Desserts

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Black and Ruby Cookies
Paola Velez adds her own spin to the iconic New York City treat of her youth: the Black and White cookie. She starts by going all-chocolate with the topping: one side gets piped with  dark chocolate ganache and the other with ruby chocolate, a fruity chocolate with a pink hue. Velez also swaps traditional whole milk for buttermilk, which helps the baking soda activate, leading to a tender, well-risen cookie. A touch of rye flour in the dough is not only a nod to iconic NYC deli breads, its savory, nutty flavor helps balance the sweetness of this classic cookie. Finally, she adds gold leaf to the finished cookies for a fun metallic shine. To apply the gold leaf, she brushes it on in little dabs, using a small artist's paint brush.
 Banana Pudding Pie
Cool, creamy, and nostalgic, banana pudding gets a gourmet upgrade thanks to buttery, roasted macadamia nuts in the classic vanilla wafer crust. This is no place for instant pudding—this pie gets a rich lift from an easy homemade pudding made from rich whole milk and egg yolks flecked with flavorful vanilla bean seeds. Two layers of sliced banana and a billowy crown of fresh whipped cream takes this make-ahead dessert over the top.
Tamarind Jelly Candies
Paola Velez's tamarind pate de fruit is sweet, tangy, coated with fruity sugar, and all-together delicious. Because the sugar coating dissolves within an hour, cut and coat only when ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate the remaining jelly, store the fruit sugars air-tight at room temperature, and you've got a sweet treat ready to serve in minutes. Frozen tamarind pulp can be found at local Mexican grocers and some supermarkets. Look for liquid pectin in the baking aisle along with canning supplies. 
Lemon Curd Tart with Chia and Pine Nuts 
Toasted chia seeds add nutty complexity and a light crunch to this classic lemon tart from winemakers Mireia Taribó and Tara Gomez. Be sure to give the dough time to relax in the fridge before rolling, which helps prevent it from shrinking in the oven. Choose a sweet, fruity, mild olive oil to accentuate this tart's citrusy flavor.
Chocolate and Fig Cake
Rating: Unrated
2
The large range of figs called for in this fig cake recipe leaves the decoration and texture of this dense and fudgy chocolate dessert up to you: 4 ounces of figs creates two small rings around the cake, while the full 12 ounces of fruit will cover the entire top with a jammy layer and require a few more minutes in the oven to fully bake.
Chocolate Party Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Homemade Sprinkles
Rich, chocolaty, and so very festive, this chocolate cake with ganache frosting is worthy of a party. Ganache has many applications in pastry, and here Chef Paola Velez uses it to make the silky-smooth frosting to top her chocolate cake. If you're making the sprinkles from scratch, remember to start one day ahead so they can dry overnight.
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Mourning My Mother with Lemon Cake
Alexis McCowan's mother Yan wasn't the world's best baker, but she cooked with love and adventure.
Tropical Mendiants
Chef Paola Velez's stunning mendiants are surprisingly easy to make with her simple method for tempering chocolate in the microwave. Piped into rounds, the chocolates are topped with a colorful mix of tropical fruit, toasted nuts, and seeds. Like mini, open-faced chocolate candy bars, the mendiants can be made ahead and served right from the fridge. 

Baba au Rhum Punch

Chef Paola Velez's take on baba au rhum adds layers of dark rum and fresh fruit flavor to homemade brioche. With almost a cup of top-shelf dark rum between the cinnamon-spiked rum soak and the strawberry-peach Rum Punch Coulis, this opulent dessert is only for adults. Serve warm or at room temperature with scoops of vanilla ice cream to round out the sweet spice notes in the rum.