Chocolate mousse is the ultimate dessert for any chocolate lover. We like to make ours using bittersweet chocolate, which is high in pure chocolate (at least 35 percent cocoa solids) and makes for a deep chocolate flavor. (Plus, it's also a great eating chocolate.) If you prefer semisweet chocolate, which has more sugar and fewer cocoa solids than bittersweet, know that it can often be substituted in recipes without significantly affecting the flavor or texture.
Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding
Rediscover homemade pudding's comforting simplicity, then see how versatile it can be. Choose one or the other, or make them both! Use this basic recipe to create the following flavor variations and desserts: Chai-Cinnamon Pudding, Mocha-Chip Pudding, Rum-Raisin Pudding, Peanut-Butter Chocolate Parfaits, Boston Cream Pie, and Raspberry Napoleons.
This dessert couldn't be simpler. Unlike many custards, it doesn't require a hot-water bath. Shallow gratin dishes, shown here, allow the rhubarb to spread out and cook evenly. You can also use 4-inch ramekins (2 inches deep). Simply give the rhubarb a stir halfway through step 1.
Lime-Coconut Cream-Pie Jars
These individual cream "pies" get their silkiness from coconut milk and a zesty lift from limes. They're also fun to make, especially if you have kids who love spooning stuff into containers. Bake the graham-cracker crust and divide it into mini jars, add a tier of custard and another of whipped cream, and finish with toasted coconut flakes and more zest.
One of Martha Stewart's favorites, creme brulee's seductive secret lies in the contrast between the brittle caramelized topping and the smooth, creamy custard beneath. French for "burnt cream," creme brulee is best served immediately after caramelizing its sweet, sugary surface.
One of the most popular British puddings is spotted dick. The latter half of the phrase was a nineteenth-century British word for plain pudding; the spots are typically raisins, but we used dried currants. (The dessert also goes by spotted dog.) In this recipe, the time-honored suet (beef fat) is swapped for butter. Vanilla-specked creme anglaise is on top.
Classic Bread Pudding
Classic bread pudding is just how you remember it: perfumed with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, and dotted with raisins.
Raspberry Mousse Pie
Creamy, airy mousse is pretty in pink and perfect for Mother's Day, but you can rely on it all season long. The dessert takes just 30 minutes to put together (and 2 hours to chill), and is absolutely foolproof.