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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
New Orleans is world-famous for its savory cuisine — a unique combination of Creole, Cajun and French flavors that produce the city’s indigenous culinary landscape.
Yet over the past several years, the Big Easy has been gaining recognition for the sweeter side of things. More and more New Orleans restaurants are employing acclaimed pastry chefs, who are elevating the level and quality of desserts across town. There’s been an emergence of local sweet shops and pastry boutiques that offer far more than pralines and pecan pie. And just last week, The Big Gateaux Show brought world-renowned pastry chefs together for a theatrical cake competition and tasting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.
One of the pioneers of the city’s pastry movement is Tariq Hanna, the celebrated chef-owner of Sucré. Upon visiting New Orleans several years ago, Tariq noticed that the local dessert scene was somewhat uninspired. “It was the same four desserts everywhere.” Tariq mentioned, “Bananas Foster, beignets, pralines and bread pudding.” Determined to bring something new to NoLa’s dining culture, Tariq opened Sucré in 2007 — a bright, inviting sweets haven in the Garden District that specializes in exciting, handcrafted desserts and confections that weren’t typically found in area restaurants at the time.
While in New Orleans last week, I had the pleasure of joining Tariq at the oh-so-charming Sucré to delight in some of his signature delicacies. Feast your eyes on the striking array of French macarons, fine chocolates, handmade marshmallows, decadent desserts, cupcakes, gelato & more featured in the gallery below.
After a generous sampling from Sucré and several other indulgent creations from Zak Miller (Coquette), Kelly Fields (August) and Phillip Lopez (Root), N’awlins officially put me in a sugar-filled state of bliss. Clearly, a new desserts standard has been set in this city and it was thrilling to witness so many restaurants stepping up their game. Afterall, there’s no better way to cap off all that savory cuisine than with a sweet finish. Or a few.
For more sweet inspiration, check out this clip to see what Tariq Hanna has to say about Sucré and find out which New Orleans treats chefs John Besh, Johnny Iuzzini, Ron Ben-Israel & more can’t get enough of.
Filmed during the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience at the The Big Gateaux Show event and throughout the weekend festivities. Learn more about New Orleans pastry culture in this great article on Nola.com.
Stay sweet New Orleans!
Friends and family, beaches and barbecues, fireworks and fun. Nothing screams summer like Fourth of July weekend. For a festive treat that’s sure to be a hit at any celebration, try whipping up this simple, refreshing layered fruit parfait. In patriotic red, white and blue, this cool, creamy dessert is perfect for all your Independence Day picnics and parties.
Red, White and Blueberry Mascarpone Parfaits (serves 4)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and whip together with an electric mixer. Slowly add the whipping cream, a little at a time, and continue beating until the cream is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy. Fold in the lemon zest, cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour.
Using parfait glasses or Champagne flutes, spoon some raspberries or strawberries into the bottom of the glass, then add a dollop of the chilled whipped cream mixture. Add a layer of blueberries, then another dollop of whipped cream. Continue layering until glass is full, then playfully arrange berries on top. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!
Strawberry season is officially upon us. As if this time of year isn’t sweet enough, Sunday also happens to be my very lovely mother’s birthday! Since chocolate covered strawberries are one of her all-time favorite treats, I couldn’t resist dipping a few berries in her honor.
At the peak of ripeness, juicy strawberries are luscious enough on their own, but we all know that chocolate makes everything better. These cocoa-covered beauties are incredibly simple to make, and each time I bite into one, I think of Mom. And smile. Happy birthday to the best Mom in the world! xoxo
To dip your own, just follow the directions from my Chocolate Smothered Oreos post here. Simply swap out Oreos for a couple dozen strawberries (be sure to dry completely after washing) and get creative!
Spring has finally arrived here in New York. And since warm weather calls for cool treats, I wanted to share this refreshing recipe to beat the heat and showcase my favorite seasonal flavor—blood orange.
After peeling my first blood orange in Italy years ago, I was seduced by the fruit’s sweet, raspberry-kissed flavor and deep, crimson-colored flesh. Clearly, one of nature’s most glorious creations. Pure giddiness came over me when I discovered a heap of the striking citrus at the market last week (blood oranges are still being imported, but are also now grown in the US), so I scooped up a dozen and broke out the Cuisinart. Mmm…blood orange sorbet.
Ready for a twist? SKYY Vodka recently launched an all natural Infusions flavor made with real blood oranges, which served as the perfect enhancement to my frozen treat. Bursting with bittersweet juiciness, this smooth, refined spirit added a zesty pop of flavor—and helped take the edge off after a stressful day!
Made with just three ingredients, this luscious (adults only) sorbet is incredibly simple to make and the rich, vibrant hue couldn’t be any more stunning. Enjoy!
Blood Orange Cocktail Sorbet (serves 4)
Combine the blood orange juice, agave syrup and vodka into a medium bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into the well of a standard ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions until properly frozen. Since vodka doesn’t completely freeze, I suggest pouring the sorbet into a sealed container and putting it in your freezer for an additional hour or two to firm up before serving.
Autumn has officially fallen on the Big Apple and to celebrate the harvest season, I enjoy filling up my kitchen with the warm, comforting smells of fall-inspired treats. For my Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, I zest up creamy pumpkin with a blend of savory spices, mix in chopped walnuts for added texture and top each little cake with a dollop of my Cream Cheese icing (recipe below) before decorating. I hope these pumpkin-y goodies become one of your new fall favorites. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)