Mod Chef: Just Desserts

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It took us a few episodes to get hooked to the drama and desserts replete in Top Chef: Just Desserts, but now that we’re avid watchers every Wednesday night, we can’t get pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and his gang of confectionery savants out of our minds! Like a favorite pair of heels, a sweet and satisfying dessert can brighten anyone’s day. I asked Fashion Writers Julie, Sarah, and Angela to share their signature autumnal treats, along with a few of matching products to sweeten the deal. Check out their recipes and outfit pairings after the jump, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Sarah’s Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Butterscotch Chips and Pecans
From More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen

½ cup all-purpose flour
â…› teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
â…“ cup butterscotch chips

Note: To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and lightly flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the chocolates, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to lukewarm, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. stir in half of the pecans and half of the butterscotch chips evenly over the brownie batter.
  5. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Allow to cool to room temperature or overnight before cutting and serving.

BROWNIE POINTS – Triple Latte Scarf, Chocoholic Dress, Love of the Land Bag, Freed From Amber Wedge

Julie’s Chocolate-Covered Grapes
From Dessert Express: 100 Sweet Treats You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

1 pound seedless grapes
½ pound best-quality bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate, coarsely chopped

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Use a scissor to snip the grapes into small bunches. Put them in the freezer while the chocolate melts.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a bare simmer. Put the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl big enough to rest on top of the saucepan and set it over the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until most of the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.
  3. Hold a bunch of grapes by the stem over the bowl of chocolate. Use a spoon to spoon chocolate over the grapes to coat them completely, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining grapes. Freeze for 10 minutes and serve, or refrigerate for up to one day before serving.

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS РA Sprinkle of Shine Scarf in Lavender, S̩millon Flat, Dance Committee Dress, Two Tickets to Paradise Dress

Angela’s Apple Chai Tart

2 cups flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cold, cubed butter
1 beaten egg yolk
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of cold water, or as needed


1¼ cup milk
½ split vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ tablespoon honey
3 egg yolks
¼ cup brown sugar
â…› cup flour
3-4 peeled and sliced Macintosh apples

  1. Start by working on the cream filling. In an electric mixer, combine egg yolks and sugar. Soon after they are combined (if you wait too long, the mixture will become lumpy), slowly add flour while the mixer in on a medium setting. Let mix until a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, ginger, cardamom, and honey in a saucepan on medium heat. Allow to come to a boil. Be careful not to allow the milk to foam over the pot! Once boiling, remove from heat and remove bean and stick. While the egg and sugar mixture is being beaten in the mixer, add milk mixture slowly. Make sure the eggs don’t scramble. If they do, simple remove any pieces.
  3. Now, place this mixture back in the saucepan and boil again, whisking constantly. Once you have a thick mixture, it’s ready for the crust. Remove from heat and cover, allowing it to chill in the fridge. This can be kept for a few days, so no need to rush into the next step if you don’t want to!
  4. Now you can prepare the crust. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt. Mix in butter with a pastry blender or fork until pea size crumbles form. Incorporate egg yolk with a fork until a dough forms. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time to ensure a malleable dough. You can chill this in the fridge while your oven preheats to 400° F.
  5. Roll out dough and place in a greased tart pan, springform pan, or regular pie pan. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork so the crust does not puff up while baking. Pour or spoon in custard. Add sliced apples to top.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° F. Then, reduce heat to 350° F and bake for 20 more minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar on top for the last 10 minutes if you like.
  7. Remove and cool completely before serving.

TEA TIME – Strong Presence Heel, In Full Bloom Necklace, Tuileries Garden Coat, Penny-farthing Boot, Give A Little Bit Belt

8 Responses to Mod Chef: Just Desserts

  1. Jess (ModCloth) 10/14/2010 at 10:49 am #

    Ah!!! Top Chef: Just Desserts is my current favorite show! Rooting for Zac and Eric.

  2. Paulette W. 10/14/2010 at 11:06 am #

    Top Chef Just Desserts was awesome yesterday! I love all the edible dresses they made. I need to try some of these recipes 🙂

  3. Morgan_Lua 10/14/2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Oh my, an apple chair tart. This is so many things I love combined. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mini (ModCloth) 10/14/2010 at 6:26 pm #

    I had one of those brownies Sarah made — they are sooooo good! Super rich and just what you need when you have an intense chocolate craving.

  5. anna 10/14/2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Looks wonderful!

  6. Sarah 10/15/2010 at 7:01 pm #

    That apple chai tart is making me drool a bit. It sounds so good for a cold day =)

  7. Belle 10/15/2010 at 11:26 pm #

    i love the outfits along with the recipes and i can’t wait to try the apple tart!

  8. anna 10/16/2010 at 9:25 am #

    I agree, Belle…Love to see the outfits along with the desserts! Anna @

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