Red, White and Blue Desserts
Strawberry Tart with Flaky Pastry
Elisabeth Prueitt invented this exceptional, flaky dessert, made with a rough puff pastry. She cuts the pastry into a precise circle and weighs it down during baking to create an elegant base for sliced strawberries and whipped cream. The adaptable crust can be topped with almost any seasonal fruit.
Coconut Cake with Saffron Cream
Saffron's earthy yet sweet flavors make the spice versatile enough to work in both savory dishes and desserts. Here, Tyler Brown uses saffron to flavor the pastry cream for his moist, airy take on coconut cake. Instead of making a classic round, Brown bakes the cake in a 9-by-13-inch pan and cuts it in half, then stacks the layers to make a handsome rectangle.
Honeyed Yogurt and Blueberry Tart with Ginger Crust
Melissa Rubel Jacobson mixes creamy yogurt with honey so it's deliciously sweet and tangy, then she spreads it in a graham-cracker crust spiced with bits of crystallized ginger and tops it with plump blueberries.
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream
Southern red velvet cake is usually a tall layer cake, slathered with cream cheese icing and studded with pecans. In this deconstructed version, the cake is low (like a torte), the pecans are coated in caramel to make pecan praline and the cream cheese icing is transformed into cream cheese-flavored ice cream.
Coconut Arborio Rice Pudding
Arborio rice is great for Stephanie Prida's pudding, because the plump grains stay perfectly firm and chewy.
Marilyn Batali's Blackberry Pie
While walking in Galicia with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali spotted a bush full of ripe blackberries, his "favorite fruit in life," and recalled filling the back of his parents' station wagon with buckets of blackberries when he was growing up in Seattle. After getting his mother, Marilyn, to e-mail him her recipe, Mario prepared this luscious pie.
Manhattan Ice Cream Float
Gabriel Frasca makes his own bourbon ice cream and cherry syrup for this clever riff on a Manhattan. For his superquick version, he blends vanilla ice cream with bourbon and uses a high-quality black cherry soda like Stewart’s or IBC.
Almond Semifreddo with Caramelized Apples
Chef Tom Colicchio has made his restaurant Craft into a huge brand, which has helped his colleagues share in the limelight. Karen DeMasco, who cowrote The Craft of Baking with cookbook author Mindy Fox, is the former pastry chef at Craft and is known for recipes that are classically elegant yet approachable, like this supercreamy almond semifreddo ("half-frozen") topped with warm caramelized apples.
Here's a simple-as-can-be, not-too-sweet version of this homey dessert and breakfast dish.
Raspberry Gelatin with Nectarines
This silky, sophisticated fruit gelatin is an ideal dessert for a late-summer day.
Miss Myra's Banana Pudding
Four generations have carefully guarded this recipe as the perfect finish to the barbecued chicken with white sauce dinner for which Miss Myra’s Pit Bar B-Q, near Birmingham, Alabama, has been famous for, running on three decades now. Enjoy. It’s dessert heaven. —Andrew Zimmern
Blackberry Fool with Calvados
A classic British dessert of pureed fruit folded into whipped cream, a fool is one of the first things Peter Ting learned to make after moving to England in 1976. To give this one a little extra sophistication, he macerates (soaks) half the blackberries overnight in Calvados, then tops the fruit with dollops of whipped cream he's mixed with blackberry puree.