Impressive desserts for the holidays

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teresa Jackson’s Domestic Goddess Cake helps add a unique twist to a traditional holiday pie.

By Janet Tharpe
American Hometown Media

The main course may make a meal, but let’s be honest — isn’t it dessert you’re really waiting for? Well, you’re not alone. Sweet tooths of the world unite, and enjoy this sweetest of all seasons. And while you’re at it, why not make a celebratory splash of your own by serving up holiday sweets as pretty as they are delicious?

Adding a unique spin to traditional holiday pie is Florida’s own sweetie, Marcia Paholski. This resident of The Villages has turned an intimidating French pastry into a home cook’s dream with her Peach and Almond Galette. Resembling a free-form pie, a galette is simply a large, filled pastry.

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Inspired by a newspaper article, Marcia gathered a collection of simple ingredients — sugar, flour, butter, eggs and almonds — combined them with her favorite fruit, and then wrapped it all in an embrace of prepared pie crust from the refrigerator case. The result is part pie, part cobbler and entirely beautiful.

I’ve enjoyed making Marcia’s recipe on several occasions, and each time the finished product reminds me of a flower blossom, the bright fruit shining from within the flower’s center. This is a terrific recipe to serve year-round, but I’m especially looking forward to including it on my holiday dessert table this year for a delightful splash of color.

Never failing to make a splash in her own right is home cook and food blogger Melissa Sperka. Lately I have found myself daydreaming about her super pretty White Choco-Cheesecake Triple Berry Pudding Cups. These individual servings of creamy comfort are so impressive to look at that you’d never guess how easy they are to make.

“This dessert is a real conversation starter,” Melissa says. “People are always amazed that egg roll wrappers can be used for anything other than, well, egg rolls.”

That’s right — egg roll wrappers! Melissa forms the “cup” part of her dessert by molding simple egg roll wrappers into muffin tins and baking until crisp. The result is a perfectly golden, edible bowl. (Want to make them bite-sized? Melissa suggests using wonton wrappers instead.)

Once they have cooled, paint the inside of your homemade cups with melted white chocolate and fill with Melissa’s decadent cheesecake and berry pudding. As with any great foundation recipe, this is a fun one to really get creative with. Combine your favorite flavors to make your own, unique fillings. Orange and chocolate? Apple pie filling? Try it and let us know what you think.

“I just love any dish that allows you and your guests to eat the bowl,” Melissa says.

Indulgence is also at the core of Teresa Jackson’s beautiful Domestic Goddess Cake. I just can’t think of this cake without smiling. It has got to be one of the prettiest cakes we have ever come across, and the flavors are out of this world.

“This lovely dessert combines two of my favorite flavors — butter pecan and Bananas Foster,” Teresa explains. “If you are a domestic goddess like me, then you are a little bit ‘bananas,’ and your family is a little bit ‘nuts,’ so it never hurts to butter up the goddess.”

Now that’s my kind of cook. And this is my kind of dessert, too. The cake begins with a simple store-bought cake mix, but then begins a mighty transformation. The cake itself is flavored with melted butter pecan ice cream. It is then layered with both cream cheese and Bananas Foster fillings, and topped off with homemade caramel icing.

“This is best served immediately, and should be refrigerated if not eaten right away, but I don’t think that will be a problem,” Teresa says of her decadent confection. “So prop your fuzzy-slippered goddess feet up and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a big glass of milk.”

Happy baking to all, and to all a sweet bite!