It’s holiday time, which means multiple course spreads followed by decadent desserts. While a simple red or white wine is normally easy to pair with main course entrées such as turkey or honey roasted ham, the final course of the night is frequently forgotten in planning an appropriate wine. Here, we have chosen three different desserts, from savory to fruity to chocolate, and interviewed local experts to help define you as “the hostess with the mostest!”
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium pan, whisk together egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, continuously stirring 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat; whisk in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl; place in refrigerator until cool. With a mixer, beat remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff walls form. Stir 1/3 of whipped cream into cooled custard mixture, then gently fold in remaining ingredients. Spoon into serving dishes; cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Ballantine Old Vines Zinfandel, 2012, $19.99
“For a bittersweet mousse such as this, I would suggest a big, juicy California Zinfandel. Something with a little age on it so the dark fruit character of the wine will complement the darker, drier flavor of the chocolate.” — Doug Aylard, owner of Vino Garage
Mixed Berry Turnovers
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberry jam (brand of choice)
1 (14.1-ounce) package ready-to-unroll refrigerated pie crust
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, blackberries and jam. Unroll the pie crust and trim the edges to form two 8-inch squares Cut each square in quarters to form eight 4-inch squares. Place on the prepared pan. Spoon a line of berry filling (1/4 cup) on one side of a square, leaving a 1/2-inch rim. Brush the rim with the beaten egg. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and form a rectangle. Pinch the edges together and seal with a fork. Repeat with the remaining squares and filling. Cut three slits in the top of each pie. Brush the top of each pie with the egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes (some berry filling may bubble out). Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Mercer House Estate Winery “Signature Series” Baccati, 2014, $60 for 375 ml bottle
“Best served at 64 degrees, our ʻSignature Seriesʼ Baccati is the ideal dessert wine to pair with Mixed Berry Turnovers. The 2014 Baccati is a complex blend of mixed berries, which include fresh blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and raspberry finished with mango. Berries alone provide the balanced acids that make Baccati so incredibly sharp, as the mango creates the softer, round mouth feel by taming the tartness. Opulent by nature, the flamboyant bouquet and jammy finish of Baccati is the ideal complement to this dessert dish.” — Shannon Mercer, owner and vintner of Mercer House Estate Winery.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups bananas, chopped
Cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla extract, pineapple, 1 cup pecans and bananas. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove cake from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers, on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Innocent Bystander Moscato Rosé, 2013, $11 for 375 ml bottle
“Don’t count out dessert wines! This refreshing moscato is easy to drink and the perfect accompaniment to Hummingbird Cake. It’s sweet, without being too sweet. Plus, a hint of spice and notes of strawberry help to offset the richness of this cake.” — Ricky Mollohan, owner of Cellar on Greene.