Defining my sweet tooth

Caramel sauce, riz au lait, caramel apples

Warning: Possible rambling post!

Many people get the wrong impression that because I love to bake, I have a big sweet tooth. Sure there are times when I have no choice but to survive on cupcakes for a day but that doesn’t mean I did not want something else, like deep fried pork belly for example.
{Confession: I have a continued addiction to the Coke soda which I am trying control because too much high-fructose corn syrup couldn’t be too good for you and any iterations of it from diet to coke-zero are simply not acceptable. I’m able to curb my craving to some degree with sparkling water so it must also be partly the fizz that I like.}
The truth is I’m very picky with the desserts I put into my mouth. I do not have the metabolism of a bird but I am not afraid of sugar either, my motto is to make every bite count so I want to be satisfied with just a few bites {although for some desserts that really have my number, I’m doomed to overeating}.
If you shove a cupcake laden with American buttercream in front of me, I could feel my throat constricting and my teeth hurting. Giant cookies have no appeal to me and when I see them bunched together in some plastic containers at our finer supermarkets, I find myself wondering if people really eat those. Why not just eat a spoonful of sugar since there really is no other taste that can be gleaned from them.

Apple Cake

So do I have a sweet tooth?

Let’s see:
I love chocolate. {who doesn’t, but I know some who don’t} My favorite form of chocolate desserts are: brownies, pots de creme, chocolate lava cake, chocolate torte (not cake), pastry cream and let’s not forget hot chocolate which I did a comparative study of when I was in Paris {yes, I’m one lady who takes her hot chocolate very seriously.}

I think I love chocolate in rich concentrated form so just a little of it goes a long, long way.

I love cream. Whipped cream, creme fraiche, mascarpone cream, vanilla pastry cream – specially when they are mixed with fruit.

I love yolk-based desserts – creme caramel, ice cream {certain flavors only but vanilla made with real vanilla beans is always a favorite) and pastry cream.

I guess by now you are all saying: “We get it, you like pastry cream.” This is probably why I don’t sell any desserts made with it, the temptation is too strong I’d probably eat the whole bowl even before it gets into the dessert.

I cannot stand doughnuts but I love beignets. Go figure. I peel the glaze off the doughnut before I eat it if I’m desperately hungry enough in the morning {not much left of the donut when you remove the glaze} but I’d eat two huge beignets from Lousiana Flair in a heartbeat.

Rice pudding

I love rice pudding. There’s this Filipino snack called champorado which would probably be the equivalent of chocolate rice pudding – and I could eat it with “gusto” any time of the day. Rice pudding is a dessert staple in Parisian restaurants and one way to test the right consistency of a good rice pudding is if you could stand a wooden spoon in it. Also the rice shouldn’t be overcooked and should still have some “bite” to it so risotto rice, like arborio, is typically the best one to use.

Of course, I’m saving the best for last.

I love tarts and apple pie, specifically my mom’s apple pie. My heart quivers when I see apple anything on the “sweets” menu. “Comfort me with apples” is definitely true when it comes to my dessert choices. Which is why I couldn’t wait to make these “apple-y” creations from Dorie Greenspan’s new book, “ Around My French Table”.


The recipe for Marie-Helene’s Apple cake can be found here. I didn’t have the right size pan which was probably why there wasn’t enough cake batter to cover the cake, but I did like the abundance of apples in this recipe.

Lotsa apples!

However, it was a simple rice pudding that had me in a tizzy for dessert for two days in a row. I’ve also  realized another aspect of dessert that tickles my fancy: hot and cold desserts in one.

Some of my favorite “hot-cold” indulgences:
Vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.
Volcano cake and vanilla ice cream
Warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream
Cold rice pudding, warm caramel sauce and caramel apples
Warm chocolate pudding with a streak of cold milk

Oh, and a pet peeve: cold apple pie.

Rice Pudding and Caramel Apples

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Around my French Table”

For the pudding
pinch of salt
1/2 cup arborio rice
4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 to 2 teasopoons vanilla extract

For the apples
2 sweet apples such as Gala, braeburn, or jonagold, peeled
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces at room temperature
1/2 cup apple cider, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

To make the rice pudding. Bring about 3 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a medium to large saucepan. Stir the rice and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse out the pan.
Put the milk and sugar in the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to medium/medium-low, and cook at a steady simmer, stirring frequently. Pay particular attention at the beginning, because he milk has a tendency to bubble up exuberantly and will bubble over even in a tall pot if you don’t catch it and stir it down in time. Stir in the vanilla extract at the end.
Notes from Dorie: watch the pudding closely in the last 10 minutes, don’t cook it until all the milk is gone or you’ll have a stiff pudding. If you are going to chill it add more vanilla extract as the cold will mute flavors.
Press a plastic wrap on the surface and let the pudding cool to room temperature.

To make the apples. Cut the apples into 1/4 inch thick slices and then cut each piece crosswise.
Sprinkle the sugar in the center of a medium nonstick skillet. Moisten with a splash of lemon juice and then turn the heat to medium high. When the sugar melts, bubbles and start to color, either tilt the pan or stir the sugar with a fork or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar is a nice amber color, pull the pan away from the heat. Stand away, because the mixture will splatter, and add the butter, swirling to mix it in.
Put the skillet on medium heat, pour in the cider, and add the salt. Bring the cider to a boil, then add the apples. cook, stirring often for 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Pour in the heavy cream and boil for 1 minute more, then turn the apples and caramel sauce into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool. The apples are ready to serve when they are just slightly warm or at room temperature. (Don’t taste them as soon as they’re cooked: the caramel is dangerously hot.)
Put a little of the caramel sauce in the bottom of each bowl or glass, top with rice pudding, and finish with apples and a little more sauce. If you’d like, add a dollop of whipped cream.

It took all my self-control not to eat the whole thing. Maybe I just like rice, maybe I just like creamy goodness and to top that with caramel apples, this sure beats any plated desserts that defy the laws of physics. What stopped me was knowing that I put 4 cups of milk in it and even if most of the liquid had evaporated or absorbed, I don’t think the calories did. 😀

What about you? What desserts define your sweet tooth?

15 thoughts on “Defining my sweet tooth

  1. I recently made Dorie’s apple cake and loved it. I love the big apple chunks. I have a sweet tooth, but I am picky when it comes to sweets. I won’t eat just anything with fat, sugar, and butter:) I can’t say no to homemade cookies though-they are my weakness!

  2. maria – I like homemade cookies because you can control how big you make them and what you put in them. Right now, one I love to make is pecan cocoa nib cookies..

  3. I don’t think I qualify for having a sweet tooth since when I crave sugar, I grab figs or other fruits and recently, my wife’s macarons and especially biscotti are within my reach which I love. I could stay away from anything vanilla and especially away from cream!! Used to be able to eat a kilo of icecream at once but now don’t even want to eat it anymore. 🙂

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  5. The cake looks tasty. I like all kinds of homemade sweets but I don’t like sickeningly sweet treats or bakeries stuck in the 1970’s with that Crisco taste. I’d have to say that desserts made with Belgian or French dark chocolate are my favorites. They’re very satisfying and a little goes a long way!

  6. here here, this is, I think the best time of year to bake such a cake. I often when to the orchards with my mum, and it was APPLE everything for a long time, tarts, etc.

    The cake sounds, and looks absolutely divine!

  7. we must nearly be twins … except for when you get to the doughnut part … even then as you say “I’m picky” I only eat doughnuts when my dad or son make them 😉

    I’m very fearful Veron that since there’s you in my universe and I’m now something like 4 blocks from Pierre Herme’s, I’m going to have to try my first macaroon. I can only hope I don’t start a passion. Eric Keyser’s is only a block, there I’ve been since we’re here.

  8. I have a sweet tooth, but I am also a lover of all things savory! I need flavor balance in my diet…

    A lovely pudding indeed!



  9. I like to read your page because you are always sharing some of the neatest recipes that I have ever read. I like to cook a little but, you make me want to cook more. I love to eat everything that I do make but, if I ate everything that you have shared with us, I would be as big as a horse. I will keep stick to picking up some of your goodies when ever I can, that way, I will not become over weight.

  10. I would say I have a medium sweet tooth 🙂 Chocolate is definitely my sweet of choice, and fruit is the hubby’s choice…although I love fruit based desserts as well. This apple cake would be a hit with us both!

    I also love yolk based desserts…have you tried tocino del cielo?

  11. Yum, I love the way you take care of your sweet tooth. I could never eat that because it would stay on my hips but, I love to read about it.

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