Thursday, February 11, 2010

D is for Dessert - Aaphabe Thursday

D is for DESSERT!

I spent a lot of time pondering over what I should choose as my topic for the letter "D".  I was at my computer in the wee small hours of the morning, starving, and, for some reason, I started thinking about dessert.  That surprised me since I am not really a dessert person.  I can pass it up when dining out and I seldom eat dessert at home.  I forego the calories unless it is something really spectacular.  I must say, I have traveled to some wonderful places about the globe and my taste buds have thrilled to the delight of many extraordinary desserts.  My hips
are not so pleased at this bounty.

According to Wikipedia, dessert is traditionally served at the end of a meal and is a sweet course or a strongly flavored one such as a cheese.  My preference is for sweets though I certainly don't mind following that up with a selection of wonderful cheeses and a nice glass of port.  Watch out hips!!

I also learned that, according to Debrett's, pudding is the proper term ( but we Americans have never been proper, have we? ).  Dessert should be used if the course consists of fruit and sweet is colloquial.  It is good to know that Canada, Australia and Ireland share our lack of proper terminology.  I rarely eat pudding and I think dessert is the perfect word for everything. 

My all time favorite dessert is crème brulée which is French for burnt cream.  In England , it is called Trinity cream and, in Spain, it is crema catalana.  It is a lovely dish of rish custard at the base with a layer of hard caramel on the top.  Its origins date back over three hundred years.

In the last ten years, I discovered a wonderful Brazilian chef who owns three Miami restaurants that I never miss if I am even 300 miles in the vicinity.  Chef Joao Carlos Olivera ( Juca ) has become a friend and his desserts ( as well as anything he serves at Tutto Pasta, Tutto Pizza or Zucchero ) are worth hours on the treadmill. 

The fabulous passion fruit mousse at Tutto Pasto, Miami
( once I ate two at one meal - I will NEVER share this with anyone! )

Soffiato di Guayaba at Zucchero in Miami
Sinful flourless warm guava cake, oozing with a luscious filling and ice cream

Pave with fresh coconut and pineapple at Zucchero, Miami

The Chocolate Cake at the Icon Restaurant, Seattle

Flan, a favorite in Latin America and Mexico

The other thing that can always tempt me is marzipan, my eternally favorite confection made of sugar and almond meal.  I like it plain or in a dark chocolate bar, the best of both worlds!

Wonderful marzipan delights at La Boqueria market on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain

Taormina, Sicily store with is marzipan fruit creations

The dessert sampler in Portofino on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas

A "Bushwacker" - made by Jerson, one of my favorite Indian bartenders with Royal Caribbean
Sometimes a cocktail can be almost like a dessert ( one that packs a punch! )

Several years ago, by chance, at my local grocery, Manila Market, I discovered these most addictive candies.  I normally steer away from anything that says "gummies" - I abhor gum drops.  However, mangoes, second only to mangosteens ( not related at all - see a prior blog on that delectable fruit ) are my passion so I tried them - and the rest is history.  I have purchased cases of them.  They are the gift I give everyone, including crew members on my frequent cruises.  When anyone sees me on a Royal Caribbean ship, they give me a big hug and ask, "Where are the mangoes?"  I never disappoint them!

I also like bread pudding. It is served world wide under a variety of names, usually with a sweet sauce, often with brandy, whiskey or rum ( any of the three is just fine by me ). Being a Southern girl by birth, I also like pecan and sweet potato pie and my childhood favorite, banana pudding!

Banana pudding - the recipe always gets doubled at my house!

Printed from COOKS.COM


3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

Dash of salt

4 eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 c. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

35 to 45 Nilla Wafers (reserve 10 to 12 for garnish)

5 to 6 med. size fully ripe bananas, sliced (reserve 1 for garnish)

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Stir in 4 egg yolks and milk; blend well. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Spread small amount on bottom of 1 1/2 quart casserole; cover with layer of Nilla Wafers. Top with layer of sliced bananas.

Pour about 1/3 of the custard over bananas. Continue to layer wafers, bananas and custard to make 3 layers each, ending with custard.

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon on top of pudding, spreading to cover entire surface and sealing well to edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes or until delicately browned. Cool slightly or chill.

Just before serving, garnish with banana slices, then stand Nilla Wafers upright around edge of dish. Makes 8 servings.


  1. Hi Carmen!
    Dessert is my favorite part of a meal :-)

    I adore marzipan, and I drooled over all the photos of the special desserts you showed in this post!

    I also use the Vanilla Wafer recipe to make banana is so good! I haven't made it in ages,

    We had over a foot of snow today. My whole body will be sore tomorrow from shoveling.

  2. Hi, I am in UK and have never heard of Creme Brulee being called Trinity Cream, maybe it's an old fashioned name, I shall have to look it up.
    When you do the McLinky do you paste the URL in from your address bar and do you remember to delete the first bit that is already in the McLinky bar? I have forgotten to do that in the past and had the same problem because it just accepts the double http bit and doesn't tell you it's an error

  3. Very informative post and all those desserts looked so good!

  4. Hi Carmen. Oh my! Flan and Creme Brulee are two of my favorite desserts! But I sure wouldn't mind giving the rest of those pictured a go. Yum.

    I haven't made banana pudding in years...with the kids gone it is too much for us to eat and my granddaughters are banana purists...keep the cookies and the pudding out of them, please!

    What a D elicious and D elightful post!


  5. D is for delicious desserts, indeed, Carmen! I'm not a dessert person either, but yours are just fantastic anyway..Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Who could resist the call of the letter D, er, dessert? ;-)
    Wonderfully sinful here, but I'd take them all, thank you!

    I came over her from Willow's,
    that temptress with her blogroll filled to the rim!
    I am glad I did, thank you for the sweet welcome here.

  7. Oh that all looks so good! I need to post pictures of all the amazing food we had on our anniversary trip in the fall - thanks for reminding me with your tempting photos! haha

  8. Ummmm, such yummy desserts! I love flan and creme brulee!! And the marzipan looks so amazing!

  9. I hope this doesn't show up twice. I love anything chocolate for dessert. But in a pinch I'll pretty much eat anything. I have a real bad sweet tooth ;-)

  10. Margie: I love Creme Brulee & the best I ever ate was at the Capitol Grill in Nashville, TN.

  11. okay, I'm drooling ... and i havent even had breakfast yet ... i agree with you on the crème brulée ... it is my fave ... well that and a well made trifle ... or strawberry shortcake ... or ... well ... let's just say i am a dessert girl and i totally enjoyed your Dellcious post!

  12. You know, I've never had creme brulee! I should probably try it sometime.

    I'd never seen so many elaborate marzipan creations till I moved to The Netherlands. I don't really care for the taste but they're like little works of art. I love it!

  13. Oh! We Have soooo much in common!! Except the cruise...never been on one. Love Creme Brulee.

  14. I want to meet anyone who doesn't like dessert. Since we are watching our carbs in our household, an ounce of chocolate, or a bite of ice cream is all we can indulge in. Heavenly!

  15. Dessert is my favorite course! And creme brulee and flan are two of my favorites, along with bread pudding and oh I adore banana pudding. See my predicament? Too many desserts, too little time! Kathy

  16. wow...these desserts look amazing!

  17. Well, I like dessert a LOT, but have to back off a bit or I'll look like Charlie Brown before summer. They all look great!

  18. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Being of German origin, it is also Marzipan that I do love very much. Over here in Greece, many times people do serve incredible sweet stuff, whichs name I don' remember now, yet it demands a lot of water afterwards.
    Close to 03.00 in the night - guess I am off to the fridge... a wonderful Friday for you.

  19. going to go lock myself in my room before i eat anything i can find. lol. delicious post. my all time fav...key lime pie!

  20. Dearest Carmen,
    Got a FABULOUS AWARD just for you!
    Come over and claim it!


  21. I think I may be drooling!!
    You can't beat a good ole banana pudding!

  22. my mother was telling me just recently that in England, dessert is called "pudding". no matter what it is, they use the word "pudding" instead of "dessert."

    My sister makes a wonderful creme-brulee french toast. good!!

  23. btw..i think I gained 10 lbs just reading this post!

  24. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti -
    It's funny, people either love or hate marzipan.
    I can't find it much of the time. Usually, the duty free shops in Europe have a great selection so I stock up there.

    Hope you guys are starting to dig out!!

    jaydubblah -
    Interesting about the Trinity cream. I read that on Wikipedia. Thanks for the info about
    McLinky. Jenny has always had to fix it for me.

    Betty (picture circa 1951)-
    I can pass up a lot of dessert but the really good ones do me in!!

    Jenny -
    My mother used to always make banana pudding when we went to Georgia to visit - but she doubled, or even tripled, the recipe for my three boys. I rarely make it but I also do the same thing when I fix it.

    Icy BC -
    There are a couple of places here in San Franciso that are famous for their desserts. One makes a tres leches cake that is terrific and another does incredible cupcakes that are perfect for special occssions.

    Merisi -
    It is so nice to have you here. I visited your blog and it is just beautiful! I imagine, in Vienna, there is no shortage of extraordinary

    MrsJenB -
    Food pictures are always nice to see. Where did you go on your anniversary trip?

  25. MrsJenB -
    Food pictures are always great. Where did you go
    on your anniversary trip?

    GardenofDaisies -
    I fix flan from time to time but, thus far, I've
    never done creme brulee. It seems too much of a pain.

    Viki -
    I certainly like chocolate, especially dark, but it is usually not my first choice in desserts.

    Margie & Edna -
    If I ever get back to Nashville ( I've only been
    there once ), I'll have to remember the Capitol
    Grill. I am not sure where I had the best creme
    brulee - Brix in the Napa Valley had a nice trio of different creme brulees.

    Jo -
    I haven't had trifle in years but it is very good. They don't often serve it in the U. S. I always order it in the U. K.

    mub -
    I cruise often on one particular Royal Caribbean ship. The food and beverage manager knows my love for marzipan and has the chef fix me a chocolate basket filled with marzipan - it is almost too beautiful to eat ( but I force
    myself! )

    Charmingdesigns -
    Cruising is so much fun though creme brulee for 3000 isn't their best dessert.

  26. lakeviewer -
    I watch carbs, too - as they go into my mouth. Actually, I can eat just a bite and be happy but I want that ONE taste.


  27. mbkatc230 -
    I am in serious trouble if all my favorite desserts are served at the same time!

    Christy -
    It was hard writing about those desserts and looking at the pictures, especially since I had none of them in the house!

    Sharkbytes -
    I think you need a little extra fat storage to get out and hike in the snow and cold!

    ρομπερτ -
    You do have wonderful marzipan in Germany. I am able to buy some of your chocolate covered marzipan bars at Cost Plus.

    Brian Miller -
    You are absolutely right. Key lime pie is another good one...I also forget pecan pie - mine has bourbon or Southern Comfort in it.

    g-man -
    I know, just looking at all has to raise your blood glucose level!

    ShAKirA CHOONG -
    Thank you for the award, Shakira. I visited your blog and saw your beautiful pictures.

    Prim2Pink -
    I'm wondering if banana pudding is a Southern thing. None of my California friends have eaten it.

    Bits-n-Pieces -
    I would love to have your sister's recipe for that creme brulee French toast. It sounds wonderful - great brunch dish, I'll bet.

  28. I love the flan much more than any dessert..It's quite light and amazing. Thanks for the recipe, and a wonderful delicious post!

  29. I love creme' fact, I love dessert..any kind!!!!! melinda

  30. Wow! I am so hungry now! Love the pics, especially the marzipan. I'm always happy if I'm eating gelato.

  31. Love banana pudding.
    Luiz Ramos

  32. Wow - those marzipan fruits, I had to do a double take!! Like my friend Jaydubblah, I've never heard of Trinity cream and until recently didn't like it (creme brulee), being brave I tried it again - mmm delicious!