Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Desserts

Make ahead dessert: April Bloomfield's rhubarb fool

RhubarbA couple of Sundays ago, I was invited to a glorious run-through of the contemporary music pianist Gloria Cheng would be playing at a concert on the East Coast the next week. It began at 6 p.m. at the new Steinway Piano Gallery in Pasadena and I’d invited friends to dinner after the concert. Since I had no idea when we’d be finished, I had to make everything ahead — fried chicken, coleslaw, succotash — and for dessert, rhubarb fool.

I’d bought some rhubarb at the farmers market intending to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie. But in the end, felt like trying something new, namely this recipe from April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig, the Breslin Bar & Dining Room and the John Dory Oyster Bar in New York). The Brits really know how to do these kinds of desserts, and this recipe from her new cookbook is a keeper — easy, meant to be prepared ahead and delicious.

You can make the rhubarb the day before and then layer it in the glasses with the cardamom cream and pistachios hours before you’ll be eating to give it all a good chill. The cardamom is brilliant with the rhubarb (which is also dosed with a little rose water), giving the sweet a Middle Eastern harem vibe.

One note: I divided the recipe into six servings and still had half the cream left over. No matter, I served it the next day with ripe fresh figs.

You might want to halve the amount of rose water, too, depending on your taste. 

Rhubarb Fool with Cardamom Cream and Pistachios (adapted from “A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories” by April Bloomfield, Ecco Press, 2012, 333 pgs, $29.99). Follow the jump for the recipe.

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50 Shades of Food: A boozy berry shortcake


Pull up a chair and settle in for our 50 Shades of Food series, where we introduce you to mouthwatering, shiver-inducing, hot, sexy food porn. It's safe-for-work browsing, sure to get your heart racing and your palms a little sweaty, and the only drawback is a possible hunger pang or two after viewing.

"You never forget your first, right?" asks pastry chef Meghan McGarry, who loves to flirt with dessert on her blog Buttercream Blondie. She's of course referring to a recipe makeover; her first being a strawberry shortcake that landed her a job as a pastry chef in Boston.

Meghan's take on the classic includes a brown sugar pecan cake filled with white chocolate mousse. "Add local strawberries that have been getting cozy with Grand Marnier, and the final dish is both fun and comforting," she wrote.

If you'd like to get in on the food porn action, upload photos of your food to any of our food galleries --  What did you eat this weekend?; Our recipes, your kitchen; or Cheers! What are you drinking? -- and we'll be on the lookout for photos that make our eyes pop. You can also share photos with us on our Facebook page or on Twitter. Be sure to include your name, a description of the photo and any personal blog or Twitter handle you'd like us to give a shout-out to.


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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: White chocolate strawberry shortcake. Credit: Buttercream Blondie.

Adam Fleischman gets stake in L.A. Creamery, creates wild new flavors

FleischmanAdam Fleischman, the busy entrepreneur behind Umami Burger, Umamicatessan, 800 Degrees and Red Medicine, has acquired an ownership stake in L.A. Creamery. In addition to helping the local company grow distribution for its ice cream (which Fleischman has long served at Umami Burger), Fleischman is creating a host of wild new flavors.

The most interesting is called Porc Phat and is made with Spanish Iberico lardo, Asian pears, hazelnuts and pure mint gel. Other flavors include: Moonshine + Caramel Corn; Absinthe (made with the actual spirit and created specifically for an adult root beer float that will debut at Umami Burger Anaheim on July 2); and Mezcal, made with mezcal and orange liqueur.

Fleischman joins L.A. Creamery at an auspicious time for the company since it just launched a new website, which ships pints overnight to fans across the country.



Battle of the Burgers: The H-Bomb burger.

Oyster night is Thursday at Cliff's Edge.

The French and their vegetables.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: Adam Fleischman. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Twitter #Weekendeats highlights: Cool summer treats and more


Today's #weekendeats chat on Twitter left me wishing for a serious summer vacation, with pictures of ice cream sandwiches, popsicles and refreshing cocktails fit for lazy days by the pool. Here's a link to 30 beat the heat no-bake dessert recipes from the Los Angeles Times test kitchen and a look at some of today's chat highlights:

Marian Bacol-Uba, a.k.a. @marianthefoodie on Twitter shared a picture of a mound of mango shaved iceAliya LeeKong, a.k.a. @aliyaleekong on Twitter shared a recipe for cherry pino-paletas (cherry and red wine popsicles) and Michelle Jenkins, a.k.a. @mkparkinson on Twitter shared a recipe for gluten-free oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches shown in the picture above. Jenkins used the recipe from the back of the bag of Trader Joe's rolled oats to make the cookies, then added a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

@MyMansBelly shared a strawberry shrub and strawberry shrub cocktail recipe, Stephanie Arsenault, a.k.a. @globaldish on Twitter tweeted her recipe for a light lemon mint tea cocktail with vodka and @daisyt13 shared a picture of her recent strawberry mojito using an altered  L.A. Times  SOS recipe with rhubarb in place of soda.

Other notable shares included a Tomato fillo tart from Jenny Johnson, a.k.a. @VintageSubarCB on twitter. Johnson proudly proclaimed she is no longer a "fillo virgin." Giving foie a last hurrah was the One More Bite blog, @onemorebiteblog on Twitter, who shared a photo of veal tongue, smoked foie gras, crab apple and dehydrated pumpernickle toasts from Animal restaurant.

After the chat, we ask people to upload pictures of their #weekendeats to our What did you eat this weekend? photo gallery. We'll feature some of the photos here on Daily Dish, so be sure to check back for more #weekendeats  and #foodporn fun throughout the week.

Hope to see everyone next Monday morning on Twitter! It's sure to be a drool-worthy good time.


So how was l'Arpège?

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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. Credit: Dailywaffle.com.

New ice cream sandwiches at Fōnuts

Coming soon: ice cream between those fonuts

Fōnuts, the purveyors of unfried, gluten-free and vegan donuts is introducing a new player to their summer menu: fōnut ice cream sandwiches. Owners four-star pastry chef Waylynn Lucas and her partner, voice actor Nancy Truman, have come up with some modern and nostalgic flavor combinations for their new sandwiches, featuring seasonal ingredients and all house-made ice creams.

Some of the sandwich flavors include the Chocolate fōnut with eucalyptus ice cream, strawberry buttermilk fōnut with fresh mint ice cream, vegan coconut passion fruit fōnut with vegan coconut sorbet, and the blueberry Earl Grey fōnut with lemon lavender sorbet. The shop plans to offer an ever-changing selection of seasonal ice cream flavors to sandwich between your favorite fōnuts.

The ice cream sandwiches will launch at the Fōnuts and Grilled Cheese Truck ice cream party hosted by Chef Lucas and Truman happening June 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fōnuts.

8104 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles


Hello Kitty and the Sanrio gang are coming to Yogurtland

The apéritif hour: pissaladière

Test Kitchen tips: perfect biscuits

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Donuts from Fōnuts. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

[Updated] L.A. pastry chef Sally Camacho gets top chef nod

8x10_G0T3681_lrt_cs1_webDessert Professional Magazine announced the top 10 pastry chefs in America Monday night at the 19th annual awards ceremony at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And only one of them is from Los Angeles -- Sally Camacho of the WP24 restaurant and lounge at the Ritz-Carlton.

The nine other chefs named are Craig Harzewski of Naha, Chicago; Sandro Micheli of Daniel, New York; Marc Aumont of the Modern, New York;  Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, New York;  Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park, New York; Damien Herrgott of Bosie Tea Parlor, New York; Nathaniel Reid of Norman Love Confections, Naples, Fla.; Jean-Marie Auboine of Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolatier,  Las Vegas; and Chris Hanmer of the School of Pastry Design, Las Vegas.

This recent nod is far from Camacho's first recognition as a top pastry chef. You may recognize her from Season 2 of Bravo's "Top Chef: Just Desserts," where she made the top three to compete in the season finale. Camacho has also won gold medals as part of the U.S. pastry team at the Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2008 and just last year won the Valrhona C3 competition in France. 

Before becoming the pastry chef at WP24 in Los Angeles, Camacho spent time in the kitchens at the Four Seasons, the Wynn and Bradley Ogden restaurant.


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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Sally Camacho. Credit: mi & mo photography.

[Updated at 6pm June 5, 2012. An earlier version of this post said that the awards show was Tuesday night. It was Monday night.]

Recipe Box: 30 beat-the-heat no-bake desserts


It's always fun to take advantage of summer by throwing an outdoor dinner party, but when it's hot outside and inside, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. Sweat beads build at just the thought of turning your oven dial, but serving a store-bought dessert makes you cringe, and leaving your dinner guests dessert-less is never an option.

Cakes and pies in all varieties may be party favorites, but for those days when you just need something sweet, in the heat, how about a frozen blackberry soufflé or a citrus tiramisu? Your guests will delight in a cool dessert, and you will have avoided the look of a disheveled host: hair matted, running around a hot kitchen.

There are plenty of ways to tame a sweet tooth without baking. Check out 30 no-bake dessert recipes from the Los Angeles Times test kitchen that will keep you satisfied all summer long.


134 recipes for your favorite restaurant dishes

This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

This week's Culinary SOS: Zengo's Thai chicken empanadas

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Cayenne Cafe's citrus tiramisu. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.

Sweet dreams, via Southeast Asia


In the latest Saturday section, Miles Clements writes about Southern California's wave of Southeast Asian desserts, including Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Burmese, Malaysian and Indonesian sweets. 

Across greater Los Angeles are countless examples of these sweets, a vast dessert diaspora as varied and unique as the ingredients and cultures that constitute each confection.

The sweets found here are the same as those found on the streets of Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila, desserts directly descended from their native countries. They’ve been imported by former culinary school instructors and avid cooks no longer confined to borrowed kitchens, by expatriates re-creating tastes of home and younger generations now carrying on those traditions.

Click here to find out where to get your kanom krok and ube cake fix (there's even a map). 



Photos, from top: Jasmine cakes at Bhan Kanom Thai in Hollywood; lapis surabaya layer cake at Merry's House of Chicken; banh da lon at Thach Che Hien Khanh in Westminster. Credits: Anne Cusack, Mariah Taugher and Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Have a piece of pie for National Pi Day

Pie for National Pi Day

Today is National Pi Day, celebrating the mathematical constant 'pi' or approximately 3.14. If you're a math geek, today probably means doodling the symbol in your notebooks or playing around with the irrational number. For foodies -- or anyone with a sweet tooth -- the similarity in pronunciation to a beloved dessert can mean only one thing: an excuse to eat pie.

Savory pies, sweet pies, any kind of pie will do to aid in the celebration. Here are a couple of recipes for a variety of pies from our Los Angeles Times test kitchen:

Momofuku's crack pie

Blackberry pie

Key lime pie

Pecan pie

Apple pie

Chicken leek and fennel pot pie

Crawfish spinach pie


-- Jenn Harris


More pie recipes

Taco Tuesday: The joys of barbacoa

The modernists are coming! The modernists are coming!

Photo: Strawberry pie. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times 

Surfeit of Sweets: David Lebovitz's 'Paris Pastry Guide' an eBook

Ea3568045342d354fc428ed3b8b335e1-1Francophiles, fire up those eBook readers: Pastry chef and Paris resident David Lebovitz has just published his "Paris Pastry Guide" in eBook form.

Over many pages, the author of "Ready for Dessert" and "The Sweet Life in Paris" will lead you to more than 300 addresses for the city's best pastries, chocolates and sweets. He's done the research (that's the sweet life) and includes his reviews and tips on each shop’s specialties. Each entry also includes the full address, closest metro station (essential), phone, hours, Web address—and Google map link.

Lebovitz explains, "Having lived in Paris for close to a decade, I've had time to whittle down my favorites and the places included in this application are selected from over 1,200 bakeries and chocolate shops in Paris. Some are outstanding and I would cross the city to visit them, others I reserve for certain specialties, like shops that might carry a favorite chocolate-dipped marshmallow or bake an exceptional chausson aux pommes (apple turnover)." Lest the visitor be overwhelmed, he designated his top 25 shops with an asterisk.

Available in both ePub and mobi format (whatever that is), which covers just about 29523412.png every device out there.

And until Valentine’s Day, he’s putting it on sale for $2.99. After that, it goes for $4.99—even so, quite the bargain when you consider you can barely buy a madeleine or two in Paris for that price.

I’m holding off reading it, not wanting to pore over the photos just yet, as I’m attempting to stave off a possible trip to Paris and let my good friends go without me.

"Paris Pastry Guide" is also available as an iPhone app at the iTunes store in both free (LITE) and paid ($4.99) versions. Same information, just a different format. The advantage with the app is that you can search by category and neighborhood and make use of zoomable offline maps.

"Paris Pastry" eBook, $4.99 ($2.99 until Feb. 14); Paris Pastry app, LITE (free) or $4.99; http://www.paris-pastry.com/


Valentine's Day dining guide

Common Grains soba workshop

Paris by sweets: follow that app

-- S. Irene Virbila


Photos: EBook cover, David Lebovitz taking notes from the owner of Le Bonbon au Palais. Credit: David Lebovitz and Paris Pastry.


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.