Delectable Desserts

There are desserts and then there are DESSERTS; know what I’m talking about?

A friend introduced me to a new not-your-run-of-the-mill bakery.  Definitely not!  I was really impressed by the quantity and quality of specialty treats found at Forêt Noire – a high end French patisserie located in Vancouver in an offbeat area considering the kind of establishment.  You would be more likely to expect running across something like this on South Granville or maybe Yaletown.

They say simplicity is their touch.  Maybe so; if fancy upscale works of art in the shape of tasty treats are your thing.  

We went in for the best double baked almond croissant in the city, but once there we also tried the cheese (filled with feta + riccotta) which was also excellent.  Then we left with 3 pastries (one hazelnut filled, a pistachio cake and a vanilla with fresh mango pudding).  All outstanding.

Packaged in a pink take-out box.

Think I’m in trouble.

Know what I’m talking about?



Holiday Dessert – Pumpkin Ice Cream

Do you remember my homemade coffee and chocolate ice cream made easy recipes?  pumpkinicecream3Since then I’ve made homemade French vanilla which turned out very tasty and a great base to making lavender/honey, green tea and cinnamon – all delicious!  I decided not to post those recipes just yet – they are a bit more involved.  However…

Thanksgiving in America in this Thursday November 26th, so if you want to switch up your pumpkin pie at a late notice (assuming that is what you are planning to serve for dessert – many people do) then I have the most perfect, light, easy and presentable after dinner treat. And you don’t have the time to make a homemade vanilla ice cream on top of it right now.

I love pumpkin pie but this is a welcome change and has been tested (by some impatient people):


Dad’s Secret (& Most Yummy) Pumpkin Ice Cream

– Serves 10-




½ GALLON HAAGEN-DAZS, or other high-quality vanilla ice cream (1.89 liter, or 4 of the normal-size H-D containers).

1 PUMPKIN. This is optional, because you can just use a bowl to serve the dessert. But the pumpkin makes for a nice serving dish, and reinforces the “home-made” fallacy. See picture below for an idea of pumpkin scale.pumpkinicecream2


1) You will need some space in the freezer for the pumpkin, so make room in your freezer.

2) Clean the pumpkin out like you would a Halloween pumpkin: cut off the top, and clean the insides out. The seeds are fun to roast with salt and a little olive oil, while you make the rest of the ice-cream. If you don’t want a pumpkin as a serving dish, you can skip this step and it all becomes even easier.

3) Place the pumpkin in the freezer so it starts getting cold.

4) In a large mixing bowl, mix: the ice-cream, 1 ½ cans of pumpkin, and 2 Tablespoons nutmeg. Mix it around good until it is a uniform pumpkin color.

5) Taste it  – add more pumpkin and/or nutmeg if you want.

6) Take the pumpkin out of the freezer, and spoon the now semi-melted pumpkin ice-cream into the pumpkin

7) Place the top on the pumpkin, and put in the freezer. It takes a while for it to get to a normal consistency. I like making this ice-cream the day before any event so you don’t worry about it being too soupy.

8) Bring to the party and relish all the compliments/Enjoy.

Source (recipe & photos):

If you make it I would appreciate your comments.







Food – Festive Fruitcake with a twist

Get into the holiday spirit with this delicious fruit cake recipe from chef Lynn Crawford as seen on the Marilyn Denis show.  fruitcakeI love fruit and I love cake – but not traditional fruitcake. This is a different take on the regular dried fruit variety which I’ve never grown accustomed to.  This version is much nicer.

Christmas Spice & Fruit Cake                                                                                    (makes 1 10″ cake)

14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan

1 3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dried pears, finely diced

1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup sundried cranberries

*1/4 cup of finely chopped candied ginger (optional, my choice)

1/4 cup of candied orange rind, finely chopped

1/4 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

3 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 10-by-2 inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter parchment.  Set aside.

2. In small saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 Tablespoons butter with 3/4 cup brown sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is combined and bubbling, about 5 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan and swirl to cover bottom evenly.  Let cool completely. Sprinkle the dried fruit and walnut evenly onto the bottom of the pan.

3.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour.  Set aside.

4. Pour batter to the prepared pan and bake until done, about an hour.  Test with a cake inserter in the middle to make sure it is not still wet.  Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan 20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

Top with Vanilla Nutmeg Cream:

2 cups 35% cream

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix cream and sugar in a large bowl and whit until peaks form.  Fold in nutmeg and vanilla.

If you make it let me know how you like it.