Gourmet desserts are easy to make. Creamy, crunchy or fruity gourmet desserts can make even an ordinary occasion a special one. Attractive tantalizing desserts perk up table decoration. Gourmet desserts provide the much-deserved final touch to an exotic meal. A homemade dessert is a welcome treat for your family. Some gourmet desserts are quick, some elaborate but the exhaustive lists of flavors are indeed spectacular.
Mere love for dessert making, interest to explore varieties and skilled preparation is all that is required to understand the nuances of whipping up delicious gourmet desserts. Learn the art of gourmet dessert making with simple as well as exotic ingredients. It’s time to indulge your sweet tooth!
Types of desserts
Dessert comes from the Old French word ‘desservir” that means ‘to clear the table’While it is dessert in U.S, Canada, Australia and France, people in the UK, Ireland and select Commonwealth countries use the words- sweet, pudding or afters to describe desserts.
Crumble: A dessert of British origin, crumble is one among dessert varieties that is rich, yet simple to prepare. A perfect accompaniment with custard, cream or ice cream, Crumble is fresh fruit topped with a crumbly pastry mixture or a mixture of butter, flour and sugar. This mixture is baked in an oven till the topping turns brown and crispy.
Choose fruits of the season or follow the traditional method, which involves using apple, blackberry, peach, gooseberry or plum. For a rich, extravagant topping, try using rolled oats, powdered almonds or other nuts. Sprinkle brown sugar over the crumble topping. When the dish is baked, brown sugar caramelizes and lends a unique flavor. The same is referred to as crisp in America. If you are looking for a rich dessert, easy to make, go for crumble. You can save precious cooking time that can be reserved for other culinary preparations.
Custard: If you care to make authentic custards, don’t rely on the ready-made custard packs. Custard as a principle gourmet dessert is a mixture of egg and milk. It can also be a combination of milk or cream, egg yolks and sugar. Custard is of two types - stirred or soft custard and baked custard. Irrespective of the type, remember it is a process that requires slow cooking. Otherwise, it will result in curdling. Because of its pourable consistency, stirred custard is preferred as a sauce.
Fruits: Without stepping into simple or elaborate cooking, fruits as gourmet desserts can be prepared in a flash. Choose among nature’s best ingredients, seasonal fleshy fruits, citrus fruits, seedless fruits. Add fresh cream, syrups, honey or yogurt with or without toppings…and you have a delicious, healthy dessert. In the absence of fresh fruits, opt for canned fruits. Other than the fresh and healthy taste, gourmet fruit desserts give you vital vitamins and fiber.
Meringue: Egg whites and caster sugar are the main ingredients for meringue dessert. Beating the egg whites and sugar till it reaches the soft peak texture decides the goodness of meringue. This is possible if you add the sugar in small increments while beating the egg whites. This is one type of a dish that requires considerable cooking effort and time. Long baking hours, close to one hour or sometimes even more at a low temperature (200° to 250°F) will make the meringues firm and crisp. The difference between soft and hard meringue lies in the quantity of sugar used.
Pies or tarts: A pastry base with a filling of your choice in the middle makes a pie. You can choose to use these as desserts either baked or chilled. There is a small difference between a pie and a tart. A tart is open and is not covered with pastry and is smaller in size too. The baked shell of a pie can be filled with meat, fish, vegetable, fruit, cheeses, creams, chocolate, custards, and nuts. Sweet or savory pies or tarts are very easy to make and hardly require a plate or bowl to eat them.
aked pudding, steamed pudding, savory pudding and Yorkshire pudding are popular desserts made at home. Blancmange or custard with different flavors can be served. Clafouti is a baked gourmet dessert made with fruits and thick batter. You can serve this dessert hot or cold. Talking of dessert and the famous Tiramisu can’t be far behind! With the subtle flavor or coffee, this Italian dessert has many takers.
Soufflé is a combination of custard and egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with other ingredients. Though soufflé can be filled in containers of all shapes and sizes, it is traditional to prepare soufflé in “soufflé cups”. The size of the soufflé though large and fluffy when taken out of the oven, will fall after 20 or 30 minutes. The traditional trifle is made with custard, sponge cake, fruits and whipped cream. You can make your own combination of bases for a trifle – be it jam or jelly, custard or chocolate sauce.
Gourmet dessert tips
Sauces and sundae toppings allow you to add a twist and personalized touch while serving your gourmet desserts. Pick up dessert sauces in a wide assortment of flavors, from raspberry and cinnamon pear to caramel or chocolate. Drizzle a bit on cakes, crepes, pancakes or muffins…and you have a great dessert going! Fruit spreads such as strawberry, apricot or wild blueberry can be served on dessert breads or cheesecake. Make your own dessert combination with pound cake, warm apple pie or brownies. Fill creams and dessert spreads into tarts croissants.
- Always select quality ingredients
- Fresh dairy products, fresh fruits and nuts
- Be selective about flavor combinations
- For a fluffy cream, use powdered sugar in place of granulated sugar
- Do not use plastic bowls for whipping egg whites
- Egg whites may not get stiff if plastic bowls are used.
- Always use clean, fat-free beaters and metal or glass bowls
- Egg whites at room temperature can be beaten to fuller volume
- Crisp meringue is not possible on a humid day.
- A little lemon juice in apple pie will make pie tender and juicy
- To unmold a dessert, wrap the mold in a warm towel
- Place a plate on the mold, invert, and shake gently.
Cut fat in gourmet desserts
- Use apple juice instead of oil if dessert involves cooking with oil
- Use twice the amount of juice in place of oil
- Use parchment paper in place of greasing or oiling pans
- Using parchment paper is avoiding unwanted fat or calories
- Use prune puree that has a richer flavor in place of vegetable oil
- Prefer low or fat free versions of cream or cheese.