’s just was me sitting in front of my computer, or hanging around my kitchen, wielding my camera while trying to balancing a spoon on the edge of a saucepan so it doesn’t fall in, or coaxing a quickly-melting scoop of ice cream into something that’ll look presentable when I publish the recipe for you.

Continue Reading Riz au lait (French rice pudding)...