Orange Vanilla Bean Crème Brulé

Posted in Desserts on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Makes 14

  • 2 quarts heavy cream
  • 1 each  orange peel
  • 1 each  vanilla bean
  • 18 each egg yolks
  • 2 cups  sugar, granulated
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with no fan on.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk sugar, egg yolks, vanilla seeds (scraped from the pod) until the mixture turns a pale yellow color.
  3. Meanwhile, carefully peel the outside zest of an orange without the bitter white and place in a sauce pot. Add the vanilla pod (after being scraped) and the cream to the pot and turn the fire to medium heat. Bring it to the point where it just begins to boil. Watch carefully so it does not boil over. Carefully strain out the vanilla pods and orange peel trying to make as few bubbles as possible.
  4. Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks until they are all mixed in. do this gently so you do not create too many bubbles. If there is a foam on top, allow the mixture to sit out for 30 minutes until most of the foam disappears.
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into six ounce ramekins. If there is still any foam on the top of the mixture when the are in the ramekins, turn on a micro-torch (small blow torch and quickly run the flame across the top where the bubbles are. This should remove any foam on top so the mixture is smooth.  Place the ramekins with the mixture in a baking dish with at least 2” tall sides, Pour hot water 1 – 1.5” high in the baking dish to surround the ramekins with in a hot water bath.
  6. Place in the 325 degree oven and cover with foil or a baking pan as a lid. If the mixture was hot when you placed it in the oven, it will cook in approximately 25 minutes. You can test this by “jiggling” the ramekin to see if the custard has set. If it is still liquid in the center, leave it in a little longer. Let cool and then place in the refrigerator uncovered until cold. This can be made up to several days ahead.
  7. When ready to serve, place 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar on the top of each custard and spread evenly around. Light your micro-torch and gently heat the sugar on top, moving the torch around the surface until the sugar begins to bubble and has caramelized to a golden brown. Stop while it is a light golden brown. It iwill continue to darken slightly and it will cool to a hard crust.
  8. Serve within 10 minutes, with a cookie or biscotti and some fresh berries.

Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake

Posted in Desserts on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Yeild 1 cake for 8 guests

  • 4 each eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil, extra virgin
  • 4T butter, soft but not melted, unsalted
  • 2T rosemary, fresh, chopped fine
  • 1½ cup flour, all purpose
  • 1T baking powder
  • ½ t kosher salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray
  3. Place eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix with a whisk or electric mixer at medium speed until the egg-sugar mix is pale yellow and airy.
  4. Gently add the olive oil slowly and stir in with a whisk.
  5. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Sift together. Add the flour mixture into the egg mix in 2 parts, folding in gently with a rubber spatula. When the second half of the flour is almost fully incorporated, fold in the soft butter.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out just clean.  It is important to not overbake, so take it out while the center is still very slightly undercooked. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the loaf pan and cool on a rack.
  7. Top with strawberries and a mascarpone whipped cream.

Mascarpone Cream

Posted in Desserts on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Mascarpone
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 10 each mint sprigs

Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Whip until they reach a soft peak. Gently fold in the mascarpone. Taste and adjust with sugar and vanilla if needed.

The Berries:

  • 50 each strawberries
  • ½ cup golden brown sugar
  • ½ cup late harvest chardonnay


Quarter the strawberries and combine with wine and sugar. Toss gently and allow to marinate for 1 hour, gently tossing to allow the juices from the strawberries to combine with the syrup.

To serve:

Cut a generous slice of the olive oil cake and place on a plate. Add a generous dollop (or two!) of the marscapone cream. Top with strawberries and drizzle with syrup. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and finish with a sprig of mint!

Deep Dish Zinfandel Pear and Cherry Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Posted in Desserts on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Serves 6-8

Deep dish means lots of great fruit, and a great flakey top crust and no bottom crust. Serve this with freshly made whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or any other flavor you like. I’m partial to hazelnut gelato.

Since the pears are cooked most of the way, the final cooking needs just enough time to cook and brown the top crust. I prefer to bake it while we are eating dinner so my guests can enjoy a warm pie directly from the oven.

  • 4 teaspoons  Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Dried Cherries
  • 2 pounds Zinfandel Cooked Pears (see recipe below), sliced
  • pinch   Salt
  • 1 each  Eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Unsalted cut into pieces
  • 3/4 pound Pie crust recipe (Joyce and Katie: do you need me to provide a recipe?)


Pre-heat your oven ot 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except butter, eggs and pie crust recipe and place in a pie dish. Roll the dough to fit the top of the dish, lay it over the filling, and tuck in the edges. Cut 3 or 4 steam vents in the crust. Brush the top with beaten egg.

Place the pie in the center of the oven bake until the crust is golden brown and juices bubble through the vents, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Zinfandel Spiced Pears

Serves 4

  • 5 ripe but firm pears, such as Bosc, Bartletts, or Anjou
  • 1 cup RZ Zinfandel
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 whole cloves
  • cinnamon

Combine the wine and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl, whisk until combined and set aside.

Peel the pears.  Using a corer, start at the tip of the stem making a tunnel in the pear but do not go through to the bottom.  Use a small knife to help remove the central core.

Place the pears upright in a baking dish just large enough to hold them.  Sprinkle the pears inside and out with lemon juice.  Whisk the wine/sugar mix again and pour, filling the pear cavities and adding the remaining around the pears.  Dot each cavity top with a pat of butter, adding the remaining to the sauce.  Sprinkle with cinnamon. Place the cloves in the wine mixture surrounding the pears.

Cover and seal tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil.  Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until the pears are cooked but still slightly firm in then center.

Allow the pears to cool. Collect all the cooking liquid and place in a small sauce pan. Reduce over medium heat until it is syrupy. Halve the pears and cut in thick slices. Toss with the reduced zinfandel syrup.

Brandy Snaps

Posted in Desserts on April 15th, 2010 by Bruce Riezenman – Be the first to comment

Preheat oven to 300°

Stir over low heat:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon or orange rind

Remove from heat and add:

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons brandy

Roll into 3/4 inch balls.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet about 12 minutes.

After a minute or so, remove cookies from pan with a spatula.

Roll cookies over a wooden spoon handle or metal cone.

Store in a tightly covered tin.

Just before serving, fill each cylinder or cone with a brandy and vanilla flavored whipped cream using a pastry bag with a star shaped tip.