Local Chefs Share Traditional Holiday Dessert Recipes

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL CARONCHI


Turrón Gastón Almandine Bread Pudding, courtesy of Chef Gastón Sanchez of Tarpon Bay Restaurant, Bonita Springs

Turrón Gastón almandine bread pudding with guava swirl, bourbon crème anglaise, and amaretto glaze.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of Challah Brioche
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • ¾ cup condensed milk
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. almond extract
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg. guava paste

Cut Brioche into 1-inch cubes. Mix condensed and evaporated milk together and pour over brioche so as to soak the bread. Mix eggs, white wine, cinnamon, almond extract, vanilla extract, and ½ cup granulated sugar and pour over soaked bread. Add dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate. Lightly toss mixture with hands so as to mix but not destroy the bread cubes.

In a separate sauce pot, place guava paste, cut in cubes, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the guava paste dissolve into a nice marmalade consistency. Let cool and transfer to a squeeze bottle.

In a sauce pot, add remaining sugar and set to medium heat. Watch carefully; you don’t want it to burn – the idea is to melt the sugar to a nice amber color. Once melted, pour into individual ramekins and swirl so as to coat the bottom and sides of ramekins. Once set, fill ramekins with mixture. Insert tip of a squeeze bottle with guava solution and fill with 2 tablespoons of guava in each ramekin. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and fill with water to about ½ way up the sides of ramekins. Place in preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake for about 30 minutes.

Insert toothpick in center of ramekin (toothpick should be moist but not runny). If still runny, give it another 5 minutes and repeat toothpick process until desired moisture is achieved. When ready to eat, insert and run a butter knife along sides of ramekin and flip onto a plate. Garnish with some more guava paste and Bourbon crème Anglaise.

Bourbon Crème Anglaise

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon

Prepare a water bath by mixing ice and water in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl, whip the granulated sugar and egg yolks together until sugar is dissolved. In a small pot, bring heavy cream and milk to a boil. Slowly temper the cream/milk into the yolks and sugar mixture. Put the mixture back into the pot and cook on the stovetop, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until nappe (coats the back of a spoon). Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk the bourbon into the mixture. Chill the anglaise in the water bath until cool.

Amaretto Glaze

  • 1 cup Disaronno amaretto
  • ¼ cup honey

Place ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Let reduce by half and set aside. Drizzle over already flipped pudding and use as garnish if desired.


Monika’s Crepes of Passion, courtesy of Alexander Bernard, Chef/Owner of Alexander’s Restaurant, Naples

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Monika’s Crepes of Passion, filled with pastry cream and served with passion fruit sauce, fresh berries, and powdered sugar.

Passion Fruit Sauce

  • 2 cups frozen passion fruit juice
  • 2 cups sugar

In a thick-bottom soup pot over medium heat, bring the passion fruit juice and sugar to a light boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.

Crepes (makes 7-8)

  • ½ tsp. orange zest
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 5 oz. whole milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 small eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 oz. sugar
  • ½ cup flour, sifted
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped

Heat an 8 1/2-inch nonstick crepe pan over medium heat until hot. Spray with a nonstick spray. Using a 1-oz. ladle, pour the batter into the center of the pan. Rotate the pan in a circular motion to cover evenly with the batter. Cook for 30-45 seconds. Gently flip crepe using a small spatula. Cook for an additional 10 seconds. Remove the crepe and place it on a plate with the nicer side down. Repeat the process for the remaining crepes, spraying the pan lightly with nonstick spray each time. Layer the crepes by using towels between each crepe so they don’t stick. When you are ready to fill the crepes, lift the paper towel.

Pasty Cream Filling

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • ½ tbsp. and ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp. powdered sugar

In a thick-bottom soup pot over medium heat, bring milk and vanilla to a simmer. In a small stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Stir in the flour and cornstarch. Remove soup pot from heat. Ladle 1/2 of the hot milk and vanilla mixture into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Pour hot milk and egg mixture into remaining 1/2 of the milk and vanilla mixture. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minute, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour pastry cream into a container. Stir in the butter. Refrigerate.

Assemble the crepes by spooning about 3 oz. of pastry cream onto the middle of each crepe. Fold in the sides. Place all the crepes, folded side down, on a non-stick or lightly oiled baking pan. Warm in oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. To serve, place warm crepe on each plate and ladle cold passion fruit sauce onto and around the crepe. Sift a little powdered sugar around the plate.


Philadelphia German-Style Butter Cake, courtesy of Chef Tim Yoa of The Catch of the Pelican, Naples

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Philadelphia German-style butter cake with a crumble cake bottom, yeast-leavened cake, and gooey buttery topping.

Cake Dough

  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • 1cup butter
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 14 oz. active dry yeast
  • 12 cup warm milk
  • 214 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Topping 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 23 cup flour
  • 2 cups super fine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4-5 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix sugar, shortening, and salt in a bowl. Add egg, and beat together for one minute. Dissolve yeast in warm milk.

To make egg/sugar mixture, add flour, then yeast mixture, and vanilla, beating about three minutes (with dough hook or by hand). Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead for one minute. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel, and let stand in a warm place to rise one hour or until double.

To make topping, cream butter in a mixer. Mix together flour and sugar; gradually beat into butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Gradually add just enough milk to bring mixture to an easy spreading consistency, being careful not to make it too runny. Set aside until dough is doubled and ready for use.

When dough is doubled, punch it down and divide in two sections. Roll or pat halves into bottom of two well-greased 8-inch square pans (or a 9×13 pan). Crimp edges halfway up sides to hold topping. Prick dough with a fork to reduce bubbling. Spread topping evenly over dough. Let stand 20 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 30 minutes for 9×13 or 20 minutes for 8×8 or until top is just golden and crusty, but still gooey.


Tarte Bourdaloue, courtesy of Lisa Boët, Chef/Co-Owner of Chez Boët, Naples

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Tarte Bourdaloue, a pear almond tart with poached pears in custard and an almond-cream base, sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds.

Sweet Tarte Dough (makes two 9.5-inch tarte shells)

  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 9 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg

Sift confectioner’s sugar, flour, and salt into a bowl. Process butter until smooth in a food processor, 15 seconds. Scatter flour/sugar blend over the butter, add egg, and blend just until dough forms a mass, being careful not to over-mix. Gently form two disks of dough on a lightly floured counter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours or overnight.

Almond Cream (makes 2 cups)

  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 5 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour

Place two tbsp. of sugar and almonds in food processor bowl and process until finely ground (approximately one minute). Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in stand mixer on high speed until blended. Add ground almond mixture on low speed until combined. Add the egg, then egg yolk, beating well and scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately three minutes. Mix in flour just until combined.

Poached Pears

In a medium-sized pan combine 4 cups water, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 vanilla bean, split (scraping seeds in the pan and add bean) and cook on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add 3 large, ripe but firm, Bartlett pears, peeled, and bring to boil. Cover pan and lower heat to simmer for 10-14 minutes, until pears are fork tender. Remove pears from heat and let cool. Refrigerate pears in liquid until ready to use.

To Make the Tart (serves 6-8):

  •  1/2 cup almond cream, softened to room temperature
  • One 9-inch sweet tarte dough shell
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 poached pears

Remove one circle of tarte dough from refrigerator and let soften for 30 minutes. Lightly butter a 9.5-inch fluted tarte pan (with removable bottom.) Dust work table lightly with flour and roll out gently with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch circle, keeping surface floured so dough does not stick. Roll dough onto the rolling pin and unroll over the tarte pan. Press dough into the pan and prick bottom with a fork. Chill formed tarte shell for 20 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread almond cream gently into tarte shell with a spatula to cover the bottom. Bake the shell with almond cream for 12-14 minutes just until it begins to puff up. Cool for 15-20 minutes. Whisk eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add cream and vanilla extract, whisking until blended. Remove pears from poaching liquid, drain well. Cut into halves, removing the core and stem. Then slice pears horizontally and place in tarte shell, stem side toward center of pan, until it is filled with 6 pear halves. Pour custard mixture over the pears and bake in 325-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the custard is set and pastry is golden brown. Cool tarte completely before cutting and serving. Sprinkle with toasted almonds to serve.


Traditional Christmas Walnut Cake, courtesy of Alberto Varetto, Chef/Owner of Alberto’s on Fifth, Naples

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Traditional Christmas walnut cake with Moscato wine zabaglione, topped with crispy rice pearls and spun sugar.

Cake (serves 8)

  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 5 oz. walnuts, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 tbsp. milk

Moscato Zabaglione

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup Moscato wine
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1½ oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup water

To prepare cake, lightly butter and flour 9-inch cake pan and set aside. Combine torte ingredients in a bowl and mix well at medium speed until well blended. Pour contents into cake pan and bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool upside down on cooling rack.

To prepare Moscato zabaglione, place egg yolks, sugar, and wine in a small mixing bowl and place over pot of boiling water. Whip until mixture becomes foamy and thick to form a ribbon. Remove from heat and place mixture in a refrigerator until it cools. When mixture has cooled completely, fold in whipping cream which has been whipped to form stiff peaks.

To prepare chocolate sauce, combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until sugar is dissolved, three minutes. Add butter and chocolate and continue to stir until ingredients are well blended, five minutes.

Serve cake warm with a zabaglione and chocolate sauce.

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