Dessert

BERRIES PRESERVED IN RED WINE

SERVING: 6-8 half-pint jars

BY: Chef John Besh

In the Black Forest of Germany, this preserve is commonly made with cherries and red fruit and called Rote Grütze. I’ve made this idea work with our berries of South Louisiana. Wash but don’t peel or core the apples; the apples are where the pectin is, and you'll need it to thicken this jam.

NOTE: To sterilize the jars, bottles, and lids for all preserves, place them on a rack in a large canning pot, fill with water to the tops of the jars and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then, use tongs to carefully remove the jars and bottles. Drain them upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.

3 cups red wine 
3 cups sugar
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
6 cups chopped green apples
3 cups quartered strawberries
3 cups blueberries 
3 cups blackberries

Mix together the red wine, sugar, clove, bay leaf, cinnamon, and green apples in a deep saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 30 minutes.

Strain the reduced red wine into a larger pot. Add the strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat until the juices thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 35 minutes. Skim off any foam from the surface.

Ladle the berries and juices into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then place sterilized lids on top and screw on the rings.

Use tongs to put the filled jars into a canning pot; cover with water at least 2 inches over the jar tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the jars from the water; place on a kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.

 

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Serving: 8

By Chef John Besh

This is the dish I created for The Next Iron Chef at the ambassador’s residence in Paris. It might look complicated, but when you take each component separately, it’s as easy as making biscuits, marinating the berries, and freezing a sorbet.

For the Sauce
1 cup Creole cream cheese or fromage blanc
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
Seeds from half a vanilla bean
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
3⁄4 cup whole milk 

For the Berries
2 pints strawberries, hulled and diced
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh mint, minced
2 cups sorbet
Powdered sugar

For the sauce, put the Creole cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, and granulated sugar into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate.

For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 400°. Combine 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the texture resembles cornmeal.

Gradually stir in just enough milk for the dough to form a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or the biscuits will be tough.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 3⁄4-inch thickness and cut out 8 disks with a 21⁄2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake until golden brown, 12–15 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

For the berries, toss the berries, granulated sugar, Grand Marnier, and mint together in a medium bowl. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.

To assemble each shortcake, spoon 1–2 table- spoons of the sauce in the center of a dessert plate. Cut a biscuit in half crosswise and set the bottom half on the sauce, cut side up. Spoon some berries over the biscuit and scoop some sorbet on top. Dust the top half of the biscuit with powdered sugar and lean it jauntily on top of the berries.
 

LOUISIANA CITRUS POTS DE CRÉME WITH LAVENDER MADELEINES

Serving: 8

By Chef John Besh

 

The best way to eat these lovely custards is to dip into them with hot madeleines fresh out of the oven. Make the pots de crème a day or two in advance; wait until they are completely cooled, then wrap them tightly and store in the refrigerator.


Pots de Crème
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, preferably from Meyer lemons
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, from satsuma oranges or tangerines
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks

The Madeleines
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
3 eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
1/2 cup clarified butter, at room temperature
Powdered sugar for dusting

For the pots de crème, preheat the oven to 325°. Put the cream, granulated sugar, citrus juices, orange zest, vanilla, and lemon oil into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often, then immediately reduce the heat to low.

Whisk the whole eggs and the yolks together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Slowly pour about one-third of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Gradually add the remaining hot cream, whisking constantly.

Strain the custard into 8 pot de crème cups or other small ramekins. Set the cups in a pan and pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the cups. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake the custards until they are fully set, about 30 minutes. Remove the cups from the water bath and set them on a wire rack to let cool. Wrap the pots de crème well and refrigerate them until cold.

For the madeleines, preheat the oven to 450°. Grease the molds of a madeleine cake pan with some of the softened butter and dust the molds with some of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and lemon zest together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy and has tripled in volume. Stir in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour, then the lavender, then the clarified butter.

Fill each madeleine mold two-thirds full with the batter and bake the cakes until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Remove the madeleines from the oven and let them rest for a minute or two before tipping them out of their molds.

Prepare the madeleine cake pan again with more of the softened butter and granulated sugar and repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining batter, buttering and sugaring the molds with each batch, making approximately 40 madeleines in all.

Serve each pot de crème with a small plate of warm madeleines dusted with powdered sugar. 

GIANDUJA CHOCOLATE BUDINO

Serving: 7

By: Chef John Besh

 

This recipe is one that I worked on for months to perfect. It is essentially a chocolate hazelnut pudding, but should be one that will really impress your guests.

7 tbsp sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp potato starch
10 ½ ounces Gianduja chocolate, chopped in small pieces
¾ cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 300°F.

In an electric mixer, combine sugar, egg yolks and potato starch. Whip until the mixture has tripled in volume. You will see ribbons form and hold their shape. Put aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped chocolate. Put aside.
In a small sauce pot, combine the milk and heavy cream and heat until hot, but not boiling.

Remove from heat.

Slowly pour the cream mixture over the Gianduja chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.
Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the whipped egg mixture while constantly whipping. This is the base to the budino.

Pour 1/2 cup of the budino mixture into small casserole dishes or in 10 oz rocks glasses. Place glasses in a large baking pan or a larger casserole dish with high sides. Pour water around the glasses until the level of the water reaches half way up the sides of the glass. This is to ensure that you will have even and gentle baking of the budino, and to prevent it from overcooking.

Carefully place the large dish in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the budino is the consistency of jello, and bounces back into place if you shake the glass. Remove dishes from the larger pan and let sit overnight in your refrigerator. Serve with whipped cream.