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IITHACA, NY, November 20, 2023 — Cornell University’s renowned food magazine, Crème de Cornell, has once again captivated the culinary world with its latest publication. In the magazine’s Fall 2023 issue, Vol. XXII, Matthew Merril presents a fascinating exploration of dessert sauces in his article ‘Dessert 101: Exploring the World of Sauces’, delving into the sweet symphony of bittersweet, fruit, and custard-based sauces.

In this article, Matthew provides examples that illustrate how these sauces can elevate simple desserts into gourmet experiences, illustrated with photos of deserts that he prepared for the publication.

The Essence of Dessert Sauces

Merril begins by highlighting the often-underestimated role of sauces in desserts. He humorously points out how unappealing desserts can be without their saucy counterparts – a brownie sundae without its fixings, or an apple strudel sans caramel, for instance. The article delves into the world of dessert sauces, breaking down their complexities and introducing readers to the finer points of sauce-making.

A Trio of Sauce Types

Merril focuses on three primary types of sauces: Bittersweet, Fruit, and Custard-based, offering insights into each category.

Bittersweet Sauces: A Dance of Richness and Complexity

Merril navigates the rich and complex world of caramel and dulce de leche. He articulates the art of creating caramel, a classic sauce born from the simple alchemy of sugar, cream, and butter. Merril further enhances this staple by introducing a method of whipping cooled caramel, transforming it into a light, fluffy texture that adds a new dimension to desserts. Dulce de leche, with its Latin American roots, is presented as a contrasting yet equally intriguing sauce. Made from sweetened condensed milk, it offers a unique toffee-like flavor stemming from the Maillard reaction, showcasing the diverse nature of bittersweet sauces.

Fruit Sauces: The Sweet Symphony of Nature

In the realm of fruit sauces, Merril sheds light on the versatility of compote, curd, and ganache. Compote, a harmonious blend of berries, sugar, water, and lemon juice, is lauded for its simplicity and universal appeal. Curd, with its bright, zesty flavors, brings a refreshing twist to the category. He further dives into the elegance of ganache, a sauce that marries fruit with the luxurious texture of chocolate and cream, demonstrating how fruit sauces can range from the simplistic to the sophisticated.

Custard-Based Sauces: Silky Elegance

The custard-based sauces section is a showcase of Coulis and Crème Anglaise. Coulis, often an unsung hero, is recognized for its smooth, refined texture derived from strained cooked fruits, ideal for fine-dining presentations. Crème Anglaise, on the other hand, is celebrated for its perfect balance and richness. Merril details its composition of cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, emphasizing its dual role as both a standalone sauce and a foundational element for ice cream, highlighting the multifaceted nature of custard-based sauces.

Matthew encourages readers to explore the vast and varied landscape of dessert sauces, each category offering a unique spectrum of flavors and textures to enhance the art of dessert making.

“Dessert 101: Exploring the World of Sauces” is more than just a guide; it’s an invitation to experiment and explore. Merril encourages readers to use these sauces as a starting point for their own culinary creativity, adapting and modifying to develop unique styles in the kitchen. His article is a delightful read for anyone passionate about baking and dessert-making, offering both knowledge and inspiration.

For more intriguing articles like this, visit the Crème de Cornell website, where each semester brings new culinary stories and discoveries from the Cornell community.

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