Tis the season….. for outrageous sweet desserts! MyNorth.com asked three top chefs from Northern Michigan restaurants to tell us about their favorite holiday desserts and to share their recipes.
David Beier, Chef and owner of the Walloon Lake Inn:
“My father was the source of my culinary interests. One of the holiday food traditions that I remember is his plum pudding dessert. He usually made it around Thanksgiving. The pudding was always made in #1 coffee tins (I remember Chock Full of Nuts was the brand.) He would put it in the back of the icebox with wax paper and tie it down with twine. Every time you opened the icebox, you would see that "soldier" in the back waiting and maturing (and taunting us!) until it was time to do his duty and be served. We always came up north just after Christmas and had our Plum Pudding for New Year’s Eve. Dousing the pudding with cognac and lighting it was a great way to end the year as well as begin the New Year. The warm blue flame was mesmerizing.”
Matthew Bugera, Chef and Owner of the New York Restaurant in Harbor Springs:
“My favorite Christmas desert is fruitcake. My grandmother used to make it. Everyone pooh-poohed it, but I would hoard it all! I ate fruitcake for breakfast lunch and dinner until it was all gone during the holiday season! I don’t’ know if it was the rum that she put in it or what….. and even to this day, I still like fruitcake. It was just your basic fruitcake with dates, fruit, nuts and all that stuff you put in fruitcake. And there was definitely rum in it! I was probably ten years old. She would make it around Thanksgiving, and would give it to us at that time. You were supposed to age it until Christmas time. Some of it made it to Christmas, but mine would pretty much be eaten immediately. Then I’d work my way through the rest of the family’s fruitcake!
Myles Anton, Executive Chef of Stella Trattoria in Traverse City:
“It’s a really weird dessert. It’s from one region in Italy called “Puglia.” It’s called “Apostles Fingers’” and it’s considered to be a traditional Italian dessert. I don’t know why they call it this! It’s made with eggs, but they’re more like simple thin pancakes: eggs, flour, sugar and a little bit of milk. The thinner the pancake, the better. They’re filled with ricotta cheese, cocoa and sometimes they’re drizzled with honey. When it’s presented, it’s rolled up like a finger, with a whole almond at the end to represent a fingernail.