Chef Jeff and Marguerite in the kitchen

On April 30, 2011, Twenty people gathered at The Wine Vault in Philomath Oregon to taste dessert wines paired with complimentary desserts. Our hosts were Charlie and Marcia Gilson, proprietors of The Wine Vault and owners of Pheasant Court Winery. Chef Jeff Blackman of Vancouver Washington, assisted by his wife Marguerite, prepared four delicious desserts that were each paired with a wine. Charlie discussed the wines and Jeff explained his dessert choices and what flavor profiles work together.
Participants were welcomed to the event with a glass of sparkling Codorniu Cava (Anna) from Spain accompanied by mushroom and tapenade appetizers. Desserts and wines were served two at a time so diners could decide for themselves which pairing appealed to them most.
These are the recipes for the desserts prepared and served at the tasting, including the wines which accompanied each dessert course.

Pear tart with vanilla crème anglaise paired with Pacific Rim’s Vin de Glaciere Riesling;

Orange custard with orange caramel sauce paired with Pheasant Court Winery’s 2005 VICE Viognier Dessert Wine;

Chocolate torte with black cherry sauce paired with Carpenter Hill Vineyard’s 2006 “Tango Red”;

Blue cheese, toasted walnuts and fig truffles paired with Pheasant Court Winery’s 2006 Maréchal Foch Port

Pear Tart w/ Vanilla Crème Anglaise
Pastry Crust:
 1 ¾ cups flour
 5 Tablespoons shortening
 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
 ¼ cup sugar
 Zest of 1 lemon
 1 egg
 3 Tablespoons ice cold water
Combine flour, sugar lemon zest into food processor. Pulse 10 1-second pulses to combine. Drop the shortening into the flour mixture in small dollops. Pulse 5 1-seconds pulses to combine. Add butter and pulse another 5 1-second pulses to combine. Mixture should resemble pea-sized crumbles. Add egg and water and mix until a ball forms (another 5 1-second pulses). Turn onto plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or so to rest.
 1-2 pears, halved and cores removed and sliced into 1/8” slices
 ¼ cup sugar
 1 egg
 ¼ cup sugar
 ¾ cup ½ and ½
 ¼ cup pear flavored brandy
 ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Beat eggs and sugar until light and pale. Whisk in ½ & ½ until combined. Whisk in brandy and nutmeg.
Roll out pastry crust into a 12 inch circle. Place crust into tart pan and remove excess crust. Bake in a preheated oven to 425°F for 10-12 minutes, until crust is set and starting to turn golden.
Remove crust from oven and layer in pear slices. Top with ¼ cup of sugar. Return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until pears are beginning to caramelize.
Remove from oven, gently pour custard over top and return to cooler oven (350°F) for another 20 minutes or until custard has risen and starts to turn golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack and serve with crème Anglaise.
Crème Anglaise
 6 egg yolks
 2/3 cup sugar
 1 ½ cups hot milk
 1 Tablespoon vanilla
 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
 2 Tablespoons rum
Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy and pale yellow. Slowly stir in the hot milk to prevent the sauce from curdling.
Heat over low heat and stir slowly. So not overheat the sauce, or the eggs will scramble. Continue to stir while the sauce thickens. It will be done when it coats the wooden spoon with a light creamy layer, thick enough to hold when you draw a line across the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
Stir in the vanilla and rum. Refrigerate until needed.

Orange Custard w/ Orange Caramel Sauce
(adopted from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness’s Susan Aunty’s Orange Flan)
 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
 1 ½ cups half-and-half
 4 large eggs
 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
 Zest of 1 orange, grated
 ¼ cup orange liqueur, Contreau or Gran Marnier
 Orange Caramel Sauce (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. and remove all but the bottom oven rack.
Prepare a rectangular loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Combine the condensed milk, half-and-half, eggs, cream cheese, marmalade, and orange liqueur in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the custard mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
Put the loaf pan into a 11×13” baking dish and then put the baking dish into the preheated oven. Pour hot tap water to almost fill the baking dish. Bake until the custard is just set but still jiggles when shaken and a skewer stuck in about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean, about 1 hour. 25 minutes. Carefully lift the loaf pan out of the baking dish. Turn off the oven and let the water in the baking dish cool a little before moving it. Refrigerate the custard to chill completely.
To serve, run a knife around the edge to loosen the flan. Overturn a serving plate and remove the parchment paper. Cut the custard into slices, drizzle the orange caramel sauce over the top and serve.
Orange Caramel Sauce:
 1 Cup sugar
 ¼ cup water
 ½ cup orange juice
 2 tablespoons butter
 ¼ cup cream
Put the sugar and water into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup caramelizes to a deep brown (washing down the sides of the pan if necessary to keep sugar crystals from forming).
Remove from heat and stir in the butter. The caramel will foam up, so be careful and use a long handled wooden spoon to stir. Once the foaming has subsided, stir in the cream and then the orange juice. Return to heat and cook until reduced to the desired consistency.

Best Ever Chocolate Torte with Black Cherry Sauce
(Adapted from Hudson’s Restaurant in Vancouver Washington)
Chocolate Torte:
 12 ounces dark chocolate (I prefer Ghiradeli chocolate)
 3 ounces butter (6 Tablespoons)
 1 ounce brandy
 1 ounce espresso
 4 eggs
 2/3 cup sugar
 2/3 cup cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9” cake pan by lightly buttering it, placing a circle of parchment on the bottom and then dusting the sides with flour and removing the excess.
Place the chocolate, brandy, butter and espresso into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes, stir and heat again on 50% power. Stir again until combined. Heat again if needed. Let cool.
Whip the eggs and sugar until light and cream, about 10 minutes.
Whip the cream into stiff peaks.
Add the chocolate mixture slowly to the eggs and stir continuously until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the cream and fold in, being careful to NOT deflate the cream. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 45-50 minutes until the center is set.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Place in freezer and freeze over night. Remove from cake pan, remove parchment from the torte and then top with the ganache.
Ganache Topping:
 8 ounces dark chocolate
 1 cup heavy cream
Heat the cream and chocolate in microwave on 50% for 2 minutes. Stir to combine. Repeat if necessary. Cool slightly before topping the torte.