What desserts would wine makers serve with the sweet wines they produce? Anything from cakes and tarts to ice cream and fruit, depending upon the character of the wine.
Dessert-wine specialist Andrew Quady recommends that the wine be at least as sweet as the dessert it is to accompany, or perhaps a little sweeter.
"As chefs become more and more familiar with these wines, we're going to see lots of interesting pairing," he said.
One example is a chocolate cake flavored with dried ground ancho chile created around Quady's Orange Muscat wine, Essensia. The cake, which is brushed with a wine glaze and served with a wine sauce, was created by Susan Andrews, pastry chef at the Fourth Street Grill in Berkeley, and is a popular dessert at that restaurant.
The recipe for a plainer cake made with Essensia appeared in the Good Cook's Almanac, a booklet formerly issued monthly by Bon Appetit, a gourmet grocery with outlets in San Francisco, Tiburon and Danville, Calif.
During the harvest season, Joseph Phelps Vineyards hosts nightly dinners for employees. Michelle Mutrux, who hires on as guest chef, has created a dessert of pears poached in Phelps' Sheurebe wine and served with two sauces. One sauce is a zabaglione made with the wine. The other is a caramel sauce flavored and colored with blood orange juice.
Denise Vouri of Phelps contributed an apple compote to serve over ice cream. In this recipe, the wine-flavored liquid in which the apples are poached is cooked with currant jelly and cinnamon sticks into a syrup that is spooned over the apples.
A delicate cassata with strawberry sauce is a Catalonian dish, made distinctive by the addition of a ground praline mixture that includes three types of nuts. There is no wine in the cassata. Instead, it was designed to accompany a sweet wine served at a Christian Brothers luncheon. In charge of the menu for that event were chefs Lluis Cruanyas and Joan Figueras of the restaurant Eldorado Petit in Barcelona, Spain.
A kiwi tart recipe is featured in a brochure published by the Robert Mondavi Winery to promote its sweet Muscat wine. Mondavi has also issued a booklet that includes a handful of other dessert recipes that suit the wine. Among them are a pear flan, meringue tart and creme caramel.
The final recipe is an all-purpose sauce from Angelo Papagni. The key ingredient is Papagni's 9-year-old fortified Muscat wine, which is simmered with honey, butter, lemon juice and nutmeg and served over desserts such as ice cream and frozen yogurt.
CHOCOLATE-ORANGE-ANCHO CHILE CAKE
1/2 pound butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
Grated zest of 3 oranges
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
Fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Chocolate Syrup
1 tablespoon ground dried ancho chile
Cream butter at high speed of electric mixer. Add sugar gradually and beat until light. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Turn mixer to lowest speed. Add flour gradually. Continue to beat until thoroughly incorporated.
Divide batter in half, leaving half in mixer. To batter remaining in mixer, add orange zest, juice and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Turn into buttered 10-inch bundt pan that has been sprinkled with bread crumbs.
Return remaining batter to mixer. Slowly beat in Chocolate Syrup, remaining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and ancho chile. Spread in even layer on top of first mixture in bundt pan. Cover pan loosely with foil. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 40 minutes longer or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool pan on rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Brush all over with Essensia Glaze until all glaze has been incorporated. Serve cake at room temperature with Essensia Sauce. Makes 10 servings.
1 1/4 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
Place 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup butter, honey and chocolates in top of double boiler. Heat very gently over simmering water until mixture blends together and is silky.
Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and remaining 1/2 cup water. Set aside 1/2 cup syrup for cake. Reserve remainder for another use.
Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Essensia wine
Combine orange and lemon juices and sugar in small saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in wine.
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons Essensia wine
Combine sugar, cornstarch, orange and lemon juices and zest in small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to full boil. Reduce heat and cook 1 minute longer, until sauce thickens. Do not overcook or sauce will be bitter. Remove from heat and stir in wine. Strain and cool. Serve at room temperature.
CASSATA WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE
3/4 cup sugar