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Entries in dessert (4)


Negroni Poached Pears

I love the notion of classic cocktails, especially the Negroni - a perfect marriage of Sweet Italian Vermouth, Campari and Gin - but the reality is, I'm kind of a sissy when it comes to hard liquor.

I prefer the flavour of alcohol to be masked by pretty flavours like elderflower cordial, fresh-squeezed Clementine juice or interesting homemade simple syrups.

And yet, something about old-fashioned classic cocktails calls to me.

So I got to thinking - maybe I could enjoy a Negroni by balancing the dominant alcohol flavour more towards my liking.

It worked.

A tender poached Bosc pear resting in a pool of dark and rich, sweet and deeply-bitter syrup will give my New Year's Eve table the wow factor I was hoping for.

Negroni Poached Pears

4 small-medium Bosc pears

1 C Sweet Italian Vermouth (aka Red Vermouth)

1 C Campari

1 C Gin

1 C Water

  • lay whole cored pears on their sides in a small pot that gives them enough room to move around a bit - add Vermouth, Campari, Gin and Water to pot - David Liebovitz recommends cutting a parchment circle to cover pears while poaching - I totally did this and recommend doing it too - bring liquid to a simmer/gentle boil and cook pears 25-30 minutes, maintaining a constant simmer/boil the whole time - I lifted the edge of the parchment every 5 minutes or so and gave the pears a bit of a turn 
  • gently remove pears from Negroni liquid with a slotted spoon and stand each one upright on a plate - put plate of pears in fridge to cool - turn up heat on liquid to medium-high and boil Negroni syrup down to about 1/2 C, around 30 minutes - pour hot Negroni syrup into a heat-proof vessel (I used a Pyrex measuring cup) and set aside to cool
  • serve cooled pears topped with cooled Negroni syrup - if you want to get fancy you could add a dollop of lightly-sweetened whipped cream, a wedge of Clementine for squeezing and a mint leaf

Italian Zabaglione : It's easier than you think

If you're like me at all, then you obsess over the idea of making wonderful dishes you've heard of on your travels but are often intimidated as to where to begin.

Until recently, I felt that way about Gnocchi, Risotto and Zabaglione.

I spend a lot of time looking at recipes and photographs of food online. I also own a small fortune's worth of cookbooks. After hours spent looking and admiring I decided that the only way I was going to overcome my fear of these dishes was to make them. I turned off my computer and closed the cookbooks.

Zabaglione is an Italian egg yolk-based custard traditionally made with Moscato D'Asti but is these days most commonly made with Marsala wine (France also has a version called Sabayon). It is silky-smooth, frothy-creamy, not too sweet and goes beautifully with fresh berries. Something I had noticed about all of the recipes I came across for Zabaglione is that every recipe was different. They all had any number of different ingredients, including whipped cream, vanilla, cinnamon, however the one thing they all had in common was egg yolks, sugar and Marsala. I thought I would start with a simple, basic ratio of those three ingredients ingredients and tweak from there. Luckily, I made gorgeous Zabaglione on my first try - it's so easy you won't even believe it!

Italian Zabaglione

  • Per person - 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp sugar + 1 Tbsp dry Marsala wine
  • Set a pot on the stove with about 1-2 inches of water in it - bring water to a gentle simmer - put yolk + sugar + Marsala in a bowl that fits over the pot but doesn't touch the water (essentially a double boiler)
  • Whisk for 4-5 minutes until thick, creamy and ribbony - pour into dessert bowls or champagne flutes and top with fresh fruit

Zabaglione cools quite quickly and can be eaten right away. I will often make it just for myself and eat it plain without berries - heavenly!! You can also pour it into dishes, wrap them with Saran and put them in the fridge for later. It's a very easy way to impress guests at a dinner party!


The Middle Spoon Desserterie and Bar

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Andrew Breen of Outshine Online Marketing to shoot some product photos for The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street in Halifax. They wanted three stellar dessert shots and three wicked cocktail shots to use on the scrollbar of their upcoming website.










They also asked me to capture a very cool flaming drink - the specialty of Jenner, their bartender.











Pretty crazy!!

And then for fun I did a few shots of the room.