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NPR Taste Test: Pastries To Sweeten Your Holiday Party

Pastries made by chef Aggie Chin.
Pastries made by chef Aggie Chin.

Pastry chef Aggie Chin showed up at Weekend Edition with a box of scrumptious bite-sized desserts. She talks with NPR's Ailsa Chang about sweet treats to prepare for your holiday party — and offers a few recipes to try yourself.

Listen to their conversation at the link above, and check out some of those recipes here.

Crunchy meringues

2 oz egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 oz sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix-ins: Nuts, cocoa nibs, espresso powder, crushed candy, coconut, etc.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F.

Combine the whites and cream of tartar.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the whites on medium speed until frothy.

Combine the sugar and salt.

Add the sugar to the whipping whites, one tablespoon at a time, making sure each addition of sugar is fully incorporated before adding more.

Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium high and whip until the meringue reaches stiff peaks.

Gently fold in whichever mix-ins you are using.

Using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, pipe meringues onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake for one and a half to two hours, depending on the size of the meringues. They should feel dry and firm and come off the parchment very easily.

Shut off the oven and leave them in to completely dry out.

Meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.

Chocolate truffles

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
(high quality, up to 68 percent, such as Callebaut, Valrhona or Guittard)
3 oz heavy cream
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 oz butter, at room temperature
cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chopped nuts, etc.

Heat the cream and corn syrup until it boils.

Pour over the chocolate and let it sit for about a minute, so the heat from the cream starts to melt the chocolate.

Gently stir the mixture, starting from the center, until the chocolate is melted and the cream is fully incorporated. The ganache should be smooth and shiny, without any lumps or grainy streaks.

Mix in the butter and stir until it is fully emulsified.

Pour into a small bowl and let it cool to set overnight. Once fully cooled, put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to firm.

Use a melon baller or teaspoon to portion the ganache. Roll into balls and then toss in coating of choice.

Cranberry compote with yogurt crémeux


4 oz butter
6 oz sugar
1 oz brown sugar
2 tsp molasses
1 oz egg white
6 oz all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.

Add the molasses and mix to incorporate.

Add the egg white.

Sift together the dry ingredients and add all at once. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Gather the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until cold and firm, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Place them on sheet trays lined with parchment.

Bake for about 12-14 min until the cookies puff up a little then fall and look totally dry.

Yogurt crémeux

3 oz heavy cream
3.5 oz white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 sheet gelatin, bloomed
5 oz Greek yogurt

Heat the cream to a boil. Add the gelatin to melt.

Pour the cream over chocolate to melt. Whisk to fully incorporate the chocolate and cream.

Add the yogurt and whisk together.

Pour into a container and chill in the refrigerated overnight.

Cranberry compote

6 oz fresh cranberries
3 oz sugar
3 oz water
orange zest
1 tbs orange juice

Combine everything in a pot and cook until all the cranberries pop.

Cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.

To assemble: Crush some of the gingersnaps. Put a spoonful of crushed cookies in the bottom of a cup, top with cranberry compote, then some of the yogurt crémeux, top with more crushed gingersnaps.

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