Life’s short…eat dessert first!

Life’s short…eat dessert first!

By Richard Oh.

Some sweets for your sweetheart… I teamed up with two chefs to bring you three treats for Valentine’s Day and be- yond. These delightful pleasures should be enjoyed not just on Valentine’s Day but anytime you want something sweet and special. First of all, I want to introduce chef Guillaurme D’Angio. Guillaurme is a sous chef at Cantinetta Luca located in Carmel. He attended a culinary school in France. The second chef is Briana Sammut of La Crème located in Pacific Grove. I featured couple of her recipes previously.

La Crème offers a full catering service for weddings and corporate events. Their location in Pacific Grove is beautiful and offers many different options for dining. They feature some great local wines and amazing coffee in the café. Tamie Aceves, owner/manager, is a Certified Wedding Planner with many years of experience managing small and large scaled events. Tamie has helped produce weddings that have appeared in several well-known magazines. She definitely has the love and passion for what she does. Please stop by her restaurant to experience the creativity of their kitchen and the enthusiasm that drives Tamie and her staff. Chef Jon Moser will delight your senses with his wonderful culinary skills. We will be having a wine paired dinner coming in March, date to be announced. I will also be pouring at Crema from time to time; so please come by for a taste or two.

First Treat:

By Chef Briana Sammut

Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding

Makes 2- 6oz Ramekins

Preheat oven to 325. Butter two 6 oz ramekins and set aside.

Cherry reduction ingredients:

2 Tbsp dry cherries

1⁄4 C red wine (Otter Cove Pinot Noir)

1 tsp light corn syrup

In a small saucepan, simmer the dried cherries in the wine and corn syrup for 10 minutes allowing a dark red syrup to develop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Pudding ingredients:

5 Tbsp whole milk

5 Tbsp heavy cream

1 ea egg

1 ea egg yolk

1 Tbsp superfine sugar

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp Grand Marnier

1 tsp orange zest

1 large croissant, cut into 1⁄2 inch cubes

2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp dried tart cherries, chopped



Whisk together all ingredients except croissant, chocolate and cherries and soak croissant cubes in it for 20 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped dried cherries. Spoon mixture into ramekins filling them to the top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until they rise and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and remove from ramekins.

Spoon the cherry reduction on a plate and place the puddings on the plate. Pour the rest of the sauce and the cherries over the bread pudding. If desired, sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

The Wine:

2010 Otter Cove Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey


Second Treat:

By Chef Guillaurme

Poached Pears with

Nougat Cream and Oatmeal


Makes 2



1 C old-fashioned oats

1⁄2 C + 2 Tbsp AP Flour 2

.25 oz butter, softened

1⁄4 tsp salt

1⁄2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp brown sugar

Splash of whiskey



Preheat oven to 275. Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add dry ingredients and bind together with a splash of whiskey. Mold dough into a rectangle shape and refriger- ate for 20 minutes. Roll to 1⁄2 inch with rolling pin and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 40 minutes. Remove and cut to desired shape while still warm. Al- low to cool.

Poached Pears

1 C red wine (Oh Pinot Noir)

2/3 C water

6 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 ea cinnamon stick

1 ea star anise

3 ea whole cloves

1⁄4 tsp cracked black pepper

2 ea pears — peeled, halved, and cores removed

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Add pears and simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and trim pears to a square or desired shape. Hold pears in poaching liquid and let cool. Using a small saucepan, reduce about 1⁄4 c of the poaching liquid to a syrup.


Nougat Cream

1⁄2 C whipping cream

1⁄4 C butter, softened

2 Tbsp chopped dried fruit such as

apricots, raisins, currants

2 Tbsp chopped toasted nuts such as

hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans

Whip cream in a stand mixer to very soft peaks and add softened butter. When semi-firm, fold in dried fruits and chopped nuts. Chill.

Remove the pears from the liquid and dry before plating. Spoon pear syrup onto plate and set the pears on top. Garnish with shaped croustillant and spoon nougat cream on top of or near. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

The Wine:

2008 Oh Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey. This is a new re- lease. It’s a single vineyard from Tondre Vineyard. You’ll get dark cherries, hints of raspberry, chocolate caramel, with a long silky finish.

A little more about Chef Guillaurme D’Angio… He has been with Cantinetta Luca for a few months now but he began cooking at a young age of 15. Guillaurme was born in the French town of Marseille and he attended Poitiers Culinary Acad- emy. After seven years, the chef received his master’s degree while working at famed French restaurant Le Bacchus. Chef Guillaurme also worked as the pas- try chef for five years at renowned French hotel Château de Marçay. The chef trained under Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most famous and accredited chefs to date who is widely known for his earning of over twenty Michelin stars. You can visit and enjoy Chef Guillaurme’s incredibly talented and delicious creations in Carmel- by-the-Sea at Cantinetta Luca.


Third Treat:

By Richard Oh


1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1⁄2 cup flour
1⁄2 cup butter soften
1 egg

1⁄4 cup dark cocoa powder

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1⁄4 cup fine granulated sugar

1/3 cup Otter Cove Syrah

1⁄2 cup chocolate chips melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1⁄2 tsp baking powder


Pre-heat oven at 350. Spray non-stick onto a 13×9 baking pan.

Add all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until integrated. Add egg, condensed milk, wine, vanilla, and butter. Whisk until mixed well. Pour into tray and bake for 15 to 18 minutes on the middle rack. Let sit to cool and cut into a heart shape. Add raspberry sauce and whipped cream to taste.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at Richard@