(Family Features) When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.
Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.
Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.
For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com
New York-Style Honey Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- fresh berries, for garnish
- fresh mint, for garnish
- To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200° F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
- With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
- Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.
Honey Devil’s Food Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups honey, divided
- 1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- milk chocolate shavings, for garnish
- To prepare cake: Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
- In large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups honey, milk, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Gradually beat in water.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until sides pull away slightly from pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
- To prepare frosting: In medium bowl, combine remaining cocoa powder, honey and vanilla, and cream. Beat until just thick and fluffy.
- To assemble: Spread frosting evenly over sides and top of one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides and top.
- Garnish with milk chocolate shavings. Pair each serving with a glass of prosecco, like Nero D’avola from Villa Pozzi.
Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com (chocolate cake with wine)
Source: Deutsch Family Wines
(Family Features) Planning ahead for family meals around the holidays can be a headache-inducing practice, but putting to work recipes that everyone can enjoy makes it a much more enjoyable process. By planning out an evening’s worth of courses, you can take care of hungry pre-dinner guests, knock a main dish out of the park and cap off everyone’s night with a spectacular dessert.
These recipes for Culinary Education Center House Fondue, Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce, and Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake will help keep everybody satisfied throughout the party, from start to finish. Find more holiday recipes at culinary.net.
Fruit and Fowl for Family
Make your meal delightfully tasty with simple-to-create Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce. This quick, easy recipe pairs succulent chicken with sweet Texas grapefruit juice, which provides a light flavor enhancement and a fat-free source of beneficial components such as vitamin A, vitamin C and lycopene. Find more recipes that take advantage of grapefruit’s quality and taste at Texasweet.com.
Pan Chicken with Grapefruit Shallots and Mint Sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup shallots
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh Texas Rio Star Grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon minced mint, divided
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 4 mint leaves
- Salt and pepper chicken.
- In large skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear until both sides are browned well, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil to pan. Add shallots and crushed red pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- In small bowl, whisk together broth, grapefruit juice, half the minced mint and flour. Add to skillet. Cook, whisking until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Return chicken to skillet with juices; reduce heat to low. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Serve chicken with sauce spooned over. Use remaining minced mint and mint leaves to garnish.
Melted and Amazing
From the presentation to the pairings, it’s easy to make an ordinary spread extraordinary this holiday season. Cheese is a good starting place for properly pairing food and wine to make flavors more vibrant. Take this year’s event to the next level with this Culinary Education Center House Fondue to bring the wow-factor to your gathering by combining three melted cheeses with light wine for an enjoyable appetizer. To find more ways to incorporate cheese into your holiday entertaining, visit rothcheese.com.
Culinary Education Center House Fondue
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Original, shredded
- 3/4 pound Grand Cru Reserve, shredded
- 1/2 pound Roth Fontina, shredded
- 16 ounces Pinot Grigio or other light- to medium-bodied white wine
- 1 loaf crusty artisan bread
- fresh apples, grapes and pears
- black and white pepper (optional)
- nutmeg (optional)
- In ceramic fondue pot, combine cheeses and wine; stir to combine. Allow mixture to soak 15-30 minutes.
- Heat mixture over low heat, approximately 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Do not allow mixture to boil. When cheese has melted completely, remove from heat and transfer to tabletop burner.
- Serve fondue with chunks of bread and fruit. If desired, provide pepper and/or nutmeg guests can sprinkle onto a plate and use for dipping bread and cheese. Pair with chilled dry Riesling and a shot of authentic Swiss kirschwasser.
A Chocolatey Finishing Touch
There’s no better way to round out a holiday party than with a delicious dessert, especially one packed with everyone’s favorite ingredient – chocolate. This candy-coated Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake can put the finishing touch on your holiday celebration. Find more scrumptious dessert recipes at nestle.com.
Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake
- 3/4 cup Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa, plus extra for coating pans
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee or water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2-3 containers (16 ounces each) prepared chocolate frosting, or about 3 3/4-5 1/2 cups homemade
- 1-2 Nestlé Crunch Candy Bars, finely chopped
- 24-36 pieces Nestlé Butterfinger Bites Candy, finely chopped
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Grease bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch-round cake pans; line with parchment or wax paper circle. Grease parchment then coat lightly with small amount of cocoa, tapping out excess.
- In large bowl, sift together flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, combine buttermilk, coffee and vanilla extract.
- In large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Beat in sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; beat again. Alternately add flour mixture in three additions with buttermilk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat again. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert each layer onto wire rack; remove parchment paper then invert right-side-up. Cool completely.
- To assemble, level cakes (trim tops off), if desired, using serrated knife. Place dollop of frosting in center of cake pedestal or serving platter. Tear four strips of parchment paper and place in square around outer 3 inches of pedestal.
- Place one cake layer over dollop of frosting. Spread about 1 cup frosting over top; sprinkle top evenly with about 1/4 cup chopped candy bar. Top with another cake layer; spread with about 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle with remaining chopped candy bar. Top with third cake layer. Cover top and sides with thin layer of frosting.
- Refrigerate 15 minutes then cover with remaining frosting. With hands, press chopped candy pieces around sides of cake. After frosting has set, gently remove strips of parchment paper.
- Cut cake into slices to serve.
Source: Texas Sweet, Roth Cheese, Nestle