You already know that New Orleans is one of the best food cities in the world, but you haven't started thinking about dessert yet, have you? Here, the artistry of the chef comes into full bloom with delightfully elegant and very rich desserts that take root in our Creole culinary tradition and have in recent years taken off in exciting new directions. Here we'll give you some old classics, as well as some of the newer and incredibly yummy desserts that you'll see popping up all over town. And remember ... there's ALWAYS room for dessert!
- Bananas Foster, the classic New Orleans dessert that originated at Brennan's Restaurant
- Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Custard Sauce and Banana-Rum Sauce, a knockout recipe from my mom
- Chef Frank Brigtsen's Banana Bread Pudding with Banana Rum Sauce and Whipped Cream from Brigtsen's Restaurant
- Chef Emeril Lagasse's Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding with Mint Crème Anglaise
- Berries Artesia, in a Pinot Noir, apple juice and vanilla bean syrup.
- Cherries Jubilee, a classic still served at Antoine's and Galatoire's
- The classic Creole Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce
- Commander's Palace's Bread Pudding Soufflé with Whiskey Sauce
- My grandmother Dot Luquet's recipe for the best brownies in the world
- Candied Yam and White Chocolate Ice Cream, from Chef John Folse
- Chocolate Crêpes with Fresh Strawberries. Sexy.
- Chocolate Doberge Cake, a classic Creole multilayered slab o' sin.
- Fig and Pecan Pie
- Gâteau de Sirop, classic Cajun cane syrup cake
- Key Lime Pie, from Catahoula's Restaurant, Grand Coteau.
- King Cake, the traditional Mardi Gras dessert. (NOTE! You may NOT prepare and serve this before Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) or after Mardi Gras Day!)
- Pecan Pie from Tujague's Restaurant and The Camellia Grill
- Pecan Pralines
- Semolina Soufflé Cake with Pistachio Crème Anglaise and Tart Cherry-Pinot Noir Syrup, from Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona
- Spumone from Brocato's
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Sweet Potato Cheesecake, with a gingersnap-pecan crust
- Sweet Potato Pie from Omar the Pie Man
- Sweet Potato Pone, similar to the popular Jazzfest dessert
- Whiskey Balls, a classic concoction from my grandmother. (Hic!)
- White Chocolate Bread Pudding from the Palace Cafe
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies from Emeril's
- White Chocolate Mousse from Andrea's
- A little essay about Sno-balls
I love sorbet.
Sorbets, Granitas and Ices
I've been collecting great sorbet recipes for a while, and I thought I'd share them with you here. While stuff like this might not be traditionally Creole, you'll find fresh house-made sorbets as a dessert item on the menus of many great New Orleans restaurants, including Emeril's, Bayona and Brigtsen's to name but three. This kind of dessert is a great idea if you feel you've been overindulging yourself with butter and cream. (Note: Any of the granita recipes can be made into sorbets by pouring the mixture into an ice cream freezer, instead of pan-freezing and scraping, and vice-versa.)
- Apple-Tarragon Granita, from the late Chef John Neal of Peristyle Restaurant
- Blood Orange and Rosemary Sorbet
- Blueberry Pomegranate Sorbet
- Blueberry Sage Marsala Sorbet
- Grapefruit-Campari Sorbet
- Mango-Lime Sorbet
- Peach-Champagne Sorbet
- Pear-Grappa Sorbet, with fresh vanilla bean
- Green Kelsey Plum Sorbet
- Italian Plum Sorbet
- Mom Strillacci's Lemon Ice
- Passionfruit Sorbet from Artesia Restaurant in Abita Springs.
- Raspberry-Zinfandel Sorbet
- Rhubarb Sorbet
- Strawberry Sorbet
- Three-Berry Sorbet
- Watermelon and Black Pepper Sorbet
- Watermelon Sorbet and Granita
These desserts aren't particularly Louisianian, but they're mighty good.
Other Desserts I've Collected
- Chocolate Pecan Tart, made with Mexican piloncillo, and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and black peppercorns. My final exam from Pastry and Baking II, taught by Chef Kathy Soo Hoo, at UCLA Extension's Culinary Arts and Pastry program. I got a B (I forgot to refrigerate the tart shell before baking, and performed the tasks of the recipe in an "odd" order. But the tart tasted and looked dynamite.)
- My sister Melissa's Peanut Butter Pie
- Strawberry Smoothies and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, as prepared by Terry Marks and Joe Gallo at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
- Wild Berry Soup
The April 22, 1995 issue of the New Orleans Times-Picayune ran an article on the front page of the Living section on sinful desserts from some of our restaurants. Among those mentioned:
- Antoine's: Baked Alaska
- One half-oval of this dessert contains 1,061 calories. [Trivia question: what's different about the way Antoine's serves Baked Alaska as opposed to the usual way it's served?]
- The Pontchatrain Hotel: Mile-High Pie.
- One pound of ice cream topped with a thick meringue and chocolate sauce. Each piece is at least 10" high.
- Emeril's: Banana Cream Pie with Caramel Drizzle Sauce.
- Chef Emeril's signature dessert, and the best one in town, arguably one of the best in the country. One slice contains 1,548 calories and 85.5 grams of fat.
- Palace Cafe: White Chocolate Bread Pudding.
- 951 calories, 23.9 grams of fat.
- Clancy's: Lemon Icebox Pie.
- Relatively simple, but you don't want anything overly fancy after dinner at Clancy's.
- Brennan's: Bananas Foster, of course.
- 587 calories per serving, and an impressive show as it's prepared tableside.
- Commander's Palace: Bread Pudding Souffle.
- 465 calories, 23.9 grams of fat per serving. Absolutely wonderful.
- Andrea's: Chocolate Mousse.
- Only 237 calories, 15.8 grams of fat."Desserts are one of the things you don't eat every day."
-- Chef Emeril Lagasse"Desserts like [Baked Alaska] are splurge items. Anybody concerned about their diets needs to just forget about it and enjoy."
-- Bernard R. Guste, fourth-generation proprietor of Antoine's"How true. How New Orleans."Enjoy.
-- Edward Branley, former owner-moderator of the old New Orleans Mailing List, commenting on the above quotes.
For more desserts, check the desserts link of the Culinary World Tour Page.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)