Category Archives: Dessert

North Carolina Zabaglione

Zabaglione is an Italian custard made from only eggs, not eggs and milk.* It comes from the Piedmont area of Italy, but I’m claiming it for the Piedmont of North Carolina. Why, you may ask? Well, it is a staple dessert of the Waldensian people from Northwestern Italy who settled the town of Valdese, North Carolina, 125 years ago. In Valdese, it is known as zabaione. I have made it even more North Carolina by using Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Oak City Amaretto, instead of the traditional wine.

North Carolina Zabaglione

1 dozen egg yolks from pasteurized eggs

1/3 cup superfine sugar

3 tablespoons (1 shot) Oak City Amaretto

amaretti cookies

In the top of a double boiler (off the heat) whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the amaretto and continue whisking until frothy. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a simmer or slight boil. Put the top pot in the double boiler and whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes until the mixture looks like a smooth custard. There is a risk that you could get scrambled eggs, so you want to whisk continuously and with a strong arm. Serve immediately or slightly warm in sherbet glasses. Serve with amaretti cookies.

*I have seen some recipes that use milk as well, but most of the traditional and older recipes do not.

–Dina M. Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at



Treats From Leftover Easter Candy

Do you have some leftover Easter candy and don’t know what to do with it?  Well, so did I, so I made some treats with it.  First, I had gotten two Reese’s peanut butter eggs and a Reese’s peanut butter bunny.  So I made this Easy Easter Pie from Hershey’s website.   What I did–Instead of the 20 Reese’s peanut butter cups and 50 Hershey’s Kisses, I used one of the peanut butter eggs and the peanut butter bunny and melted them in a double boiler.  I didn’t have a prepared graham cracker crust, but I did have graham cracker crumbs, so I made one.

peanut butter pie

I also made Rice Krispie Treats from leftover Peeps.  I had a pack of five pink and a rainbow stick with four multicolored Peeps.  So I added regular mashmallows and made the treats the traditional way.

rice krispie treats

They had a light pink hue to them that you can see better in the following picture.  Here’s a piece of the peanut butter pie too.

Easter treats


Au Bon Pain’s CroisBun

Au Bon Pain recently premiered the CroisBun, a croissant-bun hybrid, and the latest in the line of cronut knockoffs.  The CroisBun is different because it’s a cross between a croissant and a “bun.”  I think it’s more of a cross between a croissant and a Danish.  This one has strawberry and cheese filling.  Normally, I’m not crazy about chain stores/bakeries, but this CroisBun is delicious.  It is fresh.  It is buttery and flaky like a croissant.  And it also has the creamy cheese filling of a Danish.  It’s not overly sweet but just right.  It’s a winner.  The name is a little weird, though because the way it’s written makes me want to call it a “croybun” not a “crowbun” like “croissant-bun.”


Cherry Fluff


Cherry fluff from Mom on Time Out is a fun, yummy dessert that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s pink and full of cherries and marshmallows.  I used sugar-free Cool Whip, 2 1/2 cups of colored marshmallows and 1 1/2 cups of coconut.  This salad is great for a crowd too.


Sweet Artisan Marshmallows

I wanted to write about Sweet Artisan Marshmallows while there’s still time to get some for Valentine’s Day.  Sweet Artisan Marshmallows is a marshmallow company owned by a mother and daughter team, Michele and Kelsey, based in Detroit, MI.  Their marshmallow flavors include classic ones like strawberry, vanilla and triple chocolate.  But there are also interesting flavors like moscato, vanilla java porter, hibiscus and tangerine and trendy flavors like maple bacon.

Michele sent me some marshmallows to try–triple chocolate, peppermint, strawberry and lemon, and I enjoyed them very much.


First, I love their size.


They are a bit smaller than your standard store-bought white marshmallow, which makes them the perfect size for topping a cup of hot chocolate or tea.


Second, they taste great.  I tried the triple chocolate and peppermint, and both were delish.  They are light and fluffy and don’t melt too fast.  Also, I worry about peppermint-flavored stuff, as it can sometimes taste like toothpaste.  But these peppermint marshmallows tasted great!

It looks as if they have a vegan/kosher/halal option and an option using honey for those with corn allergies.   I wish them success with their business and kudos to them for helping rebuild the Motor City!

Coconut Ladoos

When I saw the coconut ladoos recipe on Aromatic Cooking, I knew I had to make them.  Little balls of coconut sweetness?  I’m there.  They did not disappoint.  They are really yummy!


Dinner: Delmonico’s


I have wanted to dine at Delmonico’s for a very long time, and I can’t believe it took me this long!  It is such a huge part of New York history and also culinary history, as it set restaurant standards and created time-tested dishes.


The original Delmonico’s opened in 1827 and had many locations and different owners since then.  It also involves a bit of trademark law.  The Delmonico family tried to keep rights in their last name, but a court ruled that when their last restaurant closed in 1923, the name went into the public domain.  So there were other owners who opened restaurants with the name Delmonico’s.  While the current restaurant isn’t in the lineage of the original restaurant, it serves the dishes Delmonico’s is famous for.

delmonicos table

Delmonico’s is historically famous for its grandiose dinners like those for Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.  It is also famous for being the first restaurant to let diners order a la carte.  It originated some dishes that have become classics like the Delmonico steak, Delmonico potatoes, Lobster Newburg, baked Alaska, chicken a la king, eggs benedict and Manhattan clam chowder.

On the night of my visit, CNN was there with a camera crew filming about the history of the restaurant and its famous baked Alaska.

As it is white truffle season, there was a white truffle special on the menu–lobster risotto with white truffles.  The appetizer version was $45.  I decided to splurge since I can’t recall having eaten white truffles before.

white truffles

My friend ordered the bacon appetizer that came with octopus.  I tasted it too, and it was delicious.

delmonico bacon

For my entree, I was deciding between lobster Newburg and Delmonico steak, and I opted for the famous steak.  Boy, am I glad I did.  You can’t tell from this picture, but this steak was cooked to perfection, slightly crispy char on the outside and pink on the inside.

delmonico steak

The 40-day aged bone-in rib eye was even better, if that can be.  This was an exceptional steak.

delmonicos steak

For sides, we got creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.  Both were very good.  In fact, I think the creamed spinach is my favorite of all the steakhouses I’ve been to in the city.

delmonicos creamed spinach

delmonicos mashed potatoes

Since I saw the baked Alaska being showcased for the CNN program,  I knew I had to try one.  Generally, I’m not a meringue person, but of course, I love ice cream.  I didn’t know what to expect, but the meringue wound up being my favorite part.  The meringue has this light crispiness to it


but it’s soft and frothy on the inside.  I loved it.  I could eat that alone.  But with ice cream and a nice crust, it was the perfect dessert.