When our first store opened in downtown Seattle, it was something new. Cooks found a surprising selection of global cookware and tools offered by no one else, plus helpful, knowledgeable employees who were cooks too. A lot has changed since then—we now have over 130 stores and the largest cooking class program in the country. But our passion is the same: to give you the tools to bring people together around the table, no matter where you are on your culinary journey. We’ve always believed that great cooking is all about passion and technique…but a fabulous recipe goes a long way! In that spirit, we’re sharing 3 of our favorite dessert recipes from our last 45 years. Enjoy!
Silky Chocolate Soufflé
Yield: 8 (6-ounce) soufflés
The soufflé batter can be piped into the dishes up to 24 hours before baking. Set them on a baking sheet, wrap with plastic so that the chocolate does not absorb flavors, and refrigerate. Unwrap and transfer the sheet of soufflés directly to the oven for baking.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing soufflé dishes
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for dusting soufflé dishes
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 large egg white
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°F and position oven rack in the bottom third. Generously butter the soufflé dishes, including the rims. Dust the soufflé dishes with sugar and tap out the excess.
To melt chocolate: Pour water in the bottom of a double boiler to reach 2 inches up the sides and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Place the chocolate in a large metal bowl. Turn the heat off and set the chocolate over the steaming water. Stir occasionally with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Leave over the warm water until needed.
To prepare soufflé base: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add flour, and whisk to combine. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook until thickened to the consistency of thin pudding, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Add the sauce to the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Cover and keep warm.
To whip egg whites: Add 4 egg whites to a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire attachment, whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add granulated sugar and beat until firm peaks form. With a spatula, gently stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate sauce to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites just until there are no more streaks of whites.
Fill the dishes and bake: Transfer the soufflé batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe the batter into each soufflé dish, filling it up to 1/4 inch below the rim. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet. Bake until the soufflés are set and firm to the touch in the center, 14 to 18 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Note: You can bake this recipe in a 6-cup soufflé dish, increasing the baking time to 32 to 38 minutes.
Butterscotch Pot de Crème
Yield: 6 (4-ounce) servings
The pots are cooked in a hot water bath to insulate the custard from the direct heat of the oven and keep the eggs from cooking too fast. This ensures a smooth, velvety texture and even cooking.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 325°F and position rack in the center. Place ramekins in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. When melted, add sugar, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove the saucepan from the stove and whisk in the salt and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup with a spout. Using a spoon, remove any bubbles that may have accumulated on the top to ensure you have a smooth surface.
Pour the custard into 4-ounce ramekins, filling the ramekins to the top. Place the ramekins into a baking dish, large enough to comfortably hold them with at least an inch between ramekins for proper baking.
Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the baking dish with a large piece of aluminum foil. Cook the custard until it wobbles when gently shaken, about 1 hour. If the mixture appears to not be set, continue to bake custards in the oven, checking every 5 minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to set.
To serve: Place each ramekin onto a dessert plate, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve chilled.
Pear and Almond Tart
Yield: 6 servings, 1 (10-inch) tart
Also known as frangipane tart, this rich French pastry, filled with ground almonds and rum, puffs up and turns golden brown around the poached pears during baking. Glaze the tart with an apricot and rum mixture to enhance the flavors.
- Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing tart pan
- Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 recipe Flaky Pie Dough (recipe follows)
- 2 cups sweet white wine
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 3 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
Preheat oven to 375°F and position oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.
To prepare tart crust: Generously flour a work surface and place chilled dough disk on the flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a circle, turning and flipping the dough using a bench scraper, until the circle measures 13 inches in diameter. Starting at one edge, roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared pan, being careful not to stretch out the dough. Bring the dough up the sides of the pan and trim any excess dough. Transfer to the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
To poach pears: To a large saucepan, add all ingredients except the pears. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pears, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool pears in the poaching liquid.
To make the frangipane: To the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the almond meal, rum, egg, almond extract, and flour and beat until smooth. Spread frangipane evenly into a chilled tart shell and refrigerate while preparing pears.
Remove cooled pears from poaching liquid. Place each half, cut side down, on a cutting board and cut crosswise into thin slices. Arrange sliced pear halves over the frangipane, stem end toward the center, leaving a space between each half. Slightly fan pear slices, elongating each half. Bake the tart until the shell is golden brown and the frangipane is puffed and brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
To make the glaze: While the tart is baking, melt apricot jam and rum in a small saucepan set over medium heat; whisk to combine.
To serve: Brush the glaze over the baked tart and cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.