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Sixty-Something: My Ten Favorite Desserts

T.J. Clemente

The author with a Coup du Mont Blanc he had there in March 2017. (Courtesy Photo)

I love desserts and always have. As a child at 4 or 5-years-old, I remember my mom making her famous rice pudding. Watching it bake in the oven was torture because it smelled so great. One thing about being sixty-something is by this stage of life we have sampled some amazing desserts at various phenomenal restaurants. I thought I might share ten of my all-time favorites.

First on my list is the Indian Pudding I used to get up in Maine during my summer vacations there. A family restaurant named, Henri's, in Kennebunk, Maine had the best ever Traditional American Indian Pudding. It is made with cornmeal, eggs, milk, and sweetened with molasses, and often served warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top. It is so good.

Second on the list is a Pistachio Crème Brulee that is always on the menu at the Auberge du Bois Prin, in Chamonix. It consist of a crème brulee with an 1/10 of an inch of ground pistachio nuts baked into the hard caramel top along with a few full pistachio nuts also encased on top. The light greenish color is truly amazing.

Next at number three, is a dessert called Floating Islands, a concoction of meringue floating on crème anglaise. Bistro Chat Noir, a small French restaurant on East 66th Street in NYC, still has it on its menu as of right now. I have had this in France and at Xavier's Restaurant, in Piermont, New York all were excellent.

While mentioning Xavier's of Piermont, New York, my fourth favorite dessert is a special at Xavier's that you must order before dinner so it can be prepared. That would be their Chocolate Soufflé, it was so awesome that I still can taste it as I write this perhaps 15 years later. This dessert has a wonderful molten chocolate center surrounded by a flourless chocolate cake served usually right out of the oven. Never disappointing.

I thought I would go back in time to high school for number five. The Banana Crème Pie at the Thru-Way dinner in New Rochelle was a winner. Lots of midnights were spent sampling a slice with a cup of coffee before heading home after a late weekend night with buddies. Usually when I arrived at the Thru-Way Diner half the school was in the diner already.

For a decade I lived first in East Hampton Village and Montauk. Number six and seven favorite desserts come from establishments in these hamlets. Number six is the Rice Pudding, I had weekly at Cittanouva in East Hampton Village. J.J. Jensen would literally signal me while walking past Cittanouva when it was on the menu. Their rice pudding was very close to the way my mom made it including the raisins! Number seven is a dessert special at Gosman's in Montauk. I love their Warm Brioche Bread Pudding. By using yesterday's bread along with some cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, milk and the right amount of vanilla abstract it's a home run. When it's all mixed and cooked together just right, boom, it is so delicious.

My eighth favorite dessert is the Chocolate Outrage Cake that I get at Shippy's in Southampton, New York. This dessert is three layers of moist chocolate cake filled in with creamy chocolate fudge topped with old fashion chocolate frosting covered with chocolate chips. I am not sure how many calories this one has but with a nice hot coffee it gets me home wide awake.

I also love ice cream from all sorts of ice cream venues. Dessert number nine is my favorite ice cream place Cones, located on Bleeker Street in the West Village of NYC. It is the favorite of my two daughters too. The homemade ice cream is just really good. Just recently, Gordon Nash was reported to have said the following about Cones, "Perhaps the best ice cream in New York City, perhaps the world. When friends come from out of town I take them to Cones and they become true believers." I have been a true believer for over 25 years. It's like the ice cream you get in Rome, Italy.

Ten on the list is another Chamonix, France dessert called the Coup du Mont Blanc. Now I am partial to this dessert because I summited Mount Blanc (17,581 ft.) and had my first Coup du Mont Blanc after I descended safely back down to the village. The dessert contains three flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry) of ice cream along with pureed, sweetened chestnuts with lots of whipped cream. It is served all over Chamonix but I had my first one at the Restaurant Le Monchu. The photo above is a Coup du Mont Blanc I had there in March 2017!

Now that I have listed my ten favorite desserts, I am sure you are thinking desserts. I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorites because I sure did enjoy sampling them over the years!

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