Andrew Zimmern says, “Crème brûlée is a walking cliché, and like offering a Caesar salad recipe, it’s almost embarrassing to show you this one. But this creamy, rich dessert is the perfect love letter. And you should know how to make a great custard (plus, it’s always fun to use a blowtorch in the kitchen).”
Traditional southwestern French flavors—meaty duck breasts, duck cracklings, toasted walnuts and nut oil—pair with sweet, tangy raspberries and slightly bitter frisée to make this completely original salad.
Chef James Holmes of Olivia, in Austin, topped raw oysters with this sweet-savory sorbet before deciding it would make an excellent cocktail with Prosecco. A good-quality, store-bought raspberry sorbet is a fine shortcut.
Idea for Breakfast in Bed: Zoe Nathan likes using brioche to give this French toast a lovely, custard-like texture. The tart, creamy cranberry sauce, made with fresh or frozen cranberries, is a great alternative to maple syrup.
Sophie Dahl calls this a “good date dinner” because it’s elegant yet easy. The Mediterranean-style salsa on the fish—a mix of olives, tomatoes, basil and lemon juice—would be equally delicious on its own as a salad.
This crostini from Karen Small at the Flying Fig in Cleveland, topped with goat cheese mousse, red-wine caramel and strawberry compote, is a delightful example of a dish that combines sweet and savory. Each component can be used in a variety of sweet and savory ways: The caramel, for instance, is great drizzled over pecorino cheese or vanilla ice cream.
Matt Lewis is enamored of fondue—in fact, he had a special pot made for dessert fondues at his former Manhattan shop, Chocolate Bar. His terrific cheddar-Jack cheese fondue includes whiskey, which adds a great kick.
This decadent milk-chocolate cremoso (a silky pudding-like dish) drizzled with olive oil is one of chef Michael Schwartz’s best-sellers. “Some people are like, ‘Whoa...olive oil and chocolate?’” Schwartz says. “But the olive oil reinforces the richness of the cremoso. As if you need any more richness.”
The following recipe is the old Delmonico restaurant’s take on the dish, with the Rockefeller sauce base used not only to make the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer, but also used as a spread on toast to create canapés.
Chris Yeo doesn’t take credit for inventing this dessert—these individual cakes with molten centers appear on almost every restaurant menu in America. But his version is especially rich and chocolaty and made even better by the scoop of strawberry ice cream on top.