Dessert

Orange-Date Cake

Orange-Date Cake

My mother wasn't a great cook. She was competent enough, but not very creative. This is one of a handful of recipes I copied from her card file before I first left the states. I have no idea where this originated. It's an unusual recipe, and one I haven't seen replicated in the varied bakery scene in contemporary Portland. Perhaps that's because of the unusual preparation method. You really do need to use a meat grinder to get the orange and dates chopped and combined with the right consistency.

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

This has been one of my go-to desserts for many years. It can be made the night before needed, and unless you get fancy with the crust when making a larger portion, it doesn't take much time to prepare. The recipe as shown is good for intimate dinners. If you need to make enough for a larger group, double the recipe and make a base of ground graham crackers or biscotti.

Black Bean Dessert

Black Bean Dessert

“Black beans for dessert?” I hear you asking incredulously. Yes, as I've mentioned before, Thais don't follow the same “rules” about what is sweet and what is savory that westerners do, although they can be just as rigid about their ideas. I've never seen black beans used in a Thai main course, but this dessert dish is quite common. Black beans with sweet coconut milk The old Thai-language recipe I used as a starting point for this dish didn't have taro in it, but I don't think I've every been served this dessert without it, so I added taro to the mix.

Black Rice Pudding

Black Rice Pudding

Black rice pudding is a relatively common dessert in Thailand as well as Indonesia. It is a very warming dish, so it is usually more easily found in the cool season. The naturally sweet taste of the rice is why you find it used in desserts rather than served with main courses. Black rice has a well deserved reputation for taking forever to cook, since it's a more 'natural' grain with a strong husk.

Custard Filled Pumpkin

Custard Filled Pumpkin

This relatively simple recipe nonetheless provides an interesting "wow" factor. It's a quite simple idea, and I only recently found out that the great American traditional pumpkin pie is thought to have originated when the early colonists cut the top off a pumpkin (provided, like corn, by the Native Americans) and filled it with milk, spices and honey, then baked it in the coals of a dying fire. Custard Filled Pumpkin The difficulty with this recipe is, of course, finding a pot large enough to fit your pumpkin, or a pumpkin small enough to fit in your pot!