Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Subject of Dessert

The subject of dessert is very personal. I don’t eat dessert every day, but if I did and could eat anything I wanted, it would be two small (very small - in fact, cookie-scoop size) "dots" of ice cream with either fruit or a cookie. I love ice cream and think the Italians who, apparently, eat gelato for breakfast on scorching days in the summer are brilliant. Nevertheless, I do enjoy eating dessert once a week, usually on Saturday nights, and I do serve dessert any time I have company, so I have gathered a number of dessert recipes that I particularly enjoy to make, to serve, and even sometimes to eat. They are posted on this blog, and I hope you will enjoy them too.

I always have individually wrapped pieces of dark chocolate around, often Dove Dark, which is supposed to be good for you since it has high levels of anti-oxidants. (Amanda Hesser once wrote that a bar of chocolate and a glass of cognac was her favorite dessert.) Walker’s Shortbread in its many forms is delicious and has no fake ingredients – just lots of butter to make it "sandy" and taste great. I also love Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux Cookies and like them most served with Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream. This is especially good with a few whole blueberries tossed over the ice cream. I don’t eat Bordeaux Cookies often - it's too easy to eat a lot of them, but they are hard to beat in terms of taste and crunch if you're talking store-bought cookies. And may I please stick in a plug here for McVities Hob Nobs, a "nobbly" British "biscuit" made from oats. Another great dessert for company is to hand out Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Bars since people tend to eat at someone else’s house what they would not eat at their own. They taste great and are packaged ready to open and hand out. Everyone is like a little kid getting something from the ice cream truck. Just don’t offer choices, or you will have too many to buy and too many hanging around the freezer after your company goes home. Get your favorite bar. I go for vanilla ice cream covered in dark chocolate. (In fact, I could go for one right now despite the fact that it’s before noon, and the winter weather outside is nasty.) The other day I actually saw a Haagen Dazs miniature vanilla ice cream bar covered with almond-studded milk chocolate at the food store - so keep your eyes peeled!

Even though I like dark chocolate and eschew milk chocolate, the exception is a Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar, but only one that is actually produced in the U.K. It is really delicious with the most wonderful mouth-feel. Perhaps I like it because I spent so much time in England as a child; I don't know. I can tell you that the Saturday after Deathly Hallows was published, I snagged my favorite British candies, Rowntree Fruit Gums, Rowntree Pastilles, and Smarties, in addition to the aforemention Cadbury bar, at Fairway as I headed out of town, and sat in the backyard upstate reading and eating sweets. It was truly wonderful; a gorgeous weekend, a fabulous book, and eating candy just like a little kid (a little kid whose mother doesn't care about tooth decay). So sometime you should try a Cadbury chocolate bar. You might just like it.

By the way, if you live in or happen to be in New York City, I would recommend that you eat dinner at Pearl Oyster Bar. The only problem is unless you are prepared to wait, you have to get there early. By early I mean be standing outside at 6:00 p.m. when the door opens so you can mill about with all the other people waiting to get in. Eat whatever you like for dinner, it will be good, and – this is why this is in the dessert section - if you want dessert (and I recommend it), go straight for the chocolate mousse, which is the best – the absolute, total, and very best – chocolate mousse I have ever had. Unfortunately, Rebecca Charles, the owner of Pearl, did not put the recipe for this mousse in her lovely cookbook.) However, if it’s summer, skip dessert at Pearl and wander down to Bleecker Street, turn left, and go into Rocco’s Pastry Shop (Rocco’s, NOT the shop next door to Rocco’s, or you will be mad at me) and get a large lemon ice, which will refresh your palate as you wander around the Village walking off your dinner. (Let me admit here that one summer evening Olivia and I ate dinner at Pearl, had the chocolate mousse, and still went to Rocco’s for the lemon ice.) While you’re at Rocco’s, you might as well get some pignoli nut cookies (like macaroons studded with pine nuts), some biscotti regina (sesame seed cookies), and some quaresimale (Lenten almond cookies available here all the time) for when you get home and for when you get up the next morning. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.


  1. I live for the Cadbury Milk bar. And Cadbury Flake. Gotta have Flake on ice cream. It should be a rule.

  2. Hi, Eb,

    Never tried Flake on ice cream but will give it a go. Glad to know someone else likes Cadbury's Dairy Bar.


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