Caren McSherry Talks Desserts

McSherry shares three decadent dessert recipes, plus some tips and tricks you won’t find in her book ?

Caren McSherry, owner of the Gourmet Warehouse, shares recipes from her new cookbook In a Pinch

Caren McSherry’s new cookbook, In a Pinch: Effortless Cooking 
for Today’s Gourmet (Whitecap, 2011), is colourful, straightforward and often funny – much like the Vancouver-based author herself

Here McSherry shares three decadent dessert recipes, plus some tips and tricks you won’t find in her book. 

In Canada’s food scene, Caren McSherry is well-rounded and diverse, with her fingers literally in the pots of various ventures. Classically trained at Cordon Bleu in London, England, and at The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, McSherry owns the country’s longest-running private cooking school (Caren’s Cooking School), is a regular contributor to magazines and TV 
programs, and she’s the owner of every foodie’s go-to in Vancouver: Gourmet Warehouse. 

“Remember when everyone was told salt was the enemy?” McSherry asks? “And now people have a minimum of four in their kitchen. Sugar comes in and out of fashion too, and right now it’s in limbo.”

But that doesn’t deter McSherry, who loves how restaurants are now offering tapas-sized sweets for dessert, rather than one big serving. “I want to taste four different ones, a spoon of each. The trend is smaller desserts with big flavour.” 

Three Desserts from McSherry’s In a Pinch Cookbook

One such dessert from In a Pinch is the classic Zabaglione, and McSherry insists that tools like a copper pot and good whisk are essential. “I like the shape of Best whisk’s ergonomic handle – easier on the wrist and hand – ideal for women. I’ve been using it for 20 years.”

An unlined copper bowl is a classic vessel for the constant beating that’s required. “These bowls were used for table service at restaurants in Italy – and in classic Italian cooking they use the halved egg shell as a measure for the Marsala and sugar, too.”

McSherry’s Fresh Banana Ice Cream is her favourite dessert in the cookbook. “I always keep overripe bananas in my freezer, peeled and chopped,” she says. “That way if company pops over you have an easy dessert. You can make it fat or thin depending on whether you use milk or cream.” 

Tools best suited for this recipe? The silicone spatula and a food processor. (Don’t try to make this recipe without the latter.) 

McSherry’s Hazelnut Chocolate Pots recipe calls for hazelnut chocolate, which the Gourmet Warehouse carries; however, she suggests semi-sweet “in a pinch.”

Just remember, she notes, “it’s good and fast to make, but has to set for six to eight hours.”

Recipes and excerpts from In a Pinch by Caren McSherry (Whitecap Books, 2011).

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.