Why not eat dessert first? When you know that the most fabulous part of a meal just might be the amazing gourmet dessert scheduled to finish up the courses with a bang, it’s tempting to cut to the chase and just eat the dessert.
There are restaurants which specialize in certain types of desserts, whether they are classic cakes, pies, cobblers, and down home cooking; or whether they inspire and lift the mind to new heights with spires of chocolate or burnt sugar, pastries that want to float, and decadent mousses with plump, ripened raspberries that. You can learn to recreate your favorite types of gourmet desserts in your own home, without dealing with traffic, long waits for tables, and hefty prices. All it takes is practice.

Consider ganache, for instance. It’s a delicious word, and because it sounds so fancy you might think it’s out of your league. The secret is out, however. Ganache has two ingredients: cream and chocolate. You boil the cream and pour it over the chocolate pieces until the chocolate melts, then cool the ganache for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. But when you pour this ganache over a rich, smooth chocolate layered cake or shape it into velvety truffles and serve it in a classy restaurant, it becomes impossibly epicurean. And yet, with a little care, you can make it in your very own kitchen in just a few minutes.

Something a little more difficult to learn how to cook – but still perfectly achievable – is creme brulee. A soft and creamy custard made of egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cream, with a crunchy crust of broiled brown sugar on top, it is sinfully good when paired with fresh, sweet berries in season. There are a variety of recipes for creme brulee, but the best kind is attained by cooking the ramekins of custard in a bain marie, or water bath, with a tent of foil over the top to trap the steam. You might have to try it a few times to get it just right, but once you have it, your dinner parties will be all the rage. It’s also a great excuse to buy a small propane torch. How can you lose?

The key to cooking a sensational gourmet dessert is knowing a little bit about cooking methods, the unique quirks of your stove and oven, and how the ingredients interact with each other. In that wonderful chemical process that takes disparate materials and combines them together, adding heat or cold, that is cooking, practice definitely makes perfect. It doesn’t take too much practice, however, before you can produce fine examples of connoisseur pleasing dishes to delight any palate.

Inspired Cuisine now offers gourmet dessert that are rich, creamy and even allow you to create a crispy top without a torch. (http://stores.inspiredcuisine.com/StoreFront.bok)

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