Recipes for a Stunning Dessert Buffet: Our Most-Requested Desserts

desserts, dessert buffet, World Peace Ceramics
Desserts of all sorts are served on plates made by Jim Shrosbree and Mara Winningham.

A FEW MONTHS AGO WE hosted a fund-raiser that featured a spread of extraordinary desserts, all served on beautiful pottery by Jim Shrosbree and Mara Winningham. Choosing the assortment of sweets was an exercise in finding complementary tastes and visuals. If the requests for recipes were any indication of our success in getting it right, then we hit the mark! We’ve included some of the most requested recipes for you.

Pine Nut Cookies
(makes 3 dozen)
2 cups pine nuts, toasted
2-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, unsalted, room
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Using a food processor, pulse the toasted pine nuts with one cup flour till finely ground. Add remaining flour and salt, and pulse to blend.

In another bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix till combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined (don’t overmix). Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Preheat oven to 350° and position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.

Using your palms, roll heaping teaspoons of dough into 1 to 1-1/2-inch balls. Arrange one inch apart on sheets. Bake until golden at the edges, about 20 minutes, swapping positions of the sheets halfway through.

Transfer cookies on their parchment to racks and let cool about 5 minutes till they have firmed up. Gently roll in confectioner’s sugar to coat. Cool on racks.

Iranian Pistachio Turnovers
(makes about 20)
Also called sanbusehs. This recipe comes from Silk Road Cooking, by Najmieh Batmanglij.

dough: 1 package frozen puff pastry,
    thawed for 1 hour before use

1 cup unsalted pistachios, ground
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. ground cardamon
1 T. cooking rose water

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, ground

To prepare the filling, mix the ground pistachios and sugar, and toast in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till the sugar is lightly carmelized. Add the cardamon and rosewater, mix well, and set aside to cool.

On a cool, floured surface, roll the dough out very thin (about 1/8 inch).

Cut 3-inch circles, using a cookie cutter or a glass dipped into flour. Fill each circle with a teaspoon of the filling, fold the circles in half, and seal by crimping with a fork around the outer edge.

Heat oven to 350°.

Carefully transfer the turnovers onto a baking sheet lined in parchment. Do not crowd. Bake for 20-25 minutes till golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Roll in powdered sugar and sprinkle with ground pistachios (press down a bit  so they stick).

Chocolate Decadence Pie
for the crust:
1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie
   crumbs, finely ground
1 T. sugar
5 T. melted butter
Mix and press into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with:
2 oz. best quality bittersweet chocolate
   (60% cocoa), finely chopped

Let stand a couple of minutes, then gently spread warm chocolate with spatula. Chill crust for 30 minutes.

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk

Whisk above ingredients together in a heavy saucepan until smooth paste forms. Then whisk in:

1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put on medium heat and stir constantly  until mixture begins to thicken and bubble,  about 5 minutes.  Add:

4 oz. best quality bittersweet choco-
   late (60% cocoa), finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour pudding into crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat until stiff, and spread on pie.