These brioche are swirled up with pale green pepita cream, like a frangipane made from the vivid-tasting pumpkin seeds that star in Mexican desserts. Just a little sweet, but plenty rich with butter, more pepitas sprinkled on the top make these beautiful and delicious.
The Aztecs have been making these crunchy, sweet honey cakes for many centuries with puffed amaranth, a super-nutritious grain that's native to the Americas. For special occasions, they included human blood; we didn't, but our Alegrías are chock full of other traditional ingredients, like pepitas, peanuts, and raisins.
This wonderful cake is simple and elegant- maybe even a little sexy, in our opinion. The moist, tender buttermilk cake is heightened with the rich flavor of toasted sesame oil, and the black sesame seeds that are scattered throughout make a dramatic contrast against the cream-colored crumb.
8-inch cake, $20, serves 8.
This tart has a crisp, chocolate tart shell lined with sweet-tart dried cherries. The dark amber caramel filling is a little like pecan pie with WAY more flavor, and the whole thing is topped with abstract shards of bittersweet Callebaut chocolate.
3" tarts, $3 each 9" tarts, $18
There's no flour in this cake, which is slim and sleekly covered with satiny chocolate ganache. Vermont made Callebaut chocolate gives this sophisticated dessert its wonderful flavor. This one is topped with handmade chocolate flowers, available on request.
6" cake: $20, 8" cake: $32, 10" cake: $40
Petit Fours are just the thing for a tea party, which is what I think of as I make them. They might look like dipped confections, but they're tiny almond cakes, two layers that are filled and glazed with silky bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped with a handmade decoration. They appear occasionally at the Farmer's Market, but are always available for special order.
This cake is luscious. The extremely moist crumb is flavored with lemon zest and my apple-enhancer of choice, Myers Rum. The top and interior are speckled with tart Empire apples from Champlain Orchards, after they've gotten a tumble in cinnamon sugar. This one will definitely star at the farmer's market, and in the rotation for the Sweet Thursdays Tea Cake Club.
10" Cake $25, serves 10-12 people
It's time to rethink danishes. Ours are light, flaky, buttery, and aromatic with orange zest and cardamon; a world away from the commercial variety that haunts vending machines and continental breakfasts. This particular danish surrounds a moist almond filling, and a twirl of poached pear slices. A star in the breakfast treats box on Sweet Thursdays!
A moist plum compote, with haunting flavors of anise, rum, and orange blossom water, surrounded by a soft, almondy tart dough. This marvel of a pastry hails from the Basque region of France and Spain. Traditionally, a Gateau Basque is filled with a cherry compote or vanilla pastry cream, but the plum filling is fitting too- nearby Agen is famed for the quality of its prune plums.
A spiral of buttery brioche dough, swirled up with vanilla pastry cream and chunks of bittersweet chocolate. Not-too-sweet, a light layer of turbinado sugar adds a bit of sparkle and crunch.